The Dayton Challenges- the charter

One of the reasons Gary Leitzell has my full support is his challenge to other candidates for Mayor to limit their campaign spending:

So, let me lay down this challenge because I know full well the two parties will never issue the same. I will NOT spend more than $10,000 cash and $10,000 “in kind” to get re-elected and I challenge any KNOWN political challenger to match the same. I would offer ANY unknown candidate the limit of $20,000 cash and $10,000 “in kind” in the same race because that is still more than I spent against a two term incumbent, super delegate of the democratic party in a non – partisan local election. I am willing to level the playing field because I know that it is the right thing to do. Maybe it will send a message to our State and Federal Governments that “We the people” are no longer content to sit and watch our elected officials contribute to the demise of the greatest nation on Earth! So, here in Dayton, let the games begin and may the BEST CANDIDATE win!

via Dayton Mayor: The Challenges.

I also like that he takes the initiative to inform all potential candidates of the process to run. And trust me, getting signatures is a bear. I was out for two hours yesterday and registered one voter, and collected about a dozen signatures for me, Gary and for Jeff Mims (because I believe anyone who wants to be on the ballot, should be given the opportunity – and that the people should decide, not the political parties or the Board of Elections). I could still use help gathering signatures btw.

I know Nan Whaley and AJ Wagner won’t agree to limit their campaign spending- nor will any other candidate (except me- the most I’ve ever raised and spent was $7000). The real litmus test is if any of these candidates will sign a pledge to change the Dayton City Charter once elected to right some of the wrongs- namely:

  • To run for Congress, you need 50 signatures. All would agree that being a congressman is a job with much higher responsibility. We need to get rid of the 500 signature hurdle- or at least, make it a one time thing- and after you’ve done it and been on the ballot- it’s down to 50 every other time. Trust me, from day 1 over 20 years ago, I realized that incumbents have a much easier time collecting signatures- I’ve been chased out of schools, churches and even bus stops- while incumbents have walked through city hall and collected city employees signatures on the clock.
  • The form needs to be updated. Currently it has spaces for ward and precinct that for some odd reason- don’t have to be filled out, yet, they are a stickler for dates, or handwriting. Instead, the form should have: Printed name, Signature, address, date. This would help stop 20-40% signature rejection rates.
  • The requirement for a nominating committee is also like nothing else. We’ve had candidates disqualified over this. The voters should be the nominating committee- that’s why we have their signatures.
  • Only the Dayton City Commission form requires a notarized signature of the circulator. Why? What does this prove? This extra step has caused petitions to be invalidated. The notary didn’t witness the voters signing, and the circulators signature should be held to the exact same standard.
  • Even the wording of what the election dates causes confusion. There is no primary if there are less than 4 candidates for Commission or 2 for mayor- so many people get confused and different language is used by every candidate. This proves that it is unneeded.
  • And last but not least, the charter calls for the city to run the non-partisan election, not to farm it out to the partisan Board of Election. It’s time to acknowledge this major deviation from the charter and bring the document into compliance.

The charter processes for recalling sitting office holders is also flawed. It currently calls for signatures of 25% of the registered voters to sign a petition to put the question on the ballot. Right now the voter rolls have over 100,000 “registered voters” meaning that you’d need almost 35,000 good signatures to mount this effort- and that’s basically the number of voters we may have. Every other municipality uses the standards of a percentage of actual voters to have cast a ballot in a recent election. This keeps the people from having the power to petition and to remove their government. Any commission candidate who doesn’t support this very needed change shouldn’t have the right to sit on the commission. Note, Nan, Joey, Dean and Matt all have sat on a commission that has submitted charter changes to the voters- since it only takes 3 of them to vote to do it- and they haven’t seen fit to change anything pertaining to the electoral process.

The standard for voters putting a change of the charter on the ballot is also using the same standard of percentage of registered voters instead of percent of actual voters- so this needs to be changed as well.

