Nan Whaley trashes Dayton 65 days before the election

It looks like Labor Day weekend was the kickoff to the Whaley sign campaign, with her signs appearing all over town. Empty lots, right of ways, public property- it’s all about her! I saw signs in overgrown lots, near highway entrance ramps and next to any leftover A.J. Wagner sign that’s been left since the special election in May – like the one at the corner of W. Fifth and Ludlow in front of a parking lot.

I’ve always consider yard signs the least informative part of political campaigning. If you think about it- all it is a candidate’s name and the office they are running for and not much else. When signs are in supporters’ yards- you assume that person knows why they are voting for the candidate- but unfortunately, when it comes to Whaley- I heard this more than a few times in the primary, “I just have it in my yard because I was told to put it in by….” either the union they belong to, or the politician that they work for.

Granted, Whaley had almost 5,000 votes in the special election, compared to Wagner’s 2,500, but when you add in the Leitzell voters who are mostly going to vote for Wagner, you soon realize that the well-funded Whaley battleship is hoping to win by sheer brute strength instead of their candidat’s competency. Putting signs out this early by a leader is nothing but a show of fear.

And just remember, every time you see a small sign- that it could have bought a basketball net, and every three big signs with two fence posts- she could have bought a backboard, you start to realize what the Whaley campaign is focused on- Nan, and nothing else.

Here’s a video I did about campaign signs in the last Congressional race:

I’m sure we’ll see Wagner signs out there shortly, with his new slogan- More Change, less politics. I for one, hope he waits till 30 days before the election to post his signs and shows some class. It’s the major difference between these two old school candidates- and it’s one of the reasons I think Wagner is much better suited to be Mayor.

I’ve still got a few hundred “Esrati, New Ideas” signs to put out, starting 30 days before the election. If you live on a corner, or on a main street, please go to: http://electesrati.com/?page_id=586 and sign up for one. It will be delivered around Oct. 5, and picked up Nov. 6th. Thank you.

And if you are looking for what I’ve been doing instead of wasting money on yard signs- go to www.hoopsdayton.com and learn about my basketball nets.

Why we should shoot in Syria

I don’t believe that the U.S. Military would ever turn on our citizens, although Kent State is a glaring example to the contrary, and the case of the drones’ use in far away places to kill “Americans” who had pledged to wage war on their mother country. However, when a country uses air power against its own citizens, it would be nice if someone stepped in to stop what amounts to mass murder. That time came long ago in Syria and passed. It also passed in Darfur, Liberia, and countless other countries.

The U.S. was quick to react in Libya, because of course, they had resources that were important to the petrochemical giants who make huge donations to the U.S. Congress. Syria on the other hand, only exports some oil to Europe and hasn’t exported any since 2011.

The tools of war are taken for granted globally these days, with the U.S. one of the largest exporters of killing machines on the planet. Some war is good for our economy unfortunately, and therefore, we tend to look the other way when these tools are used for oppression and suppression. No matter how much money the sales of weapons systems bring to our economy, and to the military industrial complex, these always end up having a negative overall impact on our economy when you figure in the true costs of wars. They are always a negative- from the deaths of our troops, to the increase in costs to take care of our disabled veterans, all the way down the line to where you realize the lost opportunity costs of perfecting killing, instead of forwarding the human race toward a peaceful and bountiful planet for all.

In other words, for every bomb, bullet or soldier we “invest” in- the return is negative compared to creating food, health care, education, shelter for all. For all the money wasted in the Iraq/Afghanistan war, we could have obliterated poverty globally, through humanitarian initiatives and focusing on the good in the world instead of the several thousand who were represented by 20 odd jerks who hijacked a few planes and crashed them.

Syrians don’t deserve to have their government turn on them. We should obliterate anything that can fly against the people of Syria, and possibly, if we can locate them, neutralize any chemical weapons or their delivery systems. As to threats from any other nations of retaliation against Israel for our leveling the playing field in Syria- we should unequivocally state that any excuse for an attack on Israel will be met with hell being rained on any country’s military that launches an attack. That’s how owning the biggest, baddest military is supposed to thwart aggression by others. Fear is one of the most powerful motivators.

I do not believe that action against Syria should be prolonged or ongoing, nor should it lead to an invasion or occupation. It’s just about taking the howitzers away from the guys in war against people with slingshots.

