Dayton Daily News interviews David Esrati

Jeremy Kelley isn’t the editorial board of old- he’s a reporter. He came to my office today with a voice recorder, a notebook and a list of questions.

He’s interviewed 5 of the 9 Congressional candidates for the March 6 primary- and I was number 6. They are hoping to run the story this Sunday.

Most of his interviews were done on the phone, but since my office is blocks from the Dayton Daily News- he came to do it in person. We sat in my conference room for a little over an hour and talked. The first thing he asked was if I was filming- before I even got the chance to ask to record an audio version. I have a reputation it seems for videotaping political speech. He said it wouldn’t be fair to the other candidates to do a video- when they could only do an audio. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one publishing an audio version for you.

Note- we started- then he asked to stop the recording because he wanted to ask what could be considered personal info- my birth date and home address- both of which can be found all over the place. My Wikipedia page has birth date and property tax records show my address.

We restarted- and continued- there is a short spot where Akeeli, the foster, dog started wheezing and I had to take her out- that may appear blank- but keep listening….

He asked me about my platform, about specific issues including the Santorum-driven abortion/gay marriage questions (all covered under the category of Hot Button Issues). What issues are important to our district. I answered them all- and we concluded with the question about my “reputation.”

If I had nothing better to do, I’d transcribe the whole thing for you so you can read it- and Google could index it- but, I’ve got a business and a campaign to run. I think you’ll find the raw discussion with the press enlightening. I’d love to hear your feedback.


Campaign trail update: Thur. Feb 16, 2012 Fayette County Tea Party event

I forgot to bring my tripod to this event, and didn’t even look for my camera which was in the bucket, so instead I used my phone to make a podcast. Tom McMasters did have his camera, and said he’d share his video, but his battery died during the questions, which were the most interesting part. I counted 45 to 50 people in the room and this time, they seemed to be mostly voters- not candidate entourages. The differences with this event were that they had an MC to read your bio before you spoke (unfortunately Sharen Neuhardt wasn’t there- because then she would have had to spend five minutes actually saying something since her typical campaign speech is her bio and nothing else) and that the questions from the audience weren’t filtered and were real issue questions. Ryan Steele, Olivia Freeman and me (David Esrati) were in attendance as was David Harlow. Mack Van Allen was a no-show again.

As often happens, the official timer was ignored- especially on the responses to the questions which were supposed to be :30 each. In honesty, you need at least a minute to say anything intelligent most of the time.

Since Fayette County is split into the 10th and 15th now, both sitting Congressmen, Steve Stivers and Mike Turner sent proxies from their offices. Turner’s proxy, Rob Secaur, didn’t speak for him, but did respond during the Q and A, Stivers’s proxy, Grant Shaffer, wasn’t so shy and did speak- mostly about how Stivers can’t be blamed for the gridlock, since he’s only been there 13 months. The Two Democrats running against Stivers didn’t come. It’s interesting that Turner sent a proxy to this event, and not to any other.

This was the second time David Harlow, the Libertarian candidate, spoke, and this time he did much better, although he’s still trying to channel Ross Perot. I sat next to John Anderson, who leaned over to me and thanked me for the fair writeup I gave him after I’d met him for the first time. I think he’s flattered by the John Wayne comparison.

The speeches were five minutes each, give or take. You can see the video that Tom McMasters shot of the 4 Dems and 1 R here:

The Fayette County Dems on Facebook warned us not to attend- that they can come hear us at a “Democratic event” which they are holding tonight, a dinner, that costs $15 per head to attend. For the record, I believe democracy happens where all views are welcome and it’s done in public- preferably without a door charge :-) I’ll be there with my family tonight.

By far the most interesting questions and answers, the most defining, were the ones about our rights being taken away via the Patriot Act and NDAA, “ObamaCare” and the “Department of Education/ what department would you cut” question. The what would you do for Fayette County question is the kind of question I despise- because it’s my belief that as national representatives it’s our job to do what’s right for the entire nation, not one group or another.

The Turner rep had a difficult job since Turner voted for the Patriot Act. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear the answers, I didn’t take enough notes to properly report on these for you.

For the record, I’m very worried about our civil rights being methodically stripped from us. I don’t think that videotaping police officers should be illegal, nor should peaceful protests. As the only person to be arrested and prosecuted on a first amendment case– by Mike Turner- I believe I’ve proven myself long ago as a protector of our first and fourth amendment rights.