The two other changes I endorse and challenge the other candidates to support:

  • The charter clearly specifies one meeting per week to do the cities business. We must end the unauthorized “work sessions” that they’ve been conducting for years and put the full business of the city into a single meeting in public as called for by the charter- or change the charter to make these sessions legal. I believe the charter is correct, one meeting only. That way citizens know their representatives are working in the open.
  • The separate and expensive separate race for Mayor could also be eliminated. Besides the $10K or so pay bump, and the right to go to Washington and the conference of Mayors- the mayor only has one vote. Instead, we could simply award the mayors seat to whomever has the highest number of votes in the popular election- every two years, keeping the cycle of 2 seats then 3 seats every other year. There is no reason for a separate race or higher costs in the process, nor is there any reason to jockey as Nan is doing out of ego. Let the people decide from the broadest slate possible.

This is not the first time I’ve brought up these changes- read the old posts:

Then go to the other candidates sites and see what you find?

This is why I’m running. To make sure that we have a charter and a process to elect and, if needed, remove, office holders in Dayton. Please join my campaign and spread the word- and ask the other candidates where they stand?

and others: William Pace? Mark Manovich?

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19 Responses

  1. nka January 20, 2013 / 10:22 am
    Maybe the Mayor wants to limit the contributions because he has not been very effective in office and 1.) will have a tough time raising cash and 2.) his opponents WILL be successful fundraisers and will make a good case against his re-election. 
    As a business owner who is planning to move into downtown Dayton this year, I will financially back a candidate who has at least a passing familiarity with business planning and operations.  The current Mayor is not that candidate.
  2. Gary Leitzell January 20, 2013 / 10:33 pm
    NKA has just demonstrated his lack of knowledge about his mayor’s business background and how he turned a hobby into a business. About the contributions. The first time when I ran, the republicans handed me a budget of $400,000. They told me that was what I needed to beat Rhine McLin. I told them I could win on $20,000. They said I was crazy and that they knew more than I did about campaigning. If I had agreed with them we would have both been wrong. I won on $17,600 and had around $5,000 in kind donations. Most of which was office space. I am confident that I can win on $10,000 this time. Obviously the two democrats lack the same confidence. Limiting my budget keeps me clean of special interest and allows me to focus on the task at hand. I don’t have to make raising money to promote myself the prime objective. I also don’t have to worry about what the democrats raise, if they spend one dollar more than me then it is wasteful. Neither has good business sense. A.J. has publicly announced that he needs to raise $250,000 on He needs to spend a quarter million $$ to earn $180,000 before taxes over four years. That means he believes in spending more than he can possibly make but after all, it is other peoples money. Nan wants to raise money and have the Ohio Democratic Party backing so that she can earn an additional $5,000 a year. Neither are demonstrating any business sense. Most businesses allocate maybe 10% of their budget to marketing. So I should limit spending to less. The sad thing here is that neither of the democrats understand how to promote their city. Had they simply accepted the challenge, the Dayton election would have become a reality show for the nation and regardless of outcome, had any of the candidates wanted to further their career nationally the could have. This was an opportunity to place Dayton on the map for innovative thinking and attract entrepreneurs to the city and the party that always calls out for campaign finance reform declined.  I handed it to them on a plate and neither would accept the offer because they didn’t see beyond their own positioning within a party. Quite sad really.
    David, get me two new people on that commission and we can make some charter changes. I told you that before. You would also see the pace of Dayton’s renaissance greatly increase. 
  3. David Esrati January 20, 2013 / 11:56 pm

    NKA is a woman. But, that’s beside the point. The reality is when Capizzi ran against Turner- the two of them spent almost a million. It’s insane.
    Nan can’t tell us why Kit Cooper gave her $5k and gave Rhine $10k- but, considering he owns a landfill- and Nan likes to tear down houses… draw your own conclusion.

    AJ quit midterm last time he was elected. Then tried to unquit when his patronage jobs weren’t protected. Is this really the guy you want running our city NKA?

    And- why is Nan still willing to pay Dean Lovelace for not coming to work? How is that benefiting the taxpayers?

    It’s time to put at least 2 new faces on the commission- and possibly a third when Dean quits at the last minute.

    Thanks for commenting Mayor Leitzell.

  4. jstults January 21, 2013 / 4:22 pm
    The Mayor said, “get me two new people on that commission and we can make some charter changes.”
    This reminds me of something Aaron Swartz wrote in Open Government [emphasis mine]:

    The goo-goo [Good Government] reformers moved elections to off-years. They claimed this was to keep city politics distinct from national politics, but the real effect was just to reduce turnout.  They stopped paying politicians a salary. This was supposed to reduce corruption, but it just made sure that only the wealthy could run for office. They made the elections nonpartisan. Supposedly this was because city elections were about local issues, not national politics, but the effect was to increase the power of name recognition and make it harder for voters to tell which candidate was on their side. And they replaced mayors with unelected city managers, so winning elections was no longer enough to effect

    Good luck gents.

  5. nka January 21, 2013 / 7:13 pm
    So Mr. Mayor.  You didn’t comment on my desire to move to the core of downtown Dayton but rather chose to tout your own position.  I would think that someone who was dedicated to the improvement of the Dayton core would want to reach out to a potential new tenant rather than attack me. 
  6. David Esrati January 22, 2013 / 6:20 am

    NKA- so who will you back? Nan- a career politician who was elected straight out of a patronage job? Or AJ, who is a lawyer- and has been a politician for at least 20 years? Hmmmm. Also- you attacked his credentials- without substantiating your claims. Gary beat a funeral home owner who had 6x the money. She was also an incumbent- the guy seems to understand marketing better- and, considering the funeral home is now wrapped up in bankruptcy and indictments- hmmm.

    @Stults- thanks for pointing this out. I haven’t had time to write an Aaron Swartz post yet. One other thing the off year elections do- they keep patronage jobs at the board of elections busy. Those patronage jobs also make sure that incumbents get their petitions checked before turn-in, while challengers have to do it themselves. Note- we don’t elect the BOE either.

  7. Donald Phillips January 22, 2013 / 12:23 pm
    Dear Mr. NKA,
    Do not underestimate your mayor. He nets $15,000 per anum painting toy soldiers. So he needs a second job, you see. Had he done a stint with the colours, he would not be afflicted with a fetish that most people grow out of. (A thirty-mile forced march isn’t as sexy as a Green Howards uniform, Mr. Mayor.)
    As for Mr. Esrati, I have observed a pattern emerge in his treatment of politicos, to include the mayor. When he isn’t tearing out their throats, he is kissing their feet.
  8. Dr. Funkenstein January 22, 2013 / 12:36 pm
    I am sure Board of Elections board members like Mclin and the local Dems who support a criminal like Steve Harsman as the BOE director will change the charter lol.  There is a reason the Dems let him get away with stealing $100,000 plus worth of voting machines from Diebold and having voters use them plus using county funds to pay for a hotel room for him to cheat on his wife with his secretary (just to name two things he has got away with).  He upholds and inforces the current system, that is his job.  Leitzell is a mayor in a weak mayor system, what power does he really have anyway as mayor?
  9. Diane January 22, 2013 / 1:53 pm
    As a fellow Pittsburgh transplant, I can honestly say that Mayor Leitzel is one of the few things I admire about Dayton. A city commission composed of citizens like him, advancing creative, implementable, affordable solutions and with no party affiliations, might one day lift Dayton out of the ol’ crapper.
    If I could vote for him, I would without hesitation.
  10. J Dziwulski January 22, 2013 / 8:42 pm
    So who is running for Nans vacant seat, if she is running for mayor?
    You’ve heard of the movie Demolition Man.  Well, we have the candidate Demolition Nan
  11. David Esrati January 22, 2013 / 11:13 pm

    Technically J Dziwlski, all the commission candidates are running for two seats- Joey’s and Nans. So far, for sure, Jeff Mims, Joey Williams, Daryl Fairchild and I are running for the two seats- one more- and there is a primary. In the primary- the top 4 vote getters are on the ballot.


