The non-candidates mayoral forum


April 16, 2013, here is the video-  edited version with just the candidates who made it on the ballot

I just returned from the oddest candidates night of them all- 2 hours of people who may not be on the ballot, talking about what they won’t be able to do anything about if they got elected Mayor.

The meeting was at New Zion Missionary Baptist church at 3426 W. 2nd Street just a block from the Delphos split. The parking lot was rather full as I pulled up a few minutes after 6- with the customary parking lot guards in attendance. It’s one of the sad facts of life on the West Side of Dayton that churches have to pay guards to watch the parking lots. It’s a safety tax that goes along with the iron bar style screen door that you don’t see in East Dayton.

The church wasn’t listed on Foursquare yet- but it is now. I was taking notes and filming- so no tweets. I’m probably one of the few candidates who actually runs their own twitter account.

The line up on the program was long, those in red didn’t make it:

  • Lary E. Ealy
  • Derek O. Folley (aka Foley)
  • Eric L. Gregory
  • Gary Leitzell
  • Joseph C. Lutz
  • Marcus J Rech
  • Dashawn P. Romine
  • Diane B. Sloan
  • AJ Wagner
  • Nan L. Whaley

That’s 10. Lucky for us- only 6 showed up. Questions were first delivered by random draw from a basket, then from the InnerWest Priority Board, the Dayton Unit NAACP, then area pastors and then the audience. Questions weren’t answered by all- and the process of who got what and time limits were always awkward.

Derrick Foward of the NAACP made a point to identify Whaley, Wagner and Leitzell as lifetime members of the group and also that they don’t endorse, but will identify candidates they don’t feel are qualified. As a note, lifetime memberships start at $750, easy to pay if you are Nan or AJ and use your campaign funds which are huge. To me this reeked of “pay to play” politics. My standing answer on joining groups is to quote Groucho Marx “I wouldn’t be a member of any organization that would have me as a member.” I had to repeat that to Derrick twice before he got it and smiled.

The “candidates” got 5 minutes each to give a intro speech. There wasn’t anything remarkable said, except the left field idea from Derek Folley about building metro rail from Richmond to Dayton. The questions were mostly softball and pointless.

Note, the only two candidates in attendance were Nan Whaley and myself. The only other candidate that’s certified is Joey Williams.

The mayor and the city manager don’t create jobs. Neither does the Federal Government- at least not efficiently. Asking people how they’d create jobs in West Dayton is just opening the door for stupid to walk in. The one kind of jobs the Commission could create is hiring more police to make the city safer, but that question wasn’t asked- nor was how does buying 2 buildings for $450,000 each makes our city better.

The reality is our city isn’t even capable of hiring the best, brightest and most experienced police- because we have a policy of only hiring from our academy- a process that has failed us and cost us. This question never gets asked.

Then the questions of the murders and should we ban guns. We had a gun ordinance that Tony Capizzi tried to put on the books- it’s not something that can be done at a local level. It’s like asking the clerk at the checkout lane in Kroger to build a new store- you’re talking to the wrong people. The real issue is safety in the neighborhoods, and there are real answers to this- they just won’t come from your standard political stump speech- unless it’s given by me.

There was a lot of talk about jobs for felons. You’d think everyone on the West side had a rap sheet. The main problem here is the failed “war on drugs”- again not something local commissioners can do much about- except stop charging people for minor pot possession.

Nan Whaley even took credit for the Dayton Works Plus program for reentry, yet, when I’ve talked to people who’ve tried to get Nan’s help with downsizing bid packages, they got no where. When they called Mayor Leitzell, they got almost an instant response and help.

Then there was the question of why most of the retail businesses on the West side were being run by people that didn’t speak English. No one said you have a choice on what businesses to support, or that the issue again comes down to risk and safety, but Leitzell did talk about entreprenurial education in the schools and Gregory talked about the failures of the SBA to work with small businesses and that the demise of the Savings and Loan industry has hurt small business.

I asked the first question from the audience- and directed it to Nan. No, it wasn’t about the push poll, because it’s not good form to embarrass the young lady in front of a big audience, so I asked about why she hadn’t put changing the petition process on the ballot, since she’s been on for two charter revisions. She did admit that the notarization process could go- but that was as far as she went. Never mind that we can’t change the charter or recall commissioners as voters, thanks to obsolete language and fuzzy logic on voter rolls.

After, there was “fellowship and food” for all. Whaley didn’t stick around long. Folley didn’t engage much. I sat down and talked with people about substantive change, the kinds of things I talk about on this site, and even found a few readers. At the end, AJ, Leitzell and Gregory were still working the people who were still there.

I’m not going to post video of all the candidates- we’ll wait to see who gets on the ballot first, plus, I need to focus on getting my literature done and ready for the pancake breakfast this Sunday.

If I met you at the event, please, leave a comment- and ask me the questions that you wanted to hear answers from the candidates tonight- or how I’d answer them different.

This is my way of engaging- it’s open to all.


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!

Leave a Reply

20 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
The nobody cares election – EsratiThe 2013 Dayton Mayoral Candidates forum | Independent DaytonMelHallGene Recent comment authors
Notify of
Shortwest Rick
Shortwest Rick

Re: “I wouldn’t be a member of any organization that would have me as a member” David, David, David… Why do you insist on shooting yourself in the foot before anyone else gets a chance to?

David Lauri

So wait? If membership in the Dayton City Commission were open to you, you wouldn’t want to join?

David Lauri

After you’re elected, you can direct the Commission staff to change the wording on this page ( that describes Commissioners as members:

Each City Commission member is elected at-large on a non-partisan basis for four-year, over-lapping terms.

Marla G
Marla G

I guess I’m being redundant, but a forum for “candidates” who are not yet verified for the ballot?  signatures need to be turned in by March 8 before anyone is officially on the ballot, correct?  this seems like a superfluous meeting.  thanks as always for videotaping the procedures.  will you post this, or only the comments by those who actually make it onto the ballot? 

Donald Phillips
Donald Phillips

Mr. Esrati reminds me of a post-pubescent who knows a lot about current affairs. He has obviously read Dale Carnegie’s mid-twentieth century paen to pep and vigor, “How to Win Frineds and Influence People”, albeit with mixed results. And of course, he practices the Charles Atlas Dynamic Tension method of physical culture. He leads such a rigorous life!


building metro rail from Richmond to Dayton
I’m a huge supporter of more and better regional transit options around here. But this–huh. Maybe we should start with commuter bus service to see what demand looks like? Maybe Dayton to Cincinnati rail would be a more sensible priority?


“I’m a huge supporter of more and better regional transit options around here.” – The fact is people love their cars. Rail in the midwest is a waste of time. They have had ideas of connecting Ohio for some time, then the realiy sets in that Cincinnati to Columbus, with stops, will be like 3 hours, and to Cleveland will be over 5 hours. All that and the price of a ticket was unreal. Rail needs to be faster and cheaper than car travel – or at least get one before we jump in. Proposals are slower and way more expesnive.
Just get in your car and go. Shorter trip. You can leave when you want to. Pull over whenever. And you have a mode of trasportation once you get to your destination. For some reason people think rail travel is romantic and practical. Ha! It won’t be either. Go to EnterTrainment Juntion to live your rail fantasies. I know – the THUMBS DOWN will be hit, but those who support rail still will take their cars 99 percent of the time, bc rail is slow and expensive. This ain’t the east coast or Europe.


Does Derek Folley work in Richmond ? :-)
No need to change some silly wording on a website either, beside the fact that “member” is perfectly correct in that context.

Donald Phillips
Donald Phillips

Dear Mr. Gene,
Mr. Esrati and the Metroids are so agog over “regional transit” because it suppresses autonomy. They live in mortal dread that someone, somewhere, is not beholden to them. These urban guardians know your best interests better than you know your best interests. If and when they want your opinion they’ll provide you an opinion. Meanwhile all you need do is assume the position.


I’d like to know if the city plans to continue moving toward a surveillance state-as-cash-cow mode of throwing up cameras everywhere. And plane flyovers? Really?


You really don’t think increasing amounts of traffic cameras are the easy entry into just adding surveillance cameras wherever high crime is deemed a “probability”?

Donald Phillips
Donald Phillips

“If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear”? I suspect that Mr. Esrati is the love child of J. Edgar Hoover and and the last Dowager Empress of China.


[…] You can read more about this odd night here: The Non-candidates mayoral forum […]


[…] via The non-candidates mayoral forum – Esrati. […]