Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Massillon City Councilwoman (and Massillon mayoral candidate) Kathy Catazaro-Perry is sounding like a Tea Partier these days.

Last week she sent out a campaign fundraiser solicitation letter (to be held March 8, 2011 at the Firehouse Grill) proclaiming "... it really is time to take back our city."  As if anyone has a right to possess a country, state or city?  Catazaro-Perry as a councilperson and therefore a part of officialdom in Massillon has - in a sense - been in partial possession of Massillon for as long as she has been on Council.  So the "it really is time to take back our city" is a play on campaign rhetoric designed to strike an emotional chord with voters that likely came from close campaign advisers (perhaps Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., Shane Jackson and Eddie Elum?) rather than something she thought up.

She (Ward 3) along with Councilpersons Anderson (Ward 2) and Townsend (Ward 4) have been the main body of the opposition to the administration of Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr and, accordingly, have - as a part of officialdom - staked out an agenda.

What is the agenda?

Apparently, the following is, at least, a partial list:
  • Get Massillon's executive department of government (the mayor's office) out of the business of running the Parks and Recreation Board; de facto or otherwise
  • Rid Massillon of its golf course and restaurant complex
  • Restore Massillon to fiscal solvency
    • Persuading Massillonians to accept lesser services as part of a drive to solvency
  • Make "the public interest" a primacy over special interests
  • Demonstrate courageous leadership
Here what Catazaro-Perry has to say about her plan for Massillon in the fundraising letter:

As the SCPR sees this race, Catazaro-Perry may be in the best position of anyone in recent times to defeat Mayor Cicchinelli who has been a part of Massillon government for 38 consecutive years. There comes a point in time in which longevity because a liability.  The question for Cicchinelli in 2011 is:  has that time arrived for him?  For if it has, then there is little he can do to stave off defeat in a little over 60 days.

If Catazaro-Perry is to win, she will have to convince Massillonians of two things:  (1)  It is time for Cicchinelli to go so that Massillon can have a fresh and generational change of leadership, and (2) She is her own person.

Some political observers see Catazaro-Perry as being the handmaiden of the Maier, Jackson et al political power base in Massillon.  Maier is clerk of courts (and former de jure head of the Stark County Democratic Party); Jackson is Maier's chief deputy (and political director of the Stark County Democratic Party) and draws a higher income as chief deputy than the mayor of Massillon.  

Naturally, Catazaro-Perry denies that she is controlled by the Maier-Jackson et al political cabal.  But as the SCPR sees it, she, indeed, is beholden to the rival-Cicchinelli Massillon political force for political advice and counsel.  A recent incident in which Councilman David McCune worked her over in a political sense in persuading her to pursue a change (until other councilpersons clued her in) in Massillon's law (to cover what appears to have been a McCune personal interest) indicates that she does not possess overall political astuteness.

To The Report, Catazaro-Perry's gullibility on the McCune matter is a sign that she is not ready for political prime time.  The SCPR is convinced, as mayor, she will be reliant on Maier, Jackson et al for direction.

For many Massillonians the prospect of choosing between Cicchinelli and Catazaro-Perry will truly be a "Morton's fork:"  which is to say - "choices which yield equivalent, often undesirable, results."

Cicchinelli's main economic development tool seems to be annexation which, at best, is a supplemental strategy; not a centerpiece.  Moreover, he has embraced a number of ill-advised projects which have proved to be a drain on Massillon's meager resources.  Finally, his "smoke and mirrors" budgeting more than suggests that Massillon's financial infrastructure in fragile - at best.

Such is what often happens when entrenched political interests war with one another.

It appears to the SCPR that Massillon is in the throes of two political power bases warring with one another with little, if anything, to be gained by the citizens of Massillon.

To get a sense of the history of Cicchinelli/Catazaro-Perry, view this video which the SCPR took of the Mayor in June, 2008.

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