A “mugging” hits too close to home

I moved to a South Park in 1986 that was very different from the South Park I live in today. Then, about 70% of the neighborhood was rentals- much of it owned by people who lived outside of the neighborhood. Now that number is reversed- about 70% of the neighborhood is owned by residents.

Thursday night, while I was playing ice hockey in Kettering (a community that believes in investing in recreation opportunities for its residents) my tenant came home about a half hour before me. She saw three young men, who looked like UD students walking along our street, from the direction of my office, past her house. Two were white, one was black, all looked to be in their early twenties. She said UD students because  at least one of them was wearing a UD sweatshirt.

She got out of her car, and said hello. They then told her that they were going to take her purse. She thought it was a joke and told them they weren’t. A gun was produced- they then told her that it was her purse or they’d kill her- and one of the white guys then hit her on the head with the gun- and off they went with the purse. Contents- $40 and her id and credit cards.

Luckily, she had her phone and keys still in the car. She called 911- the cops were here fast. She had nothing but great things to say about the police- who wanted her to take an ambulance to Miami Valley Hospital a few blocks away. Instead, she had her wits and called a friend to drive her- because she didn’t want to be liable for a $1000 city billed ambulance taxi trip (her guess on how much she would be billed). That was pretty smart thinking- especially since when she got to the hospital and asked her her birthday- she drew a blank. Concussion. Also a wrist injury.

My parents were awake next door and sitting less than 20 feet away. They heard nothing. When I got home from hockey, I distinctly remember thinking as I parked my car (which I share with my parents) in front of their house- how quiet the street was as I hauled my gear into the house. Had I been coming home a half hour earlier- I would have possibly stopped this mugging.

I started to learn about this through our private neighborhood security group on Facebook midday on Friday. At around 2, my tenant texted me and told me it was her- to warn my family (I have a girl friend and her two young, 9 and 13 year old, daughters living with me). My girlfriend often has walked this street at that hour, alone- feeling safe.

This “mugging” – or more properly, armed robbery with felonious assault, is seriously damaging the confidence of a lot of neighbors. Tonight, we’ll be out patrolling our streets (again, the last time was after a rash of burglaries- of which I was a victim on more than one occasion about a year ago). There is talk about offering a bounty for information leading to an arrest. And, I’m sure there will be a few single women and young families reconsidering our neighborhood.

My tenant refused to talk to the TV news truck that showed up last night. There was no mention of this in today’s Dayton Daily News. There was a long story about the huge loss of residents within an arbitrary 2 mile radius of Downtown– while the numbers within an arbitrary one mile radius weren’t bad at all- showing the papers rush to glorify the bad news instead of the good.

They quote an “urban planner” at WSU on the causes of the losses- which according to him are because of the dilapidated and age of the housing stock. I blame a city that has focused on “economic development” instead of “social capital” support- a city that has invested tax dollars in things like the Arcade, the Arcade tower, and buying real estate- instead of investing in parks, recreation, schools and public safety. Jobs and investment come to communities where people feel safe- in investing and to get out of their car at 11:30 at night and walk 10 feet to their front door.

Under reported – is that the City, while claiming being broke and having the police staffing at all time lows, has now distributed the burglary unit to the districts. Yet, they just spent $450K each on two buildings in the area around the Cannery- first with the 601 E. First building that was at one time owned by Bill Kuntz (who sued the city and won over 20 years ago about the forceful taking of his business and building for the arcade development) and now- the former Supply One/HD Supply building on Wayne next to Garden Station. That’s $900K- which buys a lot of police on the streets.

This “mugging” may seem like a petty crime, but when you understand that our entire civilization is based on confidence, and that personal safety is a foundation of human needs as based on Maslow’s research, you get a better understanding of why Dayton has been perceived as being in decline for years.

