“are you going to turn the lights on?”

When I get elected, it will be time to turn the lights back on at night on the basketball courts. The difference being, is that there will be adults there, and recreational leagues playing. We’ll feel safe to go over to the parks and watch our kids play their hearts out.

Unfortunately, tonight, when I stopped by to check on one of the nicest courts in the city- the new one on W. Third at the Roosevelt commons recplex- or whatever they call it, there was a lot of broken glass at the North East end. Someone had shot out, or broken the light- that never gets turned on. These lights haven’t been turned on since they opened the place, sending a message to our residents that you shouldn’t feel safe and welcome if you want to play some ball after it cools down. Really, the lights are just a cruel joke on people who already live on streets that have fewer street lights, get swept less, get patrolled less, but, now, we won’t be able to turn it on thanks to someone being a jerk. As I was hanging the net with the green bottom, at the North side, I asked the kids there if they’d seen who did it.

I even asked if they wanted to help me, I had a broom in the back of the car- they asked if I had a dustpan too- and soon, one of the youngsters was helping me out. He also stood the other trash can up and put some of the trash in it.

If you send the message that you will make sure the courts will be taken care of, it sends a message that there is value in the community that we want to serve, protect and help prosper. It may seem like a small gesture- putting up nets, but it’s one small gesture our current leadership failed to make.

I only hung two nets tonight, but I checked on 3 others to see if they were ok. Remember, if you see a rim without a net, call me at 937-985-1312 and I’ll be out. As of today, the video has 450 views, 13 likes, and 2 positive comments. Keep spreading the word please. Hoops Dayton is coming.

Dayton’s most popular elected official not running again

Stacy M. Thompson, who was appointed to the Dayton Board of Education in 2006 and got more votes than anyone else in the 2009 election, has decided not to run for another term. This leaves at least one vacant seat to fill in November, with petitions due in August with 350 valid signatures (sorry, I don’t know the turn-in deadline– and can’t find it online- Aug 7 by 4 pm).

Other seats up for re-election this cycle are Ron Lee, Yvonne Isaccs and current school board president Joe Lacey. There are several people who have taken out petitions (see list below), but as we all know, this means nothing until the signatures are verified by the Board of Elections. Last time, they had to pull a rabbit out of a hat to find an extra 4 signatures for Nancy Nearny, who didn’t appear to have enough on initial turn-in.

Stacy has been one of the few people who has been wiling to stand up and speak out without fear of censure. She was vehemently against the 30-year tax break for General Electric and was outvoted by the staunch Democratic block of Sheila Taylor, Joe Lacey, Ron Lee and Nancy Nearny.

It’s unclear is Yvonne Issacs, the sole remaining “Kids First” board member, will run again as well.

Stacy was very clear to me, the decision was hard, because she didn’t want to let our kids down, but, with the level of insider politics on the board and lord Joe at the helm, she felt her energy could be better put to use elsewhere. She’s also in charge of her father’s care, and wants to make sure she gets to spend more time with him.

Stacy’s voice will be missed on the campaign trail as well as on the school board.

She’s the only elected official ever to endorse me publicly. For that, I’ll always be one of her number one fans.

Best of luck Stacy. Thanks for your service to our community.

The board of elections has the following list of candidates who’ve taken out petitions, but so far, only Hazel Rountree has filed:

Adil T. Baguirov, 630 Maryland Ave., Dayton 45404 6/27/2013 8/7/2013
Walter James Hickman Jr., 2804 Princeton Dr., Dayton 45406 5/15/2013 8/7/2013
Yvonne V. Isaacs, 4812 Northgate Ct., Dayton 45416 5/28/2013 8/7/2013
Kim A. Johnson, 4536 Kings Hwy., Dayton 45406 5/2/2013 8/7/2013
Chad W. Kingsolver, 2861 Revere Ave., Dayton 45420 2/23/2012 8/7/2013
Joseph E. Lacey, 207 E. 6th St., Apt. 305, Dayton 45402 8/7/2013
Marcus J. Rech, 425 Dayton Towers Dr., 12 E, Dayton 45410 5/22/2013 8/7/2013
Darshawn Phillip Romine, 126 W. Fifth St., Apt. 610, Dayton 45402 5/17/2013 8/7/2013
Hazel G. Rountree, 2530 Archwood St., Dayton 45406 5/1/2013 7/22/2013 8/7/2013
Stacy M. Thompson, 105 S. Williams St., Dayton 45402 5/6/2012 8/7/2013

