Esrati vision for a digital Dayton

Esrati plan for a digital Dayton

Become Ohio’s first Digital city.

I believe that it’s time to make Dayton remarkable for doing things that other cities can’t pull off. The spirit of the Wright Brothers, Kettering, Deeds etc. It’s time to innovate our way to prosperity. To make Dayton the place people want to move to- instead of move away from. I see Dayton as a land of opportunity- where it’s easy for everyone to prosper, with our low cost of living, great water, and by turning every neighborhood into a vibrant community where people like their neighbors (it’s happened in South Park- my neighborhood where “neighbors become friends”).

There are two stories that I bring to this narrative- stories of kids triumphing over obstacles, of taking charge of their futures and creating value.

Earlier this year, OLPC workers dropped off closed boxes containing the tablets, taped shut, with no instruction. “I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android,” Negroponte said. “Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”

via Given Tablets but No Teachers, Ethiopian Children Teach Themselves | MIT Technology Review.

Considering I’ve been in parts of West Dayton where my cell phone couldn’t connect with the Internet- I believe that our children and our community are being isolated from the greatest learning tool and equalizing technology on the planet. We have to not only be able to get our kids online- but, give them the opportunity to teach themselves, if our parents and schools can’t.

Like this kid in Mongolia- who got accepted to MIT. It’s sad when a kid in Mongolia has better access to the Internet than American citizens.

When he was 15 years old, Battushig Myanganbayar of Ulan Bator, Mongolia got a perfect score in the MIT Circuits and Electronics course he took through edX, the online education platform MIT co-founded with Harvard.

via Mongolian Teen Aces an MIT Online Course, Then Gets Into MIT.

That’s why I want to do three things:

  1. Photo of Maya White, holding an iPad, promoting the campaign of David Esrati for Dayton City Commission and iPads for Dayton Public Schools students.

    iPads cost less than library books. If we want a community of readers- access to Project Gutenberg is a great start.

    Every Dayton public school student gets an iPad. From Kindergarten to 12th grade. Why an iPad? For one, Apple is the number one premium brand and invented the tablet as we know it. We need to polish our communities cache. Second, the iPads have tracking software and virtually bullet proof ID- there is little incentive to steal them. Third- Apple has more apps- and experience in delivering computers in schools than anyone else. Also- all the new testing requires computers- and right now DPS has 1 computer for every 4 students- hardly enough to handle the upcoming requirements. Also- consider this fact alone- books are the second biggest expenditure after salaries- and with iPads- there is an entire library of classic books available to every student without any additional cost. The entire state of New Hampshire gave their students Mac Books years ago, LA has just spent a billion dollars equipping their kids with iPads (with some stupid controversy).

  2. Wi-fi everywhere. For the kids to be able to maximize the use of their tablets- they need to be able to get online. Also- every citizen who has a smart phone, will no longer be up against expensive data caps from cell phone companies. Getting online in Dayton should be as easy as breathing. We need to get our community engaged and connected- to jobs, to each other, to build our neighborhoods- using sites like as community hubs. This isn’t new- the entire country of Estonia- now referred to as e-Stonia, was covered in WiFi a decade ago.
  3. Fiber with gigabit speed- it’s in the ‘burbs, but it’s not coming to Dayton fast. Because of our rate of poverty in the region, telcos aren’t making a push to extend the fastest or best service. When Google Fiber was up for grabs via a competition- our city leaders were all for it- once Google picked Kansas City- then Provo UT and Austin TX, they forgot about it. We have a fiber backbone in place already running our traffic lights- it’s time to expand it.

Social mobility- the ability to move from poverty to wealth, is a key measure of a communities health. Dayton ranks very low on this scale- it’s a primary goal of mine to change that statistic. While Nan Whaley and Joey Williams- the “Endorsed Democrats” and big money campaign- has had 8 years of control of the commission- they’ve chosen to invest our money in either building bricks and mortar- or tearing down bricks and mortar and filling landfills. From Tech Town to the failed Kroger at Wayne and Wyoming- they think differently than I do in terms of how to raise the standards of living in Dayton.

