The secret committee that decides elections in Dayton

At the last election there was going to be an empty seat on the Dayton City Commission if Nan won or lost. The party screened candidates, and selected incumbent Joey Williams and former State School Board and Dayton Board of Education member Jeffery Mims.

A local minister, Darryl Fairchild had already printed up a 2-color letterhead, “Fairchild 2013.” (Note, when running for office, never put the date on stuff you could reuse). When the endorsements were announced, Darryl wheeled to the front of the room and fell on his sword, sweeping the door open for Mr. Mims, thinking he was next in line. When the city had to modify the dais in the commission chambers for Dean Lovelace in a wheelchair, I even heard- “well, we’re going to have to do it for when Darryl gets on the commission” from someone. (For the record, Lovelace should have vacated the seat for his extended absences, and there should have been a special election).

On Tuesday, six candidates screened for the two seats coming up for re-election. Matt Joseph, the three-term incumbent who has yet to distinguish himself with any real legislative issues, and five others including yours truly. As previously reported, David Greer who ran last time, Hazel Rountree who just took a seat a year ago on the DPS board, Fairchild, and newcomer Chris Shaw who is “a fourth-generation business owner and active in the local NAACP” according to party chair Mark Owens (who is the Dayton Clerk of Courts and is up for re-election).

Thursday came and the announcement was made in the party executive committee that the screening committee had selected Joseph and Shaw. A few people were wondering how Fairchild had been thrown under the bus. A screening committee member said “well that would be running two white guys” since Fairchild and Joseph are both white, Shaw is black. I protested that the party could endorse 4 Dems (and still not endorse me) since the way this works is that if more than 4 people run, there is a runoff (not a primary- since the race is non-partisan) to select 4, and only the top 2 vote-getters win in November. Since there are obviously going to be more than 4 people in this race, wouldn’t it be smarter to have 4 Dems in the final? And let the people decide? I was booed, hissed, told to shut up- and got nasty looks. One other person asked why not Darryl? Wasn’t he promised this chance when he stepped aside so graciously for the good of the party? The answer was no- he wasn’t promised anything.

This is the way the Democratic party works- 4 years ago Nan and Rhine McLin were inseparable, with some even speculating that there was a sexual relationship between them. After Rhine lost to Gary Leitzell in the upset of the century- Rhine became a pariah. The people in power in the Dem party would eat their babies in order to protect their fiefdoms.

There were other endorsements as well. Judge Pickerel has “aged out” of being able to run, and his open seat was screened as well. Three candidates including the just deposed Frances McGee Cromartie who was their endorsed candidate in November to return to Common Pleas. She was passed over, despite being a McGee. Some loyalists challenged that decision- only to be told that the person they were endorsing had 20+ years experience in the municipal court and Frances didn’t. Never mind that Common Please handles much tougher cases than Muni. Nope, lose an election, and unless you raise a lot of money like Sharen Neuhardt, we put you out to pasture.

So the question is, who are these people on the “Screening committee” who try to take the democracy out of the ballot box and keep it behind closed doors in Dem Party HQ? As an elected member of the central committee and elected to the executive committee (thank you A.J. Wagner and Joe Lacey) I didn’t remember electing, selecting, discussing who was on this committee. I asked for the list- and was given it- surprisingly. The members are selected by the party chairman, Mark Owens. Mostly made up of elected officials, former elected officials, patronage job holders who are jockeying to be the anointed one when their benefactor decides to step down, and labor leaders. Here’s the list. I’m sorry I haven’t had time to fill in all the job positions, but I will gladly take your input to fill in the few blanks.

First nameLast namePosition
DebraArmaniniMat Heck's number 2
WillisBlackshearCounty Recorder
SamBraunMr. Whaley- works for Karl Keith
GregoryBrushCounty Clerk of Courts
CenaBuchannon
RickCarneFormer Tony Hall Chief of Staff- now a lobbyist
DanaClark
DaveFeckeVice Chair UAW
GregFlannaganPublic information officer for Mat Heck
DanFoleyCounty Commissioner
TimGormanHusband of Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Barbara Gorman
StevenHarsmanDeputy Chief of the Board of Elections
MatHeckCounty Prosecutor
DaleHerzogDayton Building and Construction
Trades Council
RobertJones
RussellJosephMark Owen's heir apparent
MattJosephCity Commissioner, brother of Russ
KarlKeithCounty Auditor
CarlKennebrewPresident IUE-CWA Local 755
BeverlyKingBoard of Elections worker who hires her rapist brother
MarciaKnoxRegional Director AFSCME Region 8
Dennis A.LiebermanFormer Party Chair, Clayton Trustee, husband of County Commissioner Debbie
NancyMarinoTrotwood Dem Club
JimMcCarthyHead of Miami Valley Fair Housing
JeffreyMimsCity Commissioner
CharlesMortonDayton-Miami Valley AFL-CIO Regional Labor Council
GenevieveMurphyState Young Dem President, Nan's shadow
JohnMurphyGen Murphy's Dad- BOE worker
LeonardOramHead Probation Officer for Vandalia municipal Court run by Mat Heck's wife, Cynthia
MarkOwensParty Chair, Dayton Clerk of Courts
VarneyRichmondFORMER President of Teamsters Local 957 as of Jan 10, 2015
TomRitchie, Sr.AFSCME, formerly on BOE
PaulRobinson, Jr.Chief Deputy Treasurer

