Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Southeast Festival - a follow up report.

The Southeast Festival was a success. Despite the aggravation of getting the grant money from city hall. Since the grant check had not been issued by Friday June 19, I contacted one of our commissioners that Friday evening. He made a call to the city manager over the weekend and the check was ready by Monday afternoon. It shouldn't have to be this way. The money was allocated, the paperwork had been turned in when requested. The funds should have been confirmed and ready to be distributed. Instead, it would appear that someone made a deliberate attempt to sabotage the event just because they could. Not a single person from city hall or any of the associated departments attended the event either. This was the first year the Mayor missed the festival, too. Many residents in Southeast Dayton made this observation, including myself.
I don't know if anyone at city hall has ever organized a neighborhood festival but it is very nerve racking when you have to pay for entertainers and services when you aren't certain where the funds are going to have to come from. It limits the ability to promote an event properly. Especially if there is a chance that you have to cancel. A few other things we noticed this year. There were no large plastic garbage bins left for trash. We emptied all the metal park bins ourselves and hauled the trash away after the event and the gate was not unlocked before 7 AM but we were able to work that one out with a direct phone call.
We need a city hall that caters to its customers. By customers I mean residents, business owners and stakeholders in the community. If Dayton was a for profit business they would have gone bankrupt at least 20 years ago. The culture at city hall has to change. The "Us versus Them" mentality has to end. If it doesn't there won't be enough taxpayers left to support employee salaries.

The good news is that someone from the police department was assigned to the festival for 5 hours and some additional police officers came through during the day. It was nice to see the police officers enjoying some time out to socialize with their customers.

Montgomery county was very co-operative. The library bookmobile was there, Lucky the Ladybug showed up and they provided recycle bins for the event. I know that I can get county co-operation when it is needed. For the last 8 years I have been saying that the city and county need to co-operate more in most areas. I feel at this point that I know where the problems originate.

Here are some pictures from the festival. We estimated that over 400 people came through the park that day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Going, going…..sold!

As I pick out the last bit of whipped cream from my hair, I just want to give a hearty thank you to all who participated in Thursday night’s pie auction. A big applause goes to Jules and Eric Opperman, the owners of Dolcessa. They were the gracious hosts for this event. Also, want to thank Alex, who volunteered his service at the last moment as the youth auctioneer.
A thank you to Leah! You rock! Vanna White has nothing on you!

Not only was this a campaign fundraiser, but more importantly it was an opportunity to showcase local Dayton businesses. Ann Kenion, sole proprietor, of Desserts by Ann started the auction with her five pies. She got a rowdy applause from the audience. She already has a following of her delicious pies. Mehaffies Pies was next on the auction block with an assortment of yummy cream and fruit pies. They have been around for nearly eight decades. Christopher’s Restaurant followed with four tempting chocolate-peanut butter pies. A homemade carrot cake was also thrown into the mix. Bob Lipps, our very own Walnut Hills baker, brought a tempting dark chocolate cheesecake as well as some other goodies. Of course, Dolcessa featured a few gelato pies as well. Bob Cochran, I have my eye on you!Thanks to all! If your business is interested in hosting a campaign fundraiser, please contact our fundraising manager, Jeff Dalton at jjmdalton@gmail.com.

With regards,

Gary Leitzell

Friday, June 19, 2009

Clean Up in Southwest Dayton

On June 18, 2009 a group of people came together from all over Dayton to participate in an "Adopt-an-Area" clean up. The clean up area was the Western Ave. Apartments between the 1700 and 1900 blocks of James H. McGee Blvd. The event was organized by Ms. Shallon Coleman who founded "Abigail's Journey, Inc." which is a non profit that caters to people in need. People volunteered from the apartments, from "Project Cure" and neighborhoods from all around Dayton.
Shallon and I had a discussion several months ago. We both felt that the time has come to unite Dayton. One way to do this was to have people come together from all over the city for a common goal. It is also time to educate people about those programs that are already in existence and under utilized. Adopt-an-Area is one of those programs. I have learned as a community leader that telling people about a service or program doesn't mean that people will use it. Showing them how it works will at least make people understand it and they have the ability to teach others who need the service or program.
Anyway, there were about 40 people working together having a good time while they cleaned up trash and yard waste around the designated area. This is the 4th year that Shallon has organized this clean up and it will be an ongoing occurrence.
More neighborhood groups have to reach out the hand of unity across perceived boundaries in this city if we going to make it great again. This is the dawning of a new era. One that is long overdue.

There will be more joint clean ups organized this summer. I will keep you informed. The neat thing is that the volunteers were very impressed when they learned who I was. I had been working amongst them for several hours before it was announced. They had seen me jumping up and down in the dumpsters trying to compress the trash so that more would fit in. I wasn't afraid to get dirty and they were able to realize that I am the alternative to Rhine McLin.

