Quincy’s Fish moving downtown

full disclosure- my firm The Next Wave does work for Quincy’s fish- they had zero editorial input on this.

Heard it here first folks- Quincy’s Fish is moving from W. Third to the old Lou’s Broaster hut location at 865 N. Main St. It’s a blow to the West Side- but a boon to the lower Riverdale area and Downtown. Should be open by Dec. 1, 2014.

This isn’t a ding on opening business on the West Side- it’s a ding on our crappy system of recording deeds, collecting taxes and protecting vacant buildings in Dayton. It’s also good reason to hire a title company even when signing a lease on a distressed building in Dayton, especially if your landlord is a known felon.

Photo from Google Maps of corner of W. Third And Alder where Quincy's transformed an abandoned building

Before Quincy’s

The building, which at one time was a Pizza Hut and then a bank- and lastly “Charlies Angels” had sat vacant for a few years. The claimed owner was Mark Donelson, of Donelson Investments. Former husband of Scherrie McLin, daughter of former political power broker CJ McLin and sister of former Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin- who is now in prison for mishandling pre-paid funeral money in the family funeral home.

Donelson had moved the title into numerous persons’ names during his incarceration and apparently had never actually set up the Nevada corporation to which he had last transferred the title. The owner of Quincy’s found this out- after they had taken him to court over his failure to provide an air conditioner through the course of the lease. One was installed before they opened in November 2013- and promptly stolen the next day. Rent payments had been going into escrow until the matter was settled- which is when the question of rightful, legal ownership surfaced.

Despite months of sweat equity and investment into transforming the eyesore back into a going concern, the lack of legal standing of the “owner” of the building made any chance of stability in that location seem elusive.

Enter the old “Lou’s Broaster Hut” or “Chicken Louies” at 865 N. Main Street. Another building that has been adversely affected by failures of our city to protect investors’ investments. First was the closing of the highway access to N. Main street and construction. Then the break-ins through the roof and the theft of metal. Another abandoned restaurant, another reclamation project.

The abysmal record of the Dayton Police in solving crimes by drug seeking junkies who rely on pennies on the dollar for recovered scrap from viable buildings is good reason to pay attention to the County Commission race- where former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell is proposing an idea that’s been tested in Europe- giving the worst offending heroin addicts the drug in a controlled environment so as to keep them from causing millions of dollars of damage for scrap.

With the experience on Third Street behind them- the owners of Quincy’s think they can turn the old “White Tower” building around in 30 days and be open for business by Dec. 1, 2014.

In the meantime, the question of the ownership of the W. Third Street building will just be another case of failure of our system of recording deeds and titles. Our current “system”  came along with the relaxation of rules which allowed for the resale of mortgages without physical transfer of deeds- which was in part what led to the financial crisis and housing collapse of 2009. It’s time to stop this malarkey of  digital deed transfers and shell corporations that haven’t been fully vetted. It’s also time to impose penalties on those organizations- be it banks, or shell corps, who hold these buildings without taking care of them. In the end- they cost all of us.

Dayton City Charter Changes 2014- issues 13, 14, 15, 16

Finding the summary put out by the city of these charter changes is pretty easy- although it’s not in HTML format- just a PDF:

http://cityofdayton.org/cco/Documents/November2014CharterSummary.pdf

The summary makes it all seem nice and easy.

The current Dayton Charter is here: http://www.daytonohio.gov/cco/Documents/DaytonCityCharter.pdf but not accessible to me at this time (luckily I already had a copy of the charter).

However, the ballot language is a mangled mess- and not easily available. Several people have contacted me already to ask “what is this all about.” I attended one of the meetings of the committee, which was handpicked by the powers that be- to be as non-representative of the citizens of Dayton as possible. Looking around the room, you’d think the unions run the city (they still think they do- hand in hand with the politicos).

If you go here: http://www.voterfind.com/montgomeryoh/ballotlist.aspx the BOE will let you look at a sample ballot in advance.

The language is overly verbose- and not accessible to copy and paste easily into this site. Issue by issue- here is the synopsis.

Issue 13 should be voted for. It changes the requirements for number of signatures required to propose changes or overturn votes by the city commission to a reasonable number. The existing charter language depended on a percentage of registered voters- which had zero connection to the numbers of existing voters- setting the bar too high to be attainable.

Once issue 13 is passed, we, the voters, may be able to change the requirements for recalling commissioners or the required numbers of signatures on obsolete petitions- something this committee refused to address.

Issue 14 should be voted for. The Dayton budget and compensation rules are arcane and obtuse. Not that a ton of progress is being made in the way we spend and track our money (we had an employee in the law department stealing considerable sums despite our current rules).

Issue 15 should be voted for. The current charter has a bunch of really antiquated rules- that need to go. This issue takes care of that.

Issue 16 is the one where we should really look twice.

