The Eric Spicer diversion

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

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

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

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

according to the DDN today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That Paul was only firing when he was provoked.

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

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

via Eric Spicer » Kick Him, Honey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Why we should shoot in Syria

I don’t believe that the U.S. Military would ever turn on our citizens, although Kent State is a glaring example to the contrary, and the case of the drones’ use in far away places to kill “Americans” who had pledged to wage war on their mother country. However, when a country uses air power against its own citizens, it would be nice if someone stepped in to stop what amounts to mass murder. That time came long ago in Syria and passed. It also passed in Darfur, Liberia, and countless other countries.

The U.S. was quick to react in Libya, because of course, they had resources that were important to the petrochemical giants who make huge donations to the U.S. Congress. Syria on the other hand, only exports some oil to Europe and hasn’t exported any since 2011.

The tools of war are taken for granted globally these days, with the U.S. one of the largest exporters of killing machines on the planet. Some war is good for our economy unfortunately, and therefore, we tend to look the other way when these tools are used for oppression and suppression. No matter how much money the sales of weapons systems bring to our economy, and to the military industrial complex, these always end up having a negative overall impact on our economy when you figure in the true costs of wars. They are always a negative- from the deaths of our troops, to the increase in costs to take care of our disabled veterans, all the way down the line to where you realize the lost opportunity costs of perfecting killing, instead of forwarding the human race toward a peaceful and bountiful planet for all.

In other words, for every bomb, bullet or soldier we “invest” in- the return is negative compared to creating food, health care, education, shelter for all. For all the money wasted in the Iraq/Afghanistan war, we could have obliterated poverty globally, through humanitarian initiatives and focusing on the good in the world instead of the several thousand who were represented by 20 odd jerks who hijacked a few planes and crashed them.

Syrians don’t deserve to have their government turn on them. We should obliterate anything that can fly against the people of Syria, and possibly, if we can locate them, neutralize any chemical weapons or their delivery systems. As to threats from any other nations of retaliation against Israel for our leveling the playing field in Syria- we should unequivocally state that any excuse for an attack on Israel will be met with hell being rained on any country’s military that launches an attack. That’s how owning the biggest, baddest military is supposed to thwart aggression by others. Fear is one of the most powerful motivators.

I do not believe that action against Syria should be prolonged or ongoing, nor should it lead to an invasion or occupation. It’s just about taking the howitzers away from the guys in war against people with slingshots.

If our country would only help the underdogs at home as much as it’s willing to go to bat for underdogs in other countries, we might have a better moral authority on the world stage, but for now at least, we should do everything in our power to stop a deluded dictator the use of chemical weapons and air power against his own people.

 

Who delivers in the snow?

Snow removal mission accomplished, City of Dayton, side streets

Corner of Bonner and Adams Streets before 8am Mar 25th, 2013

The City of Dayton Street Maintenance department delivered this morning- with a plow, hitting my street (which is three blocks long) and the rest of South Park. This is what we pay taxes for- and it’s the first time in a long time that the City has impressed me in a “snow emergency.” (Here’s a post out of frustration about snow removal from 2009)

Schools are off for “Spring break” this week, so it’s not causing a school shutdown, but, it does have an impact on local businesses who depend on customers who won’t come if the roads are bad. Investing in top notch delivery of services like snow removal has a bigger economic impact in one day, than the “investment” in a private business like Midmark- and is what the city has failed to understand over the last 20 years.

Clear streets are also essential for delivery of police and fire services, if the roads aren’t passable- fire trucks can’t get to a house fire. We also see a dramatic decrease in traffic accidents when streets are passable- all of which are keys to economic growth (unless you own a body shop or towing company).

And, onto who doesn’t deliver in the snow? The Dayton Daily news- can’t get their iPad edition delivered. Apparently the snow is interfering with their electrons getting to my house. I called, and they started to offer the dead tree edition- until I repeated “iPad edition.” Guess I get to read my old stories re-published in the DDn later today- if ever.

But, the real experts at delivery in Dayton today, weren’t delivering in Dayton- they were delivering on the home-court of a lower ranked opponent in the Women’s NCAA basketball playoffs, where the University of Dayton Women’s team went into double overtime to beat St. John’s 96-90. Congrats to the UD Women, who are the best deal and real deal when it comes to watching more hoops for your buck (yep, they sell tickets for a buck on televised games and $5 normally).

