Candidates nights: the inside scoop before the last 3 events

I try to keep all the events posted for people at www.electesrati.com/events, as far as I know, I’m the only one who does this, and certainly the only one who videotapes every event and posts them to youtube.

Tomorrow night we have the UpDayton forum at Wiley’s Comedy Club. Trust me, being able to drink while listening to most candidates talks makes it more bearable. Unfortunately, I don’t drink.

Let me explain the devolution of politics for you. We don’t have debates.

Here’s the definition- it seems to be forgotten: a formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.

The way most candidates present: My name is ______________, I was born in Dayton, went to school at _____________, work doing _______________.

The audience should immediately start braying like a donkey. As if the candidate had anything to do with where they were born- and as if an education counts as qualifications for election (one only needs to look at Congress to see that anyone is equally capable of being a moron and elected at the same time).

Then they launch into their “platform”- which is either a history of committees or posts they’ve served on or their previous elected experience. At no point do they actually talk about anything they plan on doing- unless they are referring to some vaguely worded “plan” “roadmap” or “blueprint”- none of which means anything (especially if they’ve already been holding office and haven’t already implemented at least part of it….). Then they remind you of their name and to vote for them. Wow.

When it comes to questions- no, voters don’t ask about multi-million dollar investments in real estate by the city, or tax breaks for General Electric, or police hiring, or voting records, no, they ask about red light cameras and speed cameras. At least of the incumbents.

Never are candidates given the chance to ask each other questions, never are discussions focused on a subject for anything other tan a cursory 2 minute answer- without any give and take. The closest we’ve had to real questions was at the AIA lunch event, where a moderator asked questions we were supposedly given in advance. And, still, the answers didn’t require much research or thought.

That’s why this Thursday, Preservation Dayton may provide one of the most interesting events of this season. I am posting the entire communication they sent in prep last night for you to see what real, substantive questions look like. I hope to see you at the RTA center on Thursday night:

Candidates’ Forum – Vision for Protecting & Improving Dayton’s Housing and Commercial Buildings
Thurs. Oct. 24, 2013 7 – 9 p.m.
Dayton RTA Cultural and Community Center 40 S. Edwin C. Moses Boulevard, Dayton, OH, 45402 (937) 333-2489

Questions for candidates:

1) Building code compliance has been a major challenge for the City of Dayton for over 50 years. Deterioration of many Dayton neighborhoods has been drastically accelerated by predatory lending, unemployment, the financial crisis and more.

Given that many of these forces are largely uncontrollable, how would you go about protecting our existing, viable housing and building inventory if elected in November? And where does housing and building code compliance fall on your list of priorities for the City?

2) Compared to other Ohio cities, Dayton seems to lag in innovative policies, ordinances and operational solutions to proactively keep housing and commercial buildings up to code and to address many of the root causes of code violations. Here are some examples:

  • Point of sale exterior inspections e.g. Huber Heights
  • An annual fee for all vacant, undeveloped properties, not just bank-owned properties as recently passed by the Commission e.g. Cincinnati and Sandusky
  • The requirement for all absentee landlords to have a legally registered agent in the City who is held accountable on behalf of the property owner to comply with building codes e.g. Oxford
  • Giving police officers and other appropriate city employees authority to issue building and zoning code violation notices
  • A revolving fund, zero interest loans or other financial solutions to assist low income property owners bring their properties up to code

If elected in November, would you be willing to take a leadership position to implement any of these best practices or any other creative solutions proven to work in cities similar to Dayton? Why or why not?

3) As budgets and staff decrease, how would you go about getting your fellow commissioners and the city staff to fund the necessary budget, technology and staff to implement your vision for improving building code compliance?

Closing remarks: 2 – 3 minute summary of your priorities for improving proactive and efficient code compliance.

Format: Each candidate will be asked to speak on 2 – 3 questions for 3 minutes each. The questions will focus on legislative, policy and operational solutions for addressing deteriorating properties and ensuring the ongoing viability of stable properties in our city.

Audience members will write their questions on 3 X 5 cards and panel moderators will read the questions for your responses.
At approximately 8:40, each candidate will be given 2 – 3 minutes to summarize your top priorities for improving and protecting Dayton’s housing and commercial buildings.

