Friday, January 30, 2009

A diverting go at Don Robart?

 SHOULD YOU be looking for some political diversion in 2009 now that it seems highly unlikely that the anti-Obama crowd will seek a recount, I'd suggest that you get your tickets early for the mayoral campaign in Cuyahoga Falls. I know.  After a two-year presidential race, a suburban mayor's contest would seem to be no more than a  glass of warm milk at bedtime.  Well, maybe not.

The town has been the private domain of  Republican Mayor Don Robart's Administration since 1984.  It is the second largest entity in Summit County (after Akron) and the first largest dissenter in warring words with the Democratic mayor of Akron, Don Plusquellic.  The two administrators simply don't like each other.  Never have.  Never will. As such, Robart has pretty much had his own way within the confines  of his City Hall.  But that's another story.

His  long tenure in the Falls has received a helping hand from the Democrats, who have been known to  run some inept campaigns to oust him, a sort of concession that permits the Kurds to play by their own rules in northern Iraq without interference from Baghdad.  (Full disclosure:  I lived in the Falls for many years, so I know what I am talking about!)  

The landscape might change  because some Democratic operatives are saying they won't take "no" for an answer this year and will mount a strong offensive against the 63-year-old Robart.  The picture blurs, but excitingly so, because there is another  bounty hunter from Robart's own party who would like to retire him.  That, of course, is State Sen. Kevin Coughlin, an indefatigable tormentor of  the county Republican establishment who has already said he wants to run for governor and would like to somehow claim Robart's scalp along the way. With the Democrats and the endowed conservative Coughlin sharing designs on the mayor, it won't be a marriage made in bipartisan heaven, but it will have to do until somebody  has a better idea. 

At this non-climactic moment in the Falls' mayoral history, the Democrats still face the problem of putting up a willing candidate to defeat Robart.  Some whom I've talked to say Don Walters, the Falls'  Sixth Ward councilman, would fit their bill.  But Walters tells me that he  is quite happy as a councilman and fears that if he lost the mayor's race it would also cost him his council seat.  "That's something to think about,"  Walters says. "So I'm not committed to anything yet. I don't know that now is the time for me to do that."

So although we're talking here about a suburban mayor's race, it is shaping up more as a test of wills with old grievances writing the text.   Will the Democrats, all-powerful in most of the county, finally  find a way to  end their frustrations over the Robart fiefdom in the Falls?  Will Kevin Coughlin enhance his  chances  as a king-making mayor-maker by recruiting a candidate to challenge Robart in the Republican Primary?   And will the gathering storm be frightful enough for Robart to give up some days set aside for his regular rounds of jogging? 

It's early.  The filing deadline is not until June 25.  Still, just want you to have a head start before we all get too preoccupied with a new baseball season.  


Uretes said...

Love you or hate you, there's no denying that you're writing and reporting still continue to grow sharper, Abe.

It's exciting to know that every week we might see you turn in a new personal best-ever effort. Who doesn't like to be around someone who's cranking out the best work of his/her life?

I predict that your writing in '09 will surpass anything you've written up 'til now in your lifetime!

Go Abe!!!

Anonymous said...

It must suck to not have anyone pay any attention to you.

You sure get a lot of comments from people on your blog.

How many copies of your book have you sold? Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Robart might not make it November. The word on the street is Robart is being investigated by various agencies for breaking ethic laws. The story is that Robart and his hillbilly-wife took all expense paid to trips to Florida and stayed at an unnamed real-estate developers/campaign contributor's palatial estate and failed to report it on his annual ethics reports.

Another Arshinkoff flunky bites the dust....

Grumpy Abe said...

I'"m grateful that at least you are paying attention, Anonymous. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is the real estate developer does a great deal of business with the city, too. Although I heard the Florida trips are just the tip of the iceberg.

Is the rumor true his hillbilly wife was just hired at the "bored" of elections? Will she actually show up to work? Where is his obese son working now?

Allegedly the campaign staff are already in panic mode...

Anonymous said...

Speaking of ethics violations: it looks like this flunkie is going to bite the dust!

Exclusive: Coughlin appears to be using taxpayer offices to conduct political activity
Submitted by modernesquire on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 2:34pm.
CowTownGirl confirmed what I had initially suspected, but quickly dismissed (because who would be dumb enough to film a campaign announcement in their official, taxpayer provided government office?): State Senator Kevin Coughlin filmed his Gubernatorial candidancy announcement in his official State Senate office. I dismissed it because I wasn't sure if any State Senate office had a fireplace, but the woodworking and appearance of the office looks strikingly similar to that of the offices in the State Senate at Capitol Square.

On top of that, Coughlin's campaign website which states is paid for by Coughlin for Ohio, his Gubernatorial campaign organization, lists his State Senate phone number and address for contact information. Coughlin also calls the website his "online" district office, but it also features his web post announcing his Gubernatorial candidacy.

So, I called Coughlin's State Senate office and asked if they knew where his announcement was filmed. Coughlin's aide said that although the aide had not seen the announcement clip yet (since it cannot be viewed on State computers and the campaign must be separate from the official office) the aide was "pretty sure" it was filmed at the Statehouse.

So to recap, within twenty-four hours of announcing his candidacy, GOP Gubernatorial candidate Kevin Coughlin has been revealed trying to promote a completely scripted and edited announcement speech as "unscripted." He's violated Ohio's campaign finance laws by using taxpayer-provided officespace for his personal political purposes. And he's posted that video on a website that is paid by his campaign but is presented as being part of his official office, including listing his state office phone number as "contact" information for him on his gubernatorial campaign website.

Coughlin's campaign launch isn't going so well.

BTW, when will any newspaper, radio station, or television station in Ohio report on this?

Anonymous said...

Sorry anon, but you're Alex-like hatred of Coughlin had you convinced that everything is bad news for Kevin.

Coughlin knows he's starting from scratch on money and statewide name id. Big deal. I love it when people try to run down candidates and the expectations. Those candidates tend end up winning. Ask Hillary.

Ethics? I'm sorry has anyone except a couple angry liberal bloggers questioned the filming of Coughlin's video in his office? No. You know why? Because it's perfectly legal and both parties have always used the Statehouse for political filming and photography.

Call the Senate clerk's office and ask you idiot.

Anonymous said...

Coughlin's last post referencing an alex-like hatred shows how much he truly has his head in the sand. It's funny watching him compare himself to Obama.

So many people are enjoying this last desperate grasp for attention.

Whole. New. Ohio.

Worst. Campaign. Ever. Idiot.

Anonymous said...

John Schmidt should run this year. Recently won on county council, liked by democrats, has so much fodder to use against robart he would be a shoo-in this year.