Longshots, Soundbites, Favorite Sons and the Qualifications of a Congressman

I had an interesting talk with Dr. Mike Ervin this afternoon. For those of you who don’t know Dr. Ervin, he’s been the chair of many task forces (including the Electric Trolley one now in action) and made quite a bit of money running a medical insurance business that built the “Wright Health Associates” building right across the street from the doomed NCR building 26. He now lives in an amazing modern home in the former Southern Belle in the heart of the Oregon District- and is going to transform all the empty retail spaces down 5th street in the District into arts galleries. Watch him.

He thinks I have good ideas. He reads my site. He reads DaytonOS (and was asking me why it’s borked today) and is generally connected to the power grid of Dayton (and I’m not talking DP&L).

And he too, still doesn’t get the “Ninja mask” and thinks it’s my weakness in the race. Other readers have said that as well. After an explanation of what happened- and how I triumphed over the evils of Mike Turners secret meetings, he still sees me as a long shot, and isn’t prepared to back me (He was one of Dick Chema’s biggest backers in the last slaughter). So, I’m sitting here- and asking myself, can I realistically change perception in 70 days, from “Ninja Dave” to the only one brave enough to go toe-to-toe with Mr. Slick and have a shot at winning?

First and foremost: what is it the voters want in a Congressman?
Article 1 of the Constitution requires only 3 things:

  • twenty five years of age
  • a citizen of the United States for at least 7 years
  • at the time of election, be a resident of the state

Unfortunately, along the way, the system now expects the following:

  • be a member of one of two major political parties
  • be able to raise scads of cash from questionable sources
  • be a lawyer
  • talk in sound bites and sound like a PR huckster (note, I said sound like one- not be one)

No where is there anything in either of those qualification sets are any of the following:

  • innovative ideas
  • challenging the system (which we all seem to agree isn’t working all that well)
  • intellectual leadership (unless we really want more dummies in government)

Back when Mike Turner and I both ran against Richard Clay Dixon we were both longshots. He didn’t even have the Republican party taking him seriously. But, he fit the mold that people were comfortable electing: a lawyer who spoke in sound bites.

If I hadn’t rankled Clay with asking if his campaign funds came from “people who wanted to build a landfill on the West Side”- he wouldn’t have taken me outside for a boxing lesson- and Mike Turner probably wouldn’t be where he is today. He only beat Clay by 400 votes.

My campaign literature wasn’t sound bite either. I asked the hard questions even then- like how are we going to end poverty in Dayton, fix the schools, strengthen property values, racially balance the safety forces. You can read my literature from then now– I still have it posted. I’m not ashamed of it, and I still believe now as I did then, that I had viable ideas to transform Dayton. What I didn’t understand then was how the system worked and that you need three votes to get anything done on the City Commission (ask Mary Wiseman about passing civil rights legislation with Turner on the Commission with her).

Turner used to mock me on the campaign trail- suggesting I should be running for school board, since I kept talking about stopping busing by filing a lawsuit to lift the deseg order on the grounds of it causing “economic segregation” which is worse than racial segregation. He didn’t think that the City could do that. Later as Mayor, he claims ownership of ending busing for deseg in Dayton- hmmmm.

When I went to the City Commission meeting to protest the illegal secret meetings he was holding, I went alone. A few years later, I was privileged to have dinner with Martin Sheen in his brother’s home- and Martin said he thought I was brave and fighting a noble battle, and that he was honored to meet me. For those of you who aren’t aware, this is a man who has been arrested over 100 times protesting for what he believes are right and just causes. However, the local media liked Turner’s spin on the mask more than the message, and continue to malign me for doing their work as watchdog.

After winning over Turner five times in court (remember, he’s the lawyer) and settling for $100,000 (most of which went to paying attorneys fees) Turner sill is seen as the “politically correct” candidate- even though he has shown little respect for either the Constitution or his constituents. As to his legacy of his “Urban Mayor” background, need I remind people that the first thing he did after losing to Rhine McLin was move to a gated community in Centerville.

Why do I think I’m the best candidate to run against the buzz machine we have masquerading as a Representative of the people? Maybe some of it comes from my upbringing, by two Americans by choice, not by birth right. Maybe it’s from my willingness not only to volunteer to serve in the US Army, but to volunteer two more times- for jump school and then for Special Forces, bypassing an opportunity to go to West Point Prep (probably my biggest mistake ever).

It was in Special Forces that I was made to believe that a small force of well trained men, could change the course of history. Somehow I still believe that. Ross Perot once said that anything getting done was the result of a “Monomaniac on a mission”- and it was George Bernard Shaw who said: ‘The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man”- a quote I put on my old literature.

So while Turner was studying law, so he could go on to break it. I was studying how to wage a war when out gunned, out manned and behind enemy lines. Perfect training to take on an incumbent congressman, with three quarters of a million dollars in the bank, who has become rich through his association with a defense contractor (MTC owned by Raj Soin) and who doesn’t seem to mind accepting money from every corporation- including NCR, one of Dayton’s oldest- who just pulled millions of dollars out of the local tax base after being offered a tax dollar bribe to move to NYC.

And, do I need to remind you that my name is David. I was born to fight Goliath.

So, Dr. Ervin, according to all sources, beating Mike Turner is an impossible task. The district is gerrymandered, the incumbent unscathed by his own questionable actions, and backed with an insurmountable financial lead- do you want to back someone who seems like a good lamb to the slaughter, or do you want someone who is willing to bring guns to a knife fight?

Do you want to bring the troops home? End corporate welfare? Bring sanity back to the financial markets? Focus on infrastructure and social capital to restore the value of being an American? Work toward a sensible health care system that can deliver equal access to all?

Or do you want the same, slick, seasoned politician?

Choice is up to you? Write a check to Elect Esrati – because when longshots pay off, the win is big.

Oh, and one last thing: Mike Turner can’t stand being in the same room as me. So at least, you can find joy in making him miserable from now to November.

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