Politicians against tax simplification: only in Ohio

When it comes to designing interfaces for software or websites, there is a simple test to see if you are doing things right: If it needs explanation to the user on how it works- it’s probably not optimal. If there are penalties extended for doing it wrong- then you have even more reason to go back to the drawing board.

I’ve recently been arguing with the state about fines levied in 2005 and 2006 on my business- not for not paying a tax, but for not filing a year-end form telling the state how much I paid. The penalty is almost double what my small business paid in taxes. What’s worse is that I also paid my accountant in 2009 to rectify this situation which we thought was resolved then. We’ve wasted countless hours on this- partially because the state misapplied a payment.

The fact is, our tax system is overly complex and an unnecessary added cost to small business that could easily be resolved by using some simple principles of interface design- which are brilliantly explained by the title of a classic book on the subject: “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug.

To solve the problem the state is claiming they have with my filings is simple, if there is a form that needs to be filed- you shouldn’t be able to file anything else until you are in compliance, much like the video store doesn’t let you rent another movie until you’ve returned the last one or paid a fine.

In fact, the idea that we need city, state and federal portals for tax filings – or payroll services to “manage” this process is testament to how badly designed our system of collecting taxes is. One portal, where you enter your Federal Tax ID number- and everything should be able to be reported and paid in one place ( I wrote about this in 2008 when President Obama asked for ideas on how to make things better: Obama asks? Esrati Answers: How can the next president better help small business and entrepreneurs thrive?)

Yet, in backassward Ohio, the only state to have municipalities collecting income taxes, a proposal to simplify this at the state level is meeting opposition:

Municipal leaders throughout Ohio are concerned that efforts to simplify the hundreds of different tax forms into a single universal form are part of a shift to consolidate collecting the taxes through one agency. Cities say this could impact its operating budgets and create hardships for its taxpayers…
The Ohio Municipal League is leading opposition.

More than 100 cities and villages have passed resolutions to oppose any plans to prevent it from collecting the tax, according to the league. In the Miami Valley, cities and villages on record include Carlisle, Centerville, Clayton, Englewood, Franklin, Greenville, Hamilton, Huber Heights, Kettering, Lebanon, Mason, Miamisburg, Moraine, Oakwood, Piqua, Riverside, Springboro, Springfield, Tipp City, Trenton, Troy, Vandalia and West Carrollton.

via State wants to consolidate collection of city income taxes.

Note, Dayton isn’t one of the cities in the list. The reality still stands that we have way too many mini-fiefdoms in Ohio-  too many elected officials, too much duplication of services and a ridiculous patchwork of laws and rules to confuse and confound which  is a big part of the reason the state of Ohio isn’t considered business friendly and the overhead of government is high here.

The fact that politicians even argue against these kind of obvious improvements show how out of touch they are with what it takes to run a business and work within the system that they create.

It’s one of the reasons I’m running for Congress, and if you agree with what’s in this post- please consider donating to my campaign. Note, if you go to any of my opposition’s sites- you won’t find posts going back years talking about these subjects. Thank you.

Dayton Daily News: the new and improved myth

Dayton Daily News runs Sharen Neuhardt press release

If this is from "Staff Reports" - staff needs to be fired

In today’s paper, we get to read that “Neuhardt running for 10th district” on page 3 of the local section. Really?

The petitions were due over a month ago and approved. There are 6 Democrats and 3 Republicans running. The same press release can be found on her website: www.neuhardtforcongress.com, where it is the front page (one of three).

However, the DDN calls it a “STAFF REPORT”- brilliant.

In the time since she issued the PR- Jan. 3, 2012, Esrati.com has not only posted 25 items- we’ve had at least a few that have listed all the candidates- and links to their websites. We’ve posted video of all 6 Democratic candidates at a candidates’ forum in Greene County. We’ve produced 3 campaign videos for my campaign (in addition to the 6 of the candidates’ nights- I’ve even been thanked by the other candidates for doing this: from Olivia Freeman last night “Great video!!! As you know, I don’t have much footage of me and would like to share it with others. Thank you again.  I am stoked.”)

