Montgomery County Dems still acting like a Monarchy

It’s doubtful that the new blood elected to precinct captaincy have enough juice to rid the party once and for all of the inbred leadership of Mark Owens, Russ Joseph, Nan Whaley, Karl Keith etc.

The power of the party of patronage is strong with this group.

I blame myself for not going out to actively plot and recruit people to take over the party, although I was telling everyone to run for precinct captain back in January.

The party reorg meeting, where the vote is taken was moved to a Wednesday, instead of the normal Thursday, to be on Wed. June 6th at 7:30. What they didn’t tell anyone is that they are having a constitution review meeting tomorrow at 9:30.

Did they invite all the current ward leaders or members of executive committee? No. (I am both). Did they invite future precinct captains? Nope.

thumbnail of MCDP Constitution Revised

MCDP Constitution Revised- click image to download PDF

But, Mike Bock, who is over at DaytonOS, has been writing about the reorg and needed changes to the party constitution, got an invite:

Good afternoon,

I am writing on behalf of Chairman Mark Owens to invite you to participate in the Constitution Committee.

This committee is an ad hoc committee that meets generally in concert with Reorganization.  The purpose of the Committee is to review the MCDP Constitution, make sure it remain in compliance with the Ohio Democratic Party Constitution, the DNC Constitution, and Ohio Revised Code – which are all governing bodies that have jurisdiction over the MCDP.

This committee would need to meet before Reorganization on June 6th, but likely only the one time.  In order to help facilitate scheduling I have set up this Doodle poll.  Please just click through, add your name, and click on the time slots that work for you.  https://doodle.com/poll/a5k342ykkh952fpr
If you have questions or concerns about the Constitution Review Committee, or are wondering why I asked you, please feel free to give me a call any time.
Thanks so much for your passion and service! -Sarah
P.S. (The answer to why will likely include the following reasons.
1. You have been duly elected to the Central Committee.
2. You have expressed interest in the governance of the MCDP.
3. You’ve asked how you can help out the Party, and here is a project that needs attention.
4. You are a leader in the Party and we are looking for ways to foster those leadership tendencies.)

Sarah Willhelm Greathouse
Executive Director
Montgomery County Democratic Party
313 S. Jefferson St., Ste. 102
Dayton, OH 45402
(937) 222-4007
Bock has all his suggestions here:

One central issue that the June 6 MCDP Reorganization Meeting must deal with is how to build respect and support for the Democratic Party. We must deal with the core reasons that so many Democrats stay home and refuse to vote. We must deal with the fact that the party has lost legitimacy. At the June 6 Meeting, I’m proposing ten changes to the MCDP Constitution. I believe that in order for the Democratic Party to gain respect and support it must address: Its Purpose, Its Structure and Its Legitimacy.

Source: Elected Precinct Leaders At The MCDP Reorganization Must Advance A Plan To Build Respect And Support For The Party « DaytonOS

I think he doesn’t go far enough.

My suggestions are much more draconian- to stop the party of patronage from strangling itself.

The reality is, we shouldn’t allow elected officials to also run the party- once they are elected- they are supposed to serve everyone. We also need to stop allowing patronage job holders to be precinct captains- because they vote to pick or prop up their bosses.

There is no reason for a central committee and a subset executive committee. I’ve attended both meetings for years- and they are virtually the same. Just like we don’t really need a House Senate and House of Representatives in Ohio- and we could switch to a unicameral system- it’s time to cut the crap and just let the body vote. With the huge cut in precincts due to our population loss about 8 years ago- there aren’t so many seats that we can’t just vote and manage the whole party leadership in one meeting.
If this party wasn’t just a friends and family club- we’d have opposition research on every Republican- we’d have an entire machine built to canvas- and keep our data up to date.
We’d support ALL Dems who run for office – because we are trying to elect Dems. We’d have a candidate in every race, we’d have a bench of candidates ready to step up.
We’d also make sure that we have a progressive platform to push- like reducing the number of elected offices and their overhead in Montgomery County-
Fair property taxes and income taxes-
No more corporate welfare-
Strong schools, Single Payer Health care
That’s a party I could be proud of.
Not endorsing in primaries is only the beginning….

I’ll be there tomorrow at 9:30- if you are a member or future member of the Montgomery County Democratic Party- you should show up too.

