Dayton Ohio Unfiltered. David Esrati's commentary, reporting and insights on a city on the rebound.
Stories you don’t see in the Dayton Daily News
The Dayton Daily News chooses to report news that is friendly to the people who meet in back rooms and decide Dayton’s future. True investigative journalism is a thing of the past. Sometimes, stories are just slow to make it to the paper. These posts are breaking news or insight that the Dayton Daily News probably won’t cover or will get three days later.
Larry C. Price had already won the Pulitzer prize twice for photojournalism before he came to the Dayton Daily news to be its photo editor. He ran a tight shop, with about 8 full-time photojournalists. That was until they asked him to fire half the staff- and he took a stand and said, well, find someone else to do your bitch work, I’m out of here.
I broke the story to global attention when it happened, and Larry and I became friends. We swap gear, work on some projects together, and he drinks a lot of coffee across the table from me.
Today, he texted with good news- he’s been nominated for an Emmy award. Remember, this guy wasn’t a videographer- but a photo guy.
Here’s his post off Facebook:
I’m stunned! I just learned the story I filmed last year for PBS NewsHour on underwater mining in the Philippines was nominated for an Emmy Award today! It’s one of five finalists in the investigative reporting category for a regularly scheduled broadcast. Winners will be announced in New York in September, but just being nominated has me stoked. This was a very satisfying story to do since it resulted in legislation in the Philippines Parliament that now outlaws this type of mining activity. No doubt lives will be saved.
And here are the details from the Emmy awards site:
PBS NewsHour PBS Hazardous Work: Diving into the Philippines’ Dangerous Underwater Mines Executive Producer
Linda Winslow Senior Producer
Justin Kenny Producer
Frank Carlson Correspondent
Hari Sreenivasan Investigative Reporter
The folks at the Dayton Daily news weren’t that bright when they cut the photo department. They may not be able to put those lovely photos by Jim Witmer, or Lisa Powell in their tiny pathetic news hole, but, with their continuous trolling for click bait on Facebook- a good image can make all the difference as people scroll through their news feed.
Larry hasn’t been lacking for work since going solo- traveling the globe shooting his series on child labor. Now his work is getting the recognition it deserves, and the Dayton Daily…. well, isn’t doing much but chasing police cars, ambulances and the occasional here’s how the idiots we help elect waste your money stories.
I prefer Larry’s form of journalism any day. He’s making a difference.
In another case of “it’s who you know” in Montgomery County, isn’t it somehow odd that 2 petty thieves don’t end up in jail- and have to wait for a speedy trial just like everyone else- because they were members of the UD Men’s basketball team?
Any other black male, caught breaking into UD dorm rooms and stealing stuff, who was positively identified, would have been in jail the next day, and already done with his sentence.
But, not Robinson and Scott- they get to “go home” or to some other school- and pretend like nothing happened for 3 months, until the UD season is over, to avoid distraction from “the run” that the team was on.
Read the language in the DDn article:
Two former University of Dayton basketball players accused of felony burglaries on campus in December will soon return to the area to face charges, their attorneys said Wednesday.
The Montgomery County prosecutor’s office on Tuesday issued nationwide arrest warrants for Jalen T. Robinson and Devin H. Scott. Robinson, 21, is currently enrolled at the University of South Carolina Aiken, according to the school’s sports information department. Scott, 20, is in Georgia, and has been researching schools, his attorney said.
Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. approved three charges against Robinson and seven against Scott with more possible, according to a press release issued Tuesday….
A supervising deputy for the U.S. Marshals confirmed that the Southern Ohio Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (SO-FAST) and Dayton police were working to bring in Scott and Robinson.
“They are not typical fugitives who went on the run after they became aware that they are wanted,” Supervising Deputy Jeremy Rose said. “I believe in the near future they will turn themselves in.”
Jewson admonished Heck’s office for the press release, which stated that surveillance video from Dec. 14, 2014, positively identified Anderson and Scott and that the investigation is ongoing.
“None of that information has been presented to me and, frankly, I think it’s inappropriate for the prosecutor to attempt to try this case in the media and — basically regurgitate all the facts that they have that haven’t been disclosed to the defense — and put those out into mainstream media through Facebook and other outlets,” Jewson said, adding that such video hasn’t been tested for authenticity or admissibility. “It’s basically rumors at this point.”
And, at the same time, the coach who brought these misfits to Dayton, is getting a contract extension and probably a raise.
