The angst of the political neophytes

On a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon (14 Jan 2017), about 45 people met in the basement of the Wright Library in Oakwood to learn “How to elect & support local officials.” I was one of the panelists, along with:

  • Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton
  • Robert Klepinger, ran for congress, 10th district
  • Jimmy Calhoun, ran for congress, 41st district. Precinct captain
  • David Esrati, ran for congress, 10th district. Precinct captain, ward leader.
  • Dan Saks, congressional candidate Springfield/Clark county area

Also notably in attendance was Sarah Greathouse, the new executive director of the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

The audience was mostly women. Upset women. How did a misogynist beat their girl? Now, we have to start paying attention and fix it, because, well, women need to be in office.

Nan was loving it. Totally in her element, talking about how women are underrepresented in office.

She’s right of course, but, that’s not what the real issue is, as Nan spelled it out:

  • Money in politics- Citizens United.
  • Gerrymandering.

Unfortunately, thanks to the Republican landslide, money in politics isn’t going to go away, and more than likely, Trump will name not just one, but as many as three supreme court justices before the mid-terms and it will be all over for a long time. Too little, too late.

The gerrymandering situation, well, the audience wanted to know more about it. Because, most voters never learned how our “democracy” works in school, and certainly haven’t bothered to pay attention until now. How the apportionment board works in Ohio was explained- yet, the likelihood of the Dems grabbing the Governorship, Secretary of State and the Auditor in 2018 is slim and none, unless the backlash against Trump, and the current Republican domination of the Statehouse causes a meltdown the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

I wouldn’t count on it. Although the women’s march yesterday and all of its supporting marches did give me some hope. Organizing is great, but, if it’s just more of us vs them, without a clear list of issues, we’re all doomed.

This group is afraid to put the word “Democrat” in their name- because the founder thinks it’s meaning is kind of “murky”- well, then maybe your first goal should be to clearly define what being a democrat means.

It’s time for the local dems to learn from my friend, Rob Scott, founder of the Dayton Tea Party, and the organizer of the short lived overthrow of the local republican establishment (and yes, I have friends who I’ll never agree with politically):

Dayton Tea Party co-founder, Rob Scott, now Kettering vice mayor, said the key for the movement was that activists knocked on doors, made phone calls, held rallies and focused on issues.

“I think that’s why the tea party movement really took off because we talked about issues,” Scott said. “In 2010 it was like a big wave and it was handed over to the Republican Party.”

Source: Women’s march organizers hope to start movement

Electing women is not an issue, it’s a cause. Issues are things like we have too many jurisdictions in Montgomery County, too many different tax regulations, unfunded mandates, poor schools, an unconstitutional school funding system, the list goes on…

The funny thing about the group hosting this meeting- it’s a private facebook group.

Sort of like the private club that selects the democratic candidates behind closed doors in Montgomery County.

Which brings us to the important news of the week: This Thursday, at the IUE hall on S. Jefferson, at 7pm, the Montgomery County Democratic Party is going to have a meeting where they are talking about appointing a whole bunch of new precinct captains. If they really want to show they’ve turned over a new leaf- we’d pass a rule: no one can be a precinct captain if they work in local government, or are related to someone who works in local government. That would be a good first step to dethroning the monarchy of Montgomery County and turning the party into a true Democratic Party.

Oh, yes, and start talking about issues.

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

Expect a free for all for Dayton City Commission this year

After getting coddled through his term, Dean Lovelace will finish his two plus decades of doing next to nothing on the Dayton City Commission. A purported idealist, with a good heart and some good ideas that were way beyond his pay grade, Lovelace didn’t do much to change Dayton – but did build his retirement fund.

Misguided efforts included the predatory lending issue (bought out by the banks at the state level) and the living wage bill (only applied to city employees and contracts- so minimal). For 22 years on the Commission, that’s not a lot to hang your hat on.

The City Charter clearly says that if you miss more than 5 meetings in a row- it’s time to go. His time to go was after his first stroke. He’s contributed next to nothing since- at times, saying things that would make you wonder if he was all there.

The Dem’s have their golden boy already picked. He’s been sending letters to members of the central committee asking for support and his endorsement- on letterhead he had printed for the last commission election- the one where he withdrew so last golden boy, Jeff Mims could take his anointed seat. If anyone can point out what legislation Mims has introduced, or positions he’s taken other than saying “yes, mam” to the Queen of our city, her royal highness, her nannyness, Mayor Whaley, please feel free to share.

Expect to hear lots about what Matt Joseph has introduced in the coming months- all of it, fed to him by others including the future Clerk of Courts- his brother, the political braintrust of the Democratic party, Russ Joseph who works for Mark Owens, our current Dayton clerk of courts.

