Board of Elections takes care of its own

Once you turn in petitions the rule is you are finished. No statement of your petitions validity is given until the actual board meets to certify. I’ve pointed out many times the agenda doesn’t provide any information – just a repeating worthless document- an outline of the structure of the meeting.

When I turned in petitions with 50 signatures that I collected for Congress- and signed the petition circulator statement AFTER I collected them in front of Steve Harsman (as you do with City Commission petitions) he ruled them invalid- kicked me off the ballot. Then when William Pace didn’t sign the agreement to run statement, if the signatures were valid- he was kicked off the ballot (despite someone calling him at 4pm on the last day of the turn in- telling him to sign- and his faxed in papers were ignored- plus the nominating committee- who was empowered by his petitions was also ignored). Basically- if they can find a reason to fail a non-party favorite candidate, they do. Either party.

But, when one of their own is about to fail- things change. Bryan Suddith, who used to work for the BOW and check petitions, turned in his petitions early marked “Kettering City Council”- the day they were due, he got a call that he was going to be turned in for election fraud because he didn’t put “Kettering City Council, Ward 4” on his otherwise valid petitions.

His anonymous caller told him to call the BOE and say an exact phrase- much like spies use to verify the identity of an undercover agent- like, “the sun shines nicely on the North side of the building today” to be responded to with, “flowers will grow, in the spring.”

This triggered an admission that his petitions were about to be kicked. He rushed down, withdrew his petitions, quickly gathered 100 more signatures (something the low number requirement makes possible) and was placed on the ballot.

District 3 council member Tony Klepacz will run unopposed after the board of elections invalidated petitions filed by Jan Kinner. Kinner had enough valid signatures from residents of the district. However, “no ward designation or number is listed with the council seat on (his) petition,” according to attorney Mary Montgomery with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. She advises the board of elections.Montgomery said it was in the board’s discretion to invalidate the petition. Montgomery County Board of Elections member Kay Wick pointed out “we don’t ask them specifically (for the district)” on the petitions.

However, when asked by other members, Board of Elections Deputy Director Steven Harsman said all other candidates did list the district number. Members also argued Kinner could have called the board of elections to learn the status of his petition.

Wick said she had heard of other candidates seeking the status of their petition and rectifying any issues by gathering signatures on a new petition with the district number. Board members John Doll, Gregory Gantt and Kay Wick voted to invalidate Kinner’s petitions. Member Rhine McLin abstained.

Current Kettering Vice Mayor Bruce Duke will face challengers Patricia Higgins and Bryan Suddith for the District 4 seat.

Source: Candidates for Nov. election set

Wick knew what happened. As to Kinner calling the BOE to learn the status of his petition- absolute HORSE SHIT. Unless you know the exact words to ask- the secret phrase, ZERO information will be given, not even what candidates will be discussed in the upcoming meeting. I’ve ASKED repeatedly for the classifications of valid and invalid petitions before, only to be told “come to the meeting.”

Special privilege was granted to Suddith. Kinner deserves to be on the ballot. And the BOE needs to be investigated and charged with racketeering and election fraud.

Also, petitions that have questionable language or unnecessary “gotcha’s” built in need to be evaluated and reformulated every time a candidate is kicked off the ballot for procedure. The failure rate is getting too high. Wick is correct “we don’t ask them specifically (for the district)” on the petitions.”

Dayton’s petitions ask for Ward and Precinct- yet they don’t require them to be filled in, and they are the only petitions that require notarization (other than Oakwood- which was supposedly going to remove this antiquated rule).

This kangaroo court needs to be investigated. Not by the Secretary of State, but by the Justice Department. Kudo’s to Rhine McLin for abstaining.

Bernie Sanders will change American politics

It’s July 29, 2015, in Ohio. Our primary isn’t until March 15, 2016 – and there were close to 100 people gathered in a union hall to hear Bernie Sanders give his “grassroots organizing kickoff” speech.

No slick camera work. His podium- a music stand. No teleprompter- just his notes on a yellow legal pad. The backdrop- a bunch of Bernie signs taped to a wall behind him. If I could find the link- I’d post it, but it’s not up yet.

