Montgomery County Democratic Party ch-ch-changes…?

It was refreshing to see a whole bunch of fresh faces at the January 2017 Montgomery County Democratic Party meeting. Trumps been in office less than a week, and people are already seeing what happens when the system fails to stop stupid.

Welcome to the too little, too late club.

There are lots of new groups starting up- indivisible, the resistance, blue Ohio, the progressives, etc. etc. I did a “negative post” about the dangers of neophytes last week, and was the bad guy, for explaining that you can create all the groups you want, but, you won’t get on the ballot unless you work within the existing system.

The front of the flyer- the back has a lot more to say.

Click to download the PDF

So last night, I showed up with my pamphleteer of the revolution hat on. I had a nicely printed 5×7 card explaining what has to change. I sat through the laughable “executive meeting” which is now held on the too small stage, behind a screen, with an agenda that’s almost identical to the general agenda. And when it came time to vote to add new precinct captains to the roll, I asked “how many of them either work for elected officials, or are related” and almost got booed off the stage. “That’s not relevant” and “people who work in government are more likely to be involved” and “why.” As it turns out, only one of the 17 new appointees admitted to being related, which is great, compared to the rest of the central committee.  At the end of the exec meeting- I started handing out my propaganda. Some refused (Russ and Matt Joseph both turned it down). I went out to the general meeting area- and handed them out- saying “Welcome” to everyone as I passed out my flyer.

Some people came up to me immediately and thanked me. Others swung back around and said “I agree with …”

However, online today, I’m the bad guy. I’m arrogant, rude, my approach sucks, they don’t agree with my tactics- etc. Apparently, investing time and money in putting together a handout isn’t ok, and saying “welcome” is rude. Hissing and booing when I speak- is, just prim and proper.

Maybe that’s why the piece included “We need to talk about issues, not personalities” and ended with “Go ahead, shoot the messenger.”

The full PDF is available here. Friends And Family Are Great For Cell Phone Plans, But That’s Not How We DEMOCRATS Win Elections.

There was no discussion of issues, strategy, plans. There were requests to sign up for committees, there were requests to sign peoples petitions, there was the hat tip to the elected officials in attendance. The floor wasn’t asked for input. It’s the same old party.

However, there has been one change- they’ve hired a new executive director; Sarah Greathouse.  Sarah and her husband Erik have been political operators for a while. And for the first time- the party site actually lists who’s on the central committee, if they were appointed or elected, who are the ward leaders and who is appointed to the executive committee. There is no mention of who is on the “screening committee”- or if it’s still going to choose our candidates and endorse in primaries.

The executive committee also named Sarah to the Board of Elections to replace John Doll, giving them $20K a year to help compensate her.

Now that the party doesn’t have the dead weight of the old HQ to support, the treasury coffers should be in much better shape. With an executive director who actually understands the internet, we may start seeing effective fund raising and competent emails being sent out (the old way was to send pdf’s of bad flyers as attachments).

For all the newbie politically active- the goal of the party should be to elect democrats, and especially, start winning the offices at the State level that run the gerrymandering operation that’s known as the apportionment board (Governor, Secretary of State and Auditor) in 2018.

In the meantime, I’m giving Ms. Greathouse the benefit of the doubt, and will do whatever I can to help make the democratic party- a true democratic party.

We’ve got a lot of work to do.

And just remember, “Hindsight is 2020”

The angst of the political neophytes

On a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon (14 Jan 2017), about 45 people met in the basement of the Wright Library in Oakwood to learn “How to elect & support local officials.” I was one of the panelists, along with:

  • Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton
  • Robert Klepinger, ran for congress, 10th district
  • Jimmy Calhoun, ran for congress, 41st district. Precinct captain
  • David Esrati, ran for congress, 10th district. Precinct captain, ward leader.
  • Dan Saks, congressional candidate Springfield/Clark county area

Also notably in attendance was Sarah Greathouse, the new executive director of the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

The audience was mostly women. Upset women. How did a misogynist beat their girl? Now, we have to start paying attention and fix it, because, well, women need to be in office.

Nan was loving it. Totally in her element, talking about how women are underrepresented in office.

She’s right of course, but, that’s not what the real issue is, as Nan spelled it out:

  • Money in politics- Citizens United.
  • Gerrymandering.