The committee, as it stands is 4 people. Mark Owens (clerk of courts Dayton, and party chair), Nolan Thomas (prosecutor city of Kettering), Sarah Greathouse (see above) and Mike Bock. Does that sound like a group for change?

 

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

thumbnail of central-committee-small

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.

thumbnail of fairchild-hitpiece-mailer

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.

thumbnail of 11-7-17 pre-general Montgomery County Democratic Party- Political

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

thumbnail of 11-7-17 post general Montgomery County Democratic Party Political Account

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.

 

 

 

 

It’s still a party instead of an organization for all local dems

Somewhere I read the invite wrong- I thought the Montgomery County Democratic Party was actually going to admit that their way of working wasn’t, and it was time for a real change.

I went to the meeting last Thursday night in the stunning new quarters (the old building was a shithole) and saw a huge crowd, including many fresh faces. The time to do a mea culpa was ripe- after Montgomery County voted for Trump, and Gary Leitzell came withing spitting distance of dethroning Debbie Lieberman on the county commission, despite spending almost no money, creating no organization, and having zero support from the local Republican party which may be only slightly more incompetent than the local dems.

The fact that the opposing party chair, Sheriff Phil Plummer was unopposed, despite news story after news story of incompetence, criminal behavior and racist tendencies in his department should be the first clue that the Dems are impotent.

But, we got a short speech from Party Chairman Mark Owens, a short speech from Mayor Nan Whaley- who still think that electing a woman president is more important than electing democrats, and the introduction of Sarah Greathouse as the new executive director. Willis Blackshear stepped up to speak for Fred Strahorn, as if only a black elected man can stand in for another black elected man ( of which there are only a handful in this county), and then off to socialize.

Greathouse and her husband have been political campaign consultants in the area for at least the last ten years. They’re part of the party inner circle. It will be interesting to see if she is able to bring some sophistication to the mechanics of the organization- starting with a website that isn’t a joke.

Nothing was said about a plan to regain seats, although they did have a monster list of all the seats that will be available in 2017 for people to volunteer to run for.

That list should be available, along with every open seat, requirements for running, job responsibility, etc on the local board of elections site- but that would require competency there too- which isn’t possible since the people running the BOE are appointed by the incompetent parties, neither of which actually has wanted people who aren’t on the friends and family plan to run.

What the party needed to do?

Stop all endorsing of candidates in primaries and pre-selection process. The object is to elect dems, not to narrow the field before an election. A party with a strong and active base, should be able to inform their members of who their choices are- and by members, I mean all Dems in the County- not just the card carrying cabal that has been running things for time eternal.

Bring  back the candidates school, but take a lot of the trouble of running a campaign out of the hands of novices. It’s hard enough for people to decide to step up to run, while having jobs, families, and other responsibilities- but also having to learn how to do a website, manage the voter walking lists, craft campaign materials, order signs, distribute said signs and materials, go to candidates nights, knock on doors and of course raise money.

This is the parties job. It would be easier to build one network of websites for all Dem candidates, including donation tools, manage all the door-to-door data and targeting for candidates (who generally have no idea how data-driven modern campaigns are- or would have any way of managing it)- building one master list of Dem voters and letting all the candidates update and use it. Never again should a presidential campaign come to town- building the data from scratch as well as finding the people to do the work, that should be in place. That’s the difference between a political organization- and a “Party” that’s more like a social club for those who know the handshake.

And most importantly, someone needs to build a data wall- of all the available offices- and start planning who will run for every seat, in the not only the next election, but also the one after that and the one after that. I like Rob Klepinger, but, running him against Mike Turner twice was a joke, as have been every other challenger for the last 14 years.

The real key will be to take over the statehouse despite gerrymandered districts for the 2020 session- when redistricting is up next- or, figure out a legal strategy to force districts that make both geographic and rational sense. While Turner’s district is actually now manageable in one media market, a look at the seat vacated by John Boehner and now owned by Warren Davidson- that stretches from Cincinnati up to Mercer County- is not.

An inclusive organization, that puts democratic principals ahead of personal relationships is the only way we’ll see change.