  12. Tom McMasters January 23, 2013 / 1:46 am
    I admire Mr. Leitzell’s ability to win an election on a such a small budget and I hope he is able to do it again.  However, I’m not impressed with a call to ask the other candidates to work under the same conditions.  I believe we need campaign finance changes so that elections can’t be bought.  I dislike that well financed campaigns tend to spend money on negative ads.  But what if the other candidate raised $250,000 and used it to have the LWV put on real town halls / debates?  Money in politics has created a lot of problems but asking the other candidates to limit the fund raising totals doesn’t hit me as all that impressive.
  13. Hall January 23, 2013 / 9:31 am
    @Tom: Why should a candidate fund the LWV to do those things ? If anything, ALL of the candidates should chip in.
    @Dr Funkenstein: The BOE doesn’t control the city of Dayton’s charter.
  14. Dr. Funkenstein January 23, 2013 / 12:48 pm
    @hall:  The same people that control the BOE control the City of Dayton
  15. Nka January 24, 2013 / 12:47 pm
    So when Don and I are hidden does that mean that the overly progressive readers do not want to hear a voice other than their own?? I thought liberals respected individual thoughts. Guess not.
  16. David Esrati January 24, 2013 / 3:14 pm

    NKA- I’ve got some pretty hard core libertarian readers that comment often. I think they vote down people based on what they say- not because you’re an R or a D. It’s a brilliant to bozo scale…. apparently you’ve been bozofied.

  17. Donald Phillips January 25, 2013 / 2:19 pm
    Dear Mr. NKA,
    Let’s you and I chip in on a set of Chelsea Pensioner tin figures for the mayor. The voters will retire him in November, and thus afford him ample time in which to paint old soldiers.
    As for Mr. Esrati and the Metroids, they dispise liberty. This is why they are forever meddling in “civic affairs”. They use the French and Russian Revolutions as templets for their own macinations. (i.e. Cover your lies with deceitful labels.) Their Progressive Putsch is unfortunately inevitable, I am sory to say, but so is the Thermador.
  18. David Esrati February 3, 2013 / 11:14 am

    The money is flowing in- from today’s Dayton Daily News:

    Meanwhile, Wagner, a former judge and county auditor, and Whaley, a current city commissioner, have each spent more than $11,000 already. Wagner’s campaign has $50,121 in the bank, and Whaley has $71,845, according to their filings Thursday with the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

    “I respect what (Leitzell’s) trying to do, but at the end of the day, this is the sixth largest city in the state of Ohio, and you need to have the necessary resources in order to reach out to voters,” Whaley said. “As the incumbent, he gets a lot more press and attention than the other candidates do, so of course he’d

    want everybody to spend less money.”

    Wagner said he agrees with Leitzell that there is too much money in politics, but he won’t take the same path.

    “If he can do it, more power to him,” Wagner said. “Unfortunately, I just don’t know how I can get a message out of why I deserve to be mayor for $10,000 or less. I just don’t think I can do it.”

    Leitzell said Wagner and Whaley are missing the point of his challenge, saying if they had agreed, the campaign would have put a positive spotlight on Dayton.

    “Dayton would have been on the national map, media-wise, for doing something so innovative, so creative and so necessary at this moment in time with regard to campaign spending,” Leitzell said. “From my perspective, it was more to do with marketing. It wasn’t to do with winning or losing.”

    That said, Leitzell said he believes he can win reelection despite spending much less than his opponents. He points to his 2009 victory over better-funded incumbent Rhine McLin. The difference in 2013 will be the addition of a May primary election to narrow the field to two in November.

    “I feel, personally, that if I can’t win on my own merit, I don’t deserve the position,” Leitzell said. “If you need that much money, when I’ve challenged you to $10,000, you lack the confidence that you can win.”

    via Dayton mayor race shows cash gap.

    Note, both Nan and AJ have spent over $5k for websites- (technically AJ has spent even more, since his first site done by a firm from out of town was leaked on this site– and then taken down and replaced by a site by the Ohlman Group).Nan went to Columbus for her site- apparently, she’d rather spend her money elsewhere. 

    Even though the Dayton Daily News reporter, Jeremy Kelley, knew I was also running for under $10K- he left it out (I know he knew because he wrote me, very upset, that he wasn’t on my mailing list for my first email blast which told everyone that I was agreeing to the $10K limit- this after 3 colleagues forwarded it to him).

    I’ll post all the finance reports when I get a chance- they are intriguing to say the least. My favorite always is the donors who donate to both candidates in the Mayors race- wow, that’s a strong supporter.

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