Am I an uncompromising asshole- and is that a good thing?

In the last 24 hours, I’ve talked with 2 elected representatives I respect. Both tell me the same thing: you can’t get elected if you keep stepping on toes.

The fulcrum comes from this post: How to beat Mike Turner in OH3 where I say:

What may be the most significant statement of all as to his great accomplishments as our “Urban Mayor” is that he lost in an expensive election to a woman who can barely make a speech in public- and that he soon pulled up stakes and left his urban/historic/rehab manse for a “patio home” in a gated community in Centerville (really Kettering, with a Centerville voting and school address)

First: The truth will set you free. Saying Rhine McLin can’t speak in public is honest, not hateful. For all of Turners slickness, the integrity of McLin comes through in her speaking. It’s that authenticity that helped her win, plus the fact that Turner differs from me in that his vote’s for sale to the highest bidder.

Second: strategically, I have to win Montgomery County. That requires that I connect with the voters outside of Dayton who still think Mike Turner is a pretty good guy, and can’t understand why the “morons” who live in the city- would vote for McLin over Turner. They don’t understand that we’d had enough of the “Star Power Ego” that drives Mike Turner, and wanted someone who really cared. The fact that he bled the city dry and bailed resonates in the City- the fact that he lost to her, resonates outside.

No matter how much of a jerk I am, I doubt the people of Dayton really want to reelect Mike Turner as the foreclosure rate continues to skyrocket, we still don’t have access to health care and we’re paying for schools in Iraq while our own get neglected. I’d have to be a AWOL cocaine user (oops, that’s our current President).

I’m also being told I have to play nice and sit behind closed doors for endorsement screenings at the DDN and the Montgomery County Democratic party. This goes against everything I stand for: open, honest representation- with the public being included in the process. I’m not sure what these people are afraid of- if you can’t answer honestly, in front of God and all before you are elected, how will you do it after.

I’m pretty comfortable with going against the grain. I’m sure you realize that Mark Cuban, Donny Deutsch and Steve Jobs didn’t get where they are by following prevailing “wisdom.”

The real question is- do voters care? Is it important that the people they elect are who they think they are- or just a manufactured product for mass consumption?

If elected, I’d only be one of 435 Representatives- and yes, I’d have to play nice to get things to go my way. But, if that means, start being stupid, sell-out, or forget what’s in the Constitution just because the President says we need to adopt the “Patriot Act”- I’d rather be an uncompromising asshole.

Need some props here peeps.

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19 Responses

  1. Phillip Ranly January 15, 2008 / 12:14 pm
    I’ll give it up to you—you stick to what you stand for. Very applaudable. But there is a fine line between going against the grain and just being a totally annoying person. I’m not saying you are but just pointing out that the line is there. As for guys like Mark Cuban and Donny Deutsch, I find them to be irritating and self-important. Their thoughts and ideas may be out of this world fabulous but if they’re not presented in a palatable way the average person won’t get behind a person like that.

    Also, some of your comments about Turner and McLin seem like personal attacks. When asked, most people will say they disapprove of such harsh methods in elections. It feels below the belt and Americans like to see a clean and fair fight.

    I’m not qualified as a campaign consultant but I am an average person so that must qualify me to some measure. Just something to let roll around in your head a little. Good luck.

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  2. Jim Crotty January 15, 2008 / 1:15 pm
    Stick to your guns David. You hit the nail right on the head with “afraid.” But I do agree, sometimes you have to bite your lip in the short run to win the long distance race. The problem with me is that I tend not to follow my own advice. This is why I never lasted very long working in corporate environments – so much energy devoted to kissing someone’s a#^ and playing games while nothing actually gets accomplished. Meanwhile a select few collect all the prize money for playing the game so well.

    Stay true to yourself. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done when confronted with a political environment thoroughly corrupted and polluted with people who are form and no function.

    You do have one heck of a challenge set before you. I wouldn’t have the patience, and I know only too well how I would be publicly labeled.

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  3. yvan melnikoff January 15, 2008 / 3:16 pm
    David,

    For all the talent, creativity, insight, dedication, commitment, patriotism and honor that you display (and I think it is considerable) politics requires building consensus and that takes a thick skin. Acquiring a political skin, “playing nice” or however it is phrased is just part of effectively arming yourself.

    In a previous commentary I tried to make the point (by analogy to the Iraq occupation) that you, as “the stranger in a strange land” (and yes this is my backseat driving opinion) hold a responsibility to blend an emerging culture of truth, accountability and transparency into the current culture of corruption and cronied self-interest. You HAVE TO display an understanding of the culture that you are entering. There will be no laying down of flowers for you as you attack the gates. It’s simply the nature of the beast.

