Dealing with a neighborhood cancer

Note, this is a long read. This is about a lot more than a demolition derby and a crime clan. Please take the time to read.

Friday, Dec 12, 2014. I had just settled into bed after playing hockey. Our game started at 10 p.m.- and we left the ice at 11:30. By the time I’m home, gear put up- showered it’s 12:15. I had watched about 15 minutes of TV when I started hearing an engine revving, and things going boom- soon followed by a car alarm going off.

Out the window I see little Brandon Crouch’s “new” Chevy pickup- sitting in my neighbor Marilyn’s front yard- facing my house. Her friend Doyle’s Hyundai Elantra is already sounding its alarm and flashing lights. I try to call 911 from the house phone- and must have misdialed, it wouldn’t connect- I run out the front door in my shorts (it’s 20 degrees out) and take a photo of Brandon’s truck now in the middle of the street- sideways- facing my house and me. He’s crashed Doyle’s car and is in the process of backing up and ramming one of my neighbor John’s VWs.

Branden Crouch driver of the one-man demolition derby

You don’t drive sideways on a side street (sorry about the sideways pic- no time to trouble shoot)

He then goes forward- ramming Marilyn’s Chevy Blazer that’s in front of my house. I go to open the passenger door, slug the little shit in the face- and pull the keys out of the car. Doyle, in his bathrobe- pulls him out of the truck- and he proceeds to run away from his house toward my office- I give chase and tackle him and hold him down on the pavement where he keeps fighting me- as I try not to kill him.

Brandon Crouch's truck after he hit 4 cars and 2 wrought iron fences

The final resting place of Brandon Crouch’s truck

Doyle and Marilyn gather around- and after holding him squirming on the ground for a couple of minutes he starts to calm down- and is talking about how he got hit in the face with a baseball bat. I’m covered in his blood and freezing my butt off- and am sick of doing a cop’s job. He won’t stay on the ground- but stands up and stays put for a minute or two- before he takes off again. I know who he is- and don’t feel like chasing him again. I call 911 from my cell- Doyle is calling from his house phone- I have to assume others have called- but who knows. People have come from blocks away to survey the carnage.

He had jumped the curb in front of John’s house- hitting the front of one of John’s 4 VWs- doing major damage to the car- then destroying all of John’s incredible wrought iron fence- as well as Marilyn’s fence. He had then rammed Doyle’s Elantra- to get back onto the street. This was the point where I had come out and the story started.

Fences at 108 and 114 Bonner after Brandon Crouch destroyed them

2 people lost their wrought iron fence because of Brandon’s criminal acts

When the cops and the medic showed up- Brandon was gone. The cops asked me why I hadn’t kept him there, as if it’s my job to wrestle with an 18-year-old for 10 minutes while they take their sweet time showing up.
The next morning- when I saw him pull up to the house and go in- I called it in, but he left again before the cops could get here.

I had a busy day- operating on about 4 hours sleep. And in the afternoon I called the Chief of Police and asked for a call back. To date, he’s not called. At around 6- a cop car was sitting on the street- they had just come out of the Crouch house. I asked if they’d arrested him- and got attitude from the cop- after he said he’d talked to Brandon, and it was up to the detectives. He wasn’t going to arrest him, just a traffic ticket. I wanted him arrested and screened for HIV and Hepatitis, the cop said he wouldn’t do that.

Yes, you and I get a traffic ticket for hitting another car- then we stop. We don’t plow through neighbors’ yards- then try to ram our way back to the street. I call and ask to talk to a supervisor- who basically says the same thing- it’s a traffic ticket, that’s all.

Unbelievably, he had insurance, but, that’s not going to replace John’s fence with anything like what was there before. It’s also not going to pay for misery this punk has brought to our block.

I wrote most of this Saturday night and started preparing the rap sheet of the Crouch family from the county’s websites, real estate taxes, purchase dates, criminal records. Doyle and Brandon’s uncle- who has lived on the block for 20 years and is the one Crouch who isn’t a criminal – told a story that goes something like this-

Brandon had bought an expensive video game (system?) for his little brother Cory- and his older brother, Tony Jr., had stolen it and sold it for $50 so he could buy heroin. Tony Jr. has a long list of turns in prison for a year or less for theft, burglary and receiving stolen goods. Brandon took Tony Jr. over to the guys who bought the game- and Brandon wanted to buy it back for $50- they proceeded to beat Brandon with a ball bat (Brandon stands 5’5″ and weighs in at 128; Tony Jr. is much bigger). Then supposedly they jump in the truck to return- “being chased”- and as they turn onto our block,  Tony Jr. hits Brandon again in the face- causing him to careen onto the sidewalk after clipping the VW-  Tony bails out (no video confirmation of this- his Uncle has all of this on his security system DVR- including our tussle in the street).

