Who will be the next Clerk of the Dayton City Commission?

I have no idea, but the applications were due by end of business today- and I applied.

Here is the cover letter I submitted- this was not an easy decision, however, I’m pretty sure the Commission won’t have a hard time making their decision.

30 June 2008

Ms. Angie Freeman
City of Dayton Commission Office
Via hand delivery

Dear Ms. Freeman,
I’m almost sure the initial response of the Commission will be something like “when hell freezes over would we hire David Esrati as Clerk of Commission” so this cover letter will attempt to be as brilliant as the Constitution of the United States and as short as the Gettysburg address.
Why should hell freeze over?
“Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” There is no stronger critic/observer of the way things have and are done in the city; if hired, I would have to shut up and perform. I have every intention of running for Commission or Mayor next year. If hired as Clerk, obviously, I won’t run.
While that may sound like a veiled threat, it’s not. It’s out of concern for the future of our community that I plan to run. As Clerk, I would be part of the team that’s responsible for making Dayton great.
I believe the Clerk of Commission position has been under-utilized in the past. Nothing against those who have come before, but I believe the role of the Clerk should be that of an activist ombudsman, and as a facilitator of the exchange of ideas between citizens and their city government. I believe City Commission meetings should have an element of think tank/community outreach built into every session. Via my Web 2.0 skills, I believe we can create a better-informed public, empowered to control the destiny of their neighborhoods through a more efficient and enlightened conversation about the challenges we face.
As the liaison between City staff and the City Commission, I believe we can more efficiently utilize our top people by letting them work, instead of having a full house at every meeting. It would be my job to coordinate the informational requests of Commission with the attendance of staff. The days of “ambush style” questions from a commissioner went away with Commissioner Orick. There is no need for these highly paid officials to sit through every meeting if a good system of communication is in place. No corporation would ever task their top officers to a meeting a week, in which many never participate actively. I believe I can create that open flow of information.
As a citizen who has been in front of the Commission more times than most, I am also acutely aware of how frustrated citizens can feel. It is my vision to make sure not only are citizens clearly heard, but, responded to promptly and with a publicly documented process. Never again, will a citizen feel their voice isn’t heard, respected and valued, however, I will also make sure citizens comments are focused and meaningful. No more gratuitous appearances and rambles. I believe, I have the credentials from the other side of the wall to gently enforce the rules.
While I could continue with my credentials as a neighborhood president, founder of South Park Social Capital, founder of VOB108, and as an agent of change within the community, working with organizations such as Daybreak to build better relationships within the community, I think, the Commission knows me well enough to know if they want to have me in for an interview.
To accept this position, I would have to give up my career in advertising, which I love. I would be walking away from working across the street from my home, with my dog, and some of the most incredible people I’ve ever had the chance to work with. I don’t submit this letter and resume easily; yet, I do believe it is a position where I could serve my community and make a difference.
Yes, I do have my differences with Commission, however, I know that all of them have the same dreams for Dayton that I have: to regain its position as first choice to live, work and build a future.
Because of that, I humbly ask that the Commission put aside any personal feelings and consider me as a serious candidate for the position of Clerk of the Commission.

This position is one of only a few that the Commission have a say in hiring. The decrease in the pay range from teh previous $100K+ a year to the $70-90K per year depending on qualifications should eliminate many of the current city hall chieftans, who would be taking a pay cut.

Of course, there is also the residency rule. I’ll keep you all informed if I even get an interview, but in the mean time, I have no intention of quitting my day job.

Cliburn Manor comes down- McLin wants a “Senior Getto” in it’s place

You could tell who Karin Manovich voted for in the last Mayoral election when she took the podium after Mayor McLin got done with her address to the group of dignitaries and muckity-mucks at the tear down ceremony.

McLin had suggested to Dick Fergeson from University of Dayton that they try to build a “senior ghetto” for UD alumni to come back to for retirement- because “they are doing it in other cities.”

Of course, UD already has plans for this on some of the 25 acres they already have to fill by the river.

Manovich was supportive of the idea, but couldn’t believe that McLin had used the words “ghetto” and “South Park” in the same sentence. Just another reason McLin doesn’t come off as a credible leader- choice of words can be everything.

The bigger question is what do Miami Valley Hospital and CityWide Development have in the planning stages- since they supposedly have purchased the land for $1.6 million (unconfirmed).

As we all walked to watch the ceremonial tear down of the first building- I was looking in windows and seeing refrigerators- and aluminum downspouts, screen doors, etc all there- ripe for the recycling, and wondering why DMHA hadn’t scrapped them before the demo. With the price of copper, aluminum and refrigerators etc pretty high, this seemed like another hopelessly wasteful move by an inept government agency.

