The man behind the curtain is now backing bike share

Mike Ervin liked the idea when I first told him about bike share back in 2009. So did Andy Williamson- when I brought Bcycle from Boulder to the first Miami Valley Bicycle summit.

I took a slide deck out and presented it to, or talked with Dr. Hopkins at Wright State who loved it. Dr. Dan Curran at UD and I discussed over lunch in his private dining room where he seemed noncommittal, and people at Premier Health (who would be the ideal advertising sponsor) have had the proposal in their hands for years. Same goes for Sinclair, where Dr. Johnson has no interest in talking to me about it (he’s still mad that I’ve said Sinclair shouldn’t be in Warren County unless they pay a tax like we do to subsidize it- but, that’s another story).

RTA had a copy too- with Mark Donaghy liking it, but not sure about how it qualified for Federal transportation dollars (the Schuster Center got over $4 million from RTA and Federal dollars- more than enough to pay for an entire bike share system). It’s also been passed around Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission where it was filed in the good-idea-but-we-don’t-really-do-much bin.

It’s been on my campaign literature too- but, enough about what I’ve been doing for the last 4 years- now, it’s Andy and Scott making the rounds with the backing of Dr. Ervin, the man behind the curtain:

Andy Williamson, 32, and Scott Murphy, 34, share a love of recreation. Williamson is a regional director for the International Mountain Bicycling Association and Murphy is a recreational bicycle rider and mechanical engineer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

As representatives for Bike Miami Valley, an organization that advocates for bicycle-friendly public policy, the two are making the rounds of government officials, planning organizations and private business groups to discuss their research paper, “Miami Valley Bike Share Feasibility Study.”

It will be unveiled to the public Friday at the Miami Valley Cycling Summit in Springfield. The event is sponsored in part by Cox Media Group Ohio, owner of the Dayton Daily News. They provided an advance copy of the study to this newspaper.

Mike Ervin, co-chair of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, said pending new downtown housing units, including hundreds of student apartments planned for the old Dayton Daily News site at Fourth and Ludlow streets, as well as newly-created bike lanes on major arteries like Brown Street, would help make a bike share program a success.

via Public bike rental system proposed for Dayton area |

Bicycle sharing systems are a game changer for Downtown parking, where people would no longer be tethered to parking in the core to get to buildings with limited or more expensive parking. It also makes possible housing, where people could live without the need of a car- since bikes that can haul groceries are readily available. I’ve ridden bike share bikes in London and Paris and know how easily these systems can transform your mobility.

BCycle called it a “magic bike” because when a system is installed with critical mass and effective re-balancing of the system, there is always a bike at hand. Besides being great for the environment compared to cars, it also encourages healthy exercise. Maybe now that Dr. Downtown has blessed my idea, we will see it happen. You can read much more about bike share in Dayton here:

The “Arcade Problem”

Recently, the taxpayers voted for a library levy that was large, needed and slightly opaque, in that it didn’t clearly define where and what all the money was going for. This opened up the discussion again about turning the Arcade into the Main Library downtown. Pushed hard by my friend J. Todd Anderson and the Dayton City Paper, the idea sounds great except it’s like trying to make an elephant run in the Kentucky Derby.

The arcade isn’t a building, it’s a collection of buildings, all with different uses and requirements. All of the buildings have serious issues with deferred maintenance, vandalism, theft, and general entropy. Even the last attempt to revive the buildings at taxpayer expense back in the eighties didn’t address all of the buildings, all of the floors, or the critical issue- what killed the arcade, and much of downtown from being financially sound- the end of the city steam system at the hands of DP&L.

Heating a huge open space, with a non-insulated glass dome ain’t cheap. Heat rises, and heat costs money. You have to generate enough revenue to not only cover the cost of all the repairs and repurposing – but then you have to maintain climate control, and that is a big bill. On a smaller scale, the stainless steel faced former Homestead Federal building at the corner of Second and Jefferson has a 5 story atrium that acted like a wind tunnel sucking heat from the open first floor up to the skylights like a Dyson on overdrive. Rob Kearns, a friend who moved his graphic design studio up from a strip mall in West Carrollton found out that owning an architect’s wet dream is expensive and in the long run, impractical as his firm floundered and failed downtown- much due to his inability to find tenants for the other floors. Like the arcade, his building didn’t have the other thing tenants want- which is cheap accessible parking, which makes downtown real estate a tough sell.

