International Man of Mystery: Adil Baguirov

His campaign literature was a bit over the top, and why he even needed any to run unopposed for Dayton School Board was a bit of a mystery. But when you take a closer look at Dr. Adil T. Baguirov he, not Austin Powers, is Dayton’s own international man of mystery.

Adil Baguirov and John Paul IIThe literature (which I saved but can’t find at the moment) had a photo of the young Turk with the pope and another with Joe Biden. Not your run of the mill school board candidate, but he was unopposed, had a PhD, and had the 300 required signatures. What could we do?

He came in dead last- of four (the write in didn’t stand a chance in hell).

One thing has been clear in his tenure on the Dayton Board of Education, he’s been THE mover and shaker. He pushed hard for the one-to-one computer program and the decision to cut ties with former Superintendent Lori Ward and Treasurer Craig Jones. He was the loudest voice convincing others that internal candidates for replacement would be giving someone who got us in our current mess a promotion, thus starting David Lawrence’s oust. Most would say current Superintendent Rhonda Corr was his hand picked protegee (or maybe more appropriately, partner in crime).

Since Corr has come on board, and while he was the President of the School Board, we’ve seen an insider deal to sell the Patterson Co-op site to the Port Authority (for a handoff to CareSource), an odd dismissal of a private developer’s offer on the Patterson Kennedy site near UD and MVH, a massive ruckus caused by a Reduction in Force driven by a supposed budget shortfall, and a push to spend $11 million to finance over 100 buses (with a full 10 year maintenance contract).

And the uncharacteristic silence and tacit approval from the board about Issue 9: a play by Nan Whaley and the city to jack up the income tax, in part, to fund a competing quasi-public pre-school system. There was so much money behind issue 9 and we still don’t know the half of it, since the PAC “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future” hasn’t filed their post election report. Any half-wit journalist would start to wonder why, but since Dayton is sort of short on journalists, you’re stuck with me.

For those of you not into the whole “reading” thing, here’s the video to whet your appetite.

What did I do? Well, what any mediocre journalism student is told to do: “follow the money.”  What I find is a lot of smoking barrels which point to the personal enrichment of Dr. Baguirov as well as a spiderweb of shell corporations and business partners.

Sure, if we’d done our homework before he was elected, we’d have known this was coming, because Adil Baguirov is connected. Not just photos with the (previous-previous) Pope or Biden, either. It took months to put all the pieces together.

The Father: Dr. Togrul Bagirov

We found the following short bio in the “Worldwide Strategic Energy Final Draft Business Plan”

Dr. Togrul Bagirov is the Executive Vice President of Moscow International Petroleum Club (MIPC), a non-profit non-governmental specialized international organization. He is a Special Advisor to the Russian Prime Minister, the Russian Minister of Energy, Gazprom, LUKoil, and Transneft. In addition, Dr. Bagirov serves as a Deputy Chairman of the United Nations Forum on Energy Security.
Dr. Bagirov received a M.S. in International Relations, a Ph.D. in History from Moscow University (MGIMO), and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Institute of USA and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is an adjunct professor in energy security studies at MGIMO University. Dr. Bagirov also heads the public consultative center under the Russian Government for international projects in oil and gas.
Dr. Bagirov is a member of the World Economic Forum at Davos, a participant in Russia-U.S. and Russia-EC Energy Dialogues, and a Deputy Chairman on the Board of Trustees of the Russian-American Business Council.

And while all that sounds impressive, I’m not sure I can tell you much about Dr. B. senior. Other than, he’s done OK for himself.

Photo of Togrul Bagirov, Stephen Payne, Timur Kulibayev (son-in-law of the President of Kazakhstan & Chairman of the KazEnergy Association and VP of Samruk – the new state-owned holding company), and Adil Baguirov

Togrul Bagirov, Stephen Payne, Timur Kulibayev (son-in-law of the President of Kazakhstan & Chairman of the KazEnergy Association and VP of Samruk – the new state-owned holding company), and Adil Baguirov

The people he’s rubbing elbows with in this venture, Worldwide Strategic Energy, are a bit better known like the lobbyist Stephen P. Payne. In July 2008, Payne attracted international attention after being secretly videotaped discussing a $750,000 lobbying contract offering access to senior U.S. officials and suggesting a $250,000 donation to the future presidential library of U.S. president George W. Bush.

