Why our political candidates generally suck

Something to think about, you need to prove proficiency for lots of jobs before you take them.

Barbers, paramedics, police officers, electrician, plumber, architect, lawyer, civil engineer, surveyor, realtor, insurance agent, dental hygienist, teacher, nurse, school superintendent, truck driver, private investigator, pharmacy tech, massage therapist, social worker, appraiser, hell, you even need a permit to beg in the city of Dayton, but, you don’t need to pass any test, take a class, or even demonstrate basic knowledge of the office you are running for, from school board all the way up to president of the United States.

But, that’s only half the problem. The people who hire these fools often don’t understand the jobs they are bestowing on these candidates either. When was the last time that civics was a mandatory class in school? And, if we can’t teach sex ed or birth control, how the hell are we going to effectively explain the clusterduck of political jurisdictions and how they all fit together in 12 weeks? We’ve got cities, townships, counties, state reps, state senators, sheriffs and auditors, recorders and treasurers, secretaries of state, governors, prosecutors and attorney generals, judges and Educational Service Centers. What do all these positions do for the average voter, other than trash the city with their yard signs, fill the airwaves and your social media feeds around election time with bad advertising that’s less than informative.

Want to do an informal study of how well this is working for you? Go ask random people to see if they can name all their elected representatives from school board up to senators (State and Federal). See if they can explain the difference between the auditor, treasurer, recorder positions and can name all three? How about meeting schedules of their school board and or city commission or township trustees? And, what’s their public speaking policy? Who do you turn in a public records request to? How much do they make, what’s the time requirements of the position? How do they get on the ballot, or what’s it take to remove them from office?

Can you find out who gave money to whom? And who hedged their bets- giving to both sides? How much money did they spend to get elected, what was the final vote count and who were their opponents?

The reality is, while we claim democracy is great, how we practice it isn’t. It’s become so arcane that a guy who was appointed by 40 hacks in a back room is currently making an argument that he gets to stay in office for 11 months after he looses an election and his opponent shouldn’t take office immediately, despite 130,000 people saying he should be the duly elected treasurer of the county.

But, back to the actual people on the ballot. To be president of the United States only requires you be born here and at least 35 years old. For almost every other public office, there are barely those requirements- 18 and live in the jurisdiction and gather some signatures of registered voters and you’re on the ballot.

Things that win elections? Being an attorney, being rich, having a well known name, having an Irish name (in these parts), being endorsed by a political party or a union, being the party that the district has been drawn to favor, being tall, being telegenic, having won and held lower office, being able to raise money.

Note, no mention of having great ideas, being able to win debates (what are those anymore?), or actually having accomplished something in life other than being elected.

As to qualifications for being a voter? Being 18, a citizen, and not incarcerated for a felony and registered to vote.

Unless of course, you’re an immigrant who has become a US citizen, where you have to pass a test to prove you understand all this. The test, by the way, just got more difficult, thanks to the Trump administration (the one that hates immigrants).

Maybe it’s time that we create a test for public office, to make sure that candidates actually know something about the office they are running for, what their responsibilities are and what rules apply to them as elected officials. In Ohio, we require all elected officials to take a 3 hour class on the Sunshine Laws (open meetings, open records) but, since these laws are all bark and no bite- who cares? We don’t require proficiency in Roberts Rules of Order, which most public bodies nominally follow, nor do we require any understanding of public finance (it’s not the same as either business or personal for a multitude of reasons), nor do we have any kind of standing job description or “company handbook” available to help them do their job well. It’s almost as if we want our politicians to fail. There are no other jobs that affect this many people and risk so much, that require no preparation, training or qualification. We believe noobs to be our best option for public leadership.

Somehow this does not compute. It’s why along with starting the 501(c)(4) Reconstructing Dayton to try to bring sanity and better candidates and forms of government to Montgomery County, we’ve just founded a 501(c)(3) The Modern Policy Institute to work on plans and policies to create a system that actually provides us a chance to select from the best and brightest to make decisions that will affect us all.

It’s time for voter information systems that work. It’s time for voters to select their leaders, not the other way around, and it’s time for your vote to mean something, even if you want to choose someone who isn’t mainstream. One of our first initiatives is to bring ranked choice voting to Dayton. Here’s the video:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to pull Wright State back from the self-inflicted sinking

Warning. This is a Too Long/Didn’t Read post (TL/DR). It’s a story in 3 acts. The first 2 happened, aptly, on Pearl Harbor day. The first, has Wright State shooting itself in the foot once again. The Second act is Dr. No’s speech to the faculty senate. The third act, is written in the future, looking back at how Wright State picked itself up from the bottom of the swamp, thanks to competent marketing and positioning proposed, yet ignored by Edwards, and the last 3 presidents before her. Sample refused to interact. This plan began in 2007, when a much younger me (David Esrati) believed that President David Hopkins was actually interested in properly positioning Wright State. Instead- we have “Raider Country” and are still relying on puns based on “wright/right” which is something only a marketing dotard would use. Read it all at your own risk. If you skip to the future- realize that these ideas still require implementation by the competent. So, no shipping off the new identity to Idaho, or Philly- or the local payola agencies. Maybe it’s time Wright State actually turned to one of it’s own grads. Good luck.

The only people who will read it are the people who are in the middle of the meat grinder. No one in Columbus cares- which is obvious due to the lack of prosecution for the lost $130M or the incredible conflicts of trustees, new and old, and how one person, seems to be untouchable, yet sits in the middle of every cesspool over the last 7 years. Even the H1B visa scandal, which would normally land some folks in jail- or at least banished from being on the board, seems to be ignored. The FBI managed to prosecute Joey Williams and RoShawn Winburn for public corruption totaling less than $100,000 and we have Greg Sample- the engineer of the criminally conceived Double Bowler Enterprises rising in power and stature to be the COO and the defacto dictator at Wright State. He was hire illegally, he’s been promoted without postings, and now, sits in shit and slings sewage in all directions. Between him, and Dr Susan Edwards you have the two least competent people the State could choose to take over and run a university that has suffered near fatal self-inflicted stab wounds one after another.

At this point, the State would be smart to hand over the reins at Wright State to the Clark State President, Dr. Jo Blondin, or look to hire UD President Emeritus Dan Curran to try to bring the school back from the dead. Blondin has managed to increase enrollment during Covid- and project a cool confidence throughout the pandemic. Edwards and Sample have sabotaged the university at every turn.

What brings on this post is the “[OFFICIAL-L] Wright State Faculty Reduction Process Update” email sent out by the comms office on Monday Dec 7, a day that will live in infamy once again. While I’d normally not include the entire email- or just post it as a link- this has to be easily available as evidence- and in context. I’ve selected and highlighted the paragraphs that are absolute grounds for firing someone who shouldn’t be getting paid to do communications.

Self-inflicted Hari Kari

On November 12, Wright State University announced, in its continuing efforts to preserve its ability to offer an affordable, high-quality public education to the Dayton region, that the university would commence the process for anticipated bargaining unit faculty workforce reductions, called “retrenchment” under the university’s applicable collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) with the faculty union.

Wright State is following the process and complying with obligations specifically outlined and mutually agreed to in Article 17 of the CBA: policy.wright.edu/collective-bargaining-agreements.

