Tuesday, October 15, 2013





Since it resumed publication due to (if you believe them) "popular demand," a Massillon-based "anonymous" blog - the Massillon Review (MR) -  has undertaken a series of attacks on lame duck councilman-at-large Larry Slagle apparently for his work as chairman of the Massillon City Council Parks & Recreation Committee on reforming the structure of Massillon's Parks and Recreation Board.

Slagle favors giving the Parks and Recreation (three appointed by the Massillon administration; two appointed by the Massillon City Schools Board of Education) defined powers and thereby have a say in the running of Massillon's Parks and Recreation system.

Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry thinks that Massillon's parks and recreation operation should be under the direction of her administration.

In early July, the mayor made and impressive and perhaps persuasive case to a majority of council that her administration should have the authority and therefore the accountability of administering the city parks and recreation function.

I, for one, agree with the case she made.

But, of course, I have no vote on the matter.

It all falls on Massillon City Council.

The Report does not know whether or not she meant it, but in that council session (referred to above) she seemed amenable to working with council.

Success on getting control for the administration, I think, is having council trust her that she indeed will bend over backwards to "keep council in the loop."

One of the problems with KCP, her administration and those who support her (e.g. the Massillon Review et al) is that they appear to have a strong case of political paranoia and therefore look at anyone who from time to time disagrees with them as being "the enemy."

The vote on Slagle's "reform legislation" is likely to take place next Monday evening.

The SCPR thinks the vote will be close.  Ward 3 councilperson Andrea Scassa has already announced that she will be voting "no" on the Slagle offering.

The Report's sense is that other members of council are persuadable to let the administration take control.

That is where the SCPR thinks that the Massillon Review comes into play.

I have long held that if one wants to know what the administration's druthers are on any given issue, one needs to take a look at "the attack line" of the Massillon Review.

On this issue, as I believe on all issues Massillon, the MR in taking off on Slagle is showing full support for administration control and concomitant accountability.

So it is worth looking at the Slagle/MR feud in some depth.

It could be that the MR's political attack on Slagle will turn a close vote against the administration.

For instance, Nancy Halter (R - Ward 2) was sounding very much last night as if she was in favor of the mayor being in charge.

But given that she has been the subject of political attack by the Massillon Review; will she have it in her political graces to vote for the position?

Councilwoman Halter is a very powerful factor among the Republicans on council in a guidance sense as to how the Republican caucus might vote on any given issue.

So the SCPR thinks that maybe Catazaro-Perry's friends at the Massillon Review may have "out-smarted" themselves and be the reason that the Slagle legislation passes in a close vote.

Why would the Massillon Review take off after Halter?

It is widely believed that the Massillon Review has "a dog in that fight" for the Ward 2 seat.

And, of course, anything to diminish Halter so that the MR supported candidate wins, no?

Maybe, just maybe, the self-identified political geniuses at the MR aren't all that "politically" smart after all?

Here is a full rendition of Slagle's October 7th Public Speaks remarks:  (from the minutes of the meeting)
Alright, unfortunately in the past week I was advised of the fact that the troll site that has attacked me in the past is back up there doing it again.  I want to address that tonight. 
Because I think the cowards that run this site should come forth say who they are and quit hiding behind the anonymity that they get by not putting their names on this site. 
First of all, as a public official I’m fair game about things that are relevant to what’s occurring here. 
But we are all not professional politicians we all have our jobs and our outside life and our daily source of income.  The problem with the internet today is that when someone googles your name this shows up. 
Now these folks won’t come forward to tell me these things to my face I suspect I know who some of them are.  Because they are just cowards.  It’s easier to attack me that way. 
But I’m telling the public today I’m telling every client I’ve ever represented in the past and I’ll represent in the future there is nothing true about that website. 
It is nothing more than an attack site used by political gain and I take offense at anything that’s brought up on it. 
If that term was used by against other people in this chamber there’d be outrage. 
For some reason though they’re permitted to say that about me.  There’s no outrage. 
And I have taken on and the reason I say that is because my professional reputation is at stake. 
And when I’m called a boy or a boy wonder that affects my professional status in this community.  My professional status in this community is very valuable to me. 
For 35 years I’ve represented individuals never a company well rarely a company and I do it without being paid unless I am successful for them.  Because without me they could not stand up to either the insurance industry or in law firms of hundreds of lawyers. 
So to suggest for one minute that I do not have the gumption to stand up is an untruth and is not fair nor is it warranted. 
So I want these cowards to come forth. 
And if they won’t come forth on their own then I am today saying that I will donate $250.00 to a charity of the person’s choice who outs these trolls.  Because this kind of politics has to stop.  It is not American, its not democratic and its not right. 
And those people that go to that site some of whom I respect I would ask that they quit looking at it and quite using it. 
So that’s all I have to say. 
Here is a brief video capture of Slagle answering a Stark County Political Report question on the anonymous MR blog attack on him.

Somewhat amusing from the meeting itself was Ward 5 councilman's Donnie Peters statement when Slagle returned once again to the matter of the Massillon Review's political attacks on him: "I know.  We all hate the Massillon Review."

At the outset let it be said once again (as the SCPR has opinionated frequently in past blogs) that The Report believes Stark County Democratic Party political director Shane Jackson is the author of the MR.

Jackson is also the chief deputy clerk for Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

He probably has been encouraged, if it turns out that he is the author of the Massillon Review,  in the blogging endeavor by Maier, Jr., who, in addition to being "the" Massillon clerk of courts is a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman.

