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.

 

 

 

The “Monarchy of Montgomery County” starts in the BOE and the party central committees

UPDATE

The first post of this had incorrect salaries for the BOE, they have been corrected. Other details from comments, and emails are being added. I’m also going through employment data from the county and the city to cross reference central committee members to public employees. It would seem that the party central committee is hardly representative of the general public- in that most are either;  elected, work for elected people or are related to government workers.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is a cesspool of patronage positions that are totally controlled by the two political parties in the county.

Every position has 2 people to do it- one D, one R. The annual budget of the BOE is substantial, but they don’t really report to anyone. There is a lot of confusion because the Board of Elections is actually two parts: the actual board- of four members, 2 from each party, that usually meets twice a month and is paid about $20K a year, and the workers in the Board of Elections- who work year round to manage voter registration and coordinate elections. These positions are all filled by the parties and at least on the Democratic side, are expected to donate at least $100 a year for every $10,000 they make back to the party.

The current board is former GOP party chairs Greg Gantt and Kay Wick for the Republicans. For the Dems, it’s Rhine McLin. former Dayton mayor and state rep, and John Doll. They replaced Dennis Lieberman, long time Dem Party chair and husband of County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman and AFSCME leader, Tom Ritchie after a dispute with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted over early voting hours.

This is the organization that employs handwriting experts (graphologists) who ascertain the validity of petition signatures (graphology isn’t accepted in U.S. courts) and finds ways to keep as many candidates off ballots via technicalities as possible.

I’ve split the employees by party and listed alphabetically by last name. The information comes from at least 5 sources of former BOE workers from both parties. I’m sure my readers can help me fill in blanks- and refine this data. I am not a paid journalist, and I do my best to make sure information is correct- or at least correctable.

The wage data came from a public records request and was furnished by Director Jan Kelly.

Democrats:

Guy Aber, $42,016 election ops
Probably being groomed to take Steve Harsman’s place. His father, Russ Aber, works for Montgomery County Auditor and Dem Party vice chair Karl Keith in the data processing “division”. Was a friend of Tony Tipps. Guy is known by some former employees for having a temper.

April Alford, $35,817 registration
Friend of Beverly King. Known as a pretty hard worker and is about to complete her degree at WSU.

UPDATE

? Blackshear– son of County Recorder Willis Blackshear- information missing on Public records request.

Tina Brown, $38,737 campaign finance
Daughter of Jefferson Township trustee, Brice Sims. Replaced Henderson Scott after he was asked to step down after a sexual harassment investigation. He worked for Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley when the suit was filed, and was transferred to the BOE so he could keep his job. Tina is dependent on Republican counterpart Denis Aslinger to do parts of her job, which is one of the more complex parts of the operation..

Robyn Fecke, $43,035 poll worker coordinator
Her father is Dave Fecke who is a union boss friendly with union boss and former BOE member Tom Ritchie.

Anna Fernandez, $33,820 registration
Common law wife/girlfriend of Steve Harsman Jr.

John Fletcher, $32,843 registration
Unknown connection.

Steve Harsman, deputy director $119,995
Longest running employee, and predates sources for how he got the job in the first place. was a friend of Karl Keith, working in Dem HQ with former Dem Party Chief Joe Shump who gave Harsman the job. Owens wanted to remove Harsman, but Keith supported him. In typical dog-eat-dog dem fashion, AJ Wagner appointed Karl Keith to the auditor position, when he became a judge- and then Keith supported Nan in the Mayors race. No loyalty.

Laura Jordan, $33,820 registration
Commissioner Judy Dodge’s daughter.

Beverly King, $64,043 registration supervisor
Unknown how she got the job, but is famous to readers of this site for getting her son brother hired without a job application. Turns out he was a convicted rapist and registered sex offender. He was quickly shown the door as the office women felt betrayed.

Cathie Merkel, $57,886 Finance
Deceased husband, Mike, used to be Montgomery County Dem Party chair Mark Owens’ right hand man at the Dayton Clerk of Courts. Well known by insiders as the sometime girlfriend of Steve Harsman.

John Murphy, $34,840 registration
Dem Party faithful and father of Gen Murphy, who is Nan Whaley’s errand girl and president of the Ohio Young Dems.

Priscilla Ritchie, $37,960 absentee
Daughter in law of Tom Ritchie

David Owens, $37,918, campaign finance
Brother of Dayton Clerk of Courts Mark Owens who is the Dem Party chair.

Republicans:

Denis Aslinger, $49,046 campaign finance
Brother is a judge in Darke County. Husband of Julie Aslinger, a former magistrate for probate court.  Former director, Betty Smith was a probate court supervisor before coming to the BOE. Julie now works for Job and Family Services.

Denis is one of the true professionals in the office, and has been a huge help to me at getting good information in a timely manner, except when Steve Harsman forbade Denis to talk to me, over the recording and posting of my call about William Pace being on the ballot.

To accommodate Dave Landon, he’s being transferred downstairs. Landon ostensibly came in as a voter registration clerk at a very high pay- and Jan Kelly had to take a pay cut to make room for his inflated pay, but now as campaign finance director his pay is fitting his position.

Linda Brewster, $52,000 finance
Board member Kay Wick’s best friend.

Carolyn Clark, $49,046 absentee
Her mother did investments with Tom Young a Republican qho has been part of the old guard GOP in Montgomery County, possibly a girlfriend of a previous County GOP Chairman.

Bill Hibner, $49,046 election ops
Arlene Setzer, former state rep put him in under Jeff Jacobson. Father is Bill Hibner Sr. of Vandalia, who works with Greater Dayton Construction. Not sure how this is politically relevant, other than GDC/Oberer development is a major donor to politicians.

UPDATE

Francine ?– information missing from public information request.

