Monday, October 3, 2011


The SCPR was told by a Stark County official last week that several Canton officials were either wavering on whether or not to support the Stark County sales tax issue of a 1/2% increase (Issue 29) or in some cases had definitely decided to vote no when the matter comes up for a vote at tonight's council meeting.

Issue 29 committee members Belden (a Canton Municipal Court judge), Bernabei (a Stark County commissioner), Sherer, Sr. (a former ironworker and Stark union insider) and Swanson (sitting Stark County sheriff) will be there in full force to convince "all" members to support the informal resolution of support.

One name mentioned was that of Councilwoman-at-Large Mary Cirelli.  Also named as possibly not being supportive was Councilman Thomas West (Ward 2) who The Report is told will not be at council meeting tonight because of a death in the extended family, and 8th Ward Councilman Mark Butterworth who is in his second consecutive political fight of his life against Democrat Edmond Mack.

He barely eked out Democrat Karl "Butch" Kraus, Jr. two years ago.

Cirelli is one of Canton's most popular politicians.  In fact, these days there is evidence that she may be more popular than Mayor William J. Healy, II.  (See "On Cirelli's Missed?  Opportunity to be Mayor" below).

Mayor Healy is reported to be saying that "he will have to think about it" as to whether or not he will support Issue 29.  Of course, he has trouble supporting anything that might benefit arch political enemies and Stark County commissioners Janet Creighton and Tom Bernabei.  More than that, he is always angling for political positions which he thinks benefits his personal political objectives.

When The Report brought up the Yes for Stark Issue 29 claim that Canton stands to lose $400,000 in income tax revenues should the issue fail due to the layoff of county employees who pay the Canton income tax, Cirelli questioned the validity of the claim.

On questioning Councilwoman Cirelli about whether or not she was going to vote for a resolution that Majority Leader David Dougherty was putting together supporting Issue 29 for tonight's meeting, she replied that she was only considering voting for the measure if certain conditions were met.


What are her conditions?

Here they are (as the SCPR understands them):
  • that Healy, all city employees, department heads, vendors selling to Canton government and non-profits getting funding from the city sign on (apparently, verbally support) any such resolution,
  • that she have some assurance that the turf fights within Stark County over consolidating/merging such government services as building permits, public health services, information technology services and 9-1-1 operations be ended, and
  • that Stark County get back to providing services in a highly efficient manner.

It appears that Cirelli - if she sticks to her conditions - has set them up so that it will be hard for her to say they have been met thereby freeing her not to vote for tonight's expected resolution.


What evidence is there that Mary could have been on her way to being mayor of Canton.  Mary's political history in Canton and even parts of Stark County outside of Canton proper is rich indeed, to wit:

In the course of conversation with Mary on Saturday, Mary told The Report that Councilman Bill Smuckler, who actually ran against Mayor Healy in the May 4th Democratic Primary, pointed out to her that she ran ahead of Healy in her Democratic Party re-nomination for council-at-large quest.

Cirelli received 3,137 voters compared to Healy's 3,031.  So Cirelli bested HIZZHONER by 106 votes.  Impressive, no?

But then again Jimmy Babcock also beat Healy's number. The Report does not think Babcock could defeat Healy, but could Cirelli given her long line of electoral successes?

Cirelli said that she had considered a run against Healy.

As anyone who follows political races knows, each and every race has its own dynamics.  In fact, one of her few electoral defeats came at the hand of Mayor Healy when he committed a political unpardonable sin in running against and defeating Cirelli as an incumbent Democratic state representative in 2004.

The near 2,500 vote Healy victory in the state representative race contraindicates that Cirelli could have defeated Healy in May.  However, a significant part of the vote in the 52nd House District comes from outside Canton proper.

Given Cirelli's longtime Canton-based political success and Healy's strong 2004 win over her, a straight up race within the political bounds of Canton between two would have been a political sight to behold!

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