And- of course, Congressman Mike Turner was there to take some credit for this demolition- to which McLin sniped “it took two Mayors to get this done.”

A public service message- sort of…

For those of you who are parents, and have kids who are addicted to WebKinz (I’ve seen it- the force is strong with these little furry things)- my client in Troy is having a one day sale:

Introducing Webkinz at Duck Duck Goose Boutique.
To kick off our new line of these amazing interactive furry friends we are offering our “pick of the month” at an amazing discount this Tuesday, July 1st for only $7.99 ~ Reg. price is $14.00
Hurry in on Tuesday- they won’t last long! (she has 70 in stock)

Sorry to go off on a tangent from the normally important stuff- but, if I can save you money- I’ll try.

Hint- you can order them online at 12:01 am and get the deal.

A butcher, a baker, a fruit and vegetable stand… a walkable community

Tomorrow is the Cliburn Manor tear down ceremony. We have not been clued in to what may go on the site (my guess is MVH already has plans). We’ve seen a drawing of an HBA inspired McCommunity- and the developers of the new Kroger showed us something even more unlikely.

But, maybe, we’ll just end up with a green field for a while.

Yet, I yearn for something more. Corner stores. My office was a corner grocery for most of its life. From 1926-1930 or so- it was a Kroger store. The best butcher shop in the neighborhood was at the corner of Adams and Morton (as I was told by Carl Chatfield, who grew up in the neighborhood- to later be a cop in it).

How often do any of you buy fresh ground beef? Not in the carbon dioxide packed shrink wrap in the stryofoam tray, but ground on the spot, wrapped in paper, or placed in a plastic bag? When I want ground lamb, I head up to Halal International Grocery- but it’s not really a butcher shop per se, with the white coats, and the side of beef hanging in the cooler.

How often do you buy bread baked on the premises? And get the option of slicing it yourself?

A lot of this still happens at Dot’s or Dorothy Lane Market- but, even those are a car ride away. What would it be like to have one in walking distance? Or a small cluster of stores? With locally grown produce?

Yes, our Kroger is disgusting, the parking lot almost guarantees cart damage, and you feel like you’ve been transported into the Jerry Springer show set- but, building a big new shiny Kroger won’t really make me that happy. DLM, Dots, or another business, run by locals, serving locals would make me happy.

And with the price of gas- not walking makes it worth paying a little more.

Now, only if we could have Graeff Hardware back.

North Korea good, Cuba bad? WTF?

So, the Axis of Evil lost a teammate this week. Place a bet that within a year, Wal-Mart will be selling products made in North Korea. In the mean time, Cuba, a mere 90 miles away, has a literacy rate at 97%, used to be a vacation hot-spot, and produces a lot of sugar and some pretty good cigars- can’t be a trade partner.

And we didn’t invade Iraq for oil.

It’s time to normalize relations with Cuba. Yesterday.

Why Oakwood will have better schools in the future

Reading an article in the Dayton Business Journal about school districts thinking of 4 day school weeks to save on gas, it became really obvious that the idea of busing students to school is obsolete. Dayton Public Schools use 40,000 gallons of diesel per month. At $4.50 a gallon, that’s $180,000 being spent just on gas, instead of instruction. Compare that with Oakwood where almost all students walk to school, where that money can be spent on education instead of transportation.

Walkable communities aren’t going to be optional. Instead of worrying about how big the parking lot is going to be at the new Krogers, they should be looking at building more smaller stores, closer to customers.

Instead of building “communities” like “Village of North Clayton” in corn fields far from employers and schools we should be rewarding employers for having their employees in walking distance.

Same song, different reason.

It’s 6:30pm, do you know what the Dayton Police are doing?

While the price of gas is hovering around $4 a gallon, it seems the Dayton Police are doing their part to make sure you feel the pain, even if you are on a bicycle.

That’s right- in a state that doesn’t inspect cars, and you can drive without a bumper, fender, or even a windshield, the Dayton Police department is stopping bicyclists on the bikeway at 6:30 pm for NOT HAVING A HEADLIGHT! I feel safer already.

I know this, because our intern was stopped- and also warned about using an MP-3 player while riding. Apparenly, it’s ok to drive a car with your boom-thunk blasting, or talk on the phone while eating MickyD’s- but, don’t ride a bike on the bike path with an MP3 player.

I don’t have a light on my bike, and I listen to Marketplace almost every morning on my bike ride. Guess I’m a criminal.

Oh, and one more thing- the cops were in cruisers. Guess they can’t pedal fast enough to catch the people on bikes.

Do you feel safer?

Watch out for more State sponsored corporate welfare

Instead of going to GM and asking for the money back that they’ve gotten in tax abatements over the years- or making GM actually pay into unemployment instead of using it as a bank account for their crazy layoff schedules, a bunch of “leaders” are going to go drop to their knees asking the General to please stay.

Fact is- GM could be looking at higher gas prices as an opportunity, and gear up to build small, gas efficient cars right here in Dayton. Something they should have thought about doing before paying Rick Wagoner 15.7 million last year.

Realize that the cost of shipping cars (even small ones) from Japan has gone up too, and with the devalued dollar, those cars will cost a lot more. We won WWII in 4 years, no reason GM can’t have a new car on the line in less. If GM can’t do it, maybe we should be sending the bigwigs over to India to talk to Tata motors, offering them the GM plant for free- after we seize it, with eminent domain- including all tooling and machinery, in lieu of payback for their years of enjoying tax breaks and low interest government financing.

Task force to meet about GM plant closure – Dayton Business Journal:
Montgomery County Commission President Judy Dodge and Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher are co-chairing a regional task force to deal with the impending loss of the General Motors Corp. Moraine truck assembly plant.

The group, Regional Response Task Force-GM Moraine, is working to address job retention, workforce development and site redevelopment in the area.

The 40-member task force is comprised of legislative and business leaders.

Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin, Moraine City Manager Dave Hicks, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Preble County Commissioner David Wesler are among the leaders on the task force.

“Hopefully, something can come out of this,” Wesler said. “We are making a concentrated effort to keep jobs in the Dayton area.”

GM’s decision to close the plant by 2010 or earlier will eliminate 2,400 jobs at the plant, as well as indirect job losses for suppliers and other services.

Wesler said his hope is to get the plant to stay open.

“I sure hope so,” he said. “We have good politicians that can help out and we have a tremendous workforce here.”

The first meeting of the Regional Response Task Force-GM Moraine is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Dayton Cultural and RTA Center.

Any thoughts?

Corn is for eatin.

It’s time to realize that making more gas won’t solve the problem. Especially, when we start making it out of corn. No where does gasoline fit into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, however, food sure does.

If we continue to take corn off the table and put it in the gas tank, we’ll be headed for riots in the streets sooner than later.

If we must insist on making ethanol, we need to look to kudzu, a fast growing weed, that requires very little extra effort by the farmer, hemp (yeah, ganja makes better ethanol) or other non-edible bio waste (corn stalks) etc.

The fact that Obama is still supporting corn subsidies makes me question if he’s already started sucking from the teat of the lobbyists:

Marketplace: Campaigns clash over ethanol
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” back in May of 2007, Barack Obama defended his support for government subsidies for ethanol.

Barack Obama: If we decided that we were going to make the kind of investment I’ve proposed — $150 billion — then I think at the end of the decade, we could have an auto industry that has significantly reduced our consumption of oil.

About the same time, also on “Meet the Press,” McCain explained that he’s against subsidies, but he said he’s changed his position on ethanol itself.

John McCain: When oil is $10, $15 a barrel, then ethanol does not makes sense. When oil is $60 plus a barrel, than ethanol does make sense. I still oppose the subsidies to it.

That is where the two presumptive candidates differ. Some of Obama’s critics wonder why he’s still supporting government subsidies for corn-based ethanol.

Richard Wiles is the executive director of the Environmental Working Group.

Richard Wiles: I think it’s clearly time to revisit ethanol mandates.

Obama has said the federal government might have to rethink its support for ethanol made from corn because of skyrocketing corn prices. But the New York Times reports some of Obama’s top supporters and advisers have ties to the ethanol industry. The Obama campaign says he supports ethanol on its merits. McCain, meanwhile, says we should lift tariffs on imported sugar cane and use that to make ethanol.

But would any of these suggestions help voters right away? No.

Joel Darmstadter of Resources for the Future says the real short term solution isn’t sexy enough. It’s conservation.

The best first move we could make toward conservation is to eliminate all corporate welfare and instead start offering tax breaks for those who walk to work (an idea I first floated here in 2006).

“Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.”

George Carlin died.

Those are the seven famous words you can’t say on television.

From one believer in the First Amendment to another- thank you for challenging the status quo.

You will be missed.

And George had his say on voting and politicians-(thanks John)

It may be twisted logic, but, face it: there are still Americans driving around with “W” stickers on their SUVs (at least those that can still afford to put gas in the tank.)