Small business owner, veteran, community activist, neighborhood president, founder of South Park Social Capital, Dayton Business Journal 40 under 40, citizen journalist publishing esrati.com since 2005. Renovated 5 buildings in Historic South Park; have been a leader of the neighborhood renaissance over the last 25 years. Owner of The Next Wave, an award-winning advertising agency. 5-gallon blood donor. Big brother for 28 years. 3 term elected precinct captain to a party that doesn't like me.
Wright State University, BSB Business 1988. US Army, Communications, Airborne, served with 7th and 11th Special Forces Groups. Kaufman Foundation FastTrac grad.
Dayton is poised for great things, as soon as the FBI and the DOJ finish indicting a whole bunch of politicians who have been playing "Pay to Play" with our tax dollars instead of doing what they were supposed to do.
Taxpayers don't need to subsidize rich developers or huge corporations for them to come here. Every single example of that has been an embarrassment or a trade-off where our local businesses were put in an unfair position.
We need to focus on delivering services more efficiently and streamline our regions tangled mess of governments into something that works. While the Dayton Police Department is almost half of what it was, private police forces now exceed it.
We used to have a Dayton jail that was safe- now we have a dangerous county jail where people die while awaiting trial.
And our property taxes penalize those who fix up their properties- which only serves to promote disinvestment. It's time for equal opportunity economic development.
Not calling in the National Guard immediately was a mistake of epic proportions. While Daytonians stepped forward to help the victims, there was plenty that needed guarded, heavy equipment deployed and especially generators for the well field.
We need to rebuild our tornado warning sirens, because they work.
Unfortunately, what the tornadoes did uncover was our lack of available low income housing- and we need to work harder at making it easier to redevelop old multi-unit housing and practical to bring more onboard.
Our building and zoning codes have been encouraging single family homes for so long, that the most affordable multi-tenant housing has become the rarity.
This is above my pay grade. It's not a local issue.
However, I don't believe in private police forces like those of rich private institutions like the University of Dayton, or Premier Health or Kettering Health- or public institutions like Sinclair, Wright State or Metroparks.
I believe our police department needs to be rebuilt to a force of over 500 officers and the way to do that is to no longer allow private police to exist- either hire our officers, or pay a licensing fee equal to the average officers salary.
The death of Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati at the hands of a University of Cincinnati police officer should have been the end of private armies for institutions.
Until this country adopts sensible gun policy, we are lucky that the DPD was there and did their job so well.
For any organization to be able to hold a rally, they must prove that they actually need that much space. I would have relegated them to a small park away from businesses and the public- so that they could have been easily ignored.
There was no reason to disrupt the city for 9 clowns.
Nor, was there reason to spend $650K because Courthouse Square is difficult to provide security for.
A nice meeting of the KKK at a park shelter would have been fine.
There has been a "culture of corruption" in Dayton as long as I've been alive.
It's how a whole bunch of people have profited off the backs of poor people.
The entire state allows the two political parties to manipulate ballot access, draw voting lines, and play stupid when it comes to the Ohio "Sunshine Laws."
DeWine refuses to admit that Wright State's Trustees were criminal in their behavior.
No one would act when I proved that Dayton School Board member Dr. Adil Baguirov didn't live in the district and didn't belong in office. www.esrati.com/manofmystery
At this point, Deters is just as guilty of being a part of it- since he has failed to bring any other indictments. He only seems interested in prosecuting African American males.
I have proof that pay to play exists in Dayton, and that the board of elections is criminal in their enforcement of their duties. If Deters won't take them down, I will.
We need people who actually have a track record of creating value in this community.
I bought a home in South Park for $14,500 in 1986, and then bought 4 more buildings. As an involved neighbor and neighborhood president, I've been a part of the South Park Renaissance that has seen a run down neighborhood turn into one of the best investments in the city.
I also strongly believe that a government that is open and transparent is most likely to bring prosperity to the people.
Our city works in back rooms, where candidates are picked and "endorsed" before they are even approved and on the ballot.
I've spent countless hours trying to keep our government accountable to the people through recording public meetings and posting them to Youtube, and by researching and writing about the many improprieties where tax dollars subsidize the rich on the backs of the poor. It's time to bring "Equal Opportunity Economic Development®" to Dayton.
No. And I'm not sure we've been told the truth about how and why the break happened yet, nor what the real cost to the city was.
Our pipes are lead- just like Flint Michigan. We're not working hard enough at fixing some of our fundamental problems.
I believe the rise of the PFAS contamination comes from our loss of large scale industrial users of water that has helped our water table rise and leach surface contaminants into the aquifer. It's time to find new high volume water users to replace Delco, Delphi and others to help use more water.
The biggest threat to growing Dayton's prosperity is a lack of creativity in problem solving and a lack of leadership willing to address the real problems we've engineered via institutional racism.
