Monday, December 24, 2012


Now that Kathy Catazaro-Perry has been mayor of Massillon for a few days shy of a year, it appears, as the SCPR predicted leading up to her election in November, 2011, that - if elected - the people of Massillon will never get to know what her leadership abilities are because she would likely not be calling the shots from the executive suite of Massillon City Hall. 

Rather, as SCPR projected, the de facto mayor would be her political patron, mentor and confidant:  Massillon Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

America no longer has political bosses a la Boss Tweed of New York's Tammany Hall political machine circa 1858.  However, his appeal lingers on among some who want to make the body politic over in their own image.   As the SCPR sees it, Maier has aspired over the years that yours truly has known him, to collect unquestioning adherents to whatever his political whim of the day might be.

Tweed (of the 1800s)  undoubtedly has not been Maier's direct example as The Report does not see Maier has having enough of a grasp of American political history to even know who Tweed was.

But rather Democrat Vern Riffe, who served as Speaker of the Ohio House (1975 - 1995), and whom, during his time in state government, was the undisputed boss of the Ohio Democratic Party would be his model.

Maier served a rather undistinguished career (in terms of substantive legislative achievements) in the 56th (now the 50th) Ohio House District from January 3, 1991 through December 31, 1999.

The five year overlap between Riffe and Maier left its direct political mark on Maier.   Johnnie went onto to become chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party in the 2000s and used his position (the first county party chairman to endorse) to ingratiate himself to the Democratic governor Ted Strickland adminstration (2007 - 2010).  Addtionally,  as chairman, he had a playground within which to workout the political chess match lessons learned at the feet of Riffe.

Despite being political strongman Riffe's right hand man, it seems he only had two notable achievements during his tenure in the Legislature; namely,
  • the development of the Ohio DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, and
  • sponsoring a bill that qualified children of murder victims to receive state compensation as victims of crime.
Sounds like his elected successor, Republican John P. Hagan, no?

One or two achievements over eight years.  Wow!

In The Report's book, being a legislator with the responsibility for looking out for policy, program and service interests of his constituents was an inconvenient aspect of Maier's being a representative.  

Yours truly recalls being privvy to one conversation during the 1991 - 1999 timespan in which he more or less bragged about avoiding press questions as to where he stood on a particular piece of legislation whereupon he was asked by one politically and otherwise close to him:  "Johnnie, what do you stand for anyway?"

Answer?  Silence.

A real eye opener to yours truly!

Maybe just maybe Maier didn't stand for anything much other than his personal political interests?

After taking in that exchange, yours truly began scrutinizing Maier as to his bottom line motivation(s).

Some political leaders bring people together in united action for the good of national, state and local communities whereas others use people to achieve their own goals and use political processes and the prerogatives and perks of office they have a say in or over to reward themselves and their political friends while rendering minimal officialdom services.

It took a while, but yours truly came to the current standing assessment about five or six years ago that Maier was in the latter camp rather than in the former.

The lamentable thing about the self-serving is that they strive to take independent thought and action from those with whom they are politically associated as a price for the association. 

The SCPR believes that Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry is paying an unacceptable price (in terms of the well-being of Massillonians) for having been the front person for the Maier (in the 2011 Democratic Party primary) in the most recent encounter (the elections of 2011) in an apparent longstanding competition with former Massillon mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr going back to their Kent - Stark days as to whom was going to be the more politically accomplished in Massillon politics.

Agree with him or disagree with him on policy and practice, decades long (as elected councilman and mayor) Massillonian elected official Frank Cicchinelli has won that contest with Maier.

Not living in Massillon, Maier could not have run against Cicchinelli in 2011 and, moreover, the SCPR believes if Maier had been eligible to run, he would not have the political "b_ _ _ s" to do so.  For losing would undoubtedly been an ultimate political humiliation for him in a seeming continuing parade of coming off second best.

How convenient, he couldn't run.

For that task, he and his allies recruited proxy Perry transplant Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

If she loses, she becomes a political expendable. Sort of like being a pawn on a chessboard.  Isn't that how the Maier version of politics is played?

But she won and now comes the governing.

Catzaro-Perry demonstrated nothing as a Massillon councilwoman of having any special governance skills.  She wasn't an exceptional councilwoman; maybe not even a run-of-the-mill one.

However, for politics first people, preparedness for office is not the first priority.

And, after a year in office as mayor, her lack of governing skills seems to be showing in spades.

What's more, it appears to The Report that Maier (in his de facto role) and his cohorts (brother George and Massillon clerk of courts chief deputy and Stark County Democratic Party political director Shane Jackson and others) were good at criticizing Cicchinelli but have no solutions of their own.

What they appear to be good at is obstinance as evidenced by the current standoff between the administration and Massillon City Council on ways and means to raised much needed revenues for Tigerland.

Should Catzaro-Perry prove in the final analysis to be a failure as mayor, she only gets what she deserves in not being prepared for the role she sought and for naively thinking that Maier et al could provide what she lacks

The real victims in this Maier generated political power play are going the citizens of Massillon.

For putting Massillonians in a position to experience possibly the most trying four years in all it its proud history in order to satisfy his political ego (i.e. "the Cicchinelli thing") is why the Stark County Political Report awards:

To:  Johnnie A. Maier, Jr, 

From:  Santa (the SCPR)


Have a wonderful Christmas Johnnie!!!

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