Mike Turner, Hypocrite

It wasn’t a problem when Mike Turner’s wife got a no-bid contract from the Dayton Development Coalition to give us the wildly expensive and horribly flawed “Get Midwest” campaign. It also wasn’t a problem that his wife did work under a GSA schedule for the US Army Corps of Engineers while he sat on the House Armed Services committee. Of course, the FEC also ignored his wife’s work for the Home Depot PAC, which was just a nice way to support him, without any FEC oversight.

But now, Turner is crying foul over Russ Gottesman running against him because Gottesman’s business was subsidized by the very same quasi-government slush fund called the Dayton Development Coalition that made Lori Turner a ton of money.

The campaign for U.S. Congressman Mike Turner announced on Friday it has prepared a federal elections complaint against a recently-declared opponent.

Turner’s complaint alleges by spending any time running for office, his Democratic challenger Russ Gottesman would violate the terms of two $300,000 state loans he received from the Dayton Development Coalition to start a pair of businesses.

Gottesman, 36, and his wife own Commuter Advertising and MyEndoBook.com. He is also a part-time faculty member at the University of Dayton, according to his campaign website.

Gottesman said last month he will challenge Turner, a Dayton Republican, in the November 2014 election to represent Ohio’s 10th congressional district. The district covers all of Montgomery and Greene counties and part of Fayette County.

The Turner campaign said the types of loans Gottesman received typically require recipients to dedicate “100 percent of their professional efforts” to running the business that received funding.

The Turner campaign reasons that by running for office, Gottesman must either be spending less than 100 percent of his professional time running his businesses, or he got the DDC to alter the terms of his loan, which would be an illegal in-kind campaign violation.

“Either Mr. Gottesman has chosen to shirk his responsibility to the taxpayers, or he has undertaken an action that could be illegal,” said Turner spokesman Tom Crosson.

In a responding statement, the Gottesman campaign said Turner’s complaint is “false” and if it is filed, the Federal Elections Commission would find in Gottesman’s favor…

Dayton Development Coalition spokeswoman Kristy Rochon confirmed the loans, but declined to answer specific questions about them, saying the terms are confidential, and the DDC does not comment on political races.

via Congressman Turner prepares complaint against campaign opponent | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

I had hoped we were done with Lori Turner and the Turner Effect, now that she has divorced Turner and moved to Indiana, but alas, sadly, thanks to her former husband’s bizarre FEC complaint, we’re back to square one.

Maybe now that Turner doesn’t have his wife to guide him on PR, he’ll realize this was a can of worms that should have stayed in the pantry.

Thank a barber, Esrati hangs nets on rims

If you see a basketball net with a bright green bottom, I hung it. If you see a rim without a net, or with a poor excuse for one- call 985-1312 and I’ll get one out and hung.

That’s the message that isn’t on my campaign literature. It’s what I’ve been doing since the beginning of June, hanging nets on what passes for rims and backboards in Dayton.

I had to spend over 4 hours pulling stink trees and other opportunistic weeds out of the three courts at the old Parkside homes. I’ve hung nets on rims with rust so bad one kid said “yeah, when you score you get rust in your eye.” I’ve seen rims with nets hung with knots, tape and even shoelaces.  We’ve got rims missing hooks, rims built for chains, which never got replaced. Backboards are just as bad- rusty if made of metal, rotting if made of wood (seriously, who bought wood backboards for outdoors). One is recognized by all old-school players as having been eaten up for years- it looks like a dragon bit the bottom off.