Although these questions are tightly focused on the area of building codes and legal remedies, there are real questions and suggested positions to defend. One could almost learn something concrete from this forum.

Also note, if you are putting together a forum- don’t invite too many candidates because it makes it impossible to get enough substance out of the candidates. Do have a strict timekeeper, and make sure if accepting questions from the audience that they must be a question, they must be brief and focused and directed to all candidates- or all are given equal time to speak. Give at least several weeks notice- and try to make sure that there aren’t other events (like a commission meeting at the same time). Provide a PA- and preferably have the candidates speak from a podium- so that a camera only has to be focused one place.

If you’d like to be extra useful- collect names, emails and phone numbers of all in attendance and deliver to the candidates so they can continue the discussion. Also be aware of candidates bringing entourages to ask questions- instead, give the candidates at least one chance to ask each other questions.

Last but not least, don’t be jerks and try to limit public dissemination of your event. Banning cameras and recording devices- esp at events open to the public is embarrassing (Wayman Chapel on Sunday- this means you). Running for public office is, well, public. Let the first amendment do its job.

[update] Here’s the video[/update]

Food Truck rally at Vet Town- Saturday Oct 12 Noon-5pm

VOB Ohio, of which I was one of the founders, is hosting an open house- with a special visit from the food trucks and the National Guard.

VetTown is at 140 N. Keowee St at the corner of N. Keowee and Monument in the building that last held ISUS charter school- and for the old timers, was Kiefaber Hardware.

There will be raffles, an obstacle course for kids- and, well- food.

Vet Town is the hub for Veteran Owned Businesses to provide a place where Vets help vets work

There isn’t anything about this event up on either the www.vobohio.org or www.vettown.com site, but trust me, there will be an event.

Video for the people: Esrati and his camera at candidates forums

For the last 4 years- or 4 political races- if you’re counting, I’ve been videotaping candidates nights and posting them on YouTube. I believe more people should have access to these events, which are not widely publicized or well attended.

This week, we had two that had larger crowds- Monday night at the NAACP event, and Tuesday a lunch held by the Dayton chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Two very different experiences to say the least.

The NAACP event hurt itself by inviting way too many candidates. They had all the Dayton mayoral and commission candidates, three school board candidates plus the write in, Trotwood council, and Jefferson and Harrison township trustees. Long event, to hear very little from anyone. Note, these are never debates- these are forums- with candidates being timed and asked questions that are often not well constructed. I was chastised publicly at the beginning of the event by NAACP chief Derrick Foward for not having yet delivered a personal DVD to him of the Northern Hills candidates night. He questioned me at the end as well- as to when I would provide him with a DVD of this event. Of course, the Whaley campaign wasn’t asked for a personal DVD- yet they had a camera there. He made an issue of it again at the end- to which I responded that he should stop bullying me- and there is Nan’s camera- unfortunately, my camera didn’t catch the end of the meeting- either because someone turned it off- or there was a malfunction (I don’t bring an entourage to run my camera). The biggest issue of the evening was the discussion of traffic speed and red light cameras. Other than that- there wasn’t much real info to be had. Some of the candidates from other jurisdictions seemed unable to speak with a microphone- which made it even more difficult to sit through.

Tuesday, the mayoral and commission candidates were invited to speak to the AIA as well as the Home Builders Association and the Associated General Contractors of Dayton. They had Dan Edwards from WDTN channel 2 as a moderator. The questions were written in advance and there was a set schedule. The questions had more meat- and required deeper responses. If you are going to watch any one of these candidates events- this would be the one.

I attended a mayoral forum at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church this morning- just to tape the mayoral candidates to make sure people had access. I didn’t attend the one run by the Dayton Black Journalists/Cox event- or tape it because I figured that “journalists” would manage to get their event online on their own. To date- I’ve not seen it.

Since all the commission candidates had shown up (Commissioner Williams had originally told me this was a full commission forum) they told us that the commission candidates would have time at the end to say something. That video won’t be up for another few days- but, when I started to get the crowd going- it was time for me to stop (as the people in the back were wildly gesturing the Time Out and your time is over). That’s what happens when you speak the truth in Dayton- you get shut down. Although the event was billed to start at 10 a.m.- they didn’t start serving food until 10:15 and it was 10:45 before the introduction of the mayoral candidates. There was more time given to prayer and thanking all of the people involved than what I was given with the microphone. But, you can watch that all for yourself when I get it online.

