Why not this year?

This year was “the year” to run for City Commission. An open seat, and the weakest commissioner on the ballot in Matt Joseph. Other than a special election, it doesn’t get any easier to run.

We had a whole bunch of people say they were going to run, but I wasn’t one of them.

At the beginning of the year, my then 87-year-old father was facing very dangerous surgery. I was going to have a hernia repair, and my parents were no longer going to drive. I had enough on my plate- but, I was also considering taking some 23-year-old advice and running for school board. (Abner Orick suggested I should run for school board before I ran for Mayor- you know- the Joey D. Williams route to an anointed lifetime seat). But, I can see the writing on the wall- in the next two years the State of Ohio is going to come into Dayton and throw our schools under the bus and wrest control from the local board- and frankly, there won’t be much we can do. I’ve given my advice on how to fix Dayton Public on this blog- and got very little support or discussion about totally revamping the calendar- and changing the way we do school- and without a team to run, with a seven member board, it was going to be an exercise in futility.

Some of you have noticed, I’m not posting as frequently. It’s not because there isn’t just as much to write about, but it’s about what I’ve decided to do to make change happen. I’ve been working on a book- about how to transform politics in the United States via a system to lessen the impact of unlimited money and to improve voter literacy. It’s also a handbook on how things really work or don’t work in our system. The goal is to release it during next year’s presidential primary free-for-all. It’s already at about 15,000 words- and the target is over 85,000. I’m enjoying myself writing it- and the few people whom I’ve shared it with have liked it.

I’ve also refocused my “community service” back into my neighborhood- working with Kate Ervin and her amazing Dayton Time Bank, doing a neighborhood soccer program, and still hanging green basketball nets for anyone who calls 985-1312 and asks for one in the City of Dayton.

I plan on running again for Dayton City Commission in 2 years, but a lot will depend on my parents’ health.

There are some major articles I want to write for this blog- that I have a good start on. Like the real truth about the competence of our economic development efforts, the puppetmasters behind the curtain, regionalism, and exposing a major force in this community as an organization that should be charged with racketeering and federal contract fraud, but- all in due time.

I’m also interested in working more with veterans, and veterans’ issues- now that my beloved VOB108 has been turned into a grant-chasing organization instead of a viable business networking group/voice for veterans.

There is also the Bernie Sanders campaign, which deserves all of our support, as the first candidate who isn’t working for corporate interests. I plan on working hard to get Bernie, the best politician money CAN’T buy, elected in 2016.

Thank you to so many of you who have read, commented and even written wonderful poetry on this blog over the last 10+ years. I view this site as much yours as mine. You’ve contributed at least 10x the words that make this site work.

Those of you whom I’ve met through this site- I am forever grateful for making your acquaintance. Those of you who’ve hired my firm or bought printing from my firm- that you discovered via this blog- an even greater thank you. And, to the mysterious “Ice Bandit”- if you ever decide to put up a site with more of your poems like this one, or this one, or even this one (you’ll have to scroll to the comments) – I’ll be your biggest fan. Your poetry in my comments section is the best reward I could ever ask for. I’d love to buy you lunch sometime- at CJ Chan’s of course.



New look for Esrati.com

Just letting all our loyal readers know, with the advent of WordPress 4.0 our old theme wasn’t allowing comments, forced us to do a quick presto changeo to a new theme.

Good news is it’s fully responsive- so, your mobile experience should improve.

If there are any problems- or you notice anything wonky- leave a comment or drop us an email please (contact on side of page).

Thank you for your patience through the switch.


Full disclosure file: DPS hires The Next Wave

Some may think hell hath frozen over. Others may scream, rant and yell. But, to be fair- I’ve never been elected, I’m not a public figure, and believe it or not, my firm is damn good at what we do.

Dayton Public Schools- the Superintendent Lori Ward with the approval knowledge (update) of the School Board,  has hired The Next Wave (my small ad agency) on a one-shot P.O. to provide “Marketing and creative services to improve enrollment process for DPS including redesigning forms for digital completion, brochures, posters, direct mail as needed strategy and website”

The amount is $5,000 and the work is to be completed by June 30th.

I’ll post the PO if asked- it’s public record.

Will this bias my reporting of the Dayton Public Schools? Honestly- it’s difficult to do both, but since you don’t pay to read this- I don’t really care. My interests are in improving this city- and the city schools first and foremost. It’s why I’ve probably spent thousands of hours writing on this site- going to meetings, running for office, etc.

I’m not clearing this post with the superintendent or the school board. During the time that this is in effect- anything else I’ll write about DPS will be either commentary on published reports, or public information that I don’t feel is getting out about DPS. I will talk to the superintendent about the posts before they go up. I will also disclose my relationship with DPS in any post mentioning them.

