Thursday, March 6, 2014


In our democratic-republican form of government, we certainly like to maximize "the vote of the people."

Look at the masthead of the Stark County Political Report.

The Report from its very being has been formulated and filled with content designed to inform Stark Countians about the quality and lack of quality of candidates (incumbent or not) for Stark County public office.

To the SCPR, it is more than just a little bit ironic that some Stark County Democratic Party politicos The Report does not see as being stalwart "small letter 'd' democrats are now - as a last minute desperation tactic - stepping forward and clothing themselves in the garb of thoroughgoing democrats in order to convince Ohio's secretary of state to side with them to get George T. Maier on the May 6, 2014 Democratic Party primary ballot.

But in the view of The Report these "in sheep's clothing people" are not at heart small letter "d" democrats.  Rather the SCPR sees them as the purveyors of a culture of power politics the likes of which Stark County has not seen in a very long time, if ever.

Had they done things properly starting in January, 2013; their man would be on - without the secretary of state having to decide - May's ballot.

But as political arrogance will have it, they did/have not and now they are trying to bully their way through our democratic-republican safeguards (ORC 311.01) and thereby trying to change the rules of our political processes "on the fly" in order to have their way.

Stark Countians should be wary of these folks because their political history "does not hold water" in terms of their devotion to our democratic-republican ideals. 

"Organized" Democrats have dominated the Stark County sheriff's offices going back "at least" to 1950.

Many of us remember the 1980 election when "the reform" candidate - Republican Robert C. Berens (an insurance industry man who liked being a "dress-uniform" sheriff) took on the political machine power politician of his day George Papadopulos

Papadopulos  had been sheriff for 13 years.  In fact, interim Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson "cut his policing teeth" during the Papadopulos era.

Berens was successful in portraying Papadopulos as not having the qualities that Stark Countians would have their sheriff possess.

And, accordingly, "in the wisdom" of the people Papadopulos swept from office.

What a horrible mistake that was!

And, admittedly, Papadopulos was nobody the write home about.

Moreover, the Stark Republican leadership "of the day" absolutely and miserably failed the Stark County voting public for allowing Berens to be its candidate and - to add fuel to the fire - actually supported the guy.

Berens proved many times over over the span 1981 through 1984 that he was in no way, shape or form prepared to be sheriff.

While the originator of ORC 311.01 does not recall the Berens experience as being a factor in the crafting and passage of the statute, it undoubtedly was wafting through the air in Columbus in 1987 when the Ohio Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association (BSSA) prevailed on Youngstown area legislator Ron Gerberry (a Democrat) to help push the "keep Berens-esque sheriff wannabes" out of the county's chief law enforcement post.

Gerberry apparently had the ear of the-then autocratic Democratic political strongman Vern Riffe (speaker of the Ohio House 1975 - 1995) and therefore was the"go-to-guy" in terms of getting legislation passed.

Gerberry tells the SCPR that the more direct concern was not the Berens matter but a similar one that had surfaced in Mahoning County, Gerberry's home.

ORC 311.01 was passed to ensure that only "by the book" (i.e. according to 'the rule of law') qualified candidates for sheriff need apply to counties' respective Boards of Elections to get on the ballot for any given election in Ohio.

Similar sorts of statutory standards apply to candidates for county engineer.

Undoubtedly, back in 1980, those who the SCPR terms as being power politicians trying to force George T. Maier onto the May ballot - if they had been politically active - would have been at the forefront of saying Amens! to ORC 311.01.

But now that it is inconvenient to their cause, they are promoting the bastardization of ORC 311.01 (or, if you will, "the rule of law") to suit their on political ends.

While the SCPR thinks that Ohio secretary of state will "do the right thing" and reject the specious arguments of those for a mongrelized interpretation of 311.01, we all should be just a tad nervous that he will not.

The Maier proponents are now at the "hope and prayer" phase of their effort to make George T. Maier a candidate for sheriff.

There is no doubt that Maier had plenty of time between January, 2013 (when Sheriff-elect Mike McDonald sent in his resignation declining to take office on January 7, 2013) and February 5, 2014 (the deadline for filing petitions with the Stark County Board of Elections [BOE, Board]) for George T. Maier to acquire impeccable qualifying credentials.

