Dayton School Board race to look like Republican Presidential Primary

Just pulling petitions doesn’t mean you’ll get on the ballot- unless you are a party endorsed candidate in Montgomery County (they get their petitions checked for free by BOE employees on their “lunch break”).

According to the BOE site- here is who has pulled petitions, that are due on Wed. Aug 5th. You’d need 300 good signatures of Dayton registered voters to get on the ballot.

Incumbents in bold.

  • Jerome (Jerry) Brunswick 426 E. Sixth Street Dayton 45402
  • Louis D. Butler 2374 Rustic Rd. Dayton 45406
  • Ann Marie Gallin (Mario) 40 Gebhart St. Dayton 45410
  • Hashim Ali Jabar 40 S. Decker Ave. Apt 7 Dayton 45417
  • John A. Lumpkin, Jr. 1258 Hook Estate Dr. Dayton
  • John S. McManus 35 S. Saint Clair St. Apt 502 Dayton
  • Nancy A. Nerny 482 Shiloh Dr. Dayton 45415
  • Anthony Dion Roebuck 1406 Steiner Ave. Dayton
  • Sheila Taylor 2818 Kenview Ave. Dayton
  • Robert Charles Walker 4516 College View Dr. Dayton 45417

Unlike the Dayton City Commission, there is no primary to thin the herd. One ballot, pick three, and the top three win. Obviously, with more candidates, the incumbents, get a better shot at being known quantities and have a better shot.

Only one person has turned in their petitions so far- John McManus. (full disclosure- my firm printed his signs and stickers) and he has been out walking longer than anyone else.

Thursday night I was presented with a dual candidate petition- for Jerry Brunswick and John Lumpkin. I’m not sure how these work- since you are allowed to sign up to 3 petitions, and I’d signed 2. Guess it’s first in and first name on the petition that gets the credit in these cases. The circulator told me the petition format of more than one candidate was ok on Russ Joseph’s advice- which means these are the party chosen candidates. Word on the street was that Mayor Nan was trying to round up candidates for School Board because she wasn’t happy with the board as it sits- for once, we agree. Brunswick served on her “City of Learners committee” which issued yet another report with all the obvious issues stated and no real revelations.

Mario Gallin is a wild card, she’s been on the board before and is well liked. Brunswick is a former bank president who is also the part time head of the milked out port authority. Lumpkin is a Joey Williams contemporary who played football at Ohio State, worked as a bank branch manager at Chase for a long time before becoming a stock broker/private wealth manager with Morgan Stanley. Both are good guys and very civic minded.

Last time Nearny was on the ballot, it was only because the BOE was nice enough to reverse themselves on the 3 or 4 signatures she was short. That doesn’t happen very often if at all.

I don’t know Butler or Roebuck off the top of my head. Of the other newcomers, there is only one that I’m not a fan of- and that’s Ali Jabar who likes to scream at people and try to incite racial issues as the cause of all ills. He’s married to the woman formerly known as Maria Holt now Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, and is tied in with Vernalia Randall, a former UD Law Professor , with “Racial Justice Now,” who rightly campaigns against the “school to prison pipeline” but does so in a manner I find insulting most of the time.

Of the existing school board members, all are caring and good people, who’ve been totally ineffective and visionless for the district. Not an original idea for transformation from any of them, and never a serious questioning of the teflon coated superintendent, Lori Ward.

While being the highest paid elected official in the County, Ward has muddled through one crisis after another, without making any real progress for years. Talented teachers, principals and administrators have jumped ship, tiring of waiting for her to plug the many holes on the sinking ship. Some of her hires have been incredibly questionable, including former “Chief Operating Officer” James Harris who barely unpacked by DPS standards before they parted ways.