And, again- remember, you read it here first. The DDN missed this.

Let the screaming begin- and bundle up (btw- it did get noticeably cooler this week- didn’t it….)

Now you can + 1 posts

Just added a Google “Plus 1” or +1  link to the site. This is a way to tell your friends about the post- and if you think they should check this out. It also works on the site (which is where I think you should start).

The idea is that when you search for things- you will see if anyone in your circle of influence (friends, contacts etc.) has already liked something in your search results.

Watch this short video about Google Plus 1- and then give it a try.

Sexy new interface for Esrati.com on iPad

For those of you reading the site on the iPad, WordPress just released a new plugin- onswipe– that allows for a magazine style format on your device.

Of course, if you are still not a wordpress or website wizard, think about joining me for my next Websitetology seminar on Wed April 13th.

I’ve installed it- and it looks really sexy cool. Let me know if you like it or not.


Site updates: new features

The old dependable Spam Karma II plugin was deprecated with version 2.5 or so of WordPress- it was doing an admirable job of managing spam (about 40K messages a year) and screwing up very little- unless your name was Josh, Jesse or Brad (sorry guys).

The new one has a Captcha- let me know if you hate it- there are mods I can make. UPDATE: apparently it grants full access to trackbacks- so I’ve had to add yet another plugin to deal with them. Sorry for any emails to prior commenters for the spam.

I’ve also added a “subscribe via e-mail” for those of you who want an e-mail with each new post (if you don’t follow me on Twitter, or friend on facebook or use RSS). It’s in the sidebar at the right.

Time for a new header too- not sure of what I want it to say yet. Tagline suggestions for this site welcome in comments.

Thanks to all of you who have participated-  your comments make the time spent researching and writing worthwhile.

The rules of Esrati.com- goodbye Gene

I’m pretty ok with almost anything on this site- as long as you don’t attack each other personally- or, misrepresent yourself.

That means no posting under multiple names.

Frequent commenter Gene has of late chosen to sign as a variation on my name- or Gene…..

I’ve warned him twice- he’s continued- so I blasted away 20 comments. He does it again- it’ll be 40- until he’s gone.

Thanks to the rest of you- most of his comments were being thumbed down off the comments anyway- so, it shouldn’t be a big loss.

Thank you all- for continuing the discussion.

Debating adding IntenseDebate to esrati.com

I’m thinking that my comments about the comments on the Dayton Daily News lame comment moderation system is making a hypocrite out of me. I moderate to the best of my abilities and try to keep it civil- yet allow all viewpoints on this site.

Yet- while I advocate for comment moderation tools- I don’t use them. Intense Debate is another production of Automattic- the people who develop WordPress. You create a central profile and it’s used across all kinds of sites. Sort of like Disqus only different.

Commenter Profiles
Commenter profiles let you and your readers learn more about each other. Watch the conversation go to new levels once you and your readers are able to get to know each other. Don’t forget, their universal profiles can be used on any site with IntenseDebate!

Reputation Points & Comment Voting

Your readers will start to build their commenter reputations when they create an IntenseDebate account. Their reputation score is based on the quantity, and more importantly the quality, of the comments they've made across all sites with IntenseDebate. Bring the quality comments to the forefront.

via IntenseDebate – Features.

Both IntenseDebate and Disqus have their pros and cons as does the default WP system that I’m using now.

How many of you have accounts with either? Disqus is used by the Dayton Business Journal for example.

Would having a profile scare some of you away?

Does the ability to rate comments and having comment threading improve the experience here?

I’m asking for your opinions- since there are more comments on this site than I’ve got posts- it really belongs to you.

Update on esrati.com

For the last few days I’ve been battling a site that had hotlinked to the picture of the Ohio License plate on this site. It was a site of oxymoron photos- I guess the words “beautiful Ohio” and that plate design make people laugh.

The hotlink was running bandwidth up- and making stats mean nothing (just remember when you see the Dayton Daily News bragging about visitors to their lame site). When I enabled “Hotlink protection” it broke the pretty URL structure by taking a line out of our .htaccess file. Even shutting off the “hotlink protection” didn’t replace that line of code- so the site regained some functionality- but not all.

I’ve had my head somewhere else, and didn’t investigate it fully- so a lot of you couldn’t click through to posts, or comment. It’s fixed now. I’d really like you to take a look at the post about the “Middle Class Task Force” and my thoughts.

Sorry for the inconvenience. I’ll try to get back on our normal posting schedule. Thanks.