Friday, October 10, 2008


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) applauds Executive Director M. J. Alabacete for being Stark County's foremost force to get more funds for local arts and by extension use them to get Stark County's economic engine moving. Albacete provided several compelling arguments at a Candidate Art Forum this past Tuesday at Kent Stark why more arts funding could be an economic boon locally and, indeed, for all of Ohio.

From the Columbus-wannabes answers and observations, The Report is not optimistic that the folks going to the Legislature (DeHoff or Snitchler [50th House District]); Slesnick or Hart (52nd) have much of a clue about the significance that arts funding could have to redirecting Ohio and our county in a new and innovative direction.

Only Scott Oelslager (51st) seemed to understand the potential to be derived from increased arts funding for Stark County. But we must all remember that Oelslager has been on legislative watch while Ohio's arts funding has made a dramatic decline as a member of the majority and sometimes supermajority party in Columbus.

The Report wonders how Ohio and Stark County is going to get out of the economic doldrums via beefed up arts funding with the likes of DeHoff, Snitchler, Slesnick, Hart and Oelslager staffing the Ohio General Assembly.

Over the next week or so The Report will be following up Director Alabacete's video intro with film snippets of comments by DeHoff, Slesnick, Hart and Oelslager made at the forum.

The videos speak for themselves. Readers of The Report will see the candidates (except, perhaps Oelslager) struggle to cope with the questions asked by forum attenders.

Todd Snitchler (the other 50th District candidate) did not deem the forum important enough to attend. That says volumes. He did send a surrogate. But The Report will not be posting the surrogate's comments for her announced lack of authority on Snitchler's point of view.

The Report's question: Isn't increased arts funding something to look at as a new approach to getting economic development going? Could a fresh emphasis on the arts leveraging economic development be a sort of an"elephant in the room" that is being ignored by "old style" politicians who amply demonstrate that they cannot think outside-the-box?

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