Esrati vision for a digital Dayton

Esrati plan for a digital Dayton

Become Ohio’s first Digital city.

I believe that it’s time to make Dayton remarkable for doing things that other cities can’t pull off. The spirit of the Wright Brothers, Kettering, Deeds etc. It’s time to innovate our way to prosperity. To make Dayton the place people want to move to- instead of move away from. I see Dayton as a land of opportunity- where it’s easy for everyone to prosper, with our low cost of living, great water, and by turning every neighborhood into a vibrant community where people like their neighbors (it’s happened in South Park- my neighborhood where “neighbors become friends”).

There are two stories that I bring to this narrative- stories of kids triumphing over obstacles, of taking charge of their futures and creating value.

Earlier this year, OLPC workers dropped off closed boxes containing the tablets, taped shut, with no instruction. “I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android,” Negroponte said. “Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”

via Given Tablets but No Teachers, Ethiopian Children Teach Themselves | MIT Technology Review.

Considering I’ve been in parts of West Dayton where my cell phone couldn’t connect with the Internet- I believe that our children and our community are being isolated from the greatest learning tool and equalizing technology on the planet. We have to not only be able to get our kids online- but, give them the opportunity to teach themselves, if our parents and schools can’t.

Like this kid in Mongolia- who got accepted to MIT. It’s sad when a kid in Mongolia has better access to the Internet than American citizens.

When he was 15 years old, Battushig Myanganbayar of Ulan Bator, Mongolia got a perfect score in the MIT Circuits and Electronics course he took through edX, the online education platform MIT co-founded with Harvard.

via Mongolian Teen Aces an MIT Online Course, Then Gets Into MIT.

That’s why I want to do three things:

  1. Photo of Maya White, holding an iPad, promoting the campaign of David Esrati for Dayton City Commission and iPads for Dayton Public Schools students.

    iPads cost less than library books. If we want a community of readers- access to Project Gutenberg is a great start.

    Every Dayton public school student gets an iPad. From Kindergarten to 12th grade. Why an iPad? For one, Apple is the number one premium brand and invented the tablet as we know it. We need to polish our communities cache. Second, the iPads have tracking software and virtually bullet proof ID- there is little incentive to steal them. Third- Apple has more apps- and experience in delivering computers in schools than anyone else. Also- all the new testing requires computers- and right now DPS has 1 computer for every 4 students- hardly enough to handle the upcoming requirements. Also- consider this fact alone- books are the second biggest expenditure after salaries- and with iPads- there is an entire library of classic books available to every student without any additional cost. The entire state of New Hampshire gave their students Mac Books years ago, LA has just spent a billion dollars equipping their kids with iPads (with some stupid controversy).

  2. Wi-fi everywhere. For the kids to be able to maximize the use of their tablets- they need to be able to get online. Also- every citizen who has a smart phone, will no longer be up against expensive data caps from cell phone companies. Getting online in Dayton should be as easy as breathing. We need to get our community engaged and connected- to jobs, to each other, to build our neighborhoods- using sites like www.nextdoor.com as community hubs. This isn’t new- the entire country of Estonia- now referred to as e-Stonia, was covered in WiFi a decade ago.
  3. Fiber with gigabit speed- it’s in the ‘burbs, but it’s not coming to Dayton fast. Because of our rate of poverty in the region, telcos aren’t making a push to extend the fastest or best service. When Google Fiber was up for grabs via a competition- our city leaders were all for it- once Google picked Kansas City- then Provo UT and Austin TX, they forgot about it. We have a fiber backbone in place already running our traffic lights- it’s time to expand it.

Social mobility- the ability to move from poverty to wealth, is a key measure of a communities health. Dayton ranks very low on this scale- it’s a primary goal of mine to change that statistic. While Nan Whaley and Joey Williams- the “Endorsed Democrats” and big money campaign- has had 8 years of control of the commission- they’ve chosen to invest our money in either building bricks and mortar- or tearing down bricks and mortar and filling landfills. From Tech Town to the failed Kroger at Wayne and Wyoming- they think differently than I do in terms of how to raise the standards of living in Dayton.

It’s my belief that the number one factor in measuring the success of our policy isn’t the number of houses- but the number of people who choose to live in Dayton- and their average income. I believe by making investments in the technology to engage and enrich our communities minds is much more important than what we do with vacant houses. In fact, I think less of them will be vacant if we implement these kinds of investments.

