Esrati files suit to stop school task force from touring in private

Today at 3:06 pm David Esrati filed pro se with the Montgomery County Common Pleas Clerk of Courts a civil action to ask the courts to prevent the Dayton School Closure task force from touring school buildings without public oversight.

The case was initially assigned to Judge Dennis Langer, who had to recuse himself, since his wife, Ellen Belcher, formerly of the Dayton Daily News now does contract work for Learn to Earn and Dr. Tom Lasley who are named in the suit.

The case was sent to Judge Richard Skelton, who took the time to review the pro se filing, but admonished Esrati for not including a Rule 65 Temporary Restraining Order so that he could rule immediately on the case without a jury trial for the good of the public interest.

Esrati then wrote an addendum, to file first thing tomorrow morning, and served the documents to all parties via email.

A few observations, the instructions for how to efile with the Montgomery Clerk of Courts office run 35 pages and the system still takes manual oversight. My new account, won’t even be active for 24 hours, which forced me to go to the clerks office to file in person. So much for the brilliance of our former Clerk of Court Greg Brush. No ecommerce portal should require 35 pages of instruction or a delay. If this court system was online in a bigger jurisdiction, that kind of ineptitude would make the courts inoperable.

The fact that service isn’t possible via electronic means is also embarrassing. Why the courts are supporting FedEx and the US Post office to serve lawsuits that have to be filed electronically, is kind of another way to slow the system and add costs. Considering most filings name lawyers who already are registered with the State, this is a colossal waste of time and money.

Also, the cost of filing was $330.50, for a case which the law only allows for a collection of a $500 penalty per instance. This makes the likelihood of common citizens filing rare. Of course, attorney fees are offered as part of the restitution, guaranteeing that the courts help lawyers keep their jobs, while the laws get overlooked because of artificial hurdles built by the system.

Here are the filings, the first is the injunction, the second is the addition of the Temporary Restraining Order. Hopefully, I can efile in the morning and won’t be charged more money.

The task force is supposed to tour the buildings tomorrow. If the board was smart, they would order the Superintendent to pause the tours until this case has been decided.

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The suit that was filed to stop the task force from touring in private- and to examine it’s legal standing.

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The TRO that will be filed tomorrow to get immediate action.

Dems still endorsing in primaries

Usually, I stand up and make a speech telling the party that endorsing in primary elections is wrong. But, last night I was at the Fairgrounds to Future meeting during the party executive committee meeting.

I’ll have more on that song and dance in a later post.

Then, as I raced over to make the central committee meeting (why we have 2 meetings is beyond me) all I could think about was talking to Dennis Kucinich about my Dad. They were friends going back to when Dennis was a copy boy (yes- that was the job title) at the Plain Dealer in the sixties where my Dad was a copy editor. I had a copy of the obituary I wrote for my father printed out.

Dennis Kucinich with David Esrati

Dennis Kucinich, man of the people and a friend of my father. David Esrati (center) JFK (framed in the background right)

As I stood outside Mark Owen’s office- while Dennis was being interviewed about the closing of Good Sam, I remember my dad telling me about how Dennis had stood up for the people of Cleveland when he reversed the deal to sell the public utility, Muny Light to the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (CEI)  a private company. I was around 16. I had heard about Dennis through the media- where he was called the “Boy Mayor” because of both his youth- and his resemblance  to Alfred E. Newman- from Mad Magazine. The city was being punished by being forced into bankruptcy. Dad said Dennis had done the right thing, fighting the establishment that wanted to steal from the people and privatize a public service. He explained how all this worked, and said Dennis was the man for the people.

Something that’s incredibly clear now. Dennis is still fighting the good fight- for Single Payer health care, taking a stand against fracking, fighting Monsanto and their designer seeds to work with toxic weed killers.

Unlike our local party elite- I’m glad Dennis is battling Richard Cordray in a primary- although I think Rich is a really good guy too- and we don’t lose if either of them become governor, I’m going with Dennis because he’s been fighting these fights- and putting his own life on the line (there were death threats against him in Cleveland through all that turmoil) and started fighting for the people when Cordray was still in diapers.

When Dennis was done with the cameras, I said, “this might be really short, my name is David Esrati” to Dennis- he said, “Last name?” and was looking at me intently, “Esrati”- he said immediately “Steve’s son? Is he still with us” and I told him know- and handed him the obit. He started gushing about how smart my dad was, and how he had such an interesting history. It meant the world to me.

