Esrati Plan

The Esrati Plan

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Abraham Lincoln said it more than 140 years ago and his adage is still essential today in creating a new system to encourage and manage community development.

No Neighborhood Left Behind

Neighborhoods are the building blocks of our city, yet for thirty years; Dayton has used the Priority Board System to insulate City Hall from the neighborhoods with an additional layer of bureaucracy. The system is fundamentally flawed because it is based on the geography of voting precincts drawn for political gain instead of neighborhood boundaries drawn here.

The goal is to empower people to work together to create the kind of community that creates engaged citizens, not just residents; with a new system that provides direct contact between the neighborhood organizations and the City Manager.

Neighborhoods would be evaluated and provided assistance by the way they organize and innovate to improve life for all residents.

Neighborhood Organizations would be responsible for establishing programs and a scoring system for participation and achievement, which would be used to measure progress in each neighborhood. The group of presidents, with supervision of the City Manager, would allocate funds to programs to benefit each neighborhood based on maximum return to each community and the city overall.

For instance, in the area of housing, each neighborhood would be responsible for a inventory of all buildings, owners, and state of repair. This would alleviate the need for housing inspectors, except as enforcers of last resort.

Neighborhood organizations would organize neighborhood watch, safety patrols and establish relationships with a neighborhood police liaison. Neighborhoods would be graded on their own emergency preparedness plans, including neighborhood first responders, and assets for various emergencies for the challenges of severe weather and other disasters.

As part of community building, neighborhood organizations would support the development of literacy programs, community college enrollment for non-traditional students and adult education programs, as well as physical activities and sports teams for all ages. Initiatives for children and youth might include scout troops, after-school clubs, arts activities, playgroups and baby-sitting cooperatives. Every organization would establish a close relationship with each of the schools in their neighborhood, and would work hand in hand with local schools to address issues of chronic truancy and high school drop-outs.  Job banks for teens, community service credits for school, would be coordinated at the neighborhood level.

Each neighborhood would identify and utilize all community centers/ neighborhood churches/ schools to provide areas for local food co-ops, neighborhood gardens, informal libraries, job training, meeting space for neighborhood clubs and activities, and a central gathering place for social events like cookouts and block parties.

Neighborhood businesses would be supported and aided by their local neighborhood organization, and vacant commercial properties could be identified for development in concert with the property owners.  In addition, common public areas of neighborhoods would be the responsibility of the organizations that would organize clean-up days, weed control, vacant lot management and park development and maintenance.

In support of the Neighborhood Organization program, city employees would each be assigned to specific neighborhoods, and the amount of progress achieved by “their” neighborhoods would be reflected in employee performance reviews. All of the Neighborhood Organization programs would be tracked and monitored using a variety of data. City employees would be eligible for bonuses based on performance of their neighborhoods, with significant prizes for the city employee who makes the biggest impact each year.

A Simple Business Plan

Dayton needs to make it easier to establish and maintain a business in the city. Currently, business owners are faced with a maze of regulation that is often vague, redundant and irrelevant. The most complex, is our current hodge-podge system of city income tax collection and rates. It’s time to turn this over to either the County or the State- with a one-stop website driven by the employer identification number.

Businesses will see an automatically generated list of dates, forms and payments due- based on information provided to the site. The portal would also include access to all laws, possible fines, and regulatory requirements based on SIC codes, size of business and geographic location. They will also be solicited for government contracting opportunities through the same portal.

Tax incentives will be applied more fairly across the broad spectrum of businesses, not just those that contribute to election campaigns. A walk to work tax credit would be an example of an environmentally correct highly beneficial program.

Tax abatements will be offered only for covering costs of creative re-use of existing infrastructure- to aid historic preservation, to cut down demolition waste and to incentivize a “no-sprawl” policy. We will actively lobby to end the type of poaching tax incentives used to lure NCR from Dayton at the National level.