My position for national, single payer health care instead of legislating legitimacy for health insurance companies wasn’t well received. I still stand by my statement that my Father (Dad on the comments) and I get much better care via the VA as Service Disabled Vets than we got with private insurance health care- and he used to get his treatment at the Cleveland Clinic.

The call for smaller government is one I agree with. But, the Department of Education, if run well would not be one I would cut. I think it’s time to change a lot of things in our public education- a longer school year, moving to entirely paperless systems, from open source e-textbooks to 100% online testing tools. If we don’t have every student with a laptop/tablet and full-time internet connectivity in the next four years, we’re doomed. The nonsense about charters, home schooling, vouchers and blaming teachers’ unions as the root of our failing public education system is a distraction. The root cause of under-achieving students has more to do with the economic condition of their parents than the schools they attend. When we return incentives to hire Americans into jobs that pay well, we will begin to see improvement in our schools. See my 35 to 1 pay ratio solution to fix this.

Had the question about what are you going to do for Fayette County been more specific- I would have had a better answer. It was sad hearing that in Sabina, 100 of the 400 homes were vacant due to foreclosure. Bringing back Glass-Stegall will help. Changing the responsibilities of the banks when they kick out the people will help too (see my Foreclosure video). I’m not a fan of pork projects and I believe that if we take the money out of politics, send the lobbyists home, and ask the Congressmen to write their own laws, we’ll be back to 6-page bills instead of 2,000-page ones. Our government is broken- as we all agreed in response to the very first question from the answer- the real question is, which candidate is going to give you the best representation in Congress, unfettered by the need to sell out to raise a million dollars every cycle, and willing to share his experiences with you daily?

None of these other candidates have spent the time I have sharing and discussing the issues with you. It’s up to you to decide who is the most committed.


Link to Record Herald article about the event (note, the Washington Court House Record Herald is the only newspaper that has covered this race).


The Democratic Monarchy of Montgomery County Endorsed Dirty Money tonight

Apparently Chairman Mark Owens, who can’t raise money and can’t beat an upstart like Gary Leitzell despite a 6-to-1 cash advantage plus incumbency, directed his private top-secret screening committee to back Sharen “dirty money” Neuhardt.

The reason “she’s a proven fundraiser and can beat Mike Turner” according to Chairmen Mark. First off, Turner already has more money than Sharen raised in her first outing, he hasn’t even started his money machine.

Secondly, she couldn’t beat Steve Austria, a rookie, and embarrassed herself with pathetic ads. She hasn’t even produced a campaign handout as of yet, but has been busy begging for money from her “friends” in DC.

Running a 1% candidate against a 1% incumbent will put the local Dems at 0 and 6 against Turner. In case they haven’t noticed, people are getting turned off by the big money being slung around. How else can you explain Rick Santorum making a comeback against Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich?

The process of endorsing for the party, by a small subset of un-elected people behind closed doors is something that has to stop. We may have the most undemocratic Democratic party in the land.

I hope the people who read this site help spread the word that it’s time to take the money out of politics and vote against the idea that money trumps passion and commitment.

Remember Jane Mitakides- a two time “connected” Democrat who got smushed by Turner?

Also, remember that Sharen Neuhardt didn’t even file the first time to run against Turner- and even Austria didn’t think he could take Turner on. She can’t even answer a direct question on where her money comes from- do you want her to be in charge of your tax dollars?

And- btw- I have a recording of what I said to the secret committee- because I believe in transparency. I’ll post it in the morning, if three people ask for it in the comments.

Thanks to 3 people here and a few on Facebook- here it is:


Here are the two spots I showed them: the Esrati Foreclosure spot:

And Sharen Neuhardt’s “Scary Steve”- her second most “popular” video on YouTube:

And one other thing: Obviously, no one in that screening committee had listened to her on the campaign trail or watched my videos. Her story about being born to a Dayton Cop, going to Fairview and then Georgetown Law and buying a huge farm in Yellow Springs will be laughed off by Turner and the voters. She has yet to answer a single question- except to give some BS about supporting the affordable care act and that single payer won’t work. There is more- for another post.


