The Party should be over for the Political Parties

Winning teams have deep benches. The NFL continues to electrify week after week because of the “next man up” reality. No matter how good you are, there’s someone working to take your spot, aspiring to be your replacement.

And, that’s what’s missing from American politics, with our two party system that’s all about keeping fossils in office until they are petrified. While other countries seem to be able to elect young charismatic leaders, we’re the country of the old guard, protecting their flanks at all costs- including their own.

If there is one thing to thank Donald J Trump for, and it may be the only thing, he forced people into a flawed process because it wasn’t just a choice between the lesser of two evils, but a choice between life or death of decency. I just watched Joe Biden and Kamala Harris give speeches about the future of our country, not about themselves. It was a refreshing change after 4 years of a narcissistic child’s rants.

Yet, even their selection was an odd process that causes way too much disenfranchisement, alienates voters instead of empowering them, and leaves people wondering how does this system bring us down to choices that somehow don’t feel like we’re getting the best our country has to offer. Our system of elections is so out of whack, so co-opted, so odd, that we’re still not even sure who the winner will be come December 15th- we just are making an assumption.

Let’s start out with the very process of primaries to whittle the field. Somehow, we’re not capable of deciding between more than a binary choice – this or that, black or white, red or blue. By the time I was allowed to choose my choice for presidential candidate for my party, the states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina had made my choices for me. I couldn’t vote for Mayor Pete, or the Yang Gang or be a Bernie Bro, or even endorse Liz Warren’s plan for that. This has to stop- and the best way to do that is via a ranked choice or instant runoff style system, where well informed voters can rank their choices, regardless of party, so that their voice is heard- and the best choices of the most people end up as the final choices.

While term limits are supposed to force us to get new blood into the system all it’s done in Ohio is create a game of musical chairs as one well seasoned politician takes over another well seasoned seat in a giant switcharoo. That’s not the answer- and there are some public servants who deserve to stay in office because they actually do a good job (although for the life of me right now, I can’t name any local ones…sadly). We get the same names, the same faces and the see some incredible failures hoisted on us by the parties.

If you need a case study, look to Russ Joseph, Nan’s best buddy, who failed again to win again despite being a 2 year incumbent to gifted county positions. Of course, he’ll wind up in yet another cushy patronage job where he can bully people and pretend to be smart. He’s the epitome of career political symbiotic leech that people can’t stand. He’s never had a job that wasn’t sucking at the teat of the Dem Party. Good riddance Russ. Now, if we could just dismantle the crooks who kept hoisting him on the public- the local Dem Party.

It’s time to realize the local political parties are just as incompetent as the national ones. We don’t need to endorse in primaries, we need to have primaries. We don’t need to have a screening committee- we need a deep bench of people who are being groomed and trained to aspire to office. We don’t have that. We can’t even line up opposition to a dangerous sheriff, or find a candidate to beat Mike Turner with a ton of money behind her. The only candidate the Dems had who could have beaten Turner, unfortunately got sent to prison for being part of a culture of corruption after over 20 years of “winning.”

The party had a guy who ran 2 years ago for Ohio 41 and despite running strongly against an incumbent, by the time this year came- he’d left the party to beat your boy Russ. John McManus was a poster child of what happens when you have an insular party made up of people who’d rather eat their own than beat the competition. Now, we have a Republican Treasurer and a Republican Clerk of Courts. Russ Joseph was the problem, and he will still be a favored son of Mark Owens, Nan Whaley, Mat Heck and Karl Keith.

Looking at the other side- had the Republicans ran Gary Leitzell against Debbie Lieberman again, they’d have won. If the Dem party wasn’t so incompetent, and the statehouse races so gerrymandered, they’d be looking just as bad. It’s sad when the Dem’s actually have some great candidates like Cate Berger, Mark Fogel, Amy Cox and Zach Dickerson, and despite horrible opponents, these first timers can’t count on their party to move them forward. This is probably because, other than Zach, none had run before, and they were getting their advice from people who only know how to win races that are almost fixed.

