Thursday, October 20, 2016


A few days ago, The Stark County Political Report came across this Cleveland Plain Dealer article ( [LINK].


Time to checkout Stark County local governments, no?

With the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Project (HOF-VP; SCPR blog LINK)  and the Stark County Area Broadband Task Team (SCABBTT; SCPR blog LINK) looking for ways and means to get Stark County political subdivision financial (either cash or in kind) support for their respective endeavors, stretching local government monies with added interest earned could be a critical difference in whether or not local government is in a position to help out the HOF-VP and/or SCABBTT.

And, of course, Stark County government has it financial hands full in scratching up money at the margins of the Stark County annual budget with which to make headway on repairing drainage ditches that—unrepaired—are the source of flooding problems in parts of the county when the heavy rains come to Stark.

In checking with Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar,  Stark County did lose about $32,000 for the period in which the return from state of Ohio's STAR (State Treasury Asset Reserve) fund exceeded STAR Plus which begin in December, 2015 and continues to this day.

To his credit, Zumbar (Republican from Alliance) did not try blame Republican Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel for the loss.
However, as the Plain Dealer article points out, Lucas County treasurer (a Democrat) is not so gracious with Mandel.

The SCPR notes that Mandel has no authority as state treasurer to switch the funds to ensure local governments get the highest rate of return.

However, The Report thinks that his office should be notifying participants of rate differences as they occur via e-mail so that there are no excuses among local officials for not having maximized the return on local government funds.

But let's be clear, there are reasons why local fiscal officials might not want to change over from STAR Plus to STAR.

Reason #1

Ohio treasury officials claim that the returns on STAR PLUS are not as volatile as is the STAR fund.

The Report thinks the consistency of return factor is a lame reason when the return is "consistently" and significantly under the STAR account rates.

Reason #2

A reason that might be worth sacrificing some rate of return on,  is the fact that STAR Plus is FDIC insured whereas STAR is not.

That Stark's Alex Zumbar in making the switch earlier this month signaled he was not concerned speaks volumes to the SCPR that the lack of FDIC's guarantee (the STAR fund) is not a worrisome factor.

Zumbar is likely Stark County's most astute financial person of a solidly conservative bent whose judgement on financial matters is like "money in the bank" to financiers in and out of government.

Zumbar, who first came into office in what local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley dubbed as being Zeiglergate in September, 2010 (then treasurer Gary Zeigler having been unconstitutionally removed from office by the-then Stark County commissioners, according to the Ohio Supreme Court by court decision in June, 2011).

Zeigler's chief deputy Vince Frustaci had stolen what is believed to be upwards of $3 million from the county treasurer over a period of time which culminated with revelations on April 1, 2009.

Subsequently, Zeigler was cited by the Ohio Auditor of State (Mary Taylor) for not having appropriate and adequate policies, practices, policies and secure enough physical facilities in place to have prevented the Frustaci thefit.

Zumbar was in, out and then in again for good on October 31, 2011; Zeigler having reached agreement with the commissioners to retire.

Zumbar is seeking re-election in the upcoming November election.  Former state of Ohio Board of Education president Debbie Cain (Democrat, Lake Township) is his opponent.

Programs, policies and practices as well as the physical facilities of the county treasury have been revamped to a "state of the art" level earning Zumbar a place on the SCPR Top Ten List of Stark County Political Subdivision Elected officials.

Currently (as of the date of this blog) STAR generates 0.64% (which is a little over 1/2 percent) whereas STAR Plus produces 0.40% (not quite 1/2 percent).

Readers of the SCPR know that when this blog gets into a topic, the treatment is generally much more exhaustive than The Repository.

And this topic is no exception.

First of all, here is a list of Stark  County political subdivisions who as of last Friday had money in STAR Plus that was earning about 1/4 cent less in interest that it could have been earning in a STAR account.  Note, that in some cases, the 1/4 cent less was on millions of dollars.

Next up is a series of  e-mail exchanges between Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar and The Report regarding the county's treasury factor on the list:


From: Martin Olson [] 
Sent: Monday, October 17, 2016 1:21 PM
To: Alex A. Zumbar <>

Please read this Plain Dealer article (on today's regarding investment of taxpayer funds and tell me how Stark County is doing on the matter presented.



Alex A. Zumbar <>  Oct 18 at 9:58 AM


The majority of the County Investments are in Federal Agency Coupons (callable and non-callable), Treasury Securities, Commercial Paper & Foreign Government Bonds.

This accounts for a slightly over $128 million of the Stark County Portfolio.

We also have interim investments with JP Morgan Chase Bank, First Merit Bank and Star Ohio and Star Plus.

Investments are in accordance and full compliance with Ohio Revised Code 135.35 and the Stark County Investment Policy. 

The investments are based on a policy of Safety, Liquidity and Yield.

Balances deposited with Star Ohio and Star Plus may fluctuate throughout the year based on the interim amount available and the needs of the County Auditor for paying warrants/bills.

For example, in July of this year Stark County invested just over $93 million of interim funds with Star Ohio until the monies were to be distributed to the subdivisions on whose behalf we collected the funds. 

