Friday, February 6, 2009


Mayor William J. Healy and his Stark County Mayors Association (supposedly a unifying force which includes Canton's competitor Mayor David Held of North Canton), Randy Gonzales and his pet project of 9-1-1 consolidation (designed to bring all the emergency services of Stark County together), and the Stark County Council on Governments (SCOG) (an umbrella group of Stark County governments working together for the common good of Stark County?


All the efforts described above - are they only window dressing?

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believe yes - window dressing; that's what the unifying efforts boil down to.

What Stark County politician bound to a political subdivision (except, perhaps, for the Stark County commissioners) is going to "truly" advance the interest of Stark County as a whole and thereby derivatively help their individual communities?

Some months ago Stark United Way effort COMPASS (Community Objectives Met through a Partnership of All Segments of Society) Project Coordinator, Merele Kinsey made a speech express his frustration with the rampant "turfism" in Stark County.

And The Report believes that Kinsey is "right on the mark" no matter the protestations Healy, Held, Gonzales and the like to the contrary.

The proof is in the pudding. And, the Stark County pudding is not a smooth, blended mix. It is, in fact, a collection of lumps. A Canton lump, a North Canton lump, a Jackson Township lump, a Plain Township lump, a Massillon lump, a Tuscarawas Township lump, an East Canton lump, an Osnaburg Township lump and on and on goes the list.

Witness the piece appearing in The Repository yesterday about the Canton, Jackson and North Canton battle over annexation (now you can add Plain Township to the mix) which summarizes the fragmentation in Stark over the annexation issue, to wit:
Hopes to extend its borders to the Summit County line by annexing railroad property and an acre of land in Jackson Township. It hopes to generate additional tax dollars through economic agreements with Jackson.

Wants to block Canton by annexing land that includes the railroad property. But now says it’s willing to deal with Canton and Jackson, or swap water lines with Canton.

Agreed to work with Canton on the railroad annexation, but says that deal is exclusive. Plans to block North Canton’s annexation. Joined with Canton after nearly three years of talks with North Canton failed to produce a deal.

Ready to block North Canton’s annexation bid. Unhappy to hear reports of Canton and North Canton trading water lines to pave way for annexation in Plain.
Add on to this annexation fight (and its 99 year protection for Jackson Township) the 9-1-1 fuss, the - who pays for the cost of housing prisoners argument - and non9-1-1 consolidation resistance, among a myriad of issues; doesn't this amount as a sort of political leukemia that courses through the bloodstreams of Stark's local elected politicians?

Will Stark County communities ever get on Stark County Standard Time (SCST) or is going from Minerva to Uniontown going to continue to be like going from New York to Loa Angeles?


Anonymous said...

It really isn't fair to single out government leaders alone. Our business community thorugh its multiple chambers of commerce do nothing to help alleviate this fragmentation. And wasn't the United Way itself guilty of this same practice until recently? It is good that you bring this to the forefront, but let's not lose sight that there has been not outcry for regionalism in the past, either publicly or privately.

Anonymous said...

I think you got this all wrong Martin.

Anonymous said...

Martin got it RIGHT. But, this is not an issue isolated to thep public sector. And it takes a public/private cooperative effort to break out of this resistance towards regionalization. What we need is to stop this thinking of how to increase TAXES through regionalizaiton, but to increase OPPORTUNITY and JOBS through regionalization. This will take a public private cooperative effort.

Anonymous said...

Martin you should go to Washingon. Of course no one there cares what you have to say.

Anonymous said...

You are correct but you alo need both mayors to bargin with the townships in good faith and not conspire between themselves on how to divid both Plain and Jackson between themselves at the same times making it look like you are cooperating to negotiate agreements. It is counter productive and this is what got us to the point we are now at.

Anonymous said...

Well put about the trustees obligations in Plain and Jackson and all townships in Stark County affected by city annexation. They must be vigilant. Who would have ever thought North Canton would one day be fighting against Canton for annexation rights? Cities typically have much more to gain than townships. Townships, though becoming more and more budget bloated and unionized, are still distinguishable from the decay and bureaucracy so prevalent within city government.