We really need to re-invent how we set property taxes, how we create incentives for reinvestment and most of all, how we choose our governing forces. Right now, we have a patchwork of way too many jurisdictions with too many elections, too many meetings and too many organizations to properly monitor and keep in line. Go to www.reconstructingdayton.org to learn more about the cost of our 28+ city managers/township administrators and think how the money could be better spent.
We also have to restore the pride in our community. We saw what kind of folks we are after the tornadoes and the Oregon District shooting. It's time to build upon the good souls- instead of keeping the political class fat and happy.
I promise to make sure that your biggest investment, your home, increases in value. In the 33 years I’ve been involved in the South Park neighborhood, I’ve seen my house increase in value by over 15x. When I moved to South Park and bought my house for $14,500, you could have bought any house on my street for that. Now, we’ve had homes sell for $240K. While some people point to historic zoning, and housing stock- I believe that the South Park Miracle began when we stopped selling homes and started selling community. When I made the video “South Park Soliloquy” tinyurl.com/y4gzhgph back in 1997, it changed the conversation. My neighbors looked at me funny when I suggested using the music of Buckwheat Zydeco as our soundtrack, but I truly believe that his infectious happiness set a new tone for our neighborhood.
I was never a fan of the extra layer of bureaucracy caused by the Priority Boards and prefer direct connections to neighborhood groups that want to place a stake on a piece of Dayton. The city needs to empower neighborhoods to choose their own destiny. Our neighborhood was lucky to have Premier Health pay for our Community Police Officers for 20 years, which I think was part of our success story. I believe that real economic development includes making sure you feel safe in your home.
We also have to stop penalizing people for improving their homes with higher taxes. This idea of reevaluating the value of homes every six years is a criminal abuse of power. What you pay for your home is the value you should be taxed on, when you sell it, the next buyer assumes the cost of the improvements. In some severely depressed areas, we need to find ways to force the values back up, even if it means paying homeowners their taxes back to make improvements. A house shouldn’t ever sell for less than a nice used car.
We also need to review our parks and recreation programs and opportunities for our kids. I spent a lot of time on some pretty horrible basketball courts to know that our kids don’t feel that there are people and places that take an interest in them. I’ve got a plan to transform youth sports in this city, just like I helped goad the city into fixing up our basketball courts.
It took South Park three decades to find its groove, so I can’t promise overnight transformations, but I do know how to help guide and empower neighborhood groups in the right direction.
Downtown Dayton will be doomed as long as we have Austin Landing- where people who work in tall buildings and wear the proverbial "white collar" don't pay any income taxes and people working in retail and "blue collar" jobs in one story buildings are taxed 2%. If you look at the businesses that left downtown to go there, you see why all but one major building downtown has gone through foreclosure. We need a unified, lower, countywide income tax yesterday. That is one of the only ways to make downtown competitive again.
The parking issue will be solved by self-driving cars, and alternatives like the free "Wright Flyer," bike and car share, as well as the growth of downtown living opportunities. I introduced the Bcycle bike share to Dayton, and if it had been implemented properly, it would have had a much greater impact than it's had.
We have to make redevelopment of old buildings competitive with new construction without sticking the schools with tax breaks. I have a plan.
We have a serious problem in Dayton, it's called the Montgomery County Jail. It's unsafe, it's not fit for human habitation, and it's being used to do the wrong things. We need to stop sending people who aren't a threat to others to jail. We need to find new ways to punish people who do bad things- like steal money from disabled veterans (Our county prosecutor can't indict a ham sandwich). People have had small amounts of marijuana since before I was born- it's not a crime. It's a morality judgement. The real question is if marijuana has medicinal applications, why isn't it sold at drug stores like every other drug? We have to stop picking winners and losers based on race and wealth. The real criminals in our community when it comes to marijuana possession are the ones who awarded the medical marijuana licenses to mostly rich white folks. We need a system for managing mental health issues and drug and alcohol addiction. We need real universal health care.
Why are we only talking about the arcade? We've been picking winners and losers with our insider economic development for years. We paid to redevelop the arcade once- and then handed it over to Tom Danis for $36K back before I first ran for office in 1992-93. It was an issue on my campaign literature then. Now, I'm wondering about the deal that gave the Montgomery County Fairgrounds to Premier Health and the University of Dayton over the developers who had invested in developing bids that were tossed out.
There is only one fair way to approach projects- I call it "Equal Opportunity Economic Development" where no matter how big or small your project, you have to qualify under the same formula for assistance.
Right now, I guarantee you that your tax dollars are making some of the same folks rich, while taking advantage of others. That's not very American.
We have too many police chiefs in Montgomery County. And too many courts, too many prosecutors, too many jurisdictions. It's hard to do a proper background check without checking at least a half a dozen sites. The Dayton Police Department needs to either become the regional police certification and training organization, or we need to stop paying for a private academy and antique rules against hiring from outside. We've been unable to hire minorities for over 30 years- yet when Cleveland laid off hundreds of minority officers years ago- we couldn't hire any of them. Our department is under strength and way too white. We can fix that, but not if we don't change the way we run our department.
I’m also very concerned about the rise of the private police forces operating within our city. Why should only rich institutions like MVH, UD, Sinclair, Metroparks and KHN be able to count on their police to keep their stuff safe? And, when they do anything wrong, we have no control over them.
In the last three years, the incompetence at Dayton Public Schools has been a major focus of my blog. When the school board passed over a very qualified, internal candidate who was a DPS grad, and hired not one, but two train wrecks of a superintendent, it saddened me. Unfortunately, school board members are almost impossible to remove from office in Ohio, so leading up to the August turn-in deadline, I hope to help find at least three smart people to try to upgrade this board. If there is one thing that’s absolute, it’s that poverty is the main correlating factor to performance. I believe we need to look all the way back to my first campaign in 1993- where I suggested year-round schools, coupled with a longer school year and a longer school day to help empower parents to be able to work. The actual instruction time would decrease daily, and the learning life skills time would increase. You can watch a video of my proposal here: tinyurl.com/y3t2mejo
Unfortunately, I can't bring Good Sam back from the wrecking ball that the current commission allowed to destroy a building we've subsidized for almost 100 years. We need real options for addicts- not the jail. I believe the only solution is universal health care. It's way above my pay grade to make that happen, but, if I can't get Premier and Kettering health networks to work together to come up with a viable, working intervention and rehab program as well as adequate mental health capacity, I'll do everything I can to bring some affordable competition to the community.
If you look at who funded a lot of our politicians’ political campaigns it was overpaid bureaucrats in the local health care duopoly. It's time to come clean at all levels.
When former Mayor Gary Leitzell proposed safe injection sites the community laughed. It's too bad, because that's one of the best ways to start to support the road to recovery and stop the deaths. Addiction is an illness, not a criminal act.
Go to my sites, read what I've posted over the years, then go look at the output of every other candidate. How many videos do they have online, how many ideas have they proposed to the community. How accessible are they? How many hours of unpaid community service have they invested. When you consider that there are over 2800 posts on Esrati.com and over 340 videos on Youtube- you have to realize that I've been making a commitment to keep the community informed, thinking and questioning.
I'm really proud of two posts in particular: esrati.com/deadly which proved that pepper spraying people in restraints wasn't a one-time thing in the jail, and esrati.com/manofmystery which uncovered one of the oddest stories of international intrigue in Dayton surrounding the former school board president whom I forced to resign.
I still play ice hockey in an old men’s league in Kettering. I like 2 wheeled vehicles from my electric scooter and my conventional mountain bike, to my 2009 BMW R1200RT motorcycle that's been across the country and back.
My dog comes to work with me every day.
I love what I do for a living.
My house and office are full of books. Reading is my guilty pleasure. Movies fascinate me. If you want a few recommendations of my most recent favorites: Ex Machina, Three Identical Strangers, Green Book, Whiplash, Her, and my all-time favorite Pulp Fiction.
Woodland Cemetery is my personal mecca (my dog George likes it too).
I decided to hang free green basketball nets instead of buying yard signs the last time I ran in 2012. I've hung over 500. I hope I inspired a few kids and made them feel like someone cared.
I'm lucky to have some very eclectic and successful friends. An Olympic champion swimmer with 3 gold medals who now crusades for safe sports, the advertising creative director of the decade, an inventor whose father discovered RDNA, a Grammy winner, a pizza shop owning philosopher, a 2-time Pulitzer winner, a mortician who makes the best fish in town, an accountant with the Midas touch, and a nurse who does clinical research. I was lucky enough to have my dad until he was 89 and my mom was just shy of 91. I've not been lucky in love, but, I'm a hopeless romantic and an optimist.
Serving my country as a US Army paratrooper was the smartest thing I ever did and maybe the dumbest as well. I had a chance to go to West Point Prep and took the wrong turn at the fork in the road- and that, has made all the difference, and is a big part of the reason I ended up in Dayton and adopted it.
I'm pretty sure if you read all of this, and all the other candidate’s responses, you'll find that mine is not like the others.
And, I'm probably the only one who called Steve Jobs and had a ten-minute conversation - asking for a job when he first started Next. If politics depresses you, try listening to my friend Buckwheat Zydeco RIP. If you want to see politics as usual change, vote for me.