One of the mistakes I made in my past campaigns was assuming that most voters were online and depending on my digital literacy to pay off. Sadly, many voters don’t even have email addresses- or access. This may sound astounding to you- but it’s a fact in Dayton. That’s why I need you- especially if you are a Dayton Public School student, to spread the word about my campaign. Either Dayton is going to move forward with my election to the Dayton City Commission, or we’re going to stagnate, spending our money making empty lots and a taller landfill.

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6 Responses

  1. larry sizer October 5, 2013 / 4:50 pm
    David: If memory serves you correctly, I had mentioned at a Historic South Park meeting a while back, that the South Park neighborhood should get Wi-Fi, a dog park, skate board rams for the kids, so South Park would be the place that the “thinking crowd with kids and dogs” would like to make home. I remember some dunderhead (I would say the Brown Nose’s name, out of respect to you and your standards I won’t) at that time telling me that South Park would never get a dog park or skate rams next to the bridge that connects South Park and the Oregon District, preferring that lame proposal that UD presented. For sure there is interest in spending big bucks on the river and Kayaking, but what about the kids that will grow up and make Dayton there starting point in life, lets throw some shekels their way. I sure hope you get elected so we can get Dayton back on the right track and appropriate direction. You have the House of Sizer’s vote…
  2. Patrick Curl October 8, 2013 / 11:15 am
    Hey David,
    I’ve been following you for quite some time, and think you’re right on in lots of areas. — as a Developer I live and breathe online and Fiber and high speed connections is something we’re desperately needing inside Dayton. The higher the speed, the more businesses it’ll attract – and the lower the speed, the more businesses it’ll repel. You can’t have Facebook’s and Google’s w/out a good internet backbone. 

    I’m in the planning stages of launching a clone of DevBootCamp.com here in Dayton – if I can get funding and find a reasonably priced location for the first cohort.  — it’ll be a 12 week training course for Ruby on Rails / programming – the hopes of which is that all the major tech hubs have a HUGE ROR dev community, but Dayton’s is sorely lacking -if we breed more developers here, perhaps we can also bring more companies to the region who are seeking that specific talent. I’d also like to have free coding class once per week for grade/middle school students — where our students will become the teachers and teach local students coding as part of their training in some sort of after-school, or in-school program. 
    I also have plans to eventually build out a co-working space for graduates to stay locally, have a cubicle, but work remotely for companies in Austin, SF, and Boston and other big tech hubs. 
    I’m pretty excited about this project, could definitely use any support getting the word out, once I get the site up, and I will also have an IndieGogo campaign to raise money for the first class. — Most of the curriculum/training will be from free and paid Massive Open Online Courses(moocs) — I will mostly be curating/organizing it into a curriculum, and facilitating the learning process, bring in people for seminars/lectures, and –the brunt of the training will be each 4 week period(trimester) we will be working on startup ideas from students/dayton area entrepreneurs. As a coder myself, I could not for the life of me, learn coding UNTIL I stopped watching tutorials and started actually building something from scratch. The bootcamp will take equity in companies that come out of the program : 3% if they remain in Dayton(or SW Ohio region) for at least 4 years, 8% if they move out of Dayton(SW Ohio region).

    I’m also looking for partners on this endeavor – if you know anyone who would be willing to work on this w/ me, let me know! [email protected] 

  3. David Esrati October 8, 2013 / 1:55 pm

    Patrick- oh, how I need to learn Ruby. But, that’s beside the point. Kansas City has seen a bump in tech startups thanks to Fiber. I don’t expect bandwidth to cure everything- but, I do believe if we start working for the citizens en masse instead of just a developer here- a neighborhood there- we may start to pick up momentum like we’ve never seen.
    I wish you the best on your project.

  4. Brianne Fowler October 9, 2013 / 5:15 pm
    I go to a NHA school called Pathway School of Discovery, please consider giving our school iPads 
  5. David Esrati October 9, 2013 / 6:28 pm

    @Brianne Fowler- it depends on where the funding comes from. However, more than likely, we will only be supplying public schools- and Dayton residents.
    However, you will still have access to the wifi system- and each neighborhood will have a place for gigabit Internet access for students.
    We will also try to make available devices at a lower cost for Charters via the buying power.

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