Our grandstanding prosecutor, Mat Heck, and the reach of UD Men’s Basketball

In another case of “it’s who you know” in Montgomery County, isn’t it somehow odd that 2 petty thieves don’t end up in jail- and have to wait for a speedy trial just like everyone else- because they were members of the UD Men’s basketball team?

Any other black male, caught breaking into UD dorm rooms and stealing stuff, who was positively identified, would have been in jail the next day, and already done with his sentence.

But, not Robinson and Scott- they get to “go home” or to some other school- and pretend like nothing happened for 3 months, until the UD season is over, to avoid distraction from “the run” that the team was on.

Read the language in the DDn article:

Two former University of Dayton basketball players accused of felony burglaries on campus in December will soon return to the area to face charges, their attorneys said Wednesday.

The Montgomery County prosecutor’s office on Tuesday issued nationwide arrest warrants for Jalen T. Robinson and Devin H. Scott. Robinson, 21, is currently enrolled at the University of South Carolina Aiken, according to the school’s sports information department. Scott, 20, is in Georgia, and has been researching schools, his attorney said.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. approved three charges against Robinson and seven against Scott with more possible, according to a press release issued Tuesday….

A supervising deputy for the U.S. Marshals confirmed that the Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (SO-FAST) and Dayton police were working to bring in Scott and Robinson.

“They are not typical fugitives who went on the run after they became aware that they are wanted,” Supervising Deputy Jeremy Rose said. “I believe in the near future they will turn themselves in.”

Jewson admonished Heck’s office for the press release, which stated that surveillance video from Dec. 14, 2014, positively identified Anderson and Scott and that the investigation is ongoing.

“None of that information has been presented to me and, frankly, I think it’s inappropriate for the prosecutor to attempt to try this case in the media and — basically regurgitate all the facts that they have that haven’t been disclosed to the defense — and put those out into mainstream media through Facebook and other outlets,” Jewson said, adding that such video hasn’t been tested for authenticity or admissibility. “It’s basically rumors at this point.”

via Lawyer: Ex-UD players to return.

And, at the same time, the coach who brought these misfits to Dayton, is getting a contract extension and probably a raise.

What’s even more troubling, is that Devon Scott, had already been in trouble for domestic abuse. Found guilty, and handed a suspended 30-day sentence. See Aug. 25th WHIO article:

University of Dayton basketball player Devon Scott won’t serve any jail time after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct against the mother of his son.

Though he didn’t appear in Dayton Municipal Court with his attorney, Scott was sentenced Monday by Judge Deirdre Logan to 40 hours of community service to be completed by Nov. 30, a suspended 30-day sentence, a $250 fine with half of that suspended, and court costs.

Scott also must show proof of completing a domestic violence program and will be on non-reporting probation for one year in which he has no new offenses.

via UD’s Devon Scott takes plea in April assault case | Dayton, OH | www.whio.com.

Normally, when a black male has a suspended sentence, and is caught in the commission of another crime, he goes to jail, directly to jail, he does not pass go, he does not collect $200. But, again, we’re dealing with UD, which gets a different set of rules for its riots, and especially for its  beloved basketball team.

I was aware of the thefts before the news broke because I live within 5 miles of campus and enjoy the anonymous social app Yik Yak as a way of taking a mental break from the serious. Everyone on campus knew the two 6’7″ bball stars had done it, because, well, they are hard to miss and well known. I didn’t want to break the news- because I don’t consider reading Yik Yak a reliable news source- nor, do I think that petty theft is worthy of my blog. But, this ranks as front page breaking news in local media. Sad to say, thieving from students somehow is worse than domestic abuse, and being able to play basketball provides you privileged treatment by the courts here in Dayton.

The University has taken great effort in trying to change student behavior, stressing “#community” and a positive ethos- with their “Green dot” program. They teach their community members (staff, faculty, students) that there are “red dots”- acts of hate, violence, disrespect- and that in order to reduce these types of occurrences, everyone needs to be tuned into “Green dot” behavior- helping each other out, respect, integrity.