If you haven’t watched the UD Women this year, don’t call yourself a basketball fan. And considering that they only have 3 seniors this year, maybe you should be buying season tickets now (the games are all general admission- so I’m not sure they even sell season tickets- yet).

I’m almost tempted to spend the day shoveling snow for campaign donations, but I’ve got a ton of work to do, so get out there and do it yourself ;-)

(note, as I was finishing this at 8:26 the plow just went back down Bonner)

 

Premier Health Partners to kill Carmen’s Deli

July 29, 2009, while the economy was in the Dumpster and 5th/3rd was in the process of leaving the old Cit Fed building, my friend Haitham Iman made the gutsy move and took over a space that had failed repeatedly as a deli and put his life savings on the line- here is what I wrote:

I’ve known Haitham Iman for years. I’m sure many of you who have attended events at the David Ponitz center, Building 12, of Sinclair know him too.

He’s the always smiling, nice guy, who makes sure your experience is exceptional when it comes to the food at events.

Now, he’s the guy on the grill- only it’s his grill, in his and his lovely wife Carmen’s new restaurant on the first floor of the 5th/3rd Tower, in the old Swisher’s Too location….

via Carmen’s Deli now open- go see Haitham.

He started with 3 employees; now, he has 6. He’s worked hard to build his business and a following, despite being in a building that had its tenants abandon ship, the building go into foreclosure and then be sold for dimes on the dollar to one of the richest, largest companies left in Dayton: Premier Health Partners, owners of Miami Valley Hospital, etc.

Premier is now about to fill the tower with 900 employees, news that made Haitham leap for joy when he first heard the news. His lease ran through 2014 and he looked forward to 900 new customers right on top of his little dining spot. First assurances were that no one would lose out, but, then the powers that be changed the plan, serving Carmen’s Deli with an eviction notice. It seems Premier wants to feed its own people by building a cafeteria – right on the first floor. They offered Haitham a management position, which was what he had before he took charge of his future and started his version of the American Dream. He turned them down- politely I’m sure.

Premier also offered him a chance to take over the old Kitty’s/Thomato’s/Mediterra/piano bar, etc. space- but it requires about a $300K build-out which is beyond Haitham’s reach. My sources say they shopped the same space to other restaurateurs in town but offered the build-out- and still didn’t get takers.

Most of us would think, how can they boot him if he has a lease? If he tried to walk on them, they’d go after him like rabid dogs. Premier’s lawyers claim that his lease didn’t transfer after the foreclosure and they have the right to boot him now. His customers are outraged, some have even offered their legal services pro-bono to help him out. He’s a David without a slingshot getting his lunch eaten by a Goliath who could take care of this within the rounding error on their books. But, he’s at their mercy.

Precedent

Jimmy Brandell was a thorn in Miami Valley’s side for years. He bought the bar at the corner of Brown and Wyoming streets before the hospital had visions of a grand campus. First it was the second home of the Walnut Hills (first home is now Tank’s) and then when he split with his partner he renamed it Jimmie’s Cornerstone Tavern. He built his business with Dayton’s first CD jukebox and a bar menu that started early for hospital employees getting off third shift. He knew he had it good- and the hospital had decided they wanted his building bad. For years they went back and forth until finally, the hospital made Jimmy an offer he couldn’t refuse: to move him across the street to the old Ladder 11 firehouse, complete with a large attached parking lot. If you hadn’t been to the Cornerstone- you missed a good dive- but, if you haven’t headed over to Jimmie’s Ladder 11 since he opened on 11/11/11, you’re missing out on the Taj Mahal of firehouse bar food and drink.

Jimmy had leverage in bricks and mortar- Haitham, unfortunately only held a lease.

But what about all our “Development” organizations?

Haitham has talked to the Downtown Dayton Partnership, Citywide, the powers that be at the City of Dayton Office of Economic Development- and while they all liked talking about his start-up 3 years ago, now, they like talking about the jobs that Premier is bringing (well not really bringing, they’re just shuffling- but we call that development). Citywide has space in the first floor of “Courthouse Crossing” or did (they might not own it anymore) including the former Roly Poly location that rolled out of downtown under the cover of darkness. There is also the former Chick-filet location in the Key Bank tower (formerly Mead tower) which is too small, but so far, no one has come up with some options to save 6 jobs and a business that committed to downtown when others wouldn’t. Sure- our tax dollars have gone to help Uno around the corner, and Citilites across the way in the Schuster has been butted up with public money, but so far- nothing for Haitham.

