Taxi stupidity in Dayton, Ohio. The Uber war is about to start

Uber logoToday is the last day of free Uber rides in Dayton. Tomorrow, the war will maybe begin. Maybe not.

For those of you who don’t know what Uber is- it’s a ride-sharing/part-time taxi service enabled by the mobile Internet. To be a driver you sign up- they run a background check, check insurance and then you become a driver. For the user- you order a ride- and drivers claim your request. You can split the fare between yourself and a friend easily- Uber handles all the financial transactions, and takes a cut.

If the Uber car is traveling at a speed greater than 11 m.p.h.,  the price is calculated on the basis of distance. Otherwise, the price is calculated on time. At the end of a ride, the complete fare (which includes gratuity—Uber’s exact wording is “No Need to Tip” and no option to add a tip exists except to offer it by cash) is automatically billed to the customer’s credit card

via Uber (company) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Riders and drivers are rated in true social media fashion, as sort of a self regulating system. Although the company promises drivers to make $18 an hour- there are questions whether this is truly an independent contractor situation or an employee/employer relationship- at least that’s one of the ways municipalities are attacking the company.

In almost every city Uber enters that has a standing taxi commission, or some sort of regulation, there has been a war. New York City has been going through this for years now- with the licensed cabbies raising hell about the amateur cab drivers. In a city where a “medallion” has gone north of a million bucks (a medallion is a license to operate a cab in NYC)- the idea that anyone with a car and a smartphone can now be a cab is wreaking havoc on the status quo.

Unbeknownst to most, Dayton has a taxi commission, run by the Police Department. There are rules and regulations concerning the operating of cabs in Dayton- which only pertain to the pick up, not drop off of passengers in the city. There is zero regulation anywhere else in the county. A study by the generally right wing “Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions” said:

A review of taxi regulations in Dayton found that the regulations increase the cost of starting a cab company by at least $67,000. Dayton requires 24-hour, seven-days-a-week service from all cab companies. It also requires a 24-hour, seven-day dispatching office. This effectively prohibits an independent owner-operator from starting a cab business.This may explain why there are 100 cabs licensed in Dayton, but only four taxi companies.

via Taxicab Regulation in Ohio’s Largest Cities – taxistudy1.pdf.

A few years ago I started seeing badly lettered mini-vans “Anton’s Transportation” and was wondering what was going on. Turns out that one way you can get around the regulations is to be a “Medical Transportation Company” which bids to transport patients to doctors’ appointments. I’ve also seen others- that say “not for hire” and “designated driver service” – which is an end run around the taxi rules- where renegade cabs can pick up in the city if they are taking donations ($15 minimum suggested).

Anyone who has tried to hail a real cab in this city- especially at 2 a.m. in the Oregon District, knows they are in for a multi-hour wait. In short- cab service in Dayton is almost as big a joke as our parks and recreation department that can’t keep the basketball courts mowed.

Renegade cabbies risk being charged a $450 fine for being caught operating a taxi in the city. And note, the airport is considered city property- where only “approved cabs” can sit in a cab stand waiting for the odd ride. (Our airport also has funky rules about where off airport parking vans can pick up and drop off passengers- even though they pay a hefty 10% levy on all their customers for the right to drive onto airport property).

There is no proof that regulating cab companies improves the marketplace, the safety, or the availability of cabs in Dayton- in fact, the existence of the taxi commission is just another one of the obsolete rules left over from when Dayton was the driving engine of the region. Now, it just makes doing business in Dayton more difficult.

Considering the constant talk of creating jobs- you would think that an on-demand cab service would be a worthy addition to our local economy, but, just wait until Dayton tries to flex its flabby muscles and tickets the first Uber driver and see what starts to happen.

Water system safety and regulation

I have a half a dozen clients who run very different types of businesses over the Dayton well field. All have different rules and regulations about what they can and can’t have in their buildings. None of them have any desire to pollute the well field- or our drinking water- that wouldn’t benefit them, or our community, but the insanity of the actual laws should make everyone in this community stop and wonder what geniuses put this monstrosity into effect.

To bring people up to speed, who may not know what our “well field protection ordinances” are- or why we have them, let’s go back in time. About one hundred years ago- when Dayton was an industrial powerhouse. Back then, there were machine shops and manufacturing plants all over our city. There was even a small machine shop in the alley behind my house when I first moved to South Park. It went up in a crazy hot blaze of fire about 20 years ago- and the building was only recently demolished.

Back in those days, companies big and small had no clue what to do with waste oil, cleaning fluids and the like. Some burned it in open pits, others poured it in the ground, others put it in drums and stored it- only to have the drums leak. It wasn’t until the seventies with the charter of the EPA by the federal government,  that everyone got hip to the fact that trichloroethylene, a common industrial solvent was a serious carcinogenic toxin.

Our Dayton well field pumps water out of a giant underground limestone aquifer- said to be one of the largest in the world. And, for a long time, companies in town routinely fouled it. Times changed, with the federal and state EPA regulations. Users of hazardous chemicals were required to maintain extensive logs of their industrial inputs and outputs. Material Data Safety Sheets had to be kept on hand, as did emergency procedures for a spill. The days of wild and wooly hazardous waste disposal were long over by the time the Sherwin Williams paint warehouse burned to the ground on May 27, 1987.

That fire burned for days, with firefighters standing by, trying to contain runoff and not pouring water on the flames- so as not to contaminate the well field. Citizens were terrified that our water supply might get polluted- sales of bottled water skyrocketed and a young Dayton City Commissioner, Mark Henry, introduced his original “Well field protection” ordinance.

If that piece of legislation were still in place, there would be no outcry of the local business owners, but over time, changes in the rules have caused it to be onerously restrictive, very capricious in its enforcement. In other words- it’s silly and enforced randomly.

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.

One only has to drive out Brandt Pike, just past Stanley Ave., to pass the BP fuel farm where a hundred gazillion gallons of fuel sit smack on top of our well field. A little spillage of the underground pipes would hardly be noticed- and would easily contaminate our water supply. They are allowed to be there- they just can’t add capacity under the current laws.

In the meantime- my baker friend, has a limit of 6 gallons of bleach in his facility. Bringing in the seventh bottle of Clorox would put him in violation. Another friend, who has a machine shop- has reached his limit of cutting oil with his current number of CNC machines, he can’t add a machine, without breaking the law. Never mind the fact that modern day CNC machines are practically hermetically sealed systems that totally prevent leaks- compared to the old school open lathes that were as common as street lights in our manufacturing heyday.

Regulations that are in place now set limits on chemicals based on a base line of when the laws were written. An analogy would be restricting the houses on your block based on the occupants of each home on a random day 20 years ago. If you had 3 kids and grandma and grandpa were visiting- you could have 3 kids and 4 adults in that house, while the house next door- would have been permanently banned from occupancy because your neighbors were on vacation.

The recent situation in Toledo with the algae bloom contamination of Lake Erie is no different than what’s been going on for years in Celina with Grand Lake/Lake St. Marys which is a cesspool of industrial agriculture runoff. This is an entirely different problem- much akin to the old school pouring of toxic chemicals down the drain or into the ground- because companies are too cheap or don’t care about the implications. Sustainable agriculture methods can eliminate almost all of this toxic runoff- but, big ag is more powerful than the people who have to live with their needless pursuit of cheaper crops- even if the side effects are heinous.

If Dayton was serious about protecting our wellfield- there would be no fuel farm sitting over our water supply. But, that would cost hundreds of millions to relocate.

Common sense needs to come to our regulations- with good working relationships between regulators and the regulated, to cooperatively protect our water and our community. For all the “experts” claiming that any changes to the ordinance would put us in greater danger- the reality is, every one of us who has ever cleaned out a paint brush has done more to pollute our well field than many of these regulated businesses. It’s time for some collaboration to come up with a modern, enforceable, realistic set of rules, processes and procedures, and not keep these convoluted rules on the books, because one day, the baker may want to have 7 gallons of bleach to clean and sanitize his bakery, and we wouldn’t want him to be raided by the water protection police.

The Dayton Charter review committee

Not that anyone cares, but the Dayton City Commission appointed a charter review committee to clean up the City Charter. which is an old and tired document.

I’ve been calling for changes to the recall and charter change requirements for years. Of course, I wasn’t invited to work on the committee.

Here is who the commission appointed:

  • Richard Clay Dixon – Chairperson
  • Jason Antonick
  • Jimmy Calhoun
  • Mike Galbreath
  • Gaye Jordan
  • Marcia Knox
  • John Lumpkin
  • Pat Rickman
  • Greg Scott
  • Manicka Thomas
  • Dave Williamson

They’ve already completed most of their meetings, and a Freedom of Information Act request got me the following minutes: 2014 Charter review committee minutes from which I culled the following:

Meetings are held in the City Manager’s Large Conference Room, Second Floor, City Hall on Thursdays:

  • June 12, 3:30-5:00
  • June 26, 3:30-5:00
  • July 10, 3:30-5:00
  • July 24, 3:30-5:00

and if needed- an additional one Thursday, July 31, 3:30-5:00

I’ll be attempting to visit the final scheduled meeting tomorrow to clarify the following:

4. Change special elections to require 50% of voting.
Members directed that no additional action be taken on this tiem (sic).

Mr. Gray explained that the commission did not expect to put each item up for a separate vote or to put all the items in one package for a single vote. He explained that the commission would welcome suggestions from the committee on how to organize the items into a few ballot issues.

