Thursday, July 25th, 2013

P/R via good works

Okay, since I was rather negative about David Esrati’s chances of winning a city commission seat after he squeaked by in the May runoff, it’s only fair that I say something now that Esrati’s done something I like.

What’s Esrati just done that I like? He’s launched a fun campaign around cleaning up Dayton’s basketball courts. He got barber shops and beauty salons around town to sponsor nets, and then he went out to do the work of cleaning up basketball courts and putting up new nets, capturing it all on video.

You can see the video below:

I’m still not convinced that Esrati can move up from fourth out of five commission candidates in May to one of the two who will win seats in November, but when Esrati does positive campaigning, showing what he can do instead of focusing on others’ negatives, it makes me like him more. That can’t hurt.

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Politics in Dayton—lots of choices but little interest

Plus some comments about selected candidates

Earlier this week Dayton held its runoff elections for mayor and city commission. Lots of people were running (and even more wanted to run but failed to qualify), but hardly anyone cared enough to vote.

Mayor (pick 1)
Nan Whaley 4,965 50.3%
A.J. Wagner 2,566 26.0%
Gary Leitzell 2,338 23.7%
Commission (pick 2)
Joey Williams 6,384 36.1%
Jeff Mims 5,282 29.9%
David Greer 2,230 12.6%
David Esrati 2,087 11.8%
Joe Lutz 1,696 9.6%

Dayton’s population is about 142,000, and only 9,869 people voted in Dayton’s May 7th election. The adult population of Dayton is about 109,596 people, so only 9% of adult Daytonians cared enough to vote.

I wasn’t part of that 9%.

Shocking, I know, and this is the first time in quite a while that I haven’t voted. It’s very simple to vote. My polling place is directly across the street from where I live. But I found none of the candidates running to be compelling enough to vote for and didn’t think it really mattered who won.

However, I did vote in a way that’s almost as important as casting a ballot, by making a campaign contribution. I gave Nan Whaley $50, a drop in the big bucket of $106,502.06 Nan collected so far this year and $32,928.20 Nan collected in 2012.

Plenty of people think that the amount of money involved in politics is obscene, and I won’t argue with them. That people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in a runoff election where fewer than 10,000 people vote is insane.

Or is it?

The candidates who pledged to spend less than $10,000 this year (incumbent mayor Gary Leitzell, perennial candidate David Esrati and community volunteer David Greer) and the candidate who couldn’t even raise $1,000 (Joe Lutz) all lost.

Leitzell and Lutz lost absolutely—they will not be on the ballot this November. (Leitzell is the first sitting mayor of Dayton in 50 years to lose before the general election.)

Greer and Esrati technically won the right to be on the November ballot, but I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that neither will win in the fall. Williams and Mims each got more votes than Whaley; Greer and Esrati each got fewer votes than Leitzell. I see absolutely nothing to make me believe that Greer and Esrati are going to do significantly better in the general election.

So the winning candidates know something about elections that the losing candidates do not—given the status quo, money matters in winning elections. Wish that it didn’t at your peril. Even President Obama, given the choice between taking the high road by refusing SuperPAC money or winning re-election, was realistic about money.

 

So why’d I give money to Nan Whaley?

A small reason was that I wanted to see the inside of Michael Ervin’s $1.6 million Oregon District house (formerly the Southern Belle bar). Clever idea to hold a fundraiser there. Good relationship building to gain Dayton mover and shaker Michael Ervin’s endorsement.

A much bigger reason was that I very much appreciate Nan’s support for amending Dayton’s non-discrimination ordinances to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. Former Dayton mayor Rhine McLin lost her seat in part for her support of this change. I’ve said before that I’m a single issue voter, and I mean it: be supportive about gay rights and gain my loyalty—be stupid about gay rights and I won’t vote for you.

Certainly there are valid reasons for people not to vote for Nan. If the amount of money in politics offends your principles, I can’t fault you. Nan’s push polling was distasteful. And I can understand why some people say she’s been on the commission long enough and that it’s time for a change.

The other choices, however, weren’t ones I could make.

A.J. Wagner, although having expressed support privately to me on gay issues, has not taken a clear public stand on his website and has shown a less than clear understanding of things such as Dayton’s domestic partnership registry.