What’s even more troubling, is that Devon Scott, had already been in trouble for domestic abuse. Found guilty, and handed a suspended 30-day sentence. See Aug. 25th WHIO article:
University of Dayton basketball player Devon Scott won’t serve any jail time after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct against the mother of his son.
Though he didn’t appear in Dayton Municipal Court with his attorney, Scott was sentenced Monday by Judge Deirdre Logan to 40 hours of community service to be completed by Nov. 30, a suspended 30-day sentence, a $250 fine with half of that suspended, and court costs.
Scott also must show proof of completing a domestic violence program and will be on non-reporting probation for one year in which he has no new offenses.
Normally, when a black male has a suspended sentence, and is caught in the commission of another crime, he goes to jail, directly to jail, he does not pass go, he does not collect $200. But, again, we’re dealing with UD, which gets a different set of rules for its riots, and especially for its beloved basketball team.
I was aware of the thefts before the news broke because I live within 5 miles of campus and enjoy the anonymous social app Yik Yak as a way of taking a mental break from the serious. Everyone on campus knew the two 6’7″ bball stars had done it, because, well, they are hard to miss and well known. I didn’t want to break the news- because I don’t consider reading Yik Yak a reliable news source- nor, do I think that petty theft is worthy of my blog. But, this ranks as front page breaking news in local media. Sad to say, thieving from students somehow is worse than domestic abuse, and being able to play basketball provides you privileged treatment by the courts here in Dayton.
The University has taken great effort in trying to change student behavior, stressing “#community” and a positive ethos- with their “Green dot” program. They teach their community members (staff, faculty, students) that there are “red dots”- acts of hate, violence, disrespect- and that in order to reduce these types of occurrences, everyone needs to be tuned into “Green dot” behavior- helping each other out, respect, integrity.
From last night- a yak said “watched a clearly drunk girl stumbling home alone and got nervous when a guy approached her. I watched as he called mom’s limo for her and waited with her until they came. I fucking love this school. – posted around 3am. 63 upvotes, and a comment “green dot”
Shared UD yik yak about green dot behavior
The fact that our prosecutor seems to enforce different standards of prosecution in Montgomery County is a red dot to me. Do lawyers and their families who break the law get different treatment here? How about politicians? If only half the stories I’ve heard about some of the “Monarchy of Montgomery County” in the past are true, the answer is yes- but the mainstream media are in bed with the royalty and afraid to cover it. When names are missing from police reports- and it only says “an Oakwood resident” my “friends and family” radar always goes off.
Seemingly, only the pawns, lowly basketball players, are fair game for the media to mock, and the prosecutor to play games with in public.
The VA is government-run health care. It’s the largest single health care organization in the United States. The patients they see aren’t like the patients that our private health care system treats- they are different. Many of them have been to hell and back and are already living on borrowed time.
My father, is an 87-year-old Army Veteran with a cornucopia of medical issues. When I was in fourth grade he suffered a heart attack, and doctors gave him less than five years to live. He’d broken up a fight outside a Boston bar in the fifties while driving a cab to put himself through Boston University- and had been stabbed in the back (the VA put him back together then too). He’d had multiple heart surgeries over the years- each one more risky. He has a low grade cancer. He’s diabetic. He’s not what you call an ideal candidate for surgery. In fact, in the pre-op meeting, the anesthesiologist flat out opened with “this surgery will kill you”
That had been the reason they didn’t opt to operate over five years ago when the hernia began. At that time I didn’t challenge the doctor. And neither did my father. He sucked it up and drove on. That’s what old soldiers do. Older people also are less likely to challenge their doctors- it’s just not what they do.
I watched as the hernia grew. And grew. His quality of life kept getting worse. After his first heart attack he started running- jogging as we called it in those days. Running one mile was his first goal- as laid out in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police workout. That was the state of athletic training then. Calisthenics and a run. I remember “running” with him- at a snail’s pace. A 12 minute mile was an amazing accomplishment at first. He kept running- and tracking it on the wall at the JCC on Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights. He loves to tell people how he ran 3,500 miles. And the cardiologist, who gave him five years to live- died before those five years were up- and they were close in age at the time.
After five years of an ever-growing hernia, he sometimes sat on his special cushion the VA had given him- with a cutout for the distended parts- and just hung his head. I know how uncomfortable it is- having had both a hernia and a varicocele. He never complained.