In brief, the retrenchment process proceeds as follows:

  1. The university cites the circumstance for anticipating the need to retrench faculty members. In this case, the university’s November 12 notice stated that faculty workforce reductions are anticipated as a result of a significant reduction in enrollment over at least four semesters that is expected to persist.
  2. The university and the union form a joint retrenchment committee of administration and union representatives to provide recommendations to President Sue Edwards regarding the retrenchment process. Following the announcement, the university received numerous information requests from AAUP-WSU, to which the university promptly responded with a significant amount of data and information pertaining to the anticipated retrenchment. At this time, the university and AAUP-WSU have identified their three respective representatives who will comprise the six-person committee, which met on Monday, December 7 for the first time. The joint committee has 60 days to develop and submit its recommendations. Concurrently, interim Provost Douglas Leaman is working with the college deans to develop a plan that supports the future direction of the university.
  3. Both the joint committee and the interim provost will present retrenchment recommendations to the president for consideration.
  4. The president, after considering the recommendations, will present an administration retrenchment plan to the Wright State Board of Trustees for consideration and potential approval.

Though this process has been agreed upon in multiple CBA’s between the university and AAUP-WSU, it has not been invoked previously, and it is important that we, as a university and as a public institution, address it in a professional manner.

Unfortunately, some from our campus community have attempted to unnecessarily create fear and panic within a variety of constituencies, most notably among Wright State’s students and alumni, without even giving the mutually agreed upon process a chance to begin. This is reprehensible and, in the end, runs the risk of further exacerbating the university’s already declining enrollment—the very impetus for these anticipated bargaining unit faculty reductions.

The following is being shared in an effort to clarify and correct a few of the more glaring inaccuracies and misinformation we have seen to date:

  • Retrenchment has been referred to as an “extreme action.” Rather, it is the mutually agreed-upon process in the CBA recognized and approved by the AAUP membership. Very logically, it outlines a process the university uses to reduce its number of faculty when enrollments decline significantly over an extended period of time and is anticipated to continue. Similar retrenchment clauses exist in collective bargaining agreements at many universities with unionized faculty across the country.
  • Some have asserted that one “cannot trust the numbers” offered by the university. However, the university’s enrollment is publicly tracked and submitted to the State of Ohio and the federal government.
  • Some have suggested that the university is “likely using the Covid-19 pandemic as justification for making cuts to faculty; in other words, like many universities across the nation, they are taking advantage of a public health crisis to justify getting rid of unionized faculty they would not normally be able to fire.” Again, this is false. The university’s enrollment declines long pre-dated COVID-19.
  • Statements that “instead of working with faculty to come up with imaginative solutions to recruit and retain students, they [the university leaders] have decided to fire faculty,” and “they have decided that fewer faculty is the only answer” are false. In reality, the university’s previous initiatives have included several rounds of workforce reductions that affected university staff and administrators, and which did not extend at all to the unionized faculty. Additionally, the university has attempted to adjust its faculty size through normal attrition, leaving open positions vacant, and offering voluntary early retirement incentives.
  • Assertions that “AAUP-WSU has continuously tried to collaborate with the administration during periods of financial hardship” are inaccurate. The reality is that the union has declined multiple opportunities to work constructively with the university. Last spring and summer, for example, the administration repeatedly asked the AAUP-WSU leadership to meet and negotiate modifications to the CBA. Those requests were repeatedly refused. Subsequent proposals to meet informally to discuss options and alternatives were also rejected.
  • Finally, cuts to administrative positions have occurred over the past several academic years. Wright State has and is expected to have fewer students and must continue to focus on sizing its academic operations accordingly.

While the above inaccuracies are disappointing in and of themselves, most appalling is an attempt to entangle students in a mutually agreed-upon contractual process in a manner that runs the risk of ultimately driving away current and prospective students. An AAUP-WSU FAQ recently claimed that: “Even if your program remains in existence, as the administration promises, reduced numbers of faculty will result in substantially fewer available courses, or your required courses may be offered less frequently. This will inevitably increase the cost of your education by lengthening the time required for many of you to complete your programs of study and graduate.”

This is a baseless and categorically untrue statement. The university has always prioritized, and will always prioritize, a commitment to our students, and there is no reason to believe that faculty retrenchment will prolong the time it takes to earn a degree at this institution, or that retrenchment will cause the cost of a degree from this institution to increase.

Wright State University is essential to the success of our region. The significant majority of our graduates remain here in the Miami Valley contributing to the success of the businesses, organizations, and communities in which they live and work. Our commitment to preserving access to a locally available, affordable, high-quality public education remains our utmost priority.

Let’s examine how functioning universities work. Front line workers, professors, interact with students, in order to advance students skills so that they can become better members of society. If society was a car, and universities are where you go to soup it up, professors are the tools that make the car better. All the buildings, the administration, the support staff, exist to bring students and professors together to interact. The professors are what make a university. Edwards and Sample clearly think they make the university- and will sell off their tools and continue to pretend that they have any skills at all.

The same day this missive/missile went out, the Faculty Senate met, virtually of course. Edwards got to say her piece, unfettered and unedited. But, when one of the smartest people in the room (and the University) got to speak, she got cut off and shut up I’ve got the full text of Doctor No’s speech for the public to see the clear and unvarnished story of why Wright State is in need of a serious intervention if it is to succeed. Dr. Noeleen McIlvenna is a political scientist/historian. She understands conflict and statesmanship. If I was looking for someone to guide a revolutionary evolution of Wright State- you’d want her on your team. She is the kind of faculty that students search out and pay good money to learn from. If everyone at Wright State was cut from the same cloth, they wouldn’t need any marketing help.

Dr. No to the Rescue

President Edwards,

I have just completed the first mtg of Committee on Retrenchment. We met to discuss Retrenchment despite these current conditions at WSU:

The University is operating without a functional Strategic Plan. We have no clear mission, no vision, no plan, no strategy. Yet the administration is about to make the hugest of decisions— laying off faculty who carry out the basic mission of all universities, teaching and research—- with no design wherefore or why.

In the last year, let me remind everyone in case you got dizzy, we have seen the departures from University Hall of: President Schrader, VP for Finance  Branson, General Counsel Chan, CIO Craig Woolley, Matt Boaz and Lindsey Wight, Paul Carney and his replacement enrollment manager, VP for Faculty Cheryl Meyer, and head of WSARC, Dennis Andersh. The search for a VP for Research failed so that job is also empty. We have an Interim Dean of the Grad School. We have a President who arrived on campus just two years ago. We know Interim Provost Leaman just had his interview with Central Michigan Uni, so he is ready to slash and dash. We have three new Trustees. In this absolute chaos of completely inexperienced leadership, we are making the hugest of decisions.

Two school years ago we endured the longest strike in the history of higher ed in Ohio. This past and current academic year, we are in the midst of a pandemic. They use those years as a model from which to predict our future. Based on those two once in a lifetime factors, we are to remake our University.

We are supposed to make this decision based on dropping enrollment, despite the fact that we are on our fourth enrollment manager in two years. And when we asked for the Enrollment Management Plan, we were told it was a secret. That’s a quote. Yes, people in the back, you heard that correctly: the Committee is asked to make recommendations about falling enrollment that is “expected to persist” but the administration has declared their plan for future enrollment must be kept secret from us.