As unpolished as it gets. And that, of course is the point.

His speech was about 10 minutes. Take out his repeating of the words “enough is enough” and you get it down to under 8 minutes. And not a word about himself. None of his personal experiences, or story telling- just straight facts.

  • Banks that are too big to fail are too big to be around.
  • He’ll name Supreme Court justices who will bring the end to “Citizens United.”
  • Sandra Bland shouldn’t have died for a traffic violation- (never mind the travesty of Samuel Dubose in Cincinnati) and we have to end institutionalized racism.
  • A path to citizenship.
  • No hiding of corporate profits by U.S. corporations.
  • Free public college for all.
  • End the state of incarceration.
  • Single payer healthcare for all.
  • Double the minimum wage so that a 40-hour workweek can actually keep you out of poverty.

There may have been a few more- but, this is the same message he’s been sharing for the last 30 plus years.

When did we mix up the idea of looking and sounding good is more important than good thinking in this country? When did we stop electing people based on their ideas instead of their fundraising or telepresence? Some say it goes back to the first big TV debate when JFK beat Nixon by wearing makeup and not looking like he needed a shave.

Bernie can’t win say all the pundits- mostly because he doesn’t give them the fodder or the money that other candidates do. Had this been Hilary’s kickoff- she would have dropped a few hundred thousand just on “production values” instead of on our values as Americans.

She lost Iowa 8 years ago to a black guy with a Muslim name. She won’t win in New Hampshire this year. The only people she’s fooling are the people who give her the money that she wastes on looking good instead of just being the voice of the people. Bernie has that job locked up.

Now all you have to do is listen- and spread the word. This is a fresh change of circumstances for American politics and the American people. Get ready for a change that you will actually be a part of, instead of just believing in.

 

How Bernie Sanders could contribute to changing political campaigns

When the Green Party wanted to take over Canada in 2005, they put a lot of money and work into an open source software project, CiviCRM, which was built for managing voter data and running a data based campaign.

CiviCRM manages donations, communications, building walk lists, organizing events, tracking voter preferences and more. It also can be used to do case management for non-profits, or even run a School District’s student information system.

The Canadian Greens were working with an early version of Civi, and developed some very useful tools like the canvassing/walklist generator. Unfortunately, after the Greens took office, they never updated or upgraded their system to match the development of Civi. 10 years in software is like the technology changes of 50 years in cars and airplanes.

The CiviCRM project is still going strong, doing all kinds of good things for non-profits and small money politics. If Bernie Sanders truly believes in leveling the playing field, and making running for office more affordable for all, he would take some of his $15 million war chest- and put it toward two critical upgrades that need to happen to Civi- or even fork it-

  • A responsive backend interface
  • A mobile device integration for canvassing/data collection.

The cost to do this would be less than half a million, and could even include some needed UI improvements.

If he really wanted to transform politics, he’d build the ultimate database of every registered voter, with their voter history- which is already in the public domain- and geo-code every household and allow voters to opt-in to political email to help cut the costs involved in reaching them. If the database was really slick, it would also contain a list of every office you vote for based on your location/ward/precinct/district- and who is in it- complete with your local polling location and process for absentee vote baked in. Right now- it’s almost impossible for most voters to find that stuff out- and it could be improved by also putting the job description, salary and instructions on how to file and run in one centralized place.

The Obama machine built a system capable of running campaigns, but, despite promises of “Hope” and “Change” they kept their data to themselves- and the tools that make it possible to elect other progressive candidates. Each new candidate has to either buy into expensive proprietary systems from private companies like NGPVan, VoterVault (now GOP DataCenter), NationBuilder etc- or start from scratch.

Here’s a video by NGP Van to explain what these systems do:

Democratizing the tools/weapons of politics would be a giant start in the right direction. The amount of money to bring these tools online- from data importing, geocoding, and phone/email matching is an insane waste of money, and it’s done every cycle for every contested office.

