Tax dollars chasing tax dollars for no tax dollars

If the headline sounds stupid, think about this:

The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority owes $1.1 million in back taxes on the parking garage on Patterson Boulevard next to the CareSource building at 220 E. Monument Ave. The 220 E. Monument Ave. building is current on its taxes, but the garage is behind.

via Delinquent Downtown Properties – Dayton Business Journal.

Your tax dollars built the Relizon/WorkFlow One/CareSource building and now CareSource- totally funded with your tax dollars- isn’t paying taxes on the building their people are undoubtedly parking in.

But, it just gets more entertaining.

Despite, being literally right across the street from the garage that’s technically owned by the taxpayers- the taxpayers are being stuck with the bill for another parking garage:

The city of Dayton is moving forward with the financing to pay for the new downtown garage for Water Street.

Commission approved Wednesday a bond purchase agreement to borrow $6 million from the Ohio State Transportation Infrastructure GRF Bond Fund Program. Of that, $2.5 million comes through state loan proceeds and $3.5 million from state infrastructure bank bond proceeds. The funding will help pay for the acquisition and construction that supports the three-story 429-space garage that will serve the Water Street development.

via Dayton to borrow $6M to pay for Water Street garage – Dayton Business Journal.

The first article pointed out that almost one in four properties downtown aren’t current on their taxes- but, there have been no cuts to the “Downtown Dayton Partnership” which is supposedly funded with property taxes in the “Special Improvement District” or SID. Never mind the fact that buildings are dropping in value like rocks- as businesses move to Austin Landing where your tax dollars built a brand new mega intersection and funded development in an unincorporated township- where mysteriously, only the little people pay income taxes (people working at Kohl’s and Kroger and Five Guys pay taxes- people working at Teradata or Thompson Hine- do not).

One must also wonder if the closing of all the downtown Dayton exits on I-75 just after Austin Road was built wasn’t an attempt to squeeze the last life out of downtown- so it can turn into more wrecking bills for Steve Rauch and company? Because one way to cut vacancy rate is to just tear down buildings.

In the meantime, getting a police officer to solve a crime in Dayton becomes even more of a pipedream, as the force continues to dwindle because of budget cuts, retirements and a lack of money to pay cops – because, well, parking garages are more important.

I’m just wondering when the city is going to start building garages for people who are still stupid enough to buy houses in our city? Oops- they tried doing that in Wright Dunbar and it hasn’t exactly taken off.

At some point voters need to wake up. There is no silver bullet to save downtown or your neighborhood. If we focus on the basics first- like snow removal, police response times, solving petty crime, cleaning streets- and making the city building department business friendly- we’d see a lot more progress than these Hail Mary moves to “create economic development.”

We also need to take a hard look at what has occurred at Austin Landing- and stop this idea that we can have these tax dodge havens. Those were all Dayton jobs- maybe the answer is to expand the south airport and annex the whole area into Dayton and turning it into an “enterprise zone” (like at the airport- because, well, that’s been so successful).

Heading into the new year end tax time, I’m looking at our whole screwed up multi-jurisdictional taxing mess and thinking of it as a design problem. How would we simplify the collection of taxes in the region and cut the amount of time wasted on fining and forgiving small businesses who can’t keep up with this rats’ nest of jurisdictions?

It’s really pretty simple- one single income tax rate. A single property tax levy. And an absolute limit on numbers of elected officials per people per square mile. And put a complete stop to investing public tax dollars into private developments- that’s not what we pay our taxes for.

But then again- it’s becoming really clear that only little people are expected to pay taxes anymore.

Thanks to a man named Shirley

Photo of Shirley Gossett

From the left: Shirley R. Gosset, Staff Sgt. Joshua L. Brady, and retired Lt. Col. James L. Pritchett, all 82nd Airborne Division veterans, join to place a wreath honoring fallen paratroopers in front of the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial May 26. Photo by Pfc. Mike Pryor, USA

For the life of me, I don’t remember how I got invited, but at age 22, freshly out of the Army on Temporary Disabled Retirement Leave, I found myself in a basement in Vandalia with a bunch of superheroes.