The arcade is a beautiful building, it’s a part of our history, our heritage, it deserves to stick around. We’ve been horrible at keeping grand buildings of our past in Dayton, and in the long run, the lack of “flavor” forces us to find other ways to entice people to fall in love with our community- and differentiate it from every other Rust Belt city. Gone are 6 of our 7 grand downtown movie theaters- with the only one left, The Victoria, now playing second fiddle to the Schuster and totally negating Memorial Hall- which would already be a green space if it wasn’t legally required by state law to exist.

However, taxpayer investment in the arcade would be another boondoggle. One we can’t afford at this critical point in time at defining the Dayton of the future. We have to look at spending our very limited resources on amenities for all that are also ways to help people lift themselves up, and while libraries are critical centers for self-improvement, with access to books, they’ve become even more critical for computer access for the underclass as ways to find jobs.

Instead of rebuilding the arcade, if we made Internet access accessible for all, in their own neighborhoods, Dayton would clearly distinguish itself from other Rust Belt cities as one on the digital frontier. Putting digital devices into the hands of every DPS student and indirectly into many homes without this technology- we could see a much wider economic shift than another silver bullet project for a single block.

Along with the citywide neighborhood digital access, we’d start to lay gigabit fiber into neighborhoods that pull together to make the shift from low-speed, low-tech cable and DSL to the network that’s needed in the future. If you want to be a part of creating the future- you need the connection speed to do it. It takes 12 hours for my small business to upload an hour of video to YouTube- that’s unacceptable. Dayton has to do better if we want to see tech incubators take off – and I shouldn’t have to rent space in Tech Town to do it.

As to the Arcade, there is a solution, although it would take a change in the State Constitution, a grand scale poker palace. While I’m not a fan of Racinos – a legal way to pretend that horse racing matters still and keep money flowing to an industry that should have gone the way of the buggy whip, poker isn’t the same as slots or other gambling- it’s a game of skill, and where the house only takes a rake, not a guarantee of over 51% of the money.

There are poker games being played all over the State of Ohio that are illegal. And while poker’s popularity has grown, the government has seen it as a threat, shutting down on-line sites because somehow, the IRS thought they weren’t getting enough of the money. The trade-off would be similar to the way bingo is handled in Ohio- the Arcade would be put in the hands of a non-profit trust, which would run the gaming. The proceeds from the gaming would go to maintain and rehab all of the buildings in the complex. The tax valuation of the building would be treated the same way we treat hospitals, which are far from non-profit, but, get a hall pass. The city would gain tax revenue from the employees wages, and from the businesses that would fill the rest of the building- restaurants, hotels, gift shops, etc. The building would live on, the city would have a unique draw that isn’t a full blown casino, seeing as we were shortchanged in the casino bill, and Dayton could move on to more important issues.


City buying former Dayton Career Academy site for $166,028, do you feel safer?

Bill Rain used to think that the main library should buy the Dayton Career Academy building at 441 River Corridor Dr., Dayton, OH 45402 for a new downtown library. With a beautiful view of the river, ample space for parking, and a relatively new building, it didn’t seem like a bad idea.

As part of the deal with the state where the state paid $2 for every $1 (or was it $3 for every $1 for Dayton) toward building new schools, the requirements were very strict. Five-acre lots, and tear down the old buildings, no matter what.

So, we tore down a building that wasn’t that old. And now, the city is buying the lot from the Dayton Public Schools for a song. Or is it that 3.7 acres isn’t worth much in Downtown anymore? $166,028 more for a piece of property with no declared public use. That’s enough money to keep at least 3 more police on the streets, but not enough to pay for a Nan Whaley primary victory.

Was the property put out to bid by Dayton Public Schools? Did they get the best value?

Or is this more space to build empty buildings for Tech Town to compete with property that is already a difficult sell for its owners?

May 15, 2013, at 6 p.m. the Dayton City Commission is going to spend your money to buy another empty lot. Which of course makes a lot of sense, since they seem to be professional creators of empty lots. Look at the corner of Wayne and Wyoming to see another expensive boondoggle that had no public benefit.

