Friday, January 9, 2015


UPDATE:  09:36 AM

A clarification from Milan Chovan

Good morning, Martin.  Thank you for the kind comments about me in today's blog.  I'm not sure who thinks I'm close to Johnnie Maier because of music, but I want to tell you about it.

I play guitar in a classic rock band called ReUNITED.  My bass guitar player is Ron Frailly.  Ron also plays bass for Maier's polka band, Visinata.  That's the connection, plain and simple.  When Visinata first started several years ago, they played at a bar in Massillon called Sideliners.  My cousins and I were at the bar and I got up to sing an Italian song with the band.  I've never appeared again with them and, in fact, haven't heard them since they played for a Massillon Community event two summers ago.

This doesn't mean that I don't like Maier as a person.  I do.  I just don't agree with him, politically.

Just wanted to clear that up.


Most Massillonians know who the true and original Massillon Tiger is when it comes to politics and government in Tigerland.

If an open-ended (i.e. not to suggest a desired answer) survey were to be made of typical Massillonians, the SCPR dare says the overwhelming answer would be:  Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr.

Cicchinelli had been mayor of Massillon for the better part of 28 years when he was uprooted by former Perry Township resident Kathy Catazaro-Perry in the Democratic Party primary of 2011.

Sponsored and tutored by long time Cicchnelli political nemesis:
  • and - for a number of years  now - Tuscarawas Township resident Johnnie A.Maier, Jr. (a former Stark Dems' chairman)
  • and his clerk of courts sidekick - Perry Township resident R. Shane Jackson (also Stark Dems' political director);
current mayor Kathy Catzaro-Perry may find out that, should Cicchinelli decide to attempt reclaiming the mayoralty, she is facing a different version of tiger in the upcoming 2015 primary.

In 2011, Cicchinelli proved to be a political "kitty-cat" as he sat on his laurels and played the role of "statesman-mayor" and thereby succumbed to the "rough house" political style of the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. Massillon Political Machine (MMPM).

Should he decide to run (which the SCPR thinks he will not); every indication is that he will play the role of a roaring tiger and wage a ferocious campaign.

A second match up, if it occurs, will likely be the meanest, the vilest and the most belligerent campaign that Massillon has ever seen.

There would be a lot at stake.

For Cicchinelli, there is, among other interests, a basic need for vindication for all that he has done over three decades of public service for the well-being of Massillon.

For Catazaro-Perry, there is, among other interests, a basic need to look after extending the continued employment well-being of all those loyalists that she brought into her administration on assuming office.

Cicchinelli has less than 30 days to decide.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Catazaro-Perry supporters are "on pins and needles" in anticipation of Cicchinelli's final decision.

To say it again.  The SCPR does not think a rematch will take place.

But if it does, "Katy bar the door" on the political rumble-tumble in the history of Massillon  that is likely to take place.

If Cicchinelli's posturing about running proves to be just that, then Catazaro-Perry, the SCPR has learned will have a virtual free ride into a second term as mayor.

The Report has learned that Ward 6 Republican councilman Ed Lewis will not be running as the Republican candidate for mayor.

The SCPR is disappointed to learn such.

Ideally, the "come and let us reason together" Lewis style of government and politics, is the most productive model of governance ensuring that government is the province of the many and not the baliwick of the few.

While Cicchinelli as mayor was much more approachable and democratic-friendly than anybody connected to the MMPM, he has been through many wars and therefore cannot possibly have the fresh view of an Ed Lewis.

The SCPR thinks the MMPM power politics style does a lot of destroying and as a consequence is highly erosive of citizen participation in our democratic-republican processes.

Of course, the primary goal of power politics is the aggrandizement of personal political interests, "the public interest be damned!"  If any public interest is served by the likes of the MMPM, it is mere happenstance.

The SCPR has learned the 2011 Republican candidate Lee Brunckhart is to be the 2015 Massillon GOP standard bearer.

Brunkhart is a well meaning and caring of the public interest guy who presents himself as a work-a-day person. But he is no match for the MMPM or Frank Cicchinelli, should he decide to run.

The Report hears that he has taken on some studies on government and politics and thinks he is better prepared to run and win this year.

Cicchinelli and the MMPM folks have to be having a guffawing, back-slapping time among themselves on hearing of Brunkhart's political naivete.

Either Cicchinelli or Catazaro-Perry will have a "walk-in-the-park" time of it in the November general election.

So it is going to be either Cicchnelli or Catazaro-Perry who wins in November.

In either case, it is imperative that Massillon City Council continue to be the strong entity it is in the sense of being a "check and balance" on the executive branch of Massillon city government.

But there is a concerted effort on the part of MMPM to alter the de facto separation of powers function of council.

Here is the SCPR analysis of how the council races of shaping up.