Watching locals trying to organize without a handbook, a tool box and the data management tools needed to run a modern campaign is sad. Not giving them the keys to get a campaign running ahead of your own campaign is a tactical mistake, because enthusiasm can’t be put on hold, until you are ready- it’s gotta be there for when the voters are ready.

It’s time someone put their money where their mouth is in reforming our election process. Improving CiviCRM would help every small candidate be able to compete.

Campaign contribution tracking, bribery and you

Traffic camCitizens United threw the door open to unlimited money in politics. The Federal Elections Commission “tracking” of donations is such a joke that another site, www.opensecrets.org is the only place you can go to get actual, usable data- like, who gave to whom, from what industry, to what cause etc. However, it’s still built on top of the FEC Data which is bad data to begin with. Need proof? Look at this old post where billionaire Wall Street wizard Steven, or is it Stephen? Is listed with two different names.

When it comes to local and state campaigns, the record keeping is even worse. Handwritten reports are routinely turned in, scanned- and posted on badly built websites to make the records “public.” No database of local election donors exists, making it very hard and time consuming to trace the donors and tie cases like this Redflex bribery scandal together:

A former chief executive officer for red light ticket camera company RedFlex Traffic Systems, the vendor for red light cameras in the Dayton area, pleaded guilty to participating in an eight-year bribery and fraud scheme, the FBI said Friday.

There was no mention of any links to the Dayton area, but officials in Columbus and Cincinnati were said to be involved in the scheme.

According to the plea agreement obtained by the Dayton Daily News, various unnamed elected officials in both cities received disbursements through the Democratic Party from a consultant hired by the company totaling $30,000. The payments were in the form of campaign contributions. The Columbus Dispatch was reporting Friday that one of the officials was Columbus City Council President Andrew Ginther.

The announcement came from Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart of the Southern District of Ohio and Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office.

The executive, Karen L. Finley, 55, of Cave Creek, Arizona, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Terence P. Kemp of the Southern District of Ohio to a one-count information charging her with conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and honest services wire and mail fraud.

Finley’s sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date, the FBI said.

According to the announcement, from December 2005 to February 2013, Finley, who served as CEO of the red light camera enforcement company, admitted that between 2005 and 2013 she participated in a scheme in which the company made campaign contributions to elected public officials in Columbus and Cincinnati through a consultant retained by the company.

While the consultant is unnamed in court documents, a Dayton Daily News review of campaign contributions found that John P. Raphael made a $20,000 contribution to the Ohio Democratic Party on Oct. 21, 2011 – the amount and date referenced in the Finley plea agreement. His address is listed at 261 E. North Broadway St., Columbus.

Raphael’s clients include contractors who, according to the city auditor’s office, hold more than $61.7 million in contracts with Columbus City Hall. Raphael didn’t immediately return a request for comment left on a voice mail message system.

Among them are construction companies and Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., the company that supplies and operates the city’s red-light cameras.

“According to admissions made in connection with her plea, Finley and others, including another executive of the company, agreed to provide the conduit campaign contributions with the understanding that the elected public officials would assist the company in obtaining or retaining municipal contracts, including a photo red light enforcement contract with the city of Columbus. Finley also admitted she and her co-conspirators concealed the true nature and source of the payments by the consultant’s submission and the company’s payment of false invoices for “consulting services,” which funds the consultant then provided to the campaigns of the elected public officials,” the release said.

Source: Camera vendor admits bribery

Considering that Dayton is still using the Redflex cameras, and our over $650,000 was spent in our last mayoral election- it’s hard to believe that some Redflex money didn’t make it into someone’s campaign coffers.

But, how are you going to tell? There is no database to look up all donors and all donations and all recipients. It’s download each one of the campaign finance reports- as many as 6 a year in an election cycle – per candidate- and then go through them manually- trying to put things together. Trust me, someone tipped the FBI off on this, because there is no way they started this by connecting the dots online.

Considering that our voting records are on line- and available in a searchable format, including our address, party affiliation, age, and voting history, don’t you think we should be able to look up who bought our politicians.