Sunday morning I wake up to see a long thread about an arrest of a Crouch. Yep, DPD has Brandon (misspelled “Branden” on the Sheriff’s site)  in lock up after there was a dust-up at 629 Oak St.- or nearby. 629 is owned by Christianna Crouch (unbelievably no relation) – and she owes $3,013.07 in back taxes. Oddly- this house has no record of purchase date. She lives on Beatrice.

Mugshot of Brandon Crouch

Brandon Crouch, just turned 18 and starts his life of crime

Branden Crouch 11/6/1996 is being charged with:

  • CARRYING CONCEALED W
  • USING WEAPONS WHILE
  • SALE LIQUOR UNDERAGE

Only the liquor charge has a bail at this point of $1,000, the other two are not entered.

There were some posts about gunfire in this area last night as well- but at this point I can’t connect the dots.

Brandon Crouch and his family of criminals entered our lovely neighborhood 18 Aug. of 2008. I had just moved my elderly parents down from Cleveland in June of that year almost directly across the street from their house, 121 Bonner St. The house had been owned by the Bowling family for years- their daughter had married the Crouch kids’ good uncle and lived at 105 Bonner peaceably for years. The Crouch home, 121 Bonner,  went into foreclosure and was bought by a Florida investor- who was paying me to maintain the yard that summer. I’d asked him about purchase price and he was evasive.

Turns out he sold it for $14K to Anna Lockhart- the baby momma of Tony Crouch Sr. and parents to a gaggle of kids- including Cory, Dillon, Brandon, Dustin, Tony Jr. and 2 daughters, Casey and Candace- who left the house early- getting hooked up and pregnant.

Anna currently owes $1,864.82 in back taxes on the house.

They were able to buy the house because someone won a judgment in a worker’s comp case. Anna already had a judgment out against her for $85K after her youngest- Cory, burned down 27 McGee Street back in 2004. She was arrested in 2012 for possession of cocaine- but the case was dismissed.

Tony Sr. did an 8-month turn for domestic violence back in 1999. But, generally, other than being drunk and obnoxious, he manages to stay out of trouble and works as a mover when he can.

Can’t say that for the boys.

Tony Crouch Jr. born 24-MAY-87

  • BREAKING AND ENTERING (unoccupied structure) 7 Months 17-MAY-06
  • ATTEMPTED GRAND THEFT (MOTOR VEHICLE) 7 months each count- 2 counts 17-MAY-06
  • BURGLARY 7 Months 17-MAY-06
  • BURGLARY (habitation/person present or likely) dismissed 19-NOV-09
  • THEFT (2913.71 PROPERTY) 12 Months 24-FEB-10
  • THEFT (2913.71 PROPERTY) THEFT (2913.71 PROPERTY)
  • RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY ($1000 but less than $7500) 7 Months + 12 Months 02-JAN-13

Dustin Crouch born 12/18/88

  • RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY (MV) + ATTEMPTED GRAND THEFT (MOTOR VEHICLE) 9 months 25 Aug 08
  • THEFT ($500)(WITHOUT CONSENT) AGGRAVATED ROBBERY (deadly weapon) + ROBBERY (use of force) 10 Months 14 Feb 11
  • GRAND THEFT (MOTOR VEHICLE) 7 Months 20 Sept 07
  • BURGLARY (occupied structure/person present) + AGGRAVATED ARSON (harm to person) NO BILL 13 Jun 08

And now add Brandon. Note, he’s only been eligible to be in the big boys’ jail booking for a month and a half.

There are still 2 more in the pipeline to enter the system- Dillon and Cory.

Since they’ve moved in, we’ve experienced a crime wave. The police have responded to that house at least 20 calls a year every year (I’ll be collecting the exact reports this week). We’ve had drug overdoses, fights, truancy, searches for Tony Jr. or Dustin the works.

[update] 16 DEC 14

I’ve received the crime stats- in the three years previous to the Crouch’s moving in, one police call;

DateIncident AddressPriorityInc_Dsptch_Code_DescInc Dispo
6/3/2008121 BONNER ST4BURG2

Note- this was when the house was empty- and someone broke in and stole the copper etc. Might have even been the future homeowners for all we know, since the DPD has a lousy record of catching and prosecuting scrappers.

