Montgomery County Democratic Party eats its own

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Darryl Fairchild must have the Democratic Party scared

Full disclosure: my firm does work for Darryl Fairchild and Shenise Turner-Sloss. I’m also a member of both the executive and central committee of the Montgomery County Democratic party (and don’t recall voting to authorize this kind of dirty politics.)

I got a mailer today. “Darryl Fairchild refused to support an issue that would provide many quality neighborhood services to Dayton residents” – a hit piece, from the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

Problem is- Darryl is a Democrat.

He’s such a loyal democrat that he dropped out of the commission race 4 years ago, so they could give Jeff Mims his seat. They had told him, “it’s not your time” and we’ll let you run for the next seat- and then they picked Chris Shaw instead. Doing deals with the devil- will always get you burned.

A party that will do this to their own, doesn’t deserve the right to call themselves Democrats. This is a republican thing- eating your own. Or at least it should be.

Darryl wasn’t in support of Issue 9- which raised the income tax- to pay for some of the things they claim:

  • Hiring more police officers
  • Paving Streets
  • Improving Dayton’s Public parks
  • Cleaning and mowing vacant lots

What they left out- was that Issue 9 created another quasi-governmental organization and handed them huge amounts of money to compete with Dayton Public Schools. And, the reason we have to raise income taxes to do the above? Is it because Joey Williams and Jeff Mims and their crew- give tax abatement to every big company that comes with their hands out.

Had Williams and Mims been good stewards of your tax dollars- they should have been able to afford all of the above. And, for the record, they have not “hired more police officers”- they’ve hired more replacement police officers to fill retiring officers positions. The force has not grown, and in fact may have shrunk. One thing is for sure, it hasn’t gotten any more diverse.

Taylor Communications, General Electric, Emerson, Midmark, and every other developer (except the guys doing the FireBlocks projects- who actually pay their taxes) all got tax breaks.

Nope- no mention of the fact that under Williams- 80% of downtown properties don’t pay property taxes.

Also, no mention of the money spent buying vacant buildings a half-million dollars each, and then turning them over to “developers” for pennies. All of those stupid deals have been covered on this blog.

The fact is, the party is scared and thought the right answer was to go negative.

Hopefully, the voters will see this as a desperation move- and do the same thing that they did to Rhine McLin after she sent out 6 negative mailings about Gary Leitzell, vote Williams and Mims out of office and vote for Darryl Fairchild and Shenise Turner-Sloss.

Dayton doesn’t need this kind of mud-slinging. What we need is real leadership.

 

Dayton City Commission endorsements

full disclosure- my firm has done printing and is currently producing work for Darryl Fairchild and Shenise Turner-Sloss. However, I’m equal opportunity- I’ll print or produce work for anyone who is willing to stick their neck out and run. It’s not that easy.

True story: last time I ran, Jeffery J. Mims Jr. was running too. I offered to gather signatures for him- and asked if he would do the same for me. I got 80 voters signatures for Jeff- had them notarized. He chose to not pick them up, not to turn them in. He ignored the wishes of 80 voters who wanted him on the ballot. He didn’t get a one for me. I still have those petitions.

Another true story: Joey D. Williams first ran for School Board when I was first running for Mayor. We were sitting next to each other in a church pew, at a candidates night. He leaned over to me, whispered in my ear, “I sat in the bathroom and read your entire campaign piece, it’s right on.” Of course, he wouldn’t tell anyone else, or endorse or stick his neck out. That’s not Joey’s thing. He’s got a plan for his career- it’s a safe one.

The funny thing is, I still have copies of the Esrati for Mayor 11×17 flyers, 2 colors, 2 sides, with lots of words on them. And, the issues I talked about then, are still issues today. It’s sad, because after being on the school board, Joey had a chance to tackle a lot of those issues. But, football isn’t his sport- tackling is out. He’s a basketball player, he likes to pass- pass on doing what needs to get done.

Four years ago- I started hanging free green basketball nets on courts all over the city. I hung over 500. Yes it was a stunt, but I kept doing it even after I lost. Our basketball courts were in shitty shape. Joey actually did do something about it- getting the city to invest over a million dollars on refurbishing our courts, backboards and rims. Would it have happened had I not gone out and hung nets, put posters in every barber shop in town? Doubt it. The way to get Joey Williams to act is to embarrass him.

