Last night I let the community know about A.J. Wagner’s new Wagner for Mayor website . One of my readers has already claimed the twitter account that the Washington. D,C,. developers failed to claim, despite telling the world to follow @WagnerforMayor 
His fundraising button to ActBlue doesn’t work yet either. And, the brilliant D.C. developer also failed to remove the “Hello World” post as well. The site does look real “purdy” though.
Considering Wagner claims all over his site that he “believes in Dayton” he chose not to use any number of local firms  that can develop a site and a brand and headed to Washington, D.C., to hire “Code and Politics”  So far he has no content under “The Issues” and in his grand introduction which is written in that wonderful third-person voice (especially odd for a blog post) the most telling part is that you can’t comment. Does A.J. want to have a conversation with the people of Dayton or not? Since you can’t do anything but friend him on Facebook and sign up for a newsletter, I thought I’d open the discussion about A.J.’s campaign here on Esrati.com where the people who choose to be well informed about Dayton politics and graft come daily.
I’ve used the ordered list with numbers for discussion only, not as a rank of importance.
- You’ve been writing a column in the Dayton City Paper (DCP), now that you are a political candidate, will you give that up, or will you get the DCP to give your opposition equal space?
- Do you plan on writing your own posts on your blog, or continue to have some strange ghostwriter do it in a third person like our Republican congressman and former Mayor, Mike Turner ? And if you are interested in learning how to use this technology, may I recommend the excellent seminar on using WordPress, www.websitetology.com 
- Will you at some point allow comments? Will they post immediately like on esrati.com or will you hold them for moderation?
- As a judge, you recused yourself from all death penalty cases, claiming your Catholic faith and personal moral constructs put you at odds with the law (citation needed, but take my word for it- or A.J. can respond in comments). Are there any issues in the city that your faith and constructs might put you at odds with the law- for example, the Catholic church isn’t a fan of abortion, birth control, gay marriage, domestic partner registries, etc.?
- The current city charter requires 500 signatures of registered voters to get on the ballot and to have the petitions notarized. This is a bit odd, since you only need 50 signatures to run for Congress. It has stopped many candidates from getting on the ballot due to technicalities or the validity of signatures (which have to be gathered in very cold weather). The state standard is also 50 signatures. Will you change this?
- Also, the charter requirements for citizens to put a charter change on the ballot and the recall process both are measured by percentages of registered voters- not by a percentage of actual voters in an election (the standard that’s used throughout the state). According to the census, Dayton has 109,000 people of voting age. If you believe the 100,000 count of registered voters at the Board of Elections we have 93% of adults are qualified to sign petitions. Yet petitions routinely have at least 30% of the signatures invalidated. Will you fix this?
- What is A,J, Wagner’s plan for the priority board system that was implemented in the ’70’s and decimated in the last ten years?
- On your site you talk about improving educational opportunities . To quote Mike Turner in his first mayoral race when I was running against him and talked about the schools, “if you want to talk about the schools you should be running for school board.” Where is the money coming from to better fund pre-K education and full-day kindergartens? And where is the money coming from to fund a program “for all those who qualify and apply themselves, through a college diploma paid for by private and public benefactors” ala the “Kalamazoo promise”  We can be promised the world by any politician, we want to know specifics on how you will achieve it.
- You backed Rhine McLin in the past and Richard Clay Dixon. Considering that neither of them was a stellar, ground breaking mayor- what will make you different? Can you point out any paradigm shifts you implemented as auditor or as a judge that supports your ability to do any “outside the box” thinking?
- We’ve seen the City Commission get mired up in national politics by addressing things that are outside the purview of city government – an assault weapons ban, a handgun registry, anti-predatory lending laws, living wage rules which while all good and fine for posturing, drained city resources and took the eye off the ball of doing the basic jobs that our city has been failing to do (indicated by the mass exodus of residents over the last 25 years). Are you for or against these kinds of grandstands- and how do you feel about each of them in retrospect (every one of them has cost the taxpayers plenty).
- Despite my protest and arrest over the subject of illegal “work sessions” of the City Commission back in 1996, the charter clearly specifies only one official meeting of the commission to conduct business at a set time and place, these have continued to be held. Will you stop this practice or continue it?
- The rules on public speaking at City Commission have become pretty draconian over the last 20 years, will you change the tenor of how citizens are received at the legal meeting?
- Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen the growth of the “Department of Economic Development” in the city, the county and the state. The main function of this department seems to be to hand out tax breaks or our tax dollars to private companies. What is your position on this?
- The Downtown Dayton Partnership has been funded for a number of years with an additional tax on downtown property owners. Considering the huge loss of downtown jobs, is it time to end the “Special Improvement District”?
- The city has given money for years to the Dayton Development Coalition which is supposed to serve as a regional Economic development department, but instead seems to have become a federal lobbying group. The city has also paid a lobbyist at times with tax dollars. Will you stop this practice and instead be our voice to lobby to our other elected officials?
- What are your specific criticisms of our current mayor? How has Gary Leitzell failed the citizens of Dayton in your opinion. I know this question is difficult for a nice guy like you, but, some would point out he’s only one vote of five, and you’ve been a supporter of the other four commissioners who have probably gotten in his way. Comment?
- As a follow up question to #16, the inside joke about the mayor’s job is that your only qualification is that you have to be able to count to three. Which two commissioners will you engage and count on to make your mark?
- If I crawled though your campaign finance reports- who would I find as your major donors? You’ve run for other offices including Ohio Supreme Court. Are there any donors who might embarrass you? Do you have any opinion on campaign finance reform? Gary Leitzell ran his campaign with a sixth of what Rhine McLin spent- are you willing to agree to limits if your opposition does?
- You retired as judge before your term was up. Why should we elect a quitter? If you do it again, it will cost the taxpayers money for a special election- will you promise to personally guarantee the costs of a special election if elected? Also, if you are already receiving a state pension, will you forgo it while serving as mayor if you win? And, how will a four-year term as mayor affect your pension- is this part of why you are running – to add years? If the anti-spiking law goes into effect being mayor may actually lower your average pay and could decrease your pension- are you OK with that?
- I admit, I was impressed when you planted a flag in your yard for every dead US soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan as a reminder to us of the real cost of war. I understand that removing thousands of flags and replanting them every time you had to mow became an issue. While symbolism is wonderful- what else did you actively do to protest?
- I’ve previously posted an attack on your practice of housing young UD co-eds in your home – at one point the voter rolls had as many as 5 women, not related to you, residing in your home. What changes to zoning and building codes will you push as mayor? Do you support Single Room Occupancy, dropping the requirements for parking with development in built locations, or are there other ideas you have in this area?
- Last question- call it catch 22. Our city has a weak-mayor system. We’re supposed to have a professional city manager lead us, yet politicians with big egos and small brains have minimized our manager’s voice over the years. While Tim Riordan has done an amazing job at keeping the city out of financial folly, he’s not been a particularly visible or engaged leader. Who will you replace him with? Or will you try to move us away from the city manager form of government?
To be fair to Judge Wagner, and to other candidates, this is more than enough to keep him busy writing his blog for the next month. We’re still waiting to see who else throws their hat in the ring for leader of the pack.
In the meantime- make sure you follow @Wagnerformayor for the latest updates. I’m sure you’ll get more answers from the Fake AJ Wagner than you will from the real one.
If any of my readers want to pose questions for “The Future Mayor of Dayton” comments are open and welcome by me- the future…. of Dayton.