David Esrati campaign banner for Congress OH10 2012

If you live on a main road, you could have one of these 3x5 banners in your yard

We’ve printed our own t-shirts, campaign lit, made posters, have banners, yard signs, set up a campaign site with donation tracking and today we should be launching our mobile app for contacting most probable primary voters which will allow our friends to work from home calling, or to go door-to-door.

Sharen has issued a press release, showed up at a single event and hired someone to run her campaign.

The only people who’ve done less- are the Dayton Daily News. When notified of a press conference/photo opp for my panhandling event not a single news medium responded (although we did see CH7 down the street shooting a shot of the Kodak building for “Live coverage of the bankruptcy”).

While the Dayton Daily News has given plenty of column inches to the Republican presidential primary, a race which has been extensively covered by better publications, their coverage of local issues, candidates and campaigns is still minor league.

Today’s “article” serves as proof. Instead of spending so much money on billboards trying to convince us that the paper is better- why not try the novel approach of actually writing a better paper.

For coverage of the Democrats’ OH-10 race for Congress, there is only one place for information (well 2- my campaign site has the listings of all the events). I believe the information on this site, going back to 2005, makes my candidacy and my positions the best documented, and demonstrates my commitment to serve our community, not just at election time. As your Congressman, I’ll keep you informed of the issues that affect the OH-10 district better than you’ve ever seen before.

Where oh where is Joe Roberts now?

Dayton, we have a problem.

The last sacrificial lamb to the slaughter by Mike Turner has gone missing. Yes, the one endorsed by the Dayton Daily News:

Joe Roberts also lists education as his top priority, seeking an “overhaul” of “the system.” He points to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown as a role model, and expresses general support of the Democratic “platform.”

He is a political consultant, saying he has worked for such low-profile candidates as Stephanie Studebaker and Dr. Mark MacNealy (who each briefly put their names up to run against Rep. Turner). Dr. MacNealy is the fellow whose withdrawal resulted in this special election.

Mr. Roberts has been involved in political causes (immigration reform, Barack Obama, Israel) for a long time, or at least long for his age, 25….

The best choice is Mr. Roberts, though, like Mr. Fogle, he would be a better choice for a lower-level job.

via Editorial: Joe Roberts best Dem bet in 3rd District primary | A Matter of Opinion.

via DDN picks the sacrificial lamb.

Turns out, he skipped town on the property owner who leased him his campaign headquarters on Wayne Avenue. She’s a single mother- and would like the $3,300 in unpaid rent and electric bills. Good news for Joe- the limit in small claims is $3,000, so he gets a $300 discount.

Apparently, he’s in Maine- somewhere Boston. If you know his whereabouts, please contact me so I can pass his info on to the landlord so she can take him to small claims court.

A call for my fans. Star in a why I support Esrati video

If all you ever read about me was what you saw in the Dayton Daily News…

Or, what you heard from the people in power whom I’ve questioned and exposed on this site….

Or from people who might have met me once- or thought they knew me….

You’d have some choice descriptions. The first time the DDN called me a “political gadfly” – I had to look it up, and that was probably one of the nicer things they ever said. I once carefully edited what they wrote into a t-shirt, taking “A political maverick” out of context- to turn their lemons into lemonade.

Needless to say, there are people who really do know me. They’d tell you a different story. Hopefully, you are one of them.

Some contribute to this site. I’ve known “Bubba Jones” since Wright State. Some of you, I’ve met thanks to this site. Some of you- I’ve never met.

But, for some reason, you keep coming back (Ice Bandit- if you were in the Kettering Rec locker room last Sunday night- and I didn’t make the connection…. so help me).

Well- here is your chance to tell the world what you really think.

I’m looking to film people who think that what I do on this site, in our community, in my business, in my own way… somehow has made Dayton either a bit better or at least more interesting.

We’ll film you- your choice of locations. We’ll edit a piece together on why you think David Esrati should have a shot at going to Congress and trying to change things for those of us who still have to go to work every day. We’ll let you approve the final. We’ll make you look good.

On my first campaign piece for Mayor- I had this quote:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) “Maxims for Revolutionists”

via Quote Details: George Bernard Shaw: The reasonable man adapts… – The Quotations Page.