I really like the vibe I got at Macedonia. They seem to be an activist church working to heal their neighborhood. They have a non-profit housing rehab group, they have fitness classes, and a charismatic young new pastor from Texas. What I find funny is that it’s so important for politicians to be born here- but, that a pastor who was introduced as the “best pastor this side of Heaven” can be accepted so easily from Texas.

There are things that can be done to all candidates events to make them better- the most important one be to have a set schedule for each set of candidates- so that we don’t have to sit through everyone. The NAACP event should have been Dayton Commission from 7-8, school board from 8-8-30, etc. Another is to make sure your microphones work. That was an issue at Macedonia. And although wireless mics are nice, it’s a lot smarter to have a central podium with a wired mic- both from a standpoint of it working- and from the standpoint of videotaping an event- a camera only has to focus on one spot. If you are smart- have a banner or backdrop behind the speaker to promote your organization. And, please- start and stop on time. Not just for the candidates- but for the voters. We need more of them to be at these events. Usually I can count on at least 20% of any audience being “entourage” and the rest are die hard political operatives. These aren’t reaching the broad community the way they should.

And- if you really want to shake things up- why aren’t the candidates ever asked to ask questions of each other? What are we afraid of? I try to keep a list of upcoming events current on my campaign site: www.electesrati.com/events I hope to see you at one of the upcoming forums. Feel free to check any other candidates site to see if they do as much to keep you informed.

 

Sunday morning pancakes. 9am to 1pm

Buttermilk pancakes from scratch!

Buttermilk pancakes from scratch!

It’s pancake breakfast time! I still need to raise about $1900 to reach my goal of $10,000. So it’s time to put on the chefs hat and sell my pancakes. From scratch buttermilk pancakes- made with ingredients from the 2nd Street public market.

The eggs come from Jean at KJB Farms, the cake flour, baking powder and baking soda from the Spice Rack, as well as the sweet cream Amish butter.

100% pure Grade A maple syrup from Dohner’s Maple Camp- coffee from Ghostlight. I even got non-homogenized milk from Star Dancer creamery – and will try to pour off the cream from the top for the coffee drinkers.

I have also have OJ. Suggested minimum donation is $5 – and it’s all you can eat.

Come to my house, from 9am to 1pm at 113 Bonner Street Dayton 45410 on Sept 29th and help my campaign out and eat an amazing breakfast.

Hope to see you here tomorrow.

Thanks!

 

First Four Festival canceled for 2013

Logo for the First Four Festival in Dayton for 2012 for the NCAA March Madness

Logo for the First Four 2012 festival

A cryptic email came out today about the cancellation of the big party in the Oregon District for the NCAA first four that kicks off March Madness.

Oregon business owners / property owners and interested parties of the Oregon District:
Regarding the First Four Festival:
The Local Organizing Committee has been working with the NCAA to produce events in the region surrounding First Four and Selection Sunday.  The NCAA is not allowing local sponsorships for public events (like the First Four Festival) which has impacted the LOC’s plans for the First Four Festival this year.   The Local Organizing Committee has reached an agreement with the NCAA to not have a First Four Festival this year.The NCAA team is primarily an all-new group, different from the folks that were involved from NCAA last year; however, the LOC is committed to working with them for next year’s Festival.
Just a reminder however…Dayton has an entire week of basketball for First Four, 2nd and 3rd rounds this year.  And, the arena has been sold out for the First Four which strengthens Dayton’s ability to secure the games beyond 2015 (we have them through 2014).  This year, there will be 4 days of games, 16 teams, 10 nationally televised games from UD Arena and an entire week to showcase Dayton to visitors.
I know that you, like the rest of us, are disappointed there won’t be a First Four Festival this year, but we are working on some other events in Oregon that will promote our businesses to visitors and Dayton citizens alike. Stay tuned for more information on these activities!  If you have any additional questions, please contact JP Nauseef, First Four LOC Chairman.
Mike Martin, President
Oregon District Business Association
JP Nauseef, was the former CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition before being eased out after the public found out they had hired Congressman Turner’s wife to do a campaign on a no-bid contract. Since then, he’s been busy working in his own consulting firm that seems to have the backing of the Mathile Family.
While it’s unclear exactly how much was spent on this party last year- and by whom, the same cast of characters were involved, with the graphics and advertising handled by Real Art (they were subcontracted for much of Ms. Turner’s “Get Midwest” campaign). I did have the opportunity to meet with some graduating UD seniors around May- and they said that that this party was the first time they’d ever been to the Oregon District.
Was there a bid package published for the job of “Local Organizing Committee” last year? It might be interesting to do a little digging on this.
The good news is that the basketball tournament is still coming to town, and that tickets are already sold out.