The problem is, he doesn’t embarrass easy. Nor does our city. Especially under Nan Whaley, who can somehow think she’s governor material- and be in Columbus- and see what progress looks like- and somehow think Dayton is pulling its weight. We’re not. She’s so amazing, she’s running unopposed. The reality is, no one felt like trying after she spent half a million to get a $50K job.

The focus, the movement, the city on the move- has been limited to downtown and around the major employers in town- UD, CareSource, Premier, Kettering Health. The rest of the city- twisting in the wind. Right after Joey, Jeff and Nan got elected last time- came the street light assessment. A lot of talk about “City of Learners” and working with the School board all ended right after they pushed issue 9- and said it was “for the kids” – while it was really a way to raise all of our income taxes- to Oakwood levels, so that all the tax abated and non-profits who don’t pay property taxes- which go to the county- can get taxes to keep them and their friends in patronage jobs.

This has been the modus operandi in Dayton for as long as I can remember, and from what I’ve been told by old timers- since the flood. It’s time for a change. It’s time for the party people to actually have to do their jobs. It’s time for actions to speak louder than words.

There is no way I’ll ever vote for Joey or Jeff or Nan or Matt Joseph or even Chris Shaw- until I see them actually working to deliver value to the neighborhoods where the people live, instead of focusing on collecting income taxes from companies they’ve recruited with tax abatement.

Which brings us to your two choices for change on the City Commission. There were no others. There was no run-off primary. Running for office isn’t something most people are willing to do anymore. It’s a very real problem we’re facing.

I’ve had my issues with Darryl Fairchild in the past. He had printed signs and letterhead- and gotten ready to run four years ago. Then the party asked him to “wait his turn” and he said “ok.” He let Jeff Mims on the commission. Last time- when it was supposed to be “his turn” – the party went out and backed Chris Shaw- and Darryl came close to beating him. The difference this time is that Jeff is now an incumbent- and incumbents are historically almost impossible to beat in Dayton.

Fairchild isn’t great on the campaign trail. He wants to talk wonk. About best practices, about injustices- especially social ones, he wants to discuss structural failings of the system, inequity. Voters, for the most part- don’t get it. Some see that their neighborhood isn’t any better- and their property values haven’t gone up, and that their taxes, their fees, their water bill all have- and they get that, but Darryl isn’t concise. He does have a strong support group- and they have been working hard- he and Shenise have both raised more money than the two incumbents, but, not Nan money. Not even close.

Joey and Jeff have an easy formula- on the West side- it’s I went to school or church with you, your momma, your brothers cousins aunt. It’s old home week. On the East side- I’m the party pick, with the union endorsement, and, look at downtown- ain’t she pretty. And, frankly, both are good decent human beings. I like them both, as people, just not as city commissioners.

Joey hasn’t even been showing up at many of the candidates nights. He doesn’t have to- he traditionally has gotten the most votes of all candidates- including the mayor- without trying very hard.

Shenise Turner-Sloss used to work in city hall. She was the one who was responsible for all the grants and HUD Funds that Congressman Turner is currently making a stink about City Hall losing via ineptitude. She had moved on, out and up to a base job – meaning she has to be careful about her campaigning- she’s a Federal employee and the Hatch act applies to any partisan electioneering. Luckily- this is a non-partisan race, but she can’t say “I’m a democrat” or ask for party endorsement- not that they’d give it to her.

Speaking of the Montgomery County Democrats- when the issue of endorsing in the race came up, I stood up twice- once in executive and once in central committee- both times to ask, are we here to elect democrats- or just the ones on the friends and family plan? Darryl is most definitely a dem- why can’t we endorse him too. I wasn’t well received for suggesting such larceny. The party still doesn’t remember when they chose to endorse Hilary over Bernie- and helped give us Trump.

Shenise Turner-Sloss got her start with the group “Neighborhoods over politics” – which is really at the heart of their campaign. The idea of working on fixing the systemic failures of our city to support the neighborhoods- be it in welcoming investment, making sure parks and streets are well maintained, or that the police actually come when you call. She has an urban planners perspective when it comes to problem solving. She’s bright, motivated and not willing to back down from a fight.