The neighborhood has changed for the better since 1986, and I’ll make sure that this event won’t become a pivotal point in a return to the way it was. The real question is will our leaders wake up and stop buying bricks and mortar and start buying hearts and minds. When we pay our taxes, we’re supposed to be buying civilization.

Apparently, it’s not OK to ask about a County Commissioners taxes

The local Republican Party chief and Board of Elections member, Rob Scott is sending out a letter/Press Release about the taping of the “debate” between County Commission candidates that was taped last night.

September 28, 2012

Ms. Susan Hesselgesser
Executive Director
League of Women Voters of Greater Dayton Area
131 N. Ludlow St., Suite 1208
Dayton, OH 45402-1703

RE: Montgomery County Commission Candidate’s Ashley Webb and Debbie Lieberman

Ms. Hessellgesser,

Greetings. This letter is regarding the recently taped League of Women Voters of Greater Dayton Area forum that was taped by the Miami Valley Cable Council yesterday.

Accordingly, it has been brought to my attention that the League is thinking about not airing the forum between Montgomery County Commission candidates Ashley Webb and Debbie Lieberman. I understand the reasoning is due to Mr. Webb bringing to light the issue of Ms. Lieberman’s back taxes owed to the Federal government during an answer to a question.

Also, it has been brought to my attention that your organization is allowing Ms. Lieberman and/or by her campaign to review the taped comments from the forum for her or their approval.

I want to remind you that not airing candidates’ comments is clearly partisan politics and allowing a candidate or their campaign to review the comments is also partisan. The League of Women Voters of Greater Dayton Area has a history of claiming that the organization is nonpartisan and does not support nor oppose any candidate and/or political party.

I strongly encourage you that all candidates’ comments be aired in their entirety.


Rob Scott, Chairman
Montgomery County Republican Party

VIA: http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1101255372438-189/league.letter.pdf

Considering the issue of back taxes has been covered in the Dayton Daily News- and that Debbie Lieberman is paid around $85K a year to be a commissioner and her husband, Dennis Lieberman, formerly of the Board of Elections was paid around $20K a year to be on the board, this is more than fair game. Considering candidates for office are asked to file all kinds of ridiculous financial disclosure and they are being elected to manage our tax dollars.

The League of Women Voters has no right to edit the tape, nor allow candidates to review it. This is one of the reasons I began the practice of recording all my campaign speeches and interviews and sharing them here.

Webb should be congratulated for not slipping entirely into the mud by bringing up Ms. Lieberman’s drunk driving incident- which is still available on YouTube.

Personally, I have no problem with either candidate, and believe there are much bigger issues to discuss- like the oversight of a County Administrator that ran amok for years with little oversight or accountability, or the amount of nepotism in the county building and especially, the Board of Elections.

Running for political office takes a thick skin and the ability to withstand excruciating exposure. It’s a large part of why most people aren’t willing to run. There is no reason at all not to ask the question- or to respond. Considering the amount of taxes due (reported over $100,000 at one time) and the amount of tax supported income at one time, makes this a very fair question by Mr. Webb.

Ms. Lieberman shouldn’t have any problem responding to this question- and voters should be able to hear it.


Sep 29 7:30 am My cell phone got a lot of texts last night after this story went live. From both candidates. The Dayton Daily News had the opportunity to interview the Director of the League of Women’s Voters, and also, possibly got to review the video in question. The following adds to the original story

This “forum” seems to have been missing something fundamental- there is a third candidate in this race, William Pace. Apparently he declined the opportunity to be involved- and the DDN makes no mention of his candidacy in their article.

Apparently my lack of sleep had me mixing up races – Pace is the third candidate in the Dodge/Vore race.

The forum occurred Thursday at the Miami Valley Communications Council offices and featured Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, a Democrat running for re-election, and Kettering City Councilman Ashley Webb, a Republican challenger. The forum was organized by the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area.

