Esrati and Leitzel endorsed “For the love of Dayton”

It’s not the AFL-CIO or big money- but by “For the Love of Dayton”

I support David Esrati for Dayton City Commission and Gary Leitzell for Dayton Mayor.

Esrati has a great site and would do a helluva job cleaning up the bureaucracy/redundancy/opaque closed door politics of the city. Esrati ‘gets it’ and would bring the city government well into the 21st century if YOU give him your support. He also has passion for the city and its people. Just read “Unforgiveable” and “The Mystery of 10 N. Williams Street” to get a feel for his astute mind.

Gary would make a fabulous mayor and I pray the people of Dayton give him that chance. Check out and to learn more and contribute to him!

via Dayton Needs Leitzell and Esrati « For the Love of Dayton.

It’s not my only blog endorsement- you can read this in depth endorsement by Larkin Vonalt who has been nominated for  two Pulitzer prizes: The Thinking Man

Everyone of these endorsements adds up. If you have a site- consider adding a link to my donation page. I’m going to need volunteers to walk and distribute literature. I have my first literature in- and you can carry it in your shirt pocket- so stop by 100 Bonner Street and pick some up.

Thanks FTLOD!

The Wild West or Dayton? Is shooting back the answer?

I have mixed feelings about guns. I believe in the right to own guns, but I don’t believe it’s a right that is automatic. I also don’t believe that anyone needs an M-16, or a howitzer or a nuclear weapon. That stops me from being a Libertarian, but when I read stories like this, I wonder if Arizona isn’t totally nuts (where you can pack heat in a bar- legally).

Eddie Stovall, who was grazed by a bullet that broke his front window four doors down, was fine according to his wife, Alice. She said her 71-year-old husband went to work Saturday.

“We’ve lived here 18 years, and things have changed in this neighborhood, but to witness something that violent … with the little kids right outside next door,” Alice Stovall said. “You could hear pop-pop-pop. It was constant. We slammed the door, and I was in the den, down low. … It could have been so much worse.”

According to police reports, at about 8:10 p.m. Friday, a man aimed an automatic rifle at people on the porch at 44 Fountain Ave.

Alphonso Hughes, 32, who said he was on the porch with his mother, grandmother and brother, drew his licensed handgun, and a gun battle began, with 20 to 30 shots fired, according to Lt. Johns. The suspect and two men who drove up with him then fled the scene.

via Police have suspect in shootout.

I’m going to reserve judgment on Alphoso Hughes actions, since I don’t know all the facts, but, shooting back does have a way of changing the outcome of shootings. Most of the time, my response to bullying is to be a pacifist and try to take the morally high ground, but when shot at, shooting back is justified and can make the difference between life and death.

But, here lies the catch. I’ve received at least a million dollars’ worth of training with weapons, warfare and the proper use of such. The average gun owner in America is lucky to have taken a basic safety course. Guns in the hands of untrained people scare me. Guns in the hands of convicted felons- which I can almost guarantee the suspect in this shooting will be, is inexcusable. I’m fully OK with instant frontier-style justice with any convicted violent felon caught with a weapon- shoot them there, on the spot, with their own weapon. At no time should any person convicted of a violent felony be permitted to bear arms ever again- without a judge’s permission and a damn good reason.

Should everybody who lives within earshot of this shooting own a gun? Absolutely not. Should people who have had military training, an honorable discharge, or taken a proper weapons training course- it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Is this a radical idea? Was the idea of a “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” a bad idea- absolutely not- although times have changed. (full disclosure, yes, I own a gun, yes it stays locked- separate from the ammunition)

If it takes, as part of an effort to retake our neighborhoods, an organization of well trained people, organized in an orderly way, to shoot back, so be it. However, any organization should be working in conjunction with the police department, and should be assisted and trained by professionals.

Is it time to march with rifles on the town square? It may just be. Unfortunately, one of the first people I would have liked to turn to as a leader and trainer, recently was a victim of the very violence that makes me think about these things.

I am at heart a peaceful man, however, when it comes to the matters of protecting the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness of my community- I’ll be the last one to recommend bringing a knife to a gun fight. I’d prefer we put away all of the guns and play chess to settle our differences.

I expect a lot of comments on this post. Please try to be respectful of each other.

David Esrati is not a tagger

Spray Chalk Tagging the message

Spray Chalk Tagging the message

The call came before I was done with my last two “tags”- my housemate, who has had his share of run-ins with the law, was sure that he’d caught me breaking the law. You could almost hear the glee in his voice. “You know they’ve got you on camera” were the first words out of his mouth- “It’s spray chalk” was my answer, and you could almost tell that he was both bummed that he hadn’t caught me, and laughing his butt off- at the thought of the consternation I was probably causing someone trying to get a warrant issued for my arrest at this very moment.

I don’t have $30K in my war chest to spend on billboards, TV, radio etc. like Nan Whaley. And, if I did, I’d be a bit concerned on who in their right mind gives someone like her $5,500 toward a campaign for Dayton City Commission- where it takes at least three votes to pass anything (big donor did cover his bets- giving the Mayor $10K). Instead, I get stencils made at Dayton Stencil on E. 2nd Street and order Day-Glo Spray Chalk from my hometown company- The Day Glo Company in Cleveland. I’m not new to chalking sidewalks, or the issues of it’s legality- you can read some posts from my company website on chalk, Shepard Fairey, and the Greater Dayton Advertising Association here:

Spray chalk is temporary, like most candidate’s campaign promises. For me, it’s just another small pebble in my slingshot campaign against the Goliath.

If you’d like to buy a few cans of spray chalk to help the campaign- or even volunteer to help distribute literature, please go to and make a donation or join the team.

If you are here- for the first time because you saw the writing on the sidewalk, welcome. Please explore other posts- to see what Dayton’s most progressive candidate has to say about improving Dayton, and feel free to join in the conversation.


Thoughts on electibility of a City Commissioner

Dean Lovelace ran three times before he pulled out of a general election so that he could run in a special election and win. Before that, he had been pushing for dividing the city up into districts so that he would have a shot.

After he was elected, he never once pushed for districts, and he has been re-elected without serious challenge. He’s now accepted by the Montgomery County Democratic Party- even though he rarely makes an appearance at a MCDP meeting.

Abner Orick was only elected in a special election. As the only Republican to serve before the political coup staged by Mike Turner who squeaked by with a 400-vote win against the damaged Clay Dixon, it’s been a long time since the Republican party even fielded a candidate. The Republican Party didn’t even endorse Turner the first time he ran. Gary Leitzell now has its backing out of desperation, even though he’s not a Republican.

The only election process that has counted in Dayton for years, isn’t even an election. It’s a meeting of the Montgomery County Democratic Party screening committee, and it happens behind closed doors. There, union leaders, elected officials, party pogues with patronage jobs and a few others, sit in judgment of who should even turn in petitions. The main question- “if you don’t get endorsed, will you run anyway?” Once they’ve made their pick, candidates are guaranteed the following at a minimum:

  • At least one joint slate mailing from the state party to every registered voter and probably one from the local party as well.
  • A person or two outside every polling place handing out literature on election day.
  • Union workers to go knocking on doors and phone banking.
  • Union halls and party HQ to hold fundraisers- complete with guaranteed donations by party faithful.
  • Access to a robo-caller owned by the Democratic party.
  • An excuse by the Dayton Daily News editorial board to endorse a candidate because they “have an endorsement of a party”
  • Access to special software that allows them to do higher level targeting of voters.

Best of all, you never have to explain your positions again, since we have almost zero coverage of these off-year elections. No debates, a few candidates’ forums, not much else. Once you’re an incumbent, it’s pretty hard to lose. Mike Turner “lost” to Rhine McLin, right into Congress (the stage had been set before the Commission race- with maneuvering for Tony Hall to leave office, and the district re-drawn to conveniently include his home). Abner Orick “lost” to go on to get the choice patronage job of head of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. Once elected, you don’t go hungry again. Doors are opened, jobs provided:

Dean Lovelace got a job at UD. Idotha Bootsie Neal first at Central State West and then running Wright-Dunbar, Chuck Curran at Sinclair, Bob Taft at UD, Jon Husted (who doesn’t live in Dayton) gets a cush job at the Chamber of Commerce that he doesn’t have to show up for- the list goes on.

If this doesn’t sound like a private club to you, with very strict rules on permission to enter, I don’t know what does. We have the most segregated political system around since Tammany Hall.

I’ve been asked often why don’t I just try to be that round peg to go in the round hole? Why do I bother putting myself, and my business through this? Why do I keep trying- because, as the Borg said “resistance is futile.”

When I started, I was naïve. I was warned too- windows shot out at my office two nights in a row, a death threat, attacked by Mayor Richard Clay Dixon with his fists of fury (front page, below the fold news, that was the beginning of his fall from grace), a coffee mug hurled at my car by the head of a union- who then taunted me to get out of the car so he could kick my (just out of Special Forces) @$$- and then slammed my car door on my leg as I started to take him up on it. Theses incidents would scare most “family men” off.  I was still young, idealistic and a fool.

Now, I know exactly what I’m getting myself into. I know the risks, I know the odds, I know how things used to work. And, realistically, I knew these things when I was seventeen- because my old man, who got his master’s degree in political science at Boston University and ate lunch and debated with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and worked in the newspaper industry as a copy editor when objective and investigative journalism was still practiced, took time to write me a primer back in 1969 about the underbelly of American politics. That book, “Dear Son”– has been freely available on this site for over 2 years.

Read the book. Read the post “A Thinking Man” by 2x Pulitzer Prize Nominated Dayton resident Larkin Vonalt, Then you might begin to understand why I keep trying in this idealistic pursuit of an opportunity to bring a voice from the community for the community to our commission.

And if you want real entertainment, go back and look at my campaign literature from my first two races. Scoffed at, it was tabloid sized and filled with ideas. Dig through, play gotcha if you must, but, the sad reality is, my idealism remains unshaken, even as our city has suffered through many years of mismanagement, corruption, and coddling the elite who fund the machine that works to keep you in the dark.

This post alone, contains more information that you’ll get from Mayor McLin, Commissioner Whaley or Commissioner Williams on their entire sites- combined. People have told me that voters are too stupid to read all this, that voters don’t care, that voters won’t take the time to research the candidates.

The Dayton Daily News Editorial Board won’t do it either.

And all 41 (as of this writing) of my admitted readers (see this post where I asked people to sign their names with “I read”) aren’t enough to get me elected. (I know there are many more because I understand them these here intertubes and web statistiks (intentionally misspelled)).

The couple of thousand dollars I’ve raised is nothing compared to the $100K war chest raised by the Mayor and Nan Whaley (in fact, I’ve been told that part of the reason they’ve raised so much is by seeding the fear that I may win and upset their little private tea party).

So, why, facing all odds, do I continue to try? I can point out that Abraham Lincoln lost seven times before he was elected, I can remind you that my name is David and the name comes with a Goliath-slaying complex, or I can say- look at yourself in the mirror and ask, why haven’t you tried? You care about this city or you wouldn’t still be reading this.

Tell me why you haven’t run for office, I’d like to know. And rest assured, once elected, one of my missions will be to make sure we have primary elections in the future, that all have access to the data that I’m gathering and the tools I’m building, and that we won’t ever again have candidates like Matt Joseph or Nan Whaley whose only qualification for office was being a faithful part of that political machine that has run this town for, well, long before me.

Thanks for reading.

Clueless Matt Joseph

The whole point of the city manager form of government was to have continuity beyond elections. A professional manager, who serves at the will of an elected board of directors who are supposed to have the citizens’ and the city’s best interests at heart.

From today’s Dayton Daily News:

City Commissioner Matt Joseph said that with Dayton’s strong city manager form of government, a steady churn in administrators is expected. He says there will not be a leadership gap if Young leaves.

“The City Commission is still here. We’ll hire someone else to do the job, if Rashad leaves,” Joseph said. “He’s done a good job in some very bad times.”

Joseph said it’s a positive reflection on the city to have other municipalities recruit “our talent.”

“If they play well, somebody from a bigger team is going to grab them,” Joseph said.

via Dayton city manager Young up for North Carolina job.

No right-thinking official would want our city to be considered a farm league for city managers- too much is at stake. The reality is, we don’t pay people enough to have to work for a Mayor who thinks it’s her job to do their job- or work for a commission that offers little in true guidance and much in terms of nit-picking.

Young is smart to leave now- with an election coming up, a huge budget shortfall, his lost credibility in the business community (much by no fault of his own) and an offer of more money.

The sad thing is, Greensboro, N.C., isn’t a “bigger team” Matt- it’s that our city has lost so many games that we’ve been demoted. You are a part of that equation. Dayton once had 250K residents- in the city proper. Greensboro has more of a regional government- and isn’t, and shouldn’t be in our league.

If Dayton adopted UniGov- and paid a professional manager the combined County Administrator/City Manager paycheck- not only would we have top management, we’d have a much larger, more streamlined organization- with little duplication. That’s the big picture Matt.

You’re welcome.

Rashad Young to leave Dayton for NC: the real issues

The mark of an excellent leader is that he has a capable number two ready to step into his position.
That’s not the case with Mr. Young, however, he’s hardly to be faulted. We have a city manager form of government, with a part time mayor. Someone needs to tell that to Mayor McLin- who has made every effort to keep Mr. Young out of the lime light- or to let him do his job.
However, McLin is no different than Mike Turner before her, and Clay Dixon before Turner, and Paul Leonard before Dixon and… well, that’s as far back as I go.
If Young had been allowed to do his job, we’d know more about what he was, or wasn’t capable of.
It’s unfortunate that Young will leave before the citizens have a chance to vote at least two new faces to the commission. His announcement comes at the same time we learn that the city is facing a $20 million deficit. It’s going to take a strong leader, who knows our community. We can’t afford to bring in an outsider.
We have the talent here. I’ve already suggested Colleen Ryan, now with the Dayton Development Coalition. Other options, David Bohardt (who didn’t run for Mayor this time), Dr. Mike Ervin (he’s already doing so much- why not pay him for it)- and now that we don’t have a residency rule- there may be a lot of other candidates available.
The most important change we can make is to help Mayor McLin retire, and empower the new City Manager to lead and do their job. Otherwise, it’s futile.
Best of luck Rashad- hope they give you a chance to really manage a city in North Carolina.

Dayton Daily News censors comments by political opposition

UPDATE: 11am- apparently it’s a computer glitch. Still would like to see comment moderation on the site.

Hmm, the newspaper apparently is afraid of me posting links back to my responses to their articles.

Comments that I’ve left on their article about Dayton’s $20 million shortfall- not posted. They don’t want you to see “Belt tightening isn’t going to solve the Dayton financial problem”

The real question is how can they allow the vile, stupid, nasty comments- but, delete the ones by potential new community leaders and still think of themselves as a part of our community?

Are you sick of the Dayton bashing on the DDN site? The total lack of moderation ability (and there are simple tools to do this like disqus)? Do you wonder why they censor a candidate– yet always give the incumbents a chance to be heard?

Call and ask for Ray Marcano-
Ray Marcano
Cox Ohio Publishing
1611 S. Main St.
Dayton, Ohio 45409
[email protected]
Tell him Esrati sent you.

And then tell him what you really think of his “newspaper.”

License cats, why don’tcha?

On my morning run, I saw 8 cats roaming the streets on the prowl. I saw no loose dogs. Yet, Montgomery County dog owners are getting hit with a 25% hike in the dog license fee. It’s time to start licensing cats- at least ones that are outside.

The Dayton Daily News article:

License fees are increasing from $16 to $20.

via Dog license fee hike prompted by increase in dogs at shelter.

Cats can spread disease, use our gardens as litter boxes, and can get hit by cars. The Montgomery County Animal Resource Center takes care of them as well. Why are dog owners the only ones paying for the service?

Equality- it’s a good thing, for people, as well as pet owners. It’s time we stop treating dog owners differently than cat owners- license the cats.

Belt tightening isn’t going to solve the Dayton financial problem

No real time to write a full post about this- but, either Joey or Nan should be happy I’m running, because next year won’t be easy. The city is projecting a $20M shortfall next year:

The city of Dayton’s financial woes grow deeper with budget estimates for 2010 predicting up to a $20 million shortfall.

via Dayton estimates $20 million budget shortfall for 2010.

You don’t fix $20 million in a few months, nor do you get in this kind of trouble overnight. Remember, this is the Commission that spent at least $2M chasing a pipe dream for a Kroger that never materialized, and then bought a bunch of “blighted buildings” at the corner of Wayne and Wyoming for $800K.

Start to see where the problems are?

Economic development, tax breaks, special deals- are a big part of what got us into this mess. Did we really need to give $125K to BGH Studios for their promise of new jobs (that never materialized). It’s been willy nilly spending like this for years- gambling away our money that was supposed to go for service delivery, which might have actually helped project an image of a city that could actually deliver services- when we still had people to deliver them to.

Now, we’re looking at trying to woo tenants to a city that’s broke, and desperate- and we don’t even have money left to pay for the date.

The problem won’t be solved overnight, but, with a little marketing savvy (one of my favorite quotes is from Guy Kawasaki- “Advertising is the plastic surgery of business,: a procedure to make ugly and old products look good”) and some really innovative ways to empower the neighborhoods- we may start to change perception. Throw in some consolidation with other governments and we might be able to start working our way back to financial stability.

I believe that trying to push my proposal for unlimited H1B visas for HUBzones could transform Dayton overnight, but, that would take some lobby muscle.

However, all of these things take the same thing: a new approach to the old problems, and our current commission isn’t equipped for that.

Another gastronomical find: fresh ginger ale at Coco’s

Yesterday, it was the deep-fried pretzel from Hearts Hot Dogs on Courthouse Square. Today- it was fresh ginger ale at Coco’s.

Ginger ale is the oldest soft drink in the United States- and used to be touted to heal what ails you. I first experienced it when I had my tonsils out- and didn’t particularly love it then (age 6). I’ve found a new love of ginger- of the pickled variety- when it comes with sushi. I also love Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Ginger snaps, but, that’s the extent of my ginger love. Until lunch today, when Karen Wick-Gagnet, asked me to try their new fresh ginger ale. Instant love.

It’s not on the menu yet- you have to ask for it. $3 a glass, no refills. But, my oh my- worth it. They are also making a Ginger Mojito for $8 for those of you who partake. Yes, Coco’s is a client (and I support my clients) – but my reputation as a food critic is on the line here, so I wouldn’t steer you wrong- go try one. You’ll love it.

Go ask your server for one- tell them Esrati sent you.

Coco’s is at 515 Wayne Ave, Dayton OH 45410 in the Historic Oregon District. Phone is 937-228-COCO (2626) Open Mon- Friday lunch and dinner- Saturday- dinner only.