Retail politics and May 8, 2018 election

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What educated voters in Dayton 1-D are getting hand delivered. Click to download PDF

The way you win elections isn’t with :30 second TV spots, yard signs, or facebook ads.

At least that’s not how the most successful campaigns do it anymore.

It’s all data driven, trying to target most likely voters, and deciding who we need to get out and vote. It’s done through personal contact, door knocking, volunteers calling, and endless data collection and analysis.

Or- you ignore all the data, and just realize you have to meet and convince more voters than your opponent and hope.

That only works when you are running for something as small as precinct captain, which, yours truly is.

I’ve got 2 opponents. One has even printed a tri-fold brochure. So I have to out work, out knock, and out talk him.

Which is what I’ve been doing including enough time in the sun yesterday to be told by my mother that I’m sunburned.

I was also preaching the sermon for Darryl Fairchild and to vote yes on Issue 1.

And here are the takeaways:

  • Despite all efforts to clear voter rolls and eliminate old data, there are still some people on the rolls who shouldn’t be (hadn’t voted since the 90’s, dead, house has been torn down).
  • That some homes in my neighborhood have had multiple addresses- and the voter rolls still haven’t been fixed.
  • Party affiliations are often wrong.
  • A ton of “UNC” or unclassified voters- way more than D or R. So no matter how much the two parties think they should rule the roost of the Board of (S)Elections- by the look of things, we’re letting the foxes run the hen house. And many of them are pissed that they can’t vote for me as Precinct Captain and Gary Leitzel for County Commission at the same time.
  • Issue 1- most had no clue it was on the ballot.

What we need more than any ballot reform- is a real voter information system. No one seems to know where to go to find in-depth, relevant information about each candidate and race. If we had a board of elections that took their job seriously, we’d have a better system than what we have now.

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Sample Ballot for Dayton 1-D for a Dem in the May 8, 2018 election (Click to download entire PDF)

For now- if you want to know what your ballot sort of looks like- you can go here and download your personalized ballot.

https://www.voterfind.com/montgomeryoh/ballotlist.aspx

Then you have a choice of party, or issues only, to see what will be on the ballot in your precinct.

You should go, download a ballot, and research every issue, candidate, and try to make a decision long before you go to the polls.

If we’d switch to vote by mail, like Oregon (the State, not the district) did long ago, we could even mail a catalog with equal space for every candidate to summarize their candidacy and provide links to their site, for more information.

If we had a system like that- we could eliminate 90% of campaign ads, mailers, signs and stupidity.

 

 

If MLK was an activist today

50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. It wasn’t with an AR-15, but, it was a gun, protected by the 2nd Amendment.

My father told me he used to have lunch with King while they were both students at Boston University, on Thursdays. They’d argue. Dad was Malcom, Martin was Martin. They disagreed in the methods of effective change.

Being an activist then was hard, getting the word out required a lot more leg work, coordination, organization. There was no twitter, no Facebook, no meetups, no YouTube, no gofundme.

When King died, there wasn’t much of an estate, he’d even donated the money from his Nobel Peace Prize to the cause.

The following is fiction. What if MLK was magically 39 today, and still fighting the same battles, or slightly different ones. But, hadn’t won the Nobel, or gained a following. The scene is at the King household in Atlanta. Gathered around the table are his wife Coretta, Ralph, Jesse, Hosea, Joseph and Fred. They’re discussing their next move.

Coretta: Here’s some chicken from Popeye’s, fellas, dig in. Sorry, it’s the best we could do- money’s a bit tight right now.

MLK: It’s OK honey, the cause is more important than having a big fat bank account.

Coretta: I don’t know Martin, I’m looking at Brother Creflo, across town and he’s rollin in the dollars. You ought to spend more time in your church than out in the streets.

Fred: You know, that time you spent down in jail in Birmingham, maybe we should have setup a gofundme and taken that money and bought us a few new video cameras and a Sling- so we could broadcast live at every event.

Jesse: Video is so important these days. It’s not just the broadcast, but, if your channel has over 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours, you can monetize it on Youtube.

Coretta: He doesn’t even have 1000 followers on Twitter, it’s hard cutting through all that mess. Maybe you ought to antagonize the president and get him to tweet about you.