According to Susan Hesselgesser, the League’s executive director, at the end of the 10- to 12-minute segment Webb was asked about what specific project he would like to see accomplished if he were elected. She said Webb’s answer was only briefly on topic before he brought up a 2009 Dayton Daily News report about a federal tax lien totaling $132,565 that named Lieberman’s husband, attorney Dennis Lieberman, as well as Debbie Lieberman.

Hesselgesser said the response went against the league’s policy about sticking to issues and avoiding personal attacks. Webb said his answer to the question was that he would like to eliminate the perception of a lack of integrity in Montgomery County. He cited the Lieberman’s tax issues as well as an August report that county officials did not contact law enforcement when they suspected an employee theft of $5,700. instead allowing the employee to quit her job and pay back the money.

via Voter group may not air candidate forum over ugly exchange | www.daytondailynews.com.

Having taken part in other League of Women’s Voters candidates forums, I’ve been the subject of “rule changing” after the fact. In a forum, held in the former “C-space,” now “The Vault” bar, on Jefferson, I used my time to speak by moving around- at some points standing behind my opponents while I talked about them. Since no podium was provided- and the space had huge columns- and we were “assigned” seating- I not only felt it necessary to get up and move- but took advantage of the opportunity. I also believe that candidates are responsible for choices they make- outside of office. The fact that Congressman Turner’s wife was working on no-bid contracts for the regional, partially tax supported “development/lobbying” agency- the Dayton Development Coalition, as well as doing work for the Federal Government on a GSA schedule is relevant to a candidates fitness.

The Lieberman’s are tax issues shouldn’t be off limits- especially since he has an appointed position that pays $20K a year for what amounts to a 2 meeting per month job most of the time (as I said above). Webb’s claims of business acumen also need to be properly vetted- and his professional background is pertinent to his claims of competence. Part of the reason our system is failing to give us good choices at the polls is that our political system has very little in the way of job descriptions for elected office and a “hiring system” that now is more like an auction. The only qualifications that now seems to be an unquestionable preparation for office is either a law degree, trust fund or wealth or, in a few cases- be famous like Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Al Franken or former Carmel California Mayor, Clint Eastwood. Locally- having a name of a well known elected official helps too- like Foley or McLin.

There will be more to this story.

I’m also working on an early voting guide- even though for the most part, I don’t think that voting early is a good idea, since we seem to learn the most in the last days of an election- good or bad.

Sharen Neuhardt’s stealth campaign faultering

She barely had signs out in the primary. Voters don’t know her. She refuses to take a stand on anything- except saying she still supports boondoggle military programs like the unwanted C27-J and the M1 tank updates that the Air Force and the Army don’t want, it’s no wonder that the DNC pulled money from her campaign to assign to candidates who are actually running a race:

National Democratic panel pulls some Neuhardt ads

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has pulled back at least a week of advertising it had planned to run in support of Yellow Springs lawyer Sharen Neuhardt in her bid against Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville.

via D.C. Dispatches | The Columbus Dispatch.

Her site only has her appearing at a few events before election day and the first ad of the campaign is focused on her- not on the voters-

Her only claim is that she’ll stop tax breaks for companies that outsource- an odd claim, since in her professional role as a corporate attorney, she represents companies that do just that.

Take a look at her campaign site: http://www.neuhardtforcongress.com/ see if you find anything compelling to give you a reason to vote for her. The juvenile references to sitting congressman Mike Turner as “Mike “who” Turner” show that she not only severely underestimates her opponent, but lacks respect for the office.

Considering she’s raised more than Turner, she’s still behind (she was carrying almost $100k in debt from her last run)

One of the few exceptions was in Ohio’s newly drawn 10th district, where Democrat Sharen Neuhardt, a Yellow Springs attorney, raised more than twice what U.S. Rep. Mike Turner did during the first quarter of 2012. She raised $224,903 to Turner’s $111,950. The district includes all of Montgomery and Greene counties and part of Fayette County.

But Turner still has an overall financial advantage — as of March 31, he had more than twice what Neuhardt had in the bank — $421,953 to her $186,709.