One of Dayton’s “most influential tweeters,” according to Dayton Business Journal

scan of front page of Dayton Business Journal "Most influential tweeters" image from May 19 2013

Esrati named one of Dayton’s most influential tweeters

Dayton Business Journal lists are sort of like David Letterman’s top ten lists- they have one every week, sometimes two or three. You have to be kinda in the know to understand that they aren’t scientific or even very accurate, but, still- it’s nice for them to recognize me and a couple of people I know, respect and follow:

David Esrati @esrati 512 Twitter Followers. – Esrati uses Twitter to promote his blog and his own campaign for City Commission, as well as to commentate on the mayoral election and controversial issues in the city of Dayton.

via Who to follow on Twitter in Dayton (Slideshow) – Dayton Business Journal.

I also tweet as @thenextwave about marketing and advertising, although not as often as on @esrati.

It’s the cover story of May 10,2013 issue.

Congrats to @MissMaha @DavidEBowman @DebbieLieberman client @JenKuhnPR @DaytonDining @PatriceHall @RichardJkaiser @RickCartwright @SeanCreighton @SharonAKA @ShelbyQ y’all keep it interesting.


What happened Tuesday, and why the public doesn’t understand, doesn’t care and doesn’t benefit

Note: this is a long post. It’s an important one. Please read it – and then discuss with your friends and neighbors. Elections are too important to be sold or manipulated unfairly.

“Better luck next time, Dave!” was what was yelled at me yesterday by a neighbor as his wife drove him past me with my handful of plumbing supplies. I’d just finished putting a new kitchen faucet in for my parents, a project that has been on hold for the last 3 months while I’ve been on this campaign adventure.

Now, the thing is, my neighbor and his wife are both politically astute people, one with a Ph.D. and the other with an MD. Not only that, they donated to my campaign.

When I called back that I’m on the ballot- they were confused. I’d done everything I needed to in the special election without spending a small fortune, and I’m ready to spend the next 6 months doing what it takes to convince about 20,000 voters that I’m a viable candidate and their best choice. That means I need every voter who voted for me to tell 10 others why, or I need to do it myself. In 6 months, that is possible. In two months, it’s not. And that’s what we just went through, for the first time in 20 years.

And that’s the thing, a majority of voters in Dayton doesn’t even know what happened Tuesday. This is a fundamental problem in our community, and despite our grand efforts at citizen participation via the vaunted “Priority Boards”- voters stayed home, or cost an arm and a leg to convince one who to vote for. Because I’m not like any of the other candidates, I’m going to quote a friend, who has a blog of sorts (you can’t comment on his), and post a link, even though his general opinion of my candidacy is that I’m unelectable and a poor candidate:

Plenty of people think that the amount of money involved in politics is obscene, and I won’t argue with them. That people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in a runoff election where fewer than 10,000 people vote is insane.

Or is it?

The candidates who pledged to spend less than $10,000 this year (incumbent mayor Gary Leitzell, perennial candidate David Esrati and community volunteer David Greer) and the candidate who couldn’t even raise $1,000 (Joe Lutz) all lost.

Leitzell and Lutz lost absolutely—they will not be on the ballot this November. (Leitzell is the first sitting mayor of Dayton in 50 years to lose before the general election.)

Greer and Esrati technically won the right to be on the November ballot, but I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that neither will win in the fall. Williams and Mims each got more votes than Whaley; Greer and Esrati each got fewer votes than Leitzell. I see absolutely nothing to make me believe that Greer and Esrati are going to do significantly better in the general election.

So the winning candidates know something about elections that the losing candidates do not—given the status quo, money matters in winning elections. Wish that it didn’t at your peril.

via David’s blog: David Esrati.

Now, while I’m supporting A.J. Wagner in November, because I think he’s not suffering from megalomania and doesn’t have a bevy of patronage-dependent people working on his campaign at taxpayer expense, I find Lauri’s criticism of A.J.’s website accurate, but entertaining, since A.J. has zero knowledge of how to use or craft a site. He’s made poor choices in developers (this is his third, the first was mocked on this site for being done in DC, the second was a temporary fix by a local ad agency that’s had multiple contracts with the city and the county and then this one). I thought I’d include a screen shot and an explanation of what Lauri’s talking about before it gets fixed. When you roll over a link, you should get an alt text tag explaining where the link goes- for visually impaired people. Try it on this site. If you are using Firefox as a browser, you can see the link that will be launched in the lower left corner.