The right way to do this is pretty simple. All candidates register as a candidate and are issued a debit card for purchases, and if need be, an online check-writing account. All donors must register with a REAL Federal Elections Commission, which would require their Social Security number, employer, industry, address, age and yes- their voting record (actual times and places they vote- not how they voted) and through that portal- they can donate as much as they want to any political organization- with a direct bank-to-bank transfer. You know, if they can catch old Denny Hastert for not reporting hush money transfers, we ought to be able to catch the money transfers that turn our political hacks into paid shills.

The system would include a smart phone app for collecting donations at fundraising events, and all cash collected would have to be immediately deposited.

Vendors would also have to register, so they could be paid, making it possible to quickly see which vendors are used by which candidates. Lobbyists would also have to be paid through the system, and have their accounts made public.

The system would bring total transparency to all political campaign money, and also make researching cases like this Redflex scandal an easy one to track.

This is probably why Columbus has been coming down so hard on the traffic cams, not because they work, but because of resentment that some of the money didn’t come their way. Redflex gets a percentage of every ticket that is issued into perpetuity from their cameras- providing a non-stop source of revenue to continue the payoffs.

If the system was a simple purchase and you own it, the money flow would be 100% back to the community that bought and installed them. If there was one part of this deal that always stunk it was the payoff to Redflex. However this isn’t any different than the deal the casinos made to be handed a monopoly on gambling in Ohio.

Our campaign finance reporting system is a joke. Creating a single portal for all donations would put an end to a lot of the games that are being played in order to buy your way into office.

Will this system be implemented? Not until we get rid of the best politicians money can buy- they like it just the way it is.

UPDATE

27 June 2015 If you want to see the way a real newspaper reports about a news story- you should wander over to the Chicago Tribune:
This is the link to a short article: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-01-23/news/ct-redflex-red-light-bribery-20140123_1_redflex-holdings-ltd-company-policy-camera-company

but the link at the end (it’s 2 pages) has a link to a summary of all the articles about the red light scams in Chicago- including short yellows, the firing of Redflex etc-
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/redlight/

Political campaign hot cards and websites for less

Shameless plug, or doing my part to change the way politics work?

One of the biggest problems facing America is the high cost of running for office. I know full well how much it costs, having run more times than most (and lost).

To help cut the expense of running for office- my firm, The Next Wave, does campaign pieces- websites- printing- for a lot less than what most “political consultants” charge- and it looks better.

We just did a logo, hotcards, letterhead, envelopes, car magnet and a website for local judicial candidate Mia Wortham Spells.

Mia Spells Hot card Mia Spells Hot card back

The website is basic, but functional and responsive. Done in WordPress, with a PayPal donation engine. You can learn how to manage a WordPress website yourself by coming to one of our Websitetology Seminars, the next one is Tuesday June 23.

Our printing prices are some of the best in town- 1000 4/c, 2/s 4×6 hotcards on 16 pt stock are only $44.55 You can find more prices at www.thenextwaveprinting.com

We’re also doing design work, hotcards, banners and yard signs for Dayton City Commission Scott Sliver and signs and some other printing for Dayton School Board candidate John McManus.

We’ve done door hangers for Beavercreek Township Trustee Tom Kretz, notecards for State Rep. Jim Butler,  Butler Twp. Trustee Joe Flanagan, Liberty Twp. Trustee candidate Rhonda Freeze and of course former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell and city commission candidate David Greer (one of my favorite portrait shoots). This is mostly in the name of full disclosure- and just because we do design and print for these people, doesn’t mean it’s an endorsement.

What’s funny is that the local Democratic party does a lot of its printing out of Columbus instead of supporting a local Service Disabled Veteran (me) and probably pays more for everything.

Don’t overpay for crappy printing for campaign literature that no one will read anyway – buy it from The Next Wave.
:-)

It’s time you elected politicians as tight with their own money as they’ll be with your money.