From last night- a yak said “watched a clearly drunk girl stumbling home alone and got nervous when a guy approached her. I watched as he called mom’s limo for her and waited with her until they came. I fucking love this school. – posted around 3am. 63 upvotes, and a comment “green dot”

Shared UD yik yak about green dot behavior

Shared UD yik yak about green dot behavior

The fact that our prosecutor seems to enforce different standards of prosecution in Montgomery County is a red dot to me. Do lawyers and their families who break the law get different treatment here? How about politicians? If only half the stories I’ve heard about some of the “Monarchy of Montgomery County” in the past are true, the answer is yes- but the mainstream media are in bed with the royalty and afraid to cover it. When names are missing from police reports- and it only says “an Oakwood resident” my “friends and family” radar always goes off.

Seemingly, only the pawns, lowly basketball players, are fair game for the media to mock, and the prosecutor to play games with in public.

This is just another example of why I believe if the Justice Department came into Dayton, we’d fail the Ferguson test.

Deadline to contest tax valuations is Tue 31 March, 2015

If you think your tax bill is wonky- you have a few days left to file objection. So many people have problems with this year’s appraisals, the county decided to run ads and hold instructional sessions on how to file.
I have to file because my two identical cottages are listed as different sizes- and both as 2 bedrooms when in fact they are only 1 bedroom. I also have to file since my house jumped in value- while my quality of life has decreased substantially (something they will pretend to not understand).

However, the web-meisters at the County Auditor haven’t figured out how to update their site properly and make it easy to appeal:

How do I appeal the value of my property?

You can file an appeal with the Auditor’s office Board of Revision. You can request the application be mailed to you by calling 937-496-6856. The application must be filed between January 2 and March 31. All complaints filed with the Board of Revision are investigated and formal hearings may be held to solicit testimony. It is the responsibility of the property owner to justify the complaint. The Board of Revision has the authority to increase or decrease property valuation.

via Montgomery County, Ohio – Questions & Answers.

Go online to call? And to have the forms mailed to you? Really?

Of course not. Go here: http://www.mc-bor.org/ where you get choices- file online, or print and mail. Of course, they want you to pay a “professional appraiser” to argue your case- you know the ones like the sheriff’s sister, who don’t really have to have any real qualifications behind them? Or a real appraiser? You know the ones who did so well that the entire real’ estate market crashed almost destroying the economy?

With my two cottages- it should be easy- different values for each, despite identical size, and both listed as 2 bedroom when in fact they are one bedroom. The house which jumped in value, despite violations for paint etc. will be a little more difficult.

They have a presentation PDF to walk you through the process here: http://www.mc-bor.org/BOARD_OF_REVISION_OUTREACH_2.pdf

However, I don’t trust the county site- so I’ve got a copy on my server just in case: BOARD OF REVISION INSTRUCTIONS PDF

The requirements for finding “comps” as justification of real estate value should have gone out the window right after the market crashed. As should penalties for fixing up and improving property. Setting value by what someone else paid is as illogical as rating teachers by students grades, but that’s another argument.

A simple formula based on square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, type of construction, maintenance costs (wood frame being higher than brick for instance due to paint costs), garage, yard, and age of structure, with a discount figured for length of ownership (long-term tax paying customers get rewarded for committing to their community- and for not causing costs of deed transfer etc.) Taxes should rise for utilization of emergency services due to crime- too many police calls- and taxes go up. There is no reason for the fluctuations, or arguments over base value- nor is it any of the government’s business if I choose to have a $50K kitchen with designer appliances- vs. a  basic kitchen. We pay a sales tax when we buy a stove- not into perpetuity because it’s nicer than my neighbors.

None of the discussion on tax rates will help you with your appeal- but, maybe if we all got smart, we’d vote to change the way taxes are levied and appraised and get rid of this racket.

 

Fire ratings for renovation

In my last post about the City and inspectional services I mentioned the insane requirements forced on rehabs for fire rating separations and costs of sprinklers. It’s something I’ve had to hear about from people working in the city for years. My friend Bill Rain sent me something he’d written long ago, looking at ways to work some compromise into the system, so I’m sharing it here with you:

With any legislation, you need to predict what groups will be for or against. From our discussions, it sounds like your meetings with fire marshals’ have been positive. My experience has been that the fire unions and any groups representing fireman and inspectors tend to support any code changes that they view as “protective to firefighters”. The same for the AIA (American Institute of Architects) as they like complexity in the building code to support their members. Groups in favor will be builders, developers, ICMA (Mayors and Mangers), etc. As we discussed, I would structure legislation to effect buildings of a certain size (number of stories, height, square footage) as this will garner more support with small to large cities as they both have the same problem, what to do with small multi-story buildings.
Our discussion earlier was around the requirements for 2 hour fire rating. If you take a step back and look at what requires existing building owners to add 2 hour rated walls, this is usually triggered by a “change of use”. I have never liked the concept of change of use as it only looks at the last use. I have bought historic buildings that had residential on upper floors but was abandoned and when we wanted to bring residential back, was told by the chief building official that the building use is commercial and that mixed-use will be a change of use and triggers updated code compliance. As we discussed, 2 hour rating is not the issue if only drywall is required (less expensive). The bigger issue is 2 hour rating with full suppression (sprinklers). Current building code pushes sprinklers for everything. The problem is that most existing buildings don’t have the water infrastructure to support sprinklers. There is the economic feasibility from a cost prospective. These cost include new water service and tap fee (usually minimum 3 inch and a new, more expensive meter and billing rate), splitting the service for both fire and domestic, 2 new back flow preventers, the physical cost to install the sprinklers (anywhere from $1.5-$3 per sqft) and disruption to the existing ceiling and cost to repair.
My recommendation would be a new section to the building code that gives chief building officials flexibility to deal with these EXISTING buildings (new construction is different). The job of the chief building official is to protect human life. I have used the phrase “is someone going to die if we don’t do XXXX”. If the answer is no, then they should have flexibility. The biggest cause of fires in older building is faulty electric and fire started by vacancy. If you want to make a building safe, make them feasible that someone will use it. The new section of code should require 2 hour DRYWALL separated uses and primary egress, new electrical service or existing that has a UL rated panel and MC, romex or vinyl clad interior wire and 2 means of egress. Egress is a big issue. There are multiple issues here. Old stairs usually don’t meet modern rise and run requirements. If space allows, new WOOD stairs should be allowed to be built to meet the primary egress requirements. If space does not allow, the chief building official should have flexibility to look at the new upstairs use. If the use is owner occupied residential space then there should be a contractual way to shift liability to the owner/user. Primary Egress should be treated different if it is commercial and will have clients coming to the space. This does not get into ADA requirements but there should be relief if it is for owner occupied, non-commercial use. For second means of egress, stairs are not always feasible in many buildings. The code should allow for the use of fire escapes or fire ladders.
These changes should allow for many small buildings in downtown areas to be reused. I know your time line is tight so wanted to get some ideas into your hands.

The key thing to think about is are we protecting people or property with these regulations? And, if we’re talking about fire safety- an empty building is always a bigger risk of fire than an occupied one. Let’s focus on keeping and maintaining the stock and making it at least as safe as when it was built- instead of putting unreal expectations. By requiring modern electric service, up-to-code gas lines and mechanical systems, you are decreasing the risk of fire much more than by having empty buildings waiting for an arson. Never mind the fact that occupied buildings generate tax income, whereas vacant ones just create tax burdens overtime.

Practical solutions to protect our community are up to us. If there was one place where we should be evoking home rule- it’s to protect our downtown historic buildings before too many more succumb to the wrecking ball.

Dayton’s Inspectional Services called out by the DBJ

The Dayton Business Journal has a cover story about Dayton’s woefully inept Building Inspection department- something that’s been inept for a long time. Olivia Barrow talks to several small independent start-ups that ran face first into the wall of BS that Dayton likes to throw at every project that doesn’t come with political payola.

From the DBJ article-

Michael Cromartie, chief building inspector, wants to see Dayton thrive as much as anyone. But working with his 1999 computer system and a skeleton crew bound to enforce state building codes to the letter, he has a natural tendency to prefer businesses with money.

“If they’re undercapitalized, that’s always a challenge,” he said. “We have walked some people through every step of the process. But can I do that with everybody? No.”

Cromartie said while he can’t design a project for a business, he still wants to meet with prospective business owners as early as possible — before they even sign a lease or buy a building….

Somewhere inside the mammoth tome of regulations that is the Ohio Building Code, there’s a chapter created for existing buildings that violate today’s safety and accessibility standards — Article 34. It’s often cited as a way for entrepreneurs to save money building out a space in one of downtown’s charming, but code-delinquent historic buildings.

But Juhl never even had the chance to get his building evaluated through Article 34.

“The city won’t even look at that chapter unless you build a case around it,” he said. “It would have been a pain in the butt. So instead we brought a 130-year-old building up to 2011 code.”

Article 34 has been used successfully on several projects in Dayton — including Square One Salon & Spa, Warped Wing Brewing Co. and The Barrel House — but those projects were well-funded or advised by experienced architects or business owners.

“It’s virtually impossible for a business owner to use Chapter 34 (without an architect),” said Brock Taylor, development specialist for the city.

The regulation allows a building to be evaluated on a point system that includes trade-offs and substitutions between some of the most expensive elements of bringing a building up to code.

That includes leaving out a sprinkler system in favor of a cheaper alarm system, or reducing the intended occupancy in order to avoid other costly regulations.

But ultimately, even an Article 34 review process can end up being a waste of time, Cromartie said.

“Sometimes you do the investigation and realize it’s not even going to save you any money,” he said.

That chapter of the code becomes another factor that slants the playing field toward well-capitalized, investor-backed ventures….

A technological upgrade is also in order, but it won’t come online until January of 2016.

“The city is investing over $1 million in replacing its obsolete permitting software,” Cromartie said.

And the city is also creating a new staff position that could provide some of the relief business owners are looking for.

via COVER STORY: ?Business friendly? A skeleton crew at the city struggles to help first-time business owners – Dayton Business Journal.

Michael Cromartie has picked up some knowledge from his years on the job- or should I say his reign of terror. His claim as one of the Monarchy of Montgomery County is being married to former Mayor James H. McGee’s daughter, former judge Francis McGee.

I ran into the same BS over 27 years ago when I bought a building ready for the wrecking ball. Not only were there issues with the historic district code, there were zoning issues and then the building inspection issues. When you have a building that someone is willing to invest 30x the purchase price- it would have been nice for a little common sense, but that wasn’t the case. Despite having 4 exit doors with windows in them- and huge storefront windows- the geniuses insisted that we needed the lighted “Exit” signs over a door. You know the ones required by code for hallways in multistory buildings- that have a bunch of solid- similar doors- where there is no way of telling which one leads out.
I came to believe that the building code as enforced by Dayton was the antidote to Darwin (i.e.- protecting morons from extinction).

I’m pretty sure a firefighter is going to argue with me on another point- the one requiring sprinklers. I’m placing a bet that sprinklers malfunction and do more damage than actually work and put out fires- but, Dayton seems hell bent on keeping the sprinkler installers in business. I find it amazing that most of Europe where buildings are over 600 years old- survived without sprinklers.

I know many contractors that refuse to work in Dayton due to the incredible amount of BS that this department manages to spew. I was told that my existing roof- in the back of my house with true 2×6, 14′ rafters on a slight pitch were undersized- and needed to go- despite being original- and decked with 5/4″ planks. I told the inspector to pound salt. That wasn’t what he was there to inspect. On my cottages they tried to claim that faced insulation, that was stapled and seams taped wasn’t a proper vapor barrier- and that we had to remove the facing- and use plastic instead. Except that you couldn’t buy unfaced insulation anywhere. Yet another fail.

If you wonder why houses get torn down instead of rehabbed in Dayton- it’s because to do them legally is too much hassle, and to do them illegally isn’t worth the headaches- plus, the demolition companies pay to get our commission elected.

The reality is that the Ohio building code isn’t written for rehab. It’s written by the construction lobby with one goal in mind- build new instead of rehab. When enforced by megalomaniacs like Cromartie, the public isn’t any safer, and our old buildings fall victim to unreasonable requirements. Is a two-hour fire rating between floors of a 100-year-old building that’s built with old growth timber really going to make a difference compared to having working alarms? Are sprinklers in every unit of a residential conversion really more important than fire extinguishers? When it comes to ADA- does every unit in a residential rental building have to meet ADA requirements or just a majority?

Instead of  “investing” a million in new permitting software, why don’t we just shut down the entire department and let the county do it? In the name of regionalism and setting an example of cooperation like we did with 911?

I’m sure it would do more to hasten renovation and investment back in the city than letting King Cromartie continue his reign of terror on “under-capitalized”  entrepreneurs (i.e.- no money to pay them off).

Big brother stopped watching you yesterday

Traffic cam

UPDATE

March 23, 5PM A Lucas county judge ruled in favor of Home rule, and the City will continue using the cameras and ticketing until this winds through the courts.

On March 1st 2015(correction, March 23rd) the city of Dayton lost one of its crutches- the use of red light and speeding cameras to extort owners of vehicles for the misdeeds of individual drivers.