Willis Blackshear and I will have a sit down after the turn of the year to discuss these issues. I already know we don’t agree on the endorsement in primaries, but, we’ll see who is more persuasive.

Telling people “it’s not your time” or asking them “if we don’t endorse you, will you drop out” are the two least democratic sayings of the local party.

And if you need proof of why parties aren’t the best people to pick candidates, twice the local party and the state and national party chose a woman to run for president, only to be beat by a novice black man with an Arabic middle name the first time, and by a reality show host the second.

Unfortunately, for this current crew- their next best choice for running a governor is probably a reality show host who was arrested for picking up a prostitute- Jerry Springer. Need I say more?

The highs and lows of election day 2016

Nina Esrati and David Esrati voted 2016

Mom, me, I voted stickers- missing Dad.

Today was the first election day, where I didn’t have my dad to talk to, to take to the polls, to take the photo of him, mom and me on their porch with our “I voted today” sticker.

My father believed in this country, its ideals, its principles. He also believed strongly in the fourth estate, of which he was a part of, to keep us informed, to set wrongs right, to make our country better, through an informed electorate.

Today, Wright State Medical School called to tell me the brick, bearing his name, was installed today. He had donated his body to the school- in the hope that some young doctor, might be able to learn something and go on to do good.

But, at 2:14 am, I sit here writing, with Donald Trump 5 electoral college votes short of a win. With the Republicans holding on to the house and senate, and potentially appointing three supreme court justices. Wall Street and World Financial Markets are in a tailspin. And, frankly, the entire country is in shock- that he won, that she lost, that it was this close… but, as I’ve been known to say, “never underestimate the stupidity of people in large numbers” – a quote that is sometimes attributed to George Carlin, but probably wasn’t his.

It’s not that he won, or she lost that has me in shock, it’s that in this election we went from the already tainted dirty world of politics, down to something more resembling a cage fight to the death. This was the election where, quite frankly, there were no holds barred, no blows too low, or any resemblance to statesmanship, decorum or decency.

Our country will need a lot of healing. And a lot less polls, predictions and armchair quarterbacks. We need to take the cards that have been dealt, and figure out how to win, if that is even remotely possible.

And on that note, I have to recount the high point of today. I went to the Dayton School Board meeting, where, per usual, the agenda was posted last minute and the failed transparency and communication skills of the worst district in the state were about to be glaringly obviously exposed.

About 50 people showed up in addition to the normal cast of characters. There were parents, para-professionals, principals (more correctly, principal, Mr. Fowler of Kiser) and teachers- all there to talk to the board about cuts being made in classrooms across the district. And per usual, the people we elected to that board, felt very little need to hear from the people they represent. It was that same attitude by the Dayton City Commission 30 years ago, that pushed me into politics.

The board opened, and immediately went into executive session, for what Board President Dr. Adil Baguirov said would be “about an hour.” The people in the room had no clue of what this meant, or what it was about. The district no longer prints agendas, instead using some wonky flawed, non-ADA compliant, proprietary software called Board Docs- that is worthless on a mobile device.

A parent stood up and said, “since they are having a private meeting, is there any reason we can’t have one? Right here? I’m a social worker and I’m good at facilitating these kinds of things” or something to that effect. I started the video camera back up and taped. It should be posted tomorrow afternoon. That the BOE doesn’t tape all their meetings and have them available is one more indication of their disdain for the people they represent- they have an amazing video system available with robotic cameras.

The people went around the room to introduce themselves and say why they were there. Paraprofessionals who had been told to pack up and leave, yet hadn’t officially been fired by the board who has to approve all personnel issues, told stories of being with the district for over 20 years. That they didn’t understand that how, a district struggling to meet the third grade reading guarantee, was dismissing the people who helped the district get it’s only “A.”

There was talk of the 1-1 computer plan- and how a chromebook can’t show a child from the Congo how to open a milk container, or teach a kindergartner how to use a mouse. There were stories of how teachers had some of their students come back to the district to teach- and one mother/teacher- who told her daughter to avoid DPS, because of this very issue- lack of respect for those who are doing the work in the trenches. The director of the Challenger School who was on the list to be fired today, had to pull herself together to talk about losing her baby of 25 years- one of the few things the district has that’s a real success- something that brought STEM to the district before anyone knew what STEM was. There was a bus driver who professed his knowledge of how to fix the most fundamental DPS problem- actually picking up and delivering students- on time. The entire group would love nothing more than that to happen- and can’t understand on how or why it hasn’t.

