Texas gets public comments right

I love my readers, especially Jay Madewell, who slipped this link to me.

It seems, someone in Texas realized that silencing the public at meetings when you are supposedly doing their business- is WRONG.

Dayton used to allow people to speak before votes on city manager recommendations, and again at public comments, and again if there was a “public hearing.” You didn’t have to turn in your “speaking form” before the meeting began, and there didn’t used to be a 3 minute time limit. A lot of those changes were done to shut me up (sorry). If you need to know about how far I tried to go to make sure they weren’t doing business in secret- and how it cost the taxpayers a ton of money see this post about “The Ninja.” The reality is- every meeting of a public body with elected members doing public business should be on video, placed on YouTube- and the agenda and the votes recorded in a way that is ADA compliant. Same goes for campaign finance reports btw.

Because of me- the Dayton school board now broadcasts their “review sessions” – but they don’t allow citizens to talk during them.

Right now, the Ohio Sunshine Law is a joke. Citizens are expected to enforce it- despite court filing fees almost equaling the amount of the fine that citizens can receive for doing the peoples work. On the flipside- the people who break the law- waste tax dollars protecting them from breaking the laws. Even though the Sunshine laws provide for a penalty of removal from office for violating the rules- no one ever gets removed from office.

This law in Texas is amazing and needs to be adopted here, as well as revising our “Sunshine Laws” to provide assistance to citizens reporting violations, and actual penalties against politicians who think they are better than us.

Meet House Bill 2840, which became law last month.

Simply, the law, which went into effect on Sept. 1, requires all government meetings (city councils, county commissions, school boards, hospital districts, public colleges) to open up their meetings to public comments in a much bigger way.

Now most governments schedule a “Persons to be Heard” segment, where you sign up to speak at the beginning or, worse, at the tail end.

Some governments across the state don’t allow members of the public to speak at all.

Until now, allowing the public to speak was not mandatory under law. Now it is.

Under the new law, a person can speak to a government body at the start of the meeting, at the end, and most important, before a vote on every listed agenda item.

This is unheard of. Previously, most governments allowed comments at some point, but only rarely did leaders let the public speak on individual agenda items during their deliberations. Usually, they only allowed such comments when public hearings are required by law.

This is huge. If you want to talk on Items 1, 4, 6 and 9 on the agenda, just raise your hand. Governments can’t stop you.

Well, if they do, they are in violation of the new law.

Even better, the law makes it clear that governments cannot block criticism by their constituents…

TV time

Under a 2-year-old law I studied previously, all public meetings of governments in larger counties must videotape their meetings and post them online.

With this new law, that promises to give members of the public not only a chance to influence their elected leaders, but also to pass their viewpoint into the community through free media.

That, too, is a big deal.

School boards notified

The Texas Association of School Boards notified its members that “opportunities for public comment on agenda items will be required for every board meeting, not just regular meetings, and includes special-called meetings and workshops.”

One school district in Killeen announced it won’t hold board workshops anymore, just regular meetings to comply, kdhnews.com reports.

Allowing citizen participation at workshops (informal planning meetings) is not a common occurrence. Now it’s required.

The new law also makes it illegal to play the old trick of putting “Persons to be Heard” at the end of a meeting. That forced would-be speakers often to wait late into the evening. It was too much of a hassle, and the item in question usually had already been voted on.

Source: A cool new Texas law you never heard of means they can’t shut you up at government meetings anymore

The whole reason I got into politics is because when I went to my elected “leaders” for help with actions of city employees- I didn’t feel like I was even heard.

That’s the first thing that’s going to change when I get elected to the Dayton City Commission- along with the public speaking policy, which will be re-written to match this Texas law.

H.B. No. 2840

AN ACT

relating to the right of a member of the public to address the governing body of a political subdivision at an open meeting of the body.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1.  Subchapter A, Chapter 551, Government Code, is amended by adding Section 551.007 to read as follows:

Sec. 551.007.  PUBLIC TESTIMONY.  (a)  This section applies only to a governmental body described by Sections 551.001(3)(B)-(L).

(b)  A governmental body shall allow each member of the public who desires to address the body regarding an item on an agenda for an open meeting of the body to address the body regarding the item at the meeting before or during the body’s consideration of the item.

(c)  A governmental body may adopt reasonable rules regarding the public’s right to address the body under this section, including rules that limit the total amount of time that a member of the public may address the body on a given item.

(d)  This subsection applies only if a governmental body does not use simultaneous translation equipment in a manner that allows the body to hear the translated public testimony simultaneously.  A rule adopted under Subsection (c) that limits the amount of time that a member of the public may address the governmental body must provide that a member of the public who addresses the body through a translator must be given at least twice the amount of time as a member of the public who does not require the assistance of a translator in order to ensure that non-English speakers receive the same opportunity to address the body.

(e)  A governmental body may not prohibit public criticism of the governmental body, including criticism of any act, omission, policy, procedure, program, or service. This subsection does not apply to public criticism that is otherwise prohibited by law.

SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.

Hire friends, hire family, it’s the way we roll in Dayton Public Schools

Dr. Elizabeth Lolli never has to worry about HR, because no one on the board cares what she does. Lawsuits galore coming out of HR because, well, there is no one in HR that knows what they are doing… because she hired some friends of Dr. Burton to be consultants- without any kind of oversight. Back in May, she hired 2 folks working out of their homes to take charge of a 2000 employee organization with no track record of ever having done anything similar. ConnexHR has been wreaking havoc in the halls, with Chandra Atticken coming in and saying things like “I feel like firing someone today.” Word is, she’s out, but the other half of ConnexHR, Michael Sagert gets to stay on.

Despite having a half million dollar contract, they were coming to the district pulling $5k draws, that didn’t appear to be connected to the contract draw. Why $5K. Because that was the amount that the superintendent could spend without needing board approval. But, oh, wait, going to fix that too- Lolli is asking the board to up it to $25K per instance now.

