Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Charter Changes for a "Hell No" Vote

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 There are six charter changes being proposed in the May 4th special election. You can view the ordinances and the ballot language in this post. The two you need to absolutely vote "NO" on are items #3 and #4 on the ballot. Item #3 defines the role of the mayor in our city manager form of government. It is an unnecessary ordinance because the mayor adopts these roles anyway as part of their expected duties. This just makes it official and if a political party gets their person elected, it allows them to play party politics because the charter says it is OK. 

The other change is item #4. It involves eliminating the mayor appointed compensation board which meets once a year to discuss pay raises for commission members. They have doled out three 2% raises over the last 7 years while Dayton is beginning to spiral down a black hole as far as neighborhoods and community is concerned. This charter change bases salaries on those of the county commissioners. The county salaries are set by the state of Ohio and are based on population. They go up every year but raises can't be paid to elected officials. However, if re elected the salary increases to the new rate four years later and is about 5% higher. The charter change sets the commissioner salary at 50% of the county commission salary and the mayor salary at 75% of that amount. The amount set for county commissioners in 2022 based on Montgomery County population (531,687 people) is $109,577. The salary of a commissioner will jump from $46,500 to $55,000. The salary of the mayor will jump from $55,000 to $82,000. These are part time jobs, though my first time as mayor I worked 36 to 40 hours a week part time. If re elected in 4 years the salaries jump to $59,000 and $88,000 respectively.

I am only voting YES on items #5 and #8 regarding teleconferencing meetings (though I think this could be tweaked a little better) and establishing the water department as a public utility that can't be sold to a private business unless the people vote on it.

The other items, I get the purpose, I don't like the wording. If I don't like the wording I always vote "NO" because they can come back and make it better.

Friday, March 26, 2021

You Will be Voting on More Than a Mayor and Commissioners in May

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May 4th, 2021 is election day for our local special election. On the ballot are candidates for Dayton mayor and commission. This is a non partisan special election. No one is required to declare for a party so everyone can vote. The two candidates with the highest vote counts for mayor go on to the general election in November, as do the four highest of the commission candidates. What you aren’t hearing about are all the charter changes that have been added to the ballot, so I will post the language here in a series of photos.

First up is this,  regarding compensation for the mayor and commissioners.

Then there is this. It deals with updating genders and defines the role of the mayor.

Third up is this. I pushed for allowing distance participation ten years ago when commissioner Lovelace was ill. It took a pandemic to make this administration see it as a useful tool.

Then we have a change that corrects gender language and defines the role of the chief examiner.

Next is language preventing employees of the City from participating in local election campaigns but allowing them to indulge in State and  Federal races.

Finally one that prevents the water department from being sold off to a private source. The water department is an enterprise fund supported by the fees charged to customers. It could be a separate entity controlled by a regional authority but should never be a "For profit" business. The county buys it's water from Dayton, then sells it to residents outside the City. Dayton has always held on to this department to keep rates low for City residents.

So please read these changes and know what you are voting for. The ballot language does not necessarily reflect the change in the ordinance language.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

This City Has Become Very Trashy The Last Few Years

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 My wife pointed out to me how bad the streets and alleys appear in my neighborhood when she takes walks with my daughter. In fact, I can honestly say I have NEVER seen it THIS bad. There is trash everywhere. Our current Commission, consisting of the following; Mayor Nan Whaley, Commissioners Jeffrey Mims Jr, Darryl Fairchild, Matthew Joseph and Chris Shaw have become a bunch of slackers the last few years. The following video issued last week has the City Manager explaining how they have failed to maintain their inventory of green trash containers and are currently short 900 of them. They failed to maintain an active inventory and are pointing the finger at the vendor when they should have just started walking the streets every so often over the last eight years where they would have seen it getting progressively worse. One of their jobs is to direct policy. I guess their policy has been to make Dayton "Trash City USA."

They have also dropped the ball on recycling. In 2013 Rumpke paid Dayton $6 a ton for recyclables. Now Dayton pays Rumpke $35 a ton and we are expected to clean and sort what they want. I will cover this subject in greater detail in another post. I am so upset about this.I am going to hit hard on this subject this year. They should have been paying attention the moment we started paying Rumpke.

The next way I know they have been slacking is they have not paid attention to appointments on certain boards they oversee. This was a major pet peeve of mine during my term. Not keeping these board lists current makes the Commission look like ... well .... a bunch of slackers. The following pictures of board lists was captured on March 15, 2021. It is not like it is just one or two boards they have not been paying attention to. Look at the expired term information.

I said when I left office in January 2014 that I personally had created enough activity to carry the new administration for six years. After that the people will see the well of ideas dry up. Guess what? We are there.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Things You Might Not Know

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Every so often I Google my name, just to see what others write. I find mentions on Reddit, Nextdoor, Facebook, in papers and magazines and even books people have written. Most refer to our immigrant friendly initiative titled “Welcome Dayton” from 2011. Every so often I find a comment like “He never did anything” or “He couldn’t do anything”, “2nd weirdest politician in Dayton history”etc. etc. So I am here to set some myths to bed. More change occurred in my four years as mayor than in the eight years prior to being elected and the eight years since. How, you may ask? I understood the power of suggestion. I made a lot of them and sometimes to the right person who could follow through and implement them. The first thing I suggested was making commission agendas available to the public online BEFORE the Wednesday commission meeting. It was done and drove the cost of contracted services down because it made bidding more competitive because competing vendors could see who got the contract and where they were cutting costs to get the contract. This meant the City had more money to do other things.

I mentioned to the police chief that I could view mug shots of sex offenders in my neighborhood but I don’t know who the burglars are. Neighborhood crime maps would also be useful. Tools like these would help citizens be on the look out and help police. The police department had the tools to do this but the previous administration was afraid it would make Dayton look bad. I said go for it. Give the people the tools to protect themselves. The police department produced a web site that allows access to neighborhood crime stats in almost real time (24 hour delay) and produces a weekly report by district with mug shots of those arrested.

Have you ever filled out a police report online? You can do that for insurance claims if you don’t have a suspect. I made that happen after my car was broken into at 4AM and I had to stay awake until an officer could stop by and take a statement at 10AM. Now I can secure the car, go back to bed and file a report while drinking my morning coffee.

Do you pay your water bills online? Well you can thank my wife for that. She complained to me every time she had to send an e check through her bank and it never arrived on time. I complained for her to the city manager every quarter until he got tired of it and the water department came up with to stop the complaining.

Do you participate in the tire buy back program every year? Well, after a Priority Board clean up event in Southeast Dayton I realized that we had a serious tire dumping problem and took the city manager out to drive around to see how bad it was. He had staff look into the laws regarding tires, what could be done with them and even discovered that people were stashing them floor to ceiling in vacant houses. I suggested some kind of buy back like those states that give refunds on bottles. Staff worked with the solid waste district and the buy back program became a reality.

I will cover one more thing here and save some stuff for a follow up post. Sometimes my suggestions did not get the desired result BUT lead staff to come up with their own solution. I mentioned to the fire chief that they should hand out cards listing the social helpline phone number 211 to the ambulance frequent flyers. These are the people who abuse emergency services and use ambulances as a taxi service. I suggested that if these people wanted a sandwich and someone to talk to the social services would be more effective and cut down on costs. They tried it. Several months later the fire chief leaned towards me and stated that he wanted to tell me that because of my suggestion they were able to solve the frequent flyer problem. My card idea wasn’t working but they began to realize the abusers always requested to be taken to the same hospital each time. So they started taking them to a different hospital or told them they had to take them to a different location. It stopped. He wanted me to know that my idea helped them solve the problem.