There are a few things that really need fixing in Ohio other than gerrymandered districts. The issue of ballot access for independent and third party candidates has to be fixed. No more impossible obstacles for signatures to get on the ballot, especially in the days of Covid where asking people to sign petitions is asking them to risk getting sick.

The other obstacles of creating bank accounts, getting an Employer ID number, campaign finance reporting that’s so arcane that most accountants are confused- need to be refined. And most importantly, campaign finance reports has to be taken out of the hands of the candidates with self-reporting. It’s time to build a donation portal, with real-time, verified reporting of donations in real time, with real names attached. Yes, you have to register to donate, and all donations have to be handled through the portal in an ADA compliant and totally transparent system. Candidates expenditures would also be recorded in real time- using a provided debit card, so we can take the Householder style of hanky panky out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

The first step for the dems at the local level should be to eliminate all voting power by anyone who is employed by the political class – applying the Hatch act to the party leadership. The first step at the national level is for people like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to bow down and act as elder statesmen and guide new young blood into positions of leadership. Never again should it be unclear who the obvious next candidates for the highest office are- we should know and see familiar faces, who’ve been tried and tested in cabinet positions, in leadership roles and as new voices.

We should know who the obvious person is to take on Rob Portman in 2 years, who will challenge Mike DeWine or Jon Husted, or be the next sheriff in town, long before the actual petitions are due. That’s what real parties do, they develop a bench.

I plan on working on Reconstructing Dayton for the next two years to give voters real ideas about who and what and how we run our county. I will take a run at Mark Owens for chair of the local Democratic party, but I will not run for office. I hope to find others and guide them to be the next generation of independent smart voices for changing Dayton (the bigger than the city Dayton) for the better.

Right now, we need to find 4 new faces for our incompetent school board. We need to find the best field of people to run for City Commission we’ve ever seen. Right now, for Mayor, we have Nan Whaley getting signatures for her potential third term, Gary Leitzell to challenge her for his old job back, wild man Tony Schultz throwing his hat and gloves in the ring.

For Commission, we have two seats open and: Valerie Duncan  and Shenise Turner-Sloss running again, Incumbents Jeff Mims and Darryl Fairchild, and newcomer, Jordan Wortham making his debut. Of course, getting 500 signatures is the first barrier, and then getting Daytonians to not vote against their own interests is the second. I’m sure we’ll see a few more names added to this list.

The first change we should make is eliminating the separate race for Mayor- and just awarding the center seat to whomever earned the most popular votes. Simplify and cheapen these races- since in reality, the City Manager is SUPPOSED to be the one who runs things.

In the mean time, please, go subscribe to Reconstructing Dayton– or follow us on Twitter, subscribe on Youtube or friend us on Facebook. We’re going to continue to pump out information on what we can do to make Dayton successful and a beacon of prosperity again despite who we elect.

Next man up!

FBI fails in public corruption case

I’m sure that the FBI and the Department of Justice think they just proved their case. Guilty as charged (albeit to grossly reduced charges):

Companies owned by Steve Rauch and Joyce Sutton Cameron pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to engage in mail fraud. In exchange prosecutors agreed to dismiss all charges filed last year against Rauch, 65, of Germantown; former Trotwood Mayor Sutton Cameron, 72; and her husband James Cameron, 81.

The conspiracy charge was filed Thursday against Steve Rauch Inc. and Sutton Cameron’s company Green Star Trucking Inc. as both Rauch and Sutton Cameron were set for pre-trial hearings Friday on their 2019 charges.

Rauch and Sutton Cameron waived personal appearances before U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Rose and their representatives pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge for their respective companies.

Jennifer Copeland, operating manager for Steve Rauch Inc., and Lawrence Greger, attorney for Sutton Cameron, entered the guilty pleas during remote hearings. Rose found both companies guilty and set sentencing for March 12.

The companies face a maximum penalty of one to five years of probation, a fine of not more than $500,000, and a $400 special assessment.