And while I was there recording it – ostensibly as a citizen journalist, I did something I shouldn’t have and shared my story of the districts ineptitude in PR, marketing, managing an RFP, and even in their failed deal making on real estate where they sold a property to CareSource without a deed restriction precluding tax abatement. What shocked me more, other than my own self-exclusion from potentially working for the district to help them not screw up in the future- was when Dayton Daily News reporter Jeremy Kelley spoke up and interjected some facts about executive sessions and process and procedure- that, my friends, was a first.

After an hour and a half- the social worker felt that everyone had had their time to share, and wondered where the board was. She announced her intention to go invite them to come and hear the ideas they’d gathered- and to ask the board why they weren’t coming back on time.

I knew what was about to happen, and didn’t intervene. I thought maybe someone else would be galvanized to action after being smacked down for asking for respect and integrity from elected officials. For her honorable intentions, she was chastised by several board members, treated like a child and put in a corner. DPS security chief, Jamie Bullens appeared with one of his aides, dressed in black shirts, and stood by, in case she didn’t get the message.

Then came the speeches. Dr. Baguirov stated facts on falling enrollment, from 2000 to today. He talked about the ratio of administration to students- a stunning 1 administrator for every 136 students. Cincinnati, is at 1 to 236. Yet, we were only firing 20. Today.

The youngster on the board, John McManus tried to single out the Challenger center director for a pass from todays lynching. He had Sheila Taylor on his side for a few, until Joe Lacey, who has become cranky and sour, schooled the rest of the board about his experience during the last reduction in force. And Hazel Rountree launched into a tirade about how we had to bring in someone outside to fix what what couldn’t be fixed before. Ron Lee did point out that there are many unintended consequences to each and every dismissal- from seniority bumps to lawsuits, but in the end- the list was executed.

And of course, the board felt the need to blame the state, the feds, and everyone else for their difficulties, telling the people to go fix that for them.

Expect the Nov 17 meeting to be overrun with pissed off people. It will be ugly..

Both Debbie Lieberman and Judy Dodge spent real money on their reelection, despite being challenged by financially weak republicans with zero party support. Judy won  over Bob Matthews by 3% Debbie squeaked by Gary Leitzell with a single point plus lead.

And the county went to Trump.

A giant FAIL to Mark Owens, Nan Whaley, Karl Keith, who were incapable of fielding candidates that could even come close to winning. This is what happens when all you worry about is keeping your job, shilling for Hillary and getting your mitts on peoples paychecks who can’t vote you out of office.

If there was a time for a group of real democrats to join together to overthrow the Monarchy of Montgomery County, this would be it. Just the fact that embattled sheriff and republican party chair Phil Plummer was unopposed should be enough to shame them, if there was any shame to be had.

It is now 3:01 am and I checked the NY Times site, and we have a misogynist president who promised to “Make America Great Again.” My father has turned over in his cold storage.

My worst fears have almost all come true. Like Britain after the Brexit vote, we now have a brand new reality facing us.

Only one word comes to mind.

Courage.

Save

Understanding “Dayton Together” rationally

Dan Foley, Valerie Lemmie, Paul Leonard, Mike Kelly and who knows else, may have some ideas about how to reform government, but they have zero ability to sell their plan.

Today’s Dayton Daily news includes this ludicrous statement:

Dayton Together also plans to conduct a cost study to determine if merging the governments will save money.

Foley said the initiative likely will not move forward if it does not benefit taxpayers through cost savings.

“If the answer comes back we can’t save very much, then this probably isn’t going to go very far,” Foley said.

Source: Plan would radically change city, county

How can you present a plan with a straight face, without doing the cost benefit study?

The reality is, there will be major pushback from the status quo; the current elected officials and their little kingdoms of patronage jobs. The local party system in place in Montgomery county is full of elected officials and people they get to hire to cushy, non-accountable jobs in the bowels of government.

These are called the “Party Central Committees” and most people couldn’t tell you who their precinct captain or ward leader is to save their lives. I know, I am one, although I missed the part about the cushy job with nice benefits.