Turner’s campaign has raised $701,121 to date this election, and has $6,996 in debt. Neuhardt, who ran against Rep. Steve Austria, R-Beavercreek in 2008, meanwhile, had $92,000 in debt.

via Incumbents winning in fundraising | www.springfieldnewssun.com.

Even with the redistricting that makes OH-10 more competitive, the only chance of anyone beating Turner would require a massive, well organized ground game, hard hitting attacks on Turner, and a message- or for Turner to do an Anthony Wiener. Counting on Obama’s coattails  isn’t going to do it- in 2008, I remember seeing Turner signs right next to Obama signs in the area showing how ineffective 5 different campaigns have been in challenging the urban myth that Turner is a some sort of progressive urbanist when in fact he’s a neo-con puppet.

If Neuhardt wants more than the 43% of the vote I predict she’ll get at best, she better take the gloves off, and start wearing through some serious shoe leather- while praying for Turner to get indicted for something like his wife’s former slush fund false front marketing firm that took no-bid contracts for “marketing campaigns” from the regions lobbyists or did work on a GSA schedule for the Army Corps of Engineers while her husband was on the armed services committee.


The “does it scale” test

After spending a few days in NYC on business, I came back to Dayton and immediately was reminded of why we’re Dayton and NYC is well, NYC. Don’t get me wrong- I was glad to be home and despite eating some of the best food of my life (recurrent theme- amazing prosciutto). I walked into a friends business and heard him lament about how he gave up on asking permission to add on to his business- so he just went ahead and did it.

When it took 5 months to get approved for a fence, or 9 months to get an occupancy permit because of a bathroom (even though the law doesn’t require you to have a public restroom), it’s easy to understand why he skipped asking permission this time.

Dayton doesn’t have near as many small businesses as NYC- and although I’m sure there are regulatory issues out the wazoo in the big city- how would they have any if for every change someone was checking with a fine tooth comb to make sure every i was dotted and t crossed? Just the shear number of business signs in NYC- was every single one approved by zoning? By a Landmarks Commission? Do our petty rules stop and hurt us more than help us? How would NYC do a property re-appraisal every three years for tax purposes? Could they? No way in hell.

Which brings me to the “does it scale” test. We can claim we can honestly and fairly assign a tax value through some arcane, flawed process, spending millions arbitrarily assigning values to property- or we could go by the only real and fair way of assigning value- the purchase price or the current asking price if the property is on the market.

The does it scale rule also applies to tax breaks and “economic development” incentives. If you gave the same deal to every single business – would it grow tax revenue or shrink it? After all, isn’t that the premise of all these government redistribution of taxes- taking tax dollars that are paid by all to give to a few in the hopes that they increase revenue in the future? This is the “strategy” that is used to justify everything from tax breaks to corporations like GE for their new building on UD property- and everything that has gone on at Austin Landing. However if those breaks were extended to everyone, equally, we wouldn’t have any money left for government to do what it’s supposed to do- like police neighborhoods and clean and light the streets.

A college professor I once had believed that pricing decisions were the most important business decisions ever made (I never agreed with him, because I believe in the Peter Drucker theory that there are only two fundamental drivers in business- marketing and innovation and pricing is a small part of the picture) and that the right price is what decides success. For instance, in the scheme of where to locate your business- if we only look at tax burdens- we skip all the other things like the cost of labor, the accessibility and cost of natural resources, quality of life etc.

NYC has a ridiculous cost of housing when compared with Dayton Ohio- yet, housing is in high demand keeping construction and development booming. Yet, Dayton has an incredibly cheap cost of living- which isn’t attracting people in droves, proving price is not the driving factor in economic development and regional growth. When I described what a million dollar house is like in Dayton to people in NYC you can watch their eyes glaze over. Talking with a former employee over $13 sandwiches, he doesn’t even own a bike since he doesn’t relish carrying it up 4 flights of stairs and taking up room in his micro apartment. Yet, his company subsidizes his monthly all access MTA pass by almost 80% costing him $22 a month, so that he doesn’t have to own a car or a bike (and bike share is coming to NYC sponsored by Citi soon). The investment by government in public transit- which does scale- and is available to all makes much more sense than subsidizing a parking lot for a local restaurant with tax dollars.