Dr. B. Sr. is also the chairman of the Baku Nobel Heritage fund, which describes itself as a “civil initiative to restore the Nobel brothers’ heritage in Azerbaijan.” Apparently, the Nobel family were the movers and shakers who developed Azerbaijan’s oil resources at the end of the 19th century. Introducing innovations like oil pipelines and steam-powered tankers to transform Baku into one of the world’s leading oil producers. This leads into one of the stranger Baguirov connections. Adil has a Wyoming Corp, “Nobel Brothers Pictures, LLC”, which is working to make a big-budget Hollywood movie called “The Big Game” about the history of the Baku oil industry.

Recall that another movie about the history of Baku oil industry starring world-known actors will be shot in Hollywood. The multi-million dollar film to be produced by the chairman of the Baku Nobel Heritage Fund Togrul Bagirov in the frame of the Nobel project will show the history of Baku oil through the eyes of the Nobel brothers.

The film will describe mutual relations in the Nobels-Rothschilds-Rockefellers triangle of the great powers and the global role played by the Baku oil. All this will be shown in the context of the Nobel oil empire’s prosperity and fall, the communist revolution in Russia and political compromises of the early 1920s. The film presumably will be called ‘The Big Game’ or ‘The Oil Wars’ and will underline that the Baku oil has always been in the focus of international attention, being “an award” which superpowers were endeavoring to gain.

Source: Azerbaijani movie shown in Italy

Dr. Baguirov Sr. with Dolph Lungren

Dr. Baguirov Sr. (fourth from Right) with Dolph Lungren (fourth from left)

And the “world-known actors”- ready for it?

The large-scale movie, which will be filming in Baku and the U.S., will be made with the use of innovative technologies.It is expected that the film will star Anthony Hopkins, Michael Douglas, Monica Bellucci, Antonio Banderas and Dolph Lundgren, Bagirov said.

Source: Hollywood to make film on Azerbaijani oil history featuring superstars | Dünya Times

He has been very valuable to Russian national interests, obviously, since Togrul was also awarded Russia’s Order of Badge of Honour, signed by Vladimir Putin.

The Son: Dr. Adil T. Baguirov

Adil was born in 1978, which makes him just eligible to be one of the Dayton Business Journal’s “40 under 40” this year. Don’t worry, even I was one of the 40 under 40, so you know it’s not that big of a deal.

However, Dr. B Jr. is kind of a big deal on paper. He went to the University of Southern California with a degree in International Relations and Business Administration, graduating in 1999. By 2002 he’d earned a Ph.D in Political Science from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

His father’s status opened doors, and he served as a “Special Advisor on Russia and the Former Soviet Union” to Congressman Curt Weldon sometime around 2003. This was while was also serving as an “Executive” for “Worldwide Strategic Energy” out of Houston, which is where we got a lot of the info on his father through a leaked “proprietary and confidential- Placement Memorandum.”

Don’t ask why, but it seems almost everyone that Adil comes in contact with has some sort of international controversy, usually connected with Russia:

In 2006 Weldon faced investigation by the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section for suspected unlawful ties to two Russian companies and two Serbian citizens, when in a filing with the Federal Election Commission Weldon’s campaign committee reported that it transferred $70,000 to the “Weldon Legal Expense Trust”.

Source: Curt Weldon – Wikipedia

Come 2009, he’s still in DC creating non-profits.

The co-founder of Karabakh Foundation, a 501(c)(3) in Washington D.C. with a mission statement to “preserve and disseminate the cultural heritage and traditions of Azerbaijan, the Caucasus area, and the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.”

And he’s also elected to the board of directors of the U.S. Azeris Network, an organization dedicated to coalescing the political power within the U.S. of Azerbaijani and Turkic diaspora communities. That’s a fancy way of saying lobby for the best interests of the legal immigrants, of which he is one.

