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 name||Last name||Position|
|Debra||Armanini||Mat Heck's number 2|
|Sam||Braun||Mr. Whaley- works for Karl Keith|
|Gregory||Brush||County Clerk of Courts|
|Rick||Carne||Former Tony Hall Chief of Staff- now a lobbyist|
|Dave||Fecke||Vice Chair UAW|
|Greg||Flannagan||Public information officer for Mat Heck|
|Tim||Gorman||Husband of Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Barbara Gorman|
|Steven||Harsman||Deputy Chief of the Board of Elections|
|Dale||Herzog||Dayton Building and Construction
|Russell||Joseph||Mark Owen's heir apparent|
|Matt||Joseph||City Commissioner, brother of Russ|
|Carl||Kennebrew||President IUE-CWA Local 755|
|Beverly||King||Board of Elections worker who hires her rapist brother|
|Marcia||Knox||Regional Director AFSCME Region 8|
|Dennis A.||Lieberman||Former Party Chair, Clayton Trustee, husband of County Commissioner Debbie|
|Nancy||Marino||Trotwood Dem Club|
|Jim||McCarthy||Head of Miami Valley Fair Housing|
|Charles||Morton||Dayton-Miami Valley AFL-CIO Regional Labor Council|
|Genevieve||Murphy||State Young Dem President, Nan's shadow|
|John||Murphy||Gen Murphy's Dad- BOE worker|
|Leonard||Oram||Head Probation Officer for Vandalia municipal Court run by Mat Heck's wife, Cynthia|
|Mark||Owens||Party Chair, Dayton Clerk of Courts|
|Varney||Richmond||FORMER President of Teamsters Local 957 as of Jan 10, 2015|
|Tom||Ritchie, Sr.||AFSCME, formerly on BOE|
|Paul||Robinson, Jr.||Chief Deputy Treasurer
|Brice||Sims||Jefferson TWP Trustee|
|Cathy||Startzman||Legislative Aide County Commission|
|John||Theobold||Legislative Aide County Commission|
|Meghan||Thomas||Works for Mark Owens in Clerk of Courts|
|Nolan||Thomas||Assistant. Prosecuting Attorney|
|Lynn||Thomasson, Sr.||County Clerk of Courts|
|Willie||Thorpe||Asst to the President IUE-CWA|
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.