When it comes to the presidential election, the “does it scale” rule can be applied to choose your candidate (well, if they were actually held to some level of honesty and integrity and were liable for false advertising claims made during campaigns) – do the policies they talk about scale? Do the policies work equally for all, or only well for a few? No matter if we are talking about tax breaks or military spending- what is the cost benefit analysis when we scale it either larger or smaller?

The most striking example of a daring departure from “standard thinking” on use of tax dollars, is the economic impact of taking an old elevated railway line and turning it into an elevated walking garden/park- “The Highline.” A hulking rusting remnant of a once vital part of an economic engine could have been torn down and sold for scrap- or re-imagined as a park. The impact of the park is rising real estate prices, reinvestment all along the Highline and a valuable addition to the public trust. It’s an investment for all, that’s scaling well. If you’re not familiar- make sure to read the link.

These are just my first thoughts on “does it scale”- I’m sharing it with you for you to add your thoughts. Things I think that have scaled well in Dayton have been Metroparks (although I still don’t think Riverscape was well thought out), the library system, our bike paths, Sinclair Community College (Montgomery County only)- can you add some others?

Complex election rules, rule out the will of the people

The city wants it on the ballot, the people want it on the ballot, but- oh, wait, everything you did was in vain, because you missed the deadline.

Really? People went and jumped through the hoops of getting the proper petition language, collecting signatures, turning everything in- but, now have to wait a year?

This is a “democratic process” – this is the “will of the people”? The lack of easily accessible instructions with clear deadlines, rules and restrictions for getting things on the ballot is one of the things I talked about when I attempted to get nominated by the Montgomery County Democratic Party executive committee to the Board of Elections. Instead, you got Rhine McLin- who offered no vision of changing anything.

The story from the DDN sums it up: the City Council in Centerville rezoned some property from residential to mixed use. The citizens who live nearby didn’t like the decision and want to overturn it. The citizens organized and followed the process- and turned the information in to the city- who must review first, before turning them into the BOE for verification. The BOE says everything is OK- except that they didn’t turn the petitions in early enough to get on the ballot.

Betty Smith, director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections, said the petitions were filed there for required review on Aug. 27. Smith said the petitions had to be filed by Aug. 8 to meet the 90-day requirement.

“They met all other requirements, including number and validity of signatures,” she said.

Social Row CPR hoped to reverse Centerville City Council’s 5-2 July 17 decision to rezone the land. Volunteers from the group had gone door-to-door throughout the city, gathering signatures of registered voters

The group turned the signatures in to the City of Centerville on Aug. 15. After its review, the city passed them on to the election board.

The issue now can’t be placed on the ballot for more than a year — in November 2013.

“A referendum by petition can only be placed on the ballot in a general election until it is a charter issue,” Smith said…

Centerville city manager Greg Horn said the city had hoped to resolve the issue sooner rather than later. “Our preference would also be to have this decided as soon as possible, not to have it in limbo,.” he said.

via Centerville rezoning petitions miss election deadline | www.daytondailynews.com.

Let’s look at this again-

  1. The City Council who is elected to do the will of the people does something the people don’t like.
  2. The people exercise their right to petition government to put the decision to a vote.
  3. The Board of Elections, selected by a small group of political insiders, says the people have to wait a year.
  4. The City government and the developer sit in limbo for a year while waiting for the right time to vote on a pressing issue.

