full disclosure- my firm has done printing and is currently producing work for Darryl Fairchild and Shenise Turner-Sloss. However, I’m equal opportunity- I’ll print or produce work for anyone who is willing to stick their neck out and run. It’s not that easy.
True story: last time I ran, Jeffery J. Mims Jr. was running too. I offered to gather signatures for him- and asked if he would do the same for me. I got 80 voters signatures for Jeff- had them notarized. He chose to not pick them up, not to turn them in. He ignored the wishes of 80 voters who wanted him on the ballot. He didn’t get a one for me. I still have those petitions.
Another true story: Joey D. Williams first ran for School Board when I was first running for Mayor. We were sitting next to each other in a church pew, at a candidates night. He leaned over to me, whispered in my ear, “I sat in the bathroom and read your entire campaign piece, it’s right on.” Of course, he wouldn’t tell anyone else, or endorse or stick his neck out. That’s not Joey’s thing. He’s got a plan for his career- it’s a safe one.
The funny thing is, I still have copies of the Esrati for Mayor 11×17 flyers, 2 colors, 2 sides, with lots of words on them. And, the issues I talked about then, are still issues today. It’s sad, because after being on the school board, Joey had a chance to tackle a lot of those issues. But, football isn’t his sport- tackling is out. He’s a basketball player, he likes to pass- pass on doing what needs to get done.
Four years ago- I started hanging free green basketball nets on courts all over the city. I hung over 500. Yes it was a stunt, but I kept doing it even after I lost. Our basketball courts were in shitty shape. Joey actually did do something about it- getting the city to invest over a million dollars on refurbishing our courts, backboards and rims. Would it have happened had I not gone out and hung nets, put posters in every barber shop in town? Doubt it. The way to get Joey Williams to act is to embarrass him.
The problem is, he doesn’t embarrass easy. Nor does our city. Especially under Nan Whaley, who can somehow think she’s governor material- and be in Columbus- and see what progress looks like- and somehow think Dayton is pulling its weight. We’re not. She’s so amazing, she’s running unopposed. The reality is, no one felt like trying after she spent half a million to get a $50K job.
The focus, the movement, the city on the move- has been limited to downtown and around the major employers in town- UD, CareSource, Premier, Kettering Health. The rest of the city- twisting in the wind. Right after Joey, Jeff and Nan got elected last time- came the street light assessment. A lot of talk about “City of Learners” and working with the School board all ended right after they pushed issue 9- and said it was “for the kids” – while it was really a way to raise all of our income taxes- to Oakwood levels, so that all the tax abated and non-profits who don’t pay property taxes- which go to the county- can get taxes to keep them and their friends in patronage jobs.
This has been the modus operandi in Dayton for as long as I can remember, and from what I’ve been told by old timers- since the flood. It’s time for a change. It’s time for the party people to actually have to do their jobs. It’s time for actions to speak louder than words.
There is no way I’ll ever vote for Joey or Jeff or Nan or Matt Joseph or even Chris Shaw- until I see them actually working to deliver value to the neighborhoods where the people live, instead of focusing on collecting income taxes from companies they’ve recruited with tax abatement.
Which brings us to your two choices for change on the City Commission. There were no others. There was no run-off primary. Running for office isn’t something most people are willing to do anymore. It’s a very real problem we’re facing.
I’ve had my issues with Darryl Fairchild in the past. He had printed signs and letterhead- and gotten ready to run four years ago. Then the party asked him to “wait his turn” and he said “ok.” He let Jeff Mims on the commission. Last time- when it was supposed to be “his turn” – the party went out and backed Chris Shaw- and Darryl came close to beating him. The difference this time is that Jeff is now an incumbent- and incumbents are historically almost impossible to beat in Dayton.
Fairchild isn’t great on the campaign trail. He wants to talk wonk. About best practices, about injustices- especially social ones, he wants to discuss structural failings of the system, inequity. Voters, for the most part- don’t get it. Some see that their neighborhood isn’t any better- and their property values haven’t gone up, and that their taxes, their fees, their water bill all have- and they get that, but Darryl isn’t concise. He does have a strong support group- and they have been working hard- he and Shenise have both raised more money than the two incumbents, but, not Nan money. Not even close.
Joey and Jeff have an easy formula- on the West side- it’s I went to school or church with you, your momma, your brothers cousins aunt. It’s old home week. On the East side- I’m the party pick, with the union endorsement, and, look at downtown- ain’t she pretty. And, frankly, both are good decent human beings. I like them both, as people, just not as city commissioners.
Joey hasn’t even been showing up at many of the candidates nights. He doesn’t have to- he traditionally has gotten the most votes of all candidates- including the mayor- without trying very hard.
Shenise Turner-Sloss used to work in city hall. She was the one who was responsible for all the grants and HUD Funds that Congressman Turner is currently making a stink about City Hall losing via ineptitude. She had moved on, out and up to a base job – meaning she has to be careful about her campaigning- she’s a Federal employee and the Hatch act applies to any partisan electioneering. Luckily- this is a non-partisan race, but she can’t say “I’m a democrat” or ask for party endorsement- not that they’d give it to her.
Speaking of the Montgomery County Democrats- when the issue of endorsing in the race came up, I stood up twice- once in executive and once in central committee- both times to ask, are we here to elect democrats- or just the ones on the friends and family plan? Darryl is most definitely a dem- why can’t we endorse him too. I wasn’t well received for suggesting such larceny. The party still doesn’t remember when they chose to endorse Hilary over Bernie- and helped give us Trump.
Shenise Turner-Sloss got her start with the group “Neighborhoods over politics” – which is really at the heart of their campaign. The idea of working on fixing the systemic failures of our city to support the neighborhoods- be it in welcoming investment, making sure parks and streets are well maintained, or that the police actually come when you call. She has an urban planners perspective when it comes to problem solving. She’s bright, motivated and not willing to back down from a fight.
Can I honestly think that electing Darryl and Shenise both will over-ride the Nan, Matt, Chris triad and bring real change to Dayton- no. But, then again, if Nan does get her wish, and becomes Lt. Governor candidate to Richard Cordray- and he beats Husted or whoever the Republicans run- we’re rid of her next year and the special election to end all special elections will emerge.
Darryl and Shenise will both bring new voices to the city- and help amplify the few strong voices left in the neighborhoods, and that’s why it’s time for a change.
November 7, 2017, you can vote for the same old tired incumbents, or you can vote for hope and change.
It’s time to shake things up downtown.