The Socialist Republic of the United States Military

I’m not a fan of the Dayton Daily news- and even less a fan of their local editorial pages- after years of being mocked by them. First time running for office, I was called “an advertising man with not much to say.” All of you who know me, know that wasn’t true- and my campaign literature at the time was 11×17 covered in text. I once walked out, after they refused to apologize for something that had just appeared in their paper- where a writer said a band (G-Love and Special Sauce) sounded black. As if music sounds a race? Then there was when I mocked the big plans for the 2003 “celebration of flight” which instantly got me on their shit list- since it was Brad Tilson’s baby. We all remember what a fiasco that was.

A few years back, they stopped doing local opinion and promoted Ron Rollins to curate the page. This means ask people to opine for you. I find it lame, but fairer than what came before under the old regime. His second in command is now Dr. Connie Post- yep, a PhD working at a newspaper. Ron must have been on vacation last week, because I sent a short response in to a “Speak Up” piece and Connie asked me to expand it into a guest column. Usually I don’t like working for the evil empire for free- but, in this case, I felt pretty strongly about the issue- and believe it or not- I was on the editorial page last Friday- for once, not being lampooned.

First- the “Speak Up”- a called in, anonymous thing that no reputable paper would do.

This appeared 17 Feb 2015- unsigned:

For those fast food employees striking for $15 an hour, let’s do some math. At $15 an hour, Johnny Fry-Boy would make $31,200 annually. An E1 (private) in the military makes $18,378. An E5 (sergeant) with eight years of service only makes $35,067 annually. So you’re telling me that a burger flipper deserves as much as those who are getting shot at, deploying for months in hostile environments, and putting their lives on the line every day protecting you?

My response was published on Friday 27 Feb 2015 – Photo was a crop of a shot by Larry C Price who used to work for the DDN. It was behind their paywall (nice to know I was helping their bottom line, as they’ve never given me a link or mention for my stories they’ve taken).

I did not write the headline:

Serving my country as an Army private

By David Esrati
A recent “speak-up” caller compared a $15 minimum wage for “Johnny-Fry Boy” to an E-1 in the military. He stated there was no way flipping burgers was worth more than risking your life for your country on a straight hourly basis.

As a former E-1, I feel qualified to respond.

On Day 1, I was issued clothes. When in training, I didn’t even have to do my own laundry. Food was free. I was given three square meals a day, even if some came in cans or plastic packages. Granted, “fast food” depended on the order of entering the mess hall — first in and you had time to eat; last in and it was eat it or leave it.

Zero rent. For the most part, I lived communally. The WWII-era barracks at Fort Gordon had group showers, and cheek-to-cheek toilets, which took a little getting used to. But it still beat the portable micro housing I sometimes slept in. It came without running water (unless raining), no heat or electricity unless I used the 25-pound hand crank generator that I had to carry with my house, food, bed and M16.

My only utility bill was a phone bill, paid in quarters, via a phone booth.

Health care was 100 percent covered, including dental and vision. If I was injured on the job, I was guaranteed health care for life as well as a disability check.

Job security was solid; in fact, my employer liked to sign me like a pro-athlete. There were signing bonuses via 3- to 4-year revolving contracts. Advancement opportunities were up to me with a very clear career path. All training was provided free.

I learned Morse code at 15 groups per minute send/receive. I jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, which in my time paid an extra $75 a month, so I could visit faraway places and serve as a “community organizer.”

After 20 years, retirement was guaranteed at 50 percent of my pay. Stay in longer and retirement went up. Many of my peers got to travel internationally, sometimes with welcoming arms and others versus small arms. A gym membership was unnecessary. I was paid to work out, often going on long hikes with a very large rucksack. My hours were never subject to overtime. Often I was scheduled to be on the job 24/7.

I always found it ironic that our military, tasked to spread democracy and capitalism, was a lot like socialism.

If the speak-up caller was making an argument that the Private E-1 should make more than “Johnny Fry-Boy,” I’m in total agreement. But, if you say that Johnny Fry-Boy shouldn’t make enough to pay for his health care, clothing, food and shelter, this former E-1 wants to know why he was putting his life on the line to protect a country that doesn’t believe its citizens are entitled to the basic freedoms that financial stability provide — nominally described as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Those freedoms certainly cost a lot more than the $7.25 federal minimum wage.

We’re long overdue for a higher minimum wage and deserve a country that truly treats its citizens as if “all men are created equal,” providing an equal opportunity for advancement, without having to volunteer to die for our great country.

David Esrati served in the U.S. Army, both active duty and reserve, in the 1980s. He got out as an E-4.

I posted this on Facebook- and received a considerable amount of positive feedback. At the Second Street Market yesterday, a few people praised it- and again today, at the Legacy Pancake House- a few more. I’ve had more than a few fellow veterans also thank me- because as one, Scott Ricketts so gracefully summed it up:

The military taught me we had to take care of everyone on the team and pay more attention to help the ones having problems. We were not allowed to leave anyone behind and we’re only as strong as the weakest among us. Making sure the people on the bottom get to the finish line is our collective responsibility. At least that’s what TSgt Esteves yelled at us.

This pretty much sums up why I probably feel closest to my friends who have served.

There are some arguments about “entry level jobs” and the minimum wage. I don’t buy them. I’d be ok with a lower minimum for kids in high school, or for their first 2 years of work, but, there is no excuse for our pathetic minimum wage, or the crying of huge corporations talking about “competitiveness.” McDonalds operates in Germany, where they have to pay a living wage, GM does too- where they deal with labor unions in a totally different way than they do here. Apple is sitting on $170+ billion in cash- and still refusing to let Americans make much of their product (the Mac Pro which starts at $3k is assembled in Texas- but that’s about it).

Our country has to stop believing the lies that are fed to us by politicians who didn’t serve, who sell out, and for the most part, work against the best interests of the American public. This isn’t the America that any of us want to risk our life for- but we do and did.

It’s time to reassess. We can do better.

RIP FLY 92.9, you can keep your soft rock to yourself, thank you

I grew up lucky. I got to experience the greatest radio station in the nation at the pinnacle of its success in Cleveland, listening to WMMS 101 (really 100.7- the FCC made them change midway through my years as a fan) in the mid-seventies. The post I wrote about it on my business blog, got hundreds of comments- and even press releases when the music director was launching his book about “the good ole days.”

Dayton has seen its share of radio station controversy- mostly centered around WYSO and how much locally produced content should be on the air. There have been other format changes that have ticked a few people off- personalities getting let go- the normal comings and goings of radio. I doubt many people will remember this format change either- but as of today, I’m giving up on radio in my car unless it’s during “Morning edition,” “Fresh Air,” “Marketplace” – all on WYSO. The rest of the time- it will be CDs or podcasts via my cassette adapter (yes- I still have one) until I install a newer radio with a Bluetooth or a USB connection. Commercial radio- you’re dead to me.

The funny thing is- during the day from 9:15 to 4:30 I have WDPS on my office radio- and can live with it. It’s the closest thing to a “Jazz station” Dayton has- although what they call Jazz for the most part wouldn’t pass for elevator music. I love George Balog when he’s on- I can’t stand the baby talk of Joe Woodford who enunciates like a cooing mother. “The Hippie” graduated high school long ago- and unfortunately hasn’t gone away- he still sounds like a teenager, and I’ve learned to tune him out.

So why do I care that FLY 92.9 just became “Soft Rock 92.9″ and why does it bother me? Because it was the “station for everyone” that parents could listen to with their kids and compromise. It had new stuff, old stuff- and a lot in between. They were making efforts to reconnect with the community- bringing back the idea of real live people on the radio- like Dan Edwards, who you might actually know and want to hang out with. Now, it’s a toned down version of Mix 107.7 that’s suitable for doctors offices and playing in prisons if you want to make the inmates miserable.

Don’t get me wrong- I didn’t think FLY 92.9 was great. It was a format change too- one that saw a whole bunch of people kicked out of their jobs at what was the white kids’ music station. The black kids at first could listen to U92- which eventually skewed older- and then 102.9 that went full urban hip-hop.When Z93 died for FLY- it was the end of an era too- and people were pissed.

The format of FLY was the “Jack” format that had already had a 5-year track record starting out on the West Coast. The idea of a radio station programmed like an iPod on shuffle- with just great hits was the antithesis of “programmed” radio- where some program director thought they had the golden ear and knew what the audience wanted. This was how Clear Channel ruined radio- by allowing a few program directors in Texas making decisions for groups of stations across the country. Didn’t matter if your local weather was rain- and they were playing “Walking on Sunshine” or it was sunny- and they were playing “Here comes the rain again”- they knew, and radio blew.

The days of DJs picking the songs and carrying on a conversation with the community with music as the language died long ago. But, the beauty of the Jack format- is that it was unpredictable and might trigger old memories- or introduce you to something new.

Granted, many people do this with Pandora- or any other streaming music service, which may be why terrestrial radio is having a hard time. I believe local radio is still an important tool in carrying on a community conversation- and I wish “Soft Rock 92.9″ well on their way to mediocrity- but, when I think of Dayton- I don’t think the word “soft” ever applies- we’re too hard headed.

I can’t imagine anyone wanting to stick a “Soft Rock” bumper sticker on their car, or wear a t-shirt with it on. The one thing radio station “owners” have yet to learn- just because you pay the bills- doesn’t make you own the station- it belongs to the community. Always has, always will. And you just stole my station.

What are your thoughts on radio in Dayton? Format changes you still hate?

And one more note: if you are a commercial business- it was generally OK to play commercial radio in your establishment- since the licensee paid the fees to ASCAP etc. But, you can’t just play your personal Pandora account- even if paid, without a commercial license. Pandora has one for about $25 a month. Don’t risk ASCAP coming down on you and taking you to court. It’s a painful fine.

Are you a marketing guru? Or want to be?

SummitUp Conference LogoFor the last 6 or so years, I’ve been a part of putting on a new media conference in Dayton. This year, we’ve got an exciting lineup of speakers and break-out sessions- on everything you need to know about social media, advertising using new media, marketing and we’ll finish off with a speaker from Google.
Registration is about to wrap up- so, if you want to avoid paying a late fee, I suggest you register NOW.

The event is called SummitUp and it will be Tuesday, March 3, at Sinclair Community College, building 12. A full day of guru’ness is only $199, $20 less if you belong to one of the sponsoring organizations.

Find out more about it here: http://www.summitup.org/

I built the site using WordPress- the same open source content management system that runs Esrati.com

If you’d like a full day seminar on how to build your own site and maintain it yourself – I’ll be holding my Websitetology seminar on Thursday, March 12. It’s only $139 and includes lunch from the fabulous Pizza Factory.

There is no excuse for not having a website anymore- nor is there any reason not to have a pretty good understanding of new media. These full-day sessions will give you the tools to go global with minimal expense.
Hopefully, I’ll see you at both seminars.

How many clerks do we need?

We saw snow plows in South Park yesterday. First, a neighbor with a plow did a sweep through and later, the city came through. Someone mentioned on Facebook “The City plow went up Park 4 times! How does that save the city $$$?” to which I thought- it’s not about saving the city money- it’s about clearing streets- and most of the time- one pass of a plow isn’t enough.

But, when it comes to clerks of courts- how many do we need? And how many courts do we need? Doing a background check in Montgomery County- there isn’t just one site to look up for misdemeanor criminal offenses- there is a whole slew of them. Dayton, Kettering, Oakwood (not online), Miamisburg, etc. Each with different systems- and sites.

The real question is why?

A friend is considering running for municipal judge in Columbus- and it’s a countywide race. They have one municipal court for the entire county! Imagine that? Proof that it can be done.

For those of you who don’t know the difference between a municipal court and a county court- the difference is that municipal courts only deal with misdemeanor crimes, while the county courts get all felonies. Note- the county courts do handle misdemeanors in unincorporated areas- like townships, or they sub them out to the nearest municipality.

Of course, Franklin County probably doesn’t have near as many patronage jobs- the Dayton Clerk of Court has 59 employees- that feeds a lot of political cronies- who then sit on the party central committee.

Trying to find out the rules about Municipal Court Clerks is a bit difficult. It’s not mentioned in the city charter at all- but ruled by state law. See this webpage for all the exceptions to the rule: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/1901.31

The Dayton Clerk of Courts position is coming up for re-election, currently held by Montgomery County Democratic Party Chair Mark Owens. The pay is around $100,000 a year- although I can’t find it online.
I’m going to take guesses at the following- if anyone can correct me, I’d appreciate it:

  • 6 Year term
  • Partisan election.
  • Requires different form than City Commission, and only 50 signatures if you are a party candidate.
  • Must be 18.
  • Must be a resident.

Note- ideally, the Board of Elections website should have the duties, qualifications, responsibilities, compensation, filing instructions, etc. on its website for every position that is elected.

I did find this document: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/Upload/publications/election/2015_CRG.pdf

Turns out the deadline passed if you are running as a major party candidate- but, in an odd case, to run as an independent, you may not need more signatures- and the deadline is later:

PETITION FILING DEADLINES
: By 4 p.m. on February 4, 2015 (90 days before the
primary election) for party candidates; or by 4 p.m. on May 4, 2015 (day before the
primary election) for independent candidates
SIGNATURE REQUIREMENTS:
Major party candidates: 50 valid signatures, unless otherwise provided in law
(R.C. 1901.31,3513.05)
Minor party candidates: 25 valid signatures, unless otherwise provided in law
(R.C. 1901.31,3513.05)
Independent or nonpartisan candidates: 50 valid signatures, unless otherwise
provided in law (R.C. 1901.31,3513.05,3513.257)

Ad for Harveysburg clerk of courtsOwens is an attorney- but, I’m sure you don’t have to be one, since Dan Foley and Greg Brush are not attorneys and both have served as Clerk of Courts.

Maybe we’d have more money for snow plowing, if we had one county-wide municipal court, with one clerk, and one website.

What brought this post on was a call a week ago from Mike Bock of DaytonOS- asking why no one was challenging Owens- and a reminder in today’s paper that all communities don’t elect a clerk of courts- some hire them, like in Harveysburg.

If Ohio really wanted to have a law about term limits- (which don’t apply to local offices currently) it should be if an elected position goes more than 2 elections cycles without a challenger, the incumbent is forced out, and the position is reevaluated as an elected position.

It’s time to reevaluate a lot of how Ohio is governed, but as long as patronage mills like Clerk of Courts offices sit unchallenged- we’re pretty much doomed to maintain this expensive, duplicative, government overhead.

 

And the Wright Brothers didn’t invent the airplane…

People are still pissed that NC claims “First in Flight” when everyone is supposed to know that the Wright Brothers invented flight and perfected it here in Dayton.

When it comes to bike share in Dayton- it most definitely wasn’t “Dayton leaders” who brought this idea to town as reported on the front page of the Dayton Daily news by Thomas Gnau (who also stole my Qbase story- a year and a half late).

Dayton leaders have long sought to make the city more bike-friendly. Three years ago, city leaders planned to spend $12.1 million in federal and state money through 2018 on street repair and repaving in a bid to give riders clear bicycle lanes. And runners, walkers and bikers have used trails by the Great Miami River for decades.

“The bike share program is one of the many ways we can connect destinations and points of interests and neighborhoods to each other,” (Downtown Dayton Partnership leader Sandy) Gudorf said. “That’s one of the key reasons we and our community partnership … push to get bike share done.”

via Daytonians could share bikes | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

At the first Miami Valley Bike Summit- not very many people were interested in the funny looking white Bcycle that was there- along with Andrew Davison, who flew in from Boulder to introduce the prototype bike.

I had started this conversation when I read about Andrew’s bosses work to launch Bcycle in partnership with Humana Health Care and Trek Bicycles about 6 years ago. I reached out to Alex Bogusky- the aforementioned boss, and creative genius of the ad agency of the decade- Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

Alex passed my name over to Andrew- and he shipped the bike here to K&G bike shop for assembly- the trade show booth to my office- and the swag… T-shirts and water bottles, to hand out at the event. Of course, I wrote about all this on esrati.com, but, you know- nobody reads that….