To pay for the nets- I’ve been using campaign funds and asking donations from the ultimate local business: barber shops and beauty salons. I go in, tell them what I’m doing – show them my posters- and ask them to sponsor a net. Most sponsor more than pne. I take a picture of them with the poster- put it online and hang the poster in the shop. Check out the pix at www.hoopsdayton.org My donations come from the community, not from DC or Columbus or the ‘burbs, but from the people who live and work here. I’m just as happy to accept $2 as $200, which is what a box of 100 nets costs me at Tuffy Brooks. That’s the crazy thing- nets actually cost less than yard signs. I’d much rather put up a net and do something positive in the community than place a yard sign. It takes a lot more effort to hang a net too- between hauling the ladder (I’ve had to hike it across a few football fields to get to some courts- like Western Hills) and doing court cleanups.

The support has been fantastic at many levels. But the real question is how come our city, which always has a million bucks for a developer, or a tax break for the world’s richest companies- can’t keep nets on rims? Or take care of the courts? Just yesterday, the City Manager rolled the convention center into the department of Parks and Rec- calling it one of the “entrepreneurial  departments.” Really? He wants to make money off providing parks and rec? This is the kind of thinking in City Hall that makes me run. Having nice parks is economic development in my book- as are safe streets and neighborhoods. Not by having buildings like Tech Town that sit mostly empty and compete with private developers.

Campaign poster for David Esrati for Dayton City Commission, next time a politician asks for your backing, ask about our backboards

One of the series of posters I’ve been asking for sponsorship for.

As one of my posters says “Next time a politician asks for your backing, ask them about our backboards.” Joey Williams, a former Dunbar basketball star has been on the commission for 12 years- with at least 2 supporting votes the entire time. Apparently, rusty backboards and rims, cracks in the courts, and not turning on the water in parks like Hickorydale is OK with him- as long as we have nice privately developed student housing for students at Sinclair.

I think not. If you’d like to help, please donate at www.electesrati.com/donate-2 After I hit my cap of $10,000, all money will go into a fund to start buying new backboards and rims and getting them up. I’ll need help from someone who knows how to weld when that time comes.

If you see a rim that needs a new net call 937-985-1312

If you’d like to change our city’s focus on what constitutes “economic development” and believe it should be “Parks and Rec” – not “Parks are a wreck” please volunteer for the campaign.





Lori Turner leaves town: KMC Marketing opportunity?

It was reported in the Dayton Daily news today that Lori Turner has headed to a new job “as the chief marketing, innovation and customer experience officer for Beacon Health System in Indiana.”
It’s been my experience that the longer the title, the less able.

For those of you who don’t know- Turner is the recently x-wife of Congressman Mike Turner, OH-10.

Now that Ms. Turner, and the “Turner Effect” are totally out of the local picture- maybe Kettering Medical Center can look to hire professionals again to run their marketing. The billboards with the arrow saying “Emergency Room Left 4 miles” on I75 were the laughing stock of the industry.

But to compete with Premier Health Partners, and their monolithic stranglehold on everything from doctors practices to labs and service providers, Kettering needs to use some judo to take their underdog position and leverage it.

More than likely, all Turner’s departure means is that their problems with the Feds- who were threatening to cut them out from reimbursements for high patient bounce-backs, is now over and they don’t need help from DC to keep them out of hot water.

For years, Kettering used Penny Ohlmann Neiman now the Ohlmann Group. There was a brief dance with the Powers Agency in Cincinnati and then with Hafenbrack in Dayton before her highness decided to take it all inside. Premier is using Real Art, which used to be Lori’s go to shop when she ran “Turner Effect” where they helped her launch the “Get Midwest” flop. We will see who Kettering approaches, and if they will buy local. There’s plenty of marketing talent in Dayton to choose from, check out the best list of Ad agency’s in Dayton on The Next Wave site. (full disclaimer- I own The Next Wave and maintain the list).


