Why the Montgomery Democratic Party is a joke

Mark Owens, Montgomery County Party Chairman and Dayton Clerk of Courts came up to me after the meeting to ask me if I gave someone the finger. I said yes, and that the little old lady has been disrespecting me for years, mostly by hissing when I spoke, but tonight, as I started to speak and said Montgomery County has a problem- she suggested that it was me. I was tired of her shit.

As I went to confront her, she started to tell me that it was the only thing I’d ever said worth hearing. I gave her the single finger salute and left her to run to Mark. Some folks saw me do it and chastised me. Former AFSCME Chief Tom Ritchie being one. Another woman came up and said I lost all credibility. Really? People are dying- and giving a heckler the finger is your big worry? I think I’ll survive my loss of credibility.

But, that’s the end of the story, and although Kurt Vonnegut Jr. said in his 8 rules for writing to “5. Start as close to the end as possible” I started there, because, well, you know, full disclosure is critical to journalism, and I wouldn’t want to waste your time continuing to read if I no longer had any credibility.

The meeting had a whole bunch of new precinct captains as the party is trying to backfill 2/3rds of the seats that were never filled. Some of those people had no clue who I was either time I spoke, and of course, that’s my fault as well, since I didn’t say who I was.

First the party endorsed former party employee Dawn Wojcik who is running for the seat on the State School Board, District 3, that Jeff Mims abandoned when he wanted to be a city commissioner.

Then, they heard from Becky Benay from Five Rivers Metroparks who came asking for an endorsement to renew the levy- plus tack a little extra on. I questioned why her board, that’s appointed by a probate judge, and supposed to have three year terms never changes, and why, just not getting as much tax revenue today vs 2010 is a good enough reason to justify her increase. The dems, earned their tax and spend cred- by almost unanimously voting to endorse- almost, except for me, the loan voice, who told Ms. Benay that I’d like to have as much money as I did in 2009 too- but, my taxes keep going up for Sinclair, the libraries, etc. We could start saving money by stripping Metroparks of their private police force and putting that job under the Sheriffs budget, but, that’s not how we roll in Montgomery County.

When it was time for other business, I went up to the podium and started my speech about how it’s embarrassing that this party, with it’s control of the county commission, and complete control of the Dayton City Commission- is allowing the jail to continue to operate as is. That jail is not a place to get tortured, to be maimed, or to die. Yet, in the last 3 weeks, 2 maybe 3 have committed suicide already, and we’re facing over $10M in settlements from lawsuits.

Folks, $10 million spent on proper jail staffing and management would go a long way to solving our problems. Real democrats wouldn’t allow the poor to be sent to Phil’s house of horrors.

If a house is dirty, if it doesn’t have running water- it’s declared unfit for human habitation and the people are evicted. I remember getting the run around on an occupancy permit for my office because the staircase rail would let little kids fall through. Yet, we are allowing a jail to operate that’s killed three people in 2 weeks?

Sorry. That doesn’t cut it. Real leaders would find ways to do any of the following:

  • Send inmates to other facilities that are safe for their residents, even if transportation costs are higher.
  • Charge the Sheriff with crimes against humanity, remove him from office, and place him in the jail. If you need a reminder, go watch the video I released in February of 2017 of yet another inmate in a restraining chair being pepper sprayed at point blank range.
  • Call on the Governor to declare a state of emergency and put the National Guard in charge of the jail. There are multiple MP battalions in the state. Call them up.
  • Hire a private prison management company to take over the running of, and responsibility for the safety of the inmates. We have no problems having private companies run prisons in this state, why not run a jail.
  • Refuse to do the State’s work, holding people who are guilty in the jail.
  • Speed up the courts processes.
  • Refuse to hold people brought in by the feds- ICE, Secret Service, FBI etc. until overcrowding is undercontrol.
  • Build alternative facilities for the mentally ill and drug addicted inmates and charge it to Medicaid.

At the end of the meeting, as Owens was threatening to kick me out of the party (I’m not sure he can do that, since I’m an elected precinct captain), and whining how I’d called him a criminal on my blog (I looked quickly for it- couldn’t find it via search- A free “Make Orwell Fiction Again” t-shirt to the first person who posts the quote and link in comments) he also complained that he couldn’t find anyone qualified to run against Plummer.