Screen shot of AJ's issues coding gaffe

Roll over issues- to see the real issue “donations to the max” for AJ Wagner’s website

In A.J.’s case, as David Lauri points out, when you roll over “the issues”- you see the link is to – the link’s pretty url- one with words instead of /?=p123 for example, says “Donations to the max” and when you click on it- sadly, it comes to a blank issues page.

screenshot of AJ's blank issues page

And coming in second as Dayton’s candidate for Mayor is A.J. Wagner with no issues to speak of

So, spending close to $100,000, campaigning since April of last year, and coming in with half the votes, is a successful campaign for mayor- capturing the right to run against someone who spent twice that? While our sitting mayor is mocked for coming in 240 odd votes short while spending maybe $2,500.

Note also, that while David Lauri points out all the foibles and makes predictions- he didn’t bother to vote Tuesday.

Which is our MAJOR problem.

A few weeks ago a voter with a Whaley sign in her front yard got in a heated argument with me about what I was going to do if elected as part of the Independent Dayton team- to which my first answer was to change the charter to fix this mess. She scoffed at me. The saddest thing was that not only did she not understand the importance of this- she lives in the Oregon District where things are pretty good. I guess that’s how you feel when you can afford to buy your candidate too.

The charter change is overdue. And it’s not to put in a strong-mayor form of government, which I believe is the secret (and not so secret) desire of both candidates left in the mayor’s race. The issues that need immediate addressing are- and I’ve asked Mayor Leitzell to try to put these on the November ballot- to see if Joey Williams  and Nan Whaley will support them in a vote, are:

Change the requirement of percentage of registered voters’ signatures needed to put changes to the charter on the ballot and percentage of registered voters needed to recall a sitting member of the commission- to percentage of voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election. While is may not seem critical to many- currently both of these acts of citizen participation are impossible due to swollen voter rolls caused by changes in the voter registration laws. This would align with the standards statewide in the Ohio Revised Code.

Another minor change, would be to revise the commission petition form, which is forcing more candidates off the ballot than allowing on due to arcane and obtuse language, poor form design and archaic requirements. Read a lot more here: Dayton’s Flawed Petition Process. I’ve even done the redesign in a long ago post, which you can find if you read through them all. First to post the link in comments gets free admission to my next Pancake Breakfast.

The Nan voter thought I was crazy to make this a fundamental issue of my campaign. I believe that fair and honest elections are fundamental to living in a democracy. Excuse me.

If I had my way, our government would take campaign finance out of private parties’ hands, and roll it into the cost of government, because I think that right now it’s costing us a lot more by having politicians who are slaves to their donor/masters.

The mayor had people coming up to him too- “what do you mean you aren’t on the ballot, I thought the primary was to decide who ran against you in the fall.” Wow. More uneducated voters. But can you blame them, primaries/special elections are a rare occurrence in Dayton as I’ve said. Another Ph.D. that I talked to pre-primary/special election said he didn’t vote in them because he didn’t want to affiliate himself with a party. That’s why I posted this post a few weeks ago: “Election Questions That Need Answers” to provide answers to voters who don’t understand the process.

So what did we accomplish Tuesday? We eliminated choice from voters early in the process, without giving the candidates or the citizens time to fully explain their issues and get voters to know who they are and what they stand for. The taxpayers spent about $150,000 to support this, btw. We forced candidates to “win” over voters in a compressed time frame- shifting the power to those already elected or to those supported by special interests. And this was after a flawed petition process eliminated a bevy of other candidates: Who’s running in 2013

I’m not the only one lamenting the lack of knowledge shown by the American voter, Frank Bruni rails against it in the New York Times today:

That we Americans are out to lunch isn’t news. But every once in a while a fresh factoid like the Obamacare ignorance comes along to remind us that we’re out to breakfast and dinner as well. And it adds an important, infrequently acknowledged bit of perspective to all the commentary, from us journalists and from political strategists alike, about how voters behave and whom they reward. We purport to interpret an informed, rational universe, because we’d undercut our own insights if we purported anything else.

