Panhandling my way to Congress wins Gold at American Advertising Federation awards

David Esrati with AAF Dayton gold for his Panhandling my way to Congress  campaign

Hermes Gold with David Esrati, candidate and ad agency owner

Usually when a Dayton ad agency wins a Hermes award at the AAF Dayton (formerly the Dayton Ad Club) annual Hermes award, the agency gives a short acceptance speech thanking the client, talking about how wonderful they are to work with.

I got to make an acceptance speech last night for my agency, The Next Wave, for work we did on my campaign for Congress last year.

“The client sucked, he has no talent” was my opening. Then I went on to remind 406 of my peers that most “political advertising” reflects poorly on our profession. I spoke of the ad done in 1994 by one of our industries greats, Jerry Della Femina, who wrote a full page New York Times ad “Don’t call it advertising.” I asked that if a candidate comes to them with a request to do a “I was born in ________, I went to ___________ school, I’m a (insert profession here) and I’m going to (insert adjective) (insert verb) for you, type ad- to force the candidate to talk about real issues- and make real promises.

Because in real advertising, if the product or service doesn’t perform as advertising- there are real penalties. In politics, they just get elected and re-elected. Unfortunately, this spot- and the one on foreclosures that won a Silver last year, didn’t get seen by enough voters to make a difference. For that to have happened, I would have had to raise at least $15K – a far deal less than Sharen Neuhardt spent on her botched run.

Here is the spot:

Please watch and share.

From winning the Hermes locally, it’s now entered to go to Regionals and then it can go to the National competition. There were over 433 entries, 238 got in ($65 an entry), a majority win bronze awards which aren’t eligible to move up, and each category (this won in the public service category) can  win one, maybe two golds out of a small pool of silvers. Only 24 Golds were awarded.

It’s a very tough competition, with local agencies doing work for Sears, Nike and other global clients. There is incredible talent in this city- much of it under-appreciated by local businesses. One former boss of mine had several entries win Silver for Chinese clients. Dayton can compete on a global stage.

Even though this spot and the foreclosure spot won, I’m most proud of the public information campaign I ran, where I posted video of almost every candidate at every candidates’ night- so that voters can be informed. It’s my goal to implement better ways for informing voters and change the nature of the process from mudslinging and money grubbing to discussions about the issues. To do that, I’ll need your support. Please consider donating to my campaign for City Commission where I’ve committed to run for under $10K.  Donate:

Now, out to collect signatures again in the freezing cold. :-)

Sharen Neuhardt has friends in strange places

Since the “journalists” in Dayton are completely ignoring the 10 candidates for Congress- except of course the incumbent who they believe will have a walk in the park, it’s up to me to do the digging (with a little help from my valued readers).

I got an email tonight, while at the Wright Library in Oakwood for another Democratic candidates’ night. This time, only four of the six showed up (Tom McMasters, Ryan Steele,  Sharen Neuhardt, and I). The other three are starting to sound repetitive to me, but I’m still working on refining my pitch. Luckily, we were doing the 5 minutes of speech, 5 minutes for 2 questions and then a 2 minute close at the end. I’d already gone when I checked my email:

from for Sharen’s 2008 campaign against Steve Austria:

Sharen Neuhardt, in her 2008 campaign, received campaign contributions from:

I’ve written about Deutsche Bank before on this site– residents in Price Hill were sick and tired of foreclosed properties owned by Deutsche Bank not maintaining their properties. But, why did Mr.. Ferron and his wife give so much money to Sharen?

Well, he gave a bunch of money to Democrats. $118,486  in 2008 alone. Soon after this cycle, he left DB- and was recently appointed to the Public Utilities Commission of California. Here’s his bio:

22 Mar 2011: Mark Ferron, 52, of Mill Valley, has been appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission. Ferron worked as chief operating officer for the Global Markets Division of Deutsche Bank in London from 2001 to 2009, where he had responsibility for all operational activities globally across fixed income, currency, commodity and equity markets. Before joining Deutsche Bank in 1996, Ferron was a vice president at Salomon Brothers from 1994 to 1996, and was a vice president at Bank of America from 1986 to 1994. Currently, he is a senior partner at Silicon Valley Social Ventures and is a board fellow of the New Teacher Center. Ferron holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in economics from Stanford University. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $128,109. Ferron is a Democrat.

via Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. – Newsroom.

Obviously, Mr. Ferron has taken quite a pay cut, he’d have to live on about $10K a year now if he kept up his previous level of “donating” to the election of the best politicians money can buy.

I’d never heard of Herb Sandler or World Savings and Loan- but I took my reader’s word that they probably don’t have any real business in the old OH-7 district. But, a little Google and we find that, yes, Time magazine blamed them, but, there is also a link to their rebuttal as a PDF. I’m not going to try to decipher if the Sandlers were good people or bad people, but I can tell you they are very rich and like to give money to political candidates. I doubt, they could find their way from Xenia to Sharen’s farm in Yellow Springs without a GPS, but, this is the kind of money in politics that takes our campaigns away from the people who actually vote and puts it in the hands of the super rich.