If you think we need to change the world- please consider helping people understand me better.

E-mail me at [email protected] and give me a brief statement of why I’m an important voice, or how I’ve changed the way you look at things. Make sure you give me a phone number to reach you.

 

Don’t call it advertising- an ad from 1994 as relevant today as ever

Click on image to download PDF of Don't Call It Advertising

Don't Call It Advertising, 1994 ad, click on ad to download PDF

It’s been hanging over my desk since my mother cut it out of the New York Times on Nov. 9, 1994, and sent it to me. A full page ad, placed by the folks at Ketchum Advertising who’d had enough of the filth that was being run by politicians on TV and on radio.

It was written by Jerry Della Femina, the guy who created the ultimate lying spokesperson, Joe Isuzu. He’s a  legend in the business, giving us the classic book on advertising, “From those wonderful folks who brought you Pearl Harbor.” Here is the copy from the ad- which we shot as best we could- and turned into a PDF- I didn’t find it anywhere else on the internet:

A distraught woman is persuaded to appear in a commercial where she accuses the Governor of New York of being responsible for the murder of her son.
A gubernatorial candidate is forced to do a commercial denying the charges that his recent divorce was a result of his beating his wife.
In a local race for Comptroller, a commercial was created that opened with white letters against a black screen asking “KILL THE JEWS?”

This is filth.

Political filth that is not advertising and shouldn’t be dignified by being called advertising.

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Conservative or Liberal, if you are a decent, thinking human being you must be appalled at the political communication that came into your home during this dirty election.

Once again let us reiterate: This is not advertising. the practitioners of the bulk of this trash are those so-called “political consultants” who might have been part of a “dirty tricks” team in the 1970s. Now, in 1994, they publish and broadcast their “dirty tricks” and they claim that it’s advertising.

If a reputable corporation produced advertising with the same exaggerated claims and promises for their products and then failed to deliver on these claims, their executives would be fined or led off to jail in handcuffs. And, standing on the sidelines, shouting, “How dare they not deliver on what they promised!” would be those politicians who have condoned this year’s group of political lies and exaggerations.

We say it must stop.
And it must stop now.
Let it start with this advertisement.

Let it start today, November 9, 1994, the day after one of the dirtiest elections in the history of this country.

Let those of us in advertising, broadcasting, publishing and business stand up together and say, “Stop.”

Stop the character assassination.
Stop the lies.
Stop the ugliness.
And, above all, stop calling what you’re doing advertising.

Advertising enhances a product.
What you do tears it down.

Advertising that is effective is built on truth.
What you are doing is built on lies.

We at Ketchum Advertising are calling on the broadcasting and publishing community to hold political advertising to the same standards you hold consumer advertising. We’re calling on you to set up a bi-partisan group, to screen all future political advertising. A group made up of broadcasting executives, publishing executives, and bona fide advertising executives. We are calling on you to hold political advertisers to the same rules of disparagement you hold other advertisers.

But most of all, we’re calling on you and every concerned citizen to get involved. Now at this point you might be asking how you and your company can make a contribution towards bringing about this change.

Our answer is we don’t want your money, we want your name. If you want to register your vote for a change in the nature and tone of political advertising in the United States, write to:

Ketchum Advertising
527 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Or fax: (212) 907-9332

We promise your voice will be heard.

This advertisement was developed from an idea by Dianne Snedaker who heads up the San Francisco office of Ketchum Advertising.

Art direction by Bruce Campbell, Creative Director, Ketchum/S.F. The body copy was written by Jerry Della Femina in New York.

The sentiments are those of the 1,200 employees of Ketchum Communications.

With the Koch brothers pouring money into the election in Wisconsin and the SuperPACs spending millions on destroying the Republican presidential candidates before Obama even gets started, the words of this ad are even more relevant today than when they were published.

We’ve all seen the suggestion that our congressmen all wear NASCAR-style jumpsuits with the logos of their sponsors, but, even that’s not enough. It’s time to start holding them 100% accountable – and not just with the “I’m Joe Isuzu and I approve this message”- but to actually fine them for anything found false or deceptive in their ads, and if it’s flagrant enough, boot them from office.