Elect Esrati fundraiser: Ghostlight Coffee, Feb 27, 7pm

We’ll need to raise a bit more money to finish the primary campaign strong and propel the campaign forward against the winner of the Republican primary (most likely Mike Turner). So, please join me and many of the volunteers at Ghostlight Coffee, 1201 Wayne Ave from 7pm to 9:00 pm for a fundraiser.

We’ll have desserts (you may bring one to donate or in lieu of a donation)- and coffee will be available for purchase from our hosts. Live music is being confirmed as I write this.

We’ll have campaign materials, show you how to use our campaign tools and have our classic ringer T-shirts available for donations of over $25. We’re also going to have hand crafted coffee cozys for donations over $50.

Keep track of all our events and candidates nights here: http://electesrati.com/events/

and if you can’t make it- but still want to help, consider donating: http://electesrati.com/?page=CiviCRM&q=civicrm/contribute/transact&reset=1&id=1

The Republican Candidates in OH-10 are all no-shows

Just got back from a candidates’ night held in Fairborn by the League of Women voters in conjunction with the Tea Party. All the Greene County Republican candidates were there. All the Democrats running for Congress in OH-10 were there- but Congressman Turner couldn’t be bothered- nor could his opposition. Despite a very Republican crowd- the people who want to represent them can’t be bothered to show up. What did Edward Breen and John Anderson have better to do tonight? Turner was probably out soliciting more money for his re-election.

I’ll have video of all the candidates up soon. It’s now up. Feb 8.

The people in Greene Country should be commended, they had more people at this forum than at any I’ve seen in years.

Once again- the Dayton Daily News was not in attendance, nor were any TV stations. Bet they covered Newt Gingrich at Memorial Hall today, who despite not having a snowball’s chance at being the Republican nominee-  can be counted on for spending big money with the media- so he gets coverage.

I’m not a big fan of three-minute speeches- tonight I remembered how short it is. Time to write some stock 3-minute speeches.

What would you want to hear in 3 minutes?
Here are the videos- all 6 Dems plus an appearance of the Libertarian candidate for Congress, David Harlow who is running unopposed.

Harlow’s web site still lists him as a candidate for the Ohio 8th. He’s still a Ross Perot supporter.

David Esrati (me) – main issue take money out of politics, make sure the voters are well informed and able to have a two way conversation with their representative.

Olivia Freeman- who is going to have the “Freeman Administration” and is a business woman who is “already getting things done” by asking for corporate money to fund social problems.
Tom McMasters- who will tell you the same bad joke about how to tell an extroverted physicist, and promises to be a fiscal conservative, if you only read what he blogged about in 1999, you’d realized he solved the worlds problems.

Sharen Neuhardt- has a farm, eee eye eee eyo oh! And, she’s from Dayton and her father was a Dayton policeman, and she couldn’t beat Steve Austria because of the gerrymandered district (if you look up Gerrymandering in Wikipedia, you see a picture of the old OH-7- might have been in another speech)

Ryan Steele is a philosopher/pizza delivery driver who used to be a libertarian until he worked for DP&L and had to shut off peoples power. All of the people I’m running against are nice decent people, but Ryan’s campaign is the most refreshing. You can donate, but never more than $100. His site still isn’t up yet- but I think it’s going to be www.steeleforrep.com

Mac Van Allen- He’s running because the “super committee couldn’t get it done”- and this retired teacher from Centerville will teach those people in Congress how to fix it- because he can quote Warren Rudman and knows how to compromise.

Opportunities to meet the candidates

Tonight starts the series of meet the candidates for Congress events. We have have one per night all week – and then next week. I’ve noted events that also include the Republicans as well (don’t expect Turner to show up).

