Thursday, January 14, 2016



12 & 13 YEAR OLD
OCCURRED:  01/05/2016  (SEE BELOW)



When this blog was published this morning, the SCPR did not have a copy of another NCPD Traffic Crash Report generated of a consequence of a traffic mishap wherein two children ages 12 and 13 were struck by a vehicle at the intersection of East Maple with the motorist turning south onto South Main Street.

North Canton citizen Melanie Roll took to the lectern at Monday evening's public speaks to ask the administration/council to consider remedial measures to cut down on the likelihood of future motor vehicle/pedestrian accidents in the future.

See her presentation at this video LINK at the 4:05 mark.

Here is an "extracted copy" (i.e. not all pages provided) the NCPD  generated which again, like the report published below in the original part of today's blog, provides sensitive personal information (redacted by the SCPR; not the NCPD) on a 12 and 13 year old.


Two time unsuccessful candidate for North Canton City Council (for an at-large position) Jamie McCleaster did what any due diligent parent would do this past Monday when he appeared at council's regular meeting to complain about the manner in which the city reports and makes available to the general public information regarding children (in this case ages ranging from 3 to 8) one of whom is McCleaster's daughter.

(See McCleaster at the 7:15 minute mark of a video taken of the meeting by Chuck Osborne: the LINK)
  •  SCPR Note:  The Report references McCleaster's unsuccessful runs for council in order to "cut off at the pass" certain Held administration officials, Fox (a council appointed official) and others (e.g. perhaps Councilwoman Marcia Kiesling)  from trying to tarnish McCleaster's complaint as being politically motivated with an "Why didn't the SCPR make mention of McCleaster's political activities vis-a-vis council and the administration?
    • Such is really irrelevant but The Report believes that those mentioned or alluded to above are wont to bring in the irrelevant as kind of a knee-jerk, hostile reaction to any citizen who do not come to the councils of government "to praise Caesar."
On December 11, 2015 a North Canton City Schools (NCCS) student transporting bus/automobile accident occurred in North Canton, to wit:

As required to do, the North Canton Police Department (NCPD) dispatched an officer to the scene to investigate.

Part of the investigation is to collect information about the accident in terms of the drivers of the vehicles, injuries sustained and statements/contact information from witnesses and other relevant information.

The collecting of information in this incident included the name, address, date of birth and phone numbers 30 students ranging from age 3 to 8.

Here is the SCPR "redacted" Traffic Crash Report:

McCleaster was understandably upset that sensitive personal information of the students (i.e. address, date of birth and telephone number) was collected and made available to the general public apparently without a second thought about the advisability doing so on the part of the police chief (Stephan Wilder, LINK to background as part of NCPD).

Tim Fox, North Canton's law director, who normally seems to have his fingerprints on everything North Canton government and particularly on things "public records" availability to the general public appears to have been and surprisingly and mysteriously left out-of-the-loop on the release of the above-record.
The SCPR's focus in this blog is on Wilder and Fox.

First,  their failure (in the opinion of yours truly) in advance of December 11 to have asked (Wilder) and to have found a supportable-in-law basis (Fox) to have redacted the personal information of the 3 to 8 year olds so as to protect them from being subject to unwanted contacts if not "unsafe for them" attempted contacts.

Second, Fox's attempt to stymie certain North Canton "elected" officials  (Mayor Held and council President Daniel "Jeff" Peters (Ward 2) in responding to points made by North Canton citizens in the public speaks segment of Monday's council meeting.


The Report thinks that Fox throughout his tenure (3-1/2 years now) as law director has demonstrated that it is like pulling teeth to get a public records request timely, transparently and responsively (that is to say, made available) responded to.

But let the SCPR make it perfectly clear.  The Report believes that the combination of Fox and his appointive employer North Canton City Council are "made for each other" in terms of the mutual disdain for anybody who questions the actions, programs and policies of North Canton government.

In short, Fox appears to be the public face of council antagonism towards those who would hold North Canton government accountable be the issue availability of North Canton government records or any other matter.

But being the public face is not to absolve Fox as some sort of public relations person.

He, the SCPR thinks, is knee-deep in substantive city official determinations of:
  • who gets requested records (it appears to The Report that he has targeted certain North Cantonians for denial of the requests for just who they are), and 
  • what they get which The Report believes has more to do with political sensitivity of the records (e.g. his opinion on the legal efficacy of an overwhelming North Canton voters no vote on city paid for healthcare benefits for part-time employees)
It is astounding that Chief Wilder apparently did not consider consulting with Fox on the school bus/automobile accident report.

On more occasions than should be the case,  Fox seems to find a way in his interpretation of the law of Ohio to deny access to requested North Canton government information.

For example, there is a case somewhat relevant to the school bus/car accident report of December 11, 2015.

That case is in regard to obtaining as a public record the membership list of those using the North Canton government owned/maintained swimming pool for information about membership numbers.