The turning point was when his pacemaker/defibrillator battery began to near end of life. The doctors all got in a big hurry to operate to replace the battery, device, add leads etc. I said “hold it. You won’t operate on the hernia that’s making him miserable, but have no problem operating on a 10-year-old pacemaker that’s pacing less than 1% of the time and has never defibrillated?” Why is your CYA device more important than everyday life?
I got stern lectures from our GP (we see the same guy) – from cardiology, from pulmonary- all giving all the reasons that one surgery was risky and the other was somehow warranted. The surgeon, luckily saw my point of view and thought she could give it a shot. All the departments that had to sign off, all did so grudgingly and pointed out the things that would make it risky. About two weeks ago, we were on the pre-op consultation rounds and the anesthesiologist flat out said “you’ll die on the table” explaining how his damaged heart’s output wasn’t up to the task of moving the oxygen after surgery.
My father faced a decision. Go on with the ever increasing mass- or risk an almost certain death. We spent the last 2 weeks talking, eating at his favorite places- Smashburger and the Amber Rose. We went over the will, the insurance, the notifications- and today, we headed off to the VA at Oh Dark Thirty for the big day. It was almost 1:30 when the surgeon came out to tell us how it went.
The hole, which is usually the size of a quarter was big enough to fit two hands in. The small intestine had descended instead of the colon. He was suffering from malabsorption in addition- thank to the pieces not being in the right place. They did some innovative anesthesia. When he came to, his first words were “I’m alive.” When I got to see him, he had more color than he’s had in the last year- and his smile was ear to ear (even without most of his teeth).
As Yoda would say, “the will to live is strong with this one.” Others would say, he’s too stubborn to die. My mother, his wife of 60 years, cried tears of joy more than a few times today. I found out on Facebook how many people I’ve touched who were willing to keep him in their thoughts and prayers.
And, this is a story that none of you will read on the front page of the Dayton Daily news- or any other “newspaper” in this country. All you’ll ever hear about the VA is how they made a mistake. As if they don’t make mistakes in every single hospital in the world.
There were other families in the waiting room today. The surgical waiting room is staffed by volunteers- a wonderful woman from Belmont who is a military widow. I didn’t catch her name, but I couldn’t have asked for someone who kept us all smiling through the wait on our loved ones. There was a common bond in that room, not only of those waiting for possibly bad news- but of those who have a common bond of service to this country. There were no strangers in the room. Something that’s pretty common in every VA I’ve ever been in.
The room is stocked and funded by the Disabled American Veterans – who supply free snacks, coffee, tea, water. The TV is donated by Best Buy. The only things missing were wi-fi and cell reception :-) I’ve decided that the bare walls needed some art by veterans on the walls- and have reached out to two Marines I know who are amazing photographers for some prints.
My father isn’t out of the woods yet. There are always post-op complications possible. But, the other families who were waiting, they all got good news too.
But when the VA does good, you won’t read about that anywhere but here. And I am so thankful for the changes that the Director, Glenn Costie has made and the new surgical leadership they have in place.
I urge all veterans in the area, even those in perfect health, to please go out to the Dayton VA and register with them for care. As long as you have a DD 214, and an honorable discharge, they have services available to you.
Thank you for reading. And thank you for supporting our veterans by funding this amazing service.
Qualifications for running for congress as set out by the founding fathers:
Be 25 or older
Live in the US for over 7 years.
New qualifications for Congress according to media, politicians, and stupid voters:
Spend at least a million dollars with the media, be a career politician, and don’t say anything that sounds like you have a mind of your own.
Sell out to special interests to get the million dollars.
Be a stuffed suit. Preferably a lawyer.
Mike Turner, “our” congressman fits description two perfectly. His well oiled machine even had some idiot voters having Turner signs next to Obama signs in the last 2 elections.
If you listen to Mike Turner, his favorite thing to say is “I work for Wright Patterson Air Force Base”- even though he voted to shut it down along with the rest of the government.
Political races shouldn’t be defined by dollars in the campaign fund, they should be defined by ideas. Right now with an overwhelming number of Americans believing used car salesman or trained monkeys could do a better job in Congress, it’s sad that when a decent guy, a school teacher, decides to run for Congress because he meets qualifications of the founding fathers, he is totally ignored because he doesn’t meet the “New Qualifications” of being what I like to call “the best politician money can buy.”
