Thursday, June 21, 2012


The Stark County Political Report believes that Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II, being the consummate politician he is, has counted noses and likely will get his recently announced budget plan (Plan) through Canton City Council pretty much intact.

About the only provision that has much of a chance of being excluded is the red light violations traffic monitoring cameras. 

In the SCPR's way of nose counting, yours truly believes that Councilpersons Joe Cole, Jimmy Babcock, David Dougherty, Thomas West, Chris Smith and Jim Griffin ("the Healy Council Caucus") are a lock for Healy on any of his "must have" provisions which need council approval.

While The Report does not think that council president Allen Schulman is a lock for Healy, he does appear to lean the mayor's way on most council issues.

The difference between Schulman and the Healy Council Caucus is that he will ask penetrating and critique-esque questions from time-to-time. And in doing so he may force the Healy administration to make some modifications to the Plan.

But if push comes to shove and the normally non-voting council president is forced to break a tie (which The Report thinks is highly unlikely), it is pretty clear that Schulman is going to back the mayor.

There has been a big shift in Schulman's attitude towards and relationship with Mayor Healy from the days that Healy was into firing the then-Healy administration chief of staff Thomas Bernabei and making other "shoot-myself-in-the-foot" moves which The Report thinks damaged and continues to damage Canton and, indeed, all of Stark County in the public perception.


Media reports of the initial reaction by various council members to the Plan does indicate that there is likely to be some scrutiny going on in that questions are already being asked about the cameras and about Healy's desire to lease city property so that it can be fracked for natural gas and oil products.

But as the expression goes, the "proof will be in the pudding" of how council handles a consideration of the various items of the Plan it must approve.

However, the SCPR is skeptical that a thoroughgoing examination will take place and The Report is even more skeptical that those who indicate they are unalterably opposed to this or that provision of the Plan can muster the necessary six votes to force even a Schulman tie-breaker voter.

Moreover, The Report does not see that there is anyway that a dissenting councilman could cobble together seven votes. As yours truly sees the Healy Caucus, there "ain't no way" one of the number can be peeled off of what "the boss says."  So forget the seven!

There is a lot of pressure to come on council.  First, on the camera issue and, second, on the fracking issue.

Healy had to scuttle the camera proposal once before and so he must have done his political homeworkand is confidant that he can hold his six councilpersons together and lure one or two out the "not-in-lockstep-with-Healy" group to get to seven votes.

On the fracking issue, there is likely to be a loud and sustained opposition by a group of environmental activists.

Here is the essence of an email the SCPR has received from an organizer of the group:
So here is the plan...

Canton City Council is not only considering the sale of water but also the leasing of land to frack within the city limits.  

Two Mondays from today, July 2nd, Canton City Council will again meet.  We will rally in front of Chesapeake's offices before marching to City Hall where City Council will meet at 7:30 p.m.  

After protesting in front of City Hall, we will head inside to give testimony as to why fracking should be banned within the city limits and why the sale of water should not be allowed.  
  As soon as all is finalized, we will be blowing up Facebook about this event!!!

I think we should rally in front of Chesapeake starting at 6:30 p.m.  I will also get info on contact numbers of City Council members -- we need to blow up their phones as well!!!     
But do not look for most council members to be impressed.

The Report thinks they will look at anti-fracking-initiative much as they did with the "trap-neuter-release" Canton City Council "Public Speaks" initiative a few months back (where are the great number of Cantonians who object to our present program?) with one exception.  Do not look for council to refer the issue to committee for further study. 

Of the two main sticking points of the Plan, the lease for the fracking proposal seems to have the most support on council.  Maybe as much as 9 or 10 votes?

Maybe the SCPR has council all wrong?

A Healy Council Caucus?

Is The Report kidding?

Only time will tell.

The "proof will be in the pudding" of council deliberations!

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