Thursday, October 16, 2014


UPDATE: 09:00 PM


In response to your recent post regarding Stark County officeholders participation in democracy, I am writing to clarify what you perceived as my lack of participation in 2013.  There are three documents attached.  The first page is an email that I sent to Ms. Jones that included my completed questionnaire, which according to the invitation, served as my reservation for the 2013 Neighborhood Showcase and Town Hall Meeting.  The next two pages are the actual questionnaire.  You will note that it is complete.  From my email you can see that it was sent to Ms. Jones in time, as per the instructions.   The last page is a letter that I wrote to Mr. Samolczyk the evening of the event after I was turned away for not having turned in my questionnaire.   

As you can see, I had every intention to participate.  Upon arrival I was told that I had not returned my questionnaire.  At that point I drove home, printed a copy of my email and returned to be told that I didn’t have my materials turned in and that I would need to leave.

Your post stated that you would like to see the 33 non-participants apologize.  I however, will not be apologizing.  As you can see, I did my part.  Perhaps apologies should be coming from the person who was keeping track of the reservations.


John M. Rinaldi EM,C






In recent months the SCPR (in a series) and another Stark County media outlet has written about the extremely poor voter turnout in recent times on the part of Stark County voters.

The focus of the SCPR series was the May, 2014 primary election in which a mere 13.9% of Stark Countians bothered to vote,

One would think that those who hold office would have a nearly 100% voter turnout, no?


It was about 80%.  While way higher than the 13.9%, 80% is still an indictment of those who hold the public trust not supporting our democratic/republican system of politics and government by participating at "the most basic of levels."

So it should be no surprise that those who expect you and I to participate in our government processes and respect the "rule of law" they administer, demonstrated - the SCPR thinks - hypocritical conduct this past Monday, October 13th, when only about 50% of invited Stark County officials/candidates for public office in next month's general election showed up to a Stark County Foundation sponsored candidates forum (the 10th annual such event) held at the McKinley Grand.

As the SCPR is wont to do, today's blog names names (and shows pictures [see graphic above]) of those 11 (12 of the 23 "live in Stark County" did show) Stark County-based officeholders/candidates who insulted:
  • the nearly 100 citizens who also showed up,
  • the Stark County Foundation 
and, who, by their absence set an absolutely awful example for day-in, day-out citizens and our obligation (purchased with the blood of America's military men and women) to participate in our political system.

The SCPR realizes that the previous paragraph contains "strong words," but makes no apologies whatsoever.

The Report understands that there are bona fide reasons why an officeholder/candidate cannot participate in a given event.

And so the SCPR asked Marilyn Thomas Jones (Director of Community Engagement, Ex Officio) whether or not the Stark County Foundation received "regrets" from those invited Stark County-based officeholders/candidates who did not show.


"Not a one!"

Again, "not a one!!"

And a third time, "not a one!!!"

Thomas Jones told the SCPR that there was an internal debate at SCF as to whether or not the SCF would publish in its professionally done guide the names of those who did not appear and who did not express regrets.

The SCPR compliments those SCF members who prevailed and made the decision to embarrass those who hold or seek to hold the public trust in their  not appearing and being subject to answering the "mere" two questions put to them by SCF selected interlocutors for a total of 3 minutes in accounting to the voting Stark County public.

The Report is told that had a given officeholder/candidate expressed "regrets," the plan was for the entire text to be published in the program guide.

Well, at the very least, their failure to express regrets saved the Foundation some money on the ink cost factor in publishing them in the guide.  (obviously, dripping with sarcasm on the SCPR's part)

The Stark County Political Report challenges the following listed officeholders/candidates to explain to Stark Countians why they did not attend the SCF event, and, at the very minimum, express regrets.

  1. Janet Weir Creighton, unopposed, Stark County commissioner,
  2. Christina M. Hagan, state representative, 50th Ohio House District,
  3. William B. Hoffman, unopposed, judge, Fifth District Courft of Appeals,
  4. Scott Oelslager, state senator, 29th Ohio Senate District,
  5. Kirk Schuring, unopposed, state representative, 48th Ohio House District,
  6. Deborah L. Cain, candidate, 50th Ohio House District,
  7. Dixie Park, unopposed, judge, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division,
  8. Stephen D. Slesnick, state representative 49th Ohio House District,
  9. Frank G. Forchione, unopposed, judge, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, General Division,
  10. Jeff Gruber, Canton City School treasurer running for Stark County auditor,
  11. Tayrn Heath, unopposed, judge, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, General Division
Now on to the Kudos.

First, the Stark County Foundation for putting on such a splendid event.  Particularly to be complimented are:

Second, those officeholders/candidates who took the time and effort to support this worthy event:

Was the 2014 event an anomaly?

Not at all!

In fact, at the 2013 event, only 15 of 36 officeholders or 36 invited appeared:  42% compared to this year's 48%.

And what's worse about the 2013 numbers is that these are the folks who were running for offices that are "the closest to the people," which is to say the city council and board of education level.

Those 2013 officeholders/candidates who by their participation showed that they honor and respect our election process:

A SCPR special mention for 2014 attendees goes to Judge Kristin Farmer of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas.

Though she is unopposed, a status disdained by the SCPR whether or not The Report thinks well of an officeholder, Judge Farmer appeared and fully participated in Monday's event.

She could have cooked up some sort of reason not to attend.  She did not need to benefit from voter contact.

Obviously, she respects and cares about the integrity of America's election system in that she was willing to make herself accessible to the 100 or so attending the SCF candidates forum on Monday night.

Also in line for special recognition is Canton mayor William J. Healy, II, Councilmen Jim Griffin (Ward 3), John Mariol (Ward 7) and Edmond Mack (Ward 8).

None of these Canton public officials are on the ballot this election, but they were present on Monday in support of the SCF annual event to help Stark County's voters be better informed.

The 33 Stark County officials not attending the 2014 and 2013 events need to follow Farmer's example.

Moreover, the missing 33 should be apologizing.

The SCPR for one will publish the apologies on camera or by written word.

How many apologies will be forthcoming?

Here is a SCPR interview of Marilyn Thomas Jones after the meeting with her assessment of the session:

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