I sat down and talked with Rob Klepinger for a short interview so you can see what a real person running for Congress sounds and looks like. He doesn’t have a proper campaign site up, and he’s not raised enough money to have to file campaign reports, but if you are sick of a dysfunctional Congress- you may want to amble over to Facebook and at least like his page: www.facebook.com/RobKlepCongress
The current Ohio district 10 contains all of Montgomery County and Greene County and a sliver of Fayette County.
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.
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.
Generally, you read about many of the things posted on Esrati.com about a week later in the DDn, although sometimes it takes them as long as a year and a half as it did on the QBase stories.
What’s still missing from the discussion of this mailing is who funded it- and why does the city claim that these renewals cost the city money according to another DDn article, although they only tell part of the story- the cost to the BOE:
It also does not make sense to periodically spend taxpayer dollars on election costs, Williams said.
The city of Dayton paid $87,706 in 2000 and $4,188 in 2006 to put tax renewal measures on the ballot, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
Why is Whaley the only elected official on the mailer? And why is it a campaign photo? When I asked Dayton City Manager Tim Riordan who paid for this- he was evasive and talked about city employees chipping in and a fundraiser. More than likely, unions were pressured to support the tax that helps pay them as a “do us a solid now- and we’ll go easy on you in contract negotiations.” Of course Whaley is the queen of the unions receiving tens of thousands of dollars in her mayoral campaign from them- many of the donations in $10k checks.
If voters say no to Issue 6 in May, it will be back on the ballot in November- as a renewal as a temporary tax again. Of course, most voters don’t know that- or understand this issue- since Whaley decided to play games and politicize the first mailer.
The Cox empire may own Dayton with the “numbah 1″ TV station, the only newspaper and a few radio stations (K99, the Eagle, WHIO Radio), but the competition are the biggest players in TV- and one just got a lot bigger.
Sinclair Broadcast group is the largest conglomeration of local TV stations in the country- owned by a bunch of right wing nut jobs. They control ABC 22 and Fox 45.
LIN Media owns NBC 2 and WBDT 26 and just got bought by another huge conglomerate making them the “numbah 2″ vs. Sinclair.
This happened yesterday and was in the NY Times- a real newspaper:
Media General said on Friday that it would acquire LIN Media for $1.6 billion in a cash-and-stock deal that will create the second-largest local television broadcasting company…
Both Media General and LIN Media operate local television stations that act as affiliates to the big broadcast networks like ABC, CBS and NBC.
The combined company will own 74 stations in 46 markets and reach 26.5 million households, or 23 percent of the market in the United States. It will rank behind only Sinclair Broadcast Group in terms of number of stations operated.
What does this mean for the average viewer- not much. What does it mean for political ad buys? It’s getting easier and easier to buy up local inventory for political ad season which is becoming the multi-billion dollar cash cow that keeps these stations in business. Watch for the first wave of political mudslinging to begin to hit the airwaves this Monday for the May primaries. As usual, Ohio will not be spared, big money will flow into the Boehner campaign since he’s facing “opposition” in the primary, and look for a ton to be spent by people like Bill Beagle in OH-5 with a ton of opposition.
Local TV used to be the checks and balance on local newspapers- somewhat. With this latest move there is zero local control of our media- unless you count esrati.com or the Dayton City Paper as media. Even the Dayton Business Journal which started out as a local operation is controlled by a media conglomerate.
Remember when a guru was going to buy the old Society/Key bank building for half-a-million dollars at auction, and the Dayton Daily News crawled up his legal behind with a microscope, questioning everything about him? I do. I wrote about it: “You must be crazy – to invest in Dayton” It turned out they were partially right, the Commander Swami sold off what he could in the building (including a ton of really nice office furniture for pennies on the dollar) and then neglected to heat the building, allowing pipes to freeze, break and flood parts of the building rendering it worth even less.
But as I pointed out in that article, there were plenty of lawsuits against local “developers” that pretty much go unreported.
A few weeks ago, Larry Ealy turned in enough valid signatures to run as a Democratic nominee for Governor. No less than four articles appeared in the Dayton Daily News about “possible voter fraud” in his petitions. Other candidates have turned in all kinds of wonky petitions- and there is never another word said. In fact, a certain Democratic Party Queen was investigated for forging petitions for a gubernatorial candidate when she was in college and it never made the paper. She’s now sitting in office. What was most interesting was how the paper felt the need to recap an entire story of the questionable prosecution of one of the circulators for conviction of voter fraud years ago– yet, there is no law against a convicted felon circulating petitions in Ohio, nor is there one stopping them from voting (a common misconception).
