First time visitors: welcome, Dayton Daily News profiles review

The Dayton Daily News wrote three complete, yet very short, profiles today of Commissioner Nan Whaley,  Commissioner Joey D. Williams, and me. Online, at the moment has Joey’s story, my profile and nothing about poor ”knock ’em down” Nan. It’s currently at http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/election/3-candidates-vying-for-2-city-commission-seats-319198.html

The DDN fixed the story- it’s now at: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/election/profiles-of-candidates-vying-for-2-dayton-commission-seats-319697.html

Although much was made of my many attempts to run, and the mask case was referenced, there is only one error in the reporting (a first for the DDN which usually makes every attempt to paint me negatively)- this site gets between 15,000 and 20,000 unique visitors per month, not “hits” per month, the stats don’t count RSS feeds, people who subscribe by e-mail or people who read this content on www.daytonos.com where it is republished so that government employees can’t get in trouble for visiting www.esrati.com on the job (which many of them do). [note: error of omission, the “profile” they have left out my military service- although you could infer it from my founding of VOB108}

The stories are brief. If that is all you have to judge three candidates, there isn’t much there. However credit must be given to Dayton Daily News reporter Joanne Huist Smith for starting her article about me “It’s probably an understatement to say the election of David Esrati will shake things up at City Hall.”

The headlines are telling too- Nan’s is “Youngest commissioner hoping to make a difference”- as if to say after four years she still has hopes to achieve something, and Joey’s is “Two-term commissioner wants to continue his work toward making city sustainable.” I get “Community activists wants to build a better Dayton through empowerment, regionalism.” If you only had those three headlines and one vote, knowing the condition this city is in, which would you choose? And, in fact, when you vote, if you really want to see a change, that’s how you should vote- only once, because any other vote in the commission race counts against me and cancels the vote out (you have two votes- the top two vote getters win).

I’m sure that the most controversial subject is the part about my plan to eliminate the priority board system. I’ve written about it before on this site (you can search it to find out more) and in “The Plan” (something missing from the other candidates’ sites entirely). In a nutshell- the Priority Board system was set up in a different Dayton than we have now. It used to be well-funded, and the city had almost 100,000 more people. The major flaw is the way seats are distributed- based on voting precincts, which are frequently gerrymandered by politicians in Columbus to try to make it easier for one political party or the other (and you must choose between elephants and donkeys, no third party allowed)- not by the actual neighborhood with real physical boundaries and a sense of place. Blindly drawing on maps gives us a very ineffective way to rebuild our city. My proposal is to use the neighborhood organizations as the way to maintain a connection with City Hall. Each neighborhood president would speak to the City Manager at least 4 times a year at a city-wide meeting. There, each neighborhood would be evaluated on its efforts to reach its own goals- and those of the city. Those that do meet progress standards will be rewarded, those that haven’t will be helped. Neighbors will be asked to help neighbors- on a neighborhood-based level, to help all rise.

My observations on the three candidates are simple, Nan Whaley is a pawn of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. She has never held a job outside of its wing, has accomplished little in four years in office and talks incessantly about tearing down our city. Her fund-raising prowess is amazing, she’d raised well over $37,000 at reporting time, for a job that doesn’t pay that much in a year. Her largest contributor, whom she seemed very uncomfortable about in the Dayton Daily News editorial board meeting, is a demolition contractor and landfill operator- who when pushed, she made out to hardly know, which is believable since he lives in Westerville, Ohio. I fully expect more smear, negative attack ads from her if the polling they were doing yesterday gives her something to worry about.

Joey Williams and I have a long history. I consider him a friend. He’s done well working within the lines, being very cautious. He’s a banker for a living, and the conservative side to his nature is apparent. He brings real fiscal knowledge to the Commission but has yet to craft any signature legislation or change in two terms. The only remarkable action he’s ever taken is the one he’s most frequently accused of, an abstention. By abstaining on the resolution to protect gays and lesbians in the workplace, he lost the respect of the typically Democrat-leaning gay community, protected his position with the homophobic preachers and got wailed on by me, who referred to his action as spineless. Although I find his inability to take a stand on an important issue and his list of accomplishments on the commission on the short side, I would endorse Joey for the second seat which is the most likely outcome of any election in Dayton, based on past numbers.

It’s sad that there isn’t a fourth candidate on the ballot. The system is designed to make it difficult to beat an incumbent. Besides the ridiculous 500-signature requirement (you only need 50 for County Commissioner or even U.S. Congress), every card is stacked against challengers. We had 11 people take out petitions for Commission and Mayor- yet only two new names will appear on the ballot.

If you would like to support me, please consider giving at least $25 to my campaign (buy the poster and I’ll personally hand deliver it to your house in Dayton), or if you want a yard sign- go to www.electesrati.com and register to volunteer and check off yard sign. We also need volunteers to walk neighborhoods, make phone calls and organize fund-raisers or attend them. There are still tickets available for the event at Chef Joe Fish’s home, where he will feed you delicious bites and wine in return for a $50 minimum donation.

Last, but not least, if you are interested in what a real journalist writes, when doing an interview- check out what two-time Pulitzer prize nominated writer, Larkin Vonalt (who moved to Dayton to send her kid to Stivers!) wrote about me a few months back, I think it will help you better understand why I run, over and over. Thank you for reading.

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5 Responses

  1. Brilliant September 27, 2009 / 9:45 am
    One other mistake that you didnt mention. The length of time Joey Williams has lived in the city. If memory serves me correct he had to have his house annexed into the city when he began running for commission. So, he has only been a resident since 2001 and not the life long resident as the DDN indicates.

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  2. David Esrati September 27, 2009 / 10:27 am

    @Brilliant- Joey had a home on Liscum Majestic drive before moving to his current home. It was only after he won the election did he “realize” that the city boundary was at the end of his yard. Technically- he shouldn’t have been allowed on the ballot at all. His property was quickly annexed to the city to comply. At no time did he live outside the city.

    Just another example of how the Board of Elections gives hall passes to the party endorsed candidates and a hard time to anyone else. When I ran for Mayor the first time- a candidate named Gary Kidd ran as well- he didn’t live in the city- and then claimed to live on- get this- Bonner Street. I tried to bring up the fact that this was as legit as Jon Husted’s “residence”- but no one cared.

    Had to fix a few factual errors in my comment – sorry.

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  3. Jeff Wellbaum September 27, 2009 / 11:48 am
    What can you tell us about the polling? Is it a new poll? I know Gary told me they did a poll several months back and actually called his house inadvertently to ask him about the mayoral race. Do you think the DDN will conduct a poll and publish it?

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  4. David Esrati September 27, 2009 / 12:04 pm

    @Jeff Wellbaun (and thanks for using your whole name-we’re suffering from too many Jeff’s on this site)

    I doubt it was the DDN. They wouldn’t spend the money. It’s either being paid for by the party- who probably wouldn’t waste the money, or by Nan and Rhine who are sitting on a ton of cash, and getting nervous.

    They knew the DDN article was coming out- and may be doing a poll before and after to see if it moved the needle. I heard about it from two people who were called, Bill Pote at Dayton Most Metro and the Wilson’s who live around the corner from me.

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  5. David Esrati September 27, 2009 / 2:20 pm

    Updated the facts about Joey’s residency.

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