Friday, July 31, 2015


It was a coincidence today that as The Stark County Political Report resumes the series on the Stark County Political Subdivision "Top 10 List" of Elected Officials (List) yours truly received a communication from #6 on the List as to her latest initiative as an Alliance City Council member.

Yes, Councilwoman Julie Jakmides (a Republican) e-mailed The Report (along with another Stark County media person)  with this message:

Charter in Alliance

Julie A. Jakmides
Today at 2:55 PM

To:  Martin Olson ...

... Martin,

I wanted to give you a heads up that I shared a podium with my fellow Councilwoman-at-Large Sue Ryan at a meeting of the Alliance chapter of Kiwanis International today, and we spoke about a charter government initiative and what it would mean to the City of Alliance. Sue and I were asked to speak jointly at Kiwanis regarding “what is next” for the City of Alliance, and after some explanation of my research and information I have gathered from Canton’s Councilman Mack, she agreed that this was an exciting, important topic that we should share and get our constituents engaged in.

I plan to include a recap of our presentation in my committee report at the next regular meeting of Council (August 3). I expect that Sue and I will be giving more presentations on the topic in the near future and wanted to let you know that we have started the bi-partisan ball rolling to get this on the ballot in 2016.

Julie Jakmides
Councilwoman, City of Alliance
JD/MAP Candidate, Akron Law ’17
University of Mount Union '14

Terrific!  Absolutely terrific!!  Republican Alliance Councilwoman Julie Jakmides (running for reelection) and Democrat Sue Ryan (not running for reelection) joining together in a bipartisan effort to bring charter government to Alliance.

Unfortunately, The Report will not be able to make it to Alliance on Monday due to the fact that my return from Sweden will not be completed until later that evening.

However, there will be additional opportunities for the SCPR to cover this important event for the city of Alliance.

It is no surprise whatsoever that Jakmides is taking a proactive role to do what she believes will enhance having the most flexible structure of government available to Ohio cities become a reality in The Carnation City to assist in coping with increasing difficulty of governance in Ohio's urban communities.

And it no surprise that Sue Ryan unlike political party appointed council president Steve Okey can put aside partisan politics and work for the best interest of Alliance residents.

It was one thing for Councilwoman Jakmides to be named to the SCPR's initial Top 10 List.

But it is quite another to remain on the List.

In order to remain on the List.

Yours truly requires listees to continue proactive involvement in Stark County political and/or governance activities in a constructive way in order to maintain if not increase their rankings on the List.

Accordingly Julie Jakmides has edged up one notch on the List from #7 in the initial listing to being #6 this time around.

In addition to the charter government initiative, Jakmides had to stand her and a majority of council's ground once again in relation to council president Steve Okey.

The first time Okey played political mischief with Alliance City Council was back in June, 2014 as the newly appointed by Alliance members of the Stark County Central Committee president of Alliance City Council over Sue Ryan. See this LINK for a refresher.

Ryan was by far the better choice for council president.

But Okey who the SCPR includes in the political bully boys grouping of  Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (a former Stark Dems' chairman) and Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier was apparently with the help of then Dems' chairman Randy Gonzalez and perhaps the Maiers twist a few Alliance precinct committeepersons arms and spirit the position away from Ryan.

Ryan likely will have the last laugh in November when Okey has to face the highly respected former Alliance City Schools superintendent Arthur  Garnes in an election where arm twisting does not work.

Just a month or so ago Okey was at it again as tried to embarrass Alliance City Council in what he termed as being a constitutional law crisis,

The SCPR will not go over the specifics again because this blog is to be primarily about Councilwoman Jakmides and her achievements as a constructive councilperson; not about Okey and his political mischief.  However, here is another LINK for those readers who either do not know the particulars or need a refresher.

Suffice it to say that as in 2014 Jakmides stood firm against Okey's political pranks which resulted in Okey being censored a second time by Alliance City Council.

What the The Report will repeat in this blog is a refresher of what yours truly wrote about Jakmides back on March 29, 2015 in her qualifying in the initial SCPR "Top 10 List, to wit:

Today's blog is on Alliance City Councilwoman Julie Jakmides.

And this extract from an impressive biography on the Alliance city government website:

Councilwoman Julie A. Jakmides is currently serving her second term as an At-Large member of Alliance City Council. 

Councilwoman Jakmides is 23 years old and a lifelong resident of the City of Alliance. She is a graduate of Regina Coeli and St. Thomas Aquinas High School (2010) and attends St. Joseph Catholic Church. 

Julie was proud to have been a member of the 50th anniversary Carnation Festival Royal Court and considers that experience the event which inspired her to continue working in public service.

Councilwoman Jakmides graduated cum laude from the University of Mount Union in December 2013 and was the recipient of the Outstanding Criminal Justice Award at commencement. 

