Monday, November 4, 2013




In analyzing the "leadership factor" among candidates for Massillon City Council in tomorrow's election, the Stark County Political Report believes that Councilman Ed Lewis, IV (Republican) has those qualities which make him the "candidate of choice" if Massillon is going to recover from its current financial crisis and get back on track to being a city with a bright future.

The folks who fancy themselves as Massillon's most skilled and perceptive "backroom" politicians (former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and Stark County Dems political director Shane Jackson) appear to see the same qualities in Lewis as the SCPR does and want to "nip this guy in the bud" before he gets on a roll.

For if he gets reelected tomorrow in Ward 6 (a predominately Democratic [by registration] ward), by the SCPR's assessment, Lewis is on track to become Massillon's first Republican mayor in many, many of a moon.

In getting elected in 2011, the year in which the Massillon Republican Party astonished all local political pundits in taking a 5 to 4 control of Massillon City Council, Lewis burst onto the Massillon political scene as "the great future hope" of the Massillon Republican Party.

Just take a look at the numbers he rolled up on "incumbent" Democrat David McCune.

His only losing precinct in the 60% to 40% Democratic ward was in 6-C and there only narrowly (about 2-1/2 percentage points).

Granted, McCune, did not distinguish himself as councilman and had a few incidents (e.g. the traffic ticket controversy) which were the equivalent of "shooting oneself in the foot."

The Report's take on Lewis is that he demonstrates that he cares about Massillon's future by paying particular attention to non-politically-exotic things such as infrastructure.

Ignoring infrastructure has proved the undoing of many cities throughout America.

He is making an issue out of a move by the Catzaro-Perry administration to go from a 98% to 2% (operations to infrastructure ratio) to 99.5% to .5%.

At the .5% rate, Massillon will spend the grand total of $59,000 out of a $17.3 million budget on things of an enduring nature.

Some on council want to draw lines with the Catazaro-Perry administration.  Lewis seeks to be a bridge builder notwithstanding how utterly impossible the mayor makes his quest with her abiding belligerent tone.

Should Lewis be reelected, the SCPR considers him to be the likely choice of Massillon's Republicans to take on Catazaro-Perry or her "heir apparent" in November, 2015.

The Report says "heir apparent" because of the many persistent reports that Catazaro-Perry is about to "pull up stakes" and leave Massillon.

The SCPR believes that one of the reasons that the Maier/Jackson duo political operatives are "pulling out all the stops" to derail Lewis is they understand that he has all the tools and qualities needed to become the first Massillon Republican mayor in many an eon.

Whether Catazaro-Perry sticks in Massillon or not, they do not want Ed Lewis to be building a reputation for himself as a springboard for taking her or an alternative on come 2015.

As it is, whomever the designated Maier/Jackson mayor candidate is, she/he will most certainly face an opponent in the May, 2015 Democratic primary.  That opposition could well come from former mayor Frank Cicchinelli.

Democrat Linda Litman is making a determined run at Lewis in Ward 6.

And her pre-general-election campaign finance report shows that she is, in fact, the candidate of the Maier/Jackson wing of the Massillon Democratic Party.

Moreover, inasmuch as her husband John is a vice president of Ironworkers 550, she is getting huge financial support Stark County's trade unions.

Lewis tells the SCPR that his campaign is going well.

However, his pre-general-campaign-finance-report does indicate that he is substantially behind Litman in fund raising.

Perhaps, he is sandbagging and will do better in the final days before election day.

The SCPR believes that it essential for Lewis (followed by Republican Nancy Halter) to be reelected if Massillon Republicans are going to remain a viable political force.

Competitive Republican and Democratic politics is the best way for any level of government to function in terms of ensuring that the check and balance features of our government structure are effectively implemented.

Of course, we are now seeing that the right wing of the Republican Party (the Tea Party crowd) uses those check and balance features to obstruct.

But such is not the case with the majority of Massillon's council.

They work quite well with the four "voting" Democrats presently on council.

If either Lewis or Halter lose (which would mean the Maier/Jackson forces would have a direct voice on council), the SCPR believes that council would not function nearly as well as it does now and Massillon council would take a turn towards greater discord within its ranks.

Not only does The Report see Dave Irwin and Linda Litman as taking their marching orders from Maier and Jackson, but also (differing with former mayor Frank Cicchinelli) thinks that Shaddrick Stinson would for the third leg of that political stool.

If Massillon is to recover from its financial difficulties any time soon, having Maier/Jackson allies on council would be a super impediment to such happening.

Massillon has much at stake in this election.  First in Ward 6 and closely followed by Ward 2.

Will Massillon voters make choices that best serves the "City of Champion's" future?

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