It seems to me that the elected representatives of the people can sit on things to vote on, until the window for getting something controversial on ballot till the last minute, to make sure that the voters can’t overturn it. This is almost as bad as the rules in the Dayton City Charter that stop citizens from putting charter changes or doing recalls by requiring a percentage of “registered voters” instead of a “percentage of actual voters” (Dayton supposedly has 100,000 registered voters when the census says it only has 108,000 people over the age of 18 who are eligible to vote).

Despite both the citizens and the city of Centerville wanting this issue on the ballot- and to settle the question, a special election is not an option. It costs too much.

Is this a great democracy we live in, or what?


What does a Mike Turner for Congress yard sign mean?

Last night, Congressman Mike Turner had at least one team in East Dayton putting yard signs in yards with a door hanger thanking the home owner for supporting Mike Turner- without permission.

I know this because I’ve gotten calls and e-mails from ticked off friends who wouldn’t vote for Turner unless a million dollars was about to be deposited in their Swiss Bank accounts.

If Sharen Neuhardt, his opponent in OH-10,  had a campaign worth a wooden nickle, they’d be offering a sign replacement service- guaranteed within 8 hours, we’ll pick up your Turner sign and replace it with a Neuhardt sign.

I know my campaign would have been doing that.

Real national security

Before the Internet and it was easy to find quotes, I was doing some work for a client that was a strong supporter of a local food bank and found a quote from Mark Twain: “principles have no real force except when one is well fed.”

Throughout history, food security has led to riots, wars and revolutions. Being hungry is a powerful motivator. People who have a hard time putting food on their plates aren’t thinking about who to vote for, or contributing money to presidential campaigns. They are also not busy scheming ways to change the vote. They are too busy being in survival mode.

The key to security is that you should always be able to reach across a moat and shake hands. Of course, having to build a moat should be your first clue that there is a problem.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have people with more money than they know what to do with. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t out creating jobs, they are making a bonanza buying up real estate for pennies on the dollar, speculating on a stock market that has no connection to reality and buying political preferential treatment with huge donations to political campaigns.

We’re living in a society becoming even more polarized than ever. And while we’re quick to judge other societies as corrupt or morally bankrupt, we’re unwilling to look at ourselves and say: we’ve screwed up. Sure, China is polluting itself and creating the same conditions that we had at the turn of the last century in their factory towns. Watch as they go through the strains that we went through when the workers will finally unionize and follow in out same footsteps. History does repeat itself.

As to the Muslim world behaving badly and killing our ambassador, this shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. The ruse of blaming a bogus amateur film disparaging Muhammad, isn’t the issue, it’s just another example of a gap being exploited- between the educated and the ignorant.

In a world where access to all the worlds wisdom is just a click away for you and me, the fact that we have a global digital divide should be one of our primary goals to maintain peace on the planet- after we make sure everyone is fed and literate. Instead, we continue to invest trillions on “national security” that is only bringing one kind of security- financial security to the members of our military industrial complex. Everything else of late has been a distraction.

The real issues in our country aren’t even up for discussion by candidates in the next election. We need to refocus, we need to admit we’re failing at home more than abroad- we need to look at the foreclosure crisis, unemployment and underemployment and the cost of education in this country and realize that if we don’t change things now, we’re not going to like the future much no matter whom we elect. Twain said “principles have no real force except when one is well fed” – but it’s more than than just food anymore- it’s as primal as Maslow told us- food, shelter, health are the foundations of a basic survival- only once we make sure those are taken care of can we move to higher level needs and desires like, freedom and the pursuit of happiness.


Found dog. Need to find the owner.

Dog found in Dayton's South Park Historic District

We call him George. He belongs to someone.

George came the same day that my kidney stones did.

Harbinger of things to come? Not. He is half beaver/woodchuck- our woodpile is slowly being turned into woodchips- and he’s likely to find shoes, dog leashes and smelly socks and drag them around the house.

I feel bad that besides notifying the neighborhood- and posting on CraigsList- we’ve not done much until today to try to find his home. He had 2 collars on.