This occurs in late August or early September once settlement with the Auditor office has concluded.  The funds are distributed to the School Districts and the County Municipalities, Townships, Villages and special districts, etc.

As of October, the amounts invested with Star Plus were moved into Star Ohio.

YTD Investment Income:
September 2016  - YTD   $ 1,236,284  (88.31% of Budget estimate $1,400,000)
September 2015 – YTD   $     958,820




Alex A. Zumbar <>  Oct 19 at 12:24 PM

To:  Martin Olson


Below are my responses to your questions. 

Thank you for your interest in how the funds are being invested by your  Stark County Treasurer and as the Chief Investment Officer for Stark County.

Do not hesitate to contact me If I can be of assistance in explaining any further question you may have.



1.  What is the grand total amount of the Stark County Portfolio as of today?


[Rest of Investment Accounts]

2.  Of that residual amount, as of today, what are the amounts on deposit with:  Chase, First Merit, Star and Star Plus?  

     Ans.  See Above

3. For Chase and Merit what are the equivalent rates?

   First Merit Earnings Credit – .51%
   Earnings credit is used to offset the bank charges for services.
   First Merit Interest Sweep .20%
   Chase Savings Account    . 08%
   Chase ELockbox Account .20%

4. On the investments in Federal Agency Coupons (callable and non-callable), Treasury Securities, Commercial Paper & Foreign Government Bonds, what are the equivalent rates?

The rates vary from .63 to 3.17 as due the type of investment and the length of maturity

5. Did you learn of the higher rates to be gained in switching from Star Plus to Star on your own initiative or did you learn through an alternative source?

After discussion and review with the Chief Deputy and the Head Cashier about the need for these interim funds it was determined that the Auditor did not require them forpayment of warrants/bills and that they could be moved to the First Merit Earnings Credit account to offset potential bank service charges or to a higher interest bearing account 

6. Star began to exceed Star Plus (as I read the PD chart) in November/December, 2016, why did it take you 10/11 months to react? 

A review of the period in time shows that the rates began to change beginning in December 2015. The basis point rate change differences between Star Ohio and Star Plus

    2015 Dec . 03        2016 Apr  .11       2016 Aug  .15     
    2016 Jan  . 02        2016 May .13       2016 Sept .19
    2016 Feb  . 05       2016 June .15
    2016 Mar  .08       2016 July  .13
The invested funds are reviewed on a monthly basis by myself, the Chief Deputy and Head Cashier.  
The decision to move the amounts available for investing rests soley on the Treasurer as Chief Investment Officer for the County.  Many factors are taken into consideration before investing the funds.
Among these factors are Ohio Revised Code Section 135.35 and the Stark County Investment Policy.  I follow the principle of Safety, Liquidity and Yield. 

Another factor that is considered involves the County Auditor office and the need for interim funds to pay warrants/bills.  

The Treasurer office works closely with the County Auditor office to determine if interim funds are required in order pay warrants/bills.  If the funds are not needed they may be invested or used for earnings credit with the main operating account currently held by First Merit/Huntington Bank. 

The Treasurer office currently does not budget to pay First Merit/Huntington bank service charges/fees.  Nor have the County Commissioners appropriated a budget item to
pay these main operating First Merit/Huntington bank service charges/fees.  The Treasurer office offsets these bank service charges/fees by utilizing the earnings credit offset on deposits held by the bank.

In February and July of each year the real estate and mobile manufactured home tax bills 
come due.  

This period of time allows for an excess of interim funds to become available  for the Treasurer office to either invest or earn credit to offset bank service fees. 

Available interim funds may also be invested in short term our Star Ohio or Star Plusaccounts.  Amounts were invested in both Star Plus and Star Ohio.
By late March/early April and late August/early September of each tax cycle the Treasurer and Auditor office settle the real estate tax collection and distribute the funds collected to the subdivisions on whose behalf we are collecting these levies and real estate taxes.

7. How much less in interest did Stark receive as a consequence of county money remaining in Star Plus over the period cited above? 

The amount of interest earned in Stark Plus during that time period was $106,354.

The estimated amount of additional interest that could have been earned with Star Ohio    
was potentially $32,000

8. Some treasurers in the PD article are saying that FDIC coverage in and of itself is worth the difference of 24 basis points in their staying with Stark Plus.
As earlier stated Stark County Investments are based on the principles of
Safety, Liquidity and Yield.  

All investments are in accordance and full compliance withOhio Revised Code Section 135.35 and the Stark County Investment Policy.  

All investments are reviewed and approved on a quarterly basis by the Investment Advisory Committee.

So there you have it folks from Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar "in his own words."

Over a period of time, the SCPR will be going through the entire list of Stark County political subdivision to determine the status of dormant (but needed to be at the ready for "on call" use) taxpayer funds in terms of their being invested to the best benefit of local government units having been entrusted with revenues by Stark County taxpayers.

Notwithstanding Zumbar's candor in revealing that his office missed out on approximately $32,000, the SCPR thinks county taxpayers should be highly pleased with the manner in which Treasurer Zumbar manages the Stark County treasury.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016




           as only the SCPR
                                          questions commissioners
                                                                                      on executive session 
with Lichter of IRG & HOF official

Why all the secrecy about the financing/"public" assistance needs of the  Professional Football Hall of Fame Village Project (HOF-VP)?