Unfortunately, when the “undeveloper” Paul Hutchins sent Boston’s Bistro packing for a plan that never happened- way back in 2006, he also stripped the space of what it needed to become a bar again. That space has been empty ever since- and is spitting distance from Carmen’s. If only…

The reality is, it’s one thing to wheel and deal in real estate, but it’s another to destroy jobs. Yes, Premier will be able to brag about having the only building downtown with 100% occupancy (except for Kitty’s space), but they’ll also be driving a business out.

You can call this progress all you want, but what we’d give to have back Seattle East, Boston’s, the Dugout Deli, Wendy’s, Frisch’s, The Diner on St. Clair, etc. To have a vital downtown, we need diversity and choices in food. Premier isn’t doing itself a favor by tossing Carmen’s out like trash- even its employees may miss options.

I’m not suggesting this should be the taxpayers’ responsibility, but since we subsidize Premier Health through Medicare/Medicaid and not taxing the hospitals- maybe Premier can find it in its heart not to kill this small business. It’s healthy for our community to keep it.

A local unsung hero

Note: On the request of Jeff- I’ve deleted most of the post. The Army-produced video has his rank wrong.

Jeff doesn’t like the headline either- he’s not a hero- just a guy doing his job. I’m not changing the link. He’s still a hero in my book- for many reasons,

Jeff Lee grew up in Beavercreek, graduated from Beavercreek High School and Wright State University.

I was in his wedding.

Jeff Lee, thanks for being my friend all these years, and thank you for your service.

Dayton loses talent: the Buckmans have left the building

It was probably around 1995 or so. Bill Rain and David Williams had just finished the Lofts of St. Clair, a conversion of the butt-ugly Pinsky Produce building on St. Clair. The aluminum siding had been torn off to expose a beautiful brick building. It had color- and a roof garden. They’d shoved probably one too many “lofts” per floor into it- making them more like apartments than lofts (lofts then were still supposed to be lofts- with open floor plans- and the only real private room being the “privvy.”

The ground floor had office space – a “mixed use” development. OMG. In Downtown Dayton? The city had given them grief about the amazing old HUGE freight elevator (big enough to put your car on it) being used by mere mortals- the project was a condo- so the building owners would be allowed to use it – but not visitors… or some such nonsense. The basement had become a parking garage- a very tight one- but, it worked.

Photo stolen from Barry Buckman's facebook profile

Barry Buckman. Architect. Visionary.

The architects on the project were to be the commercial tenants in the “front” office space- Mary Rogero and Barry Buckman- who had decided to leave Woolpert to begin doing what they thought was missing in Dayton- urban modernist architecture. At first, they lived off  projects for Citywide and social-service type grant projects and a few small commissions, but as time moved forward so did the ambition meter. It was here that I first met these urban visionaries who would go on to transform Dayton almost by themselves.

Barry’s wife opened a hip little gift shop, “GO Home” next door to the first upscale restaurant on Fifth Street in the Oregon District- Pacchia. She sold home accessories from companies like Umbra and Alessi, as well as cards, and gift items. She was an architect too- but saw an opening in the market and went for it. The store was different- in that almost all the store fixtures were made by the owner and her husband. A lot of MDF that looked raw yet finished. The racks were on industrial wheels. People waiting to get into Pacchia would browse and buy, there was a reason to go down to the Oregon District to actually buy something other than entertainment or jewelery. Things were looking up.

As Rogero Buckman grew- and evolved to become just RBA- Dayton saw the fruits of their creativity. I’m not going to list everything- just the ones that seemed to really change things:

They turned the vacant and condemnable church at the corner of Cass and Clay into a rock climbing temple- the Urban Krag. It was a stunning re-purposing of a building that had lost its ability to function in a world that requires huge parking lots to serve the purpose it was intended for. I could take a little credit on this one, as I helped Karl and Melissa find this building after their plans for the still vacant DP&L steam building on the corner of 4th and St. Clair never worked out.

They inspired the church’s owner, Tim Patterson, to also try converting the church that backed up to it at Van Buren and Clay- into luxury condos- and the Buckmans moved into the front one. Here was an architect who lived in his project (something that a surprising number of architects don’t do).

RBA moved into the 2nd floor of what became the Cannery at Wayne and E. Third- and guided that complex project of marrying 6 different buildings into one huge rental block with retail on the base floor. Unfortunately, due to some HUD requirements- their original concept of having other businesses join them on the second floor got nixed, and they had to move yet again. The stupidity of this change added to the number of parking spaces required at night- compared to keeping spaces revolving between daytime and nighttime uses- the city was of no help. It took the city at least ten years to authorize the “radical” concept of end-in parking in front of this building- something RBA suggested along with many others right from the start. Go Home moved over to the corner- and grew to sell modern furniture- making it an upstairs-downstairs work situation for the Buckman family.

The CooperLofts were another groundbreaking work- starting with an old warehouse building downtown- and building a totally modern addition- with funky siding and odd angle protrusions. The building at the corner of Second and St. Clair is just two blocks away from the little office where RBA began- and also about the same distance from the Cannery. The circle of influence of this small firm is probably more compact than any other architecture firm in town. It’s as if Barry and Mary were on a mission to transform the city- by working in a spiral from their original base camp.

The sculptures and the two service buildings for Riverscape as well as the Fountain towers are their design, as is the uber hip black house on Emmet Street across the river, the Firefly building on Webster at First (where their third and final office is). The Real Art building on First St. across from the ballpark, the inside of Therapy Cafe in the Cannery, the Fairgrounds neighborhood- project “genesis” was theirs- along with one custom house tucked away by Denny’s that is really cool… the list goes on. The mark RBA made will last a long time in Dayton.

One of their most interesting projects is the LiteHouses along Patterson. These “manufactured” homes- as in built in a factory and trucked to the site to be snapped together like Lego blocks, were an innovative game changer in Dayton. LEED certified, you could buy a home that the annual utility bill was lower than your monthly house payment. The plan was to build a lot of these- but, with the financial collapse and appraisers not able to get out of their “comp” mindset- financing became difficult for the kind of people that these were built for. In a particularly shitty move- the city of Dayton decided to hand over one of the future sites to Charles Simms development (along with $300K) to build something generic across the street.

Along the way I got to do the RBA website (which sadly never really ever got updated) and was seemingly always in their circle of influence. We were kindred souls in having a vision for Dayton that didn’t include cookie cutter solutions. The annual invite to watch the fireworks from the roof of the Firefly building was always appreciated- especially since I could rub elbows with many of the people whom I use as content for this blog :-)

But, despite all our efforts to attract and keep the “Creative Class” in Dayton- we’ve failed.

About a month ago, Barry took a job in North Carolina for a large architecture firm, and Audry closed up her final and fourth location of Go Home- which got a paragraph in the Dayton Daily.

Was it the frustration of dealing with a chief building inspector who could find a new way to say no on every single project they did? Or the city handing off lots that could have had a really cool LiteHouse style block on it? Was it the difficulty of challenging the big firms with political clout and connections- who seemed to use RBA as their minor league farm club? Or was it just the desire to move back to NC and be closer to aging parents? Or all of the above?

Either way- they slipped out of town, without a celebration of their accomplishments and contribution to this community- one that probably won’t be understood by very many people- until maybe twenty years from now. We were lucky to have a 16-year run of exceptional talent doing fantastic things in Dayton. To me, they set the bar higher for every architecture firm in the region. One day, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are architecture tours in Dayton of their projects- as models of how a small firm can make a high impact mark on a community.

In my opinion the difference between RBA and Frank Lloyd Wright was the lack of a benefactor to propel them to their well-deserved glory. Maybe not from an architectural design standard- but to one for transforming a community via good design. When local kingmaker Clay Mathile went outside the area to hire architects to do the Aileron building- he overlooked an opportunity to give the home team a chance to really strut their stuff. Just like local restaurants- if we don’t support them, we may only have the choice of chain restaurant food through our choices.

The office is still open- being run by South Park resident Matt Sauer, finishing up projects and even taking on a few new ones. Mary has been only peripherally involved over the last 4 or so years- as she accepted a professorship at Miami University in Oxford.

While most of Dayton probably never knew who was behind all these buildings and projects, I did.