City employees will not engage in recruiting companies to move from one community to another with incentive packages, and companies that are “poached” (moved with government assistance) from the city would continue to be liable for taxes at their Dayton location for a period of time determined by the economic impact created by the loss of the business. “Economic development” will be done through making Dayton an attractive, cost effective, safe and profitable place to do business and a great place to live. Not, based on a price war, funded with tax dollars that were to provide essential services.

It is also essential that we review and check compliance on all previous tax incentives that have been given, to make sure that employment/investment promises were met.

If we want to save the last bits of our old infrastructure, we need to take into account the conditions that existed when the buildings were built.

To help turn around vacant retail and commercial space, in buildings that are 50 years old or older, special variances to strict building code compliance would be made available. All parking requirements will be waived in the central business district and for buildings over 50 years old.

Current mixed-use regulation that gives more latitude to owner/occupants- would be extended to all buildings in the central business district and to buildings older than 50 years old.

Modern signage restrictions would only be applicable to modern buildings. It’s time to let businesses with old buildings advertise in the same way that they did when the buildings were built with huge signs painted directly on the buildings.

Growing Better Leaders

As a community, we need to work to develop new leadership from within, and every effort should be made to recognize community leaders who positively impact our city.

Allowing candidates who have filed for election to office access to voter information insures a more equitable election cycle, with information available to everyone, not just those already enmeshed in the political machine.  In a combined effort of fostering communication with the community and offering fair access to all candidates, the city would launch a community web portal (such as a “Drupal” site) encompassing discussion sites, resource directories, e-commerce sites, and social networking.  Revamping the local election process to streamline the process of electing Mayor and City Commissioners would contribute continuity to city government and reduce waste. Specifically, eliminating the requirement for Notary Public signatures, the number of signatures, and the process of a separate election for the Mayors seat should be considered. The Mayor’s position should be held by the top vote getter in each municipal election and possibly rotate every 2 years.

City Hall will maintain an open door policy, welcoming citizenry to their offices and public meetings, and encouraging input and ideas from their public.

Dayton was a leader in adopting the City Manager form of government, and in citizen participation. It is time to once again move forward with new ways to elect our leaders and involve our citizens. The City Manager must be the given the lead. If need be, the salaries of the Commission should be cut, if the Commission can’t learn to let the manager take the lead.

Dayton Sports and Rec

Dayton has been home to a number of Olympic and Professional athletes. We’ve also grown our share of musical talent. It’s time to build regional sports competitions, elite leagues and state of the art facilities for the things we don’t do when we’re working.

From practice spaces to performance spaces, it’s our duty as a community to give our hometown talents the opportunity to rise to the top.

While Five Rivers Metroparks has been a champion of the natural parks, it’s time to increase the scope of their responsibility to also include sports and music. Five Rivers Recreation would work with school districts at also taking care of sports facilities throughout the County. Think of Dayton as becoming a mini-Olympic city, with sports programs utilizing every possible venue, at maximum capacity. Read more about my idea for “Sportsplex

If we want a healthy community, we need to have healthy opportunities for all.

Bicycle friendliness should be a key part of all new development, as well as all public works. I am working to bring online for Summer 2010 to match the launch in Denver. Dayton could easily share headlines with a major “winning city” on a program that costs considerably less and benefits a lot more people than a parking garage at Austin Road.


It’s time to begin changing the laws in the State of Ohio to allow regional government. We may be able to ease into regionalism by first merging services like 911, water, sewer, roads, police and fire- through as many communities that are willing to participate. Dayton should offer the Airport to the region, in exchange for support in other areas like a simplified and regional income tax program.

Customer service- Metrics

I’ve advocated this for a long time- before it was an ombudsman who would take complaints, and track resolutions- and report to the Commission. Now, I’d like to install a “Help Desk” to track cases through city hall. The City Manager would be evaluated based on the resolution ratio and qualitative scores generated by the software. We’ll also adopt technology to do some of the reporting, see the post: Data, Dayton and developing our City 2.0

It’s time to put checks and balances on our bureaucrats who are perceived as inflexible and unresponsive. Every city employee must feel as if they are responsible for the perception of our city.

