The OH-3 dem candidate forum recap

If Dayton had fiber for internet service, I’d have the video up from last night’s debate already- however, because our country thinks building schools, hospitals and roads in Afghanistan is more important than the critical data infrastructure for the new economy- uploading 90 minutes of compressed video will take all night tonight.

Since you can’t watch the video yet- you can read the DDN piece- which is guaranteed to take the thing that makes me look the most radical of the three (which isn’t hard- considering the candidates) and try to paint me as some kind of rogue. The reality is- my views on Afghanistan haven’t changed much since my days in Special Forces where the plight of the Kurds is the main case study. Afghanistan is a conjured-up country- that contains vastly different tribes who don’t like each other- where the main source of revenue is the drug trade.

You want to fix Afghanistan- you decriminalize opium- and let Halliburton start peddling it (they have no morals) and Afghanistan will be a peaceful country with a higher standard of living (until Halliburton starts buying elections like they do here) and the people catch on to it (something people are slowly catching on to here).

The cave comment wasn’t my finest- far from it-but, after listening to Roberts’ plans to spend your money to build a modern country in Afghanistan while people are losing their homes, their jobs, and their country to the corporations pisses me off. To hear Fogle talking about counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency as if he understands how we take care of terrorists (trust me- Special Operations Command is perfectly capable of doing the job, without the giant corporate investment in a country) was as if I was listening to Mike Turner try to explain away the billions we’ve wasted on trying to fix a whole country because 20 Saudi’s attacked us (and yes, Bin Laden still hasn’t been caught or killed despite the giant drain on our economy).

Here’s the DDN re-cap:

The three also differed on the war in Afghanistan.Fogle supports reducing troops involved in the counterinsurgency, while continuing to fund counter-terrorism efforts, arguing that the main goal is to fight the Taliban, not try to create a democracy.Roberts said building schools and infrastructure would keep Afghans from turning to the Taliban and other militants.Esrati opposes such spending.“It’s time to stop building schools, hospitals and roads in Afghanistan,” Esrati said. “People are used to living in caves in Afghanistan and building them schools is not going to change things.”

via Three Democrats in primary express contrasting views.

When I first told you about the DDN editorial board meeting and then provided the podcast- I made an observation about the other candidates- it still holds true. Yet last night, I was truly blown away by Mr. Roberts giving a new definition to the idea of a tax-and-spend liberal- he was proud to talk about how he planned to make former U.S. Rep Dave Hobson- our former pork king- look like an amateur. His ideas of buy now- pay later were so far away from what I believe is needed to fix this economy that it actually scared me. Yet, he still believes that “the stimulus is working, just not as fast as we’d like it to.” When there are 5 job seekers for every job, that’s not working very well in my playbook- especially while the people who tanked major corporations weren’t sent to prison for securities fraud, racketeering, theft, etc.- and in fact were still paid millions of dollars.

Here is the DDN recap- but, I think you’ll find the video WAY more telling:

Esrati said government should give no tax incentives to businesses and should not be in the business of economic development.

Fogle called for reducing the business tax rate, giving tax breaks for research and development and a one-year moratorium on the payroll tax for small and mid-sized businesses. Those contributions to Social Security and Medicare would be replaced with stimulus money.

“We need shock therapy,” Fogle said. “We need to put the paddles to the chest of the Miami Valley and shock the dickens out of it.”

Roberts said stimulus money should be used to retool plants to build fuel cells, wind turbines and solar panels.

“The job of government is to bring jobs,” Roberts said.

Several times during the evening Guy Fogle followed me- and graciously said he agreed with me. But, his rhetoric on taxation was the same kind of stuff you hear on right-wing talk radio- as if taxation is the only thing stopping small businesses from succeeding. And although it’s not my style to give the other guy credit in a debate/forum, I will say that in the whole evening Roberts did make one very good point- one which I’d actually planned to write about last month and didn’t- that a mortgage should still be able to fit on one sheet of paper. I’d been cleaning and organizing the house in preparation for my new family to move in and found a note I’d signed with Gem Savings for a second mortgage on this home in 1987 or so- one page. It was awe inspiring… (there I did it- said something nice about Mr. Roberts).