I’ll be at the following events- and will video tape and post each candidates speeches on YouTube. Note, no other candidate makes this effort, and it does take time and money to do this- so please consider donating to my campaign if you want to continue to have access to information like this. Note- the most up-to-date place for this information is here: http://electesrati.com/events/

South Dayton Democrats Congressional Candidate Forum

February 6th, 2012 7:00 PM   through   8:00 PM
131 S. Wilkinson Street
Dayton, 45402
United States

League Of Women Voters/Fairborn Senior Center Candidates night

February 7th, 2012 7:00 PM   through   8:00 PM
325 North Third Street
Fairborn, OH 45324
United States
BOTH PARTIES INVITED

Candidates Night- Oakwood -Wright Memorial Library

February 8th, 2012 6:00 PM   through   7:00 PM
1776 Far Hills Ave.
Oakwood, OH 45419
United States
I’m not sure if both parties are invited to this one- sorry.
February 9th, 2012 7:00 PM   through   8:00 PM
18 N Broadway
Trotwood, OH 45426
United States

Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce Candidates night

Come hear the candidates at the Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce candidates night.
Meet and greet starts at 5:30, speeches at 6pm. 3 minutes each, 1 question to respond to in 1 minute.Main Elementary, Auditorium
February 14th, 2012 5:30 PM   through   7:00 PM
2942 Dayton Xenia Rd.
Beavercreek, OH 45434
United States
BOTH PARTIES INVITED

Fayette County Meet the candidates night

Sponsored by the Fayette County Tea Party, a non-partisan organization whose members include Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.  It is open to the general public.  We have sponsored several meet-the-candidate events which have been well-attended.   Each candidate will have a short period of time to present to leave time for a few questions.

February 16th, 2012 7:00 PM   through   9:00 PM
101 E. East Street
2nd Floor
Washington Court House, OH 43160
United States
BOTH PARTIES INVITED
The news media has pretty much ignored the congressional races so far, so if you want information, these events or this blog still remain your best opportunities to learn and make an informed decision. Please spread the word. Show up and proove that democracy is still powered by the people of this country- not just campaign funds from corporations and the wealthy.
I’ll have campaign literature and yard signs at all the events- and t-shirts, stickers and posters for sale to support my efforts to spread the word and advance my campaign. Of course, donations are always helpful as well. http://electesrati.com/?page=CiviCRM&q=civicrm/contribute/transact&reset=1&id=1

 

 

Pancake breakfast fundraiser, Sunday January 15 2012

I’m announcing a pancake breakfast fundraiser at my home this Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to noon. 113 Bonner Street, Dayton OH 45410. We’re asking for a suggested minimum donation of $5 for which you’ll get my scratch-made buttermilk pancakes, pure maple syrup and beverages. My treasurer also has insisted we offer granola, fresh fruit and yogurt for those who can’t do carbs or gluten. We’ll have stickers and t-shirts for sale as well.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of fundraisers like this, but the real reason politicians do them is because it’s a way to accept cash without reporting who exactly attends. It’s a way for anonymous giving that’s overlooked. I can make an awful lot of pancakes, so when you see over $1,000 come in, it may be because we had a lot of people, or big bills. Count this as a lesson learned from previous campaigns.

You’ll also be eating some amazing flapjacks and get to see how this candidate lives.

Free Shakespeare tonight thru Sunday in South Park

South Park is my neighborhood- and for the last three years this neighborhood has shown its community spirit and hipness by presenting the Bard, for free- in the ‘hood. A good number of the actors and support people live in the neighborhood.

Consider yourself invited to this year’s production of Romeo and Juliet- updated to take place in America around the time of Dayton’s birth:

FAST FACTS ON SHAKESPEARE IN SOUTH PARK ROMEO AND JULIET

Dates: Fri-Sun, Sept 17-19, 2010

Time: 8 PM-11PM

Place: South Park Green, Hickory & James

Bring: A lawn chair or blanket

Admission: Free, donations accepted

or call (937) 603-4893 for information.

Parking: Hope Lutheran or Emerson Academy

Rain Location: Hope Lutheran Church

via Romance & Tragedy take over South Park Green.

And, as a note- while the performance is free to attend, it isn’t free to produce. I’ll be there hawking for donations at the end of each show (it’s a talent I seem to have down well). Don’t feel obliged, but- if you enjoy Shakespeare under the stars- done by locals, and want it to continue, your support will be appreciated.