Douglas Jones, $31,761 registration
Owns Studio Zumba and hired Jen Robertson as an instructor, and then she got him a job at the BOE.

UPDATE

Suzanne Joo, $35,713 Registration
Lives in Greene County. No connections. Reportedly stood up and protested the addition of Dave Landon to the BOE staff, took a personal day because she was so angry.

Jan Kelly, director, $100,006
Very helpful, used to work for SOS Jon Husted and ran against Dan Foley for County Commission, coming close, despite wide funding gap. Previously ran Chuck Curran’s campaign for county commissioner when he was a Republican. An attorney by profession, but not admitted to Ohio Bar. Had to take a pay cut to hire former GOP chair Dave Landon in.

UPDATE

Dave Landon, $69,992 finance
Long time GOP party old guard member. Disbarred as an attorney. Writes for Dayton City Paper. Fired from Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor’s district office for running his private auto sales business on state time. Despite only being there a few months, he’s already been in hot water for sending a robocall to endorse candidate Mike Nolan in a Miami Township political campaign which is a no-no for BOE employees. Also, reportedly attended a Dayton Daily News candidate interview for or with Nolan, during the time before an election when BOE employees aren’t allowed to leave the office. DDN supposedly looked into if he had taken personal time- and found no record of it. Reports from inside the BOE say he is still running his car business on BOE time- and takes extended lunches frequently.

Mark Mazer, $34,652 absentee
Good friend of Sandra Brassington who sometimes runs the local GOP and now works for Governor Kasich.

Karen O’Meara, $53,123 registration supervisor
Unknown connections.

Joshua Pettis $29,993 registration
Unknown connections.

Jennifer Robertson, $38,500 poll worker coordinator
She lives in Darke County but still serves as a precinct captain in Montgomery. When she was running for precinct captain, she put down the wrong address on her form. Greg Gantt, who was best friends with her brother growing up, possibly broke the law and allowed her to change the form after she had already turned it in.

Sarah Scott, $25,001 registration
Former GOP chair Rob Scott’s sister.

Former employees:

  • Alicia Scott Bey – retired. Was close to Jeff Jacobson. R
  • Tamar Gullate D
  • Anthony Harris- shuffled around the county building, must be related to someone. D
  • Joel Hart
  • Brittanee  Iles
  • Helen Jacobson -Former GOP party chair Jeff Jacobson’s mother R
  • Nancy Jenkins
  • Robin Lehman – left BOE for Domestic Relations Court. Is the Republican Party’s longtime treasurer. R
  • Marlene Kincer- Greg Brush’s mother in law- Kym Brush’s mom. D
  • Micah Leventhal
  • Kim Loy – Wife of former Vandalia Mayor Bill Loy D
  • Nancy Marino- runs Trotwood Dem Club D
  • Susan Martin- Tom Robert’s sister D
  • Brian Mead – now in State Auditor’s office- wife is lobbyist for CareSource R
  • Christine Michaels -former director of registration, Chris Conney’s mother. R
  • Andrew Morris R
  • Kelsey Rankin
  • Suzanne Robillard – Now Joo
  • Julie Russel- best friend Carolyn Clark
  • Henderson Scott – D out of Foley’s office
  • Betty Smith – former director, retired for health reasons. Knew her election law and was always helpful to me. Formerly a probate court supervisor R
  • Krystie Spirk – daughter of Mike Spirk – works for Karl Keith D
  • Dru Stewart – R
  • Bryan Suddith- R- Republican party activist.
  • Sinthy Taylor – D, Friend of McLin’s
  • Tony Tipps- Son of Ohio super lobbyist Paul Tipps. Was fired for ostensibly forging a signature on an absentee ballot for his daughter in front of Caroline Clark.
  • Robin Titus – D
  • Carol Varro – son worked for Jeff Jacobson.
  • Missy Mae Walters- Hired by Betty Smith, lobbyist and former girlfriend of former Republican Party Chair Rob Scott.
  • Shynae Whiteside
Screen shot Montgomery County Board of Elections (Ohio)  site on Jan 12, 2014 still showing 2013 dates

Screen shot MCBOE site on Jan 12, 2014 still showing 2013 dates

Despite all this amazing talent, the current website has upcoming election dates and registration deadlines in as of today, Jan. 12 2014.

UPDATE

since this post went up- they finally updated the dates

To see what a real county board of elections website should look like, visit Franklin County’s.

The real question is how the parties control these jobs and political offices. That’s determined by whom we elect to the party central committee. Dems have their elections with gubernatorial primaries- and Republicans do theirs with the presidential primaries.

Just in case you are interested, the deadlines to file your petition to run for Central Committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, the dates that aren’t on the BOE site are:

  • 2/5 – Central Committee Precinct Captain Petitions are due by 4 p.m. at the BOE
  • 2/24 – Central Committee Write-In Candidate Forms are due by 4 p.m. at the BOE

You need to get only 5 signatures of registered voters in your precinct to get on the ballot. Get at least double that so the “graphologists” don’t throw your petition out.

This is how Rob Scott took over the local Republican party from Greg Gantt, and how Dennis Lieberman ousted Joe Shump.

To find out what precinct you live in: http://www.mcohio.org/boe/voter_information/voter_reg_lookup.cfm

If you want to find out who your precinct captain is- good luck- the worthless site run by the local party has nothing. www.montgomerydems.org

(compare it to the excellent Franklin County site www.fcdp.org).

And- if you want the form- also- good luck, go to the Sec. of State site to download it. http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/elections/forms/2-L.pdf Make sure you print it on legal paper, have it signed in ink- and that they SIGN- not print their names. If you want to run as a write in, the form is: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/elections/forms/13.pdf

To read about how precinct captain takeover’s work: http://theprecinctproject.wordpress.com/

Below is the list of the current Dem party precinct captains- with a few titles filled in.
Note how many seats are empty? Also- note, how many people are either in office- or work for elected leaders. I don’t have time to cross-reference every name- but, if you can add in comments who works for whom- we can fill this out.