While this is a great start to make changes to the former rules that were based on number of total registered voters, which could exceed the number of residents over the age of 18 due to rules of the Board of Elections- nothing is mentioned about the petitions, their language and the obsolete requirement of having a notary sign off on petitions. I hope to bring this up tomorrow.

They are still planning to discuss language for the following:

  • Ensuring that the City has the power to levy service charges, fees and taxes granted by the state to local governments
  • Permitting the City to levy special assessments using the standard provisions of state law that may change from time to time.
  • Permitting the City to enter into arrangements and contracts with other governments. The absence of this provision in our Charter could be used against us since it is in most city charters.

Considering they just popped the street light assessment on residents without a vote, I would think more people would be upset about additional ways to levy taxes without votes by the public.

Please consider joining me at the meeting on the 24th.

 

 

 

The demolition derby in Dayton needs to end

There was nothing wrong with Schwind building, nor the old Dayton Daily News building on Ludlow. Both were solid buildings in good locations, and prime candidates for adaptive reuse.

But, apparently the right local developers didn’t pay off the right people, because money that could have made their projects an easy go- was spent instead with long-time Dem Party supporter Steve Rauch.

What’s most interesting is that this was after he “mistakenly” tore down the historic addition to the original Cox building.

The city of Dayton will spend $215,000 more than it had originally planned to pay for the demolition and cleanup of the Schwind Building property, which officials said will help the roughly $18 million student housing project move forward.

A federal deed restriction on the Schwind property along Ludlow Street meant the Student Suites developer was unable to secure financing that would have covered the demolition and cleanup costs, said Aaron Sorrell, Dayton’s director of planning and community development.

The city is increasing its contribution to $1,215,000 from an original commitment of $1 million to fulfill its promise of fixing issues on the Schwind property, officials said.

“The reason we pushed this forward is because there was a shared sense of responsibility,” Sorrell said. “Our agreement with Student Suites is we’d deliver the Schwind property free of any liens and encumbrances: We have not been able to do that because of the deed restriction.”…
Sorrell admits that footing the bill for the remainder of the Schwind cleanup means the city will not be able to remove as many blighted and abandoned homes as it could have otherwise. But the additional expense will help a project progress that will provide a boost to the revitalization of downtown, he said.
via Dayton to pay for Schwind cleanup.

I’ve been watching a house at 828 Frizell, near DeSoto Bass to see how long the city would take to demolish it. Unlike the Schwind, it needed to come down, although it was making a damn good effort to self-destruct without any help.

The first picture was taken April 10 at 7:27 pm. The neighbors told me that they heard a massive boom- as the house slid off its foundation, and the chimney toppled onto the home next door. The city put some cones out.

photo of 828 Frizell, which slid off it's foundation

House at 828 Frizell on April 10, off the foundation

May 8, I went by again, expecting to see it demolished. Nope. 8:48 pm

Photo of 828 Frizell Ave

May 8, 2014, 828 Frizell is still leaning left.

Last night, after hanging nets, I drove by, it was after 9:30 and dark- the house was a pile of rubble. I didn’t see anyone out to ask when it came down, but was glad to see the city had finally addressed this serious public safety hazard.

The differences between 828 Frizell which needed to come down, and the Schwind which didn’t are night and day. But, the result is the same- public money being spent to tear our city down, instead of to make our city a great place to live.

I’ve already said that at the rate houses are being blighted and torn down, we will expend a hundred million and never keep up. We’ll always be the dog chasing the tail, instead of moving forward. Had we handed half the money we wasted on tearing down the Schwind to developer Bill Rain, he would have had student housing and low income housing in the Schwind to conform with the deed restrictions. Had they handed him the old DDN building- he would have had ground level retail and parking on floors 2 and 3. I’m pretty sure local developer Bob Schiffler would have done something similar.

But the housing stock demolition process is a whole other story.

Some houses like 828 Frizell were absolute demolition cases- many others are in the process of following in the footsteps. The process starts when a bank forecloses on a property that isn’t worth anywhere near what they lent on it- or, the tax bill is exceeding the value the home can be sold for.

Why the declining value? The wizards of Wall Street contributed a great deal to the demise of home values with their derivatives markets and loan bundling. But the City of Dayton has done much of the damage to its own property values over a long period of time. School busing to “solve” segregation was the first strike, where the city lost 100,000 people in a short time. Adjusting for those losses compounded the city’s problem- instead of adjusting to a smaller population, they asked for and got a higher income tax- to be charged to the people who couldn’t vote for the tax. Businesses began their exodus, first to the Kettering Research Park, and then to Austin Landing. Both tax-supported projects that made money for developers- and political donors- and hurt tax collection even more.

The one at Austin Landing is particularly odd- white collar workers don’t get taxed, while blue collar workers do. They just voted to make the district bigger last week;

Three south suburban communities now have more land from which to draw income tax revenue after they approved expanding a zone covered by an agreement.

About 11 acres will be added to the Austin Landing property from which Miamisburg, Miami Twp. and Springboro split income tax revenue.

Legislative leaders from those three jurisdictions Thursday night approved an amendment to increase the Austin Center Joint Economic Development District.

A JEDD is a partnership granted certain oversight authorities, including levying taxes, under the Ohio Revised Code….

The Austin Center JEDD levies a 2.25 percent income tax on all retail businesses and some offices (emphasis added) within its boundaries, according to Miami Twp. records. That percentage is consistent with Miamisburg’s income tax rate. Springboro’s
via 3 jurisdictions vote to expand Austin tax zone.

The city, already plagued with a remaining low income population, which results in lower test scores for students in the beleaguered school system, then began to cut services to families, closing rec centers, not taking care of parks, and cutting basic maintenance like street paving, grass cutting in public spaces, even housing inspection. The great “Model Cities” inspired “Priority Board” system was eviscerated, leaving  a skeleton on life support.

In a series of desperate for tax revenue moves, the city worked against existing businesses, picking favorites and subsidizing some businesses while ignoring others. Attempts to “improve” things like their efforts to be real estate developers for the Wayne Avenue Kroger- took millions of dollars- with the city actually “blighting” the neighborhood into failure with a series of options on the “doomed” properties. When Kroger pulled out, no one was fired, or even questioned, on how they could go this far without a contract.

Other cities tried to chase down blight and demolish, only to realize that it was like going down the rabbit hole. Philadelphia finally said enough- instead of allowing property owners the easy route of boarding up shit properties, went after owners demanding that they fix up or hand over.

From the LA Times:

McCall staples a poster to the plywood covering the door. The poster declares the building “a blighting influence,” in violation of a city code that requires all buildings to have working doors and windows. Plywood or other boards are prohibited, and the fine is $300 per opening — per day.

After decades of ignoring the blight that has spread through its neighborhoods, Philadelphia is trying to reclaim its vacant homes through aggressive initiatives designed to compel negligent owners to fix their properties or see them seized and torn down.

via City of Brotherly Love finally tackles neighborhood blight – Los Angeles Times.

McCall is a city employee- and the city realized that boarding up a house actually hurts the value of all the other homes on the block. So do the stickers saying a “house has been winterized” – meaning that water won’t freeze and break pipes- but is also a printed invitation to scrappers to come steal anything and everything inside.

Accountability for ones investments is long overdue in Dayton. From slumlords like Jan Singleton, who has managed not to pay taxes- or take care of his properties for years, confounding the city law department and inspectors- to the city itself, which has no problem charging you $250 to cut your lot- while they have foot high grass on our boulevards.

Before and after photo as city cuts grass in public boulevard

How high was the grass on Burns Ave. before the city cut it? Ticketable for sure.

How can a city have any legitimate authority to tell people to cut grass when they can’t do it themselves? Yet, they can pump a million and a quarter into the developers’ and demolition companies’ hands for the Student Suites project on Ludlow.

Back to the Philly Story:

Neighborhoods where the new strategies have been applied have seen home prices rise 31% over four years,compared with a 1% rise in comparable areas, according to a study by Ira Goldstein of the Reinvestment Fund. The initiatives increased home values by $74 million throughout Philadelphia, Goldstein said, and brought in $2.2 million more in transfer tax receipts.

Philadelphia had been spending millions of dollars a year to tear down vacant properties, and it didn’t seem to be making much headway, said Rebecca Swanson, who directs the city’s vacant building strategy. So in 2011, city officials decided to try a strategy they hoped would prevent properties from becoming run down in the first place.

The city utilized software used by the IRS to track down owners of the vacant buildings. Then the city took the owners to a newly created Blight Court. The door and window ordinance also allows the city to attach liens to property owners’ other personal property, including, in some cases, mansions in the suburbs.

“That was the whole point, to catch them early, cite them for doors and windows, and hopefully that incentivizes the owner to come out of the woodwork and do something,” Swanson said.

Where is the accountability for the money squandered on Tech Town- where tenants pay no rent, driving rents down on other buildings where landlords have to pay the same taxes they always have had to? Ask Dayton Hydraulic and Jerv Janney how he feels about city subsidies of the Water Street project- while his buildings already have to compete with Tech Town? He’s suing the city for a bunch of money- because he’s been backed into a corner.

This is a city that just bulldozed every public outdoor swimming pool. Has committed to spend a million dollars on fixing up basketball courts after a political opponent embarrassed them by hanging 300+ nets on courts that weren’t being serviced (btw- I’ve yet to see a new rim, new pavement, or backboard).

It’s time to stop thinking demolition is the answer. Blight will stop when there is a legitimate reason to live in this city. Saying we’re a leader in demolishing things ain’t it.

Dayton’s Issue 6 – Deceptive mailings

Mayor Nan Whaley tries to sell issue 6 as a renewal when it is in fact a permanent tax change at the same rate.

Let’s lie about what we’re really doing.

My parents and I received a postcard in the mail today asking us “On May 6, voter FOR ISSUE 6 and RENEW DAYTON.” My father, a senior, who is relatively astute, said that he read it- and has no clue what Issue 6 is.

Dayton is a Great City. Let’s Keep It That Way!

For 30 years, the people of Dayton have voted to RENEW DAYTON to maintain our city’s most vital services.

Voting FOR Issue 6 keeps thses services intact without raising taxes, which creates good jobs and strong neighborhoods for all Dayton families.

Ofiicials Agree: A Vote FOR Issue 6 Keeps Dayton Moving Forward

“The earnings tax is the largest source of money for the general fund, which pays for basic services – police, fire, street maintenance, snow removal, recreation centers and parks. If the earnings tax is not renewed, the impact would be nothing short of a disaster in the city of Dayton”

– Mayor Nan Whaley

To explain this honestly, Mayor Nan should tell you that for 30 years Daytonians have voted to raise an additional  .5% tax on people who work in the city via a TEMPORARY tax. This raised our total income tax from 1.75 to 2.25% which 30 years ago, was the highest in the region, with the exception of Oakwood which charged 2.5% on its residents- mostly because it has few people who actually work in Oakwood- and many who worked in Dayton and they needed to collect something.

The nature of these local municipal income taxes is sort of the same as what made the founding fathers revolt against the British- taxation without representation. Workers at law firms, corporate headquarters and major businesses downtown were to pay this tax- without having a say in what it was spent on, or if it was necessary. Our city fathers even sold it to the taxpayers this way- you vote for it- but most of it comes from commuter workers, and- the rest of the pitch was- it’s only temporary, until we get out of the hole we’ve dug ourselves into with our fat cat, nepotism system of government. The voters voted for it, time after time. The taxpayers- those commuter workers of Oakwood, Centerville, Vandalia, grumbled for a while, then, they started doing what commuter workers easily can do- commute elsewhere, where a move from Dayton to Kettering saved them .5% or to Austin Landing – the whole thing (if they are a white collar worker instead of a blue collar worker- yes, I know- I’m still scratching my head on that one.).

Dave Holmes, past CEO of Reynolds and Reynolds was the first to pull his Corporate HQ out of Dayton for greener pastures. No, he didn’t say it was because of the income tax, but, it was because of the income tax- and the arrogant treatment of the “monarchy of Montgomery County” that ran like a private club. Of course, he was also the first to find out that the taxpayers could be hoodwinked in the region, into paying to relocate his operations- with tax breaks offered to move to Kettering’s research park, then to build the Reynolds spin-off (back in Dayton) Relizon HQ at the corner of Monument and Patterson (now being taken over by CareSource, after Relizon’s step-child, WorkFlow One got bought by Standard Register- the last remaining old school big company in Dayton). They also got funding to build a call center- called a TAC- in the old Elder Beerman building- only to later abandon it, and sublease parts out to the Area Agency on Aging- and now also- CareSource. Every time he shuffled his walnuts on the table, he got tax breaks- much like a three-card monte shyster scores on his marks.

Again- the tax increase was temporary, it would have to be renewed, and each time, the same story was told – you don’t pay this tax, it’s other people paying this tax. People like Pam Morris at CareSource, who lives somewhere else but makes over $3 million a year administering federal tax dollars intended for the poor- and making her rich. Yeah, we can vote to stick it to her. But the flip side is, all her employees pay it too. And, we still build her buildings for her, and her parking garages, and give her incentives- because, we’re addicted to the teat of that income tax to keep the boat afloat. Every municipality is now, especially with the cuts in Ohio’s local government funds. Other communities are renewing and raising their “temporary” taxes too- with some, like Huber Heights that has been on a wild spending spree, talking about a 2.35% rate. Kettering is also boosting theirs, after years of managing on 1.75%

The patchwork of different tax rates in Montgomery County- and the state of Ohio is a major pain in the arse to businesses of all sizes. Different filing rates, filing times, filing forms, and filing websites. It makes Ohio a very business unfriendly state. Fines on missing deadlines can be in excess of the amount a business owes. Because of the complexity- companies like Intuit, maker of Quickbooks, can justify charging more for the tax tables for payroll than the software that runs it and get away with it. A secret hidden cost that could easily be done away with by a simplified statewide fair and balanced income tax.

Back to the reason Oakwood charges 2.5% is so it can collect .25% over and above the rate Dayton charged- and this gave them the ability to keep their amazing services at the highest levels. Things like backyard trash collection, sidewalk shoveling, and a combination police/fire/paramedic force that not only gave excellent service, but wrote traffic tickets and would make house calls when you got broken into. Dayton can barely manage to answer the phone. Even Oakwood is now struggling due to state cutbacks- and the end of the “death tax” killed off their last cash cow. They are making hard choices.

But, the real deception of the mailer is that Dayton voters have repeatedly voted to continue taxing without representation because they knew that without it- service cuts would happen. Guess what, service cuts have happened every year, even after they voted for it. Our temporary tax didn’t keep our kids’ swimming pools from being plowed under, they didn’t keep our police department staffed well, and cuts to fire and parks and everything else they promised wouldn’t happen- happened. There was no guarantee- but at least we had the option not to renew it to send a message.

This Issue 6 is an attempt not to renew the temporary tax- but to make it a permanent one. If we defeat it in May, we’ll see it again in November. Maybe as another temporary tax.  Because Nan Whaley is the Queen of Nan Whaley land- you only see her name, her picture on the mailing. And the treasurer of the mysterious “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future” is a Michael Voelkl, who lives in what I one called “Tony Capizzi’s Private Neighborhood” across from 10 Wilmington Place that was paid for with public dollars so City employees who at that time had to live inside the city limits, could live in a pseudo-gated community. Michael Voelkl, you see is a city employee, the “taxation and revenue manager” of the City of Dayton.

One wonders how much of the Hatch Act is being broken by having Mr. Voelkl head up the effort to make sure he still can be paid with taxes on those “commuter workers.”

[update] Voelkl retired from Dayton in 2003 and later took the position of New Carlisle’s tax manager in 2010. Thanks reader “skeptic” for correcting me. [/update]

Let’s be honest- this vote isn’t about renewing Dayton at all- it’s about bolting in the cord on the life-support system. It should be a no-brainer to pass, if it were presented honestly- but that’s not Mayor Nan’s style- she has to turn everything into an epic political battle for her to win- at any cost. Which frankly makes me sick and repulsed. This could have been easily sold to voters honestly- saying that these temporary tax levy campaigns are a pain, are expensive and take time, please help us cut out the waste of time. We’re still going to raise your water and trash rates, and charge you fines for police to respond to your alarm calls, and raise prices on parks and recreation, and complain we ran out of salt- but, at least, we’re not going to lie to you anymore- we can’t live within our means, and 2.25% is the minimum it takes- thank you.

 

The Eric Spicer diversion

In Dayton, it’s hard to not be separated by about 1.2 degrees of separation. Especially in political circles. I met and got to know Eric Spicer when I last ran for Congress and he was running for the Republican nomination for State Representative against the disgraced drunk Jarrod Martin and the eventual winner, Rick Perales who has his own issues.

Spicer came off as a straight-up, stand-up guy. Trusted friends told me that as well. But when I read the paper about his Termination from the Greene County Sheriff’s office for undeclared reasons, I don’t scratch my head at all, I know it’s political.

Greene County Sheriff, Gene Fischer, had placed Spicer on admin leave for 7 months before yesterdays confirmation.

“He was placed on leave after the Yellow Springs police standoff ended in the death of Paul E. Schenck, a resident, who fired more than 100 shots at law enforcement officers on July 30.”

according to the DDN today

For the record, only one person died, or was wounded in that standoff- Schenck. There is no lawsuit pending against the County for neglect or incompetence. Also for the record, Spicer wasn’t the highest ranking Sheriff’s office at the scene either.

And while I hate to report third hand, a quick search finds this blog piece with allegations of what’s really going on, from a blog maintained by a friend of Schenck:

inside information that Eric Spicer was being set up as a fall guy. I emailed the person who left the comment and here’s the bullet points of what they told me:

That contrary to what has been reported, Eric Spicer was not in command. His only command decisions were to call for a SWAT negotiator and a helicopter.

That Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer and Chief Deputy Mike Brown were on hand. They were the ones in command.

That Eric Spicer was trying to remove neighbors to safety in order to eliminate the sense of urgency to kill Paul. With nobody in danger, Spicer hoped that SWAT and the other agencies would cease antagonizing Paul, allow the sun to come up, and let the professional negotiator talk him out.

That if that plan had been allowed to proceed, Paul would be alive.

But instead of allowing that plan to work, that SWAT was using armored vehicles to deliberately provoke Paul into firing.

That Paul was only firing when he was provoked.

That one of the two men in charge, Chief Deputy Mike Brown, smelled of alcohol.

That there had been complaints about Brown’s drinking in the weeks and months leading up to this incident.

via Eric Spicer » Kick Him, Honey.

For an in-depth look at what happened that night, the same writer, Benjmin Whitmer, has a pretty decent essay, simply titled “Paul Schenck” It was his follow up post about Spicer’s firing that elicited some people to comment and step up for Spicer.