 

America, where we only investigate some crimes

blind justiceOMG, call out the FBI, a former teacher, goes to Congress, becomes Speaker of the House, leaves- somehow is now a multi-millionaire- and we don’t question that. But, pull out more than $10K at a time from his own bank account (to allegedly pay hush money) and we’re on it:

Hastert was charged Thursday with withdrawing $952,000 in cash in small amounts to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000. The former U.S. House speaker is also charged with lying to the FBI.The indictment says Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to an unidentified person to hide “prior misconduct” against that person. The indictment does not describe the misconduct Hastert was trying to conceal.

Source: Latest on Dennis Hastert: Ex-House Speaker Resigns From Firm – ABC News

Apparently, international professional soccer is also a den of criminality that requires the FBI to investigate:

For decades, that was how business was done in international soccer, American officials said Wednesday as they announced a sweeping indictment against 14 soccer officials and marketing executives who they said had corrupted the sport through two decades of shadowy dealing and $150 million in bribes. Authorities described international soccer in terms normally reserved for Mafia families or drug cartels, and brought charges under racketeering laws usually applied to such criminal organizations.

Source: After Indicting 14 Soccer Officials, U.S. Vows to End Graft in FIFA – NYTimes.com

And while trillions were stolen from everyday Americans through mortgage manipulations by the wizards of Wall Street- more investigation and justice was done to the NY England Patriots over Tom Brady’s balls:

The evidence listed in Wednesday’s “Deflategate” report is eye-catching:

  • Text messages between a part-time New England Patriots employee and an equipment assistant with talk of cash, free shoes and autographs.
  • The part-time employee, a locker room attendant responsible for 12 footballs before the AFC title game, spending 100 seconds in a bathroom after game officials had approved the balls for play.
  • Measurements taken at halftime after a team that is losing tips off the league about footballs that appear to be too soft.
  • The Patriots’ star quarterback and the equipment assistant suddenly exchanging phone calls in the days just after news of underinflated footballs blew up.

Those are the key points in the 139-page NFL-commissioned report given to the league’s brass.

Source: Report: Tom Brady likely knew of ‘Deflategate’ acts – CNN.com

And just after I published this- an addition:

Ross W. Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, a notorious online marketplace for the sale of heroin, cocaine, LSD and other illegal drugs, was sentenced to life in prison on Friday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

Mr. Ulbricht, 31, was sentenced by the judge, Katherine B. Forrest, for his role as what prosecutors described as “the kingpin of a worldwide digital drug-trafficking enterprise.”

Mr. Ulbricht had faced a minimum of 20 years in prison on one of the counts for which he was convicted. But in handing down a much longer sentence, Judge Forrest told Mr. Ulbricht that “what you did in connection with Silk Road was terribly destructive to our social fabric.”

Source: Ross Ulbricht, Creator of Silk Road Website, Is Sentenced to Life in Prison – NYTimes.com

Life in prison for setting up an exchange- while the Wall Street bandits stole trillions.

Trillions gone. People losing their homes. Credit card rates at near usurious rates, pension funds cleaned out, higher ed becoming out of reach, universal health care that’s just fattening the pockets of the insurance middlemen- and zero, zip, zilch investigation or action.

Start paying attention to Bernie Sanders for president now, if you ever want a chance of setting things right.

 

The Decertification of Sanity in Ohio

A group of moron legislators in Ohio are trying to pass a “constitutional carry” law in Ohio- House Bill 147. They think it’s a god-given right to carry a concealed firearm, and that we’d somehow all be safer if people with zero training were allowed to carry concealed weapons.
As a recent CCW course graduate, before it went from 12 to 8 hours, I can say that the CCW course was inadequate compared to my military training and Jr. NRA training I got as a 13-year-old. But it was something.

From the Dayton Daily news:

Only Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Vermont and Wyoming currently have a “constitutional carry” law, the phrase given bills like House Bill 147.

Paul Zeltwangar, R-Mason, one of those who cosponsored the bill, said since the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, “what’s the purpose of the registering process?” Zeltwangar said there are no negatives associated with the bill.

Other area lawmakers supporting the bill include Reps. Niraj Antani, R-Miami Twp.; Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton; Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield; Nino Vitale, R-Urbana; Jim Buchy, R-Greenville; Margaret Conditt, R-Liberty Twp.; and Ron Maag, R-Lebanon.

via Foes fire back at Ohio gun bill.