Most of them, gray haired, and close to, or recently retired, they all shared a common bond- jumping out of a perfectly good airplane for Uncle Sam.

I have never met a bunch of strangers that I was so instantly embraced by. Within a meeting or two, I was “elected” their Sgt. at Arms. They were the 82nd Airborne Division Association, General Matthew B. Ridgway chapter. And although it was the 82nd- and I’d only served with 7th Group down the street- the bond was the ownership of a pair of jump wings.

The basement, belonged to a man who always had a smile on his face- and gleam in his eye, a man named Shirley Gossett.

His obituary appeared in today’s paper- with a perfunctory summation of his military and post military pride in being a paratrooper:

Shirley graduated from Parker Vocational High School in 1941 and was on the Reunion Committee for 40 years. He served in the U.S. Army 325 Glider Infantry of the 82nd Airborne Division in Holland, Belgium, and Germany as a Scout & Runner in WWII. Shirley earned many ribbons including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He retired as a sheet metal worker from Local #224 after 40 years. He formed their Retirement Club in 1985-6 and served as their President for four terms.

In 1970, Shirley formed the Dayton Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, which was later renamed after General Matthew B. Ridgway. He served on the Board of Directors of the 82nd Airborne Association as Secretary, Assistant Executive Director, Executive Director and was elected as National President in 1981 and 1986. In 1990, Shirley received their highest award, “All-American of the Year.” He was certainly the most active veteran in this association, holding raffles, selling VCR tapes and books will all profits going to their Educational Fund.

In 2000, 82nd Airborne Commander, MG Dan McNeil presented Shirley with the “Commander’s Award,” an award given to a civilian for his dedication to the Division.

via Shirley GOSSETT Obituary: View Shirley GOSSETT’s Obituary by Dayton Daily News.

He died November 13, 2014, in an odd twist in obituaries, it didn’t have his age or birthday. Doing some math- based on graduating from high school at 18- he was born in 1923, and was probably 91.

Tom Brokaw dubbed men like Shirley our greatest generation, and to have known him, you’d understand why.

Those meetings of men, from all walks of life, all social strata, that were held in Shirley’s basement, told a story of the resiliency that they brought to battle, on foreign soil, for a cause that was as clearly just as any in history.

I remember hearing stories from these fine gentlemen of having more combat jumps than training jumps (5). Of going off to war, with no guarantee of coming home after a “tour”- unless you were severely injured or in a casket. Some of them had served in the 101st at Bastogne in the “Battle of the Bulge” – facing incalculable odds and horrendous weather. Many had put behind the horrors of war, and come home to raise kids, have careers and live a life that was considered “normal”- without the respect and appreciation they deserved for their sacrifices by a country that seemed to turn its back on those who served.

All of them, were welcome in Shirley’s basement, its walls covered with memorabilia- a shrine to the “All American” division. All of them brothers from different mothers.

I drifted away from attending after my term was up. Taking on battles with the city over garage doors, running for office and later starting my own band of brothers- VOB 108, a group for Veteran Business Owners. But, every so often, I’d stop by an 82nd event, and get the same big smile from Shirley and a welcome hand from the brotherhood of paratroopers, and some ribbing for not winning election battles.  If there is a reason why my license plate has the army jump wings on it- it’s because of Shirley, who put a higher value on the fraternity than I ever would have imagined. It’s not about my accomplishments, but about that of those who came before me and after me

As I ran around the track at Ft. Benning, during “tower week,” past the c47 painted in Normandy invasion stripes, we would chant a cadence about the perils of parachuting…

Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door.
Jump on out and count to 4,
and if my main don’t open wide,
I’ve got another, by my side.
And if that one should fail me too,
lookout ground, I’m comin’ through
Tell my girl, I’ve done my best-
Pin my medals upon my chest
bury me in the front leaning rest…

Thank you for your service Shirley Gossett. And for being a prince among men. Those who have had the honor to shake your hand, and share in the Airborne brotherhood will miss you. There isn’t anything more you could have done for us, your family, our country.

