Wednesday, December 10, 2014


UPDATED:  08:30 AM


The Stark County Political Report thinks that:
  • Massillon clerk of courts
  • former Stark County Democratic Party chairman,
  • Stark County-based political confidant to former Ohio governor Ted Strickland, and
  • the "would be" king maker in Stark County politics, namely;
Johnnie A. Maier, Jr  (JAM) must have been flipping-out big time when this advertisement appeared recently in a Massillon publication focusing on selling services and products in the Massillon area.

The Report has talked with the business owner of this advertisement and he says that the ad has absolutely nothing to do with the question of whether or not former 24 year Massillon mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. is going to run in the May, 2015 Democratic primary election against Massillon surrogate (i.e. the face of the JAM administration) mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

And, of course, you and The Report will take the man at his word.

But will Johnnie A. Maier, Jr?

The SCPR thinks not.

By the way, the copy of the advertisement was supplied to the SCPR by a person who The Report thinks is friendly with Johnnie if not an outright political ally.

A previous ad that Maier, Jr. apparently thought reflected negatively on him, The Report is told, resulted in his stopping by the business and having "a word or two" with the owner.

The owner says that putting up humorous ads is his thing and he is not getting political.

Hear that Johnnie?

The Report believes Maier is Stark County's foremost paranoid politician and likely has been flipping-out ever since the ad appeared.

It is nothing unusual for politicians - in general - to be paranoid about the security of their position and political power, but knowing him as well as the SCPR does; Maier, Jr. has to be the "King of 'Hill Political Paranoiac'" in Stark County.

The SCPR is being told by some who have access to Maier that he comes politically "unglued" on a regular basis with the publication of SCPR blogs dealing with his Massillon and Stark County political interests.

His sidekick R. Shane Jackson (see his credentials below) flipped-out on the SCPR with an email to a list of Stark County office holders months ago (LINK).

Even before that, way back in 2008, Jackson went ballistic with The Report at a Celeste DeHoff for State Representative political event in Canal Fulton (LINK).

It took SCPR "good friend" and former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez to pull Jackson away from yours truly.

A belated thank you, Randy!

For some odd reason, the Maiers think (according to George T. Maier) that the SCPR singles them out for blogger attention.

All that is evidence of is that the politically-involved-Maiers ought to rethink being in politics at all.

Last time the SCPR checked: for "a responsible to the public media outlet," scrutiny of public officials and candidates for office is the order of the day, no?

What is the expression:  "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen," no?

Moreover, anyone who reads The Stark County Political Report in a non-narcissistic way knows that this blog is - in the words of former Local 94 Plumbers and Pipefitters Business Agent Dan Fonte - "an equal opportunity critic."

In the SCPR's journalistic fantasy world, The Report gets a phone call from either Johnnie, Jr. and/or George, to wit:  "Okay, Martin let's set a date and a time for a "no holds barred interview."

As readers of this blog know, subjects get every opportunity to respond to SCPR critiques.

But behind the bravado of Johnnie and George, the SCPR thinks, is cowardice.

Neither of them have the "b*l*s"  (let's be nice now) "intestinal fortitude" to do such an interview which the SCPR is certainly game for.

But no other Stark County media outlet is.

For anyone who can go toe-to-toe with them and whom they have no leverage over, they slink away and become incommunicado.
A number of Stark County politicians have tried to bully the SCPR including Johnnie's "political 'friend for life'" and Massillon Municipal Court judge Edward J. Elum.

No surprise here.

Elum has been chastised by nobody less that the Ohio Supreme Court for pushing around folks who have dealt with or appeared before him.

And including Johnnie's brother and sheriff-elect George T. Maier.

And including a number of other Stark County elected officials who are beholden to the Maiers.

And some (e.g. Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero) who are not and are, in fact, thought to be bitter enemies of the Maier politicos.

Apparently, quite a few Stark County politicos fear the political power of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

And, no doubt, he, especially with the election of George is a mighty powerful man in our county.

These are folks who do not belong in the hurly-burly world of politics.

Stark County's only countywide newspaper and its sister publication in Massillon seemingly shy away from journalistically confronting either Maier, but not The Stark County Political Report.