My first post on the matter- Pave more roads or free bikes? Stimulus for the future The date? Mar. 31, 2009. I thought we could launch in 2010. I talked to university presidents about it, our shadow mayor, the people at Metroparks (I had either Marvin Olinsky or Charlie Shoemaker ride the Bcycle- and shot some video of them riding it outside the meeting at DECA).

But, in the end, even with photos and posts to prove who was the father of this idea in Dayton- it won’t go down in the history of Bike Share in Dayton as my idea… because, well….

have you ever heard of “stolen valor”- or let me introduce you to my good friend Brian Williams.

A plan for the Dayton Public Schools

Saying that Dayton Public Schools are second worst in the state is similar to saying that all Muslims are terrorists. It’s great for headlines, it’s great for political speeches, and putting the district “under review” isn’t going to help. What will help is real change.

The first thing to realize is that Stivers doesn’t need help. It’s a Dayton Public School that’s working. Is it a model for the rest of the district- yes and no. Is there a single silver bullet like “mo money” or “better teachers” that will solve the problems- no. There is no Walmart of educational solutions where you can shop and buy 100 new reading specialists to improve your third grade reading scores- they just aren’t available.

And, a warning – this post is sure to piss off a lot of union teachers. Not because I don’t think you work hard, or aren’t paid enough, but that I think it’s time your profession owns up to the reality that your work schedule was designed around an agricultural economy that is so far back in the history books that if it had a copyright it would have been in the public domain before the Internet and project Gutenberg came along.

To briefly summarize why our schools aren’t competitive, we have to look at what began the great slide to the bottom. “Busing for integration” might have worked if it had a fixed ecosystem and the students didn’t have the option of opting out either by moving or going to private schools (now compounded by the option of just as mediocre publicly funded charter schools). Racial segregation was replaced by economic segregation- and in every study known to man, there is a direct, incontrovertible relationship between poverty and poor school performance. We’re not going to get more wealthy smart kids moving back into the district anytime soon- even if we stop letting outsiders buy their way into Stivers (which is a dirty little secret).

So the question becomes how to change the system to work better for poor kids than for better well off kids? How do you nurture children better on a part time basis? First step, you move to a full time basis. This is the heretical statement that is the key to making a real change. It’s the realization that you can’t half ass anything and expect different results.

Here are the three changes that must be made, and there isn’t anyone with the balls to say or do it, but anything less, will not change outcomes:

–End the 180-day school year.

For comparison: http://www.theatlantic.com/past/politics/educatio/barr2f.htm

Japan 243 New Zealand 190
West Germany 266-240 Nigeria 190
South Korea 220 British Columbia 185
Israel 216 France 185
Luxembourg 216 Ontario 185
Soviet Union 211 Ireland 184
Netherlands 200 New Brunswick 182
Scotland 200 Quebec 180
Thailand 200 Spain 180
Hong Kong 195 Sweden 180
England/Wales 192 United States 180
Hungary 192 French Belgium 175
Switzerland 191 Flemish Belgium 160
Finland 190

What have all these other countries done? Made school more like what a real job is like. Prepared kids for a world where you don’t get three months off in the summer. Note, most of these countries also afford their people more than the two weeks of paid vacation which is becoming a pipedream to many Americans.

More days in school isn’t the only part of the equation, it’s about what they do in school, how they approach the educational process. Common-core skills are more like real-life skills- being able to synthesize answers and solutions- through collaboration, research and analysis. These real-life skills often are best learned in what we’ve called extra-curricular or arts and sports programs. Unfortunately with transportation schedules currently ruling and limiting our time with students outside of the normal school day- many of these enrichment programs were cut. And let’s face it- teachers are the only ones who have a 6-hour designated work day with a 180-day year qualifying as a “full time job.”

It’s time to reexamine why our school day doesn’t equal the parents’ work day- not just for adding extra-curriculars- but for the fact that child care for impoverished homes isn’t a luxury- it’s a necessity. Along with the longer year- comes the longer day. It’s time for a 9-5 minimum school day.

The schedule is also critical- year-round schools show much less drop off, the dreaded summer slide goes away. Why a district in “academic emergency” isn’t on a full-year schedule as the first step is beyond comprehension. So, a longer school year (on a year-round schedule), with longer school days and and the reintroduction of the arts- sports, the extracurricular activities that made school worth going to, are key to making positive change happen.

All this costs money of course, but so do drop-outs who will be a burden to society for the rest of their lives by being unable to compete, to earn, to stay out of trouble. The costs of unprepared graduates also costs in the form of remedial courses at the college level, where costs are the responsibility of the student and their families- or, through more money in government grants and assistance.

We already know the effects of poverty on education, we pay for it by supplying meals to all Dayton Public School students “free of charge” (paid for by the taxpayers) because these are often the only meals these kids get. By extending the school day, and the school year- we may see better chances for poor parents to shift child care expenses to being able to cut food insecurity out even more.

We also have to look at how we’re educating kids. More and more, it’s become a matter of teaching to the tests requiring huge expenditures on new course materials driven by a mega business in educational materials that lobbies for “standards” that are ever changing. It’s time to get off this merry-go-round and realize that the world has changed, and that anything you want to learn about is available for free, on the internet. The text book is dead, and the fancy solutions that they are offering as rentals is another educational fad- driven by dollars that are there to be sucked out of government by the industiral-educational machine.

It’s absolutely critical that we learn to teach using the age-old Socratic method.

Socratic method (also known as method of elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate), named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas.

This is what the “common core” is- a branded and packaged version of education.

Give the kids access to a digital reader- and there are tens of thousands of free books available via Project Gutenberg and others, that are perfectly capable of being used as reading texts. Books were written before 1923 that were worth reading. We read The Scarlet Letter in High School and it’s just as appropriate today as it was then- but we had to buy our copy. That’s no longer necessary if you have the technology in place.

Part of the common-core skill set should include researching and writing your own textbooks. The skills of adding to Wikipedia, building websites and online communities is critical for future knowledge workers- but we’ve not incorporated these skills into the curriculum- because we’re too busy working on jumping though hoops- instead of creating our own challenges. In the extended school day, school year- part of it should include writing your own books, creating your own math tests, devising your own chemistry experiments, writing your own music- because these are the real world skills you were supposed to gain under ANY educational framework- and have been sorely missed by all industrialized educational systems.

There is one other realization that must be made- and that is that all of our kids aren’t in homes that are fit for living in. Either because of extreme poverty, violence, addiction, special needs, Dayton has a population that is under incredible duress, where school is the only sane place in their young lives. It’s time to have a residential/boarding school as one of the options in the educational process. Either for short-term, or long-term students, to remove them from toxic influences. I’d recommend converting the former Marine Reserve Station on Gettysburg into a campus for kids who need more love and protection than most. An attempt was made to open one in Cincinnati- and failed. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea or impossible. It just means we’d be innovators like the Wright Brothers- because everyone knew they were crazy and man couldn’t fly.

Because we’re still stuck with a charter school system that requires Dayton Public to breast feed- one of the things that makes all these things difficult is that kids aren’t connected to neighborhoods anymore. One option that should be investigated is to bus kids back to the closest neighborhood school for the extended after-school programming- the arts, sports, coding and homework time after the “conventional” school day is done. This also allows parents and community to get involved in their children’s programming for tutoring and coaching. something the random distributed system we have now isn’t allowing for. Research has proven that parental involvement is a critical step in improving schools- but with current distribution of kids randomly throughout the district- it’s hard to form hard community and neighborhood bonds. Ideally, we’d move away from spending so much on diesel fuel attempting to “balance” an unequal system- but, for now, we’re sort of stuck with the system we have. Emerson Academy in South Park, a charter school, has a high percentage of neighborhood kids- and still doesn’t have the community as involved in the programs as possible. I’m hoping to bridge that gap in the coming months by beginning a literacy and reading program at the school on Saturdays for all ages.

There are no easy silver bullets to turning around school districts- no number of consultants, no new dollars, no supply of super teachers exist using our current structures. Throw those constraints out and try a different systemic solution and see what happens. Because from where I’m observing- there is only one way for the district to go from second from the bottom- and that is up.