My basic stance on gun ownership is that it should be as least as difficult to get a gun as it is to get a car and a driver’s license. Some training, a written test and competency evaluation. Insurance should also be part of the deal. However, since we’re moving away from permits and training, what else could we change to be more “constitutional?”

You currently need permits to sell beer and alcohol, to brew beer and you have to be over 21 to consume it. This seems awfully restrictive and intrusive, HB 148 will reduce the drinking age to 12 and allow anyone to sell alcohol.

HB 149 believes that medical licenses and training are also unnecessary, Ohio will become the first “Free Medicine State” where anyone can practice medicine and charge for it.

HB 150 goes hand in hand with HB 149, dropping requirements for law school or passing the bar exam. With the new influx of “doctors” we’ll need more “lawyers” to sue. After all, Clarance Darrow never graduated from law school.

HB160 will eliminate all professional certifications and requirements of competency for architects, structural engineers, surveyors. Said Representative Antani, “they built the pyramids and the great wall of China without any licenses.”

HB 161 will eliminate all certifications for public safety personnel. “It’s obvious that police training doesn’t stop cops from shooting unarmed black men in the back for a traffic stop” said Rep. Zeltwangar, so why pretend anymore.

HB 162 eliminates all requirements for health department inspections, agriculture inspections, etc. “They eat a kind of sushi in Japan that can kill you” says Rep. Buchy, “what are we so worried about.”

HB 163 however strengthens licensing requirements for barbers and hair dressers. “We can’t have felons using a razor blade on people without proper regulation, and of course, having a bad haircut is a crime” said Rep. Maag.

And we’re still firmly against allowing gay people to marry and women to choose the right to have an abortion because, well, because we’re Republicans.

The Republican members of the Ohio House are scrambling to find other things to un-regulate and de-certify, including oversight on slot machines and casinos, fracking, fertilizer sales and application and ending the onerous task of doing safety inspections on roller coasters- “aren’t they much more exciting when they derail?” said Rep. Koehler.

Unfortunately, the only training and certification we really need in Ohio isn’t being talked about at all: IQ, Civics and Sanity tests for all elected officials, because electing stupid people is not just our constitutional right, it’s our destiny.

Legalized racketeering- only in Ohio

When Ohio voters amended the Ohio Constitution to allow casinos, they mandated the actual real estate for the casinos. When it came time to build the four casinos- a minor obstacle in Columbus- when the location they authorized wouldn’t work for the criminals who got the golden ticket had to move it. No worries, the legislature bent the voters over and moved it.

Now, we’re facing the same with pot growing operations. Vote for pot- and give 10 sites a monopoly on legal pot growing:

if Ohio voters approve a constitutional amendment in November to legalize pot for recreational and medical uses, documents released Monday show.

ResponsibleOhio released a 24-page summary of the ballot language that identifies where each of 10 grow sites will be. Investors bought or arranged purchase options on the 10 sites.

via Moraine site would grow marijuana if issue passes in November | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

The identification of specific parcels isn’t law- it’s racketeering.

ResponsibleOhio is backed by deep-pocket investors that include financiers, current and former professional athletes, real estate developers and others. It is opposed by anti-drug organizations, five statewide officeholders including Kasich and DeWine, and grassroots marijuana groups that believe carving out just 10 growing sites will unfairly block others who want to cultivate cannabis for sale.

ibid

If you don’t know what racketeering is-

Racketeering refers to criminal activity that is performed to benefit an organization such as a crime syndicate. Examples of racketeering activity include extortion, money laundering, loan sharking, obstruction of justice and bribery.

Just because it’s voted into law, doesn’t make it legal.

It’s time for a constitutional amendment in Ohio to stop granting unfair advantages by government to any business- be it limiting the locations of pot farms or casinos to specific sites, or the awarding of individual tax breaks, incentives or grants to a single business without offering the same benefits to their competition.

A leader without followers…

It’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day.

Some of you have the day off. Some march. Some go to fancy banquets and listen to stories of “back in the day” and many take for granted what King fought for.