Currently section 2 of the Charter is short and sweet:

Sec. 2. [Enumeration of Powers.]
The enumeration of particular powers by this Charter shall not be held or deemed to be exclusive, but, in addition to the powers enumerated herein, implied thereby or appropriate to the exercise thereof, the city shall have, and may exercise, all other powers which, under the constitution and laws of Ohio, it would be competent for this Charter specifically to enumerate.

They want to change it to:

Sec. 2 Powers of the City
The city shall have all powers of local self-government possible for a city to have under the constitution and laws of the state of Ohio as fully and completely as though they were specifically enumerated in this Charter.
A. The powers of the city under this Charter shall be construed liberally in favor of the city, and the specific mention of particular powers in the Charter shall not be construed as limiting in any way the general power granted in this article.
B. The city may participate by contract or otherwise with any governmental entity of this state or any other state or states of the United States in the performance of any activity which one or more such entities has the authority to undertake.
C. All powers of the city shall be vested in the Commission, except as otherwise provided by law or this Charter, and the Commission shall provide for the exercise thereof and the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the city by law.
D. The City Manager shall be the chief executive officer of the city, responsible to the Commission for the management of all city affairs placed in the manager’s charge by law or this Charter.
E. The Commission may elect to operate under state municipal law in lieu of the provisions of this Charter or §171 thereof pertaining to limitations on the manner, form, or uses of taxes, fees, assessments, and other revenue sources. However, any such measure shall clearly state this intent, may not be passed by emergency legislation and shall require four votes for passage.
On this one, I’m asking for your help in figuring it out. The city explanation of all this legalese is:
Issue 16: Powers of the City
Dayton is referred to as the first city to adopt the City Manager form of government. The 1914 Charter was new ground and the writers tried to ensure Dayton would have broad powers to serve its citizens. But they could not have guessed what might happen 80, 90, or 100 years later and now Dayton is hampered by that 1914 language. Today, the Ohio General Assembly is making changes in how cities operate and Dayton needs to have all the powers that other cities and villages are given.
This does not change the way the City of Dayton operates. We will still have a City Manager form of government and the members of the Commission will still be elected in the same way and represent the entire city. This is designed to ensure that Dayton has the maximum flexibility to respond to a changing environment.
Dayton has to fight hard to attract businesses, residents and amenities; we can’t afford to have one hand tied behind our back by archaic language. With the serious conversations being held about the State changing municipal income taxes, Dayton has to be able to respond immediately to potentially devastating changes in the law. This Charter change provides us with the same flexibility every other city has. (Section 2)
The line “Dayton has to fight hard to attract businesses, residents and amenities; we can’t afford to have one hand tied behind our back by archaic language.” makes me not want to vote for this change. I’ve already seen how our lovely commission believes it’s ok to hand over millions to a private developer- IRG getting the Emery/UPS building at the airport- which they scrapped and profited from, or the deal to give GE, one of the nation’s largest tax avoidance companies get a 30-year tax abatement in the “name of economic development.”
Since Nan Whaley appointed herself queen, we got shafted with a street light assessment, we voted to make a temporary tax permanent, and we watched property values plummet.
At this point, I’m inclined to vote no. I don’t trust the commission to be allowed to pick and choose which State laws benefit them most (remember, State law is mostly formulated by our Republican leadership these days).
Let’s stick with the Charter we have on this- just to show them they need to do a better job of informing us of proposed changes in advance. So YES, YES, YES, NO is my current suggestion.

 

Why South Park property values rise

In today’s Dayton Daily news, the front page story talks about the tanking property values in Montgomery County- and then gushes over South Park- a “gainer” among the rest of the failing county.

To begin with, you have to realize that when your property is already way undervalued due to the failures of our local governments (yes plural- since we have way too many) over the last 40 years, we’ve allowed sprawl and “economic development” to run our community. Both of which have caused the costs of basic government services to grow faster than the tax base.

Our “median assessed value” is still almost half of what the rest of the county is. Take that into consideration, as well as our neighborhood of 850 odd houses, is a very small sample of the whole. So when you read everything in the DDn article about why our neighborhood’s appraised values went up- remember, it’s a tiny increase in the grand scheme of things- where you still have a sinking ship deeply in need of triage.

Soaring South Park

It was exactly that kind of effort — over many years — that has contributed to rising values in the South Park and other historic districts.

Together, the 1,875 residential properties in the 10 historic districts as defined by the county saw 14.4 percent increase in total assessed value. Only the Oregon District, which lost 9.3 percent, and McPherson Town, which declined by less than 1 percent, saw decreasing values.

The South Park Historic District was the county’s biggest gainer. The median assessed value for the 646 residential properties in the district increased by 32.1 percent during the three years, rising from $66,905 in 2011 to $88,410.

In South Park, the county’s largest historic district, only 35 residential properties — or about 1 in 18 — lost value, according to the newspaper’s analysis.

Brian Ressler, president of Historic South Park, Inc., the district’s non-profit neighborhood association, attributed much of the neighborhood’s resurgence to two businesses that have dedicated themselves to buying and rehabilitating homes there — Full Circle Development (Gasper) and The Home Group Realty Co.