After Dennis spoke, I went back and asked to take a photo with him, mostly to show Mom and see if it would trigger any memories. She didn’t recognize Dennis, but once I started telling her who it was- it seemed to come back. She remembered her husband, and what a special man he was, just as Dennis had said.

And, shame on the Montgomery County Democratic Party for continuing to endorse in primaries.

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Arresting teachers at school board meetings? DPS did that last century.

On Wed. Feb 28, 1996 I went to the Dayton City Commission meeting to protest their illegal secret meetings on Mondays (they called them “work sessions” and did them using the “emergency media notification” system of faxing to the media outlets on Friday evenings). The previous Monday, they had discussed ways to limit citizens from speaking, or at least being on camera, so they could make sure that I didn’t show how AFSCME trash collectors were getting paid for 56 hours while actually working around 30. I had shown up the previous week with my giant time card, and it was too clear how screwed up things were.

Since they didn’t want to see the face of the people they represent, I donned a black balaclava as the meeting started. The rest is history- and I ended up in the Montgomery County Jail that morning. The same place where Charles Alexander Wade was pepper sprayed while in a restraining chair.

But as I went to get my mug shot taken, I heard a voice call out “Mr. Esrati, Mr. Esrati” -and I look over, and there is Loretta Cephus, sitting in the mugshot area. She had been arrested the previous night while she was questioning the school board under Superintendent James Williams.

So when I was writing on Tuesday morning about how I’d shut down the illegal meeting of the school closure task force by protesting and refusing to leave or shut of my camera- because they were violating the Ohio Sunshine Laws, it was far from my first rodeo. And considering there were more than a few people who should know the Sunshine laws inside out- like Commissioner Jeff Mims, or City Manager Shelly Dickstein, or former county Administrator Deb Feldman or even Mr. Lawyer/school board member to be Mohamed Al-Hamdani- it’s pretty amazing that this collection of highly paid “leaders” didn’t know that what they were trying to do wasn’t legal.

When a reader sent me the link to the school teacher who was taken out of the school board meeting in Vermillion LA, and then cuffed- I did a quick facebook post thinking it was Vermillion Ohio (later corrected) as more and more people picked up the story in outrage. When I had viewed the video at noonish- it was at 250K views- it now has 2.7m views and counting:

The difference? Social media. What the DPS board got away with in its persecution of Loretta, wouldn’t have happened today. Her claims of #MeToo against Williams would have been taken seriously. People would have had first hand evidence of the horrible way the board handled things.

Loretta struggled for years, and was constantly pushed into a corner. Many have tried to do the same to me- “Esrati is crazy” – “Esrati is just a troublemaker”- “Esrati…”

It’s easy for them to do- to make themselves feel more comfortable with their ignorance of the laws that are there to protect them. It’s hard in a town that feels so strongly about putting the square pegs in the square holes and the round pegs in the round holes- that we often forget that pegs don’t have to go into holes at all…. in other words- we don’t have to be victimized by a system of laws and order that has been perverted for a long time. Back room deals on who should run, who should be on the ballot, and who should be allowed to talk or not talk for more than three minutes.

No, Vermillion LA, you putting a teacher in cuffs is nothing to this old hand of Dayton Ohio politics- you chickened out by not hauling her off to jail and charging her. In Dayton- we were doing that 22 years ago… and now, we’ve even upped the bar, by pepper spraying inmates in restraints, throwing old ladies to the floor and breaking their shoulder- and even letting people in medical distress die in the jail because, well, our Sheriff is beyond reproach and now running for State rep.

To all my supporters who called or wrote to thank me for standing up to the powers that think they can break the law, thank you. If you really want to help, consider making a donation to support my efforts to keep this blog as the source for the informed of Dayton. And, last but not least- run for precinct captain to stop these political power hungry members of the monarchy of Montgomery County from continuing to fail us in protecting our rights.

 

How to run for precinct captain for your party- the video

Back in December 2017, I wrote a piece urging people to run for precinct captains in the Montgomery County Democratic Party- here’s an excerpt:

The crazy thing is that running for precinct captain is the easiest thing to do. You get a petition, you determine your precinct, you get signatures of at least 10 dems in your precinct (you only need 5 good signatures) and turn in your petition by February 7th to the Board of (S)Elections in the Montgomery County Building. Make sure people SIGN their name- and have the correct date, etc.

Source: The return of democracy to the Montgomery County Democratic Party depends on YOU! – Esrati

I posted links to the proper places you need to go to get petitions, how to fill them out, etc.