If you want to end the rule of the “Monarchy of Montgomery County” it will start with independent-minded people getting elected to the central committee. Please contact me if you need help with the process.

Montgomery County Dem Central Committee

WARDPRECINCT FIRST NAMELAST NAMEEMPLOYER
DAY 1A
DAY 1BJessicaMichaiak
DAY 1CRonaldLeeDayton School Board
DAY 1DJoanWagnerWife of AJ Wagner, former Auditor, Judge and Dayton Mayoral Candidate
DAY 1EDavidEsrati
DAY 2A
DAY 2BAnthonyBallisPartner of Dayton School Board Member Joe Lacey, who works in the County Treasurers office
DAY 2CMatthewCoxAuditors office
DAY 2D
DAY 3A
DAY 3BRichardCox
DAY 3C
DAY 3D
DAY 3E
DAY 3FCJBartley
DAY 3G
DAY 3HMaryKuehne
DAY 3IMarkCunningham
DAY 3J
DAY 3KMarkOwensDem Party Chair, Dayton Clerk of Courts
DAY 3LAnnMurrayDayton Municipal Court
DAY 4ASamuelBraunMr. Nan Whaley, County Auditors office
DAY 4B
DAY 4CWalterDoty
DAY 4D
DAY 5AAprilAlfordBoard of Elections
DAY 5BFredStrahornState Representative
DAY 5CRichardGreenformer Counselor at MC Juvy Court System - 42 years
DAY 5DDonaldDomineckmember of Dayton's Black Panther Party
DAY 5EBarbaraHarris
DAY 6ATomRobertsFormer State Rep and Senate
DAY 6BStaceyBenson-TaylorAFLCIO Union Representative
DAY 6CDorothyBarnes
DAY 6DLawrenceFlowersDayton Clerk of Courts
DAY 7ARhineMcLinFormer State rep, senate, MCDP vice chair, Dayton Mayor and now on BOE
DAY 7BClaytonLuckieImprisoned State rep
DAY 8AKarlKeithCounty Auditor, Vice Chair MCDP
DAY 8B
DAY 8CMeghanCole - now ThomasDayton Clerk of Courts (moved)
DAY 8DGeorgeEstes
DAY 9AMaryMontgomeryProsecutors office
DAY 9BGenevieveMurphyPresident Ohio Young Dems, Auditors office
DAY 9CMatthewJosephDayton City Commissioner, Brother of Russ Joseph, Dayton Clerk of Courts
DAY 9DGuyAberBoard of Elections, his father Russel works in Auditors office
DAY 10A
DAY 10B
DAY 10CMaryPattersonCounty Treasurers office
DAY 10D
DAY 10E
DAY 11A
DAY 11B
DAY 11CRachellePaynter
DAY 11DJessicaAbernathyFormer Deputy MC Recorder, Admin Secretary at Family First Council
DAY 12ACatherineMerkleBoard of Elections
DAY 12B
DAY 12CChristopherConner
DAY 12D
DAY 13AShawnDayDayton Clerk of Courts
DAY 13BHayesShepard
DAY 14AGeraldMarshall
DAY 14BJohnBoston
DAY 14C
DAY 14DLakiaGray
DAY 15AReginaMarksCounty Environmental Services
DAY 15BJohnSmith
DAY 15C
DAY 15D
DAY 16AClayDixonFormer Mayor of Dayton
DAY 16B
DAY 16CIrvingJohnson
DAY 16DClaudiaMason
DAY 16E
DAY 17AMichaelNelson
DAY 17BJamieSimpson
DAY 17CLindaMcKenna
DAY 17DAudrennaWhitesideClerk of Courts
DAY 18AFredRalston
DAY 18B
DAY 18CGretchenMoore
DAY 18D
DAY 19AJamesAtchisonIT Manager at the City of Moraine
DAY 19BWillisBlackshearCounty Recorder
DAY 19C
DAY 19DKeithLanderFacility Services at MC
DAY 20ALelaEstesBoard Member at City of Dayton
DAY 20BRichardSeitz
DAY 20 C
DAY 20DThomasRitchieUnion Head, former BOE member
DAY 21AWillieMarshall
DAY 21B
DAY 21CMarciaKnoxUnion Chief
DAY 22ASinthyTaylorFormer BOE employee
DAY 22BJohnFletcherBoard of Elections
DAY 22CAlvinFreemanDayton Civil Service Board
DAY 23A
BTADebraArmaniniCounty Prosecutor
BTBKym BrushWife of Greg Brush County Clerk of Courts
BTCEmily JacksonNow Emily Bradford- works in County Commission office for Judy Dodge
BTDRichard Carnelobbyist
BTEWilliam Davis IIDayton Water dept.
BTF
BTGPatriciaKunk
VDA
VDB
VDC
VDDWilliamCrawfordDayton Street Maintenance
VDEMarkMacNealyVolunteer Physician at Reach out of Montgomery County
VDF
VDGJudy DodgeCounty commissioner
VDHElaineZimmers-JohnsonRetired-Director of Real Estate for the Auditor’s Office
VDILawrenceO'Donnell
VDJStevenHarsmanBoard of Elections
CLAA
CLAB
CLACRichardRenner5 Rivers Metro Parks
BRKA
BRKB
BRKC
BRKDAmy EddsCounty Auditors office
PHB
GERA
GER-B
GTNA
GTNB
GTNCJeffHastyEnvironmental Services
HARA
HARBWesleyWellsUnion Leader
