Wednesday, April 16, 2014


UPDATE:  See Okey e-mail below.  Received by the SCPR at 4:15 p.m. this afternoon.


With the passing on March 30th of Alliance City Council president John Benincasa, the wheels have started turning to find a successor to this icon of Alliance city government who had been president of council since 1994.

On April 11th Stark County Democratic Party Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez sent out a notice of the date, time and location of selection process.

The letter also invited registered voter Alliance residents to apply for consideration by the Stark County Democratic Party Executive Committee by submitting a resume to the party at party headquarters.

Information that the Stark County Political Report has indicates that the candidates will be Councilwoman-at-Large Sue Ryan and Derek Loy.  However, there is some thought that former Alliance councilman (who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2011) Steve Okey might decide to run in which case it is believed that Loy would step aside.

For purposes of this blog, the SCPR assumes that Loy will be Ryan's opponent although Steve Okey's name has been mentioned.

The key to gaining the Alliance City Council presidency appointment at the hand of the Alliance members of the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (SCDP-CC/Alliance) is to garner the support of those who hold the central committee seats on April 30th.

The Report is told that on this Saturday (April 19) the Stark County Democratic Party Executive Committee (SCDP-EC) has been called to meet by Chairman Gonzalez in order to fill vacant or to be vacant seats on the SCDP-CC/Alliance aspect of the SCDP-CC.

Gonzalez is said to have taken the position that those who are running for election to the SCDP-CC/Alliance seats in the Democratic primary election on May 6th should be appointed at the SCDP-EC meeting on Saturday so that the president appointee is the person that central committee members going forward have selected.

The chairman could have waited until after election results to hold the meeting but is said to have thought that the timeline for action (as mandated by Ohio statutory law) was too constricted to chance waiting until after the 6th.

Here is the list of SCDP-CC/Alliance has currently held by in the records of the Stark County Board of Elections.

The SCPR has compiled a list given the Gonzalez position of what the list is likely to look like this time next week after Saturday's SCDP-EC action.

SCPR Note:  Shanon Longaberger is Derrick Loy's sister.  Thomas Ryan is Sue Ryan's husband.

Derrick Loy reportedly has been working for some time to fill the vacant SCDP-CC/Alliance positions.

Sue Ryan tells the SCPR that even though she is eastern Stark County Democratic Party chairperson, Loy initiated precinct persons search without informing her or including her in the process.

Think there might be more than a little "cloak and dagger" politics going on here?

Such is the nature of much of politics and is why many civic minded types keep there distance from the political base of the underpinnings of the American system of governance.

Politics is what it is.

The best way to keep politics on the up and up is for the likes of the SCPR to cast the light of day on the doings, goings and comings of the politicos.

So, given the nasty side of politics that seems to be underway in the Benincasa replacement process, how is this contest likely to turn out?

In a relatively close vote, The Report believes Ryan will win out.  And it will not matter whether Loy or Okey is her opponent.

And the reasons for The Report's conclusion?

Here goes!
  • Ryan is a sitting councilperson-at-large having been elected in November, 2012.  She also was a councilperson-at-large for the period 2006 through 2010.  With Benincasa's death she was appointed by her fellow council members to fill the president's chair until a successor is selected by the SCDP-CC.  As a council-at-large member, Ryan, of course, has run city wide "successfully" three times.  
    • The key here is that Ryan has run citywide successfully three times.  This electoral success electoral history indicates that she is in a strong position to retain the presidency for the Democrats should Republicans decide to contest the office in November, 2015.
  • Loy, on the other hand, as far as the SCPR can determine has never held elective office.  He has served as president of the Alliance Area Democratic Club.  Being a politico could help him win a SCDP-CC/Alliance face off.   However, he would likely be highly vulnerable come November, 2015.  Here is a LINK to Linked-In which spells out Loy's recent history.
  • Loy is now the "right-hand-man" for Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee appointed Sheriff George T. Maier.  Maier - interesting enough - has his own election fight coming up in November against Republican Alliance councilman Larry Dordea this November. 
    • The SCPR assumes that Maier will stay out of the Ryan/Loy fight.  
    • Ryan thinks and expects that Maier will not get involved directly or indirectly notwithstanding the fact that Loy is about as close to Maier as boss as one sees an employee he gets.  The Report sees and hears observations from others that Loy seems to be Maier's shadow. 
The SCPR is skeptical that Maier will stay out of Ryan/Loy fight. 

A key to whether or not Maier is a factor will be evident in the way "as close as a brother" Maier ally Chairman Randy handles the April 30th central committee proceeding.

A tip off on how the actual selection process will unwind may be evident this Saturday in the results of the SCDP-EC session.

Ryan tells The Report that she believes that Gonzalez has assured her that the central committee seats in Alliance 2C. 3A and 4F will not be filled on Saturday.

The SCPR again is skeptical will prove to be the case.

Accordingly, Ryan says she is not preparing to have anyone nominated in precincts 2C, 3A and 4F.

What if Loy does and asks the chairman on Saturday to put his supporters in these positions?  What if pro-Loy folks (on their own, if you want to believe that really happens in politics) ask to be appointed?

The chairman is going to refuse to fill vacancies?  

Should such an eventuality develops (i.e. pro-Loy folks get appointed), these three votes - the SCPR thinks - would tip what now appears to be a narrow Ryan victory over in the other direction and result in a Loy victory.

The question is: whether or not Ryan is being naive?  The Report thinks she might well being so.

An important factor favoring Ryan is that her key supporter for the presidency is Clerk of Council Gerard Yost (1B).

He clearly does not want to have to work with Loy as president in council.  From what the SCPR hears from Ryan, she is confident that Yost is enough to carry the day for her on the 30th.

In summary: Ryan Alliance demonstrated electoral strength,  bi-partisan animosity towards Loy and Okey and Gerard Yost's support should be enough to make Sue Ryan John Benincasa's successor. 

However, for the Ryan advantages to carry the day, she will have to be correct in her understanding that the chairman will not allow pro Loy candidates to gain appointments on Saturday.

As indicated above, another disruptive event to a Ryan Express rolling on to victory could be whether or not George T. Maier weighs in.  Assuming that he will stay neutral could be another case of naivety on the part of Ryan.

We shall see!

On Thursday evening the Alliance Area Democratic Club will be meeting at Don Ponchos Restaurant at 7:00 p.m.

The Report understands that both Ryan and Loy will be there to make their pitches.

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