But someone in his political support entourage (i.e. "culture of political power" as the way to run our democratic-republic) apparently told him that he need not bother.  That the sticky points of whether or not he was literally qualified by the standards of 311.01 were "mere technicalities" of "the rule of law" which could be easily cured by a "rush and pummeling gush of political power" applied against anyone who would stand up for "the rule of law."

George should have ignored those close to him.

He should have gone about building on his impressive list of policing credentials to as to be undeniably qualifying under ORC 311.01.

Absolute proof that he has not done so is evidenced by his ouster as a usurper to office by the Ohio Supreme Court (Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto, decided November 6, 2013).

If Secretary Husted does "the right thing," he will follow the high court's lead and the compelling legal arguments advanced by Republican Stark BOE members William S. Cline (who happens to be an attorney) and Curt Braden.

Otherwise, he will allow to be put before the voters of Stark County as a candidate for Stark's top cop a man who would enforce the law of Ohio on each of every one of us but has shown that he will not apply that very same law to himself.

The demonstrated hypocrisy (February 11, 2013 through November 6, 2013 and December 11, 2013 through the date of this blog) of George T. Maier is the work of "political might makes right."

The Maier folks have taken to having his supporters apply mobocracy techniques (packing hearing rooms and filing petitions and the like) and offering specious arguments (e.g. "if the secretary does not side with us, we will not have a candidate") as part of their "hope and prayer" campaign.

That a secretary ruling of Maier off the ballot might leave Stark County Democrats without a candidate, is of the Party's own making.

If such is the consequence, it is the likes of Party chairman Randy Gonzalez and his executive vice chairman and ironically executive vice president Deametrious St. John (a Board member who voted to allow Maier on the ballot) who have perpetrated the circumstances under which the vacancy occurs.

It may be that Stark's organized Dems purposely endeavored to put the secretary of state in the uncomfortable position of denying a ballot place to them on May's ballot.

On the surface it seems that the secretary is to blame - if he votes for denial - for the Dems not having a candidate.

Of course, any one with a half of a mind, knows better.

George T. Maier and the organized Dems have done it to themselves, if they have no candidate.

To those of us who can think, the cup containing the Maier argument of perhaps ending up with no candidate to stand for election has "sprung a leak!"

Had George T. Maier ignored his political advisers and qualified in the right way, to wit:

He would unquestionably have made it to the ballot.

If so, he would have faced a duly qualified candidate in Larry Dordea.

While the Berens 1980 election brings into question how well equipped voters are to make "the better choice," such is our system of government.

It is obvious that George T. Maier is a "spit and polish" type of guy.

But The Report questions the content of this character, his demeanor and temperament.

And that he has fought to circumvent "the rule of law" while wanting to be Stark County's chief law enforcement official is not encouraging.

The SCPR thinks that the Stark Dems' does think that Gonzalez et al do have "an ace up their sleeves" in the event Husted rules against them.

It is the Douglas S. Smith filing as a "write-in" candidate as a Democrat.

The Report does not believe that Smith will endure to run against Republican Dordea in November.

What is likely to happen, if Husted (an ultimately the Ohio Supreme Court) rules against Maier being on the ballot is that Smith will make a timely (so the Dems have an opportunity to appoint a replacement) withdrawal.

The Report believes that there has been a dispute among those in the inner circle of the Stark on the Smith "apparent" candidacy.

One group, The Report thinks, wanted him to file to "hedge their bets" on the upcoming Husted decision.

The other, The Report thinks, wanted to put "all the Dems eggs in one basket" in order to impress on Husted that a "keep Maier off the ballot" decision would have the appearance of his being "anti-democratic" and therefore "hoping against hope" he will vote with BOE members Ferruccio, Jr and St. John.

However, the SCPR keeps coming back to the notion that if the Dems do not end up with a candidate, it will have been of their own making.

To repeat, their cup of political argument(s) has "sprung a leak!" for the thinking person.

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