    David,…even the most righteous and enlightened of prophets speaking the highest truths have been stoned to death without converting a single soul simply because of their zealotry. Learning how to adjust your “strategery” and conduct effective warfare in the political trenches is not the same thing as selling your soul to the devil.

    Yvan

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  4. Dee Lee January 15, 2008 / 4:00 pm
    Mr. Esrati,
    I’ve been reading your webpage for some time now and I have to say I like your style.
    We’ve never met personally but I remember you well from the years ago that I worked in television. (I worked in the local media in the production aspect for 23 years.)
    I have always admired your gumption, if you will, because you stand for the regular hard working type of person who says what they feel. Unfortunately, in the business of politics, it just doesn’t work like that. You can’t say what you feel, even though you want to because that is your personality.
    I do want to say that it’s because you said what you did, the TRUTH about McLin and Turner, is why you have my vote.

    Sometimes, in business, you have to go with something you don’t feel comfortable with to get in the position you need to. Maybe in this circumstance, that’s the case. I wish I had more to offer as far as assistance, unfortunately, I’m just a working class mom with kids and a house and a DP&L bill and gas credit card that just keeps growing and growing! I’m no different than anyone else, however, I will say that I am talking to others who live around me to get the word out to vote for you.

    You stand on your laurels, there’s nothing wrong with that. And if you have to do something differently to get where you want to be to help “rescue” those of us who need you most, then I say go for it. Is that wrong, probably. However, we need you to be our voice!

    Be yourself and do what you feel is right. I wish you the best.

    As a side note, I have to say, I will never forget the days of the “Mickey Mouse” ears and the Ninja mask at the commission meetings. Some people might have thought you crazy but there were alot of us who knew exactly what you were doing…standing up for us.

    Best wishes to you.
    Dee Lee
    Dayton, Ohio

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  5. Greg Hunter January 15, 2008 / 4:59 pm
    It feels below the belt and Americans like to see a clean and fair fight.

    Ahh, now herein lies the problem. Mr. Esrati is trying point out that based on his knowledge, it never was a clean and fair fight. What is not fair about saying that Mr. Turner is “owned” by his donors ? Is it not obvious? What is not right about describing how shallow a person maybe just for public image. Following the serpent was not good idea, but his message is certainly soothing. I envy Mr. Turner’s ability to speak as it eloquent, but try to listen to the words. They are of no substance, they are spin. Mr. Esrati is trying to stick up for the person that has no voice, but these people do not seem to recognize the actions as beneficial. Maybe they like the fact that Turner can be purchased, because maybe they can purchase him as well. Mainly the people that recognize how the process works will support David, because they have studied the machine and are appalled by the process and the blatant one sidedness to the decisions made in the name of the public interest. I too have tilted at this windmill and IMHO I was absolutely correct about all the things that have come to pass, it makes no difference, because the newspapers have done no research on whether Mike has made any positive contribution to his constituents. Mr. Esrati has spoken his mind and it is all for us to see. I like that. I want Mike to tell me something truthful, that comes from the heart and not from an internal polling mechanism. It does not happen.

    As to getting along in Congress, that is not the way the house was suppose to be, someone new every 2 years was the framers intent. If I went to Congress I would have fought a much different battle. Forget the legislate, I would investigate. The goal is too convince the Federal Workforce to perform top quality work for the taxpayer and expect that kind of service out of its contractors. A congressman can investigate why projects are overrun and cause all kinds of problems if the projects funded by congress do not get completed in a timely manner. Congress was hired by the people to make sure the money gets spent in an efficient manner. We are the President’s consultants. I would eat DC alive with this tactic.

    Yes the prophets howl in the wind, but when forecasts start coming true the kings and their subjects tend to change their view in order to keep their jobs and heads. This required the King to employ the prophet. The problem this lack of listening to prophets is the subjects are required to go through additional pain that could have been avoided had the prophets warnings had at least been considered. The Cox Corporation has not been a good presenter of these viewpoints as they bend to the will of the advertisers, not the subscribers. It should lose its standing as a defender of the first amendment.

    David I wish you luck in your quest and I hope you get the chance to go to DC and help Ohio out of the mess the business minded Republicans have achieved since they took power. Embarrassing.

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  6. David Esrati January 15, 2008 / 5:00 pm

    On advice of true friends, I made a few minor editors. It doesn’t change the gist of it.

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  7. Jeff January 15, 2008 / 9:05 pm
    Just look at Gregs link. And anyone here can run searches on the FEC database.