More people don’t vote now, more than before King when people were blocked from voting. Call it apathy, call it indifference, but considering the effort that it took to change the system, the system hasn’t changed as much as King hoped.

And while King is celebrated today- many still don’t understand that at the time, he was still not recognized as a force of nature.

The beginning of the famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” began with an admission by King that “Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work.”

The sum total of his response 6,921 words. Of course, he was in jail and had time to write.

Fast forward to 2015- and if the civil rights movement were getting started today. If King put up 6921 words- he’d get TL/DR (too long didn’t read) by most.

And while his goal in most protests was to create imagery of many people marching, or to bait racist police chiefs into letting loose the dogs, hoping for headlines- media today wouldn’t work the same way.  If civil rights wasn’t done then, it may not have happened, or set the groundwork for things to come like marriage equality.

The one thing that distinguished King from others, was his ability to attract followers- to have a herd to be heard. There were many detractors, but those core followers made the difference.

“You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.”

He was challenged as an “outside agitator” by many. His response was clear “Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial ‘outside agitator’ idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

The real question is who is going to lead the next clear battle in American Civil Rights- the one that will truly end poverty, end class inequity and bring back the ideals of “all men are created equal” and that they all have the opportunity to engage in the pursuit of life, liberty and the happiness that seems to be evading so many?

It’s time for people to take the time to read the long versions, it’s time for people to ask questions, and it’s time to find new leadership that isn’t beholden to the mighty dollar. The underlying causes of inequality are still here today.

We can celebrate King’s victories all we want, but, to think the battle has been won, is to kid yourself.

 

 

The secret committee that decides elections in Dayton

At the last election there was going to be an empty seat on the Dayton City Commission if Nan won or lost. The party screened candidates, and selected incumbent Joey Williams and former State School Board and Dayton Board of Education member Jeffery Mims.

A local minister, Darryl Fairchild had already printed up a 2-color letterhead, “Fairchild 2013.” (Note, when running for office, never put the date on stuff you could reuse). When the endorsements were announced, Darryl wheeled to the front of the room and fell on his sword, sweeping the door open for Mr. Mims, thinking he was next in line. When the city had to modify the dais in the commission chambers for Dean Lovelace in a wheelchair, I even heard- “well, we’re going to have to do it for when Darryl gets on the commission” from someone. (For the record, Lovelace should have vacated the seat for his extended absences, and there should have been a special election).

On Tuesday, six candidates screened for the two seats coming up for re-election. Matt Joseph, the three-term incumbent who has yet to distinguish himself with any real legislative issues, and five others including yours truly. As previously reported, David Greer who ran last time, Hazel Rountree who just took a seat a year ago on the DPS board, Fairchild, and newcomer Chris Shaw who is “a fourth-generation business owner and active in the local NAACP” according to party chair Mark Owens (who is the Dayton Clerk of Courts and is up for re-election).

Thursday came and the announcement was made in the party executive committee that the screening committee had selected Joseph and Shaw. A few people were wondering how Fairchild had been thrown under the bus. A screening committee member said “well that would be running two white guys” since Fairchild and Joseph are both white, Shaw is black. I protested that the party could endorse 4 Dems (and still not endorse me) since the way this works is that if more than 4 people run, there is a runoff (not a primary- since the race is non-partisan) to select 4, and only the top 2 vote-getters win in November. Since there are obviously going to be more than 4 people in this race, wouldn’t it be smarter to have 4 Dems in the final? And let the people decide? I was booed, hissed, told to shut up- and got nasty looks. One other person asked why not Darryl? Wasn’t he promised this chance when he stepped aside so graciously for the good of the party? The answer was no- he wasn’t promised anything.

This is the way the Democratic party works- 4 years ago Nan and Rhine McLin were inseparable, with some even speculating that there was a sexual relationship between them. After Rhine lost to Gary Leitzell in the upset of the century- Rhine became a pariah. The people in power in the Dem party would eat their babies in order to protect their fiefdoms.