Why all the secrecy on IRG (Industrial Realty Group) LLC involvement?

While all Stark Countians including the SCPR want the project to be as productive as projected in a chart presented at a work session (see below) by IRG president and chairman of the board Stu Lichter and others in his retinue including a Canton based Professional Football Hall of Fame official to Stark County commissioners David Bridenstine, Janet Creighton and Richard Regula; "due diligence"—in public—is in order.

The foregoing are "threshold" questions that Stark Countians should demand be forthcoming before one more dollar of public money is put into the hands of the HOF-VP connected

Additionally, for the benefit and protection of  Stark County political subdivision taxpayers (including the county itself) an overriding question in the minds of Stark Countians should be:
Will our government protect us from being taken advantage of (i.e. an insufficient ROI [Return on Investment] on any taxpayer money put at the disposal of IRG, the HOF-VP and others involved in the constructing what many believe to be significantly over 500 million plus Professional Football Hall of Fame Village Project notwithstanding Lichter's presenting of a slide using the figure $476 million.

Other entities that have or might be asked to contribute taxpayer provided resources include the city of Canton, Plain Township, the Canton Park system and the Canton City Schools.

And there may be other local government entities that the SCPR is not aware of in a taxpayer subsidy of the HOF-VP enterprise.

Now is the time for Stark Countians to press any local government entity negotiating with IRG and the HOF-VP to exercise extreme caution and the highest degree of due diligence in protecting the public purse and the public interest.

Because Stark County is just middling along and several of the county's major cities, foremost of which is the city of Canton itself ($5.1 million deficit last years and probably more deficit in Fiscal Year 2017) are in financial stability jeopardy; it is critically important that local government HOF-VP involved entities be absolutely sure that what appears to the SCPR to be "pie-in-the-sky" projections on the ROI actually withstand the highest degree of vetting.

Last Friday, The Report noticed on the agenda of the October 12, 2016 regular meeting of the commissioners that a work session was set for yesterday (October 17) on the HOF-VP.

And show up they did, the folks from and/or associated with IRG and the northwest Canton based Professional Football Hall of Fame.

Only one Stark County citizen without portfolio showed up.

Republican Canton Township trustee Bill Smith, who the SCPR thinks is pretty much a cinch to be elected commissioner on November 8th, was present as was an official from the Stark County Convention & Vistors Bureau.

Other than that, only The Stark County Political Report as a solitary media type.

Get this.  Nobody from The Repository, the self-reported "the official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame was at yesterday's very important meeting.


Is this something like "Delta:  the Official Airline of the Washington Nationals?

Can anybody imagine Delta officials critiquing/evaluating/questioning the management of this NBA franchise?

Again, Wow! for a newspaper that purports to be protecting the public interest NOT to be present is a cause for concern, no?

But, then, again; maybe its for the better in terms of the reliability (i.e. objectivity) of what is reported given "the 'official' connection," no?

The public part of the meeting lasted only 21 minutes.

And, of course, the SCPR was there to record every minute of it.  With the graphics presented by Lichter as published above, The Report already in this blog has provided a snapshot of what Lichter had to say for public consumption.

But the real news is that at minute 21 of the meeting the commissioners opted to go into executive session justified by IRG's assertion through Lichter that proprietary information was likely to be shared with the commissioners.

The Report waited around during the secret session with Smith, the citizen and the representative from the Stark County Convention & Visitors Bureau as they peeled off one by one until only yours truly was left.

Finally, finally, finally after over an hour wait, the doors opened and the lone member of the public (the SCPR) was granted entrance as the meeting was being gaveled to a close by President Creighton.

But wait!

The SCPR had some questions to ask.

And here they are on video:

Not much in the way in answers.

Vague stuff about perhaps a request that Stark County taxpayers at an purportedly unknowable dollar amount (even ballparking the number) being asked to participate in the HOF-VP.

The commissioners did promise that they will not make any decisions that mean the appropriation of taxpayer provided resources without first giving the public an opportunity to weigh-in.

Thank the Almighty for that, no?

Monday, October 17, 2016


(Originally Posted on Saturday)







County Commissioners
Broadband & HOF Village Project
(In Terms of County Involvement)



Pictured above (from Stark County's Graphic Information System [GIS] is the neighborhood development where I live.

As publisher of The Stark County Political Report, I attended Wednesday's the Stark County Area Broadband Task Team (SCABBTT) "Report to the Community Broadband Feasibility Study on the implementation of broadband Internet connection.

Having a personal history and interest in the potential for computer and computer related infrastructure, I am intrigued with how SCABBTT might play out as a boon to the Stark County economy across every sector of Stark County economic life as well as the personal benefit as a taxpaying citizen who might benefit in a tangible "in my home" way.

But at what cost?