    Turners major contributors are the real estate/development/construction industry and GOP “leadership PACs”. He also gets alot from defense contractor PACs, and individual contractors.

    Then look at his various report cards and how he votes. He votes with the GOP 90% of the time, and the lowest he’s got from a lobbying group affiliated with his developer/donor base was 80%.

    He doesn’t represent anyone exepct his donors. He votes their line mostly (based on ratings(, and he votes contrary enough to give him plausible deniabilty.

    Turner also plays that Kerry game: “I was against it before I was for it”. There are few votes like that on his record, where he votes against something like reduced interest on student loans (1/17/07, Vote 39, HR 65), but when the Democrats defeat the GOP, he goes along and votes for it (1/17/07, Vote 30, HR5), as it looks better on his resume. But where was he REALLY at on this? If he was for it why did he vote against bringing the bill to the floor? (reference:

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  8. Jeff January 15, 2008 / 9:13 pm
    I mentioned Turner has a donor base that includes the defense contractor community.

    Its interesting to see how Turner voted on the “Accountabilty in Contracting Act” HR 1362.

    http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1202

    Turner voted against it. The vote was 347 to 73, with 13 not present or abstaining.

    What’s interesting is that 119 Republicans voted with 228 Democrats FOR this bill. Turner bucked his party on this one. Gee, wonder why? Stay tuned for a deeper look at Turners defense contractor donors (including some fun info on bundling. That link that Greg posted misses one of Turners bigger donors, a defense contractor).

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  9. J.R. Locke January 16, 2008 / 12:44 am
    Mr. Esrati you are going to have to play the game a little to make a difference. To win the primary I don’t know what exactly you will need to do. As an outsider (I am from district 4) I wonder what you will need to do to get votes in the southern rural part of the county, do they matter?

    In the general election this year could be one of the biggest turnouts in recent history, which generally bodes well for Democrats. If Turner is vulnerable this is the year.

    I wish you the best but you have to get on the field before you can start making plays!

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  10. Greg Hunter January 16, 2008 / 8:58 am
    Hey Jeff thanks for the link on the Oversight and Accountability Act. I wonder if the passage of this act pushed MTC into selling to BAE Systems? Interesting voting and timing. Thanks!

    By the way I looked at Turner’s mortgage records for his Stone Lake house and drew the following conclusions posted below. If you get the chance could you check to see if I am interpreting the data correctly?

    Well maybe I will take that back. Why don’t we ask Mike Turner how he erased his mortgage debt in a matter of 9 months? Mr. Turner and his wife took out two mortgages in February of 2003 and paid off the 422K loan by November of 2003. Maybe Turner can enlighten us on how to achieve that kind of success in the housing market!

    Follow the link and put STONE LAKE in the subdivision name and lot 25 in the lot number space, then perform the search.

    http://www.mcrecorder.org/search_selection.cfm (Once at the website click on Sub Division Search in Left Column)

    He sold his house in Dayton for 240K with a 224k note in 2003 and now has zero mortgage on a 450k house, verry nice!

    He also has a transaction on the house in 2008. Can anyone tell me what that means?

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  11. Juan January 16, 2008 / 9:50 am
    If my aging memory serves me correctly, members of the congress have to fill out financial disclosure forms on a periodic basis. I don’t know if it’s done annually or biannually, but it contains a plethora of financial information on our elected officials.

    While I last saw one of these in 1991 (as I was preparing it for a member of congress), I seem to remember that it contained:
    ** A list of income sources other than his congressional paycheck. This included speaking fees, corporate director fees, etc.
    ** A list of investments including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, savings accounts
    ** A list of liabilities owed
    ** A listing of other assets including real estate and personal property

    I would think that these things are a matter of public record. Maybe one of you sluething readers of this blog could track down Turner’s last disclosure? That might give some other insight into his net worth.

    At the risk of giving MT the benefit of doubt, is it possible that he had other investments that had appreciated to the point where he felt it was prudent to sell it in order to pay off his mortgage? If he took a personal note receivable of $224k on his Dayton house, it’s possible the borrower obtained more conventional financing and the proceeds from the payoff of that note contributed to paying off his note. If he lives frugally in DC, he could be putting a large portion of his congressional salary towards mortgage payments. Maybe wife Lori (Laurie?) had a great year in the marketing/advertising business and had the cash to pay it off? Maybe his incredibily rich grandmother died and left him a wad of money? Maybe he’s saving so much money by sending his kids to public schools instead of private schools that he could pay off the mortgage? My point is that there are a wide range of possibilities that can explain his ability to pay off a large mortgage without the insinuations that he did something dishonest.

