“We don’t need no stinkin basketball nets” or change in Dayton

“We don’t need no stinkin basketball nets” Those were the words of a paid Whaley literature distributor, on Lakeview Ave at a church so aptly named “Greater Love.”

I should have learned long ago- Daytonians don’t seem to understand symbolism. Be it donning a black balaclava to conceal your face after an illegal secret meeting of the Dayton City Commission discussed ways to eliminate citizen participation- or by running a low budget honest campaign where you put up basketball nets instead of signs.

The sad thing is, looking at the election results, AJ is partially right- Dayton is a dying city with less votes cast in this election than the last one- by almost half- despite the extravagant dollars being spent. Total votes in the McLin/Leitzell election were 29,750. This election: 16,120. Last election, Gary Leitzell by himself had 15,316 and only won by 2%.

In the Mayors race:

  • A. J. Wagner 7029 43.60%
  • Nan Whaley 9091 56.40%

In the Commission race:

  • David Esrati  4345 15.64%
  • David K. Greer 4626 16.65%
  • Jeffrey J. Mims Jr. 8591 30.93%
  • Joey D. Williams 10215 36.78%

Looking at the Williams number- it should tell you something- considering he spent a fraction of what either Whaley or Wagner did- yet beat Whaley by 1200 votes- that if we did away with the stupid and expensive Mayors race- and just gave the position to the person with the highest popular vote- our elections would be considerably cheaper.

A few thoughts- considering both big spending candidates paid volunteers to stand outside for 13 hours- they both paid less than the minimum wage. Whaley was spending $80 per person- and seemed to have 2 people at each of the polling locations (there were 50) and Wagner was paying $75. Whaley was paying drivers $120 for the day- and had more than a few. I spent $10,000 on my whole campaign- she spent over $9000 just on people standing outside the polls.

It shouldn’t cost this much to run for a part-time job that pays $45,000.

The funny thing- is the primary results in the commission race- percentages stayed the same for the front runners:

  • David Esrati 2104 11.77%
  • David K. Greer 2249 12.58%
  • Joseph C. Lutz 1711 9.57%
  • Jeffrey J. Mims Jr. 5353 29.95%
  • Joey D. Williams 6456 36.12%

Even though I came in dead last- I still feel like a winner. No matter what the nasty woman on Lakeview said- our kids do need basketball nets, rims and backboards- and I’m going to keep doing it. I got at least 7 locations that need nets given to me today- which is perfect- because that’s about how many I have left.

I have $225 over my $10K goal- to spend. That buys one box of nets and about 2 cans of spray paint. I’m going to have to return the ladder that’s been on loan since June from the fine folks at Insignia Signs. A replacement costs about $175 (although I want to try to find one that’s lighter). I had a good talk with the senior recreation program coordinator today- and we’re going to work together to try to start some leagues- and get all the courts in top shape. We’ll see how much help we get from the Commission. Commissioner Williams has pledged to help me with this next year.

I’d like to thank Mr. Greer for working with me- and believing in me. Mayor Leitzell for his help. William Pace for so many things that people will never recognize- he personally put on radio ads and billboards for “the independents” and for organizing our volunteers for the polls today. I also want to thank all the people who donated time and money to the campaign, who came to my fundraisers, and encouraged me. I’m sorry I let you down. But, do know, that there are a whole bunch of future voters who now know me- and thank me- because we really do need those stinkin nets.

I love this city. Somehow, I’m going to drag it kicking and screaming into a new age- just not this time.


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20 Comments on "“We don’t need no stinkin basketball nets” or change in Dayton"

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rahn keucher
rahn keucher

Sorry, David.  I wish I could have helped more.


You didn’t let us down. You created a whole new generation of fans who will expect more of their elected representatives.  In conversation after you left one polling site, a young man questioned me, not believing, that he could actually go to your office and talk to you. I assured him you would listen. He was thrilled. 

Geoff Brogan
Geoff Brogan

Very proud of you and your efforts. Dayton needs more guys like you. Keep your chin up and don’t ever stop trying. Your efforts inspire me to be more involved. 

Matt Kelly

Even if you didn’t win the election, the city won with the nets.

Dave C.