In the three years after they moved in 49 and counting-

DateIncident_AddressPriorityInc_Dsptch_Code_DescInc_Dispo
14-Sep-08121 BONNER ST2911U1
14-Sep-08121 BONNER ST4FT1
15-Sep-08121 BONNER ST9THEFT1
15-Sep-08121 BONNER ST6THEFT1
14-Sep-08121 BONNER ST6THEFT1
21-Sep-08121 BONNER ST6THEFT1
07-Nov-08121 BONNER ST4FT1
07-Nov-08121 BONNER ST8MISC1
07-Nov-08121 BONNER ST4FOUNDJUV2
08-Nov-08121 BONNER ST4FOUNDJUV1
23-Oct-08121 BONNER ST4WANTED2
08-Oct-08121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO2
26-Jan-09121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO1
01-Mar-09121 BONNER ST1DIST2
06-Jun-09121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO1
17-Jun-09121 BONNER ST1OD1
09-Aug-09121 BONNER ST1OD2
16-Sep-09121 BONNER ST3DIST3
20-Aug-09121 BONNER ST4WANTED1
22-Oct-09121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO1
14-Oct-09121 BONNER ST4ASSIST1
14-Jan-10121 BONNER ST7TRANS1
12-Mar-10121 BONNER ST1OD1
16-Jan-10121 BONNER ST4MISSJUV2
11-Jan-10121 BONNER ST4MISSJUV2
12-Jan-10121 BONNER ST4FOUNDJUV2
18-Jan-10121 BONNER ST4MISCINV1
11-Mar-10121 BONNER ST4MALARM2
03-Jun-10121 BONNER ST4FT1
18-Apr-10121 BONNER ST4WANTED1
09-Apr-10121 BONNER ST4WANTED2
11-May-10121 BONNER ST4FT2
24-Jun-10121 BONNER ST4ASSAULT2
10-Apr-10121 BONNER ST4FT1
12-May-10121 BONNER ST2DOMVIO1
12-May-10121 BONNER ST4DWI3
17-May-10121 BONNER ST4DRUGS2
19-May-10121 BONNER ST4MISCINV1
03-Jul-10121 BONNER ST4WANTED2
24-Jul-10121 BONNER ST3FIGHT1
05-Nov-10121 BONNER ST6DWOC2
20-Oct-10121 BONNER ST2911D1
11-Dec-10121 BONNER ST4BURGN
24-Dec-10121 BONNER ST1MEDICPF
30-Dec-10121 BONNER ST4WANTEDL
20-Feb-11121 BONNER ST3SCL
09-Mar-11121 BONNER ST2911N
24-Jun-11121 BONNER ST2911N
06-Jul-11121 BONNER ST8MISCF

[update]

I moved to 113 Bonner on Jan. 28, 1986- the day the first Space Shuttle blew up. In the 22 years before the Crouch Criminal Clan arrived, I’d had my garage broken into once- with very little stolen. A walk board stolen off scaffold at my office. My contractor’s tools stolen out of the cottages that were being rehabbed in 1998 and that was it. Since the Crouches, the house and my office have been broken into, the garage has been broken into twice, and cars on the street broken into repeatedly.

The reason I bought the cottages across the street was to provide a good place for my parents to live- and to get rid of crappy tenants who were also constant problems- but not thieves. From 1998 to 2008, this block was quiet and peaceful. After the arrival of the Couch clan- it’s been hell.

The house next door to them had been bought and rented to UD Law students for a number of years- they were getting broken into regularly. The next tenants, some hearty good people with kids- got sick of the BS after about a year and a half and left. The turning point? A major ruckus ensued when one of the Crouchs’ compatriots- who drives an older red Jeep Cherokee kept drag racing down the street. The tenants asked him to stop- and the Crouch Clan all piled out and threatened to fight the tenant. They left- despite their older kids just renting a house behind them.

The crazy thing was that even Tony Sr. agreed the next day that speed racer was being a jerk, the next day- but, in the mob the day before, was egging the fight on.

Other neighbors live in fear and don’t come out much. They’ve come to think this is the status quo- and that there is nothing they can do. The cops claim that unless prostitution or drugs are being dealt, they can’t nuisance the house. Housing inspection doesn’t cite them for broken windows. Amazingly, they take pretty good care of the front yard, but often do open burns in the backyard- mostly melting plastic off stolen air conditioners to separate the metal from the plastic.