Sevin Elekdag and Adil Baguirov in their wedding pix

Sevin Elekdag and Adil Baguirov  wedding pix

In 2013, just as he started showing up in Dayton, he married Sevin Elekdag in D.C.  She’s the daughter of Sukru Elekdag, the Turkish Ambassador to the United States from 1979-1989.

Check out the wedding announcement page in Turkish. She’s our own version of Melania Trump. We think the girl with the shoe addiction is Adil’s sister, who is an artist in NYC.

Adil in Dayton

This is where we start running into problems. As you may know, Adil has to file a few things as an elected official.

thumbnail of Baguira, Adil

The post campaign report

thumbnail of Baguirov Campaign Finance Report

The pre-election report

Our first document is his campaign finance reports, to which you really do have to laugh. He was running unopposed, yet still printed literature and bought signs, with his own money. Specifically, he spent about $2,200 (no contributors listed) on printing, signs, and $92.75 on online advertising.

He lists his address as 111 Cooper Place West downtown. And, while this is an OK place for a nice, young, newlywed couple, they still had a house outside DC that was quite a bit nicer. Bought 12/06/2004, for $552,000, 3920 Charles Av, Alexandria, VA, the 3 story townhouse was built in 1994. This property is notable in that it actually has his name attached, which we found to be a rarity. Since the property wasn’t in Ohio, he doesn’t have to list it on his ethics commission form.

Adil made history as the first Ahiska-Turkish American to be elected to public office when he was sworn in to the Dayton Board of Education in January of 2014.

Since his election, the School Board hasn’t quite been the same. They meet more often, and cause more consternation than any other school board in the region. There are deep divisions on the board, and the one member who seems to be at the center of almost anything that has controversy attached is Dr. B. But, considering who he’s worked for in the past, is it any wonder?

thumbnail of Adil Baguirov Ethics Statement 2015

Adil Baguirov Ethics Statement 2015

Cycling back to his listed home, 111 Cooper Place, it was bought by his undisclosed shell company, Metroplis LLC of Wyoming (the state, not the suburb in Cincinnati) just before the election, August 27, 2013. We know this because we looked at his Ohio Ethics Commission Financial Disclosure statement.

He lists no debtors, no creditors, and his only investment is in the Connor Group Fund. It’s also funny that he only lists ownership of two pieces of property:
1819 Troy St Dayton OH 45404, home of his trucking company, and 400 E. 5th St. Dayton Oh 45402. No residential properties at all. His income comes from:

  • Turbillion- which provides “Consulting”
  • Addison HHS- a “health care provider”
  • Dayton Board of Education- $5,229
  • American Power- Freight and Logistics.

Living with him is his spouse, Sevin Baguirov, and his two dependent children.

The businesses listed/offices/fiduciary relationships, add “Megapolis” and “Oregon Renaissance” which is 400 E. 5th St.

If asked what business he’s in, the standard answer is logistics. He owns “American Power LLC” which has offices on Troy Street. Interestingly, the last blog posts on their site are 2013… it seems once he got his $5000 a year job on School Board, the trucking company didn’t get the attention it once did. But, no worries, he’s got other ventures. Lots of them.

One that he’ll admit to is Addison Home Health Care [full disclosure, I did some work for his business partner Islom Shakhbandarov, printing some business cards, and working on a craptastic boxing event that was being done in a hurry] which has its offices in the Oregon District, above Salar. The building, formerly owned by shadow Mayor Dr. Mike E. Ervin, was originally owned by Oregon Renaissance LLC – a firm set up on 3/12/2008. On August 29, 2014 paperwork was filed to make Turbillion LLC a subsequent agent of Oregon Renaissance. Adil lists himself as a director in his 2015 ethics statement. What is the address of Turbillion? 111 Cooper Place of course. In the Ethics Statement, he’s listed as a director of Addison as well.

