Money may not buy happiness, but it might buy a politician

The pre-election campaign finance reports were due yesterday. I hope to have the complete McLin and Whaley reports online early next week- because, they won’t publish anything truly informative on their sites.

From the Dayton Daily News today:

McLin declared contributions of just more than $51,862, from about 170 supporters, including $10,000 from Kitt C. Cooper of Westerville. Cooper is the owner of Vance Environmental, LTD, a construction, demolition company, which also owns the landfill on Vance Road.

“He’s a good guy, more than the owner of a landfill, he’s part of the conversation about Dayton,” McLin said. “He has great ideas for the landfill, after it closes.”

McLin also had several supporters associated with the Kettering Health Network who made personal contributions, including CEO Frank Perez giving $2,000 and Roy Chew, president of Kettering Medical Center, who gave $1,000….

Leitzell has held several grassroots, fund-raising events including a pancake breakfast and a pie sale, but said he did not meet the requirement to file a campaign finance report…

Of the three candidates for Dayton City Commission, only Nan Whaley filed a finance report by Friday.

Whaley has received contributions totaling $22,741, with Kitt Cooper also being her largest donor at $5,000.

Neither City Commissioner Joey Williams or commission candidate David Esrati filed finance reports.

via McLin, Whaley lead money race for mayor, city commission campaign.

Both McLin and Whaley have in recent years become supporters of tearing down vacant homes in Dayton, so who appears as the largest donor to both McLin and Whaley’s campaign? Not surprisingly, the owner of a landfill/demolition company.  In yesterday’s post I had predicted a large donation from the demolition contractor with the current city contract, but it turns out that the biggest donor to Whaley and McLin is another demolition contractor.  It will be interesting to see who gets the next city contract.

When I very first ran for Mayor several years ago, I questioned where an incumbent’s campaign money was coming from and specifically asked if it indeed came from someone who wanted to build a landfill on the West side.  That donor got their landfill, and that landfill is fast becoming, quite literally, the highest point in Dayton.  The topography may change, the names may change, but the game is still the same.  The way Dayton has been led for years is that big donors often get big city contracts.  And with the hundreds of demolished homes that the current Mayor and Commission have added to it, a landfill may soon become, quite unfortunately for the people of Dayton,  the Mayor’s and this Commission’s most enduring legacy.

It’s time for candidates who are free to do what’s best for the City and its people- not special interests that make large campaign donations.

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21 Responses

  1. Civil Servants are People, too August 2, 2009 / 1:28 am
    Once again, this blog appear to be insulting the hard-working, honest government employees who actually do the on-the-ground work of administering taxpayer money and awarding contracts.   

    Contacts are awarded to the lowest and best bidder.  Period.  It is very rare that an elected official has anything to do with the bid process, other than approving the final award as required by law.  

    For every allegedly “fishy” deal, there are thousands of contracts that are utterly routine and professional that the public pays little attention to at all.   Unfounded accusations like these only undermine the professional staff, damage morale, and give fodder to those who hate their own government.  

    The average person probably doesn’t even know much about the contracting process.   I would expect anyone running for office to take the time to learn about the organization they intend to lead.     

    PS.  Our society sadly produces a lot of garbage.  It has to go somewhere!

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  2. bill August 2, 2009 / 9:05 am
    Dear P.S.

    Your whimsical views are sadly noted.
    Honest and hardworking with respect to government officials seems to be a oxymoron. Perhaps you are one of those, hard working and honest civil servants, think that others
    most possess the same qualities……
    I encourage you to use your mind, ears, and eyes…take a good look around. There is so much corruption in Dayton/Montgomery County. Perhaps if the local government was
    geared to the real public needs, there would be far less plight to the “burbs”.
    Close your eyes for one second and perhaps you will lose your rights, close them again and perhaps you will lose your city…………….

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  3. David Esrati August 2, 2009 / 10:43 am

    @CivilServant
    “Contacts are awarded to the lowest and best bidder.  Period.”
    And define “best”- I’ve actually been through some of the circus hoops of bidding on government contracts. 150 page proposals- instead of the typical 4-6.
    Criterion that skew the chances of fair and open competition.
    Contracting officers who are buying something they have no clue what it is- or what constitutes best practices. Throw in minority business set-asides, subcontracting requirements- and the whole thing gets more expensive than it has to be.
    I’ve been handed an entire volume of information about the HRC requirements on construction bids- where there are only one or two eligible minority subs that have to be included on every bid. The bid list the city uses is obsolete- and that bidders can’t get straight answers on why they lost- even after submitting lowest bids.
    That isn’t even the point here- why is a guy giving $15K to two candidates? In these tough economic times? Are you that naive?

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  4. Ice Bandit August 2, 2009 / 11:32 am
    Unfounded accusations like these only undermine the professional staff, damage morale, and give fodder to those who hate their own government.  (Public Servants are People too)

    Point of order, PSAPT. Guys like the Old Bandito don’t hate government. We just think it has gotten too big, too expensive, too intrusive and grown far and beyond what this country’s framers and citizens need, want and demand. In some jurisdictions one needs a permit to install a dishwasher. The Health Taliban want to tell the Colonel what kind of cooking oil he can fry those wings with the 11 secret herbs and spices. Transfats are liquid evil, dontchaknow?  Uncle Sam, terrified that one of his citizens is enjoying a blunt, tramples our freedoms and fills our jails for what is basically a crime without a victim.  Government deprives us of 50 percent of our paychecks to reward the unworthy and dysfunctional. And what have been the results of the government’s 50 year “war” on poverty and crime? Poverty has never been more entrenched and drugs have never been more potent, less expensive and more ubiquitous. One of the baffling aspects of this blog are the contributors who bitchandmoan about local government; but only want to see it expanded and run by different players. In the next few years, we will witness the ultimate in government failure; when the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security goes bust and the government scrambles to right a listed ship that can only sink. This will be an intergenerational throw down that will pit young against old and haves versus have-nots. The Old Bandito has merely scratched the surface of the failure of big government here; and daily Americans are awakening  to the fact that big government is inherently inefficient, incompetent and corrupt……..