With the State just itching to throw the district under the bus, and a state “takeover” on the near horizon, anyone wanting to run for this board should get bonus points. This upcoming term, plus having to work with Hazel Rountree (she’s proof that degrees and positions don’t prove that you have any idea of what you are doing) should be enough to scare anyone off. The last election we only had four candidates on the ballot for four seats if that’s any kind of indication.

Looking online for candidates websites- so you can actually learn something about them and their positions is like finding needles in a haystack. Of course it doesn’t matter, because the voters who are going to pick them are notoriously under informed and make lousy choices (the current Dayton City Commission is a prime example).

A quick search-

If any of the candidates (and I know most of you will find out about this post) have a site they want to direct voters to, let me know via comments below.

Frankly, other than McManus, y’all look mighty unprepared (the drawl is because if you’ve met McManus, you know he sounds straight out of Tennessee, probably because that’s where he’s from). One pro, a bunch of amateurs- sounds just like the Republican Presidential Primary field, and I’ll leave it to you to guess who I think the pro is.

It will be a week from Tuesday to see how the BOE thins the herd.

Bernie Sanders will change American politics

It’s July 29, 2015, in Ohio. Our primary isn’t until March 15, 2016 – and there were close to 100 people gathered in a union hall to hear Bernie Sanders give his “grassroots organizing kickoff” speech.

No slick camera work. His podium- a music stand. No teleprompter- just his notes on a yellow legal pad. The backdrop- a bunch of Bernie signs taped to a wall behind him. If I could find the link- I’d post it, but it’s not up yet.

As unpolished as it gets. And that, of course is the point.

His speech was about 10 minutes. Take out his repeating of the words “enough is enough” and you get it down to under 8 minutes. And not a word about himself. None of his personal experiences, or story telling- just straight facts.

  • Banks that are too big to fail are too big to be around.
  • He’ll name Supreme Court justices who will bring the end to “Citizens United.”
  • Sandra Bland shouldn’t have died for a traffic violation- (never mind the travesty of Samuel Dubose in Cincinnati) and we have to end institutionalized racism.
  • A path to citizenship.
  • No hiding of corporate profits by U.S. corporations.
  • Free public college for all.
  • End the state of incarceration.
  • Single payer healthcare for all.
  • Double the minimum wage so that a 40-hour workweek can actually keep you out of poverty.

There may have been a few more- but, this is the same message he’s been sharing for the last 30 plus years.

When did we mix up the idea of looking and sounding good is more important than good thinking in this country? When did we stop electing people based on their ideas instead of their fundraising or telepresence? Some say it goes back to the first big TV debate when JFK beat Nixon by wearing makeup and not looking like he needed a shave.

Bernie can’t win say all the pundits- mostly because he doesn’t give them the fodder or the money that other candidates do. Had this been Hilary’s kickoff- she would have dropped a few hundred thousand just on “production values” instead of on our values as Americans.

She lost Iowa 8 years ago to a black guy with a Muslim name. She won’t win in New Hampshire this year. The only people she’s fooling are the people who give her the money that she wastes on looking good instead of just being the voice of the people. Bernie has that job locked up.

Now all you have to do is listen- and spread the word. This is a fresh change of circumstances for American politics and the American people. Get ready for a change that you will actually be a part of, instead of just believing in.

 

6 years ago a killer got away with murder

Dayton Daily News cutting about SGM Woodall Murder

Gone, but never forgotten. SGM Woodall, US Army Special Forces

“Veteran of 3 wars, 85, dies in home invasion” is still taped directly in front of me- above my computer monitor. I look at it every day, and wait for the Dayton Police Department to solve the crime. To bring the killers to justice. To avenge the death of  Sergeant Major North E. Woodall in his home at 1028 Walton Avenue in Dayton. 2 silver stars. 3 wars. The toughest training in the Army- and you deserved better.

It’s been 6 years Top. We’re still thinking about you. De Oppresso Liber.

It happened on Monday, July 27th, but I always remember it on the 29th- because that’s the date of the paper that had it on the front page.

There is still a reward out for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the killer(s).