Rauch, Sutton Cameron and James Cameron, a Green Star employee, all faced prison sentences if they had been convicted of the original charges of one of count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and six counts of mail fraud filed by the federal government last year. Each charge carried a possible prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Source: Two local companies plead guilty in federal corruption investigation

What is still missing is how Rauch continued to get contract after contract from the city, including the insane deal to tear down parts of the Dayton Daily news building, leave the job unfinished, and end up with the best part of it, the original building which is currently on the market for around twice what the “fine” amount could be.

He was paid over a million dollars to demolish it- and the city had to pay another firm the same amount to finish the job.

Does this sound like justice to you?

Reality is, he’s owned most of the Democratic Party Monarchy of Montgomery County for years. He’s funneled millions back over the years in the pay-to-play environment that gives politicians like Nan Whaley $440K to run for Mayor. And yet, she’s still running around and collecting signatures for her next run for Mayor next year.

If the “Culture of Corruption” is going to go away, the FBI is going to have to send some people away for more than 3 months to the federal prison. But, that would require actual work.

There are two sides to every contract. So far, we’ve only seen vendors charged, and a few self-dealing side deals by people in power. The real question is how do these contracts keep getting awarded to the same people? And, if someone is ever going to be held accountable for the demise of our neighborhoods- making the bulldozer more valuable than a builders work truck in the city of Dayton.

Just remember, this isn’t limited to the City of Dayton, your recently re-elected County Commissioner, Debbie Lieberman and her assistant are just as guilty of steering contracts for love and money.

If you are looking for an election re-cap, one is coming here, but the brief review is on Reconstructing Dayton here: Local Election Outcomes Highlight an Inefficient and Broken System


Vote tomorrow as if your life depends on it

If you have not voted yet, please remember to do so. Exercise your right as an American to choose the leadership of this country.
I will be working the polls tomorrow for the first time, and for the first time in my life, I am afraid of this coming election day. However, I would like to encourage you to join me in voting and raising your voice for democracy.
We need to remember that we are, first and foremost, human beings and American citizens. WE are what makes America who and what she is. Our choices and our actions speak to the world we wish to create.
When our actions embrace and celebrate division and hatred, we are creating that type of country. When we condone and applaud violence against our own citizens and against a peaceful election process, we are building a country of chaos. We will reap what is now being sown.
The actions of many people lately have demonstrated how far we are sliding from the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as an extreme minority attempts to restrict and deny the freedoms of others.
Our leadership should embody the honor and strength that we idealize as Americans. Our leaders should demonstrate the UNITY that once made our nation so strong.
This house is divided – perhaps more than it ever was during the civil war. It will not stand as long as the violence against others is seen as humorous, acceptable, or appropriate. That the current resident in the White House has condoned the actions of renegade bands of extremists is unAmerican at best, despotic at worst, and is unpresidential in either case.
Militias, motorcades, and outright violence are NOT part of a free election. Those who have served in the military KNOW what that is when they see it in any other country, and it is SHAMEFUL that they are purposefully blind to the meaning here.
The heart of our nation has been hollowed out by the machinations of those who built their fortunes on the blood and bodies of others and who continue to do so. They live by the “Golden Rule” – that those who have the gold make the rules. They thump bibles and wave the American flag to lend credibility to their attempts to disenfranchise the ones they want to keep under control.
Their greed will be the downfall of the Great Experiment – the wager that our founding fathers took that the untitled, common people of the United States of America could govern themselves better than wealthy oligarchs or monarchs.
Throughout the history of the United States, we have wrestled with this concept. Even the founding fathers were predominantly wealthy, white, educated landowners and they reserved the “rights” to themselves.
We still have the stark division between the haves and have-nots, the educated and working-class, between genders, between shades of skin, of heritage, religion, and more. We still struggle to see “others” as human beings like ourselves, worthy of respect, and standing on common ground.
However, the Great Experiment is not over – yet.
It may take more than casting a ballot to preserve the ideal that is America – the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, regardless of who you are, what you look like, who you love, how you worship, or what your bank balance may be.
It will take raising your voice, even when you tremble inside. It may take standing firm in front of tanks and guns – remembering the trepidation we all felt watching the lone student in Tienanmen Square and realizing HE is now us.
It will take shaming family members into remembering that their hard-line beliefs are harmful to others and to our nation as a whole when those beliefs are held to be more important than the preservation of our very liberty.
It will take the sacrifice of friendships, of family ties, and perhaps of lives.
But first, it must take your vote.
#NovemberIsComing #November3rd #Vote
This was written by my friend Leslie Marsh.
All I ask is after the vote is in, we remember, we’re American’s first. Let’s fight the good fight- instead of each other.

