Building Healthy Communities
A Healthier Dayton
With the closure of Good Samaritan Hospital, we are all concerned about the health of our citizens. We must make health care accessible and affordable. I will advocate for partnerships that will bring small clinics to our neighborhoods, encourage more outpatient care, and provide transportation when residents are in need. We must shift attention from reactive to proactive. As Commissioner, I will support organizations as well as incentives that promote mental and physical health, eliminate food deserts, and encourage residents to develop healthy habits.
Promoting Safety & Criminal Reform
Over the past few years, we have witnessed too many tragedies, experienced too many unfortunate circumstances, and fell victim to too many unjustified crimes. Our families mourn from the amount of criminal activity within Dayton. Change is mandatory if we are to provide a better city for our children and generations to come. As Commissioner, I will dedicate myself to understanding the root causes of crime and working to prevent it by engaging with groups before, during, and after their misdeeds. In addition, I will invest in community partners to produce proactive strategies to decrease crime and better serve those who’ve already made their decisions.
Reforming the criminal justice system is a critical civil rights issue of our time. I will fight to focus our justice system on addressing victims’ needs through rehabilitation and treatment, not simply incarceration and punishment. Furthermore, citizens who have paid their debt to society should not have to check a box when seeking employment. That’s why I am proposing a minor offense expungement program. It will mask minor offenses from employment background checks to help more people get back into workforce as value-add members of society.
Attracting and Retaining Talent
Dayton’s rich history is filled with inspiring moments of innovation and technological advancements. As we progress into the 21st century, we must continue that legacy to create a community that fosters, develops, and attracts talent of all types. Dayton is a place called home to many outstanding athletes, scholars, business professionals, and artists. I believe, our city leadership has a duty to provide outlets for these individuals to grow and express beyond bounds. As Commissioner, I will collaborate with these groups to learn their needs and ambitions then develop opportunities for increased capacity and influence. Too often we see some of our best and brightest leave the city in search of a more supportive community. I will ensure that these disparities are accounted for long before citizens decide to depart by promoting entrepreneurship and addressing sustainable, “case by case” needs.
By enhancing our focus on current residents of Dayton, who have already invested their time, money, and energy to stay in our city, it will spark pride in our communities and encourage others to join. While the competition to attract talent is steep, Dayton already holds many of the tools and resources necessary to level the playing field. As Commissioner, I will partner with businesses, schools, and community organizations alike to provide more effective job training programs and educational opportunities to prepare our citizens for 21st century careers. The emerging generations of workers and families want livable, sustainable cities.
Accessible, Accountable, & Transparent
Too often lawmakers lose touch with those they serve and the values they were elected to uphold. As your city commissioner, I will be accessible to you and your needs, accountable for the decisions I make, and transparent about how my office operates.
Cutting Through Red Tape
Businesses represent the heart of economic vitality within every community. Being a significant indicator of our city’s health, businesses must have avenues to strengthen their operations and expand their markets. This requires eliminating barriers and restructuring policies that restrict or complicate access to capital, resources, and development.
As Commissioner, I will make determined efforts to partner with businesses, institutions, and stakeholders to create and transform policies that are beneficial to entrepreneurship, business development, and long-term planning. In addition, there is a great need for livable wages. I will fight to increase the financial incentives of our jobs to help alleviate some of the burden Dayton families deal with to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. Business productivity has been shown to thrive with increased employee satisfaction.
I truly believe that by ushering in consistent and transparent communication, we can cultivate an economic environment that benefits every Daytonian today, and for generations to come
Reviving Our Neighborhoods
Drive through any neighborhood in Dayton and you’ll see homes, buildings, and lots that have lost their vigor due to years of neglect. These blighted properties not only ruin the appeal of the community, but also encourages criminal mischief. No one wants to feels unsafe in their own neighborhood. It’s time that we make a commitment to revive our communities, block by block, by investing our energy and resources to transform these eye sores to eye candy.
As Commissioner, I will build a sense of pride and accountability into our neighborhoods by working directly with residents and stakeholders to create workable solutions to acquiring property, developing land, and maintaining a clean, safe environment. Lot Links and the REAP program are beneficial tools, however, we must find ways to streamline the process.