Here is a teaser on the cost from the executive summary published by SCABBTT which every reader of this blog who cares about the economic future of Stark County ought to read (LINK), to wit:  (Note:  Initial start up cost estimated to be $22.5 million)
Stark County includes 165,000 residential units. If we utilize an average industry cost per passing (avg. cost per home served) of $1,500 per unit, we can identify a full fiber buildout cost in the range of $250 million. When we apply a cost of $1,250 per subscriber connected (to cover drop fiber cable, CPE2 , and battery backup) and apply a 35% uptake, we arrive at a budget just for subscribers connected of $72.5 million. In addition to these costs, design/engineering, data center, network components, and operational requirements will likely push a FTTP project for Stark into the $330 - $400 million range – again, to connect 35% of premises in the County. 
As the "ultimate" cost figures show in the text above, it is unlikely that 1GB broadband is coming to your Stark County neighborhood anytime soon.

Current projections are that on about 1/3rd of Stark's residential areas will being seeing robust Internet connectivity speeds as a consequence of SCABBTT's effort.

In 1982, running my business as a Stark County sited lawyer, I brought computer technology to my office.

See that tiny 5" screen.  One my early administrative assistant hires spent about an hour working on this computer (hooked up electronically to a Facit electric typewriter) only to stand up to say:  "That's it, I am not working on this thing.  I quit!"

I tell this story to make the put that—no matter the difficulty, inconvenience and frustration— I was and remain an "early adopter" of forward looking technology or any other phenomenon I think will ultimately make for a better world for you and I to live in.

And I see the three year effort so far by forward looking Stark Countians to ultimately bring high speed (a minimum of 1 Gigabit) broadband Internet connection to the county as being a pioneer effort that has the potential to put the county at the forefront of technological and thereby inescapably economic development that—if done correctly—likely will result in a renaissance of Stark County; the likes of which has not existed since the iron/steel/vacuum cleaner industry was going full bore.

As seen in the Wikipedia graphic to the left of this text, Stark County a whole significant growth was over by the mid to late 1960s.

So it has been over 50 years that Stark County has been atrophying and thereby is in clear and present danger of of slipping into an abyss of being an undesirable place of live and raise one's family.

A few years ago, excitement abounded as the fracking of oil and gas came on the scene and local politicos like former Canton mayor William J. Healy, II (supported by Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce officials) made wild-eyed predictions that the county was on the brink of a stupendous rising from the financial/economic ash heap into become a robust economic juggernaut resembling the heydey of the mid-19th century.

Healy made great fanfare in his March 1, 2012 (LINK) State of the City address of renaming Canton as being the Utica capital.

But as we all now know, those predictions are now themselves in the ash heap of pie-in-the-sky thinking notwithstanding lingering optimism of former Repository editor and Chamber official David Kaminski (LINK).

It wasn't all that long after Healy, apparently; as a matter of executive action, named Canton "the Utica Capital" that one of fracking's biggest players (Chesapeake Energy) moved (LINK) from Canton to Louisville (LINK).

To me, the fracking phenomenon is at best a temporary thing  that exhausts natural resources; rather than building up enduring community resources as I think the 1 Gb SCABBTT effort and its focus on Stark County wide infrastructure does.

And there is the current "ga-ga" over the in the process of development Pro Football Hall of Fame Village Project (HOF-VP).

Guess who is at the lead of promoting the HOF-VP as a cure-all of all that ails Stark County?  You've got it, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce!

And the local mainstream media has thrown in on the hoopla in a cheerleader-esque fashion as evidenced by its billing itself as "The Official Newspaper of The Pro Football Hall of Fame."

Interesting, no?

What kind of scrutiny can Stark Countians expect of The Rep regarding HOF-VP operations/functioning given its "inside" relationship with the folks who run the Hall of Fame?

My blog is the only Stark County media outlet that questions the viability of the HOF-VP, here are links to those blogs:
To compare the HOF-VP to the Utica Share unbounded optimism take a look at this Healy State of the City address of March, 2015 as covered by my Stark County Political Report (LINK).

Like all other Stark Countians, I hope that the HOF-VP is all that its promoters say it will be at a cost of some $500 million plus with the promise that the project will produce some 13,000 Stark County jobs.

But I am skeptical that the financing needed to complete the project will materialize.

And, if it does, how durable/lasting will the project be in terms of long term economic benefit to Stark Countians?

The city of Canton has invested $5 million in Canton taxpayer dollars in the HOF-VP but HOF officials has not delivered a response to the SCPR accounting for how the $5 million has been spent nor how the $10 million in Ohio taxpayer funds that state Representative Kirk Schuring (Republican - Jackson Township; the 48th Ohio House District) procured for the HOF-VP.

HOF officials so far have not been transparent to the general public with information about the taxpayer portion of the funds spent on the project so far.

On Monday, HOF officials will be at a Stark County commissioners work session (10:00 a.m.) apparently to make a project progress report.

At the regular weekly meeting of the commissioners later on the same day as the SCABBTT presentation, Commissioners Regula and and Bridenstine (Commissioner Creighton said she was not yet ready to comment) weighed-in on both the Broadband and HOFV projects as seen in this video (4:47).

It will be interesting to see whether or not the county commissioners will delve into the public portion of the financing of the HOF-VP and be questioning of the ongoing viability of the project.  On Wednesday, Commissioner Bridenstine characterized the Broadband project as "having the cart before the horse" and the HOFV project "as the horse and cart not being hitched at all."