Businesses incorporated in Ohio by Adil Baguirov and his wife Sevin Baguirov

Businesses incorporated in Ohio by Adil Baguirov and his wife Sevin Baguirov

What’s more interesting is what’s missing from his disclosures. Two other medical firms, one in his name and one in Sevin’s. That’s a no-no. It’s why I contacted the Ohio Ethics Commission and asked them to investigate in the first place. Adil seemed, to me, the only one in the loop on both the CareSource sale of school-owned real estate and the denied sale to a private developer. He has companies doing business in the medical field, and both Premier Health and CareSource are the 800lb gorillas in the industry. This could be a conflict of interest, if Baguirov’s companies work with CareSource or Premier. Right after I brought up this conflict of interest in Millennial Medical LLC at the Dayton Board of Education Meeting on February 14th, he filed to “kill” the corporation. I was holding the knowledge of  “Montgomery Medical Holding LLC” as my hole card. Metropolis Holdings LLC lists 111 Cooper Place W. as its mailing address, and its business address is the Troy St. American Power offices.

Remember, the Cooper Place house was bought by Metroplis LLC of Wyoming, so we have at least 2 Metropolis branded companies.

The problem is, we’re pretty sure that Adil and Sevin don’t live at 111 Cooper Place W. A quick look at voter records finds two things. Sevin isn’t registered to vote in Ohio and Adil isn’t registered to vote at Cooper Place.

630 Maryland Ave Dayton

630 Maryland Ave

Adil is registered to vote at 630 Maryland Ave in Old North Dayton, a 1,300 square foot house bought for $10k by Ismat Shakhbandarov. Slight problem, I don’t know who is Ismat is. I do know that Islom Shakhbandarov is Adil’s business partner in Addison HHC. Don’t worry, Islom, who drives a Range Rover, is also registered to vote at this humble house.

If you think that Adil just crashes at 630 Maryland Ave home with his beautiful wife and two young children and Islom too, well, you’re about as gullible as the rest of the school board who has been buying Adil’s guidance hook, line and sinker.

4611 Charleston Ter NW, Washington, DC 20007

The Baguirov’s DC manse

Nope, I don’t think Adil lives in the school district. Sevin also may not live in Dayton, since we found a building permit (see page 54) in Adil’s name for 4611 Charleston Ter NW, Washington, DC 20007. When we look to find the owners name in the DC.gov Office of Tax and Revenue site, it’s Metropolis LLC. This is a house more befitting of the Baguirov family, bought for $1,560,000 on 12/02/2011. Check it out on Zillow. Sure, Sevin may still live here and Adil flies out every weekend. The more likely answer is, they’ve got a new mansion and it too is not in Dayton, but in the Vandalia Butler School district.

7077 Meeker Commons Ln belonging to Metropolis LLC

The Baguirov Mansion in the gated community

Once again, Metropolis LLC bought a home. This one has two addresses: 8 Meeker Place is on the tax record, bought Oct. 2nd of 2015 for $495,000. This beauty is 5,352 square feet, and you could safely and covertly park that Jag in the driveway, it’s a gated community. The Zillow address is 7077 Meeker Commons Lane Dayton OH 45414 and the house is described as 4 beds 7 baths 5,702 sq ft. It looks like a very nice house.

Why is this a problem for Adil? Well, one of the conditions of being on the Dayton Board of Education is that you actually have to reside in the school district. His kids aren’t old enough to be enrolled in school, and it’s a moot point, he’d probably send them to a private school.

Page 6 of the DBOE Manual:

Filling Vacancies
Vacancies in Board seats may occur as a result of many things including,
but not limited to: resignation, non-residence, removal from office or
death.

The question of residency gets a little muddled in Ohio, thanks to our very own Secretary of State Jon Husted. He had a vacant house in Kettering while he lived in Columbus, when he was a State Representative. I don’t want to get into the legal quicksand on this issue, but there is a major difference. Husted actually owned the house in Kettering and no one else lived there. Really, it’s not much different than Tony Hall living in DC all those years as our congressman, while keeping a small bachelor pad here in town. Again, the house was his.