Airborne, all the way.

 

Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 19 at the Morton & Whetstone Funeral Home, 139 S. Dixie Dr., Vandalia with Pastor Dennis Phillips officiating. Interment with military honors will follow at Forest Hills Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. until time of service.

 

 

 

The ultimate gift for the holidays – your doppelganger!

There is a reason Esrati.com hasn’t been posting as often over the last month- it’s a new kiosk in the Dayton Mall, and they are my client.

On Oct. 15th, a local entrepreneur contacted my firm, The Next Wave, looking for help to open the first of its kind business in North America. The business makes scale sculptures of you- by taking thousands of photographs of you in a 12-second span. The photos are interpolated to build a 3D model, that can be printed in a 3D printer- and delivered to you in about a week.

Great idea- huge success in an ASADA store in Manchester England (ASADA is the name Walmart uses in the U.K.)- where they did gobs of them in the first month they were open. Only thing was, he was to have the machine delivered and installed on November 1st.

Photo of the booth for Doppelganger Labs

Designed and built in a week by The Next Wave for Doppelganger Labs at the Dayton Mall

Normally- naming, branding and marketing plans take months to prepare- but we worked a crazy number of hours- and “Doppelganger Laboratories” was born. Unfortunately, shipping the scanning booth took a bit longer, and while we had the booth ready to go on the 2nd, the scanner didn’t make it here until the 8th (last Saturday). The assembly took 3 people almost 2 days- and at 9 p.m. last night the first scans were completed.

Here is what a scan of Howard from the Big Bang looks like online in the preview, note, the software prefers Firefox or Chrome for the full webGL experience:


And here is Dayton’s finest miniature painter, in full reenactor garb:

The figurines are pretty cool- even though they are made of a melted plastic powder (laser-sintered polyamide to be exact) – that’s colored to match the scan. It comes out feeling like sandstone, and must be handled much like a porcelain figurine would be. Oddly, the statues aren’t waterproof- if they get wet, the colors may bleed.

The actual sculpting/printing takes around 9 hours and isn’t done locally at this point. Turnaround is about a week.

Photo of a graduate with his doppelganger

Memorialize a special event in your doppelganger

As always, people ask how much they cost, and they start at $149 for a 1:12 scale model going up to $249 for a larger 1:8 scale one. How big they are – depends on how big you are. My old friend, RIP, Dan Obravac who was a bit over 7′ would be 7″ for the “small” 1:12 scale and  10.5: for the large 1:8 scale. Vern Troyer- the original MiniMe – who tops out at 2’8″ would make a real small model of about 2.6 inches for a 1:12 scale. The prices for all the versions are here: DoppelgangerLabs shop

The first 150 people to order a Doppelganger will also get one of our cool shirts- which say “Say hello to my little friend”

What I find most interesting is the what is old is new again. Before photography, people had basically three choices to be “memorialized” for others- a drawing, painting or sculpture of themselves. The little sculptures Doppelganger Labs produces are a return of the sculpture as a way of sharing your likeness.

Some of the coolest things we’ve seen are some of the double scans- there is a large model of a guy with his girl getting a piggy-back ride that’s just awesome. Of course, the pregnant sculpture is a way forever to remember the nine-month miracle of birth and share it later with your progeny. Wedding cake toppers are also popular- although big, poofy gowns with lots of lace and super long trains aren’t the best for scanning.

A few things to avoid when heading to the Dayton Mall to get scanned:

Wear big prints or solids. It doesn’t like shiny shoes, shiny belt buckles or earrings. Glasses are a no-no. Fingers do best when held clenched or touching a flat object like the side of your leg, or crossed arms, especially on the smallest scale builds. And remember, the output is more like an artist’s rendering- not a 3d model avatar to play you in Hollywood. Check out the selection of samples at the booth.