I believe we can take the crime stats, the calls, and the latest fiasco, and file a civil suit against them as a neighborhood. This is the plan of action we will begin to proceed with, if they won’t accept an offer to buy the house on the condition they leave South Park.

The city would be in better shape purchasing and moving them out- considering the cost of the constant police calls and ambulance runs in and out of this house. For all the work the people of South Park have done to improve our properties and make our neighborhood so desirable that our property taxes have gone up, you’d think that they could find the money. They didn’t have any problem pouring millions into Wright Dunbar to achieve less.

The preamble of the Constitution clearly states that the reason we have our government is to:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,  promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It’s time to establish justice and insure domestic tranquility on Bonner Street. This is the first responsibility our city government has- not the tax-seeking behaviors they call “economic development” or “job creation.”

I sent an email to the Mayor, Commissioners Williams and Mims- and haven’t heard back. (note- Mims and Williams reached out on Sunday – still no call from the Chief or the Mayor)

The demolition derby was the last straw. It’s time for peace and safety to return to South Park and to Bonner Street.

To be continued…

Tax dollars chasing tax dollars for no tax dollars

If the headline sounds stupid, think about this:

The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority owes $1.1 million in back taxes on the parking garage on Patterson Boulevard next to the CareSource building at 220 E. Monument Ave. The 220 E. Monument Ave. building is current on its taxes, but the garage is behind.

via Delinquent Downtown Properties – Dayton Business Journal.

Your tax dollars built the Relizon/WorkFlow One/CareSource building and now CareSource- totally funded with your tax dollars- isn’t paying taxes on the building their people are undoubtedly parking in.

But, it just gets more entertaining.

Despite, being literally right across the street from the garage that’s technically owned by the taxpayers- the taxpayers are being stuck with the bill for another parking garage:

The city of Dayton is moving forward with the financing to pay for the new downtown garage for Water Street.

Commission approved Wednesday a bond purchase agreement to borrow $6 million from the Ohio State Transportation Infrastructure GRF Bond Fund Program. Of that, $2.5 million comes through state loan proceeds and $3.5 million from state infrastructure bank bond proceeds. The funding will help pay for the acquisition and construction that supports the three-story 429-space garage that will serve the Water Street development.

via Dayton to borrow $6M to pay for Water Street garage – Dayton Business Journal.

The first article pointed out that almost one in four properties downtown aren’t current on their taxes- but, there have been no cuts to the “Downtown Dayton Partnership” which is supposedly funded with property taxes in the “Special Improvement District” or SID. Never mind the fact that buildings are dropping in value like rocks- as businesses move to Austin Landing where your tax dollars built a brand new mega intersection and funded development in an unincorporated township- where mysteriously, only the little people pay income taxes (people working at Kohl’s and Kroger and Five Guys pay taxes- people working at Teradata or Thompson Hine- do not).

One must also wonder if the closing of all the downtown Dayton exits on I-75 just after Austin Road was built wasn’t an attempt to squeeze the last life out of downtown- so it can turn into more wrecking bills for Steve Rauch and company? Because one way to cut vacancy rate is to just tear down buildings.

In the meantime, getting a police officer to solve a crime in Dayton becomes even more of a pipedream, as the force continues to dwindle because of budget cuts, retirements and a lack of money to pay cops – because, well, parking garages are more important.

I’m just wondering when the city is going to start building garages for people who are still stupid enough to buy houses in our city? Oops- they tried doing that in Wright Dunbar and it hasn’t exactly taken off.

At some point voters need to wake up. There is no silver bullet to save downtown or your neighborhood. If we focus on the basics first- like snow removal, police response times, solving petty crime, cleaning streets- and making the city building department business friendly- we’d see a lot more progress than these Hail Mary moves to “create economic development.”

We also need to take a hard look at what has occurred at Austin Landing- and stop this idea that we can have these tax dodge havens. Those were all Dayton jobs- maybe the answer is to expand the south airport and annex the whole area into Dayton and turning it into an “enterprise zone” (like at the airport- because, well, that’s been so successful).

Heading into the new year end tax time, I’m looking at our whole screwed up multi-jurisdictional taxing mess and thinking of it as a design problem. How would we simplify the collection of taxes in the region and cut the amount of time wasted on fining and forgiving small businesses who can’t keep up with this rats’ nest of jurisdictions?