Can I honestly think that electing Darryl and Shenise both will over-ride the Nan, Matt, Chris triad and bring real change to Dayton- no. But, then again, if Nan does get her wish, and becomes Lt. Governor candidate to Richard Cordray- and he beats Husted or whoever the Republicans run- we’re rid of her next year and the special election to end all special elections will emerge.

Darryl and Shenise will both bring new voices to the city- and help amplify the few strong voices left in the neighborhoods, and that’s why it’s time for a change.

November 7, 2017, you can vote for the same old tired incumbents, or you can vote for hope and change.

It’s time to shake things up downtown.

 

 

A Dayton candidates night and a voters fright

Last Wednesday night, instead of working, or doing something fun, I went in for a two hour reminder of why Democracy no longer works in America.

(full disclosure- my firm has done some work and printing for the following candidates or their businesses, Jocelyn Rhynard, Shenise Turner-Sloss, Darryl Fairchild, Karen Wick-Gagnet)

When this country started, it was easy to pick people for elected office. You’d have a town hall of all the white male property owners, they all knew each other, and they chose the people based on personal knowledge and it was done.

Now, we just let anyone on the ballot, at least anyone that can make it through the political parties barricades and hurdles enforced by the board of (S)elections, and then to raise as much money as possible to run for an office that very few of the candidates and even fewer of the voters really understand.

Both the Dayton City Commission and the Dayton Board of Education positions are limited in their actual scope and power. This is by design. They are only allowed to hire a few people, and are there as a corporate board, to guide and review the performance of the leader they hire, be that person called a City Manager or a Superintendent. Instead, we’ve got ego-maniacal demi-gods running who think they not only steer the ship, but also are the guys running the engines, standing guard duty, manning the radar, cooking the food and even scrubbing the decks- all for a mere pittance on the school board and on a salary way richer than it should be for the city commissioners, who only have to show up for one meeting a week.

That said. Sorry about the audio in this video. The PA provided by the City of Dayton at the Northwest Recreation Center badly needed a new XLR cable, but, we’re too busy giving away millions to downtown investors to spring for $15 for a new cable (or less if you go to CCT). I’m even sorrier for what was recorded.

Of the school board candidates, only one actually talked about what we might need to do to change the way we deliver education in the classrooms to move achievement forward- that from Mario Gallin, a former school member who works at Ruskin for East End Community Services and still attends every board meeting. The Ruskin/EECS educational delivery method is based upon the Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Children’s Zone model of comprehensive wrap around services. The only other candidate to mention anything of the like was slate member Paul Bradley who spoke of the Oyler school in Cincinnati which he knows about because his fiancee worked there.

The seating and speaking arrangements were telling. First came “the slate” from the left, then the soloists, who have their own alignments, and the sole incumbent, Joe Lacey who cited parenting duties for calling him away and leaving early. Then the Commission candidates, less Joey Williams. In an unprecedented concession, Priority Board Chairman David Greer allowed Jeff Mims to have Williams time allotment, which judging by Mims reactions to questioning the city’s loss of funds due to internal errors, was a mistake. Mims got defensive and blamed the mess on former planning director Aaron Sorrel, which Darryl Fairchild was quick to call him on. Somehow, despite massive failures in her past, City Manager Shelley Dickstein always gets a hall pass, no matter how much taxpayer money is wasted, and the city commission is never to blame either.

The “slate” is four candidates running together for the school board. Insiders believe them to be hand-picked by Mayor Nan Whaley. Mohamed Al-Hamdani, William E. Harris Jr., Paul Bradley, and Karen Wick-Gagnet have hired a campaign manager (Nan’s old campaign manager) Uriah Anderson, who works for the ever popular Burges & Burges out of Cleveland. They are the folks Sinclair and the Health and Human Services levies both hired (hence the dual billboards around town). This kind of money, power and help hasn’t been seen since the “Kids First” slate ran in 2001 with the sole goal of putting a ton of money into the hands of demolition contractors, construction companies, architects and adding a $645 Million jolt to an ailing Dayton economy.