There are photos of people holding their statues on the site- I think the ones where the people are wearing the outfit they were scanned in are the coolest. We’re encouraging people to come back in the clothes they wore to be scanned so we can take a photo with you and your Doppelganger. Happy scanning people!

 

 

Another blow to the American dream

Come to America, where everyone can become a millionaire.

Thing is, a million ain’t what it used to be.

It’s been a long time since I served with the U.S. Army Special Forces. We liked to think of our special operations units as the “quiet professionals.” We didn’t like to have our pictures taken, we’d keep a low profile, identifying marks on our bodies that weren’t put there by god weren’t approved of. (A friend, Tim G., got busted 2 ranks and put in a shit job for getting “YANKEE” tattooed across his chest just before being shipped to Nicaragua to train people we had no business training). When “Mark Owen” wrote the book “No Easy Day” about the operation to get Bin Laden, I pre-ordered it and read it the weekend I got it.

I didn’t see anything that even remotely seemed like a security leak, or disclosure of classified info or special ops weapons or tactics. I’d read most of Dick Marcinko’s “Red Cell” books- and gleaned a lot more there.

And while it’s OK for Hillary, Bill, and Barack to make millions from their books- apparently, it’s not OK for an enlisted man to make a dime.

Matt Bissonnette, a former member of Navy SEAL Team 6, will probably have to forfeit at least $4.5 million in book royalties over his failure to allow the Pentagon to review his best seller on the Osama bin Laden raid for possible security breaches, according to court documents filed by his lawyer. The documents say Mr. Bissonnette would also have to give up movie rights to his book “No Easy Day,” worth at least $900,000, and would lose the security clearances needed to do military-related consulting work.

via Former Navy SEAL, Author of Bin Laden Best Seller, May Face Costly Penalties, Lawyer Says – NYTimes.com.

Let’s see the differences:

Bissonnette signed a blank check to the people of the United States guaranteed with his life. He trained harder than 99.99% of Americans. He risked his life many times over.

Hillary, Bill and Barack- got elected. They smiled and waved at cameras, told people what they wanted to hear, and took billions in donations to reach their goal. Hell, even Monica Lewinsky got paid for her near toppling of our government over her sloppy blow job.

Charlie Sheen pretended to be a Navy SEAL- and got paid millions. Why shouldn’t Bissonnette? He’d even promised most of the proceeds to go to families of Navy SEALs who were killed in action, although the foundation refused his donations according to Wikipedia sources.

Generals have made millions from their book deals- I’ve got a signed copy of General Tommy Frank’s book, Colin Powell has a book, McChrystal has a book- after he had to resign for talking to Rolling Stone while still on duty. Look at what all the generals get to do once they retire- sit on boards, work for defense contractors, lecture tours.

Guys like Matt who did their dirty work, make up the largest segment of America’s homeless.

The American dream isn’t what it used to be. Even the guys who make it possible for it to continue to survive- have to fight tooth and nail to get their share.

I hope the Pentagon drops this stupidity before they make bigger fools of themselves.

Free things to do tonight- Dayton Flyers Women’s Basketball

Andrea Hoover University of Dayton Women's basketball player

Hoover drives past teammate Amber Deane in red vs. blue game

Every time I suggest that the best basketball for the money in Dayton is the UD women’s team- snickers erupt. And I’ll say it again- it’s great bball. The women’s game is a game- where you run plays, pass, find the opponents weakness- and capitalize, and for the last 12 years- Jim Jabir’s team has been doing it better than probably 97% of the rest of the country. And- tonight- the game is free. Most nights, parking is free and adult tickets are $5, kids are $3. They routinely pull about 2,500 fans- who get it. This is basketball- played with solid fundamentals by an entire team.

Here’s the deal on tonight’s game- and note- you can sit courtside for these games without signing your life away like the boys.