DavidSaphire
BriceSimsJefferson TWP Trustee
TroySinger
CathyStartzmanLegislative Aide County Commission
FredStrahornState Rep
JohnTheoboldLegislative Aide County Commission
MeghanThomasWorks for Mark Owens in Clerk of Courts
NolanThomasAssistant. Prosecuting Attorney
LynnThomasson, Sr.County Clerk of Courts
WillieThorpeAsst to the President IUE-CWA
DawnWojcikParty exec.

These are the people who “endorse” after a ten-minute presentation. The questions, which I’ve published before are minimal (2012 answers)- but always include the “In your race, if the Democratic Party endorses someone other than you, will you run against the endorsed candidate? If yes, why?”

The question is, are you, one of the few remaining dedicated voters in Montgomery County willing to keep allowing this system to exist- to limit choice on the ballot?

Will you vote the “stupid voter slate card” blindly?

This is why judges are rarely opposed. This is why many people never run. This is how the Monarchy of Montgomery keeps the gravy train going and the friends and family fat and happy.

You shouldn’t be happy about this. I’m sure not.

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 loses a voice of the people: James R. Greene III

Half a life ago, I met James R. Greene III, and yes, he referred to himself that way. He had purchased a recently renovated home on Ringgold Street for his grandfather, that my friend Howard Rambo had turned into a showplace.

James was one of the most self confident people I’d run into in the civilian world- and even then, talked about changing the world. Nothing was beyond his reach.

In the years since, we’ve crossed paths many times, and I’ve tracked his career, from a staff attorney at NCR to running his own shop, going after the civil rights cases and wrongful death cases that make you go hmmmm.

Officer Kevin Brame, check, Kylen English, check- he threatened to run for Mayor many times, and one time came up very short on signatures.

The Dayton Daily had no problems coming up with mud to smear him as soon as he announced, but, in his passing- this was all the ink they found worthy of mention- a short, paid obit:

GREEN, III Esq., James R. Age 55 of Dayton passed away May 28, 2014. Service June 3, 11 AM at St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church.

via James R. GREEN Obituary: View James GREEN’s Obituary by Dayton Daily News.

For someone who has been on the community’s forefront for years, he deserves a better recounting of his life than I can give-

if you have something to share about James- please do so in comments.

Dayton has lost one of our leading voices. James will be missed.

Hits, runs and errors. Society’s failings- not baseball.

I’ve never been afraid in Dayton, Ohio. Maybe because I’m wired wrong. On the way home from the first CIRGV meeting, I saw a young teen walking fast up W. Third with a 22.-caliber rifle, I turned my scooter around- and stopped him to talk- before he scurried off, and I called the police. Yes- I should have called cops first- and headed on my way. I’ve also been all over Dayton- way past dark, hanging basketball nets. Carried the ladder at least a thousand feet to the remote court in Western Hills – close to midnight to put up nets- without a worry.

Urban Nights is supposed to be when we put out our welcome mat. When all feel welcome to go downtown. Well, all, except the people we don’t want to acknowledge live in our community- urban, black youths. And, this isn’t an indictment of them- we’re all to blame. We’ve worked for the last 50 years to separate ourselves and to pretend that everything is hunky-dory. What happened and what I saw Friday night, 9 May, 2014, Urban Nights wasn’t an epic event by any means. As a very young boy- I remember my Dad lifting me to the window in East Cleveland of our 8th floor apartment to look North over the city of Cleveland- with the sky glowing orange from the fires during the Hough and Glenville riots. He took a photo that ended up on the cover of the Plain Dealer Sunday magazine- my grandmother, painted it, the painting hung on our walls for a long time, and faded away from relevance. I don’t know where the painting is now, but- the memory of the sky stuck with me. That was an epic event.

This year’s spring Urban Nights seemed like it was lightly attended compared to others. The rain was holding off, but, the crowds were still light. I had almost stayed home, after a long week, but a friend had texted and I headed over on the scooter and parked it next to Drake’s Gym/Gentile Produce and started at St. Clair between Fourth and Third. As usual, I ran into lots of friendly faces including our former neighborhood cop, former Mayor Gary Leitzell, a BOE worker, Tim Kambitch- head of the Dayton Metro Library- all within the first 40 minutes. I headed over to 2nd Street and saw my friend Haitham at Carmen’s Deli- and waited for the band to start at 9- it was Hal Melia’s Brass Tacks band- with a horn section. I talked to Brian West- a friend and trumpet player- who said the guy on trumpet was probably the best in a 200-mile region. They were tight- the singer had a great voice- but, when they started playing their second song by Chicago after only 6 tunes- I’d reached my limit of pop- and headed round the corner to see what was going on at Courthouse Square- and to check out the AIA at the Business Furniture spot.

The police were congregated at Second and Main. On bikes, cruisers, and a few of the new SUVs. Courthouse Square was dark. The architects had already closed up shop- I continued ambling down S. Main where I passed a white guy with a megaphone standing on the corner- reading scripture. Other than the security guys that I saw at the RTA bus depot, he was the last white person I saw as I made my way through a crowd of black youths. I didn’t feel threatened. I didn’t sense any tension. It was around 9:20 pm. I made it down where I was almost to 4th street, having passed TNT Fashion and was looking over at the Kuntz building- at the corner of 4th and Main- it’s still one of my favorite downtown buildings, with its red clay color and castle-like ornamentation. I glanced back toward Third and saw a swarm of kids out in Main Street- moving like a flock of sparrows, undulating, changing direction together as if they were some sort of magnetic liquid goo being moved by a mysterious unseen magnet.

I took out my phone and started recording, with the thought that the police would be the ones to act badly. I was wrong. Someone says at 0:45 “he’s recording” – as if they are totally oblivious to the city’s new security cameras and the ones RTA has had. At 1:05 my phone gets swatted from my hands, I pick it up, stick it in my pocket and start chasing the punk. At this point, I’m mad, but not thinking about what comes next. Sort of like GWB invading Iraq. Thanks to his baggy pants and me not being totally out of shape at 51, I am gaining on him as he stops, midway down 4th St., across from Dave Hall Plaza- you can hear the complete exchange. He wants to fight, I don’t know what I want. I’m also aware of the huge mob that has run after us and is starting to surround me- someone swings- hits me in the temple- my glasses go off, I turn- and step on them. More hits come- I’m moving to the wall to at least make sure that I don’t end up in the center of a beat down- and can stay up. Fighting a lot of people doesn’t work out like a Bruce Lee movie- they don’t conveniently wait for you to dispatch them one at a time, they all come at you at once. Most of the blows come to my head- at some point- I lost vision in my left eye temporarily. As fast as it starts, it ends- I go over to pick up my glasses- one arm of my glasses is askew- I pick up the lenses and stick them in my pocket. One of them is going to be the only way I can read until morning. A cop on a motorcycle pulls up as I wave him down- and tell him I was assaulted by a kid wearing a white wife beater, baggy jeans. The cop told me to wait here.

I post to Facebook using Siri voice recognition- at 9:45 pm

“Just got assaulted at urban nights, while videotaping of Nealeigh out in front of the RTA glasses are broken so I can’t see what I’m typing”

Apologies to my friend Tommy Nealeigh, who is usually worth videotaping, I said “melee” – but Siri apparently isn’t a riot girl.

Another crowd swarm started at Fourth and Main- by an RTA bus. I filmed again.

No cops had come back- so I called 911, and as I was on the phone, another officer came by- I flagged him down. Told him again what had happened and asked 911 to send a medic. I told them I was moving toward 4th and St. Clair- but was crossing over to the Dave Hall plaza corner- and would wait there for a medic. I didn’t think I was bleeding- which was confirmed by friends, former city planning director Paul Woodie and current city purchasing director Pete Hager, who were walking down Jefferson toward Fifth Street. The fire engine passed us- then the medic passed us- even as we waved- and I called back to 911 to confirm my location. The medic had my neighbor Jen Quinn in it- and she checked me out and suggested I go to a hospital- I said I needed to go to the VA- and they started driving before I agreed to it. I would have had a friend take me, but she said it was too late- just decline transport.