And Gary Leitzell is someone for whom I simply would not vote, for reasons about which I’ve already written. Add to those reasons one more—at a recent event Mayor Leitzell came up to me, our conversation turned (as it is wont to do when I’m involved) to gay issues, and the mayor told me that gay people could manage without marriage, by, for example, getting health insurance through their employers based on domestic partnership. That’s just not true. My employer, a small non-profit, would like very much to offer coverage to same sex partners of employees, but we’ve simply not been able to find an insurance company that will provide such coverage to us. When Mayor Leitzell did not believe me, I pulled over our company president and CEO to explain how he’s tried, to no avail, to find same sex partner coverage.

I do have plenty of friends, gay and gay supportive, who did support the mayor’s re-election, and I don’t blame them for that. I’m a single-issue voter, but many people are not. Reasonable people can disagree. Unfortunately for my friends who supported Leitzell, they were vastly outnumbered, unable to convince 91% of Dayton voters to vote at all and unable to convince 76.3% of those who did vote to vote for Leitzell.

About David Esrati

One friend who supported the mayor’s re-election, however, is not really of the mindset that reasonable people can disagree. That friend is David Esrati. What made me realize David’s mindset, and also made me decide I couldn’t vote for him this time, was a Facebook post in which he told his friends that if any of us had Nan Whaley signs in our yards, we should go ahead and defriend him.

I didn’t have a Whaley sign (I don’t have a yard), but I wondered what David would think if he knew I gave Nan money. Would he defriend me? Not that it would really matter—I’ve been defriended before.

Back in 2010 when David was running for Congress, I wrote “An endorsement, of sorts, of David Esrati for Congress,” in which I said, “David Esrati may be crazy, he may be annoying, [and] he may be unelectable.”

How Esrati conducted himself during this campaign confirms that all these things are still true. He’s still unelectable—his coming in fourth out of five in this week’s election shows that. He’s still annoying—for example, see his blog post “Disrespectful, stupid (and my mother dresses me funny).” And he’s still crazy—that old saying about doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results certainly applies here.

However, something else I said in that 2010 endorsement of sorts is also still true—“Esrati makes his opponents more accountable” and “he offers something” to Daytonians. The Dayton Daily News report on this week’s election says that “Leitzell claimed he’d be more powerful as a private citizen than as mayor.” I think something similar is true about Esrati as well.

To explain that, let me mention two emails David sent me last month.

One was to ask me if I was going to update my 2010 endorsement of him. I delayed answering that one because I didn’t want to write something negative before the election, although I was already starting to think about writing something (which has become this post you’re now reading).

The other email was to let me know that the DDN was compiling a list of the Top 50 Thinkers in the Miami Valley and asking if I would recommend him for that. I did not hesitate to write that recommendation. I pointed out that many Dayton Daily News articles originate from posts on Esrati.com—that’s so true that David’s April Fools post this year, “Esrati.com to shut down, Esrati to work for Dayton Daily News,” actually fooled some people.

In my email to Ron Rollins, I also wrote:

Whether or not people like David Esrati or his ideas, there’s no denying that David Esrati is worth paying attention to, that he puts out ideas for moving our community forward, that he encourages participation in thinking about those ideas, and that therefore he is a Top Thinker in the Miami Valley.

Although David Esrati’s not clever about getting elected, as election after election shows, he is rather clever about using running for office as a way to get people to hear and discuss what he says. If you, like so many people, decline to vote for Esrati, I understand—you might not want to throw away a vote. But if you’re one of Esrati’s few vocal supporters, I can respect that as well. Given the overall apathy in Dayton, a political blogger and community activist who cares about Dayton is someone to value (even if he is annoying, crazy and unelectable).

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

The history of deanlovelace.com and the difficulty of running deanlovelace.com ads

What the current deanlovelace.com is

Say No! to Dean Lovelace on November 8, 2011 If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you know that I created a website, deanlovelace.com, about Dayton City Commissioner Dean Lovelace. You may know this because I blogged on February 28, 2011, about doing so; you may know this because whenever you’ve come since then to the main page of davidlauri.com you’ve seen a teaser, linking to my February 28 blog entry, about the “special present I’ve put together for Dean Lovelace.” That “special present” is a website outlining three reasons to vote against Dean Lovelace for Dayton City Commission on November 8, 2011.

Even if you had never heard of me, you may know about deanlovelace.com because whenever you google Dean Lovelace the number three result is the website entitled “Say No! to Dean Lovelace on November 8, 2011,” namely deanlovelace.com.

At the bottom of that website is an “About this site:” box that states “This site was developed and paid for by David Lauri and is not affiliated with any candidate” and that links back to davidlauri.com. When I created deanlovelace.com I did not try to hide who I was. I’m not ashamed of having created deanlovelace.com.

Why I created deanlovelace.com

Why did I create deanlovelace.com? Because the opportunity to do so presented itself. David Esrati remarked on February 27, in a post he made about why people should sign petitions so that Esrati could run for city commission, that he couldn’t find a campaign website for Dean Lovelace. I did some googling of my own and discovered that Esrati was right—Dean Lovelace was a Dayton City Commissioner running for re-election but did not have a campaign website up. Dean Lovelace used to have a campaign website at deanlovelace.com—if you go to my current deanlovelace.com website you will find a link to the Internet Archive cache from 2004 of the old deanlovelace.com—but did not feel it important enough to keep up and running. I was not surprised that Dean Lovelace did not feel it important enough to keep his website current with commentary on his views, but I was a bit astounded that he would have let his domain name lapse. I was not surprised that Dean Lovelace did not feel it important to keep his website current with commentary on his views about issues facing the City of Dayton, but I was a bit astounded that he would have let his domain name lapse.

And so I decided, on a whim, to register deanlovelace.com myself. Having done so, I announced in a tongue-in-cheek comment on Esrati.com that I had found a site that “tells you everything you need to know about Dean Lovelace.” (I still believe that deanlovelace.com tells you what you need to know about Dean Lovelace.) I posted a few more links to deanlovelace.com on Esrati.com, on my own website, on Facebook and on Twitter, but after posting a few final links on March 8 after Dean Lovelace lucked out and did not have to face a primary in the Dayton City Commission race (my March 8 post on Facebook is visible only to my friends and friends of my friends but you can see a screenshot of it; my tweet on March 8 is still visible to the public), I really didn’t give deanlovelace.com much more thought.

I did not contact Dean Lovelace to let him know about deanlovelace.com, but I would not have been surprised had he contacted me. I did not contact Mr. Lovelace to let him know about deanlovelace.com, but I would not have been surprised had he contacted me. In September 2009, I created a website, www.notojoey.com, opposing the re-election of Dayton City Commission Joey Williams because of his abstention on a vote to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Commissioner Williams found out about the website, took steps to get my cellphone number, called me, asked to meet with me, and asked me what I would want to take the site down. I told him I would not take the site down but that if he would state clearly on his campaign website that he opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation I would amend the site to remove my objection to his re-election. He did so, I did so, and you can still view the results on www.notojoey.com, a site that is now nowhere near the top of the Google search results for “Joey D. Williams” (although it still appears in them).

Dean Lovelace, unlike Commissioner Williams, made no attempts to contact me. I assume he’s aware of deanlovelace.com because on April 22 he registered a new domain name for his new campaign website, given that his old domain name was no longer available. I decline to share his new domain name here, but if you like you may go google for it yourself to see if you can find it. I’ll give you a tip though—you have to go way down the page past the results for deanlovelace.com to find the official Dean Lovelace re-election website. I myself was unaware of Dean Lovelace’s new campaign website until doing a bit of research for this blog post.

Placing ads about deanlovelace.com

However, although it is true that I did not give deanlovelace.com a lot of thought since creating it (the page has remained unchanged except for fixing a link that no longer worked), it was in the back of my mind that it might be fun to run some ads this fall to promote deanlovelace.com. To that end I sent two emails earlier this month inquiring about placing ads for deanlovelace.com. In those emails I explained that deanlovelace.com was not owned by Dean Lovelace but rather was a site that I had created to oppose his re-election and that I would like to run some display ads for the site. The recipients of my two emails? The Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival and the Dayton City Paper.

The response of the Downtown Dayton Priority Board to my request to place an ad in the Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival

The Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival, in case you haven’t heard of it, is rather amazing for a city the size of Dayton. The festival, currently in its 6th year, will take place September 23–25 at the Neon Movies downtown and is a great opportunity for queers and our allies to see independent LGBT films and to meet some of the people making these films. Jonathan McNeal, the manager of the Neon, is the curator of the film festival, and he’s done good work not only in finding films worth watching but also in finding support for the festival and promoting it. I figured placing an ad of interest to Dayton’s LGBT community in the film festival’s program would be a good idea.

However, Jonathan, despite being the curator of the film festival, does not have carte blanche in accepting ads for it. He quoted me a price of $175 for a 1/2 page ad but explained that “though [he] curate[s] the festival, [he] still [has] to answer to the Downtown Priority Board as they are the banner sponsor for the event.” That’s understandable. The Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival is not primarily about politics, although in the United States in 2011 anything queer is in part about politics. The Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival is not primarily about politics, although in the United States in 2011 anything queer is in part about politics, and Jonathan’s primary responsibility is keeping the festival viable. Jonathan checked with the Downtown Dayton Priority Board and was told that its chairperson, Stephen Seiboldt,
The ad rejected by
the Downtown Dayton Priority Board
declined to accept my ad, saying that the Priority Board did not want any political ads in the film festival’s program.

I wonder if Stephen Seiboldt checked with the Dayton City Commission and in particular with Dean Lovelace. The Downtown Dayton Priority Board, as is the entire Priority Board system, is a program of the government of the City of Dayton. Read about the Priority Boards on the official City of Dayton webpage. Whether it is legal for the City of Dayton to quash advertisements opposing the re-election of Dayton City Commissioners I do not know, and although I have enough personal resources to be able to afford an ad in the Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival, I do not have enough resources or enough energy for a prolonged battle with the City of Dayton.

Getting a response from Jonathan about running a deanlovelace.com ad in the Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival program, although I did not get the response I wanted, was quick and easy. Here’s the cost; here’s who I have to check with; sorry, I can’t take your ad. The whole process took a day.

The response of Paul Noah, Publisher of the Dayton City Paper, to my request to place an ad in his paper

Getting a response from the Dayton City Paper was not so easy. Two days after I sent an email to them asking whether they would accept a display ad in October and possibly also in September for deanlovelace.com (pointing out, as I’ve said above, that this was a site I created to oppose Dean Lovelace’s re-election), I got a brief email from the publisher of the Dayton City Paper, Paul Noah, saying, “I am considering your request. Patience please. Plan to hear again from me before the end of this week. Genuinely, Paul Noah.”

Okay, I can understand that Paul Noah, like Jonathan McNeal with the film festival, does not have carte blanche as to what ads he may accept for the paper he publishes. Paul Noah is not the owner of the Dayton City Paper, and even if he does not have to run ads by the paper’s owner, he does have to be concerned about the viability of his newspaper. Would it piss other potential advertisers off if the Dayton City Paper accepted an ad for deanlovelace.com?

Apparently that was not an easy question to answer because despite Paul Noah’s having said he would get back to me by the end of the week, he did not in fact do so. A week after having gotten his brief email urging patience, I sent him a follow-up email to ask if a decision had been made yet. The following day Paul Noah sent me a reply, not a reply with a decision but a reply explaining that he could still not decide and moreover chastising me for my actions in creating the deanlovelace.com website.

As to whether the Dayton City Paper could accept an ad from me about deanlovelace.com, Paul Noah says, “[A]s your ad would be for the purpose of promoting the idea to voters to vote against Mr. Lovelace, I would need to see a sample of the ad copy you intend to run. More specifically, I would need to forward your ad copy to our legal dept. to review your ad in addition to having them view your website for libelous commentary.”

I am not a lawyer, but I do not think that my deanlovelace.com website libels Dean Lovelace. If Dean Lovelace thinks that anything I have said about him is libelous, I invite him to bring a lawsuit against me. I make three contentions about Dean Lovelace—that he let his registration for deanlovelace.com lapse, that he supports discrimination against LGBT people and that it’s time for a change—and I support those contentions. The first two contentions are fact-based: Dean Lovelace did let the registration for his domain name lapse, and Dean Lovelace did vote twice to keep discrimination against LGBT people in the City of Dayton legal. The third contention is one of opinion but also based on the fact that Dean Lovelace has been in office since 1993. If Dean Lovelace thinks that anything I have said on deanlovelace.com about him is libelous, I invite him to bring a lawsuit against me.

Had Paul Noah left it at that, that he needed to be cautious about accepting an ad in his paper for legal reasons, I might have been disappointed but would have had to accept his caution. However, Paul Noah had more to say to me.

Paul Noah thinks I was wrong to register the domain name deanlovelace.com. In his email to me he went on to say:

For the record, I have no opinion of Mr. Lovelace or of his record as I know little about him. However, I am disappointed that you decided to use Mr. Lovelace’s domain name for the purpose of campaigning against him. I believe if you would have left his domain name alone and, instead, created and promoted a website domain name such as “VoteAgainstDeanLovelace.com” you would have accomplished the same results without appearing to obviously and blatantly having taken advantage of Mr. Lovelace’s failure to remember to renew his domain name. In all fairness, it’s most likely that Mr. Lovelace had confided in another individual to register his domain name on his behalf and, therefore, it was likely the failure of his confident to renew the domain name. In my eyes, the fact that you had exploited Mr. Lovelace’s domain name expiration by purchasing the rights to it and utilizing it as a resource to campaign against him significantly reduces the credibility of your mission. It is for this reason that the Dayton City Paper may end up declining your request anyway.

I’m a bit surprised by Paul Noah’s righteous indignation at my having created the website deanlove.com. I replied to him to tell him that I could have understood such indignation if I had created a spoof website purporting to be by Dean Lovelace himself but not given that the website clearly states that I own the site and that it is not affiliated with any candidate.

I also told Paul Noah that I was a bit surprised that he claimed to have no opinion of Dean Lovelace’s record. Why is it difficult for Paul Noah to form an opinion about Dean Lovelace? If he had visited deanlovelace.com, he would have found links to newspaper articles and to Dayton City Commission pages documenting what Dean Lovelace said and what he did. In 1999 Dean Lovelace said that all discrimination is wrong but then voted to keep discrimination based on sexual orientation legal. In 2007 Dean Lovelace said that passing an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation was the right thing to do but then voted again to keep such discrimination legal. Why is it difficult for Paul Noah to form an opinion about that?

I agree with Paul Noah that Dean Lovelace probably was not personally involved in the registration of or the lapse in registration of the deanlovelace.com domain name. I doubt very much that Dean Lovelace has the technical expertise to register a domain name or build a website. However, I pointed out to Paul Noah that Dean Lovelace does have expertise in campaigning for office, and part of campaigning for office these days is having a campaign website. Dean Lovelace should have known that his campaign website from 2004 was, at the least, out of date because Dean Lovelace never directed that anything be added to it. That deanlovelace.com was no longer a functioning website in February 2011 when Dean Lovelace was running an active campaign for re-election is a reflection on Dean Lovelace’s management skills and worthy of consideration.

Paul Noah ended his chastising email to me by saying, “I am interested in your thoughts about my commentary above as I would hope that you consider doing the right thing and play fairly here.” He did not say what he himself would consider “the right thing” and what “play[ing] fairly” would be. Perhaps he thinks I should apologize for my actions. Perhaps he thinks I should give Dean Lovelace back his domain name.

My response to Paul Noah

Well here’s my response. I decline to apologize to Dean Lovelace. I stand by what I have posted on deanlovelace.com. I stand by what I said: Vote against Dean Lovelace on November 8, 2011. Unlike in my interactions with Commissioner Williams, who merely abstained from a vote to ban discrimination in Dayton based on sexual orientation, there is nothing Dean Lovelace can do to make me retract or change what I have said.

Dean Lovelace voted twice to keep discrimination based on sexual orientation in the City of Dayton legal and that by itself is reason enough for people who value the equal treatment of all Daytonians to vote against Dean Lovelace on November 8.





Updates:

David Esrati wrote about my attempt to place a deanlovelace.com ad in the Dayton City Paper, in which Esrati says, “[Paul Noah] should not only accept the ad (with the addition of who paid for it) in his paper, but that he should keep his opinion on his opinion pages — and not insert it into political ads.”

The Dayton Informer ran an interesting video interview with Dean Lovelace about this issue, asking him what he thought of me and what he thought of gay rights. Dean Lovelace called me a jerk, which I can understand, and he said that “gay rights are not civil rights” although he later admits that gay rights may be “human rights.”

An Esrati.com reader had questions about Dayton’s non-discrimination ordinance, and so, in a comment on Esrati.com, I give some more background about the laws in Ohio banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and on Lovelace’s actions to keep such discrimination legal in the city of Dayton. I also respond to Dean Lovelace’s correct contention that the LGBT civil rights struggle is different from the African American civil rights struggle; in the Dayton Informer piece when Dean Lovelace said that gay rights are not civil rights, I think what he was ineptly trying to say was that the struggles faced by queers and by African Americans are different. He’s right about that, and I point out some of the differences in my comment on Esrati.com.

Jeremy Kelly wrote an article in Dayton Daily News reporting on my taking over of deanlovelace.com.

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

An endorsement, of sorts, of David Esrati for Congress

If you’ve visited my site before, you may have seen mention of David Esrati; if you’ve visited Esrati.com, you may have seen comments I’ve made on his posts (he allows comments, I do not, choices that as bloggers we’re each free to make).

A short bio of David Esrati, for those who don’t know, is that he’s a small business owner in Dayton, a neighborhood activist and a perennial candidate for public office. That last bit, running for office, might be what he’s most well known for, and he likes it so much that this year he’s run for the position of Congressman representing Ohio’s 3rd District twice.

You wouldn’t think it possible to run for the same office twice in the same year, but Esrati’s managed it. The first time he got only as far as gathering enough signatures on petitions to qualify to run but failing to follow all the rules for filling the petitions. Dr. Mark A. MacNealy, the only Democrat who did manage to run in the OH-3 Democratic primary and who therefore won unopposed, decided for some unspecified “change in circumstances” to withdraw from the race, thus giving Esrati a second chance.

This time around Esrati was very careful with his petitions, videotaping each person who signed them, a step that was in part a somewhat gimmicky way to garner some publicity but was also a safeguard against the possibility of the Montgomery County Board of Elections* being nitpicky about technicalities. I was one of the people who signed Esrati’s petitions this time.

If your candidate can’t beat David Esrati, there’s no way he can beat Mike Turner
Why, you might ask, would I want someone who couldn’t get it right the first time to have another chance? Well, a very basic reason is that we’re going to have a primary anyway—by dropping out more than 40 days before the general election in November, MacNealy triggered the expense of a special primary no matter how many people run, just as we had to have the first primary even though MacNealy was unopposed. Since there’s going to be a primary, we might as well take this time to get to know the candidates better and give them, especially whoever wins, a chance to build up some name recognition. Even if you prefer one of the other choices (besides Esrati in this special primary are MacNealy’s campaign manager, Joe Roberts, and another guy, Guy Fogle), if your candidate can’t beat David Esrati, there’s no way he can beat Mike Turner.

 

Esrati is good on gay rights
A more important reason why I have voted for Esrati in the past and intend to do so again this time is that I’m a single issue (if you have to guess which one, you obviously don’t know me) voter and Esrati has taken the right stand on the issue that’s important to me. I don’t care how good a candidate is on other issues if that candidate takes the wrong stand on my issue. Esrati oppposes discrimination based on sexual orientation, is for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and he supports equal marriage rights**.

Mike Turner’s taken the wrong stand on my issue in the past as Mayor of Dayton and continues to do so as Congressman. Turner thinks discrimination based on sexual orientation should be legal, he thinks that the government should waste money kicking out needed service members if those service members are queer, and Turner thinks that letting queers marry is such a threat to the American family that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to ban gay marriage. I don’t care how good Turner may be on other issues such as predatory lending; he’s never, ever going to get my vote.

Esrati is accessible
to voters

I understand that most voters do not make decisions on the basis of a single issue, and if that’s true for you, you may well still find that you like Esrati’s positions on other issues. Visit Esrati.com, and you’ll see that Esrati’s written plenty about what he thinks about a lot of issues. Plus you can watch lots of video of Esrati speaking about what he thinks. Care about a particular issue and wonder what Esrati’s take on it is? Go to his site and post a question, or send him an e-mail. Esrati isn’t shielded behind a savvy political staff; he’ll answer your questions directly.

Esrati is not politics as usual
If you take a look at Esrati’s opponents’ websites—robertsforohio.com and guyfogleforcongress.com—you won’t find that same level of exposure and involvement. Roberts’s and Fogle’s sites are prettier than Esrati’s but also pretty uninformative about where they stand. That may actually be good in terms of being electable, but it’s also discouragingly business as usual. Frankly, I don’t give any of the three choices, Roberts, Fogel or Esrati, much chance of beating Mike Turner, but for me that’s a reason to go ahead and vote for someone good on my issue and different from play-it-safe politicians.

Esrati makes his opponents more accountable
Not only did I sign Esrati’s petition to get on the ballot, but I also decided to donate a small amount of money. I also did so during his last city commission race. I hadn’t actually planned on doing so this time around but thought about it some more and changed my mind. Donating to Elect Esrati isn’t really a bet that he’ll win but instead is a small investment in some transparency and openness in the election process. Esrati posts not only his own campaign finance reports but also those of his opponents. By running for Congress, David Esrati makes his opponents, both in this special primary and in November’s general election, more accountable.

David Esrati may be crazy, he may be annoying, he may be unelectable, but he’s got integrity, he tries to make his actions match his words, and he offers something to the voters of OH-3.