When I ran for Commission last time, the paper had to make sure that readers knew I had tax liabilities, even though they were small and being taken care of. No mention of one of my opponents failed business ventures with lawsuits galore, or his wife’s vehicular homicide charges. In fact the first time he ran for office, they barely figured out that he didn’t actually live in the city when he filed- and he had to get his property annexed into Dayton to run legally.
Then there is the persecution of Raleigh Trammell, the preacher who used to be able to come and yell at the City Commission at will when he was in his prime. Had I ever raised my voice to the commission like that, I’d have been arrested. Despite the fact that Reverend Trammell had been convicted of felony welfare fraud and served time in the late seventies, no one seemed to question how he was given a contract to administer welfare dollars for years without oversight or why no one else was held responsible? Someone kept signing those checks right? I lost some friends in the local business community for posting this question (three times) “who’s the criminal” Let’s see, the President of the United States makes $400,000 as the most powerful man in the world, and the CEO of CareSource pays herself $3 million a year with tax dollars that are supposed to go to aid the poor? Oh, but that’s right, without these quasi-governmental contract jobs Dayton would be in bankruptcy just like Detroit right now. Something is wrong when companies that only get tax dollars as income, spend it on lavish CEO pay and hire a bevy of lobbyists.
Nah, the media won’t write about that here.
But, wait, just a week ago, the Dayton Daily news did three pieces questioning the Dayton Development Coalition and their questionable right to be secretive with their financials, despite being a quasi-governmental organization. Never mentioned their hiring of Congressman Turner’s former wife on a grossly inflated no-bid contract to come up with a horrible branding campaign. Nope- not a word. You had to read that here on Esrati.com.
Somehow, local developers have managed to tax the little peoples’ income in townships where income taxes aren’t supposed to be levied. That’s right- if you are a white=collar worker, working for a law firm that has a state legislator on staff and a candidate for Lt. Governor- you don’t pay income tax, but if you work for a retailer and are paid close to minimum wage- you pay income tax. Barely a peep in the media- had to read it here: Only the people who don’t pay off politicians pay income taxes at Austin Road
As they’ve always said- politics makes strange bedfellows.
If you look at the Dayton Daily News over the last year, hardly a week has gone by without some mention of Drones and UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicle) as our potential economic savior. I’m sorry, but I built model airplanes as a kid and flew them, but that didn’t make me the next big thing since the Wright Brothers. First, we need to get some basic terminology straight- drones and UAV’s aren’t interchangeable terms. A drone is something that isn’t controlled by a pilot. It just goes up and does its thing. UAV’s can be a drone- or they can be remotely piloted. If it’s not bigger than a lawn chair, and it doesn’t fly over 1.000 odd feet- it’s no different than a model airplane (don’t quote me as an FAA source). Really, if this is our future- we’re all in trouble. Even if it’s big- and flies fast and high like a Predator, this isn’t going to solve the world’s problems- not like renewable energy, greener technology, sustainable agriculture. Nope, this is a line of bunk created to keep a small group of fear-o-crats in high priced suits in jobs. The Dayton Development Coalition has gotten a hall pass for years, despite it being an illegal slush fund for tax dollars being funneled to lobbying activities. And yes, loyal readers have read that here too- including the flow chart that showed how it was a big circle jerk of money for what is left of Dayton’s old boy network.
I apologize for not writing the story about a sitting mayor who is also a Realtor, handling the lease for a county agency, or about the lack of accountability for a woman dying by dog bites, or any of the other stories people have asked me to write over the last month or so. I’d love to do it, but, unfortunately, when you write articles like this and expose local media bias, your ability to earn a living from local business is hampered. I’ve been working my rear-end off trying to make a living so that I can afford the time to hang basketball nets again this summer- and to pay all my taxes on time (wouldn’t want the paper to write me up again for it). I’ve also got to paint my house by June 1st, and because I do it right (my last paint job lasted almost 20 years before it started to peel), I need to work extra hard.
Of course, if I step on too many toes, I may end up an unsolved murder, like that of the father of a former Mayor. Word on the street has it that his father was killed because of a flip-flop on a vote on a landfill. I’m still wondering when Sgt. Maj. North Woodall‘s murder will be solved- or that of Dayton Police Officer Kevin Brame.
