Am I Dayton’s non-gay version of Harvey Milk?

Jeffrey at Daytonology made a nice comparison of me to Harvey Milk. I’m glad someone sees the similarities.

Like Harvey Milk David Esrati has run multiple times for office. In the case of Harvey Milk, though, the election law was changed in San Francisco to bring back ward elections, meaning Harvey Milk finally won an election. If there would be a similar change in Dayton we could well see David Esrati win an election, too. As it stands, the current election law in Dayton mandates at-large elections, diluting the impact of neighborhood activists and grass roots politics, as it did in San Francisco.

And Harvey Milk finally ended up with the endorsment of one of San Fransciscos two major daily newspapers.

Milk did give a glimpse of the dynamics of power in a system of ward elections via the Dan White/Harvey Milk relationship. One can see how votes and issues work differently, as neighborhood interests become more important and have to be balanced against city interests. It’s messy and requires more negotiation and political skill. But is this perhaps preferable to a system that de-emphasises the importance of the neighborhood and community in favor of a more abstract board of directors concept designed to diffuse and limit the citizens voice?

via Daytonology: Milk, Esrati, and Urban Politics.

I still believe in grassroots independent political thought. However, in my past runs for office, I’ve done few of the “traditional” things that it takes to get elected. It was only in my fourth run that I accepted campaign money, and I’ve never had a campaign manager. No matter the strength of your ideas, in local politics, the strength of your organization is what wins elections. It’s why the Montgomery County Democrats can run people without ideas, experience, or as it turns out aptitude (Nan Whaley, Matt Joseph, never mind old blowhards like Dick Zimmer, or failures like Bootsie Neal who never introduced anything meaningful in 3 terms).

Dean Lovelace pushed hard for districts in Dayton, before I helped him beat Judy Orick and Mary Sue Kessler by siphoning just enough votes off either established name in a special election to replace Mark Henry who resigned mid term. After getting elected, you never heard another word from Lovelace on the issue.

I believe our main problem with Dayton government besides small-minded pettiness and the elected politicians’ desire to constantly usurp the city manager’s role (he’s the CEO, not the Mayor) is that we haven’t had a voice that understands the City Manager form of Government. The commission jobs are part-time for a reason- and we need to find more people who understand that.

The reason I got involved in politics in the first place, was not one of ego, or an aspiration of a career in politics- but purely out of frustration. In fact, I believe that frustration is the catalyst for change in all things- and it seems that the people of Dayton just move out to the suburbs instead of trying to fight the machine. Even Mike Turner bailed from Dayton the moment it no longer served him. So much for the uber urbanist cred he tries to wear like a cheap suit.

This coming election, with our city in dire financial straits, and with no clear goals in sight, it’s time for a change. I’ll need a lot of help. The question is whether the people of Dayton are ready. We don’t have districts like San Francisco has, and the party will be backing Nan Whaley, Joey Williams and Mayor McLin.

It will also be a cold day in hell before the Dayton Daily News endorses me. Hell, if they would read my site, they wouldn’t get scooped by 5 days on a no-bid contract with the DPS.

Maybe I need to change my sexual orientation to get elected? (note: it’s not likely)

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24 Responses

  1. David Lauri January 19, 2009 / 9:43 am
    Hmm, do you know what a bear is? Cause if you’re changing your sexual orientation to get elected, that’s what you’d be. I’m sure we can line up some guys for you to prove your new orientation with.

    But since when did being gay mean one had a ton of political power?

  2. David Esrati January 19, 2009 / 10:07 am

    @David-
    I’m not a bear. Didn’t know what a bear was. And with Sarah Palin still entertaining ideas of national office, I’d be afraid of being mistaken for one.

  3. Gene January 19, 2009 / 10:49 am
    You are a nice guy, you mean well, a lot of people like you, but………………..

    What world are you living in? SanFran vs Dayton……. you are not even close.

    You do not represent any particular group of people, rather you have your ideas and want those ideas to be made legislation….. that really is not “representing.”

    Sorry, you are not willing to die for your cause, maybe bc you have loose interpretations of what you want done, no real clear path, too many beams of light, not enough focus.

    I knew Harvey Milk, I served with Harvey Milk, you, my friend, are no Harvey Milk.

  4. David Esrati January 19, 2009 / 10:58 am

    @Gene
    No one knows you.
    I’ve served my country in the Army.
    I’ve been arrested and fought for open government at great personal cost.
    I’ve been a neighborhood president, one of Dayton’s 40 under 40, and been involved for 20+ years.
    Gene- I think you are talking about yourself.

  5. Gene January 19, 2009 / 11:30 am
    You do not represent one specific group – you are more main steam than you think.

    Also, I am not running for office, you are. Get used to having people criticize you, goes with the job, or potential job in this case.

  6. pizzabill January 19, 2009 / 2:54 pm
    What does “… served with Harvey Milk ” mean exactly?
  7. Gene January 19, 2009 / 4:10 pm
    We were waiters, what do you think it means……?……..
  8. gene II January 20, 2009 / 2:20 pm
    Well Dave ….no one ever sees you out with women …..so……
  9. David Esrati January 20, 2009 / 3:06 pm

    @geneII
    Just because you are no one- doesn’t mean other don’t. I think Teresa Lea will take offense at your statement.