The cameras, supplied by a private company, Redflex, were a “partnership” where a private company made unlimited amounts of money from this questionable impingement on personal freedoms. Had the city bought the cameras outright, like they do most pieces of law enforcement equipment, this deal may not have reeked so badly, but in the ultimate act of brilliance, your leaders chose a questionable deal. Much like private prisons, where the incentives are to keep people locked up – because more convicts mean more money, the cameras were continuously questioned for their accuracy and the timing of lights suspect as contributors to this scam.

The sad thing is, the cameras worked. Speeds dropped, accidents declined, in the areas where the cameras were in place.

The real question is why people came to drive like idiots in the city of Dayton and other places where the cameras were deployed? No one speeds in Oakwood, and Kettering still has a rap for traffic enforcement. These communities run traffic tickets as a way to show their police departments are out watching and waiting for crime to happen- versus Dayton, where all they do is chase the tail having to go out reactively  all day long.

Maybe if our leaders would spend more of that “economic development” cash they hand out like candy to their political supporters and scam artists promising jobs- and just did the job they were supposed to do- ensuring our safety, the cameras wouldn’t have been a last resort. In the 29 years I’ve lived in Dayton, I’ve watched the police department drop in staffing by at least a third. Of course, the size of our city hasn’t gotten any smaller geographically- but, we’ve also seen almost a quarter of our population vote with their feet to move to other parts of Montgomery County where they feel safer.

In all the time the cameras have been installed in Dayton, I’ve never gotten a ticket so this hasn’t affected me directly, but, I did get one in Kettering- for a supposed right turn on red at Dorothy Lane and Wilmington. The difference being- one was handed out by a cop, who said he saw me do it. And while I know so many of you are happy about the end of the cameras- in my one ticket, I would have preferred the camera- because I would have had proof that I did the crime.

Hopefully, Dayton police will learn to write tickets again, because, well- that’s their job. Don’t be surprised if you get one and costs you more, because real police work costs more than a robot cop camera. If Redflex goes out of business, I won’t be crying. They made ungodly money out of their monopoly deal on cameras. The question is, how long the city leaders will leave the cameras and signs up- even if the cameras are now impotent.

Sometimes just the idea that we’re being watched, makes us behave differently.

PechaKucha 20×20 – Dayton – Vol. 22 – Rambunctious!

Dayton Oh Pecha Kucha 22 poster by Andrew Dailey

Click on image to download full size, 11×17 pdf

If you live in Dayton and say there is nothing to do- it’s on you.
Here’s a cheap date night event that will probably overdeliver on entertainment value- based on the speakers.

Of course when an event is free (donations really keep this going)- and only held 4x a year- you should be out of excuses to attend. PK is held in over 800 cities all over the world.

I’ve told you about PK nights before- and this is no different. 20 slides, 20 seconds each- any subject. Tomorrow night- I’m in the line-up with “How to piss people off”- a subject I’m told I’m eminently qualified to speak about.

Also- my friend Bryan Suddith is sharing “Confessions of an Uber Driver.”

Connie Post who is second in command of the Dayton Daily news editorial page (yes the lower case “d” is always intentional here) and one of the best photographers I know is presenting “Designing a Positive and Blissfully Rambunctious Community Outlook” (which takes almost 20 seconds to say.)

Shelly “Glad Girl” Hulce- is presenting. She used to work for Mayor Leitzell and is well known in local music circles.

Omar Peters who is the “official face” of Dayton’s new bike share and a planner with MVRPC is presenting.

Riley Driver, the king of the Dayton Chess Club will pwn us all with his deck.

Cassie Guard is doing “Teach Her to Twirl Her Tassels and Watch Her Conquer the World!” and I’m sure there will be others just as fascinating.

Wright-Dunbar Conference Center
1100 W. 3rd St.
Dayton OH 45402

March 19, 2015
7:30pm – 9:30pm
Free, donations

via PechaKucha 20×20 – Dayton – Vol. 22 – Rambunctious!.

What Citi Bank learned from Citi bike

Bike share is coming to Dayton without a sponsor. Instead of being Premier Bike- or Kettering Bike- we’ll have Link.

Not from lack of trying. I made the rounds 5 years ago- trying to drum up interest in sponsorship- and selling the vision. Unfortunately- the number one potential sponsor pays their CEO too much- and has a glorified secretary running their marketing. They just don’t get it.