*A nitpick I have with the Montgomery County Board of Elections website (apart from the nitpick Esrati has which is that they don’t provide the forms online that a candidate needs to run) is that if you try going to mcboe.org (no “www.” in front), you’ll land on the Montgomery County website, not the Board of Elections site, which you can get to only if you remember to include the “www.” (www.mcboe.org). This DNS laziness also affects the Montgomery County Treasurer’s real estate site (mctreas.org instead of www.mctreas.org), and I’ve tried to point it out to the Montgomery County webmaster, to no avail.

**Having written written before about some interesting Google queries that have brought people to my website, I know that one I’ll get will be whether David Esrati is gay. Actually, I just checked (not about his being gay, silly), and even before my having written this post, somebody just last month came to my site having googled “David Esrati gay.” It’s difficult to prove a negative, and sure, there are lots of queers who’ve been heterosexually married, had opposite sex boyfriends or girlfriends, etc., but I’ve met David Esrati’s girlfriend, and no, I don’t think he’s gay. Actually, closeted gay politicians worried about being outed don’t usually take pro-gay positions.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
Drivel? Or relevant information for voters?

Yesterday, on Twitter.com and on Facebook, candidate for Dayton City Commission David Esrati twat, "[Dayton Daily News editorial writer] Martin Gottlieb writes drivel about Gary Leitzell in todays DDN- go comment on his lameness," posting a link to Gottlieb’s 10/21/09 column about Dayton mayoral candidate Gary Leitzell, “Leitzell cites Reagan, Thatcher; what’s it mean”.

I don’t get what it is in Gottlieb’s column that Esrati finds to be “drivel.” Is it Gottlieb’s contention that “asking people whom they admire in public office often yields a lot”? No, surely that can’t be it.

Ronald ReaganMargaret Thatcher
Independent icons?

Perhaps it’s Gottlieb’s premise, that something about a candidate who “is all about the independent label” and who says “that people shouldn’t read too much into the fact that he has the Republican endorsement” yet “really admire[s]” Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher doesn’t make sense. Taken independently, perhaps Gottlieb is reading too much into whom Leitzell most admires politically, but add in Leitzell’s Republican Party textbook reply to me in December 2008, that “changing the legal definition of a traditional word like marriage […] could lead us on a very dangerous course,” and Leitzell really does sound less independent and more Republican.

Now what Esrati finds to be drivel in Gottlieb’s column surely can’t be Gottlieb’s interpretation of Leitzell’s admiration of Reagan and Thatcher, “that he mentioned two people he sees as having come into bad situations and made them better.” Leitzell’s and Esrati’s campaigns are all about Dayton’s current mayor and city commission’s having let Dayton develop a bad (to put it mildly) situation, one that requires new blood in the persons of Leitzell and Esrati to make better.

No, instead what Gottlieb said that Esrati might see as drivel is that seasoned politicians wouldn’t be seen “naming two icons of the conservative Republicans when he’s seeking election in an overwhelmingly Democratic city.” Esrati may see that as drivel, but I don’t. No, I think that a novice politician might be excused at the outset of his campaign for making the stupid mistake of raising the issue of equal marriage rights, not a local issue, when asked his position on a city’s non-discrimination ordinance (although, if that novice politician himself does not have a traditional marriage, he might have thought twice before speaking). But almost a year later, a month before the election, is a continued overt association with Republican values and icons the best strategy for an independent to get elected in a heavily Democratic town? I’d say, probably not, and I’d also say it might be fair to assume that a politician who makes such missteps during his campaign could also show similar deficits in judgment in office.

One last thing—something I find incredibly ironic is that I hadn’t even been aware of Gottlieb’s article until Esrati pointed it out. Now that he’s done so, all the people who’ve been googling “Gary Leitzell” and ending up on my blog know about the article too.

Monday, August 31st, 2009

I’m not allowed to call people names on esrati.com, but on my site, I may do as I please, and I just have to say—especially after hearing people agree that the 2nd Amendment means individuals have the right to bear any kind of arms whatsoever, including nuclear ones—that some people are truly idiots.

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

A bit out of focus
but still legible

David Esrati is annoyed that Karl Keith gets to plaster his name on all the gas pumps in Montgomery County. Today, while I was pumping gas in Columbus (on my way to Equality Ohio’s annual Lobby Day [yes, David, you can indeed count on me “to make everything about being a gay thing”]), I remembered this and snapped a photo with my cellphone of the sticker on the gas pump here. In Columbus, it’s not the Franklin County Auditor who gets the free publicity but rather Mayor Michael B. Coleman.

