Voters to decide future of Dayton City Commission in Tuesday’s election
The future of the City of Dayton is on the ballot in Tuesday’s primary election. Voters will determine whether recent disagreements on the commission will stay, get worse or get better.
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News Center 7′s Mike Campbell says this is the first of a two-step race for spots to serve the city.
He says there have been many complaints about how commissioners have been doing business over the last year, a lot of commissioners complaining about their fellow commissioners. Now, the voters will have a say in Tuesday’s election on May 2 and again in November.
“I’ll give you a chance to speak when Commissioner Shaw is done,” said Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims at one city commission meeting.
“It’s hard to make a point when I’m constantly interrupted,” said Chris Shaw, Dayton City Commissioner. “I think we could speak one at a time.”
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Campbell says there have been a lot of verbal jabs over the last year at the Dayton City Commission.
A lot of votes have been split, 3-2, with Mayor Mims and Commissioners Matt Joseph and Chris Shaw on one side and Commissioners Matt Joseph and Chris Shaw on another.
They are so divided the commission decided to spend $30,000 of taxpayer money for an outside mediator to the commissioners, all Democrats, so they might be able to work together more effectively.
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Campbell says all six candidates on the ballot Tuesday met for a recent League of Women Voters candidate night.
Two of the candidates are incumbents, Matt Joseph and Chris Shaw. They are being challenged by Dave Esrati, Marcus Bedinger, Jordan Wortham and Valerie Duncan.
The outsiders believe voters are turned off by what they believe is the recent dysfunction of the function.
“They don’t want bickering and arguing between the Democratic Party,” said Jordan Wortham.
“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and serve the residents of the community,” said Valerie Duncan.
“We could have three votes on the commission that are independent thinkers,” said Dave Esrati.
Campbell reports one of the challengers spoke after the most recent meeting was delayed 25 minutes by arguments over items that were not even on the agenda.
“We’re looking at giving someone their 24th year in office and I’ve been seeing some of the same problems for 20 years,” said Marcus Bedinger.
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The two incumbents believe doing what is right for all city residents involves finding common ground. They each think the city is recovering nicely after the pandemic.
“It’s happening slowly, but surely,” said Shaw. “Things are on track.”
“Thinks like the sustainability of the city,” said Joseph. “In the next two years, we are demolishing 1,100 houses.”
Campbell says the May 2 election will trim this field of commission candidates from six to four.
The four candidates will then take part in a run-off election in November to decide who will get the two open seats.