The reality is- Roberts kept saying that the stimulus was working and that we just have to give it time. I say when the homes in our neighborhoods are being sold at 40% or more off what we thought they were worth- and not just one, but 25 hedge fund managers pocketed a billion or more for a year’s “work”- the stimulus is working for someone else- the people who buy the people who represent you. Roberts cites the Roosevelt solutions of spending to end the first great depression- yet doesn’t acknowledge the key part was new banking industry regulation (including Glass-Steagall which I’ve been calling for reinstating) and that the government created jobs through the WPA to make sure people were doing something instead of starving and then rioting.

This is already at 1000 words and has taken 45 minutes to write. This is the kind of dedication and communication my readers are used to seeing. There may be others of you- who are finding this for the first time. This is the kind of communication- with the ability to comment – and discuss- that I would continue to deliver if you deliver me to Congress. Try commenting on Mr. Roberts’ site, or Guy Fogle’s- or even Mike Turner’s. In fact- note that Mr. Roberts’ site main function is a plea for cash- while mine is to inform you.

If you are wondering why there was always a bunch of applause after everything Robert’s said- it was from his family and friends he brought down to pack part of the house. All three candidates had handouts- I’ll add pdf’s of them later today- and the video as soon as it is uploaded.

I had some people come up to me after- and tell me that they didn’t think I was anything like what they thought I was from the media coverage- thank you. And, quite a few said that I’d won them over. I’m asking people who were at the forum- to put their comments on this piece.

Lastly- I’m not perfect. I sometimes attack people instead of gracefully attacking the idea. I’m working on it. Yes, I started out attacking Ellen Belcher at the DDN for her perennial leading question to me:”Why do you keep running and failing”- to which I wouldn’t dare ask Thomas Edison or Michael Jordan (failing is as big a part of learning as succeeding). I shouldn’t have made it personal- I could have blamed the whole DDN editorial board for their annual hanging of Esrati in their “endorsements.”   And yes, I was a little harsh on Joe Roberts (the crack about him talking about Chuck Whalen- Tony Hall’s predecessor- being out of office before Roberts was born, which was true). But, the purpose of primary debates is to inform voters- and to prepare candidates to face the enemy. As the only candidate who has beaten Mike Turner before, I know exactly what I signed up for. I’m not sure the others do.

I’ve now invested another 20 minutes filling you in. If you appreciate this kind of communication from a candidate- please consider making a donation: www.electesrati.com/donate

Here are the three candidates handouts in PDF form:

There was the question about what book made you tick- my answer was the free book I offer on this site- written by my father: “Dear Son: Do you really want to be an American” It’s a PDF- about 70 pages, well worth reading.

Mea culpa, editorial board stays…

Last night I engaged in spiteful, unfounded and plain mean yellow journalism- by reporting that the Dayton Daily News editorial board was getting the axe:

it looks like we won’t have to listen to the editorial board of Ellen Belcher, Martin Gottlieb and Scott Elliott anymore.

via Sayonara Editorial board: Cox cuts the brain dead.

If you watch Fox news, you should be used to this kind of BS. It’s not my style, nor my desire to spread mis-truths or libel people doing their job (however, when they don’t do their job- and they are receiving public funds- look out).

I wish I could say that my intentions were fully for the common good and not just me gloating on my soapbox, but, after years of getting treated like shit by Ms. Belcher and Mr. Gottlieb- I let my guard down and let them have a taste of their own medicine. It was stupid.

That all being said, there should never be a monopoly on editorial opinion. That’s part of the reason this site exists, and even if my readership is still a fraction of theirs, it doesn’t make my positions necessarily less worthy of consideration- it just gives the community the ability to have a semi-informed conversation about the two or more sides to every story.

That’s the part that’s been missing from their endorsement articles- without opposition candidates, we don’t have a reason to even hold elections. Because I or Gary Leitzell decided to throw our hats into the ring doesn’t mean we don’t have the credentials to run- or win (we met the requirements for turning in 500 signatures on petitions correctly filled out) it means that citizens have a choice. For a democracy to exist- we must have contested races for each seat- just as we have to celebrate and support opposing views. The Dayton Daily News editorial board has mocked challengers, questioned if there are worthy candidates still living in the city (note: none of the editorial board writers vote in Dayton) and generally, scared people away from running with their overly crappy assessments of challengers (and half- hearted “endorsements” of incumbents at times).