If our country would only help the underdogs at home as much as it’s willing to go to bat for underdogs in other countries, we might have a better moral authority on the world stage, but for now at least, we should do everything in our power to stop a deluded dictator the use of chemical weapons and air power against his own people.

 

Only 1 write-in candidate in Montgomery County- for Dayton School Board

The deadline to file for write-in candidate status was Aug. 16, 2013 – Monday. Bet you didn’t know that. No one talks about write-in candidates much, because it’s believed to be an impossible task. That wasn’t the case in Detroit recently, where Mike Duggan came in first in the run-off primary. The Board of Elections really doesn’t have much to do with write-in candidates, other than set the deadline and put the write-in option on the electronic ballot.

But in the Dayton School Board “race” where we had 4 candidates for 4 slots, now we have a fifth option. Since this is kind of a guerrilla race with the top four candidates advancing, the only way a write-in stands a chance is if almost all the voters choose to NOT vote for the same candidate on the ballot.

That all said Walter J. Hickman Jr., who took out petitions but didn’t turn them in, is now the proverbial fifth wheel running for Dayton Public School Board of Education. He will face incumbents Joe Lacey, Ron Lee, and newcomers Adil T. Baguirov, and Hazel G. Rountree as you learned in this post: No reason to vote in Dayton Public School race

Hickman’s only chance comes if there are a lot of people like me who don’t bother to vote for unopposed candidates, and his supporters only vote for him, but that is a long shot.

Of course, if the Supreme Court would act on the William Pace candidacy, there may be one more write-in candidate, but at this point, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

UPDATE

I’ve been informed by the Montgomery County Board of Elections that while a write in space will appear, only names of registered candidates, “Walter Hickman” will be counted. Even if someone had more votes, they would be reported, but would not be elected. The major question is how much leeway will they allow- is “Walt Hickman” good enough, or will it have to be “Walter J. Hickman Jr.” to be counted?

Why a digital Dayton matters

I was hanging a basketball net yesterday behind a pretty rough looking apartment house. As I pulled up, in my Volvo wagon, to ask if they’d like a new net, I was thinking it’s good that I have a magnet on the side of the car saying “Esrati puts nets on rims” – because I definitely got the feeling that I was intruding, going someplace where I wasn’t welcome. After I hung the net- did my stencil on the ground, put a sticker on the pole and gave away a t-shirt for one of the kids who hit three threes, I was confronted with “but if I vote for you what are you going to do for me?” I tried to point out that I have my answers on my campaign piece- but he didn’t want to read it- he wanted to hear it.

And so I launched into my digital Dayton plan. I told him that there isn’t a job a kid can graduate high school and get without a computer and computer skills, and that currently Dayton Public Schools only had one computer for every four students. I told him that we’re already behind the curve on 1 to 1 computers- that 5 years ago other districts, cities and even states had figured it out.  I said that even giving every student an iPad- that would cost about the same or less than what was squandered in the speculative real estate deal for a new Kroger at Wayne and Wyoming, was a start- but without internet access, it wouldn’t mean anything.

I went on to say Dayton was all excited when it was in the running for Google Fiber- where an entire city would get gigabit speed, 20x faster than what passes for broadband in the region- and maybe 30x what is available in the city where fiber isn’t currently available at all to residential users. But when Google went to Kansas City and then to Provo UT and Austin TX- we sort of forgot about it here- where we actually run a fiber network to control our traffic lights, but nothing else. I said we could put fiber into every neighborhood to build a beachhead where kids could go after school to get online- and then start working to city wide wi-fi. This is also nothing new- the entire country of Estonia has been covered in wifi for over a decade.

These are projects that empower our citizens and give them the ability to grow. They save us from having to pay for data plans on our cell phones- or worry about caps- it provides the ability to connect people with jobs- with services- with each other using tools like NextDoor to organize their community and to coordinate resources.

And even though he knew that I was talking about giving our kids a chance, he didn’t believe me, because we’ve grown to not trust politicians and their promises. We’ve been lied to, too many times. And considering the horrible job we do at informing voters of upcoming elections and candidates and issues, why should he have any clue who I am, despite having run for this office many times over the last 20 years.

The reality is, information is power- and by wiring our community and making it possible for as many as possible to connect, would change the political game and disrupt the party that the party has been having with its friends and family running the show.

I was talking to him about the most critical issue of segregation we need to overcome in America today- the “digital divide” and it isn’t something to pay lip service to, it’s the key to the future.

From the New York Times about a week ago:

Administration officials and policy experts say they are increasingly concerned that a significant portion of the population, around 60 million people, is shut off from jobs, government services, health care and education, and that the social and economic effects of that gap are looming larger. Persistent digital inequality — caused by the inability to afford Internet service, lack of interest or a lack of computer literacy — is also deepening racial and economic disparities in the United States, experts say.

“As more tasks move online, it hollows out the offline options,” said John B. Horrigan, a senior research fellow at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “A lot of employers don’t accept offline job applications. It means if you don’t have the Internet, you could be really isolated.”

Seventy-six percent of white American households use the Internet, compared with 57 percent of African-American households, according to the “Exploring the Digital Nation,” a Commerce Department report released this summer and based on 2011 data.

The figures also show that Internet use over all is much higher among those with at least some college experience and household income of more than $50,000.

via Most of U.S. Is Wired, but Millions Aren’t Plugged In – NYTimes.com.

Those numbers, those people being left out- that’s most of Dayton. It’s all the people who don’t read Esrati.com and vote. It’s the unemployed, the under-employed, the uneducated and the uninformed. I don’t believe government does a good job of creating jobs, but I do believe we can help create an infrastructure that encourages our “social capital” to have maximum access to jobs and to information.

And while my nets on rims campaign is innovative and interesting and newsworthy, you haven’t seen it on the local news, and you probably won’t. Why? Because I won’t be buying TV ads like other candidates, because when I win – I prove that you don’t need to spend $360K to get on the ballot- and win. Local TV is living off political campaign money, and when we all switch to the Internet and YouTube, Netflix and streaming- they become dinosaurs.

No matter how much the incumbents brag about bricks and mortar projects as proof that they deserve re-election, they aren’t answering the question “what are you going to do for ME?”

A digital Dayton is something that empowers all Daytonians, especially our students. It gives them, and their parents and grandparents access to what my readers on esrati.com take for granted. That’s powerful stuff.

If you think this matters, I ask you to do one of three things:

Without those three things, a digital Dayton won’t happen anymore than the Kroger at the corner of Wayne and Wyoming.

The reality of “a publicity stunt”- Esrati puts nets on rims

Tom Archdeacon should have written this story a few weeks ago. The story would have shared the history of Dayton street basketball, and the sorry shape of our community’s parks would have been the focus. Instead, it became a political piece, and I was interviewed again. Two pictures, front of the local section, and Commissioner Williams calls my efforts a “publicity stunt.”

I’ve never done a pr stunt that took as much work, and, if the city had been doing its job, I wouldn’t have to be doing the basic fundamental city service of maintaining our parks. A good friend in the advertising business uses this as a mantra to clients- “actions speak louder than words” to help guide clients on where to spend their ad dollars, I am a believer.

Here is the DDn article on the commission race- mostly about my nets campaign. There is no mention, unfortunately of the video that 2 Ponitz CTC students did.

Esrati’s hoops promise enlivens Dayton campaigns

Posted: 12:05 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23, 2013

Dayton City Commission candidate David Esrati is installing basketball nets and trying to replace damaged rims at many of Dayton’s neglected parks. He leaves a sticker with his phone number to call if net replacements are needed.

By Jeremy P. Kelley – Staff Writer

DAYTON —

Dayton Daily News Photo by Jim Witmer, of David Esrati with his pole sticker

Dayton Daily News Photo by Jim Witmer, of David Esrati with his pole sticker

As the six candidates for Dayton mayor and city commission fire up their campaigns for the November election, one candidate has made a very public show of improving city parks this summer.

Commission candidate David Esrati has called the state of Dayton’s parks “a disgrace,” and he’s spent the past two months improving basketball courts — digging out weeds and branches that were growing through the pavement, plus putting nets on basketball hoops that had none.

Esrati said he’s personally put up more than 200 of his green-marked nets on city, school and church courts, and even on kids’ portable baskets. He puts a sticker on each pole, encouraging people to call him if a net needs to be replaced.

“Who wants to live next to a park with no rims and no nets, a tennis court with weeds, grass that doesn’t get cut? That makes a statement,” Esrati said, hauling a ladder out of the trunk of his car. “But this is pride. It’s community pride.”

Esrati said he got few votes in West Dayton in May’s primary and needs to do better in November to win one of the two commission seats up for grabs. He’s putting up nets in all parts of the city, but he went to more than two dozen Dayton businesses, largely West Dayton barbershops, to get people to sponsor his nets program. The grassroots effort is important for a candidate who has pledged to spend no more than $10,000 on his campaign.