It’s really pretty simple- one single income tax rate. A single property tax levy. And an absolute limit on numbers of elected officials per people per square mile. And put a complete stop to investing public tax dollars into private developments- that’s not what we pay our taxes for.

But then again- it’s becoming really clear that only little people are expected to pay taxes anymore.

Why Dayton politics are like a game of hockey with bad referees

Saturday night I went to see the Dayton Demonz play a game of hockey at Hara Arena. Very early in the game an obvious icing call was screwed up and the faceoff was held in neutral ice instead of back in the defensive zone (for those of you who don’t understand hockey- bear with me, but the reason for the icing call is to keep the game moving- stopping the defending team from tossing the puck all the way down the ice every time they feel pressured). My friend and I were bewildered- the fans who know the game were bewildered, how does someone referee a professional hockey game and not know the most basic call in hockey?

But it got worse. A period in hockey is 20 minutes long of stop time. The purpose of referees is to keep the game moving, only blowing the whistle when something happens that gives a team an unfair advantage or tries to slow the action. Typically, without a whole lot of penalties, a period takes, even with time outs, less than 45 minutes. This game- the first period took over 70- and I seem to remember only one penalty being called.

Typically referees only talk, and are officially only allowed to talk to players wearing either a C or an A on their sweater (hockey jersey for the unindoctrinated) – they don’t talk to the bench or the coaches, unless giving the coach a warning or a penalty. These refs seemed to have never learned that part- talking to both benches and each other way more than is customary. As the players became more and more frustrated with bad calls- and missed calls, things got chippy on the ice. Predictions for a brawl or two were being made as the game continued to get out of hand.

Kinsella got a little pissy!!! #demonz #goalieprobs

A major fight in the second period got the fans going- where a Demonz player beat the living crap out of a much bigger opponent. The Federal League was supposed to be making a real effort at cutting down on the brawling this season. Apparently the refs didn’t get the memo- nor did they try to break it up. By the third, they gave the Demonz captain a 10-minute misconduct. The missed calls had the players making bad decisions left and right- not knowing what was going to fly or not fly. With about 10 minutes left to go in regulation, the Demonz goalie got beat on a good goal, and turned around and flipped the net over. This is an automatic penalty for either “unsportsmanlike conduct” or “delay of game.” No call. Nothing.

By the end of the game it was tied- with both teams having guys in the box. Overtime is 4 on 4 and five minutes of sudden death play. It’s well after 11 pm at this point- a full hour, to hour and a half later than the game should have been over. The Demonz captain came back to sit in the box- since as soon as the first whistle after his ten minutes was up- he could re-enter the game. The moment he re-enters another fight starts up- despite the Demonz having a man advantage at the time. A quick goal by the visitor ends the game and as the teams are heading off the ice a brawl breaks out- with one of the refs getting hit and going to his knees. A total failure of controlling the game- and a poor example of what the game of hockey is all about.

WTF does this have to do with politics in Dayton you may rightly ask? Has Esrati lost it?

The beauty of hockey is that the rules are pretty simple, and everyone who plays the game understands them. While there are some nuances that it takes a while to learn, and some penalties are judgment calls- good referees and good players know that things usually have a way of balancing out, and that when the rules are followed- the game works.

In Dayton, our political players have bent the rules, ignored the rules and lied about the rules for so long, the game no longer resembles the game at all. It’s how we end up with a building owned by the people, being the leading tax scofflaw downtown. (The Port Authority is a public slush fund for building buildings for people who don’t like to pay their way- examples being the headquarters for MCSi- which is now the headquarters for Mead School Supplies, the parking garage for the former Relizon/WorkFlow One/Deloitte/CareSource building.

Our politicians are so confused at whon they report to, they run for office because they are told to, even though they have no real interest to continue, and money is thrown their way. Instead of spending our money on public safety and infrastructure- we funnel into pseudo-government organizations like CityWide Development, the Downtown Dayton Partnership and the Dayton Development Coalition where our money gets handed out like candy to congressmen’s wives’ firms on a no-bid contract.

We’ve forgotten what our objectives are, what the rules are and how to keep score properly. It’s a total farce at the game of government, just as was the “hockey game” on Saturday night.

Lucky for hockey fans, there are referees and league officials who will review that game and sort things out.

For dealing with Dayton’s clusterduck of a game, you only have me and my blog-  since the paper’s publisher is in bed with the Dayton Development Coalition and the owners of the media love the money from the auctions we call elections.