So if you are one of those people who believed I did nothing as a mayor I hope this is opening your mind a little to the truth. The fact is this, I may have had zero political experience in 2010 but I had much management experience. Suggesting others to take the lead is not what politicians do. It is what good managers do because they want the end result, not credit for the idea. I made a lot of very logical and sensible suggestions and staff turned them into reality.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Campaign Contributions

I believe in limited campaign spending, and I have issued a $10,000 limit challenge. I don't like the idea of collecting $1,000 checks from special interest groups with strings attached. I believe in doing what is right for Dayton residents. So, I am trying something different: a SMALL DONATIONS campaign. I would like 8,000 to 10,000 people to simply make a contribution of $1.25 to my campaign effort. If you like what you read here or follow my posts on Facebook, well, $1.25 is a way to help.Share this with your friends and family, and let's pave the way to getting BIG MONEY out of politics. If you would like to make a larger contribution you can. The donate button is just below my picture. Thank you for your support! It may not be visible on a mobile app. So try this instead .

Thursday, March 4, 2021

I Must Have the Most Famous Roof in Dayton

 It is amazing. Eleven years AFTER the local newspaper article from August 2010 about me limiting my schedule as mayor for the month of September people still harp on the fact that I took some time to work on my roof. I should add that at the time, when it rained, I had a waterfall in my bathroom due to failed box gutters, there were even mushrooms growing out of the brick walls. So, if you are one of the people who honestly believes the lies made up by the local Democratic party in order to get the current mayor elected then you need to know the truth. I never took three months off to fix my roof. It took 14 work days over a three month span of time to tear down a fire escape and front porch, dispose of the material, repair a huge hole where a dormer was, repair a section of box gutter supports and replace the slate roof and box gutter on the rear and south side of my house. I documented the entire process at the time here. 

The front part of the roof became a real problem in 2018 when the front and north side box gutters gave out and so I had to devise a way to complete the roof project. That was documented here.

I still have to complete the dormer at the front of the house and the upper porch. Maybe I need to get it done this year BEFORE getting elected again. I wouldn't want anyone thinking that working on my roof was a dereliction of duty to my 40 hours a week part time as mayor. Yes, that is correct. I worked on average, 40 hours a week in a part time job for 4 years. Even when I worked on my roof in 2010. That is why it took 14 days over a 3 month period to complete the task. I was still working on city business and not slacking off the way some people have been told.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The $10,000 Challange.

 Back in 2013 I offered a challenge. That any candidate for mayor of Dayton spend no more than $10,000 to get elected. The challenge was not about winning or losing. It was a marketing ploy. Should all three candidates agree then we would have been a national phenomenon. The two Democratic party candidates did not oblige. The current mayor spent $250,000 in a primary. The Democratic challenger spent $100,000 and I spent $2,000 of my own money and lost by 200 votes simply because the citizens did not realize that in a mayoral primary, the two highest vote getters go on to a general election. So Democrats came out to vote for the person to run against me. Republicans, Independents and Third Party did not vote because they assumed that as an Independent I was automatically on the November ballot.  A.J. Wagner later told me that he should have accepted the challenge. By November that year the current mayor had spent an additional $250,000 and A.J. Wagner could only raise $30,000 plus. By the way, in 2014 the job paid $45,000 a year. In my opinion the job salary did not justify the cost to obtain. So, I publicly challenge the mayor to limit spending on her re election to $10,000. Maybe, just maybe she will understand. Unfortunately, I doubt it.

I offer the challenge again. If the current mayor truly understands what this could do for her career as a politician, she will accept it. She would understand that I offer an opportunity to advance her career. Unfortunately I do not believe that she will get it. I don’t believe she will ever understand the mind of an entrepreneur. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

WHAT? You want to do this again?

 Hello, it has been several years since I have had any reason to post any comments here. Well, the time has come to start commenting once again. It is October 22nd, in the year that never was (2020) it has been a strange year as most would agree. Usually by this time I have been alerted to the fact that certain people are circulating petitions to run for the position of mayor or city commission. I have heard nothing until this week. There are possibly two people wanting to face the commission incumbents. One I have met already and we are helping each other with getting petitions signed. I have heard nothing about a challenge to the current mayor who managed to run unopposed in 2017 because the one person who tried to get on the ballot to run against her did not fully understand the criteria required. Which, I must say is a common mistake. 

I do not believe ANY candidate should run unopposed.  Because of that, and the fact that Dayton residents deserve qualified choices when it comes to a mayor or a commissioner, I am throwing my hat into the ring for a second time because of my belief that voters deserve choices in elections. To me it is a matter of principle.

