Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Stark County GOP Chairman Jeff Matthews was one of the (if not "the") driving force to get Wadsworth Republican Jim Renacci the Republican nomination for the soon to be "old" 16th Congressional District.

Stark County was the "crown jewel" of the district and the vote in Stark generally determined who would win in the 16th.  For decades the 16th had been Republican (e.g. Ralph Regula and Frank Bow, et al).  But with the election of Democrat John Boccieri in 2008, the Republican grip on the 16th had become more problematical.

A guy like Renacci could be vulnerable in the "old" 16th come November, 2012.  And this would not be good for Jeff Matthews.  His wife, Heidi, works for Renacci.  If one were a cynic, one might say that the reason Jeff took the lead to get Renacci the nomination was the existence of an at least "a wink and a nod" understanding that were Renacci to get the nomination and get elected, Heidi would show up on the Renacci payroll thus reclaiming her well-endowed taxpayer supported job that she had with Congressman Ralph Regula which was so rudely interrupted by the Boccieri win.

The solution for the Republican Party, Renacci and the Matthews interests? Carve up Stark County to take Canton and Massillon (Democrat strongholds) out of 16th and thereby make Renacci's political future more secure.

To hell with Stark Countians being more or less united in interest in a single congressional district!

Matthews is paid about $100,000 (which benefits are included in the calculation) by Stark Countians as the current deputy director of the Stark County Board of Elections.  With the political change in Columbus, he will soon be "the" director.

Wife Heidi is on track to make about $75,000 (salary alone; benefits make the total remuneration higher) unless, that is, the pattern of her Regula years continues under Renacci.  Under Regula, the pay pattern was that she got huge increases in the fourth quarter.  Apparently, congressmen are loathe to return any money to the federal treasury and so at the end of the year they decide to give bonuses.  Hmm?

Everyday Stark Countians grow more and more cynical about the politicians of both political parties. And what the Republicans do, what are about to do, come this Friday in slicing and dicing Stark County for Republican Party interests and benefit, will add fuel for new converts among the hoi polloi to cynicism.

Republicans are rated anywhere from the teens to the low to mid 20% range.  Democrats are only marginally rated higher.

According to Robert Wang's Repository piece in today's paper (Redistricting plan would splinter Stark County), Kirk Schuring (what a laugh this is) is going to do his best to prevent the political nullification of Stark County.

Schuring has proven many times over that he has very little clout among statehouse Republicans even though he has been there for about 15 years.

What the likes of those who stack and/or cheer on the stacking of the deck (Democrats and Republicans alike) have to realize is that they are part of the reason why more and more everyday citizens grow more alienated from participating in our democracy.

The Stark County commissioners were astounded by the poor turnout of Stark Citizens to their 22 community outreach meetings conducted from February through June of this year.

Such, my friends, is the price public officials pay when their fellows do the likes of what Ohio Republican officials have done to Stark County and other Ohio communities.

One has to wonder whether or not the end result of the political party interest over citizen/public interest will eventually undo our democracy?

Somehow the SCPR believes that folks like Billy Batchelder, Amond Budish, Kevin DeWine, Chris Refern, Jeff Matthews and Randy Gonzalez do not lose any sleep over the jaundicing of the Ohio/Stark County political landscape when they have the ability to affect its composition.

They do what they have to do for their political parties.

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