Turner now hates losing at the auction

Congressman Mike Turner has never had a problem taking money for his services. Every time he’s run, it’s been at least a million bucks to keep him fueling the military industrial complex with pork projects the military didn’t even want. He made sure to keep the Abrams tank in updates (the plant is in Lima) and he bought the C-7 for the Air Force who didn’t want it- so they gave it to SOCOM. He talks about “supporting the base” as if it is really going to go anywhere, or that his voice really matters all that much. Word on the street is that he has no friends in Congress- and the one friend he did have, well, the other member of congress (Darryl Issa, R-CA) who was at his short lived second marriage, he ended up in a lawsuit against.

That’s Missile Mikey in action. As our Mayor, he ran Reynolds & Reynolds out of the city center- out to Kettering, built giant fountains after paying off some local mobsters for the property to put the fifth fountain on, arrested me for wearing a mask to a commission meeting (I was ahead of my time) and losing in court, over and over, before settling for $100K. He lost to Rhine McLin, and waltzed right into a custom designed new district that he could win- from Tony Hall, who got suckered out of his job for a fake job with the Vatican. Since then, the local dems have been unable to run a competent opponent with- Rick Carne, Jane Mitikides, Joe Roberts, Sharon Neuhardt, Theresa Gasper- have all tried and lost. I threw- or tried to throw my hat in a few times, which lead me to produce this spot- which still applies:

Even in a bad year, with a crappy 25 year old opponent, Turner outspent his opposition 10 to 1, just because he could- and, of course, he would hire his first wife’s firm to do the work. That he also made sure she got work from non-locals like the Home Depot PAC, the Army Corps of Engineers (while he sat on the Defense Appropriations Committee) and the final nail- all the work she did on “Get Midwest” for the Dayton Development Coalition- was just a little bit of his “judicious use” of PAC money to enrich himself. You don’t end up being a millionaire on a Congressman’s pay any other way….

So his whining today about being out raised by Desiree “Daughter of Dayton” Tims today just has me shedding crocodile tears for our poor congressman.

“There’s some enthusiasm from within the area, there may be some Democrats who live in Cincinnati and Dayton who haven’t given in the past but they think this candidate has a real shot so now they are opening up their wallet,”

Hannah said. “But also there’s quite a bit of outside money, people who just want to see more Democrats elected to office.”

For example, Schroder received over $240,000 from House Victory Project 2020, a joint-fundraising committee that donated similar amounts to Democrats across the country this cycle. Over $700,000 has been funneled through Act- Blue to Tims’ campaign and over $400,000 to Schroder’s campaign.

Turner said in an emailed statement, “Unbelievably, Desiree’s DC lobbyist connections have funneled over $1.5 million from outside of our community in an attempt to buy this congressional seat.” (emphasis added)

“Voters can see the projects I’ve worked for as mayor and as their congressman, and I appreciate their support.”

Also in an emailed statement, Tims thanked her donors who chipped in “$5, $10, $25 donations.”

“Unlike my opponent, I don’t take corporate PAC donations,” she said.

“Instead, I’m running a campaign fueled by grassroots energy. I come from a working-class family and that’s who I’ll fight for in Congress.”….

• Ohio 10th Congressional District: U.S. Rep.

Mike Turner (R) vs. Desiree Tims (D) Total raised: $3.3 million State rank: 4 In the second and third quarters of this year, Tims outraised Turner by enough of a margin to overtake him.

According to ProPublica, Tims has raised $1.7 million, 6.9% from PACs, while Turner raised $1.6 million, 30.5% from PACs. Ohio’s 10th Congressional District covers Montgomery, Greene and Fayette counties.