HARC
HARDElizabethDyer
HARE
HARF
HARGJustin AllenStillwater
HARH
HARIChristineKinterDayton Clerk of Courts
HARJRolandWinburnState Rep
HARK
HARLTony Curington
HARMBrookeWrightDayton Municipal Court
HARN
HUB 1A
HUB 1BLuDale
HUB 1CIsacDaniel
HUB 1D
HUB 2APenniChafins
HUB 2B
HUB 2CJanVargoHuber Heights Council
HUB 2D
HUB 3ADonaldPayne
HUB 3B
HUB 3CEdwinPrimm
HUB 3DLinda Manning
HUB 4A
HUB 4B
HUB 4C
HUB 4D
HUB 5A
HUB 5B
HUB 5CDavidRichards
HUB 6ADanaClark
HUB 6BEdLyons
HUB 6CEllenWilkey
JAKAKarenCriswell
JAKB
FARM
JNLBAVickiGebhart
JNLBBDave Fecke
JEFAFredMeacham
JEFBBriceSimsJefferson Twp Trustee
JEFC
JEFDLynnThomassonCounty Clerk of Courts
KT 1AJasonStanton
KT 1BRobin Barker
KT 1C
KT 1D
KT 1EDennisMcCarthy
KT 1FKathy Williams
KT 1G
KT 1HLauraJordanBoard of Elections
KT 1I
KT 2A
KT 2BFredSchindlerMaintainance at WPAFB
KT 2C
KT 2DNancy SimpsonCommunity Economic Development
KT 2EMaryRobinson
KT 2F
KT 2GDavidWisemann
KT 2HPatBiddle
KT 2I
KT 3A
KT 3BJonathanHardin
KT 3CFrederickKrumholtzDayton Clerk of Courts
KT 3D
KT 3E
KT 3FRobertaBeyerDayton Recreation and Youth Services
KT 3G
KT 3HAncilWebb
KT 3I
KT 3JMiriamMaue
KT 3K
KT 4ANancyEnright
KT 4B
KT 4CLauraHawthornLogistics management at WPAFB
KT 4D
KT 4E
KT 4F
KT 4GJonathanKleinman
KT 4HJohnMurphyBoard of Elections
KT 4IWesleyBishop
KT 4J
KT 4KMichaelBockKettering School board
TR 1ATommyStewart
TR 1B
TR 1CMarjorieTownes
TR 1DEllaBollingCounty Treasurers Office
TR 1ENancyMarino
TR 1FDawnWojcikMCDP employee
TR 2ATiaCoxJob and Family Services
TR 2BKevinArnold
TR 2C
TR 2D
TR 2EDonnaGales
TR 3A
TR 3B
TR 3C
TR 4ADjunaBrownex-Auditor’s Office
TR 4BPatrickThomassonMarried to Tisha who works in Dayton Clerk of Courts
TR 4C
TR 4D
RVA
RVBGladysStump
RVC
RVDWilliamFlauteRiverside Mayor
RVEKennyNance
RVF
RVG
RVH
RVI
RVJ
RVK
RVLEdythMitchell
RVM
PM
MIAA
MIAB
MIAC
MIAD
MIAE
MIAF
MIAG
MIAHWilliamMelke
MIAI
MIAJ
MIAK
MIAL
MIAM
MIAN
MIAOMarkLandersVeterans Services
MIAP
MIAQP MichaelRobinetteFormer head of Conservancy District, MVRPC
MIAR
MIAS
MIATJohnnaShiaCounty Prosecutor
WCRA
WCRBBrendaWhiteDayton Clerk of Courts
WCRC
WCRDToddAhearnCounty Prosector
WCREChrisHolmAuditors office
WCRF
WCRGReneeSheppard
MBG 1A
MBG 1B
MBG 1C
MBG 2A
MBG 2BCharlesBowlingFormer BOE employee
MBG 2C
MBG 3A
MBG 3B
MBG 3C
MBG 4A
MBG 4BJulieBrunsCounty Prosecutor
MBG 4C
MBG 4D
MOR 1AJacquelineCole
MOR 2APatriciaCelesJob and Family Services
MOR 3A
MOR 4ALindaPauley
OAKAPeggyWellerJFS childrens services
OAKB
OAKC
OAKD
OAKETony TippsFormer BOE worker, son of Lobbyist Paul Tipps
OAKF
OAKGCarolHolm
PERA
PERB
PERC
PNLBABettyBenningtonDayton Clerk of Courts
CTN 1A
CTN 1BMattHeckProsecutor
CTN 1CDennisLiebermanFormer MCDP Chair, Former BOE, Husband of Debbie Lieberman
CTN 1DTinaBrownBoard of Elections
CTN 2A
CTN 2BJackeHorne
CTN 2CJoeLitvinFormer County engineer
CTN 3AJamesGorman
CTN 3BTedGudorf
CTN 3CCheryl Hart-GroffDayton Clerk of Courts
ENGA
ENGBJudyGerhard
ENGC
ENGD
ENGE
ENGF
ENGG
ENGHPearlieJohnson
ENGI
ENGJ
UNA
UNBRobinDavisDayton Clerk of Courts
UNC
UNDMikeSpirkCounty Auditor
WSAJamesVangrovCounty Commission office
WSBKrissGang
WSC
WSDMaryMiller Ellis
WSE
WSF
WSG
WSHSusanHesselgesser
WSI
WSJMichelleGrodnerProsecutor
WSK
WSLBarbaraShump
WSM
WSN
WSOPaulRobinsonCounty Treasurer
WSP
WSQ
WSRJohn Roll
WSSPatEdsall
WSTShirleyMarion
WSU
WSVLeigh AnnCapizziJuvenile Court, married to Tony Capizzi, former Dayton City Commissioner and now Judge
WSW
WSXBeverlyKingBoard of Elections
CVA
CVB
CVCCharlotteVitali
CVD
CVE
CVFCathyStartzmanCounty Commission office
CVGStephenDavis
CVHDavidSaphire
CVI
CVJ
CVKMichaelRiceHusband of County Treasure Carolyn Rice
CVLChristiannaRomerCounty Commission office
CVM
CVN
CVOLeeFalkeFormer County Prosecutor
CVP

 

 

What do ‘endorsements’ mean in Dayton, Ohio?

The mailer came to my mother’s house yesterday- the “slate card” or “dummy voters guide”- The Endorsed Candidates of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. These endorsements were decided back in January, publicly, and before that privately. It was done without hearing the candidates making a single stump speech, without a primary, by a small, self-selected group of the Montgomery County Democratic Party Central Committee. The “screening” is just for show as well- as the party’s inner circle- the people in charge of the “Friends and Family” plan in Montgomery County- take care of their own. These people control a lot of patronage jobs – from the Board of Elections (which is 100% patronage) to many jobs in the city and county that are hired directly by the officeholders. Being endorsed by the party gives you access to data and resources that aren’t available to other people in your party- like email lists, telephone banks, auto dialers, and donor lists. It’s like going to play monopoly- with 90% of the money.

In Dayton, it’s rare that anyone beats the party in the down-ticket (less hype races). A few have. Mostly in special elections, or by tricking the voters as Judge Bill Littlejohn did when his poll people handed out a slate card full of Dems- with his picture and name on it- even though he was running as a Republican. The party howled, but by then the damage was done- he’d won. Dean Lovelace only got elected because he jumped from the general election to a special election and beat two “name brand” party wives by a slim margin in a four-way race. I siphoned off some of the old girls’ votes to help him get there. Other than that- the party wins and likes to keep it that way.

The mayor’s race isn’t quite the same. Turner beat Dixon- by a slim 400 votes, partly because Dixon had caved on the landfill on the West Side- and partly because he just wasn’t that impressive on the campaign trail or in office. McLin beat Turner because Turner had pissed off a lot of people with his arrogance and his inability to share the credit- of course it didn’t matter since he’d already set his sights on Congress which gerrymandering had just opened the door for him to win. Leitzell overcame 10-1 odds in spending and 100-1 odds according to the political pundits- because McLin’s campaign assisted him with multiple mailings getting his name out- and that McLin hadn’t done much in 8 years other than change hats and glasses.

Endorsements by unions is another claim that seems to go along with winning. Mike Turner had an endorsement from the Dayton Firefighters when he ran against Clay Dixon. Whaley is proudly advertising she has their endorsement. The reality is the union that endorsed Turner had twice as many members- and they all lived in the city. No longer the case. The firefighters and the FOP didn’t even screen commission candidates in this race.

Labor union endorsements bring big money to a campaign- Whaley raked in multiple checks of $10K each. Even if the rank and file don’t agree with leadership’s pick- they know that they have to place the signs in their yards- for fear of retribution. Many will work to distribute lit, or man phone banks, or will stand outside the polls on election day because that’s what you do- but, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily will vote the union line. You find this out by knocking on doors and having candid conversations with people. The real damage is the money- candidates will always have to remember whom they owe as long as they hold office. The other damage is that campaigns get expensive quickly when you start talking handicapping- candidates are often judged by the money they’ve raised and people seem to think dollars raised somehow equals votes.

A lot of people looked at the “primary” results in May and seem to think that it’s an indication of the election coming this Tuesday. It’s not. First off- the election in May was a runoff election- to narrow the field because voters in Dayton are considered too stupid to make a decision among more than two choices. The time frame to campaign is compressed- 60 days- and the turnout incredibly low. These elections are typically decided by the people who are most connected to the party- or are politically dialed in.

This last election saw almost 2,000 previous “super voters”- who typically vote in every election- take a pass. The turnout of 10,000 was less than a third of the people who generally vote in these elections. And then there is the money- spending $50 per vote in the mayor’s race isn’t exactly something to brag about- it’s a sad commentary on what politics has become in this country – an auction to the highest bidder.

Gary Leitzell came up 238 votes short after spending around $2,000- or a dollar a vote. Knocking on a few more doors- or a robocall- or a mailing- and things would have changed. He hzs now backed A.J. Wagner and if all the Leitzell voters go for A.J., this race is a dead heat, despite the lopsided money. I’ve knocked on a lot of doors where people’s disdain for Whaley was clear. Very few have been anti-A.J.- unless they were either political insiders who don’t like the fact that he turned his back on the party way and ran against their pick- or, they had somehow been connected to him through the courts. It’s hard to vote for the guy who put your baby-daddy in the pen.

As for me and my “endorsements”- I screened with the UAW, AFSCME, DEA- telling all, that I’d accept an endorsement, but not the money that comes with it. None endorsed me. The DEA endorsed both Wagner and Whaley which is kind of counter-productive, but this isn’t an organization that brings big money to the table or has contract negotiations with city hall. In fact, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen them involved in a commission race- but, the fact that their former leader, lobbyist Jeff Mims, is running may be the reason. Despite my plan to get all DPS students online with iPads and citywide wifi- I’m not their guy.

I’m not a conventional candidate by any means- so, of course, I do my “endorsements” differently- asking people who know me, who are known in the community to do short video testimonials- typically- one take- no editing- to share their opinion of me. They don’t sugarcoat my personality- which is often called “abrasive”- but, if you want anything to be finely polished- you know sandpaper is the tool you use. Get used to it. Pouring honey on things makes it sweet- but it also makes things sticky- and in politics sticky isn’t good- see congress today for the mess they’ve got us into.

Each video is about 2 minutes- plus or minus. The most recent and final one- is Gary Leitzell, endorsing me- watch and draw your own conclusions:

 

An Indictment: Why wholesale change is needed on the Dayton City Commission

It is time to remove the Democratic Party faithful from power on the Dayton City Commission. Nan Whaley, Dean Lovelace, Joey Williams and Matt Joseph have sat on a commission that has been blindly grasping for solutions to our fair city’s challenges.

Ask for what their signature contributions over their multiple terms are and be prepared for hearing “well, we didn’t go bankrupt” and “I created a party for college interns” or, “I pushed for bike lanes, and for a land bank” In general, they act as one, unanimously voting to rubber stamp the city manager’s recommendations, without ever a publicly asked question. Still, doing a majority of work in an illegal Monday Wednesday “work session” – these four have entered into one bad deal after another in the name of “economic development” while population continues to slide, as does the standard of living for the remaining residents.

It’s been over 20 years since I first ran for mayor as a naive young man. Then as now, I believe that the key to a great city is for government to do what it’s supposed to do best- public safety, infrastructure, schools, parks and recreation. If we give our residents the basics, delivered exceptionally, they can focus on their own “economic development.” I believe that stock markets and horse tracks are where investors and gamblers go to pick winners and losers- and that tax dollars never should be risked in any way.

Do the basics right and the rest follows. Our current commission fails this test repeatedly. There is no intellectual discussion of options, or even a concrete strategy of how to get from here to there. What we have is an ad hoc series of bets that have failed to pay off every time. This precedes the current commission and stretches back for decades. We have a culture of bumper car drivers- whose sole objective is to slam into whatever is close, failing to see that no matter what- they are still going in circles. There is no path to follow to a well defined future- and there never will be, as long as we continue to allow these party pawns to continue to rule on the friends and family plan.

The misguided failures

I won’t blame the City Commission for the loss of NCR, but, the loss of many jobs to Austin Landing where one intersection is magically better than the five we used to have in Downtown Dayton should be questioned. We have an “economic development director” in Dayton who flat out sells from a position of failure:

“A lot of businesses now want new — their own parking lot, single floor,” said Timothy Downs, deputy director of economic development for Dayton. “That’s hard to come by in the city of Dayton. We simply don’t have cornfields to plow into.”

via Development incentives not effective alone – Dayton Business Journal.

Last I looked, Teradata has 4 or 5 floors. That’s a company that started in Dayton at NCR World HQ and walked, not once, but twice for greener pastures with tax dollar support both times. We have to stop regional cannibalization and setting communities against each other to give tax dollars to private companies.  Why Mr. Downs still has a job after this quote is a question for our City Manager to be asking- or for the commission to ask the City Manager. Last I checked, Manhattan has no parking, no single floor offices and parking is $40 a day. They tear down buildings the size of the Kettering Tower to build bigger ones. Small minds get small results.

The Wayne Avenue Kroger: Millions for nothing.

Before Gary Leitzell took office, this stinker of a deal began in a back room. The developer, Midland Atlantic, which held a contract with Kroger to find a 12-acre parcel near the current Wayne Avenue store known by such nicknames as “dirty butt Kroger,” “Freddy Kroger,” “Deliverance Kroge,” and  “Ka-Ka Kroger.”  Midland failed to pull together a deal despite spending tens of thousands in options for the NE corner of Wayne and Wyoming. A local developer, with a proven track record in the area put together an alternative location- focused on using property along Warren Street and the former DMHA Cliburn Manor site. Somehow, he was sabotaged by the powers that be and the city instead stepped in. Threatening eminent domain, despite recent Supreme Court decisions clearly ruling that “economic development” wasn’t enough to warrant the use of eminent domain. Instead, the city chose to rule the neighborhood “blighted” – wholesale condemnation, in an attempt to knock property values down and allow them to force the matter. They went through several rounds of options, putting more money in the pockets of slumlords and residents who had lost any incentive to continue maintaining their properties- further blighting a neighborhood already in distress.

The city also “invested” $800K to purchase the burned-out Ecki building (a building that was for sale for less than $260K pre-fire and pre-fire insurance payment) and then spent more to give us an empty lot.

After “investing” millions of your tax dollars- and several years, the city finally acquired the parcel- only to be told by Kroger that they weren’t interested. The assistant city manager, who led this wild goose chase, failed to secure a contract with either Kroger or Midland Atlantic before squandering your tax dollars. She still has a job, as do four city commissioners who would have been fired for incompetence in the private sector.

  • Sabai banner offering $1 sushi- a sure sign of impending closure
    Sushi for $1 almost guarantees they will be closed in weeks.
  • 601 E. Third St. a $450K purchase by the City of Dayton with no plans
    $450K to purchase it, no plans in sight.
  • Wayne ave vacant building purchased by the City of Dayton without a plan
    Another $450K purchase without a plan

 

 

 

Sa-Bai: giving it away

The city was sure, long ago, that a convention center and parking garage was the silver bullet to “saving downtown.” In the process, they tore down several grand old theaters and other buildings that would now be cool spaces for mixed use development. In their place, we got a convention center so ugly, that it had to be totally redone, more than once. We also funded the building of a mini-movie theater and subsidized it for years (the Neon). As part of that development, they put in a Greyhound station- which they later decided was bad and shipped it off to Trotwood. Gilly’s has been a long term tenant, Channel 14-16 moved in decades ago providing a quality tenant and the restaurant space once occupied by Chins, Chins and Elbows and then just Elbows- sat vacant until, our current wizards decided to lease the space for next to nothing to a Sushi restaurateur out of Cincinnati for $2 a square foot.

If you were the owner of Thai 9, the Thai and sushi restaurant a block away, you’d be a little put off, having to compete with a taxpayer-subsidized competitor. Luckily, the community knew better and stuck with the local guy who had given them something to cheer about without a government handout. Just this week- a new sign went up in front of Sa-Bai- $1 sushi.

This isn’t economic development- this is unfairly giving our tax dollars to one business that adversely affects another.

You wouldn’t want any of these commissioners renting your house for you. Their idea of being a landlord is paying the tenant to live in your house, while making your neighbor’s house worth even less- and charging you a premium to do it.

Real estate speculation: $900K for 2 buildings with no plans

The predictions are always grave. We’re going broke. Tax revenue is down, money from the state’s local government fund is down, population is down, property values are declining and our housing stock is aging. In the meantime, labor and pension costs are up, deferred infrastructure maintenance bills are growing, our public safety forces are at all time low staffing, despite increases in property crimes and arson.

Our commission, instead is buying up real estate without a public purpose. Just recently, buying buildings on E. Third Street and on Wayne avenue for $450K each. A reader from out of town pointed out, that while the city spent close to a million dollars for 2 vacant distressed buildings with environmental issues, other buildings, with tenants and generating revenue are going for much less. Please note, that the number one address for class A office space in Dayton, its tallest building- the Kettering Tower recently sold for only $1oM.

Why are we buying vacant, buildings without a plan? Wouldn’t you rather have a cop to investigate your break in, a fire fighter to put out the fire or your road paved or a park maintained? Isn’t that why you pay taxes? Or is it so the city commission can play monopoly with your money?

IRG and the UPS building

I’ve written extensively about how bad this deal was. UPS had the old Emery freight facility at the airport under lease until 2019. They were committed to paying us millions each year and maintaining the facility as turn-key ready for an aviation use. A local developer had approached UPS about putting a solar power generating system on the roof to help subsidize the lease and possibly use the facility to grow a green energy supply business. The city got wind of this and the former airport director wrote a very one sided deal to let UPS off the hook and bring in the industrial vultures known as IRG to “market” the property.

We gave up 7 years of $2 million a year for a one time $7 million payment, turned around and gave half to IRG and smiled. Mayor Leitzell’s was the only no vote. The former airport director left town with his boyfriend, a subordinate at the airport. The new no-money down owners, who started out with a $3.5 million gift and then proceeded to scrap out everything of value including diesel generators, a stainless steel fuel farm and a conveyor system that the taxpayers had built for Emery that cost upward of $20 million- putting millions more in IRG’s pockets.

The oddest thing was that a local business tried to lease the space that IRG was supposedly “marketing” and they were rebuffed.

The owner of a Tipp City manufacturer recently offered Industrial Realty Group $3.5 million to buy part of Air Commerce, the former Emery/UPS building near the Dayton International Airport.

The offer expired Nov. 16 without response from IRG, according to Albert Naggar, chairman and owner of Process Equipment Co. Naggar still wants to consolidate his company’s four area facilities, but not into a newly built campus, as he originally proposed.

via Developer lets $3.5M offer on Air Commerce expire | www.daytondailynews.com.

What was the real reason for the bad IRG deal in the first place? Why did the former airport director write the bid for IRG? Why would the city give up the opportunity for a guaranteed lease- while maintaining a value asset in go-ready state? The only possible answers would come from an FBI investigation. The corruption is costing our community daily.

Besides mismanagement, what else?

The list is long, but, the above should give you a clue as to why the four horses of the apocalypse need to go. But if you need more reasons, let’s look at the very obsolete processes we use to put people in power and keep them there. The City Charter is an odd bird, and hopelessly out of date. Please explain why you only need 50 signatures to run for Congress, but 500 to be a Dayton city commissioner. This process has managed to stop more primaries than you’d think. It is a barrier to office, and it’s funny, how the party-endorsed candidates’ petitions always check out (usually because employees of the Board of Elections who are all patronage jobs supplied by the party) check petitions out on their “lunch break” for party candidates. The standard in the Ohio Revised Code is 50. Nowhere else are you required to have the petitions notarized- as if the notary has any proof that the signatures on the petitions are valid. All of this is immaterial, when the other rules in the charter are applied randomly. Several times Dean Lovelace has missed well over the 5 meetings in a row that call for a special election – they refuse to act. Either the Charter is the law- or it’s not.

To change the charter, citizens must gather 10% of the “registered voters” in Dayton’s signatures to place an issue on the ballot. The commission only needs three votes to do it. To recall the members of the commission requires 25% of the “registered voters'” signatures. The problem? According to the census, there are 108,000 people over the age of 18 in Dayton and eligible to vote, according to the voter rolls, we have 101,000 voters. You heard that there are some districts in Ohio that have more “registered voters” than people? Same problem- voters are being counted that left the city long ago toward that number- including a whole bunch of UD Students. The proper thing to do is to change the standard to a percentage of people who actually voted in the last election, but, even that is beyond the vision of the knuckleheads we’ve elected. Until you vote three people who put the people first onto the commission, your ability to petition government will remain nonexistent.

Mayor Leitzell claims to be willing to change the charter- or at least put the questions on the ballot, but believes it’s impossible without 2 other competent commissioners. In this next election, if we have enough people run, the splits could knock out Williams and Whaley from even appearing on the November ballot. If you are interested in being a part of this, you will need to start circulating petitions now. I will help you with the process. Lovelace will resign in the next year- or I will file suit to call for the charter to be followed-  or tossed out. We will need good candidates to make sure that Whaley, Wagner or Williams doesn’t re-appear on the commission because there wasn’t anyone else to step up.

I submit this indictment for you to review, evaluate and share with your friends. If you want to see a Dayton that is a place where opportunity isn’t dependent on political payola and the will of the party, it’s your job to help make sure that the end of the private party political process ends in 2013. Thank you.

