Monday, October 29, 2007

Canton Mayoral Strangeness

Blogging the Canton mayoral race is odd for me on a couple of levels. On one, Democratic challenger William Healy currently employs one of my students. A bit ticklish that.

On another, it's Stark County politics. Stark Co. has a gentler, more civilized politics than most other places in the state. I've written about this before. Both parties are closer to the center, will little in the way of far out wings. Elected officials tend to be moderate and work well across the aisle. My former boss, the late Bob Horowitz, was every bit a Democrat, but one of his favorite people in county government was then-Auditor Janet Weir Creighton. And individuals tend to be all over the place on issues. Merely knowing what party someone belongs to doesn't tell you a whole lot.

Fast forward a decade or so and Ms. Creighton is now fighting to hold on to her seat as Mayor of Canton. A Canton Correspondent sent me a link to a Repository story that illustrates how Stark is different:

    In the closing of an hourlong debate Sunday, a mayoral candidate lit a fire, and the consequence could be ugly.

    Incumbent Janet Weir Creighton told the audience - many of them black - that her opponent's crime policy could be scary.

    His "zero tolerance policy (on crime) will lead to racial profiling," the Republican said.
So the Democrat wants to get tough and the Republican is playing the race card. The Republican is concerned about the rights of suspects and the Democrat accuses her of being soft. That's Stark for you.

Looking at Healy's actual crime plank, it doesn't leave lots of room for racial profiling. That is, it doesn't involve things like more traffic stops which is where profiling becomes a problem.
In fact, it includes the sort of community policing and early intervention programs that get-tough Republicans usually deride as coddling criminals. In this instance "zero-tolerance" seems less a codeword for profiling and more a brand for a crime platform that includes some progressive ideas.

CORRECTION: It took me a beat, but I realize the person who sent the clip isn't from Healy's campaign.