He’s about 25lbs, maybe 3-4 months old, and sweet as can be. He’s starting to get the housebreaking thing- and he actually likes his cage.

If you recognize him-we’d love to let you have him back. If not, I think he wouldn’t mind staying.

He was found the morning of Aug 27 in South Park- where he was spotted with another, bigger dog a little before my kids brought him home.

You can call 937.228.4433 to arrange to meet him, if you think he’s yours.

If you want to print out a flyer and hang it up: George poster


Post 2000. Lost another election. I won’t be on the BOE

It seems only fitting- my two thousandth post on esrati.com is to tell you that I lost yet another election.

Tonight, the “executive committee” of the Montgomery County Democratic party voted to submit two people to fill the unexpired terms of Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie, who were voted off the Board of Elections island by our Secretary of State, Jon Husted.

Of course, all of this could be for naught, if the lawsuit filed against Husted today, in Judge Walter Rice’s court, orders Husted to put Lieberman and Ritchie back on the island, now that Husted has been publicly spanked by Eric Holder and the Democrats.

The whole story of why Ritchie and Lieberman were the first in Ohio history to be punted from a Board of Elections without doing something heinously illegal like selling Meth or hiring a convicted rapist because, well, he’s the brother of a person with a patronage job and was hired without filling out a job application- no, they were fired because they wanted to make it easier for people to vote.

The God that the Republicans pray to doesn’t like people to vote early in person- because, well, too many liberals do that.

There were five candidates. I was probably the one who got the least votes. The ballot was on paper, write two names- sign your name. Counted by Mat Heck and Lee Faulke, the first place finisher was Rhine McLin who now gets to fill the longer remaining term that Dennis held (I think it’s 3.5 years) and number two was John Doll who gets to sit in Tom Ritchie’s seat for a year and a half before reappointment. Of course, Jon Husted gets final say on who gets in (odd, because he also gets final say on who isn’t in- making him the effective king of both parties).

All the candidates, including me, promised to vacate the seat if the lawsuit forces Husted to rescind his action.

The good news for Dayton is that as long as Rhine is on the BOE collecting her $20K a year for 2 meetings a month- she can’t run for city commission to fill Nan’s spot while she runs for Mayor. The bad news is, if my family will permit me, I’ll be running for city commission again next year.

There was actually a roll call of the executive committee members tonight. I should have recorded it so I could post it here. I’m a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party, and I don’t even know who makes up the executive committee. It was nearly a full house- only a handful of them were missing. 25 were needed for a quorum to vote and they had over that.

I’m also remiss, in not having full bios of everyone running. Joan Holmes (sp)? ran – and was totally unfamiliar to me, and the Mayor of Brookville, David E. Seagraves also had his name in the hat- with a letter of recommendation from County Commissioner Dan Foley (who wasn’t in attendance tonight or on the executive committee.

I had a few people come up after- and tell me they voted for me. In my intro speech it probably didn’t help that I pointed out the fact that a convicted rapist had been hired to the BOE without a job application- or that you still can’t find out basic info on voting on the BOE site- stuff that always comes up as referral searches near election time- on esrati.com.

This wasn’t a groundbreaking post. It isn’t even significant in the grand scheme of things. But, 2000 is a milestone- most blogs never see that many posts. Thanks for being a reader.

Here is what I handed out to the members of the Executive Committee:

Why should I serve on the Board of Elections?

As a “perennial candidate” I’ve had 20 years experience of frustration at finding the way onto the ballot and through the process.

It’s been my experience that the information that’s fundamental to running for office is missing from the BOE site, as are filing deadlines, sample forms, sample language and process and procedure.

As a member of the Board, I would work to make sure that the process is as open and transparent as possible.

Some things that I’d work on:

A complete listing of all elected offices and the election dates, office holders, election results and requirements for every office in Montgomery County.

Voter education: Every year at election time, my personal site gets a ton of traffic for “Do I have to declare a party” and “can felons register to vote.” These questions should be directed by Google to the SOS- but since our SOS is more interested in stopping people from voting, he’s not done the job.