The number of employment issue lawsuits just since these two came on board has skyrocketed. Star teachers who were terminated improperly are winning their lawsuits and without any help from the Dayton Education Association who are now fully in bed with the administration.

Just last week, 4 teacher resignations. This is getting to be a regular thing, with people even leaving the “good schools” because things are falling apart. A fifteen page memo detailing lack of documentation of HR issues was leaked to esrati.com. Others have contacted me with stories of unqualified people hired into jobs that are putting students at risk of injury- without anyone in the administration caring one iota. It’s all working out really well for Frost Todd Brown, the law firm that Lolli hired after eliminating the inhouse counsel that could have prevented some of these disasters- and saved the district a bunch in legal fees and future embarrassment.

But, wait, it gets better. It’s been a while since DPS has had a business operations person under contract. Supposedly, they’ve been interviewing for the job for months. Well, they haven’t announced their perfect candidate that they “Found”- but they are laying out the salary groundwork this week:

Years on Schedule
Position Title 0?3 4?6 7?10 11 or more
Business Manager $111,625.00 $114,416.00 $117,276.00 $120,208.00

And the winner is? Dayton City Manager Shelly Dickstein’s husband- Dr. Gary Dickstein who has been an “Interim Vice Provost of Student Affairs” at Wright State for 4 years and counting. Dickstein has told the folks at WSU that’s he’s going, despite having to take a paycut. Isn’t it amazing how this all works, and the insiders keep hiring their friends and family?

Speaking of family, I’m not a genealogy expert, nor do I have anyway to confirm this, but rumor has it that one of the most hated hires in DPS HQ, Dr. Angela Nichols, who took over for Dr. Roberson to run the office of exceptional children, is Libby Lolli’s cousin.

Stories from the front lines continue to pour in- but, can’t be told because of the vindictive nature of Dr. Lolli and her crew. Dress codes are causing qualified teachers to be sent home for 3 days without pay, swearing can also get you sent packing for 3 days, but actually putting students in danger- well, that’s also three days.

But, do something to bring shame to the district like LaMark Baker did- and, well, you get promoted from truancy guy to assistant principal at Ponitz- without having an administrators permit.

Too bad the state got out of the business of actually demanding accountability from school districts. When you start spending more on outside legal help to solve HR problems caused by gross incompetence, it should set off warning flags. Or not.

Congrats to Dr. Gary Dickstein for his move from one swamp to another. One really has to wonder…

 

Esrati wants you to die, violently and other fan fiction

Polarizing. It’s a word people like to throw around when talking about me. I’m used to it. I understand that some people love me and others hate me, and a lot have opinions about me, fact or fiction. There is a Facebook page very similar to the “Fuck You Mark Zuckerberg” about me- yes, that page has 3,224 likes. I’m not anywhere near there- but feel free to go there and like it. As PT Barnum was attributed to say, ‘I don’t care what the newspapers say about me as long as they spell my name right.’

Someone even took the time to take my black and white photo of me holding my head for my campaign piece- to photoshop it so it looks like I’m on a toilet. Yes, I do go to the bathroom just like everyone else, but, no- I don’t take photos of myself there.

I love a quote from former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, and even printed it on the back of some of my campaign materials once, “If you agree with me on 9 out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.”

Which brings me to a few other things you can use as an excuse not to vote for me.

Yes, I yelled “F U” to a pastor in a full church on the West side. I posted the video here for all to see. I’m not proud of it- but if you want to play politics in church, be prepared to be shouted down when you interrupt me 3 times in :30 seconds and cut my mic off. There aren’t too many white men that get away with doing that btw. I still believe those meetings against the “One Dayton” regionalization initiative were the efforts of the very same people who love our current Monarchy in Montgomery County- and are part of the “culture of corruption.”

I also was arrested in City Hall for wearing a Ninja mask- while protesting illegal work sessions held by the commission, where they discussed ways to eliminate citizens from participating in their own government. You can read more about The Mask- and why I should be your Ninja. BTW- I won that case after 2.5 years and the settlement was $100,000 (most of which went to lawyers.)

And, yes, I got kicked out of the library, and called the guard a “F’ing Nazi” after he violated my 1st Amendment rights. Don’t tell me about Ohio Revised Code and my rights to document your breaking the law. So far, I’m up one on the library. Round 2 is in progress.

But the latest Esrati outrage comes on FB from a screenshot out of context. According to one of the miscreants who doesn’t have a hobby- or a life, “Elect Esrati is a coward who doesn’t want his followers seeing screenshots of him wishing violent death on the very people he wants to represent in government. Go to his page and post this on every post.”

I’m including the “evidence” that he and his mindless friends thinks is indicative of some kind of sociopathic politician who wants his constituents dead.

It came out of a post following the Oregon District Massacre. Note, I don’t call it a “tragedy” and sugar coat it. These mass shootings are becoming way too much the norm, instead of the exception. The only thing tragic about it is that people forget the part of the 2nd Amendment that says you need to be a part of a “well regulated militia” – and that we already have restrictions on some arms- and are too chickenshit to do something about the AR 15 epidemic (and yes, I know there are LOTS of other similar weapons, like an AK etc.).

My point was there are a lot of people that die in Dayton, by gunfire, and that they don’t get a block party, a victims fund, a memorial. At the Neighborhoods over Politics “Rock da Vote” event on Saturday- they started out by asking for a moment of silence for a whole list of people who didn’t die at the hands of the dickwad from Bellbrook. On Facebook I brought up the 10 year old unsolved murder of Sgt. Major North Woodall, in his home. A decorated hero of 3 wars, his life was cut short by shooting- and there was none of the outpouring of support for his family, or an outcry over the lack of solving his murder. And one or two of the people on Facebook responded with the “Ha Ha” face. And yes- I called him an “asswipe.” That’s my Army training kicking in.

I nearly lost it. It’s not funny.

The screenshot from Facebook the losers want you to see.