The hypocrisy of NIMBY laws: Methadone clinics

About a year ago, South Park was up in arms, as were the people at Daybreak and Chaminade Juliane High School. A local doctor wanted to open a Methadone clinic nearby. Quickly, a law was passed at the Statehouse that turned recovering heroin addicts into sex-offenders- placing a 500′ limit from door-to-door from addict to school. The laws labeling sex offenders for life and imposing ridiculous barriers on where they live is unfair and it is unproven that it does anything except give these people a life sentence. There is no proof that 500 magically cuts down on sex offenses- (for the record- most of the sex offenders knew the people they molested and weren’t randomly picking people off the street).

As to methadone clinics, some, like Project Cure  have been in operation for decades, and yet you’ve never heard of their clients going postal at a nearby school- or robbing people at gunpoint. The whole point is that these are people trying to stop being addicts and to get healthy.

Yesterday, I talked with both Virgil McDaniel of Project Cure, whom I’ve known for over 25 years (he was Deputy Chief of the Dayton Police Department before he took over at Project Cure) and  Superintendent Lori Ward at Dayton Public Schools, who along with the School board voted to put the kibosh on Project Cure moving to Elizabeth Place because of its proximity to Ponitz Career Tech School. I was hoping to mediate the rift and allow Project Cure to move in, because they’ve already put $160,000+ in renovations and are now being held for the remainder of their lease- another $860,000 by the property owners.

Ward asked if CJ would take them, or if the clinic could move down south, since that’s where Project Cure said many of their clients come from. McDaniel is appealing to the state, claiming the measurement is wrong- it’s from door to door, not property line to property line. None of it matters though, a newcomer is going to be helping the addicts out of Elizabeth place and your tax dollars will be supporting it, and Ms. Ward and the School board aren’t going to be able to say no:

›Samaritan Behavioral Health Inc., a Dayton nonprofit offering community behavioral health services, is being awarded approximately $465,000 in public dollars to start medication-assisted treatment services with Suboxone in September at its Elizabeth Place offices, 601 Edwin C. Moses Blvd., Dayton. Samaritan will offer free services to people who have no insurance coverage.

More clinics open to battle drug epidemic

The difference is the State law doesn’t like the cheap methadone, but is ok with the expensive suboxone. Sort of like you go to prison longer if you get caught with crack instead of powdered cocaine.

There is a difference between the drugs according to the DDN:

Methadone and Suboxone are U.S.-government approved drugs to wean people off opiates such as heroin or pain medications. Methadone and Suboxone curb drug cravings and help them with withdrawal symptoms, said Brad DeCamp, with the office of the medical director of Ohio Dept. of Mental Health & Addiction Services.

Suboxone is not as heavily regulated and considered by experts to be safer than methadone because people who take it have less risk of overdose, DeCamp said. Suboxone is a relatively new treatment approved in 2002 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating opiate dependencies.

A form of Suboxone that dissolves on the patient’s tongue, similar to breath freshener strips, is approved for use in Ohio.

Methadone, a red liquid, works best for high level addictions, and those with a long history of heroin use, DeCamp said.

Addiction to opiates can be deadly. Experts say the abuse of narcotics stems from the growing availability of prescription medicines. As the state has worked to better control access to painkillers, use of heroin has risen in southwest Ohio.

The war on drugs has been failing for decades, and now, we’re engaged in a new war against drug treatment centers. Once again, the State is picking the winners and losers:

Samaritan Behavioral Health is preparing to offer new medication-assisted services starting in September at its offices in the medical office building Elizabeth Place on Edwin C. Moses Boulevard.

Samaritan Behavioral is being awarded approximately $465,000 from the ADAMHS Board for Montgomery County to offer the services, said Sue McGatha, Samaritan president and CEO. The contract is not yet final. Unlike the other clinics, Samaritan Behavioral’s services are a pilot program targeting people with no insurance or Medicaid coverage.

The $465,000 would cover costs of medication, staffing, laboratory testing and a naloxone kit distribution program (a drug used by first responders for overdoses). Services will be free to patients during the pilot program, which runs until June 2014.

Samaritan Behavioral, affiliated with Good Samaritan Hospital, will administer Suboxone treatment to patients during an induction phase, keeping limited drug supplies on the premises, McGatha said. After patients finish the initial induction phase, Samaritan plans to prescribe Suboxone to them.

The program has space for 100 patients.

Why is Project Cure getting the hassles? Maybe because the people who run it, forgot to pay for the political campaigns run by the people who pass the laws? We already know that the top executives at Premier Health Partners donated big bucks to the Whaley primary campaign. Why else would the time tested and proven experts at treating addiction be given the boot from the same building, while the new startup not only gets the OK but a $465,000 handout?

Project Cure, treating 650 to 700 clients per day, also is expanding services in the next 30 days to offer Suboxone in addition to methadone. Plans are to administer the drug on-site.

In the meantime, Project Cure continues its search for a better location. The clinic’s application to operate a methadone clinic at Elizabeth Place was turned down in June by the state based on new state law restricting some drug treatment programs from locating within a 500-foot radius of a public or private school, licensed day care center, or other child-serving agency. The state law restricting locations of methadone clinics does not apply to Suboxone, the brand name of the drugs buprenorphine combined with naloxone.

Having faced unwelcoming neighborhoods, buildings with environmental issues and the new state law, Project Cure is changing its relocation strategy.

“We’re looking for land. We want to build,” McDaniel said.

If I sound like a conspiracy theorist, so be it, but how can the same building be OK for one clinic and not OK for another? What is the definition of 500 feet? And do addicts treated with suboxone somehow become less dangerous of an addict?

How much longer is Premier Health Care going to get to manipulate our government, redesign our streets, and put their junkie treatment center where ever they want and get paid to do it, while others get the shaft?

Answer: as long as we let them.

How to organize your neighborhood online: NextDoor.com

In South Park we know our neighbors. It’s one of the incredible things about living in this neighborhood. Not only do we know every neighbor on the block, we know their cars, their kids, their pets. And even blocks away- we all know someone. Tonight, we’re having one of our famous Porch, Patio and Deck Parties- or PPD’s in the local lingo- where we start at one house, potluck- and then move to another. We buy beverages, the door charge is $5 a head- and everyone is welcome.

However, getting the word out requires a bunch of work. We have a neighborhood website done in WordPress, we have a listserve currently running on PHPlist and then there is a Facebook group. We also end up printing flyers and having block captains deliver them door-to-door. Some of these work better than others, but all have pluses and minuses.

Recently, I ran across Nextdoor.com which is a really great intra-net solution for neighborhoods. The reason I say intra-net is it’s really built for knowing your neighbors and only your neighbors. It has real privacy controls and doesn’t require Facebook membership as so many other sites do (but it does work with a Facebook signin).

The beauty of NextDoor is that it’s based on real geography, with verification of members by your actual residence. Taking info from several sources, it verifies identity and geo-maps you to your neighborhood- which a group of you can define the boundaries of. It allows for notifications like a listserve, discussions, classified ads, recommendations and makes it easy to connect neighbors without worry of it showing up in search.

In less than a two weeks, our stats: “28 neighbors (25 of 1111 households) have joined Nextdoor South Park.” What is even cooler is that it also allows you to share info across your neighborhoods borders to your next door NextDoor neighborhoods- so we can reach out to Oregon, St. Anne’s etc and they to us. Apparently Oregon has had theirs up and running a little longer.

As a tool for helping neighborhood organizations in Dayton, be they neighborhoods, block clubs, watch clubs, or even what’s left of the priority boards, NextDoor is a free tool that helps you connect with everyone- without them having to be on Facebook.

The one thing that’s missing is how to invite honorary external neighbors – like our Community Based Police officers, or neighborhood champions/developers like Theresa Gasper who would be registered by NextDoor in Beavercreek. NextDoor is on it-

We are planning on creating a way for public safety officers (and potentially other nonresidents with an important role in the community, like HOA management company staff) to have access to NextDoor websites if the Leads in the neighborhood agree. However, we don’t yet have that option developed.