Well, Mr. Owens, you’ve been endorsing your friends and family to run for office before the primary for so long, you’ve chased people away from being involved. You’ve advanced the careers of people so bad, that they’ve been beaten by no money yahoos- like Mike Turner when he first ran for Mayor- that they got to move up to Congress- and you’ve failed to mount a serious contender against a pretty weak candidate (remember, Turner lost to Rhine McLin before he was handed the congressional seat). Rhine was also beat by a no money yahoo- Gary Leitzell- mostly because Owens, who ran her campaign, spent half his budget mailing everyone lit with Gary’s name on it.

This is the party that never met a tax levy it didn’t love, because they help pay for more patronage jobs in the bloated mess of banana republics that make up this County. If you want to see how expensive it is- check out Reconstructing Dayton’s site– and look at some of the charts we’re starting to build. We could do a lot more, with a whole lot less government.

But first, we have a duty to protect the less fortunate, the drug addicts, the mentally ill and even the common criminals, from getting death sentences while awaiting trial.

If you like this kind of reporting. If you like my efforts, please consider donating to the 501(c)(4) non-profit Reconstructing Dayton to keep these efforts alive.

And, if you are a glutton for punishment, you can watch the entire meeting:

Baku’s Man in America – is Dayton’s own Adil Baguirov

Look back at this blog on April 5, 2017. That should have been the end of Adil Baguirov, International Man of Mystery on the Dayton Board of Education.

But, because we don’t have a real prosecutor, sheriff, attorney general, Ohio Ethics Commission, Secretary of State etc. etc. in Ohio- and instead have politicians finely practiced in the art of CYA, nothing happened to Adil. Oh, and did I mention the other 6 members of the school board, Joe Lacey, Sheila Taylor, John McManus, Robert Walker, Ron Lee, Hazel Rountree- who also sat on their hands.

That is, until election day, 2017, when I checked his voter registration, and showed he didn’t live in the Dayton Public School district anymore.

When all those people jumped into action, and demanded his immediate resignation.

Yeah, right.

It wasn’t until I sent a fake writ of mandamus and threatened legal action the following day- did we see him resign 2 days later.

The Dayton DayOld News didn’t give credit to me for breaking the story or forcing the resignation. Nor, did they investigate anything else on his background. Or his dirty money, which I posted about on September 7, 2017

But, never fear, he’s still making news on the international news cycle with this expose by the OCCRP who posted this in depth article on our local man of mystery yesterday- and mentioned esrati.com and our story.

By the way, Representative Turner was there on the congressional junket, but didn’t accept the airfare or gifts that got the other congressmen/women in trouble.

Dr. Adil Baguirov, former Dayton Public Schools Board president

Dr. Adil Baguirov, former Dayton Public Schools Board president (heroic photo montage  from https://www.occrp.org/en/azerbaijanilaundromat/bakus-man-in-america)

As it turns out, another recipient of Laundromat money — to the tune of a quarter million dollars — was an influential American oil and gas consultant of Azerbaijani origin who worked to influence US policy in his native country’s favor.

Adil Baguirov, a business owner based in Dayton, Ohio and a vocal member of the Azerbaijani diaspora, received the $253,150 transfer just months after a non-profit organization he runs, the Houston-based US Azeris Network, helped host a conference in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, that was attended by 10 members of Congress. The junket was widely criticized, and investigated by the House Ethics Committee, for being secretly funded by Azerbaijan’s state oil company.

The precise origins of the money Baguirov received are unknown, hidden behind secretive shell companies. But there is ample evidence that the authoritarian country’s ruling elite is behind it.

Baguirov’s Washington lobbying in the interests of Azerbaijan goes far beyond the 2013 conference. He has also helped organize other US-Azeri conferences in Washington, repeatedly testified before the House in favor of US military aid to Azerbaijan, served as the coordinator of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus, and worked prominently in a Houston-based company that claims to have organized a trip by the country’s president, Ilham Aliyev, to the White House.

Baguirov and his family run in elite circles back home. They are known to have close ties to President Aliyev – who awarded Baguirov a medal for his efforts in the US – and he and his father serve in numerous advisory roles to the Azerbaijani and Russian governments respectively. Baguirov did all this while holding American, Azerbaijani, and, it also appears, Russian citizenship ?until at least 2005.

His lobbying raises the question of whether he should have registered as a foreign agent, as the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requires people representing the interests of foreign countries to do. Although the statute is loosely defined and contains a number of exemptions and loopholes, Josh Rosenstein, a lawyer at Sandler Reiff, says “this case raises red flags and raises questions that the Justice Department may be interested in having answered.”

When contacted by OCCRP reporters for comment, Baguirov said the payment he received was none of their business.