Anyone with information should contact the Dayton Police Department at 333-COPS

Bad idea: Oregon District T-shirt

OD with Me T-shirt

We have a slight problem with Heroin in Dayton. A bigger problem with stupid people.

There are lots of things you can put on a T-shirt to promote the Oregon District of Dayton. “OD with me” isn’t one of them. Not sure who launched this bad idea in what we in the industry would call the “Creative No Fly Zone” but- they should work with some people who deal with the aftermath of heroin addiction in our community.

I’m not including the link. I’m not suggesting anyone buy one of these. But, if you did- and you think this is funny- please, don’t ever wear this shirt in public.

This qualifies as an #EpicMarketingFAIL

Misguided water protection protests

Photo of BP fuel farm on Brandt Pike in Dayton Ohio

On Brandt Pike there is this little chemical storage facility- right over the aquifer.

The Dayton Citizens Water Brigade are absolutely right- we need to protect the Dayton well field and our aquifer.

However, protesting the changes in the boundaries and rules on hazardous chemical storage above the well field isn’t the real elephant in the living room.

No one wants to discuss the fact that the BP fuel storage facility is sitting directly over the aquifer with millions of gallons of toxic fuel- connected via underground pipes. Or that there are a few superfund sites already on top of the well field that are being managed, but are still dangerous.

If we really cared about our drinking water protection- we’d do the following things:

Work to move the BP Fuel farm away from our drinking water supply.

Find some large industrial users of water to start drawing down the well field. Since Delphi closed down and we got a Racino- one of our major users of industrial water dried up- and the water table has been rising. As it rises, it has better chance of connecting with superfund contamination- and of flooding downtown buildings- which are already running into issues with heavy rains.

The city attempted to jack up industrial bulk water at the same time as they jumped our residential water bills (yes, you pay double or more than what you used to). Cargill decided to drill their own wells- others left. Nice job City leaders.

The issue isn’t an additional cutting lathe or spray booth- the issue is large scale storage of industrial solvents, chemicals and, oh yeah, gasoline, on top of the well field, to prevent another Sherwin Williams type disaster.

Proper firewalls, retention systems, fireproof vaults, etc – can handle daily industrial production uses. Let’s update the Dayton Well Field Protection Ordinance to make common sense fixes.

Let’s get focused on what matters, and what could contaminate our water supply right now, not on the small stuff.

Why not this year?

This year was “the year” to run for City Commission. An open seat, and the weakest commissioner on the ballot in Matt Joseph. Other than a special election, it doesn’t get any easier to run.

We had a whole bunch of people say they were going to run, but I wasn’t one of them.

At the beginning of the year, my then 87-year-old father was facing very dangerous surgery. I was going to have a hernia repair, and my parents were no longer going to drive. I had enough on my plate- but, I was also considering taking some 23-year-old advice and running for school board. (Abner Orick suggested I should run for school board before I ran for Mayor- you know- the Joey D. Williams route to an anointed lifetime seat). But, I can see the writing on the wall- in the next two years the State of Ohio is going to come into Dayton and throw our schools under the bus and wrest control from the local board- and frankly, there won’t be much we can do. I’ve given my advice on how to fix Dayton Public on this blog- and got very little support or discussion about totally revamping the calendar- and changing the way we do school- and without a team to run, with a seven member board, it was going to be an exercise in futility.

Some of you have noticed, I’m not posting as frequently. It’s not because there isn’t just as much to write about, but it’s about what I’ve decided to do to make change happen. I’ve been working on a book- about how to transform politics in the United States via a system to lessen the impact of unlimited money and to improve voter literacy. It’s also a handbook on how things really work or don’t work in our system. The goal is to release it during next year’s presidential primary free-for-all. It’s already at about 15,000 words- and the target is over 85,000. I’m enjoying myself writing it- and the few people whom I’ve shared it with have liked it.

