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.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Vote NO on Issue 9. Here is Why.

The City of Dayton wants to increase the local income tax from 2.25% to 2.5% so that it can raise an additional $11 million to spend on services that 60 to 70% of the people paying the tax will not benefit from because they live in suburbs outside the city limits. I wouldn't want the citizens to be hoodwinked. Let's study this more closely. Here is what the ordinance states regarding the use of the funds.

The City is paying the general fund the first $6.7 million. To be vaguely used for services that they already provide. To the extent of available funds they are giving $4.3 to a private non profit to fund one year of affordable pre-school to what amounts to 750 children. That is $5,700 per child. If there is surplus after that, well, it goes into the general fund as well. There is no guarantee they will use the money for what they are telling us it will be used for. Here is what the local paper stated in June.

"The tax increase will help close a $5 million funding gap. It also will pay to maintain fire services, add about 20 police officers, roughly triple the amount spent to pave and resurface residential roads, improve parks and better maintain vacant lots, said Shelley Dickstein, Dayton’s city manager." ....."The city is earning the same amount of money as it did in 1998, which is insufficient to sustain current service levels and pay for strategic investments, Dickstein said."

You can see by this ordinance passed on September 21, 2016 that things have already changed. There are no dollar amounts assigned to policing, road repairs or park improvements. Here are reasons to vote NO on Issue 9.

1) First and foremost you would like to trust your government, right?  Actually they are misleading you. We need to  realize that the city general fund budget for 2016 is $160 million. In 2009 it was $160.7 million. So we are operating at pre recession levels not 1998 levels when the population in the City was considerably higher.

2) We also need to ask if the 20 police officers are in addition to the current force or if they replace 20 officers that have retired. Oh wait. The ordinance doesn't state they will be adding 20 officers. That is all hot air.

3) There is no funding gap. This is a proposed budget on paper. They can balance the budget with no tax increase. They just can't do extra things they want to do.

4) The City just approved a bond issue on 9/21/2016 for road repairs totaling $5.4 million and $4.4 million for new vehicles. If the tax increase is approved they will spend the bond money now and use the extra tax funds to pay the interest on the bonds.

5) The police department budget has only increased 3.26% since 2013 while the City manager office and commission office budgets have grown over 19% in the same time frame. If fire department budgets are to remain constant at $38.5 million a year, why do we need more money to fund something that isn't planned to change?
You need to ask Mayor Whaley who paid for her trips to Germany and Bosnia in the last year. Staff could visit sister cities. The mayor needs to focus on Dayton. The Commission office budget in 2013 was $960,973. In 2016 it is $1,144,900. A $183,927 increase. Why? The City Manager budget has grown by $221,283 since 2013. We lost Tim Riordan. We lost Warren Price. We lost Stanley Early, an assistant City Manager. Since March 2013 the law, director, fire chief, economic development director and the public relations director have all left. Between 2010 and 2013 no department heads left on their own accord. A building services director was fired for wrongdoing.

6) The pre-school promise, which is a noble idea, will get a fixed amount of $4.3 million (if the funds are available). It will not solve the problems in Dayton Public Schools. A year of pre-school for children who's parents can't afford to drive them to school and for which there is no legal requirement for the public school to provide transportation will not work as long as these same children suffer from food insecurity AKA hunger. If the difference between school lunch and school breakfast the next morning is 20 hours and there is no food at home, these children will never learn because they are trying to stay alive and learning has little or no value when you are in survival mode. This portion of the tax increase does not address one of the main reasons children in Dayton fail to graduate. It would be more effective to provide every one of the 6700 babies born in the county a copy of Dr. Tizer's "Your Baby Can Learn" DVDs at $50 each if bought in bulk and award the parents a $200 income tax credit if their child is reading by age 3. This would cost $350,000 the first two years and less than $2 million a year after the third year and impact the entire county, not just the City of Dayton residents. By age 3 most of the county children would be kindergarten ready if they watched those DVDs starting at 3 months old.

7) The purpose of city government is to provide safety services to citizens. Not education and not economic development. Education is the responsibility of the school district and the state. Economic development should be handled by the Chamber of Commerce. Right now your tax money is being squandered on real estate speculation around the central business district and development is being steered and controlled by government.

Vote NO on Issue 9 and force this administration to go back to the drawing board to find ways to use your money more effectively and efficiently to solve real problems.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Election Year Facts - From 1936

Eighty years ago there were no TV sets in peoples houses and no internet to feed you lies in an instant. Instead, people read things and listened to the radio. In today's political climate it seems that the mission of a political party is to stop the other side from doing anything that benefits the public. They use scare tactics and offensive negative advertising to sway your opinion. Facts and truth have little meaning any more. It used to be that the Democrats were challenged with helping the average working man achieve the American dream and the Republicans helped the average businessman to do the same. I found this old brochure from 1936. It is interesting because it lists issues and it appears that both parties are focused on solving those same issues. They just have slightly different ways to go about it. This was pretty much the way it was until the late 1960s and early 1970s when politics was no longer for business minded people who wanted to help the people. Instead it was about big money, a life long career at the tax payers expense and helping friends and family get what they want and not what the people need. Think about this as we vote in two weeks for who we would like to make decisions for us, and again in November when it REALLY will affect your future.

