On May 7, 2013 a small percentage of Dayton voters will go to the polls to narrow the field of candidates for Dayton Mayor and City Commission. It’s a rare election in that we even have this choice, since most times, the Board of (S)Elections manages to keep most of the potential candidates off the ballot. The Commission seats are staggered as well, so that this is the odd chance to elect a majority- three people, to the commission which is the number you need to actually do anything. If you are a student of Dayton election history- this never happens (at least in modern times). Incumbents win, party supported candidates win, there have only been a few upset wins- Turner over Dixon, McLin over Turner, Leitzell over McLin- and all by less than 1000 votes.
The Commissioner seats rarely change hands unless the party wants it to happen. Dean Lovelace was the last non-party person to win, and that was in a rare special election. Most likely, his seat will transfer in yet another special election, sometime after this primary.
In each race this year, we’re eliminating one candidate. Hardly a big choice. The mayors race is getting all of the attention, with more Mayor only candidates nights. I filmed 2 this week- they are posted at www.independentdayton.com There was little new knowledge to be gained. But, I did ask a question at the League of Women Voters event Tuesday, of Nan Whaley and AJ Wagner that bears watching- it was if it comes down to the two of them, both career politicians and Democratic party insiders (AJ owes at least 4 elections to their backing), would they agree to campaign spending caps.
AJ put it to Nan, and she didn’t answer directly, but instead talked about a “first class campaign.”
With yesterdays pre-campaign filings, it’s become clear that Nan has zero intention of holding back a dime, having out raised AJ by a ridiculous number, who has in-turn, out-raised and out-spent the Mayor by a ridiculous number.
The question for voters, since one of these free-spending, cost-no-object candidates will still be on the ballot no matter what, is how obscene do you want this race to be?
To me, there is only one choice- to vote for Leitzell by a ridiculous margin and send a clear message to these two political machines that it’s got to be about the power of ideas and your actions that you demonstrate your leadership quality- not by the amounts of money you throw at the campaign. To knock the biggest spender out in the primary would be epic. It would also be the most sensible thing to do, since Whaley has had 8 years with the support of at least 2 other votes the entire time she’s been in office. She’s had plenty of time to change the course of this city- even though change in government runs at only one speed in this town- slow (that’s a Leitzell quote).
The fact that she raised over $30,000 from three unions can only be construed as them wanting to protect their bargaining with the City Manager (current or the next one) and think that Nan can exert that kind of pull. The other money, like a $5,000 donations from Washington (William Robinson, 1730 Rhode Island Ave. Washington DC 20036 4/17/13 Online $5,000.00), or a fundraiser in Columbus Ohio which $5,595 should upset me as a Dayton voter, but it doesn’t. It’s to be expected by someone who lives politics 24/7 and has no idea or ideas, about what it takes to let ideas own the discussion.
The donation from Penn National Gaming PAC of $1000 (they of the “Racino”) or the donations by other politicians who are giving money that taxpayers gave to them, to her, don’t phase me either- although I find them reprehensible. (full disclosure, William Pace’s campaign gave my campaign $100). She also got $1000 from the Washington PAC Emily’s list- as if Nan is a powerhouse on national agenda issues. There are other donors from all over. I’d almost like to do a breakdown of how many of her donors actually live in Dayton proper, but she’s not worth my time.
What bothered me most, was a single donation of $200 from a gentleman in Cleveland Heights, Art Brooks. I’ve known his daughters Caryn and Kristin since grade school. He served on a committee with my mother to start an Artists co-op in the seventies. He has no vested interest in Dayton, I doubt he’s ever been here. He probably gave because Nan had our Senator, Sherrod Brown working his donors over for her. It disappoints me that the favors of one candidate buy another. Why do we even allow the voters into the equation?
Look them over. Ask, at what price do you think is reasonable to run for Mayor? And, do you really want these two in a no-holds barred race? It’s Dayton’s turn to say no to big money in politics and bring national attention to the problem. It’s time to tell rich people that they can’t continue to buy our elected offices. It’s time to tell Nan, you had your free ride- this is the last ride.
The only thing I really feel sorry for is everyone who is going to have to see her $27,000 tv media spend. The commercial is painfully bad.