I’ve also refocused my “community service” back into my neighborhood- working with Kate Ervin and her amazing Dayton Time Bank, doing a neighborhood soccer program, and still hanging green basketball nets for anyone who calls 985-1312 and asks for one in the City of Dayton.

I plan on running again for Dayton City Commission in 2 years, but a lot will depend on my parents’ health.

There are some major articles I want to write for this blog- that I have a good start on. Like the real truth about the competence of our economic development efforts, the puppetmasters behind the curtain, regionalism, and exposing a major force in this community as an organization that should be charged with racketeering and federal contract fraud, but- all in due time.

I’m also interested in working more with veterans, and veterans’ issues- now that my beloved VOB108 has been turned into a grant-chasing organization instead of a viable business networking group/voice for veterans.

There is also the Bernie Sanders campaign, which deserves all of our support, as the first candidate who isn’t working for corporate interests. I plan on working hard to get Bernie, the best politician money CAN’T buy, elected in 2016.

Thank you to so many of you who have read, commented and even written wonderful poetry on this blog over the last 10+ years. I view this site as much yours as mine. You’ve contributed at least 10x the words that make this site work.

Those of you whom I’ve met through this site- I am forever grateful for making your acquaintance. Those of you who’ve hired my firm or bought printing from my firm- that you discovered via this blog- an even greater thank you. And, to the mysterious “Ice Bandit”- if you ever decide to put up a site with more of your poems like this one, or this one, or even this one (you’ll have to scroll to the comments) – I’ll be your biggest fan. Your poetry in my comments section is the best reward I could ever ask for. I’d love to buy you lunch sometime- at CJ Chan’s of course.

 

 

Maybe the Dayton Daily should have kept its photo editor?

Larry C. Price had already won the Pulitzer prize twice for photojournalism before he came to the Dayton Daily news to be its photo editor. He ran a tight shop, with about 8 full-time photojournalists. That was until they asked him to fire half the staff- and he took a stand and said, well, find someone else to do your bitch work, I’m out of here.

I broke the story to global attention when it happened, and Larry and I became friends. We swap gear, work on some projects together, and he drinks a lot of coffee across the table from me.

Today, he texted with good news- he’s been nominated for an Emmy award. Remember, this guy wasn’t a videographer- but a photo guy.

Here’s his post off Facebook:

I’m stunned! I just learned the story I filmed last year for PBS NewsHour on underwater mining in the Philippines was nominated for an Emmy Award today! It’s one of five finalists in the investigative reporting category for a regularly scheduled broadcast. Winners will be announced in New York in September, but just being nominated has me stoked. This was a very satisfying story to do since it resulted in legislation in the Philippines Parliament that now outlaws this type of mining activity. No doubt lives will be saved.

And here are the details from the Emmy awards site:

PBS NewsHour                                                                                                    PBS
Hazardous Work: Diving into the Philippines’ Dangerous Underwater Mines
Executive Producer
Linda Winslow
Senior Producer
Justin Kenny
Producer
Frank Carlson
Correspondent
Hari Sreenivasan
Investigative Reporter
Larry Price

Via Emmyonline.

The folks at the Dayton Daily news weren’t that bright when they cut the photo department. They may not be able to put those lovely photos by Jim Witmer, or Lisa Powell in their tiny pathetic news hole, but, with their continuous trolling for click bait on Facebook- a good image can make all the difference as people scroll through their news feed.

Larry hasn’t been lacking for work since going solo- traveling the globe shooting his series on child labor. Now his work is getting the recognition it deserves, and the Dayton Daily…. well, isn’t doing much but chasing police cars, ambulances and the occasional here’s how the idiots we help elect waste your money stories.

I prefer Larry’s form of journalism any day. He’s making a difference.

Congrats Larry!