When I first ran for mayor over 20 years ago, I had my office windows shot out two nights in a row. That was a message not to keep screwing with the system. Lucky for you, I’m better at sending messages than receiving them, so here we are 20 years later- the “ad guy with nothing to say” (what former DDn editorial page writer Martin Gottlieb said about me when I ran the first time) is still telling it like it is.Thank you for reading- and your continued support. Did I miss much?
Dayton Daily News Editor in Chief, Jana Collier, made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: get paid to investigate local political backroom deals. Starting today, I’ll be the new editor for the special investigative MetroGov desk. Collier said it was becoming obvious that most of her reporters were depending on Esrati.com for leads on stories, going back years. “If you can’t beat’em, join’em” was the philosophical reason David Esrati agreed to the multi-year contract. “Although I was beating them on the stories, I couldn’t dedicate the time it takes to fully expose the graft, corruption and nepotism that I’ve been exposing since 2005 on Esrati.com” said Esrati, 50, who is also a candidate for Dayton City Commission.
Details are still being worked out on what to do about his Commission race.
Since no journalist has ever also worked for the people he’s investigating, although, Publisher Julia Wallace has blazed new journalistic trails by sitting on the Dayton Development Coalition board, Esrati may have to drop out of his commission race. Luckily, since the Dayton City Commission petitions provide for a nominating committee, he is going to accept applications from potential candidates to run in his place. So far, only William Pace has expressed interest. Other possible candidates are the dozen or so candidates who were denied an opportunity on the ballot due to the Board of Elections finding faulty with more than half the candidates petitions.
In other breaking news the UAW CAP Council has endorsed the Montgomery County Democratic Party candidates, Joey Williams and Jeff Mims. Esrati knew he was in trouble when he talked about the nepotism in local government, and one of the council told him that Esrati knew his daughter who worked in the Board of Elections.
Esrati is not shutting down his ad agency The Next Wave. As part of the negotiated deal, since he won’t have to spend the time on the campaign or unpaid time writing his popular blog, he will still be able to put in the same amount of hours he does now- and do both.
Unfortunately- I can’t embed it here, like I can the well produced and much more factual story run by the Columbus station that got the story first.
This was a laptop that I found on Craigslist. I sent my employee- Matthew Sliver (not Michael as they first call him) to Columbus with another employee to buy it. I told him what to look for- and for them to take a picture of the buyer- since he didn’t have the box or disks that went with it. I was the one who made the initial contact and who paid for the computer. This was on July 5th 2012.
When they brought it back- and I started to look through the machine- I found software registered to a man not named “Joe”- and googled him, to find out he was a doctor in Columbus. The computer had been stolen out of his wife’s BMW 6 weeks previous. He wasn’t interested in the computer as much as in other personal items that had been stolen from the car. He’d filed a police report- but had heard nothing.
Since Joe had offered a choice between 2 laptops when I called him- I contacted a grade school friend of mine who is a Columbus PD detective. He put me in contact with his lieutenant- and we coordinated the sting. Matthew drove back to Columbus and the cops made the bust before he’d even started the process.
Turned out “Joe” not only had 3 other stolen laptops in his car- he was due in court the next day for “receiving stolen property.” More laptops.
The doctor, as the story said, didn’t request the laptop back, and actually persuaded the Columbus police not to demand its return for “evidence.”
Cox media has suffered huge losses in revenue due to Craigslist and their loss of their classified ad revenue. They love to run stories about the perils of Craigslist. This was a prime example. We’ve bought and sold many pieces of equipment on Craigslist, all without incident. The fact that criminals use Craigslist to unload stolen goods is no different than them using ebay, pawn shops or any other way of selling goods- but let’s not let this get in the way of making up news to suit our own purposes.
If WHIO wanted to get real news- they wouldn’t have had to rely on the Columbus station that cued them into this success story of the Columbus PD at arresting a criminal, and point out that Matthew went above and beyond in volunteering to meet with this criminal and help the police recover other stolen goods. This shouldn’t have been a story about the perils of Craigslist as much as it should have been a story about a good citizen, doing the right thing, and helping police take a scumbag off the street.
And while Matthew does work in social media- he’s an account executive/account planner for The Next Wave, and we’re damn proud of him and hope when you need smart, savvy help with marketing problems, you call him first. 937-228-4433