In order to get on the ballot, I need to get 500 signatures from registered voters residing in Dayton proper. That means that I really need about 750 to 800 because some people print their name or sign in a legible manner that does not match how they signed their voter registration card. It requires about 80 hours of work.  I have already written two posts on this blog regarding the process. If you are ever interested in running for office in Dayton, you really should read them. The local Board of Elections will not tell you how to fill out the forms or how to get qualified signatures. They will also not tell you that signatures collected 12 months before the turn in date are valid. That is because every position in that office has two employees. One is Republican, the other is a Democrat. Since the Dayton election is non partisan, if you do not belong to a political party and are the anointed candidate then they will never help you with the correct information. If indeed they even know what the correct information is. 

So, with all this said. If you are a Dayton voter. You will have a choice in 2021. I am going to guarantee it.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Truth About Mayor Whaley's Salary Freeze

The City of Dayton has a compensation board made up of five people who meet once a year between August and November to discuss the compensation of the mayor and commissioners. The members of this board serve four year terms. One member must be from organized labor, one from business, two from a citizen participation organization and one from the community at large. The compensation board was voted into the city charter in 1982. Early in 2010 I proposed that the commissioners and myself take a pay cut since things were looking bad for the City at that time. Joey Williams had no problem with the idea but felt that Commissioner Whaley and Commissioner Lovelace might since their salary was their only source of income. So nothing happened and the subject died until later that year when the compensation board met and I was asked to meet with them.

So I was asked by the compensation board if I agreed with their recommendation of "no increase" for the salaries of the city commission. I told them that they should require us to take a pay cut since the rest of city staff were being asked to take a 3% cut in order to keep their jobs. The look on some of their faces was priceless. I think I actually earned respect from one of them. All were appointed by the former mayor of course and none demonstrated any loyalty to me. They decided that they would recommend there would be no increase to the city commission regardless of my opinion. However, the word got out that I proposed a decrease and the four commissioners realized that if the recommendation of the compensation board was brought up at a public commission meeting then my recommendation would also come up and I would look like a hero in the eyes of the public. Since their mission was to get Commissioner Whaley elected as mayor in 2013, they had to prevent me from becoming popular. So it was agreed that we should voluntarily reduce our salaries in line with the rest of the staff. This made us all look good in the local news and the compensation board never presented their recommendation in 2010. So the whole pay reduction would never have happened if I had not forced the issue with the compensation board recommendation.We voluntarily reduced our salaries again for 2012 so the compensation board recommendation was never public. In 2013 we passed a budget granting staff pay increases. So in 2013 we did not reduce our salaries a third time. They went back to  2010 levels.

I got to appoint three members of the compensation board during my lame duck administration in August 2013. Having worked with the commissioners for almost four years I got to see first hand how little they actually do with regards to initiating policy. None of them did the very basic job of reading the agenda material every week. I know this because I appeared to be the only member of the commission that found the mistakes. Most were typo errors but some of them were big money mistakes or piss poor math calculations. I always got them fixed before the Wednesday meeting so no one would be embarrassed publicly. There were a few meetings where the commissioners asked questions that indicated they had never read the material. If they had, they would not have asked the questions they did.

I specifically told my appointed board members not to recommend an increase in salary because this commission did nothing outstanding to deserve it. They did it anyway because they felt we had
handled the recession very well. I would not benefit from any increase since the voters had elected Commissioner Whaley to be the next mayor when the recommendation of the compensation board came before the commission at a public meeting in November 2013. In a 4 - 1 vote the commissioners voted to increase their salaries. I was the NO vote. Nan Whaley had campaigned on the fact that she had taken a pay cut during her term. (You now know why she took the pay cut and that it was for only two years.) When I challenged her on this at that public meeting she agreed that since she had campaigned about this issue that she would not take the pay increase. So, in 2014 her salary increased by some $7,000 as a result of becoming mayor and while she has frozen her  mayor salary at the 2013 level and not taken any of the  subsequent pay increases she has cost the tax payer much more money by attending many charity dinners and benefits that the commission office has to pay for. Those tickets are not free. She has also taken trips to several sister cities and attends several meetings around the country associated with the US Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities. Those trips are paid for with income tax dollars. If she is re-elected in 2017 she will release her salary freeze and be compensated at the 2018 level for the mayor's compensation. She will continue to spend tax dollars on travel and events so that she can be seen in public and give people the impression that she is actually working when in fact she is socializing and scheming.