Now, this would all be great and fine, except, if Adil lives in 111 Cooper Place, which he owns, why is he registered to vote at 630 Maryland which he doesn’t? Is that voter fraud when he and Islom went to vote for president last year? Or, does he live in the mansion outside the district, 7077 Meeker Commons Lane Dayton OH 45414? Well, that would have to be his residence if he decides to run for State Rep Mike Henne’s seat when it comes open. Word on the street is that’s his goal.

The question is, who enforces the rules when it comes to residency? I talked to the Board of Elections, the Ohio Ethics Commission, the Secretary of State’s office, the BOE again. I put a call into the prosecutor’s office and then told a few trusted people within the school district. No one knew who would be the ones to investigate and prove the residency. It requires a court order to put a tracking device on his car. Frankly, I don’t have time or the inclination to start tailing him all over town.

It’s time to investigate not only his residency and his legitimacy on the Board of Education, but take a deep look at possible conflicts of interest. His many holdings in companies could be enriched by his actions on the board (eg. bus purchases and vacant land sales).

In the past, I’ve called for an elected chief ethics officer position in each county to help wage integrity in office on behalf of citizens who always get the run around when they bring issues like this to light.

And as always, I have to sit and wait for the Dayton Daily News to do their normal theft of my story and not give credit. Then wait for the people in the statehouse to move, if they even care.

I’m sure that the athletes in Dayton Public Schools will suffer more from the in-depth investigation of Dunbar playing an academically ineligible player in a football game against Belmont, than what will happen to Dr. Adil Baguirov, because politicians policing politicians is the lunatics running the asylum.

With all the noise in Washington about connections to the Russian government and interference in our elections, this story of our very own International Man of Mystery surely won’t be discussed on the Sunday morning talk shows, but isn’t it nice to know that international intrigue can happen right here in Dayton?

The Petty Party of Montgomery County

At 7:00 p.m. tomorrow, January 13, the executive committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Party will meet to decide the fate of one of their long-time leaders.

Normally, yours truly wouldn’t be invited to this kind of meeting, but they don’t have a choice. I was duly elected precinct captain, and when the 5 precinct captains of the first ward met, 2 others who have been wronged by the party over time, graciously opted to vote for me, providing a 3-2 selection as the Ward leader and automatic inclusion on the Central Committee. Note- this doesn’t get me on the screening committee- which is only for those who either have sworn a blood oath, or been elected and are in control of patronage jobs which are handed out like candy to people they then use to fill in the open precinct seats- to make sure they control who runs for office.

The two who fell from grace- former county auditor, judge and mayoral candidate, A.J. Wagner, and current school board member Joe Lacey- who tried to run for state rep and wasn’t endorsed. The two who voted against me- Russ Joseph, brother of Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph and heir apparent to party chair, and current Dayton Clerk of Courts, Mark Owens, and Judge Daniel Geheres’ son.

Tomorrow night, the secret society is meeting in private to decide if they should put former Dayton Mayor, daughter of the all powerful C.J. McLin, State Senator Rhine McLin back on the Board of Elections- or should they find someone else to have the cushy job that pays $20K a year for two short meetings each month.

The Dems are mad at Rhine because she broke ranks and supported Wagner for mayor instead of her royal highness, Queen Nan.

Rhine sent all the central committee members a “Fellow Democrat” letter in December- asking for their support and stating her case.

For those of you who don’t know about the Board of [S]Elections – it’s an organization that is totally controlled by the two major parties- to run your elections. This is why third party candidates, independent candidates, and anyone who doesn’t kiss the party’s ass, runs a high risk of not making it to the ballot. Plus, it controls a bunch of patronage jobs- and grossly overpays the staff- especially the directors, one from each party. It gets a little confusing because the actual board is 2 Dems, 2 Republicans- yes- a virtual deadlock on every issue- that gets to hand over the deciding vote to Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican. The members of this board aren’t elected by the people, nor do they have oversight by the people- just Husted. That’s the way we like it in Ohio- ethics be damned.

Rhine has been in the seat for 2 years of a 3-year term- thanks to a deadlocked vote during the last presidential election, where Husted managed to get the 2 Dems, Dennis Lieberman (spouse of County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman and former party chair) and Tom Ritchie Sr.- regional director of AFSCME (a big public service union) kicked out of their jobs when they stood up to Husted on early voting hours.

