While I grew up believing voting was one of the most important things I could do to be an American, it’s elections like this that make a case for giving up on democracy. Now, that question about “being an American” is very real to me, both my parents were born outside the US and citizenship for them was a choice, not a birthright. And, from 1968 to 1970 I lived in Canada- where my father had moved, not to avoid the draft (he’d already served for almost 17 years, but because he was worried Richard Nixon would do to American Civil Liberties what George W. Bush later did – with 9/11 as his prompt.
In Canada, dad wrote a book to me, “Dear Son, Do you really want to be an American” to help me decide when I turned 18 in Canada, what country I’d swear my allegiance to, since “dual-citizenship” wasn’t an option then. You can read that book for free by downloading it from this site. It’s only 80 pages, and it’s a revealing look at the America that they don’t teach in school.
There are 3 election choices you make that are critical this time, but, you had little influence in how they came about. That’s the major problem, we seem to have replaced elections with auctions while everybody watched.
For President, sanity and dignity must return to the White House. I’m not quite ready to say you could pick a random person to be president and they’d do better than Donald Trump, but I do believe he is a complete disaster as a president. Joe Biden must be elected president or we can just expect a civil war and the complete destruction of America as we knew it.
For State Supreme Court, we need a court that won’t keep looking away at the hanky panky of school funding and gerrymandering in Ohio. Please, vote for some new faces- Jennifer Brunner and John O’Donnell are needed and qualified.
After that, I generally go with this rule: vote the incumbents out, and compare their campaign finance reports and go with the underdog. We’re in an absolute state of failure in Montgomery County when it comes to leadership with integrity.
For the most part, the two political parties work deals out in a back room to allow critical races to not be races at all. Look at how many un-opposed candidates you have on your ballot. That should tell you something- especially when both County Non-Prosecutor Mat Heck is unopposed and Sheriff Rob Streck is unopposed. Neither of these people belong in public office.
For the races where term limits forced out the incumbents- state senate and state representative, I’d vote for every single D. There are some serious idiots out there, like Niraj Antani who thought suburban students should be able to bring long guns to school. Mark Fogel, his opponent, is everything Niraj isn’t- and we’re lucky he’s in the race.
I can’t tell you how impressed I am with school teacher turned state rep candidate Amy Cox- she’s amazing. Just what we need, however, since the Ohio General Assembly has allowed gerrymandering which let’s parties pick their voters instead of voters picking their candidates, she’s fighting an uphill battle. In Greene County- I can personally vouch for Kim McCarthy, having had her as an employee for almost a year. She’s smart, she cares and her opponent, (who happens to be a client) isn’t anywhere near in her league when it comes to smarts.
For county commission I’m disgusted with both Debbie Lieberman and her symbiotic partner Judy Dodge. What has happened at the County Jail should have them in jail. They’ve allowed the sheriff to mismanage- and then we’ve had to pay over $10M in settlements because things are so broken. Nevermind that I caught Debbie and her Assistant, John Theobald, shoveling no-bid contracts to the guy who does her campaign work– Richard Kaiser. She shouldn’t be on the ballot- she should be out on bail. That said, Arlene Setzer and Bob Matthews aren’t particularly great options either. We interviewed Matthews for Reconstructing Dayton– and found his answers to be, well, unimaginative and lacking. He’s also totally ok with the JEDD at Austin Landing which only taxes the little people. No thanks.
This post should have been up before early voting started, but, honestly, I’ve been unhappy about having to write it in the first place.
There are two races that merit mention:
County Clerk of Courts has the incumbent Mike Foley vs the challenger Zach Dickerson (see interview here). Dickerson is imminently more qualified and Foley has the same last name as Dan Foley- which is the only reason he’s in office (and he was running against an absolute political insider Russ Joseph- more on next). Foley couldn’t keep the courts websites safe, nor could he implement any improvements in his 2 years in office- we don’t need four more years of a nice guy, who doesn’t understand the tech.
Most people will never care who the county treasurer is, unless you are a political patronage job holder. The treasurers office is a purely administrative position that shouldn’t be an elected office. It comes with patronage jobs. The current treasurer is a political insider who hasn’t worked a day outside government in his life- Russ Joseph. His challenger, is in almost the same boat- born to be a politician, the son of two politicians, John McManus. However, the difference is Russ believes he’s entitled to be in office, John thinks being elected is a higher calling. He’s built to serve. Russ is a condescending arrogant insider. McManus, may be just as politically devious, but outwardly cares about respecting the public and at least making sure they are heard. This video, from long ago- shows the difference between McManus and Baguirov managing a public meeting:
There is also this example of McManus teaching the rest of these idiots the public elected on how Roberts Rules of Order work.
McManus cares deeply about respecting those who elect him, and that makes him the better choice.
On all the local judges races- you really don’t matter. Most will run unopposed till they age out at 70. The only races you see are when a judge ages out and they need a replacement. Judges don’t get a D or an R next to their name- you have to know going in who you want- hopefully based on research. Since most of you don’t read legal filings for fun, it’s hard to tell who the greater legal mind is. Frankly, we’ve gotten lucky with a few judges like Mary Wiseman and Dennis Adkins. Unfortunately, every once in a while- a hack like Richard Skelton gets elected and we get stuck with a loser.
That said- judges can’t say what they want to do, or changes they want to make. They can’t tell you anything except what they’ve done, what their experience is, and most of them don’t do much of that.
There is one race where I’m still deciding- Arvin Miller, who has worked in the probate court for 15 years as a political appointee/party favorite vs David Brannon, who is spending a lot of money to get elected. He’s been practicing in that court for at least that long. Miller will only be allowed to serve one term and age out- or worse, resign and allow an appointment to be made and have them be the incumbent next time. Brannon, is younger, and actually has some ideas on how to improve the operations of the court- he’s even willing to allow the site for probate court be managed by the Clerks office- as it should be. The Dayton Bar no longer provides endorsements like they used to- which is probably a better way to pick judges than elections, but, at this point, I’m leaning to Brannon- knowing someone can challenge him in 6 years if his changes don’t work out.
While I feel the Dem candidate for Ohio 10, Desiree Tims is just another of a long line of women who think they are somehow going to upset the apple cart and beat Mike Turner, I doubt it will happen. Turner is a total fraud and needs to be replaced, but, unless a huge blue wave sweeps Greene County- it’s unlikely Tims will triumph. Her positioning herself as a “daughter of Dayton” was really stupid, considering her district- and frankly, where you come from has nothing to do with where you’re going. Turner was a never Trumper- until he was an always Trumper- and he needs to be removed – no matter who runs against him.
Remember, vote early in person, vote by mail, but deliver your ballot in person, or vote on election day- because, it may be your very last chance to choose a president- instead of a dictator for life. Vote Biden/Harris if nothing else.
And, before the next election- work for Instant Runoff balloting, so we can get rid of the rule of the 2 party system and all it’s flaws. Ranked order voting solves so many problems, including how Biden and Trump got to the top of their tickets.