If you want to read an interesting excerpt on Kids First, follow this link. They spent over $200K on a campaign where all their opponents collectively spent $13,000 between 5 candidates. Note that the four seats that are up this time- were filled by unopposed candidates (Lacey, Roundtree, Lee and Baguirov). The last cycle, we had 4 candidates for 3 seats, and newcomer John McManus spent north of $35K to unseat Nancy Nearny by a mere couple of hundred votes forcing an automatic recount, while the other incumbents Walker and Taylor waltzed on in.

When asked (by me, via Chairmen Greer) why the slate hired an outside consultant, and how much they paid them, the room seemed to turn on Mohamed Al-Hamdani who tried to pass off the question with “we haven’t paid them anything yet” – while defacto saying their campaign manager worked for Burges. The slate is keeping quiet about how much they’ve raised or spent, and because the first reporting deadline isn’t until Oct 28th- the voters will have very little time to learn who is buying their candidates and for how much.

Needless to say, if you look back to the Kids First promises, and the whys, the district is in the exact same sorry shape now as then. Still at the bottom of the barrel for educational achievement, yet with a much higher staff turnover, more turmoil, a third less students, funded by an ever shrinking property tax base (often thanks to Nan Whaley and her love of tax abatement as economic development). The only difference between that slate and this one is that the Kids First slate actually would openly embrace charter schools, while anyone running for school board now has to categorically blame them for the failing of the district.

I still plan to listen to the candidates again, yet, I threw up a little when I heard Reverend Harris saying that he was going to concentrate on truancy as his platform. This is the simpletons solution to educational improvement- and why I also laughed at Dr. Roberson’s entire presentation of his case for why he should be superintendent. The other single issue candidate seems to be Jo’el Jones, who thinks all of our problems can be solved by the office of family and community engagement rising from the ashes. I agree it’s needed, but, it won’t solve the problems of this sinking ship.

While there is no doubt more to Jocelyn Rhynard than her four kids in the district, and her involvement in her kids school, River’s Edge, I didn’t feel she had a fully formed plan and was way too nice in her response about how she’d work with current superintendent Rhonda Corr. Going back to being on the campaign trail with former Dayton City Commissioner Dick Zimmer, it’s always bothered me that procreation counted as qualification for office- he’d start out with “I was born in Dayton, grew up in Dayton, had 9 kids and 19 grandchildren” – as if he chose where to be born, grow up. Mim’s also tells the same sorry story about how he told his family to move to Dayton when he was 3 months old. Rhynard, like Gallin, actually attends school board meetings regularly. Jo’el Jones is also sometimes there. I’ve never seen any of the slate attend.

We need more than platitudes and feel good stories- which is also part of Mohamed’s approach. He’s got a great story to tell of how he came as an immigrant and Dayton’s been good to him, but, he moved back into the city the same day he filed to run, a part he conveniently leaves out.

Hopefully, in the Wednesday night Dayton Education Council candidates night at Ponitz High school (741 W. Washington Street) – starting at 6pm we’ll here speeches sounding more like cogent solutions to stop the turmoil, turnover and terrible achievement scores instead of homilies and grand standing.

If any candidates need an example of what a plan to improve school/student performance looks like, I offer this video I made last December to make a case for a trans-formative plan to discussion. Of course, since no one on the board cares about anything except their own agenda- it was never discussed.

If you are looking to research candidates online- here are the websites I can find:

Of course in most of my searches, more shows up about many of these folks on esrati.com.

Thanks for reading.

Signals crossed: Mayor vs School Board for Dayton Tax hike “for the kids”

Earlier this week, the Mayor and her minions started testing the waters for a .25% income tax hike, raising Dayton’s rate to rival Oakwood’s highest in the County 2.5%. Oakwood, with the best schools, the lowest crime, perfectly kept streets and backyard trash pickup. A place where public parks look like Disneyland- and even have public bathrooms “that don’t even smell” (that quote from a DPS student who was amazed at Orchardly Park while helping me with a hoops Dayton video).

Part of that money is to go to pay for comprehensive pre-school.

DAYTON — Under the threat of a state takeover, Dayton Public Schools Board of Education members agreed during a work session Saturday to draft a resolution of necessity, the first step toward placing a levy before Dayton voters in November.