In what type of brain is this a good idea? In what kind of organization, public or private, would this be considered sensible? To no one who has the best interest of this institution at heart does this seem like good management. But for those who hate tenure, and who have tried since mid 2017 to get rid of it, who hate not having complete power over their employees, this was a moment of opportunity, an opportunity to reimagine a University that’s flexible and nimble. (Administrators and Trustees across the nation from Colorado to Vermont are now sharing the verbiage of Trustee Fecher.) ie a workforce that is contingent, totally at the mercy of the bosses, subject to firing at whim. Because of the chilling effect, there will be no one left who feels safe enough in their livelihood to call attention to management’s endless screwups: their illegal hiring of Greg Sample, our COO, and of Dennis Andersh, eternally defended by Trustees and  administrators but who is now claiming 5 million dollars worth of WSU assets for his private company;  their multi million student-tuition-dollar drain hole called Double Bowler (based, you’ll recall, on enrollment that was projected to go eternally upward), and their WSARC and their stupid branding campaign, their quarter-million-dollar history book, their cancelled Presidential debate and their Ron Wine receipt on a scrap of paper, their Dept of Education fines and their troubles with the Ohio Ethics Commission, their failed Strategic Planning —  nor to point out their extraordinary pay checks plus bonuses, never mind their “car phones” and country club memberships.

Retrenchment is what the Trustees want. Covid is a blessing to them — they may retrench 1/3 of the faculty and replace them eventually with adjunct or NTE faculty who can then lose their job every five years. And they will do so knowing no one will ever feel secure enough to draw attention to their incompetence and malfeasance again.

They have been consistent with their principles, you can say that for them. But they need our administrative tenured faculty to carry it out. And what happens to our profession if they cooperate? What happens to academic freedom in this reimagined University? What happens to the protection of truth, of science? Professors become like the scientists in the tobacco companies, or federal employees at the EPA: silenced from researching or teaching or telling the public anything the boss doesn’t approve. That is what you are cooperating with, Pres Edwards and Provost Leaman. That’s your choice, that’s your shame and that will be your legacy.  Everyone should understand that’s  why they pay half a million dollars a year to someone who was a dept chair 5 yrs ago. (Pres Edwards may get an extra 125K this year if she fulfill the goals the Trustees set for her, goals which we also told are secret!) So she will cooperate with this.

Deans Rigling, Traynor, Caron, Kiefrel, Engisch and Ulrich: there can be no more deluding yourselves. You know 10 K is an imaginary number, like -11 million was in May. We have at least 12,000 students now, with Covid and a 250 K  marketing budget. For the next two years, we will have no Covid and 10x the marketing budget.  Now you have to choose how you, too, will be remembered: — as a scholar and a teacher who made a stand for tenure and academic freedom, or as a coward who assisted, who turned in the Retrenchment list— the one who named names. That will be on you.

My question is in fact, on behalf of my administrative faculty constituents, for as a Senator I represent them too: if we were idiotic enough to accept your statistical extrapolations on the Retrenchment announcement, (there are no covariates!!) we should approach an enrollment of zero in a few years. At what point on your chart will you depose and retrench Chairs and Deans? At what point, President Edwards, will you sell out even your loyal obedient followers? I think my administrative constituents should hear it from you.

We have a university that claims to have a secret enrollment management plan, yet, is undermining it by claiming to be mortally wounded. None of this computes. That they hired a petrified University of Dayton enrollment manager to run recruitment and marketing- and he was gone in less than 6 months should clearly show that this rudderless, sunken ship has no captain worth retaining.

The plan for Wright State- how a real ad agency approaches a total turnaround.

I graduated from Wright State in 1988 with a degree in marketing. I can’t say that I learned a lot there, but I can say that I did learn a lot about how dysfunctional organizations work. There were two things going for Wright State back then- Dr.Jerrold S. Petrofsky and his attempt at computer assisted exoskeletons driven by electro-stimulation of muscles for paraplegics- and a SCUBA program run by Dan Orr. Turns out Petrofsky was a bit of a fraud and involved in some questionable relationships- but, he did attract a huge number of physically challenged students. Orr, was a genuine giant in the world of SCUBA- and yet, Dr. Paige Muhollan decided that a world renown leader without a PhD or “terminal degree” in their field of study wasn’t worth keeping at Wright State- and he fired Dan. I also couldn’t convince the guy who arrived on campus to build the Nutter Center to at least put cooling track and leave room for compressors to put a rink in at a later date. Tom Oddy told me they’d bring in portable ice. What would have been a $50K investment at the time of construction- later turned into a $2M bill many years later. I was active in Interclub council- and even received an award as a freshman, for starting the Raider Hockey club. All that, before I graduated and started The Next Wave, my award winning ad agency that has survived for 32 years despite my political hot potato status. I worked on campus turning around the fortune of the Dayton Wings and worked with 2 different ownership groups of the Dayton Bombers, once again putting me in the inside of the belly of the beast.

This plan could have been implemented 13 years ago- and Wright State might never have gone down the crazy train path of trying to be something it wasn’t meant to be, or what it has become now. Enjoy. And understand, that if any of this plan is considered for adoption, the university better be ready to pay for these ideas. They are actually worth something- unlike Greg Sample, Dr. Edwards or most of the Trustees. Enjoy.

When the student became the teacher and saved Wright State University

16 July 2022 Dayton Ohio.

It was in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 when news stories were being written about colleges “vulnerability scores” which predicted 10% to 20% of colleges could close in the next 12 months, primarily small private colleges and regional public schools.

Wright State had been reeling from a financial crisis, frequent changes in leadership, a visa scandal, and a faculty strike. A university that had been targeting enrollment at 20,000 a few years ago, was now talking about right-sizing at half that number. Programs and staff were being cut as well as pay. Students were grappling with the value of higher-ed that was more than likely to be delivered online thanks to lockdowns. The future was bleak.

What was worse, was the people in charge were operating in an echo chamber; the people who had survived the derailment were still in charge and not open to advice.

Unable to pitch his ideas to leadership, local ad agency owner, citizen journalist and political activist, David Esrati, who graduated from the school in 1988 with a degree in marketing made one last pitch to the governor, via a close friend he had developed over the years, Dr. Dan Curran, the President Emeritus of University of Dayton, aka the “competition.”

If there was one thing that had clouded the judgement of Wright State’s leadership was their constant aspiration to compete with the University of Dayton. Some saw the move to Division 1 sports and the building of the Nutter Center as the first evidence of this inferiority complex, by the time disgraced president David Hopkins left in 2017, the university had created entities meant to mimic and compete with UD’s very successful University of Dayton Research Institute by launching Wright State Applied Research Corporation and Wright State Research Institute. In fact, Curran had talked to Hopkins and told him, that this wasn’t a competition which seemed to hurt Hopkins’ feelings.

Esrati had a plan to totally reposition Wright State that he’d tried to sell to Hopkins in 2007 when he first arrived at WSU. And while Hopkins entertained Esrati over lunches at hole in the wall diners and lunch counters which Hopkins seemed to enjoy, he was being told by others to avoid Esrati. Hopkins did listen to one of Esrati’s suggestions, moving away from proprietary websites to Drupal, which is how the current head of marketing got brought on board. Hopkins also paid Esrati to do a re-write of the new mission and vision statement that had been crafted over 2 years by committee and read like it. For under $500 he got a re-write that Hopkins said he could use in speeches, but, couldn’t dare show to the people who’d slaved away at the original tortured language.

The part Hopkins loved was the reworked vision statement:

Vision

Wright State will be the “bicycle shop” for all who want to follow in the spirit of the Wright Brothers and change the world.”

Compared to the original-

“In the pioneering spirit of the Wright Brothers, Wright State will be Ohio’s most innovative university, known and admired for our diversity and for the transformational impact we have on the lives of our students and on the communities we serve.