“They have contributed a lot to basically creating a market where there wasn’t one before,” Ressler said of the two businesses. “They’ve been able to increase demand for housing in the neighborhood in a way that couldn’t have occurred before because they’ve been able to do so much at once.”

A number of other folks have also pitched in to rehabilitate homes in the neighborhood – many of which date to the late 1800s.

Holly DiFlora, owner of The Home Group, said she and her husband Michael, who grew up in Old North Dayton, began buying blighted South Park properties in 2006 after retiring and moving back to the area.

“We’ve done 35 houses in the neighborhood,” DiFlora said of the rehabs. “We knew we had to do critical mass in order to really jump start the neighborhood. And we have.”

Longtime residents Pat and Susan Moran won’t argue about the progress, but like many property owners with increased appraisals they’re ambivalent.

Their two-story home on Bonner Street, built in 1890, increased almost 19 percent, from $101,300 to $120,230.

So, were the Morans happy with their new assessment?

“Yes and no,” Pat said with a grin. “If we were going to sell it, sure.”

But it also means they’ll pay more in property taxes.

“I think it’s good for the neighborhood,” said Susan, “but it’s not good for the individuals.”

via Most Montgomery County homes lose value | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

Asking Brian Ressler, a relative newcomer to the neighborhood on what caused the increase is like asking a first-year med student to be “Dr. House” who solves the toughest medical problems- all within 50 minutes every week.

South Park is a success, not because of the investment of the DiFloras and the Gaspers- although they definitely helped. It’s a combination of things that are fundamentally different from what other neighborhoods in Dayton are doing (the smaller historic districts- Oregon and McPherson Town both dropped in value- again, very small sample sizes make the numbers meaningless).

So, if you want to know what really caused the values to go up, you need to do some quick comparisons. The City of Dayton made a concerted effort to “bring back Wright Dunbar”- investing many millions into redevelopment. More than DiFlora and Gasper ever dreamed of spending. At one point, the city spent a million to redo just 4 homes- that all sold at a loss. This kind of attempted government intervention has never proven to be effective. If you want to see what wholesale dollars poured into neighborhoods does- look at Twin Towers that has had a gazillion spent on new homes, social services and even their own school program. Values are still stagnant at best. Look at the Fairgrounds neighborhood- where the Genesis project poured millions in- and the city promised that it would never turn into student housing. Section 8 residents are getting the boot- so investors can house 4 UD students in illegal (supposedly) rooming houses billing by the semester. Homes built with city money are now requiring new roofs before the tax abatements are even finished.

South Park has been an organic work in progress for almost 3 decades- when the historic designation was made in 1984- it forced renovations and changes to the exteriors to conform to a stricter set of standards with oversight. This stopped many slumlords from being able to come in and quickly solve paint problems with vinyl siding and falling down porches by putting up aluminum awnings. It also bonded neighbors together- with a mission, to make sure that no one was getting anything over on the rules. It’s how I got in trouble for putting up wood grain vinyl garage doors- on a dump of a garage on a house that had been on the market for 2 years without an offer.

Secondly, the neighborhood has really good physical natural boundaries. Sort of like the Oscar Newman “defensible space” that when implemented incorrectly in Five Oaks- failed. We have Woodland Cemetery to the south, U.S. 35 to the north (which split the neighborhood from the Oregon District in the early 1960s. Wayne Ave. to the east and either Warren or Main to the west depending on whom you talk to. Good fences are said to make good neighbors- good boundaries make good neighborhoods.

Because the effort to become a historic district was organic- and home grown, it pulled the neighborhood together, and we did everything we could to try to help each other in the process of rehab and reclamation. One early investor, Dan Campbell- a union carpenter, taught me everything I know about framing and hanging drywall- which he gladly shared in exchange for help on his projects. We shared tools, we cleaned alleys together- and we worked on Home Tours to show off our work.

In the mid-1990s, I did a video about the neighborhood- a 30-minute TV program- to run on DATV and to be handed out on VHS tape. It was called “South Park Soliloquy”- and while it was meant to market the neighborhood- I stayed away from talking about the “Victorian Houses” and the rehab efforts- and talked more about the kinds of people who had chosen to live here. Instead of baroque chamber music and a stuffy voice over- it’s in the neighbors’ words- with the happy music of Buckwheat Zydeco (I traded building Buck’s first website for the rights). We started to evolved from a house centric appeal to become the “neighborhood where neighbors become friends.” The video is still on YouTube.

And although many of the neighbors who are in the video have left and a few have passed, the energy of this video continues to thrive in this neighborhood.

As part of the Genesis project- and to protect their investment, Miami Valley Hospital has funded two community-based police officers for almost twenty years. And while I can’t say that crime has decreased dramatically – there is a better connection between neighbors and the police helped create a sense of security that wasn’t here before. All neighborhoods should have their own, dedicated officers that know the community inside and out.

Neighbors also banded together to form South Park Preservation Works- a non-profit development company that took some of the worst houses in the neighborhood and stopped them from having to be demolished. A for-profit neighborhood development corporation, South Park Social Capital, was my brainchild around 1998 to try to keep the old Skinners bar from reopening- and to shut down a carry out that belonged to a drug dealer. Although the corporation failed- we now have very reputable businesses in both locations- one being the South Park Tavern and the other Oak St. Antiques.

We also worked hard at growing our social events, and doing things that weren’t your typical neighborhood events. Does your neighborhood produce Shakespeare? How about a Halloween Parade with a marching band before trick or treat? Or, dog walking flash mobs, or hot toddy parties, chili cook-offs and now social soccer Sundays? All of these contribute to a focus on quality of life issues- and knowing your neighbors. These are all post video events- you can see our porch, patio and deck parties in the video.

We’ve attracted investors other than the Gaspers and the DiFloras as well. A client of my ad agency came into the neighborhood- and wanted an office like mine. I had bought the boarded up corner grocery back in 1988 on the day the stock market imploded for $2,200 and $2,400 in back taxes. I knew of another building like it that was on the market- and they ended up buying 4 properties in the neighborhood all for $15K. One of which was the house next to the Morans- which skyrocketed in “value” according to the reappraisal.

Jim Gagnet, took the impossible project of 424 Hickory and saved it- before he brought Coco’s back to the neighborhood. He’s currently finishing up 3 more houses on Lincoln Street- one of which was a horrific looking green monster of a house- that’s now a beautiful shell. He invests here because he knows that there are others willing to invest- the planned project just South of Coco’s and the new Goodwill all bode well for him making a return.

No amount of government investment or even private capital make as much impact as the efforts of the social capital in a neighborhood. It’s not about investing in property- it’s about investing in a community. Once the projects were torn down about 4 years ago- where you had a bunch of people who weren’t necessarily there by choice, there was another burst of investment (this is where DiFlora and Gasper came in). The neighborhood was well on its way before that. One investor, Eric Segalewitz, had bought the entire block facing the projects- while they were still up. He turned the houses into hipster pads and is now about to cash out. People thought he was crazy when he bought them- they don’t now.

We’ve also been lucky enough to have some really amazing small businesses in the ‘hood that have stuck it out. A major person behind almost every volunteer effort for years has been Bill Daniels from the Pizza Factory (he also owns the South Park Tavern). He’s provided food for volunteers more times than anyone can count. He’s gone out and given coupons for free pizzas to people for doing great Christmas decorations- you don’t have that in every neighborhood- but you should. Our newish coffee house- Ghostlight, the same thing. Custom Frame Services has done the same thing over the years. When we decided to do a sculpture- we hire our neighbor Hamilton Dixon- and we have an incredible whirligig on Park Drive now.

There are more amazing things about this neighborhood than I can write- I’ve left off our urban gardens, and our food truck shindig, etc.

It’s people that make a city- not buildings and certainly not government. The sooner you figure that out, the sooner your property values will rise, too.

additional note: Monday 6 Oct- in the same edition of the Dayton Daily news- on the “editorial page” was a full page story about Pecha Kucha Dayton- the team that puts this amazing event on- of course- 3/4 of it- lives in South Park.

another note: Tue 7 Oct. As of 2015- South Park will no longer qualify as a HUBzone according to the SBA. Another sign that things have changed.

NAACP asks about “economic development”

I’ve been to more public meetings than most. For the most part- they suck. Forums aren’t forums, Q&A is random, some moderators have no clue how to run a meeting- and a lot of people like to talk too much- myself included.

I try to get out and video as many as possible that I think may be interesting and share them with you. Good idea number one if you are going to hold a forum- have someone video it and post to YouTube.

Good ideas number 2-5:

  • Have a podium and a microphone- with your organization on the podium (just like the Presidential Press Secretary) it answers a question- and it makes it easy for a set and forget camera.
  • Have a moderator who always REPEATS and focuses the question and directs who should answer. If multiple people will answer- have a strict timer.
  • Have set questions in advance- that are given to the panel, and the audience in advance. This isn’t 60 minutes gotcha- this is a forum- where people are trying to learn and understand and discuss.
  • Provide a backgrouder- a synopsis of the issue, with key points, reference links, opposing views- prime the pump. Make sure everyone knows what’s going on.

All that said- also, make sure you don’t do what happened here- make sure everyone knows what time it starts, stops and what’s expected. Also- don’t make everyone sit through the whole thing- have a schedule, bring speakers in at designated times and be respectful of their time.

The issue was “Economic development” – and particularly the West Side. I have my own views on this- skip forward to 1:18

From their Facebook page:

Dayton Unit NAACP Educates Citizens About The

Economic Development Environment In Dayton

On Monday, August 25, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy, the Dayton Unit NAACP will hold its monthly community meeting entitled, “Economic Development Environment In Dayton.” The distinguished guest panelists will be Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton; Catherine Crosby, executive director of the Dayton Human Relations Council; Richard L. Wright, executive director of Parity Inc.; John A. Lumpkin, vice president of wealth management and financial advisor for Morgan Stanley; and Silvia Anderson, manager of workforce services for OhioMeansJobs in Montgomery County. The moderator will be Chris Shaw, chair of the Dayton Unit NAACP Economic Development Committee.

“The Dayton Unit NAACP is highly concerned about the lack of Employment Opportunities to include City, County and State Highway Construction Jobs; Small Business Development to include Retail Outlets, Restaurants and Service Facilities; and the lack of Franchise Businesses which are so prevalent in other areas of the Region, said Derrick L. Foward, president of the Dayton Unit NAACP. “We look forward to hearing the great things these leaders are accomplishing from an Economic Development standpoint in Dayton proper,” said Foward. “The citizens of Dayton are counting on you in a BIG way to enhance their quality of life.”
“The Economic Development Committee is concerned about jobs, business development and wealth building,” said Shaw. “While we know issues and opportunities exist, by bringing together community stakeholders, we will be able to update the residents of Dayton on collaborative efforts to further these goals. We look forward to community participation,” said Shaw.

via Dayton Unit NAACP.

There were about 50 people in attendance. At the end- I was asked to take a photo of everyone with their hands in the air- “hands up don’t shoot” for their FB page. Good to know I’m good for something.

Dayton is failing its kids

History repeats itself. Readers of this site remember what happened to me at the Spring Urban Nights when I went to document a swarm of kids near the RTA hub.

UPDATE @ 10:45 p.m.: Six tickets for disorderly conduct have been issued to juveniles stemming from the fighting.

Most of the skirmishing seemed to located in the area of the RTA hub on Third Street.

Urban Nights ended at 9:30 p.m., said Val Beerbower, public relations and communications manager with the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

FIRST REPORT: Reports of fighting downtown involving at least 100 people have prompted police to ask for extra crews to help restore order.

There are reports of fighting being reported at the RTA hub on Third Street. There have been reports of fighting at First and Patterson earlier.

At 9:58 p.m., Jefferson Street was being blocked to stop civilian traffic at Third and Fourth streets.

Dayton police are asking for additional officers from the city’s east and west sides as well as from the University of Dayton.

via Dayton police responding to fighting downtown | Dayton, OH News | www.whio.com.

I didn’t go last night, because I was pretty sure it would happen again- and I had a ton of work to finish. I wouldn’t have waded into another one of these swarms again.

In front page news, Dayton Public School scored near the bottom of all Districts in the State. Jefferson Township and Trotwood Madison were right there with them.

Dayton Public Schools again had the lowest performance index in the area, with its 75.2 mark ranking. Dayton had the second worst ranking among Ohio public districts, only ahead of Warrensville Heights in northeast Ohio. On another measure, DPS did meet two of the 24 state testing standards, putting it ahead of Cleveland, Youngstown and Canton schools, and tying Dayton with Columbus, Toledo and Akron…

Dayton (2), Trotwood-Madison (3) and Middletown (3) schools ranked lowest in standards met…

Dayton, Trotwood and Tri-County North were the only local schools to receive three F’s in value-added….

Trotwood (74.8), Northridge (73.1) and Dayton (72.2) had the lowest graduation rates, although Dayton’s rate was an improvement from last year’s 69.9.

via How did your schools rank in new state report card report? | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

There is a direct correlation between these two news stories. And there is a solution- and it costs a lot less than what our city wastes in corporate welfare under the guise of  “economic development.”

We’ve abandoned our youth.

I grew up in a community that was more Oakwood than Dayton. Cleveland Heights wasn’t as wealthy, or as lily white in the 70’s but it had a focus on its kids. There were “park monitors” in the summer in parks throughout the city- high schoolers who were paid and sent to parks and school playgrounds with a duffel bag of bats, balls, Frisbees, and a job description of helping kids have fun together. We spend a couple of million each summer on our YouthWorks program putting kids into businesses – but nothing to let kids lead kids. Heights also had outdoor pools, an ice rink, the sorts of things one only finds in Kettering today. School scores aside, I think Kettering gets many more things right in their spending priorities which seem focused on quality of life- which in turn positions them nicely for the private sector to do their own economic development. For those of you who aren’t aware- they have an ice rink, BMX track, an internationally recognized skate park, indoor outdoor pools with waterpark features, enough soccer fields to host the world cup (if only parents were watching) baseball, softball and basketball courts all in top condition.

Dayton, our largest city can point to a few dedicated private citizens and organizations doing the right thing:

Little league LogoFirst Dayton Little League: Located in Dayton, OH, First Dayton Little League is in Ohio District 8 under District Administrator Shannon Walker. The league has been a chartered member of Little League since 1951. Approximately 90 children are participating in First Dayton Little League, which fields 5 teams. The league president is Ron Johnson.

via First Dayton Little League.

The program at Washington Park died a few years ago, due to a number of factors. Here are a hole 90 kids, out of probably close to 20,000 that are involved in “America’s pastime.”

When it comes to youth football- there is a small league that does it’s best to make things happen for the kids.

The Dayton Jets Youth Football and Cheerleading (DJYFC) is a youth football organization based in Dayton. We are a certified non-profit with the State of Ohio and a recognized 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. We are a member of the Butler County Youth Football League (BCYFL) in Hamilton, Ohio. Also affiliated with the American Youth Football Association (AYF), one of the largest international youth football organizations established to promote the wholesome development of youth with an emphasis on learning, playing, and enjoying the sport while instilling high moral standards.

via The Mission | Dayton Jets Youth Football and Cheerleading.

They involve more kids than the Little League organization. For a while the now renamed “Vikings” team, played on the worst field I’ve ever seen- the old Belmont High Schook practice field- before giving up and moving to Wright Brothers school field. When they asked repeatedly for DPS to help them with an electricity drop and permission to place a POD container, they got nowhere until a connected parent pushed for some help.

From the Dayton Jets site (they ge

Teens who do not participate in after school programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes or use marijuana or other drugs; they are also more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and engage in sexual activity. (YMCA of the USA, March 2001)

Children in after school programs were half as likely to drop out of high school, and two and one half times more likely to pursue higher education, than students not participating. (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids 2000)

Young people need the influence of caring adults and positive role models in their lives. Good after school programs can accomplish that by helping youngsters develop the knowledge, skills and healthy habits to achieve their greatest potential. (US Secretary of Education Rod Paige, 2003)

via Did You Know? | Dayton Jets Youth Football and Cheerleading.

Soccer, the cheapest sport out there, in terms of equipment, is staging a surge, mostly due to the immigrant community- both the Turks and Mexicans get it- and want programs for their kids.

DASA’s Commitment to our Community

Our Value Statement:
Teaching important lifetime skills in soccer, teamwork, and promoting a healthy, active lifestyle, kids having fun!

Our Mission:
To continuously provide a high-quality, affordable, recreational soccer experience for Dayton youth and their families.

Dayton SAY is the official youth soccer program for the City of Dayton Recreation and Youth Services. We are committed to serve the children of Dayton with the same intent, “Building community togetherness, stability and growth using recreation and youth services to enhance the quality of life for Dayton youth and families”.

via Dayton Area Soccer Association – (Dayton, OH) – powered by LeagueLineup.com.

And, lastly, basketball, where we are finally doing something about the decrepit state of our outdoor courts, there are three resources:

For all my visits to basketball courts in the city- I’ve only encountered one “supervised” session, where a 41-year-old barber from Trotwood was working with neighborhood kids, his kid and his dead sister’s 5 kids that he’d taken in, at the old Grace A Greene courts, where there are 6 backboards, 5 rims and a lot of weeds in the cracks.

Going to the city rec’s page- they offer:

The City of Dayton’s Youth Sports Leagues are great for learning sportsmanship, teamwork, and developing athletic talent. In the fall and winter we offer a variety of basketball leagues. In the spring and summer we offer T?ball, coach pitch and kid pitch baseball, girls’ softball, and boxing. We also provide various classes to get youth active and moving all year long.

via Dayton Ohio Athletics | City of Dayton Ohio Recreation | Athletics.

and of course- a video of our very unathletic  mayor making a speech at “Youth Baseball Day.” If you watch the video, you find out that in order to make the field playable at Princeton Recreation Center- it took help of the Cincinnati Reds and three other donors. Our city, while it has no problem handing off a million plus dollars to tear down buildings for a developer without money or a plan, can’t maintain its own baseball fields.

I’m sure there are other programs- one of my favorites is the what used to be called the “Invincible Regulating Striders” and now just the Dayton Striders. A champion drill team that keeps kids busy and gives them goals.

The two diamonds at the end of my street are unrecognizable as diamonds anymore. A neighbor had to spend hours working on weeding the cracks in the tennis court, and then tightened a net to be able to play tennis with his kids.

Our schools have cut gym. Busing makes after school sports a very difficult process for parents. Each neighborhood has kids attending a dozen plus different schools. Scouting is an expensive proposition for low-income youth. Our two Boy’s and Girl’s clubs shrunk to one (where the outdoor courts in the parking lot have 4 backboards and 3 rims).

We filled in our outdoor pools. We sold off our recreation centers or tore them down. We’ve failed our kids.

And then we wonder why our schools are failing and we’ve got kids wilding in the streets?

Scoff at my hanging green basketball nets, (over 500 so far)- but it guilted city hall into investing a reported million dollars in court replacements and upgrades. Now, we need to figure out how to get kids working with role model adults on those basketball courts if we want to keep them out of the criminal courts.

It’s not just a question of can we do better? It’s we must do better. We’re failing our kids.

[update] first comment on Facebook by Jay Madewell- music programs too. DPS has no more music programs (except Stivers). Time to bring back music into the schools. [/update]

If there are any youth sports programs that I missed- or programs for kids in Dayton- please leave them in comments- thank you.