Hosea: I wouldn’t want to be associated with that fool. Porn stars, bankruptcies, walls, that revolving door on his office, how the hell did that fool get elected president. And why can’t we get our last president to come out and march with us?

Jesse: You know no one likes to march. It’s easier to hit the like button, or sign an online petition. Someone has to get shot these days to get people out in the streets- like those kids in Florida. Martyrs are in, marchers are out.

Fred: Maybe we should go back to just preaching, and politicking from the pulpit. The IRS is so overwhelmed with all those tax cuts they are never going to come after us for the Johnson Amendment- hell, they almost cut it out of the tax code last December.

Joseph: I keep looking at TD Jakes and think, dang, that guy could pay his people to march. We’re doing it all wrong.

Fred: Yep, aligning with the democrats and being their lapdogs, delivering black voters to the polls, why are we still doing that anyway? Lincoln was a Republican and he freed us. What has the democratic party done for us lately?

Coretta: Not a thing brother Fred, not a thing.

Jesse: I asked for their support when I tried to run for office. I didn’t get any help.

Coretta: Preach! You know there’s money to be made out there. You know how it works, the golden rule, he who has the gold, makes the rules. You brothers best get busy bringing in the Franklins.

Hosea: You know all those big time preachers have a book. Maybe we ought to write one together?

MLK: I wrote 5 already, had to self-publish. Amazon made money, I’ve got diddly. Money ain’t flowing in publishing these days. It’s almost as bad as the newspaper business, but not quite.

Fred: I’m telling you, we need to start our own TV channel. Those cameras would come in handy. Look, someone has to tell our story to the masses.

Joseph: I don’t think people really care that much. Half the countries got their noses buried in their phone all the time, half the countries high on medical mary jane, and their all watching Netflix or Hulu.

Fred: See, video is the key. I keep telling you.

Coretta: who gave you guys the torch anyway? Why should anyone listen to any of you. What makes you special? Nobody elected you to “lead the movement.” When am I going to be able to buy a G-Wagon like Mrs. Dollar? I wish you’d focus on your parish instead of on all this protestin and stuff. Ain’t no money in that.

MLK: If we can get a universal basic income everything changes. Then everyone can afford to put a little extra on the collection plate on Sundays honey. I’m telling you, for an old white Jewish dude, that Sanders guy was my choice for just that reason. Plus, with our four kids- college would be paid for. Instead we got this whack job.

Hosea: How many times we going to talk about the same thing? Ain’t going to change nothing. 50 years ago, it was the Klan killing brothers, now it’s overzealous cops. Maybe we should have listened to Malcom X instead of this peaceful route. We can go buy AR-15’s too. They aren’t that expensive.

Joseph: (laughing) Y’all now if we start showing up with AR-15’s in the street, they’ll start banning them in two seconds flat.

Coretta: Now you guys are just plum crazy. Stop all this nonsense about guns, protests and what you’re going to change. Nothing changes without the almighty dollar and between all six of you, you don’t have enough to buy this here chicken. Whoever heard of a political activist in the 1%. You hear about “activist investors” all the time. Now get outta my kitchen, so I can clean up. Martin, you best be hitting the streets tomorrow to find a real job that puts money in the bank account. Cell phone bill is due on Friday and we don’t have the money to pay it.

~fini

I don’t know how many times I’ve been told to either just leave town, or leave the politics alone. That making money matters more than following your principles. Monday, I lost a long time client over my politics. My friend Shepard Fairey wrote me about the post “Good post! A clear conscience is not possible with a purely capitalist mindset. The market creates as many problems as it solves. I’m very glad that you wrestle with that like I do.-S”

Yesterday I landed a new client that will bill considerably more.

And today, I found out that I’m the lead quote for the discussion of the media on the “Make me smart” podcast from American Public Media with Molly Wood and Kai Ryssdal; 56: “The best cure for hatred and ignorance”

Sometimes it’s just dumb luck who becomes the leader who is remembered in the history books. And sometimes, it only happened because they were too stupid to join the herd.

If there is one good reason to change the 2nd amendment, it happened 50 years ago today.

I can’t imagine what MLK might have achieved had he just lived to see 50, or what he’d say today about the shooting of Stephon Clark or John Crawford.

Stepping up for your principles has a cost. MLK paid the ultimate one for all of us.

