Candidates talk city neighborhoods
Dayton commission candidates share visions for city.
Matt Joseph
Chris Shaw
Shenise Turner-Sloss
David Esrati
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Staff Writer
ELECTION 2019

Four candidates are running for two seats on the Dayton City Commission this November. For our online voters guide, we asked them about issues important to the city and the region. In the coming days, we will take a look at their answers.

Today, the two incumbents — Matt Joseph and Chris Shaw — and two challengers — Shenise Turner-Sloss and David Esrati — share their ideas on Dayton’s neighborhoods. 


Q: What will you do to improve life in Dayton’s neighborhoods outside of downtown? Matt Joseph: 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.

I will continue to push hard to make sure that the services our citizens need are provided in a timely, effective and respectful manner.

Chris Shaw: 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 Street or Wayne Avenue; 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, 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 Street 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.

Shenise Turner-Sloss: I will work to increase neighborhood investment by enhancing basic city services, encouraging resident participation and enforcing community benefit agreements to development projects.

The No. 1 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 are 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.

David Esrati: 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 15 times.

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 $240,000.

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” 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.

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. 


DAYTON COMMISSION RACE 

■ This week: Each day this week in the Local section, we will look at where the candidates stand on issues such as the economy, water safety, downtown and neighborhood development and more.

■ Candidate forum: The candidates for Dayton City Commission will take part in a forum on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at the main branch of the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third Street. The forum is sponsored by The League of Women Voters, UpDayton, Dayton Daily News, WHIO TV and Radio and DATV. The forum will stream live on DaytonDailyNews.com and WHIO.com and air at a later date on DATV.

■ Register to vote: The deadline to register to vote in the November election is Oct. 7.