The un-politician running for Congress in OH10, meet Rob Klepinger

Qualifications for running for congress as set out by the founding fathers:

  • Be 25 or older
  • Live in the US for over 7 years.

New qualifications for Congress according to media, politicians, and stupid voters:

  • Spend at least a million dollars with the media, be a career politician, and don’t say anything that sounds like you have a mind of your own.
  • Sell out to special interests to get the million dollars.
  • Be a stuffed suit. Preferably a lawyer.

Mike Turner, “our” congressman fits description two perfectly. His well oiled machine even had some idiot voters having Turner signs next to Obama signs in the last 2 elections.

If you listen to Mike Turner, his favorite thing to say is “I work for Wright Patterson Air Force Base”- even though he voted to shut it down along with the rest of the government.

Political races shouldn’t be defined by dollars in the campaign fund, they should be defined by ideas. Right now with an overwhelming number of Americans believing used car salesman or trained monkeys could do a better job in Congress, it’s sad that when a decent guy, a school teacher, decides to run for Congress because he meets qualifications of the founding fathers, he is totally ignored because he doesn’t meet the “New Qualifications” of being what I like to call “the best politician money can buy.”

I sat down and talked with Rob Klepinger for a short interview so you can see what a real person running for Congress sounds and looks like. He doesn’t have a proper campaign site up, and he’s not raised enough money to have to file campaign reports, but if you are sick of a dysfunctional Congress- you may want to amble over to Facebook and at least like his page:
www.facebook.com/RobKlepCongress

The current Ohio district 10 contains all of Montgomery County and Greene County and a sliver of Fayette County.

Here is the interview- enjoy

New look for Esrati.com

Just letting all our loyal readers know, with the advent of WordPress 4.0 our old theme wasn’t allowing comments, forced us to do a quick presto changeo to a new theme.

Good news is it’s fully responsive- so, your mobile experience should improve.

If there are any problems- or you notice anything wonky- leave a comment or drop us an email please (contact on side of page).

Thank you for your patience through the switch.

 

Incompetence of Dayton City Hall on their Street light tax

Screenshot of Dayton Streetlight assessment

I don’t even own my own home according to the city of Dayton

$6.69 was how much the Certified mail cost.

Time to prepare the letter- stuff the envelope with the 4 checks totaling $577.92 to return, had to cost another $20 in labor, paper, envelope etc.

Instead of getting their money now, they’ve turned it over to the Montgomery County Treasurer- adding additional costs- of data entry, and adding to bills- in an installment plan over the next 6 years.

Instead of cash in hand, they now get it in six payments.

All because they claim it wasn’t received by their deadline- despite being mailed in the same city 2 days before.

This, is what we call in business, STUPID.

Obviously, Finance Director C. LaShea Smith doesn’t understand net present value, or labor costs.

This is a horrendous waste of taxpayers’ money.

Just opening letters and posting the accounts would take them days.

Having a hard deadline, while they may think makes things “fair”- without an unofficial grace period, is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

And note, since none of my four assessments was over $250, they never mailed me anything.

The only reason I knew where to go to find out the amount that was due- was because they had sent my father an email with a link to the site with the amounts.

There I was amazed to find out that someone in Beavercreek owned my house.

Still incorrect: Go to http://maps.cityofdayton.org/public/SLSAPrePay/Default.aspx type in my last name and see this (screen shot above):

Voucher Link Account Number Parcel ID Parcel Location Owner Name Owner Name Cont. Owner Address Street Light District Annual Amount (Advanced Payment) Total Amount (Advanced Payment)
View Voucher 15645 R72 02702 0021 113 BONNER ST DAVID ESRATI 2130 HEDGE GATE BLVD B $37.60 $225.60
View Voucher 15652 R72 02702 0028 122 BONNER ST DAVE ESRATI 113 BONNER ST B $16.94 $101.64
View Voucher 15656 R72 02702 0033 100 BONNER ST DAVID ESRATI 113 BONNER ST B $25.07 $150.42
View Voucher 15668 R72 02702 0046 120 BONNER ST DAVE ESRATI 113 BONNER ST B $16.71 $100.26

Apparently, the city IT people are incompetent as well- after talks with someone in the treasurer’s office, they determined that the city was pulling from the wrong data field- and that on my house record, someone had transposed numbers back in 2010 and fixed all the main screens- but just not this one.

Calls to the city weren’t returned in a timely manner- and the issue is obviously still not fixed.

Ms. Smith ends her expensive letter with “We appreciate your support and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.”

How about, “I’m sorry, we like to waste your tax dollars, and cost the city money, because we really don’t know what we’re doing.”

If I was a city commissioner, I’d be asking City Manager Tim Riordan about the competence of his staff. Maybe if they weren’t so busy giving money away to businesses and developers to keep them in Dayton, they wouldn’t be turning their noses up at cash being sent to them.

[update] Soon after posting this, Kerry Gray, assistant to the City Commission, called about this. He took notes to pass to the commission. He told me that only 1.7% of the properties attempted to pay in advance. Can you say #FAIL [/update]

 

When surveillance is useful

When the Dayton City Commission entertained entering into a contract for a $1,000-an-hour eye-in-the-sky surveillance system, the civil libertarians and privacy advocates came out in droves.