Unfortunately, thanks to the Republican landslide, money in politics isn’t going to go away, and more than likely, Trump will name not just one, but as many as three supreme court justices before the mid-terms and it will be all over for a long time. Too little, too late.

The gerrymandering situation, well, the audience wanted to know more about it. Because, most voters never learned how our “democracy” works in school, and certainly haven’t bothered to pay attention until now. How the apportionment board works in Ohio was explained- yet, the likelihood of the Dems grabbing the Governorship, Secretary of State and the Auditor in 2018 is slim and none, unless the backlash against Trump, and the current Republican domination of the Statehouse causes a meltdown the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

I wouldn’t count on it. Although the women’s march yesterday and all of its supporting marches did give me some hope. Organizing is great, but, if it’s just more of us vs them, without a clear list of issues, we’re all doomed.

This group is afraid to put the word “Democrat” in their name- because the founder thinks it’s meaning is kind of “murky”- well, then maybe your first goal should be to clearly define what being a democrat means.

It’s time for the local dems to learn from my friend, Rob Scott, founder of the Dayton Tea Party, and the organizer of the short lived overthrow of the local republican establishment (and yes, I have friends who I’ll never agree with politically):

Dayton Tea Party co-founder, Rob Scott, now Kettering vice mayor, said the key for the movement was that activists knocked on doors, made phone calls, held rallies and focused on issues.

“I think that’s why the tea party movement really took off because we talked about issues,” Scott said. “In 2010 it was like a big wave and it was handed over to the Republican Party.”

Source: Women’s march organizers hope to start movement

Electing women is not an issue, it’s a cause. Issues are things like we have too many jurisdictions in Montgomery County, too many different tax regulations, unfunded mandates, poor schools, an unconstitutional school funding system, the list goes on…

The funny thing about the group hosting this meeting- it’s a private facebook group.

Sort of like the private club that selects the democratic candidates behind closed doors in Montgomery County.

Which brings us to the important news of the week: This Thursday, at the IUE hall on S. Jefferson, at 7pm, the Montgomery County Democratic Party is going to have a meeting where they are talking about appointing a whole bunch of new precinct captains. If they really want to show they’ve turned over a new leaf- we’d pass a rule: no one can be a precinct captain if they work in local government, or are related to someone who works in local government. That would be a good first step to dethroning the monarchy of Montgomery County and turning the party into a true Democratic Party.

Oh, yes, and start talking about issues.

It’s still a party instead of an organization for all local dems

Somewhere I read the invite wrong- I thought the Montgomery County Democratic Party was actually going to admit that their way of working wasn’t, and it was time for a real change.

I went to the meeting last Thursday night in the stunning new quarters (the old building was a shithole) and saw a huge crowd, including many fresh faces. The time to do a mea culpa was ripe- after Montgomery County voted for Trump, and Gary Leitzell came withing spitting distance of dethroning Debbie Lieberman on the county commission, despite spending almost no money, creating no organization, and having zero support from the local Republican party which may be only slightly more incompetent than the local dems.

The fact that the opposing party chair, Sheriff Phil Plummer was unopposed, despite news story after news story of incompetence, criminal behavior and racist tendencies in his department should be the first clue that the Dems are impotent.

But, we got a short speech from Party Chairman Mark Owens, a short speech from Mayor Nan Whaley- who still think that electing a woman president is more important than electing democrats, and the introduction of Sarah Greathouse as the new executive director. Willis Blackshear stepped up to speak for Fred Strahorn, as if only a black elected man can stand in for another black elected man ( of which there are only a handful in this county), and then off to socialize.

Greathouse and her husband have been political campaign consultants in the area for at least the last ten years. They’re part of the party inner circle. It will be interesting to see if she is able to bring some sophistication to the mechanics of the organization- starting with a website that isn’t a joke.

Nothing was said about a plan to regain seats, although they did have a monster list of all the seats that will be available in 2017 for people to volunteer to run for.

That list should be available, along with every open seat, requirements for running, job responsibility, etc on the local board of elections site- but that would require competency there too- which isn’t possible since the people running the BOE are appointed by the incompetent parties, neither of which actually has wanted people who aren’t on the friends and family plan to run.

What the party needed to do?