Information that’s come to me from trusted sources tell a story of Sheriff Gene Fischer being an absentee Sheriff, who is happy to be a politician instead of a cop, and delegating down to his Chief Deputy Mike Brown, who was promoted when Fischer faced a challenge from former Sheriff’s office employee Charlie Barrett. Fischer circled wagons, handing out promotions to people to guarantee support for his campaign instead of Barrett’s, who was the union boss. What’s funny about this is Barrett, who was a Sgt. before having to step down to run against Fisher, complained of Spicer being a political hire:

Barrett charged that Fischer brought political buddies into the office such as Capt. (and now Major) Eric Spicer and that destroys the morale. Fischer was Spicer’s campaign treasurer for Spicer’s unsuccessful bid to become a state representative in a primary race against incumbent Jarrod Martin and Rick Perales, who will face Democratic candidate Bill Conner for the 73rd state house seat.

via Greene County Sheriff’s race pits incumbent against former… | www.daytondailynews.com.

As much as Montgomery County is run by a Monarchy of Dems, Greene County is run the same way by Republicans. It’s what happens when we allow every office to be politicized and patronage jobs to be the currency of our community.

Unfortunately, Greene County Dispatchers who have recordings of Brown calling into dispatch, sounding intoxicated, meddling in stops, or the road supervisors complaints of mos-management will all stay firmly swept under the rug as long as the politicians feel they can make Spicer the scape goat. Just remember, Fischer was Spicers campaign treasurer, before he turned on him and hung Spicer out to dry. Anyone who feels safe in their job based on the political winds in Greene County is clueless. Eventually, ships full of holes sink and take all hands, no matter what.

The fact that Spicer isn’t filing for disability like another former Sheriff’s office commander- John DiPietro, speaks volumes more about Spicer’s character.

Undoubtedly, many tax dollars will be spent sorting this out, after Spicer sues for wrongful termination, and years will pass as those in power hope to outlast his bank account (as long as taxes are collected, politicians will deny the inevitable and continue to waste money on lawsuits- I know from personal experience). In the mean time, Spicer will have a hard time finding a job using his 25+ years experience.

This is what happens when we continue to vote for smiling faces with big campaign war chests instead of the best qualified people- and have a media that can’t write the hard stories.

The public needs real proof that Spicer needed to be fired, instead of demoted or admonished. We shouldn’t have to pay to allow costly political executions rule our government. If the mainstream media outlets ask for the right public records, there will be some interesting documents questioning the inner workings (or non-workings) of the Sheriff’s office.

If some Greene County employees have some guts- you can add comments here safely and anonymously. Please stick to facts, and not personal attacks. You can help save the tax payers a lot of money and wasted circus time with your input.

 

Database 101 for Board of Elections

In today’s Dayton Daily news, Mike Bock, publisher of www.DaytonOS.com, had a letter to the editor urging Dems to run for precinct captain seats. He also covered it in a few posts on his site:

I’m a precinct captain, elected to Dayton 1-D, but how do I know that? Well, funny you should ask.

I’m supposed to be able to go to this site and look up my voter status and polling location: http://www.mcohio.org/boe/voter_information/voter_reg_lookup.cfm

Unfortunately, the middle name field is required, and I can’t look myself up because I don’t have a middle name.

But, my parents who live across the street do have middle names. I can find my father, Stephen G, but when searching for my mother, Nina B, no such person.

What’s more interesting is according to the county site, they are in Dayton 1-E. I was elected to Dayton 1-D, and when calling the current director, Jan Kelly she confirmed those assignments.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. I have a database of all Dayton voters for my campaign- at www.electesrati.com and it has me in 1-D, but I also have a list of the entire county loaded at www.independentdayton.com and that list, downloaded from the Secretary of States site, http://www2.sos.state.oh.us/pls/voter/f?p=111:1 has me in Dayton 1-E and my parents in 1-F.

Stupid question, but isn’t that the core, most essential information maintained by election officials? Shouldn’t something as simple as what precinct you are in be correct?

Screen shot of Ohio Secretary of States voter data for David Esrati showing wrong precinct

The Secretary of State isn’t told the truth, how can you trust our elections officers?

You can look up my voter location by first searching my name at http://voterlookup.sos.state.oh.us/voterlookup.aspx however it’s a 2-step dance, then having to click on my name to see the polling location: which comes up with Dayton 1-E (see screen shot)

I’d show you mine from the county site, but, alas, I can’t see my registration there because I don’t have a middle name.

When I told Director Kelly about the problem with middle names, she said they’d work on it “if they got more complaints.”

Quite frankly, this Board of Elections can’t be trusted to maintain their own website in the first place. When I wrote the first post in this series, they still had election dates for 2013 posted and that was on Jan 12, 2014 (since updated).

Note, there are no tools for candidates to download the “correct” voter data file from Montgomery County on the county site. With a turn-in deadline of Tuesday for petitions, any questions of voting precinct should be ruled null and void at this point, since the data isn’t verifiable or accurate.

An investigation should also be started since this is probably typical of most county board of elections in the State of Ohio- which are run by un-elected political pogues in patronage positions instead of by qualified election professionals. Never mind the fact that in Montgomery County, they are handpicked by the parties- who engage in what amounts to racketeering- filling the lowly precinct captain positions with people who get paid by the politicians they select and elect through illegal closed door “screening committee” meetings.

The integrity of election data is, and should be, one of the most sacred duties of any public servant. Unfortunately, in Montgomery County, and by extension now the State of Ohio, we look like our elections are being run by amateurs.

There are five different “approved” voter database vendors in the State of Ohio. The question is why? The fact that there are discrepancies between the databases in this instance make one question the integrity of all. There are also difference in field naming, data contained within the fields, lacks of easily sourced data keys (for non-party people trying to utilize this data) and different data maintained by state and local boards. Examples including how election dates are maintained (Montgomery county uses a letter P, S, G and a date 140506 while the State uses the much less cryptic format 05/06/14). The County uses the most arcane, and technically inept way of indicating if someone voted early, absentee or at the polls- using a lower case or capital letter in the election field- something most databases can’t sort on (capitalization) instead of a separate searchable field.

I could go on to point out that I still have a real question of how when sending out postcards to people who requested an absentee ballot via mail, or voted early (can’t tell the difference thanks to their data format) I get returns of first class mail to those voters- saying “undeliverable” – yet they vote.

My confidence in the entire voter registration, Montgomery County Board of Elections, Ohio Secretary of state’s office is nil. I’m currently awaiting a call back from the SOS office, about my latest findings. If you need a visual, here it is:

 

Screenshots of same voter, from two different precints.

My father votes in the same place, but the precinct name changes

There’s more sunshine in the county than in the city

Last week I made an identical request for public records from the county and the city. In Montgomery County you send your request to the Auditor’s office, run by Karl Keith, the elected Democrat who is also Vice-Chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. They have a very informative page with all the info you need to fill out a request here: http://www.mcohio.org/government/auditor/public_records_policy.html

I asked:

“I’d like a spreadsheet with the names of all county employees- title and department, home zip code and the street number of their home.
Thank you very much.”

I immediately got an automated reply saying they had received the request. A few days later I got another email clarifying the request:

After reviewing your public records request, further clarification is needed.  Please clarify that the information you are requesting is listed below…

  • Names of all county employees
  • Title and Department
  • Home Zip Code
  • Home street number

Please respond to this email to confirm or clarify if the above criterion is accurate or inaccurate.

Thank You

I said that was correct and thank you. The next day it showed up. Exactly what I asked for.

On the other hand, the request to the city generated this response from Tom Biedenharn, from the city’s office of public affairs. The city FOIA request page is here: http://www.cityofdayton.org/departments/pa/Pages/PublicInformationRequest.aspx

David,

We have completed your request to the extent that we can.  However, according to a previous Ohio Supreme Court ruling, State ex rel Dispatch Printing Company vs. Johnson, 2005 – 106 Ohio St. 3d, 160 (see attached), home addresses of public employees are not subject to Open Records Requests since they do not fall under the definition of a record that “documents the activities” of the organization.  Please find attached a document containing the other information you requested.

Thank you.

Tom Biedenharn
Office of Public Affairs

He included a 24 page PDF explaining why it was none of my business to get the home zip code and house number of city employees. I’m including a copy of it here: Case re public request for employee addresses

And while the response with the list of employees was almost instant- even with going back and forth, he stood his ground.

Please note, that if you are a registered voter in the state of Ohio- anyone, can go to the Secretary of State site and download the voter files, with your full name, address, birth year, gender, political party affiliation, and voting record (if you voted- not who you voted for). Yet, asking where the people we pay to work for us are is private?

Note, I was careful, not to ask for home addresses- just a zip code and a house number. I really don’t care where you live, but I was trying to corroborate something that I think is of major interest to the taxpayers of our county: Who is getting patronage jobs- and how they are controlling elections.