Originally, the request, like the accident report, was broad enough that compliance seemed to entail providing sensitive personal information on the pool members.

Osborne has embarked on a project to analyze whether or not the membership data supports on a cost/benefit analysis basis the expense to North Canton taxpayers in the city continuing to own and maintain the pool.

 He has scaled back his request to seeking numbers only relevant to his analysis.

McCleaster used the pool public records denial by Fox as the cornerstone of his complaint that North Canton government has a double standard on what information that is obtainable in providing public records.

And the SCPR agrees with him.

The Report has no problem whatsoever with the sensitive personal information having been withheld from the public on North Canton's pool membership list.  Nor did McCleaster.

Application of a consistent standard should have resulted in the traffic accident report being redacted to eliminate the revelation of the 3 to 8 year olds' home address, telephone numbers and dates of birth.

Is Chief Wilder out-there-somewhere in not tuning into Fox's deny first North Canton government records when there is an plausible legal basis available?

Yours truly can think of a number of reasons why a financial ne'er-do-well or worse would want that information to try to team up with a social security number secured perhaps obtained from another source.

McCleaster mentioned on Monday that the family has already been the target of a law firm solicitation, to wit:

 Focus on the first three words of the letter:  "From police records ... ."

And, of course, unfortunately we have as an element of our population a number of folks who cannot properly channel their sexuality.  (LINK)

It appears to the SCPR that North Canton officials are trying the justify the outrageous dispensing of sensitive personal information of 3 to 8 year olds primarily on the lame excuse that Ohio's exceptions to the public records law does not allow for redacting the information of persons appearing on traffic accident reports.

To boot, another ridiculous line of North Canton officialdom is:   who is going to be scanning police reports for someone's personal information?

Acting as an investigative journalist (disclaimer:  yours truly is an "inactive" lawyer), The Report found the following, to wit:

149.43 Availability of public records for inspection and copying.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Public record" means records kept by any public office, including, but not limited to, state, county, city, village, township, and school district units, and records pertaining to the delivery of educational services by an alternative school in this state kept by the nonprofit or for-profit entity operating the alternative school pursuant to section 3313.533 of the Revised Code. "Public record" does not mean any of the following: (emphasis added)

(2) "Confidential law enforcement investigatory record" means any record that pertains to a law enforcement matter of a criminal, quasi-criminal, civil, or administrative nature, but only to the extent that the release of the record would create a high probability of disclosure of any of the following:

(d) Information that would endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel, a crime victim, a witness, or a confidential information source.

(f)  The name, the residential address, the name of the employer, the address of the employer, the social security number, the residential telephone number, any bank account, debit card, charge card, or credit card number, or the emergency telephone number of the spouse, a former spouse, or any child of a peace officer, parole officer, probation officer, bailiff, prosecuting attorney, assistant prosecuting attorney, correctional employee, community-based correctional facility employee, youth services employee, firefighter, EMT, or investigator of the bureau of criminal identification and investigation.

The children on the bus were witnesses, weren't they?

Entitled to have their safety protected, no?

Might that include having their birth dates, home addresses and telephone numbers redacted from the report?

Did the North Canton Police Department determine whether or not there were any children of the list of protected classes of employees?

The foregoing is only a cursory look at Ohio's statutes on what can and cannot be included in public records.

Anybody who knows anything about Tim Fox, knows that he goes absolutely bonkers when it comes to legal research.

Think he couldn't find an even firmer basis for redacting the sensitive personal information on 3 to 8 year olds?

What citizen thinks he or she could contact the North Canton City Schools' administration with a request for the sensitive personal information like that the North Canton Police Department made available to the public and have the request honored?

Moreover, does Chief Wilder and/or Law Director Fox really think that any court in Ohio, if North Canton was to be challenged for having  redacted the dates of birth, home address and telephone number, would hold that protecting the safety of children is not provided for somewhere in Ohio law?

There are many references in Ohio law directed towards the protection of information in minors, any information whatsoever, let alone sensitive personal information of 3 to 8 year olds.

One administration official had the temerity to lump the December 11th accident report into:  "Well, Martin we have a huge number of accident reports and imply therefore that it would not have been feasible for Chief Wilder to have checked with the law director before the fact of dissemination as to whether or not such information should be redacted in the case of minors."

Of course, the SCPR did his homework before talking with that official.

An area police chief told The Report that school bus accidents are so rare and exceptional that it is ridiculous to think that an occurrence would not raise a red flag about putting out reports with sensitive personal information of students.

So that argument does not work in population 17,000 more or less in North Canton, no?

The SCPR thinks that Chief Wilder blew it in not filtering out the December 11th report for Tim Fox assessment on the issue of redactability.

The Report is told that Fox's emphasis now - after the fact - is to build an argument that the pool denial of public records publication and the easily obtained accident report of 3 to 8 year olds sensitive information is justifiable as a matter of law.

The SCPR commends McCleaster for taking North Canton government to task.