Legalized racketeering- only in Ohio

When Ohio voters amended the Ohio Constitution to allow casinos, they mandated the actual real estate for the casinos. When it came time to build the four casinos- a minor obstacle in Columbus- when the location they authorized wouldn’t work for the criminals who got the golden ticket had to move it. No worries, the legislature bent the voters over and moved it.

Now, we’re facing the same with pot growing operations. Vote for pot- and give 10 sites a monopoly on legal pot growing:

if Ohio voters approve a constitutional amendment in November to legalize pot for recreational and medical uses, documents released Monday show.

ResponsibleOhio released a 24-page summary of the ballot language that identifies where each of 10 grow sites will be. Investors bought or arranged purchase options on the 10 sites.

via Moraine site would grow marijuana if issue passes in November | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

The identification of specific parcels isn’t law- it’s racketeering.

ResponsibleOhio is backed by deep-pocket investors that include financiers, current and former professional athletes, real estate developers and others. It is opposed by anti-drug organizations, five statewide officeholders including Kasich and DeWine, and grassroots marijuana groups that believe carving out just 10 growing sites will unfairly block others who want to cultivate cannabis for sale.

ibid

If you don’t know what racketeering is-

Racketeering refers to criminal activity that is performed to benefit an organization such as a crime syndicate. Examples of racketeering activity include extortion, money laundering, loan sharking, obstruction of justice and bribery.

Just because it’s voted into law, doesn’t make it legal.

It’s time for a constitutional amendment in Ohio to stop granting unfair advantages by government to any business- be it limiting the locations of pot farms or casinos to specific sites, or the awarding of individual tax breaks, incentives or grants to a single business without offering the same benefits to their competition.

Racists, rapists and apologists

The head of the local Republican Party/Sheriff fired two of his employees on Friday, for unbecoming conduct. Three others got disciplined. It seems that all had been either sending or receiving racist jokes via text messages.

An Oakwood 19-year-old on an athletic scholarship to Stanford, was playing doctor on an unconscious woman in the bushes outside a fraternity party. He was inebriated, despite not being of drinking age.

Sheriff Phil Plummer made the hard call and took a stand saying there is no room for racist jokes, comments, or behavior under his command.

Stanford sent the swimmer away. They made a clear statement that non-consensual sexual behavior was unacceptable.

Then I see debate on Facebook. I see people using the First Amendment as justification for statements contrary to the founding beliefs that “all men are created equal.” I see people saying that because the swimmer used his fingers instead of his penis, somehow that was OK, besides he was always a “nice boy.”

When was the last time you heard a public figure step right up and admit they screwed up?

Brian Williams of NBC somehow thought he could tell a yarn about him being in a helicopter that got shot down. His first response?

“I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”

Am I guilty of conflation of the racists with the rapists? Certainly saying something politically incorrect is one thing, sticking objects in someone unconscious is another. Except, when you are an officer of the law, you have to be held to a higher standard of conduct- that’s why we trust you with a gun and a badge.

There is a go fund me set up to pay for the Captain’s legal expenses with a very long explanation of why he shouldn’t have been fired- it was put up by his wife. It blames the ex-wife of the deputy, the NAACP, the Sheriff- and the news media for slandering the Captain. The fact that when he got the first text his immediate response wasn’t “this isn’t acceptable” isn’t mentioned, nor is the fact that he erased his iphone and ipod before turning them in, against policy. When you are a leader- a higher level of accountability is expected.

There was a piece online trying to explain away the swimmer’s odd behavior. How about he’s already guilty of being drunk under age? The complaint clearly has eyewitnesses describing something that no one would wish for their daughter.

And, yes, we have courts of law to decide upon guilt or innocence, justifiable firing or not. But the court of public opinion, the debate we have with others- the thoughts we hold back, do they matter?

It’s a question of what kind of society you want to live in. If you don’t want to hear your news from a liar, you can always change the channel, but, when it comes to the guy who shows up with a gun and a badge, what kind of moral character do you want them to have? Or, if your daughter goes to visit a college campus, do you want her molested by a drunken athlete- and then be blamed for her actions?

For a society to function, the actions of a few miscreants is one thing, the willingness to apologize for them is a much greater risk to our community. I know many of you will argue that this is a stretch, but the liberators of the concentration camps had to march the townsfolk through the camps- because they didn’t believe it happened right under their noses.