But, that’s the beauty of the Sunshine Laws- I don’t have to explain why I’m asking. The fact that the two government entities treat my request differently is an issue. But, what’s more important is what I found and posted in a previous post:

The “Monarchy of Montgomery County” starts in the BOE and the party central committees – See more at: “The “Monarchy of Montgomery County” starts in the BOE and party central committees”
What I found by cross referencing the two employee lists, with the voter database, with the list from the Board of Elections of who was elected in 2010 to the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee- was that of the 361 precincts, 175 are empty, 186 are filled. 84 are people I could identify as either: government workers, elected officials, union heads, former elected officials, relatives of employees, and I’m sure if I had some insiders helping out, we’d have even more. To me, this is a conflict of interest- an EPIC FAIL to running open and honest elections, because in Montgomery County, the parties endorse pre-primary. That’s right, the party central committees, made up of the friends and family of elected officials – the people who can hire and fire government workers, pick a secret subset of these people, to serve on the “Screening Committee” that picks the winners and losers- and oversees the elections.
If you wonder what a “Screening Committee” meeting sounds like- I recorded one and posted it (they were mad) – I just can’t find it right now. Here’s a post that has the written questions: http://esrati.com/answers-to-the-montgomery-county-democratic-party-screening-committee/521/
The one question that always gets asked- “If we don’t endorse you, will you drop out.” Let me ask you, when that’s the question- why have primaries at all?
Is this really how a democracy works?
Do you still have the full trust in your government now knowing that your home address isn’t protected and city employees addresses are? That the party central committees- which only require 5 signatures to run- get to decide who runs in elections, who gets endorsed and most importantly- picks who runs the election itself?
This is nothing short of organized crime.
Want to do something about it? Let’s fill the 175 empty seats- and a flip a few of the others- and stop this “friends and family program.”
Are you with me?

The “Monarchy of Montgomery County” starts in the BOE and the party central committees

[update] The first post of this had incorrect salaries for the BOE, they have been corrected. Other details from comments, and emails are being added. I’m also going through employment data from the county and the city to cross reference central committee members to public employees. It would seem that the party central committee is hardly representative of the general public- in that most are either;  elected, work for elected people or are related to government workers.[/update]

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is a cesspool of patronage positions that are totally controlled by the two political parties in the county.

Every position has 2 people to do it- one D, one R. The annual budget of the BOE is substantial, but they don’t really report to anyone. There is a lot of confusion because the Board of Elections is actually two parts: the actual board- of four members, 2 from each party, that usually meets twice a month and is paid about $20K a year, and the workers in the Board of Elections- who work year round to manage voter registration and coordinate elections. These positions are all filled by the parties and at least on the Democratic side, are expected to donate at least $100 a year for every $10,000 they make back to the party.

The current board is former GOP party chairs Greg Gantt and Kay Wick for the Republicans. For the Dems, it’s Rhine McLin. former Dayton mayor and state rep, and John Doll. They replaced Dennis Lieberman, long time Dem Party chair and husband of County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman and AFSCME leader, Tom Ritchie after a dispute with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted over early voting hours.

This is the organization that employs handwriting experts (graphologists) who ascertain the validity of petition signatures (graphology isn’t accepted in U.S. courts) and finds ways to keep as many candidates off ballots via technicalities as possible.

I’ve split the employees by party and listed alphabetically by last name. The information comes from at least 5 sources of former BOE workers from both parties. I’m sure my readers can help me fill in blanks- and refine this data. I am not a paid journalist, and I do my best to make sure information is correct- or at least correctable.

The wage data came from a public records request and was furnished by Director Jan Kelly.

Democrats:

Guy Aber, $42,016 election ops
Probably being groomed to take Steve Harsman’s place. His father, Russ Aber, works for Montgomery County Auditor and Dem Party vice chair Karl Keith in the data processing “division”. Was a friend of Tony Tipps. Guy is known by some former employees for having a temper.

April Alford, $35,817 registration
Friend of Beverly King. Known as a pretty hard worker and is about to complete her degree at WSU.

[update]? Blackshear- son of County Recorder Willis Blackshear- information missing on Public records request.[/update]

Tina Brown, $38,737 campaign finance
Daughter of Jefferson Township trustee, Brice Sims. Replaced Henderson Scott after he was asked to step down after a sexual harassment investigation. He worked for Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley when the suit was filed, and was transferred to the BOE so he could keep his job. Tina is dependent on Republican counterpart Denis Aslinger to do parts of her job, which is one of the more complex parts of the operation..

Robyn Fecke, $43,035 poll worker coordinator
Her father is Dave Fecke who is a union boss friendly with union boss and former BOE member Tom Ritchie.

Anna Fernandez, $33,820 registration
Common law wife/girlfriend of Steve Harsman Jr.

John Fletcher, $32,843 registration
Unknown connection.

Steve Harsman, deputy director $119,995
Longest running employee, and predates sources for how he got the job in the first place. was a friend of Karl Keith, working in Dem HQ with former Dem Party Chief Joe Shump who gave Harsman the job. Owens wanted to remove Harsman, but Keith supported him. In typical dog-eat-dog dem fashion, AJ Wagner appointed Karl Keith to the auditor position, when he became a judge- and then Keith supported Nan in the Mayors race. No loyalty.

Laura Jordan, $33,820 registration
Commissioner Judy Dodge’s daughter.

Beverly King, $64,043 registration supervisor
Unknown how she got the job, but is famous to readers of this site for getting her son brother hired without a job application. Turns out he was a convicted rapist and registered sex offender. He was quickly shown the door as the office women felt betrayed.

Cathie Merkel, $57,886 Finance
Deceased husband, Mike, used to be Montgomery County Dem Party chair Mark Owens’ right hand man at the Dayton Clerk of Courts. Well known by insiders as the sometime girlfriend of Steve Harsman.

John Murphy, $34,840 registration
Dem Party faithful and father of Gen Murphy, who is Nan Whaley’s errand girl and president of the Ohio Young Dems.

Priscilla Ritchie, $37,960 absentee
Daughter in law of Tom Ritchie

David Owens, $37,918, campaign finance
Brother of Dayton Clerk of Courts Mark Owens who is the Dem Party chair.

Republicans:

Denis Aslinger, $49,046 campaign finance
Brother is a judge in Darke County. Husband of Julie Aslinger, a former magistrate for probate court.  Former director, Betty Smith was a probate court supervisor before coming to the BOE. Julie now works for Job and Family Services.

Denis is one of the true professionals in the office, and has been a huge help to me at getting good information in a timely manner, except when Steve Harsman forbade Denis to talk to me, over the recording and posting of my call about William Pace being on the ballot.

To accommodate Dave Landon, he’s being transferred downstairs. Landon ostensibly came in as a voter registration clerk at a very high pay- and Jan Kelly had to take a pay cut to make room for his inflated pay, but now as campaign finance director his pay is fitting his position.

Linda Brewster, $52,000 finance
Board member Kay Wick’s best friend.

Carolyn Clark, $49,046 absentee
Her mother did investments with Tom Young a Republican qho has been part of the old guard GOP in Montgomery County, possibly a girlfriend of a previous County GOP Chairman.

Bill Hibner, $49,046 election ops
Arlene Setzer, former state rep put him in under Jeff Jacobson. Father is Bill Hibner Sr. of Vandalia, who works with Greater Dayton Construction. Not sure how this is politically relevant, other than GDC/Oberer development is a major donor to politicians.

[update]Francine ?- information missing from public information request.[/update]

Douglas Jones, $31,761 registration
Owns Studio Zumba and hired Jen Robertson as an instructor, and then she got him a job at the BOE.

[update]Suzanne Joo, $35,713 Registration
Lives in Greene County. No connections. Reportedly stood up and protested the addition of Dave Landon to the BOE staff, took a personal day because she was so angry.[/update]

Jan Kelly, director, $100,006
Very helpful, used to work for SOS Jon Husted and ran against Dan Foley for County Commission, coming close, despite wide funding gap. Previously ran Chuck Curran’s campaign for county commissioner when he was a Republican. An attorney by profession, but not admitted to Ohio Bar. Had to take a pay cut to hire former GOP chair Dave Landon in.

[update]Dave Landon, $69,992 finance
Long time GOP party old guard member. Disbarred as an attorney. Writes for Dayton City Paper. Fired from Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor’s district office for running his private auto sales business on state time. Despite only being there a few months, he’s already been in hot water for sending a robocall to endorse candidate Mike Nolan in a Miami Township political campaign which is a no-no for BOE employees. Also, reportedly attended a Dayton Daily News candidate interview for or with Nolan, during the time before an election when BOE employees aren’t allowed to leave the office. DDN supposedly looked into if he had taken personal time- and found no record of it. Reports from inside the BOE say he is still running his car business on BOE time- and takes extended lunches frequently.[/update]

Mark Mazer, $34,652 absentee
Good friend of Sandra Brassington who sometimes runs the local GOP and now works for Governor Kasich.

Karen O’Meara, $53,123 registration supervisor
Unknown connections.

Joshua Pettis $29,993 registration
Unknown connections.

Jennifer Robertson, $38,500 poll worker coordinator
She lives in Darke County but still serves as a precinct captain in Montgomery. When she was running for precinct captain, she put down the wrong address on her form. Greg Gantt, who was best friends with her brother growing up, possibly broke the law and allowed her to change the form after she had already turned it in.

Sarah Scott, $25,001 registration
Former GOP chair Rob Scott’s sister.