My phone was getting messages like crazy- with friends checking in. I had to hold up the one lens to my right eye to read them. A Dayton cop came and took a statement, gave me a report number. About an hour later- another officer showed up to do the same thing.

In the thread on Facebook, the discussion turned to safety of downtown, whom to blame. A friend pointed out that there had been an event promoted to youth- and then cancelled at the last minute and blamed organizers. I found no evidence of this event happening this year- but they had a teen celebration in the fall of 2013.

The VA called in the guy to give me a CAT scan- and I left with a shot of an anti-inflammatory in my butt. The three hours of ice pack seemed to have averted major bruising. I got a printout of my recent eye exam, so I could get some glasses. My head is still a little sore, and thanks to Kevin Harrington at Downtown Dayton Optical I now have 2 new pairs of glasses- one for reading and one for the computer. When I tried to pay Kevin, he refused payment- almost had me in tears.
He said “most people don’t appreciate what you do for this city- I do. One of the advantages of owning your own business is you can do nice things for people. I really appreciate you, and- I’m sorry what happened last night”

I’m sorry what happened too.

After the video had stopped recording in my pocket- some kids did come over and said they were sorry- I said that I was kind of in shock- after hanging 300 plus basketball nets- I’m the one that gets beaten up. One kid said – “oh, you’re esrati” (mangling my name)- which was the one glimmer of hope for the evening.

But, after the bruising of my ego and when my head heals- what do we as a community do? The Dayton Daily has kept this event to a few column inches in the back of the paper today. Chastising the Downtown Dayton Partnership, or reporting negative things happening at their signature event is something to be minimized. It was on the 11 p.m. news- I saw it from my bed in the VA ER. From 100 to 1,s000 youth have been attributed- my guess is around 500. That someone had a gun is also part of their synopsis.

But, this is more than one event. This is what happens when you stop finding money to put basketball nets on rims, fill in pools, close rec centers, stop having midnight basketball in the summer. This is what happens when you bus kids all over the city- instead of maintaining strong neighborhood connections. This is what happens when kids have kids- and let their kids run the streets. If you are a mother, or a grandmother and see your kid in these videos, you are failing your babies.

screen grab from melee, with kid identified who hit David Esrati

On the right of this frame, from around 0:39 you see the kid in the white wife beater and baggy jeans, pushing someone else aside.

I’m lucky I’m here to write this, with my only problem being the two- to three-week wait for my new no-line bifocals with AR coating to show up. I’ve had friends say I should take up boxing, others say I should have had a CCW. Meeting violence with violence is not the answer. I’m sure that had I been carrying a gun, someone would be dead right now, possibly me. I do know how to fight- but, one man against a mob- the odds aren’t good. I’m not happy in retrospect with my own choices of words and actions in the span of those few minutes- but, then again, a bad decision in a few minutes is what puts many of our young black men in prison. I’m not black. Someone told me on the campaign trail last time, that “if you were black, you’d have been elected long ago.” I still wonder about what would make someone say that- and, if it was true.

I’m sure that this post is too long for an event that spanned just a few minutes. If you are still reading, thank you. If you’ve watched the videos- thank you. If you see your kids in the videos- it’s time to have a talk with them. It’s time for our community to have a real talk about this. Our kids need better options than this. It’s not their fault, it’s ours. We’ve failed them.

Had I been anyone else, I would have seen that crowd and would have run the other way. I’m sure that I may think twice about doing what I did on Friday night. But, hopefully, the young man who decided to hit my phone, and then me- maybe, just maybe, he might read this, and realize that this wasn’t his triumphant moment in life. Maybe when he tells his friends about his beating on this old white dude- one of them says- you hit the green net man, that guy is cool. Maybe not.

I know I could have behaved better as well. We all need a better understanding- a better dialogue in this community. We need better solutions for our youth. For our community.

I got hit, I ran, I committed errors. This isn’t baseball. Let’s all work together to fix this.

First Four Festival canceled for 2013

Logo for the First Four Festival in Dayton for 2012 for the NCAA March Madness

Logo for the First Four 2012 festival

A cryptic email came out today about the cancellation of the big party in the Oregon District for the NCAA first four that kicks off March Madness.