Lewis Kaden is a fine Harvard Grad who sits on all kinds of boards (he’s connected) and made $6.7 million in 2007, so giving Sharen $2,300 was like you losing a penny. It’s great and grand that he wants Democrats in Congress- especially, since he would need all the help from Congress he could get to bail Citigroup out- and not put him and the rest of his brilliant overpaid shysters in prison. Sharen might have needed the $2k, but Citigroup needed $45 billion to stay in business and keep paying these people their outrageous salaries. Just to note, despite bankrupting the country- no one at this level has been held accountable for the financial disaster. Again- Lewis wouldn’t know WYSO from WTUE, he just was covering his bets.

Which brings us to question who won’t Ms. Neuhardt take money from? She’s proudly announcing that the State AFL-CIO has already endorsed her (without them talking to any other candidates or asking their members whom they would support). She’s hired a staffer to follow her around like a lap dog to events- where she doesn’t even have a handout and her site is still a press release.

I’ve always marveled that candidates can stand in front of an audience and waste time talking about their parents, their big farm in Yellow Springs and where they are from instead of the issues. When pressed about if she supports single payer health care, she goes on a rant about it being a good idea 50 years ago, but couldn’t work now. Of course, she doesn’t pay her own health insurance working for a firm full of lawyers who can all give her $2,300 each.

In fact, looking down her list of top donors you see a ton of lawyers- and I also see the name of Matthew O. Diggs, tossing her $1,000 to hedge his bets. He’s one of the big donors to Mike Turner (he shows up in two different listings- one with donations to Neuhardt and Romney and another to McCain/Palin, Turner and the party). Does Neuhardt know anyone who isn’t a lawyer or wealthy?

I’ve already posted about candidate efficiency and shown the kind of campaign work she produces. You can also find the horrible ads that Steve Austria did painting her as a lawyer who helps companies to off-shore jobs (she did work as corporate counsel at LexisNexis a company that has no problem shuttling people over from India to do work here because they can’t seem to find Americans to do it). The reality is, after listening to her speak time and time again, I’ve yet to hear what she will do for us or how she will beat Mike Turner. Steve Austria knew he couldn’t beat Turner in the new district and did a deal to drop out and she couldn’t beat Austria as a rookie despite a good amount of money.

Now you have a little insight on where she gets her campaign cash, I guess you can think, at least I won’t have to donate since she can hit up all her rich friends, but, this is exactly why she can’t win. If you can’t connect with voters in 2012, you won’t get elected. I guess it will come down to who do you want buying your congressman if you continue to let this insanity of “citizens united” pollute the democratic process.

I won’t take money from PACs, Special Interests, Lobbyists, Corporations. That way I can sleep at night.

If you believe that primaries should be decided by the people in our district instead of bankers from London and NYC, please consider donating to my campaign. I need to print my next campaign piece- a doorhanger, so my volunteers can start knocking on doors. Cost is less than $500. Thank you.

Update from the campaign trail: Montgomery County Dems event

Tonight is another candidates’ night- in Fairborn- run by the League of Women Voters.

This could be the first time that Mike Turner actually shows up at a primary event, since he has opponents John Anderson and Edward Breen. Don’t count on it- Turner doesn’t typically have time to meet with the people he represents (he does spend an inordinate amount of time talking to donors though).

Last night, at the candidates’ night hosted by the Montgomery County Dems at party HQ- a whopping 35 or so people (and remember there were 6 candidates with their entourages- so it was more like 25 people) heard from the Dem contenders.

At the end, a lady in the audience asked “do we have position papers from all the candidates”- to which the answer was no. This clearly shows how the Montgomery Democratic party has forgotten about the fundamental reason that we have a primary.

Image of McMasters lit- click for PDF

McMasters Literature- click to download a PDF

Last night, Tom McMasters brought out his first campaign piece. Despite having hired a staffer, our 1% candidate Sharen Neuhardt still doesn’t have one. Ryan Steele is still working on his website while Mack Van Allen has launched the Van Allen For Congress site. I don’t have anything to add about Olivia Freeman’s campaign- when the video posts you can make your own judgment on all candidates.

Of course, the media didn’t cover the event, so you’ll have to wait for me to do some quick editing and then very slow uploading of the video of all 6 candidates so you can make a more informed decision.

Of course, my positions are all documented, since 2005 I’ve been sharing my ideas- and exposing the graft that’s been going on in our district. I am the only candidate who believes that speaking to the voters isn’t something you only do at election time, that the process of representation is a full-time job- not one that comes up every 2 years. I invite you to search through this site and see what a 2-way conversation with voters looks like.

