Name: Gary Leitzell
City of Residence: Dayton, Ohio
Party Affiliation: Other
Office Sought: Mayor
Why should you be elected?
As a former mayor (2010 – 2014) I have the experience and ability to navigate the nuances of City Hall and inspire staff to be the best that they can be when it comes to serving the population of Dayton. I was also called the “Peoples Mayor” and have a connection to the real residents of the City.
Top Three Priorities:
The top three priorities would be the following: Budget, vacant housing, community cohesion and pride.
As mayor I would focus on the current budget and establishing a budget surplus in order to carry us through unexpected times of hardship, similar to what Dayton is experiencing now. In my first term we had a budget surplus three years in a row. I was able to enterprise Dayton’s lime kiln so that it generated two million dollars for the water department. Since 1956 it had never been used to generate revenue. The recycle program is another budget that needs an overhaul. In 2013, Rumpke paid Dayton six dollars a ton for recyclables. Currently, Dayton pays $35 a ton and the citizens are expected to sort and clean it. I want to see Dayton becoming a leader in the greener movement, and become the recycling star of the Midwest. I have already looked into several options.
The second priority is removing vacant structures out of the hands of the so-called “investors” who do nothing with the properties other than pay the real estate taxes. It is more beneficial to place these structures into the hands of the people with the means to make them productive again. The process of acquiring permits needs to be streamlined and allowed by property owners. The $147 million stimulus from the federal government may be something that can jump-start this priority.
The third priority is bringing back a sense of community cohesion and pride. This would also involve closer ties with our respected police force. I would encourage neighborhood leaders to meet with the commissioners on a regular basis. All 65 Dayton neighborhoods face similar struggles: clean streets, excessive trash, vacant structures, etc. With coalitions of neighborhoods, Dayton will flourish. We need to look at community policing: a strategy that focuses on creating bonds with community members and neighborhood leadership.
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My father was a Air Force veteran working in a steel mill, and my mother was his British overseas bride. I moved to England at the age nine. I graduated from the University of London with a bachelor’s degree in geology. I returned to the United States in 1982 with a suitcase, a backpack, $600 and the American Dream. I worked several sales and management jobs in Pittsburgh until 1994 when I moved to Dayton. I entered the world of miniature gaming and turned my hobby into a successful career as a world class painter in the miniature field.
I became involved in my neighborhood association and the Southeast Dayton Priority Board in 1999. I served six terms as president of my neighborhood association and two terms as Chair of the Southeast Priority Board. I ran for Mayor in 2009. During my four years as mayor, Dayton was recognized internationally as a progressive and innovative city. The City had budget surpluses the last three years of my term. All this during the worst depression since 1929.
I have renovated several homes in my neighborhood, and recently set the selling standard for Walnut Hills. I’m the proud father of our 18-year-old daughter who will be entering college life this fall. My wife and I own an Airbnb and have welcomed hundreds of visitors to the Dayton area.
I’m proud Dayton is my home. I am eager to make Dayton shine. It is time to polish the Gem City.