2017 to Present- Logistician, Sierra Nevada Corporation;
2004 to 2017- Logistics Consultant;
2000 to 2004- Chief Deputy Clerk of Courts, Montgomery County;
1999 to 2000- Assistant to the Director, UD Center for International Programs;
1994 to 1999- Legislative Assistant, Representative Tony P. Hall
Carroll High School,
B.A. University of Dayton,
M.A. George Washington University
The current state of Dayton is strong and is continuing to grow. As a city, we have worked to strengthen the downtown core in order to gain the resources we need to continue and expand vital services to our neighborhoods. We have brought back hundreds of jobs to the city, paved more roads, enabled 4-year-olds to attend quality pre-K programs, and brought back curbside leaf pickup, while supporting new amenities like Gem City Market. Dayton is moving in the right direction, but we must work hard to keep the momentum going.
I would like to commend the city of Dayton staff and the host of volunteers who have worked tirelessly to help our citizens clean up their homes and neighborhoods. Dayton has again shown its resilience in the face of overwhelming disaster.
It is likely that our neighborhoods will not recover from this disaster for years to come, so there is more to do. We need to stay vigilant and involved to make sure that those most in need receive assistance. We need to coordinate with all the organizations who are working to rebuild our neighborhoods to make sure no one falls through the cracks, and everyone receives quality and timely services. And we need to continue to assist the businesses in these areas who are working to rebuild their facilities. Many of the people they employ are from the same hard-hit areas.
The mass shooting in the Oregon District was a horrific event that shook our city to its core. No community should ever have to face this level of atrocity ever again, but the sad fact is that until our state and federal legislators act, these heinous crimes will continue. As a city, Dayton will continue to support the work of our police while also recognizing there are many root causes of gun violence and that gun violence occurs all too often in our neighborhoods every day.
At the state level, I support Gov. DeWine’s proposal to create red flag laws, background checks, and increased penalties for certain gun felonies. I believe we should go even further with a ban on assault weapons, guns that should be for military use, and not part of everyday life here at home. I would hope that the federal government pursues these policies as well.
I am proud of the way the Dayton Police force handled this unfortunate display of freedom of speech. The fact that not a single person was hurt or arrested is a testament to the hard work of the men and women who have put in countless hours of overtime to keep our city safe during events like these. The discussion groups held by the HRC prior to the event spawned many great ideas and involved citizens from all over the community in the planning process prior to the rally. If there was a way to reduce the overall financial burden of events like these, I would like to find it, but my first concern is always the safety of our citizens. I am proud to live in a city that embraces diversity and rejects hate and discrimination.
Like many in our city, I was shocked when the charges were announced. I strongly disagree with the notion of a culture of corruption in our city. The actions of a handful of individuals do not reflect upon our city as a whole, and it is frustrating that the “culture of corruption” comment was made. The actions of a few individuals do not undermine the great service that the hundreds of other city employees provide our residents every day. The city began its own investigation into the matter the day the charges were announced, and city leadership is fully committed to cooperate with the FBI in their investigation.
We need experienced leaders who are dedicated to serving the public. When I was young, my parents taught me and showed me by example the importance of serving the community. My mom, for 40 years, helped raise money to assist poor folks in a community in Chile, and my dad was involved in both environmental activism and local government campaigns. It was a natural step for me to get involved. My first public service job was working as a staffer for Congressman Tony Hall, and I loved having the opportunity to improve policies to make things better for people.
Being on Commission has allowed me to do exactly that. Now, after so many tough years for the city, after having made so many tough decisions to get us through the recession, things are starting to turn around. This is why it is so important that we have experienced leadership. I really want to be on Commission to help guide the recovery, to rebuild our neighborhoods and make sure all our citizens benefit from the recovery.
The water in Dayton is safe to drink. We have one of the most comprehensive water protection plans in the nation and work with the Ohio EPA to constantly monitor our water system for contamination.
The most important thing we can do now to protect our water is to encourage the federal government to step in and take action to address the recent threat from fire-retardant chemicals. We will continue to urge them to put in place the framework and resources to clean it up, while continuing to share information and cooperating with all our partners in the region.
The biggest threat to Dayton’s prosperity is inequity. We have made progress in bringing higher-paying job opportunities to Dayton, by attracting businesses to Tech Town and the airport distribution center. We have diversified our economy, formerly overbalanced towards manufacturing, with jobs in other sectors. Although while we have laid the groundwork for a recovery, and it is beginning to show itself, we still have more work to do.
We must address is the inequality that exists in our city and ensure these new economic opportunities are available to all Daytonians. We must continue to act boldly to ensure all our citizens are given fair opportunities to build better lives for themselves and their families. We need to work towards a future in which all citizens not only have the same access to the American Dream, but also have a fair shot at achieving it. This applies not only to those affected by the history of racism that haunts our country and our city, but also to new arrivals.
I will continue to direct 75% of the revenue that we gain from downtown to neighborhood services. As new companies and new jobs continue to move into the city, those funds will keep increasing the level of service we are providing in our neighborhoods. I will also work to increase other funding sources for programs that are crucial to strengthening neighborhoods, including demolition and rehabilitation.
Additionally, I will advocate for building better connections between new downtown development and creating new opportunities in our neighborhoods, such as the Hub and Spoke neighborhood entrepreneurial development program we are putting in place with the Arcade development.
Finally, I will continue to push hard to make sure that the services our citizens need are provided in a timely, effective, and respectful manner.
Happily, development downtown has gained momentum so the City can let private investment take the lead and help only where needed. I will continue our programs to keep downtown clean and safe, and I will advocate for increased availability of retail and other commercial services and amenities for our downtown residents.
Yes, and the voters overwhelmingly agreed. The message it sends is that this Commission will take action when laws are unjust. The data has shown that our marijuana laws have disproportionately affected low income citizens and people of color. Justice should be impartial, and our police force can now put resources towards preventing more dangerous crimes.
I supported the dollars we put into reinforcing the structure while we looked for a developer to take it over, and I voted in favor of the earlier this year that enabled the rebirth of the Arcade. We are faced with the choice of either paying $15 million dollars to demolish the complex, or invest less money in it to revive it. Revival is both the cheaper option, and the one that makes the most sense for this historic structure that is close to many Daytonians' hearts and can be another anchor of Dayton’s downtown redevelopment.
A very high percentage of crime in Dayton comes as a result of the drug trade. Our massive cooperative efforts to reduce opioid deaths and get people into treatment should have started to make a difference and will continue to show an effect on the crime rate. We need to continue our outreach to our youth and those most likely to get drawn into criminal activity, and we need to make sure that our police are effective in fighting crime, by using the right methods and equipment, and by working to make sure that the police force looks more like the population of Dayton. By continuing to support improvements to our public schools, strengthening our economy, and addressing other factors that we know contribute to higher crime rates, we can proactively tackle many of the underlying causes of crime.
We Commissioners can support and complement the work being done by the school board through programs like Preschool Promise. With the support of our citizens who voted for Issue 9 a few years ago, we have been able to use tax levy dollars to fund quality preschool for four-year-olds in our community. I am proud of this groundbreaking program that has already shown positive results, and I look forward to seeing the impact it has on our students’ academic achievement in coming years.
I will continue to fully support the combined and comprehensive opioid response that is now underway throughout our entire region. While we have greatly reduced the number of opioid deaths, there is still much work to be done. It is imperative that we build on our successes and maintain the strong collaboration between governments, public health offices, law enforcement officers, and various other community partners to address this ongoing public health crisis.
I’m excited about the future of our city! I’ve helped guide Dayton through some challenging times and I want to continue serving the residents of our great city, as we make sure this recovery has a lasting positive effect that is felt by all residents.
Dayton has faced an incredibly challenging summer, and I am so proud of the strength and resiliency that our city has demonstrated in response. Dayton is strong and getting stronger. While we have faced setbacks, we are moving in the right direction and beginning to see new momentum, both in downtown and in neighborhoods across the city. As we continue moving forward, we must work to continue expanding access to resources, equity in our development, and transparency in our government.
City staff have spent countless hours working to help clean up the debris left in the wake of the tornadoes, and I am so proud of the community’s response to this devastating event. The City will continue to work with our regional, state, and federal partners to ensure that every resident who was affected by the tornadoes gets the help they need in putting their homes back together. The regional impact of this destruction is something that will be felt for years to come, and, as a city, we must make sure that tornado damage is taken into account for future economic and community development plans and implementation.
The shooting in the Oregon District was an avoidable tragedy. I am grateful to the Dayton Police for their courageous response that prevented this tragedy from claiming even more lives. We must put pressure on legislators at the state and federal level to prevent these kinds of mass shootings from happening again. We also know, however, that gun violence is a problem that impacts families across Dayton every day and that solutions must encompass the challenges all our communities face. I support the bipartisan efforts of Mayor Whaley and Governor DeWine to implement common sense gun legislation that will help make our communities safer.
I believe that Dayton demonstrated in May that there is no place in our community for that kind of hate and intolerance. The first amendment dictates that we cannot prevent hate groups from exercising their rights to free speech within our city. We did, however, do everything in our power to prevent violence, and we were successful. While the rally placed a financial burden on the city, it was worth it to protect the safety of Dayton residents.
In the weeks leading up to the rally, we also held a series of community conversations that were sometimes difficult and sometimes highlight frustrations and the inequality that still exists in Dayton. I believe that we are a stronger city for having had these tough conversations. We know we still have work to do though and that we must continue to fight every day to build a more inclusive and equitable community.
I believe that these were isolated incidents that do not represent our City and do not point to a larger culture of corruption. I also believe, however, that it is our job to ensure this does not happen again by being completely transparent with the public and by reviewing our own policies and procedures to identify areas for improvement.
Dayton needs innovative leaders who are grounded in our community while having an experienced eye towards the future. I am proud of the progress our city has made over the past four years while I have been a member of the city commission and believe that as a small business owner I bring a unique perspective to the job. I would be honored to continue representing the residents of Dayton and am committed to furthering economic and community development equity across our city.
Despite the challenges we have faced this year both with the water main break as well as the Memorial Day tornadoes, Dayton water is safe to drink. We are using every resource available to us to monitor the water and make sure that it is safe. We work with the Ohio EPA to verify the quality of our drinking water and ensure that there is no contamination. Additionally, we are continuing to encourage the federal government to address the recent threat to our water supply from fire-retardant chemicals through providing additional resources to the region.
As Dayton continues to move forward, it is crucial to ensure that all our residents are able to share in the progress and that we are providing communities with the tools to be successful in evolving job markets. We must ensure that our youth, especially, are prepared for the jobs of the future by providing them with a high-quality education and diverse workforce training opportunities. I have worked hard to develop partnerships between schools and our local apprentice programs that offer youth the training they need to access high-quality, good-paying jobs and to be able to build stable lives and strong communities in the future.
We have worked hard to focus development all across Dayton, and I would point to the newly thriving business districts in Belmont, St. Anne’s Hill, and Old North Dayton as points of success and models for future redevelopment that we must continue to build on and replicate through the city.
In recent years, we have re-invested in vital city services, such as repaving roads and mowing vacant lots, that help improve the quality of our neighborhoods; we have demolished thousands of vacant homes; we have encouraged small business development on neighborhood business corridors like Third St. or Wayne Ave; and we have supported crucial new amenities, like Gem City Market.
I know that there is still much work to be done in our neighborhoods, however, especially in those communities that have been at the center of decades of disinvestments. In coming years, the City will continue to push forward the redevelopment of the former Wright Brothers’ factory site on Third St. into a new library branch and a museum and work with community partners to drive reinvestment to the DeSoto Bass housing community and surrounding neighborhoods.
While the city’s downtown has certainly been on the upswing in recent years, there is still much that is on the horizon. Efforts centered around the Arcade, Levitt Pavilion, and other downtown anchors are being buoyed by increased private investment
One of the most important things we can do is cut through red tape and make sure good development is not hindered by government. The City must also work to ensure that the success of downtown is shared by and accessible to all residents of Dayton. One way to do this is to continue to support developments like the incredibly successful Levitt Pavilion, which brings free music and entertainment to downtown, open to all.
Last November, Dayton voters made it clear that they supported the decriminalization of specific lower-level marijuana violations. This decisions allows Dayton law enforcement to focus their resources on more serious crimes and will reduce the number of people caught up in the criminal justice system for minor offenses. I agree with the citizens of Dayton that this is a good change, and we know that in the past these laws have disproportionately negatively impacted the poor and people of color.
Daytonians elect leaders with vision and an ability to get hard things done. The Arcade is symbol of what Dayton once was and what we are evolving to be. Bringing partners together in this historic space shows the unique and exciting potential of the Dayton we have today. As a Commissioner, it is my job to be a good steward of public money. This is an opportunity to leverage public investment and continue catalytic change that helps brings jobs, opportunity, and inspires another generation of Daytonians to think outside of the box. The City has also worked hard to ensure that the benefits of this project extend outward and reach all our residents through an innovative model of neighborhood entrepreneurial services.
The Arcade is an asset very few communities in the Midwest have, and it is our job to capitalize on the assets we have in our community, like the Dragons and Levitt Pavilion, and to build on that momentum. The Arcade is one project to help build a stronger Dayton.
First and foremost, our job is to ensure that all our residents feel safe. I will continue to work with our Human Relations Council’s Community Police Council to further dialogue between resident and the police to improve trust and understanding while also addressing any specific issues that might arise in our community. Crime is often a symptom of larger societal issues of inequality. The more we can improve the economic, educational, and health outcomes of our citizens - the more we can reduce crime as well.
The role between the school board and the commission should be one of active partnership. The relationship should be collaborative and creative, constantly sharing opportunities to bring resources to not only our students, but their families as well. For example, I have been working closely with Dayton Public Schools and our local unions to create better access to apprenticeships for students. This partnership will increase employment options for students after high school and provide a workforce pipeline for Dayton students to enter new, high-paying trade jobs.
While I know there is still much work to be done to battle addiction in our community, I am proud of the progress Dayton has made in the last year. Opioid deaths were cut in half because of the innovative collaboration between government, social services, police, and all our community partners. Dayton’s bold approach to dealing with the opioid addiction crisis and reducing overdose deaths has become a national model. Now we must continue this work to build a community of support for individuals in recovery and to address the underlying issues that lead to addiction.
I do not take the opportunity to serve as commissioner lightly. I come into City Hall every day because I know the issues that affect our citizens never take a day off.