StoryCorps interview of Stephen G Esrati

My father has lived a pretty interesting life. From having to learn three languages and three alphabets by age 10, to being imprisoned in Lebanon in 1948 and subsequently losing his passport, to being investigated by the FBI in the McCarthy era- there is a lot of history and perspective that always intrigues me.

He knew Martin Luther King Jr. before he was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr – as they used to argue at Boston University over how one effects change. He’s written three books- one of which is available for free (for now) on this site: “Dear Son; Do you really want to be an American?” which he wrote to me in 1968-69.

His first book was “The Tenth Prayer. A Novel of Israel” which is available from Amazon.

Review Not only “a good read,” but it recalls the heroic events and ideological struggles that marked Israel’s early days. — Jerusalem Post, May 11, 2001

Product Description Historical fiction about the early years of Israel with an emphasis about the problem of “Who is a Jew?” This question, which has been at the center of controversy since independence, includes such problems as non-burial of the child of an Israeli Jew and an American Baptist.

The book covers a wide spectrum of Israelis, from extreme left to extreme right. One of its principal heroes is Naomi Ben Horin, the broadcaster of the illegal radio of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, who becomes a lawyer after independence. The book ends with her decision on whether to defend Adolf Eichmann.

His last book is “Comrades Avenge Us”– which I read as it came off the typewriter in installments- sort of like reading pulp fiction, in my last years of High School.

Product Description Based on a true story, a novel follows two officers — American and Canadian — who are captured by the German Gestapo while on a mission in Yugoslavia and survive to form a postwar Nazi-hunting operation to avenge their slaughtered comrades.

You can get an autographed paperback directly from the author for $5 pickup or $7.50 if you want it mailed to you. Email me to get a copy.

So when I had a chance to interview him in the mobile StoryCorps booth last Thursday- I tried to get as much of that first hand history and perspective into 40 minutes.

This interview was recorded at StoryCorps, a national nonprofit dedicated to recording and collecting stories of everyday Americans

It’s 40 minutes and 20 mb. You can listen here- or download for your mp3 player. Enjoy.


AP Government class at Thurgood Marshall High School

“Why are you recording this” comes out about half-way through this podcast. The answer: I believe that people who run for office should be transparent- and accessible. I believe that people who want to learn about a candidate, should be able to go online and read first hand what the candidate is thinking, saying or not saying. Take a look at what’s happening with Rob Portman standing by while “birthers” mouth off about the Commander and Chief.

It’s one of the reasons I tried to post every candidates’ night on YouTube when I was running. It’s why we run the Dayton Grassroots Daily Show unedited. It’s about getting to know who you are seeing on the ballot.

This last Tuesday I was asked to speak to an AP Government class at Thurgood Marshall High School. I brought my father along. A long time ago, he came to my high school to talk about the history of the Middle East to my 11th-grade History class.

I met with 13 engaging students. Principal David Lawrence sat in through a good 30 minutes of my talk to Mr. Spencer’s class.

I took along my very first campaign piece, when I ran almost 20 years ago for Mayor of Dayton. I also took the piece that Gary Leitzell distributed (btw- Gary had spoken to the same class- you can hear what they thought of him on the podcast) in his first run for mayor: should have made an impression.

One of the main questions was “why do you do it? Keep running and losing?” On the way out, Mr. Spencer tried to suggest I should “Move to the center, and try to get elected”- as if the Center is where the answers are?

Of interest- only one student identified himself as a Republican, a few Democrats- and a majority- independents. Apparently they still don’t understand that by being undeclared in the State of Ohio just means you can’t take part in choosing who is on the final ballot (I didn’t really tell them this- my bad).

I did share with them my belief that until we introduce true campaign finance reform- with the taxpayers funding the whole thing, we’re going to continue to be screwed. That was a major part of the discussion. I’d be interested to hear from the students – what they thought, in the comments.

Ohio Secretary of State and candidate for the US Senate, Jennifer Brunner will be coming to Thurgood Marshall in the next week to speak to the students. These students now know what a Herculean task she is facing in running against the much better funded Lt. Governor Lee Fisher. Hopefully, she’ll be prepared to give them real answers instead of the politically correct ones- because I think these students will see right through the same old BS that’s passed for political speech in the past. At least these 13 will.

Here’s the podcast: