Next year, Dayton gets to chose a majority of the seats on the Dayton City Commission. The Mayor, Nan Whaley and Joey Williams are up for reelection.
Last cycle- Dean Lovelace and Matt Joseph ran unopposed. That can’t happen again.
“Counting to three” is the key phrase among Commission watchers- you have to be able to get three votes to get something passed, so this is an opportunity for “regime change” in Dayton. Richard Florida slams our leadership on the DDN editorial blog:
‘Creative Class’ guru loves Dayton | A Matter of Opinion
“Another thing the region suffers from is really poor leadership. And I think the reason that is, it really bears the imprint, that as the economy is changing to newer things, away from manufacturing, the leadership still reflects that top-down, vertical, 1950s organization mentality. So you get these conflicts between old-style democratic political machine and business-led organizations.
“Those conflicts become very dysfunctional. I think one of the other things is that if older cities could achieve better leadership, leadership that was more in tune with the future.
Note the suck up comments by Democratic Party patronage princess Sarah Abernathy chiding Florida for offering an opinion.
The reality is- we’ve got too many chiefs in the region- and none of them are actually leading us anywhere. See the poll from the Dayton Biz Journal: Who should lead? The fact that they have to ask is an indication of trouble in the Gem city.
With the low level of intelligent discussion about real goals at almost every level of government (talking about what a candidates preacher said, or personal affairs as measures of leadership) instead of issues is an epidemic in this country.
So what should be Dayton’s new leaders goals and objectives?
Here’s a starter list:
Restore faith in Dayton Public Schools through innovative partnerships that create marketable differences between DPS and suburban districts. Examples: every graduate gets 2 years free at Sinclair (not a big deal, because it’s already almost there for suburban districts through TechPrep). Laptops for every student with free wi-fi. New alignment for sports where we have an “Athletic track” high school with the best sports program in the region (We already have an Arts school that does this- Stivers).
Establish goals for:
Increasing population (which brings increasing income tax collections), filling vacant homes in “healthy neighborhoods” first.
Foster community pride by working on shared objectives- this can be the goals above, or maybe creating a citywide fitness goal program, urging everyone to work out (neighborhood walks every night at 8pm, or organize community sports programs). This has been done in other cities.
Reinvent citizen participation: Dayton’s Priority Board system is a mere shell of what it once was. Time to reinvent. Scrap the 7 districts- become one city again and have neighborhood association presidents meet 4x a year directly with the Mayor and City Manager to work together for the betterment of all.
Focus on small business: Waiting for the “Silver bullet” to walk into Dayton and put a huge number of jobs in place is suicidal. We need to grow our own and measure the number of small business start-ups and encourage it. If we are really a city of innovation as many people like to promote, lets prove it by being the start-up capital of the heartland. With our low cost of living, reasonable cultural attractions, high concentration of academia and military research, this should be easy if we enable and empower the process.
Reward smarts: In Austin Texas the newspaper publishes lists of local patents that are granted. Not only should we do it (I suggested it to DDN editor Max Jennings long ago) but maybe we should have a local fund that spiffs cash for every patent granted. Why not reward good ideas from locals- instead of giving handout corporate welfare to carpetbaggers?
These are just a few ideas. Do you have anymore? Anyone want to run for Commission (start getting your signatures now, you need a minimum of 500 in January from registered Dayton voters- I only needed 50 to run for Congress).
If you want to see change, we need to change the way we approach elections. Starting NOW!