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  5. Jeff August 2, 2009 / 5:22 pm
    ^
    …and blah blah blah.

    @@@

    I did get a kick out of this:

    He’s a good guy, more than the owner of a landfill, he’s part of the conversation about Dayton,” McLin said.

    …perhaps the conversation on where to landfill the demolition debris after they finish tearing down the place.

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  6. Jeff August 2, 2009 / 5:53 pm
    Contacts are awarded to the lowest and best bidder.  Period.  It is very rare that an elected official has anything to do with the bid process, other than approving the final award as required by law.

    I  agree at that micro-level, in that it’s doubtful Waley or McLin or the other commissioners would lean on contracting officials to disqualify certain bidders and favor others or somehow rig the process.  First this would run smack into the firewall of civil service protection, second the media would be on this like flys on shit.
    There is, however, the larger question of policy influence. 

    Since demolition contractors are big donors there would be the  implied influence on how to deal with the built environment as a matter of policy, favoring a policy that would move things to demolition/replacement instead of conservation and resotration.  That’s were the corruption would set in. 

     

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  7. Lynn August 3, 2009 / 8:59 pm
    David,
    Where’s the transparency you allegedly favor?  No one has seen your donor list.  McLin and Whaley had to file July 31st and nothing from you.  Perhaps you feel the rules only apply to others.  You never filed a report when running for Congress.  How do we know someone hasn’t bought you off?

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  8. David Esrati August 3, 2009 / 9:29 pm

    @Lynn-
    You have to take in over $5K to file with the feds- I fell just short.
    I don’t have to file unless I collect $10k with the locals. I’m no where close to that.
    I’ve posted my complete donor lists in the past: http://esrati.com/mission/Contribute.htm
    I’ll post it again. Unfortunately, I don’t have a full time staff to take care of this- and I spend my time writing these posts for you to lambaste.

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  9. Molly Darcy August 4, 2009 / 9:01 am
    That’s what we’ve come to expect from you David—you lambaste two candidates who actually play by the rules but you can’t take the time to list your donors???  Where’s your Treasurer?  By the way—just because you aren’t required to file with the Board because you haven’t been able to raise $10,000 doesn’t mean you couldn’t have done so anyway.  But I guess that would mean you really believed in transparent government, instead of just blabbing about it on your website.  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander…

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  10. David Esrati August 4, 2009 / 9:05 am

    @Molly- My treasurer has been waiting for the BOE to get us info for 4 weeks: http://esrati.com/?p=2779 And- I will post- but not file- filing doesn’t do anyone any good, can we see it online? no.
    It will probably be on my site by days end.
    Maybe if you gave more money- I could pay a staff like Rhine?

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  11. pizzabill August 4, 2009 / 9:19 am
    Lynn& Molly:

    You think there’s no transparency with David Esrati???  How many times have you read ANY opinions and thoughts of ANY other local candidates?  How many posts have you made to their blogs?

    Your shrill, weak complaints are a joke.  No Transparency???  Open your eyes and get real.

    And for the record, he is playing by the rules and then some.  The rules say he doesn’t have to report donors at all and he will, well beyond what he has to do.  And I think that’s the type of public official he will be– working long after others to make Dayton and the region better.

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  12. Molly Darcy August 4, 2009 / 9:22 am
    Everything you need to file is right here: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/Campaign%20Finance/compliance.aspx  Here’s a bright idea, maybe you could fill out the proper forms and then save them as a pdf and post it on your website???  That way you could file with the BoE and also have your info online.  Gee, for a web consultant you’re a little slow on this.  Not sure why you would wait 4 weeks for a reply when everything you need is online.

    Why do you need other people’s filings in order to raise money?  You don’t have your own supporters who will contribute to you?  Why would someone from another candidate’s list who doesn’t have a clue who you are give you money?

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  13. pizzabill August 4, 2009 / 10:11 am
    Molly,

    You’re starting to sound like Yoda with out the wisdom.  What the hell are you talking about?

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  14. David Esrati August 4, 2009 / 10:43 am

    Just for Molly- my report is up: http://esrati.com/?p=2829
    Fine me Nan’s- find me Rhine’s?
    Yeah, right.

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  15. Molly Darcy August 4, 2009 / 11:17 am
    Pizzabill–If David was a serious candidate he wouldn’t wait around for someone to hand over some list to him, he would go out and make it happen himself. 

    David–congrats on raising $1,000 in seven months time.  I can see why you didn’t have time to file a report with all 17 of those names to type out.

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  16. David Lauri August 4, 2009 / 11:30 am
    Transparency’s an interesting thing.  Does it really make one more electable?  The vast majority of politicians don’t really seem to think so.  And it certainly doesn’t make one more confirmable — Supreme Court nominees have learnt that the best way to be confirmed is to say as little as possible.

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