Good luck voting tomorrow. Even if you do the right thing, the refs in charge won’t get the score right.

 

The “unwritten” rule is now published. Is it still “unwritten”? Judicial races in Montgomery County

Because we have morons running the two local political parties like good-ole-boy clubs, we don’t get primaries for much- and when it comes to judges, the decision is usually made in a back room with the doors closed.

Today, the Dayton Daily news made the mistake of actually writing the truth about our judicial elections:

Usually, sitting common pleas judges in the county run unopposed. But McGee faces her second challenge after being appointed by Gov. Ted Strickland in 2007. McGee defeated Dennis Adkins in a close race in 2008.

Though judicial races are non-partisan, sources say there has been a gentlemen’s agreement in Montgomery County that once a candidate defeats an opponent, the other party waits for the next open position or appointed judge who hasn’t faced a challenge.

via Skelton is McGee’s second challenger for judicial job| Dayton, OH | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

The sad thing is the idea of electing judges is moronic- since most voters can’t tell a good judge from a bad one. Reading legal decisions is about as exciting as watching paint dry- and understanding courthouse management is something only lawyers in town can tell you about.

The party ID doesn’t show up next to their name. They can’t say anything about how they will “judge” since they are bound to follow the law. They can tell you their qualifications- and where they went to school- but that’s about it.

In the McGee vs. Skelton race you are really choosing between 2 Dems. Skelton had voted D forever – and only switched so he could run as a party candidate. When you see a Skelton sign in the front yard of one of the most liberal lawyers in town- that should tell you something.

McGee of course, is the daughter of former Mayor James H. McGee- and married to the Dayton’s chief building inspector, Michael Cromartie. More of the monarchy of Montgomery County. Blaming the former judge for her court backlog 6 years later is a major joke. Most lawyers I’ve spoken to think her court is one of the worst run in the county.

As payback for Skelton running against McGee- the Dems are running the unknown Susan Solle coming out after Denny Adkins- the judge who started the Veterans court- and by all accounts is a pretty solid judge.

This is what happens when you let politicians try to politicize everything- instead of having people running on the merit of their legal skills and abilities, the barricades put up by the parties stop good people from running “until it’s their time”- and then only if they’ve done the proper amount of donkey or elephant kissing.

For judge- Skelton, Adkins and Froelich.
For State Supreme Court- we need some dems on the court- even if they aren’t geniuses- John P. O’Donnell and Tom Letson.

Front page news that isn’t. DDn racist behavior- those dang black youth criminals

What you put on the front page isn’t always the biggest news- it’s the news you think will sell papers. In the business- the biggest “sellers” go above the fold- so you see it in the paper box window or on the top of the stack.

This article was below the fold- but, it’s there for a reason- to sell papers.

The headline:

One in 3 accused of felonies under 18
West Dayton statistics on arrests show large number of offenses.”

Front page image grab of front page

It’s only news on paper- not online

When you go to the newspaper site online- where there is a “free” teaser area- this article is no where to be found. Had to save the iPad edition to get the link. And let’s be clear, we all know “West Dayton” is a code word for black.

Here is how the article begins:

About one in three people arrested for felony crimes in west Dayton are under the age of 18, police officials said, and juveniles have been linked to a variety of serious offenses in the area, including a string of armed robberies over the summer.

More than 150 juveniles this year have been booked for felony assault, burglary, robbery and theft offenses that took place in west Dayton,

according to data from police reports and records obtained by this newspaper.

Almost 40 percent of suspects arrested for felony theft offenses in west Dayton were minors, compared to 23 percent of theft suspects citywide.

Some West Dayton neighborhoods have a greater share of young residents than the city as a whole, officials said. Education, poverty and socioeconomic factors can play a role in youth crime trends, according to juvenile justice experts.

via One in 3 accused of felonies under 18.

The article continues with more finger pointing statistics:

By comparison, juveniles citywide represented less than 23 percent of felony burglary and theft suspects arrested and less than 27 percent of robbery suspects, according to the police data.

Nationally, less than 22 percent of burglary, robbery and theft suspects arrested are juveniles, according to 2011 data from the U.S. Department of Justice.

We’re in trouble if this is the best quotes we can get from “experts”

Effective intervention programs must target crime-producing needs, such as substance abuse; anti-social attitudes, values and beliefs; anti-social peer associations; and a lack of self-control and problem-solving skills, according to Edward Latessa, a professor and director of the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati.