    Don’t get me wrong. I can’t stand MT. But this seems to a case of wealth envy and there’s too much focus on the fact that he lives in a “gated community.” I do think he deserves a ton of criticism for the fact that he professed to have his office in Dayton, while in fact much of the work of his law firm was in Beavercreek. But, once he had no reason to stay in Dayton (once he was defeated), he was perfectly within his rights to leave Dayton.

    As far as Stone Lake goes, I will concede that it is technically a “gated community.” But, there is no fence around the development and, in 10+ years of driving up and down Marshall Rd, I have never once seen those gates closed. They do have the “back gates” locked though. This would be gates that prevent driving access from the “older neighborhood” behind Stone Lake. Doesn’t Dayton have something similar? There is a neighborhood at Wayne & WIlmington (accessed from Wilmington) that is essentially a gated community with a 10 foot fence surrounding it. If my memory serves me correctly, this was developed as an upscale neighborhood where the higher income city workers could live due to the residency rules.

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  12. David Esrati January 16, 2008 / 10:08 am

    Juan- that “community” on Wilmington was built for Commissioner Tony Capizzi and then, asst. City Manager Maureen Pero. Later, a house was built there for paralyzed Dayton Police officer Mary Beall (who tragically died a few years later).
    I was against the tax break it got then- and still don’t believe that it was a good investment for the city.
    I’ll let you know about access to Stone Lake later today.

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  13. Greg Hunter January 16, 2008 / 11:09 am
    Gates close at night and are open during the day at least that is my experience.

    Ahh now wealth envy that is another topic as it is a distinct driver in the process. I have no problem with acquisition of wealth. I have a problem when the Republican free market advocates insist that the game is fair while it is totally rigged. I am certain that Juan is aware of this but most people do not understand the process. It seems certain that Juan understands it and couches it in well written prose that we have to spend time to parse for the uninitiated.

    Yes Mr. Turner can certainly live anywhere in the 3rd District that he wants, but his rhetoric indicates that he is worried about urban decay and was selected to serve on a Working Group called Saving America’s Cities. This type of talk would seem to indicate a certain level of hypocrisy when one moves from an Urban Area to Stone Lake.

    He has also been active in urban issues, and has created a niche as one of the few members of the House Republican conference who is a former urban mayor.
    He chairs the Speaker’s Working Group on Saving America’s Cities and is chairman of a House subcommittee on Federalism and the Census.

    “When you’re talking about urban development, you’re talking about redevelopment,” he said, saying the issues touch on cleaning up environmental contamination, seeking funding to revitalize dilapidated inner cities and making previously abandoned areas ready for jobs.

    Now for some other interesting tidbits.

    while in fact much of the work of his law firm was in Beavercreek.

    Hmm how about naming that client or maybe as chief legal council to MTC where Raj lives, err does Raj live in Palm Beach – I cannot tell from the campaign tracking, anyway Mr. Turner was employed by MTC that was organically grown from a minority set aside contract. I have watched the MTC story for years and yes the set aside system that was in place and taken advantage of by wealthy foreign nationals was not the intent of the law. While I do not disagree that the law is the law, but the oversight of this process by the SBA was lax and MTC had plenty of smoke surrounding their set aside contracts. I will admit that as a white graduate of Wright State University that I envy the minority status of a Foreign National with a degree from IIT. Fortunately my degree and my data analysis allows me to connect the dots. Take a look at some quotes from the IIT story and try to envision how Raj built “the Indian Mafia” at WPAFB through no bid set asides and roll over contracts to family and friends all aided by a white Mayor of Dayton that was alive during Dayton’s race riots.

    The excerpts were collected from the IIT story

    The IITs have long had a reputation of being among the very best engineering institutions in the world. In a ranking of Asia’s best Science and Technology institutions by Asiaweek in 2000, five IITs (Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Kanpur and Kharagpur) were ranked in the top eight.

    The astounding international success of IIT alumni suggests that there are very few institutions that can rival the IIT system in the calibre of graduates produced.

    Most IITians are also extremely loyal to their alma mater and keep in close contact with their fellow students. Many of these qualities have helped create an effective and powerful system of networking among IIT students, past and present.

    Calculating the true cost of an IIT education may be more complicated than it appears on the surface. It would have to include some measure of foregone primary education and its associated benefits, which could have otherwise been provided with the amount allocated to the IITs.

    One glaring failure of the IIT system has been its inability to attract Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and women students in a progressive way.

