Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Prologue

That's right everybody. I am going to run for Mayor. I threatened to do it four years ago and wish I had because things don't appear to have changed that much in Dayton in the last four years. They certainly don't appear to have changed for the better. Some things are better but many things are worse. In order to run for this elected position in Dayton, you need to acquire some 500 signatures from registered voters living in the city. In reality, it means you need about 700 signatures just to be safe because some people that sign may not actually be registered within city limits.

During this process I have been asked a few questions. So I am listing them below with answers so that you have a better understanding of what I stand for.

What political party are you with? - None. I am independent and I want to stay that way. I am very centralist. Economically conservative and socially liberal. I match about 80% of the population. I vote for both republican candidates and democratic ones. I vote for the person that I feel is best suited for the task at hand not the one who advertises the most or rakes in the most campaign contributions. I am not a politician but more of a problem solver. By being independent, I don't have to tow the party line and can do what I feel is right and fair for the customers (residents) of the City. I can listen to all ideas not just party ideas.

Why am I doing this? - Someone has to do the job. I feel that I am the perfect candidate. I don't work for an employer that is affiliated with a political party so I have no pressure steering me at work. I can do almost anything I please besides run for mayor. I have many talents and much entrepreneurial experience. I am not a lawyer or a developer with ulterior motives. My only motivation is to create a better Dayton for my 5 year old daughter to experience as she grows up. I'm not wanting a political career and don't plan on running again in four more years unless the voters want me to.

What experience do you have? - Besides that of a very rich and fulfilling life, I held several sales and sales management positions in my early adulthood. I was in retail management with Gimbels department store in Pittsburgh in the early 1980s before they closed their doors forever. I was a store manager for Lane Bryant also. I spent seven years in sales and management in the life and casualty insurance business and when I finally tired of that I spent almost two years working with an auction company where I learned the true value of "stuff".
I have been a member of the South East Priority Board since 1999. In 2008, I was elected by the board to be the chairperson. I have been the president of the Walnut Hills Association for five years. This is the neighborhood association in the Walnut Hills neighborhood. Many of our achievements are documented on our web site Walnut Hills Online. As a community we have done many things that have involved "thinking outside the box" and reinventing how we envision what we do.

Why should I vote for you? - Because I care and because I don't quit projects that appear to be overwhelming. I am not afraid to attempt new things and I am not afraid to fail at new things. Without failing we don't gain knowledge. Without knowledge we can't improve. I am certainly not wasteful and I am extremely creative. I also have an ability to motivate others to achieve more.

Why don't you run for commission instead of Mayor? - Easy. Besides the fact that I stand a good chance of winning the seat, I honestly believe that every single one of our commissioners has the potential to appear to do more and be more passionate about what the do and why they do it. However, there is no one encouraging them to do so. They are all members of the democratic party and I don't think they want to outshine our current mayor who is a very active and influential member of the same party. Our elected leaders don't lead because the person at the helm isn't pushing them to. It appears that none of them are being groomed to be successors. Leaders and heads of businesses are always grooming people to replace them. I don't see it being done in our city government and feel that it is time to encourage the concept. It creates better leaders because it creates competition. As mayor I can lead others to lead. As commissioner, I would be expected to follow the lead of others. Others that aren't leading.

What do you have against Rhine McClin? - Nothing. She is a sweet lady with much character. She is intelligent and a good legislator. However, I don't feel she is the leader and motivator that Dayton needs at this very moment in time. A leader is someone who takes people from where they are, to places they have never been before. After 7 years of being in office, I just don't see it happening in the next 5 years if she is re-elected.

What do you think we need to do to turn Dayton around? - There are many things we can all do. We are all in this boat together. We all need to assume responsibility for where we live and we all need to do our part to create the Dayton we want. The first thing we all need to start doing is change the way we think about what we are doing here and why we do it. We need to instill pride in all our residents and all the employees of the city and we need to sell that pride to our neighboring communities. It doesn't cost money to change how we feel about where we live. If we believe that we are working towards a greater Dayton we will create a greater Dayton and people and businesses will want to come here. If we change the way we think about what we do and become progressive in our thoughts we will attract progressive people and businesses.

If we can't get big business to come to Dayton then we should invite small business and lots of it. If we can't create a thousand jobs for people then we need to encourage a thousand people to create jobs for themselves. In 5 years some of those businesses will be thriving and we will have generated 5000 jobs. We need to encourage inventors and technology businesses to start up here. We should also spearhead anything involving recycling. Again, progressive thinking will attract progressive people.

We need to create desirable neighborhoods. Our city government can't create desirable neighborhoods. There are over 60 in total and they wouldn't know where to start. So we start by empowering all of our neighborhoods to empower themselves. We share with them the tools and techniques that create communities. Once again, this does not cost any more money than we already spend on salaries. We already have the "Division of Community Development" in place at City Hall. All we have to do is change the way they think about what their function as a department really is. Out of this at least ten neighborhoods will rise to the top with many more riding the wave that they create. Designed by their own residents, not city government. As neighborhoods become more desirable, they lift less desirable neighborhoods around them. If Dayton is the "Gem City" it certainly needs some jewels in it's crown. We currently have some peat, lots of coal, a few garnets and a topaz or two. No diamonds, rubies, emeralds or sapphires. If we encourage the topaz or garnets to become diamonds and emeralds, some of the coal will become garnets and topaz. Some will become rubies and sapphires.