  10. Gene January 20, 2009 / 4:02 pm
    But you could be Dayton’s non-black version of Obama……..

    I think you have more similar to him than Harvey Milk, which I believe is a bigger compliment.

    If you are seen with a man you are gay, Mr. gene II? (if you are a man, that is) Where does that end? I saw 3 woman with one man, is he a pimp? Please

  11. gene II January 20, 2009 / 4:38 pm
    Never said Dave was seen with men…I said never seen with a woman and FYI Gene it is women when refering to one or more.
  12. Gene January 20, 2009 / 4:58 pm
    so he is asexual then? according to what you have seen….

    you said NO ONE sees him out with women, does this make you God gene II? Can you see him now, can you see everyone else right now?

    You’re GREAT!!!

    He is straight as an arrow, I am guessing.

    He has a dog, does that make him a vet? or blind? or lonely? or a cat hater? or a dog walker? or a dog trainer? or did he just find a lost dog and take him/her home?

    I don’t know.

  13. gene II January 20, 2009 / 10:52 pm
    Geez Gene….. relax no one is accusing you of being gay even though you are buddies with Stan.
  14. Larkin January 21, 2009 / 1:26 pm
    “Gene
    Jan 20th, 2009 at 4:58 pm
    so he is asexual then? according to what you have seen….

    you said NO ONE sees him out with women, does this make you God gene II? Can you see him now, can you see everyone else right now?

    You’re GREAT!!!

    He is straight as an arrow, I am guessing.

    He has a dog, does that make him a vet? or blind? or lonely? or a cat hater? or a dog walker? or a dog trainer? or did he just find a lost dog and take him/her home?

    I don’t know.”

    Hysterical. Really, I mean it. This was the best laugh I’ve had all day. Well done.

  15. Jeff January 21, 2009 / 6:35 pm
    Rumor has it that Esrati is quite the ladies man.
  16. Jeff Wellbaum January 23, 2009 / 8:18 am
    Mr. Esrati,

    My name is Jeff Wellbaum. My wife Polly (Perkins) Wellbaum says she knows you. I am considering a run for Dayton City Commission. I am currently collecting signatures. Of course political pedigree and lineage does not always make one a good politician. But just to mention a fact. My third cousin is John Boehner who is the House Minority Leader in Congress and my ancestor is George Mason the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. These two individuals are the ones who peaked my interest in history and politics. I also have deep roots in Dayton and the surrounding area. But I digress. If I run for Dayton City Commission my campaign theme will be “For the Future of Dayton”. Of course I am a Republican-libertarian type who was on the state Executive Committee of the Ohio Libertarian Party for a couple of months during 2004 after I returned from Iraq where I was an intel analyst for the 101st Airborne Division. I resigned that position because my wife wanted me to (she was several months pregnant and wanted me to focus on home life for a whle). I have her blessing so far for this adventure. I will eliminate waste in city government and take on the Democratic establishment to bring back the greatness of our heritage here in Dayton. Dayton is not living up to its potential because of Democratic policies here in Dayton and because of “yes men” or women like Nan Whaley who probably could not lead her way out of a wet paper sack. Although I am sure she is a nice woman she should let someone with backbone like me get a chance to lead. I will post again shortly. What are your thoughts?

    In Liberty,

    Jeff Wellbaum

  17. David Esrati January 23, 2009 / 8:29 am

    Hi Jeff, my thoughts are the more the merrier- however, I suggest you take the “I” out of your rhetoric.
    As Barack Obama is fond of saying “it’s not about me.”
    Make sure to double check your signatures before turning them in- and make sure the petitions are notarized.
    Good luck.

  18. Jeff Wellbaum January 23, 2009 / 10:03 am
    Are you running for anything this year?

    Jeff Wellbaum

  19. David Esrati January 23, 2009 / 5:45 pm

    Hi Jeff- I’ll be running for Commission as well.

  20. Jeff Wellbaum January 24, 2009 / 3:35 pm
    I talked to Brasington-the political director, of the Montgomery Co. Republicans about a week and a half ago. She said that the two incumbents have pulled petitions and two other Dems. Are you one of the other two who pulled at least a week and a half ago? Do you know who the other Dem who might be running is? Also, there is supposedly one potential Republican Mayoral candidate who Brasington said has pulled. Do you know who that is? Is Bohardt thinking of running? Thanks for whatever intel in advance.

    Jeffrey L. Wellbaum

  21. Jeff January 24, 2009 / 7:23 pm
    So, Jeff, what’s your position on the recently enacted lesbian/gay rights ordnance?

    Support? Oppose? Would you try to repeal it?

  22. Jeff Wellbaum January 26, 2009 / 1:50 pm
    Jeff,

    I support equal protection for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. They are people and deserve equal rights and respect.

    In Liberty,

    Jeff Wellbaum

  23. Teresa Lea January 27, 2009 / 2:34 pm
    I don’t take offense at things said by nameless people.

    Besides, if it is true that just means I am a damn fine dude. That oughta be good for something?

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