So, even though I question the value that they add to the paper daily, I’m happy to announce that we’ll still have their misguided mojo to banter about on this site and others for at least the near future. Yep, getting rid of the local editorials would be a “strangely bad” idea, even for a dying industry.

Commentator Jeffery was entirely right about the need for local opinion pieces, even if we do have to suffer these columnists uninspired prose. But, you shouldn’t ever see unfounded crap on this site- or plain reckless attacks again. Hopefully, I’ll have learned from this mistake.

My apologies.

No Debates, No Forums, and now- no recordings of speeches and putting them on the ‘net.

Screen shot from the Esrati video MuzzledWhat is Jane Mitakides thinking? I got a voice mail yesterday from the Warren County Democratic Party chair- stating that some of his members and Jane were upset that I recorded Jane’s presentation and my speech at the meeting and posted it on my site: Real democracy as practiced in Warren County- compare Mitakides to Esrati podcast

Let’s see: public meeting, public place, public figures talking about qualifications for public office. Hmmmm….. better not let anyone hear it.

I talked to the chair a bit later, he was a bit miffed as well, but thought I should have informed him that I was taping before I did it. I’m not sure that is a credible request in light of the previous paragraph. If this meeting was off the record- why don’t we just stop having elections and just sell the offices to the highest bidder (oops, we may be doing that already).

I responded that there is clearly a comment form at the bottom of my post, and if anyone in the Warren County Democratic Party wants to complain or comment- I provide that opportunity on my site. Try that on any of the other candidates sites. I also said if he wanted to forward me the e-mail Jane Mitakides sent to him about this, I’d be happy to post it as well.

I’ve been wondering how voters are supposed to get information about this campaign- and doing everything I can to help them. In fact, that’s what I thought political parties were supposed to do: hold debates, help candidates define the issues, support democracy and the freedoms our country was founded on.

Apparently something has changed since I read my fathers book: “Dear Son, Do you really want to be an American?” when I was 17 (and again in December of 07) – America is no longer a place where it is free to speak publicly or politically, without prior authorization by a selected few.

I’m sorry. I seem to be acting very un-American. Is it time to arrest me again?

Misquotes in the Dayton Daily News-

Spike Lee as Mars Blackmon with MJ in the backgroundI was at the Spike Lee talk at the Schuster Center- along with a whole lot of other people. Right at the beginning Spike talked which way this country to go- depending on our vote in the primary Mar. 4. There was a big delay before his final direction- but look what the paper quoted (I’m just including this to show how they don’t always get it right):

Spike Lee says he supports Obama, talks of childhood in Brooklyn
“We are living in some very exciting times,” said Lee, speaking at the university’s Diversity Lecture Series Monday. “And the months leading up to the election in November will determine which way this country is going to go; forward or backward. It’s up to you to do the right thing.”

What Spike said was “Forward, STAGNANT, or… backward”- referring to the Clinton campaign as the status quo option. I don’t have this on tape- but, I knew right then that Spike and I were on the same wavelength. Except, right after he said it- I mumbled about “how much more backward can we go?” which got a rise out of those sitting around me.

Just remember, when you read it in the Dayton Daily News- even if it has “quotes” around it- it doesn’t mean it’s verbatim. And, yes, I’m being a crybaby right now.

Anyone else hear the same thing? Any other thoughts about why Spike said? The online version of the DDN actually cut out the part that was in the paper about how Spike said “Parents are the biggest killers of dreams”- which is what I think a lot of people in attendance will be thinking about long past Spikes talk.

I’m thankful that my parents have supported my dreams and believed in me as long as I can remember- even when I did some things that sure seemed dumb at the time (buying a house for $14,500 in 1986 that looked like a dump).

And when I said I was going to run for Congress- Dad said: “Run, David, run” – actually, maybe I shouldn’t put that in quotes- he may have said “go, David, go”- but you get the point.

