Friday, March 11, 2016




The Forum Opening


 Opening Statements

Views on Adequacy of State Income Tax Rate 

View of Common Core 

Support of Ohio Allowing Medical Marijuana 

State of Ohio Role in Women's Reproductive Health Issues 

Ohio Legislature's Cuts in Local Gov't Funds 

What Ohio Should be Doing to Solve Heroin Abuse Problem 

Closing Statements 


Opening Statements 

Most Important Stark Co Issue
How Candidate Will Address It

County Ditch Drainage Problem
How to Solve It 

 Need to Consolidate
Stark Co Political Subdivison Gov't

How to Keep Existing Stark Co Businesses
Attract New Ones

Future Funding for Stark Co. Gov't

Closing Statements

First and foremost, those citizens who showed up at The Canton Area League of Women Voters (LWV)—The Canton Repository sponsored Stark County candidates forum at the former Timken High School (now part of the merged Canton McKinley Senior High School) last evening.

A Stark County "Tip of the Hat" to the League and The Rep for putting on this event.

Video of opening of forum:

The only thing missing was The Repository's Matt Rink (appointed editorial page editor a little over a year ago) and The Independent's Veronica Van Dress (named as an editor of The Independent in 2013) as moderators.

Yours truly has attended many, many candidate events over the past 40 years.

One that stands out across the span of those four decades is that moderated by Rink and Van Dress last April as Kathy Catazaro-Perry, Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. and Lee Brunckhart squared off in the Massillon mayoralty contest last October (LINK).

Last night's candidates were not pressed at all on their responses.

For instance, Democratic commissioner candidate Stephen Slesnick (currently a state representative [the 49th] who is term limited out and is looking for a new landing place in government), made what appears to have been an outrageous distortion of the truth of the matter in claiming to have as state representative been responsible for bringing millions of presumably State of Ohio dollars to Stark County.

The SCPR cannot imagine that Rink/Van Dress would have let that statement go unchallenged in terms of pressing for chapter and verse as to Slesnick identifying what those dollars were and where they were applied in Stark County.

Democrat commissioner candidate Slesnick has been a very laid back state representative in an Ohio House that is staffed by a supermajority of Republicans.

Now who is going to believe that a lackadaisical state representative whose record shows his forte to be sponsoring legislation to honor this or that person in naming portions of Ohio's highways after them (as well as other honorific legislation) helped bring large slabs of pork from Columbus to the Canton area?

For the most part,  the candidates were self disciplined enough not make Donald Trump-esque claims like the SCPR deems Slesnick's to have been.

In the case of Democratic commissioner candidate Katherine Baylock, she made one of the most accurate statements of the evening.

The question was on the issue of solving Stark County's ditch draining problem.

But for Baylock, an uninitiated attendee might have thought that all of Stark County is plagued with drainage issues.  But such is simply not the case.  There are pockets of problems that are indeed serious and need to be dealt with to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, but drainage is not a universal Stark County problem.

While on the topic, it would have been great to have a Rink/VanDress press the commissioner candidates to articulate a plan to solve the flooding problems such as they exist within Stark County.

After all, Stark County being $60/70 million if not more behind in keeping the affected area's ditches adequately channeled, free of debris and flowing is the fault of previous boards of county commissioners going back at least to the 1980s.

In short, the format should have been for fewer questions to be asked and more meaningful/accountable-ladened responses being pressed for.

What last night's format seemed to be was of the press release variety.

District 49 (formerly District 52) state representative candidate Thomas West (currently Canton Ward 2 councilman) made the more impressive case for himself to come out of the Democratic primary as the candidate to best make the case for being equipped to serve the interests of the residents of the district so poor represented over the past eight years by Slesnick.

In the past, this district has been an automatic for the Democrats.

But The Report thinks the Republicans have come up with a gem of a candidate in Dan McMasters.

Even before the results of the Democratic primary "pick-em" results are known, the SCPR in this blog goes on the record in predicting that McMasters is likely to become the first Republican elected in many a moon to represent a district that includes heavily Democratic Canton and Massillon.

What follows is a bevy of videos which The Report thinks accurately portrays the quality or lack of quality of candidate responses.


The Democrats

Thomas West

Joyce Healy-Abrams

The Republican

Dan McMasters


Question:  Would you support a reduction in the State of Ohio Income Tax rate?

Question: Do you support Common Core?

Question: Do you support Ohio Allowing Medical Marijuana?

Question: Does the State of Ohio have a Role in Women's Reproductive Health Issues?

 Question:  Candidates' Position on Ohio's Local Gov't Fund Cuts?

Question:  What Should Ohio be Doing to Solve Statewide/Stark County Heroin Abuse Problem?

Closing Statements of Candidates


The Republicans

David Mungo

Bill Smith

The Democrats

Katherine Baylock

Pete Ferguson

Kevin Fisher

Stephen Slesnick

Opening Statements of Candidates

Question:  What is Stark County's Most Important Issue and How Would Each Candidate Address It?

Question:  How to Solve Stark County Ditch Drainage Problem?

Question:  Is there a Need to Consolidate Stark County Governments in the Face of a Declining County Population?

Question:  How to Keep Existing Stark Co Businesses and Attract New Ones?

Question:  Future Funding Sources for Stark Co Gov't?


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