This is my tribute to Barry and his vision. I hereby proclaim today Barry Buckman and RBA day. Giving you a key to the city is inappropriate- since you were the living embodiment to being the key to our city through the last 16 years.

Dayton, you won’t fully realize what you lost until long from now. Just remember, you read it here first.

We are what we eat

Dayton- and all my readers: meet my girlfriend, Teresa Whitley.

She’s going to make an impact on Dayton- one way or another- and I’m letting you in on her contribution to the conversation about something we need to work on- that’s as important (or maybe more important) than UniGov, Economic Development- it’s our health- and what we eat.

Her site is RootED Nation- and here is the lead of her most recent post:

At the end of the month Montgomery County will be releasing a Community Health Assessment that says black people are more likely to be overweight and to have diabetes.

via Will Montgomery County step up and give us real solutions?.

I’m not going to tell you where she goes from this opening shot- I hope you jump over and read- and comment- and add her to your feed reader.

There is a crisis- and it’s one that we could collectively work together to solve- if we want. We live in the breadbasket of America- we should have easy access to the highest quality, fresh, safe foods – but unfortunately- we don’t. She’s gathering resources and people- and ideas- on how to take back our waistlines- and our health issues and our quality of life- by changing the way we think- and eat.

I hope you enjoy her site- and her thinking as much as I do.

And if you want a second post to peruse- how about one that has this in it:

What if I told you that the statements made by the Surgeon General and National Institute of Health were not only wrong, but complete nonsense? Would you think I was crazy?

OK, fair enough – I won’t take offense.

What if an expert in the field that has spent his entire career following the scientific research of why we get fat, a contributor to Science Magazine, someone who has won multiple awards for his Science journalism, a man who has an undergrad in Physics and two masters degrees from Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia said this very same thing -” not only is it wrong, it’s actually nonsense”. Would you believe him?

via Not only is it wrong, it’s nonsense..

I guarantee- you can save a lot of time reading the material that she’s been gathering by reading her site. Soon you’ll wonder if our government isn’t in the process of killing us off… but, go read it there. It’s good stuff.

www.rootednation.org

Gary Staiger has left the building

Gary Staiger

Gary Staiger

I just returned from the services for Gary Staiger- the long-time proprietor of Omega Music in the Santa Clara district on North Main- and as of a few weeks ago, in the Oregon District.

Gary was a community activist- an evangelist for equal rights- and an optimist, and as of Thanksgiving day, he became another Vietnam veteran who left this world too early. He was 62- although, his blog hadn’t been updated for a bit- he defined himself simply:

61 Y/O VIET VET WORKING FROM THE LEFT OF CENTER

via LEFT OF DAYTON.

Shiloh Church was packed. Poems were read- ones by Gary and others about him. The crowd was diverse- young, old, multi-ethnic, hippies, hipsters, judges and journalists, friends and family, and yet, everyone shared a bond for a simple shopkeeper- who would share his opinion at the drop of a hat.

I first met Gary long ago- at Dayton City Commission meetings, where we both battled to get our voices heard in the allotted time. First it was the “Defensible space” plan for Five Oaks- then dealing with prostitutes on North Main- and over time, we became friends. He also wasn’t a big fan of the way the Montgomery County Democratic Party ran- and did what it took to get appointed a precinct captain- to try to effect change from the inside.

Gary Staiger Funeral

Gary Staiger Funeral

Gary died on Thanksgiving day- he was found in his car on W. Third Street- people have guessed that he was trying to drive himself to the VA. The stress of moving the shop and dealing with the City of Dayton and the outcome of the last election were probably contributing factors to his recent medical issues. He had told me that he now understood why people grumble so much about the city and its treatment of small business. My guess is that different standards apply in the Oregon District compared to N. Main Street. He said he was going to write about it- after he made it through Christmas. Now the question will be if his store will make it with his kids in charge.

His knowledge of music and collectibles was encyclopedic- and that will be missed. He also put together killer play lists for the bi-annual solstice parties on Cherry Drive. But, his idea of a locally owned music store will only make it if we all make the effort to stop in and buy music the old fashioned way. So this holiday season- at least give Omega a stop on your gift-giving rounds- and see if you get a wave of nostalgia digging through the bins.