One would think that the parents of the other 29 children would be all over the backs of North Canton officials, no?

McCleaster asked for a apology from North Canton government to him and the other 29 parents of children who may now be less safe than they were on December 10, 2015.

That will not likely happen.

But McCleaster is a difference maker and North Canton Council would be much improved had he been elected over either Griffith or Kiesling.


At least three times during Monday's meeting, Law Director Fox tried to stop the interaction between:
  • Mayor David Held, council President Daniel "Jeff" Peters and others
  •  North Canton citizens
Fox's intervention is best understood by looking at a video taken by Chuck Osborne and placed on YouTube:  (The video LINK)

This narrative will take SCPR to specific points within the first 30 minutes of the hour long video.

At the 10:15 mark:  (the LINK, once again) Mayor David Held on the public records issue raised by McCleaster addressing McCleaster and others.

At the 13:32 mark:  Fox turns to President Peters and complains about his allowing the back and forth between Held and others.

At the 20:10 mark:  Fox raises "a point of Order" in an obvious attempt to stop the dialogue between Held several council members (Peters, Ceretta and Griffith) and citizens Melanie Roll and Jamie McCleaster.

At the 21:21 mark:  Chuck Osborne explains his position on the pool public records request and manages to take a rhetorical shot at Law Director Fox at the 22:20 marks as to how Held and participating council members had been reprimanded (re:  point of Order matter) by council's employee, meaning, of course, Law Director Fox.

To their credit, neither Held, Peters nor any of the other public official participants were deterred Fox's admonitions.

At the 27:00 mark:  Fox once again takes Mayor Held to task for his back and forth with Osborne.

At the 27:20 mark:  Ironically, Fox starts talking to Held about what Osborne did or did not do with regard to his pool membership records request.


Didn't Fox just get done saying that there should be no sparing on matters raised in the public speaks part of the council meeting?

He must have meant everybody but Tim Fox.

Go figure, no?


At the 29:00 mark:  Peters after ignoring Fox's admonitions, he backtracks and endorses the law director's attempt to stifle mayor/council/citizen interaction which of course substantiates the SCPR's assessment that Tim Fox is North Canton government.

Immediately afterwards, Peters beats the dead horse issue of whether or not council treats Osborne fairly.

There is no doubt that Osborne is a proverbial "pain in the butt" to nearly all of North Canton government.  Peters has never figured out that being uncomfortable with citizen scrutiny is part of the territory of being a public official.

Not only does the SCPR think Peters is disingenuous in his self-serving and North Canton government serving assertion that the city treats Osborne fairly.  He really gets absurd in declaring that North Canton is more than fair with Osborne.

No doubt about it.

  • lack of interactive finesse,
  • his yelling out from the audience from time-to-time,
  • his intemperate emotion-based attacks on various North Canton officials
which has gotten him removed from a number of North Canton council meetings is inappropriate behavior.

But who is going to believe that Peters, Fox, Held and most of the rest of North Canton government have demonstrated that they treat him like any other North Canton citizen?

Or, as Peters would have one believe:  better than any everyday citizen.

A more credible comment by Peters could have been something like:  "We, in light of your repeated ad hominem personal attacks, as officials in North Canton government, find it very difficult to treat you as if you were a day-in, day-out citizen, but we are trying."

It is obvious that a good part of this blog is reliant on Osborne having videotaped Monday night's meeting.

Notwithstanding the SCPR referring to certain part of the video he took, The Report has no qualms whatsoever in critiquing Osborne.
On a personal basis, yours truly gets along with Osborne.

However, unlike many in government, whether or not a subject of a SCPR blog is personally liked or disliked, yours truly rises above the personal sentiment either way and tells it like The Report sees it.

Subjects are provided with an unfettered opportunity to respond.

Not to blame them for Osborne's from time-to-time over-the-top conduct, but the SCPR thinks some of them, especially Fox, waive a red flag in Osborne's face.

Like them or not, politically sophisticated and articulate persons like Osborne are absolutely essential to our having accountable, responsive governments.

Undoubtedly, it gnaws at some of North Canton's governors that Osborne in much more knowledgeable in the last 15 year history of The Dogwood City and its procedural nuances than they are.

Peters is no Jon Snyder and he certainly is no Daryl Revoldt in terms of having the skills to deal with the likes of a Chuck Osborne.

To the SCPR, Jamie McCleaster is a model of citizen decorum in holding North Canton officials accountable.

Yet he gets worked over by various members of North Canton government on occasion.

Here the factor is not an abrasive personality.

It is that he has the temerity to complain about this or that aspect of North Canton government.

Too many leadership types in North Canton government lack the ability to gracefully entertain the notion that they can improve the quality of the respective performances starting with receptiveness to citizen critiques with Fox being the foremost example on this SCPR point.

Consequently, North Canton City Council will continue to be the laughing stock of political and government observers across Stark County.

And, perhaps, consequently unhelpful in protecting North Canton's children!

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