I think it the session will be a sweetheart type of exchange and the citizens of Stark County will not know more about the finer details of the HOF-VP than we know now.

I have gone over the foregoing in order to contrast the exhaustible (i.e. natural resources) and, perhaps, the ephemeral (the long term viability of professional football) [see this LINK {NFL ratings plunge could spell doom for traditional TV} about the prospects of the enduring quality of Pro Football] with the durable and lasting which I think broadband fiber optic middle-backbone infrastructure is likely to be.

The background foregoing sets up this SCPR investigative series.

Up next in this series of blogs:  A cost/benefits analysis of Utica, HOF-VP and Broadband, including extensive SPRR video of key points presented on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Yesterday's Stark County weekly commissioner meeting was nearly over when a Canton citizen and his "significant other" entered the commissioners' meeting room.

Much earlier in the meeting, the time slot for "Public Speaks" had long come and gone with nobody participating.

Nevertheless, commissioner chairman of the board Janet Creighton did not miss a beat in recognize the late coming citizen and inquired of him whether or not he wished to addressed the board.

As can be seen in the forgoing video, he did.

As it turns out, his problem was one that one that could not be solved by the commissioners but rather needs the attention of his Canton city councilperson (Councilman John Mariol, Ward 7) and, perhaps, Canton building department official and Mayor Thomas Bernabei all-around troubleshooter J.R. Rinaldi.

County Administrator Brant Luther took "the bull by the horns" and "on-the-spot" researched information to redirect the citizen to the likes of Mariol and Rinaldi.

An impressive thing about yesterday's commissioner/citizen interaction was that notwithstanding that the citizen had shown up way, way, way past the time for participating in Public Speaks, Commissioner Creighton was quick to recognize that the gentleman-citizen had something on his mind to address commissioners about and almost instantly departed from yesterday's official agenda to recognize him.

Should be standard practice throughout Stark County government, no?

Not to say that a citizen should be recognized mid-way in a meeting but after Public Speaks, but certainly before adjournment.

What Creighton did yesterday in breaking meeting protocol and providing a forum for the citizen with a problem that needs solving was to bring home to the citizen and the rest of us that with the Stark County Board of Commissioners "citizen participation" is a high, high, high priority.

And such is the kind of thing that is a "head-turner" for everyday citizens and is "superb example of" how a seemingly little thing like Creighton's citizen friendly act, if followed across government at all levels of U.S. government, has the potential to go a long way in rebuilding the alienation that exists across much of America between the governed and the governors.

As a contrast to what Commissioner Creighton did yesterday is to muse on what the response would have been had the citizen shown up beyond the official Public Speaks agenda slot in most Stark County political subdivision (villages, townships, cities, boards of education) jurisdiction.

Being the veteran of many such meeting, the SCPR is reasonably certain that such a late entrant would be summarily ignored.  And, should such a citizen gain the attention of the government official running the meeting, "you can bet your bottom dollars" that the official would say something like "sorry, but time has passed, and you will have to come back next meeting."

In some Stark County political subdivisions, one can show up on time for a given meeting allotted Public Speaks slot,  but if prior notice has not been given to the presiding officer (usually a day or two before the meeting), then, forget it; permission to speak will be denied.

While the SCPR thinks that the governor/governed model in North Canton is improving (LINK), there is no way that a late arriving citizen would get the type of reception that Creighton accorded the tardy Cantonian yesterday.

Americans anymore have a rather dim view of the receptivity/friendliness/facilitativeness of public officials to citizen input.

Commissioner Creighton's initiative yesterday is one that should be a model for all Stark County government political subdivisions to adopt.

Over time this kind of thing has the potential to reverse the skeptical if not cynical attitude that many ordinary citizens have toward government.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


UPDATE:  6:37 AM


Miriam Baughman <m.baughman ... >  Oct 11 at 11:17 PM

To:  Martin Olson

Hi Martin,

I read your blog this afternoon and thank you again for your concise and correct comments.
I want to explain why we are against a Commercial CRA.

North Ridge Apartments received a residential CRA at 100% for 12 years.     This was because in the North Canton Zoning under residential, apartments are a permitted use. 

In the revised CRA that was recently put forward and then defeated, a sneaky thing was noted.     All residential CRAs were deleted, and only commercial CRAs were permitted.       And apartments for CRA  purposes were now going to be determined commercial, instead of residential.
So------what started the big "bru ha ha"   was still going to be present in the commercial CRA.   APARTMENT BUILDINGS!

According to ORC, if a commercial CRA is 50% or less, schools have no say.     So in the  CRA that was proposed, apartment buildings could get a CRA since they would now be deemed commercial.      That means a complex like North Ridge could have a 50% abatement and the schools would lose close to $500,000 over the 12 years. 

Ir is no secret that Dehoff and Lemmon are going to build apartment buildngs on the Waterside property on South Main street.  as soon as their 10 year grant committment to the State ends in 2 years.    This property is in the Main Street CRA district.

The  Waterside property is quite large and could hold multiple 20 unit apartment buildings.    If apartments can get a 50% CRA  the schools stand to lose millions, not thousands.