Stop all endorsing of candidates in primaries and pre-selection process. The object is to elect dems, not to narrow the field before an election. A party with a strong and active base, should be able to inform their members of who their choices are- and by members, I mean all Dems in the County- not just the card carrying cabal that has been running things for time eternal.

Bring  back the candidates school, but take a lot of the trouble of running a campaign out of the hands of novices. It’s hard enough for people to decide to step up to run, while having jobs, families, and other responsibilities- but also having to learn how to do a website, manage the voter walking lists, craft campaign materials, order signs, distribute said signs and materials, go to candidates nights, knock on doors and of course raise money.

This is the parties job. It would be easier to build one network of websites for all Dem candidates, including donation tools, manage all the door-to-door data and targeting for candidates (who generally have no idea how data-driven modern campaigns are- or would have any way of managing it)- building one master list of Dem voters and letting all the candidates update and use it. Never again should a presidential campaign come to town- building the data from scratch as well as finding the people to do the work, that should be in place. That’s the difference between a political organization- and a “Party” that’s more like a social club for those who know the handshake.

And most importantly, someone needs to build a data wall- of all the available offices- and start planning who will run for every seat, in the not only the next election, but also the one after that and the one after that. I like Rob Klepinger, but, running him against Mike Turner twice was a joke, as have been every other challenger for the last 14 years.

The real key will be to take over the statehouse despite gerrymandered districts for the 2020 session- when redistricting is up next- or, figure out a legal strategy to force districts that make both geographic and rational sense. While Turner’s district is actually now manageable in one media market, a look at the seat vacated by John Boehner and now owned by Warren Davidson- that stretches from Cincinnati up to Mercer County- is not.

An inclusive organization, that puts democratic principals ahead of personal relationships is the only way we’ll see change.

Willis Blackshear and I will have a sit down after the turn of the year to discuss these issues. I already know we don’t agree on the endorsement in primaries, but, we’ll see who is more persuasive.

Telling people “it’s not your time” or asking them “if we don’t endorse you, will you drop out” are the two least democratic sayings of the local party.

And if you need proof of why parties aren’t the best people to pick candidates, twice the local party and the state and national party chose a woman to run for president, only to be beat by a novice black man with an Arabic middle name the first time, and by a reality show host the second.

Unfortunately, for this current crew- their next best choice for running a governor is probably a reality show host who was arrested for picking up a prostitute- Jerry Springer. Need I say more?

The Democratic Party rigging system

Thanks to WikiLeaks we can now see how the Democratic National Committee is really not Democratic at all. They play favorites and have a plan to shepherd the flock into the ballot box to put their preferred pick in power. It’s an insiders game. And while many Bernie supporters feel gypped right now, wondering how all these bought and sold delegates aren’t voting their way- the Republican Party is sitting there wondering how a former Democrat reality TV star who had never run for office before just hijacked their party. Super delegates are the poison pill to make sure that doesn’t happen in the Democratic party.

The whole two party system reeks of insider politics. Almost every other “free country” in the world has more than 2 major political parties and has real differentiation between platforms. Only in the US do we get dumbed down parties where many people can’t even tell the difference.

But if you think this is only a national phenomena, you’ve missed the most important part. The local Montgomery County Party engages in the same filtering, the same preselection process. You don’t get to choose your candidates, you get to choose who they let you vote for in most elections.

We don’t have primaries in most local elections anymore. Which means we don’t really have a democratic process.

This can change. If you are a democrat, and you feel that the system has been tilted for Hillary, or you just want to make sure that people in a smokey back room don’t choose your candidates for you, consider running for precinct captain of the democratic party. The next election isn’t for a little bit, but it wouldn’t hurt to start talking to the dems in your precinct, and connecting with others who want to have a fair and just electoral process. Where candidates are elected by the voters, instead of by party insiders.

Feel free to drop me a line at [email protected] if you are interested.

It’s time to take the politics back to the people from the political elite.

The Petty Party of Montgomery County

At 7:00 p.m. tomorrow, January 13, the executive committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Party will meet to decide the fate of one of their long-time leaders.