DAYTON, Ohio – In its only exhibition of the 2014-15 season, the University of Dayton women’s basketball team is set to play host to Eckerd College Friday night at UD Arena. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and admission is free. All who bring two non-perishable food items to be donated to St. Vincent de Paul will receive a $2 ticket voucher for a future women’s game. Limit one per person.

Flyer Facts

» Undefeated at home the past two seasons, Dayton’s 26-straight home victories is the second-longest active streak in the nation. The Flyers went 12-0 at home during 2013-14.

» Head coach Jim Jabir is in his 12th season at the helm of the Dayton women’s team in 2014-15. He was named the eighth head coach, and first male, in the history of the program on April 8, 2003. Jabir holds a career record of 430-356 over 28 seasons.

» Dayton has been ranked or receiving votes in at least one major poll Associated Press Top 25 or USA Today Coaches’ for 40 consecutive weeks. The Flyers open the 2014-15 season ranked No. 22 in both major polls.

» UD lost just one player to graduation, Cassie Sant. The Flyers return 2014 A-10 Player of the Year Andrea Hoover Sr., 2014 A-10 First Team and All-Academic Team selection Ally Malott Sr. and 2014 A-10 All-Rookie and All-Defensive Team honoree Celeste Edwards So..

» Dayton advanced to its fifth-consecutive NCAA Tournament in 2014 with the highest seed in program history at No. 6.» This is the Flyers’ 47th season as an intercollegiate sport at Dayton. UD’s all-time record sits at 713-546 .566.» The Flyers are 152-137 in Atlantic 10 regular season play 19 years.

via University of Dayton Flyers – #UDWBB TO HOST ECKERD COLLEGE IN EXHIBITION FRIDAY.

Players to watch- locals Andrea Hoover and Kelley Austria are my two favorites- Hoover for her awesome bravery-  setting picks, drawing charges, and unbelievable accuracy shooting. Austria for her ability to have her body going in two different directions while slowing the opposition down to a standstill- coming back on defense, there isn’t anyone who slows things down more. She also has crazy long arms- which make her steal more balls before the other team ever knew it. One thing about Kelley- she’s got the most intense game face you’ll ever see- almost never smiles- as opposed to Hoover who is all grins and funky faces- especially after putting the smack down on the opposition.

This year, look to Jenna Burdette, the freshman from “Coolville, Ohio” (population 496) to bring excitement on the floor. Don’t let the deer in the headlights expression fool you- when she’s got the ball, she makes things happen. The other frosh, Javonna Layfield, looks like she’s been in the lineup forever- meshing like magic.

This team self-imploded in 2 big games last year, maybe getting a bit too cocky for their britches when it counted. After watching an early practice, it’s clear that they learned their lesson. Uptempo all the time- great communication on the floor and a solid foundation of trust among each other sets the foundation for a season that should give fans something to talk about for years.

I’ll be there tonight- hope to see you there.

The nadir of American “politics”?

This election, Nov. 4, 2014, may have been where America hit political rock bottom. At least I hope so. Estimates of $3.6 billion wasted on what amounted to an auction of elected office. Voters, disgusted with the lack of respectable and credible candidates stayed home for the most part. Those who voted often felt dirty.

If you need proof that those running this clown show have lost touch with reality, from this morning’s N.Y. Times:

“Barack Obama has our country in a ditch, and many of his lieutenants running for the Senate were right there with him,” said Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee. “The punishment is going to be broad, and it’s going to be pretty serious.”

via Election Results: Republicans Win Senate Control With at Least 7 New Seats – NYTimes.com.

“The punishment” for serving our country? The punishment for trying to work in a system that’s been derailed by dirty money and gerrymandered districts? Where our government actually shut down because of the lack of the most basic skills critical to civilized society- compromise?

I was once chided by none other than former Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin for talking about politicians- when she corrected me with her definition of herself as an elected representative. When will our “elected representatives” start acting like representatives again? What happened to the statesman?