The already picked but not voted on by the “selection committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Party” that doesn’t believe in the democratic process of primaries- is the Rev. Darryl Fairchild. Part of the reason the commission had no problem spending money making the dais wheelchair accessible for Dean after his stroke- was because Darryl would need it.

Tommy Owens for Dayton City Commission

From Facebook

Other candidates in the mix, are social media man of the hour on the West Side, Tommy Owens, who is surveying his friends on FB. David K. Greer who ran last time, and a host of others. The Montgomery County Board of Elections has the following list of candidates

Matt Joseph, sitting commissioner.

UPDATE

Marcus Rech–  contacted me and will not be filing for personal reasons

Hazel Rountree who is on the School Board. Recently elected, she’d have to resign from the school board to be on city commission as far as I know. She’s a PhD who works at Wright State.

Chris Shaw- no idea.

Scott Sliver whom I’ve known for 25 years plus. He’s a touchy-feely progressive minister at the Vineyard church who loves to feed poor people. He gave up his career in advertising to serve the lord- and just recently moved from a big house in Beavercreek to downtown. This sets up a battle of the men of the cloth.

The signatures aren’t due until 60 days before the election which is May 5th 2015, making the turn in around Mar. 5th.

The un-Democratic party is going to have its endorsement meeting next week. The question is, who was invited? I’m on the Executive Committee of the party- and I wasn’t aware of invites.

I’m debating running right now. Getting signatures isn’t a lot of fun- which is why Greer has been getting them since the fall. I’ve just been given a few more years with my father- thanks to the VA doing an amazing surgery, and he’d prefer it if I didn’t run. I’ve got enough to do, making sure our kids have basketball nets- a job, at least some people appreciate, and I have a business to run and a wonderful girlfriend to spend my evenings with.

If I saw $2,500 come into my campaign fund- in the next 30 days, it would sway me to run, but if it doesn’t make it to that- at least I’ll have plenty of money for nets, rims, paint, and some t-shirts and balls to give the kids. Donation is on the right of this page.

Gary Leitzell has told me he won’t run for city commission, mostly because working with Nan is next to impossible. Finding someone to question her, and others on our commission in their continued march to mediocrity should be on the minds of all Dayton voters. How many dollars can we spend on failed or misguided “economic development” while ignoring basic services. I can literally ice skate on Bonner Street right now.

Introducing the 2014-2018 Montgomery County Democratic Party Central Committee

You may not know what the party central committee does- or why it’s important. This is the lowest of low political positions- it takes five signatures of party members in your precinct to get on the ballot, most run unopposed- and of the 360 seats less than a third are filled via election. It’s not a paid job, the party meets at least 6x a year and for the most part, you never get asked to do anything if you are a precinct captain.

The most important things the central committee, as run here, does- is nominate people to open seats- like when a state rep dies or goes to prison- notable heirs to seats via the party are Rhine McLin who became a State Rep this way, Fred Strahorn who got back into the State House when Clayton Luckie went to the big house (stealing campaign money) and putting people on the board of elections- as they just put Rhine McLin and John Doll on after Denis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie went toe-to-toe with the Secretary of State on keeping the polls open and losing.

That’s not how it’s supposed to be- the precinct captains should be the front lines of organizing the party faithful and informing them of issues, candidates and rallying voter turnout, but in Montgomery County- it’s mostly about making sure the “Monarchy of Montgomery County” continues their hold on their fiefdom. It’s the friends and family plan for politics.

After I exposed that many of the seats were held by people in patronage jobs in the last elected body– we had even fewer candidates running this time. And even some of the write in candidates forgot to vote for themselves- 19 of you just had to vote and write your name in to win- and you failed to do that.

Now, the seats that are open are available for appointment- and if some of you ask nicely- the powers that be may allow you to be on the committee (just don’t tell them you read about it here – or like me).  At the reorganization meeting, there were 115 elected, yet only 78 showed up. I taped the whole meeting so those of you who wonder what a Reorganization meeting looks like- can watch. With our crew- the number one thing is to vote as quickly as possible, with no discussion, no debate- and no challengers to the party. Dictators would love this organization.

Watch the video: (something garbled the video in the render- re-rendering now- and will reupload tomorrow night)

Former Congressional Candidate Mack Van Allen tried to change the constitution so that we’d elect in 2 year cycles instead of 4- since we had such low participation. This is how it’s done in Cincinnati, where one precinct this year had 5 candidates (we were lucky to even have one in most precincts). After some debate, the call for the vote was quick and held incorrectly- you can’t have both votes be Aye- and say the Ayes have it. While another precinct captain wanted to be recognized to speak- to point out many of the typos, inconsistencies in the soon to be accepted constitution- it was claimed that we’d already had discussion and it was time to vote- and that I need to read “Robert’s rules of order.” Then after the quick votes- we were sent to our wards to elect a ward leader- who is then on the “Executive Committee”- the group that meets in private before the public meeting and discusses who gets what seat and a chance to run. There is also a “screening committee” that picks who we should “endorse” in primaries- sort of negating the whole concept of primaries.