Desperation drives merger in East Cleveland

On Wednesday, a different kind of “regionalization” plan was kicked off in Cleveland:

East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton took the first step Wednesday toward a possible merger with the city of Cleveland – submitting petitions in support of the initiative with about 1,600 signatures to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

Source: East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton submits petitions seeking merger with Cleveland | cleveland.com

For those of you who don’t know Cleveland well, it’s a lot like Dayton- a sprawling center city- with a first ring of suburbs- and then exurbs that stretch a long way.

One of my earliest memories, living in East Cleveland, is looking out our 8th floor apartment windows- at a burning skyline. It was the riots, and it wasn’t pretty. We had armed National Guardsmrn outside our front doors in the aftermath. East Cleveland overlooked Hough, Glenville and Collinwood – all of which burned at one time or another between 1966 and 1970.

East Cleveland, by the time I was in high school at neighboring Cleveland Heights, was predominantly black. Cleveland Heights was probably 25% black when I graduated in 1980, and by 2000 was close to 90% black.

Yet, each suburb had to support its own infrastructure. Schools with School Boards, City Halls with Mayors, Managers and Police Chiefs. Finally, someone realized, we’ve got way too many chiefs for the Indians to keep supporting:

“We know that the costs of running the city infrastructure continue to go up, while revenues continue to diminish,” Norton said. “In these elected offices … we must understand that the analysis will sometimes show us that the best way to provide an acceptable quality of service is to have someone else do it.”

Damn. Gary Norton, you get it. Because electing people without any possible way to do the job isn’t really public service- it’s public debt load.

This kind of regionalization would make a lot more sense in Dayton, if we only had some competent leadership. Why Moraine hasn’t merged with Kettering? West Carrollton with Miamisburg? Or Trotwood with Dayton is beyond me. Just cutting the duplication of services and consolidating offices would probably add a decade or two before the inevitable bankruptcies occur.

To watch in today’s paper as Moraine, which can’t afford to give away any taxes:

“Moraine has offered the direct mail company that started in the mid-1980s a five-year forgivable loan to move to the Dryden site”…

In return, the company would be “incurring payroll subject to income taxation by the city in the aggregate amount of $2 million per annum, continuing during each of the next five years,” according to the contract.

“What they would be doing is bringing over their existing jobs,” Moraine Economic Development Director Michael Davis said.

And voila- shrinking taxes for Dayton, and Moraine gives away an undisclosed amount- because Dayton Mailing Services “might add jobs.”

This isn’t sustainable. It isn’t in the best interests of the region. And, it gives Dayton Mailing Services an unfair advantage over other mailing houses (the few that are left) who aren’t getting handouts.

We have too many jurisdictions, too many different rules, too complex a system that costs way more than it should. Unfortunately, with term limits on Statehouse offices, we’ll never be able to give someone enough time to re-work the patchwork mess we have now into a logical quilt of right sized jurisdictions.

It will be interesting to watch what happens in East Cleveland. It won’t be interesting to watch the doomed proposition for merging Dayton with the county.

The “regionalization” plan that wasn’t

When Joey Williams actually posts something political on Facebook, you know people are talking. And that Joey is distancing himself from the new plan is an instant giveaway that this plan is DOA. Not that he has any clout- but, I digress.

I’ve always said that if Kettering were the largest community in the County – and there was talk of regionalization, it would have happened already. Kettering, for the most part, is the model of effective government.

Can’t say that for either the vounty or the City of Dayton, where nepotism, favoritism and as I like to refer to them- “the monarchy of Montgomery County” rule.

This idea of merging the county and the city governments is a joke, if you aren’t including the townships- it’s just a backward move at consolidation- trading in 5 grossly overpaid members of the Dayton City Commission for 3 even more overly paid members of the Montgomery County Commission, who have even less to do.

The regionalization expert cited in today’s Dayton Daily news says:

“(David) Rusk, founding president of the research group Building One America. The former Albuquerque, N.M., mayor wrote “Cities without Suburbs,” a study often described as the bible of government regionalism….