Dave : You fought the good fight, played fair and square with everybody, and raised issues that no other candidate was willing to touch. You should feel great about what you have done. 
Your skills are many, and you are clearly a hard worker. Have you considered working to change the local scene via another route? Elected office is not the only option. With your communication skills, political acumen, and support network you could have a large and positive influence on Dayton without being elected to political office.


if we did away with the stupid and expensive Mayors race- and just gave the position to the person with the highest popular vote- our elections would be considerably cheaper. 
I’m not sure that inference is warranted. It could just result in all the money going into the big catch-all race. Intriguing idea, but  I think the democratic clarity of SMD/one vote has pretty significant advantages for this kind of race. 
Condolences on your loss. Despite my occasional frustration with some things you write, I appreciate and value what you’re trying to do for this city.


There’s always ne(x)t time…


You had my vote.  Keep up your efforts.  Your love for our city is clear, and you’re not alone.  Better luck next time.

No more Dayton
No more Dayton

David, there is nothing you or anyone homegrown candidate is going to do so fix or save Dayton. Dayton is a prime example of what happens when democrats, labor unions and progressives create a workers paradise. Dumb and illiterate workers could get huge salaries, red carpet benefits and guarantees they could never lose their jobs. Soon more dumb and illiterate white and plantation Americans from the south and other places came running to Dayton to cash in at “generous motors” and others. They ultimately gave Dayton employers they highest labor costs with the lowest quality of labor, exit GM a few years ago. What we have now is a higher and higher percentage of low quality citizens that vote democrat with the hope that now the government will give them more free stuff like GM used to. The smart, educated and decent people are all leaving David, don’t be the last one to figure it out. The US is a declining country and places like Dayton and Detroit are the tip of the spear. The cancer that is Dayton was once confined to the city is now spreading into the rest of the county, just look at how nasty east Kettering is getting. I recently left the area and was sad I wasted so much of my life in such a horrible part of the world. If a city that hires black people that flunked the police exam isn’t a big enough clue of the “progress” Dayton is making I don’t know what will wake you up. Life is s terrible thing to waste on a place like Dayton move to Portland!

Dave C.

@No more Dayton : My goodness, somebody is just a bit grumpy! Come on, there is a natural ebb and flow to cities, money, talent, population, and life in general.  I know it’s an overused expression, but one door closes and another one opens, if you care to see it opening. 
Personally, I find that life is what you make of it, and geography is less important than mentality. Your mentality could use  some work, pal. Where are you gonna move when you get fed up with Portland?

Thomas Nealeigh

I received no less than 5 mailings from Nan Whaley, the Democratic party, and someone else pushing me to vote for her. Plus there were individuals at every entrance passing out flyers for the Democrats. I voted for you, Greer, Wagner, and Hickman for School Board.

How can people with ethics compete against just throwing money at an election? Guess I’ll have to find out… Oh… though I don’t think what I have can conceivably be called “ethics.”


I hear you, NoMoreDayton. Dayton’s nothing short of Detroit 2.0, and I don’t know how you get the sheep to wake up and see what their blind devotion to the unions and the Democratic Party has done to this city. I am counting the days until my youngest is out of high school so I can move back to the East Coast where people vote based on candidate platforms and not the color of the candidate’s skin or the number of postcards the candidate sends in the mail or the number of cardboard signs that litter the streets.
I just hope to God that the ghetto creep doesn’t slosh over into my suburb before I can find a buyer for my house.


David, I share your love for the city & region, and appreciate all that you’ve done for us.  I vascillate between love for the people here, and true amazement at how dumb some people can be.  (And, suprising to myself, even agree some of what Diane & nomoredayton have to say.  Whether it’s stupid, or not, though, I love the potential of my inner-city neighborhood & the creativity that abounds. 
Thanks for showing that you can step out of this type of fight in a classy way!


I don’t live in Dayton… but the area needs you and I’d sure voted for you if I was in jurisdiction. 

Thanks for all the hardwork!

Seymour Butts
Seymour Butts

I think it is critical that this blog not descend to a Jr. High level.
Editors note: per policy of this blog- where you aren’t allowed to use multiple names- this is by Dave C. but- I’m letting Seymour Butts stay for just this one post)

Dave C.

Seymour and I thank you.


David – When are you going to realize that Dayton doesn’t want you in a position of power?  You are perceived by way too many people as a fringe candidate who is, frankly, a little unstable.


On the subject of idiots voting according to the color of their skin, does anyone else but me find this story hilarious…and pathetic at the same time? This could be Dayton! 
David, maybe you could try this approach next time?