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

EasyParkDowntown.org as it looks in Firefox
(click to embiggen)


EasyParkDowntown.org as it looks in Internet Explorer
(click to embiggen)

The Dayton Daily News had an article today about the Downtown Dayton Partnership's fancy new EasyParkDowntown.org website. The article's author, Tim Tresslar, must be a faithful reader of David Esrati's blog because this is not the first time he's written about something that Esrati wrote about first (update: actually Dayton Business Journal wrote about it first). Esrati's blog entry about EasyParkDowntown.org was not favorable.

And I have to say I'm not impressed with EasyParkDowntown.org either, but for other reasons, namely web design reasons. The interactive map on the site was created using Adobe Flash, a cumbersome tool for websites (read some of my earlier gripes about Flash on websites), and the coder added some JavaScript to his page to make sure the Flash object is resized to take up the entire size of the browser window. Actually it makes the Flash object larger than the browser window, cutting off text and making it impossible to scroll down to see the rest of the content, especially in Firefox but even in Internet Explorer. Their helpful "Let's get Started" text mentions buttons you can click in order to hide or show layers of information on their map, but you can't see the buttons if your web browser's set to a size their web developer didn't anticipate (for example, maximized Firefox or Internet Explorer windows on my 1920x1200 laptop screen or my 1440x900 external LCD)!

Did anyone even look at this application after it was published but before it was announced to the world?

From the work I do I know that some organizations are willing to pay big bucks, thousands of dollars, for applications such as this (for example), and they're too ignorant to know better. I gleaned the data from EasyParkDowntown and rolled my own webpage based on Google Maps in a couple hours. Check it out and see if you don't agree that it's friendlier to end users: www.davidlauri.com/easyparking

Here's one way in which my version is friendlier — try printing from my version and try printing from EasyParkDowntown.org. Completely ignoring the fact that if you print using your browser's File->Print command on their site you won't get what they intended, even if you do realize that to print you have to click on their print icon (the little pic of the page at the right of the icons below their map), what you get isn't at all useful. Want a list of parking garages to take with you? You're not gonna get it from EasyParkDowntown.org!

One last gripe — if you're coming downtown to go to the Oregon District, you won't find any of its parking on EasyParkDowntown.org. Is it because most people don't consider the Oregon District to be part of downtown (or Greater Downtown)? Or is it because the Oregon District Business Association wouldn't participate in the Special Improvement District tax that funds the Downtown Dayton Partnership?

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Have you met Fred? I've known Fred since October of last year. I was reading the Dayton Daily News online, and Fred invited me to join his site in order to win stuff, so I did (join, that is — haven't won shit). I haven't paid Fred much attention since, only checking in on him if he or one of his friends e-mails me, which doesn't happen often but did happen today.

Fred is Cox Ohio Publishing's answer to MySpace, but Fred is to MySpace as Dayton is to New York City, or perhaps actually as Fairborn is to New York City. As of right now, Tuesday afternoon, the newest post is actually from "late morning" today, but the 10th newest (Fred shows you the 10 latest "blogs and announcements") was from "evening time" on the 15th. In other words, less than 10 posts a day, so you don't have to check constantly to avoid missing anything.

 

When I visit Fred I like to check out how many men (350), women (409), marrieds (61), singles (100), breeders (190), queers (only 7, including me, so Fred won't be replacing gay.com any time soon) he knows. Neither marrieds + singles nor breeders + queers adds up to the total number of men + women, so I'm guessing people have to pick a gender but not the rest. Adding men + women shows that poor Fred has only 759 friends. I'm surprised Fred isn't ashamed to give these various totals. Even Hillary Clinton has 10,734 MySpace friends.

One person who's not Fred's friend is David Esrati, who mocked Fred shortly after his birth and likes to mock Fred's family. No, I don't know Esrati's MeetFred screen name.

 

I'd always thought Fred was a local creation, since back when Fred knew only 4 queers, shortly after his birth, I'd been surprised to discover that I knew two of them, a couple who live in my apartment building on my floor and both of whom actually work for Cox taking care of, among other things, Fred. But Esrati seems to think that Fred runs on Drupal, and looking at the headers of the message I got from Fred today, I realized that Fred actually lives in California, at DreamHost, not with his folks at CoxOhio.

 
 
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