Former employees:

  • Alicia Scott Bey – retired. Was close to Jeff Jacobson. R
  • Tamar Gullate D
  • Anthony Harris- shuffled around the county building, must be related to someone. D
  • Joel Hart
  • Brittanee  Iles
  • Helen Jacobson -Former GOP party chair Jeff Jacobson’s mother R
  • Nancy Jenkins
  • Robin Lehman – left BOE for Domestic Relations Court. Is the Republican Party’s longtime treasurer. R
  • Marlene Kincer- Greg Brush’s mother in law- Kym Brush’s mom. D
  • Micah Leventhal
  • Kim Loy – Wife of former Vandalia Mayor Bill Loy D
  • Nancy Marino- runs Trotwood Dem Club D
  • Susan Martin- Tom Robert’s sister D
  • Brian Mead – now in State Auditor’s office- wife is lobbyist for CareSource R
  • Christine Michaels -former director of registration, Chris Conney’s mother. R
  • Andrew Morris R
  • Kelsey Rankin
  • Suzanne Robillard – Now Joo
  • Julie Russel- best friend Carolyn Clark
  • Henderson Scott – D out of Foley’s office
  • Betty Smith – former director, retired for health reasons. Knew her election law and was always helpful to me. Formerly a probate court supervisor R
  • Krystie Spirk – daughter of Mike Spirk – works for Karl Keith D
  • Dru Stewart – R
  • Bryan Suddith- R- Republican party activist.
  • Sinthy Taylor – D, Friend of McLin’s
  • Tony Tipps- Son of Ohio super lobbyist Paul Tipps. Was fired for ostensibly forging a signature on an absentee ballot for his daughter in front of Caroline Clark.
  • Robin Titus – D
  • Carol Varro – son worked for Jeff Jacobson.
  • Missy Mae Walters- Hired by Betty Smith, lobbyist and former girlfriend of former Republican Party Chair Rob Scott.
  • Shynae Whiteside
Screen shot Montgomery County Board of Elections (Ohio)  site on Jan 12, 2014 still showing 2013 dates

Screen shot MCBOE site on Jan 12, 2014 still showing 2013 dates

Despite all this amazing talent, the current website has upcoming election dates and registration deadlines in as of today, Jan. 12 2014. [update] since this post went up- they finally updated the dates [/update]

To see what a real county board of elections website should look like, visit Franklin County’s.

The real question is how the parties control these jobs and political offices. That’s determined by whom we elect to the party central committee. Dems have their elections with gubernatorial primaries- and Republicans do theirs with the presidential primaries.

Just in case you are interested, the deadlines to file your petition to run for Central Committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Party, the dates that aren’t on the BOE site are:

  • 2/5 – Central Committee Precinct Captain Petitions are due by 4 p.m. at the BOE
  • 2/24 – Central Committee Write-In Candidate Forms are due by 4 p.m. at the BOE

You need to get only 5 signatures of registered voters in your precinct to get on the ballot. Get at least double that so the “graphologists” don’t throw your petition out.

This is how Rob Scott took over the local Republican party from Greg Gantt, and how Dennis Lieberman ousted Joe Shump.

To find out what precinct you live in: http://www.mcohio.org/boe/voter_information/voter_reg_lookup.cfm

If you want to find out who your precinct captain is- good luck- the worthless site run by the local party has nothing. www.montgomerydems.org

(compare it to the excellent Franklin County site www.fcdp.org).

And- if you want the form- also- good luck, go to the Sec. of State site to download it. http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/elections/forms/2-L.pdf Make sure you print it on legal paper, have it signed in ink- and that they SIGN- not print their names. If you want to run as a write in, the form is: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/elections/forms/13.pdf

To read about how precinct captain takeover’s work: http://theprecinctproject.wordpress.com/

Below is the list of the current Dem party precinct captains- with a few titles filled in.
Note how many seats are empty? Also- note, how many people are either in office- or work for elected leaders. I don’t have time to cross-reference every name- but, if you can add in comments who works for whom- we can fill this out.

If you want to end the rule of the “Monarchy of Montgomery County” it will start with independent-minded people getting elected to the central committee. Please contact me if you need help with the process.

Montgomery County Dem Central Committee

WARD
PRECINCT
 
FIRST NAME
LAST NAME
EMPLOYER
DAY 1A
DAY 1BJessicaMichaiak
DAY 1CRonaldLeeDayton School Board
DAY 1DJoanWagnerWife of AJ Wagner, former Auditor, Judge and Dayton Mayoral Candidate
DAY 1EDavidEsrati
DAY 2A
DAY 2BAnthonyBallisPartner of Dayton School Board Member Joe Lacey, who works in the County Treasurers office
DAY 2CMatthewCoxAuditors office
DAY 2D
DAY 3A
DAY 3BRichardCox
DAY 3C
DAY 3D
DAY 3E
DAY 3FCJBartley
DAY 3G
DAY 3HMaryKuehne
DAY 3IMarkCunningham
DAY 3J
DAY 3KMarkOwensDem Party Chair, Dayton Clerk of Courts
DAY 3LAnnMurrayDayton Municipal Court
DAY 4ASamuelBraunMr. Nan Whaley, County Auditors office
DAY 4B
DAY 4CWalterDoty
DAY 4D
DAY 5AAprilAlfordBoard of Elections
DAY 5BFredStrahornState Representative
DAY 5CRichardGreenformer Counselor at MC Juvy Court System - 42 years
DAY 5DDonaldDomineckmember of Dayton's Black Panther Party
DAY 5EBarbaraHarris
DAY 6ATomRobertsFormer State Rep and Senate
DAY 6BStaceyBenson-TaylorAFLCIO Union Representative
DAY 6CDorothyBarnes
DAY 6DLawrenceFlowersDayton Clerk of Courts
DAY 7ARhineMcLinFormer State rep, senate, MCDP vice chair, Dayton Mayor and now on BOE
DAY 7BClaytonLuckieImprisoned State rep
DAY 8AKarlKeithCounty Auditor, Vice Chair MCDP
DAY 8B
DAY 8CMeghanCole - now ThomasDayton Clerk of Courts (moved)
DAY 8DGeorgeEstes
DAY 9AMaryMontgomeryProsecutors office
DAY 9BGenevieveMurphyPresident Ohio Young Dems, Auditors office
DAY 9CMatthewJosephDayton City Commissioner, Brother of Russ Joseph, Dayton Clerk of Courts
DAY 9DGuyAberBoard of Elections, his father Russel works in Auditors office
DAY 10A
DAY 10B
DAY 10CMaryPattersonCounty Treasurers office
DAY 10D
DAY 10E
DAY 11A
DAY 11B
DAY 11CRachellePaynter
DAY 11DJessicaAbernathyFormer Deputy MC Recorder, Admin Secretary at Family First Council
DAY 12ACatherineMerkleBoard of Elections
DAY 12B
DAY 12CChristopherConner
DAY 12D
DAY 13AShawnDayDayton Clerk of Courts
DAY 13BHayesShepard
DAY 14AGeraldMarshall
DAY 14BJohnBoston
DAY 14C
DAY 14DLakiaGray
DAY 15AReginaMarksCounty Environmental Services
DAY 15BJohnSmith
DAY 15C
DAY 15D
DAY 16AClayDixonFormer Mayor of Dayton
DAY 16B
DAY 16CIrvingJohnson
DAY 16DClaudiaMason
DAY 16E
DAY 17AMichaelNelson
DAY 17BJamieSimpson
DAY 17CLindaMcKenna
DAY 17DAudrennaWhitesideClerk of Courts
DAY 18AFredRalston
DAY 18B
DAY 18CGretchenMoore
DAY 18D
DAY 19AJamesAtchisonIT Manager at the City of Moraine
DAY 19BWillisBlackshearCounty Recorder
DAY 19C
DAY 19DKeithLanderFacility Services at MC
DAY 20ALelaEstesBoard Member at City of Dayton
DAY 20BRichardSeitz
DAY 20 C
DAY 20DThomasRitchieUnion Head, former BOE member
DAY 21AWillieMarshall
DAY 21B
DAY 21CMarciaKnoxUnion Chief
DAY 22ASinthyTaylorFormer BOE employee
DAY 22BJohnFletcherBoard of Elections
DAY 22CAlvinFreemanDayton Civil Service Board
DAY 23A
BTADebraArmaniniCounty Prosecutor
BTBKym BrushWife of Greg Brush County Clerk of Courts
BTCEmily JacksonNow Emily Bradford- works in County Commission office for Judy Dodge
BTDRichard Carnelobbyist
BTEWilliam Davis IIDayton Water dept.
BTF
BTGPatriciaKunk
VDA
VDB
VDC
VDDWilliamCrawfordDayton Street Maintenance
VDEMarkMacNealyVolunteer Physician at Reach out of Montgomery County
VDF
VDGJudy DodgeCounty commissioner
VDHElaineZimmers-JohnsonRetired-Director of Real Estate for the Auditor’s Office
VDILawrenceO'Donnell
VDJStevenHarsmanBoard of Elections
CLAA
CLAB
CLACRichardRenner5 Rivers Metro Parks
BRKA
BRKB
BRKC
BRKDAmy EddsCounty Auditors office
PHB
GERA
GER-B
GTNA
GTNB
GTNCJeffHastyEnvironmental Services
HARA
HARBWesleyWellsUnion Leader
HARC
HARDElizabethDyer
HARE
HARF
HARGJustin AllenStillwater
HARH
HARIChristineKinterDayton Clerk of Courts
HARJRolandWinburnState Rep
HARK
HARLTony Curington
HARMBrookeWrightDayton Municipal Court
HARN
HUB 1A
HUB 1BLuDale
HUB 1CIsacDaniel
HUB 1D
HUB 2APenniChafins
HUB 2B
HUB 2CJanVargoHuber Heights Council
HUB 2D
HUB 3ADonaldPayne
HUB 3B
HUB 3CEdwinPrimm
HUB 3DLinda Manning
HUB 4A
HUB 4B
HUB 4C
HUB 4D
HUB 5A
HUB 5B
HUB 5CDavidRichards
HUB 6ADanaClark
HUB 6BEdLyons
HUB 6CEllenWilkey
JAKAKarenCriswell
JAKB
FARM
JNLBAVickiGebhart
JNLBBDave Fecke
JEFAFredMeacham
JEFBBriceSimsJefferson Twp Trustee
JEFC
JEFDLynnThomassonCounty Clerk of Courts
KT 1AJasonStanton
KT 1BRobin Barker
KT 1C
KT 1D
KT 1EDennisMcCarthy
KT 1FKathy Williams
KT 1G
KT 1HLauraJordanBoard of Elections
KT 1I
KT 2A
KT 2BFredSchindlerMaintainance at WPAFB
KT 2C
KT 2DNancy SimpsonCommunity Economic Development
KT 2EMaryRobinson
KT 2F
KT 2GDavidWisemann
KT 2HPatBiddle
KT 2I
KT 3A
KT 3BJonathanHardin
KT 3CFrederickKrumholtzDayton Clerk of Courts
KT 3D
KT 3E
KT 3FRobertaBeyerDayton Recreation and Youth Services
KT 3G
KT 3HAncilWebb
KT 3I
KT 3JMiriamMaue
KT 3K
KT 4ANancyEnright
KT 4B
KT 4CLauraHawthornLogistics management at WPAFB
KT 4D
KT 4E
KT 4F
KT 4GJonathanKleinman
KT 4HJohnMurphyBoard of Elections
KT 4IWesleyBishop
KT 4J
KT 4KMichaelBockKettering School board
TR 1ATommyStewart
TR 1B
TR 1CMarjorieTownes
TR 1DEllaBollingCounty Treasurers Office
TR 1ENancyMarino
TR 1FDawnWojcikMCDP employee
TR 2ATiaCoxJob and Family Services
TR 2BKevinArnold
TR 2C
TR 2D
TR 2EDonnaGales
TR 3A
TR 3B
TR 3C
TR 4ADjunaBrownex-Auditor’s Office
TR 4BPatrickThomassonMarried to Tisha who works in Dayton Clerk of Courts
TR 4C
TR 4D
RVA
RVBGladysStump
RVC
RVDWilliamFlauteRiverside Mayor
RVEKennyNance
RVF
RVG
RVH
RVI
RVJ
RVK
RVLEdythMitchell
RVM
PM
MIAA
MIAB
MIAC
MIAD
MIAE
MIAF
MIAG
MIAHWilliamMelke
MIAI
MIAJ
MIAK
MIAL
MIAM
MIAN
MIAOMarkLandersVeterans Services
MIAP
MIAQP MichaelRobinetteFormer head of Conservancy District, MVRPC
MIAR
MIAS
MIATJohnnaShiaCounty Prosecutor
WCRA
WCRBBrendaWhiteDayton Clerk of Courts
WCRC
WCRDToddAhearnCounty Prosector
WCREChrisHolmAuditors office
WCRF
WCRGReneeSheppard
MBG 1A
MBG 1B
MBG 1C
MBG 2A
MBG 2BCharlesBowlingFormer BOE employee
MBG 2C
MBG 3A
MBG 3B
MBG 3C
MBG 4A
MBG 4BJulieBrunsCounty Prosecutor
MBG 4C
MBG 4D
MOR 1AJacquelineCole
MOR 2APatriciaCelesJob and Family Services
MOR 3A
MOR 4ALindaPauley
OAKAPeggyWellerJFS childrens services
OAKB
OAKC
OAKD
OAKETony TippsFormer BOE worker, son of Lobbyist Paul Tipps
OAKF
OAKGCarolHolm
PERA
PERB
PERC
PNLBABettyBenningtonDayton Clerk of Courts
CTN 1A
CTN 1BMattHeckProsecutor
CTN 1CDennisLiebermanFormer MCDP Chair, Former BOE, Husband of Debbie Lieberman
CTN 1DTinaBrownBoard of Elections
CTN 2A
CTN 2BJackeHorne
CTN 2CJoeLitvinFormer County engineer
CTN 3AJamesGorman
CTN 3BTedGudorf
CTN 3CCheryl Hart-GroffDayton Clerk of Courts
ENGA
ENGBJudyGerhard
ENGC
ENGD
ENGE
ENGF
ENGG
ENGHPearlieJohnson
ENGI
ENGJ
UNA
UNBRobinDavisDayton Clerk of Courts
UNC
UNDMikeSpirkCounty Auditor
WSAJamesVangrovCounty Commission office
WSBKrissGang
WSC
WSDMaryMiller Ellis
WSE
WSF
WSG
WSHSusanHesselgesser
WSI
WSJMichelleGrodnerProsecutor
WSK
WSLBarbaraShump
WSM
WSN
WSOPaulRobinsonCounty Treasurer
WSP
WSQ
WSRJohn Roll
WSSPatEdsall
WSTShirleyMarion
WSU
WSVLeigh AnnCapizziJuvenile Court, married to Tony Capizzi, former Dayton City Commissioner and now Judge
WSW
WSXBeverlyKingBoard of Elections
CVA
CVB
CVCCharlotteVitali
CVD
CVE
CVFCathyStartzmanCounty Commission office
CVGStephenDavis
CVHDavidSaphire
CVI
CVJ
CVKMichaelRiceHusband of County Treasure Carolyn Rice
CVLChristiannaRomerCounty Commission office
CVM
CVN
CVOLeeFalkeFormer County Prosecutor
CVP