An apology and a poor choice of words: Union + crybabies

I didn’t record my interview with Lynn Hulsey and neither did she. If I did or didn’t say it- it doesn’t matter, it’s in the paper- so it must be true.

“Crybaby” is a strong term- and applying it to the hard working people in Dayton’s proud union shops is in no way how I feel. I have friends who work hard at the truck plant- and, no, they aren’t crybabies.

There is no excuse for my poor choice of words- and I’m sorry.

I ask that you read all three candidates’ positions- and forgive me for one word- and then decide-but, here in all it’s glory is my faux pas.

Three Democrats seek March win to challenge Turner
He said labor unions have a role, such as making sure pay is fair, but not by “protecting people who are incompetent.”

“In fact, one of the reasons that people don’t look at coming into Dayton and putting in their manufacturing plants happens to be the idea that our local auto unions are strike-prone and a bunch of crybabies,” Esrati said.

I am going to clarify my position on unions, since Charles Sanders has made issue of it when I’ve heard him speak.

My father was a member of the Newspaper Guild. I walked the picket lines with him as a kid. He writes about his feelings in Dear Son. I believe in the right to organize, to strike, to protect the rights of employees, to seek safe and fair working conditions, and to keep the balance of power between employers and employees. Slavery ended in this country long ago- however, I still believe that college athletes are a perfect example of why unions are needed- and I would like nothing better than the universities to be forced to abandon the subjugation of “student/athletes” for their gross financial gain.

However, I also remember a woman whom I dated who routinely missed half of her workdays- yet, kept her job due to her tenure with union protection. At some point, unions, just like sports teams, must realize that everyone has to pull equally- isn’t that why we unionize? To give the many strength to battle on equal ground?

However, I am absolutely against union involvement in politics. How dare an organization support policy outside the workplace that may or may not be against my own personal believes and force me to contribute? Take for example the many devout Catholics who belong to unions that support pro-life candidates? Is that fair, or legal? This is why I don’t believe that unions should be involved in politics outside of the workplace.

I hope this clarifies my position, and my apology for an extremely poor choice of words.

Let me have it. I deserve it.

Hot button questions- answered for Bethany from WSU

Bethany from Wright State wrote:

I am doing personal research on the candidates running in the upcoming primary. Could you tell me (briefly, yet thoroughly) what your stances are on the following issues?

  • Education: Do you support No Child Left Behind? If not, what do you suggest replace “the system”? Do you think the governor’s position of absolving the State BoE is a wise one?
  • Homosexuality: Do you support homosexual marriage? Why or why not?
  • Abortion: Do you support the right for choice or the right for life? Why?
  • Health Care: Do you believe it is the government’s responsibility to provide health care? Do you support universal health care?

Thank you for your time in answering these questions. My vote depends on your answers (no pressure).

I’m going to preface- that the hot button issues of homosexual marriage and abortion are questions that I believe shouldn’t be used in determining a candidates score- sort of like the questions on the exam that a professor throws out because there is guaranteed to be about a 50/50 split on the correct answer- making them statistically insignificant.

But- here we go:

Education: The governors decision about the State BOE is not within my purview since I’m a running for a Federal position. I believe that our State should be working first and foremost on finding a way to fund schools that is Constitutional – as the State Supreme Court ordered them to do over a decade ago. The BOE issue is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

No Child Left Behind is a Federal program that imposes a lot of unfunded mandates. I believe in national standardized testing to provide a tool to measure quality of the overall system- that which isn’t measured, can’t be improved (at least that’s what I learned in Stats 101 with Dr. Cleary at WSU long ago). The use of it to penalize schools that aren’t working with the same caliber of students- ie. poor districts vs wealthy districts- is a misguided idea. I have written extensively on ideas to improve the Dayton Public Schools on this site- and encourage you to look at them.

There are two areas I believe are critical to changing education in this country- laptops for all students, and sponsored Day Care/Head Start programs to make sure children start school properly prepared. As to how to pay for an improved education system nationally, I would like to see a flat rate Internet Sales tax on goods bought online- to be distributed per student, equally, nationally with a simplified collection system- not based on what State a company does business in, or where the buyer is. Eventually – this consumption tax, along with the proceeds of auction of public bandwidth would also provide national free wi-fi to students.