Here is a picture of Shallon Coleman. If you see her in the street you need to thank her for what she is doing. This is one dedicated woman.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not to beat a dead horse, but……

While NCR’s departure has left a hole in Dayton’s economy, let’s not forget that with every failure new doors open. That hole will be filled.
What has really left a sour taste in my mouth is that fact that local leaders now feel the need to meet behind closed doors to discuss the growth of Dayton’s economy.

See this article in the Dayton Daily News.

Even before my mayoral campaign I have repeatedly stressed the importance of having plans A, B, C, D and even plan E. Realize the worst case scenario and be prepared with back-up plans. Any problem solver or strategic thinker lives by that credo.
Our leaders meet behind closed doors and think that they can come up with all the solutions themselves. I have learned to consult with professionals and those affected by the plans. The result is always a better solution. While they were planning on what would be an NCR caliber company I wonder if they missed this article in the Dayton Business Journal. I would be calling Boeing and at the very least would be asking what it would take to make this happen in Dayton.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

City Hall - Disinterested, Disfunctional or Disconnected?

Once again, I wonder just whose side City Hall is on. Because it certainly doesn’t seem to be on the side of its citizens very frequently. Allow me to explain…

Annually, Priority Boards are given funds from the city to host annual festivals for their regions throughout the city. However, in late January of this year, the Priority Board Chairpersons were informed that this year City Hall’s intention was for us to combine the $19,400 to hold a single large festival. Much to our dismay we were also informed that this decision had been made in September of 2008, yet they had waited almost 5 months to tell us.
We responded by arguing that, given the fast approach of summer, there was no way we would have time to coordinate such a large event. There was simply too much planning and organizing to be done in such a short period of time.

Hearing our resistance to the idea, they decided to consider the matter further, thus delaying a final decision.

To make things easier to track, I’ve created a timeline of the events;

March 4th - Due to the lack of a final decision, I attended a city commission meeting voicing my concern. After hearing my case, the mayor and commission agreed to divide the money equally among the priority boards to hold their festivals as they saw fit, as had been done in the past.

May 19th - I submitted the invoice necessary to acquire the funds. Upon submitting the invoice, I was told it would have to be approved AGAIN at the next city commission meeting on May 27th - This meeting was pushed back until June 3rd.
June 3rd - The funds were presumably approved. I attended that commission meeting. I thanked the commission for their cooperation. I recommended that if they want us to host a single festival in 2010 that they notify us within the next 30 days.

June 15th - Today I was informed that the funding MIGHT be processed within 7 to 10 business days. Since we are holding our Southeast festival on June 27th, this means that it is entirely possible that we won’t receive funding until several days AFTER our event.

Obviously, this presents a problem. After being assured of funding for our festival the first time, we booked all the necessary elements… entertainment, facilities, etc. Now, it seems as if the city may break its agreement, potentially leaving us high and dry.

Fortunately for Walnut hills and the Southeast Priority Board, I anticipated this situation months ago. Because of the solid residents of Southeast Priority board and Walnut Hills Neighborhood Association, we have money available to loan in advance for the festival to ensure its success, if needed.

However, the bigger picture here is what concerns me. I have to wonder, “if this is how City Hall treats its elected citizen representatives from neighborhood associations and priority boards over a measly $2,800, how do they treat local businesses that have nowhere near the voice in City Hall that we do?”

Considering this, I’m not surprised that NCR would cut communications nearly 2 years ago. Nor am I surprised by the flight of other business from Dayton. If City Hall is willing to be less than up front about small Priority Board festival grants, I wonder what they are going to do when it comes to tearing down houses with the "Neighborhood Stabilization Money" or proper allocation of the "Stimulus money" from our federal government. Since we can't get festival grants on time, it's no wonder you don't hear anything about citywide Wi Fi that was promised years ago. What's up with that?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Campaign Fundraiser

Gary Leitzell takes one in the face for the Mayor race!

!Pie Auction Extravaganza!

June 18, 2009
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Auction starts at 8:00
Dolcessa, 1106 Brown St., Dayton

Scrumptious Pies from local Dayton
businesses will be featured!

*Desserts by Ann*
Ann Kenion, sole proprietor, is listed in the June 2009 issue of Midwest Living.

*Mehaffies Pies*
Famous For Pies and Cheesecakes Since 1930

*Bob Lipps, Walnut Hills baker*

*Dolcessa Gelato Pies*
An explosion of artisan Italian ice cream flavors

Auctioneer: Brian Evans

Come support local Dayton Businesses!
One pie will forfeit its life to be thrown at Gary Leitzell.
Signature pies from each baker will also be raffled.
Enjoy gelato ice cream, bid on a pie and then top off the night watching Gary Leitzell, mayoral candidate, get a pie in the face!

All fundraising proceeds will go to Friends of Gary Leitzell
Treasurer—Dan Kennedy, 525 Heiss Ave., Dayton, OH 45403
Paid for by Friends of Gary Leitzell

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Concerning NCR's relocation.

The news of NCR's relocation is surely saddening to our city. NCR has long been a strong community pillar and has made many contributions toward the well-being of Dayton by supporting arts, charities, parks and education. Their presence will be missed.