 

 

The Democrats who chose Strahorn to run for Luckie’s seat

Sunday afternoon I was one of the Democratic Party Central committee tasked with picking a replacement for Clayton Luckie for the Ohio 39th House seat, in light of his current ethics investigation and voluntary withdrawal from the race.

The district is reportedly one of the most Democratic leaning in the State, meaning whomever we picked, they were almost guaranteed a win. The opponent they will face is Jeff Wellbaum (two l’s), a first time candidate for the Republicans. Fortunately or unfortunately, there are two Jeff’s with almost the same name- the other is Welbaum (one 1) is a Republican running for the second district court of appeals.

Even with confusion, Jeff Wellbaum, an Iraq war vet, won’t stand a chance. His Facebook page has all of 29 likes.

So, the decision on Sunday was really about who would be the next State representative, being decided in the main meeting room of Montgomery County Democratic HQ. Procedure was stumbled through, but Victor Harris had one central committee member nominate him, and I may have been the second. I believe in choice- always have.

Vic, a retired U.S. Army Lt. Col., had made waves with the party 4 years ago, running against their chosen one, Roland Winburn in the 39th and taking about 40% in the primary. Harris had flyers on all the chairs introducing himself with a brief bio and a list of what he’d work for.

If you need to hand members of the Montgomery County Democratic Party a bio, you can already forget it- they go with who they know. Harris told us the reason we should vote for him is so that Fred Strahorn could concentrate on winning the 5th Senate seat back that he lost 2 years ago. He also mentioned he was a cousin of Clayton Luckie (who has a reputation for having a family so big that just their votes are enough to get him elected).

Harris had already made a fool of himself to me by listing “Will fight to bring back the Wright Brother’s boy-hood (sic) and bike shop from the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan to where it belongs in the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood in Dayton.”

Wow, Vic, really? That’s more important than school funding reform and updating the laws put in place by the Northwest Ordinance of 1785?

After their 5 minute speeches, questions were allowed from the floor, I threw out three relative softies, while a few others made one minute speeches in support of Strahorn, including one from former rep and senator Tom Roberts who had picked Strahorn as his successor.

I believed we should hear what the candidates reasons were for running, what they were doing now and how much time they will be able to commit to the race and finally- a harder question on what they would do to address the real issues (stated above). Strahorn shined in his response. Harris didn’t.

There are about 69 precincts in the 39th, the party called me twice, mailed me once and dropped a flyer at my door. They made a solid effort to get the precinct chairs to the meeting. A quorum was 39, they had 41.

When it came time for the vote:

Fred Strahorn was selected as the Ohio House candidate for the 39th District after a vote of 41-1 at the Montgomery County Democratic headquarters on Sunday.

via Democrats choose Strahorn to run for Luckie’s seat | www.daytondailynews.com.

And no, I wasn’t the one person voting for Victor.

Not that these were ideal conditions, with the short time-frame to pick a replacement for the ballot, but all in all, the process was the most democratic thing I’ve seen in a while from the MCDP. The doors were open, the cameras were rolling, the only question is who are the people who are voting. There is no list on the Dem party site- and the tool they have (which is new) has my house in Precinct 1-D and my precinct Captain as Joan Wagner (wife of A.J. Wagner) but I’m the captain of 1-E (not). Maybe I wasn’t qualified to vote after all? Despite having a certificate of election.

From looking around the room, the decision of who to hand this seat over to was made by quite a few elected politicians, people with patronage jobs and retired folks. Not exactly a cross section of our community. I’m not suggesting that there is a better way, but, realistically, it’s a pretty tight knit group. I doubt that the party would have felt a need to rig the room, but, I’m not sure how anyone would check.

I’m sure that Fred Strahorn was the most qualified candidate they could field, and as someone who also knows Jeff Wellbaum, Fred is the right man for the job. Fred learned some humility after his defeat by Bill Beagle two years ago- it was Fred’s first real contested race. This time, he won’t take things for granted even though he has once again been given a hall pass to the halls of our state government.

A.J. Wagner is running for mayor of Dayton

Screen Shot of AJ Wagner for mayor site

AJ wants to be Mayor.

I missed the announcement- but the website is up: http://ajwagnerformayor.com/home/ telling us how much AJ Wagner believes in Dayton and he will…

He’s been a career politician for at least two decades and a Montgomery County Democratic party insider. However, he quit his last elected position in an attempt to maneuver someone into his judgeship so they could run as an incumbent. When things weren’t going as planned for one of his patronage employees, he tried to “un-retire” and tell the governor who’s boss. See the posts:
A.J. Wagner shows the Governor who’s boss
How the Monarchy of Montgomery County Works: The AJ Wagner Affair

Insiders who’ve shared the story say the person he was protecting wasn’t worth it.

Although A.J. doesn’t have any use for me, I like him. He’s a nice guy, everybody’s buddy. The fact that he wouldn’t sign my petitions to help get me on the ballot, shows his true colors- he believes that the democratic process is only for insiders anointed by him and his pals.

I’m glad he’s running, just because it will make things interesting in the next election cycle. Mayor Leitzell is waiting until August to decide on his plans. Commissioner Nan Whaley thinks it’s “her turn” to be mayor. Commissioner Williams may be ready to be done with the commission. Rhine McLin is planning her comeback as well, either to fill Nan’s seat, or in a special election which will be called soon after Commissioner Lovelace gets his 20 years in and resigns.

There are some other candidates hiding in the wings, including a few who could give AJ a real run. No matter what, this will be a big money race.

Thanks to reader Melissa for giving me the tip.

Note- And AJ doesn’t believe in buying local- he went to Washington, D.C., to have his website done by Code and Politics