Never mind that there are already cameras in almost every business you visit, every ATM you use, and even mounted on many homes. In South Park we bought 2 portable HD surveillance cams to be used by neighbors who’ve had problems, and a big debate was on where they could be mounted and what they could monitor (thanks mostly to two people for whom I have very little respect).

Yet, with the shooting in Ferguson, MO, there has been a renewed call for personal video cameras for police officers, something I was talking about back in April of 2013. In the Walmart shooting, there is an outcry for the release of the store video camera footage before the Grand Jury has met. Attorney General Mike DeWine has said it shouldn’t be released before the Grand Jury meets, and for once, I’m in agreement.

Those people asking for the footage, were probably the same ones who were anti-drone cam just last year.

Last Tuesday night, I was on my motorcycle when an idiot decided to turn left and hit the rear of my bike as I tried to radically maneuver out of the way. After he hit me, as I lay on the street underneath my bike, he took off. Had the city had an eye in the sky camera, they would have been able to follow his vehicle and catch him, but we didn’t adopt that technology.

Because I was wearing proper gear, and take my riding pretty seriously, I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to walk away from a pretty bad crash. Apparently, that makes it less important for the police to solve than an accident where there is a serious injury. I went to several of the businesses nearby to see if they have footage that shows the traffic, or the accident at the corner of Brown and Wyoming- but had limited luck. Then I started checking other places along the path that they traveled to get to the point of impact- and voila- video. The insurance company is very interested in finding the guilty party, and is investigating. Not that my accident was anywhere near the same magnitude of the Boston Marathon Bombing, but, given the resources and some detective work, it’s becoming much easier to piece together enough information to solve crimes like this.

The problem is, we don’t have the police department able to do it. Our staffing is at or near an all-time low. This is one of the reasons that they were looking at an eye in the sky to begin with.

However, there is also the just plain dumb luck option too- on the way home from the hospital, I saw a car that looked a lot like the one that hit me- right around the corner from my house. Parked right in front of a friend’s house that has video cameras. Resolution enhancement like what you see on 24 or CSI isn’t really possible- but, time and place, and actions can lead directly to who did it. We’ll wait and see if the person waits for the detectives to haul them in, or if they voluntarily turn themselves in.

I understand accidents happen. I’ve been in a few others in my life, but the punk move of taking off, while a guy is on the street pinned under a motorcycle- is unforgivable in my book. That’s why I’m not going to settle down until we find out who did it.

Just as the woman who used to live in my neighborhood who was so against security cameras (until her boyfriend’s car got totaled in the middle of the night- and her neighbors’ cameras caught it on tape and solved the crime) came around, I’m starting to be a proponent of full-time surveillance.

I’m still looking for witnesses, video, photos, from the night of Sept. 2 at Wayne and Wyoming. Please contact me, or Detective Seiter at the Dayton Police Department 937-333-1359 if you have more information.

Why Historic South Park should be in your future: reasons #2438, 2439

Poster for Historic South Park in Dayton Ohio's Shakespeare production of "The Comedy of Errors"

Historic South Park has it’s own neighborhood theater.

Do your neighbors get together and throw together a play? And not just any play- Shakespeare?

Didn’t think so. Not only that- do they invite the world to see it for FREE?

Yep- you can do that tonight, tomorrow and Sunday nights-

Show: The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Director: Susan Robert
Producers: Galen Wilson, Phyllis Tonne

How To Go:
Dates: Friday-Sunday, September 5, 6, 7, 2014
Time: 8:00 P.M.
Location: South Park Green, 601 Hickory Street, Dayton
Admission: Free (donations gratefully received)
Bring a lawn chair or blanket

via The Comedy of Errors | Shakespeare in South Park | Sixth Season | Sept. 5-7 – Historic South Park.

You can park in Emerson School lot, or Hope Lutheran lot- or on the street.

And if the stodgy speaking of the Bard just ain’t your thing-

Poster for the Food Truck Shindig in Dayton Ohio's fabulous Historic South Park Neighborhood

First the Bard, then the lard- gourmet chefs on the go come to South Park

Yep, we have our own food truck Shindig & Street party on Friday Sept 20th from 4-8pm. The party will be down at Burns and Nathan one block South of Coco’s. We’ll have trucks, tunes, t-shirts and more- and the event is free, even though the food isn’t.

These community initiatives are one of the reasons why South Park’s property taxes go up. Come see what the neighborhood you wished you lived in does to keep things interesting.

Check out www.historicsouthpark.org for info on events, rentals, homes for sale and what makes South Park the best neighborhood in the State of Ohio, and a National Neighborhood of the year winner. The site, btw, is hosted pro-bono by The Next Wave, Dayton’s greatest and finest ad agency, which has its global HQ in South Park.

Note, both these fabulous posters were done by other fabulously talented South Park residents.