Oregon business owners / property owners and interested parties of the Oregon District:
Regarding the First Four Festival:
The Local Organizing Committee has been working with the NCAA to produce events in the region surrounding First Four and Selection Sunday.  The NCAA is not allowing local sponsorships for public events (like the First Four Festival) which has impacted the LOC’s plans for the First Four Festival this year.   The Local Organizing Committee has reached an agreement with the NCAA to not have a First Four Festival this year.The NCAA team is primarily an all-new group, different from the folks that were involved from NCAA last year; however, the LOC is committed to working with them for next year’s Festival.
Just a reminder however…Dayton has an entire week of basketball for First Four, 2nd and 3rd rounds this year.  And, the arena has been sold out for the First Four which strengthens Dayton’s ability to secure the games beyond 2015 (we have them through 2014).  This year, there will be 4 days of games, 16 teams, 10 nationally televised games from UD Arena and an entire week to showcase Dayton to visitors.
I know that you, like the rest of us, are disappointed there won’t be a First Four Festival this year, but we are working on some other events in Oregon that will promote our businesses to visitors and Dayton citizens alike. Stay tuned for more information on these activities!  If you have any additional questions, please contact JP Nauseef, First Four LOC Chairman.
Mike Martin, President
Oregon District Business Association
JP Nauseef, was the former CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition before being eased out after the public found out they had hired Congressman Turner’s wife to do a campaign on a no-bid contract. Since then, he’s been busy working in his own consulting firm that seems to have the backing of the Mathile Family.
While it’s unclear exactly how much was spent on this party last year- and by whom, the same cast of characters were involved, with the graphics and advertising handled by Real Art (they were subcontracted for much of Ms. Turner’s “Get Midwest” campaign). I did have the opportunity to meet with some graduating UD seniors around May- and they said that that this party was the first time they’d ever been to the Oregon District.
Was there a bid package published for the job of “Local Organizing Committee” last year? It might be interesting to do a little digging on this.
The good news is that the basketball tournament is still coming to town, and that tickets are already sold out.

Dayton Legal Blank is getting voted off the island

Heard today from one of my vendors that Dayton Legal Blank sent letters saying they closed the doors Feb 11, 2013.

From their website:

DLB is a nationally renowned elections company and commercial printing company, founded in 1883 and located in the Dayton, Ohio Metro area. Today, DLB serves customers throughout Ohio and numerous other states, representing Elections, Government, Commercial Printing, Mail Fulfillment, and Database Marketing.

DLB is a nationally renowned provider of government election services, ballot printing and election products, providing outstanding quality and exemplary customer service. Dayton Legal Blank has been delivering state-of-the-art commercial and government printing services and products throughout Ohio and the nation for over 125 years. DLB, at the same time has served the Dayton Metro area and state of Ohio by providing high quality commercial printing and book restoration and binding. More recently DLB added variable image high quality digital printing, mail fulfillment services and a full compliment of transactional data and promotional messaging services and products.

via Dayton Legal Blank – Ballot Printing | Election Products | Creative Design Services | Specialty Printing.

Apparently, with all the money in political campaigns, the voting part of it hasn’t been as profitable. Considering the move to electronic poll books, voting machines, and digital signature capture devices- there isn’t much left to print- except those stupid petitions for the Dayton City Commission- and Xerox killed that market once paperweight stopped being a grounds for disqualification.

Thank you Dayton Legal Blank for employing people in our community for 130 years.

How racist is Dayton today?

An article about church leaders asking for bus service direct to the Dayton Mall and to the Fairfield Commons Mall brings out the absolute worst in our community:

A coalition of 18 churches wants the owner of the Dayton Mall and the Mall at Fairfield Commons to boost bus service to those retail centers.

“What we want is to have (bus) stops that are closer to the mall entrances, providing better accessibility for workers as well as elderly and handicapped riders,” the Rev. Earl Hudson, pastor of Harris Memorial CME Church, said. “This is a serious health and safety issue.”

via Churches want bus stops at 2 area malls.

Over 200 comments and counting- all of them racially charged.

Buses are the barrels that deliver the poison to our engines of economic development- instead of public transit for those who don’t believe in owning a car.

There are comments from “Archie Bunker” and all his friends. I’m afraid the DDN will blow it all away- so I’m going to save the vile sputum for posterity.

That our local leadership doesn’t respond to these crackers is an even more sorry state of affairs. There is no reason we should allow the racism- or the kind of behavior that these people rail against- in our community. It’s time to learn to live together. However, comments like these- make me think that maybe Dayton isn’t the kind of place I should live in.

(Please google- forgive me for adding this tripe to my site)

I only wonder how many of these comments would be posted if you had to post your real name and address.