There is one ad that I really like that you might not have seen- but I think it sums up how all of us feel about these negative attack ads, it’s for John Hickenlooper who ran for Governor of Colorado and won:

Meet the Democratic candidates for Congress in OH-10

I attended the “Meet the candidates” session held by the Greene County Democratic Party. last Sunday, January 22, 2012, where all 6 candidates for OH-10 were there and spoke.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have my small camera and Tripod- and shot these with my iPhone handheld- took longer to title them and get them online.
Each candidate was given 5 minutes to speak and allowed to answer 2 audience questions.
First up was Tom McMasters– who can’t make up his mind if he’s a D or an R. He stumbled in the questions at the end on questions about education.

Olivia Freeman has gusto. She’s run before in the OH-7. She wants to be your “junkyard dog” going after Mike Turner. She’s also convinced that Montgomery County is full of African Americans who will vote for her just because of her race. I guess she didn’t realize that Gary Leitzell beat Rhine McLin in the last Dayton Mayoral election and Montgomery County isn’t a solid guaranteed D race anymore.. She also got caught in questions after her performance.

Mack Van Allen is a retired Centervill High School Government Teacher. All his campaign card lists is a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/vanallenforcongress

I like Mack, but, then again, I like teachers, it’s one of the last honorable professions left. I met his wife after, and she said that she had been having a conversation with her husband  after another event- and said to him that she had almost forgotten how much passion he had. He’d told her- “wait till you hear Esrati.”

Ryan Steele almost didn’t make it on the ballot the second time around. That would have been too bad. His answer to the question about his age at the end was thoughtful and telling. If he doesn’t make it this time, I hope he’ll keep trying. There is nothing wrong with being underemployed in this country right now- a lot of people are. He brings an honest perspective to the race. I’m pretty sure he isn’t ready to take on Turner- but his heart is in the right place. I can’t find a website for him.

I don’t wear a suit unless I’m going to a funeral, a wedding or working for you as your Congressman (well, unless I absolutely have to). That’s how I opened my talk. One of McMasters’ kids came up to me and said “I like how you don’t wear a suit” and won my heart over. Suits are highly over-rated, especially when you are driving out 35 on an icy day.

You are on my site- with all my issues clearly posted. Try finding anything like it on anyone else’s site- including the incumbents lame blog: www.miketurner.com/blog/

Last up is the candidate with the deep pockets, Sharen Neuhardt tells us she already hired a campaign manager. That’s nice, she didn’t have anything to handout, Her site is one page without positions, and when asked if she supported single payer health care- her terse answer was “I support what was passed.” She spent a ton of money including $78K of her own money losing to Steve Austria when there was no incumbent, and even Austria dropped out of this race. Considering Turner already has half a million in the bank, I hope her pockets are even deeper this time.

So, if you have an hour to watch all 6 video’s you can make up your own mind on who to support. Next time, I’ll have better video and have it posted quicker.

The Montgomery County Democratic party doesn’t host events like this, and I’ve not heard from the League of Women Voters yet- but the Beavercreek Chamber has an event on Feb 14th from 5:30 to around 7pm scheduled at Main Elementary, 2942 Dayton Xenia Rd in the auditorium.

Early voting begins Jan 31.

Panhandling my way to Congress

The definition of panhandling is to to stop people on the street and ask for food or money. Due to the botched economy, we’ve had sizable job growth in the field. Apparently, communities across OH-10 including Dayton, West Carrollton and even Beavercreek have been in a big rush to make sure those of us still with jobs don’t have to look the less fortunate in the eye as they try to survive.

We’ve been brainwashed to believe that these people are either a threat to traffic safety, or poseurs trying to swindle us out of our hard-earned money.

On Thursday, Jan 19th, 2012, I tried a little experiment in Beavercreek, outside the Greentree Group. They are an IT firm that does a lot of work for the government. They like to contribute to congressional campaigns.