She is the former chairperson of the Streets and Alleys committee, and a former member of the Community Development and Utilities committees as well as the Water-Sewer Advisory Board.

In her second term she was appointed the chair of the Planning, Zoning and Housing committee and a member of the Finance and Safety & Judiciary committees. 

Councilwoman Jakmides consistently strives to attend meetings of all the different council committees and city boards -whether a voting member or not. 

When not handling business as a member of City Council, Julie also sits on the Alliance Family YMCA Board of Directors and is a full-time law student at the University of Akron School of Law [scheduled to graduate in 2017].

From the get-go, the SCPR had the sense that Alliance Republican Julie Jakmides had a bright future in politics from the time she took out and filed petitions to run for Alliance City Council back in 2011.

The Stark County Political Report ranks Jakmides right up there with
  • Canton's Edmond Mack, Kevin Fisher, John Mariol, Frank Morris III, and
  • Massillon's Ed Lewis, IV
as Stark County's most promising politicians/councilpersons in terms of qualities that they possess to lift Stark County out of the morass that the county is stuck in.

While youth in and of itself is not necessarily the answer to invigorating government processes and substance, the six named above have qualities that set them apart from their peers (those sitting on Stark County's  four major city councils:  Alliance, Canton, Massillon and North Canton) and from the older set of councilpersons who hold councilmantic office.

And Councilwoman Jakmides shows promise as being among the elite of the elite.

Compared to troubles that have plagued Canton, Massillon and North Canton city councils, Alliance has been relatively free of controversy and consequently the SCPR has spent relative little time with Alliance politics.

However, Alliance has not been devoid of some controversy.

Most of it has been at the hand of former councilman and now council president Steve Okey.

And a lot of that had to do with what the SCPR thinks was Okey trying to make Alliance Council the battleground of a political fight between the Maier Massillon Political Machine (MMPM) and Alliance Republican councilman Larry Dordea in the 2014 face-off for Stark County sheriff.

Jakmides was one of if not THE leading figure in the Alliance Council slapping President Steve Okey down for trying to embarrass Dordea and the rest of council for the manner in which the conducted some "sensitive" votes.

While The Report agrees with Okey that the process was not consistent with democratic-republican principles of accountability, his action from the perspective of the SCPR was tainted with MMPM surrogate politics.

Council censored Okey for the manner in which he handled the matter.  

The SCPR's position is that politically-laced battles have no place in city councils and accordingly chastised both sides with the caveat that Okey deserves the major share of the blame since he initiated the confrontation.

The Report hears that Okey (a Democratic Party appointee as the replacement for John Benincasa who passed away about one year ago) has been much more civil as council president.

However, Alliance's Republicans (presumably including Jakmides) have not forgotten Okey's transgression and are out to defeat his bid for an elected term beginning in January, 2016.

Look for Councilwoman Jakmides to once again "lead the pack" in vote plurality for the "three-to-be-elected" 2015 Alliance at-large council race.

As pointed out above as a political newbie she outpaced all candidates including the popular and incumbent Democratic councilwoman Sue Ryan who is not seeking reelection this November.  She repeated her lead-vote getter role in 2013.

It should be inspiring to Alliance residents and Stark Countians that in her early 20s Jakmides has involved herself in working to improve the political and governmental health of her local governments.

On the gender side of things, she appears to be the only young female on a track to be a positive force in Stark County local government.

Christina Hagan (state representative, the 50th of Marlboro Township) could be another.  But the SCPR thinks her bubble will burst when if she ever runs countywide because of her extreme right wing religious connection.

Tough they appear to be close on a personal and political level, The Report trusts she will not make the error if adopting Hagan's rightest political point-of-view.

One area the SCPR want to see more of from Jakmides is more in terms of sponsoring substantive legislation.

She did a good thing in adopting the approach of Canton Councilman Kevin Fisher (and of a Youngstown area legislator, from whom Fisher got the idea) of requiring property owners to register with the city of Alliance and thereby be more accountable for the maintenance and upkeep of their properties.

A major, major problem with urban properties is deterioration, degradation and ultimately decay to the point of needing to be demolished.

The upside for Julie Jakmides is enormous.

The foremost Stark County female leader currently is Stark County commissioners Janet Creighton (also a Republican).  And Janet has been a credit to her gender and to her political party in being an effective public official as recorder, auditor, mayor of Canton and now a commissioner.

The SCPR sees Jakmides with much potential.

Of course, potential is just that.

The only question is will Councilwoman Julie Jakmides take up the challenge and "be all that she can be" in terms of providing sorely needed forward looking, progressive and highly constructive leadership as we head to the middle years of the 21st century.

The SCPR thinks she will and for that reason and on the basis of her achievements to date The Stark County Political Report names her as #7 on the Stark County "Top 10" leadership list.

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