29 years ago the space shuttle Challenger blew up. I also bought a house.
The house had been on the market for 2 years, starting out at $22,900. When I looked at it, it was down to $17,900. I didn’t have a Realtor, and offered $14,500. They took it.
Three months later I contracted Dayton Door Sales to replace the sliding siding doors on my garage with a pair of “modern” overhead garage doors. Next thing you know, I’d broken the law for fixing up my house. I went to the city commission, expecting representation, compassion, assistance- all I got was stonewalled, stone-faced stares. That was the reason I decided that Dayton needed a new mayor.
Apparently so did a lot of other people, and the primary was a 6-way affair- with Mike Turner coming in second to Clay Dixon and me, with my $1,000 campaign, coming in fourth.
So it was only fitting that today I went to the commission again. This time to ask why they can’t deal with a few inches of snow. I explained, when schools close, single parents have to stop work to take care of their kids, meaning small businesses suffer from lack of staff. Kids, who often only eat because they are in school- go hungry. The whole thing is the most anti “economic development” scam going.
I suggested they work on some alternatives:
- Set alternate pickup points on snow days on heavy duty streets- avoiding driving into neighborhoods with narrow streets. Kids would have to walk a little, but, we could get routes to schools cleared.
- Open a few strategic schools as day-care centers- staffed to feed kids, and keep them out of trouble so their parents can still work.
- Or, plow the damn streets.
I suggested that maybe the answer is getting more CDL drivers in city hall to work when we have snow. You know- like the overpaid “economic development people” or the city commission’s staff.
As always- no response. I was the only speaker. The mayor moved on to closing comments, and voila- for the first time in 29 years, Commissioner Williams did the unthinkable- he agreed with me in public- and asked for answers.
Maybe this is just posing for the new city manager? Maybe it’s because I’m right- that this is unacceptable. They called up Fred Stoval, director of Public Works who gave a great song and dance about a lack of salt. Remember, I was asking about plowing- not salt. There are places where you can’t use salt- like Fargo ND, where the temperature stays well below the point where salt is effective- and they don’t close with 4″ of snow. However, my time was up- and no one on the commission is smart enough to question the lame answers.
Turns out, Mr. Stovall can muster about 60 drivers- and work them one 16-hour shift before he sends them home. That’s pulling everyone in public works except the trash guys. Of course, they are now on a 4-day work week- so pulling them for a day wouldn’t kill things unless it’s a week with a three day weekend, but again- no one on the commission engages in critical thinking 101.
He can also hit up the water department to help when clearing downtown. But, again, 16 hours with 60 trucks- no relief. Hello? Ever heard of temps? It’s also questionably legal for anyone to drive with a CDL for more than 10 hours in a 24-hour period, but, I’m not going to get into the legal part of all this. The reality is- 16 hours is mega OT.
The real solution is to have 180-200 qualified CDL drivers for snow duty. That way, you keep your 60 plows going 24-7 until everything is plowed- on 8-hour safe shifts. When the snow hits- there should be no other priority higher. Snow clogged streets hurt our kids, our single parents, make it hard for emergency responders to do their jobs- the only people who benefit are body shop owners- and hospitals that have to deal with the accidents that are results of our political malfeasance.
Face it- this isn’t Syracuse or Buffalo- both the first two snowfalls were under 4″ – there is no reason to close anything for less than a foot- if you have competent public works. We don’t.
This is what we pay our taxes for. It’s time to get our money’s worth.
I’ve been saying this for 29 years- and only today, did the commission catch on, but only barely.
Write a letter to your commissioners- write emails, call, demand better. This isn’t rocket science- it’s shoveling snow. Salt is not the problem- throwing it in our wounded city is.
Here is the contact info: http://www.daytonohio.gov/cco/Pages/default.aspx
and tell them, you too agree with David Esrati.