“In effect Dayton city hasn’t received any dowry from the marriage. It hasn’t received a square foot of additional territory. It hasn’t picked up population. It hasn’t picked up any tax base,” Rusk said. “In effect it has simply swapped a governing body that’s elected solely by the residents of the city of Dayton for a governing body that’s elected by everybody in Montgomery County.”

Source: Merger plan has long way to go

Let’s review: Both the city commission and the county commission have basically one job- to hire a professional administrator to see over their large budgets, union contracts, and running the organization. In the business world, we call these the board of directors- unfortunately- in the political world- we elect people- not based on their expertise, or knowledge of running effective organizations- but, based on a popularity contest closely controlled by two local political parties- that operate more like “good ole boys (and girls) clubs” than effective political operators. Their most important role is to get people elected who can then hire the party faithful (again- under-qualified) to work in patronage jobs.

Each elected office gets a budget for these friends and families- the worst offenders are the Board of Elections- where convicted rapists get hired without a job application, Dayton Waste Collection- where generations of a certain union family continue to keep their jobs even when they can’t drive, and oh, lets see- almost every other department in the city.

Remember when the young City Manager, Rashad Young, had his grandpappy working in IT- the one with the kiddie porn on his work computer? Or going back- way back, when our Mayor Richard Clay Dixon was working for Dayton Public Schools- and taking sick days from his DPS job to travel on government business? Or, back to the county- how County Administrator Deb Feldman- signed off on a convicted felon, Raleigh Trammell, to run a welfare program? (And yes, he was convicted of welfare fraud BEFORE she gave him the position).

Realistically- both governments are cesspools. It’s almost laughable when the Dayton Daily quotes this:

“This is a conversation not precipitated by scandal, as it was in Cleveland, and certainly not by the fact that our local public officials are in any way lacking in integrity, dedication to the public and ability,” said U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice, an officer of the nonprofit Dayton Together group, which currently has about 20 members.

That’s because we can’t add two plus two together for the most part, your honor. The reason for the huge shift to Warren County- for the loss of population in Dayton- and the death spiral of property values in our city core- is from ineptitude and a lack of understanding of how the pieces fit together. Readers of this site are constantly reminded of how this mess is failing us.

This plan has it backwards- the way it should work- is the largest municipality in the county should run the county. This would immediately force the other communities to put away their pet squabbles and join together quickly to over power the stupidity that runs Dayton. Merge Centerville, Kettering and Washington Township into one- and let them run the show. Then Dayton would add Trotwood and Jefferson Township and maybe even Harrison Township- to one up the other. Then Huber Heights and Riverside would join forces with CKW and maybe throw in Moraine too. Next you know, Miamisburg, West Carrolton are looking for partners- and voila- regionalization has happened- much the way a parliamentary system works- where you have to form alliances to gain power.

However, the State could step in and fix all of this mess, putting limits on number of elected office per capita within a region defined by population density. No more 6 man police departments, or kangaroo municipal courts. No more “economic development” officials at lower than the county level. And most importantly- a lot less political overhead- the true reason that it sucks to do business in Ohio- where there are so many different tax rates, rules and authorities it makes your head spin.

This hair brained idea of merger should be the last hurrah for Dan Foley- who is only in politics because he’s the son of a judge, and he thinks he was some kind of wizard for implementing computerization when he was the clerk of courts. The reality is, if we graded any of our leaders based on performance; ie- growth of jobs, wealth, population, or efficiency – none of them would have kept their jobs longer than a single term.

One quote gets it right in the paper, Mark Owens:

“We have 86 counties in Ohio that have our kind of government. If there’s something wrong with that kind of government, it ought to be done on a statewide basis, not making Dayton and Montgomery County some type of a test tube or laboratory to figure out what’s going on.”

And the answer is yes- our state is a mess.