The City has no money. Income from taxes and fees is at an all time low because responsible residents are leaving. One of the first things we can do is discuss ways that this city can generate income without taxing it's residents or imposing more fees to our water bills. If we can't squeeze any more out of our residents, there is only one thing left to do. Go make some of our own. We need to entice people from the region to visit and spend money here and we need to offer incentives for our loyal residents to remain. We need to become a revenue generator and not a revenue consumer. The city has always provided services. The quality of many of those services is at an all time low. People aren't willing to pay any more for bad service. We need to improve the services we currently offer and come up with some new ones that people would gladly subscribe to. It won't cost more money to become more effective or more efficient. It won't cost money to instill pride in our city employees. Our city needs to become proactive instead of reactive. This improves efficiency and effectiveness.

The City and the Dayton Public School District need to work in unison to attract educated, responsible people to live within the boundaries of the city and the school district. This should be their joint mission. The two should work hand in hand at making our designated community schools work and become centers for the community. Community centers help create desirable neighborhoods.

Finally we all need to be willing to share ideas and allow those who implement them to get the credit. If we keep things secreted with the knowledge that we will never do anything with the idea ourselves then we are robbing society of the knowledge of a better way. Remember the old saying, ideas are a dime a dozen? The real challenge is getting the team together to take the idea and make it happen. We need to share ideas and become part of the team.

I want to contribute to your campaign. What do I do? - I don't want campaign contributions. That's right. You heard correctly. I don't want money to invest in a political campaign. If I don't get elected, the money is wasted on advertising that ends up in a landfill. If I do get elected, all the campaign signs and newsprint advertising gets thrown away and winds up in the same place! Like I said earlier, I am not wasteful. I may design some posters, signs or stickers that people can print for themselves and put up if they wish to support me but I really don't believe in spending hard earned money for a political campaign when it could be put to much better use. What I would like to do is establish a "Dayton Neighborhood Initiatives Fund". The board of directors being elected by each of the seven Priority Boards. The money will be used to empower the 60+ Dayton neighborhoods to empower themselves. If you regularly contribute to a mayoral campaign fund you should seriously consider this as the ultimate best use of your money. It won't be used to get your candidate elected. It will be used to help Dayton's neighborhoods improve themselves. The money will be there regardless of who gets elected. Your money will actually be helping to solve some of our city's problems. Which is where it needs to go. If this doesn't appeal to you then donate to your own neighborhood association. Very soon I will list how to donate to this fund. I may have to utilize my neighborhood association as a pass through to get things rolling but I need to be sure I can do this and that the members will permit it.

7 comments:

David said...

Thanks for so quickly answering my query about your position on Dayton's non-discrimination ordinances.

Brian said...

I really like what you said. I'm a Libertarian living in East Dayton, and am excited that there is an independent willing to step up to the plate. I'd love to get my signature on your nomination. Where / how can I do this?

Anonymous said...

DEAR MR.LEITZELL

WHAT CAN BE DONE OF THE GATES OF WEST DAYTON ,BLOCKING THE CITY STREETS? THESE GATES HAVE CREATED HAZARDS FOR FIRE AND SAFETY RESPONSE.PLUS THE PEOPLE OF THE GATED NEIGHBORHOODS WANT THE GATES DOWN.

Gary said...

I have added an email link to this site for Brian and anonymous to send direct questions.

For anonymous. You need to present your findings to the Priority Board that has representation from the neighborhoods that you describe. I'm certain that there is a petition process to remove the gates if a certain percentage of property owners wish it. There was probably a petition process that was used to install the gates in the first place. You or someone in a gated community will have to circulate the petition to their neighbors. Individuals and neighborhood associations can achieve more than the priority board will but it provides you with a starting point to access the appropriate neighborhoods and get the information you need that lays out the process.

Brian said...

A friend of mine had your nomination petition and I got to sign!
I look forward to hearing more from you!

Anonymous said...

I hope you win. I just moved to Dayton Ohio for work, and I must say, something needs to change. This is a horrible town. I read an article stating just how corrupt the current mayor is and how her family has taken, taken, and taken from Dayton for years. I think Dayton needs some serious help, and the money hungry politicians in this town need to step aside.

You have my vote whether you want it or not. I hope you can help wake up this tired, crime ridden, extremely depressed town you call Dayton Ohio.

Anonymous said...

I think that it is exciting that you have a bright new vision for Dayton. Many news sources have voted Dayton as being on the decline. The city lacks new retail growth. Neighborhoods homes sit in disrepair. Many of our streets are lined with buildings that have beocome eye sores. We all would love to see Dayton once again become a thriving city .