 

When congress screws up your love life

craigslist personals bannedMost people still don’t like to admit they met on a dating site, although more and more do. Hoping to run into “the one” randomly, at the right time has odds about as good as the lottery, or getting hit by a self-driving Uber.

This week, in the tumultuous chaos of Trump’s Washington, between firing and hiring and budget fights and gun protests, Congress passed a law March 21, 2018  and killed the only truly free dating site on the Internet: the Craigslist personals.

Now instead of ads in M4W and MW4MW etc- all that’s left is “Missed connections.”

The rest have this message:

US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA”, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.

Any tool or service can be misused. We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.

To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!

I stay pretty informed, and I had no idea this was happening.

In the senate- only Wyden (D-OR) and Paul (R-KY) voted no. In the house- Local Warren Davidson was one of the 25 No votes. BTW- the senate site is WAY better than the house.

FOSTA stands for Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017.

And, while I’m sure Craigslist has led to some prostitution and all kinds of other illicit behavior, there are obviously other sites that rate prostitutes and provide “GFE” – girl friend experiences- that have zero legitimate dating ambitions. They will probably stay in existence.

For me, this move by the nanny state, saddens me. Back in 2009, I posted the following ad on Craigslist:

Life works better as a couple. (Downtown Dayton)

age: 44

If there is one thing that becomes more and more obvious as I get older, it’s that our society and our success comes as a couple.
The bit about behind every successful man is an amazing woman- and visa versa- isn’t folklore- it’s as real as it gets.
I really don’t mind being alone- but I’m tired of losing friends to spouses and children, I’m tired of going to music, culture, film alone- and cooking for one is the pits (esp. when I actually can cook worth a damn).So- who would you be coupling up with?
A bright guy, with many interests including: art, architecture, music, pop-culture, advertising, design, photography, politics (liberal), mass media, urban development, reading, old houses, dogs, SCUBA, ice hockey, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, theater, film, food, pilates, computers, the internet, writing, travel.
I’m 5’11”, non-smoking, non-drinking, 205lbs (which drops when I am cooking more at home), and, this is important: a secular humanist/atheist/jew. If you want to convert me- forget it. If you don’t get it- Judaism is a culture as well as a religion.
I’ve got a bachelors degree in Business. Regret not getting an MBA or a doctorate. I’m a veteran – and proud of it.
Never married, no kids.

You: able to write in complete sentences, would rather walk over broken glass than; watch NASCAR, listen to Country, vote Republican, or smoke.
Employed. Baggage minimal, and matching. Able to carry on a conversation, work a room on your own, able to receive as well as give a great massage. Have a passport. Willing to try new things.

Write me- meet me for coffee- what do you have to loose?