Gary wasn’t from Dayton- but he’d adopted it as home. He touched a lot of people here- and will be missed.

I wish I could say this is one of my better posts- but, I’m still having a hard time putting this all in perspective.

62 is too early to check out. But, if there is a heaven, and they have music playing- they just got one hell of a DJ.

The doors open to the back room of international politics

A sea change is coming to international relations- and social media will be the engine driving the movement. The latest release from Wikileaks is a fascinating look at the good ‘ole boy/country club that’s making decisions on how the world turns:

A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

via WikiLeaks Archive — Cables Uncloak U.S. Diplomacy – NYTimes.com.

Diplomacy is dirty business- and the brave moves by Wikileaks to hang the dirty laundry out for all to see, may give the people of the world a perspective on what governments believe their true objectives are- and world peace and ending inequality aren’t going to make the list.

This is the type of news reporting that can transform society. I highly recommend you read the article in the New York Times- and from other sources to get a feel for the way we project “American Power” throughout the world. [NOTE: Fast company delves into the different ways these leaks have been turned into online materials by the NYT and the Guardian- the presentation of the material is key to letting people get access: http://www.fastcodesign.com/1662770/infographics-of-the-day-whats-in-those-leaked-diplomatic-cables?partner=homepage_newsletter

By contrast- the Dayton Daily News has a story about “Power drills, covered in feces, found in driveway,” Considering there is still a digital divide in our country with as many as 1 in 12 not connected to the Internet, shouldn’t the local newspaper still focus on informing, educating and making the people of our region smarter?

There are back rooms to our local political scene as well. How do some developers keep getting deal after deal, while the taxpayers fully fund other projects that have no guarantee of success? Why is nepotism perfectly accepted in the County building- and in the City of Dayton- while not accepted in any of the well run suburbs?

When will we see the real reporting in our community? When will we realize that the new tools can give the pawns the power to at least question- if not start a movement to overthrow the corrupt private clubs that seem to run our country?

This batch of Wikileaks is more powerful than the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate tapes all rolled into one. Read them. Pay attention.

Change is coming.

DDN picks the sacrificial lamb

The wise ones at the Dayton Daily News, the ones who endorse Mike Turner every time (even though they don’t agree with him), have chosen a 25-year-old college dropout who has “been involved in political causes for a long time” to go head-to-head with Turner for Congress.

Yes- the same people who endorsed Rhine McLin, want to send a lamb to a lions’ fight:

Joe Roberts also lists education as his top priority, seeking an “overhaul” of “the system.” He points to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown as a role model, and expresses general support of the Democratic “platform.”

He is a political consultant, saying he has worked for such low-profile candidates as Stephanie Studebaker and Dr. Mark MacNealy (who each briefly put their names up to run against Rep. Turner). Dr. MacNealy is the fellow whose withdrawal resulted in this special election.

Mr. Roberts has been involved in political causes (immigration reform, Barack Obama, Israel) for a long time, or at least long for his age, 25.

And of course, they couldn’t resist trying to pigeon-hole me:

Mr. Esrati wants to be known not simply for running for election repeatedly, but for his blog, which he says fosters public discussion of issues and offers his views on them.

He mentions Rep. Dennis Kucinich, of the Cleveland area, as a political role model. As a presidential candidate, Rep. Kucinich took positions to the left of then-Sen. Obama and everybody else.

Mr. Esrati’s thinking continues to be hard to track. At the editorial board meeting, he said he favored the Obama stimulus, but would oppose a second one on constitutional grounds. (He invoked the 10th Amendment and the commerce clause.) Given that the Constitution hasn’t changed, there’s a disconnect in his logic.

Known for a confrontational temperament, he is unsuited to public office, better suited to gadfly status.

The best choice is Mr. Roberts, though, like Mr. Fogle, he would be a better choice for a lower-level job.

via Editorial: Joe Roberts best Dem bet in 3rd District primary | A Matter of Opinion.

And, of course, they are welcome to their opinion.

But, they aren’t allowed to do it in secret anymore. I’ve had it with the high-handed treatment- so I recorded it for you to listen to. Why not? They had their recorders (2 of them) going.

You can listen and form your own opinion.

And- as a final note: If you believe in something, and keep trying to accomplish it, why would you be mocked for trying and failing? Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan and many other successful people will tell you- true winners don’t give up.