Apartment buildings do not give the city any economic benefits, as there are very few employees and most if not all tenants work out of town.     Apartment buildings drain city services such as roads, EMS and police.    Probably there would also be kids attending schools.

I would be supportive of a commercial CRA for businesses that would bring the city income tax and other business benefits.      But very much against a commercial CRA that includes apartment buildings.






Before the SCPR began covering North Canton government, were the days of Mayor Tom Rice and turmoil galore in the city's governance.

Current mayor David Held was fired as North Canton city administrator in 2004 by the-then controversial Rice.

In 2005, Held ran against Rice (both Republicans in a Republican dominated city council city) and defeated him resoundingly, to wit:

In a case of "the more things change, the more they remain the same,"  early on as mayor, Held faced a test on North Canton's economic development methodology and its effect on North Canton's public school system, to wit: (LINK to full "extracted" article)

So it appears that North Canton has not solved its community reinvestment area policy, practice and implementation (which was initiated under the administration of then-mayor Daryl Revoldt in 1999, [North Canton schools part of the process]) over the 10 years of Held's leadership.

But that may be about to change.

Of course, who else? former North Canton councilman Chuck Osborne is at the forefront of citizen action to force a resolution of the failure of North Canton government (Held, his administration and a succession of city council members) to deal effectively with the competing needs for the city to grow its financial resource base while protecting—arguably—(a la Mike Hanke) any community's "most important attraction for relocating from other communities:  citizens and businesses.

Last night's meeting might signal that concrete changes are in process to achieve what North Canton government has not been able to produce for over 10 years.

First on the list of the graphic at the head of this blog is the need to kill off all traces of abatement in North Canton.

There are skeptics and cynics that 66-2016 will not become a reality and that the ordinance being on last night's agenda for a first reading (of three readings) before a vote is a mere "head-fake" and will somehow get side tracked.

A large part of the skepticism and cynicism is owing to the horribly deficient communication between North Canton's citizen activists and Law Director Tim Fox (since September, 2012).

As recently as last night, Osborne lambasted Fox and his handling of CRA related legislation.

If Mayor Held and council are to succeed in convincing North Canton's citizens that North Canton government is not hostile to them and is reaching out to collaborate with them, city leaders much somehow reassure the citizens that they will not allow Fox (seemingly the "tail" which controls "the entire body" of North Canton government) to "screw up" the work done by Held and North Canton city council president Daniel "Jeff" Peters (Ward 2), Ward 1 councilman Doug Foltz, Councilmen-at-Large Mark Cerreta and Dan Griffith in reaching out to North Canton to them (them being the citizens).

Citizens interacting with North Canton government distrust of and antagonism towards Fox could not be higher.

Second on the above-list is an authentic vetting of the process in which North Ridge Place developers Robert DeHoff/William Lemmon secured a potentially upwards of $1 million tax abatement over 12 years most of which would be absorbed by the North Canton City Schools.

On October 7th, new North Canton economic development director/housing officer Gary Fry filed a complaint with North Canton's Housing Council to seek a clarification of the whether or not the North Ridge Place abatement was/is in compliance with North Canton law, to wit:

And here is what Fry had to say last night:

A third item that North Canton must some day resolve is an "Ohio law compliant" hearing process for those seeking conditional use permits.

This issue is part and parcel of a seemingly unalterable negative view that a number of North Canton citizens have towards Law Director Fox.

Some of them think that he, in projecting that the hearing scheme as a matter of Ohio law requires a swearing-in, of any who have testimonial input with North Canton's Zoning Commission, is an example of his delighting in placing an unnecessary burden on citizen participation in local government and validating evidence of Fox's underlying hostility to the likes of Citizen Osborne and his fellow North Canton citizen activists.

See/Listen to some of Fox from last night's meeting:

Lastly, the list includes getting North Canton's CRA scope and process correctly nuanced (the concept advanced by Councilman-at-large Dan Griffith).

See/Listen to Griffith.

Some of the citizen activists want the CRA scrapped altogether.

The SCPR disagrees with those citizens and thinks that Griffith has the "best for North Canton" notion.

But whatever emerges should be a consequence of a meaningful dialogue between the mayor and his administrators, council and any North Canton citizen who wishes to part of a constructive government/citizen collaborative process.

One more matter.

The Report compliments North Canton Council president Dan "Jeff" Peters for handling the interactions between North Canton government and the city's involved citizenry in a much more receptive and civil fashion than he has in the past.

The SCPR does see growth in his leadership style from the days he was lashing out at certain citizens in the social media.  The hope is that he keeps on maturing in his leadership modality.

Right now, it appears to the SCPR that only Councilwoman Marcia Kiesling and Ward 3 councilwoman Stephanie Werren have made very little, if any, progress in their basic negative attitudes towards ordinary folks interacting with North Canton government.

Over time Mayor Held, Peters, Foltz, Cerreta, Griffith and, perhaps, even the pronouncedly laid back Dominic Fonte (Ward 4) are on a path to set a tone of North Canton government positive receptivity to everyday citizen input.