Need an example? There is no reason to have two clerk of courts, with two websites, two court systems, two buildings (even though they are adjoined). Between Mark Owens and Greg Brush, and all the jobs they control (including of course jobs for friends and family) you have massive duplication of resources- plus two extra elected races that people could care less about. Owens is running unopposed if you need proof.

From Foley and Leonard’s editorial:

Many community leaders and elected officials have voiced opposition to our work. Some expressed concern that metro government would disenfranchise minority communities. This is far from our intent, so we hired Dr. Mark Salling, a Cleveland State University demographer, to determine if county council districts could be designed to actually increased minority representation.

Through Dr. Salling’s work, three council districts in the metro structure are majority minority districts — meaning, new opportunities for countywide minority policy makers. In a county that has never in its history elected a minority citizen to the Montgomery County Commission, we see this as a big step for greater inclusion.

Source: Challenges in region call for a metro government

What they’ve proposed is going to be the major sticking point: 10 districts with a representative each, 1 at large and a separate mayor’s race. By eliminating all other elected county positions like engineer, coroner and clerk of courts, leaving only the prosecutor (because nobody screws with Mat Heck in this area) as the only existing elected position that stays- we lose probably a dozen stupid choices on the ballot. Ask most people the difference between the County Auditor and the County Treasurer- and they can’t tell you the difference.

Of course, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is going to scream the loudest- she ran the most expensive campaign in a long time so she could crown herself queen of the city- an entity that’s a fraction of its former self- thanks to mismanagement, misguided “leadership” and an ingrained system of petty politics that has done no citizen any favors.

She’s got the black ministers on her side and the NAACP as well. Two groups who get way more play in the current system than they ever should command. And in this battle, they’ve already come out strongly against this baby step toward regionalization without a clue of what the current system has effectively done: totally diminished their true power.

More elections and more elected officials, don’t mean more power, they mean less.

This is where civics 101 would come in handy. Take 100 people, give them 10 offices to fill. You now have 90 people, with 10 “elected leaders.” Take a bell curve- which is the way most things distribute- including IQ. Did those 90 people pick the cream- the top 10 smartest people on that curve to lead them?
Probably not. Need proof? Look at the latest Republican primary field for President.

You now have 1 “leader” for every 10 people. This is the current system.

Take a simplified version of the proposed new system. You have 100 people, they vote for 3 people. Their odds of really picking 3 good people have increased.

You now have 1 “leader” for every 32.33 people.

Power hasn’t been diluted near as much, with less leaders, people actually have more power in who they elect.

When you factor in that the new system only has 4 countywide candidates: the prosecutor, the “mayor,” your local zone rep and the one at-large rep, spread out over a much larger population, you’ve actually increased your voting power, giving more control to fewer people to make bigger decisions.

With great power, comes great responsibility.

My initial take is that this plan is asking us to still elect too many people. 10 districts with one regional rep, across seemingly random regions is sort of what we have with the Ohio house and Senate (only with more seats). Trying to figure out who your State Rep is and what population he or she serves is pointless- most Ohioans couldn’t tell you their names either. Ohio would do just fine with a unicameral system (one house instead of two), because again, the more seats actually decrease accountability.

I’m not comfortable with the “mayor” of Dayton/Montgomery County being picked by the population at large either. It will be a very expensive race (especially if Nan decides she wants it) for another titular seat. Instead, I’d rather have a system where the elected body has to pick the person among the 11 that can unite and lead- as in a parliamentary system.

I’m also questioning 10 districts instead of 6 and 1 plus a mayor. Again, the more seats, the more you’ve diluted power.

It’s pretty obvious to those who know what’s going on that this change would turn the party power upside down for a period of time while they figured out how to corrupt it back into the current form- and that may be all that Dan Foley and partners want to do. Who would Karl Keith be if not for being able to hire Mr. Whaley? Or Mark Owens for hiring Matt Josephs brother? (It’s actually the other way around- Matt’s brother and Mark got Matt into office so they could own a piece of their budgetary bosses).

As to the major flaw of this whole mess- allowing the urban townships to keep on operating providing income tax free havens within the county limits- no one is touching that part with a ten-foot pole. Couldn’t possibly want to stop the biggest flaw in our current system- that would take real leadership.