So I suggested that I hope they get lucky, if they do get shot in Dayton, that they luck out and get shot by someone who shoots a bunch of people- so their kids, their parents, their siblings can fight over how the memorial fund gets divvied up between those who died, those who were wounded and spent more than 10 days in the hospital, less than 4 days, or only had to be treated and released, because, well, you know- somehow getting shot with others is an outrage, but being shot in your own home- isn’t.

But, I bear no malice to these trolling miscreants. They are free to vote for whomever they please- even if it is the people who’ve cut back on police in our city, and allowed our citizens to risk life and limb by being in jail– where even though you may be innocent until proven guilty- you could get a death sentence at the hands of the jailers- and your family can win another lottery- the lawsuit against the Sheriff lottery.

The reality is, there are four candidates for two seats. There isn’t any other candidate who has a blog, has uncovered corruption, posted videos of candidates nights, and responded the way I do on any social media. The kind of heckling, bullying and BS online is absolutely abhorrent. And some of it- whether done by Russian trolls or local ones can sway an election.

So now you’ve heard it straight from the horses mouth. Yes, I said it. Could I have said it better? Sure. Is it the ONE thing you should judge me on? Only if you are a moron.

Thanks for reading. Oh, and I almost forgot- I’m a racist too.

 

Dayton City Commission Candidates on the issues

The Dayton Daily news sent us all questionnaires with softball questions. I’m reprinting them here so you can find them easily. I will update as each day progresses. If you think everything is “Great in Dayton” you can reelect Matt Joseph for his fifth term or Chris Shaw to his second.
If you want to see the rule of the “Monarchy of Montgomery County” dethroned, with the power shifting from the political parties to the people- you can vote for David Esrati (me) and Shenise Turner-Sloss.
This graphic should make things pretty clear about the way this election could shift. Note, if only one of the challengers gets elected, the power still runs to the Queen.
How the powers in Dayton shift if the incumbents lose.
Candidates talk tornado response

Four candidates are running for two seats on the Dayton City Commission this November. For our online voters guide, we asked them about issues important to the city and the region. In the coming days, we will take a look at their answers:

Q: How has the city done in response to the Memorial Day tornadoes? What needs to be done in the months and years ahead to help the areas hardest hit?

David Esrati: Not calling in the National Guard immediately was a mistake of epic proportions.

While Daytonians stepped forward to help the victims, there was plenty that needed guarded, heavy equipment deployed and especially generators for the well field.

We need to rebuild our tornado warning sirens, because they work. Unfortunately, what the tornadoes did uncover was our lack of available low-income housing — and we need to work harder at making it easier to redevelop old multi-unit housing and practical to bring more on board.

Our building and zoning codes have been encouraging single-family homes for so long, that the most affordable multi-tenant housing has become the rarity.

Matt Joseph: I would like to commend the city of Dayton staff and the host of volunteers who have worked tirelessly to help our citizens clean up their homes and neighborhoods. Dayton has again shown its resilience in the face of overwhelming disaster.

It is likely that our neighborhoods will not recover from this disaster for years to come, so there is more to do. We need to stay vigilant and involved to make sure that those most in need receive assistance.

We need to coordinate with all the organizations who are working to rebuild our neighborhoods to make sure no one falls  through the cracks, and everyone receives quality and timely services. And we need to continue to assist the businesses in these areas who are working to rebuild their facilities.

Many of the people they employ are from the same hard-hit areas.

Chris Shaw: City staff have spent countless hours working to help clean up the debris left in the wake of the tornadoes, and I am so proud of the community’s response to this devastating event.

The city will continue to work with our regional, state and federal partners to ensure that every resident who was affected by the tornadoes gets the help they need in putting their homes back together.

The regional impact of this destruction is something that will be felt for years to come, and, as a city, we must make sure that tornado damage is taken into account for future economic and community development plans and implementation.

Shenise Turner-Sloss: Dayton was not prepared to deal with a disaster such as this. As mentioned by a city official in a commission meeting, once our warning system became obsolete, they failed to find an alternative and suggested that systems that they were considering were too costly.

This is unacceptable, and leaves Dayton defenseless in events such as this. Regardless of the costs, Dayton residents need to have audio alert systems that can be heard in houses and throughout all neighborhoods that could potentially be affected.

We need to develop an emergency response plan that includes shelter hubs designated throughout the four quadrants in the city.

These designations should all include immediate services such as, food, water, medical services, clothing, and adult/children necessities.

There needs to be an emergency fund set aside for the most vulnerable victims that will either allow them to quickly transition to alternative stable housing or receive recovery funds if the residents are not insured.

Source: Candidates talk tornado response – Dayton Daily News

Q: What will you do to improve life in Dayton’s neighborhoods outside of downtown?

Matt Joseph: I will continue to direct 75% of the revenue that we gain from downtown to neighborhood services. As new companies and new jobs continue to move into the city, those funds will keep increasing the level of service we are providing in our neighborhoods.

I will also work to increase other funding sources for programs that are crucial to strengthening neighborhoods, including demolition and rehabilitation.

Additionally, I will advocate for building better connections between new downtown development and creating new opportunities in our neighborhoods, such as the Hub and Spoke neighborhood entrepreneurial development program we are putting in place with the Arcade development.

I will continue to push hard to make sure that the services our citizens need are provided in a timely, effective and respectful manner.

Chris Shaw: We have worked hard to focus development all across Dayton, and I would point to the newly thriving business districts in Belmont, St. Anne’s Hill and Old North Dayton as points of success and models for future redevelopment that we must continue to build on and replicate through the city.

In recent years, we have re-invested in vital city services, such as repaving roads and mowing vacant lots, that help improve the quality of our neighborhoods; we have demolished thousands of vacant homes; we have encouraged small business development on neighborhood business corridors like Third Street or Wayne Avenue; and we have supported crucial new amenities, like Gem City Market.

I know that there is still much work to be done in our neighborhoods, especially in those communities that have been at the center of decades of disinvestments.