Let’s look at their recent donations:

  • They were Congressman Turner’s leading donors last cycle, 2010, providing him with $18,310 – that’s three times what poor Joe Roberts (Turner’s opposition) raised in total.
  • In 2010 they were also Steve Austria’s leading donors- giving $20,700.
  • In 2012, they’ve given Turner $10K (so far), they even gave Steve Austria $11,000 (he’s not running now).
  • In 2008, Turner got $19,675,
  • In 2006-  they gave Hobson $17,900

That’s over $97,585 in donations to congressional candidates alone. They also gave Senator Mike DeWine $15,700 in 2006, bringing the total to $113,285 in the last 6 years. Note, these are only where they are in the top donors- not all donations.

Don’t you wonder what Greentree Group gets in return for that money? We do pay our congressmen pretty well to begin with.

My experience panhandling outside the Greentree Group wasn’t quite the same. I documented it for you:

David Esrati for Congress OH-10 panhandling flyer - click on image to download PDF

Click on the image to download the PDF

Net result: No donations. Only three people actually stopped to talk. As we left a Beavercreek police officer was pulling up. He then followed our car, and then pulled us over on suspicion of panhandling (even though the law was only given its second reading about 10 days before and wasn’t in effect yet). He was very cordial.

Obviously, we have different standards for panhandling- it’s OK for a congressman, not OK for a guy on the street. Yes, what Turner does- if it’s legal, is ask for donations without giving anything in return.

If you think standing on the street corner is undignified for a congressman, is it better to be selling your time and attention to the highest bidder while supposedly working for us?

Here is what my first campaign piece looks like. You can click on the image at right to download a PDF. It’s not like other political handouts- it actually has information on it. It’s time we stopped talking in soundbites and started talking about the real reason our country is in trouble: that our election process has become one giant auction.

We need to take the money out of politics, and stop pretending that there is a difference between campaign fundraising and panhandling.

If you agree- please consider making a donation to my campaign so I can get to Congress to put an end to this farce. And please, share this post with your friends. If I don’t have to buy ads on TV to get the message heard- we’re one step closer to success.

 

Can we trust the mass media on the Republican primary coverage?

After Iowa, despite only “winning” by 8 votes, Mitt Romney was declared the champ. Then, in New Hampshire, a state that had more reporters in it than voters for the primary there, Romney’s unconvincing win had somehow “catapulted him into the frontrunner’s position” according to the media. The media predicted Romney to wrap it up in South Carolina- and never mentioned Newt Gingrich as a contender, instead we heard Santorum was better positioned. Then, it turns out Santorum actually won Iowa- almost a week after it had been “reported” that he came in second. Perry and Huntsman dropped out- not because they didn’t think the voters should be able to vote for them, but because they weren’t able to raise the money to keep in the limelight. Three states that are  inconsequential in the final election vote and the rest of the country is decided?

Last night Gingrich won South Carolina with 40% of the vote, we’ve been told. The first thing he did was tweet asking for more money in the form of a “moneybomb.”

@newtgingrich Newt Gingrich

Thank you South Carolina! Help me deliver the knockout punch in Florida. Join our Moneybomb and donate now. bit.ly/wFVY4G

via Twitter / @newtgingrich: Thank you South Carolina! ….

From my campaign piece (which will be posted later in it’s entirety:

Why you can’t trust the media

We were all taught about the three branches of government: legislative, judicial and executive. The so called “fourth estate” (the media) was supposed to be the watchdog.
Betcha Ben Franklin never envisioned making billions from his fellow founding fathers in their quest for political office. The media’s main job these days is making sure the politicians and their “SuperPACs” keep spending billions on advertising.
We don’t hold elections, we host auctions and big media takes their cut on every one.
There is nothing “fair and balanced” about any of it.
I’m in advertising and what our politicians do shouldn’t be dignified by being called advertising.
Advertising enhances a product, what they do tears it down.
If you or I produced ads with the same exaggerated claims and false promises and then failed to deliver, we’d be in jail.*
The real question is if political “advertising” helps anyone make better choices on who to vote for?
I bet you say no.

*Parts of this post are paraphrased from a 1994 ad in the New York Times “Don’t call it advertising”
paid for by Ketchum Communications and written by Jerry Della Femina.