In the city of Dayton- less than 24,000 people voted- of the approximately 100,000 registered voters. Granted I believe the total to be inflated as much as 25,000- but that still says more than half stayed home.

As to our country being “in a ditch” and placing blame unilaterally on Democrats- I truly wonder what we were in when Barack Obama took office? The economy had just disintegrated thanks to Wall Street being run like a casino. We’re still at war, with zero end in sight- even though we still are pretending we’re not. And, while numbers of unemployed are low- we’ve taken so many people off the rolls- and accepted the fact that most workers are now woefully underemployed in sub-living wage hell, that our economy is nothing but a house of cards, ready to implode once again.

The stock market is near record highs- just waiting for a “correction” that will wipe trillions off our general net worth- and yet, the chairman of the Republican party is doing a happy dance with his new-found power.

For the first time in 22 years- the idea of running for office, to make a difference, turns my stomach. If this is the way the game will be played from here on out- it’s one that disgusts me.

If anyone who was elected yesterday, truly believes that it’s because of their skill and merit- other than perhaps Fred Strahorn and Jim Butler, who both faced hapless opposition, they should be ashamed of themselves.

We’re all losing when political office is bought- not won, when campaigns are about mud, not ability and when choices are almost always the lesser of two evils.

Why Dayton politics are like a game of hockey with bad referees

Saturday night I went to see the Dayton Demonz play a game of hockey at Hara Arena. Very early in the game an obvious icing call was screwed up and the faceoff was held in neutral ice instead of back in the defensive zone (for those of you who don’t understand hockey- bear with me, but the reason for the icing call is to keep the game moving- stopping the defending team from tossing the puck all the way down the ice every time they feel pressured). My friend and I were bewildered- the fans who know the game were bewildered, how does someone referee a professional hockey game and not know the most basic call in hockey?

But it got worse. A period in hockey is 20 minutes long of stop time. The purpose of referees is to keep the game moving, only blowing the whistle when something happens that gives a team an unfair advantage or tries to slow the action. Typically, without a whole lot of penalties, a period takes, even with time outs, less than 45 minutes. This game- the first period took over 70- and I seem to remember only one penalty being called.

Typically referees only talk, and are officially only allowed to talk to players wearing either a C or an A on their sweater (hockey jersey for the unindoctrinated) – they don’t talk to the bench or the coaches, unless giving the coach a warning or a penalty. These refs seemed to have never learned that part- talking to both benches and each other way more than is customary. As the players became more and more frustrated with bad calls- and missed calls, things got chippy on the ice. Predictions for a brawl or two were being made as the game continued to get out of hand.

Kinsella got a little pissy!!! #demonz #goalieprobs

A major fight in the second period got the fans going- where a Demonz player beat the living crap out of a much bigger opponent. The Federal League was supposed to be making a real effort at cutting down on the brawling this season. Apparently the refs didn’t get the memo- nor did they try to break it up. By the third, they gave the Demonz captain a 10-minute misconduct. The missed calls had the players making bad decisions left and right- not knowing what was going to fly or not fly. With about 10 minutes left to go in regulation, the Demonz goalie got beat on a good goal, and turned around and flipped the net over. This is an automatic penalty for either “unsportsmanlike conduct” or “delay of game.” No call. Nothing.

By the end of the game it was tied- with both teams having guys in the box. Overtime is 4 on 4 and five minutes of sudden death play. It’s well after 11 pm at this point- a full hour, to hour and a half later than the game should have been over. The Demonz captain came back to sit in the box- since as soon as the first whistle after his ten minutes was up- he could re-enter the game. The moment he re-enters another fight starts up- despite the Demonz having a man advantage at the time. A quick goal by the visitor ends the game and as the teams are heading off the ice a brawl breaks out- with one of the refs getting hit and going to his knees. A total failure of controlling the game- and a poor example of what the game of hockey is all about.

WTF does this have to do with politics in Dayton you may rightly ask? Has Esrati lost it?