In coming years, the city will continue to push forward the redevelopment of the former Wright Brothers’ factory site on Third Street into a new library branch and a museum, and work with community partners to drive reinvestment to the DeSoto Bass housing community and surrounding neighborhoods.

Shenise Turner-Sloss: I will work to increase neighborhood investment by enhancing basic city services, encouraging resident participation and enforcing community benefit agreements to development projects.

The No. 1 issue I hear from residents is that of potholes and unacceptable street conditions. Legislation has already passed to lessen the effects, but Dayton needs intentional investment to ensure our streets are safe for our cars and our lives.

We also need more home inspectors to help keep our properties up to a livable standard.

Similarly, I will create and promote opportunities for residents to actively engage in our city’s revitalization.

By involving the community in the planning process earlier and integrating their perspectives during decision making, I will instill inclusive growth and inspire larger support. This will work in conjunction with the community benefit agreements, which require neighborhood investment as a condition to downtown development.

When both the residents and external or larger developers work hand-in-hand, balance will be achieved to bring equity across Dayton.

David Esrati: I promise to make sure that your biggest investment, your home, increases in value. In the 33 years I’ve been involved in the South Park neighborhood, I’ve seen my house increase in value by over 15 times.

When I moved to South Park and bought my house for $14,500, you could have bought any house on my street for that. Now, we’ve had homes sell for $240,000.

While some people point to historic zoning and housing stock, I believe that the South Park Miracle began when we stopped selling homes and started selling community.

When I made the video “South Park Soliloquy” back in 1997, it changed the conversation.

My neighbors looked at me funny when I suggested using the music of Buckwheat Zydeco as our soundtrack, but I truly believe that his infectious happiness set a new tone for our neighborhood.

I was never a fan of the extra layer of bureaucracy caused by the Priority Boards and prefer direct connections to neighborhood groups that want to place a stake on a piece of Dayton. The city needs to empower neighborhoods to choose their own destiny.

Our neighborhood was lucky to have Premier Health pay for our community police officers for 20 years, which I think was part of our success story. I believe that real economic development includes making sure you feel safe in your home.

We also have to stop penalizing people for improving their homes with higher taxes. This idea of reevaluating the value of homes every six years is a criminal abuse of power.

What you pay for your home is the value you should be taxed on. When you sell it, the next buyer assumes the cost of the improvements.

In some severely depressed areas, we need to find ways to force the values back up, even if it means paying homeowners their taxes back to make improvements.

We also need to review our parks and recreation programs and opportunities for our kids. I spent a lot of time on some pretty horrible basketball courts to know that our kids don’t feel that there are people and places that take an interest in them.

I’ve got a plan to transform youth sports in this city, just like I helped goad the city into fixing up our basketball courts. It took South Park three decades to find its groove, so I can’t promise overnight transformations, but I do know how to help guide and empower neighborhood groups in the right direction.

Source: Candidates talk city neighborhoods – Dayton Daily News

Q: What is the current state of Dayton? And is the city headed in the right/wrong direction? Please explain your answer.

Chris Shaw: Dayton has faced an incredibly challenging summer, and I am so proud of the strength and resiliency that our city has demonstrated in response.

Dayton is strong and getting stronger. While we have faced setbacks, we are moving in the right direction and beginning to see new momentum, both in downtown and in neighborhoods across the city. As we continue moving forward, we must work to continue expanding access to resources, equity in our development, and transparency in our government.

Shenise Turner-Sloss: The Dayton community has had a challenging summer.

Together, we have endured public acts of hateful rhetoric that led members of the Alt-Right to our community, the devastation of 14 tornadoes that ravished our neighborhoods, and the heinous act of the senseless killing of nine victims in the Oregon District who will forever be in our hearts.

Dayton is at a pivotal point.

The direction that our local government takes could further strain our resources to where it would take much longer to recover.

Residents are living in dilapidated neighborhoods that are further declining and attracting criminal mischief.

The conditions of neighborhoods are becoming the rationale for existing businesses to relocate and starter businesses to be steered away.

Furthermore, residents are experiencing an increase in mental illness from their living conditions that stifle opportunity to overcome those conditions.

David Esrati: Dayton is poised for great things, as soon as the FBI and the DO J finish indicting a whole bunch of politicians who have been playing “Pay to Play” with our tax dollars instead of doing what they were supposed to do.

Taxpayers don’t need to subsidize rich developers or huge corporations for them to come here. Every single example of that has been an embarrassment or a trade-off where our local businesses were put in an unfair position.

We need to focus on delivering services more efficiently and streamline our regions tangled mess of governments into something that works. While the Dayton Police Department is almost half of what it was, private police forces now exceed it.

We used to have a Dayton jail that was safe — now we have a dangerous county jail where people die while awaiting trial. And our property taxes penalize those who fix up their properties which only serves to promote disinvestment. It’s time for equal opportunity economic development.

Matt Joseph: The current state of Dayton is strong and is continuing to grow. As a city, we have worked to strengthen the downtown core in order to gain the resources we need to continue and expand vital services to our neighborhoods.

We have brought back hundreds of jobs to the city, paved more roads, enabled 4-year-olds to attend quality pre-K programs, and brought back curbside leaf pickup, while supporting new amenities like Gem City Market.

Dayton is moving in the right direction, but we must work hard to keep the momentum going.

Source: Is Dayton on right track? Candidates’ opinions differ – Dayton Daily News

Q: In light of the mass shooting in the Oregon District, what do you think needs to be done to keep an incident like that from happening again?

Shenise Turner-Sloss: Incidents such as the Oregon District tragedy are hard to manage and prepare for. This is an issue that far outweighs conversations of gun control; however, these are conversations that need to happen regardless.

I have been to numerous city attractions where the entertainment districts are completely closed off to cars, have one or two entrances that are guarded with metal detectors and security.

While this does not ensure that tragedies like this will not happen, it places more obstacles and deterrents for shootings like this to be carried out.

Furthermore, it gives people wishing to patronize the area more of a sense of security with a set-up such as this.

