Friday, June 30, 2006

Alex Arshinkoff -- Good Government Guy

Summit County Republican Boss Alex Arshinkoff has proposed two ballot issues to clean up county government. Because he’s all about clean government. This from a guy who hasn’t met a Republican so underqualified that he doesn’t rate a politically motivated appointment.

Here’s the best part:

    County Republican Party leader Alex Arshinkoff said the changes to the way employees are hired and the formation of a commission that is elected rather than appointed would make county government less susceptible to influence.
Some jokes don't even need to be made.

The proposal to elect the charter commission is just ridiculous. The McCarthy v. Everyone war has generated competing proposals to turn the Charter Review Commission into a ghost legislature, drafting proposals to be voted on directly by the people without any input from council. Arshinkoff’s proposal goes one better, making seats on the Commission elected.

This is typical Alex. When he holds an office – like the Court of Common Pleas General Division – he fights any attempt to water it down. When he’s out of power, my God we need an elected position. Best example – when Republicans held the Juvenile Court judgeship Alex fought mightily any attempt to add a new judge. When Linda Tucci Teodosio won she had barely moved in when he changed his tune. As it happens, the whole story is reset in today’s BJ.

I haven’t found the language online, but I bet the proposal makes the election nonpartisan. When party affiliations don’t show up on the ballot, Democrats lose their numbers advantage and the Republican’s organization advantage kicks in. Why do Republicans enjoy an organization advantage? Go ask R—s P-y.

The nepotism proposal, divorced from political context, at least looks good based on the ABJ description. The details of the written proposal are of course key, but at least if it reflects standard-issue anti-nepotism laws it should be a net plus.

The context, of course, is that Alex is trying to divert attention from Republican macrocorruption – Noe, Ney, Worker’s Comp – to Democratic microcorruption – hiring relatives of elected officials. Presumably the law will neither prohibit hiring relatives of party contributors nor prevent hiring people who have done miscellaneous political favors.

Handicapping, the anti-nepotism proposal is a no-brainer. If Summit Dems are smart – and that’s an open question – they will just suck it up and let it happen. Unless the proposal contains some poison pill flaw, campaigning against it would be political self-mutilation.

Probably the Arshinkoff version of the Charter Review reform proposal wins also. Americans are in the throes of one of their periods of fetishizing elections, making this hard to run against. And it doesn’t help that this is a riff off of James McCarthy running a weeniethon of his own.


Anonymous said...

I have to disagree about the R's holding an organizational advantage.

In the last few elections the R's haven't been able to turn out voters for their judicial candidates like the Ds. Alex has one pony left and that's the Governor's mansion. Now they're forced to hold their seats by either running a well known incumbent for a different seat and apointing the replacement, or apointing the replacement when a D incumbent moves to a new slot. Without the power to apoint Alex would be out of judgeships in a few cycles.

We can even look at their executive directors. Christine for our party has an advanced degree and worked with Riffe in Columbus. Mike Chadsey for the R's barely graduated Kent State and has never held employment outside the Arshinkoff patronage machine.

Anonymous said...

Alex was able to turn out enough votes for Ken Blackwell to defeat Petro in Summit County by 7%, though. As for the name game, one only needs to look at Ilene Shapiro and Jon Poda to see that both parties know the power of a politically wired name. Christine also happens to be Wayne Jones' neice - That doesn't hurt, either. And, her prior employer was Wayne's client the politically connected nonprofit Oriana House (who also employed Wayne's wife).