Sounds like a pretty simple question, “who do you want to run Dayton?” And most of you think this is a question of who you’ll vote for (or for those of you in the ‘burbs but own property or work in Dayton- who will the residents choose).
But, it’s not about elections, not by a long shot. Rhine McLin used to say she preferred the term “elected representative” to “politician”- and I agree with her, but it’s still not a question of who you want to run Dayton.
Maybe the question should be, who is running Dayton now? Who has been running it for a long time?
If you think it’s been the people who’ve been elected- you are kidding yourself. If you think it’s been the City Manager- the person tasked by the Charter with the job- you are kidding yourself. The people running Dayton have been the people with the money, the people who decide who gets to represent the people with the money, and that’s about it.
When I first ran against Mayor Richard Clay Dixon I had no idea that I was running against much more than a former shop teacher. I was running against the unions, the political parties, the Dayton Business Committee and the developers. When I asked how Dixon had raised $28,000, maybe from someone who wanted to build a landfill on the West side- I hit a nerve.
I’ve been hitting nerves ever since. Like the letter I got the other day about my “spray painting” my message on the sidewalk- outside a non-profit, and how they demanded I clean it off, because it would hurt their 501-c3 (non-profit) status. Or the call about the chalk around the park where we had the play in South Park.
However, if it’s the “Dayton Originals” campaign done by the city- it’s ok. I even got chastised as mean for pointing out that Rhine McLin listed a dead person on her campaign finance report, as if reporting facts is now somehow wrong.
I’m the guy people love to hate. I get compared to Abner Orick, who had a combative style on the Commission, just because I ask questions, like- who do you want running Dayton?
The chalk is guerrilla marketing. Making a very little bit of money go a long way. Yes, you are supposed to notice it. Should it make you mad, or curious? Would it be better if I accepted big checks from special interest groups and bought yard signs, billboards, TV spots, and did robo-calls like everyone else? Or had the unions distribute my literature to curry future favor- instead of just based on who is the right person for the job?
P.T. Barnum used to think that all press is good press- as long as they spell the name right. I believe that today, it’s more about creating an emotional response to cut through the clutter of the millions of messages. Either way – means to an end, I need name recognition, and just writing online isn’t enough. Look at most campaign literature, and then ask what it tells you? Born in Dayton, wife and 2 kids, where they went to school, endorsed by? I was laughed at for printing tabloid sized literature the first two times I ran for office.
This post is longer than what most candidates publish on their entire site.
Who do you want running Dayton? An automaton who spouts what the people who paid his way into office, who is careful to never step on any toes? A bold leader who tries new things and looks at failure as a learning experience? Someone who communicates what they are thinking- and asks for your input?
The reality is- the person leading Dayton, by charter, should be the City Manager, who works for the City Commission. It takes three votes to pass any legislation. I’m running for one seat. Will it kill Dayton to have one person who isn’t owned by any special interest groups, political parties, developers? One who doesn’t take $5,500 from a demolition contractor in Westerville?
Dayton’s leaders priorities should be the people, not the special interest groups, or people with the bank rolls.
You get to decide November 3rd. Or, they do.