Until then, with the approval of your NextDoor neighborhood Leads, you can invite the community leader and have them register using your address. Then, they should add a message to the bio section of their profile to explain who they are.

I’m also thinking about how to turn it into a way for elected leaders to effectively be included in conversations- in the future.

This could be a powerful way to improve communications between voters and candidates.

Please try NextDoor for your neighborhood- and see if you can build critical mass and create an effective forum and report back in comments.

Hazardous material drop off this Saturday and every Saturday

There was a small press release in the DDn today, about hazardous material recycling. It’s a push by the county to let people know this service is available. It’s actually available every Saturday at the South station, and Tuesdays at the North Station 6589 Old Webster St., Vandalia, Ohio

There are a lot of things that people throw out in the regular trash that really doesn’t belong there. Like compact florescent bulbs- CFL’s. They contain mercury, a material you don’t want in your house (see my post about a broken thermometer). I’ve got a small box at home with a bunch of them, as well as old batteries, and there are probably more than a few almost empty paint cans, a dead fire extinguisher and old carbon monoxide detector (it has dangerous materials in it too).

The Montgomery County Solid Waste District, 1001 Encrete Lane, on July 20 is allowing customers to come and dispose of hazardous materials for free. The program times are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program is for Montgomery county residents. Proof of residency is required.

Accepted materials to dispose include batteries, fire extinguishers, gas/ propane tanks, household cleaners, paints (latex and oil based), photographic chemicals, thinners/ strippers, vehicle fluids, fertilizers, fluorescent lights, heavy metals, mineral spirits, pesticides, pool chemicals, computers and electronics.

Materials that are unacceptable include asbestos, items more than 25 pounds or 15 gallons, radioactive materials, explosives (such as old ammunition or flares), pharmaceuticals and nonresidential waste.

You can find our more here: http://www.mcohio.org/services/swd/household_hazardous_waste_drop_off.html

Old tv’s, computers, electronics are acceptable everyday of the week- for recycling, which is free and run by Goodwill. Read more here: http://www.mcohio.org/services/swd/small_business_electronics_recycling.html

They also take appliances, but only 2x a year. Note, they will drain your freon-containing devices- air conditioners, dehumidifiers, refrigerators up to 5 devices a year, for free: http://www.mcohio.org/services/swd/free_appliance.html

The more we recycle, the less we fill our landfills, the better off we are.

Quit the DDn, travel the world, make a difference: Larry Price triumphs over mediocrity

When I broke the story that Larry C. Price, the two time Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist, quit his job as head of photography for the Dayton Daily news, it went global fast.

I’d not met Larry before that. Since then, we’ve become friends. Before Dayton, he’d traveled the world recording images of civil rights abuses, wars, famine and  black cowboys in America. His photographs are poignant, thought provoking and beautiful in that they capture the human condition for eternity.

Lately he’s been traveling to Africa and the Philippines where children are being forced into very dangerous mines. The images will haunt you. Last week, his work was featured on PBS Newshour. Of course, you wouldn’t read about this in the Dayton Daily- so it’s on Esrati.com. I’m sorry I didn’t write this last Thursday when the show was on- but, things were hectic.

Children caked in dust and sweat climb in and out of 150-foot mine shafts with dexterity. Their small bodies operate makeshift grinding machines to extract gold from its ore.

Photographer Larry C. Price traveled to remote mining towns in Burkina Faso, along the Ghana and Ivory Coast borders, to document the use of child labor, which is technically against the law but often overlooked in the West African country that depends on gold exports for revenues.

via In Burkina Faso’s Gold Mines, Children Toil Along With Adults | PBS NewsHour.

Watch Children in Burkina Faso Get Dirty Work of Digging Up Gold on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

 Read the full transcript of the video here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/world/july-dec13/burkinafaso_07-10.html

The complete project page, documenting the work for the Pulitzer Center is here: http://pulitzercenter.org/projects/burkina-faso-gold-mines-child-labor-exploitation-poverty-migration-famine

Congratulations to Larry for being one of the amazing Dayton Originals, who are doing things that no one else on the planet is doing.