Candidates talk tornado response
Dayton Daily News asked Dayton City Commission hopefuls about the disaster and ideas for recovery.
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Staff Report
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: 

Q: How has the city done in response to the Memorial Day tornadoes? What needs to be done in the months and years ahead to help the areas hardest hit? 


David Esrati: 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 on board.

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. 

Matt Joseph: 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.

Chris Shaw: 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.

Shenise Turner-Sloss: 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.

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.

Candidate forum: The candidates for Dayton City Commission will take part in a forum on Oct. 10 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.