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.