I still have a yellowed copy of that ad. A quick search of the Internet didn’t turn it up, but did find a few posts about it including this one from Ad Age- about the sleaziness of the 1994 ad season. (I’ll have to shoot a picture of the ad and post it later, [DONE] it hung on the wall over my desk for years). Since then, we’ve seen not only the sleaze factor rise, we’ve seen “Swiftboating,” the “Citizens United” ruling that says corporations are people and the cost go from $1 billion to a predicted $6 billion (I believe it will be more like $10B at this rate).

In case you haven’t been following the media industry- it’s in trouble. Ad revenues across the board on “broadcast media” have been down. The print industry has been decimated, especially newspapers that are struggling to find their place in a digital, highly targeted world. The only bright spot in the traditional media world for revenues is the growth of the political market. Those billions of SuperPAC money spent on smear and muck are putting the media giants back in the black- and they know it.

For those in America still trying to sell an honest product using mainstream media, this political circus becomes an orange barrel obstruction in their quest to reach American consumers. If you wanted to run television advertising in South Carolina for legitimate business over the last month, you would have been hard pressed to buy media- and would have been looking at paying a premium thanks to the political shysters plying their craft of whatever it is they call it- just “don’t call it advertising.”

If all these commercials went away tomorrow, replaced instead with real debates, a single voter’s guide with equal space for all candidates, unlimited candidate websites where they could say and do whatever they pleased and a complete ban on any money going to politicians for their campaigns- would you miss this theater of the absurd?

Read what Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich proposed with HB 100:

This week, I introduced a Constitutional Amendment which would require that all federal campaigns be financed exclusively by public funds and prohibit expenditures from every other source.

My amendment, H.J. Res. 100, would change the way we finance the elections of our Presidents, Senators and Representatives. It is our chance to return the government to the control of the people.

via Citizens Unite for a Constitutional Amendment | Kucinich.US.

It’s time. You can’t trust the media any more than the politicians. They are all sleeping in the same bed. It’s time to blow up the “moneybomb” model of politics.

 

Accountability: What’s missing in America

Where did the money go? Enron, AIG, MCSi, IMF Global.

All massive failures, where the shareholders, pensioners, and even government operations who hold investment portfolios with our tax dollars were left holding the bag. While a few may have gone to jail, the fact is that the people who were robbed, weren’t made whole. And while there were people looking at Enron (bond-rating agencies, the Securities and Exchange Commission, etc.) and saying “this isn’t really possible” we went through the motions and allowed it to happen. The bigger the lie, the more we’re willing to believe it.

The growth in executive pay and percs- the gross inflation of college football coaches’ salaries-

In his recent book “Big-Time Sports in American Universities,” Dr. Clotfelter notes that between 1985 and 2010, average salaries at public universities rose 32 percent for full professors, 90 percent for presidents and 650 percent for football coaches.

via How Big-Time Sports Ate College Life – NYTimes.com.

We rationalize that because that’s what someone else is getting paid, it’s legitimate. What kind of lemming standard have we devolved to?

Then we have the case of the missing $4k at Wayne High School. From the Dayton Daily News:

While Jay Minton was coaching his Wayne High School Warriors to a 58-19 victory over Sir Frederick Banting’s team from London, Ontario, last Sept. 9, $4,176 in gate receipts from the game did not make it to the bank.

Now school officials said Minton, who serves also as the school’s athletic director, is being held responsible for that money. The Huber Heights City Schools conducted an internal investigation and performed two audits — one by Clark, Schaefer, Hackett & Co. in Springfield and another by Ohio Auditor Dave Yost’s office — that were unable to determine how the money vanished.

If it is not found, Minton has been informed he will have to pay the bill. “It’s not fair, but it’s part of it,” he said. “It’s our gate receipts. It’s under my department.

“This is probably, indirectly, one of the toughest things I’ve been involved with. I didn’t have any access to that (money) or touch that or anything.

“But it’s under this department. I am responsible to make sure that money is back in there.”

via Wayne coach responsible for school’s missing receipts.

Mr. Minton is a rare example of integrity in this morally bankrupt country. He’s said the buck stops with him. He’s responsible.

Where is the accountability from: County Administrator Deborah Feldman on the money entrusted to Rev. Trammell?