An American Success Story

Adil Baguirov’s campaign website touts him as “An American Success Story”— a striving immigrant who came to the United States at the age of 16 to “study hard and pursue his dreams” of a better life.

He graduated from the University of Southern California in international relations and business administration, and also received a PhD in political science in Moscow. Today, however, he’s a local business owner and educational leader in Dayton, an Ohio city with a population of around 140,000.

In a 2016 feature on Dayton, Politico described Baguirov as “handsome and well-spoken enough that it was easy to imagine him going far [in politics] … just the sort of new American who Republican Party leaders said the party could bring to its side, if only it tried.”

In fact, he recently mulled the possibility of running for Ohio’s state senate as a Republican, though he ultimately decided to sit the 2018 election cycle out in order to, as he told Dayton Magazine, “take a little time off.”

According to the magazine, the businessman has “spent his entire life committed to the idea of education, both for himself and others.” Indeed, his first foray into local politics began five years ago, when he was elected to Dayton’s school board, a position he held until 2017, when he resigned more than a month before the end of his term after local activist David Esrati discovered that he appeared to have lied about his residential address.

But, as it turns out, Baguirov’s eligibility for the school board is not the only controversy surrounding the businessman.

Just one week after he was elected to the position, a consulting company he runs called Turbillion LLC received a payment of US$ 253,150 from Hilux Services, a shell firm that is part of the Azerbaijani Laundromat. The reason for the payment is listed, cryptically, as “to the contract.”

While Baguirov lives in Ohio, Turbillion is registered in Wyoming, a state popular with those looking to create secretive companies due to its tax-free incentives and provision of anonymity.

Turbillion has no website and no publicly known activity, and it’s just one of a number of similar companies controlled by Baguirov. For example, it shares the Dayton mailing address of Nobel Brothers Pictures LLC, another Wyoming-based company which is allegedly producing a Hollywood movie about the history of the Azerbaijani oil industry.

Source: Baku’s Man in America – OCCRP

And if you need a refresher on our original story, watch the Esrati.com video:

Another public service, unpaid, by the only independent investigative journalist in Dayton.

And, because Baguirov can no longer count on doing dirty deals for the Schools- and he didn’t run for office as planned, he’s reportedly now trying to secure a real estate license.

Let’s hope the Realtor’s do a better background check than anyone else did before putting this guy in charge of anything.

 

Esrati offers to settle case vs School Board and City on illegal school task force meetings

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Subashi and Wildermuth have billed the Dayton Public Schools $12,500 so far for Libbie Lolli and her boards ignorance of the Sunshine Laws. Click image above to download PDF

The School Board has spent $12,500 of their money defending themselves, to claim that they are entitled to have illegal secret meetings about closing schools in Dayton. The City, using their own attorneys has probably spent about a quarter of that.

There is no question that the task force was a public body, according to the judge, the evidence, all captured on video by David Esrati, is clear, that the task force did meet in their mobile yellow meeting room at the four schools, and the board HQ. All you need to do is watch the video.

So today, I extended the following offer to settle:

Settlement of Esrati vs City of Dayton et al

Hi Brian and John,
I tried calling Brian to make this offer- however his cell phone just disconnects when I call.
To date, the schools have spent $12,500 with Mr. Wildermuth to try to defend those without a defense.
I can’t guess what the city has invested.

Before we go to the expensive part, I’m offering to settle if the parties admit guilt, and that they clearly violated the sunshine laws in the school task force case, on numerous occasions.
First on Jan 9, with the meeting that ended up being cancelled.
Second on Jan 24, when both Mims and Al Hamdani claimed they didn’t have to do this in public.
And multiple times on the day of the tour- where I count Valerie, Meadowdale Elementary and Meadowdale High School, Wogamen and the HQ building- each as a separate meeting.
Basically- each stop of the bus.
Take those 7 violations- x $500 and then the question becomes is the organization liable or the individual violators?
If we just say the City and the School board are liable- it comes to $5K plus my court filing fees ($360)
If we do it per elected member of the task force- it comes to $10K.
Still, cheaper than the $12,500 the schools have already paid Mr. Wildermuth for this case.
And, cheaper than what the schools had to pay back to OHSAA in his other case that he “won.”

The caveat is, with their acceptance of guilt, the 4 elected officials (Harris, Al-Hamdani, Walker, Mims) would be referred to the Ohio Auditors Open Government Unit for evaluation on removal from office. Seeing that I’ve yet to find a single instance of a public official being removed from office in the State of Ohio for violations of the Sunshine laws, they should have nothing to worry about.