David Esrati: This is above my pay grade. It’s not a local issue.

However, I don’t believe in private police forces like those of rich private institutions like the University of Dayton, or Premier Health or Kettering Health or public institutions like Sinclair, Wright State or Metroparks.

I believe our police department needs to be rebuilt to a force of over 500 officers and the way to do that is to no longer allow private police to exist — either hire our officers, or pay a licensing fee equal to the average officers salary.

The death of Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati at the hands of a University of Cincinnati police officer should have been the end of private armies for institutions. Until this country adopts sensible gun policy, we are lucky that the DPD was there and did their job so well.

Matt Joseph: The mass shooting in the Oregon District was a horrific event that shook our city to its core. No community should ever have to face this level of atrocity ever again, but the sad fact is that until our state and federal legislators act, these heinous crimes will continue.

As a city, Dayton will continue to support the work of our police while also recognizing there are many root causes of gun violence and that gun violence occurs all too often in our neighborhoods every day.

At the state level, I support Gov. DeWine’s proposal to create red flag laws, background checks and increased penalties for certain gun felonies.

I believe we should go even further with a ban on assault weapons, guns that should be for military use, and not part of everyday life here at home. I would hope that the federal government pursues these policies as well.

Chris Shaw: The shooting in the Oregon District was an avoidable tragedy.

I am grateful to the Dayton Police for their courageous response that prevented this tragedy from claiming even more lives.

We must put pressure on legislators at the state and federal level to prevent these kinds of mass shootings from happening again. We also know, however, that gun violence is a problem that impacts families across Dayton every day and that solutions must encompass the challenges all our communities face.

I support the bipartisan efforts of Mayor Whaley and Governor DeWine to implement common sense gun legislation that will help make our communities safer.

Q: Earlier this year, a Dayton city employee, former city commissioner and former state representative were arrested on federal charges. FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Joseph Deters said there “appears to be a culture of corruption in Dayton-area politics.” Gov. Mike DeWine said he does not believe there is a culture of corruption in Dayton. He says there are just some “bad people” in public office. Do you believe there is a culture of corruption in Dayton? Explain why or why not.

David Esrati: There has been a “culture of corruption” in Dayton as long as I’ve been alive.

It’s how a whole bunch of people have profited off the backs of poor people.

The entire state allows the two political parties to manipulate ballot access, draw voting lines, and play stupid when it comes to the Ohio “Sunshine Laws.”

DeWine refuses to admit that Wright State’s trustees were criminal in their behavior.

No one would act when I proved that Dayton School Board member Dr. Adil Baguirov didn’t live in the district and didn’t belong in office.

At this point, (FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Deters is just as guilty — since he has failed to bring any other indictments.

He only seems interested in prosecuting African American males.

I have proof that pay to play exists in Dayton, and that the board of elections is criminal in their enforcement of their duties. If Deters won’t take them down, I will.

Matt Joseph: Like many in our city, I was shocked when the charges were announced. I strongly disagree with the notion of a culture of corruption.

The actions of a handful of individuals do not reflect upon our city as a whole, and it is frustrating that the “culture of corruption” comment was made. The actions of a few individuals do not undermine the great service that the hundreds of other city employees provide our residents every day.

The city began its own investigation into the matter the day the charges were announced, and city leadership is fully committed to cooperate with the FBI in their investigation.

Shenise Turner-Sloss: I believe there is a philosophy of “pay to play” politics in the city of Dayton that has for decades left our communities stagnant and has caused the most vulnerable to suffer.

The elite and privileged ruling over our city has furthered the gap of opportunity for working families.

Self-serving individuals have used the city of Dayton as their own “golden parachute” and as a political ploy to springboard careers.

We are in need of increased transparency, as many decisions are made before being presented to the public. We have seen democracy backslide in recent years.

In turn, our community is doing so as well. It is my sincere hope that these allegations prove unfounded; however, I support unveiling the truth. I am running for Dayton Commission as a leader who will restore our government’s integrity.

Chris Shaw: I believe that these were isolated incidents that do not represent our city and do not point to a larger culture of corruption.

I also believe, however, that it is our job to ensure this does not happen again by being completely transparent with the public and by reviewing our own policies and procedures to identify areas for improvement.

Source: Dayton’s political culture: How real is the corruption? – Dayton Daily News

 

Source: Dayton candidates discuss public safety – Dayton Daily News

Q: Do you believe the city has done enough to protect Dayton’s water since the water main break earlier this year that caused the loss of 150 million gallons of treated water?

Matt Joseph: The water in Dayton is safe to drink. We have one of the most comprehensive water protection plans in the nation and work with the Ohio EPA to constantly monitor our water system for contamination.

The most important thing we can do now to protect our water is to encourage the federal government to step in and take action to address the recent threat from fire-retardant chemicals.

We will continue to urge them to put in place the framework and resources to clean it up, while continuing to share information and cooperating with all our partners in the region.

Shenise Turner-Sloss: Given the amount of detailed information that has been made available to the public, I do not believe the city has done enough to protect Dayton’s water.

Water is a community’s most precious resource; therefore, the city need to invest in back-up generators for all of the well fields and pumping stations. Furthermore, we need to take expert recommendations rather than default to fiscal recommendations.

Chris Shaw: Despite the challenges we have faced this year both with the water main break as well as the Memorial Day tornadoes, Dayton water is safe to drink.

We are using every resource available to us to monitor the water and make sure that it is safe. We work with the Ohio EPA to verify the quality of our drinking water and ensure that there is no contamination.

Additionally, we are continuing to encourage the federal government to address the recent threat to our water supply from fire-retardant chemicals through providing additional resources to the region.

David Esrati: No. And I’m not sure we’ve been told the truth about how and why the break happened yet, nor what the real cost to the city was.

Our pipes are lead — just like Flint, Michigan. We’re not working hard enough at fixing some of our fundamental problems. I believe the rise of the PFAS contamination comes from our loss of large scale industrial users of water that has helped our water table rise and leach surface contaminants into the aquifer.