But only limited sense can be made of what is often nonsensical, and the truth is that a great big chunk of the electorate is tuned out, zonked out or combing Roswell for alien remains. Polls over the last few years have variously shown that about 30 percent of us couldn’t name the vice president, about 35 percent couldn’t assign the proper century to the American Revolution

via America the Clueless –

This is why I run for office. This is why I invest so much time keeping this blog going, talking about real issues, real reasons to make good voting decisions, and trying to be transparent. It’s why I believe that if the voters finally have a 6-month period of time to get to know me, they too will think my election is a good idea. But, it takes at least 6 months- not two or three. David Lauri thinks that I can’t do it on $10k or less. History showed us four years ago that Gary Leitzell could win despite 6-to-1 spending odds, so I don’t know why it’s so far fetched.

I’ve been told I’ve mellowed this time around. I think part of it comes with just starting all my campaign talks with “excuse my booming command voice, I was taught to use this voice in the Army so you can hear me clearly (since you didn’t provide a real PA system) and it doesn’t mean I’m angry, mad or yelling at you- it means I want you to be able to hear what I’m saying.” Old people thank me, now.

We’ve just seen a lot of money spent to get a very few people to the polls. If that’s what it takes to get elected, we’re in trouble, because the people in Dayton are still struggling. They can’t afford to buy their politicians, nor can they afford what their bought politicians give them in return. If you would like to help me do the impossible, for the right reasons, I urge you to go to and either fill out the volunteer form and take responsibility for informing voters, or donate to the cause.

I’ve spelled out my issues. There is no blank page on my site. I actually do my own campaign materials, videos, and websites. And for the first time, I have a real campaign window. Watch me work.

And for those of you who read the whole thing- thank you. I’m sorry it’s so long.

From the “fiscally responsible” Commissioner, Joey Williams?

On the campaign trail, Commissioner Williams talks about how he brought fiscal responsibility to City Hall under his watch.

Sure, that’s why the city spent over $4 million first declaring part of Twin Towers blighted, then paying for appraisals, options and buildings in a 12 acre parcel over 5 years of his watch- with no contract from either the developer or Kroger for them to take possession of the parcel or to build a new Kroger.

We don’t talk about that.

Matt Luongo at the Dayton Revival

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

But, now, we’re going after Matt Luongo. Who? The guy that actually delivered something- a music festival in Downtown Dayton that bombed financially- but, was a pretty good freshman shot at doing something positive in the city.

Here’s parts of the story from WDTN’s Pam Elliot, who seems to be the only real reporter in town these days:

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – It was supposed to put Dayton in the national spotlight and generate millions for the city. Instead, it’s left some people singing the blues and chanting “show us the money.” Even taxpayers are out for now.

2 NEWS Investigates obtained a letter in which the president of the limited liability company set up to put on the music festival, “Downtown Revival” reports more than a $200,000 loss and little hope to pay those he owes….

The trail of unpaid services doesn’t stop there. 2 NEWS Investigates found out your tax dollars ended up supporting what was to be a privately funded event. That’s because Downtown Revival, LLC hasn’t paid the City of Dayton either, and the city leaders who agreed to a contract with the company don’t seem to know where your money is.

When Mayor Gary Leitzell’s assistant told us he wouldn’t be talking about it, we approached the mayor at City Hall. He said he’d talk with us when he looked at the details. A week later, there was still no word from the mayor.

City Commissioner Nan Whaley did agree to an interview. “We’ll certainly try to recoup the money paid to the city for those efforts. We recognize, too, that Matt’s trying to do something, trying to support that effort but we’ll go after the money as well,” she told 2 NEWS.

The money amounts to more than $60,000 for help from police, fire, and public works. Our public records request produced only one check to the City of Dayton, that being for $10,000 dated September 7, 2012.

The City’s public information officer was reluctant to comment.

Pam Elliot : So is it in the legal department now?

Tom Biedenharn: No. It doesn’t necessarily have to go to the legal department.

Elliot: So what is the process?

Biedenharn: We work with the vendor.

Elliot: Is Matt Luongo or Downtown Revival, LLC coming forward with money?

Biedenharn: We are working with him.

Elliot: Are you confident you’ll get the money?

Biedenharn: Sure. Sure.

But 2 NEWS Investigates doesn’t know why the city is so sure it will get paid. Rice and Nye received an identical letter this year from Matt Luongo, President, Downtown Revival, LLC, which reads, “We will not have assets sufficient to satisfy any of our remaining liabilities. On behalf of Downtown Revival, I offer my sincerest apologies.”

The letter directs them to take their questions to Tom Whalen, attorney for Downtown Revival.

We did, but got no answers….

The city says the city manager’s office has been in conversations with Luongo to work out repayment, but if that doesn’t work, they’ll send the matter to the Finance Department’s collection program.

via Big dollars owed City and vendors | 2 NEWS Investigates.

For those who have no clue how Luongo got to do what he did, you might want to look at where he worked previous to his turn in the sun at the community’s expense. His father, former CEO of the Berry Company, opened doors for him- at the Dayton Development Coalition and then UD.

Director of Development, University Initiatives
University of Dayton
December 2009 – August 2011 (1 year 9 months)

Dayton Development Coalition
Director, Business Recruitment
2005 – 2009 (4 years)

Somehow, someone looked past the facts that he had no experience in concert promotion, wasn’t signing for anything personally, and had no personal assets on the line.

That’s fiscal responsibility Dayton Style, thanks to Commissioner Williams. As to Ms. Whaley, a local businessman told me she had no clue what an LLC was. Well, maybe now she does.

But seriously, folks, $200K is about what we pay Steve Budd at Citywide a year, it’s about what the Dayton Development Coalition spent on their annual meeting a few years ago where they brought in a Las Vegas artist to do a painting of John Lennon while spinning the canvas and giving away t-shirts in plastic tubes. This is small fry theft, but I’m sure Matt Luongo will be hung out the way Raleigh Trammell was too- while letting the big crooks walk.

(and btw- there are links that I could put all through this post- from old posts on talking about a lot of these things- but, that would take time- and I’ve got work to do. Wayne Ave. Kroger has its own category, search for Trammell, Luongo, Dayton Revival, etc.)

Is Dayton a city of peace? A beacon to welcome all?

I have no respect for terrorists. To me, there is nothing better than a dead one. And while one man’s zero can be another’s hero, the dead aren’t coming back no matter how many episodes you watch of “The Walking Dead.”

Dayton could put itself on the international stage as the city of peace, of welcoming all, by one simple act- allowing Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombers to be buried here. It seems, the thought of burial in Boston is a non-starter:

Nineteen days after Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a gunbattle with police, cemeteries still refused to take his remains and government officials deflected questions about where he could be buried.

On Wednesday, police in Worcester, west of Boston, pleaded for a resolution, saying they were spending tens of thousands of dollars to protect the funeral home where his body is being kept amid protests.

“We are not barbarians,” police Chief Gary Gemme said. “We bury the dead.”…

via Still no resting spot for Tamerlan Tsarnaev – Print View.

I am not suggesting the city pay for it, or for there to be some sort of monumental tombstone, but that we rise above the pettiness and show the world that it is possible to look past the sins.

The story also points out:

An expert in U.S. burial law said the resistance to Tsarnaev’s burial is unprecedented in a country that has always found a way to put to rest its notorious killers, from Lee Harvey Oswald to Adam Lanza, who gunned down 20 children and six educators at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school last year.

I believe we still have a potter’s field by the old workhouse. It’s time to stop letting Mr. Tsarnaev’s body continue to make news. As a country, we have more important things to think and talk about. Peace and human kindness being something worthy of discussion, even if it involves the remains of someone who never quite understood the grace of those qualities.

Dayton Auction Results

Dayton – Mayor
  • Gary D. Leitzell 2338 23.69%
  • A. J. Wagner 2566 26.00%
  • Nan Whaley 4965 50.31%
Dayton City Commission
  • David Esrati 2087 11.80%
  • David K. Greer 2230 12.61%
  • Joseph C. Lutz 1696 9.59%
  • Jeffrey J. Mims Jr. 5282 29.88%
  • Joey D. Williams 6384 36.11%

Nan spent, conservative estimate: $180,000 for 4965 votes or $36.25 a vote

AJ spent $80,000 for 2566 votes or $31.79 a vote
Gary spent $2000, or about $.85 a vote.
Extrapolate that out, to get the 17,000 odd votes it takes to win, Nan will have to raise $616,250 to win.
Thank you to Joey Lutz for giving us a primary- and the chance to have data on where I need to work.
Thanks to William Pace for getting 650+ good signatures only to show how our Board of Elections pays no heed to the sunshine laws or the voters rights act. That battle isn’t over.
Thanks for the help of Gary Leitzell and David Greer who helped me reach a lot more people than I would have alone.
Thanks to AJ Wagner for being someone I can support in the upcoming race.
I look forward to working with Mr. Greer to get our ideas out.
If these don’t look like impossible odds to you, please consider donating to my campaign at
Apathy in Dayton is the true enemy of democracy.
It’s up to you to do something about it.


