I went to what was to be the last official meeting of the Dayton Charter Review Committee. Former Mayor Richard Clay Dixon was nice enough to recognize me and allow me to participate- at least for a little bit, until the FOP rep decided to be a jerk.
Interestingly- the committee is only working on what it was told to work on by the commission. My questioning of changes needed in the petitions for Commission, with their high propensity for filing failure, were sort of ignored: “that wasn’t on the list.”
Although changes are coming that would make it possible for citizens to finally petition the government to change the charter or to force a vote on commission passed legislation. Currently, it takes 10% of REGISTERED voters to put an initiative on the ballot- which works out to somewhere around 10,000 signatures (Mayor Whaley only had 9,000 votes in the last election as a point of comparison). In the future- 2,500 votes will guarantee an opportunity to get an issue on the ballot.
On those petitions- they will no longer have the “Ward and Precinct” boxes which are on the current petitions- but are tacitly ignored by the Board of Elections- which is odd, because everything else on the form is ironclad required. I’m still not sure if they are going to require notarized signatures of signature gatherers- an absolutely meaningless step that only does one thing- guarantees that last-minute signatures are almost impossible to collect. Having a Notary witness a signature of a petition gatherer has zero relevance over the validity of any of the collected signatures- so what’s the point?
No mention of the elimination of the “Nominating committee” as well. This archaic idea makes zero sense- and was proved to mean nothing when William Pace turned in over 650 legitimate signatures on petitions- but wasn’t allowed on the ballot because he hadn’t signed a clause that he would accept the chance to run. If the nominating committee was “empowered” by the 500+ valid signatures- then they should have been able to pick any qualified candidate they like- regardless of if William had “accepted” the nomination. And besides, no nomination is valid until the “handwriting experts” at the Board of Elections certify a petition- so how can you accept something you aren’t qualified to run for yet?
Apparently- much of the committee’s time was spent arguing over protecting the hiring practices that are in place, with the FOP, IAFF and AFSCME reps all voting to delay the final work of the committee to the commission until they have another meeting- which is scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, Aug. 4, at 3:30.
Generally, the meeting was run by former city Planning Director, Paul Woodie, the go to guy for anyone who wants anything done in Dayton. He left the city to work for Premier Health Network for quite a while- kicking off the changes in the Fairgrounds neighborhood – which is now becoming more UD housing despite promises by the city and MVH for it not to be. Paul pushed off the discussion of the last issue that the Commission chartered them with investigating- the ability to create townships within the city- a bizarre request, which he claimed would require too much investigation into State law. I can just see it now- as South Park would petition to become a Township- eliminating the city income tax- and expanding our boundaries to include UD- since we already have MVH within our planning district. Another tax free haven… to pretend to be a part of our community like Washington, Miami, Harrison, Butler, etc., townships- where drama and mismanagement are the norm.
I’m posting PDF’s of the documents I picked up. I’m not sure what the city commission will do with these recommendations- or if they even have to abide by them. Our Charter is an antique that’s desperately in need of updating- but, there weren’t very many engaged people in the meeting I sat through- with one exception- one young lady who did want to know why the petitions weren’t part of the discussion (I circulated a proposed redesign of the current petition) and she also caught a double negative that they were proposing as a change.
If the recommendations all make it to the ballot this fall, it may be possible for us to fix the petition process in the March primary once and for all. They are also setting a ten-year requirement for review- something that is currently missing.
Of course, no changes are being made to the current language for a recall- which requires 25% of the registered voters’ signatures- or 25,000 signatures. Nope, Mayor Nan and Crew likes their cushy safe jobs; too much to risk having to answer to the public.
Typically, the charter has only been revised when the commission has needed to change something like how bonds are handled or taxes raised to keep the city out of trouble. To proactively fix fundamental flaws is a rare occasion. We will see what makes it from this committee onto the ballot soon enough.