Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The Stark County Political Report (SCPR/The Report) presumed that Frank Morris, III would be selected by Ward 9 Democrats (encouraged by Stark County Democratic Party chair Randy Gonzalez) to succeed recently deceased Joe Carbenia.

After all, Morris almost defeated Carbenia Democratic primary in early May.

Apparently, Morris is a suspect person in terms of party loyalty within the inner circles of the Stark Dems.

When you look at the succession process through political eyes, there probably was a lot of resentment within the party that Morris had the effrontery to challenge Carbenia in the first place.

And make no mistake about it. Gonzalez could have weighed in for Morris and he would have been selected. The SCPR believes Gonzalez did weigh in either directly or through intermediaries and the "weighing-in" was in the direction of punishing Morris.

What happened in Ward 9 is a former chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr-esque operation. Maier only brooked precinct committee persons who did as directed by the party chairman. It appears that Gonzalez will be more of the same.

In his tenure as chairman, Maier ran the Stark Dems in the model of the now-deceased Ohio Democratic kingpin (and Speaker of the Ohio House) Vern Riffe. Yours truly has seen Maier "tear-up" when reminiscing about his political mentor. Riffe ran the party in an autocratic way and richly rewarded his minions such as Maier for their unfettered personal loyalty.

But Morris is correct.

As he told The Repository as reported in Political newcomer named Ward 9 representative (August 18 - online) “Six people just told 341 people their vote didn’t mean a damn thing.”

For Gonzalez to stand by and let this happen without having lifted a finger to encourage voting precinct committee persons to pay attention to the wishes of 341 largely non-politically-connected citizens is indication to the SCPR that the new party chair is determined to drive independent minded Democratic political aspirants out of the process.

Just look at the Brian Horner connections (reference The Repository report augmented by yours truly's own knowledge).
  1. He works (now for 12 years) for Stark County Court of Common Pleas clerk of courts Nancy Reinbold. Reinbold is the wife of former Common Pleas judge Dick Reinbold. Reinbold "inherited" the job from former clerk Phil Giavasis. Giavasis who heads of the "Giavasis wing," of the Stark County Democratic Party political machine, took offense when people such as Mike Stevens (Lawrence Township trustee) expressed an interest in the county clerkship. Giavasis ran for and won the Canton Municipal Court clerkship for the additional pay and to enhance his retirement. Who does Gonzalez work for? You've got it! Phil Giavasis. So Horner had a lot of powerful Democrats pushing for him but none so powerful and self serving as Chairman Gonzalez.
  2. Taking a page out of the Reinbold playbook, Horner ingratiated himself to the Carbenia family by his campaign work for the family patriarch and put himself in position to get the "blessing" and support of the Carbenias. As good fortune would have it, he marries into the family (a cousin). Likely another reason the why the family would support him as successor councilman.
  3. "Keeping it in the family" is a fine Stark County Democratic Party tradition (the Republicans did the same thing when they were in power). The Report has written previously about the numerous Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. connected relatives and political supporters who have found their way into government jobs (because they stood head and shoulders over other applicants?) In addition to working for Giavasis, Gonzalez is the elected clerk in Jackson Township and heads up the SCOG Governance Committee for 9-1-1. His wife works for the county and his son works for Stark County recorder Rick Campbell and he has at least one more relative that works for the county. So Horner is "a perfect fit" for continuing the family traditions of Democrats getting government jobs in Stark County.
It will be interesting to see if 9th Ward voters have the moxie to cut the Democrats out altogether come November.

If the Dems snub their own (341 voters), what will they do with independents and Republicans?

Perhaps voters in the 9th ward will redeem their self-respect and dignity come November 3, 2009?

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