Until the videos all upload, all I can direct you to is the post from the Greene County event- “Meet the Democratic candidates for congress in OH-10

Here is mine:

Tom McMasters:

Sharen Neuhardt:

Ryan Steele:

Mack Van Allen

Olivia Freeman:

If you find this kind of news and information from the campaign trail useful, please consider making a donation so we can keep this up. Thanks to Ryan, Bobby, Chad, Sara, Jeff and Melissa for your recent donations. They will provide our next round of print material. If you can’t donate- please consider volunteering to make phone calls, go door to door, or spreading the word through our peer-to-peer campaign tool. Sign up here For every thing you do for the campaign, you earn points- and points come with rewards like T-shirts, stickers, posters and even- a meal with me. There is only one way to take the money out of politics- prove that David can beat Goliath.


A call for my fans. Star in a why I support Esrati video

If all you ever read about me was what you saw in the Dayton Daily News…

Or, what you heard from the people in power whom I’ve questioned and exposed on this site….

Or from people who might have met me once- or thought they knew me….

You’d have some choice descriptions. The first time the DDN called me a “political gadfly” – I had to look it up, and that was probably one of the nicer things they ever said. I once carefully edited what they wrote into a t-shirt, taking “A political maverick” out of context- to turn their lemons into lemonade.

Needless to say, there are people who really do know me. They’d tell you a different story. Hopefully, you are one of them.

Some contribute to this site. I’ve known “Bubba Jones” since Wright State. Some of you, I’ve met thanks to this site. Some of you- I’ve never met.

But, for some reason, you keep coming back (Ice Bandit- if you were in the Kettering Rec locker room last Sunday night- and I didn’t make the connection…. so help me).

Well- here is your chance to tell the world what you really think.

I’m looking to film people who think that what I do on this site, in our community, in my business, in my own way… somehow has made Dayton either a bit better or at least more interesting.

We’ll film you- your choice of locations. We’ll edit a piece together on why you think David Esrati should have a shot at going to Congress and trying to change things for those of us who still have to go to work every day. We’ll let you approve the final. We’ll make you look good.

On my first campaign piece for Mayor- I had this quote:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) “Maxims for Revolutionists”

via Quote Details: George Bernard Shaw: The reasonable man adapts… – The Quotations Page.

If you think we need to change the world- please consider helping people understand me better.

E-mail me at [email protected] and give me a brief statement of why I’m an important voice, or how I’ve changed the way you look at things. Make sure you give me a phone number to reach you.


First campaign commercial- addressing the foreclosure crisis: Esrati: My Neighborhood

No matter where you live in OH-10, you have had it happen. A neighbor loses their job (GM, NCR, Iams, the list goes on) or a family member gets a terminal disease, or gas prices go up to $4 a gallon and begin the slow process toward foreclosure.

The banks refuse to renegotiate the loan, lower interest rates or even rent the house back to the former “owners”- they file paperwork (sometimes with a robo-signer) and ask the government to do their collections (I can’t get the sheriff to collect for me).

The homes in nicer neighborhoods (like Mike Turner’s gated community) are carefully maintained and secured. Ones in my neighborhood- are vacated and left in limbo as the looters or the speculators do their thing and the house loses value faster than my kids eat ice cream.

Because we’ve allowed loans to be sold off and traded like commodities- our communities are at the mercy of the Wall Street Casino. My loan has been sold off more times than I care to count: US Bank to GreenPoint to CountryWide to Bank of America to IBM to SETERUS where they now are trying to claim that I owe them for insurance that they bought on their own without checking with me at a rate of at least 3x what my policy cost.

Foreclosure affects us if we want to sell our homes- dropping the comps that are “necessary” for the banks to lend. They have also made it a great opportunity for real estate speculators who buy and flip homes- often without doing any improvements thanks to inside connections to the banks and access to capital.

It’s time to change the discussion of who is to blame for the mess- to what are we going to do about it. The banks haven’t done a fraction of the refinances that they were told to do by Congress through the “Making Home Affordable” program. Often times after the banks kick the people out- they turn them over to a subsidiary and write off the loan, hoping to show a profit when the subsidiary flips it. It’s time to stop the madness.

Here’s my first campaign spot: Foreclosure

Once people leave, entropy sets in and the value begins to drop. Let’s make the banks think twice before they uproot our neighbors, forcing them to either rent back the property- or maintain it in the same condition as when they kicked the people out.

That way, the bank shares the pain with you, instead of foisting the burden off on you.

If you like this video- and want to see a voice in Congress that isn’t being subsidized by the banking industry, please consider donating to my campaign using the widget on the right or going to and making a donation.

I want to be the candidate of the Democratic party to take on Mike Turner in OH-10. I believe my skills, both as a special operations soldier, a small business owner, a blogger and community activist and last but not least, an advertising pro, can make me the best choice to face the incredible money-raising skills of our current corporately owned congressman,