This little post- and the video- from Ad Age, shows what Citi has learned about the benefit of  “actions speaking louder than words” marketing which is why being a presenting sponsor of Bike share systems makes a ton of sense. Realize that the persistent outdoor branding  of branded bike share can’t be ignored like stupid newspaper ads or TV ads proclaiming that “we’re number 1.”

If you watch the video- listen to the part where she says that Citi sees itself as “enabling progress”- via the branding and support of Citi Bike- what brand wouldn’t want to do that- as opposed to spending millions each year on advertising via major media? Can I ride that ad about your helicopter? Or is my heart healthier because you told me about your cath lab? Hardly.

Citibank’s popular New York City bike-share program, Citi Bike, taught the firm to step out of its comfort zone, stay true to its brand and experiment to keep fresh. Nearly two years in, the company continues to lean on the initiative to strengthen its brand image.

In December, Citi brought its bike-share program to Miami and is seeing strong results in the market so far, said Elyssa Gray, director-brand and advertising at Citi, at American Banker’s Retail Banking conference yesterday. The company also plans to expand the program in New York, which is two years into a six-year sponsorship.

http://bcove.me/5l8j0r6g

via Citi Bike Taught Bank How to Step Out of Its Comfort Zone | CMO Strategy – Advertising Age.

Bike share branding is one of the few real true branded gifts a marketer can give to a community- in exchange for brand awareness. Really, I don’t need anymore travel mugs, pens, calenders, or t-shirts- bike share makes a huge impact on a community. Benefits include a healthier, greener city- c’mon health care providers, insurance companies- the like- invest in something that will really show that you care about our community.

Call Laura Estandia at Link- and write her a big check. Do it now. Here is her number: 937-496-3825

Cincinnati Bell delivers the worst customer service

No Cincy BellI used to be a big fan of Cincinnati Bell. Recommended them for business services often. Same copper as Ameritech/ATT/SBC Global or whatever they want to call themselves- but cheaper. Most of the time, the guy who came out to deal with problems was from ATT.

Last August we lost our main work number for 5 days. We quickly forwarded it to the rollover number- and waited. We had 3 different service calls- each guy said the same thing- it’s at the central office. Cincinnati Bell was in utter denial. About the same time- our DSL started acting wonky too. Could barely get any work done. Constant disconnects- loss of connectivity. No amount of calling their call center in who knows where helped.

I decided to make a change. It was time to go to Voice over IP- and I picked Ooma business for a solution. I was going to drop my 2 voice lines, keep my fax and the DSL- which by this time was working, and spend the $100 or so I was saving in phone bills- and use it to get much faster internet over the air- from Dayton Digital Development (yes – I know he needs a better site). The reason for keeping one land line was for the burglar alarm and because when the power goes out- we would still have one working phone line. I also realized our business depends too much on the Internet to not have a backup.

The Federal government passed a law about the porting or transferability of phone numbers- requiring it to happen in one business day for “simple ports” – yet Cincinnati Bell and Ooma say it should complete in 30 days. Fine- I request the port in early September. It gets rejected in early October. Ostensibly because I was “in contract.” This began a series of calls, and additional report requests. To make a long story short, after the contract freeze excuse was cleared, for the next 5 months, Cincinnati Bell kept refusing port requests, but wouldn’t say why. Finally, after requesting help from the PUCO, it came out that there was an “Open work order” that was holding up the process- and yet- another month went by and still no port. Cincinnati Bell was now claiming I had never told them what number was porting.

With a few more calls to the PUCO- and their intervention, I finally got my number ported at the beginning of March. All this time, not using my number for anything but a forwarding number to Ooma. Cincinnati Bell did manage to raise my rate $3 for my DSL during this period- and continued to bill me for a number and 375 anytime minutes that we didn’t need since we were using VOIP the whole time.

Now, all requests for refunds fall on dead foreign ears.

One of the reasons I liked doing business with Cincinnati Bell was because it was “Cincinnati Bell”- and not “Voice of the Philippines” – but, alas, customer service and responding to customers problems isn’t important to them.

For 6 months, when I was calling out from my business line, the number people were seeing on their cell phones didn’t register as my business. How many calls didn’t get picked up right away, how many opportunities I lost, didn’t matter to Cincinnati Bell.