It’s time to find new high volume water users to replace Delco, Delphi and others to help use more water.

Source: City Commission candidates answer about water safety – Dayton Daily News

Q: What are the biggest threats to growing Dayton’s prosperity, economy, jobs and population? What do you plan to do to address these challenges?

David Esrati: The biggest threat to growing Dayton’s prosperity is a lack of creativity in problem solving and a lack of leadership willing to address the real problems we’ve engineered via institutional racism.

We really need to re-invent how we set property taxes, how we create incentives for reinvestment and most of all, how we choose our governing forces.

Right now, we have a patchwork of way too many jurisdictions with too many elections, too many meetings and too many organizations to properly monitor and keep in line.

Go to www.reconstructingdayton.org to learn more about the cost of our 28+ city managers/township administrators and think how the money could be better spent.

We also have to restore the pride in our community. We saw what kind of folks we are after the tornadoes and the Oregon District shooting. It’s time to build upon the good souls- instead of keeping the political class fat and happy.

Matt Joseph: The biggest threat to Dayton’s prosperity is inequity. We have made progress in bringing higher-paying job opportunities to Dayton, by attracting businesses to Tech Town and the airport distribution center.

We have diversified our economy, formerly overbalanced towards manufacturing, with jobs in other sectors.

Although while we have laid the groundwork for a recovery, and it is beginning to show itself, we still have more work to do.

We must address is the inequality that exists in our city and ensure these new economic opportunities are available to all Daytonians.

We must continue to act boldly to ensure all our citizens are given fair opportunities to build better lives for themselves and their families. We need to work towards a future in which all citizens not only have the same access to the American Dream, but also have a fair shot at achieving it.

This applies not only to those affected by the history of racism that haunts our country and our city, but also to new arrivals.

Chris Shaw: As Dayton continues to move forward, it is crucial to ensure that all our residents are able to share in the progress and that we are providing communities with the tools to be successful in evolving job markets.

We must ensure that our youth, especially, are prepared for the jobs of the future by providing them with a high-quality education and diverse workforce training opportunities.

I have worked hard to develop partnerships between schools and our local apprentice programs that offer youth the training they need to access high-quality, good-paying jobs and to be able to build stable lives and strong communities in the future.

Shenise Turner-Sloss: The biggest threat to growing Dayton’s prosperity is having the right leadership.

Homogeneous leadership will always stagnate growth and leave the most vulnerable residents and neighborhoods behind.

Yes, a core is needed to generate tax revenue streams; however, this growth should not be at the expense of vulnerable neighborhoods, and further strain the resources of “tipping point” neighborhoods.

There is a way that all neighborhoods can win and all residents can have better opportunities. As a Commissioner, I would ensure that all processes are impeccably managed so that fiscal oversights are no longer issues and the City of Dayton will not be penalized for misallocation of federal funds and be liable for repayment of money.

Ensuring that we are accountable for meeting federal guidelines will lead to more development opportunities.

Source: Dayton candidates discuss prosperity, city’s economy – Dayton Daily News

Q: What will you do to improve downtown?

Shenise Turner-Sloss: I will work tirelessly to make sure that downtown Dayton grows and redevelops, but not at the expense of our outside neighborhoods or our residents.

I will create a balance that will allow our core to thrive, attracting economic development within and in surrounding neighborhoods.

With the trend moving towards living in urban areas where people have easy access to all their basic needs, it’s important we provide opportunities that accommodate the interests of the 21st century.

Downtown Dayton requires a balance of affordable housing and affordable space for business owners.

I will work to attract, retain and secure commercial businesses that provide growth in our economy.

We need to rethink our development strategies to find solutions that will create a “win-win situation” for downtown and our residential neighborhoods.

Chris Shaw: While the city’s downtown has certainly been on the upswing in recent years, there is still much that is on the horizon.

Efforts centered around the Arcade, Levitt Pavilion and other downtown anchors are being buoyed by increased private investment. one of the most important things we can do is cut through red tape and make sure good development is not hindered by government. the city must also work to ensure that the success of downtown is shared by and accessible to all residents of Dayton. one way to do this is to continue to support developments like the incredibly successful levitt Pavilion, which brings free music and entertainment to downtown, open to all.

David Esrati: Downtown Dayton will be doomed as long as we have Austin landing — where people who work in tall buildings and wear the proverbial “white collar” don’t pay any income taxes and people working in retail and “blue collar” jobs in one-story buildings are taxed 2%. if you look at the businesses that left downtown to go there, you see why all but one major building downtown has gone through foreclosure.

We need a unified, lower, countywide income tax yesterday. that is one of the only ways to make downtown competitive again. the parking issue will be solved by self-driving cars, and alternatives like the free “Wright flyer,”  (see my proposal for free public transit) bike and car share, as well as the growth of downtown living opportunities. i introduced the Bcycle bike share to Dayton, and if it had been implemented properly, it would have had a much greater impact than it’s had. We have to make redevelopment of old buildings competitive with new construction without sticking the schools with tax breaks. i have a plan.

Matt Joseph: Happily, development downtown has gained momentum so the city can let private investment take the lead and help only where needed. i will continue our programs to keep downtown clean and safe, and i will advocate for increased availability of retail and other commercial services and amenities for our downtown residents.

Source: Candidates talk plans for future of downtown – Dayton Daily News

The Dayton City Commission election is less than a month away, and the race kicks into higher gear Tuesday during a forum that will be streamed live online on DaytonDailyNews.com and WHIO.com.

Two seats are up for grabs, and incumbents Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph face off against challengers Shenise Turner-Sloss and David Esrati, both of whom previously have run for commission seats.

Shaw, the owner of Shaw Cleaners, is seeking a second term, while Joseph, a logistician with Sierra Nevada Corp., is seeking a fifth and presently is the commission’s longest-serving member.

Esrati is a small-business owner and outspoken activist, while Turner-Sloss is a logistics management specialist for the federal government and former city of Dayton employee.