Many are quick to blame all Muslims for the acts of a few extremists as well, but, that is no different than judging all Americans by the actions of Charlie Manson or Timothy McVeigh.

Morals, ethics, the standards of society are set by what we allow as OK. You don’t know how many times while I’ve been hanging basketball nets I’ve had to say that I don’t think using the N word is acceptable- and so far, I’ve not gotten my ass beat.

There are always at least two sides to every story- but, in the end, there is only one rule that is universal- the golden one. There is no excuse for racist jokes by cops, there is no excuse for doing anything to someone unconscious other than to protect them and get help- and there is no excuse for apologizing for their actions, or trying to say it’s OK- it was among consenting adults, or that they are “good people” because, they aren’t if what happened is true.

We can box up our snow.

We can’t plow snow because we don’t have enough salt. That was good enough for the city commission- and Public Works director Fred Stovall. Salt prices went up, he only has 60 drivers, overtime, etc.

So, schools close, kids don’t get their free meals, their parents have to make alternate plans for child care- affecting tens of thousands of people, because we can’t figure out that a city’s first responsibility is making sure roads are clear- for us- and for emergency vehicles as well.

But, we have plenty of money for…. wait…. a packaging company. Of course, we run it through the loosely controlled slush fund- CityWide Development, where tax dollars go and go and go:

A Dayton packaging company will get $110,000 in incentives to grow in Dayton.

The city is expected to vote Wednesday night to facilitate a $100,000 low-interest loan and a $10,000 grant for Miami Valley Packaging Solutions Inc. to help expand its presence in Dayton. The company is investing $2.1 million to purchase and renovate the building at 150 Janney Road.

The city is providing CityWide Development Corp. $105,000 for the loan, with the extra $5,000 going to CityWide to help administer it. The city is separately giving a $10,000 grant to the company.

With the funding, the Dayton-based packing company will have the financing in place for its planned move and growth in the city.

Miami Valley Packaging Solutions said last fall the new 100,000 square-foot space will be a major upgrade from its current 66,000 square-foot headquarters at 1752 Stanley Ave.

With equipment purchases, the move is expected to cost $3 million. Partners Kenny Phegley, Jamie Williams and Don Chmiel say they want to significantly expand business.

City documents indicate Miami Valley Packaging Solutions will retain 21 jobs and create nine new ones over the next five years. The company bought B&L Packaging in 2009 and specializes in corrugated packaging, with a line of plastic packaging growing quickly.

via Dayton to offer $110,000 in incentives to Miami Valley Packaging Solutions – Dayton Business Journal.

Of course if you own another packaging company in town- this means you are now at a disadvantage- and you still can’t get your employees to work.
But- that’s “Economic Development” Dayton style- where we pick and choose the winners and losers in your tax dollar lottery.

And it there is too much snow, we can buy boxes from Miami Valley Packaging Solutions and package it up- and send it somewhere else.

Republican leader blows creative naming opportunities for $100, Alex

Remember the “Contract with America” where Newt Gingrich tied a ribbon on policy that was bad and made it look good? Or how the “Inheritance tax” which relatively few people were subject to- became the evil sounding “death tax”?

Well, the chance to do something right- got a bad name in a big way from the Republican Senate leader in Ohio:

Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, called for establishing a “drug prison” where inmates with drug-abuse issues would receive treatment services.

“I anticipate that there would be an increase in the cost up front but I think in the long run we’re going to save money,” Faber said.

via Charter schools in spotlight.

Why a “drug prison” Keith? Why not a rehabilitation center for drug abusers who’ve turned to crime to support their habits?

Many times people begin their path to drug abuse purely by accident- an injury at work, and next thing you know they are addicted to a painkiller.  Drug abuse is a mental health issue first and foremost. The crimes committed by drug abusers are often nothing other than survival skills to feed their habits. Our prisons are overflowing with people who are more dangerous to themselves than others- glad you just figured it out.

Now, figure out a better name as well as a better solution to deal with this sad epidemic. Prisons aren’t working, nor is our “criminal justice” system built to deal with people just looking for a quick fix to an addiction.