Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Whether there is anything political to it or not, when a former councilman (Butterworth) sits down with the mayor of Canton (Healy) and a current city councilman (Cole), people are going to speculate that some sort of deal is being cut.

Former councilman Mark Butterworth (a Republican - Ward 8), has filed petitions to run against the man (Democrat Edmond Mack) who defeated him in his bid for reelection on November 8, 2011.

So, of course, the sit down which occurred at Jasmine's Asian Bistro located on 30th Street is going to create a political buzz.

Especially when:
  • Butterworth is taking on one of four troublesome councilpersons (Fisher [5th], Mariol [7th], Mack [8th] and Morris [9th] to Mayor Healy and his chief ally on council (Cole), and
  • Cole himself is taking on a second of the four troublesomes (Mack).
The SCPR did contact Mark Butterworth to get his side of the story.

He tells The Report that "No," Joe Cole and Mayor Healy did not hand him a manila envelope containing his marching orders for his November, 2013 campaign to reclaim the 8th Ward seat.

So whom contacted whom to set up the meeting?

Butterworth's answer was forthcoming about two or three minutes after the question was posed after some dithering by Butterworth on whether or not he could recall who made the initial contact.

Butterworth says that he had heard that Cole was experiencing personal difficulties that Butterworth himself had gone through and that he had contacted Cole (about February 8th) to see whether or not he could be of some guidance on the matter.


As readers of the SCPR know, yours truly is a devotee to political competition as the cure to a lot of bad politics and bad governance.

When Butterworth was elected in 2009 as the lone Republican on council, The Report was pleased and expectant that - though just one person - he would put together a sort of "loyal opposition" plank to Healy administration/Democratic council member proposals.

However, in The Report's judgment, Butterworth was not up to the task.

Oh, he did have convictions about this issue or that issue.  But he seemed to lack the courage of the convictions.

One of his big issues was getting a measure through council for Cantonians to decide whether or not the city should become a charter city.  However, Councilman West (chairman of the Judiciary Committee) proved too much of a hurdle for the-then eighth ward councilman.

Other matters came along during his term that the SCPR had gathered were important to Butterworth, but seemingly time and time again, one by one they faded into being political mist.

On the other hand, his successor Edmond Mack picked up with an agenda and has been able to forge a political alliance of sorts with Councilmen Fisher (Ward 5), Mariol (Ward 7) and Morris (Ward 9).

What the SCPR has been impressed with is the coming together of these four in a collective effort to put their heads together to help solve Canton's neighborhood problems.  Problems fueled by Canton's burgeoning and chronic crime malady, notwithstanding Mayor Healy's "zero-tolerance-to-crime" first term political campaign promise which The Report and many others think has been a huge failure.

The Report has dubbed the four as being the "four young turks." 

The four have been a real thorn in the side of the Healy administration and a couple of Healy's most loyal council members (West and Smith) who have openly attacked (The Report's take) the four during a council session on the four having held a consolidated ward meeting with their constituents.

Being the pure driven politician he is, one might well think Healy would be behind a Mark Butterworth (though a Republican) running against Mack and his loyalist Cole running against Morris.

Butterworth flat-out denies that such is the case with him.

He owns up to not handling his interaction with the overwhelmingly Democratic council/Democratic mayor in his 2010-11 stint on council well.

Because both Mack and Mariol were part of the collection of Canton politicians present at Jasmine's on February 11th, the SCPR believes that Butterworth's denial of deal making with Healy/Cole is credible.

It would be rather ridiculous to be plotting political strategy as your opponent sat nearby, no?

At the very least, though, it was politically unwise for him to be seen in public with Cole and Healy.

It was totally predictable that the Jasmine's meet up would set off speculation that Healy was behind Butterworth's filing.

Healy has a history of doing things such as this - witness his involvement in trying to get Councilman Hawk defeated in Ward One (denied by Healy) and his attempt to become a power player in the make-up of the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee in the last election cycle for committeepersons.

The SCPR believes he aspires to be Stark County's Democratic Party's kingmaker.

Back to Butterworth and his trying to reclaim the Ward 8 seat.

In so many words, Butterworth told the SCPR that if elected he will be a councilman who scrutinizes everything brought forward in council deliberations and proposals, either by the mayor or the Democratic supermajority.

And, he added, it would not be outside the realm of possibility, that if elected he would seek to join in with Fisher, Mariol and Morris (if he is reelected) as one of the four young turks.

Does The Report believe him?

Not really.

He will want to be a different type councilman but the SCPR does not see him as having the strength of personality to persevere on his vision for Canton in the face of inducements/pressures from Healy or his fellow council members.

Councilman Mack, in contrast, has demonstrated in this term of council by real action what former Councilman Butterworth aspired to during his 2010-11 cycle.

In his meeting with Cole and, perhaps, Healy; one should not totally dismiss the notion that it was part of a deal being cut as absurd as the setting was.

One would hardly expect Butterworth to fess up, if such were the case.

The SCPR's take on Butterworth's description of the conversation was that nearly everything was of a personal nature and very little was in fact political talk.

That is hard to believe.

Get a bunch of politicians in a room and they are going to talk about everything else but politics?

Where did you say that swamp land you wanted to sell is located?

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