Neighborhood revitalization involves more than demolishing properties and community clean-ups. By setting priorities and determining capacity, we can strategize infrastructure improvements and maintenance to include desirable amenities, retail corridors, and affordable housing. As your Dayton City Commissioner, I will work to increase neighborhood investment, homeownership, and partnerships to ensure that our neighborhoods are safe, attractive and full of opportunities.
Response to Dayton Daily News Questionnaire
The Dayton Daily News recently covered the Dayton debates, in which Shenise Turner-Sloss and David Esrati challenged incumbent Commissioners Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph. The Dayton Daily News also issued a questionnaire as a companion to the debate; Shenise’s responses to the questionnaire are available below.
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.
Q: What will you do to improve life in Dayton’s neighborhoods outside of downtown?
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.
Q: What is the current state of Dayton? And is the city headed in the right/wrong direction? Please explain your answer.
Shenise Turner-Sloss: The Dayton community has had a challenging summer.
Together, we have endured public acts of hateful rhetoric that led members of the Alt-Right to our community, the devastation of 14 tornadoes that ravished our neighborhoods, and the heinous act of the senseless killing of nine victims in the Oregon District who will forever be in our hearts.
Dayton is at a pivotal point.
The direction that our local government takes could further strain our resources to where it would take much longer to recover.
Residents are living in dilapidated neighborhoods that are further declining and attracting criminal mischief.
The conditions of neighborhoods are becoming the rationale for existing businesses to relocate and starter businesses to be steered away.
Furthermore, residents are experiencing an increase in mental illness from their living conditions that stifle opportunity to overcome those conditions.
Q: In light of the mass shooting in the Oregon District, what do you think needs to be done to keep an incident like that from happening again?
Shenise Turner-Sloss: Incidents such as the Oregon District tragedy are hard to manage and prepare for. This is an issue that far outweighs conversations of gun control; however, these are conversations that need to happen regardless.
I have been to numerous city attractions where the entertainment districts are completely closed off to cars, have one or two entrances that are guarded with metal detectors and security.
While this does not ensure that tragedies like this will not happen, it places more obstacles and deterrents for shootings like this to be carried out.
Furthermore, it gives people wishing to patronize the area more of a sense of security with a set-up such as this.
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.
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.
Q: Do you believe the city has done enough to protect Dayton’s water since the water main break earlier this year that caused the loss of 150 million gallons of treated water?
Shenise Turner-Sloss: Given the amount of detailed information that has been made available to the public, I do not believe the city has done enough to protect Dayton’s water.
Water is a community’s most precious resource; therefore, the city need to invest in back-up generators for all of the well fields and pumping stations. Furthermore, we need to take expert recommendations rather than default to fiscal recommendations.
Q: What are the biggest threats to growing Dayton’s prosperity, economy, jobs and population? What do you plan to do to address these challenges?
Shenise Turner-Sloss: The biggest threat to growing Dayton’s prosperity is having the right leadership.
Homogeneous leadership will always stagnate growth and leave the most vulnerable residents and neighborhoods behind.
Yes, a core is needed to generate tax revenue streams; however, this growth should not be at the expense of vulnerable neighborhoods, and further strain the resources of “tipping point” neighborhoods.
There is a way that all neighborhoods can win and all residents can have better opportunities. As a Commissioner, I would ensure that all processes are impeccably managed so that fiscal oversights are no longer issues and the City of Dayton will not be penalized for misallocation of federal funds and be liable for repayment of money.
Ensuring that we are accountable for meeting federal guidelines will lead to more development opportunities.
Q: What will you do to improve downtown?
Shenise Turner-Sloss: I will work tirelessly to make sure that downtown Dayton grows and redevelops, but not at the expense of our outside neighborhoods or our residents.
I will create a balance that will allow our core to thrive, attracting economic development within and in surrounding neighborhoods.
With the trend moving towards living in urban areas where people have easy access to all their basic needs, it’s important we provide opportunities that accommodate the interests of the 21st century.
Downtown Dayton requires a balance of affordable housing and affordable space for business owners.
I will work to attract, retain and secure commercial businesses that provide growth in our economy.
We need to rethink our development strategies to find solutions that will create a “win-win situation” for downtown and our residential neighborhoods.