[S]Election Day, Tuesday May 7, 2013

Today, Dayton voters get to narrow the field. It’s not about electing anyone, it’s just about choosing who won’t be elected, a test pattern, a process of winnowing. In a country that has thousands of flavors of hot sauce, somehow, when it comes to voting, we’re increasingly asked to pick between ketchup and mustard, and only bland ones at that. In fact, the system is set up to give them the advantage. Don’t be bold or spicy, don’t say things that are outside our comfort zone, stick with the “proven winners” – the “endorsed candidates” the ones who can raise the most money as if it is a measure of leadership instead of the root of our political downfall.

The infamous “slate cards” were mailed by the W campaign and hit my mailbox Friday, whether they will be paying people $75 a day to stand outside and hand them out to voters at polling places (always a 100′ from the polls) depends on if she saved any of her campaign chest that paid for at least 7 mailings, 3 robocalls and who knows how much TV, radio and the like.

Will it influence you? Is buying your way into office while running a campaign of blandness the way Dayton is going to go today?

Seth Godin, who writes so succinctly had a post today that was apropos:

Avoiding fear by indulging in our fear of fear

Every day, we make a thousand little compromises, avoid opportunities, actions and people–all so that we can stay away from the emotion of fear.

Note that I didn’t say, “so we can stay away from what we fear.”

No, that’s something else entirely. Right now, most of us are avoiding the things that might merely trigger the emotion itself. That’s how distasteful it is to us.

The alternative? To dance with it. To seek out the interactions that will trigger the resistance and might make us uncomfortable.

Are we trying to avoid the unsafe? Or merely the feeling of being unsafe? Increasingly, these are completely different things.

Due to ‘enhanced security’ a recent bike event in New York City forbade the 30,000 riders from carrying hydration packs. No practical reason, just the desire to avoid fear.

The upcoming exam doesn’t get studied for, not because studying is risky, but because studying reminds us that there’s a test coming up.

We loudly keep track of all the failures of commission around us, but never mention the countless failures of omission, all the mistakes that were made by not being bold. To track those, to remind ourselves of the projects not launched or the investments not made is to encounter our fear of forward motion. So much easier to count typos than it is to mention the paragraphs never written.

There’s no other reason for not having a will, a health proxy, an insurance policy or an up-to-date checkup. Apparently, while it’s not risky to plan for our demise, it generates fear, which we associate with risk, and so we avoid it.

It’s simple: the fear that used to protect us is now our worst enemy.

Easier to avoid the fear than it is to benefit from living with it. I’ve heard the quote a thousand times but never really thought it through…

via Seth’s Blog: Avoiding fear by indulging in our fear of fear.

I was going to write a post about the open beverage option in the Oregon District, but hadn’t had time. Before the option is even available, resistance to an idea is based on fear:

Ohio lawmakers may allow larger cities to create “entertainment districts” where open alcohol container laws would not apply — similar to the French Quarter in New Orleans and Fourth Street Live in Louisville.

The bill, if passed, would apply to any city of more than 50,000 residents, meaning in the Miami Valley, Dayton, Kettering, Hamilton and Springfield could create an open-container zone.

One area that meets the criteria for an “entertainment district” is Dayton’s Oregon Historic District.

But any such district — assuming the law passes — would have to be approved by city

leaders, and some members of the Dayton City Commission are already aware of opposition.

“We wouldn’t do anything in Oregon unless the businesses and the residents are completely comfortable,” City Commissioner Nan Whaley said. “We’ve gotten to a really good place in the Oregon District, so the commission wouldn’t be interested unless they came together.”

Mike Martin, president of the Oregon District Business Association, says the exemption would not work on Fifth Street because of its proximity to the district’s residential area.

“It sounds good on the outset, but it creates a 24-7 party district that is not good for the neighborhood,” he said. “I think it would attract people who walk around drunk all day.”

In Ohio’s larger cities, the change could allow open containers in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine historic neighborhood and The Banks as well as the Arena District in Columbus.

via Bill to allow drink zones.

Here we have a bold option to make Dayton different from all the other surrounding communities. Something that others can’t have- and immediately, the reaction of the “endorsed candidate” is to suggest that a special interest group would hold sway over what is good for our whole region. This is safety, this is the opposite of bold, this is protecting the status quo, and it’s why I’m tired of our lack of leadership.

Let’s analyze this. Before the ink has even been put to paper, the opposition of a single neighborhood is stopping all of us from having a vibrant, party zone, where people from (If the French Quarter is used for comparison) around the world, people would come to have a good time. May I also point out, that despite the end of the stupid rule of 17 (which for years limited the number of liquor licenses in the Oregon) property values in the Oregon District continue to rise. The residents who live and own their homes there, all knew full well that they were buying a home a stone’s throw from the bars, this wasn’t accidental or a surprise.

Yet, Nan Whaley runs to the press’s microphone like a fly to shit, and spouts off without thinking about what the big picture is. When neighbors complain about drunk people walking through their neighborhood at 2 a.m., it’s not the bars’ fault- it’s the drunks’, and that is an arrestable offense. It’s very easy, when you close off Fifth Street, to also close off Brown, Jackson and Cass streets and patrol during the hours of the party. It’s also easy to limit parking in the neighborhood during the hours of partydom, and if we had any vision at all, we would have built a skybridge over the railroad overpass- from the transportation center garage to the Oregon- with a train watching station with a glass floor, and made it into an attraction, and provided cheap, monitored parking for Oregon Party residents- complete with a sobriety check on exit from the garage- with a cab service available.

That’s the difference you face today. Reactionary, same old dog and pony show offered by the “endorsed” party ticket, or bold new ideas that aren’t based on fear of pissing anyone (singular) off.

Commissioner Joey Williams has had 12 years with at least 2 supporting votes to do anything he wanted, Whaley has had 8. For the first 8 years of Williams’s time in office, he had all 5 votes on the commission working in lockstep and Whaley had them for 4.

Not sending Mayor Leitzell on to the November election would be a crime. His innovative, hands-on approach to problem solving instead of seeking approval by committee has moved this city forward faster than it’s moved in years, despite a global depression (I refuse to call it a recession). To give him 2 other votes on the commission who weren’t tied to donors and special interests would be a bold move toward a city that’s not gripped by fear, but is focused on working outside the “safe box” to move itself forward.

Send a message today, that money isn’t the meter of political will. Vote Independent, Leitzell, Greer and Esrati, and see if we can overcome the power of money to influence elections as a bold starting point for the real election in November.

Polls are now open, until 7:30 PM. Polling places have changed, find where you vote: http://www.mcohio.org/boe/voter_information/polling_location_finder.cfm remember to bring a photo ID.


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