Or, the losses from any of the Wall Street failures? The pensions due the Delphi retirees? The list goes on.

We have Michael Peppel, former CEO of MCSi who bilked people for millions, but only sentenced to 7 days in prison and a $5 million fine.

When our laws aren’t applied equally, blindly and fairly, are we truly a country with a rule of law? How can we trust our system when it’s routinely gamed and manipulated to the benefit of a few at a cost to the many?

It’s time to take a look at what our country has become and ask, is this the America, land of the free, home of the brave? Because the only brave persons I’m seeing are the ones willing to question the system- to poke and prod at what we’ve become and ask why and how do we settle for the wholesale abuse of the many. From off shoring jobs and bailouts, while the taxpayer is expected to take up the slack- while the wealthy complain about their taxes yet throw money at the “SuperPACs” to queer the system even more.

If you agree with my assessment, please consider a donation to my campaign for Congress. Every single dollar helps me keep this conversation going- and to raise the volume of the questions. Because, if we continue to let the lemmings rule, we’ll all be dead at the bottom of the cliff before we know it.

And, Urban Meyer, if you’re reading this, why don’t you consider writing a check to the Wayne High School Warriors for the missing gate receipts. It’s rounding error on your paycheck. It may help you sleep better at night.

Updates from the Campaign Trail

Last night, Jan. 19th, was a busy night. First, a stop at the Greene County Democratic Party HQ. They put out an amazing spread of food and make you feel very welcome.

I walked in with my family, yard signs, posters, t-shirts, campaign pieces and even stickers. The other candidates who came were lucky to have business cards. In attendance were Mac Van Allen, Ryan Steele,  Tom McMasters and me.

I spoke first- gave them my pitch about taking money out of politics, talked about how Turner spent $780K to whup on poor Joe Roberts who only spent about $6k last time. McMasters got up and spoke- left out the part about him being a Republican last time and told everyone how he wasn’t taking donations. Ryan Steele was interesting- right away he told us he was delivering pizzas for a living, had no health care and his wife (who was there with him) was the manager of the pizza place. They were down to one car- and making do. I think it’s great that we’ve got people believing that everyone has the right to run. I wanted to hear Van Allen, but he must have slipped out. Olivia Freeman and Sharen Neuharth didn’t show.

Republicans Upstairs, Democrats Downstairs

Apparently it's Green for Republicans in Fayette County- Dems are still blue

Then it was on to Washington Courthouse where the Fayette County Democrats meet in a county building. The sign in the lobby was priceless, Republicans upstairs, Dems Downstairs. They didn’t get the memo on colors- while Dems are in Blue- the Republicans are in Green. The meeting room was packed and again very welcoming.

Only McMasters and I were there from the 10th. McMasters said he was a Republican last race in his little speech and the crowd lost interest quickly. The county is split- between the 10th which has most of the county and the 15th which has the southern part. The two candidates were there – and both really impressive. Steve Stivers is the incumbent and has two challengers in the Republican primary and Pat Lang and Scott Wharton are running as Dems.

Lang is the current Athens Law Director, and comes off like a polished politician and a lawyer. He has a website http://langforcongress.com/ and had a handout. Wharton is a former USAF C141 pilot who now flies 737s for Delta around the country. He’s also a farmer- real family farm. He said he’s running because he wants to fix things so his kids can find jobs- both have graduated college to an abysmal job market. Neither were proposing solutions- and if given a choice, I’d probably vote for the veteran over the lawyer, but, that’s me.

I was asked what I’d do for Fayette County. I gave my stock answer of do what’s best for the country first- the state second, and that should take care of the county. I don’t believe in pork or earmarks. I do believe in having an office staffed by the best people available- not necessarily political party friends. After the meeting was over and I was working the room, a guy pulled me aside and told me how he’d worked in Montgomery County during the 2008 election for one of the national organizations working the election- and that he had to ask out because he thought Montgomery County politics were the most corrupt he’d ever seen. We have a reputation.

Sunday afternoon it’s back to Greene County from 2-4 for a “meet the candidates” event 87 E. Main St., Xenia. Hope I’ll see you. I post the events on www.electesrati.com/events so you can always see what’s coming up.