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: http://esrati.com/?s=Dayton+city+charter+changes

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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