“Montgomery County has a very strong juvenile court and has developed quite a few evidence-based programs to serve youth in the community,” he said.

Dayton police are using analysts to evaluate crime data and police reports each day to determine connections between illegal activities, such as suspects and crime patterns. Officers are then assigned to specific patrols based on the data. Officials said they hope to catch young criminals in the act before their crimes progress in severity.

“The more we can interrupt any kind of patterns, any kind of criminal conduct, the better the neighborhoods will be,” Carper said.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time amongst these “black youth criminals” over the last two summers- hanging green basketball nets on decrepit courts that would get housing violation notices in any other community. Weeds growing through cracks in the pavement that were taller than kids expected to play there (Parkside courts) or rims so rusty you’d have to get a tetanus shot to dunk on safely (Gettysburg park) or backboards so rotted they could barely hold a rim (multiple- but the worst were at Burkham park and Princeton Rec). If you notice something- all these parks are on the West Side. For comparison- go to Jane Reese park in Patterson Park, where there were no weeds, rust, and the backboards and rims were in perfect condition- they even had nets.

I rarely saw adults working with kids on the courts, coaching, mentoring or getting to know their neighborhood kids. One memorable exception was on the old courts from the former Grace A Greene school, off Edison Street, where I ran into a guy with a gaggle of kids- and he was running drills, and teaching them the fundamentals of the game. He was a barber- around 42, and the kids were mostly his own and his deceased sister’s, but this is the kind of intervention we need more of- not police and courts, by the time the cops figure things out and you’re in the court’s eye, it’s already too late.

photo by David Esrati of backboard at Princeton Recreation center in Dayton

Rotting wood, bent rim. This is at one of our few staffed recreation centers

I spent a lot of time at Princeton Rec hanging nets. The courts get a lot of use, and 2 of the rims were the worthless style for chain nets that I had to use zip ties to attach the nets (it took me a year to realize I had to double the zip ties with each attachment point to stop them from becoming a fun game to pop ties by hanging on the nets). I put up three new quality rims at this court because they were missing or so badly broken it had to be done. Note- the Princeton Rec center has full time staff, not many, but some, and I never, ever saw them working with the kids outside. In fact, when I told kids to complain about the backboards and rims to the people inside- the kids told me that the city employees said that it was someone else’s job to take care of the rec equipment at their facility.

I’m not going to go on a diatribe about what needs to be fixed here. My readers are smart enough to know, kids’ youth sports are one of the best and cheapest ways to keep kids out of trouble and interacting with adults in a positive environment. My campaign literature had a picture of my x’s kid, a 10-year-old girl, who was playing football with the Dayton Vikings at the screwed up field on the site of the former Belmont High School. The program had teams at all age levels, equipment for all the kids, and was in a league of about 8 teams based out of Butler County. Figure each team had close to 20 kids, so you had over 100 kids practicing every day of the week in football season.

I ran into Bruce, the “Commissioner” last week at Skyline on Brown. The team shut down last year- apparently the move to Wilbur Wright field didn’t go too well, and the number of kids dropped. All the equipment is in storage. The kids- are on the streets, you know what happens next.

 

 

Dayton is failing its kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ve abandoned our youth.

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

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

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

via First Dayton Little League.

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

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

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

via The Mission | Dayton Jets Youth Football and Cheerleading.

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

From the Dayton Jets site (they ge

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

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

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

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

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

DASA’s Commitment to our Community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Incompetence of Dayton City Hall on their Street light tax

Screenshot of Dayton Streetlight assessment

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

$6.69 was how much the Certified mail cost.

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

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

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

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

This, is what we call in business, STUPID.

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

This is a horrendous waste of taxpayers’ money.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.

A racino isn’t economic development

Other than the wages it pays and the services it consumes- a racino isn’t anything other than a way for the state to steal poor people’s money. Compare the economic output of a racino- with the factory it replaced and you start to see where we are headed.

Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. the Dayton Unit of the NAACP is having a forum on “economic development” at the Dayton Boys Academy, just West of the intersection of James H McGee and W. Third Street. Our mayor, Nan “the demolisher” Whaley is one of the speakers. Having her talk about “economic development” is akin to asking Hannibal Lecter to speak on the benefits of organ donation.