The City Manager would have targets for increased income tax revenues, increased population, higher average home sales, lower commercial property vacancy rates- etc. By placing real metrics in place we can track performance. Currently, we do not seem to have goals and objectives in place.

Population Growth

We have excess capacity for housing. We have a large part of Dayton that qualifies as a HUBzone. I would try to push for a test program that allows companies to have unlimited H1B visas if they locate their business and their employees live within the HUBzone. This would take lobbying on the Federal Level. While many communities don’t seem to want an influx of foreigners, I know first hand as a first generation American what an impact immigrants had on this country. I’d rather have the best and brightest come and work here- than compete against them in the global economy.

In summary

Taking four years of discussing issues and ideas from and putting them in a 4 page document, isn’t easy. This is to give new readers a place to get acquainted with the types of change I want to implement in our city- if I’m elected to be your voice.

Thank you.

38 Responses

  1. truddick September 21, 2009 / 9:25 pm

    Mostly good ideas–except the neighborhood one.
    I don’t want ignorant neighborhood vigilantes assessing the quality of housing stock or policing the streets.  I want professionals.  People who know how to evaluate a house or how to track crime, not dilettantes.
    Of course, to recruit professionals, we’ll need to solidify the tax base so that we can offer professional salaries.  Eliminating bureaucratic supervision where not essential would finance it.

  2. Stan Hirtle September 21, 2009 / 11:10 pm

    How are neighborhoods going to do all this? Volunteers? Who has time, as stay at home moms and healthy retirees become things of the past? Is someone going to fund them to hire staff? What happens when some mortgage trust that owns a vacant foreclosed property, or an absentee landlord, makes itself scarce? What do neighborhoods do then? And how are these competitive city employees going to be awarded bonuses fairly when neighborhoods are so different in resources. Will your city resemble the big cities of the past which were more a collection of ethnic neighborhoods than a unit? What’s the big deal with painting advertisements on old buildings and why do we want that?
    A number of the best ideas require significant changes in state or federal laws and the end of race to the bottom competition between communities, including between Dayton and its suburbs. I suppose it is good to have candidates popularize such things but it will take them a while to work their way up from Dayton City Commission to state or federal office, to the extent that that can happen. Part of the challenge of City Government, and for someone outside the party structure to do well enough to get elected, is that the City lacks resources to do things that are needed, no matter who the commissioners and city manager are. What will pay for fixing up vacant foreclosed on houses and put people into them, or pay for this business friendly infrastructure or the economic development? These issues will not generate tea party level emotion among the electorate, and even if they did inside Dayton, the power lies outside of Dayton.

  3. David Esrati September 22, 2009 / 5:30 am

    Always good to know how people can focus in on one or two small things- and miss the big picture. I can tell you now, that the neighborhoods that are doing well- are doing all these things and more.

    We’re in the urban pioneer stage- and much like pioneers as this country was built, we’ve had to become self-resourceful.

    @truddick- are you familiar at all with the priority board system? We’ve been doing the exact same thing for 30 years- only using election precincts to “elect” our representatives. What’s the difference of changing it over to natural boundaries instead of gerrymandered ones?

    As to the painting- it’s just one small way of making businesses able to differentiate. Drive up Riverside to Sibenthaler and read the signs in the old gas station. Then you might understand.

  4. thoughtful.april September 22, 2009 / 9:02 am

    Hmmm, I need to digest this all….

  5. Bill Rain September 22, 2009 / 1:11 pm

    David- Great ideas.. You may want to look into the EB-5 Visa which brings direct capital into projects while allowing for more foriegn workers. The following is from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

    “The special visa, know as the EB-5, can shave years off an immigrant’s wait for permanent residency, which leads to U.S. citizenship. The federal government makes 10,000 EB-5 visas available yearly.
    Foreign nationals gain a conditional green card by investing at least $1 million in projects that create at least 10 jobs. The required investment drops to $500,000 in economically distressed areas. With proof that the investment was sustained for two years and that new jobs resulted, the immigrant visa becomes permanent.”