Republican Ed Lewis likely would be defeated were he to run against MMPM candidate Linda Litman.  Litman lost by a mere 20 votes in 2013. 

Now that Lewis has more of a record to attack and/or distort, it is hard to believe that the MMPM folks will not be out in full force going after Lewis.

Lewis is the future of the Massillon Republican Party.

The MMPM people want to nip this political red rose in the bud before he develops the sophistication and resources to rival these Massillon Democratic Party politicos.

Lewis has developed an innate sense of the doable over his four years of political life in Massillon government.

And he is likely correct that the timing is not right for him to do a head-to-head challenge to the Maier, Jr. forces.

Accordingly, he has decided to step aside from Ward 6 in favor of Democrat Michelle Del Rio-Keller.

Sources tell the SCPR that Del Rio Keller has a family history in Ward 6 and resources to put distance between herself and MMPM loyalist Litman.

So it appears that whomever is elected mayor can count on Del Rio-Keller to be there faithfully functioning as a "check and balance" councilperson.

One more thing about Ed Lewis' decision not to seek reelection in Ward 6.

It appears that there is a "wink and nod" agreement between him and Del Rio-Keller for her to opt out of her incumbent council-at-large spot for Ward 6.

Lewis will be running at large come November.

Short of running for mayor, the politically wise thing for Lewis to do is to change venues. 

He should be a lock for one of the three council-at-large seats which of course means another proven "check and balance" councilman remaining on council.


Ditto on the last paragraph in the Ward 6 discussion for Ward 5 incumbent Democrat Megan Starrett.

The SCPR thinks that Starrett has been very solid in looking out for the public interest on each and every issues that comes before Massillon government.

Moreover, count her as among councilpersons who willingly takes on a councilperson's "check and balance" function in our "separation of powers" form of government.


It is looking more and more like incumbent Ward 4 Democrat Shaddrick Stinson is not going to have an opponent this time around.

That such might be the case in light of the reality that he is equivocating with residents of The Legends on the durability of the golf course which abuts their homes.

One would think they could come up with a candidate that is openly committed to looking after their interests.

Of course, anyone that they would come up with has to have a broader take on Massillon government than merely the fate of the golf course.

Maybe that is the problem?

Stinson is wholly unimpressive to the SCPR.

The Report had a good belly laugh at Stinson's expense recently.

Yours truly has always counted him to be part and parcel of the MMPM notwithstanding his disingenuous presentation to Frank Cicchinelli (who is a The Legends resident) that he - if elected - would be an independent thinking and acting councilman.

And, of course, the SCPR has written a number of blogs substantiating The Report's viewpoint.

Recently, Stinson as a matter of political rhetoric took exception to the SCPR's point of view.

Regular readers of the SCPR know that The Report unlike the Massillon Independent and the Canton Repository provides subjects of SCPR commentary a full opportunity to respond.

An to the degree he did respond in writing, the SCPR published same.

The Report offered to do an "on camera" interview.

But Stinson would only do so "on certain conditions" including having a MMPM minder present for the interview.


No, not really,  The Report is kidding.

But he did want to review the video that would appear on a SCPR blog.

What arrogance, no?

Nobody but nobody edits the content of the SCPR!

So though Stinson appears mild-mannered and laid back, such apparently is just that: "appears."

He needs to have a little sit down with Johnnie, Shane and Eddie.

To think of it, he probably did.  And "the conditions thing" likely came from them.  For they, the SCPR counts, as being some of the most cowardly politicians in all of Stark County who cannot abide direct questioning. 

The Report salivates on getting them and/or members 0f their claque in a position in which they have to answer incisive questions.

Stinson might on occasion, where it makes no difference to the outcome of the vote, actually vote contra the Catazaro-Perry druthers on a given issue.  

Unless and until a consistent "independent of the administration" stance develops, the SCPR will continue to think that Councilman Stinson takes his orders from the MMPM.


Incumbent Democrat Andrea Scassa is a thoughtful councilwoman who satisfies the SCPR that she carefully weighs each and every issue before voting.

She and Ward 5 Councilwoman Starrett appear to The Report to be similar in approach.

Scassa understands that she is a legislator and functions accordingly. 

Count her as among the "check and balance" members that will remain on Massillon City Council for a new term in 2016/2017.


This is a ward that the MMPM has pursued "hot and heavy." for the last two election cycles.


It is the seat of "the heart and soul" of the Massillon Republican Party; namely, Nancy Halter.

The SCPR gives Halter the credit for short circuiting the elation that the MMPM experienced when it proved to be the instrumental factor in making Catazaro-Perry mayor.

One thing that the MMPM forgot on the way to the celebration of Cicchinelli's ouster was the make up of Massillon City Council.

In heavily Democratic Massillon, believe or not, in 2011 Republicans took majority control of Massillon City Council.