Instead of creating an aspirational message for the customers, the mission was still focused on the university. It was clear, Hopkins was hunting for respect instead of results, and instead of listening to a renegade marketer, he drank from the “economic development” kool-aide well being peddled by the “Dayton Development Coalition.” As soon as Esrati heard the news that Hopkins had hired Jim Leftwich, he tried to warn Hopkins and was ignored. Turned out “Lefty” was working both sides of a deal and quickly sent packing, but the wheels had been set in motion for the downfall.

They say “politics make strange bedfellows” and nothing could better explain the situation when “I’m not a lobbyist” Ron Wine hires Esrati’s ad agency for a reputation management assignment. Wine had been turned into the scapegoat for the missing funds, when in fact, Hopkins and his henchmen fully knew what they were doing and kept signing the checks to Wine until the well ran dry and they had a house of cards to show for it. While building the case for what really happened at Wright State, Esrati found stories like this; trustee Doug Fecher (WPCU CEO) shoveling money into “Double Bowler,” an illegal shell corporation, in order to buy the Wright Patt Credit Union’s HQ without an appraisal so he could buy the old CSC building for WPCU’s new HQ from university donor Bob Mills. Sadly, the founding engineer of Double Bowler was Greg Sample, who has somehow avoided culpability and now is the number 2 man at Wright State. He’s made sure that Esrati was once again, shut out by the new president, Dr. Sue Edwards, who has described herself to university stakeholders as a “marine biologist masquerading as a university president.”

It was clear to Esrati as he watched the board of trustees argue about what direction to send Wright State, that none of these “business leaders” had a background or understanding of marketing. In one discussion about re-orienting the university to “STEM” they actively considered eliminating the college of liberal arts for ten minutes, until one trustee interrupted to point out that the college of liberal arts was not only the largest of all schools, but also the most profitable. Two university employees were tasked by President Schrader to forge a turnaround mission and vision statement, which again had no customer focus.

When Schrader left as the third president in the last three years, Esrati quickly reached out again to Edwards, only to be dressed down by Edwards that she’d heard from others that he was a person who tears others down,  instead of her style of building things up. She even claimed that Dr. Curran had warned her too.

With no one left to turn to with his presentation, he worked with Curran to refine his plan to slip to Lt. Governor Jon Husted. Curran, who had laughed Sample out of his office when he’d come calling with the same kind of hairbrained scheme for UD, listened and helped him refine his pitch. It went to Husted, who shared it with Governor DeWine, and then the chancellor. They invited Esrati to present via a skype meeting at the beginning of August 2020- as the university was still trying to figure out if it would even be open.

After an hour presentation, Governor Mike DeWine chose to change the course of Wright State by firing the entire Board of Trustees and removing Sample. He dissolved both the Wright State Applied Research Corporation and the Wright State Research Institute. All university ties to the Dayton Development Coalition were formally cut. The university was refocused and recentered with Esrati’s new mission, vision and strategy.

With collaboration between the AAUP, the new board, university leadership under the coordination of a former student Wright State forged a new direction for the university, no longer focused on the Wright Brothers as the fathers of powered flight, but instead on their scientific methodology. Instead of a traditional curriculum, Wright State pivoted to having students study their fields by researching and publishing the texts of tomorrow focused on the “crazy ones” – the people who changed the course of their field of study. The university dropped their sports branding of “Raiders” and swapped it for “Inventors” opening up a market for geek chic, selling seven figures worth of sports apparel in the first 90 days after the switch. Students, who were looking for something more meaningful than just a diploma, flocked to the school, which now embraces not only open source software, but open source textbooks. All students work in collaborative teams on short term knowledge sprints guided by their sensei’s, the professors who are now actively involved in guiding the educational experience, with tangible outputs instead of just grades and a credit hour.

The universities key focus on teaching open source, ADA compliance, and open and transparent governance, pushed the university from just another state university into a global success story of the new paradigm in education.

And while Esrati laments the 15 years of missed opportunity, the release of the new open source universal political information system, built and developed at Wright State under his guidance, made the battle worth it. Now, every political office in Ohio has a complete guide of what it takes to qualify, responsibilities, and campaign finance reporting as well as positions of candidates and their voting record- for all to see. It is predicted to help Ohio move forward toward a much more modern system of governance, a step beyond uni-gov consolidation.

Other advances in public records, ADA compliance and developing curriculum for Ohio’s new K-12 model, has companies across the globe looking at Ohio as the new state of the art when it comes to social capital and community development.

Note: This is written as a press release, because it’s been an ad industry standard since the rise of the Agency of the Decade from 2000-2010, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, and widely used by true practitioners of the craft of persuasion. WSU hasn’t had anyone with relevant credentials in advertising or marketing. The release was set in the future, because, actually describing the mayhem that will come with implementation may be hard for some to swallow. Changing the brand from Raiders to Inventors alone will face knee-jerk resistance of epic proportions. Bold moves always do.

Further note: If any of this shows up in future marketing strategies for Wright State University, the university will be sued for $1M, for theft of intellectual property. If you are at another university outside of Ohio, feel welcome to borrow with attribution. The Next Wave is available for consulting and help in respositioning your university or institute of higher learning.

Background

Wright State University is a relatively young institution that began as a joint partnership between Ohio State University and Miami University. Wright State is unique in that it is the only second state university in a single county, supplanting Central State, because of racial fears of attending a “Black University” in the early 60’s. For a long time, the university was jokingly referred to as “White State.” No other county in Ohio is home to two State Universities. Born out of racism, the university branded itself by tying itself to Dayton’s favorite son’s the Wright Brothers, yet the initial logo looked more like a nuclear fallout shelter sign than an institution of higher learning.

https://trademarks.justia.com/879/09/ad-docendum-investigandum-serviendum-wright-state-university-87909805.html

Hamilton Hall was added in 1970 with 322 beds on campus, the university was primarily a commuter school for Ohio High School graduates looking for a low-cost, high quality degree. To this day, Hamilton Hall is the only on-campus student housing. Typically, a large part of four-year universities income structure is dependent on student housing/meal plans.

At some point someone in leadership decided to add athletics, two other choices were made according to a first-person account from the universities longest standing Athletic Director, Mike Cusack and this author. The colors green and gold were picked because someone on campus was a Green Bay Packers fan, and the name “Raiders” was picked because at the time, the Oakland Raiders were known as the bad boys of football. The first attempt at a mascot was some kind of strange Viking looking thing called Rowdy, (UD’s mascot is Rudy). In the midst of the economic meltdown of the university Dr. Hopkins committed a huge expense with an out of state branding agency, and Rowdy morphed into a wolf and the name Rowdy was retired.

Dr. David Hopkins, who left the university in disgrace after losing over $130M in a 5-year period, had started pushing “Raider Country” to identify the multi-county region from which Wright State recruits most of its students. Hopkins also wasted an inordinate amount of money on a new logo that was swiftly rejected. https://esrati.com/wright-state-wrong-university-leadership/12794

When Dr. Hopkins arrived in 2007, his vision was of elevating Wright State to a “World Class… Institution.” The problem was, nothing about Wright State, from the faculty, to the students, to the mission of the university was remotely ready for “World Class” anything and the goals didn’t align with the capabilities or capacity. While no one would buy a Ford Escort to race at Le Mans, Hopkins pushed this narrative which derailed the entire direction from an affordable, regional school with some capacity to recruit international students thanks to ties to local defense contractors, into a suit that would never fit.

Challenges:

Over the years WSU has gone through multiple exercises in positioning via mission/vision statement re-writes. Few, if any, have been professionally executed exercises based upon research or using real and relevant data about today’s, and the future’s, challenges in academics, consumer behavior, choice, recruiting and value proposition. Institutions of higher learning everywhere are facing new realities in competition, online learning, national and global student mobility trends, etc. Each issue challenges each institution differently. Each must fully understand who, what and even why they are.

Every university has to somehow overcome the common realization that Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are all college dropouts.

Because original research is expensive, much of the insight that I’ve used to put this plan together is based on 2 years of data collection by Omnicom ad powerhouse Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) in their pursuit and win of the $4B US Army recruiting contract. The military is very aware that their ability to recruit is based on high performing messaging reaching the exact same high school students who may be choosing between trade schools, 2-year associates programs, 4-year universities and the military. Considering the military has a major negative of a 20 year forever war where death or permanent disability is a possible outcome, the research was extensive and insightful.

Some insights from the DDB research:

  • Young adults want to make an impact, but opportunities are few.
  • They are looking for purpose not just a paycheck
  • They want to take on big challenges to help them grow.
  • They want to do work that is respected by others.
  • College is increasingly expensive and it’s hard to justify the cost

To respond and motivate the target audience Wright State has to make a case for not just the relevance of the education, but that Wright State students are actively making a difference while learning. That Wright State is a new educational experience, that is new, different, modern, using the tools of tomorrow while making an impact.

The new Wright State will provide aspirational goals, while creating a motivation for students to be a part of it.

Brand Shift/Away

The Wright Brothers as the founders of flight is not, and never should have been part of the brand story of the university. The University of Dayton, has been the “Flyers” forever, and a local high school is the “Aviators.” Wright State has to push itself away from flight, the Wright Flyer (an oddly designed and primitive design that the Wrights held onto way past other advances in powered flight). In fact, the Wrights were scorned for at least 3 years by the local community after their epic achievement in Kittyhawn NC. It is the same kind of arrogant, closed minded leadership that kept Wright State leaders from auditioning this plan. It’s why they cannot continue to lead this university in its move forward.

Brand Shift/Toward

The new positioning of Wright State has several unique stories to tell and ways to tell them:

The real story of the Wright Brothers, two bicycle shop mechanics, was their scientific approach and belief in what others had considered blasphemy- the idea that man could fly via heavier than air machines. Their spirit can be neatly summed up by a quote from George Bernard Shaw:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

The Wrights were iconoclasts, they challenged the status quo. They were not “raiders” who stole from others- but “Inventors” who changed the world. It is that spirit and the power of change that must be the new foundation of the rebranded university.

Rebrand/sports identity

The first major transformation- and least important brand change, is to jettison the negative term “Raider” and replace it with “Inventor.”

There are no sports teams called “Inventors.” There are a lot of geeks globally who would probably buy the first division 1 geek/sports brand. Current sale of “Raider” gear is limited to the university community/alumni/students.

The “Inventors” – if marketed properly and supported could easily be a seven-figure brand.

The actual value that Division 1 athletics and the high cost of coaches, facilities, scholarships for a university that has lost almost half its enrollment in a short period of time is currently negative equity. Students do not attend games or care about standings, unless a team is somehow magically a contender which is a long shot these days. This new brand may be able to help stop some of the bleeding.

Based on all metrics, Division 1 sports should be an easy thing to cut. It would be preferable to be a division 2 school, or drop athletics, especially with the challenges of Coronavirus, unless the new brand can help solve the insolvency.

Rebrand/intellectual rigor

The critical shift in the repositioning is that each college takes the creative/destructive spirit of the Wright Brothers, and every other heretic inventor/thinker who has somehow changed the world and shift the course of study to how those people made their breakthroughs. Wright State becomes the fount of knowledge for those who belong in Apple’s timeless “Think Different” launch video- “Here’s to the crazy ones.” With the subtext that if you come to Wright State, you will be preparing yourself to be one of those who takes the status quo and bends it to change the world.

The new brand celebrates “the crazy ones”

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
~ Apple, 1997 launch of Think Different.

There is a completely new pedagogy to introduce at Wright State that aligns with the brand and the new role for students as partners in their educational journey. Instead of studying a text-book, we will expect students to do original research to write the textbooks of the future. Instead of reading about being in business, we’ll actually run a business. Wright State students will develop the solutions to today’s problems using the same rigorous approach that the Wrights took to conquering the challenges of powered flight. The university will create the future tools of learning in a blended and virtual world.

This is a message that resonates with young people according to the DDB research for the Army. The potential recruits want to do something good for the world and be a part of something bigger than the isolation that comes with a virtual world clashing with IRL (in real life) during uncomfortable times. DDB proposed “It takes an Army” as their tagline, which took the Army from the “Be all you can be” or “Army of One” passing over “Army Strong” to talk about being a part of something bigger.

Unfortunately, the generals fighting the last war are stuck in warrior culture- so, “What’s your warrior” has been shoved down DDB’s throat to recruit video gamers and wanna-be Rambos despite the military having even higher need for more intelligent and malleable talent.

As a rule, the expressions “workforce development” and “career planning” are no longer to be used at Wright State. It is an institution of higher learning, a place to train tomorrows thinkers, innovators, “Crazy ones” and not a place to be trained to be a cog in the machine. This is why every single board member had to be replaced. They have treated the university like analyzing line-items of a P&L instead of as a stockpile of intellectual capital. Discussions about becoming a “STEM school” are the last thing this university should be engaged in.

Open Source University

Wright State is going to pursue the challenges of changing the value of what they provide by a two-pronged transformation of the educational experience. Call it the Open Source University.

  • A commitment to using open source tools throughout the university. Linux as the OS of choice, Open Office as the standard tool for documents,  Sakai for an LMS, Drupal or WordPress to build the Universities sites and CiviCRM to keep the network of graduates together are suggestions as starting points.
  • Build a strong online network/community- integrated with commonly used tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc. All freshmen and staff must take an intro to social networks and be active participants. While many people use these tools, few fully understand the tradeoffs they accept as a price of entry (ie consumer as the product, value of data).
  • Adopt some open source projects as part of the university’s contribution to the global economy.
  • Begin a major in managing Open Source systems.
  • An area of specialization: ADA compliance for open source software and systems. Wright State is uniquely positioned in this area with both the ADA experts and the User Interface portion of the SOPP program on Human Interface Design.

The second part is a switch from being consumers of content to creators of content.

The cost of college textbooks and test bases has become a major stumbling block/cost.

Yet, there are plenty of open source textbooks out there- and more on the way. Other universities are well in the lead on this (however when I first proposed it to Dr. David Hopkins in 2012 he blew his chance to have positioned WSU well for the future).

See: https://www.oercommons.org/hubs/open-textbooks

And: https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks

It’s well established that writing about things is a better way to educate people than just reading about them. It’s the premise of the whole higher ed practice of requiring dissertations and publishing peer-reviewed work as proof of knowledge.

To turn the entire university into a production facility for scholarly research and building the textbooks of tomorrow is a game-changer. It can also help the state of Ohio reposition itself as an innovative community of learners- with our college students crafting the textbooks and learning materials for our K-12 system instead of relying on slow moving materials that were endorsed by a committee in Texas (the largest purchaser of primary school textbooks).

Forcing students to master the art of collaboration via the tools of today- wikis, video, LMS, adaptive guided educational journey’s, puts students and graduates in a unique position as masters of the new reality of distributed workforces and global collaboration.

There will be a few introductory courses required for all incoming students (and new faculty) to indoctrinate the campus in the Wright way to learn. One is a course that clearly teaches the economics and privacy tradeoffs of “Free” – as in Facebook, Google, and every other “tech service” that turns the user into the product. An introduction to the supposed character flaws and challenges faced by every single person who introduced revolutionary change to the planet, and lastly, a journalism course, examining the roles and biases of reporting as a contributor to the discussion of current events and outlooks. To be masters of media, students have to truly understand media.

With this new initiative, Ohio will have the beginnings of the toolset necessary to revamp the entire educational experience and reposition the state as the economy of tomorrow.

The Coronavirus pandemic brings new challenges to how we educate. It may finally force institutional education to re-evaluate the flipped classroom concept and re-focus on what education is really supposed to do: lead a learner on a guided journey. There is a lot to unpack on this, but, the following video with over 21M views (in 4 years) shows that these ideas have been around for a long time, but educators haven’t been willing to adopt new approaches.

Veterans Educational Network

It’s been hammered hard by the local lobbyists that the success of the region depends almost entirely on the strength of the base. While it may be the largest single site employer in the state, tying the future to the industry of war and destruction is usually not aligned to the goals of higher ed.

However, the pool of students looking for educational opportunities to transition from warrior to worker is large, and the challenges of transition are many. (As a Service-Disabled Veteran who owns a certified SDVOSB, I am qualified to speak on this. I also founded a veteran’s business association, VOB 108 which ran a Vetrepreneur academy).

While Wright State has greatly expanded its veterans service office in the 30 years since I graduated, there are other universities that have made far greater progress in supporting the veteran community.

The most impressive organization I’ve connected to is based at Syracuse University. Their Institute for Veterans and Military Families has put together outreach programs that are at a totally different level than other veteran transition programs. https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/

It’s my recommendation for Wright State to join their network of institutions of higher learning to provide access to their programs and collaborate, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.

https://ivmf.syracuse.edu/programs/entrepreneurship/resources/

ADA campus

When I first arrived at the WSU campus it was like stepping into another world- one where 15% or more of students were physically challenged. Granted, it was in the midst of the Dr. Jerrold Petrofsky hype machine era, but, Wright State did offer a unique mostly barrier free campus connected by tunnels making it perfect for students with disabilities.

Unfortunately, despite running an admirable disabilities resource center, the university not only failed to take this to the next level, they did things like build the Nutter Center with zero protected connection to campus.

The biggest insult was never building, at minimum, a covered attended vehicle receiving station for students in wheelchairs to transfer from their vehicles to the campus without having to expose themselves to the elements. A valet service, or a covered garage should exist if only for this population. Since the university also failed to expand campus tunnel-connected housing other than the Hamilton Hall, there still remains a need for much more fully accessible connected housing for students with disabilities.

Since WSU does have a population of students who face access challenges, one area of expertise to differentiate the university is creating a testing center for ADA compliance and work ADA solutions into open source community projects and to work with human factors engineering students to test for compliance.

This should also be a thrust of the Open Government project that Wright State could spearhead nationally and internationally.

Campus without walls

Massively Open Online Courses are not new. They’ve scared most institutions of higher learning as weapons of their demise. The reality is, the best educators can use these tools, via curation and adaptation to raise their game. While it would be great to be able to hire all of these educational stars, the real question is how to craft our own.
Wright State will have to create a new training program for faculty to show how curation, explanation and moderation are the new currency of knowledge in the hyper-connected world.

The words “publish or perish” take on new meaning when you make the transition from being the publisher to realizing that your job is to get your students to publish with your assistance.

Professors now serve as editors, pushing the Socratic method back to the forefront of the educational journey.

Universities must force students to establish relationships not only with their peers, but with thought leaders across the globe. In business, the adage has always been “it’s who you know” and the same should be applicable to those entering the workforce after learning their toolset at Wright State.

The same should go for professors, who will work across the globe to build relationships and projects with like-minded innovators out to change the world.

As the Wright Brothers freed man from living on land and sea, Wright State 2.0 will free students and faculty from the constraints of read, regurgitate and repeat. The university won’t be professing to be out to change the world, but, out to change the opportunities for its graduates, who will have a different toolset to approach the world than their predecessors. They’ll be inventors, iconoclasts and have a framework for fabricating the future.

#30

If you’d like to further discuss the ideas presented in this paper, www.thenextwave.biz

[email protected]

And there, you read the whole thing. Now I invite your thoughts.

May the Inventors rise from the ashes of the Raiders and achieve the lofty heights that the Wright Brothers showed us possible. RIP Chuck Yeager- he would have understood this.

Time to arrest and jail the Sheriff

The state has a curfew. Mask ordinances everywhere. Public Health is urging people to not go out unless it’s essential. The goal is to cut the transmission of Covid 19.

Welcome to your Montgomery County Jail, run by Sheriff Rob Streck. On Thursday, they became aware of a wide spread outbreak. They shut down the kitchen, serving bag lunches with juice box both in the jail and the juvenile detention center. Zero moves to isolate inmates who have tested positive. While doing rapid tests on staff, they ordered them to go in and clean and disinfect everything – as if that’s going to stop the spread.

Some of the inmate workers who travel the whole jail- had tested positive, meaning there is a good chance that most of the population has been exposed. Number one rule in confined spaces is NOT to have people who cross isolated areas.

Fast forward to today, Sunday. At roll call, supervisors tell staff that even if they tested positive, they are to continue to come to work, just wear a mask (as if they were allowed to work in the jail without one before?). The jail health contractor, Napthcare, has even OK’d inmate workers who tested positive, can continue to roam the jail, as long as they have a mask.

No attempts to limit admissions, to speed releases, to limit population or to isolate those who’ve tested positive.

Besides being against all CDC, state and local public health recommendations, this amounts to guaranteed lawsuits against the County. Being held in jail before being proven guilty is one thing, risking death from Covid is another. I’m sure local law firms can’t wait to start picking up these sure-fire cases that will cost the taxpayers millions more than the Montgomery County Sheriffs department and their incompetent jail administration has cost us already ($10M and counting).

Maybe if we jailed Sheriff Rob Streck for a while for attempted murder of inmates, putting him in his own jail, he may choose a different approach to managing Covid in the county lockup.

Public records requests gone bad

As a side note, up until recently, Shelly Diaz,  Assistant to Chief Daryl Wilson, has been awesome about properly fulfilling public records requests.

However on November 12th I put in the proper PRR:

With as much specificity as possible, please describe what records you want to review = Records pertaining, including cruiser cam video, of actions of Rod Brown, leading to his termination. I’m fine with digital documents. Also- his previous evaluations for the last year. Thank you

I received the cruiser cam video and every evaluation of Depute Brown, on Monday, November 16. What was missing was the incident report and termination documentation of Brown.
I asked again,

Hi Ms. Diaz,
I found all his evaluations- and 2 videos.
No files about the incident in question- or his termination documents.
Did I miss something?
Thanks

Also- can I have Deputy Rod Browns official photo please?
Thank you

She responded that day:

Mr. Esrati,

I misunderstood your request, I will obtain a copy of the investigation and a copy of his termination. As for photographs, it’s my understanding that photos of former and current law enforcement officers are not public record. Though, I will verify this with our legal team.

Shelly Diaz

The Dayton Daily beat me to the story, publishing Thursday night, the story of how Deputy Rod Brown assaulted Mr. Rondale Hampton on July 13, 2020 and was terminated.  If Diaz had done her job properly, I’d have scooped the paper- and also given you a better picture of what happened.

It’s become common for those that work in the “Culture of Corruption” to bend and twist and delay public records requests in order to delay or defuse public outrage over their incompetence.

I had to ask 4 times last week for the same thing, to Dayton Public Schools about how they hired someone to re-do their website without an RFP. Turns out they no longer have to put out an RFP for anything under $50k. The bid came in at $48K, but had an “additional work” invoice for $3,975.00… you get the picture. And btw- DPS, web hosting for $200 a month better have more than 2 hours support quarterly, that’s more like monthly rates – for a dedicated box- not a cloud account.

If you’re wondering why their agency they hired 3 years ago via an RFP, The Ohlmann Group, didn’t build the new website- it was because they refused to bid on it this time around. The existing vendor, Upward, was also asked to bid, as well as some unheard of group in Columbus, the remaining bidder/winner, got the contract despite being $20K over the group in Columbus.

My firm was the low bidder by a long shot three years ago, but we were rejected. One of the DPS “evaluators” suggested we didn’t have the video chops that Ohlmann did, yet we do our own video and Ohlmann outsourced. Might be why we made a video about the whole thing- including where the Ohlmann Group was telling the superintendent and board members they couldn’t touch the proprietary website that Upward had built. Check out the whole story here- and watch the video.

Something still stinks in DPS.

 

Russ Joseph is as bad as Donald Trump

Today, finally, Russ Joseph conceded defeat to John McManus when the final vote was certified. Russ lost.

Russ Joseph got 128,633 or 49.62%, John McManus got 130,592 or 50.38%.The people have spoken, they once again decided that even as the incumbent, Russ wasn’t worthy of keeping his appointed position. Usually, being an incumbent and a dem guarantees you win a countywide race in Montgomery County- and this time, Russ had the benefit of being a dem like Joe Biden who won the county by a wider margin:

  • DEM Biden/Harris135,064 50.18%
  • Hawkins/Walker 884  0.33%LIB
  • Jorgensen/Cohen 3,418   1.27%
  • REP Trump/Pence 129,034  47.94%

Coattails didn’t help Russ. This is the second time, 40 people in a back room have hoisted him into office and now, this is the second time he’s lost- with the full backing of the Dem party.

The first seat he was given for being Dem Party Chairman and Dayton Clerk of Courts butt kisser was the county Clerk of Courts seat when former Clerk, Greg Brush resigned midterm. Russ ran a campaign, and lost to Mike Foley 2 years ago. Mike Foley barely spent a dime, and yet beat Russ by101,603 to 100,862 or 741 votes. Didn’t matter, because Carolyn Rice won Dan Foley’s vacant seat and left the treasurers office for the County Commission. The party then gave Russ that job to hold for 2 years- he began immediately. No one elected him to squat, but he was given the office on the whim of 40 people who weren’t elected by a majority of anything. And here is where things in Ohio law get confusing.

The terms of county officials are staggered in Ohio so that you don’t end up with a bunch of new folks all at once. So, the Treasurers office, and the petition to run for the job, state you start in September of 2021. Russ, and others, somehow think that because he was appointed to the unexpired term- he should fill it to the end of the term. Had he won, as the system is usually rigged to work, he’d be fine- staying until September- and then continuing on his happy way.

However, Russ was appointed. Now the people have spoken once again, and they didn’t want him as treasurer. For Senators who were appointed, when someone is elected to fill their term, they start immediately. Just like Russ started when the party appointed him. So far, the Secretary of State has waffled on this. Like so many things in Ohio law- it’s written by lawyers instead of people with a good command of the English language- so, it’s supposedly open to interpretation.

From the elections guide:

Section 1.02
Vacancy in Elective Office
A vacancy in a public elective office can be caused by the death, resignation, suspension, or removal of the holder of the office before the current term has expired. The vacancy usually is filled initially by appointment in accordance with the relevant legal provisions. The vacancy in office also may require the holding of an election for the remainder of the unexpired term, depending on: 1) the particular office in which the vacancy has occurred, and 2) when the vacancy occurred.

Various provisions of the United States Constitution, Ohio Constitution, Ohio Revised Code, and home rule charters set forth procedures for filling a vacancy in a particular office by appointment, either for the remainder of the term or until an election is held to select someone to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.

When a vacancy occurs in a county office, the board’s director provides notice of the party’s right to make an appointment to fill the vacancy to the central committee of the political party with which the outgoing office holder is affiliated.

A board may use Secretary of State Form 292 (Certification by Director of Board of Elections as to Political Party Affiliation of the Last Occupant of a County Office) to do so.

Because the State seems to believe that only those who are D’s or R’s count- there is no provision whatsoever in the law what happens if an independent candidate would get elected. If they died or resigned, who would get to name the replacement?

UPDATE

19 Nov 2020, a friend who is a very good lawyer, which apparently, we don’t have as a Secretary of State or a County Prosecutor, pointed me to ORC 305.02 Vacancy in county offices filled by election or appointment

(B) If a vacancy occurs from any cause in any of the offices named in division (A) of this section, the county central committee of the political party that nominated the last occupant of the office as a candidate for that office for the current term shall appoint a person to hold the office and to perform the duties thereof until a successor is elected and has qualified, except that if such vacancy occurs because of the death, resignation, or inability to take the office of an officer-elect whose term has not yet begun, an appointment to take such office at the beginning of the term shall be made by the central committee of the political party that nominated the officer-elect as a candidate for that office for that term.

Source: Lawriter – ORC – 305.02 Vacancy in county offices filled by election or appointment.

This section of law clears up some things, like what happens if an independent happens to win. But, it is clear, Russ is out as of yesterday, and McManus should be Treasurer now.

The idea that a political party gets to choose a person and their will outweighs the will of the people who chose a replacement in a regularly held election is almost as undemocratic as the false claims being made by Donald Trump about the legitimacy of the election. Russ Joseph is our local version of a man who should never have been allowed to have elected power.

The dirty little secret in Ohio- is that we don’t have a Hatch act provision to keep our political parties in check. Both parties in Montgomery County fill the seats with either elected officials or the people who work for them in patronage jobs. In Montgomery County Dem meetings- votes are held in public- so that you know that not going along with the majority could lead to you losing your cushy patronage job. The people who appointed Russ Joseph should have had no right to put him in power, but this is how the Monarchy works for the Monarchy and not the people. It’s how people like Beverly King got to hire her brother- a convicted rapist, to a job in the Board of Elections, without even posting the job. BTW- Bev is now the party secretary.

Once you work in government, or are elected to office, you should no longer be allowed to be involved in partisan party politics. You now work for US- the United States- which means ALL OF US- not just your party. This is how this country has screwed itself up- along with letting dotards like Russ Joseph get appointed to office.

If Russ had the tiniest bit of self-respect, he’d have resigned today and handed the keys of his appointed office to John McManus- the rightfully elected Treasurer. But, since he won’t- it’s time to file a lawsuit to put the will of the people over that of the criminals of the Montgomery County Democratic party. The one, we’re still waiting for the FBI to bring down as part of their culture of corruption investigation.

It’s time to discuss Trump’s treason

Trump wanted for TreasonLet’s talk about treason. It’s the only crime that’s defined in the U.S. Constitution in Article III, Section 3

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Article III, Section 3 authorizes Congress to set the penalties for treason, but not to change the definition or create degrees of treason. The federal treason statute, 18 U.S.C. § 2381, mirrors the Constitution’s language and imposes minimum penalties of five years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. A conviction bars the defendant from holding any federal office and carries the possibility of the death penalty.

Source: How Is Treason Defined in the Constitution? What Are the Federal Criminal Penalties for Treason? | CriminalDefenseLawyer.com

Surprisingly, it’s not been used very often. Total count of folks tried for treason? 27 or so. Most famous? Aaron Burr who was tried and acquitted. Some of the offenses seem insane: William Bruce Mumford, convicted of treason and hanged in 1862 for tearing down a United States flag during the American Civil War. A bunch of folks during WWII got in trouble for either defecting or harboring escaped prisoner of war. The last person charged was in 1952 and that case was sort of misguided since it was against a Japanese American who thought he’d already lost his citizenship.

We’ve also killed a few people for other reasons of betrayal-

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were American citizens who were convicted of spying on behalf of the Soviet Union. The couple was accused of providing top-secret information about radar, sonar, jet propulsion engines, and valuable nuclear weapon designs; at that time the United States was the only country in the world with nuclear weapons. Convicted of espionage in 1951, they were executed by the federal government of the United States in 1953 in the Sing Sing correctional facility in Ossining, New York, becoming the first American civilians to be executed for such charges and the first to suffer that penalty during peacetime.

Source: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg – Wikipedia

Lately, the Espionage Act of 1917 has been used instead of Treason to charge people for risking American’s lives, a few of the most recent high profile targets?

Chelsea Elizabeth Manning[3] (born Bradley Edward Manning, December 17, 1987) is an American activist and whistleblower.[4][5][6] She is a former United States Army soldier who was convicted by court-martial in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents.[7] She was imprisoned from 2010 until 2017 when her sentence was commuted.

Source: Chelsea Manning – Wikipedia

Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments, and prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy…

On June 21, 2013, the United States Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property,[2] following which the Department of State revoked his passport

Snowden has been variously called a traitor,[5][6][7] a hero,[8][9][10] a whistleblower,[11][12][13][14] a dissident,[15] and a patriot.[16][17][18] U.S. officials condemned his actions as having done “grave damage” to the U.S. intelligence capabilities.[19] Snowden has defended his leaks as an effort “to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”[20] His disclosures have fueled debates over mass surveillance, government secrecy, and the balance between national security and information privacy.

Source: Edward Snowden – Wikipedia

One man’s espionage is another mans freedom fighter- or, in recent cases, whistleblower. Part of the problem in this country that was formed via an insurrection by revolutionaries- is that the founding fathers wanted it to be ok for the general masses to take on the government, with weapons if need be (however at that point- they were only concerned with muskets- not nuclear bombs). President Woodrow Wilson asked for some new tools to keep folks in line:

President Woodrow Wilson, in his December 7, 1915 State of the Union address, asked Congress for the legislation:[4]

There are citizens of the United States, I blush to admit, born under other flags but welcomed under our generous naturalization laws to the full freedom and opportunity of America, who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life; who have sought to bring the authority and good name of our Government into contempt, to destroy our industries wherever they thought it effective for their vindictive purposes to strike at them, and to debase our politics to the uses of foreign intrigue … I urge you to enact such laws at the earliest possible moment and feel that in doing so I am urging you to do nothing less than save the honor and self-respect of the nation. Such creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed out. They are not many, but they are infinitely malignant, and the hand of our power should close over them at once. They have formed plots to destroy property, they have entered into conspiracies against the neutrality of the Government, they have sought to pry into every confidential transaction of the Government in order to serve interests alien to our own. It is possible to deal with these things very effectually. I need not suggest the terms in which they may be dealt with.

Source: Espionage Act of 1917 – Wikipedia

This law has been questioned as some of it negates the protections of the hallowed 1st Amendment- our freedom of speech.

Now, let’s discuss what you and I generally can and can’t say- and this is where a famous legal quote comes in:

“Shouting fire in a crowded theater” is a popular analogy for speech or actions made for the principal purpose of creating panic. The phrase is a paraphrasing of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.‘s opinion in the United States Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States in 1919, which held that the defendant’s speech in opposition to the draft during World War I was not protected free speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The case was later partially overturned by Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969, which limited the scope of banned speech to that which would be directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action (e.g. a riot).[1]

The paraphrasing differs from Holmes’s original wording in that it typically does not include the word falsely, while also adding the word “crowded” to describe the theater.[2] The original wording used in Holmes’s opinion (“falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic”) highlights that speech that is dangerous and false is not protected, as opposed to speech that is dangerous but also true.

Source: Shouting fire in a crowded theater – Wikipedia

Which brings us to President Donald Trump and his refusal to accept the election results, to deny President elect Joe Biden with security briefing material, access to transition processes and the defense of his actions by members of Congress who failed to remove Trump from office via impeachment earlier in his tenure.

Trump has been inciting riots across our country for the last two years, dividing us, causing instability and a broad mistrust of institutions that this country has relied on to keep democracy functioning- like the freedom of the press (which he contends generates fake news) and his creation of a false narrative about an imaginary force he calls “Antifa” as if being anti-fascist is a bad thing. And, then, there’s the mishandling of the Coronavirus.

Despite knowing of its danger, and that wearing a mask can help subvert it’s transmission, Trump has continuously pushed for a false narrative, that it would disappear by Easter, that various drugs and potions would work and that masks weren’t necessary. The net result is that, to date, in less than 10 months, we’ve lost almost half as many Americans as died in WWII over four years.

We can look at the people tried for treason or espionage and all of them combined, didn’t kill a tiny fraction as many Americans as Trump has lorded over. We can look at Pearl Harbor, or 9/11- where foreign enemies attacked us and inflicted casualties- 2,403 died on Dec 7, 1941, and 2,977 on 9/11 2001. Add those up- and you’re at 5,400.

So far the Covid death toll in America is surpassing 248,000 and rising faster daily. If this isn’t equal to  “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them” or by the words of Wilson, “who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life; who have sought to bring the authority and good name of our Government into contempt, to destroy our industries wherever they thought it effective for their vindictive purposes to strike at them, and to debase our politics to the uses of foreign intrigue” which fully fits how Trump has maligned our democratic processes and protections that are guaranteed by the constitution and promised with the words of the Declaration of Independence “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” I don’t know what is.

It’s time for Trump’s immediate removal from office, along with his supporters who have ignored the will of the people, who have allowed this miscreant to bend our society to the point of civil unrest, egging on an insurrection and acting with impunity to the risk of our great nation. By failing to acknowledge the will of the people, for failing to concede as 44 other presidents have done before him, for his mocking of the rule of law, he must not be allowed to continue to mock us with his abuses of power and those of his backers. It is time to use the constitutional definition of treason, to use the espionage laws to their fullest extent to protect the peaceful transition of power, and to show respect not only for the office of president, but the process that bestows the powers and principles of this country into the office that Trump has besmirched.

If there was a time to hang an American for levying war against our citizens, it is today, as 248,000 have died and many will continue to die, because of Trump’s treason.

note: After I wrote this, I searched for an image and found that USA Today published an editorial asking the same thing- is Trump guilty of Treason. Because in Dayton, it takes a herd to be heard, I thought I’d include this, so you can’t say here goes Esrati off the deep end again. The reality is, our country has to regain it’s senses, fast. Before he starts another war.

 

 

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