  6. Jeff September 22, 2009 / 8:22 pm

    Will your city resemble the big cities of the past which were more a collection of ethnic neighborhoods than a unit?

    Gee lets hope so!  I grew up in one of those cities (Chicago), and they it was a unit as well as a city of neighborhoods.  Our city and my (and your) neighborhood.
    David, yes we all can quibble with the details but I love your vision.  I re-posted this at Urban Ohio to get some feedback from the die-hard urbanists at that board.  The holistic approach to community/neighborhood development is pretty cool.  I really like that.  It reminds me a bit of the community control movement of back in the 1960s.  And getting involved in eduction (by a cities political leadership) was done in Sacramento when that citys school system was failing.  So this might sound “out there” to people not familiar with history or what has happened elsewhere, its not outlandish at all to people who have a broad knowlege urban affairs and history.  You have an education component in your neighborhood development concept, and theres’ precedent for that.
    And the idea of engaging with the State and Federal government makes a lot of sense too.  This will have to be done to ensure the necessary legislation in place.   I don’t understand when people are critical of this aspect of your thinking.  That was how the Conservancy District was done.
    Anyway, good job.  Hopefully this will get some coverage beyond just this blog.

  7. David Esrati September 22, 2009 / 9:36 pm

    @Bill Rain and @Jeff

    Thank you for your support. I’ve been struggling with how to present so many of the ideas in a way that people can grasp. There are all kinds of things that need to happen- but, it all starts out with eliminating the silly adaptation of the gerrymandered political precincts as the basis for organizing our citizens. Neighborhoods can be sliced and diced by voting districts (my house and office are on the same block, but in two different voting precincts!) for political gain- but, they make no sense when applied to how we organize and empower our citizens.

    Jeff- thanks for the cross post- and the encouragement. Much needed boost in this sprint to Nov. 3rd.

  8. Thomas Kohn October 9, 2009 / 12:26 pm

    I would like to see a clear statement concerning the currently expressed goals of razing derelict houses, rehabbing reclaimable houses, and building houses where needed. There have been many statements made by McLin, Whaley, and Williams (and others on the commission) regarding the housing stock compared to population.
    David, please weigh in here.

  9. David Esrati October 9, 2009 / 2:24 pm

    @Thomas, the demolition issue is complex. I believe the plan has to be based on the decisions of the neighborhood organization. Which houses THEY want to keep, or demolish. Also, we need to look at occupied housing density in each neighborhood. I would rather invest the money in moving one or two residents from a block full of vacant homes- to a stronger neighborhood to fix up and fill in a vacant home there- and then close off the entire block and not try to demolish- but instead package to a speculator at a very low price.

    What we have with Whaley and McLin is just tear houses down as they become bad- with zero strategy for saving anything. I’m looking to condense our current population into stronger neighborhoods- a rebalancing if you will- as a better investment than demolition. Forcing banks to maintain foreclosed properties would be high on my list of priorities- as would asking them to work on swaps- giving them foreclosures in vacating areas- in exchange for ones in stronger neighborhoods.

    There has to be some penalty to banks for moving people out- and allowing the homes to lose more value as they are stripped. Every foreclosure must be registered with a value at time of vacation- and the bank will be held responsible for maintaining it at the same level.

  10. Jeff Hunter October 9, 2009 / 11:42 pm

    David, I have just read the Esrati Plan and I think it represents more vision than what we’re seeing from the supposed leadership of the Dayton City Commission.  Furthermore, I know from doing business with you that you are action-oriented so I have no doubt you would see this accomplished.  The leadership of this once proud city has failed, and unless we do something to arrest this decline we will look like another once proud American city that is due north having the same first letter in its name.  How people can be selfish enough to vote along party or color lines in this election is beyond me.  I support you because you are what this city needs at this time in its history.  You represent transformational change, and a hope that there is a brighter future for Dayton.

