Friday, November 16, 2012


On the November 5, 2012 Canton City Council agenda under Communications, there was item 396:

As the SCPR sees this move, it is an effort by the Healy administration through staunch council ally Tom West (Ward 2) to feign that the twice before defeated camera legislation is not really about city finances but a law enforcement (public safety).

Hence the assignment of a consideration of the letter to the committee which West heads up as chariman:  Judiciary.

In council's latest rejection of the installation cameras on September 17th (LINK TO PRIOR BLOG), the matter made it to the full council through the Finance Committee:

The nub of it all is that Judiciary is predominated by Healy-independent-capable councilpersons whereas Finance is not.

So it becomes a real test of the strength of West as chairman as to whether or not he can get the proposed legislation before the full council in hopes that the Healyites can flip one of the councilman (The Report thinks Griffin) from the September vote.

That gets the ordinance's fate into the hands of Council President Allen Schulman's hands which, the SCPR thinks, means a Healy win.

In quite a turnabout from a couple of years ago when Schulman and Healy were at loggerheads (e.g. Schulman excoriating Healy about getting Redflex connected campaign contributions), he now seems to be a reliable partner with Healy in running the city the Healy way.

On controversial legislation in Canton these days, Healy can count on five automatics (Babcock, Cole, Dougherty, Smith and West).  After those five, Healy has to do some finessing, some arm twisting, some wheeling and dealing to get things going his way.

Healy may have some leverage with long time political adversary Greg Hawk nowadays.  Hawk,
The Report believes, desperately wants to be the successor to Canton City Treasurer Bob Schirack.  Accordingly, wouldn't Hawk be vulnerable to swinging Healy's way on something like the traffic lights camera issue in exchange for a "wink and a nod" on Healy supporting him for the treasurer position?

It seems rather obvious that the attempted re-opener on the Redflex cameras is an example of the proverbial "getting the foot in the door."

The plan?

Get a demonstration pilot project up and running and demonstrate via the numbers that downtown Canton is a safer place.

Of all the criticisms of traffic light cameras, to wit,  (from the September debate)

there is one documented positive from many jurisdictions across the nation that have cameras installed at traffic lights:

There is a research based and thereby documented 25% reduction in traffic accidents as a consequence of the cameras being present which, the research attests to:   causes drivers to be more cautious when approaching intersections.

The bottom line though will not be the relative merits of the argument, pro and con.

Rather it is the political skill of Mayor Healy and his desire to - longer term - get the city's hands on about $1 million in additional revenues in order to help solve its financial problems.

Will this latest political gambit work?

Can he and his political protege Tom West get the legislation through the Judiciary Committee?

If so, can they (joined by the other four Healy automatics) get that vote or two from the remaining seven councilpersons to get it through the full council?

As the SCPR has observed many times, Mayor William J. Healy, II is the slickest, brassiest and most audacious politician to ever serve on the eighth floor of Canton City Hall.

The Report, for one, would not count Healy out on this one.

A sidenote.

Things, apparently, are picking up for Mayor Healy with his former adversaries Janet Creighton (whom he defeated in her re-election bid for mayor in 2007) and Tom Bernabei (whom he fired from his post as chief-of-staff in the first Healy administration), both of whom are now Stark County commissioners.

At last Wednesday's commissioners meeting, Creighton brought up that Wednesday was the birthday of a Bernabei daughter and that the day was doubly significant as being the birthday of Mayor Healy.

Her stunning announcement (obviously tongue-in-cheek)?

She sent Mayor Healy a birthday card and impliedly suggested Bernabei should do the same for his "favorite" mayor.

Commissioner meetings are getting to be very entertaining these days.

Here is a video featuring Creighton and her birthday talk.

No comments: