Thursday, July 2, 2009


It is the only countywide newspaper in Stark with a storied history, but more and more The Repository is showing it is lagging as a community messenger, guardian and initiator.

The SCPR has learned that The Rep itself is making internal cuts (except for the sports department) that has to affect - in a negative way - the quality of the reporting and investigating that Repository resources will allow for.

One thing that should not be affected is the editorial function.

But in has taken a nosedive since the likes of Schultze and Kaminski have left.

For instance, on May 26th the editors published a editorial on how H. Michael Miller, CEO/superintendent of the Stark Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MRDD) was "(t)he right man for the times."

This is apparently a case of the editors finding an excuse for the draconian cutting that Miller has been doing at MRDD. This program was at one time was one of the very best in Ohio and perhaps in all of Ohio and perhaps all of America. But under Miller it has become a mere shell of its former self.

The reason?

The SCPR believes that Miller was asleep at the switch and was not proactively engaged to respond in a positive way to new financial realities (private sector competition) ahead of their onset. Earlier in the year yours truly attended an MRDD promotion for the then upcoming levy that eventually passed in May immediately passed.

Miller put up his charts showing the revenue and expenses and the carryover factor going back ten years. A quick look at the chart clearly show that Miller did not swing into action until well after the numbers warned of an impending financial crisis.

By then the time for preventative and curative measures was well past.

Hurriedly, Miller put together a levy effort for March, 2008 which failed mostly likely because The Rep Editorial Board did not endorse it.

The main reason The Repository gave for not endorsing?

More efficiencies had to be implemented at MRDD.

While more efficiency is always something to be focused on, MRDD was then at the point that more cuts would be "cutting into the bone."

For the editors to excuse and indeed laud Miller for "cutting into the bone," shows what an inrresponsible group of editors abide at 500 Market Avenue, South.

On June 30th, a citizen and former MRDD board member wrote a letter to the editor of The Rep (Stark MRDD: Changes need to be made, but not this way, June 30, 2009) decrying the kind of and manner of the cuts.

On June 22nd, Mary Parker (a commenter on The Rep and the SCPR) also had a letter published in The Repository: Loved ones of MRDD clients didn't dream so many layoffs were coming.

Particularly poignant is this portion of Mary's letter, to wit:
I hope that one day, we will again see some semblance of the great MRDD program we once had. I hope voters, the community, will continue to support it.

I didn't foresee ICFMRs pulling so many clients out of MRDD programs.

Did the board and Superintendent Michael Miller deliberately mislead us?

God, I hope not. I want to believe these people have our children's best interest at heart. That's getting harder to do.
It not sad - as the Rep editors put it - that Miller is retiring in January, 2010. Rather it is a ray of hope that a much more positively creative person will take of the helm and restore Stark MRDD to "some semblance of the great MRDD program" Stark Countians once had.

These editorial writers ought to be a prod to initiative, creativeness and the positive; not the excusers and honorers of those who disassemble Stark County's quality infrastructure.

As yours truly has said a number of times about this body of editorialists: Shame on The Repository!




Good blog in regard to the Rep editors.

Sadly, the Rep has been going in the wrong direction for years.

Let's make sure that every sporting event is covered, the Cavs, Browns & Indians get "ink" daily, all while we ignore what happens in Washington, Columbus and even in Stark County's political circles.

Maybe society dictates that sports are "king", but the Rep, being Stark County's ONLY newspaper, needs to serve the public properly. That is UNBIASED, and covering the tough stories, like you do.

Maybe they will start having "guest editors" (aka high school juniors) write some of the editorials?


mary said...

Mr. Olson, You couldn't have hit more nails on the head if you were a carpenter.In fact, you had a double headed hammer; one about the MRDD levy and the cuts in their staff, which I will comment on later, and one for the cuts in the Rep staff, which is more evident in the editorial section than elsewhere in the Rep. Although they were intertwined, It sent my brain scurrying in two different directions.

First of all, I agree that the editorial part, is an integral part of any newspaper.It is it's core so to speak. I don't profess to know that much about journalism, or even editorializing. However, I've been , since early childhood, an avid newspaper reader. My mother was illiterate, but always subscribed to the Repository, and made sure her 12 children took turns reading it to her everyday. We had to read everything but the want ads to her. I never understood why she was so interested in the editorials. They seldom, if ever, pertained to Black people or anything that would be of interest to us, or so I thought. She explained how the editorials pretty much decided who would win upcoming elections, and other 'important' things, such as the performance of the police and Sheriff dept's.I soon came to appreciate the editorials, and their determining worth. Newspapers were strong and influential back then, due mostly to the strong and influential editorials. Now days, seems like Goshay and Hillibish arouse more interest and generate more comments than the editorials.

Like everything else, editorials just 'ain't' what they used to be. Mr. Kaminski certainly had a way with words.and wrote great editorials. I don't think I've read a really good editorial since he left. I don't think the editors of old would have stood silently by and watched MRDD being put to a slow and painful death or praised those responsible for dismantling it. They knew the true worth of the program, not only to those needing their services, but to the community as well. It employed many, and was constantly growing, and expanding. They had a great relationship to the community, evidenced by the growing number of places in the area who were hiring clients from the Workshops. The Repository appreciated MRDD's worth to Stark County residents..

Your comments in the Rep, Martin, had that same 'matter of fact, non-apologetic' presence about them. They were little mini editorials. I miss comments like that.