Tuesday, April 23, 2013



  President Schulman Frames the Debate

Cole Slams Morris; Morris Responds

The Entire Debate
(Including Chamber of Commerce Input)

In what seemingly had nothing to do with 9th Ward politics, Councilman-at-Large Joe Cole lashed out at his May 7th primary opponent Frank Morris last night as being "deplorable" on Morris' "no" vote on spending $175,000 in city of Canton general fund dollars on what amounts to be a government subsidy of free enterprise; namely, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The ordinance:
Actually, as the SCPR sees it council president Allen Schulman had it right in saying that those who voted "no" were not against economic development and those voting "yes" were not against increasing the numbers of Canton safety forces.

However, the political stakes are such these days that such is exactly how Cole and Morris were trying to paint each other in last night's regular weekly meeting of Canton City Council.

With Morris, it is not so clear that he was going after Cole.  But the SCPR believes that he was. 

With Cole, in referring to "him" as being the object of his (Cole's) scorn, it was rather obvious that the "him" was Councilman Morris.

It further appears to yours truly that Cole realizes that it will take a political miracle for him to defeat fellow Democrat Morris in the May 7th Democratic Primary election.

Though he is a resident of the 9th Ward, it seems as if the Morris political forces have been able to paint Cole as a carpetbagger of sorts (i.e. someone coming into an area from the outside) who really does not belong in Ward 9 politics and certainly not one to represent the ward in city council.

Cole has fed into the perception in posting signs in the ward suggesting that he is the incumbent councilman.

If one thinks about it, in being a councilman-at-large, Cole does have some basis on which to claim a connection to Ward 9 (other than living there) because in being a councilman-at-large he does represent the entire city.

All of which makes it totally confusing as to why Cole would want to eliminate the three council-at-large seats.

There can be little doubt as to Cole's motivation for pushing the "eliminate council-at-large" legislation.

Back at the filing deadline for council positions, Cole got hoodwinked by fellow council-at-large Mary Cirelli into giving up his council-at-large position (i.e. she finessed Cole into believing that she was running for reelection and therefore he would be the odd man out in the face of Cirelli, Babcock [an incumbent councilman-at-large], and former Councilman Bill Smuckler competition) in a political cloak and dagger-esque drama at the Stark County Board of Elections.

If you haven't read the SCPR blog on this political vignette, you must do so.  It is the "political hoot of the year" if not of all time in the annals of Stark County politics (LINK).

Cole's plainly lashing out at Morris last night bespeaks an indication that Cole knows that he is not likely to prevail in the 9th and he is lobbing "hail Mary" after "hail Mary" in desperation to find something that sticks to Morris in order to pull out a stunning, "at the last second" come from behind victory.

The election is two weeks away.

And the stakes are not simply personal in the sense of who is going to remain on council:  Cole or Morris.

It could be that who wins in the 9th will determine where the balance of political power will lie in the new council which takes office in January, 2014.

By the SCPR's calculation, a Morris victory would likely mean, that on legislation that is the key to Mayor Healy realizing his agenda ambitions, a potential 7 to 5 vote against the mayor.

So Healy is solidly in Cole's corner.

But as The Report sees it, having the mayor in one's corner could be more of a liability in the 9th rather than a help.

The mayor is currently in a tussle with some Ward 9 residents (who have named themselves Group 175) over the overall manpower strength of the Canton Police Department.

They are intent on raising the force strength to 175 and the mayor determinedly resisting saying that the city does not have the $1.4 million or so to finance 25 additional officers.

So to have Healy as an ally appears to the SCPR not to be helping Cole in the slightest and in fact likely hurts him and therefore one can understand why the councilman-at-large is hurling "hail Mary."

And, of course, Cole has his own baggage on the police issue.

He (as chairman of council's finance committee) along with Ward 3 Councilman Jim Griffin (unopposed in the May 7th primary) deep-sixth legislation proposed by Councilpersons Cirelli, Fisher, Hawk, Mack, Mariol and Morris recently to increase the starting pay of Canton cadet police officers so as to stay competitive with surrounding communities in attracting new hires.

Cirelli, last night, was heard referring to the Cole/Griffin act as being two thwarting the will of six (six being exactly one-half of the voting members of council).

All this trashing about by Councilman Cole appears to the SCPR to be an example of one who is the midst of political death throes.

So, so sad for someone who at one time was thought to be an up and coming star on Canton City Council, no?

Here is a video of the entire debate over the $175,000 Canton Council contribution to the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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