Normally, yours truly wouldn’t be invited to this kind of meeting, but they don’t have a choice. I was duly elected precinct captain, and when the 5 precinct captains of the first ward met, 2 others who have been wronged by the party over time, graciously opted to vote for me, providing a 3-2 selection as the Ward leader and automatic inclusion on the Central Committee. Note- this doesn’t get me on the screening committee- which is only for those who either have sworn a blood oath, or been elected and are in control of patronage jobs which are handed out like candy to people they then use to fill in the open precinct seats- to make sure they control who runs for office.

The two who fell from grace- former county auditor, judge and mayoral candidate, A.J. Wagner, and current school board member Joe Lacey- who tried to run for state rep and wasn’t endorsed. The two who voted against me- Russ Joseph, brother of Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph and heir apparent to party chair, and current Dayton Clerk of Courts, Mark Owens, and Judge Daniel Geheres’ son.

Tomorrow night, the secret society is meeting in private to decide if they should put former Dayton Mayor, daughter of the all powerful C.J. McLin, State Senator Rhine McLin back on the Board of Elections- or should they find someone else to have the cushy job that pays $20K a year for two short meetings each month.

The Dems are mad at Rhine because she broke ranks and supported Wagner for mayor instead of her royal highness, Queen Nan.

Rhine sent all the central committee members a “Fellow Democrat” letter in December- asking for their support and stating her case.

For those of you who don’t know about the Board of [S]Elections – it’s an organization that is totally controlled by the two major parties- to run your elections. This is why third party candidates, independent candidates, and anyone who doesn’t kiss the party’s ass, runs a high risk of not making it to the ballot. Plus, it controls a bunch of patronage jobs- and grossly overpays the staff- especially the directors, one from each party. It gets a little confusing because the actual board is 2 Dems, 2 Republicans- yes- a virtual deadlock on every issue- that gets to hand over the deciding vote to Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican. The members of this board aren’t elected by the people, nor do they have oversight by the people- just Husted. That’s the way we like it in Ohio- ethics be damned.

Rhine has been in the seat for 2 years of a 3-year term- thanks to a deadlocked vote during the last presidential election, where Husted managed to get the 2 Dems, Dennis Lieberman (spouse of County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman and former party chair) and Tom Ritchie Sr.- regional director of AFSCME (a big public service union) kicked out of their jobs when they stood up to Husted on early voting hours.

The party picked Rhine and John Doll. Doll is a check-collecting, empty suit. McLin on the other hand threw herself into the job and is the only member who bothered to become a certified elections/registration administrator.

McLin is also a party legend. She’s currently vice chair of the Ohio Democratic Party (which isn’t quite as petty), vice-chair of the Mid-West Caucus of the Democratic National Committee, vice chair of the Mid-West Executive Committee of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, and the Mid-West Representative for the Black Caucus of the Democratic National Committee.

She also notes- “I have consistently donated to the Party.”

Face it- it’s pay to play on top of requiring a blood oath and major butt kissing.

Frankly, none of these people deserve to have anything to do with elections. Their idea of running people for office includes interviews that start out with the question “If we endorse someone else, will you drop out and work to get them elected” before petitions are even turned in.

I’ve run in 6 different counties- and no other county Democratic party endorses in primaries- that’s what the primary is for- for the voters of the party to decide whom they want to run for office- not 40 hand-selected members of the “Monarchy of Montgomery Party” to decide for them. They are patently undemocratic- and Rhine herself has benefited from this winnowing process for years. She’s as guilty as the rest of them- the only difference is while she was happy when Nan was her lap dog- when she was mayor- the moment Rhine lost to Gary Leitzel, she lost value to Nan, who along with Mark Owens and Karl Keith had taken over the party- kicking Lieberman to the curb. Now, Nan is a rabid dog, going after Rhine- her former mentor, out of spite- for Rhine recognizing that A.J. was the better man for the job than our monomaniacal mayoress. There are still deep divisions in the party- but, most are afraid to speak- for fear of losing their plum patronage job that either they- or their family members have thanks to their party loyalty.

This is the dirty secret of the Dayton Montgomery County Democratic Party. But, now you know.

And I’ll try to fill you in on what happens, despite me not really wanting to have anything to do with this disgustingly undemocratic process. In 2018, the party will once again elect new precinct captains- that’s when we may be able to organize, and re-populate the central committee with people who believe in democratic principles- instead of the self-anointed royal family we have now.