    The typical IIT student is male, hails from an urban middle class family, and does not belong to S.C./S.T. ranks. There are rare exceptions.

    So in the end a guy who had all the breaks in India comes to the US and takes advantage of racial breaks that were designed for those persecuted by my white forefathers with the aid of Mike Turner and to the detriment of the community the rules were designed to enhance. The system is corrupt and broken.

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  14. Juan January 16, 2008 / 11:31 am
    I’ll save you the trouble. I drove over there the day you published his address. I was out that way anyway and thought I’d stop by and see just how nice of a house the good congressman has. Hmmm, is that my wealth envy? ;)

    I’ll admit, it bothered me to see that “back gate” locked. I live in C’ville and I see how the “older, established neighborhoods” sometimes get crapped upon by the city commission. I’ve fought city hall (well, city hall, the school board, and the park district to be exact) on a couple of occasions over some of this crap. It irritates me that they can get public services (FEDERAL mail delivery, city garbage collection) on what looks to be private property. I may call the city and find out if they get city collection or private. However, even if it’s city collection, in C’ville we pay seperately for it.

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  15. gene January 16, 2008 / 11:36 am
    How is the game rigged? It seems to me people who make “silly” money are athletes, musicians and entertainers – these people do not employ thousands btw – this has nothing to do with the Republicans. YES, CEO’s make too much money, but again it is NOT YOUR MONEY, and if it is, sell your stock. I will concede corporate America has an unfair system, but there are other ways to make money. I know a lot of people who make a lot of money and they are not apart of corporate America. Be creative, study, work hard, go for it – the hell with corporate America. I never think about corporate America and I do just fine.

    MT may have money, but did he not go to law school? Did he not EARN his position as an attorey? It is not like he was given a free pass here – he did work and he made money – great for him.

    Attacking MT and his wallet is a waste of time – and should have nothing to do with his position in Congress, unless the monies were obtained illegally. The little snickering by liberals about the rich is such a joke – there are rich liberals – but liberals assume all rich are Republicans. Wake up and smell the coffee, it goes both ways.

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  16. Juan January 16, 2008 / 11:39 am
    WOW GREG! That is some treatise on Raj Soin! How do you find the time to write that stuff and still get your work done. My two little paragraphs above took me long enough in between answering emails and phone calls from clients.

    Sorry I’m writing stuff that’s inconveinencing you by having to parse it for the uninitiated. My intent is not to cause you trouble.

    But, could you elaborate on how the system is rigged? If it is, I’d certainly like to learn how to play the system so I can accumulate enough wealth to move to Stone Lake. (Although I’ve always said if I could afford a $500k house, it would have enough land so I didn’t have to put up with neighbors 20 feet away!) I mean, I’m just a middle class white guy with a couple of kids and a mortgage. How can I become one of the elite?

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  17. Greg Hunter January 16, 2008 / 11:50 am
    WOW GREG! That is some treatise on Raj Soin! How do you find the time to write that stuff and still get your work done.

    I do not get my work done, but I also do not have quite the same expectations about what life should be about. Currently I am taking some time off between positions, so I can, and choose, to afford to tilt at the windmill. I was certainly a “comer” when I wanted to be, but the game was filled with ignorant people and I yelled alot to get my 6 figures and stock options. I made, and was forced to make life, choices that would not be considered prudent by most but I have no dependents and, at this point, can afford to do what the DDN should be doing on a daily basis.

    How can I become one of the elite

    Exploit people, ideas and resources, kiss ass, have a brain and hope you have some luck. I have done it so can you!

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  18. Jeff January 16, 2008 / 5:49 pm
    “If you get the chance could you check to see if I am interpreting the data correctly?”

    I took a look at that link and I have no idea what I’m looking at. I see multiple transactions for Loretta Turner and one for Mike, plus others, for that lot.

    And its like that with a lot of this stuff.

    “WOW GREG! That is some treatise on Raj Soin! How do you find the time to write that stuff and still get your work done. My two little paragraphs above took me long enough in between answering emails and phone calls from clients.”

    Yeah, just a cursory look at whats online and its an all-evening affair. Its a full time job to sift through whats out there, let alone make sense of it. Pages and pages of things, linking to other things.

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  19. Gene July 28, 2009 / 9:26 am
    First thing first. Answering the question. Yes, you are an a$$hole. Second, NO, it is  not a good thing.

    Third, you used and did not edit the word ASSHOLE – but you edit that word when I used it.

    Losing an election? $10,000
    Gas at the pump today? $2.49
    Double standard liberal crybaby shit by a wanna be elected official? Priceless

    Owned …….. owned again.

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