In 1995, Massillonians saw fit to pass a .3% addition to the city income tax which currently brings in about $2.1 million to make sure that the city's parks (P&R) be kept in A-1 condition.

What seems to have happened is that the income set aside for parks and recreation has had the effect over-the-years since to make the operations of and funding of (i.e. the use of $2.1 millon, more or less) P&R to become politicized beyond what Massillonians voting for the original levy could have imagined.

As we all know, anything government is by definition political.

We talk about "keeping politics out" of things especially things like parks and recreation.  But to no avail.  Money like power draws the politicos in any community like "honey is to bees."

The "Slagle thing" is just the latest of many, many political battles fought over P&R going back into the 24 year reign of Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr which ended in May, 2011 with his defeat at the hand of Perry Township import Kathy Catazaro-Perry (KCP) who some deem to be the political handmaiden of Massillon politicos Shane Jackson and Maier, Jr.

One of the prime campaign issues between Cicchinelli and KCP was Cicchinelli's alleged machinations with P&R funding to finance the operations of a cornerstone of his administration:  the construction of and the operation of a city-owned golfcourse known as The Legends.

Especially a sore point was the expansion of the original 18 holes into 27 in 1999.

Cicchinelli himself admits that the expansion was indeed a mistake.

It seems to the SCPR that the anonymous blog entitled the Massillon Review (MR) was started on November 21, 2010 in anticipation of the Democratic primary election.

And from the get-go, the MR was "hot and heavy" on the parks and recreation matter probably with "an eye forward" as the issue being one which catapult Catazaro-Perry into the mayor's chair.

For example, here is a quote from The Massillon Independent included in the December 31, 2010 edition of the MR:
Parks Czar Kenn Kaminski explaining that the parks aren't in horrible condition despite visual evidence to the contrary. It is only that critics of the parks system are "Anti-Cicchinelli" (The Independent, May 10, 2010).
Cicchinelli had to know what was coming.

And, he was not disappointed.

The folks at the MR went on a binge of attacking Cicchinelli the SCPR thinks on the pejorative-personal front (e.g. "Mayor for Life," and the like), on the political front, and for his decision making as Massillon's chief executive officer.

It seems as if the MR had an obsession with Cicchinelli and nearly every blog, if not every blog; since the beginning, has been filtered through the Frank Cicchinelli "are you for him or against him" litmus test.

Returning to the opening MR blog reference to former P&R director Kenn Kaminski which clearly indicates a MR disaffection.

Contrast the December 31 reference to Kaminski to an October 11, 2013 blog referencing a Kaminski letter seemingly supportive of Mayor Catazaro-Perry's version of his departing as Massillon's parks and recreation director as an example of the "filtering" that appears to be well-entrenched at the MR.

Apparently, one can go from "the outhouse" to the "manor house" in the writings of the MR depending on whether or not one is toeing "the party line."

I asked Slagle after last night's work session why he thought he fell in disfavor with the folks at the MR and he answered that really didn't know but though it was because he was not into (paraphrase) "toeing the party line."

In contrast to the MR, the Stark County Political Report has an identified author and has always had an identified author since the beginning of March 12, 2008.

Moreover, the SCPR provides ample opportunity for those about who The Report writes to respond.

Even Shane Jackson was afforded that basic fairness in The Report printing "word-for-word" his "had to be an embarrassing to himself" histrionic and hysterical attack on me.

I published his "over-the-top," "Martin Olson: you have gone over the line" obviously emotion laddened e-mail which he copied to quite a number of Stark County/Massillon public officials/public figures.

I know Shane pretty well, And I was not in the least surprised that he would write his "pretext-esque" e-mail.

He and Maier, Jr. are not used to having someone disagree with them and not engage in personal vitriol. 

I have in my possession an e-mail wherein Maier, Jr. tells the receiver that Martin Olson is crazy.

My response?

Crazy to Maier, Jr. - in his mind - is to disagree with him.

My take on him is that he is so much into political power that anyone who differs with him - in his mind - has to be crazy.

That is what people do who cannot keep a proper perspective on politics.

Apparently, the MR is not willing to let those I think it attacks under the anonymous Massillon Review to have the opportunity to defend themselves.

The Stark County Political Report is well-known as providing ample opportunity to those who are the subject of SCPR blogs to respond to the SCPR's opinionating.

My take on the MR blog is that it "cherry-picks" material which is thought to support the blog's "party line" and conveniently leaves out that which might lead to a different interpretation.

I have always read the MR because as a blogger myself I go to sources I think reveals the thinking of Stark's various political figures.

I have said quite a number of times that I think the MR is a public microphone on the political agenda and the political views of Shane Jackson, Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and those who make up the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. faction of the Massillon (and, of course, Stark County) Democratic Party.

The importance of the Slagle response to the MR attacks on him is in his call for the author of the blog to "man up" and put a name to the blog's editorializing.

We can all speculate on who the author really is but that is exactly what the "believing" and "thinking" is - it is conjecture "pure and simple."

Nevertheless, it appears that area political observers are pretty much of the same mind as to who the anonymous blogger is.

So the SCPR joins Slagle in calling out the cowardice of the Massillon Review.

Dump the cowardice, man up!

By name, stand by your opinions!

Here is the promised video of the remainder of Councilman Slagle's comments on the MR last night.

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