The levy plan being forwarded is a temporary five-year, five mills levy targeted toward improving after-school and summer programs with possible technology components, said Adil Baguirov, board president.

“In the long run it’s more prudent and much cheaper to invest in early childhood education and summer programs and after-school programs and educational technology than it is into prisons and all kinds of remediation later in life,” he said.

Without showing improvement on its state report card, the district runs the risk of being operated under an Academic Distress Commission within the next two years. New funding could pull the district back from the brink, said Joe Lacey, a board member.

“We need to try to do something – an additional program, if you will – over and above what we’re doing to try to bring us out from under the threat of academic distress,” Lacey said. “We’ve seen some successes with that at our schools, specifically Ruskin (Elementary School).” Baguirov said the levy is not permanent and not meant for general operating funds.The measure, however, is headed toward the same ballot as a Dayton income tax increase proposed by the city. Voters in November will be asked whether to approve a 0.25 percent increase on income earned in Dayton to help close a projected budget shortfall, fund police and fire services and pay for universal preschool.

Source: Levy proposal for Dayton schools pushed forward | www.mydaytondailynews.com

Whoa, hold on there. If we just wait 2 years for the State takeover, we don’t have to worry about paying for the schools at all- it’s the State’s problems- so isn’t a 5 year levy a bit much?

And, maybe because the Mayor didn’t even bother to come to the meeting where the three Superintendent candidates were presented to the public- we might infer that coordination between the two political bodies has broken down? Both coming to tax payers “for the kids” at the same time is a monumental recipe for disaster.

Dayton already spends more per student than any other district in the county, with the worst results. Noted, they also deal with the most special needs students, an 85% poverty level population, and has to compete with charter schools that don’t have to meet any of the same requirements for hiring teachers, testing, certification etc.

So, what should tax payers really ask for in terms of change?

David Esrati Campaign literature from 1993

It was 11×17, both sides, a lot to read- too bad not enough did.

I go back to my campaign literature from 1993 when I was running for the seat that eventually was Dean Lovelace’s entry to the dais:

Neighborhood-based Schools
“It takes an entire village to raise a child”
African saying

An entire VILLAGE, people, not an entire City. If we return to neighborhood schools the parents can get involved again. The chief reason for Dayton’s decline is busing. It is The Problem. As your commissioner I will spend at least an hour a day in one of our public schools.

I also proposed, long before our new buildings with A/C were built,

The year-round school

To combat the suburbs, and to keep our kids out of trouble, I recommend we move to year-round schools over the next 12 years. We aren’t farmers, our kids don’t work the fields in the summer. Learning is a lifelong experience, we need to reinforce that with a year-round learning environment.

Subsidized Day Care

An innovative day-care program is needed to attract new busines and new citizens to the city, as wellas to put our high percentage of single parents back into the work force as productive taxpayers. This would be a high-quality 24-hour service, that would provide long-term benefits to our citizens and make your investment in Dayton grow.

Hmmm, and no one took me seriously? We decimated our parks programs, filled in the swimming pools, and the school year remains the same as everyone elses, despite having a tougher challenge.

What DPS needs to do to improve test scores and keep kids out of trouble is move to a longer school day, with a longer school year, add an additional 20 days to the 180 day school year, with a 4 day school week  for most of the year except for leading into testing weeks.

The school day would be 8:30 to 5:30, but actual academic instruction time would be limited to 4 hours a day. The other hours would be doing art, music, phys ed, home ec, extra curriculars, and individualized guided learning. You want to be a programmer- you go hang out with the computer club, you want to be a social worker, you volunteer with a social service agency, you want to be a teacher, you tutor younger kids. Teachers have more time to plan, and to guide students in their personal passions- be it genealogy, chess, quilting or gardening. And, every school should be raising it’s own food- as both a hands on learning biology and agronomy, but as a business model as well. Hire Lisa Helm from Garden Station to lead the charge- since Nan and friends are evicting them from their gift to our community.

Yes, negotiating the new teacher contracts will be tough, but most inner city teachers aren’t there for the money, especially since Dayton doesn’t pay well. And we need to take a new look at transportation- no more door to door- but have neighborhood stops, on roads built to handle buses- and ways to get kids in a community to know each other. We need to find ways to build relationships back into the neighborhoods- since when you get right down to it- people are always what make a city, what make a neighborhood- not the buildings and certainly not the politicians.