“I know from advertising and marketing that an ad is pretty worthless, but a service is worth something,” he said. “The stickers will stay, and if I win or if I lose (in November), I’ll still fix the nets.”

Esrati is one of four candidates running for two commission seats.

Incumbent Joey Williams said he has done steady work for the community for years, referring to Esrati’s basketball-net effort as “a publicity stunt.” Williams pointed to safety initiatives, such as the Community-Police Council that he’s championed, plus his role in improving the city’s bond rating and finances, while some cities struggle.

Candidate David Greer said he’s been spreading his message of citizen empowerment at public events and neighborhood meetings, and his campaign will be going door-to-door this weekend. Greer is focused on getting people to vote, saying turnout for the May primary was “very discouraging and sad.”

Commission candidate Jeffrey Mims said he has not done much campaigning yet, but continues his youth mentoring and other community activities. He said he is focused on improving jobs, safety and the school-community relationship.

via Esrati’s hoops promise enlivens Dayton campaigns | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

There is evidence that conditions of public parks have a direct impact on property values. For all the “economic development” projects the city has engaged in over the years- from Courthouse Square, the Arcade, Riverscape and tax abatementa, grants and other expenditures of our tax dollars on big things that will “save Dayton” – there is nothing as valuable to our citizens as clean, safe, well maintained parks with functioning amenities for the people who live here.

From a 2010 article in Dayton Most Metro, written by Shannon O’Neil (full disclosure- a supporter of my campaign)

Over 30 studies have been done on the impact of urban parks on property values. Typically people are willing to pay more for a home that is near or overlooking a park due to the “hedonistic value.” This means that the value of a property is affected by the home’s proximity to the park and the quality of the park itself. The report measures the value of a home within 500 feet of the park but states that the economic value of the park on property values has been measured at distances up to 2,000 feet…

Parks that are poorly maintained or unattractive are marginally valuable and dangerous parks can reduce property values. Parkland adds 5% value to the assessed value of dwellings within 500 ft. Excellent parks add 15% to the value of a dwelling while problematic parks reduce the assessed value by 5%.

via Economic Impact of Revitalizing Cooper Park | Dayton Most Metro.

The facts that you can’t play a full court game at Princeton Rec Center, despite it having 6 backboards and full time city staff, or that the only park with lights on at night is Burkham park- where the poles spin, the backboards are made of rotting wood, and 1 rim is missing and 1 has more curves and ups and downs than a roller coaster, should make it clear that these problems didn’t happen overnight, nor are they something that our current commission has cared about.

For a city with basketball nearing a religion, we’ve had heretics leading us for years. One of my favorite things to point out, is that the two mayoral candidates spent $360,000 in the primary to get 7,500 votes- or $50 per vote. Although it’s illegal, they would have done better to promise to pay every voter $20, had twice the voters and still had $60,000 left over- which could have bought new backboards and rims for every city court. Frankly, although I prefer the idea of A.J. Wagner as Mayor, I’m not so sure I want either of these money-blowing candidates holding our city checkbook.

Right now there is a relatively new backboard at Roosevelt Rec Center on W. Third Street where the backboard failed and not the rim. I’d be out there getting it welded this weekend, but the question of if the backboard is under warranty or not hasn’t been answered. It’s been a 6 days since it was reported to the Rec Center staff. I guess it’s a PR stunt by watching how long it takes for the city to act as well, seeing as this is one of the most popular courts in the city. It will be interesting if they ever fix the 4 lights that are there as a tease to our ‘ballers- since they’ve never been turned on, and now have all 4 lenses shot out.

I would be remiss, not to thank Jeremy Kelley, who wrote one of the nicest articles about me to ever appear in the news. Thank you.

As to my statement of ads being worthless- and being in the advertising business- 95% of ads (and 99% of political ads) are horrible and are reaching the wrong people. Advertising has changed a lot with the advent of the Internet and the ability to micro target, but even then, most ads are an unwelcome intrusion into your life- the masters of advertising believe in “marketing as a service” or- giving you utility as part of the relationship between the brand and the customer. That’s what Google does- in trading utility for the opportunity to deliver advertising. Which would you rather see- green nets, or political yard signs? This question will be on the test on November 5th. Your actions will speak louder than words.