And a woman, with two wonderful girls, ages 4 and 9, wrote back. We met at Tanks for lunch. She liked their Reuben. I liked her smile, her eyes, and her boldness. I wouldn’t say she lacked a filter, but she made things very clear. We started dating, 2 years later we were living together. After 5 and some, she moved out- a block away, we still acted like a family when it came to kids, dogs, and having each others backs for about another year and a half. All thanks to Craigslist.
We traveled to Paris, to Boston, to NYC to Disneyworld, to LA. – to Fallingwater.
All this, thanks to a free ad on Craigslist. You know the saying, if you don’t play- you can’t win. Craigslist was a winner for us.
There are still some free dating sites out there- Plentyoffish.com and OKCupid.com are two that come to mind- but, all have paid options, and various matching algorithms. That was the beauty of Craigslist- it wasn’t anything different than a bulletin board at a coffee house – totally random- based on geography.
She was the longest and best relationship I’ve ever had. Her kids meant the world to me.
Now, there is no more Craigslist personals- and there may not be another woman like her- or there may be- we just won’t meet on Craigslist- thanks to Congress.
That ad was 11 years ago. I’d just have to change a few things to it today to run it again- but alas, I’d have no place to post it- other than here. I’m up 10 lbs, and, I’d probably claim 6′
The world of online dating has turned into swipe culture- with sites like Tinder and Bumble reducing it down to looks and photography skills. Almost all the sites are now owned by one company, the Match Group. The problem with corporate dating sites is they control the experience- with Craigslist- it was up to you and the community. Now Congress has ruined that.
Of all the dating sites I’ve tried, the one I liked the best was OKCupid- and the way it “matched” people. Another Harvard based Internet startup, it was originally a market research company masquerading as a dating site. One of the problems with asking most people deeply personal questions and getting them to answer honestly, is they won’t- unless there is something in it for them. OKCupid- asked a question, often contributed by the community- and you would answer how you would answer it- how you would like your potential mate to answer it and how important it was to you. Lying about these things wouldn’t help you meet the right person- so you answered honestly. It was up to you if you wanted to make your answer public or not- but if it was private- it would still help tell you who matched up best.
That said, we don’t always know that what we think we want- is really the best thing for us. Some ladies have a broken “manpicker” and some men “are shit magnets”- and vice versa…
The way OKCupid attracted people in the early days were funny surveys- much like the same ones Cambridge Analytical used to harvest the pscyhographic data everyone is up in arms about right now. Those got discontinued by the corporate overlords of Match. Those surveys told you what kind of motorcycle was the right one for you (my results were pretty close- a Yamaha FJ 1100- close to my BMW R1200RT) and the infamous “Slut test” where I scored… I don’t remember. Now, I refer to the site as OKStupid- since it has been dumbed-down. 
All that said, the real reason that Craigslist bears the brunt of Congress’s brute force is probably because Craigslist has no friends, other than its users. It destroyed the revenue stream from Classified ads in the local newspaper, changed the face of real estate advertising by owner, upset the job listings, ticket scalping became a business, and even saved landfills by making it easy to give away stuff that might end up in the trash.
It also was an essential tool for community organizers- looking to promote events.
Part of the problem was that since it’s debut in 1995, it never really evolved as a platform- allowing others to specialize and replace it with new and improved versions for specific areas- StubHub, Zillow, AirBNB, Monster, Etsy etc- all did the same thing only better.
But, that was the beauty of Craigslist. It was simple and community driven.
And, now, it’s no longer a place to meet your mate.
And, I still believe life works better as a couple….
but, now, the only place I can post this ad is here.

First Four at UD Arena. First, look for the flag

$72 Million dollar renovation.
New seats, new floor, new scoreboards, new sound system, but, wait, where do we put the flag?

Normally, it’s hanging in a prominent position, in wide view, and well lit.

It has a place of honor. It’s respected. And it’s where we turn when the National Anthem plays.

But, we’re UD, home of the Flyers and a town built on the back of Wright Patterson Air Force base, and we don’t need to do any of that.

We’ll have a color guard march out to center court- and display the flag that way, and that’s fine. But, on the rare occasion when there is no color guard- where is the flag?

UD Arena hides our flag in the dark, instead of in plain sight. Photo and options by David Esrati

UD Arena hides our flag in the dark, instead of in plain sight. Photo and options by David Esrati

Well, if you peer behind each of the giant stats boards in the corners- there is a very large flag, one in each corner, hung on the wall, in the shadows.

You can hardly see them through the uber patriotic digital light show they play on the monitors- with stripes waving, as the National Anthem is belted out live from in front of the scorers table.

All this is well and fine. But, in the year of national turmoil where standing or kneeling was headline material, you’d think UD would make an effort to properly display the flag. Just one. Well lit, in a place of prominence.

I brought the issue up to rookie president Dr. Eric Spina- his response- As the Arena is finished in the next two years, the flag issue will be addressed directly and in a positive way. Until then, compromises are being made while still being respectful.”

I brought the issue up to the guy in charge of the renovation, Scott DeBolt, his response: “We will evaluate the placement of the american flag next summer when once we identify the locations of the new sports lighting.”

I’m sorry, but, as a veteran, as a UD Season Ticket holder, as a member of the Dayton community, as we invite people from across the nation to our arena for the first four, I don’t think these answers are satisfactory.

If you want to place a value on the importance of flying our flag- I suggest you ask these guys:

Flag Raising on Iwo Jima by Joe Rosenthal

Flag Raising on Iwo Jima by Joe Rosenthal

 

Hodge podge governance costs us all

He who has the gold makes the rulesWelcome to the Not Really United States of America.

We have a state where prostitution is legal, another where booze is almost not, we have some where pot is legal for medical, some for recreational, and then communities in our area where pot dispensaries are already banned, before medical pot is even legal.

We solved the gay marriage thing, sort of. We’re not entirely sure about bathrooms for people who don’t fit exactly in the checkboxes, and when it comes to pay equity for the sexes we’re way off. Let’s not even touch the inequity between the races- other than to say it’s an embarrassment of epic scale.

Outcomes in health care, education, life expectancy don’t compare to other first world nations and our infrastructure from internet access to high speed rail makes us look like a third world banana republic.

Our rules, regulations and tax structure and jurisdictional divisions are as arbitrary as the numbers pulled in the super lotto- which is just one more dangling carrot to divert our gaze from the fact that we’ve created nothing other than a new replacement for the monarchy we sought to divorce back in 1776.

Do the words “local control” sound like a good idea to you? Our inbred fear of power collected at the top of government has driven us to allow the smallest jurisdictions to “guide our own destiny”- as long as it doesn’t get in the way of someone with a lot of money wanting to do things differently.

Case in point- many people are mourning the passing of Dean Lovelace. His “legacy” was talking about predatory lending before anyone else. He even passed legislation against it- for a nano-second before the powerful banking establishment who has bought our state legislature sent his little laws back like a bounced check. Dean may have been onto something, but he was as impotent as a eunuch in a whore house.

From our education system to our health care system, from our public safety to tax collection, from permits to common practices this slapdashed mashup of laws and regulations across 50 states a few territories and even global trade is doing only one thing: making the rich richer and the rest of us, miserable cogs in a machine that has zero empathy in its settings.

And while Republicans rail against taxes and regulation, they don’t really do anything to solve them. And while Democrats scream about inequity and public welfare, we’re still sliding down the scale of achievement. The system is broken. This is where the ideas of socialism and communism were born- and yet, as practiced, they fail too. Why? Because people are human- and the “me first” urge is kind of hard to break.

Throughout history, empires collapse when inequity becomes too obvious. We’re somewhere close to that. Although our masters have gotten smoother at distracting us- 500 channels of television, you can lose yourself in Facebook, or you can rail against the machine as I’m doing right now- on the internet- which is the great equalizer (except it’s really not- when the digital divide still exists).

There are things we could do, but it would take strong leaders, something we’ve resisted since our inception. Ohio could put an end to the system of political subdivisions and lines drawn on a map in 1785, before we had all these new fangled things like cars, computers and corporate giants.

Imagine a State with one income tax, one property tax system, one sales tax rate. It’ll never happen, because giving up power over taxation is tantamount to the end of corruption as we know it. How about one school board? Or, one police chief per every 250,000 people? Proportional representation was part of our formula in the start- why isn’t it now?

The cost to business of trying to calculate the taxes collected on what, who, where is just pure overhead. The cost of enforcing it, parsing fines, audits, all the rest- is also overhead. The cost of all these local yokels running their little fiefdoms expands out way past their jurisdictions. The increase in the Dayton income tax has a ripple effect cost as every payroll processing company in the country has to adjust and modify their software. And is anyone in places far away supposed to understand the income tax structure of Austin Landing where income tax is based on owning an elevator in your building? (This example still amazes people when I share it).

How is sales tax online collected? And why does it have to be so complicated? Bricks and mortar local retailers are getting screwed with local sales tax, and poor people, who have to use them, because they don’t have credit cards to buy online, pay more. Why isn’t there a flat internet sales tax in this country- and why can’t it be spent on building out the system so everyone has high speed internet access? That would be a game changer- for education, for commerce, for democracy- because, information and access to it is the critical part of a functioning democracy.

And why shouldn’t the internet be controlled by the state instead of Time Warner, ATT, Sprint, MCI, Quest, Spectrum, Charter, Level 3 etc? We invented it with our tax dollars- for national defense no less. Look at your internet access bill, it’s higher than it is in other countries and as close as West Dayton or Eastern Greene county- high speed access is hard to get.

When Mark Zuckerberg starts talking about a universal basic income, and is willing to create solar power drones to distribute internet in third world nations, we’ve got a whole new monarchy in place, we just don’t know it yet.

If everyone was connected, well informed, and well represented through a modern information based legislative system, maybe, there would be hope for us.

Hodge podge government, without an informed and empowered electorate, enables money in politics to divide and conquer.

But, for now, the old rule still applies, he who has the gold, makes the rules.