The beauty of hockey is that the rules are pretty simple, and everyone who plays the game understands them. While there are some nuances that it takes a while to learn, and some penalties are judgment calls- good referees and good players know that things usually have a way of balancing out, and that when the rules are followed- the game works.

In Dayton, our political players have bent the rules, ignored the rules and lied about the rules for so long, the game no longer resembles the game at all. It’s how we end up with a building owned by the people, being the leading tax scofflaw downtown. (The Port Authority is a public slush fund for building buildings for people who don’t like to pay their way- examples being the headquarters for MCSi- which is now the headquarters for Mead School Supplies, the parking garage for the former Relizon/WorkFlow One/Deloitte/CareSource building.

Our politicians are so confused at whon they report to, they run for office because they are told to, even though they have no real interest to continue, and money is thrown their way. Instead of spending our money on public safety and infrastructure- we funnel into pseudo-government organizations like CityWide Development, the Downtown Dayton Partnership and the Dayton Development Coalition where our money gets handed out like candy to congressmen’s wives’ firms on a no-bid contract.

We’ve forgotten what our objectives are, what the rules are and how to keep score properly. It’s a total farce at the game of government, just as was the “hockey game” on Saturday night.

Lucky for hockey fans, there are referees and league officials who will review that game and sort things out.

For dealing with Dayton’s clusterduck of a game, you only have me and my blog-  since the paper’s publisher is in bed with the Dayton Development Coalition and the owners of the media love the money from the auctions we call elections.

Good luck voting tomorrow. Even if you do the right thing, the refs in charge won’t get the score right.

 

Elections that matter- and those that don’t

If the money spent on the Dee Gillis vs. Bill Beagle race were spent on a public works project, or hiring another (or 10) police officers in a rough neighborhood it would matter a lot. Instead, campaigns run by twenty somethings who have no idea about advertising has, or should embarrass both candidates, has been bombarding voters. In the grand scheme of things- one more Democrat in a gerrymandered house of Republicans won’t make a bit of difference. I’ll say this though- when I wrote 4 years ago to vote for Beagle because he wasn’t a career politician like Fred Strahorn- I made a mistake. Beagle is an empty suit, totally incapable of saying where he stands on the tough questions, and doing the repressive parties’ work perfectly.

He doesn’t deserve re-election, no matter how many mailers, TV ads, radio ads, etc., he runs. Strahorn on the other hand, humbled by his defeat, seems to be fully engaged and recognizing that to be a representative isn’t a union job where you can’t get fired for doing the minimum. He’s a way better candidate than the oddballs running against him for the house seat he inherited when Clayton Luckie went off to jail.

I consider myself lucky this election cycle. Due to an abundance of work, I’ve not seen much TV. I never watch our local news which is so negative and worthless I’m surprised we don’t have “breaking news” causing suicides every day. I did happen to catch the Foley ad attacking Mike Nolan which made me wonder why Foley, another life-long politician who thinks it’s his birthright to be elected, felt the need to run it? Polling must be telling his people that his career of smiling and wearing a suit is wearing on people- and that people are just tired of supporting the Royalty of Montgomery County. The good news here is that people can vote for a really good guy who would shake things up- former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell, who actually does have the capability to have an original thought- and isn’t having his seat bought for him by the local puppet masters behind the curtain (take a look at Foley’s campaign donations if you want to know who they are.) Full disclosure- Leitzell buys his printing and web hosting from me.

The most important race in the state- for governor was botched by the Ohio Democratic Party with their absolute failure in vetting their candidate. The rest of the Dem ticket fully deserves your support- because with the inevitable Republican landslide due to gerrymandering in the House and Senate (which is one elected body too much for our state) we’re doomed to more bull like “Jobs Ohio” which is just a political slush fund to hand out tax dollars to big business as if it’s play money.

For the top spot- I’m voting Green Party. Although they have no chance of winning, if they get over 2% of the vote, a major obstacle for their party goes away statewide- the requirements of getting way more signatures than the major parties to run. This would provide ballot access to many and give us a sliver of a chance of having a real choice at election time instead of the lesser of two evils.

