Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Arshinkoff/Kasich axis pays off in grand style

IT WAS A no-brainer, really. I refer to the arrival of Alex Arshinkoff's inheritance of a $120,000 (annual) job as a lobbyist for the University of Akron. The eruptive Summit County Republican chairman doubtless deserved nothing less rewarding after spending nearly a year with his tail wagging behind then-candidate John Kasich. He was hired to focus on UA by a Columbus lobbying firm that was already in the University's lobbying mix, thus satisfying his long ambition to be a somebody on the state political scene. Meanwhile, the public be damned!

So here's to your health and newly acquired wealth, Alex!

But why was there such crouching in a defensive mode to make the deal sound like the ties between between Kasich and Arshinkoff were hardly more than a brief encounter at the office water cooler? The ecstatic chairman insisted that it would be a straight player deal with no shifty add-ons. Telling the Beacon Journal that he expects no favors from the Guv, he added: "I expect to be able to make my case for my client. If they agree, fine. If they don't, fine. That's the way the system is." Oh?

Some of the people around town have a different view of the system. Former Republican State Sen. Kevin Coughlin of Cuyahoga Falls and some other Republicans were hardly impressed by the transaction. "He knows nothing about policy," Coughlin, a longtime adversary of Arshinkoff, said on the phone. "He can't open any doors that a hundred others can't open in Columbus. It's like throwing money down the toilet."

UA board member, Jane Bond, a Democratic appointee, is outraged. She said she had no idea that Arshinkoff was part of the deal when Sean Dunn, head of the Columbus lobbying firm that hired Arshinkoff, presented his plan to the Board. "I first knew of the connection to Alex when I read about it in the paper. His name never came up, because if it had, I would have voted against it. The whole thing is a perversion. This is going to damage us with every constituency in town."

The Beacon Journal's editorial settled on the term, "Influence peddler," in expressing its displeasure over the cozy deal. Could the influence have been assured by the $150,000 that the Arshinkoff Summit GOP Party gave to Kasich during the campaign - a hefty contribution that led all other counties by a mile?

What's going on here? Why the protests over a hiring that would have never drawn such attention if it was anybody but this county chairman?

Arshinkoff's emotional outbursts over the years have been well documented in the media so this isn't the place to revisit the landscape. Rather, the most fitting description of his political journey - often as a self-described victim - that led him to the winner's circle, such as it is, can be compared with what Mitch Miller once said of Frank Sinatra: "Frank had to do his suffering in public, so everyone could see it."

Arshinkoff once described politics to me in the simplest terms: "Politics is all about money." And who better than Alex is around to prove it?


Anonymous said...

Did Arshinkoff even finish at the University of Akron?

Grumpy Abe said...


Anonymous said...

This appointment is wrong. Alex did not complete an academic degree. Why should a college dropout be given such money and a appoionment such as this one when so many students have been struggling to find money to afford tuiton? Long before the recession and rising tuition costs have put university attendance out of reach for so many people the landscape for learning has been strewn and cluttered with unfulfilled scholastic hopes and unfinished university degrees. This wrong appointment hurts those students greatly. It also hurts those students who are struggling to find money needed to complete courses and their degrees now. This appointment blemishes the image of the university in its mission to promote degree completion adn academic excellence as an attainable goal for both student and the university.

Anonymous said...

Did you criticize Wayne Jones when he got the appointment? Or are you just an habitual hypocrite?

Grumpy Abe said...

And what "appointment",. pray tell, are you referring to?

Grumpy Abe said...

By the way, if you are supposing that Wayne Jones was a UA lobbyist before Arshinkoff's grant-in-aid, 'taint so! Roetzel &* Andress once held the Federal lobbying job, in Washington, but not the state role. Even at that, I've been told by two sources - one a Democrat and the other a Republican, that Jones was never in the mix. I can only assume who gave you the misleading information. You can also tell your source that Jones does not own a big restaurant downtown. - Habitual Hypocrite.