  11. John Ise October 24, 2009 / 7:56 am

    Just read this in the Economist.  Thought provoking and fits into the community taking charge of their crime/youth issues
    Crime and politics

    The velvet glove

    Oct 22nd 2009 | HIGH POINT, NORTH CAROLINA 
    From The Economist print edition

    Why the soft approach sometimes works

    Getty Images

    LOOKING after small children is never easy. Many dribble; some bite. But for Joyce Chavis, the problem until a few years ago was that she could not let toddlers in her care step outside her house. The street was packed with prostitutes. Drug-dealers loitered aggressively with pit bulls at their heels. In the local playground the bushes concealed only some of the things that crack-addicted young women were doing to earn their next fix.
    Until 2004 the West End neighbourhood in High Point, North Carolina, was an open-air drug market. Gun shots punctuated the night. Honest folk were scared to walk to the shops. Jim Summey, a local preacher, recalls a Sunday when his flock could not park because the street was jammed with johns seeking sex and drugs. When he remonstrated with the dealers, they smashed up his car and shot out 58 windows in his church.
    Yet West End is now as peaceful as evensong. It is still poor, but thugs with dogs no longer menace passers-by. The prostitutes have gone, or gone indoors. The corners are quiet. What happened?
    The High Point police used to deal with drug-dealers in the traditional manner. They would “come rolling in like an occupying army,” as Jim Fealy, the police chief, puts it. They would grab young men, pat them down and arrest the ones with drugs in their pockets. They sent many to jail, but never shut down the drug market for more than a few hours. African-Americans in neighbourhoods like West End detested the police, and the police grew frustrated that no one in these places called them to report crimes.
    But then they tried something different. On the advice of David Kennedy, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, they started talking to community leaders in West End. They found out who the street drug-dealers were. There were fewer than they had expected: only 16, of whom three were habitually violent. Patiently, they compiled dossiers on each of them. Then they arrested and prosecuted the violent ones, and invited the rest in for a chat.
    The young dealers were shown the evidence against them, and given a choice. If they stopped dealing drugs and carrying guns, they would not be prosecuted. A “community co-ordinator” sat down with each of them and asked him what he needed to go straight: a job? Drug treatment? A place to stay? An alarm clock to get to work on time? The community promised to help with all these things. The dealers’ neighbours and even grandmothers stood up and told them that what they were doing was wrong, and had to stop. Then prosecutors warned them that if they did not stop that day, they would be sent to jail, possibly for the rest of their lives.
    It worked. Nearly all the dealers reformed, bar the odd bit of shoplifting. You can still buy drugs behind closed doors in High Point, but the intervention was never about drugs. It was about making the neighbourhood liveable again. Fears that the open-air drug market would simply move elsewhere proved unfounded. As the same technique was tried in other neighbourhoods and for other types of crime, such as gang-related muggings, the city’s overall violent crime rate fell noticeably, from 8.7 per 1,000 people in 2003 to 7.3 in 2008.
    The debate about crime is often emotional. Voters want vengeance. Politicians oblige. Barack Obama supports the death penalty even though he believes it “does little to deter crime”. It is justified, he says, because it expresses “the full measure of [a community’s] outrage”. Such reasoning is widespread, but Mark Kleiman, the author of “When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment”, argues that it is unwise. The only good reason to punish, he says, is to prevent crime, either by locking criminals up so they cannot reoffend, or by deterring others.

    More threats, less force
    Prison sometimes works. Some credit tougher sentencing for the sharp drop in crime since the early 1990s. The number of incarcerated Americans has quadrupled since 1980, to 2.3m, and many of these people make the streets safer by their absence. But some 500,000 are non-violent drug offenders. And it “ought to bother us” that the incarceration rate for black Americans exceeds that in the Soviet Union at the peak of the Gulag, ventures Mr Kleiman. Incarceration hurts criminals’ friends and relatives. It upsets the sex ratio in high-crime areas, making it very hard for young black women to form stable families. The lesson of High Point is that you can reduce crime by making credible threats, without having to lock up so many people.
    To deter, a punishment must be swift, certain and severe. Of these, severity matters the least, reckons Mr Kleiman, and there is a trade-off: the harsher the punishment, the more legal safeguards are required to ensure it is not misapplied. States that execute murderers do so only after decades of appeals. This costs millions in legal fees. So they hardly ever do it, which means it is not much of a deterrent.
    It turns out that milder sanctions can be swifter and more certain. For example, in Hawaii, until recently, felons ignored the terms of their probation because the only punishment available was a harsh one: being sent back to prison for the remainder of their term, typically five to ten years. Courts and probation officers were too swamped to handle the necessary paperwork and rebut the legal challenges to such harsh penalties. So violators typically got off scot free. This led people to conclude that they could misbehave with impunity. The chaos only ended when a judge started handing out instant sentences of a week or so. The certain prospect of spending a few days behind bars straight away made most of the probationers behave.
    Mr Kleiman suggests several other promising, non-macho approaches to curbing crime. Raise alcohol taxes. Start school days later to prevent after-school crime. Force probationers to wear GPS tags, thus making probation a tough (and much cheaper) alternative to prison. Americans should experiment with such ideas, he says, and if they are serious about justice, the object should be to cut crime, not to make criminals suffer.

  12. David Esrati October 24, 2009 / 8:29 am

    @John Ise

    As usual- great stuff- it’s right along the lines of what Chief Biehl is doing with Reverend Walker and the Community Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence (CIRGV).

    The real strength in these programs is getting the neighborhoods to stand up- which is why my focus is on building the neighborhood organizations. We’ll see if voters will understand the differences.

  13. David Lauri October 24, 2009 / 10:22 am

    Here are a couple ideas related to parking requirements and walk to work tax credits: The city could build a parking garage near but outside of downtown, perhaps in the Webster Street/Monument Ave area, and people who work at downtown businesses could be allowed to park in that garage for free (show proof of employment at a downtown business, get a parking sticker for your car).  Those people could then walk downtown, or take a bus the short trip downtown.
    Actually, to start with, no parking garage would even be needed.  Just re-pave and re-stripe and presto! instant parking lot.

  14. David Lauri October 24, 2009 / 10:27 am

    Will your city resemble the big cities of the past which were more a collection of ethnic neighborhoods than a unit?
    Gee lets hope so!  I grew up in one of those cities (Chicago), and they it was a unit as well as a city of neighborhoods.

    Could Dayton please get a Boystown?,_Chicago

  15. truddick October 24, 2009 / 12:39 pm

    Re: your response to my response, Citizen Esrati:
    Yes, I am not ignorant of the Priority Board system.
    No, I do not oppose strengthening neighborhoods.  You seem to have overlooked one of my more frequent comments on that issue: we will strengthen neighborhoods when elementary students are automatically enrolled in their neighborhood school; exceptions granted only for special-needs or academically-advanced students who might need to be bussed to special programs.  The broad center of our grade-school student body–the 85% who test within one standard deviation of “normal”–should be served by a standard district-wide age-appropriate curriculum and standard methods of pedagogy.
    It’s a bit nettling to have you snipe “Always good to know how people can focus in on one or two small things- and miss the big picture.”  In particular, I started out by complimenting the plan (or does “Mostly good ideas” not register with you?) and then focused on the one detail with which I disagree–namely, the potential for amateurism and its attendant ills.  You didn’t address that yet; of course you are under no obligation to do so.  But if we are to disagree, let’s at least try to do so politely and not distort one another’s positions.

  16. David Esrati October 24, 2009 / 12:45 pm


    I agree neighborhood schools would be great- but, if we can’t do that- we need other neighborhood based activities for kids.

    Reporting problems, and working them out at the neighborhood level doesn’t mean we don’t have city inspectors with final say- it’s just a quicker, more efficient system.

    Sorry you felt that I was impolite, or distorted your position.

    I’m still waiting for the other candidates to post a plan- and allow feedback.

  17. truddick October 24, 2009 / 3:52 pm

    Thank you David, it’s true that you are far more ‘net savvy than your competition.
    On another minor note, I would prefer that the homophobic and religiously prejudiced Boy Scouts not be promoted by public bodies.  I have had 2 boys involved in Scouts so I am not their arch enemy, but government should refuse to support them until they give Unitarian-Universalists and Pagans and Atheists due respect and equality–much less inclusion–and the same for diverse sexual and gender orientations.