“the leader for Dayton’s future” features Dayton’s past on his last ditch marketing

I’m sorry, this isn’t going to seem right on election day. People will say “Esrati went negative”- and that’s not the point of this at all. I just want to report the news as I see it, so all know what’s going on.

I waited way later than I normally vote to head to the polls. At 11:30 I was voter 38 in Precinct 1-D. That’s a light turnout folks.

Lined up on Burns Ave, at Warren Street, in the tree lawn were signs for Lutz, Williams, Mims, Whaley and Wagner.  I didn’t do my stencils or put out signs at the polling place because I believe that the people going to vote made up their mind before they got to the polls- and they’d see my name on the ballot when they get inside, where it counts.

photo by David Esrati of AJ Wagner's poll lit person.

Handing out AJ Literature outside the poll today

At the parking lot- and barely 100 ft from the polls, was a guy handing out lit for “AJ Wanger, the leader for Dayton’s future” I took one. Right on the front is a photo of “AJ Wagner with former Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin”- the person who lost 4 years ago to Gary Leitzell, despite spending 6x what Gary spent. Never mind, she’s also on the Board of Elections, and if the vote is close, she’ll have to recuse herself from any decisions, which could hurt AJ.

The literature also features county commissioners Judy Dodge and Debbie Lieberman as well as Creola Reese “community activist”

I’ve scanned it and am posting it here for you to see.

If you get something else anywhere else in town- please let me know.

Front of AJ Wagners last ditch polling place literature with link to pdf

What AJ is handing out at Dayton Polling places today. Click on image to download full pdf- both sides


Does linking your self to the past make it seem like you are the leader for Dayton’s future?

We’ll find out tonight.

[S]Election Day, Tuesday May 7, 2013

Today, Dayton voters get to narrow the field. It’s not about electing anyone, it’s just about choosing who won’t be elected, a test pattern, a process of winnowing. In a country that has thousands of flavors of hot sauce, somehow, when it comes to voting, we’re increasingly asked to pick between ketchup and mustard, and only bland ones at that. In fact, the system is set up to give them the advantage. Don’t be bold or spicy, don’t say things that are outside our comfort zone, stick with the “proven winners” – the “endorsed candidates” the ones who can raise the most money as if it is a measure of leadership instead of the root of our political downfall.

The infamous “slate cards” were mailed by the W campaign and hit my mailbox Friday, whether they will be paying people $75 a day to stand outside and hand them out to voters at polling places (always a 100′ from the polls) depends on if she saved any of her campaign chest that paid for at least 7 mailings, 3 robocalls and who knows how much TV, radio and the like.

Will it influence you? Is buying your way into office while running a campaign of blandness the way Dayton is going to go today?

Seth Godin, who writes so succinctly had a post today that was apropos:

Avoiding fear by indulging in our fear of fear

Every day, we make a thousand little compromises, avoid opportunities, actions and people–all so that we can stay away from the emotion of fear.

Note that I didn’t say, “so we can stay away from what we fear.”

No, that’s something else entirely. Right now, most of us are avoiding the things that might merely trigger the emotion itself. That’s how distasteful it is to us.

The alternative? To dance with it. To seek out the interactions that will trigger the resistance and might make us uncomfortable.

Are we trying to avoid the unsafe? Or merely the feeling of being unsafe? Increasingly, these are completely different things.

Due to ‘enhanced security’ a recent bike event in New York City forbade the 30,000 riders from carrying hydration packs. No practical reason, just the desire to avoid fear.

The upcoming exam doesn’t get studied for, not because studying is risky, but because studying reminds us that there’s a test coming up.

We loudly keep track of all the failures of commission around us, but never mention the countless failures of omission, all the mistakes that were made by not being bold. To track those, to remind ourselves of the projects not launched or the investments not made is to encounter our fear of forward motion. So much easier to count typos than it is to mention the paragraphs never written.

There’s no other reason for not having a will, a health proxy, an insurance policy or an up-to-date checkup. Apparently, while it’s not risky to plan for our demise, it generates fear, which we associate with risk, and so we avoid it.