I am proud of my record of strong economic development, advocacy for our neighborhoods, and commitment to safety. I am the owner of a 107-year-old business that has been a part of my family and the Dayton community for four generations. I have also served on a number of community boards such as the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board, the City of Dayton Manufacturing Task Force, the Community Action Partnership Board, the Dayton Ombudsman Board, and the Montgomery County Vulnerable Youth in Transition Advisory Board.
I understand the challenges Daytonians are facing every day, and I will continue to fight to make Dayton a better place for all our citizens.
Logistics Management Specialist for the federal government.
A Senior Community Development Specialist for Dayton, Shenise has procured and administered projects totaling $7.6 million.
A Housing Development Finance Professional. Shenise Administered HUD federal funding programs, the Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnership Program, and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
Staff Coordinator for the Dayton Area Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit Coalition.
Dayton Public Schools graduate
Bachelors in Political Science, Fisk University (Nashville, TN)
Masters of Science in Administration, Central Michigan University (Mt. Pleasant, MI)
The Dayton community has had a challenging summer. Together, we have endured public acts of hateful rhetoric that led members of the Alt-Right to our community, the devastation of 14 tornadoes that ravished our neighborhoods, and the heinous act of the senseless killing of nine victims in the Oregon District who will forever be in our hearts.
Dayton is at a pivotal point. The direction that our local government takes could further strain our resources to where it would take much longer to recover. Residents are living in dilapidated neighborhoods that are further declining and attracting criminal mischief. The conditions of neighborhoods are becoming the rationale for existing businesses to relocate and starter businesses to be steered away. Furthermore, residents are experiencing an increase in mental illness from their living conditions that stifle opportunity to overcome those conditions.
Dayton was not prepared to deal with a disaster such as this. As mentioned by a city official in a commission meeting, once our warning system became obsolete, they failed to find an alternative and suggested that systems that they were considering were too costly. This is unacceptable, and leaves Dayton defenseless in events such as this. Regardless of the costs, Dayton residents need to have audio alert systems that can be heard in houses and throughout all neighborhoods that could potentially be affected.
We need to develop an emergency response plan that includes shelter hubs designated throughout the four quadrants in the city. These designations should all include immediate services such as, food, water, medical services, clothing, and adult/children necessities. There needs to be an emergency fund set aside for the most vulnerable victims that will either allow them to quickly transition to alternative stable housing or receive recovery funds if the residents are not insured.
Incidents such as the Oregon District tragedy are hard to manage and prepare for. This is an issue that far outweighs conversations of gun control; however, these are conversations that need to happen regardless.
I have been to numerous city attractions where the entertainment districts are completely closed off to cars, have one or two entrances that are guarded with metal detectors and security. While this does not ensure that tragedies like this will not happen, it places more obstacles and deterrents for shootings like this to be carried out. Furthermore, it gives people wishing to patronize the area more of a sense of security with a set-up such as this.
The city of Dayton could have handled this situation with more caution, care and specifically without having to exhaust depleted resources. I would have started by looking at best practices of cities or institutions that have had similar requests to examine how they stayed within their legal realms and discouraged such public displays of hate. My methods to deter this group from coming would have evolved around what The Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati did to discourage (within the extent of the law) Richard Spencer from coming. Given the negativity of the event that prompted increased security, I would have assessed the costs for this increased security in the initial group permit request. After having it documented, I would have sent this as a bill to the group requesting the permit and make the event contingent on full payment.
I believe there is a philosophy of “pay to play” politics in the city of Dayton that has for decades left our communities stagnant and has caused the most vulnerable to suffer. The elite and privileged ruling over our city has furthered the gap of opportunity for working families. Self-serving individuals have used the city of Dayton as its own “golden parachute” and as a political ploy to springboard careers. We are in need of increased transparency, as many decisions are made before being presented to the public.
We have seen democracy backslide in recent years. In turn, our community is doing so as well. It is my sincere hope that these allegations prove to be unfounded; however, I support unveiling the truth. I am running for Dayton Commission as a leader who will stamp out corruption and restore our government’s integrity.
Dayton needs leaders like myself who choose to lead with intent, passion, and most importantly, represent the will of the people and demonstrate active listening on an on-going basis. These assets refer to the character of the leader. In addition, it is just as important to have the practical knowledge and experience and specific skill-set that will make you successful in the position.
I am the right individual due to my passion for the city and all of its residents. I have always lived in the city, invested in the city and worked tirelessly to improve the city. My educational experiences directly correlate to the duties required to create opportunity and sustainability within the city. Lastly, a great portion of my skill-set and knowledge base come from working in the City of Dayton’s Dept. of Planning & Community Development for over seven years, where I managed federal grants that the city receives and worked closely with the Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD).