There were other endorsements as well. Judge Pickerel has “aged out” of being able to run, and his open seat was screened as well. Three candidates including the just deposed Frances McGee Cromartie who was their endorsed candidate in November to return to Common Pleas. She was passed over, despite being a McGee. Some loyalists challenged that decision- only to be told that the person they were endorsing had 20+ years experience in the municipal court and Frances didn’t. Never mind that Common Please handles much tougher cases than Muni. Nope, lose an election, and unless you raise a lot of money like Sharen Neuhardt, we put you out to pasture.

So the question is, who are these people on the “Screening committee” who try to take the democracy out of the ballot box and keep it behind closed doors in Dem Party HQ? As an elected member of the central committee and elected to the executive committee (thank you A.J. Wagner and Joe Lacey) I didn’t remember electing, selecting, discussing who was on this committee. I asked for the list- and was given it- surprisingly. The members are selected by the party chairman, Mark Owens. Mostly made up of elected officials, former elected officials, patronage job holders who are jockeying to be the anointed one when their benefactor decides to step down, and labor leaders. Here’s the list. I’m sorry I haven’t had time to fill in all the job positions, but I will gladly take your input to fill in the few blanks.

First nameLast namePosition
DebraArmaniniMat Heck's number 2
WillisBlackshearCounty Recorder
SamBraunMr. Whaley- works for Karl Keith
GregoryBrushCounty Clerk of Courts
CenaBuchannon
RickCarneFormer Tony Hall Chief of Staff- now a lobbyist
DanaClark
DaveFeckeVice Chair UAW
GregFlannaganPublic information officer for Mat Heck
DanFoleyCounty Commissioner
TimGormanHusband of Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Barbara Gorman
StevenHarsmanDeputy Chief of the Board of Elections
MatHeckCounty Prosecutor
DaleHerzogDayton Building and Construction
Trades Council
RobertJones
RussellJosephMark Owen's heir apparent
MattJosephCity Commissioner, brother of Russ
KarlKeithCounty Auditor
CarlKennebrewPresident IUE-CWA Local 755
BeverlyKingBoard of Elections worker who hires her rapist brother
MarciaKnoxRegional Director AFSCME Region 8
Dennis A.LiebermanFormer Party Chair, Clayton Trustee, husband of County Commissioner Debbie
NancyMarinoTrotwood Dem Club
JimMcCarthyHead of Miami Valley Fair Housing
JeffreyMimsCity Commissioner
CharlesMortonDayton-Miami Valley AFL-CIO Regional Labor Council
GenevieveMurphyState Young Dem President, Nan's shadow
JohnMurphyGen Murphy's Dad- BOE worker
LeonardOramHead Probation Officer for Vandalia municipal Court run by Mat Heck's wife, Cynthia
MarkOwensParty Chair, Dayton Clerk of Courts
VarneyRichmondFORMER President of Teamsters Local 957 as of Jan 10, 2015
TomRitchie, Sr.AFSCME, formerly on BOE
PaulRobinson, Jr.Chief Deputy Treasurer

DavidSaphire
BriceSimsJefferson TWP Trustee
TroySinger
CathyStartzmanLegislative Aide County Commission
FredStrahornState Rep
JohnTheoboldLegislative Aide County Commission
MeghanThomasWorks for Mark Owens in Clerk of Courts
NolanThomasAssistant. Prosecuting Attorney
LynnThomasson, Sr.County Clerk of Courts
WillieThorpeAsst to the President IUE-CWA
DawnWojcikParty exec.

These are the people who “endorse” after a ten-minute presentation. The questions, which I’ve published before are minimal (2012 answers)- but always include the “In your race, if the Democratic Party endorses someone other than you, will you run against the endorsed candidate? If yes, why?”

The question is, are you, one of the few remaining dedicated voters in Montgomery County willing to keep allowing this system to exist- to limit choice on the ballot?

Will you vote the “stupid voter slate card” blindly?

This is why judges are rarely opposed. This is why many people never run. This is how the Monarchy of Montgomery keeps the gravy train going and the friends and family fat and happy.

You shouldn’t be happy about this. I’m sure not.