Homosexual Marriage: A hotbutton topic. I believe that our Constitution says all men are created equal. The bible says to love each other. The fact that some of us love people of the same sex- and others love people of the opposite sex, isn’t an area where Government should be imposing value judgements. Marriage is marriage, and love is love. If two people love each other, and want to make a formal commitment, I’m in full support. We need more love in this country and less hate.

Considering how flip Americans have become about heterosexual marriage- with a divorce rate that boggles my mind- the fact that anyone wants to get married and stay married is a home run in my book.

Abortion: I personally don’t like abortion- and my simple answer is, we should spend more time teaching planned parenthood and family planning- that’s SEX ED and CONDOMS and BIRTH CONTROL methods and trying to prevent unwanted pregnancy than fighting the practice of it. Abortion is a lousy form of birth control.

However, if a woman wants to have an abortion, I can’t think of one area that the government should have less say in than this. I fully support a womans right to choose- I just wish we’d have more choosing their partners and their forms of birth control before we get to the abortion issue.

Health Care: I support 100% coverage of all Americans- with the same access to health care granted to members of Congress. How we do it- well, that’s a pretty tough question. Single payer systems like Medicare and the VA seem to do a reasonable job- however there is always room for improvement.

My main complaint is the “Bookie” we use in this country to provide “Health Insurance” instead of “Health Care.” Imagine if we just paid doctors directly to take care of us- instead of paying the bookie to decide what we can be covered on and what we can’t? Considering we’re spending over 30% of our “Health Care” dollars on “Bookies” instead of on providers of “Health Care” I think we have a way already in place to solve the problem- cut out the middle man.

You left out the other hot button question: Assisted suicide. While I believe in the sanctity of life, I also believe in dignity in death. This is very personal to me. Katie Jones, my first true crush (in the third grade, no less) contracted MS at the age of 27. By 33 she had been living in a hospital bed, unable to feed herself, work, move, and eventually talk with ease. She was lucky to have a physician who helped her end her life according to her wishes. She didn’t want me to visit in her last months- because she wanted me to remember her how she was- a beautiful woman, who had worked her way through Ohio State law school- who always had a smile and a ton of energy.

I remember Katie that way. And, for her- I hope to give people the option to end their lives as they wish, without stigma, without criminal charges and without Government telling them that they can’t.

Excuse me while I shed a few tears.

I guess I should also cover the Death Penalty. Although I consider myself a peace candidate, and don’t like abortion, there are some instances where I believe the death penalty is appropriate instead of life in prison. (You can read some other thoughts on prison here). In the case of iron clad proof of murder, with absolute witnesses and no questions, I believe a jury of peers should have that option. I don’t see the use of keeping the likes of a Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy Jr. or Charlie Dalmer alive at our expense. Life is a privilege, as is living in a free and open society, those who choose to take another’s, should be willing to suffer the consequences.

I don’t know if those are the answers Bethany was looking for. But, they are mine.

Vote accordingly- although, I’m reminded of a question from my friend Dave Bowman in his podcast interview:

Q: What’s the difference between an ad campaign and a political campaign?

A: In an ad campaign, if we don’t tell the truth, we get sued. In a political campaign, you get elected.

These are my honest answers. Try getting the same from others.

Jane is kicking off, while we’re already kicking butt

Just saw this (I’m not on the official release list):

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races | Ohio Daily Blog – A Community Blog On Ohio Politics And Public Affairs
OH-03: Mitakides Campaign Kickoff – Jane Mitakides (D) will have her official campaign kick-off event on Thursday, February 7th, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Montgomery County Democratic Party Headquarters, 131 South Wilkinson Street, Dayton, Ohio 45402.

But, when I was at the Democrats for a Stronger America meeting tonight- Jane was still sitting home in her private community dialing her friends in high places for dollars.

It was quite funny when one of the people there showed me his printouts of all three candidates sites- and said, “you really have issues and answers there” – ahem, that’s my point. I don’t want $2,300 donations from people who want favors. I want $20 from everyone who thinks we need a new kind of voice in Congress- one that actually represents us, not special interest groups.

