Tuesday, October 20, 2015


UPDATE:  11:45 AM


SCPR NOTE:  The Report this morning talked with Councilwoman-at-Large Sue Ryan who tells yours truly she has written a letter to the editor of The Alliance Review in support of Mark Whitaker who she thinks will do just fine as law director of Alliance.

She doesn't have anything negative to say about Arnold.  Moreover, she says she sits close by Arnold at Alliance City Council meetings and has enjoyed a good relationship with her.

However, she has not seen the Arnold's former Alliance Law Department Facebook page to make a comment on the contents.

Ryan is not running for a new term on council


One has to go back to 1991 to find a Democrat holding Alliance's law director position.

And that would have been Mike Ogline.

Elected in 1987, he was succeeded by Republican Robert Lavery beginning on January 1, 1992.

From Lavery's election on, Republicans have had a stranglehold on the city law director office.
Lavery's successor (with the 1995 election), Andrew Zumbar (brother of Alex Zumbar, Stark County treasurer) proved untouchable for the Democrats during his time as law director, witness the following graphic.

But it may be that Republican appointee Jennifer Arnold originally from Caldwell, Ohio may be about to lose the position to Alliance native Mark Whitaker.

How's that?

The SCPR sees it this way.

One of the most influential Republicans in all of Alliance, Julie Jakmides, is in Whitaker's corner.

In her own right, Julie is the leading Republican vote getting councilperson-at-large in her two races for council.  You have to remember that this young lady is not that much beyond having graduated from Mount Union University (2013) and is now embarked on obtaining a law degree from The University of Akron School of Law (2017).

Julie's dad - Jeff Jakmides - a highly successfull criminal defense attorney - is a big bucks contributor to Stark County and Alliance area Republicans running for public office.

Julie is a highly loyal Republican.  But her best friend is Mark Whitaker's daughter.  And, Julie, takes her friendships seriously.  She says that her support of Whitaker is a product of the friendship factor and not a case of her bolting the Republican Party.

And the SCPR takes her word for it that her friendship with Whitaker's daughter in the primary reason she is opting to support him in this election.

However, The Report believes that there are at the very least reinforcing factors at play.

One such factor likely is what challenger Whitaker characterized to the SCPR as Arnold's unprofessional behavior.

The key here is a Facebook page that Arnold published in the early days of her taking office on being appointed law director by Stark County Republican Party Central Committee (Alliance members) on January 18, 2014 through - it appears - December, 2014.

What follows are some samples sent to the SCPR, to wit:

(Note:  Christina Marie is said to be Arnold's Alliance City Law Department office coordinator and Gasparik, her paralegal).

The SCPR is told that the FB page containing the ribald material has been taken down and replaced by this (LINK) page.

It hard to believe that if folks like Ward 3 councilman Larry Dordea and twice Republican candidate for Stark County sheriff, Republican mayor Alan Andreani, the membership of the Alliance FOP, Republican auditor Kevin Knowles and Councilman Roger Rhome knew about the former existence of the risque Facebook page that they would have been willing to have their names on her website as endorsers.

It could be that if they did know, they are rationalizing that it was done for comic relief and therefore were willing to overlook what others think was an unprofessional way to present the operations of Alliance's law department under Arnold's directorship.

It appears that some other Alliance Republicans are not willing to overlook that Facebook page and are keeping their distance from Arnold or in some cases outright supporting Democrat Whitaker.

Whitaker told the SCPR yesterday, without specifying which Zumbar(s) and which Lavery(s) will being appearing on his campaign finance report due out this Thursday, says that those names are among well known Alliance Republican names which will appear.

He did say that Andrew Zumbar is not one of them.

Andrew Zumbar was elected Alliance Municipal Court judge in November, 2013.

It rare for judges to overtly take sides in political campaigns and The Report is told that Andrew is not publicly taking a position in the Arnold/Whitaker race.

However, it has been noted that while the family residence has other candidates' signs in the yard, Jennifer Arnold's is not one of them.

In Stark County, Massillon Municipal Court judge Eddie Elum (a Democrat and a close ally of former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.,) has been in a political tussle or two in Massillon.

And at the Ohio Supreme Court level, Democrat justice William O'Neil is known to weigh-in on Ohio Democratic Party politics.

In aforementioned conversation with Whitaker, he shared the following with yours truly:
  • Confirmed he has significant Republican support through friendships he has formed in his many years living in Alliance,
  • Alliance Democrats, he says, are solidly behind him,
  • That Steve Okey is not involved in his campaign,
  • That Stark Dems' offer him advice when he asks but have not financially supported him,
  • While Sheriff George T. Maier has not attended a fundraiser, he has sent in a campaign contribution,
  • He has been working hard canvasing Alliance with his wife, his son and a couple that support him and they have covered 85% of Alliance except for Ward 3 and Ward 1 and once they get through those wards will embark on a re-canvas,
  • Disputed a Republican contention that he is in poor health as a consequence of having undergoing open heart surgery last October and that he is unlikely to be able to serve a full term and consequently Steve Okey is waiting in the wings to become law director through Stark County Democratic Party appointment,
  • He maintained that he is fit and plans on serving for a long time if elected,
  • Says that Judge Zumbar's wife openly supports him as does her parents,
  • Sells that the Sells (the owners of Heggy's in Alliance) support him,
  • Says that support Julie Jakmides and his daughter have been best friends since 5th grade and that her support is a function of that relationship,
  • He is expecting to win and would be surprised if he doesn't,
  • Feedback from voter contact is positive,
  • He is telling voters that they should vote for him because:
    • He (as contrasted to Arnold) is an Alliance native who grew up in the Carnation City, went to school in Allinace and understands Alliance as Arnold would not 
    • Says that Arnold was hired into the law department 12 years ago but only moved into Alliance two years ago,
  • That Arnold's operation is not a professional operation in that he is told by people that she is rude and arrogant,
  • Says he is aware of the former Arnold as Law Director Facebook page but is not specifically using it in the campaign in that he is showing it around town,
    • Says that the messages sent back and forth with her employees and posted on the former Facebook are inappropriate in that they are unprofessional,
    • Should not be on social media on work time,
    • For example posting a picture of a guy sleeping in his office which suggests that Alliance taxpayers are not getting what they are paying for,
  • Says that though Arnold makes much ado about focusing on prosecuting domestic violence cases, the reality is that her office plea bargans down about 75% of the domestic violence charges to lesser charges which he says is frustrating to Alliance police officers,
  • A consequence of the plea bargins, Whitaker says, is that if there are new domestic violence charges in the future the plea down to a lesser charge on the first charged domestic violence offence then negates the second arrest being a felony,
The SCPR is impressed with Julie Jakmides and her willingness to take the heat from fellow office-holding Republicans for her open support of her dear friend's dad.

Putting her friend above her political party may cost her down the road, The Report is told by a leading Alliance Republican office holder.

To hear such balderdash is exactly what causes the SCPR told hold in disdain those political party types who are retaliatory and recriminatory when persons such as Julie Jakmides puts human relationship(s) over and above political party ties.

Councilwoman Jakmides is among the SCRP's leading Stark County political subdivision officials (i.e. The Top 10 List, revised quarterly).

That she thinks well enough of Mark Whitaker to be publicly but not "in your face Republicans" is a political coup for him and cannot but help his effort to break the Republican lock on the Alliance law directorship.

One has to wonder what Jennifer Arnold was thinking when she put up that former Facebook page.

That's it!

She wasn't thinking.

Accordingly, is this a person who should continue to be law director of Alliance?

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