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News, notes & opinions: May 2016

Talking politics with a longtime teacher friend the other day, I brought up Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s quixotic chase for the White House.

Talking politics with a longtime teacher friend the other day, I brought up Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s quixotic chase for the White House.

“Would any teacher in Ohio actually vote for this man?” I asked.

“Gee, what’s not to like?” came the clearly sarcastic remark.

The state’s educators do not like this governor, and there’s no shortage of reasons:

—THIS IS ONLY A TEST. We hear that on the radio all the time—during severe-weather drills. In Ohio’s classrooms, however, THE TEST IS THE ONLY THING. Teachers bemoan how stilted their plans have become because their sole focus is getting their students ready for the state’s yearly assessment test. Up to 50 percent of a teacher’s job evaluation depends on how well his or her students do on this single test.

—LOUNGE SINGERS. Kasich famously said early in his governorship that he “would abolish all teachers’ lounges where they sit together and worry about how ‘woe is us.’ “ This was in the run-up to his move early in his first term to quash some of the rights of public-sector unions in Ohio, including teachers’ unions. A state referendum soundly overturned his proposal.

—PUBLIC VS. PRIVATE. Kasich has aggressively touted charter schools in the state and pushed for more funding for charters at the expense of public schools. These charters operate under a different set of rules than traditional public schools and have been rife with problems that have been well-documented in newspapers such as The Canton Repository. Then there is David Hansen, the former official at the Ohio Department of Education who was forced to resign after admitting he helped charters look better than they should have in evaluations.

—PUSHING COSTS DOWNSTREAM. One of the key points of Kasich’s presidential platform is his ability to balance a budget. He’s done it in Ohio in large part by cutting off a chunk of state support for local districts. As a result, most districts in Ohio are facing budget crunches and are forced to cut services and/or personnel or go to their voters to ask for more taxes.

Granted, the governor does have his fans in Ohio education, and the system does have some major issues that need to be addressed—particularly in urban districts. But his support among Ohio educators is akin to his sparse delegate count in the GOP race as of this writing.

My friend, who knows some quality teachers who are trying to get out of the profession because they are so frustrated, suggested colleagues actually should consider rallying around the governor.

“Hey, it would get him out of Ohio.”

—Scott Brown

If the election was a movie …

If this was a movie, Donald Trump would be the perfect villain: A “unique” look, a lot of money, his name on the tops of buildings. He has an aggressive personality that reveals his boldness as much as it does his insecurities.

He sells steaks with his name on them.

If you found out that he owned a remote island lair built into an active volcano, would you be surprised?

And, if this was a movie, eventually he would be defeated by a hero for the everyman and woman.

If this was a movie, our hero would emerge at the convention. With a nation on the edge of its seat, our hero would give a speech for the ages, which would both propel him or her into the nomination for president and unite not just a widely fractured party but maybe the whole country.

If this was a movie, it would be perfectly scripted.

But this isn’t a movie, which makes the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer so intriguing.

It’s going to be a lot of fun.

I first thought this in the fall while watching a handful of candidates that no one had heard of make fun of each other in a GOP debate. Who won that debate? Cleveland.

I always wondered why candidates in the same party would be so harsh to each other. In the end, one of them will become the GOP’s candidate. But the winner is going to be chewed up and on the ropes before he or she even steps into the ring with the Democratic candidate.

For Republicans, you hope that the harsh road to the nomination hardens your candidate and unites your party for a full-on attack in the general election.

For Democrats, you hope it’s a train wreck.

All eyes will be on Cleveland this summer.

And I can’t wait for the show to start.

—Dave Manley 

Slogans are everything

“I Like Ike.” Has there been a simpler, more effective presidential slogan than those three short words?

Dwight Eisenhower used the catchy phrase in jingles and on buttons—along with his sterling military record—to win the 1952 election in a landslide. He won again in 1956, and while the official slogan was “Peace and Prosperity,” most supporters simply said, “I Still Like Ike.” Hey, if something works once …)

Campaign slogans date back to the 1840 presidential race that included frontier hero William Henry Harrison. He gave us “Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too.” Yeah, it’s famous for being famous. Kind of like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian.

After his election, Harrison felt he had to prove his worthiness to hold office. So he spoke for two hours in cold, wet weather at his inauguration, developed pneumonia and died barely a month into his presidency.

Historians believe his running mate coined the slogan “I’m With Stupid.”

Of course, great slogans need not be only a few words. Ronald Reagan’s, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” ended any chance Jimmy Carter had at re-election in 1980. The phrase also has ended many campaigns since then as candidates, especially Republicans, have tried to recapture Reagan’s magic to no avail.

To their credit, the five candidates still in the running for president in 2016 are putting forth short slogans. One problem: Most lack creativity.

“Kasich for America.”

“Hillary for America.”

(Insert collective yawn here.)

“TrusTED.” Not bad, Mr. Cruz.

Donald Trump wants us to “Make America Great Again.” Novel idea, except that how he says he would accomplish that is further polarizing an
already pretty-great America.

“I’m Ready for Bernie.” Hmmm. Are you?

Here is some free advice for Mr. Sanders, who seems to like anything that’s free: Hire Larry David to appear at your campaign stops and have him yell, “Feel the Bern!” over and over. No one can tell you two guys apart anyway.

Besides, an administration that would include regular appearances by Wanda Sykes and Richard Lewis is something we all could rally around. Just try to curb your enthusiasm.

—Rich Desrosiers

Toughest races in Stark?

Now that the primary election is over, soon it will be time to turn our attention toward the November election. Many people already have on a national level, but what about locally?

There are a couple of races that could be tied to the presidential race. The battle for state representative in the 49th District is between Thomas West, D-2 Canton City Council, and Republican Dan McMasters. This district was gerrymandered for a Democrat to win, and West has an advantage. McMasters, however, is well known by many people between Canton and Massillon. He’s an astute business owner, and frankly, he is one of the most intelligent people you will come across when it comes to discussing a range of topics.

But here’s a problem for McMasters: Donald Trump. And Trump is a problem for a lot of Republicans running in November. Unless McMasters finds a way to tap into the Trump-
anger vote that he is getting, November could be a turn-off for plenty of Republican voters.

A race that I think will be heated but not very competitive is for Stark County prosecutor. Democrat Tom Ferraro is the incumbent, and he’s being challenged by Jeff Jakmides, who made a successful write-in campaign to get on the November ballot. You’re going to hear a lot from Jakmides about direct indictments and how much money it would save municipalities on police overtime and other costs, but it would cost the county more money in attorneys. Ferraro is going to have to defend his decision to retire and be rehired, essentially known as double-dipping, and not popular among voters, although, it traditionally saves taxpayers money.

—Todd Porter

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass