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Thank a barber, Esrati hangs nets on rims

Campaign poster for David Esrati for Dayton City Commission, next time a politician asks for your backing, ask about our backboards

If you see a basketball net with a bright green bottom, I hung it. If you see a rim without a net, or with a poor excuse for one- call 985-1312 and I’ll get one out and hung.

That’s the message that isn’t on my campaign literature. It’s what I’ve been doing since the beginning of June, hanging nets on what passes for rims and backboards in Dayton.

I had to spend over 4 hours pulling stink trees and other opportunistic weeds out of the three courts at the old Parkside homes. I’ve hung nets on rims with rust so bad one kid said “yeah, when you score you get rust in your eye.” I’ve seen rims with nets hung with knots, tape and even shoelaces.  We’ve got rims missing hooks, rims built for chains, which never got replaced. Backboards are just as bad- rusty if made of metal, rotting if made of wood (seriously, who bought wood backboards for outdoors). One is recognized by all old-school players as having been eaten up for years- it looks like a dragon bit the bottom off.

To pay for the nets- I’ve been using campaign funds and asking donations from the ultimate local business: barber shops and beauty salons. I go in, tell them what I’m doing – show them my posters- and ask them to sponsor a net. Most sponsor more than pne. I take a picture of them with the poster- put it online and hang the poster in the shop. Check out the pix at www.hoopsdayton.org [1] My donations come from the community, not from DC or Columbus or the ‘burbs, but from the people who live and work here. I’m just as happy to accept $2 as $200, which is what a box of 100 nets costs me at Tuffy Brooks. That’s the crazy thing- nets actually cost less than yard signs. I’d much rather put up a net and do something positive in the community than place a yard sign. It takes a lot more effort to hang a net too- between hauling the ladder (I’ve had to hike it across a few football fields to get to some courts- like Western Hills) and doing court cleanups.

The support has been fantastic at many levels. But the real question is how come our city, which always has a million bucks for a developer, or a tax break for the world’s richest companies- can’t keep nets on rims? Or take care of the courts? Just yesterday, the City Manager rolled the convention center into the department of Parks and Rec- calling it one of the “entrepreneurial  departments.” Really? He wants to make money off providing parks and rec? This is the kind of thinking in City Hall that makes me run. Having nice parks is economic development in my book- as are safe streets and neighborhoods. Not by having buildings like Tech Town that sit mostly empty and compete with private developers.

Campaign poster for David Esrati for Dayton City Commission, next time a politician asks for your backing, ask about our backboards [2]

One of the series of posters I’ve been asking for sponsorship for.

As one of my posters says “Next time a politician asks for your backing, ask them about our backboards.” Joey Williams, a former Dunbar basketball star has been on the commission for 12 years- with at least 2 supporting votes the entire time. Apparently, rusty backboards and rims, cracks in the courts, and not turning on the water in parks like Hickorydale is OK with him- as long as we have nice privately developed student housing for students at Sinclair.

I think not. If you’d like to help, please donate at www.electesrati.com/donate-2 [3] After I hit my cap of $10,000, all money will go into a fund to start buying new backboards and rims and getting them up. I’ll need help from someone who knows how to weld when that time comes.

If you see a rim that needs a new net call 937-985-1312

If you’d like to change our city’s focus on what constitutes “economic development” and believe it should be “Parks and Rec” – not “Parks are a wreck” please volunteer for the campaign.





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David Lauri

Okay, having been negative about your chances, it’s only fair that I comment when you do a positive campaign like this.  Hope it works out for you.


Just curious? How much are 100 nets?

John Ise

Awesome work and video!


How long before these new nets are vandalized or stolen? TICK TICK TICK…


I didn’t say ripped, I said ripped off. I admire your intentions, but I think your efforts to replace recreational equipment in Dayton are Sisyphean. Success would require Dayton’s people to actually respect the city’s property, and well…


To comment of Diane’s point of view . The community doesn’t rip off the city the city has been ripping the taxpayers of for years for tens of millions such as the Emery Air cargo deal I was involved in. So I find it hard to criticize anyone who is willing to try to make it a positive place for kids to play. Parents are to blame for the process of mentoring their children which many are vacant to that idea or like deer in the headlights when Johnny gets picked up by the Police .
David is making a difference and pissing off the status quo at the same time by pointing out their imperfections on a daily basis. So they must come back with some way to discredit  him like Diane. 
Keep up the good work David   


The reaality is there will be nets ripped off – which stinks. They may be vandalized and burned too. But if DE keeps putting them up maybe, just maybe, one or two or three kids will get the idea that someone cares and he won’t be going away anytime soon. Perhaps a few kids will take pride with their “updated” court, with new nets and it simply be cleaned up. I think it is a great idea. I want to donate money directly to this project.
And DE if you do some digging and find out how much a backboard cost, let us all know. I will donate to that part of the project as well. A small project like this, if it grows to backboards and such, is far more helpful than anything this city does for it’s citizens. Keep up the GREAT work.


Crack Sealant is a good solution for filling those cracks. The City more than likely has a crack sealer machine for roads. It’s a large trailer that heats up the tar solution which comes is large rubber blocks, dump several in the morning. It pumps it through a hose into a wand . I worked at a city for a summer doing street maintenance, crack seal keeps to rainwater from further damaging the road, though it is only a temporary solution. Take out the old layer and lay a nice new flat surface, but that can be expensive.
Great work David! And an excellent advertising strategy for your campaign.


I have no use whatsoever for Gene’s politics, but I’m pleased to learn he’s a good and decent person, especially compared to Diane.


No, you dont want that stuff on anything but the ground. I got rid of a number of jeans and tshirts that summer.
There’s a specific spray we would use to set the crack seal with, sort of a soapy solution if I recall correctly. I don’t know if it had a brand name or was just a mix that they made at the shop.  Certainly not all cities do it the same, but next time there is a hot day this summer (not this week, it’s like early Fall out there now!) find a road that has been sealed like I talked about. Kick the tar with your feet, or if you’ve got a basketball give it a bounce. On the road you have to seal the tar up because you really dont want that stuff on your car. When we did pothole or large patches we would use a similar solution or diesel fuel to give it a non-sticking surface. I wonder if the city could let you know if the crack sealant would work. If they have the machine they might be able to help you out. Some private asphalt contractors might have one too. There’s a big asphalt plant down in Moraine, that’s where many cities and contractors buy their materials:  http://www.barrettindustriescorp.com/home
I really liked that job even though it was temporary and didn’t pay much, I lost like 30 lbs and was in great shape! Shoveling 2 tons of asphalt everyday will do that.


And if it is a cement court you probably do not want to use crack seal on it, not sure what you could do there.

Kim Owens

A few years ago, when the Dayton City budget was at the lowest point, we were told at a Wright View Neighborhood Association meeting that the city was working on a program where citizens could volunteer to work on special maintenance projects around the city. I think the only thing that came out of it was Lot Links.  Your project is exactly the type of project that regular citizens could help with.
David, you frequently have a lot of big (and great) ideas that just seem difficult to ever come to fruition. This is a fantastic project that you can get your arms around (literally and figuratively!) to make a really positive impact on our city. I’ll be making a donation today!


Hi David.  I like what you’re doing and I’ve been voting for you all along, and I will again.  FYI: It’s not just a lack of funding that is a problem for Park Maintenance.  About 12 years ago, the Division of Park Maintenance was moved from the Dept. of Parks and Recreation (Now called “Recreation and Youth Services”), to the Dept. of Public Works.  That change just in itself was a mistake.  The Dept. of Recreation and Youth Services had previously worked hand in hand with it’s Park Maintenance division, which of course makes sense.  And then, about 8 years ago, the Division of Park Maintenance was dissolved by the Dept. of Public Works and placed under the umbrella of the Division of Street Maintenance.  In short, there is no longer a distinct Park Maintenance Division.  As you might imagine, the skills and knowledge required to maintain our parks was not present in the Management of Street Maintenance…not then and not now.  For example, currently Street Maintenance Management has assigned only 2 employees to do the trim work behind the larger mowers.  Dayton has 60 parks.  Impossible.  Further, only 1 employee is assigned to clean our parks.  No surprise that our parks are trashed and there are weeds growing in the various asphalt courts.