From your neighbors in Dayton- g-d help us all…

The Dayton Mall used to have the bust stop close to the entrance but the rowdy behavior by many of the people at the bus stop created a safety risk for law-abiding patrons and the police. I personally witnessed numerous fights and drug use.Because of the thugs the mall became unsafe.Kudos! to Glimcher and Miami Twp. Police for cleaning up the mall & making it safe once again. Keep the bus stop where it is because the thugs are too lazy to walk an extra 500ft to prey on people.

Archie Bunker

6:46 PM, 4/14/2010 Continue reading

Splash Moraine to Five Rivers Metro Parks? How regionalism begins

Moraine is hurting. They won’t be the first or the last community to struggle thanks to the economic meltdown.

The Dayton Daily News mocked me for suggesting that the City put the airport- a regional asset, on the table as an opener to discuss regionalism.

Now we have Splash Moraine closing:

City officials built Splash Moraine in 1999 and opened it in 2000 with the idea of it being a destination location, he said. The $3.7 million water park, which has no debt and was open 100 days a year, annually drew an average 68,000 visitors from throughout Ohio, with only 15 percent being Moraine residents. It’s highest annual attendance was about 98,000.

via 187 jobs cuts in city of Moraine and Splash Moraine pool to close.

Should Moraine sell the park, built with tax dollars, off to the highest bidder, or should they trade it to the regional entity- Five Rivers Metro Parks in exchange for a revenue share?

This is a regional asset, that could serve the entire region- and still generate revenue for Moraine, without the responsibility of managing it. Like it or not, Splash Moraine was a major employer for youth, as well as a part of place building. Sure, it’s not GM jobs, but they were jobs. And, how many happy memories are there for kids- who are a key target group that we’re trying to keep in our community.

What would other communities give to keep this open? How do we take care of Moraine, after it took care of us for years?

This would be an example of reactive regionalism- how do we get to be proactive about it?

Whaley wishy washy on Julienne in Five Oaks.

There are buildings that shouldn’t be torn down. There are people who don’t understand that.

When I look at pictures of Dayton from 1950, I realize that much of our decline started with “urban renewal” of the early 1960s. I also know that Europeans laugh at what we call old, when they routinely still use buildings over 600 years old.

If you know a little about construction and craftsmanship- you know that when they say “they don’t build them like they used to” is an understatement. Even tearing down a grand building like the former Roosevelt takes more effort than the building of one of these new tilt-up, slap-together pieces of crud with a less than 50-year life expectancy.

The problem with Dayton Public Schools has been that they haven’t done the preventive maintenance to maintain what they had. That’s not the buildings fault.

I also don’t buy this “old buildings aren’t wired for new schools”- hello- wireless computers, anyone?

To believe this hooey that a school that was used by Stivers just 2 years ago, isn’t capable of being a school right now, is more hooey.

The fact that we’re even having this argument makes me wonder what construction company has someone on the take.

Commissioner Whaley can’t seem to take a stand on this either- from these two DDN stories:

Nan Whaley April 26

City Commissioner Nan Whaley said the desire of the commission is clear.

“I’m siding with the people in the neighborhood who want a school on the site,” Whaley said.

via Replace Julienne, city says.

Nan Whaley July 8:

“Our No. 1 priority is building a school in the neighborhood and if that means taking Julienne down, that means taking Julienne down,” City Commissioner Nan Whaley said following a meeting on the topic with Mayor Rhine McLin and Dayton schools Superintendent Kurt Stanic.

Julienne supporter Marc Suda, president of the Five Oaks Neighborhood Improvement Association, said he expected commissioners to say as much, but he’s still hoping a compromise can be worked out for the 1926-era building at 325 Homewood Ave.

“Five Oaks definitely needs a school,” Suda said. “We also don’t want this national treasure torn down without considering every possibility.”

via Julienne’s fate still unclear as new school cost rises.

Look back at those pictures of Dayton from 1950- what we would give to have the seven theaters still downtown, bowling alleys, the Arcade, businesses, people living downtown. The way we killed it- tearing down the very fabric that made it work.

Underneath that dryvit facade on S. Ludlow, where the Board of Education resides in their $15-million-plus palace- is a building just as old as Julienne. Don’t tell me old buildings can’t have second lives, and don’t say that these new buildings are better than the old.

The reality is that a good teacher can teach in any room. And a good student- well, they study history and try to stop making the same mistakes. We don’t want to lose another piece of Dayton’s fabric, it’s time to have a real position Commissioner Whaley.