Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Canton Mayor William Healy, II denies that such is the case, but the SCPR believes that persistent civic action by Stark County's anti-fracking community (e.g. Public Speaks presentations galore going back to when the ordinance first appeared on Canton City Council's agenda) forced the mayor to withdraw an ordinance which was up for its third and final reading last night at Canton City Council meeting.

Several councilpersons told The Report that had the measure actually been voted upon by council, it would have failed.

Council's main objection was that the ordinance as presented seemed to give the Healy administration carte blanche on negotiating leases.  Healy, being the highly skilled politician he is, seized the opening to avoid an embarrassing defeat on an up or down vote by saying in effect:  "Okay, I will not insist on council preapproval.  Let's do it this way.  My administration will do all of the prep work and seek oil and gas companies to negotiate with and if everything is right (i.e. financially remunerative to the city and does not jeopardize Canton's water fields), we will then come back to council where we expect approval."

Here is a video of Healy's reaction when questioned by area media about his action of withdrawing the lease drilling proposal.

And here is the videotaped reaction of anti-fracker Kristine Vaughn in which she acknowledges that she believed that the withdrawal of the ordinance by the Healy administration was a victory of sorts though she rather would like to have seen the ordinance stay on the ballot so that it could be defeated and have it over and done with.

Another interesting aspect of the meeting was council President Allen Schulman lecture of the anti-frackers in attendance to the effect that their quarrel is not with Canton City Council.  But rather it is with Governor Kasich and the Ohio Legislature.

It was the Ohio General Assembly (including Stark County's legislative delegation) who in 2004 (HB 278) and in 2010 (SB 165) voted to take away local control of oil and gas drilling. (LINK to previous SCPR blog that deals with the legislation in more detail)

Here is Schulman admonishing the anti-frackers.

And here again is Kristine Vaughn on videotape answering Schulman.

The SCPR believes that Ms. Vaughn's unease and unhappiness about the withdrawal of the proposed ordinance was when she realized that the withdrawal in realpolitik was not a good thing for the anti-fracking movement. 

Healy's tactical move is somewhat analogous to a baseball hitter having two strikes on him who gets a pitch that is unhitable in terms of getting good wood on the ball and getting a base hit.

So what does a good hitter do?

He goes all out to foul off the pitch in hopes that the next pitch is one that he can hit out of the park or at the very least get a single.

Folks, that's exactly what Mayor Healy did last night.  He knew that the ordinance was going down to defeat and he did what any skilled politician would do:  Salvage the situation.

And Healy did.

Whether or not Canton will eventually agree to lease its lands for oil/gas fracking is far from a dead issue with the man who on March 1, 2012 tabbed Canton, Ohio as being "the Utica Capital" of Ohio!

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