Thursday, November 13, 2014


UPDATED:  11:00 a.m.






In the slickly done "Fall, 2014" edition of Massillon Magazine in line with Catazaro-Perry/Maier penchant for doing a "Madison Avenue" style cover up of brewing troubles beneath the surface, the mayor portrays herself as Saint Kathy of Massillon in being on the brink of saving Massilon from a financial crisis that may never have existed in the first place.

A case can be made that Her Honor forced the issue with the State of Ohio Auditor (SOA)  which on October 8, 2013 made a thinly justified finding (only one of six assessment criteria met) that Massillon is in fiscal emergency.

As Mayor-elect Catazaro-Perry in December, 2011 she was writing the SOA asking that an audit be done which she was confident would result in a finding that Massillon was in fiscal emergency even before the man she defeated in the Democratic primary election of May, 2011 (24 year mayor, Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr) was officially out of office.

The SOA refused her "out-of-hand" because a superficial look at Massillon's numbers showed the state auditors that the mayor didn't understand basic math which clearly indicated that no emergency financial condition existed in Massillon.

The SCPR sees the Catazaro-Perry initiated effort of December, 2012 as possibly being a political set up engineered by the "all things political" duo of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and R. Shane Jackson.

Though the two are public officials (clerk of courts and chief deputy clerk of courts, respectively) supported by Massillon taxpayers. The Stark County Political Report sees them primarily as politicians working up or on one political intrigue after another, after another.

Johnnie is a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman who many think still controls the Dems through current chairman and Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts Phil Giavasis.

And before him through Randy Gonzalez (a former chief deputy clerk for the Canton Municipal Court) who immediately after Maier's tenure as chairman until the Giavasis appointment was chairman of the Stark Dems.

Jackson is a long time political director of the Stark County Democratic Party.

So it is hard to believe that this duo don't look at all of life as being "one big political playground" and they are having "one big ball" playing "political football."

And that it appears to the SCPR is what they and their group of loyalists are doing with Massillon and Stark County government.

It may be "having fun" to Maier and Jackson.

But the consequences of them romping in the "political sandbox" could prove damaging to Massillonians and to Stark Countians in terms of a lack of quality of leadership and government.

In Massillon, the government unit which has to deal with the political mischief which seems to be being "dealt out is spades" by Maier and Jackson is Massillon City Council.

It was quite revealing to the SCPR, in sitting through council's work session Monday night as a number of troubles which currently plague Massillon were being addressed, to see the hands of Maier/Jackson all over "the troubles, troubles & more troubles" which had boiled to the surface.

Today, we cover the effort of Councilwoman-at-Large Michelle Del Rio-Keller's (a Democrat) to fix the long time broken problem of the Massillon City Government Legends golf course.


The city owes about $5.4 million in a mortgage on the 27 hole course which is currently being paid out of the .3% of income tax revenue approved by Massillon voters in 1995.

Formerly, the mortgage was paid out of Massillon's general fund.

The SCPR thinks the notion of a government unit owning a golf course to generate revenues to finance usual government services to taxpayers is one huge mistake.

Massillon started off with 18 holes in 1995.

However, Cicchinelli decided that things were going so well with 18 holes that "the more, the merrier" was in order and 9 holes were added in 1998.

Now he admits that the addition was a mistake.

But, of course, Massillon taxpayers are "left to pick up the pieces."

And such is exactly what Del Rio-Keller is trying to do.

Here is a video of her presentation on Monday.

And here is a post-meeting interview by the SCPR.

Just to spice things up a bit, the SCPR cannot pass up this opportunity to show how gullible Mayor Catazaro-Perry and her close-in political advisers are in terms of thinking they could solve The Legends' troubles by placing a "aquarium/waterpark" at the location.

From a April 11, 2014 SCPR blog:
Last month an out-of-state developer stepped forward with a project which should have been a "no-brainer" in terms of Catazaro-Perry and council working together to bring the proposal (an aquarium/waterpark combo) to reality.
But that hasn't happened and the SCPR will not happen as long as the site contemplated is the city owned "The Legends" golf course. 
Originally the plan was for the developer to lease the "excess" (i.e. the 9 holes added to the original 18 holes) part of the golf course for $10 per year for a term of 30 years. 
The neighborhood surrounding The Legends is one of Massillon's posh neighborhoods and to have a very large aquarium/waterpark in the daily eyesight of the residents in an idea that is never, ever going to fly.
As sweet as it would be for Massillon to be out of the golf course business for many Massillonians, there is indication that council may reject any such overture because members would not want to leave those who live in the vicinity of The Legends having to deal with the visage of the proposed commercial enterprise ... .
As it turned out, the excitement bought into The Legends "solve a problem" matter by the naive Catazaro-Perry entourage has to be disconcerting to Massillonians inasmuch as it appears that the developer(s) may have been looking for a government give-away and the Catazaro-Perry folks appear to have been biting.

The Report thinks the naivete was born of the administration's frustration of "having something on the table" to deal with Massillon's many troubles only one of which is what to do with The Legends.

In getting back to the Del Rio-Keller presentation, the questions is which of her ideas is likely to float with council and, probably, more importantly Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry and her behind-the-scenes-prop-ups?

Hire a full time manager? (favored by Del Rio-Keller and Paul Manson)

Bring in a full/part-time management firm?

Develop a Master Plan?

Off the table is a reduction of the course to an 18 hole course (opposed by Ward 4 residents who live next to or in the vicinity of the course), at least, as far as council is concerned contrary to the wishes of Massillon's Parks and Recreation Board which meets tonight to once again mull over the future of the the course.

The answer to "the future of The Legends" question, the SCPR thinks, is wrapped up in Massillon government politics.

Look for the decision, whatever it turns out to be, to be one grounded in "political muscle" and not "on the merits" of whether or not Massillon should be in the golf course business in the first place.

There probably isn't a poorer time to try to deal with "troubles, troubles & more troubles" in Massillon with the city being on the cusp of an election year.

In 2015, all of city council and the mayor's office is up for election.

Accordingly, the SCPR predicts that there likely will be no solution to The Legends problem because it is hard to see how the political objectives of the Catazaro/Maier/Jackson crowd can square up with the interests of the various council persons running for re-election.

And that 'ain't' all.

The Report thinks it is likely that Francis H. Cicchinelli will not challenge the mayor in Democratic primary in May but that she will be challenged by Republican Ed Lewis, IV (Republican, Ward 6, and chairman of the 'powerful' finance committee).

The Maier group is still smarting from having lost control of council (i.e. the Democrats losing control) to the Republicans in 2011.  Though Democrats regained control in 2013, the 'ain't' Maier group Democrats except for Shaddrick Stinson and council president Tony Townsend (who only votes in the case of a tie).

Look for Maier et al to try again to gain at least a plurality on council.

One of the seats that they will have to go "all-out" to defend with be that of Shaddrick Stinson (Democrat, Ward 4) as he is said to be the target of Ward 4 citizens who live in the area of The Legends.

The Report does not know where he ended up on supporting Stinson.  But Frank Cicchinelli was flirting with the idea of supporting him in 2013 face off with Republican candidate Jim Triner.

Stinson did not get a majority of the votes in the 2013 race.

Stinson was telling Cicchinelli that he was not a Johnnie A. Maier loyalist.  The SCPR's analysis is that he is beholden to the Maier Massillon Political Machine.  And his stances on most if not all issues between council and Catazaro-Perry have been with the mayor.

If Republicans can talk Triner or a viable alternative person (perhaps from among The Legends interest group) into running next year, it appears that the campaign factors on The Legends' issue are enough to put Stinson on the political sidelines.

Losing in Ward 4 would be  on the order of being stunning for the Maier Demcorats.

For they understand that notwithstanding the "political spin" they have tried to put on the "success" of the mayor's administration, the truth of the matter is within the perception of voting Massillonians as to whether or not Catazaro-Perry deserves her self-serving billing.

Should Catazaro-Perry get through the 2015 election year successfully, a second term will be disastrous for her and Massillon if she continues to be at odds with a majority of council.

That the Maier faction will be focusing on council as well as reelection of Catazaro-Perry enhances Lewis' chances, so the SCPR thinks.

Lewis is one of the unique elected officials who comes off as being "non-political" in nearly everything he does.

Even as Catazaro-Perry has tried to insult him, badger him; he has come off as looking like the statesman and she as the thorough going politician.

Should Lewis decide to run, the SCPR is saying now that it is likely he will win in November, 2015.

Already, the SCPR is told, scores of Republicans are organizing at the prospect of a Lewis candidacy.

One of his prime encouragers has been Stark County Republican commissioner Janet Weir Creighton.

However, a question of her reliability as a supporter of Republican candidates is in doubt insofar as the SCPR is concerned.

She could have been the person:
  • in her role as a if not "the" leading Stark County Republican in terms of popular support, and
  • as one of Republican governor John Kasich's hugely successful (wining by some 37,000 votes in Stark) 2014 campaign as northeast Ohio campaign coordinator 
to put Larry Dordea "over-the-top" in his race against Maier Loyalist Group candidate George T. Maier (Johnnie's brother, of course).

But she didn't lift a "significant" finger for Dordea.

She even refused to endorse Dordea when asked in public.

It would have been one thing had Dordea's qualifications to be sheriff was in question.

On the policing experience factor, it appears to be pretty much of a wash as between him and Maier.

However, on "the character question" the SCPR thinks Dordea was "head and shoulders" superior to George T. Maier.

The SCPR suspects that Creighton has ties to at least one in the Maier Loyalty Group that caused to her to withhold out-and-out support for Dordea.

If that is the case, the question for Lewis has to be:  Will she do the same to me if the Maiers use their SCPR suspected avenue to Creighton to prevail on her to back off on supporting the Ward 6 councilman.

Nobody should underestimate the ability of Maier (Johnnie) to worm his way into the councils/counsels of the Stark County Republican Party.  

Republican Stark County commissioner Richard Regula is a pretty obvious example of that, so the SCPR thinks.

If Lewis decides not to run, the SCPR thinks that the Creighton factor could be the deciding factor.

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