The party picked Rhine and John Doll. Doll is a check-collecting, empty suit. McLin on the other hand threw herself into the job and is the only member who bothered to become a certified elections/registration administrator.

McLin is also a party legend. She’s currently vice chair of the Ohio Democratic Party (which isn’t quite as petty), vice-chair of the Mid-West Caucus of the Democratic National Committee, vice chair of the Mid-West Executive Committee of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, and the Mid-West Representative for the Black Caucus of the Democratic National Committee.

She also notes- “I have consistently donated to the Party.”

Face it- it’s pay to play on top of requiring a blood oath and major butt kissing.

Frankly, none of these people deserve to have anything to do with elections. Their idea of running people for office includes interviews that start out with the question “If we endorse someone else, will you drop out and work to get them elected” before petitions are even turned in.

I’ve run in 6 different counties- and no other county Democratic party endorses in primaries- that’s what the primary is for- for the voters of the party to decide whom they want to run for office- not 40 hand-selected members of the “Monarchy of Montgomery Party” to decide for them. They are patently undemocratic- and Rhine herself has benefited from this winnowing process for years. She’s as guilty as the rest of them- the only difference is while she was happy when Nan was her lap dog- when she was mayor- the moment Rhine lost to Gary Leitzel, she lost value to Nan, who along with Mark Owens and Karl Keith had taken over the party- kicking Lieberman to the curb. Now, Nan is a rabid dog, going after Rhine- her former mentor, out of spite- for Rhine recognizing that A.J. was the better man for the job than our monomaniacal mayoress. There are still deep divisions in the party- but, most are afraid to speak- for fear of losing their plum patronage job that either they- or their family members have thanks to their party loyalty.

This is the dirty secret of the Dayton Montgomery County Democratic Party. But, now you know.

And I’ll try to fill you in on what happens, despite me not really wanting to have anything to do with this disgustingly undemocratic process. In 2018, the party will once again elect new precinct captains- that’s when we may be able to organize, and re-populate the central committee with people who believe in democratic principles- instead of the self-anointed royal family we have now.

Post 2000. Lost another election. I won’t be on the BOE

It seems only fitting- my two thousandth post on esrati.com is to tell you that I lost yet another election.

Tonight, the “executive committee” of the Montgomery County Democratic party voted to submit two people to fill the unexpired terms of Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie, who were voted off the Board of Elections island by our Secretary of State, Jon Husted.

Of course, all of this could be for naught, if the lawsuit filed against Husted today, in Judge Walter Rice’s court, orders Husted to put Lieberman and Ritchie back on the island, now that Husted has been publicly spanked by Eric Holder and the Democrats.

The whole story of why Ritchie and Lieberman were the first in Ohio history to be punted from a Board of Elections without doing something heinously illegal like selling Meth or hiring a convicted rapist because, well, he’s the brother of a person with a patronage job and was hired without filling out a job application- no, they were fired because they wanted to make it easier for people to vote.

The God that the Republicans pray to doesn’t like people to vote early in person- because, well, too many liberals do that.

There were five candidates. I was probably the one who got the least votes. The ballot was on paper, write two names- sign your name. Counted by Mat Heck and Lee Faulke, the first place finisher was Rhine McLin who now gets to fill the longer remaining term that Dennis held (I think it’s 3.5 years) and number two was John Doll who gets to sit in Tom Ritchie’s seat for a year and a half before reappointment. Of course, Jon Husted gets final say on who gets in (odd, because he also gets final say on who isn’t in- making him the effective king of both parties).

All the candidates, including me, promised to vacate the seat if the lawsuit forces Husted to rescind his action.

The good news for Dayton is that as long as Rhine is on the BOE collecting her $20K a year for 2 meetings a month- she can’t run for city commission to fill Nan’s spot while she runs for Mayor. The bad news is, if my family will permit me, I’ll be running for city commission again next year.