Source: Congressional races attract big money to region – Dayton Daily News

It’s long past time to put some caps on buying a seat at the table- and limiting our choices to the better of two people picked by a party primary. Now is the time to allow everyone to vote in primaries- using Ranked Choice/Instant runoff systems to allow other voices to be heard at the table. Reality is- there are more people who refuse to join either party by voting in a primary in Ohio- leaving their voice largely muted in the discussion. Right now, it’s just a Facebook group (that needs your membership) but Ranked Choice Ohio is a start to make this happen. This is also a part of the Reconstructing Dayton platform.

Speaking of which, Reconstructing Dayton just released its mission statement video:

We believe if we moved to a sensible unigov solution in Montgomery County and the region, not only would our ranking by size and power go up, but voters would actually breed better candidates than cretins like Turner. BTW- Turner once claimed he was a “never Trumper” before jumping on the Trump train full force- with a 95% suck up voting record.

Tims may be new to our local political scene, but, don’t blame her- our local parties won’t let anyone run without you “waiting your turn” and be granted ballot access by the Monarchy of Montgomery County. Hopefully, if Tims wins, she tells the local party to clean up it’s act- or reformulates a true Democratic Party to support her in the future- because the current one needed an enemy like Trump to finally start doing it’s job.

The RIAA needs to go away, Youtube dl tool is critical for citizen journalism

The Recording Industry Association of America, Inc. (RIAA) wants to have it’s cake and eat it too. Used to be if you wanted to sell your music, you made a record and sold it in stores. People would buy it- and the artist and label would get paid (note- the labels made way more than the artists). There were costs of pressing records, printing album jackets, shipping etc. Then, for “marketing” they paid radio stations to play some albums. That was in the old days. Now, Alphabet, owner of Google and Youtube- provide a free platform for them to distribute their material. They make videos and put them up for FREE! Then, they claim, you can watch, but not download- not just their content, but ALL content.

This is ludicrous. If you want to build a platform to distribute your music videos, and charge per view, go right ahead, but leave the rest of us alone.

Citizen journalism, like what I do here, depends on being able to download and edit together lots of content that’s on Youtube. Youtube DL was the tool I used. News stories, bodycam footage, video of current events. I’m not a billion dollar news gathering operation, with the ability to send a camera man and a reporter to everything that happens in Dayton or beyond. In order to tell my stories and support them, I have to be able to download anything from interviews to school board meetings, so I can edit and tell a story.

When I need music, I get it from Youtube’s royalty free music library, or other royalty free libraries I’ve purchased. I don’t go get the latest “Kid and Play” song and use it illegally- and yet, the RIAA wants to take away my journalism tools.

Luckily, the Freedom of the Press Foundation understands the importance of this tool;

In fact, youtube-dl is a powerful general purpose media tool that allows users to make local copies of media from a very broad range of sites. That versatility has secured it a place in the toolkits of many reporters, newsroom developers, and archivists. For now, the code remains available to download through youtube-dl’s own site, but the disruption of its development hub and the RIAA saber-rattling jeopardizes both the future of the software and the myriad journalistic workflows that depend on it.

Numerous reporters told Freedom of the Press Foundation that they rely on youtube-dl when reporting on extremist or controversial content. Øyvind Bye Skille, a journalist who has used youtube-dl at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and as a fact checker with, said, “I have also used it to secure a good quality copy of video content from Youtube, Twitter, etc., in case the content gets taken down when we start reporting on it.” Skille pointed to a specific instance of videos connected to the terrorist murder of a Norwegian woman in Morocco. “Downloading the content does not necessarily mean we will re-publish it, but it is often important to secure it for documentation and further internal investigations.”

Source: Music industry forces widely used journalist tool offline

I’ve not found a petition for you to sign online yet- but, the source code is hosted on Git-Hub, which Microsoft acquired in 2018 for $7.5B in stock. The Software Freedom Conservancy has asked that Microsoft resign from the RIAA because of their compliance with this request. If you find one, let me know.

There is no way I could have told this story, about the torture of inmates at the Montgomery County Jail while restrained, without Youtube DL. Note- I also made my raw footage available so that other news outlets could use it to tell the story- and they did. The raw footage has as many or more views than my edited piece.

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