Friday, November 6, 2009


UPDATED 11:00 A.M.

Publicly the Stark County commissioners are all smiles and full of congratulations (except maybe that Commissioner Bosley is "half smiles and congratulations), but what is the reality?

Have the commissioners gotten religion?

Or, are they simply dealing with political reality?

Have the commissioners lost control and now have no alternative but to say "how high" when told by Nimishillen Fire Chief Rich Peterson and Messers Conley, Snyder and - must I include him - Marcelli to "jump?"

The SCPR believes that "out-of-the-public-view" politics will abound now that the commissioners are on the run.

And, the "Vote No" people were correct, insider politics determined that the commissioners would "impose" the tax in the first place. 

But the politics of the situation will now rise with the defeat of the tax; not abate.  Not only with the commissioners, but also with Stark County's police chiefs, fire chiefs and emergency force heads.

Moreover, the "Vote No Tax Increase" folks will be doing their own politics. However, theirs will be more transparent and the "Vote No Tax Increase" will, whether in actual word or not, in deed, morph into "Vote No on Bosley in 2010."

And the Conley-led group will be exercising "political muscle" to enforce the group of three's view of what Stark County government should look like.

Why won't Commissioner Harmon be a target of the "Vote No" political activists?

Because Tom Harmon will have long ago vacated the scene by the time his accountability date of November, 2012 arrives.  Look for something soon on Harmon.  Tom has enough insight to understand that governing from the county commissioner vantage point became impossible with the repeal of the the 0.50 percent imposed tax.

There will be no new taxes in Stark County for the foreseeable future.

Stark County government will get cut to a shell of its former self over the next few years and the governors will become "caretakers" in a minimalist government.

Only when there is a groundswell from the "grassroots" as Craig Conley likes to describe his movement, will there be the possibility of new revenues for the county.  And that will only happen when the public begins to feel the pain of dramatically reduced government services.

21st century Americans want their conveniences, and when essential local government services dry up, then look for an adjustment in the public receptivity to new taxes.

In the meantime, commissioners will come and go for two different reasons.  Bosley is likely to exit the scene because he cannot escape the clutches of having been the prime mover behind the imposed sales/use tax increase.

If anyone can survive under these circumstances, it will be Bosley.

The second reason for a parade of commissioners through the turnstiles at the Stark County Office Building will be the public's frustration with a stream of commissioners who cut, cut, cut as a consequence of the inability to have adequate revenues.

The public will not understand the cutting and will unfairly punish the cutter-commissioners by defeating them at the next election.

So the apt expression is "what have the "Vote No Tax Increase" folks "wrought" to Stark County?

The SCPR senses that Craig Conley is the only one of the actors among the "Vote No Tax Increase" group that is nervous about the consequences of the county general fund side of the defeated tax issue.

That's why he is taking the lead in offering to be part of the solution.

One side note on Conley.

The SCPR thinks it is somewhat "disingenuous" for Conley to lay the burden of the Zeigler's failure of oversight at the door of the county commissioners.

Being an attorney, he well knows that the "wheels of justice" move slowly; especially, when it is the federal government doing the investigation.  United States attorneys are known to be just a tad more thorough than your typical county prosecutor (e.g. Patrick Fitzgerald a la Vice President Cheney aide:  Scooter Libby).

For Conley to lay the Zeigler matter at the commissioners' doorstep is a glaring unfairness which detracts from the credibility of the "Vote No" cohort.  And it would be nice for Conley et al  to get their numbers right.

They bandy about the number $22 million as if it was a real number.  It is not.  Conley should publicly admit this stark reality and set the record straight.  He needs to acknowledge that the number was more in the $11/12 million range when one factors in the commissioner promised reduction a 1/4% of existing taxes.

If he cares about accuracy and credibility (which the SCPR trusts he does), he will acknowledge the "net" figure.

For the "Votes Nos" to be a viable factor, they will have to clean up their act.

There is some hope that they are doing so.  As SCPR readers will see in a "to be published" video of Conley and Marcelli, their were admissions that there were excesses  - during the campaign - on their side - as did the commissioners.

And their were "apparent" apologies, but were they sincere.

Both sides can clear the air by agreeing to a "stipulation" of misstatements/errors made during the campaign and release same to area media.

Why do that?

So that the Stark County public can get at some semblance of the truth of the facts of the mattter, that's why.

The SCPR will be watching both the "Vote Nos," the commissioners and Stark's public safety forces and continually assess as who is working for the public interest and who is working for their own individual or group interest.

Watch the video below, to see the beginnings of the Conley entreaty to the commissioners.

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