Kiesling, Werren and Fox will either get on board on find themselves by their own hand ostracized from a process that promises a new day of citizen/government mutual respect and concomitant working together for a better North Canton.

Kiesling and Werren are subject one day to losing their jobs in an election if they persist in indulging an us versus them mentality vis a vis citizens.

The choice is theirs.

Fox is another case in that he is an appointed official and therefore can only be schooled in respecting and finding a way to lawfully accommodate citizen interaction with his office and the rest of North Canton government.

It seems, though, he is incapable of being gracious.

So the question becomes for those to whom he is accountable (four members of North Canton City Council is this:

Does the quality of his work as the city's lawyer outweigh the seeds of distrust, disharmony, distance and disregard that he seemingly plants in his relationship with any who make demands of North Canton government?

If it is the former rather than the latter and a majority of council does not move to ameliorate the latter, then there will be a limit on any effort to build a constructive relationship between the governors and the governed.

Here is a recent exchange between him and Osborne which clearly demonstrates anew that he gets ridiculous in the handling of requests for public records (note:  the requested record was already out in the public domain) and one would presume is an attitude he carries over into other law director/citizen contacts.

From: Justine Avery [] 
Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2016 10:37 AM

To: Chuck Osborne

Subject: Public Record Request McKinley Development Company

Dear Mr. Osborne,

In response to your request to the Clerk of Council for a copy of a letter sent to City Council by the McKinley Development Company, the clerk was unable to immediately satisfy your request because she had not been provided with a copy of the record you sought.  State ex rel. Fant v. Mengel, 62 Ohio St.3d 197, (1991) (The Public Records Act, Ohio Revised Code (“R.C.”) 149.43, does not require that a public office create documents to meet a requester’s demand).  

As a courtesy to you, however, a copy was obtained outside of the clerk’s office and is attached hereto.

Timothy L. Fox

Note:  The SCPR takes the "as a courtesy to you" as being a case of being a smart aleck and unbecoming of a public official.

Otherwise, the improvements noted in this blog are owing to the core of citizens who for nearly four years now have made it crystal clear to the mayor and all of council that North Canton is going to be a government of, by and for the people.

The SCPR at this time cannot with a sense of certainty name factors in North Canton government who have gotten that message and have internally led an effort to have council and the administration approach if not get to a "come let of reason together" model of citizen/government interaction.

But it is clear that those personages have emerged.

And such is an example of government officials "doing the right thing!"

A further showing of good faith and a changing relationship, council and the mayor should join together as clients of the law director to direct him (waiving the attorney/client privilege which is owned by the clients; not the attorneys) to release a copy of the work of Brickner and Ecker on the matter of North Canton CRA as certainly exists as clearly indicated by this invoice submitted by the Columbus based law firm.

Monday, October 10, 2016


What a difference 26 days makes, no?

On September 14th, most Stark County Republican political subdivision elected officials/candidates for office in the November 8th general election made their way to Canton Memorial Civic Center for a "date" with GOP presidential candidate.

Mid-September through perhaps through late September and the first presidential debate of the 26th, Donald J. Trump was at the "high water mark" of his candidacy.

It was looking more and more up to the September 26th first debate and his post-debate trashing of form Miss Universe Alicia Machado it was becoming more and more plausible that Trump could actually be elected president of the United States of America.

Post-September 14th appearance. the SCPR spoke with Republican Stark County commissioner Richard Regula who said that up until the 14th and Trump coming to Canton, he was at best "lukewarm" to the Trump candidacy.

Fast forward to today, October 10th, and Regula in a telephone conversation with the SCPR said in essence "a pox on both their houses"  (a SCPR characterization; not Regula's).

And, Regula, would not share with The Report whom he planned to vote for in this election citing his "secret ballot" privilege.

However, he did vigorously criticize Trump for the over-the-weekend (Friday) "caught on tape" revelation wherein Trump talked about women in a derogatory/obscene way and implied that he had taken sexual liberties with unwary "beautiful" women he encountered in his travels.  (LINK to the video/transcrpit for those few readers who may not have seen the "caught on tape")  In last night's debate, Trump denied that he had actually taken action on his words.

Moreover, it seemed apparent from the SCPR/Regula conversation that he is NOT likely to vote for Hillary Clinton in alluding to his belief that she in her own way is every bit as undesirable as Trump is.

On Saturday morning, incumbent Commissioner Regula's Democratic opponent John Mariol came out with this challenge to Regula and impliedly to all Stark County Republican subdivision candidates.

I think any Republican candidate or current office holder (my opponent included) that has endorsed and stood by Donald Trump needs to explain why they are putting party loyalty in front of the dignity of women. The Citizens and more specifically the women of Stark County deserve to know why party loyalty is more important then the dignity of women.

The SCPR has contacted many of Stark's Republican candidates for local office but has only received a smattering of responses, one being this morning's telephone interview with Regula.

One of the most understandable justifications of a local Republican candidate for countywide office in seeing appeal in Trump as the Republican presidential standard bearer came earlier today from a SCPR telephone interview with Republican prosecutor candidate Jeff Jakmides.