It’s my belief that the number one factor in measuring the success of our policy isn’t the number of houses- but the number of people who choose to live in Dayton- and their average income. I believe by making investments in the technology to engage and enrich our communities minds is much more important than what we do with vacant houses. In fact, I think less of them will be vacant if we implement these kinds of investments.

One of the mistakes I made in my past campaigns was assuming that most voters were online and depending on my digital literacy to pay off. Sadly, many voters don’t even have email addresses- or access. This may sound astounding to you- but it’s a fact in Dayton. That’s why I need you- especially if you are a Dayton Public School student, to spread the word about my campaign. Either Dayton is going to move forward with my election to the Dayton City Commission, or we’re going to stagnate, spending our money making empty lots and a taller landfill.

Campaign update

In my bid to be Dayton’s next City Commissioner for under $10,000 in expenditures and $10K in in-kind donations, I reached a milestone yesterday when I went over $6,000 raised, from 92 donors. Which means I only have $4,000 more to raise and spend to stick to my $10,000 pledge. However, I’ve only received about $1,400 in in-kind donations, so I have some room there, since I am able to accept up to $10k in in-kind donations.

My second box of nets was bought by Scott Hewitt who owns Painless Windows. He’s a client, a friend and he even came out a few nights and helped me hang nets and clear courts of weeds, grass and glass. By midweek, I’m going to need a third box- if anyone wants to donate, stop down at Tuffy Brooks on Keowee and pick up a box, it’ll be $200 plus tax or about $217. Ask for Jim.


See comments- case bought 10 am Monday

The video probably has a lot more views than what YouTube records since many of the views are from embeds from Facebook and don’t make the counter rise. The original one right now has 508 views and 14 likes. The new version with improved audio and more people in the credits- has 61 views 5 likes and 1 dislike. There are 2 comments on the first, one comment on the second. I’d like to get the second version to be seen by more people and have more likes and comments. I’m hoping to convince some major philanthropists to step forward and help me get some new rims and backboards to fix the worst cases.

Next week I’m going to start to do a post about every court, with pictures of each backboard, front and back, court conditions, location, etc., with pictures- so we have an inventory of courts, needs and conditions. I’ll also be placing a sticker on the poles with my phone number for net replacement. The stencil’s numbers aren’t really readable.

After I’m elected, I hope to use the URL to serve as an online community to start organizing neighborhood teams, and citywide street ball tournaments. I think our kids need positive things to do- and some organization to make it happen. I’ll be working with AAU people, the people at the Kroc center- and the schools to start coordinating a real recreational ball program- and not just for kids- we should have senior leagues, too.

Heading into the home stretch in September and October, I’ll need a lot of volunteers to go out and talk to voters and to distribute literature- although you can start now. If you’re interested in helping, please sign up here:

I’m also going to try to coordinate a courts task force- to go out and weed and clean as many courts as possible in a day. I think it would be fun to load us all on a bus- and go to each court as a mass. If anyone has a bus and driver they could volunteer- let me know. I don’t know if I have the balls to ask for everyone to pay for the privilege of pulling weeds- but, I was thinking of doing a t-shirt for everyone who volunteers. Tell me what you think in comments please.

I’m going to have to do another fundraiser or two as well, unless some big donations start rolling in. I’ve got more literature that will need to be printed, and some other campaign expenses coming up. Early money is more valuable than late money- especially when you will cap the campaign at $10K. Note, donations over $10k will go into a fund to buy rims, backboards, etc.

Thanks everyone who has helped out- especially the barbers and beauticians who’ve supported this campaign as if they owned it. Spread the word- and keep telling the story about the candidate who puts up nets instead of yard signs.

One last note- when our kids are involved in organized activities in the community- there is no limit on their creativity and skills- watch this video of the Invincible Regulating Striders- from the drill team competition at yesterday’s block party at Westwood School. Simply amazing. They are on their way to a national competition in New Orleans to represent our city. Wow. Enjoy!

We need more activities like this for our kids.


Petitions are GOOD! Esrati enters city commission race

Photo of David Esrati petition turn in, and reciept for Dayton City Commission

18 forms, 575 good signatures, 75 hours of walking door to door

I turned in 651 signatures on 18 forms on Wednesday to place my name on the ballot for Dayton City Commission. The Board of Elections has checked, rechecked and checked again and unfortunately, they were only able to knock out 12% of my signatures.