The Sunshine laws are here to protect us all, they shouldn’t be used by lawyers to put their kids through college. There is absolute evidence that discussions did take place on the bus, questions were asked, and video and audio recording equipment were banned, as well as non-compliance with notification of this event, and evidence that School Employees willfully suggested that communications not be conducted via email to hide these proceedings from public scrutiny. You will not win this case in court, or in the court of public opinion.

I am open to a counter-offer on the settlement amounts, however, let us be clear, that the average citizen wouldn’t have the capacity to fight this case, making it unlikely that I’m going to have invested this much time and energy and money, to allow you to be the only winner (Mr. Wildermuth).
The people of Dayton deserve better.
And I don’t take on battles that I will lose.

In the meantime, the case is scheduled for court on Aug 1, 2018

Retail politics and May 8, 2018 election

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What educated voters in Dayton 1-D are getting hand delivered. Click to download PDF

The way you win elections isn’t with :30 second TV spots, yard signs, or facebook ads.

At least that’s not how the most successful campaigns do it anymore.

It’s all data driven, trying to target most likely voters, and deciding who we need to get out and vote. It’s done through personal contact, door knocking, volunteers calling, and endless data collection and analysis.

Or- you ignore all the data, and just realize you have to meet and convince more voters than your opponent and hope.

That only works when you are running for something as small as precinct captain, which, yours truly is.

I’ve got 2 opponents. One has even printed a tri-fold brochure. So I have to out work, out knock, and out talk him.

Which is what I’ve been doing including enough time in the sun yesterday to be told by my mother that I’m sunburned.

I was also preaching the sermon for Darryl Fairchild and to vote yes on Issue 1.

And here are the takeaways:

  • Despite all efforts to clear voter rolls and eliminate old data, there are still some people on the rolls who shouldn’t be (hadn’t voted since the 90’s, dead, house has been torn down).
  • That some homes in my neighborhood have had multiple addresses- and the voter rolls still haven’t been fixed.
  • Party affiliations are often wrong.
  • A ton of “UNC” or unclassified voters- way more than D or R. So no matter how much the two parties think they should rule the roost of the Board of (S)Elections- by the look of things, we’re letting the foxes run the hen house. And many of them are pissed that they can’t vote for me as Precinct Captain and Gary Leitzel for County Commission at the same time.
  • Issue 1- most had no clue it was on the ballot.

What we need more than any ballot reform- is a real voter information system. No one seems to know where to go to find in-depth, relevant information about each candidate and race. If we had a board of elections that took their job seriously, we’d have a better system than what we have now.

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Sample Ballot for Dayton 1-D for a Dem in the May 8, 2018 election (Click to download entire PDF)

For now- if you want to know what your ballot sort of looks like- you can go here and download your personalized ballot.

https://www.voterfind.com/montgomeryoh/ballotlist.aspx

Then you have a choice of party, or issues only, to see what will be on the ballot in your precinct.

You should go, download a ballot, and research every issue, candidate, and try to make a decision long before you go to the polls.

If we’d switch to vote by mail, like Oregon (the State, not the district) did long ago, we could even mail a catalog with equal space for every candidate to summarize their candidacy and provide links to their site, for more information.

If we had a system like that- we could eliminate 90% of campaign ads, mailers, signs and stupidity.

 

 

2 hours of your life you’ll never get back: Esrati + Gem City Podcast

This was recorded about a month ago. Libby came over to the office and we had a really long chat. You’ll have to click over to their site to listen in, and those who’ve listened already said they enjoyed it.

It’s great to have other local media giving the community information in different formats. After you’ve listened- please comment here.

Episode 548: A Conversation With David Esrati

Gem City Podcast continues its “community conversations” with David Esrati, a community activist, veteran, small-business owner and political campaigner in Dayton, Ohio. David has been particularly vocal about the vision and plans for Dayton Public Schools. As we continue to explore the challenges facing Dayton, we invited David to have a conversation with us about his ideas for the schools and neighborhood development.

Co-host Libby Ballengee conducts this long-form interview, in her first ever conversation with Esrati. He is a provocateur, yet we think it’s important to hear a variety of voices and ideas to distill solutions to our City’s challenges. We hope you continue to learn and listen with us, and we will continue to explore new perspectives.

Source: Episode 548: A Conversation With David Esrati – Gem City Podcast || Dayton, Ohio