Johnnie has to be riding high these days and probably is thinking like a lot of powerful politicians do; that is to say, to wit: he and his elected official followers are not accountable to the Stark County public.

But they are, and the SCPR will continue to focus on them as well as non-Maier beholdens who share the same grandiose mentality and resent anyone poking around to find out how they may be using political power for self-enhancement rather than for the public good.

Johnnie had an expert in the accumulation and use of political power teach him the fine art of power politics.  That was Vern Riffe, Jr. former long term speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, 1975 through 1995.

Johnnie served at Riffe's pleasure in a political capacity while he represented parts of Stark County in the Ohio General Assembly from 1990 through 1999 at which time he was forced to leave due to term limits (eight consecutive years).

In responsible hands, political power can be beneficial to people.

However, there are relatively few politicians who have the self-discipline to use political power responsibly.  And the SCPR does not count Maier, Jr. and many of elected officials and appointed officials followers of his as being among them.

The SCPR is particularly concerned about Johnnie's brother George being Stark County sheriff.

The Report has said in prior blogs that the SCPR thinks that it is only a matter of time until county officials will find themselves "in the soup" in trying to explain this or that official action by the sheriff-elect.

Hopefully, The Report is wrong because another county crisis could make it impossible for county officials to get a renewal, if not an enhancement, of the "to expire in 2019" 1/2 cent county sales tax.

If The Report proves to be correct in the expectation that George will somewhere along the line abuse his power of office, then those county officials who supported him in very his close election victory over Republican Larry Dordea will have some accounting to do with the Stark County public.

The SCPR in quite a number of blogs raised the specter of "unanswered questions" on allegations of Maier conduct (e.g. the Columbus Dispatch article on his #2 Ohio Department of Public Safety days, the Mike Stevens incident and the Altieri reserve deputy sheriff matter, among others).

However, the county's only countywide newspaper refused - as evidenced by its silence - to press Maier with obvious questions and, thereby, it too, better hope that Maier stays on "the straight and narrow" as sheriff.

For the SCPR will be there to hold "their feet to the fire," should Maier fail.

Of course, if he "turns over a 'new' leaf," The Report will be quick to recognize such.

Now that he has placed his brother in Stark County's most powerful policing office; Jr. will be focusing on maintaining himself as the de facto mayor of Massillon.

Anybody who thinks de jure mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry is the "real" mayor of Massillon clearly does not understand how anybody who is dependent on Maier, Jr. for political support and sponsorship cannot not be her or his own person.

Once the SCPR wrote a letter to the editor soon after Ted Strickland became governor that was critical of the way Strickland was handling education reform in Ohio.

Johnnie (then the Stark County Dems' chairman) was not a happy camper.

Consistent with "the control person he is," Johnnie tried that game on yours truly which, of course, fell on "deaf ears."

Up until the first incident, The Report had not seen much if any of that side of Maier, Jr.

Later on he tried to weigh-in on having yours truly vote in favor of validating his replacement of 13 year board member and Ironworker Billy Sherer as one of two Stark County Democrats who serve as Board of Elections members.

All that showed was that Johnnie is a slow learner.

The answer?

A straight to the point:  "No!"

Of course, Johnnie prevailed on the Sherer replacement.

But "the SCPR in the making" showed him - if he was looking and hearing - that there are those of us who can remain his/her own person when politically correct politics militates (in the interest of personal advancement) - for some - otherwise.

Interestingly enough, like when the curtain was pulled away from in front of the Wizard of Oz, there was nothing but a disappointed whimper from Maier at yours truly's refusal to vote Maier's way on the Sherer matter.

Ever since the direct confrontations did not work, it seems that Maier and friends work among the dark shadows of Stark County government and politics to get a handle on The Stark County Political Report.

Good Luck, Johnnie!

At one time, yours truly hoped that Maier would use his knack for acquiring political power for the public good.

But as the SCPR sees it, that is not what has happened.

The Report sees Maier as predominantly using his acquired political power for the benefit of himself and his group.  A group which by and large (but not exclusively) the SCPR thinks encompasses those pictured in the following graphic.