The last page explains the Electoral College in simple terms and tells you why we have an ass and an elephant as symbols. Enjoy!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Speed or Safety?

My Comments on the Speed Safety Cameras in Dayton.

I have always supported the use of safety cameras in Dayton. I always called them Safety Cameras. The former City Manager would look at me and say “They are speed cameras.” My reply was "In the City they are Safety Cameras. In the country they are speed cameras."  Here is why I supported their use. First, watch this video of what happens at red lights.


Then realize that the average cost to society for an accident at an intersection where the cameras are placed is about $850. This includes ambulance and police costs as well as clean up. Nobody thinks of these costs whenever they receive a citation for their bad driving habits. They only think about the fact that they are being patrolled and not protected by our police department. The problem with the speed cameras and the red light cameras is that they were never marketed properly. They were put in place at the request of the police department to catch speeders and people who go through red lights so that they could be ticketed for violating traffic laws. The citations were sent out and you were presumed guilty and asked to pay a fine for wrong doing. You could fight the citation after paying the “fine” and the right to due process in this country is denied even though the penalty is considered a civil one and not a criminal one. No points are placed on your drivers license and no criminal penalty is imposed regardless how many citations you may get. Despite this, these cameras had a positive impact around the city. Accidents at dangerous intersections went down and the number of citations decreased over time as well. Their primary purpose is to actually change driving habits, not catch violators. So these cameras were never marketed as safety cameras but more like “Gotcha cameras.”

I have never received a "ticket" from these cameras but when I saw this article in the local paper I laughed. Instead of suing the state of Ohio to get our way, which is how most bureaucracies think when they don't get their way in the courts and brute force and tons of other people's money can be used, how about we change our marketing plan? What if we changed perceptions in this town. Let's leave the cameras up and use them as a public service to notify people that they should consider changing their driving habits while in Dayton. Let's set the speed cameras at 15 mph over the legal speed limit in the immediate area and announce that SAFETY cameras are in force. I believe that in Dayton they are currently set at 12 mph over the posted limit. I could be wrong but that is way higher than the 3 mph in some jurisdictions. Here is a picture of a sign used in England. It says it all though the words "SAFETY CAMERA" would help.

So, how about this concept? We (the City of Dayton) provide a notification/public safety service. If you “use” the service then you are expected to pay for that service. So, if you drive through an intersection where the cameras are in place and you trigger the camera, you get a nice polite letter in the mail indicating that you may wish to drive at a slower speed in future or not drive through a red light. The fee for the service is $30 and failure to pay will result in this being turned over to a collection agency. If you wish to unsubscribe from this service then you must drive within the 15 mph buffer zone and stop at red lights.

So, what does something like this do? It no longer shouts “Hey, we gotcha! Pay a fine.” It doesn't tell you how fast you were going. It doesn't say you are guilty of any violation. It says “We care about public safety including yours and we provide a notification service in an effort to change bad driving habits in Dayton.” It says that we know you or someone you lent your vehicle to were traveling at least 15 mph over the posted limit for that area and that is not acceptable for safety purposes. We aren't going to fine you but you are expected to pay for this billing notice and that fee is less than a fine if a police officer witnessed the incident. Thank you. I think more people would pay the "fee" than would pay a fine.

I would also like to add that if you receive numerous notifications and are then recorded causing an accident that requires police and EMS, you should be billed $850 for those services.

Why can't our civic leaders think beyond the box and solve problems versus wasting public money to sue in court?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Let's Answer Some Questions.

Why are you running for County Commissioner?

When people in Dayton woke up the day after the primary election in May 2013, they were upset and confused. They were not upset at me. They did not understand how a mayoral primary is conducted in Dayton when an independent candidate is involved and there are more than two candidates. They were confused because they thought that an independent incumbent was automatically on the November ballot. Generally a primary is to elect a party representative to appear on the November ballot. This was not the case so hundreds of people asked me to stay involved.
In June 2013 I had heard from several reliable sources that the incumbent County Commissioner was not planning to run again for his seat in 2014. I was told that he was looking at another opportunity with a local development group that would pay him almost double his salary. I pulled petitions to run for the seat in July 2013. It made the local paper. Since I am an independent candidate, I was required to get 1852 valid signatures from registered voters in order to appear on the ballot. Party endorsed candidates require just 50 signatures. This meant that I would need around 3000 signatures in order to ensure validity. It also meant that I needed to start early. The incumbent did not express an interest in running for reelection until it was announced in December 2013. At the time of the announcement I had already collected 1000 signatures and was facing a May 5th deadline  to collect the remainder.

I am running for what I believed was an open seat. I am running because 2900 people signed my petition and believe in my vision. I am running because I know I can continue my success I had in Dayton to the county level. I am running because I am an independent who is not afraid to take calculated risks. Montgomery County needs an independent thinker, problem solver, a business minded spirit. We need to Kick It Up in Montgomery County. That is why I am running. That is why you need to vote for me on November 4th.

Gary Leitzell