It’s simple: the fear that used to protect us is now our worst enemy.

Easier to avoid the fear than it is to benefit from living with it. I’ve heard the quote a thousand times but never really thought it through…

via Seth’s Blog: Avoiding fear by indulging in our fear of fear.

I was going to write a post about the open beverage option in the Oregon District, but hadn’t had time. Before the option is even available, resistance to an idea is based on fear:

Ohio lawmakers may allow larger cities to create “entertainment districts” where open alcohol container laws would not apply — similar to the French Quarter in New Orleans and Fourth Street Live in Louisville.

The bill, if passed, would apply to any city of more than 50,000 residents, meaning in the Miami Valley, Dayton, Kettering, Hamilton and Springfield could create an open-container zone.

One area that meets the criteria for an “entertainment district” is Dayton’s Oregon Historic District.

But any such district — assuming the law passes — would have to be approved by city

leaders, and some members of the Dayton City Commission are already aware of opposition.

“We wouldn’t do anything in Oregon unless the businesses and the residents are completely comfortable,” City Commissioner Nan Whaley said. “We’ve gotten to a really good place in the Oregon District, so the commission wouldn’t be interested unless they came together.”

Mike Martin, president of the Oregon District Business Association, says the exemption would not work on Fifth Street because of its proximity to the district’s residential area.

“It sounds good on the outset, but it creates a 24-7 party district that is not good for the neighborhood,” he said. “I think it would attract people who walk around drunk all day.”

In Ohio’s larger cities, the change could allow open containers in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine historic neighborhood and The Banks as well as the Arena District in Columbus.

via Bill to allow drink zones.

Here we have a bold option to make Dayton different from all the other surrounding communities. Something that others can’t have- and immediately, the reaction of the “endorsed candidate” is to suggest that a special interest group would hold sway over what is good for our whole region. This is safety, this is the opposite of bold, this is protecting the status quo, and it’s why I’m tired of our lack of leadership.

Let’s analyze this. Before the ink has even been put to paper, the opposition of a single neighborhood is stopping all of us from having a vibrant, party zone, where people from (If the French Quarter is used for comparison) around the world, people would come to have a good time. May I also point out, that despite the end of the stupid rule of 17 (which for years limited the number of liquor licenses in the Oregon) property values in the Oregon District continue to rise. The residents who live and own their homes there, all knew full well that they were buying a home a stone’s throw from the bars, this wasn’t accidental or a surprise.

Yet, Nan Whaley runs to the press’s microphone like a fly to shit, and spouts off without thinking about what the big picture is. When neighbors complain about drunk people walking through their neighborhood at 2 a.m., it’s not the bars’ fault- it’s the drunks’, and that is an arrestable offense. It’s very easy, when you close off Fifth Street, to also close off Brown, Jackson and Cass streets and patrol during the hours of the party. It’s also easy to limit parking in the neighborhood during the hours of partydom, and if we had any vision at all, we would have built a skybridge over the railroad overpass- from the transportation center garage to the Oregon- with a train watching station with a glass floor, and made it into an attraction, and provided cheap, monitored parking for Oregon Party residents- complete with a sobriety check on exit from the garage- with a cab service available.

That’s the difference you face today. Reactionary, same old dog and pony show offered by the “endorsed” party ticket, or bold new ideas that aren’t based on fear of pissing anyone (singular) off.

Commissioner Joey Williams has had 12 years with at least 2 supporting votes to do anything he wanted, Whaley has had 8. For the first 8 years of Williams’s time in office, he had all 5 votes on the commission working in lockstep and Whaley had them for 4.

Not sending Mayor Leitzell on to the November election would be a crime. His innovative, hands-on approach to problem solving instead of seeking approval by committee has moved this city forward faster than it’s moved in years, despite a global depression (I refuse to call it a recession). To give him 2 other votes on the commission who weren’t tied to donors and special interests would be a bold move toward a city that’s not gripped by fear, but is focused on working outside the “safe box” to move itself forward.

Send a message today, that money isn’t the meter of political will. Vote Independent, Leitzell, Greer and Esrati, and see if we can overcome the power of money to influence elections as a bold starting point for the real election in November.

Polls are now open, until 7:30 PM. Polling places have changed, find where you vote: remember to bring a photo ID.