The SCPR thinks there is a 50/50 chance that Maier minion Kathy Catazaro-Perry will waltz uncontested into a second term as de jure, but not de facto mayor of Massillon.

The Report has written that it appears that former Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr will not challenge the Maier stand-in next May.

But Cicchinelli tells the SCPR that he has not decided and may well not decide until the filing deadline for the May, 2015 Democratic primary election.

He has sharpened his rhetorical attack on Mayor Catazaro-Perry calling her a "township-girl" and not a true Massillonian.  Her origin is Perry Township.

These are the SCPR's words not Cicchinelli's, but it appears to The Report in talking with the former mayor that a 2015 campaign would feature Frank Cicchinelli as "a political attack dog" going after the "political jugular" of Catzaro-Perry and her mentor/controller Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

If decides to run, he does have a Catazaro-Perry record to go after.  Something that was pretty much unavailable in 2011 when she had merely been one council person among ten.

Should Cichinelli not challenge Catazaro-Perry as the SCPR expects, then the next hurdle for the face of the de facto Maier, Jr administration is Councilman Ed Lewis, IV (Republican, Ward 6).

But maybe they have nothing to worry about.

Yesterday, a key Massillon Republican told the SCPR that it is appearing more and more as if Lewis will not challenge whomever the Democratic nominee is in the November, 2015 general election.

The Report thinks that should Cicchinelli and Lewis bow-out, it won't because be of a fear of the Maier Massillon Political Machine, but rather because Catazaro-Perry (err Maier [and Stark County Dems political director and Massillon chief deputy clerk of courts Shane Jackson]) have by their antagonistic relationship with most of the members of Massillon City Council made Massillon one huge financial mess.

The thinking has to be:
  • Who wants to take on "cleaning the mess up?"
  • Let Catazaro-Perry, Maier, Jr and Jackson field the irate input of Massillonans when the all but certain draconian cuts come as a consequence of two recent income tax increase failures, no?
    • Note:  Catazaro-Perry outright did not support the first effort and was "lukewarm" at best on the November, 2014 effort.
And who can blame Cicchinelli, Lewis or anybody else from leaving it to the perpetrators of the mess to clean up and absorbing the political consequences for being the primary cause of it in the first place?
  • SCPR Note:  Financial mess to get worse? 
    • Recently, an article appeared in Crain's Cleveland Business which suggests that the vaunted Baker Hughes facility in Massillon (a key factor if Massillon is to get out of financial trouble) continued Massillon existence may be in jeopardy.
Isn't it interesting that the mayor did not respond to Crain's Cleveland Business phone calls.

Did Maier, Jr. instruct her not to?

Johnnie, Jr. may have some skill at playing political "hardball" and, some think, "gutter" politics; but a citywide administrator for multiple departments of Massillon government - he is not!

Even The Report's take on Maier, Jr's political prowess is mixed.

Starting with the recent election.

Not nearly as impressive as Chryssa Hartnett's victory over Republican incumbent-appointed judge Curtis Werren, but you have to chalk it up to Maier, Jr's consummate effort for having gotten his brother elected sheriff.

But the SCPR thinks he had Republican help.

Had Stark County Republican commissioner Janet Creighton gotten off her duff and come all-out-for-Dordea, he would have won.

So the question is this.

Did someone from the Maier political operation get to her and persuade her to "sit this one out?"

Moreover, where were all those other Republican stalwarts (e.g. Stark County auditor Alan Harold) in being involved in the Dordea campaign?

Harold, in particular is troubling, because he ran as a more or less reform candidate against former Stark County auditor and stanch Democrat Kim Perez back in 2010, making some pretty serious charges on Perez about his political relationship with former Stark County treasurer Gary D. Zeigler.

Harold's alleged that the relationship caused Perez to be less than diligent in protecting the Stark County public interest in county financial operations.

To The Report, Larry Dordea has unquestioned character and is a highly competent policeman and police administrator.

What more could the Republicans want in a "Republican" election year?

Something does not smell right about how the Stark County GOP leadership seemingly - highlighted by Creighton's "refusal to endorse" - mostly sat the Maier/Dordea race out in an election that Republican governor John Kasich bested his Democratic opponent by over 37,000 votes.