 

 

Explaining irrational behavior in Dayton, Ohio

prolog:

A word that people bandy about when they bring my name up is “crazy.” That is until they actually know me. Unfortunately, I’m cursed with something that isn’t valued much in Dayton- a very high IQ. It’s one of those things that I don’t care about, but what I do care about is my city, as do most people who read this site. Most of you are gutless wonders performing your role as part of “the machine”- and as of this election, I’m here to tell you- the machine is on its last legs. Here is why,

Note, you can skip this next section entirely, and jump straight to the topic of the day- the great food truck debate, but, since it’s Thanksgiving, I thought I’d give thanks to the crooks who got us to where we are today.

The first hints of trouble started back in the mid-1980s

Despite the pride that we have in our “city manager” system which was supposed to keep politics out of running our city, it’s never really been anything but a front for business to control the local markets. The Dayton Business Committee — and before them, the All Dayton Committee, met in back rooms and schemed out their plans for where and what was supposed to be done in Dayton. One powerful family in the mix were the Danises who liked to build things- from buildings to landfills and water treatment plants. Another were the Beermans- who besides owning a department store downtown, also owned a lot of real estate. What was good for the scions of Dayton – was good for Dayton. Unfortunately, none of them had a clue about city planning- or sprawl, other than “building is good” for the economy- so build we did and sprawl some more.  Dayton did well with Fortune 500 HQ’s for a city our size- with Mead, Reynolds, & Reynolds,  Standard Register, and NCR in the mix. The workers had jobs that paid well, thanks especially to Generous Motors- where Dayton was the lone bastion of the IUE in the auto biz- and caused Detroit no end of headaches with the odd-guy-out issues.

The political parties played along- as long as they could keep their patronage jobs working, and they never elected anyone who would stand up to the boys in the back room who really were calling the shots. And make no mistake- the people who were calling the shots weren’t afraid to show their muscle- when I first ran for mayor- the windows at my office were shot out twice to send a message, but that’s already after the major shift that was the first hint of where we are today.

One Dayton Center- or the Arcade Tower- photo

An early big bad idea by government

The city was celebrating the reopening of the Arcade- things were good, but we needed to keep the Danis family happy. A study came out saying there was a shortage of Class A office space downtown, and if we didn’t build it- businesses would flee. The Dayco tower by the Dayton Mall was a very scary symbol to those downtown. Danis started with a plan to build the CitFed tower at 2nd and Main and got caught up with preservation problems. In the meantime, the city, still flush with cash from payroll income taxes on all those NCR jobs, thought that they had done so well with the redevelopment of the arcade- that they should build a tower too. Remember, this is because a “study” said we needed it. They entered into an agreement with Webb Henne developers to build a tower at Third and Main – in competition with the Danis tower. A squabble broke out and people were taking sides and fighting for one tower or the other. A lot of money was used to grease wheels- and despite the city contract with Webb Henne stating they must have at least 35% pre-leased to move ahead- they built it with only 20% leased. The Danis tower, although it was first to be announced, opened later, and a fight for rearranging deck chairs broke out. Danis paid the Police Chief, Tyree Broomfield $100,000 to go away, he got the contract to build the landfill on the West Side (which was the reason party favorite Clay Dixon lost to Republican wonderboy Mike Turner). At some point, the city decided to shut down the city steam system- probably as payoff by DP&L which often hired political types into very nice “government affair jobs.” Without city steam- the arcade could no longer be heated, older buildings had to retrofit (a very expensive process) and Danis got the arcade, closed it down- in an attempt to force the eventual foreclosure on the Arcade tower and on and on the spinning wheel goes.