I’m filing a complaint with the FCC now- and planning on taking Cincinnati Bell to court.

One tip I can give you- you’ll get better and more attention from their Social Media team every time. Forget using a phone to complain to this “phone(y) company.”

FDR vs. Obama vs. Frank Underwood

Francis Underwood at FDR memorial

Francis Underwood walks away from FDR quote

I’m binge watching as best as I can- season 3 of House of Cards. Episode 7 made me think.

Almost all political drama is someone’s attempt at introducing an idealized version of politics- from Aaron Sorkin’s “West Wing” with Jeb Bartlett, played by our man from South Park, Martin Sheen nee Estevez, to, well, even the sociopath Francis Underwood in “House of Cards.”
When Francis visited the FDR memorial – the quotes were even more poignant and relevant today.

I’ve never been to the FDR memorial, but visiting it online- you can read the quotes.

http://www.nps.gov/fr…/learn/photosmultimedia/quotations.htm

I went and grabbed a few- although only the 2 in bold appeared in the show:

“In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice…the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man.”
October 2, 1932

“No country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order.”
September 30, 1934

“Men and nature must work hand in hand. The throwing out of balance of the resources of nature throws out of balance also the lives of men.”
January 24, 1935

“Among American citizens, there should be no forgotten men and no forgotten races.”
October 26, 1936

“I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.” “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
January 20, 1937

“We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all our citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.”
January 9, 1940

“They [who] seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers…call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order.”
March 15, 1941

Damn… we need him back.

How did America respond to the success of a man who thought like this- term limits. The 22nd Amendment.
The beginning of the end of people elected by the people instead of by the money.

Obama came into the same kind of mess that FDR was handed. I wonder if there were no term limits, and it didn’t take a billion or so to keep the seat, what could have happened.

Would Dayton pass the Ferguson test?

This is a hypothetical post. I don’t know the answers. But I think a lot of people in Dayton would tell you unequivocally that Dayton would fail a fairness test if the Feds came in and did an audit of arrests, prosecutions, stops, tickets, fines and enforcement patterns.

Considering that the writing is all over the walls, a mostly white safety force; despite Federal intervention long ago, proven redlining of loans, a completely failed “racial integration” of schools. Throw in the recent outing of members of the Sheriff’s department for racially unacceptable texts and it would be easy to guess what a federal investigation of Dayton would find.

Arguments have been made that the traffic cameras were mostly placed in poor communities, and even then, more in areas predominately African American. If you look at the county jail, most of the time, its racial composition doesn’t come close to reflecting the local racial makeup.

But this is America- where we stubbornly believe in ideals that weren’t ideal when they were written (“all men are created equal- yet slavery wasn’t abolished for another century and civil rights came another 100 years later). Somehow, despite incredible evidence to the contrary- we still believe we’re a first world country, a leader, while our own people suffer from unconscionable oppressions.

Our costs of health care are the highest in the world, our cost of an advanced education are skyrocketing, and while we have access to cheap food, much of it isn’t really fit for consumption. Our elections are rigged with “corporations are people too” money, and less than half the people vote- meaning our vaunted “democracy” is really only a majority of the minority’s beliefs.

I read about freedoms that are constitutionally guaranteed that are being questioned or abused almost daily. We arm ourselves against an illogical threat, and kill more of our own with our own guns- and yet think we’re safer with them than without them. We incarcerate more people, with an astoundingly disproportionate number of the inmates a “minority” and yet, still claim ourselves a “free country” and have the audacity to think our “model” is best for others.

We spend more than half the planet on “defense” which is mostly used as offense, in places that we don’t understand, but feel the need to meddle.

And while the justice department tries to clean house in Ferguson, in reality, it’s nothing but a sideshow- a distraction, a sleight of hand, because in the grand scheme of things, we’ve not been a land of opportunity for a long time.

We could have the Feds come here and apply their tests, and we could fail, but in the end, it won’t change anything until we fundamentally reexamine the kind of country we have and the kind of country we deserve. I don’t fault the racists in Ferguson, or the grandstanding of the Feds, I fault Americans for assuming that things can’t change, that this is acceptable, and holding on to a ridiculous pride in a country that deserves an F grade in equality and justice.

Making an example out of Ferguson, won’t fix anything.

We’ve got systemic issues, from top to bottom that need to be addressed.

If we want to be truly great, we need to take a step back and rethink everything.