We’re walking tomorrow- a full 2 days before Jane kicks off- we could use your support. I’m asking some of you to walk your talk. And if you want to hang outside HQ on Thursday and hand out literature to everyone going to the kick off- well, maybe I’ll see you there.

Jane Mitakides Answers Questions on transportation systems

As of today, I’m officially the underdog, since Jane Mitakides got the endorsement of the Montgomery County Democratic party last night. I’d like to know what the other 3 Democratic Parties in the district think, but, apparently, there isn’t much interest in this race from their party Chairmen.

In her last outing for Congress, she answered some questions for the league of Women Voters- (I’m stuck with her old stuff, since she still doesn’t have a site up).

Her answers are pedestrian at best- and you can compare to mine (which have been collected over the years- not just for this election)

Jane Mitakides Answers Questions
What plans do you have to promote a more balanced transportation system?

I believe modernizing our transportation system is an integral part of real energy independence, as well as ensuring the mobility of an aging population. We should invest in making our current highway and surface-street transportation system more efficient, cut waste in our current public transportation system, and begin to look ahead to light rail and other means of efficiently moving people from point to point. In this central hub area, I will make it a priority that our projects–like the suggested US-35 improvements through eastern Montgomery County–see fruition. Business relies on good transportation options, so a strong transportation system isn’t just good policy–it’s smart business, too.

I believe a modern transportation system includes high speed rail in SW Ohio, connecting Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton. See this search: High Speed Rail

I am not a favor of sprawl, which increases our dependence on not only foreign oil, but has huge costs in the upkeep of roads. I’ve been talking about reeling in sprawl quite a bit- and had a category dedicated to it: Sprawl

But, my major policy game changer, is the end of corporate relocation welfare- where municipalities, states, compete for businesses to move to their jurisdiction by giving away tax abatements. My proposal is to make these illegal, and instead, only offering a tax credit for employees that can walk to work- and offer a tax credit for companies buying public transportation passes for employees- making it good business for public transit to be used. I spoke of this first here: August 1, 2006. Note, I wasn’t running for office then- so I wrote this without any ulterior motives: Go see “An Inconvenient Truth”

So, if you are still wondering why Jane Mitakides should be your pick for Congress, take a look at her tired answers, and the new fangled Esrati Platform, delivered in full Web 2.0 for your election pleasure.

Ideas are my currency in this campaign. Jane, well, she wants to buy her own seat in Congress: Jane’s donations to herself in 2004

$61,538 is more than a lot of people in this district make in a year. Maybe Jane should just mail checks to voters (It’s all the rage these days- it’s our Federal Governments short sighted solution to the economic crisis- you can see my ideas here Economic Stimulus the Esrati way) and buy their votes?

I want to earn yours.

David Esrati interviewed by DAVIDeBOWMAN podcast

I can’t knock on 25,000 doors between now and March 4. It’s too bad, because I’d like to meet all the people I need to vote for me for this to continue to November.

While postcards are nice, and this website is even better, sometimes, people just want to hear what a candidate has to say. My blogging buddy, David Bowman came over to interview me today- and has put together a podcast. The sound isn’t studio quality- but it should give you an idea about how I am in a candid interview.

Here is what David wrote to introduce it:

Voices: Episode 2 – David Esrati | DAVIDeBOWMAN
The name of the podcast is Voices, and frankly there are not many people I know more vocal than David Esrati. David, never at a loss for words, sat down to speak with me about what makes Dayton great, the role of the city in the broader region, his run for congress, the impact of technology on the political process, what he thinks Mike Turner has done well, why he wants to be in Congress, the difference between an ad campaign and a political campaign, and more. Love him or hate him, and there are plenty on both sides, David is thought provoking, passionate, and fearless when it comes to expressing his beliefs. His campaign is sure to break new ground as it pertains to the use of the web, and his creativity and candor will make the run for OH 3 something exciting to follow – regardless of your political views. Take a listen for yourself. Thanks to David for agreeing to spend time talking with me. It was great fun.

So far, David gave me the most interesting questions, I’m not sure all my answers are pretty, but, I think my answer of what the difference is between a political campaign and an advertising campaign should make it worth a listen. 39 minutes, 35.9 mb