I was talking about the cost of summer and the summer slide 25 years ago. Here’s a bit from an article from the New York Times about “The families that can’t afford summer” – which is most of Dayton:

Most American schools take a 10- to 11-week break during the summer. The assumption that underlies summer vacation — that there is one parent waiting at home for the kids — is true for just over a quarter of American families. For the rest of us, the children are off, the parents are not. We can indulge our annual illusion of children filling joyful hours with sprinkler romps and robotics camp or we can admit the reality: Summer’s supposed freedom is expensive.

In 2014, parents reported planning to spend an average of $958 per child on summer expenses. Those who can’t afford camps or summer learning programs cobble together care from family members or friends, or are forced to leave children home alone. Self-care for 6- to 12-year-olds increases during the summer months, with 11 percent of children spending an average of 10 hours a week on their own. In July 2014, a South Carolina woman was arrested when she left her 9-year-old in a park while she worked. Parents afraid of being at the center of a similar incident may be more likely to park their kids in front of the TV.In summer, the lack of affordable child care and the achievement gap collide for lower income families. Most kids lose math skills over the summer, but low income children also lose, on average, more than two months of reading skills — and they don’t gain them back. That puts them nearly three years behind higher income peers by the end of fifth grade, and the gap just keeps getting wider. Researchers credit the summer slide for about half of the overall difference in academic achievement between lower and higher income students.

Source: The Families That Can’t Afford Summer – The New York Times

Arguments can be made for a 5 day school week with year round school until DPS comes out of academic emergency- but, moving to a full, real world work world for teachers would be a monumental struggle. There is a beauty to the four day work week- look at what Dayton did with trash collection savings. When you have a Tues-Friday schedule- all those national holidays except the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas and New years- all become standard days off.

We need a radical fix for Dayton Public Schools. Anyone who thinks more money is going to fix it is delusional- because you can’t sell the same inferior product with a higher cost to voters- they will vote with their feet, just throwing Dayton deeper into the hole.

As to the City levy- the only way I’d support it if it included a rescission of all property tax abatements for companies with employees making more than $250K a year. We’re not subsidizing the rich on the backs of the poor anymore- and this goes for non-profits and schools as well. When you realize that half of the income for the hospitals is tax dollars for medicare, and the universities are heavily subsidized with grants and loans for students- it’s time to stop padding pockets into the stratosphere on the backs of the little people. The Brexit vote should be a good clue to politicians world wide that the working class is fed up with the redistribution of wealth and the widening gap.

We’ve been sold Sinclair as our savior against kids unprepared for the workforce for years, instead of making sure a high school diploma still meant something.

It’s time to reinvent our idea of school, and of how to help the poor get a real chance at not following in their parents footsteps- neither the city or the DPS tax plan will do anything to substantially revamp the equation, nor spells out actual mechanics of making it happen.

Look at my old campaign literature- and realize you missed out on 25 years of forward thinking and let’s get busy making real changes happen.

 

 

Dayton FOP endorses Matt Joseph and Darryl Fairchild

The FOP doesn’t always endorse. And usually, they aren’t big fans of Democrats. The FOP and IAFF tend to be the two Republican unions in America.

In the upcoming Dayton City Commission race- they decided to endorse incumbent Matt Joseph, who hasn’t done squat in his 3 terms in office, and Darryl Fairchild- the “un-endorsed Democrat.”

Apparently- the party favorite, Chris Shaw isn’t the choice of the cops. Could it be because he’s African American? I don’t recall them ever endorsing Williams, Dixon, McLin, Lovelace, Neal, and Lewis. Why break a perfectly good record?

The FOP endorsement means even less these days, since we dropped the residency rule. They’ve also not been known to throw much money or volunteer hours toward candidates they endorse (probably because they are all overworked, thanks to continued cuts to the department, for which they can thank Matt Joseph).

Sure, Fairchild can put it on his literature. Joseph won’t have any literature that won’t have Shaw on it- so it won’t show up there. Adding it to the voters’ guides may reach a few people- but, frankly, this endorsement means nothing.

The bigger question is why they didn’t endorse Scott Sliver?