But, what was missing was a video. One to run on YouTube- and to run on Facebook, where all the political amateurs like to tell everyone how they would fix our political mess. One of them asked “is there anyone who can do a video about it” – after meeting me online- probably because of some of my videos.

Yeah, I’m not that stupid- I’ll do yet another video for free. But, why just listen to me, don’t we need “Fair and Balanced?” So I reached out to my good friend Rob Scott, yes, Kettering City Councilman, former leader of the Montgomery County Republican Party, former campaign director in Ohio for Donald Trump- yeah- a guy who on paper should be my exact opposite. He gladly came in to talk on camera about how and why you do a takeover of your political party- and he has first hand knowledge, having wrestled the Republican party leadership out of the nearly dead, old, cold hands of their version of Republican Monarchy.

I know it’s a bit long, but hopefully you’ll watch and learn, as we walk through the reasons being a precinct captain is so critically important.

The return of democracy to the Montgomery County Democratic Party depends on YOU!

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Click to download PDF of my old campaign against the friends and family plan

The idea of free elections, the bedrock of the American democracy, is that the people get to choose their representatives to elected office. We all know that thanks to Citizens United, we’ve turned most elections to federal and state office into auctions, but, local elections were still at least relatively untainted.

That is, unless we’re talking about Montgomery County Ohio, where the two major political parties seem to think the old party boss system is still perfectly OK.

This year, the Montgomery County (Un) Democratic Party is going to elect new precinct captains to fill out the party ranks. Typically, these seats have been filled by “the friends and family” plan. Those who have patronage jobs (working for an elected official- who hires you based mostly for loyalty and payback for helping them get elected- not, on your qualifications) typically fill out the ranks- thereby making sure those who are in power, stay in power.

The crazy thing is that running for precinct captain is the easiest thing to do. You get a petition, you determine your precinct, you get signatures of at least 10 dems in your precinct (you only need 5 good signatures) and turn in your petition by February 7th to the Board of (S)Elections in the Montgomery County Building. Make sure people SIGN their name- and have the correct date, etc.

Then, get a walking list of Dems in your precinct and go make friends. Go door to door- and explain that you believe in open honest party politics where the goal is to elect democrats to office. If you want nice printed material, reach out to me- I’m willing to help get you literature which you can put a sticker on with your name and contact info- so that we can win the party back.

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Darryl Fairchild must have the Democratic Party scared

Why is this so important? Because the current leadership would rather spend resources and money on mailings against “un-endorsed” democrats. See this post: Montgomery County Democratic Party eats its own  The party spent money to mail against a Democrat. A guy so loyal that 4 years ago, he agreed to pull out of a race for Dayton City Commission to wait “his turn.” Considering that this is the party that couldn’t even mount a challenger to Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, one has to wonder what the bar is to be a candidate. It shouldn’t be hard to run against a man who runs a torture chamber posing as a jail.

At the first party meeting post election, I asked to speak and made a speech about how I believe the party is supposed to elect Democrats- not just the friends and family. I called on an accounting of party money spent, without the approval of party membership to mail the smear piece. I made a motion to require a vote to spend party money on anti-democratic mailings. I was rebuffed and lied to, and the motions were voted down.

Mark Owens, our party chair, apparently doesn’t know the difference between vetting a candidate and endorsing one, trying to say the State Party failed to properly vet their last candidate for Governor- Ed Fitzgerald as an excuse for their policy of endorsing in primaries. Reminder- this is the party that supported Clayton Luckie, a State Rep who went to prison for using his campaign money like an ATM.

The party said that AFSCME paid to do the mailing and that I’d find it in the party financial reports posted on the Montgomery County Board of Elections site. I’ve gone and downloaded them. I can’t find the donation- or the expenditures clearly marked. See if you can find them.

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Pre-General 2017 MCDP campaign finance report click to download PDF

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Post General MCDP campaign finance report 2017, PDF click to download

The next primary election could be the turning point. If enough progressive, honest dems take over the Montgomery County Democratic party we can eliminate endorsing in primaries. We can let the people decide who they want to represent them. We can stop the party elite from choosing a Hilary instead of a Bernie for us.

However, it takes the effort of 360 independent minded democrats to pull this off. After the election, the party gets to fill empty seats- with anyone they want, whether or not they live in your precinct. This is how they consolidate power.

It’s time for this to stop. If you have questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected]

It’s time to concentrating on electing democrats- not just the friends and family.