Jakmides says that his attraction to Trump is very, very narrow.  And that is "the Wall" that Trump says he wants to build on the U.S./Mexico border stop the flow of illegal immigrants and illegal drugs (heroin overdose deaths are a huge problem in Stark County and accross America).

Jakmides says that if Clinton was stronger on the interdiction of heroin and the like from filtering in across the U.S./Mexico border, he would have no problem whatsoever despite his being a Republican supporting her over Trump.

But, he says, in his estimate that simply is not the case.

A local powerful/popular Republican countywide, Stark County Commissioner Janet Creighton, is not running for re-election this election cycle.

She has embraced Donald Trump from her perspective of being a woman in heading the Stark County unit of Women for Trump and "trumpeted" same to the SCPR a couple of weeks ago.

Has Creighton rethought her support of Trump given the "caught on tape" incident?

Not at all, to wit:

Janet Creighton <janetweircreighton@...>  Oct 8 at 4:13 PM

To:  Martin Olson

I am disappointed in his remarks but it does not negate the actions of Hillary as Secretary of State.
She is not creditable.   I am voting for Trump.  

The SCPR agrees with Creighton, Clinton is not credible (ref: [for one] her private/public positions on Wall Street interests).

Being the father of three daughters two of whom are high ranking military officers (one of whom worked in the sexual assault prevention and response unit at the Pentagon) there is no they should be working for a commander in chief who sat by and allow even own his daughter (ref:  Howard Stern interview) to be described as "a piece of a**.

The SCPR has been at the forefront in Stark County government and politics advocating and pushing for women joining as equal partners with men in bringing effective, efficient, honest, transparent, accountable government to Stark County government irrespective of the political party identity.

The Report has a high regard for a few of Stark County's Republicans who hold and are running for Stark County political office.

But the Trump "fusillade on women" (going back at least to 1990 up to the present) lack of articulated and meaningful response on the part of too many Stark County Republican officials/candidates and should be taken by voters as their being too willing to abide a hostile gender specific model of leadership in service of political party interests.

And the same applies to local "organized" Democrats in relation to Bill Clinton when they minimize or are dismissive of his outrageous historical relationship with women as being mere objects.

Yesterday's blog included Family Court judge candidate David Nist's failure to meet the Trump offense head-on and Saturday's  49th Ohio District candidate Dan McMasters non-response.

A family court judge candidate cannot roundly condemn Donald Trump by name?


Finally, still no word from Republican Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar.


Sunday, October 9, 2016


UPDATE:  3:08 PM

(photo, Creighton text and highlighting added)


It appears to the SCPR that there is a somewhat of a disconnect between Stark County's leading political figures as contrasted with a number of Ohio's statehouse Republicans.

Stark County's leading Republican countywide and Stark County commissioner Janet Creighton (as seen in the graphic above) is sticking by the GOP's nominated for president man:  Donald J. Trump.

And here is what the Stark County Republican Party (presumably the words of [or at least approved by him for release] Stark GOP Chairman, Jeff Matthews (also executive director of the Stark County Republican Party).

Matthews has not responded direct to the SCRP in response to an e-mail inquiry sent him and other leading Stark County "organized" Republicans early yesterday morning seeking reaction as a consequence of a "caught on tape" video in which Republican presidential candidate Trump can be heard saying (in 2005) that he had attempted to seduce a married woman and seemingly he could do whatever he wished of a sexual nature with women he took a liking to by virtue of his, at the time, being a star.

The Report has received no response from Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar and prosecuting attorney candidate Jeff Jakmides.

Republican Stark County commissioner candidate and current Canton Township trustee Bill Smith did respond saying that he was preoccupied with working on campaign matters and dealing with family located in Florida in the pathway of Hurricane Matthew.

Here is what Republican Family Court candidate David Nist had to say:

My parents always taught my sister and I not to say anything that we would not be willing to repeat to our grandparents. They also taught us the value of the golden rule. 

Despite our best efforts if we did ever offend someone we were directed to give them a sincere apology and hope the offended person forgave us. As parents, my wife and I try to instill some of the same values in our children. 

n our jobs, my wife and I try to always remember that the individual or people we are dealing with could be someones brother, sister, wife, husband, mother, father or grandparent and so we do our best to treat them with respect. 

Several state of Ohio elected officials/federal officials and thereby public figures had these comments which are in marked contrast to what is coming out of the mouths of Stark County GOP officials (source:  Columbus Dispatch article [LINK]):

State officials disapproving and NOT endorsing Trump:

State officials disapproving of Trump's "caught on tape" but apparently still supporting him pretty much in line what Stark GOP elected officials/candidates are saying:

Federal elected official disapproving of Trump's words and WITHDRAWING a previous endorsement which, of course, is tune with what Kasich and Yost have done.

And, finally, statements from two of Stark County's representatives in Congress which are pretty much in line with the Stark County/DeWine approach:  (Gibbs, most of Stark County; Renacci the northern part of Stark County)

Notably "among the missing" (as of the time of publishing this blog) are state GOP elected Mary Taylor (lieutenant governor), Josh Mandel (Ohio treasurer) and Jon Husted (secretary of state).

There has probably never been a more trying time for "organized" and "elected to office" and "candidate for office" Republicans whether it be at the local, state or national level.