Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Canton's Mayor William J. Healy, II is besieged on all sides. One would think he has the smarts not to get into a fight with Canton City Council President Allen Schulman.

The first ironical twist to a political fight developing between these two in bound up in their similarities, to wit

Both men are "smoooooooooth" politicians. They pride themselves in their ability to cultivate powerful relationships which each hopes will carry him far in realizing personal and political ambitions. Both are polished, urbane and cosmopolitan. Each are careful not to take on political fights that have low prospects of being winnable. In short, they skilled at ironing (no pun on the graphic intended) things out.

But here we are. At the breakout of the fight of the century in Canton politics.

Both likely will try ot back off from this fight. In the end, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes it will surface as a full scale battle.

Who will win?

The Report's bet is on Allen Schulman.

Fight? What fight?

Actually the first indication of a fight is when Healy fired Canton service director and chief of staff Tom Bernabei. Schulman was shocked to read from Washington (while engaged in Obama inaugural activities) that Healy had fired Bernabei with nary a word to the Canton City Council president.

A very unwise move by Healy.

Fast forwarding through all the talk about Healy's other troubles of late (allegations about an inappropriate relationship with a 16 year old, questions about campaign finance contributions, the Healy desire to get rid of McKimm matter, the Nesbitt "I'm here, I' m out of here" debacle, the Redflex situation, et cetera), Schulman must sense that The Report's early-on projection that the Healy administration is a sinking ship has increasing credibility.

Hence at last night Council meeting, The Rep's Ed Balint ("Schulman puts Healy on hot seat) reports as follows:
The City Council president said the mayor’s acceptance of a combined $250 in campaign contributions from two associates of Redflex Traffic Systems “creates the appearance of potential influence.”
Here's where a second and the highest degree of irony (both men understand and use campaign contributions skillfully) sets in as the catalyst for open political warefare breaking out.

Allen Schulman certainly is one of the highest - and the The Report believes - the highest dollar and most prolific campaign contributor in Stark County, maybe in all of Ohio. And he holds his own nationally. While The Report believes that Schulman does a lot of contributing because he is a "good government guy" who knows that it takes money to win elections, it is not lost on Schulman that making campaign contributions to key political people certainly does open doors.

Healy knows of Schulman's prodigious record of making campaign contributions to the politically powerful. Just picture this in your mind's eye. As Healy listens to Schulman's scolding, he has to be boiling inside. He must be thinking: "What brass?" "I can't believe I'm hearing this from Mr. Campaign Contributor of Stark County!"

So how does Healy's internal combustion erupt?

Here it is from Ed Baling:
After the council meeting, Healy said Schulman’s comments tell “more about his character than my operations.”
If a war were not already underway, when Schulman reads that Healy has attacked his character; the die is cast and The Report believes Alan Schulman will not rest until William J. Healy, II is no longer the Mayor of Canton.

The Report would not be surprised to see Healy start backtracking immediately. But sometimes the heat of battle gets so intense that things get said that are not retractable or explainable away and in the end - forgivable.

Attacking any man's character is a grievous act.

Attacking a politically powerful man's (i.e. Allen Schulman) character is beyond grievous in the political world and this act may well have been the political death knell for William J. Healy, II.

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