However, the ingenuity, spirit of courage and innovation of the people that made this company so great remains here in our city. These virtues are what made NCR a leader in its market, and they are what will, once again, make Dayton a leader in the Miami Valley and beyond.

As citizens, community leaders and business leaders, we must use this news to unify us and focus our efforts into developing new and creative ways of attracting businesses positioned in markets that will remain relevant for the next five decades and beyond in addition to supporting businesses already committed to Dayton. As your next mayor, it will be my top priority to make Dayton a haven for inventive small and large businesses alike while rallying the collective imagination and insight of the over 20 groups already committed to developing business in Dayton.

This is not the final nail in the coffin for Dayton. Rather, this is the springboard we will use to capitalize on yet untapped potential of our great city as we adapt to a changing climate to make Dayton the city that we all know it can be.

Gary Leitzell

Belmont and the Mayors Walk

Monday was the Mayors walk in Belmont Neighborhood. This week Ms. McLin made a point of actually going up to the residents that were standing on their porches or in their yards and speaking with them. Only after myself or people who support my campaign had already introduced themselves though. I think she has finally comprehended that she needs to connect with the customers of the city of Dayton. After seven and a half years she is finally realizing what she needed to focus on. The customers and not the litter. Hallelujah!

After the walk I took my daughter to see the Miami Valley Music Men in the Randy Chisholm Memorial Hall located at 2745 S. Smithville Road. They meet every Monday at 7:30 PM and sing Barbershop style. We enjoyed two hours of entertainment from a group of dedicated individuals. Please stop by and visit them or join their group if you like to sing. These guys were excellent. They will be singing the national anthem at the Dragons game on June 15th. Here is snippet from their practice section. My daughter got up there with them and enjoyed being part of the show. These men should be invited to participate in Urban Nights in September. They have never been asked to do so in the past.

I think we are going to stop by often. They really seemed to appreciate the fact that I took the time to visit and welcomed me with open arms.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Questions, Questions, Questions

Now that I am running for Mayor I am being asked the same questions over and over again. Here are some questions and my answers for the record. I realize that I am not always going to give the answer you want to hear. I got this email this week (red) and answered it (black);


I am contacting you in regards to your opinions, thoughts and possible agenda on some issues in Dayton.

1. What are your thoughts on the 2nd Amendment and Right to Carry?

I support the right to bare arms. People have the right to choose whether or not to own or carry a gun if they follow the legal process.

2. With the current economic "crisis" in Dayton, the lay-offs, pay freezes and budget cuts, what is being done right and/or wrong within the current admin. to solve the problems?

I asked Ms. McLin at a public meeting if she and the commissioners had discussed any ways to generate revenue that was not a tax or a fee on the water bill while they were cutting $13 million from the budget last fall. After having to clarify the question, her answer was "No." What is wrong with her answer?
I think accountability needs to be enacted at city hall. I think creativity needs to be encouraged as well. Dayton must be marketed to the world so that we can generate additional revenue streams that don't impact the already over-assessed, resident taxpayer.

Also, what are your thoughts on the Residency Rule for city employees?

I think we need to investigate the reason why the residency ruling was added to the city charter in the 1970s. Then we must determine if the same criteria applies today. Of course the Ohio Supreme Court may make the decision that determines the outcome. A well-planned and calculated merger with the county would negate the issue altogether.

Do you believe cutting Public Safety services to "save" money is a good practice while crime rates historically rise during economic down-falls? This includes the training that is necessary to do the job.

I do not think cutting public safety is wise at any time. I think we need to investigate and test ideas that would allow our public safety personnel to work at the most efficient level possible and adopt those ideas that work.

3. What role do you believe the government should play in the daily lives of citizens?

Local government is responsible for the health and safety of its residents and visitors. This includes police, fire, emergency services, waste collection, water supply/sanitation and maintaining and upholding building code safety standards.

4. Everyday on my way to work, there is a gentleman with a sign stating "I am hungry" on the side of the road. He does have a pan-handling license. He also has (everyday) a different fast food bag and drink next to him. Given that this makes the city look trashy, what would you do to curve, if anything, this problem that is spread throughout the city?

We need to inspire such people, whenever possible, to become productive members of the community. We could, at the very least, buy the man a suit and ask him to frequent a different location every day. :)

5. Do you feel you have the necessary experience to tackle the very real and large problems the city faces? What political
party (of the two) do you feel best represent your ideological views?

Mclin may be an experienced politician, but experience doesn't make you qualified for the job. The captain of the Titanic and the Exxon Valdez were both experienced captains. What they both lacked was good judgment under crisis.
I am an experienced problem solver. I don't mind asking people for their input or advice when difficult decisions have to be made. I am completely non-partisan when it comes to political views. I do what I feel is fair under the circumstances. I am a strategic thinker with many creative ideas. A political party has not been created for the likes of me.

Thank you for your time.

If you wish to join my campaign team, please email me at gary@daytonmayor.org