Thursday, May 2, 2013


"In the best of times" let alone "the worst of times" it is difficult for people to vote a tax increase on themselves.

While it might not exactly be the worst of times in Massillon when one goes back through the total history of the city, these days have to be on the top ten list in terms of the financial crisis the city faces if the Save Massillon Committee's bipartisan effort to raise Tigerland's income tax rate by 0.3% (to 2.1%).

For if the issue does not pass, the SCPR is told, Massillonians will face massive cuts in city services.

What makes this particular effort herculean is the "quiet" opposition of Mayor Catazaro-Perry.

Save Massillon Committee member Nancy Halter when asked by The Report as to whether or not Catazaro-Perry's "quiet" opposition will prove to be a fatal blow to the prospect of the issue passing, she said "that it doesn't help."

In an impressive show of unity, eight of Massillon's nine councilpersons are committee members and are aggressively campaigning for the issue.

Only council president Tony Townsend (up until Glenn Gamber's recent resignation, Ward 4 councilman) who is deemed to be the mayor's staunchest ally on council, is standing down on supporting the issue.

But it is very unlikely that he is going to be on council come January 1, 2014 when the benefits or negatives of the voters' May 7th decision Issue 3 takes hold.

Of all the council races, the SCPR is already calling Townsend's November match-up with former Massillon superintendent of schools Al Hennon for Hennon.

Though Townsend only votes in council in the case of a tie, we already know that with Townsend's almost certain exit from the scene, Catazaro-Perry will be even more isolated from council than she has been.

Looking over the entire field of council candidates both in this coming Tuesday's primary as well as the November face-off between Republicans and Democrats and their likely posture vis-a-vis the mayor, it is looking like her final two years is going to be rough sailing indeed.

The ironical thing about the mayor's "quiet" opposition is that if the tax issue passes, it will make life livable in the executive sweets of the mayor's office.  A failure of the tax, the SCPR believes, will make being mayor of Massillon "one Hell of an experience."

If a full-blown "worst of times" materializes, Mayor Catazaro-Perry only has herself to blame. Her obstinate holding onto raising revenue via a reduction in the credit that out-of-town-working Massillonians (as exemplified by tax credit reduction opponent Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero, Jr) get on their Massillon income taxes, and her insistence that Massillon generate through raising street lighting fees are the two big specifics of her willfulness.

The Report is told that council had high hopes for Mayor Kathy when she took office in that she was saying that she wanted to make her administration the most transparent that Massillon has ever had especially in terms of its relationship with council.

Well, the word is that the Catazaro-Perry administration is viewed as being even more closed-mouth than the Frank Cicchinelli administration was. 

As an example, The Report is told that council only knew about the flap over the Massillon Civil Service Commission Board and Massillon police officer Thomas Rogers and its denial to him of a promotion to sergeant (over Mike Maier, son of former service/safety director George Maier and nephew of Catazaro-Perry political patron Johnnie A. Maier, Jr) only became known to council through the blog on the topic done by yours truly (LINK).

It will interesting to watch council and the mayor after Tuesday's election no matter how the tax issue fares.  The SCPR thinks that the mayor's "quiet" opposition will prove very costly for her going forward no matter what the fate of the tax issue turns out to be.

Only council's devotion to the well-being of the citizenry of Massillon is likely to provide any cover whatsoever to what will certainly be a lingering ire on the part of council towards the mayor and her political handlers (Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. and Shane Jackson).

The SCPR cannot tell which way the vote on the tax is likely to go.

Obviously, the Save Massillon folks are hopeful and optimistic but they are likely interacting to receptive Massillonians.

In The Reports contacts with former administration figures, the feedback is decidedly more negative.

The big plus for the Save Massillon Committee effort is that voters most certainly understand that no tax increases over an approximate 35 year span (except for 0.3% increase earmarked for the Massillon parks) is not going to cut it no matter how frugal a city is.

However, there is the problem of explaining to voters such things as the over expansion of Legends golf course, council's ill advised decision to help finance the Hampton Inn and a number of other unwise votes by previous councils.

It could be that the near unanimous unity of council in coming to together (5 Republicans [Chovan, Cunningham-Hedderly, Halter, Peters and Lewis] and 3 Democrats [Manson, Scassa and Hampton] will "save the day" for Massillon.

The committee has raised as of April 19th nearly $4,000.

It is noteworthy that nearly all, if not all, of the Massillon officeholding contributors are from offices "independent" of the executive branch (offices controlled by the mayor's office) of Massillon city government.

One would think that the "quietly" opposing Catazaro-Perry would give a "wink and a nod" to her appointees to go ahead a support the levy.  After all, they in terms of having access to enough revenues to effectively run their departments with have a huge stake in the outcome of the levy effort.

But, as the SCPR has written many times over the past one and one-half years, inasmuch as the Catazaro-Perry administration clearly appears to in a de facto way to be run by Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and given what the SCPR believes to be Maier's model of brooking no dissent from his way of doing things; it is not surprising see the absence of executive department employees as contributors to the Save Massillon Committee campaign.

How "quiet" is the Catazaro-Perry opposition?

Here is a list of the contributors (reconstructed from original campaign finance reports):

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