Speaking of vetting- the race between two veterans for Ohio 41 is another case of party failure- although Wayne Small is a really nice guy, as is Jim Butler, Small has basically run a non-existent campaign, and may not be capable of handling the job if elected.  Not that he has a chance against the machine in the first place. Full disclosure- I printed signs and used to host Small’s site when he ran for Riverside council, and I’ve printed some things for the Butler campaign.

The only race where you can really send a message is the Oh-10 congressional race, where Mike Turner has gotten way too comfy doing whatever he pleases. Much like the Eric Cantor race upset, sending school teacher Robert Klepinger to represent us would be a shot heard across the nation- and give our country a chance at not being totally taken over by corporate and special interest money. Turner may be the only one in the country who still thinks nuclear weapons are a great idea- and while claiming to “work for WPAFB” so many times he sounds like a guy with a string you pull out of his back- and out comes the same dogma- he voted to shut the base down. We could have some integrity in office in a place it matters by just saying no to the bum in office. Full disclosure I printed bumper stickers for Klepinger.

The sad thing is that even if we “throw the bums out,” our system is being so co-opted by money, parties run like fraternities, and the glacial speed of change by government- that very few seats matter much, no matter how many ads they run. The only people who are benefiting from our woefully inadequate system of choosing figureheads only benefits the major media- who without this huge cash infusion would be struggling like the rest of us.

Hail to the losers and the victors for keeping broadcast TV, newspapers and the US Mail in business.
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We’re all screwed until we take the money out of politics and put the emphasis back on statesmanship.

The “unwritten” rule is now published. Is it still “unwritten”? Judicial races in Montgomery County

Because we have morons running the two local political parties like good-ole-boy clubs, we don’t get primaries for much- and when it comes to judges, the decision is usually made in a back room with the doors closed.

Today, the Dayton Daily news made the mistake of actually writing the truth about our judicial elections:

Usually, sitting common pleas judges in the county run unopposed. But McGee faces her second challenge after being appointed by Gov. Ted Strickland in 2007. McGee defeated Dennis Adkins in a close race in 2008.

Though judicial races are non-partisan, sources say there has been a gentlemen’s agreement in Montgomery County that once a candidate defeats an opponent, the other party waits for the next open position or appointed judge who hasn’t faced a challenge.

via Skelton is McGee’s second challenger for judicial job| Dayton, OH | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

The sad thing is the idea of electing judges is moronic- since most voters can’t tell a good judge from a bad one. Reading legal decisions is about as exciting as watching paint dry- and understanding courthouse management is something only lawyers in town can tell you about.

The party ID doesn’t show up next to their name. They can’t say anything about how they will “judge” since they are bound to follow the law. They can tell you their qualifications- and where they went to school- but that’s about it.

In the McGee vs. Skelton race you are really choosing between 2 Dems. Skelton had voted D forever – and only switched so he could run as a party candidate. When you see a Skelton sign in the front yard of one of the most liberal lawyers in town- that should tell you something.

McGee of course, is the daughter of former Mayor James H. McGee- and married to the Dayton’s chief building inspector, Michael Cromartie. More of the monarchy of Montgomery County. Blaming the former judge for her court backlog 6 years later is a major joke. Most lawyers I’ve spoken to think her court is one of the worst run in the county.

As payback for Skelton running against McGee- the Dems are running the unknown Susan Solle coming out after Denny Adkins- the judge who started the Veterans court- and by all accounts is a pretty solid judge.

This is what happens when you let politicians try to politicize everything- instead of having people running on the merit of their legal skills and abilities, the barricades put up by the parties stop good people from running “until it’s their time”- and then only if they’ve done the proper amount of donkey or elephant kissing.

For judge- Skelton, Adkins and Froelich.
For State Supreme Court- we need some dems on the court- even if they aren’t geniuses- John P. O’Donnell and Tom Letson.