The political geniuses Maier, Jr., Jackson and Elum forgot that that in America, the executive function of government is but one of three functions.

And, of course, their executive, the SCPR believes, is not a true executive.  She is a ceremonial, window dressing mayor who appears to take each and every issue of Massillon government to the triumvirate (Maier, Jr., Jackson and Elum; most Maier, Jr.) which de facto seems to The Report to be calling the executive shots in Massillon.

So that they were "asleep at the switch" in November, 2011 (with only Brunckhart to contend with in the mayor's race), more or less, makes them the laughing stock of Stark County political junkies.

And they have been trying to recover their credibility on council races ever since.

But Halter has tended the political store and been a major impediment in the MMPM quest to get a loyalist majority of council to rubber stamp whatever the Catazaro-Perry administration wants.

Though council did change to majority Democratic in the 2013 elections; it is not a Catazaro-Perry loyalists majority.

One can count on "a mix and match" of Democrats (except for Stinson and Council President Tony Townsend [voting only in the case of a tie] and Republicans to effectively function as a "check and balance" on the administration.

The Report's take on the MMPM is that it does not take kindly to "mix and match" and "check and balance" approach to Massillon City government.

So the MMPM folks have to be totally frustrated and Nancy Halter deserves credit for being a major factor in the healthy functioning of council.

And it could be that this election cycle MMPM will power Halter out.

David Irwin is an employee of MMPM loyalist and Stark County recorder Rick Campbell who is married to Shane Jackson's sister Lisa who is the chief administrator for Plain Township.

Irwin has run competitive races against Halter because of the strong support he has received from the MMPM.

It would not surprise the SCPR were Irwin to win this time around even if Halter decides to run.

But she may not.

There has been some talk about her running for council president.

If she does, it is going to be "sayonara" for Tony, there is no way fore the MMPM folks to protect him this time around.

In 2013, the MMPM operatives, it appears, managed to co-opt former Massillon schools superintendent in having Catazaro-Perry offer him the Massillon service directorship so late in the election season that Republicans were not allowed as a matter of law to replace Hennon on the ballot.


Look for incumbent Republican Sarita Cunningham-Hedderly to return for a new legislative session.

She, too, can be counted upon to be a "check and balance" council person.



ED LEWIS, IV  (also see Ward 6 discussion)

Republican Ed Lewis will be running at large come November.

It appears to the SCPR that there is a "wink and a nod" relationship between Lewis and present Democratic Councilwoman Michelle Del Rio to exchange venues in serving on council.

Before the Del Rio-Keller seeming trade off, Lewis is said to have been encouraging incumbent at-large Councilman Paul Manson to run for council president.

And Paul would be a good one.

He definitely would put MMPM favorite Tony Townsend on the political sidelines.

But the word is that Manson is going to stick with being councilman-at-large.

The shift will provide Lewis with a citywide political base to cultivate a relationship with voters across Massillon and thereby be in a better position to run for mayor in four years.

Short of running for mayor, the politically wise thing for Lewis to do is to change venues. 

He should be a lock for one of the three council-at-large seats which of course means another proven "check and balance" councilman remaining on council.


This incumbent Republican is as solid as "the Rock of Gibraltar" as a Massillon councilman.

He was as "cool as a cucumber" as Mayor Catazaro-Perry looked him in the eye at a 2014 council session and called him and other "not seeing my way" councilpersons racists.

There is at least one Massillon politico thinks that Chovan is too close to the MMPM because of his involvement in a band in which Maier, Jr. is a participant.

The SCPR sees no evidence of Chovan in any way shape or form of being in thrall or even sympathetic to the MMPM.

To The Report, he is a hard working councilman who works hard to represent the public interest and demonstrates no reluctance whatsoever in functioning as a "check and balance" councilperson. 


Democrat Paul Manson is the dean of Massillon City Council and is about as sure as one can get in terms being reelected.

Accordingly, it was surreal that Lewis would suggest to him to run for council president.

Were he to take up Lewis' suggestion, Tony Townsend would be toast.

But it would be political overkill for Manson to run against Townsend.

As the dean of council and thereby having great institutional knowledge, he is ideally suited to a model of how one does it in operating as a "check and balance" legislator in relation to the "my way or the highway" Kathy Catazaro-Perry who is merely the face of the MMPM smash-mouth politics.


The only question here is:  Can Massillon Republicans find a living body to take on Tony Townsend.

Townsend should have been history in 2013.  

But his pals who constitute the core of the MMPM appear to have rescued him from certain defeat when Republican Al Hennon quit the 2013 council president race to take a job in the Catazaro-Perry administration.

It would not surprise the SCPR if Townsend were to get another free ride back into the council presidency.

So there you have it.

The Stark County Political Report analysis of the May/November shapes up on January 9, 2015.

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