The big political thorn in Johnnie A. Maier's side is that his cheerleader-esque mayor has to work for the most part (Note: the SCPR thinks it her and the Maier group "in-your-face-political style") with a hostile Massillon City Council.

While in 2011 Maier, Jr. and his Massillon political operatives were busy helping the insubstantial (in terms of government leadership ability) Catazaro-Perry take out Cicchinelli; they let control of council slip into the hands of Massillon's Republicans.

The Report is convinced that the Republicans were prepared to work with the public-relations-esque mayor, but she was having none of it.

Catazaro-Perry certainly understood that when one is beholden to Maier, Jr. and his ilk; one gets marching orders from "the power behind the throne."

And that is where political paranoia comes in.

The SCPR thinks, Maier's political paranoia undermines his ability to effectively function in the face of those who are willing to "stand front and center" with:
  • questions, 
  • criticism, and, 
  • OMG! - the unthinkable - outright opposition.
It would be one thing if only Maier, Jr. and his political friends suffer because he cannot get a grip on his suspicious attitude in relation to anyone who differs with him.

But the SCPR thinks that much of the financial mess that the city of Massillon and its everyday citizens face today is the doing of the "wariness of everybody who questions me" attitude emanating from the Maier Massillon Political Club which, of course, is the culture imparted by the group's leader.

And, who in the end will suffer?

It certainly will not be the Maier and his loyalist friends.

One way or another they will be taken care of, even if they lose an election here and there.

However, it would be catastrophic should they lose "the big Kahuna:  the mayoralty of Massillon."

For it certainly would mean a long unemployment line for the Catazaro-Perry/Maier loyalists on the Massillon government payroll who some think have been placed on the job for their political loyalty and not necessarily for their up to doing the job for Massillon taxpayers.

In the main however sufferers from the current Massillon financial mess, which the SCPR thinks is now entirely owned by the Catazaro-Perry administration, is and will continue to be everyday Massillonians.

And as the complaints to Massillon City Hall kick-in, the question has to be - as in the Nixon presidency - will political paranoia click-in and ordinary Massillon end up on a Maier/Catazaro-Perry/Massillon Political Machine "enemies list?"

Catazaro-Perry has already let it be known that the SCPR is not welcome at the Massillon mayor's office.  As if executive office of Massillon's seat of government is her private domain.  But she is typical of how those who cannot handle media scrutiny react.

They try to ban, they select which media they will talk to and on and on goes the list of methods they used to punish those who persist with telling questions.

That's exactly where political paranoia can lead.

Currently, the SCPR is reading a book entitled "The Fifties" by David Halberstam.

One of the things that Halberstam glomed onto in his political analysis of the early 1950s was the beginning of Nixon's political paranoia.

Only one year into his presidency (1969), some think Nixon had already began to fill out his "enemies list."

And we know all too well what end that brought Nixon to.

Nixon got what he deserved.

But not the people of the United States of America.

Because of Nixon's early-on unchecked paranoia and his acting on it; political cynicism took a giant leap forward and has been added to by succeeding paranoiac politicians over ensuing years so that in 2014 very few Americans trust political party leadership.

Once public officials and political leader lose the public trust, "Katy bar the door," no?

Hopefully, somebody, anybody will step up in Massillon and prevent a Nixon-esque problem from developing in Tigerland, and, indeed, in Stark County as a whole.

To the SCPR, in Massillon it is looking more and more that it is not going to be Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr or Ed Lewis, IV.

And another surprise might be in the offing.

With the elections 2015, Mayor Kathy may actually get a council that will knuckle under to her will which, if it happens, could be an out-and-out disaster for Massillonians.

The Report hears that Republicans are having difficulty in getting leading Stark County Republicans (the likes of party chair Matthews, Creighton and others) interested in helping Massillon Republicans maintain the substantial gains the have made on council (i.e. Cunningham-Hedderly, Halter, Lewis and Chovan).

Whether or not that happens or Maier surrogate Catazaro-Perry stays in office, Massillonians can depend on the SCPR to keep the scrutiny going.

And Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. can just keep on flipping out!

American democracy is not the province of personal political interests.

American democracy is about our government officials and institutions providing for "the general welfare."

No comments: