On running for office in Dayton

I’ve learned something new every time I’ve run for office- mostly about my flaws. Mind you, it’s not been from the other candidates in the race, but from either the “Political party” faithful or the Dayton Daily News editorial board.

I’ve also learned a lot about voters- the gullible folks who accept the lines of BS that pass for political discourse in America today.

Former Dayton City Commissioner Dick Zimmer, used to start off his 3 minute presentation with “I was born and raised in Dayton, and have 9 kids and 13 grandkids”- he would mention he was retired from Ohio Bell, and that he was an endorsed Dem and an incumbent- that was it. I used to wonder if being able to procreate was a required qualification for office- and that your parents had and raised you here is something you can claim as personal achievement.

I also learned that people don’t vote for critics- or people they perceive as negative. In fact, the less of a character you are the better. We want the equivalent of Wonder Bread in elected office. Thinking for yourself is almost instant disqualification.

Debate as practiced in days of old is totally gone. A candidate shall NEVER ask another candidate a question directly. Confrontation is a no-no.

Literature should be brief, with a picture of candidate with family, short bio, and a tagline. Usually “endorsed by….”

But, before you even think about running- think about these things: without a political party machine you will not have access to voter databases, emails, phone numbers, group mailings, poll pogues who hand out “slate cards” and volunteers galore from organizations like unions or special interest groups.

You’ll be ridiculed for having the naivete to try to buck the well established system. Anything negative about you will be in the paper. You’ll give up countless unpaid hours going to candidates nights and campaigning, your business becomes everyone’s business.

So the editorial in the Dayton Daily News, suggesting that we have too many offices and not enough candidates this weekend was almost too funny. Did they get a sense of humor suddenly?

Meanwhile, people who are not satisfied with the kinds of people who are offering their services might consider offering themselves. If you’ve sometimes thought about doing that, but you’ve wondered how your qualifications might compare with other candidates, the best approach is not to assume anything. One can get in the fray and see how things turn out.

via Editorial: Suburb councils not looking great | A Matter of Opinion.

Let’s see- “get in the fray”- there is no fray. How things turn out? What, put yourself on the chopping block and hand the cleaver over to Martin Gottlieb for the quintessential hatchet job?

I’m sorry, but the irony of this is like the cat putting out cheese for mice. They are desperate for fodder to attack, since it’s easier to hit the gullible than the guilty. They propose regionalism, right after we’ve been assaulted with article after article about the Counties ineptitude when it comes to managing poverty money handed over to a man who has previously been convicted for welfare fraud. This was just following the Sheriff paying his sister to do foreclosure appraisals- at a higher than authorized rate (no investigation into culpability for that faux pas). Sure, everyone wants to risk their day job to run for office to work with corrupt people who were promoted for election by a secret cabal.

Besides the independently wealthy, only those who’ve got their day jobs covered by their friends: Dean Lovelace with his UD job, Bootsie Neal with Central State, Clay Dixon had the Dayton Public Schools, Nan Whaley had Karl Keith, Dan Foley had his Daddy and Tony Hall etc. etc. Yep, the talent pool comes from the same petri dish.

And if you need further proof that running for office requires people capable of checking off boxes- take a look at the kind of questionnaires candidates get- this one from National Right to Life for Congressional candidates: National Right To life Questionnaire for Congressional candidates Feb 2010 PDF

Please tell me how voters can have any real knowledge of candidates true positions any more? Even after week after week of balanced articles in the Sunday DDN- and running for office multiple times, there were still a lot of voters that had no clue who I was. Please tell the DDN that it’s come down to yard signs, name recognition and slate cards- not the caliber of the candidate.

The Dayton Grassroots Daily Show has a conversation about the DDN editorial, regional government and running for office- enjoy:

And if you want to know how I believe we should change the process- see this post: The Dayton Process

Update on esrati.com

For the last few days I’ve been battling a site that had hotlinked to the picture of the Ohio License plate on this site. It was a site of oxymoron photos- I guess the words “beautiful Ohio” and that plate design make people laugh.

The hotlink was running bandwidth up- and making stats mean nothing (just remember when you see the Dayton Daily News bragging about visitors to their lame site). When I enabled “Hotlink protection” it broke the pretty URL structure by taking a line out of our .htaccess file. Even shutting off the “hotlink protection” didn’t replace that line of code- so the site regained some functionality- but not all.

I’ve had my head somewhere else, and didn’t investigate it fully- so a lot of you couldn’t click through to posts, or comment. It’s fixed now. I’d really like you to take a look at the post about the “Middle Class Task Force” and my thoughts.

Sorry for the inconvenience. I’ll try to get back on our normal posting schedule. Thanks.

We now have a “Middle Class Task Force,” do you feel better already?

On NPR this AM, I heard something about the “Middle Class Task Force” run by Vice President Biden. I’m trying to envision this task force? Will it include soldiers coming to rebuild schools and roads with private contractors like in Iraq and Afghanistan? With billions to spend- just like our military?

As far as I can tell, it’s going to do nothing like that. Here’s the link?

the Middle Class Task Force

The Task Force is a major initiative targeted at raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America….

Goals of the task force:

  • Expanding education and lifelong training opportunities
  • Improving work and family balance
  • Restoring labor standards, including workplace safety
  • Helping to protect middle-class and working-family incomes
  • Protecting retirement security

via About the Middle Class Task Force | The White House.

The only problem? There are very few “middle-class and working family incomes” left.

While Washington has waved the fear of terrorists (whose main weapon is fear- not much else) at us for years- and siphoned a trillion or two off our balance sheet to pay for the wars and “Homeland Security” they’ve forgotten about the people who pay for it all who want “job security.”

Our politicians are so enamored with their friends who contribute to their campaign war chests (many of whom make their money by building war machines) that they don’t realize what 11% unemployment means these days.

Things have changed since the last time unemployment was this high. For example, we still had people making things in this country other than items that are sold with the line “do you want fries with that?” Our manufacturing sector has been decimated. The last time unemployment was this high- Apple actually manufactured computers on this continent, and GM still owned over 51% of the car market. We also weren’t paying people exorbitant compensation for firing Americans. And, that’s the root of the problem.

There is no reward for hiring Americans anymore.

You’ll get paid more by laying off the factory worker in Dayton, Ohio, and sending your manufacturing to China. You’ll get paid more for figuring out how to cut your payroll by sending your “back office” jobs to India. You’ll get paid more for not making things at all- but playing games with things like “Credit default swaps” and short-selling stocks with money that’s not yours in the first place. And you’ll make huge bucks by driving up the costs of health care which is primarily funded by business- as less and less people in this country have jobs that come with health care.

Note to task force: there isn’t much of a middle class left to protect or save.

In fact, some would say we only have three classes of people left: the wealthy, the poor and those who work for the Government.

If we want to see a return to prosperity in this country, we have to restore rewards for hiring Americans. We need to do it NOW.

While we have American soldiers fighting for our safety half-way round the world, we have an entire society fighting for survival, while bankers still collect billions in bonuses after we had to bail them out. It’s a rather sore point- one that the members of Congress don’t seem to get.

The people who paid for those bonuses (both with tax dollars, and by being screwed left and right as the Wall Street Casino has gone roller coaster on us) are not too happy about the prospect of facing higher crime- as people resort to stealing to survive- and with less cops on the streets (because we’re more concerned with peace in Iraq than peace here).

How do we fix it?

Tie the prime rate moves to everyone, not just the players on Wall Street. The prime rate has dropped 6 points- yet credit card rates and penalties continue to climb. If you have the power to create money- as banks do, it’s time to do it responsibly.

If you don’t own it, you don’t get to take wild compensation. This applies to any non-founder running a publicly traded company. Shareholders must come first. If you want to protect pensions and retirement funds- you have to make sure the money goes back to those who have skin in the game- not just the pied pipers at the helms. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates built empires and deserve compensation- idiots like Bill Nuti of NCR walked in and cleaned out the pantry, without any skin in the game. If you want to get paid more than $500K a year, during a time of war when others are willing to die for their country- you best be responsible for paying a lot of Americans.

It’s time to limit executive pay by formula based on average paycheck, number of employees and amount of personal investment. You hire a lot of Americans and pay them well, you take care of your shareholders, then, and only then, can you make a ton of money- and, btw- you have to take at least 50% of it in long-term notes, since we’re not playing for quarterly results anymore- it’s got to be for a much longer time frame- 10 years or more.

If you don’t like these rules- simple: Take your company private. Either it’s an Employee Owned Stock Plan, or privately held. Have at it.

It’s also time to stop government from being responsible for “economic development” with “incentives” to lure business. Having the clerk at Piggly Wiggly in Georgia who makes $8 an hour- have her tax dollars go to subsidize Bill Nuti’s $2K per hour salary is criminal. The $100 Million Georgia “invested” in moving NCR not only took money out of the clerk’s wallet- it left Dayton, Ohio, without a pants pocket to hold the wallet.

While the whole health care debate has moved away from actual health care to “health insurance” it’s been the straw that’s been killing the American employer and an awful lot of Americans literally, for too long. Unhealthy people can’t work and then can’t pay taxes. It’s to our government’s advantage to have a healthy productive workforce. The sooner we move to a single payer, the better off we are. Eliminate the entire health insurance industry and move directly to outcome based compensation for doctors. Reward doctors who keep their patients healthy, and turn medicine back into an honorable profession.

I don’t expect anyone in Washington to see these ideas, because, they seem to be convinced that this is still a Democrat vs Republican thing.

The longer they keep it up and they’ll find it’s an us vs them thing, and they will quickly realize that they are grossly outnumbered.

We don’t need a task force, we need a revolution. It can either start in Washington, or when the people rebel against Washington.

Anyone want to lay odds on which will happen first?

Greed before sport: Olympic hockey

For today’s Dayton Grassroots Daily Show we discussed the Olympics- and our feelings about the possibility of not having N.H.L. players in the international games. It seems that Gary Bettman, NHL commish, thinks that the Olympics aren’t good for the NHL- even though viewership of the Canada/USA game on Sunday had better ratings than game 7 of last year’s Stanley Cup (note, I would have been watching if it were available on broadcast).

Here’s just a bit out of the New York Times today:

Bettman, the N.H.L. commissioner, has suggested that shutting down for 15 days may be more costly to the league than the benefits it derives from having its stars showcased internationally. The league gets no revenue from Olympic telecasts, but the high viewership numbers suggest that the N.H.L. is getting more exposure from the Olympics than Bettman or anyone else expected.

via Inside the Rings – N.H.L.’s Doubts About 2014 Games Are Challenged – NYTimes.com.

Bettman thinks of the players in the league as slaves- which is what happens when you have a virtual monopoly. Look at the NCAA- same thing.

Without the fans, you have nothing – and the fans and the players still think there is something cool about national bragging rights on a global scale.

Which brings me to sports, right here in Dayton. I believe we have some core sports competencies that aren’t being exploited. This area has a history of creating some serious talent- football, basketball, track and field- while not doing as well in baseball, soccer or hockey. It’s one of the core strengths in the community- and one that is underappreciated and overlooked.

Imagine if we had regional, coordinated training programs, allowing the best players to play for the region on a much larger competitive circuit. When Commissioner Dan Foley started his sports authority process- I was hoping we’d see program coordination- instead, all we got was a pitch for convention and sports tourism business.

One of the things healthy communities do is create opportunities for all to get involved in sports as participants. Kettering has done an outstanding job of providing facilities for residents and should be considered the benchmark community. It’s time all of the region raised the bar.

Here’s our ramble for the day- enjoy:

This proves $600 toilet seats are a bargain

Wright Patterson Air Force Base is now the largest single site employer in the entire state of Ohio.

In a battle for bragging rights, the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association is now trying to say they have a greater economic impact than the base:

The Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association in a new report says its member hospitals had a greater economic impact on the region in 2008 than that of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The hospital association put the sector’s overall local economic impact — the amount of dollars flowing through the community annually due to hospitals — at $6.77 billion, compared to $4.44 billion at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

via Area hospitals have greater impact than Air Force base, group says.

While jokes about the $600 toilet seat and the $2000 hammer in military procurement is great fodder for the waste busters in Congress (who all are now millionaires)- the reality of the hospitals charging over $1400 for 3 stitches seems to get overlooked.

Considering the hospitals depended on the Cadillac health plans from GM, NCR, Iams etc- to keep them afloat, this isn’t exactly a business model that can be sustained. Just jacking prices up will eventually put your services out of reach for the people remaining in Dayton- trying to make a living.

Today’s Dayton Grassroots Daily Show video has Greg going off on wild tangents with an extra helping of hyperbole. Watch at your own risk.

Board of Elections inserts itself in the way of the voters

The signatures were good. The petition was turned in on time. The issue is what day did I declare my candidacy?

My answer: I’ve never declared my candidacy, the Board of Elections declares my candidacy.

Today they rejected it- because I put the date of turn-in on my petitions instead of some arbitrary date in advance of the signature dates. Now, all the voters who signed directly in my presence, with full understanding of what they were signing- are being declared as:

1) either fraudulently collected under false pretense

2) invalid because I somehow deceived them

Reality- the form isn’t even available for people to look at. And, in many other cases, incumbents running for office had different dates in their petitions- but were allowed on the ballot. I’ve attached petitions from Nan Whaley and Rhine McLin showing different ways of filling out the exact same form. Either there is one correct way- or there isn’t- or is it only for “endorsed candidates.”

The Board of Elections is run by appointed Dems and Republicans- you don’t get a say in who makes these decisions. When asked how to appeal their decision- they won’t tell you. Amazing- yet these people are paid with your tax dollars.

Of course, the Dayton Daily News paints me as a failure:

David Esrati’s petition for the May primary election to Congress was rejected on Tuesday, Feb. 23, by the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Esrati asked that the board to accept his petition even though he failed to sign and date his candidacy declaration prior to passing the petition for signatures.

Esrati sought the Democratic nomination for the Third District Congressional seat. The board said his failure to properly fill out the form was a “fatal flaw” and they could not accept his petition.

The decision leaves as the only Democrat running for the seat, Mark A. MacNealy.

The Republican primary will include U.S, Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville facing Rene Oberer of Dayton and David Finke of Springboro.

via Election board rejects Esrati petition for congressional seat.

Yet, before they got to my issue- the BOE allowed “Joe Ellis” on the ballot with a form improperly filled out- saying there was “no deception of the voter.” They also said had I come in and got the petitions from them- they would have made sure this didn’t happen (tell that to the majority of candidates who got rejected from the Dayton City Commission Race- the BOE didn’t even bat .500).

I’m not going to beat Mike Turner in his gerrymanded district, with his huge war chest. But, I can guarantee that I could put together a PDF solution that would preclude these kinds of problems from happening again- and would comply with Federal requirements for ADA accessibility as well.

And, if you think the Secretary of State’s office was of any help, dream on. Instead of returning my call yesterday, they call the Board of Elections instead- that’s service for you.

The appeal must be filed in the courts, I’ll have to check if this is an issue for Federal Court since it’s a Federal office. Then again, it’s a State form- so who knows. Just remember, all the Constitution says is you have to be a citizen and 25 years of age.

How far away from the Constitution we’ve moved.

I’ve included the recording of the meeting- up to my part:

Let’s hope someone applies for Dayton: Google Fiber

Meant to post this a just before I left Savannah, but didn’t.

Hopefully, someone has offered up our dark fiber as the backbone for this ambitious Google experiment.

Google Fiber for Communities

Google is planning to launch an experiment that we hope will make Internet access better and faster for everyone. We plan to test ultra-high speed broadband networks in one or more trial locations across the country. Our networks will deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today, over 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We’ll offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

From now until March 26th, we’re asking interested municipalities to provide us with information about their communities through a Request for information (RFI), which we’ll use to determine where to build our network.

via Google Fiber for Communities: Think big with a gig.

High speed fiber could be a boon to launching small business in Dayton. Considering how many serious blows this community has suffered of late, this could be a serious piece of good news. This would be an excellent project for the Dayton Development Coalition to pitch.

Pie in the sky waste of tax dollars

If a single tax dollar from an Ohio resident goes to a company that’s planning on manufacturing $200,000 flying cars, it’s time for a revolt.

Sure 11% unemployment is an issue, but so is delivering the basic services like police and fire to the businesses that you already have. Using your tax dollars to help launch a business just because it’s  somehow vaguely connected to “the invention of flight” in the name of “economic development” isn’t how to spend time or money right now.

We could invest in simplifying and streamlining government, so as to make the tax burden lower on all Ohio businesses and to make it easier to do business here. Start out with building a much better business registration, fee and tax portal- one stop for the entire State.

Instead, the Dayton Daily News makes an editorial endorsement of chasing after flying cars- talk about a strangely bad idea:

At this stage, Terrafugia only employs about 10 people. How many it might want to hire is another unknown. Economic development officials in Dayton weren’t aware of the company’s plans when the story broke. That’s no reflection on them. Every indication is that Terrafugia’s obsession at this point is with capital.

Since the news broke, the Dayton Development Coalition has been in touch with the company.

Comparisons with the Wright brothers arise. They weren’t the first to get into the air, but they were the ones whose work led to airplanes becoming practical.

And they were able to proceed largely on their own — up to a certain point. Eventually war and the military became crucial in the development of flight. ..

Dayton and Ohio shouldn’t be obsessing over the obstacles now. Just having the effort here would be a good thing. Flying cars are already an object of public fascination. The closer they come to reality, the more attention there will be. That’s the kind of attention Dayton is looking for.

via Editorial: Soaring sedans worth a look for Dayton, after the jokes | A Matter of Opinion.

The whole government involvement in cherry picking businesses for government support is already absurd. For those who complain about reforming health care as “socialist”- when it’s an attempt at providing a level playing field for all with a minimum standard of health care- but, aren’t up in arms about these decisions by government to plan and support some businesses and not others- you have totally missed the point.

Government needs to get smaller and more efficient fast- just like every business in America has been forced to. Even thinking about tax incentives for flying cars is a colossal waste of time and a pie in the sky waste of tax dollars.

It’s time to place a Federal ban against any tax dollars being used to provide support for “economic development” type deals. Tax dollars must go to delivering universal services only.

Bonus- video from Dayton Grassroots Daily Show

Evan Bayh Bayh.

Evan Bayh bailed at the last minute on the people of Indiana. Two days before the petition turn-in date, he surprised them all by saying he wouldn’t run again for the Senate. Of course, by sitting on a huge campaign chest he’d already sent a “don’t run against me” message to all.

Right there is the root of the problem. We don’t encourage debate, challenges or the questioning of our leadership anywhere near the level we should. In a day of instant communication- where transparency should be easier- it’s actually gotten harder to nail down exactly what these jokers are saying. It’s so complex- some of them don’t even know.

And why is that? We’ve got the best politicians money can buy.

Bayh is kidding himself if he doesn’t think that he’s just another pawn of the K St. lobby contingent. Until we take the huge money out of politics- we’ll never elect our best thinkers- because they rarely have the dashing good looks that being a sound bite politician requires these days.

Abe Lincoln would never have made it in today’s political environment- too ungainly and plumb ugly.

Bayh gives a good swan song in today’s New York Times– which some read as a set up for him to run as a “centrist,” third-party candidate in 2012. Bad news Evan, if Michael Bloomberg decides to do the same thing, your campaign chest is rounding error.

Of course, we can blame the voters for being apathetic to the screwing we’ve been given by these puppets of corporate America, or we can blame partisanship, or the rules of filibusters, or any number of things as he does in his piece:

Of course, the genesis of a good portion of the gridlock in Congress does not reside in Congress itself. Ultimate reform will require each of us, as voters and Americans, to take a long look in the mirror, because in many ways, our representatives in Washington reflect the people who have sent them there….

Our most strident partisans must learn to occasionally sacrifice short-term tactical political advantage for the sake of the nation. Otherwise, Congress will remain stuck in an endless cycle of recrimination and revenge. The minority seeks to frustrate the majority, and when the majority is displaced it returns the favor. Power is constantly sought through the use of means which render its effective use, once acquired, impossible.

What is required from members of Congress and the public alike is a new spirit of devotion to the national welfare beyond party or self-interest. In a time of national peril, with our problems compounding, we must remember that more unites us as Americans than divides us.

via Op-Ed Contributor – Why I’m Leaving the Senate – NYTimes.com.

But maybe it’s way beyond that. Maybe the world has changed faster than our vaunted system. I find it almost criminal that our local elected officials feel a need to hire lobbyists to represent our interests to those who are supposed to represent us. But, I’m in the minority- as most voters have no clue this is going on.

Maybe we’ve gone wrong from the git go? Maybe the parliamentary system with its ability to call an election at will is a more viable solution these days? No more long planning horizons, no more spending a third of your time in office planning for the next election. Maybe we shake things up to stop the buying off of our elected offices- until the system devolves back into larceny.

Today’s Dayton Grassroots Daily Show talks about Evan Bayh and his swan song. Greg calls for a return to the original electoral college system. I call for complete elimination of cash in politics. Take a look- and weigh in.

Joe Stack- harbinger of the revolution?

In case the name Joe Stack doesn’t ring a bell, read about his kamikaze attack on the IRS building in Austin.

And while some will say he’s deranged and others will question whether this could be counted as “domestic terrorism” – I’m inclined to believe that in the modern age of instantaneous journalism and a 24-hour news cycle- he’s just the start of a string of acts of frustration we’ll see over the next few years.

You didn’t know who Joe Stack was on Feb. 17, 2010 – but you do now. His message, as difficult as it is to accept by some, is that this is what people think they have to do to be heard.

Running for office isn’t an option- with the millions of dollars it takes and the hoops that are placed in front of people. Nope, much easier to blow things up. How many American’s had heard of Osama Bin Laden on Sept. 10, 2001- not near as many as after. It’s instant infamy.

Bin Laden said we had it coming. We’ve yet to accept that view- but, now, we’re starting to hear it from our own people- ones who’ve felt that the only option was to take things into their own hands.

I highly recommend you read the whole suicide note/manifesto- it’s only a few pages long- and consider his positions. Do you empathize at all with him?

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self- serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.
And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!

How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is…

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.
The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010) 02/18/2010

20100218-stack-suicide-letter.pdf (application/pdf Object).

While tens of thousands of Americans die from lack of proper preventive medicine each year, while health insurance CEOs take home hundreds of millions in “salary” Congress does nothing-

Yet, when a few Toyotas crash- it’s a major investigation.

Yep, Joe Stack will have copy cats. How Joe Stack figures in the history books all will depend on how much longer the American people remain gullible.

Here’s our Dayton Grassroots Daily Show discussing the Stack Attack: