The reality of “a publicity stunt”- Esrati puts nets on rims

Tom Archdeacon should have written this story a few weeks ago. The story would have shared the history of Dayton street basketball, and the sorry shape of our community’s parks would have been the focus. Instead, it became a political piece, and I was interviewed again. Two pictures, front of the local section, and Commissioner Williams calls my efforts a “publicity stunt.”

I’ve never done a pr stunt that took as much work, and, if the city had been doing its job, I wouldn’t have to be doing the basic fundamental city service of maintaining our parks. A good friend in the advertising business uses this as a mantra to clients- “actions speak louder than words” to help guide clients on where to spend their ad dollars, I am a believer.

Here is the DDn article on the commission race- mostly about my nets campaign. There is no mention, unfortunately of the video that 2 Ponitz CTC students did.

Esrati’s hoops promise enlivens Dayton campaigns

Posted: 12:05 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23, 2013

Dayton City Commission candidate David Esrati is installing basketball nets and trying to replace damaged rims at many of Dayton’s neglected parks. He leaves a sticker with his phone number to call if net replacements are needed.

By Jeremy P. Kelley – Staff Writer

DAYTON —

Dayton Daily News Photo by Jim Witmer, of David Esrati with his pole sticker

Dayton Daily News Photo by Jim Witmer, of David Esrati with his pole sticker

As the six candidates for Dayton mayor and city commission fire up their campaigns for the November election, one candidate has made a very public show of improving city parks this summer.

Commission candidate David Esrati has called the state of Dayton’s parks “a disgrace,” and he’s spent the past two months improving basketball courts — digging out weeds and branches that were growing through the pavement, plus putting nets on basketball hoops that had none.

Esrati said he’s personally put up more than 200 of his green-marked nets on city, school and church courts, and even on kids’ portable baskets. He puts a sticker on each pole, encouraging people to call him if a net needs to be replaced.

“Who wants to live next to a park with no rims and no nets, a tennis court with weeds, grass that doesn’t get cut? That makes a statement,” Esrati said, hauling a ladder out of the trunk of his car. “But this is pride. It’s community pride.”

Esrati said he got few votes in West Dayton in May’s primary and needs to do better in November to win one of the two commission seats up for grabs. He’s putting up nets in all parts of the city, but he went to more than two dozen Dayton businesses, largely West Dayton barbershops, to get people to sponsor his nets program. The grassroots effort is important for a candidate who has pledged to spend no more than $10,000 on his campaign.

“I know from advertising and marketing that an ad is pretty worthless, but a service is worth something,” he said. “The stickers will stay, and if I win or if I lose (in November), I’ll still fix the nets.”

Esrati is one of four candidates running for two commission seats.

Incumbent Joey Williams said he has done steady work for the community for years, referring to Esrati’s basketball-net effort as “a publicity stunt.” Williams pointed to safety initiatives, such as the Community-Police Council that he’s championed, plus his role in improving the city’s bond rating and finances, while some cities struggle.

Candidate David Greer said he’s been spreading his message of citizen empowerment at public events and neighborhood meetings, and his campaign will be going door-to-door this weekend. Greer is focused on getting people to vote, saying turnout for the May primary was “very discouraging and sad.”

Commission candidate Jeffrey Mims said he has not done much campaigning yet, but continues his youth mentoring and other community activities. He said he is focused on improving jobs, safety and the school-community relationship.

via Esrati’s hoops promise enlivens Dayton campaigns | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

There is evidence that conditions of public parks have a direct impact on property values. For all the “economic development” projects the city has engaged in over the years- from Courthouse Square, the Arcade, Riverscape and tax abatementa, grants and other expenditures of our tax dollars on big things that will “save Dayton” – there is nothing as valuable to our citizens as clean, safe, well maintained parks with functioning amenities for the people who live here.

From a 2010 article in Dayton Most Metro, written by Shannon O’Neil (full disclosure- a supporter of my campaign)

Over 30 studies have been done on the impact of urban parks on property values. Typically people are willing to pay more for a home that is near or overlooking a park due to the “hedonistic value.” This means that the value of a property is affected by the home’s proximity to the park and the quality of the park itself. The report measures the value of a home within 500 feet of the park but states that the economic value of the park on property values has been measured at distances up to 2,000 feet…

Parks that are poorly maintained or unattractive are marginally valuable and dangerous parks can reduce property values. Parkland adds 5% value to the assessed value of dwellings within 500 ft. Excellent parks add 15% to the value of a dwelling while problematic parks reduce the assessed value by 5%.

via Economic Impact of Revitalizing Cooper Park | Dayton Most Metro.

The facts that you can’t play a full court game at Princeton Rec Center, despite it having 6 backboards and full time city staff, or that the only park with lights on at night is Burkham park- where the poles spin, the backboards are made of rotting wood, and 1 rim is missing and 1 has more curves and ups and downs than a roller coaster, should make it clear that these problems didn’t happen overnight, nor are they something that our current commission has cared about.

For a city with basketball nearing a religion, we’ve had heretics leading us for years. One of my favorite things to point out, is that the two mayoral candidates spent $360,000 in the primary to get 7,500 votes- or $50 per vote. Although it’s illegal, they would have done better to promise to pay every voter $20, had twice the voters and still had $60,000 left over- which could have bought new backboards and rims for every city court. Frankly, although I prefer the idea of A.J. Wagner as Mayor, I’m not so sure I want either of these money-blowing candidates holding our city checkbook.

Right now there is a relatively new backboard at Roosevelt Rec Center on W. Third Street where the backboard failed and not the rim. I’d be out there getting it welded this weekend, but the question of if the backboard is under warranty or not hasn’t been answered. It’s been a 6 days since it was reported to the Rec Center staff. I guess it’s a PR stunt by watching how long it takes for the city to act as well, seeing as this is one of the most popular courts in the city. It will be interesting if they ever fix the 4 lights that are there as a tease to our ‘ballers- since they’ve never been turned on, and now have all 4 lenses shot out.

I would be remiss, not to thank Jeremy Kelley, who wrote one of the nicest articles about me to ever appear in the news. Thank you.

As to my statement of ads being worthless- and being in the advertising business- 95% of ads (and 99% of political ads) are horrible and are reaching the wrong people. Advertising has changed a lot with the advent of the Internet and the ability to micro target, but even then, most ads are an unwelcome intrusion into your life- the masters of advertising believe in “marketing as a service” or- giving you utility as part of the relationship between the brand and the customer. That’s what Google does- in trading utility for the opportunity to deliver advertising. Which would you rather see- green nets, or political yard signs? This question will be on the test on November 5th. Your actions will speak louder than words.

 

Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams switches jobs

Commissioner Williams who has moved through the ranks of several local banks up to the top local job at JP Morgan Chase has a new job.

Joey Williams has been Market Manager of Commercial banking and President, Chase in West Ohio of JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, since February 9, 2007. Mr. Williams also serves as President, Chase in Dayton of PMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, and has additional responsibility for the Cincinnati market.

via Joey Williams: Executive Profile & Biography – Businessweek.

His new gig is “Market Executive for Commercial Banking” for RBS Citizens, The bank is expanding into Southwest and Central Ohio according to Williams, who was looking to find a position to keep him in Dayton while his sons finish school.

Citizens doesn’t have branches in the area yet, but operates in Cleveland under the Charter One brand.

In 1828, RBS Citizens Financial Group got its start as a small community bank called the High Street Bank in Providence, Rhode Island.

RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is a $132 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence and through its subsidiaries has more than 1,400 branches, approximately 3,600 ATMs and approximately 18,950 colleagues. It operates its branch network in 12 states and has non-branch retail and commercial offices in more than 30 states.

via About Us | Citizens Bank.

Williams did have to abstain from some votes because of conflict of interest issues on where the city invested the sinking funds accounts and did banking, with his new position this should be less of an issue.

 

How much is a Dayton City Commissioner overpaid?

Kettering recently put a charter change on their ballot (something Daytonians would find nearly impossible because the charter requires a percentage of registered voters instead of a percentage of voters in the last election) and cut their council members salary in half.

Well folks, I’ve got news for you- cut Dayton City Commissioners salary in half and they will make almost double what a congressman makes hourly. Yep, that’s right, your commissioners think pretty highly of themselves.

Here’s the math: A congressman is a full time job- paying $178K a year or $85.57 an hour. A city commissioner make $37K a year for a job that requires on average 2 hours a week- that works out to $355.76 an hour. Even when you measure a congressman’s job based on only the time in session- around 150 days, 1200 hours, congress only makes a little less than half what a city commissioner does on an annual basis or $150 an hour.

Now of course, Nan Whaley will tell you she works at it full-time, and Gary Leitzell says he spends between 30 to 35 hours a week at it (note the Mayor makes around $45K a year) but Commissioner Matt Joseph has a full time job at a defense contractor and Commissioner Joey Williams is a bank president pulling down at least a few hundred thousand a year. Are they really putting in the hours? Of course, we’ve got Dean Lovelace who took a year off with pay, so he’s making something close to $15K an hour for the last year, but that’s ok since Nan, Joey, Matt all gave him a hall pass.

When I first ran for Mayor 20 years ago, the position paid $28K a year and the commissioners made around $24K.  The average family of four in Dayton was making around $18K working hard. Maybe, it’s time to at a minimum tie commission pay to the average household income in the city- whatever it is, cut it in half. Or, do what I propose to do if elected: I’ll track my hours and bill my consulting rate of $150 an hour for every hour I spend working as a commissioner, anything above that, I’ll turn back into the city. And, to make it sweeter, if you elect me and none of the Democratic party endorsed candidates, I’ll cut my rate to $85 an hour, same as a congressman.

However, if I get elected and have to serve with the people who will spend $50K or more to get a job that pays $45K a year- and I can’t change the charter so that the voters can recall any of us, I’m going to take everything over $150 an hour to put into a fund to elect new replacements for the overpaid commission you have now.

And one other thing… please explain why the Mayor needs an aide who makes as much as he does? Why not just pay the Mayor a full time salary of $90K and skip the aide?

Cheers.

And- btw- here is the best list I can come up with on who is trying to get on the primary ballot right now: http://electesrati.com/whos-running-2013/  It’s not too late to try to get 500 signatures and join the circus.

You know times are tough when bank presidents have banking problems

There are the bankers on Wall Street who carry home cash in a wheelbarrow, without ever having to sign on a line for anything.

They run the bank into the ground, get multimillion-dollar bonuses- get bailed out by the taxpayers and then “retire” with a big fat golden parachute and a pension for life.

Then there are real people, like:

Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams, president of Chase Bank in west Ohio, has been named in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Fifth Third Bank and faces a financial judgment stemming from the default of a small business loan…
The loan was for the Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuit restaurant at 5800 Wilmington Pike in Centerville, which is closed.

The lawsuit was filed in late 2009 in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. A Dec. 1 judgment awarded the bank $850,000, which includes court costs of $113,039, according to court records.

via City commissioner named in loan default case.

I’ve known Joey well for over twenty years. I’m sure this is quite embarrassing to him- as well as a financial burden. But, the reality is, at least he actually put his own money up in starting a small business, that employed people. I’m pretty sure that 5/3rd took special pleasure in making an example out of a competitor, instead of working out a deal.

To me, this just says that Joey’s more like us than like the political slime that goes into office driving a Dodge Shadow with a Bush I bumper sticker- and ends up a multimillionaire congressman driving Cadillacs (Mike Turner).

Times are tough. Welcome to the club Commissioner Williams.

First time visitors: welcome, Dayton Daily News profiles review

The Dayton Daily News wrote three complete, yet very short, profiles today of Commissioner Nan Whaley,  Commissioner Joey D. Williams, and me. Online, at the moment has Joey’s story, my profile and nothing about poor ”knock ’em down” Nan. It’s currently at http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/election/3-candidates-vying-for-2-city-commission-seats-319198.html

The DDN fixed the story- it’s now at: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/election/profiles-of-candidates-vying-for-2-dayton-commission-seats-319697.html

Although much was made of my many attempts to run, and the mask case was referenced, there is only one error in the reporting (a first for the DDN which usually makes every attempt to paint me negatively)- this site gets between 15,000 and 20,000 unique visitors per month, not “hits” per month, the stats don’t count RSS feeds, people who subscribe by e-mail or people who read this content on www.daytonos.com where it is republished so that government employees can’t get in trouble for visiting www.esrati.com on the job (which many of them do). [note: error of omission, the “profile” they have left out my military service- although you could infer it from my founding of VOB108}

The stories are brief. If that is all you have to judge three candidates, there isn’t much there. However credit must be given to Dayton Daily News reporter Joanne Huist Smith for starting her article about me “It’s probably an understatement to say the election of David Esrati will shake things up at City Hall.”

The headlines are telling too- Nan’s is “Youngest commissioner hoping to make a difference”- as if to say after four years she still has hopes to achieve something, and Joey’s is “Two-term commissioner wants to continue his work toward making city sustainable.” I get “Community activists wants to build a better Dayton through empowerment, regionalism.” If you only had those three headlines and one vote, knowing the condition this city is in, which would you choose? And, in fact, when you vote, if you really want to see a change, that’s how you should vote- only once, because any other vote in the commission race counts against me and cancels the vote out (you have two votes- the top two vote getters win).

I’m sure that the most controversial subject is the part about my plan to eliminate the priority board system. I’ve written about it before on this site (you can search it to find out more) and in “The Plan” (something missing from the other candidates’ sites entirely). In a nutshell- the Priority Board system was set up in a different Dayton than we have now. It used to be well-funded, and the city had almost 100,000 more people. The major flaw is the way seats are distributed- based on voting precincts, which are frequently gerrymandered by politicians in Columbus to try to make it easier for one political party or the other (and you must choose between elephants and donkeys, no third party allowed)- not by the actual neighborhood with real physical boundaries and a sense of place. Blindly drawing on maps gives us a very ineffective way to rebuild our city. My proposal is to use the neighborhood organizations as the way to maintain a connection with City Hall. Each neighborhood president would speak to the City Manager at least 4 times a year at a city-wide meeting. There, each neighborhood would be evaluated on its efforts to reach its own goals- and those of the city. Those that do meet progress standards will be rewarded, those that haven’t will be helped. Neighbors will be asked to help neighbors- on a neighborhood-based level, to help all rise.

My observations on the three candidates are simple, Nan Whaley is a pawn of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. She has never held a job outside of its wing, has accomplished little in four years in office and talks incessantly about tearing down our city. Her fund-raising prowess is amazing, she’d raised well over $37,000 at reporting time, for a job that doesn’t pay that much in a year. Her largest contributor, whom she seemed very uncomfortable about in the Dayton Daily News editorial board meeting, is a demolition contractor and landfill operator- who when pushed, she made out to hardly know, which is believable since he lives in Westerville, Ohio. I fully expect more smear, negative attack ads from her if the polling they were doing yesterday gives her something to worry about.

Joey Williams and I have a long history. I consider him a friend. He’s done well working within the lines, being very cautious. He’s a banker for a living, and the conservative side to his nature is apparent. He brings real fiscal knowledge to the Commission but has yet to craft any signature legislation or change in two terms. The only remarkable action he’s ever taken is the one he’s most frequently accused of, an abstention. By abstaining on the resolution to protect gays and lesbians in the workplace, he lost the respect of the typically Democrat-leaning gay community, protected his position with the homophobic preachers and got wailed on by me, who referred to his action as spineless. Although I find his inability to take a stand on an important issue and his list of accomplishments on the commission on the short side, I would endorse Joey for the second seat which is the most likely outcome of any election in Dayton, based on past numbers.

It’s sad that there isn’t a fourth candidate on the ballot. The system is designed to make it difficult to beat an incumbent. Besides the ridiculous 500-signature requirement (you only need 50 for County Commissioner or even U.S. Congress), every card is stacked against challengers. We had 11 people take out petitions for Commission and Mayor- yet only two new names will appear on the ballot.

If you would like to support me, please consider giving at least $25 to my campaign (buy the poster and I’ll personally hand deliver it to your house in Dayton), or if you want a yard sign- go to www.electesrati.com and register to volunteer and check off yard sign. We also need volunteers to walk neighborhoods, make phone calls and organize fund-raisers or attend them. There are still tickets available for the event at Chef Joe Fish’s home, where he will feed you delicious bites and wine in return for a $50 minimum donation.

Last, but not least, if you are interested in what a real journalist writes, when doing an interview- check out what two-time Pulitzer prize nominated writer, Larkin Vonalt (who moved to Dayton to send her kid to Stivers!) wrote about me a few months back, I think it will help you better understand why I run, over and over. Thank you for reading.

Dayton’s number one priority for David Esrati

Population loss in the McLin/Williams Era

Population loss in the McLin/Williams Era

I can write the plan, I can write more than 1,000 posts on this site, I can talk about all the little things we could do- and even some of the big things, but there is no greater priority than solving this problem:

From 2001 to 2008, Dayton’s population declined by nearly 10,000 — from 163,962 residents to 154,200.

via Pay freeze, layoffs possible for city workers.

My whole quest for public office began in 1986 when as a new homeowner in a seemingly decrepit part of town, I went to city hall to find out how we could have a “Historic District” with special laws- with no signs and no covenants in the deeds?

It was like talking to a wall. Instead of thanking me for buying a home that had been on the market for 2 years- losing a third of its asking price, and moving out a clan of tenants who did wonderful things like pooping in a pizza box and locking it in the closet- I was ignored and prosecuted for fixing it up (putting on the wrong style of garage door). I tried to tell the commission then that this wasn’t the way you treat the customer, or you won’t have customers.

In the last 7 years- roughly, the time that Rhine McLin and Joey Williams have been on the City Commission, Dayton has lost about 9,000 taxpaying residents, and countless more taxpaying employees.

This is, to quote old Ford advertising “Job 1”- to make Dayton a place where people want to live and work. This should be the primary, if not the only measure of our leadership- net increases in residents, jobs and tax base.

My formula is simple: Hire the best City Manager/CEO we can afford, set goals and objectives, measure performance, adjust course as necessary. It is the job as a commission to guide and advise, hire and fire the City Manager and not much else. He or she, should be the clear captain of the ship. It’s not about the commission, the mayor- it’s about the Captain and his crew. When it comes to statements about safety- I want to have Chief Biehl at the microphone, not Gary Leitzell or Rhine McLin. When it comes to marketing our community, I want the City Manager and the heads of the Chamber of Commerce, the Dayton Development Coalition, Citywide Development etc.

You notice I didn’t say the “city head of economic development?” That’s because I don’t believe that “economic development” is done as a separate function of government anymore than service is a separate part of running a restaurant. Everything the city does- has to be the greatest good for the greatest number. We have to strive to use what we have, to create the most livable, safe, comfortable, friendly city we can.

When we do that right, people will move back, jobs will follow and the transformation will begin.

I hope to be a part of the City Commission that puts these principles into practice.

Thoughts on electibility of a City Commissioner

Dean Lovelace ran three times before he pulled out of a general election so that he could run in a special election and win. Before that, he had been pushing for dividing the city up into districts so that he would have a shot.

After he was elected, he never once pushed for districts, and he has been re-elected without serious challenge. He’s now accepted by the Montgomery County Democratic Party- even though he rarely makes an appearance at a MCDP meeting.

Abner Orick was only elected in a special election. As the only Republican to serve before the political coup staged by Mike Turner who squeaked by with a 400-vote win against the damaged Clay Dixon, it’s been a long time since the Republican party even fielded a candidate. The Republican Party didn’t even endorse Turner the first time he ran. Gary Leitzell now has its backing out of desperation, even though he’s not a Republican.

The only election process that has counted in Dayton for years, isn’t even an election. It’s a meeting of the Montgomery County Democratic Party screening committee, and it happens behind closed doors. There, union leaders, elected officials, party pogues with patronage jobs and a few others, sit in judgment of who should even turn in petitions. The main question- “if you don’t get endorsed, will you run anyway?” Once they’ve made their pick, candidates are guaranteed the following at a minimum:

  • At least one joint slate mailing from the state party to every registered voter and probably one from the local party as well.
  • A person or two outside every polling place handing out literature on election day.
  • Union workers to go knocking on doors and phone banking.
  • Union halls and party HQ to hold fundraisers- complete with guaranteed donations by party faithful.
  • Access to a robo-caller owned by the Democratic party.
  • An excuse by the Dayton Daily News editorial board to endorse a candidate because they “have an endorsement of a party”
  • Access to special software that allows them to do higher level targeting of voters.

Best of all, you never have to explain your positions again, since we have almost zero coverage of these off-year elections. No debates, a few candidates’ forums, not much else. Once you’re an incumbent, it’s pretty hard to lose. Mike Turner “lost” to Rhine McLin, right into Congress (the stage had been set before the Commission race- with maneuvering for Tony Hall to leave office, and the district re-drawn to conveniently include his home). Abner Orick “lost” to go on to get the choice patronage job of head of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. Once elected, you don’t go hungry again. Doors are opened, jobs provided:

Dean Lovelace got a job at UD. Idotha Bootsie Neal first at Central State West and then running Wright-Dunbar, Chuck Curran at Sinclair, Bob Taft at UD, Jon Husted (who doesn’t live in Dayton) gets a cush job at the Chamber of Commerce that he doesn’t have to show up for- the list goes on.

If this doesn’t sound like a private club to you, with very strict rules on permission to enter, I don’t know what does. We have the most segregated political system around since Tammany Hall.

I’ve been asked often why don’t I just try to be that round peg to go in the round hole? Why do I bother putting myself, and my business through this? Why do I keep trying- because, as the Borg said “resistance is futile.”

When I started, I was naïve. I was warned too- windows shot out at my office two nights in a row, a death threat, attacked by Mayor Richard Clay Dixon with his fists of fury (front page, below the fold news, that was the beginning of his fall from grace), a coffee mug hurled at my car by the head of a union- who then taunted me to get out of the car so he could kick my (just out of Special Forces) @$$- and then slammed my car door on my leg as I started to take him up on it. Theses incidents would scare most “family men” off.  I was still young, idealistic and a fool.

Now, I know exactly what I’m getting myself into. I know the risks, I know the odds, I know how things used to work. And, realistically, I knew these things when I was seventeen- because my old man, who got his master’s degree in political science at Boston University and ate lunch and debated with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and worked in the newspaper industry as a copy editor when objective and investigative journalism was still practiced, took time to write me a primer back in 1969 about the underbelly of American politics. That book, “Dear Son”– has been freely available on this site for over 2 years.

Read the book. Read the post “A Thinking Man” by 2x Pulitzer Prize Nominated Dayton resident Larkin Vonalt, Then you might begin to understand why I keep trying in this idealistic pursuit of an opportunity to bring a voice from the community for the community to our commission.

And if you want real entertainment, go back and look at my campaign literature from my first two races. Scoffed at, it was tabloid sized and filled with ideas. Dig through, play gotcha if you must, but, the sad reality is, my idealism remains unshaken, even as our city has suffered through many years of mismanagement, corruption, and coddling the elite who fund the machine that works to keep you in the dark.

This post alone, contains more information that you’ll get from Mayor McLin, Commissioner Whaley or Commissioner Williams on their entire sites- combined. People have told me that voters are too stupid to read all this, that voters don’t care, that voters won’t take the time to research the candidates.

The Dayton Daily News Editorial Board won’t do it either.

And all 41 (as of this writing) of my admitted readers (see this post where I asked people to sign their names with “I read”) aren’t enough to get me elected. (I know there are many more because I understand them these here intertubes and web statistiks (intentionally misspelled)).

The couple of thousand dollars I’ve raised is nothing compared to the $100K war chest raised by the Mayor and Nan Whaley (in fact, I’ve been told that part of the reason they’ve raised so much is by seeding the fear that I may win and upset their little private tea party).

So, why, facing all odds, do I continue to try? I can point out that Abraham Lincoln lost seven times before he was elected, I can remind you that my name is David and the name comes with a Goliath-slaying complex, or I can say- look at yourself in the mirror and ask, why haven’t you tried? You care about this city or you wouldn’t still be reading this.

Tell me why you haven’t run for office, I’d like to know. And rest assured, once elected, one of my missions will be to make sure we have primary elections in the future, that all have access to the data that I’m gathering and the tools I’m building, and that we won’t ever again have candidates like Matt Joseph or Nan Whaley whose only qualification for office was being a faithful part of that political machine that has run this town for, well, long before me.

Thanks for reading.

Money may not buy happiness, but it might buy a politician

The pre-election campaign finance reports were due yesterday. I hope to have the complete McLin and Whaley reports online early next week- because, they won’t publish anything truly informative on their sites.

From the Dayton Daily News today:

McLin declared contributions of just more than $51,862, from about 170 supporters, including $10,000 from Kitt C. Cooper of Westerville. Cooper is the owner of Vance Environmental, LTD, a construction, demolition company, which also owns the landfill on Vance Road.

“He’s a good guy, more than the owner of a landfill, he’s part of the conversation about Dayton,” McLin said. “He has great ideas for the landfill, after it closes.”

McLin also had several supporters associated with the Kettering Health Network who made personal contributions, including CEO Frank Perez giving $2,000 and Roy Chew, president of Kettering Medical Center, who gave $1,000….

Leitzell has held several grassroots, fund-raising events including a pancake breakfast and a pie sale, but said he did not meet the requirement to file a campaign finance report…

Of the three candidates for Dayton City Commission, only Nan Whaley filed a finance report by Friday.

Whaley has received contributions totaling $22,741, with Kitt Cooper also being her largest donor at $5,000.

Neither City Commissioner Joey Williams or commission candidate David Esrati filed finance reports.

via McLin, Whaley lead money race for mayor, city commission campaign.

Both McLin and Whaley have in recent years become supporters of tearing down vacant homes in Dayton, so who appears as the largest donor to both McLin and Whaley’s campaign? Not surprisingly, the owner of a landfill/demolition company.  In yesterday’s post I had predicted a large donation from the demolition contractor with the current city contract, but it turns out that the biggest donor to Whaley and McLin is another demolition contractor.  It will be interesting to see who gets the next city contract.

When I very first ran for Mayor several years ago, I questioned where an incumbent’s campaign money was coming from and specifically asked if it indeed came from someone who wanted to build a landfill on the West side.  That donor got their landfill, and that landfill is fast becoming, quite literally, the highest point in Dayton.  The topography may change, the names may change, but the game is still the same.  The way Dayton has been led for years is that big donors often get big city contracts.  And with the hundreds of demolished homes that the current Mayor and Commission have added to it, a landfill may soon become, quite unfortunately for the people of Dayton,  the Mayor’s and this Commission’s most enduring legacy.

It’s time for candidates who are free to do what’s best for the City and its people- not special interests that make large campaign donations.

Good to see you, and how’s the campaign coming….

The Board of Elections is a funny place. There are two of everything- and they should be color coded. It’s our crazy way of running elections- where we put the two parties in charge- who then make it their sole goal to keep any other parties or independents out of the action.

A disconcerting recent example: my campaign treasurer, the esteemed Greg Hunter, made a request for some campaign finance reports from previous elections and past election results broken down by precinct.

After 4 weeks of hemming, hawing and delaying- I got on the phone. Records were ready in under 4 hours.

There will be a call made to the BOE chief tomorrow (he was out on Friday) to start an investigation on why the delay. The answer should be interesting.

I’ve always questioned why the partisan Board of Elections has anything to do with City Commission elections- which are supposed to be run by the city- and entirely non-partisan (as if that is really possible). I’ve also wondered why every form needed to run for office isn’t readily available online- as a PDF. It is in Franklin County.

But, the net upshoot of this entire ordeal is, we’re now about 4 weeks behind in starting our requests for donations and planning our campaign. Not to worry though, I’ve always thought campaigns are too long, too expensive and too inane in our country. Looking over most campaign literature for City Commission is like reading the nutritional information on a box of Cap’n Crunch. Lots of sugar, not much substance and a package that appeals to children.

Here are links to sites for the two incumbents:

Nan Whaley

Joey D. Williams

Spend some time on either site- and then some time here. You compare. Then tell your friends to do the same.

Thanks, and if you have some money you can spare, and you care about Dayton- there is a big contribute box on the right sidebar.

Vote for Change in 08, but Dems think that Dayton should not change in 09

While Dayton will vote heavily for the Change candidate for President in November, the local slate will be all the same according to today’s Dayton Daily News:

Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin … plans to seek a third term.

… McLin has also asked the Compensation Board to freeze her salary in 2009 and the salaries of all commissioners. The request follows City Manager Rashad Young’s request of employees to forgo raises to cut a $13 million deficit.

“I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself,” McLin said.

On Thursday, Commissioners Joey Williams and Nan Whaley, also Democrats, said they will seek re-election as well. Unlike 2007, when Commissioners Dean Lovelace and Matt Joseph ran unopposed, Republicans plan to challenge all three in 2009.

“People are frustrated,” Montgomery County GOP Chairman Greg Gantt said. “We expect to have candidates for mayor and the city commission in 2009.”

Mayor McLin will seek third term.

This pre-emptive announcement is supposed to scare away other candidates, along with the insane requirement for 500 signatures on their archaic petition (you can run for Congress with 50). The Montgomery County Democratic Party hasn’t even asked if there were other candidates who would like to run.

At this point, Gary Leitzell from Walnut Hills has already taken out petitions and is planning on running against McLin. I’m running for Commission as well. I’ve already posted previously about another possible Mayoral candidate who could easily unseat McLin.

There is also the question of if there will be a special election before too long, if Commissioner Dean Lovelace doesn’t return to his seat from his recent stroke. Don’t quote me, but the charter only allows something like 5 excused absences in a row before you have abdicated your seat. Our lack of a current Clerk of Commission means this will probably not be enforced.

At one point or another, every current member of the Dayton City Commission has severely let the citizens down, from Commissioner Williams abstaining on the gay rights vote, to Lovelaces vote against it- to the Mayor’s absolute inability to inspire the business community to believe that we have a captain at the helm, or Matt Joseph’s sole contribution of party’s for interns or Nan Whaleys…. well, what exactly has she done except carry the Mayor’s purse and hatbox?

Vision, leadership, new ideas, or even debate hasn’t come out of this Commission for years. The only one who has talked policy at all has been Lovelace with his lead on predatory lending- however noble his actions, they were at the wrong level of Government.

The first time I ran for Mayor, we had 6 candidates. Maybe in 2009 we’ll be lucky enough to have some real choices in the primary and viable challengers in the general election.