The idea that the city should and could be a player in the public sector as an investor, financier, owner was officially hatched. Never mind that every project was practically stillborn- or required tradeoffs, subsidies, etc. The investment in the Landing and the downtown YMCA drove Joe Moore to close his downtown gym- swearing never to return. Other real estate investors sat and watched as tax breaks drove their rents down- until almost every major building downtown has been sold under duress/foreclosure (the only one not suffering this fate as far as I know is the Talbott tower). Like pizza chains offering cheap pizza, the race to the bottom was on- and there are no winners. Downtown was eating up more time, resources and tax dollars- and the focus on quality of life for the residents was put on the back burner. It didn’t help that NAFTA was signed in the early 1990s and that giant sucking sound started to slowly siphon off the good jobs and the income tax receipts that came with them.

Dayton has a whole layer of quasi-government that has been built over the years to help keep the paper trail confusing to the general observer. Citywide Development Corporation and the Downtown Dayton Partnership and more recently, the Dayton Development Coalition have taken the driver’s seats over from the former Dayton Business Committee- or at least, they think they have. And while the DBC still exists, now they include the publisher of the Dayton Daily News in their group- because, well, they have to control the story and keep the voters in the dark and clueless.

Really insidious things have been allowed to happen, without so much as a peep from the masses. The giant sucking sound out of Downtown to Austin Landing has been supported with more tax dollars than is in Dayton’s annual budget. As to collecting income taxes- now, despite the law that says “townships” can’t levy income taxes- they’ve somehow engineered the taxation of blue-collar workers there- while the white-collar workers- who all used to work in Dayton (Teradata, Thompson Hine, etc.) don’t pay income taxes. The same is happening to blue-collar workers at Miller Lane in Butler Township.

We’ve been sidetracked with dreams of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles as our savior (drones) and before that, composites and for a minute fuel cells and before that distribution hub, which is now being dusted off again as a rally cry of the people who get paid to pronounce instead of actually do. The siphoning of money from the poor to the rich isn’t just a Wall Street thing- it’s done daily here in Dayton – which is how we come to food trucks. The lowest rung of the ladder.

The Great Thanksgiving Day Food Truck Massacre

It started on Tuesday, when Tonia Fish told me that her temporary lease on the old Chin’s/Elbo’s/Sa-Bai space at 200 S. Jefferson St. may not be renewed. A meeting of some sort had been held in City Hall and the decision was coming. Mayor Leitzell had told me that in the executive session last week, where this matter was being discussed, Nan Whaley wasn’t prepared to vote on it and it was tabled. Had they had another illegal meeting of the commission to discuss this lease? There wasn’t an announced session- and since Executive sessions have to be done either as an emergency and announced- or gone into from a regularly scheduled meeting- what had happened?

Full disclosure- Tonia and her husband Joe Fish have been my friends for a long time. They own the Chef Case in the 2nd Street market – and I’ve done a few projects for them. I’ve been left out of all of the Synergy Incubators marketing- because I’m too controversial.

Mrs. Fish is a force to be reckoned with. Having worked with high-powered people in big cities, she’s meticulous in her planning and in the execution of her plans. Her business plan was to turn the space in the Transportation Center Garage into a communal kitchen/teaching/banquet place for independent food operators. This actually dovetails with businesses like Thai 9 that routinely have to turn down large events that they can’t cater or book because it would disrupt their regular business- as opposed to the last tenant the city put in this space, Sa-Bai, that was direct, subsidized competition for Thai 9.

She’d already begun offering business education at the former Dayton Public Schools Central Kitchen which was in mothballs until she opened Dayton’s first mobile food business commissary. The kitchen is currently licensed as a prep kitchen which food trucks and carts use as home base. But, it’s a manufacturing plant- not a restaurant training ground. The city claims to be in favor of this part of her plan- and supports it. The sticking point that killed this local food incubator wasn’t the low rent- but the plan to help support this facility by having one day a month food truck rallies on this location. Hard to believe that drawing a few thousand people downtown once a month is a threat to any restaurant business- and no business owner would come out and say this, but, because this is Dayton. Ohio- where irrational behavior gets rewarded, the one-year lease/experiment got axed officially yesterday.

Food trucks don’t kill business- idiots kill businesses

Two people railed behind the scenes to put the kibosh on the food truck rallies. One was Realtor and Oregon District Business Association head Mike Martin. While the city has no other potential tenants for either the space in question or the former Greyhound station- the idea of a tenant that pays rent and keeps the place operating apparently isn’t good enough for Mike. He has trotted out a “club promoter” who has said they aren’t interested in the space as a potential tenant just to sew a fine thread of hope in the commission’s micro-sized minds. He says, even though no vote has been taken, that the ODBA is against food truck rallies- even though Mrs. Fish had letters of support from Lily’s, Blind Bob’s, Thai 9 and the 5th Street Deli in hand. Of course, the ODBA isn’t all restaurants and bars- businesses like Sew Dayton,  and the Urban Krag support the food trucks- as do Gilly’s and the Neon Movies, and would love to see the district not closed off to customers for the annual drunk fest at Halloween which negatively impact their businesses.

The other is the Downtown Dayton Partnership head, Sandy Gudorf, who went around claiming that she was doing an official survey sponsored by the city on whether the businesses support food truck rallies. With the recent inclusion of the Oregon District in the area managed by the DDP (the “ambassadors” program- privately contracted sanitation workers doing work the city or property owners should do) the claim that the food trucks don’t pay for her services is her main complaint. 200 S, Jefferson has always been in the SID that funds the DDP- and is current on payments. Never mind the fact that without the failings of the city to do the right things (see the first part of this post) her organization wouldn’t have a reason to exist. Her un-scientific, un-professional poll was used as the basis for the rejecting the lease according to sources in city hall.

Irrational reasoning

David Esrati's facebook ad comparing money spent on business parks vs. spent on real parks

A Facebook campaign ad for Esrati about Tech Town investment

No one asked other real estate owners downtown if they wanted to compete with tax financed and subsidized projects like the arcade tower or tech town. Over $40 million has been spent on incubators for startup businesses at Tech Town- many of whom have never even paid rent. An entire empty building has been standing for over two years- and only after it became a campaign issue have they found a tenant by giving another sweetheart deal to Children’s Medical Center (rearranging deck chairs instead of creating new ships).

No one questions a new restaurant opening at the Dayton Mall, the Greene or the Fairfield Commons mall area- yet, the idea of a pop-up food truck pod one day a month is somehow dangerous to the fragile economic ecosystem downtown?

The city commission didn’t make a ruling on this in a legal meeting. Therefore, this decision has been made by city staff with their tacit approval. When are we going to hold anyone accountable for the complete clusterduck that happened with Sa-Bai? From the ridiculous lease, to the late opening, to the missed rent, to the destruction of city owned fixtures and theft, to the leaving of food to rot for months in the space (which was all cleaned up by Mrs. Fish’s people). It’s become pretty obvious that city involvement in the private real estate market has more of a destabilizing effect than a positive one. Maybe if our government tried sticking to governing we’d be in better shape?

Signs of disaster since the election

The dust up over Garden Station should have been a wake-up call to the people of Dayton of what could be expected by the Party of Nan, where organic (in every sense of the way) projects would be getting shut down. And just before the election the implosion of the Schwind building, before a clear deed and signed contract were in hand should have been the second.

But in the weeks since the election with the lowest turnout in history coupled with the biggest campaign budget- we’ve seen the rear of the Dayton Daily News building demolished by accident, the emergency pay raise and now the food truck massacre. The Water Street project is also standing in line for a handout from taxpayers- along with another tax abatement to screw our schools. What’s almost funny is that the only rumored tenant so far is PNC Bank which would move from another landmark building- the I.M. Pei-designed building at Third and Main- more deck chair rearranging, which will most likely screw the other David Greer (the banjo playing lawyer) who’s offices are in that building-  which will have a hard time affording their tax bills and utilities without that space being full. Greer was a big supporter of Whaley not only donating money- but playing at her fundraiser at Jimmie’s Ladder 11.

What to do to save the food trucks and Dayton?

If this is to be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back- it’s time to do a real survey of businesses in the area to see if they do or don’t support the one-day-a-month rallies- and then if the majority really does oppose the trucks and the people they bring to the failed corner- maybe we should organize a boycott of their establishments? Free market capitalism deserves support- and those who don’t agree- shouldn’t get your money. Note, if the space in question was owned by a private company, there would be NOTHING the city could do to stop the rallies.

The harder part, is to change the city charter. First step would be to gather 12,000+ signatures of registered voters to put the change in the charter to match Ohio Revised Code on numbers of signatures required for changing the charter and recall to be based on actual voters and not voters on the books. This means more people than voted for the future Mayor would have to sign. I used to think that it should be based on the number of votes in the gubernatorial elections- but, after Ms. Whaley’s pathetic performance and the low turnout- I think it should be based on the number of voters who voted to put people in office. So instead of needing 25% of the 35,000 or so people who voted in Dayton to sign a petition to recall the mayor- it would be 25% of the number of votes in that election – or in this case- 25% of about 16,000 or 4,000- an approachable number in Dayton.

And lastly, since the city is turning down a lease, maybe the income to the taxpayers, as well as the utilities, taxes, insurance etc. that would have been taken care of by a private organization, should be taken out of the commission’s newly increased salaries?

It was just last week that the Dayton Daily News told us that Downtown Dayton was leading the nation in vacancy and that it was at death’s door. Here is an opportunity to bring some vitality and hope back. The food truck rallies are an easy way to bring something to a downtown starving for vibrancy.

Your thoughts are welcome in comments below. The real question is whether we can get two hundred volunteers to collect signatures to change our charter and give us the ability to end this kind of irrational behavior?