Montgomery County Dems still acting like a Monarchy

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

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

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

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

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

thumbnail of MCDP Constitution Revised

MCDP Constitution Revised- click image to download PDF

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

Good afternoon,

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think he doesn’t go far enough.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Montgomery County Democratic Party ch-ch-changes…?

It was refreshing to see a whole bunch of fresh faces at the January 2017 Montgomery County Democratic Party meeting. Trumps been in office less than a week, and people are already seeing what happens when the system fails to stop stupid.

Welcome to the too little, too late club.

There are lots of new groups starting up- indivisible, the resistance, blue Ohio, the progressives, etc. etc. I did a “negative post” about the dangers of neophytes last week, and was the bad guy, for explaining that you can create all the groups you want, but, you won’t get on the ballot unless you work within the existing system.

The front of the flyer- the back has a lot more to say.

Click to download the PDF

So last night, I showed up with my pamphleteer of the revolution hat on. I had a nicely printed 5×7 card explaining what has to change. I sat through the laughable “executive meeting” which is now held on the too small stage, behind a screen, with an agenda that’s almost identical to the general agenda. And when it came time to vote to add new precinct captains to the roll, I asked “how many of them either work for elected officials, or are related” and almost got booed off the stage. “That’s not relevant” and “people who work in government are more likely to be involved” and “why.” As it turns out, only one of the 17 new appointees admitted to being related, which is great, compared to the rest of the central committee.  At the end of the exec meeting- I started handing out my propaganda. Some refused (Russ and Matt Joseph both turned it down). I went out to the general meeting area- and handed them out- saying “Welcome” to everyone as I passed out my flyer.

Some people came up to me immediately and thanked me. Others swung back around and said “I agree with …”

However, online today, I’m the bad guy. I’m arrogant, rude, my approach sucks, they don’t agree with my tactics- etc. Apparently, investing time and money in putting together a handout isn’t ok, and saying “welcome” is rude. Hissing and booing when I speak- is, just prim and proper.

Maybe that’s why the piece included “We need to talk about issues, not personalities” and ended with “Go ahead, shoot the messenger.”

The full PDF is available here. Friends And Family Are Great For Cell Phone Plans, But That’s Not How We DEMOCRATS Win Elections.

There was no discussion of issues, strategy, plans. There were requests to sign up for committees, there were requests to sign peoples petitions, there was the hat tip to the elected officials in attendance. The floor wasn’t asked for input. It’s the same old party.

However, there has been one change- they’ve hired a new executive director; Sarah Greathouse.  Sarah and her husband Erik have been political operators for a while. And for the first time- the party site actually lists who’s on the central committee, if they were appointed or elected, who are the ward leaders and who is appointed to the executive committee. There is no mention of who is on the “screening committee”- or if it’s still going to choose our candidates and endorse in primaries.

The executive committee also named Sarah to the Board of Elections to replace John Doll, giving them $20K a year to help compensate her.

Now that the party doesn’t have the dead weight of the old HQ to support, the treasury coffers should be in much better shape. With an executive director who actually understands the internet, we may start seeing effective fund raising and competent emails being sent out (the old way was to send pdf’s of bad flyers as attachments).

For all the newbie politically active- the goal of the party should be to elect democrats, and especially, start winning the offices at the State level that run the gerrymandering operation that’s known as the apportionment board (Governor, Secretary of State and Auditor) in 2018.

In the meantime, I’m giving Ms. Greathouse the benefit of the doubt, and will do whatever I can to help make the democratic party- a true democratic party.

We’ve got a lot of work to do.

And just remember, “Hindsight is 2020”

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the party needed to do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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