Dayton continues wild spending on real estate with your tax dollars

Demolition of old DP&L Steam plant at Webster and E. Third St

$165K of your tax dollars to do demolition to the old DP&L Steam plant at Webster and E. Third St

It’s not very far from 34 N. Main Street, along East Third Street, over to Webster Street. There, the city is spending $165,000 to demolish a building they bought for development that didn’t happen.
Or, just a few blocks West and South to the hole in the ground, where the Dayton Daily news building was, along with the beautiful terra cotta tower, formerly known as the Schwind building.

Another investment, and another fail. The city spent over $1.25 million demolishing the Schwind- when they wouldn’t help a proven local developer renovate it for $1.8 million- as a loan plus tax credits. The “developer” they chose- has forgotten about this project.

The city spent $450K on the building on Wayne Avenue next to Garden Station, where an out of town developer was going to do something amazing. So, far, all that happened was that it freaked out the people who had invested so much of their time and energy turning what was city owned hobo land, into something amazing. No one has explained why the city long ago bought that piece of vacant property from the railroad for something like $110K.

We’re still in the midst of a deal debacle, where the city spent $500K to buy a piece of land that had the Cliburn Manor housing on it- for speculation, only to find out they sold it to a neighbor- “accidentally” for $650.

Nope, their investment record sucks. And this isn’t new. The Arcade. The Arcade Tower. The West Dayton YMCA. A downtown property owner told me there were only two buildings that hadn’t gone into bankruptcy- only 2 of all the office towers.

So, when we see the city spending $500K to buy the old Third National/Society/Key Bank building out of receivership- the one, where the previous owner stupidly shut the utilities off, without winterizing the building- causing pipes to freeze- burst and soak the place from the top down, creating a major mold issue according to sources, you have to wonder what’s in it for the taxpayers?

And why are we, the taxpayers, outbidding others- who will use private money, and pay taxes on the property? And, overbidding $150K from the appraised value as insult to injury?

From today’s Dayton Daily news:

Jonathan Hung, court-appointed receiver for the property, has asked the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court to approve the sale of the Paru Tower, 34 North Main Street, to the city for $500,000.

“The building is in surprisingly good condition, given its age and given how long it has sat on the market,” Hung said.

The 14-story tower was built in 1926 to house the Third National Bank and Trust Company. It later became the Society Bank building. The Montgomery County treasurer valued the building at $6.3 million in 2000, but in later years its value dropped dramatically.

In 2010 a self-proclaimed Hindu guru, Annamalai Annamalai, who called himself Dr. Commander Selvam, bought the building. Its value then was listed by the county at $1 million. Selvam’s renovation plans never materialized. Last year Selvam was convicted of securities fraud in Georgia and is serving a sentence of 27 years in federal prison.

According to the county treasurer, the current owner owes $257,193 in back taxes on the property. The most recent appraisal, paid for by the receiver, put the market value of the building at $350,000. That same appraisal listed the building’s best use as “speculation or development as a Historic Tax Credit market rate apartment community.”

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said purchasing the tower would “be consistent with the city’s intent to secure key properties downtown so that reuse is an orderly process.”

Two other bidders made attempts to buy the building across from Courthouse Square, but the city’s bid was the highest.

“I earnestly believe this is the best offer that we have, not what we expected. I think all parties believed the property was worth more,” Hung said.

Source: City wants to purchase downtown Paru Tower

Hung is right. This is the best offer. It’s easy to spend other people’s money to make speculative investments. Of course, when you spend half a million to get elected to a mayor’s job that pays $45K a year, this kind of stupid disregard for the public’s money shouldn’t be a surprise. Way to go Mayor Whaley.

It’s time to ask the question that’s been bugging me for a long time: is there a building the city has successfully developed and sold at market rates? Or sustained as a profitable investment?

Crickets.

It’s time we pass a charter amendment stopping the city from purchasing any real estate that isn’t expressly for the public use. End of story.