There was actually a roll call of the executive committee members tonight. I should have recorded it so I could post it here. I’m a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party, and I don’t even know who makes up the executive committee. It was nearly a full house- only a handful of them were missing. 25 were needed for a quorum to vote and they had over that.

I’m also remiss, in not having full bios of everyone running. Joan Holmes (sp)? ran – and was totally unfamiliar to me, and the Mayor of Brookville, David E. Seagraves also had his name in the hat- with a letter of recommendation from County Commissioner Dan Foley (who wasn’t in attendance tonight or on the executive committee.

I had a few people come up after- and tell me they voted for me. In my intro speech it probably didn’t help that I pointed out the fact that a convicted rapist had been hired to the BOE without a job application- or that you still can’t find out basic info on voting on the BOE site- stuff that always comes up as referral searches near election time- on esrati.com.

This wasn’t a groundbreaking post. It isn’t even significant in the grand scheme of things. But, 2000 is a milestone- most blogs never see that many posts. Thanks for being a reader.

Here is what I handed out to the members of the Executive Committee:

Why should I serve on the Board of Elections?

As a “perennial candidate” I’ve had 20 years experience of frustration at finding the way onto the ballot and through the process.

It’s been my experience that the information that’s fundamental to running for office is missing from the BOE site, as are filing deadlines, sample forms, sample language and process and procedure.

As a member of the Board, I would work to make sure that the process is as open and transparent as possible.

Some things that I’d work on:

A complete listing of all elected offices and the election dates, office holders, election results and requirements for every office in Montgomery County.

Voter education: Every year at election time, my personal site gets a ton of traffic for “Do I have to declare a party” and “can felons register to vote.” These questions should be directed by Google to the SOS- but since our SOS is more interested in stopping people from voting, he’s not done the job.

I’ve also been a vocal critic of our BOE. We’ve had some hiring mishaps, as well as other negative press over the years. I don’t believe that the first reason to work at the BOE is because you are a friend of________________. Our election process is sacred- and we’ve taken our responsibilities pretty lightly in Montgomery County.

I fully support the actions of Tom and Dennis. I’ve never been prouder of two Democrats in my life. If they get their seats restored, I would step down so that they would be able to reclaim their seats. My appointment would also be a sign that our party isn’t all about good ‘old boy politics as usual.

More than likely, the SOS will reject my appointment, for any number of reasons. Most likely, because I’ve tripped up against the system too many times. This would be one more issue he’d have to deal with, on top of the pending litigation.

I would do everything possible to question why if he’s so set on “statewide standards” why our local BOEs use different systems and our databases are such a mess.

I take this position very seriously. If appointed, it would have to end my political aspirations and make me focus on improving our election process in Montgomery County- and hopefully- the State of Ohio.

If you don’t know my commitment to open, fair, honest elections by now, I don’t deserve this job. It’s been my goal to raise the political consciousness of our community via open, honest discussion since I started running for office 20 years ago.

My site, www.esrati.com has more information on it about elections, and the process, than any other site in Montgomery County.

I hope to help take the MCBOE to the next level.

Note: Building highly accessible, ADA compliant, useful websites is what my team in the professional world does. It would be my honor to help bring this knowledge and skills to the County.

Thank you,

Why you should be up in arms over early voting restrictions

Jon Husted is a tool. He lied about his residency when he was in the State House, and now, as Secretary of State he’s acting bizarrely. Being the chief elections officer in the state means making sure we get maximum voter turnout and the most accurate results possible.

So why would he order absentee ballot requests sent to every single registered voter, at a cost of millions, while making every attempt possible to stop people from early voting on weekends? It’s not about saving money- there is something deeper at root here.

Even though I have zero respect for our insane, partisan Board of Elections system, that places the important business of running our elections solely in the hands of the two major parties, and the jobs are all patronage rewards for the party faithful, the actions of Lieberman and Ritchie are a rare instance of bold leadership in a system that does everything to beat automatic conformity into us:

The two Democrats on the Montgomery County Board of Elections were suspended by Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted on Friday after they refused to back down in a standoff over extending in-person early voting hours for the upcoming election.

Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie Sr. must appear at a hearing at 9 a.m. Monday in Columbus to decide whether they will be removed from office.“You leave me no choice but to begin the process necessary to remove you as members of the Montgomery County Board of Elections,” Husted’s letter to the pair said….

But Ritchie called it “a sad day,” saying weekend voting is important because residents should have more choice about how and when to vote. BOE officials said 10,829 Montgomery County residents voted on weekends during the 2008 presidential election, more than one-third of the 28,332 total in-office voters.

via Husted suspends Democrats on election board | www.daytondailynews.com.

That last part, that more than a third of the early in-person voting was on weekends, should make you wonder why our SOS is so against it as to suspend people who want to keep it. In-person voting means they use the same electronic voting machines used on election day, which are supposedly more secure. It also means we don’t have to trust the U.S. mail- and, most of all- it, unlike absentee balloting, requires a photo ID to be presented- all things that our SOS thinks are so important.

For those of you who can’t understand why Saturday voting is a good thing, our Board of Elections is in the basement of the County building, which has a very full parking garage on weekdays and costs at least $1 for a short visit. Weekends, it’s much easier to get in, and street parking is free.

I’ve written before about my problems with our single day of voting on a Tuesday. We all know that inclement weather on election day hurts turnout, we know that elections are generally decided by a majority of a minority in this country which already has one of the lowest voter turnouts of a “free country” with “democratic elections.”

This whole issue makes me wonder what the Secretary of State’s real goal is, or if we can truly trust the system we have. I’m ready to ask a third-world nation to send election monitors to Ohio to oversee our next election, because, frankly, this latest flap makes no sense.

There is a protest scheduled outside the Secretary of State’s office tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. in support of our local heroes. If you can take time away from work, this is important.

If we deny even a single person the right to vote, we’re failing the ideals that built our country,

Our cooked books of voter registrations in Ohio

Apparently, Jon Husted has been reading esrati.com

Ohio’s elections chief is seeking a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss elements of federal law that he says are preventing the state from maintaining accurate voter rolls.

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO’-sted) says he sent a letter to Holder on Friday containing his request.

Husted says he has identified two counties in the state where U.S. Census figures identify fewer residents of eligible voting age than the number of registered voters appearing on state rolls. He says federal regulations limit Ohio’s ability to remove ineligible names from voter rolls that could increase the potential for voter fraud.

via Ohio elections chief seeks meeting with Holder.

I pointed out the problem with the voter rolls  on March 10, 2011:

According to the Board of Elections, we have 100,792 registered voters.

According to the Census we have 141,527 residents. Simple math says 71% of our residents are registered to vote. But, wait- we have residents under 18, and therefore not eligible to vote- according to the census bureau, in Ohio, 23.5% are under 18.

That means we have 108,268 residents over 18 and eligible to vote- and 100,792 registered voters- or 93% of voters are registered. How could any candidate turn in petitions, gathered using the voter registration rolls- come in under 93% correct signatures- since almost EVERYONE would be a registered voter.

via Dayton population falls while voter rolls skyrocket.

However, the fraud isn’t being committed by the voters- it’s by the people running the elections and making sure voters stay disenfranchised or disinterested in voting.

As an insurgent candidate, I can tell you that the bad data makes it more expensive for me to effectively run a campaign targeted toward those most likely to vote for me, or even vote. When you look at cost-per-voter costs, each non-voter I have to call, mail or knock on doors of is wasted effort. When you factor in that Ohio also had laws limiting the rights of third party candidates to get on the ballot and makes it incredibly hard for independents to run, you start to realize why people have lost interest in voting.

It doesn’t help that many people opt out of registering to vote because of their fear of being called to jury duty, where you are paid sub-slave wages to give up your work to do your civic duty ($12 a day is laughable).

If this state were serious about solving voting fraud issues, we’d eliminate local control by boards of elections (at least ones run by the two partisan parties) and have a statewide voter database, and vote via mail with one ballot per voter that can be more easily tracked and accounted for. The way we run elections is a joke, but, this issue of who is on the rolls is only a small part of it.