The “Return of the mask”- Citizen Participation again an issue.

The new rule is: if you don’t turn in your speaking sheet before the meeting starts- foo on you.

That isn’t exactly welcoming citizen participation. So I hauled the mask back out (for those of you coming into this late- see this page).

You see, the agenda they had out at the Dayton City Commission isn’t complete. Today, for instance, Tom Ritchie spoke about the Appalachian festival, Someone else spoke about the Helena High Rise as a homeless shelter and the Mayor of Monrovia, Liberia, spoke- all without mention on the agenda. Had a citizen wanted to speak on any of those issues- too bad.

This didn’t used to be a problem under Mayor Turner- who even allowed citizens to turn in requests as other citizens were speaking (even though his commission obviously wasn’t in favor of citizens speaking at all on camera). Either you believe in the value of citizen participation or you don’t.

But afterward, Commissioner Williams said I blindsided him with my choice of headgear- I went straight for the elbow, no trash talk first. My response- support the principles involved, or don’t- style has nothing to do with right or wrong. We will see what happens.

Apparently, I’m the first to question this rule in over a year- even though the DDN reporter told me that a group of 25 people came to support something, sat through a 3 hour meeting, but didn’t get to speak because they handed in their sheets a minute late. Of course, they weren’t exactly pleased about wasting their time, or wanted to suffer through another session to question the policy. You see, it’s only the ones who really care who speak up- most will just walk away. The most important lesson in Customer Service is to listen to what the customer isn’t saying- like when they leave a meal untouched on their plate.

And my addressing of the other pet peeve, the one about paying a huge number of staff to sit by while most of this has no bearing on the health and welfare of our citizens- Commissioner Williams comments :58, Commissioner Lovelace comments 3:58, The Mayor (minus sidekick Whaley) 5:55 of her version of “The View” – If she wants to do a Dayton Calender and social visit show- she can do it without the entire staff, the police, the DATV crew on the payroll.

If you believe that Citizens should come first- and be granted permission to speak by turning in a form at anytime in the meeting- please contact Commission Clerk Len Roberts via [email protected]

Remember, they are supposed to work for us.

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11 Responses

  1. Pam August 16, 2007 / 8:33 am
    I guess I should start with a disclaimer. David and I are pretty close. We see or talk to each other just about every day, and there’s not a whole lot that we wouldn’t do for each other. I love him and I make no apologies for it. :-)

    I may not always agree with David’s methods (and probably wouldn’t be comfortable adopting them as my own) but I have never once questioned his motives. So our differences are, as David told Commissioner Williams last night, just a matter of style.

    With that in mind, I went to last night’s meeting—so that when the inevitable firestorm of controversy started, I would have firsthand knowledge of what happened.

    I would never presume to speak for David, and he certainly doesn’t need me to fight his battles for him. Even so, I figured I would eventually find myself in the position of defending him on this, and I wanted to be able to do it with authority.

    Oh…and I also went so I could post his bail if necessary. Because the last time David put his mask on, the city spent a lot of time and money unsuccessfully prosecuting—and persecuting—him. And while I’d like to think they learned their lesson when they lost, you never know.

    Now, there are probably those who would have you believe that the return of the mask was the most ridiculous thing at the meeting last night. Don’t listen to them. I was there, and I can unequivocally say that David’s “statement” was something of a non-event.

    In fact, he was totally upstaged by an elderly gentleman with a foreign accent (and a few signs of early dementia) who offered a rambling prayer for our troops and beseeched the commission to amend the US constitution so the President would be in charge of domestic matters and the Vice President would be in charge of foreign affairs.

    And sadly, David wasn’t even a runner-up in the “most ridiculous” contest; that honor went to Mayor McLin’s hat (and her little girl voice).

    After witnessing that, all I can say is: if you’ve never attended one of these things, you should. Not just because it’s your civic duty, but because it’s the cheapest entertainment in town. Trust me. It’s definitely worth the price of admission.
    And as an added bonus, if you get there early enough, you can bring your two cents and your soapbox and have your 15 minutes of fame.

    But if you show up late and they won’t let you talk, don’t blame Esrati. He tried.

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  2. David Esrati August 16, 2007 / 9:13 am

    Pam- it’s only 3 minutes- and they have a timer.
    The little man with the accent- is Joseph- who lives in Kettering- and comes every week.

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  3. Andy B August 16, 2007 / 9:21 am
    David,

    You still haven’t done a good job of making your case. How in the world does requiring YOU or anyone else to be respectfully on time limit your ability to speak in front of the commission? It seems you’ve taken this little tirade a bit too far and should work on maturing a bit. There are real issues that need to be fixed and your brand of “activism” is undermining the good work that others are doing. Get back to reality and start applying some sense to what you ramble on about.

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  4. David Esrati August 16, 2007 / 9:57 am

    Andy-
    Apparently you haven’t been reading much of the “rambling” on this site.
    The real issues are here.
    Welcome.

    As to a “good job of making my case”- at least it got the issue out front- and talked about.
    Maybe the real question is how do we get leaders who are really willing to listen?
    And what have you done lately?

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  5. Andy B August 16, 2007 / 1:40 pm
    David,

    I’ve done plenty including writing several letters to the editor, helped out on campaigns, ran for office myself, I’ve volunteered in public schools, worked to become a teacher and prior to the cuts at DPS I had a job lined up to help our young people become more aware of their impact on their community. I currently tutor students and advise them on how to get into college. I volunteered to council first generation college students on financial aid and navigating the college system.

    I’ve done some good things and will continue to do more, but am confident enough that I don’t have to toot my own horn to feel good about what I have done.

    The point about the ramblings David, is that they are far fetched, without substantial support for how they would truly work. Your SportsPlex idea is surly interesting, but have you forgotten how the citizens of the community don’t really get along all that much and having a centralized venue would lead to increased confrontations (just look at the intracity basketball games over the last few years)

    As for getting the issue at the commission talked about… what are people saying? Is being able to be fashionably late and still get to speak at commission meetings all that important? If what you had to say was so vital, why weren’t you there on time?

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  6. David Esrati August 16, 2007 / 1:53 pm

    Andy- the commission meetings can run 3 hours. They also used to start at 7pm- until they realized that they were ending at 11 and missing the evening news.
    I wasn’t “Fashionably late” I was about 3-5 minutes late- so I missed the frickin illegal prayer and the pledge of allegiance. I work about an 80 hour week, so taking time off for a commission meeting these days is a big cut into my time.
    I wasn’t tooting my own horn- and for saying that- you fall into the classification of pinhead- sorry. I was doing what I could to get people talking. Period. And it worked.
    As how Sportsplex would work- what are you saying- we need “separate but equal” sports facilities? So, you’re a racist pinhead.
    We’re about to build one “Sportsplex” now- only in a location only a West Dayton homeowner would love- with no supporting businesses or amenities. Also- no hotels near by for sports tourism- and of course- tearing down historic Roosevelt HS on top of it all.
    And if you’ve run for office- have the guts to put your whole name on your posts.
    Otherwise- you’re just another whining wanker.

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  7. D. Greene August 16, 2007 / 2:22 pm
    Hahahah ‘respectfully on time’ my ass. Half the commission and the mayor miss a lot of the other little meetings that go on with business owners – or waste time at commission meetings just bullshitting, with cops being paid by our tax dollars standing by. What a fun social club!

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  8. gene August 16, 2007 / 3:53 pm
    The energy used here could actually be put to better use – like actually solving problems. Andy B, you have to understand that Mr. Esrati is doing his best to confront this commission, which IS much needed. And we all know that liberals are always late, even the commission. I have not been late for anything in years though, so who knows. The mask thing has gone a bit far, but it is an “Oldie but a Goldie.” Now I know what I am going to be for Halloween – Esrati masked and my friend will be Hat Mclin. Thanks for the idea.

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  9. Andy B August 17, 2007 / 9:11 am
    So I see that you have no sense David. I never said “separate but equal” at all in my post, and the fact that you have resorted to ad homonym attacks to bully your way around just proves my point. Juvenility is wasted motion, it distracts people from the true message and does not bring them in. You have not brought attention to the “problems” of the commission because you have not clearly stated what those problems are. You say that you work an 80 hour week, good for you, but now you are making up excuses for your tardiness, you could have been there on time if IT WAS IMPORTANT ENOUGH AND ISSUE TO YOU. Since the thing that is of obvious importance is self promotion you have got what you’ve wanted.

    My point about the contentious relationship, which you somehow twisted into me being a “racist pinhead” was that we have to find ways to alleviate existing animosities prior to major changes that you are proposing. YOU are the obvious pinhead for not considering the validity of the point and showing how either a. the point is invalid because it is untrue or b. your solution can somehow overcome the obstacle that has been pointed out. Because you never do this, and because none of your ideas consider these issues, you will not be taken seriously. Furthermore your insistence that everyone else is ignorant simply because they don’t agree with you is laughable.

    It’s admirable that you want to make a change for the better, but ludicrous that you can’t take the time to consider all the facts. You wanted to hear what I had done, but rather than taking all factors in (including the fact that as a “racist” I had a job lined up in DPS, at Patterson I might add) is just, in your own words, PINHEADED.

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  10. gene August 17, 2007 / 10:08 am
    Now, now boyz…….. David already has a certain reputation amongst those in the news business, among other businesses and trade associations, and, for what it is worth, most people do not take David seriously, but rather view him as an entertainer.

    “He wants to run with the big dogs, but he is all bark and no bite.” This was a consensus quote from a group in Dayton. Sorry, just thought I should pass along.

    However, I see David as having valid points, and yes sometimes he is doing this as self promotion, but he has obtained a reputation which makes a lot of people think to themselves, “Hey, I wonder what David Estrati’s thoughts are on this subject.” So, therefore, he has a place, even if it involves self promotion. At the end of the day, several circle of different friends have conversations that involve David Esrati, I can not say the same about any other Non-elected Daytonian. At least he tries, unlike the commission or any other leaders for that matter.

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