The candidates will take part in a forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the downtown Dayton Metro Library, which is being hosted by the Dayton Daily News, WHIO-TV and Radio, the Greater Dayton Area League of Women Voters, UpDayton and DATV.

The forum will be streamed live and moderated by News Center 7’s Jim Otte.

At other candidate events, Joseph has said he helped lead the city through a decade or more of tough times and he wants to continue to be a part of its ever-increasing revival.

He said the city has added jobs and revitalization is taking place in a variety of neighborhoods, which is partly attributable to strategic investments by city leadership.

“I absolutely want to be on board with the team that is shaping the next 50 years of the city’s history,” he said.

He said his experience means he understands organization and how to get things done, and he continues to get better at his job.

Shaw has said he is laser-focused on workforce development and training, creating new apprenticeship opportunities and connecting people with high-paying jobs available in the community.

Those connections do not happen on their own, according to Shaw, who said his business background provides the commission with a unique and valuable viewpoint.

Shaw said good things are happening in Dayton and will continue to happen with the right leaders who know how to leverage community assets to improve neighborhoods.

“If you re-elect me, I am going to strengthen Dayton,” he said at a recent event.

Shaw and Joseph both have said they are proud of how the city responded to a series of crises this year. The city had a massive water outage, federal authorities indicted a former city commissioner and city employee, a hate group held a rally downtown, tornadoes destroyed many properties, and a gunman killed nine people in the Oregon District.

Turner-Sloss, who was born and raised in Dayton, said her work history includes employment at the city as a community development specialist, which means she has a deep understanding of the inner workings of government.

Because of this, she said, “I know we have to do better than we are currently doing.”

Turner-Sloss said she has the passion, knowledge and practical experience to make city government more effective, transparent, responsive, accessible and accountable.

She said an African American female has not been on the commission in far too long, and her new perspective, leadership and creativity are needed improve neighborhoods and the city.

Esrati says the incumbent city commissioners who promise to create jobs and make sweeping changes, such as new gun control regulations, are lying to the people.

He said city government cannot do these things, but if elected, he will bring creative solutions, like re-inventing how property taxes are set.

He supports a “unified, lower, countywide” income tax.

He claims he would change Dayton’s economic development strategy, which he described as “pay to play.”

He said it gives poor people’s tax dollars away to “rich” developers who compete with local businesses.

Esrati said he agrees there is a “culture of corruption” in Dayton-area politics, which was a phrase used by federal authorities when they unsealed indictments against former Commissioner Joey Williams and city employee RoShawn Winburn.

“The system is rigged — we have to unrig it,” Esrati said.

Esrati also has proposed eliminating fares to make riding the Greater Dayton RTA buses free, though the city does not control the agency.

Source: Dayton commission race heats up – Dayton Daily News

Although the Dayton City Commission candidates differ on a variety of issues, they were united during a recent candidate forum when they were asked about two teens who were fatally shot in a West Dayton garage in August.

Incumbents Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph, and challengers David Esrati and Shenise Turner-Sloss all said they agreed that Javier Harrison and Devin Henderson were murdered.

The investigation into the fatal shooting of the two 17-year-old boys is not yet complete, but there have been growing calls for the shooter to be criminally charged.

Jimmy Harrison, Javier Harrison’s father, said he’s grateful that community members and leaders believe as he does that the shooter broke the law when he shot his son and his friends.

“I have faith and believe there will be justice,” the elder Harrison said. “I pray that he will and strongly believe that he will, because the community knows that he’s guilty.”

On Aug. 28, a resident in the 800 block of Conners Street heard noises outside his home and went to investigate, police said.

The resident, who police have not identified, allegedly encountered Harrison, Henderson and a third teen, Jashin Gibson, trespassing in his detached garage, and he opened fire with a pistol.

Harrison and Henderson were struck and killed, while Gibson fled. The resident called 911 to report the shooting, and he claimed self-defense.

The teens’ relatives and some community members say the shooter should be arrested and charged because the boys did not pose a threat.

This news organization first reported that both boys were shot in the back, which some people say is further evidence the shooter was not in danger.

At the candidate forum, moderator Etana Jacobi asked the commission candidates if they agreed with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley’s September statement that she believed Harrison and Henderson were murdered.

Shaw, who is seeking a second term in office, said he agreed with the mayor, and called the shooting “terrible.”

He said the shooter should be held accountable, and so should state lawmakers for passing legislation that makes it harder to prosecute people responsible for gun violence.

“Who really needs to be accountable for that is the state legislature that puts forward these ridiculous stand your ground-type laws that this person is hiding behind,” he said. “We have to make sure we push back against that.”

Esrati, a vocal community activist, said citizens cannot shoot other people for property crimes. Pulling the trigger is only justifiable when there is a risk to body and life, he said.

Esrati criticized authorities for not already putting the shooter in jail.

Turner-Sloss said the shooting is very sad to her as a mother of two black boys. Harrison and Henderson were murdered, she said.

Joseph, who is seeking a fifth term in office, said stand your ground laws are irresponsible and wrong, and lead to violence like this.

Joseph said state and federal laws need to be changed, and this was absolutely murder, because the victims were shot in the back.

The Dayton Police Department is still working to complete its investigation into the shooting, said Greg Flannagan, spokesman with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s office.

“Once it is complete, they will bring it to our office for review,” he said.

Source: Commission candidates say teens murdered – Dayton Daily News

DAYTON COMMISSION RACE

You will be able to see all the candidates’ answers in our interactive voters guide starting Oct. 8 at vote. daytondailynews.com.

https://youtu.be/HtsG_VLNPxA

Want it as a podcast? http://gemcitypodcast.com/?p=4716

Candidate forum: The candidates for Dayton City Commission took part in a forum on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m. at the main branch of the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third Street. The forum was sponsored by The League of Women Voters, UpDayton, Dayton Daily News, WHIO TV and Radio and DATV. You can watch it above.