Other speakers include:

  • Catherine Crosby, executive director of the City of Dayton Human Relations Council
  • Richard L. Wright, executive director of Parity Inc.
  • John A. Lumpkin, vice president of Wealth Management, and financial advisor for Morgan Stanley
  • Silvia Anderson, manager of Workforce Services for OhioMeansJobs Montgomery County.

The moderator will be Chris Shaw, chair of the Dayton Unit NAACP Economic Development Committee

“The Dayton Unit NAACP is highly concerned about the lack of Employment Opportunities to include city, county and state highway construction jobs; small business development to include retail outlets, restaurants and service facilities; and the lack of franchise businesses which are so prevalent in other areas of the region, said Derrick L. Foward, president of the Dayton Unit NAACP. We look forward to hearing the great things these leaders are accomplishing from an Economic Development standpoint in Dayton proper, said Foward. “The Citizens of Dayton are counting on you in a BIG way to enhance their quality of life.

“The Economic Development Committee is concerned about jobs, business development and wealth building,” said Shaw. “While we know issues and opportunities exist, by bringing together community stakeholders, we will be able to update the residents of Dayton on collaborative efforts to further these goals. We look forward to community participation,” said Shaw.

via (4) Dayton Unit NAACP.

I’m wondering what “Great things these leaders are accomplishing” too- especially, since business and government keep getting confused. Not a single developer invited. Nothing against my friend Mr. Lumpkin, but, he’s a former banker and now a financial adviser, not a business owner or a developer.

“Economic development” is code for taking taxpayers’ money and spending it where no one else will, or where politicians get kickbacks.

The real question is why businesses don’t thrive in Dayton- well except for CareSource- a tax-funded middleman where the CEO makes millions a year doing what a government employee would never get paid more than $185K a year for.

We could talk about the extra money a small business has to spend on security glass, alarm systems, video surveillance, guards and higher insurance premiums because of the vacant homes, crime and disinvestment. Our police force is half of what it once was, yet the city is the same size.

We could talk about how the city cites homeowners for tall grass- while only cutting public parks 3x a year. Or how there are bushes growing through the cracks of basketball courts across the city, while developers who didn’t do their homework get handed a $1.25 million demolition for free. That’s 1.25 million that wasn’t spent on delivering services to the people that pay for them.

Back to the racino. Because the state guarantees a return on the slot machines, investors had no problem putting millions into building a legalized theft business. No tax breaks, no abatement, no grants. No other businesses, except health care and banking in this country are as free to operate knowing they will get paid no matter what. Other businesses all have to weigh their risk vs. return. In most of Dayton, the perceived risk outweighs its return.

If you want investment and jobs, look around at your neighborhoods- the boarded up homes, the weeds in the streets, the potholes, the broken curbs, the knocked down street lights in the center of U.S. 35 W that never got replaced and ask, why are we so lacking in government services despite paying the second highest income tax in the area?

The answer, unfortunately, is our government started concentrating on “economic development” and forgot about the fundamental premise of running a city properly.

 

 

13 months later- City of Dayton Discovers Nextdoor.com

Back in July of 2013 I wrote about the community building site called NextDoor:

Recently, I ran across Nextdoor.com which is a really great intra-net solution for neighborhoods. The reason I say intra-net is it’s really built for knowing your neighbors and only your neighbors. It has real privacy controls and doesn’t require Facebook membership as so many other sites do (but it does work with a Facebook sign-in).

The beauty of NextDoor is that it’s based on real geography, with verification of members by your actual residence. Taking info from several sources, it verifies identity and geo-maps you to your neighborhood- which a group of you can define the boundaries of. It allows for notifications like a listserve, discussions, classified ads, recommendations and makes it easy to connect neighbors without worry of it showing up in search.

via How to organize your neighborhood online: NextDoor.com.

Today I was notified that the City is officially adopting it as a tool to communicate with the neighborhoods:

The City of Dayton joins Nextdoor

We are excited to announce that the City of Dayton will be working with Nextdoor to provide important information to neighborhoods across the city. As part of this effort, you will see periodic updates from various city departments on Nextdoor South Park. The purpose of these updates is to share official alerts, news, and other notifications that are relevant to your neighborhood. It’s important to note that city staff can only see their own posts and replies to these posts. They will NOT be able to access or view any information that you and your neighbors have shared on Nextdoor South Park. Communicating with city staff is entirely voluntary, and you can see more information here. Please visit our Help Center if you have any questions.

Wow, what will they think of next- municipal fiber, Sportsplex, digital devices for all DPS students, tiny houses, co-housing, fixing up basketball courts….