I’ve also been a vocal critic of our BOE. We’ve had some hiring mishaps, as well as other negative press over the years. I don’t believe that the first reason to work at the BOE is because you are a friend of________________. Our election process is sacred- and we’ve taken our responsibilities pretty lightly in Montgomery County.

I fully support the actions of Tom and Dennis. I’ve never been prouder of two Democrats in my life. If they get their seats restored, I would step down so that they would be able to reclaim their seats. My appointment would also be a sign that our party isn’t all about good ‘old boy politics as usual.

More than likely, the SOS will reject my appointment, for any number of reasons. Most likely, because I’ve tripped up against the system too many times. This would be one more issue he’d have to deal with, on top of the pending litigation.

I would do everything possible to question why if he’s so set on “statewide standards” why our local BOEs use different systems and our databases are such a mess.

I take this position very seriously. If appointed, it would have to end my political aspirations and make me focus on improving our election process in Montgomery County- and hopefully- the State of Ohio.

If you don’t know my commitment to open, fair, honest elections by now, I don’t deserve this job. It’s been my goal to raise the political consciousness of our community via open, honest discussion since I started running for office 20 years ago.

My site, www.esrati.com has more information on it about elections, and the process, than any other site in Montgomery County.

I hope to help take the MCBOE to the next level.

Note: Building highly accessible, ADA compliant, useful websites is what my team in the professional world does. It would be my honor to help bring this knowledge and skills to the County.

Thank you,

The Dayton Revival: go before it’s gone

Matt Luongo at the Dayton Revival

Matt Luongo, visionary, hero, concert promoter, at his brainchild, the Downtown Revival in Dayton OH Sep 8, 2012

If you stay home today, and don’t come out to see:18 bands on three stages downtown for $44 (new one day pass rate) you:

  • Don’t love music
  • Don’t know a great deal when you see one
  • Can’t ever complain that there’s nothing to do in Dayton ever again.

The Dayton Revival is here.

I spent most of yesterday checking out bands I’d never seen before and having an awesome time. And the band I loved the most- “Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk” – which rocked my world. I think their drummer, Nikki Glaspie, may be one of the best rock and roll drummers I’ve ever seen- like a metronome with a kick like Chuck Norris and the moves of James Brown. I could have listened to them all day- and before this festival- I’d never heard of them.

Today you can hear:

I’ve wanted to see the Ohio Players since they were topping the charts when I was in High School- but, I also remember using Shazam to find out I really liked Karl Denson- and I’ve also heard that Heartless Bastards are amazing (but I’ve got my kids football game to see- so I’m missing it).

All of this wonderfullness didn’t come from the Downtown Dayton Partnership who is doing Urban Nights next Friday night – for my 50th birthday, or from the Dayton Development Coalition or Cityfolk (which has spoiled us for years with their festival which runs three days and was free or with a suggested $5 donation). It’s all because one crazy guy, Matt Luongo had the crazy idea that just because Austin has SXSW- Dayton can’t have something like it. He’s done an amazing job- and, unless a lot of you jump on that recently announced one-day $44 pass, he’s probably going to lose money. If you want to see this return- time to whip out the cash. As to the people who say that the $75 2-day pass was too expensive- it works out to about $2 a band- and some of them, like last nights headliner- John Legend, would easily cost you more than $45 just to see him- so quit yer bitchen. The weather is perfect- and the parking is easy and free in multiple garages downtown as well as at any parking meter.

There are also a ton of food vendors waiting to serve you- including some from local restaurants like my faves Taqueria Mixteca and South Park’s number 1 coffee shop Ghostlight Coffee.

Please support Matt and our city- come on down for a good time. Advice: bring sunscreen, a folding chair, water bottles. Wear comfortable shoes, bring a jacket for later because it will get cool, wear a hat, be prepared for a great time.