And the Dayton Dems hit rock bottom: attack mailings again

Attack ads aren’t smart. Mark Owens ran Rhine McLin’s campaign and mailed ads attacking Gary Leitzell, not once, but at least 3 times.

For Gary, who couldn’t afford a single mailing- it was all the PR he needed.

Today- I got a mailer for Colette Moorman who is running for Dayton Municipal Court. It starts with a picture of her in robes- with a gavel-  which is sort of OK- since she is currently a magistrate.

But, flip it over- and it asks you to compare with her opponent- Mia Wortham Spells (full disclosure, my firm did all the design, print support and website for Mia Spells).

It has two lists of  boxes to check off- with X’s in Mia’s column. Note- that they were both assistant Dayton City Prosecutors- but somehow- it’s good for Colette and bad for Mia. That Mia had a private practice is also somehow bad- as if being an actual attorney- instead of on the government payroll as a political crony your entire career is a good thing.

And, yes, Mia was “Recommended by the Montgomery County Republican Party Screening Committee”- but Mia was also endorsed by the Miami Valley Trial Lawyers Association–  as opposed to a bunch of politicians and labor organizations.

All this is normal – Dems rack up endorsements of the Monarchy of Montgomery County and their puppets- others don’t.

But, when I went to look at the piece again- for the disclaimer of who paid for the campaign- or who her treasurer was- it wasn’t there. Bad candidate. Wrong. Illegal. So much for Colette operating properly. It was mailed by the party- but the mailer still requires a disclaimer.

The problem with election laws like the disclaimer one, is there is no undo button. The damage is done- but, in this case, hopefully- it points out to everyone that they do have a choice- and the right candidate will prevail.

Vote Mia Spells- she’s not a hack.

Colette Moorman_Page_1 Colette Moorman_Page_2As a comparison- here is Mia’s mailer.

Mia Wortham Spells Mailer 2 Mia Wortham Spells Mailer

Whaley’s candidates withdraw from Dayton School Board race

Late yesterday, Jerry Brunswick and John Lumpkin both withdrew from the Dayton School board race.

This is the day before the the Montgomery County Dems are to meet to endorse.

This brings the race to the 3 incumbents, Rev. Robert Walker, Nancy Nearny and Sheila Taylor, vs. one challenger, John McManus.

Word on the street was that Brunswick and Lumpkin were Mayor Nan Whaley’s hand-picked candidates and that Matt Joseph helped them get their signatures.

Once again, “democracy” is thwarted by the Monarchy of Montgomery County.

This just went from an interesting race to not much of one.

Who owns the Montgomery County Democratic Party Headquarters?

I attended an organizing meeting for Bernie Sanders for President tonight at the Montgomery County Democratic Party HQ on S. Wilkinson Street. There were about 40 people in attendance. That equals what sometimes shows up for a MCDP meeting.

Apparently, there is a question whether Democrats can meet to organize in their own building without permission of Party Chairman, and Dayton Clerk of Courts- Mark Owens. The very one who was against the recent move to regionalism because it:

could lead to the disenfranchisement of Dayton’s 140,000 residents when pushed into a larger voting block
It’s no secret that the people behind the curtain who run the MCDP and choose candidates and endorse before primaries in local races, have already come out in support of Hillary Clinton, but is it their right to stop other Dems from organizing? To stop primary elections from taking place?
If the local Democratic party doesn’t believe in the Democratic process, maybe it’s time to withdraw their credentials, stop them from nominating half of the Board of Elections, since they don’t really stand for all Dems- just the ones they’ve already put in power.
Jon Husted, can we get an investigation?

Vote to thin the herd tomorrow May 5, 2015

Dayton residents get to waste a ton of money and their time voting in the special election on May 5 to make it easier for dummies to vote.

That’s right- we voters can’t handle more than “choose 2 out of 4” so tomorrow, we must vote one candidate off the island. Note, this is NOT a primary- you don’t have to declare a party to vote in this election, it’s just a runoff ballot.

If you don’t know who the 5 candidates are at this point- too bad, I’m not going to give you the recap.

But, I’m going to share my insight.

The two endorsed Dems- are always the favored to come in 1/2. Let’s hope this happens, so that the party doesn’t run scared and starts pumping ridiculous money into the fall election- which will have a big turnout since legalizing pot will be on the ballot.

That leaves three- the two preachers and the only woman, who also happens to be African American. Predictions are, just because of that- she’ll make it through the run-off- because we have stupid voters who don’t realize she’s in it for her, not for them. See this video:

She was  just elected to the school board 2 years ago- and if she wins a Commission seat, the School Board gets to choose her replacement. Last time they did this, when current Dayton City Commissioner and quitter, Jeff Mims pulled the same stunt- the school boards choice was a disaster.

That leaves the two preachers, Sliver and Fairchild. The problem is, if you vote for both of them- you could potentially knock one of them off the ballot. This is where “plonking” your vote comes in. By only voting for one candidate- you assure you don’t cancel your vote and help put one over the other.

Darryl Fairchild supporters- sent out an email today asking you to plonk for him. My feeling is that if Darryl had wanted to run for City Commission, he should have run last time- when he’d printed up 2 color stationery for his candidacy- but dropped out because the party didn’t endorse him. He dropped out- for a promise that he’d be the anointed one this time. They screwed him- and picked Chris Shaw, but this time, he decided to buck the party and run. I don’t need, and this is in bad taste since Darryl is in a wheelchair, a spineless puppet on the commission.

I’ve known Scott Sliver for 25 years. He’s not a politician- he’s a touchy-feely, guitar playing, leader of people. His heart is in the right place. And, full disclosure- my firm did his campaign literature and signs, but that wouldn’t change a thing- he’s the one I want to advance more than anyone else- a true political newcomer with no baggage. I’m plonking for Sliver tomorrow and invite you to do it too.

My choice not to make the cut is first and foremost, Matt Joseph, who hasn’t done squat in 12 years on the commission, but since that’s not going to happen, Ms. Rountree is my number two choice. Watch the video- and ask yourself, do we really need someone that self-centered on the commission?

The turnout will be incredibly low. If 9,000 people vote, it will be a miracle. There are much better, more efficient ways to do this, but, for now- this is all we’ve got. So if you want to see a change, go plonk for Sliver.

 

The secret committee that decides elections in Dayton

At the last election there was going to be an empty seat on the Dayton City Commission if Nan won or lost. The party screened candidates, and selected incumbent Joey Williams and former State School Board and Dayton Board of Education member Jeffery Mims.

A local minister, Darryl Fairchild had already printed up a 2-color letterhead, “Fairchild 2013.” (Note, when running for office, never put the date on stuff you could reuse). When the endorsements were announced, Darryl wheeled to the front of the room and fell on his sword, sweeping the door open for Mr. Mims, thinking he was next in line. When the city had to modify the dais in the commission chambers for Dean Lovelace in a wheelchair, I even heard- “well, we’re going to have to do it for when Darryl gets on the commission” from someone. (For the record, Lovelace should have vacated the seat for his extended absences, and there should have been a special election).

On Tuesday, six candidates screened for the two seats coming up for re-election. Matt Joseph, the three-term incumbent who has yet to distinguish himself with any real legislative issues, and five others including yours truly. As previously reported, David Greer who ran last time, Hazel Rountree who just took a seat a year ago on the DPS board, Fairchild, and newcomer Chris Shaw who is “a fourth-generation business owner and active in the local NAACP” according to party chair Mark Owens (who is the Dayton Clerk of Courts and is up for re-election).

Thursday came and the announcement was made in the party executive committee that the screening committee had selected Joseph and Shaw. A few people were wondering how Fairchild had been thrown under the bus. A screening committee member said “well that would be running two white guys” since Fairchild and Joseph are both white, Shaw is black. I protested that the party could endorse 4 Dems (and still not endorse me) since the way this works is that if more than 4 people run, there is a runoff (not a primary- since the race is non-partisan) to select 4, and only the top 2 vote-getters win in November. Since there are obviously going to be more than 4 people in this race, wouldn’t it be smarter to have 4 Dems in the final? And let the people decide? I was booed, hissed, told to shut up- and got nasty looks. One other person asked why not Darryl? Wasn’t he promised this chance when he stepped aside so graciously for the good of the party? The answer was no- he wasn’t promised anything.

This is the way the Democratic party works- 4 years ago Nan and Rhine McLin were inseparable, with some even speculating that there was a sexual relationship between them. After Rhine lost to Gary Leitzell in the upset of the century- Rhine became a pariah. The people in power in the Dem party would eat their babies in order to protect their fiefdoms.

There were other endorsements as well. Judge Pickerel has “aged out” of being able to run, and his open seat was screened as well. Three candidates including the just deposed Frances McGee Cromartie who was their endorsed candidate in November to return to Common Pleas. She was passed over, despite being a McGee. Some loyalists challenged that decision- only to be told that the person they were endorsing had 20+ years experience in the municipal court and Frances didn’t. Never mind that Common Please handles much tougher cases than Muni. Nope, lose an election, and unless you raise a lot of money like Sharen Neuhardt, we put you out to pasture.

So the question is, who are these people on the “Screening committee” who try to take the democracy out of the ballot box and keep it behind closed doors in Dem Party HQ? As an elected member of the central committee and elected to the executive committee (thank you A.J. Wagner and Joe Lacey) I didn’t remember electing, selecting, discussing who was on this committee. I asked for the list- and was given it- surprisingly. The members are selected by the party chairman, Mark Owens. Mostly made up of elected officials, former elected officials, patronage job holders who are jockeying to be the anointed one when their benefactor decides to step down, and labor leaders. Here’s the list. I’m sorry I haven’t had time to fill in all the job positions, but I will gladly take your input to fill in the few blanks.

First nameLast namePosition
DebraArmaniniMat Heck's number 2
WillisBlackshearCounty Recorder
SamBraunMr. Whaley- works for Karl Keith
GregoryBrushCounty Clerk of Courts
CenaBuchannon
RickCarneFormer Tony Hall Chief of Staff- now a lobbyist
DanaClark
DaveFeckeVice Chair UAW
GregFlannaganPublic information officer for Mat Heck
DanFoleyCounty Commissioner
TimGormanHusband of Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Barbara Gorman
StevenHarsmanDeputy Chief of the Board of Elections
MatHeckCounty Prosecutor
DaleHerzogDayton Building and Construction
Trades Council
RobertJones
RussellJosephMark Owen's heir apparent
MattJosephCity Commissioner, brother of Russ
KarlKeithCounty Auditor
CarlKennebrewPresident IUE-CWA Local 755
BeverlyKingBoard of Elections worker who hires her rapist brother
MarciaKnoxRegional Director AFSCME Region 8
Dennis A.LiebermanFormer Party Chair, Clayton Trustee, husband of County Commissioner Debbie
NancyMarinoTrotwood Dem Club
JimMcCarthyHead of Miami Valley Fair Housing
JeffreyMimsCity Commissioner
CharlesMortonDayton-Miami Valley AFL-CIO Regional Labor Council
GenevieveMurphyState Young Dem President, Nan's shadow
JohnMurphyGen Murphy's Dad- BOE worker
LeonardOramHead Probation Officer for Vandalia municipal Court run by Mat Heck's wife, Cynthia
MarkOwensParty Chair, Dayton Clerk of Courts
VarneyRichmondFORMER President of Teamsters Local 957 as of Jan 10, 2015
TomRitchie, Sr.AFSCME, formerly on BOE
PaulRobinson, Jr.Chief Deputy Treasurer

DavidSaphire
BriceSimsJefferson TWP Trustee
TroySinger
CathyStartzmanLegislative Aide County Commission
FredStrahornState Rep
JohnTheoboldLegislative Aide County Commission
MeghanThomasWorks for Mark Owens in Clerk of Courts
NolanThomasAssistant. Prosecuting Attorney
LynnThomasson, Sr.County Clerk of Courts
WillieThorpeAsst to the President IUE-CWA
DawnWojcikParty exec.

These are the people who “endorse” after a ten-minute presentation. The questions, which I’ve published before are minimal (2012 answers)- but always include the “In your race, if the Democratic Party endorses someone other than you, will you run against the endorsed candidate? If yes, why?”

The question is, are you, one of the few remaining dedicated voters in Montgomery County willing to keep allowing this system to exist- to limit choice on the ballot?

Will you vote the “stupid voter slate card” blindly?

This is why judges are rarely opposed. This is why many people never run. This is how the Monarchy of Montgomery keeps the gravy train going and the friends and family fat and happy.

You shouldn’t be happy about this. I’m sure not.