  18. David Esrati October 24, 2009 / 9:49 pm

    @truddick- you and my father both have the same feelings towards scouting. I don’t believe in government supporting them- but, I believe neighborhoods should use similar programs to work with kids.

  19. Brian October 25, 2009 / 12:25 pm

    @DL, what problem are you trying to solve with the free garage at Monument/Webster?   There likely are not any lots or garages in downtown that are at full capacity.  There is plenty of parking available, especially if someone is willing to walk two blocks.

  20. David Lauri October 25, 2009 / 12:40 pm

    @Brian: The problem of suburbanites not wanting to pay for parking.

  21. Brian October 25, 2009 / 9:49 pm

    @David L.:  if we’re painting with a broad brush, suburbanites are also famous for their desire to walk no further than about 50 feet from their car to their destination.  A garage at Monument/Webster would probably be a miserable failure, and would still cost $12-18k per space of public dollars to build.  Operational costs would be substantial as well.
    The for-pay lots and garages downtown were purchased and/or built for a high cost — they weren’t free.  As an investment, a surface parking lot is like a little apartment building with no plumbing.  You don’t give apartments away (unless you’re Sec 8), and there is no such thing as free parking.  Everything has a cost.   An investor typically pays $3000-12000 per space to buy a lot in downtown Dayton, and is “banking” on the idea of being able to charge for use of those spaces.   They’re not evil;  they’re just investors or business owners trying to pay their mortgage and maybe make a profit in a tough economy.
    It would be unfair to give parking away en masse and drive these owners into bankruptcy or foreclosure.  They invested in Dayton, and they deserve a chance to succeed.
    Free parking isn’t the answer.  Affordable, safe, well-lit, easy-to-find, convenient, consistent, available parking is the answer, along with some good packaging/marketing.

  22. David Lauri October 26, 2009 / 8:33 pm

    It was just an idea, and I did say no garage would be needed to start with.
    And you’re wrong that there’s no such thing as free parking.  The people who work at suburban office parks don’t pay for parking.
    But I’m not running for office, and this really isn’t an issue about which I feel strongly.  It was just a spur of the moment idea.

  23. Brian October 26, 2009 / 11:22 pm

    @DavidL:  there’s still no free parking.   :-)   The owners of the suburban office parks “bake” the cost of the parking lot into the overall rent.   Someone always pays.   Dirt costs money.  Asphalt costs money.  Lights cost money.  Property taxes cost money.
    Sorry if I came on too strong.  I just want people to realize some of the other issues that are in play when they lobby for free parking downtown, etc.

  24. David Esrati October 26, 2009 / 11:28 pm

    But Brian- We could have a unified parking system- with similar signs, rates, and a strategy to make things simpler for people to understand. Portland OR did this long ago- Cincy has some garages working together.

    It could make downtown more user friendly- and it wouldn’t cost that much.

  25. David Lauri October 26, 2009 / 11:30 pm

    There’s still free parking in that the people parking their cars to go shopping or to dinner or to work aren’t having to find change for meters or to stop by a booth as they leave a garage or lot to pay to exit.
    Whether the City of Dayton should be in the business of providing free parking garages or lots is a issue worth discussing certainly.  Whether downtown Dayton is less attractive to employers, employees, business owners, shoppers, diners, theatre goers, etc., because parking is a separate expense is also an issue worth discussing.
    Here’s another off the cuff idea ready for the shooting down.  Why not get rid of parking meters altogether?  I realize part of the point of parking meters is to ensure turnover in on street parking, so that on street parking is available mainly for errands and short trips, but ensuring that on street parking is available for that purpose doesn’t require that parkers pay to park.  There could just be time limits, and the meter attendants (they’d need a new name, I guess — parking attendants?) could instead keep track of how long cars have been parked in specific spots and ticket ones that have exceeded the time limits.

  26. David Esrati October 27, 2009 / 6:58 am

    @David L. There are meters that can tell how long a car has been in a spot now. But- if you park at a free meter- and then get a ticket for being late- it may be even more discouraging. I’ve suggested free scooter and motorcycle parking on sidewalks- if they don’t impede walking- to encourage more fuel efficiency and to reduce number of spots needed. The cops have no problem parking their Harley’s by Boston Stoker.

  27. Brian October 27, 2009 / 11:34 am

    @DavidE:  absolutely right, that’s what should happen.   Consistent signage and a good deal on “first hour for a buck” at all (I said ALL) pay lots and garages would really lower the perceived barriers.
    >We could have a unified parking system- with similar signs, rates, and a strategy to make things simpler for people to understand. Portland OR did this long ago- Cincy has some garages working together.  It could make downtown more user friendly- and it wouldn’t cost that much.

  28. Brian October 27, 2009 / 11:39 am

    @DavidL:  you’re right, the main use of Meters is to make sure the prime spots turn over multiple times per day.    There are ways to do that without meters but they’re a little more time and technology intensive:  license plate recognition via handhelds or cameras on the bumper of the parking enforcement officer, etc.
    As DE said, there are new meters available that communicate wirelessly and can actually call the enforcement officer over, “hey, I’m about to expire”.
    You have to do something to force the turnover, though.  Cities that have eliminated meters have seen the spaces immediately get taken by all-day workers, and then there’s absolutely nowhere for the transient “quick stop” customers to park.   The meters come back pretty quickly.

  29. Mark Collins November 1, 2009 / 1:15 pm

    What are your plans for the Five Oaks/5th District?

  30. David Esrati November 1, 2009 / 1:17 pm

    @Mark Collins

    What are the neighborhoods plans for their neighborhoods? That’s my plan. Empower the neighborhoods to set their own destiny- with a lot of coaching and support.

  31. Dave Ferro December 4, 2009 / 1:01 pm

    My suggestion to engergize the economy?  Suspend the Personal Incom Tax, and cut Government spending.  I can’t think of a better economic “stimulus”….

  32. Gene December 4, 2009 / 2:14 pm

    DAVE!!!! that is waaaaaaayyyyy toooooooo conservative to post on this blog.

    But you are right. You will never convince a liberal though….

  33. Jordan March 28, 2010 / 9:51 pm

    I must say, Mr. Esrati, despite differing greatly on much of your platform, you seem poised with much energy and passion to impact this city. Such zeal is absent from most politicians, both red and blue. Your commitment to see real progress in Dayton may earn you my vote! That’s saying something, especially considering of much a conservative I am! :P

  34. James June 9, 2010 / 8:02 am

    What office are you running for, Congress or Dayton City Commission? Your problem is that you do not have a grasp on the issues a Congressman needs to worry about. We elect men and women to go to Washington to run the FEDERAL government, not the LOCAL government. Why don’t you change your focus to the national issues like immigration reform, tax reform, social program reform?

  35. David Esrati June 9, 2010 / 10:17 am

    @James, thank you for your post- as you might know, I’ve turned in petitions that have not yet been certified by the BOE to run for Congress in this special election. I do have a grasp on the issues a Congressman does- and have written extensively- you just wandered into a part of my site that has my position for City COmmission.
    If you look at the Categories: Hot Button Issues– and OH-3 and others- you’ll find positions on National issues.

    My records is all here on the website. You can’t find the same from any other candidate- or the incumbent.

    I challenge you to post your questions on other posts- and also- see that you get a response, something sorely lacking from our current congressman.

  36. Ralph November 29, 2013 / 12:58 pm

    Please include abolishing the current city manager form of no accountability CITY CHARTER!  This needs to be top of the list.  The neighborhood input would be more strongly supported by City Council required to come form district neighborhoods and not just who can garner the biggest war chest.
    As per tax incentive (or poaching as you call it), I agree it should be equitable but Dayton needs better “poachers” to keep pace, not fewer.

  37. John Ise December 12, 2016 / 11:51 am

    David, you should constantly update this…keeping the plan a “living document”.

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