Tuesday, July 29, 2014









In 1937 Canton city government completed a water works facility which had begun the year before.

James Seccombe was the mayor.

He was in his personal political heyday in that this Republican mayor was elected to the United States Congress in 1939.

And perhaps so was Canton as Stark County's center of government, manufacturing, commerce,culture and population.

Although Canton would add some 8,000 to its population by the census of 1960, the trendline as shown in the population data in the graphic below was clearly on a downward path from the 1940 census onward.

Today, Canton is the center of a massive project to clear away about 5,000 or so blighted properties so as to restructure the city from being a city of about 120,000 to one of about 60,000 to 75,000 depending on the success of efforts to revive Ohio's eighth largest city.

Along with the government demolishing properties, so is the private sector.

It was in the course of the demolishing of the now privately held former Canton Water Works facility that "a bit of Canton history" was unearthed (in the form of a time capsule) by Marshall Land Company, LLC which is located the heart of downtown Canton at 138 - 12th Street NW.

The owner (James Marshall) of Marshall Land was at Canton City Council's regularly (bi-weekly during the summer) last night with the time capsule and made this presentation.

One of the major pieces of the content of the time capsule box which was placed in the cornerstone of the Water Works building by then-mayor James Seccombe was an edition of the The CANTON Repository.

Today of course the newspaper is known simply as The Repository as it has been Stark County's only newspaper since 1926 or so when it bought out its fledgling competitor the Canton Daily News.

James Marshall agreed to share with The Stark County Political Report a look at the contents of the time capsule.

Councilman at Large Richard Hart (Non-Partisan) took time out to thank the Marshall family for preserving and gifting the material found in the time capsule.

In the next ensuing days the SCPR will be blogging extensive video taken at last night's meeting regarding the interaction between council members and a representative of Congressman Bob Gibbs.

Jennifer Kiko of Gibb's Canton office (located in the Stark County Office Building) engaged a give and take between herself and various council members on the issue of Canton getting its fair share of federal government assistance in its struggle to once again to become a viable if not thriving city.

Mayor Healy at last night's meeting passed on word that perhaps 29th District state senator and Republican Scott Oelslager will be making a appearance before council in the near future.

The SCPR has and will be publishing video of Healy's announcement and well as a profusion of comments/reaction to Gibbs and the possibility of an Oelslager Canton City Council appearance.

In the past, Oelslager has said he was "too busy" with his legislative duties to respond to Council president Alan Schulman's continuing request that he come to Canton and meet with council in an endeavor to get the State of Ohio to quit cutting local government funding and, in fact, to go the other direction.

Although Democrat Connie Rubin is contesting Oelslager's right to remain in the Legislature beyond this year, the SCPR does not see her as much of a threat to his reelection.

Though they complain about him, Oelslager will continue to get local government leaders' political support in his quest to remain in the Senate.

Some political observers believe that Republican governor John Kasich will - in concert with the Ohio General Assembly - resume local government funding cuts and/or in adding "unfunded" state mandates whereby local governments foot the bill for implementing new state programs and standards once he is reelected governor of Ohio.

And the SCPR thinks he will "win in a walk" and perhaps sweep local Republicans (e.g. Republican sheriff candidate Larry Dordea) into office with him.

Oelslager has represented (since 1985) the Canton/Stark County area either as state representative or state senator going back to the 1980s as he and state Representative Kirk Schuring (since 1993) have "played musical chairs" (but in a version in which each ends up with a seat) in switching seats every eight years in order to defeat the intent of term limits that became the law of Ohio in the 1990s.

The imposition of term limits was a Republican idea designed to wrestle control of the Ohio General Assembly from the Democrats of the era of one time Democratic strongman Vern Riffe (1975 through 1994).

Riffe is a political hero of former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

As Ohio Senate Finance Committee chairman, Oelslager has at long last achieved political power in Columbus.  However, he has yet - in the opinion of the SCPR - to use it to the advantage of Stark County.

Undoubtedly, he and Schuring (also a Republican) have brought some Columbus-based benefit to Stark County.  But not nearly what one would expect from a duo who are approaching a combined 50 years in the Ohio Statehouse.

The State of Ohio holds about $2.5 billion in its "rainy day fund" of which about .5 billion plus has been taken by the Kasich administration and the Republican dominated Ohio General Assembly from Ohio's local governments.

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