Of the 651, I had 575 “good signatures’, 7 duplicates, 5 lined out, 1 in pencil, 1 missing a date, 24 not registered, 10 out of jurisdiction and one by a circulator. 27 Signatures didn’t match what was on record (probably meaning they printed).

The only other petitions turned in so far have been Nan Whaley who turned in 1495 signatures with an 80% validity rate for Mayor, and Joey Williams with a 72% valid (meaning slightly more than 1 in 4 was was incorrect) for City Commission.

If more than 4 candidates turn in 500 valid signatures, there will be a primary in May. If not, the four (or less) will run for the seats held currently by Nan Whaley and Joey Williams.

The Dayton Daily News gave a large story about Darryl Fairchild running for Dayton City Commission- despite his not having turned in valid petitions or being placed on a ballot. I doubt they will do the same for me. We will see if the Dayton City Paper gives me a front page story like they have for A.J. Wagner or Nan Whaley. I’ve posted the “racing form” of candidates and potential candidates at this time. The Board of Elections will meet on 26 Feb to certify petitions turned in so far.

Ask Nan or Joey if they support doing away with this ridiculous process or fixing the charter’s rules about % of registered voters instead of % of actual voters to change the charter or to remove elected officials? They’ve both put 2 sets of charter changes on the ballot and ignored this exclusionary process from reform.

The only jurisdiction that required a notary public to “Certify” the petitions was Oakwood, and they did away with it last year.

I’ll be announcing 2 fundraisers later today for Elect Esrati. And, like the Mayor, I’m limiting my campaign to $10,000.

My main issues are listed on

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.

The launch of a new kind of campaign: Esrati for City Commission

Today, is 30 days from petition turn in for the “Non-partisan” Dayton City Commission race. The petitions are closely guarded and held by both the Montgomery County Board of Elections and the Dayton City Commission office. So far there are 7 candidates with petitions out for City Commission and 4 for Mayor that are known:

City Commission is: Incumbents Nan Whaley and Joey Williams. Challengers are myself, Donald Dominic, Lorana Kelly, Mark Anthony Newberry, Jeffrey Welbaum.

For Mayor, it’s incumbent, Rhine McLin and challengers Bill Krest, Jerome Savage and Gary Leitzell.

If anyone else knows anything- or can provide links to sites- let me know.

I have a pdf version of the form in rough form. If you want it- e-mail me (link below). The BOE even admits the form has a problem that they need to check with the Secretary of State. The form is obscenely overly-complex, as is the process. Note- it only takes 50 signatures to run for Congress.

My petitions are ready- and I need people who want to circulate them. Each petition holds 40 signatures. They must be signed by a registered voter in the City of Dayton who hasn’t signed more than 2 petitions for Commission in this race. After circulating the petition, the circulator must take the petition to a notary to get a notarized signature.

You can pick up petitions at 100 Bonner Street Dayton OH 45410 between 8:30 am and 6pm any week day or e-mail me for other arrangements.

I’ll also need to start raising money to hire a campaign manager. The incumbents will have the full support of the Montgomery County Democratic Party- even if they either don’t do anything, or abstain from critical votes.

However, this campaign will be more about ideas, this site and moving Dayton forward, than empty promises and :30 soundbites. It’s up to you if you want to see a change in Dayton, or continue to suffer through an administration that doesn’t understand that plowing snow is more important than paying people to do “Economic development.”

It’s time to stop putting lipstick on a pig. If we can’t deliver basic services- how can we expect to deliver a viable place to live and work.

I vow to bring discussion and ideas to a City Commission that doesn’t understand its role as advisers and directors to a large organization. It’s time we start asking the right questions, instead of rubber stamping a bunch of budget requests every week.

I’d also like to revise the charter to make the process of running simpler. It may also be time to change the process to eliminate the Mayor’s race, and make it an election where the top-three on this cycle get on the Commission with the top vote getter becoming Mayor.

Please help. Please pick up your petitions asap. Thanks.