Dayton’s political culture: How real is the corruption?
Not all commission candidates are of one mind on this issue.
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Staff Report
ELECTION 2019

Four candidates are running for two seats on the Dayton City Commission in November. For our online voters guide, we asked them about issues important to the city and the region.

This week we are taking a look at their answers. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 7. Early voting starts Oct. 8.


Q: Earlier this year, a Dayton city employee, former city commissioner and former state representative were arrested on federal charges.

FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Joseph Deters said there “appears to be a culture of corruption in Dayton-area politics.” Gov. Mike DeWine said he does not believe there is a culture of corruption in Dayton. He says there are just some “bad people” in public office. Do you believe there is a culture of corruption in Dayton? Explain why or why not.

David Esrati: 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.

At this point, (FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Joseph M.) Deters is just as guilty — 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.

Matt Joseph: Like many in our city, I was shocked when the charges were announced. I strongly disagree with the notion of a culture of corruption.

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.

Shenise Turner-Sloss: 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 their 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 unfounded; however, I support unveiling the truth. I am running for Dayton Commission as a leader who will restore our government’s integrity.

Chris Shaw: 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 COMMISSION RACE

This week: Each day this week in the Local section, the Dayton Daily News will look at where the candidates stand on issues such as the economy, water safety, downtown and neighborhood development and more. You will be able to see all the candidates answers in our interactive voters guide at vote.daytondailynews.com starting on Monday.

Candidate forum: The candidates for Dayton City Commission will take part in a forum on Tuesday 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 Monday. Early voting begins Tuesday.