Given the amount of detailed information that has been made available to the public, I do not believe the city has done enough to protect Dayton’s water.
Water is a community’s most precious resource; therefore, the city need to invest in back-up generators for all of the well fields and pumping stations. Furthermore, we need to take expert recommendations rather than default to fiscal recommendations.
The biggest threat to growing Dayton’s prosperity is having the right leadership. Homogenous leadership will always stagnate growth and leave the most vulnerable residents and neighborhoods behind. Yes, a core is needed to generate tax revenue streams; however, this growth should not be at the expense of vulnerable neighborhoods, and further strain the resources of “tipping point” neighborhoods.
There is a way that all neighborhoods can win and all residents can have better opportunities. As a Commissioner, I would ensure that all processes are impeccably managed so that fiscal oversights are no longer issues and the City of Dayton will not be penalized for misallocation of federal funds and be liable for repayment of money. Ensuring that we are accountable for meeting federal guidelines will lead to more development opportunities.
As your Dayton City Commissioner, I will work to increase neighborhood investment by enhancing basic city services, encouraging resident participation, and enforcing community benefit agreements to development projects. The number one issue I hear from residents is that of potholes and unacceptable street conditions. Legislation has already passed to lessen the effects, but Dayton needs intentional investment to ensure our streets our safe for our cars and our lives. We also need more home inspectors to help keep our properties up to a livable standard.
Similarly, I will create and promote opportunities for residents to actively engage in our city’s revitalization. By involving the community in the planning process earlier and integrating their perspectives during decision making, I will instill inclusive growth and inspire larger support. This will work in conjunction with the community benefit agreements which require neighborhood investment as a condition to downtown development. When both the residents and external or larger developers work hand-in-hand, balance will be achieved to bring equity across Dayton.
I will work tirelessly to make sure that Downtown Dayton grows and redevelops, but not at the expense of our outside neighborhoods or our residents. I will create a balance that will allow our core to thrive, attracting economic development within and in surrounding neighborhoods. With the trend moving towards living in urban areas where people have easy access to all their basic needs, it’s important we provide opportunities that accommodate the interests of the 21st century.
Downtown Dayton requires a balance of affordable housing and affordable space for business owners. I will work to attract, retain, and secure commercial businesses that provide growth in our economy. We need to rethink our development strategies to find solutions that will create a “win-win situation” for downtown and our residential neighborhoods.
I agree with the decision to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. We need to continue to advocate for similar legislation which removes barriers and prevents individuals from securing sustainable employment. The message is clear, Dayton residents are concerned and are serious about combating systemic forces that eliminate and restrict opportunities.
The Dayton Arcade is a historical site that houses many great memories. The decision to redevelop the Arcade has been made and it is my hope that the success of this project will spark future development outside the core. I agree with the redevelopment of the Arcade as long as it will support our entrepreneur community, provide affordable housing to mixed-income residents, and provide downtown attractions and amenities. Still, I support the hiring of more local, small, minority, and women contractors to complete this project.
As with every public concern, I will start by understanding and addressing the root causes to help determine solutions. Hence, my approach starts with crime prevention. As Commissioner, I will advocate for more mentorship opportunities across Dayton. We all understand that notion of youth become mischievous when searching for attention or lacking positive influences. Our community must step up to ensure that our youth are constructively engaged and connected with positive role models that will challenge them to be greater. As a mother, I am committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of my children. As a Commissioner, I will instill that same sense of commitment for our youth.
The relationship between the city commission and school board must be transparent and cooperative. As a significant indicator of city prosperity, the school system and local government are organically intertwined, so their actions must be unified and intentional. A healthy community cannot exist without a strong school district and a school district needs the support of its local government to develop productive members of society. Therefore, the commission and the school board must rely on each other to make Dayton a thriving city that is worth the investment.
There is no easy answer to address the opioid crisis that has plagued our community. Although no neighborhood is exempt from this crisis, whether affluent or impoverished, research shows that this behavior is more susceptible in run down or dilapidated communities. This is just one of many reasons to place more of a concise, consolidated and deliberate focus on neighborhood revitalization. We need to provide the policies and programming needed to assist those who are fighting the disease and we must also protect our community from the dark shadow of the crisis. We have to curtail illicit behavior in our communities by providing social programs that will aid in addiction management. Communities become more vulnerable when they are simply reactive rather than both proactive and reactive preparing and dealing with a crisis. As a Commissioner, I will ensure that we stay in front of the curve with potential crises such as this.
As a mother, a wife, and a Dayton native I am deeply concerned about the direction we are headed. I genuinely want the best for our community and want each of our residents to be proud to call Dayton their home. I want our residents to know that their community supports, needs, and cares for them. As Commissioner, I will be an independent voice for ALL of Dayton. I will actively listen to the cares and concerns of residents and will advocate, create, and implement responsive policy for the betterment of Dayton.