In Ward 1- 5 of the 6 elected precinct captains were in attendance. Judge AJ Wagner, Martin Gehres (son of Judge Gehres) Joe Lacey, Russ Joseph (brother of Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph, and wanna be next Dayton Clerk of Courts) and me. Joe nominated me to Exec- AJ seconded and Russ had to ask me- who do I vote for- and of course I said me- and I’m now in the exec room. Of course, Russ- as Clerk of Courts and Party Chair Mark Owens right hand- was in exec anyway as an appointment.

If you are interested in an appointment to the party- look up your precinct here: http://www.voterfind.com/montgomeryoh/vtrlookup.aspx

And then see if your precinct is open:

Precinctcaptain
Day 1-aAJ Wagner
Day 1-BJoe Lacey
Day 1-cMartin Gehres
Day 1-DDavid Esrati
Day 1-ETheresa Lea Whitley
Day 2-AYoussef Bahammi
Day 2-BVicki A Morris
Day 2-cMatthew R Cox
Day 3-FFrieda T Brigner
Day 3-H Mary Ellen Kuehne
Day 3-KDebra L Ownens
Day 4-ASamuel J Braun
Day 4-BSarah Jolie Zecchini
Day 5-ADavid K Greer
Day 5-BFred Strahorn
Day 5-cRichard C Green
Day 5-EBarara Jean Harris
Day 6-BStacey Benson-Taylor
Day 7-ARhine Lana McLin
Day 7-BStacy M Thompson
Day 8-AKarl L Keith
Day 8-cMitchell Dean Kearns
Day 8-DKeith J Belluardo
Day 9-cMatthew F Joseph
Day 12-ACatherine M Merkle
Day 13-ASusan R Martin
Day 13-B Jerome McCorry
Day 14-DWillis Blackshear Sr.
Day 15-BJohn R Smith
Day 16-ARichard Clay Dixon
Day 16-CSteven Samuel Brack
Day 16-DCreola Reese
Day 17-CLinda S McKenna
Day 18-ABetty Jane Owens
Day 18-BKimberly N Gaines
DAY 18-CHearther R Layne
Day 20-ANathan P Greaney
DAY 20-DThomas J Ritchie Sr
Day 20-CMarcia R Knox
Day 22-ASinthy Eugene Taylor
Day 22-bAnita L Andrews
Day 22-CAlvin Freeman
Day 23-ARussell M Joseph
BT-ADebra B. Armanini
BT-bKymberly Brush
BT-EWilliam N Davis II
VD-JSteve P Harsman
HAR-IChristine Kinter
HAR-JRoland Winburn
Har-LGuy Elsmire Jones
HUB 1-BLuicle J Dale
Hub 3-dGeorgia Hickey-Wolf
Hub 5-CDavid Lee Richards
Hub 6-BDavid P Fecke
Jef-BBrice C Sims
Jef-DLynn G Thomasson Sr.
KT 1-AKelly R Weinert
KT 1-ERonnie R Hall
KT 1-FKathy Lynn Williams
KT 1-GKevin G Crisler
KT 1-HNolan C Thomas
KT 2-BFredrick Schindler
KT3-ALawrence Kent
KT 3-BDavid B Dreety
Kt 3-FRoberta J Beyer
Kt 3-GRita D. Orlowski
KT 3-JMiriam K Maue
KT 4-ANancy K Enright
Kt 4-B Breanda C Wallen
Kt 4-CClaire D Mertzman
KT 4-DLousia S Dreety
KT 4-FNicolas D Gough
KT 4-HJohn J Murphy
KT 4-JJames T Ambrose
TR 1-AWanda M Adams (deceased)
TR 1-ENancy L Marino
TR 2-ASonya C Eggleton
TR 2-CSarah Vigina Clark
TR 2-DMartha Clark
TR 2-EDerrick E Turner Sr
TR 3-ABruce D Kettele
TR 4-BPatrick S Thomasson
RV-CWayne E Small
RV-DWilliam R Flaute
PMDavid C Owens
MIA-NLinda P Ford
MIA-OMark E Landers
WCR-GRenee Sheppard
MBG 2-BCharles F Bowling
Oak-ASteven C Byington
OAK-BNicholas G Gounaris
OAK EWard C Barrentine
OAK GCarol J Holm
P-NLB-ABetty L Bennington
CTN 1-BMat Heck Jr
CTN 1-CDennis A Leiberman
CTN 1-DSharon Lynn Hunter
CTN 3-AJames T Gorman
CTN 3-CGherly A Hart-Groff
UN-BRobin L Davis
WS-BKriss Gang
WS-HDouglas M Trout
WS-IBridget Oaks
WS-MStephen J Schlkers
WS-OPual S Robinson Jr
WS-RJohn R Doll
WS-SL Mack Van Allen
WS-VOlive A Kiley
WS-XBeverly A King
CV-CCharlotte M Vitali
CV-GStephen N Davis II
CV-HDavid Allen Saphire
CV-KMichael J Rice
CV-LLarry L Pierce
CV-OLee C Falke

Then ask the party chairman, Mark Owen, if you can fill the seat.