So I noticed that this year the mayor appointed three new members to the compensation board. My three appointees have been replaced in the third year of their four year term. Interesting. These new board members recommended a pay increase the same year that the administration got an income tax levy increase passed. I was pleased to see that Joey Williams voted "NO" on the pay increase. This is the first time I have ever seen him vote NO on a city commission item and the first time I have seen Ms. Whaley vote in disagreement. Maybe there is hope yet but in all of his 15 years on the commission he has only really done two things that stand out. He initiated monthly financial briefs and he initiated the community police council in July 2011. (Only after Kylen English leaped off the Third Street bridge while escaping from a police cruiser.)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Do You Want to be Mayor or Commissioner?

Let's look at some facts right now. If Nan Whaley wants to hold a job she has to run for mayor again. Why? Well Hillary lost the presidential race and Ohio is controlled by Republicans so her her opportunities to weasel her way into the Clinton administration dried up and her Ohio opportunities went away with Ted Strickland. She already has people collecting signatures for her. They were chasing people down after they voted at the polling stations on the west side of Dayton. I saw it first hand. I hope she wasn't using GOTV funds to pay the signature collectors. That would be deplorable.
In four years she will be easily defeated. People will be tired of her just as they were with Rhine McLin. Right now, well she has screwed up several times but the vast majority of Daytonians will be willing to grant her a second strike. Trust me when I say she will achieve very little. Look at her last three years and realize nothing new has really happened. Everything currently is carry over from the 2010 - 2014 administration. If you want her gone, along with two commissioners there is only one course of action. Get 5 to 8 people on the ballot to oppose each candidate. This is not about winning or holding the title. This is about creating an elimination process. The Dayton Commission and Mayor race is non partisan. Party affiliation should not come into play. Each candidate is required to live in Dayton and get 500 valid signatures from registered voters from Dayton in order to get on the primary ballot. This means that you need 750 to 800 signatures from Dayton voters in order to secure a ballot seat. Signatures must match those that there placed on the voter registration cards. They can not be printed. The primary is a run off election. The two highest vote getters go on to the general election. If the primary has many contestants the votes get diluted such that the incumbent could lose. This is what happened to me because people did not understand how the election works. So imagine what would happen if Scott Sliver, Daryl Fairchild, David Greer, David Esrati and I were to run in the primary against Nan Whaley. None of us wish to do this of course but look at how the votes would go across the board. Nan may not be one of the two highest vote getters and would become a lame duck mayor. In order to get 800 signatures you need to recruit ten people to get you 80 each or you get them yourself before February when it is cold outside. This will require knocking on 8000 doors over 80 hours in order to get 10 signatures per hour. The voter walking lists can be downloaded at Trust me when I say that I have done this enough times that this is the only way to ensure valid signatures and effective and efficient campaign strategy. If you have some money to invest, buy some door hangers to leave with those voters that were not at home stating who you are, what you are running for and that you will want their vote in the primary. This saves you having to come back to campaign the neighborhood that you sought signatures from. So, to make a difference because there are three seats up for grabs in 2017, 15 people or more have to step up and throw their hat in the ring. The worst case scenario is that you lose but have name recognition for future political campaigns. Again the goal is to overturn the current administration, not necessarily to win. I have proven three times that money does not gain votes. Do not focus on money. Focus on issues, publicity and grass roots campaigning. The incumbents will spend ridiculous amounts of money so they don't have to do this. That is why you should do it. If anyone is interested in this opportunity, message me back. I will be happy to get you petition forms and walk you through the process. I am not willing to do this at this time because I have personal things to take care of over the next two years but will be happy to educate anyone on the process in the hope that they can have a positive impact on Dayton.