 

Why Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph need to go away

I just got back from the candidates event hosted by Neighborhoods over Politics at Sinclair. Called, “Rock da Vote” it comes complete with a wisecracking MC and a DJ. Unfortunately- it didn’t come with a ton of voters, but since it was livestreamed on FB- maybe it will reach more folks than most of these events.

I’ll have video posted soon. Each candidate was given 3 minutes to answer “why they are the best candidate” and “what are their top three issues and how they will solve them.”

If you are thinking of voting for Chris Shaw or Matt Joseph, you really need to watch their responses and realize that they, despite their time in office, have no grasp of what they can or can’t do- and so they lie about it.

City Commissioners don’t create any high paying jobs- except for their friends through the patronage system. They can’t solve the gun problem. Need proof- ask Juvenile Court Judge Anthony Capizzi who tried to enact gun ordinances- and got death threats as well as an instant smack down by the state.

When it comes to running a small business, Chris Shaw needs a dose of what he calls his success. How about the taxpayers fund his competition- and give a half-a-million dollar building to his competition in the dry cleaning industry- for just $10. That’s not creating jobs- or even “economic development” it’s charity to rich developers.

Matt Joseph talks about increasing the minimum wage- which is good and fine, but, again, not something that he’s going to accomplish – or succeed in passing. And he doesn’t even say it as if he plans to do it. If you look back at what he’s done since he waltzed into office in 2004, virtually unopposed- since the Board of (S)Elections has managed every time to keep folks opposing him off the ballot, he’s barely able to name a single accomplishment- except taking credit for “Welcome Dayton” which was championed by former Mayor Gary Leitzell.

Let’s talk about the real problems in “economic development” in Dayton under Shaw and Joseph that haven’t been addressed.

Low property values: Houses that can be bought for under $40K almost must be bought for cash, as banks don’t want to mess with them. This means it’s really hard to turn neighborhoods around- esp. when the leading “home improvement” strategy in West Dayton is fire by arson and demolition. When we add in the insane arbitrary property tax that rises as you improve your neighborhood- all it does is force gentrification and robs poor people of their life’s investment. Without providing a method for financing, insuring and protecting investments not only from thieves, arsonists, but what your neighbors do, it makes investing in impoverished neighborhoods almost impossible.

That’s why I’ve said that we need to totally revisit how property taxes are assessed in areas that are listed as CRA, HUBzone, Opportunity Zone and qualify as a food desert, vacant, and depressed, if we want to see investment. We’ve tried building entirely new plats- Madden Hills, and frankly, they haven’t held their value. We’ve tried to jump start a historic neighborhood- Wright Dunbar, and values have seemed to max out at less than what they sold for right after rehab. The only money invested in the West Side under Matt Joseph has been in demolition. And, as I’ve said- “you can’t build a city by tearing it down.”

Of course, the retort is, you can’t change how we assess property taxes, that’s a state law, to which I say watch me. Just because the situation is so dire, and the banks, insurance companies and appraisers no longer care about these areas may be the very reason why a smart leader can start working on solving the problem through creativity instead of misdirecting tax dollars.

One of the things I loved at the beginning of the event is that they read the list of those who have died of gun violence in Dayton this year. All of them. Not just the 9 in the Oregon District Massacre. It brings me to the other truth Matt Joseph can’t address- Dayton’s Police force has been decimated under his “leadership” while the rich folks have built their own private armies of cops. This has to stop. If it looks like a cop, is armed like a cop, drives a car like a cop- it is a cop- and they work for either the Sheriff or the DPD- not our private organizations that think they can control the city by buying people like Whaley and Joseph and Shaw.

After the shooting of Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati on a traffic stop by a University of Cincinnati cop- we should have had a come-to-Jesus reckoning about these private police forces who can legally kill people, without any public oversight. People in West Dayton should have police response times equal to that of the businesses in the Oregon District. We had a shooting last night at Dollar General (again) and yet, why isn’t there a strong police showing at the corner of Third and James H.? Seriously. There used to be a police station right there for a reason folks. Matt Joseph let it get shut down.

Chamber of Commerce Dayton Seal- City of a thousand factoriesWhen you hear people say “we had to cut resources” and “the economic downturn” caused us to make cuts- and then you realize that Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland have all been doing better, at some point, maybe it’s the fact that we’ve elected charlatans with no original thoughts of their own for years. It’s why we have 30+ jurisdictions in Montgomery County alone- filled with elected officials who rule over the ruins of a city that once boasted as being the city of 1000 factories. There is a reason there has been a mass exodus from Dayton- and it’s not just busing or bad schools. High taxes, insane red tape, pay-to-play, and lack of vision have helped build things like Wright State and the Fairfield Commons Mall outside of Montgomery County, as well as later- The Greene. It’s why we’ve seen the rise of Austin Landing and the Benchwood district of Butler Township- where taxes are illegally collected by non-cities – sometimes only on the poor working class.

Top- Shaw Cleaners, Bottom The Next Wave, Chris Shaw, v David Esrati- any questions?

Top Shaw Cleaners- white building on right.
Bottom, The Next Wave.

Shaw and Joseph claim to be union supporters- at the same time as they are trying to give a sweetheart deal to GM under the table, while their union “supporters” are striking about the same inequity Joseph is rambling on about. Shaw talks about his business chops- yet, it’s his by virtue of birth- and right now- doesn’t even have a sign on the building. His “business” is surrounded by boarded up shops. My business was a boarded up shop- and has managed to win a preservation award as my neighborhood has blossomed. You have to actually go take a look at both and decide.

Joseph hasn’t updated his website in years. Shaw barely has one.
Try to comment on theirs, ask questions, get a response, or find an idea.
Do you really need these two back in office?

If you realize that voting for Shenise Turner-Sloss and David Esrati, when combined with the vote of Darryl Fairchild, Nan Whaley and Jeff Mims no longer can control the Dayton City Commission without swinging a vote from these strong independent voices.

Dayton- it’s time for change.

 

 

 

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