And, btw- this information has never been published on the party site- www.montgomerydems.org It’s one of my goals to improve the site.

And there is your short lesson in “democracy” – Montgomery County (Ohio) Democratic Party style.

 

Can’t we just have an election without political party interference in Dayton?

It came today. I’m not sure why. I almost didn’t want to write about it, to give it more credit than it’s due, but there it was- an unsigned glossy printed postcard smearing local attorney Richard Skelton for possibly running  as an REP against DEM Judge Frances McGee Cromartie. Note, the filing deadline isn’t until Feb 5- and neither candidate has filed. The email was upset that Skelton voted D in 3 out of the last 4 elections, and was running as an R so as not to tick off the local Dems. Please Dick- tick them off. And, you have my vote and support. (McGee is the daughter of former Mayor James H McGee).

But- that’s not stopping the Montgomery County Democratic Party from holding their endorsement meeting tomorrow night (Jan 23rd, 2014).  With the filing deadline now 90 days before a primary instead of 60, and this being a primary in May- where ostensibly the party at large is supposed to decide who is to advance, I’m not sure why the Dems think they need to screen and endorse, other than to scare people away from running.

According to the BOE candidates list- from people who have taken out petitions- there are only a few contested races:

10th Congresional District
U.S. Representative Lib David A. Harlow 2243 Keenan Ave. Dayton 45414
U.S. Representative Dem Robert P. Klepinger 2483 Division Ave. Dayton 45414
U.S. Representative Dem Thomas F. McMasters 6934 Sylmar Ct. Huber Heights 45424
U.S. Representative Rep Michael R. Turner (incumbent) 109 N. Main St. Dayton 45402

Note- you don’t see my name running, because I need to concentrate on my business and my plan to start a summer basketball program all over Dayton this summer. Tom McMasters was just elected mayor of Huber Heights, so I’m not sure what his intentions are other than making sure people don’t have to vote for Turner. He came in 4th behind me, Olivia Freeman and Sharen Neuhardt last time.

Harlow also ran 2 years ago- and was a train wreck on the campaign trail.

5th State Senate District
State Senator Dem Dolores A Gillis 546 Michael Pl. Tipp City 45371
State Senator Dem Joseph E. Lacey 207 E. 6th St. Apt. 305 Dayton 45402

Lacey was just elected to another term on the Dayton School Board in a virtually uncontested race (1 write in vs. 4 on the ballot for 4 seats).

39th State House District
State Representative Dem William James Pace 1325 Salem Ave. Dayton 45406
State Representative Dem Fred Strahorn (incumbent) 531 Belmonte Park North Apt. 1001 Dayton

Pace is a founding member of the Independent movement in Dayton- see www.independentdayton.com

Strahorn was appointed to finish the term of Clayton Luckie who is in prison for playing fast and loose with campaign money. He was then elected. He had served previously as State Senator in OH-5 losing to Bill Beagle in a very expensive race in 2010. Before that he had termed out of a house seat.

Montgomery County
Auditor Rep Harry Bossey 128 Edinburch Village Dr. Centerville 45458
Auditor Dem Karl L. Keith (Incumbent) 221 Watervliet Ave. Dayton 45420
Auditor Rep Scott A. Kramer 920 New England Ave. Kettering 45429

The complete 3-page document with people who have taken out petitions is here: Montgomery County BOE Candidate Report

If you’ve been following my latest exposé on the BOE and the Dem party central committee, you know all about how we’ve got the friends and family plan interfering with the democratic process and free, open and honest elections in Montgomery County. Please consider running to be a Dem precinct captain (it only takes 5-10 signatures) and help put a stop to this anti-democratic process. See this post for details: http://esrati.com/monarchy_of_montgomery_county_boe_central_committees/10740/

There is one candidate bucking the system in the next election- former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell, who is running for County Commission as an independent. Instead of needing just 50 signatures to get on the ballot, he’s required to get over 1,800 (plus another 800 insurance signatures to be safe) to run. He doesn’t have to turn them in until much later- since he has no primary. Good luck to Gary.