America, where we only investigate some crimes

blind justiceOMG, call out the FBI, a former teacher, goes to Congress, becomes Speaker of the House, leaves- somehow is now a multi-millionaire- and we don’t question that. But, pull out more than $10K at a time from his own bank account (to allegedly pay hush money) and we’re on it:

Hastert was charged Thursday with withdrawing $952,000 in cash in small amounts to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000. The former U.S. House speaker is also charged with lying to the FBI.The indictment says Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to an unidentified person to hide “prior misconduct” against that person. The indictment does not describe the misconduct Hastert was trying to conceal.

Source: Latest on Dennis Hastert: Ex-House Speaker Resigns From Firm – ABC News

Apparently, international professional soccer is also a den of criminality that requires the FBI to investigate:

For decades, that was how business was done in international soccer, American officials said Wednesday as they announced a sweeping indictment against 14 soccer officials and marketing executives who they said had corrupted the sport through two decades of shadowy dealing and $150 million in bribes. Authorities described international soccer in terms normally reserved for Mafia families or drug cartels, and brought charges under racketeering laws usually applied to such criminal organizations.

Source: After Indicting 14 Soccer Officials, U.S. Vows to End Graft in FIFA – NYTimes.com

And while trillions were stolen from everyday Americans through mortgage manipulations by the wizards of Wall Street- more investigation and justice was done to the NY England Patriots over Tom Brady’s balls:

The evidence listed in Wednesday’s “Deflategate” report is eye-catching:

  • Text messages between a part-time New England Patriots employee and an equipment assistant with talk of cash, free shoes and autographs.
  • The part-time employee, a locker room attendant responsible for 12 footballs before the AFC title game, spending 100 seconds in a bathroom after game officials had approved the balls for play.
  • Measurements taken at halftime after a team that is losing tips off the league about footballs that appear to be too soft.
  • The Patriots’ star quarterback and the equipment assistant suddenly exchanging phone calls in the days just after news of underinflated footballs blew up.

Those are the key points in the 139-page NFL-commissioned report given to the league’s brass.

Source: Report: Tom Brady likely knew of ‘Deflategate’ acts – CNN.com

And just after I published this- an addition:

Ross W. Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, a notorious online marketplace for the sale of heroin, cocaine, LSD and other illegal drugs, was sentenced to life in prison on Friday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

Mr. Ulbricht, 31, was sentenced by the judge, Katherine B. Forrest, for his role as what prosecutors described as “the kingpin of a worldwide digital drug-trafficking enterprise.”

Mr. Ulbricht had faced a minimum of 20 years in prison on one of the counts for which he was convicted. But in handing down a much longer sentence, Judge Forrest told Mr. Ulbricht that “what you did in connection with Silk Road was terribly destructive to our social fabric.”

Source: Ross Ulbricht, Creator of Silk Road Website, Is Sentenced to Life in Prison – NYTimes.com

Life in prison for setting up an exchange- while the Wall Street bandits stole trillions.

Trillions gone. People losing their homes. Credit card rates at near usurious rates, pension funds cleaned out, higher ed becoming out of reach, universal health care that’s just fattening the pockets of the insurance middlemen- and zero, zip, zilch investigation or action.

Start paying attention to Bernie Sanders for president now, if you ever want a chance of setting things right.

 

Slush fund, Architect and Developer: the three ring circus of public/private partnerships

The very first slide started with an oops, another oops, and another oops.

Up steps Steve Budd of CityWide Development (the slush fund) with a slide of the holdings of CityWide, Miami Valley Hospital and maybe even the University of Dayton between 35 and Wyoming Street along the Brown/Warren corridor. And, no, we won’t mention the words we used to call this development (Mid-Park) because we know it ticks off the people we’re talking to (South Park) about our little circus.

The map with the yellow line was showing “all the property we own” except for the little antique shop at Oak and Warren according to Mr. Budd. Except he quickly was asked if he owned Jimmie’s Ladder 11, Spin City- and oh yeah, the two houses that are left on the West side of Warren- where the powers that be haven’t made an offer with enough commas in it yet.

Aerial view of Warren Street

The “owned” area in yellow- the red, added by me, is the stuff that’s not owned by the developers including Spin City, Jimmie’s Ladder 11, the Antique Shop and the two houses on the west side of Warren

I’ve marked the known “not owned” in red- inside the yellow border of “owned” for clarification. No mention was made of the fact the city had “misdeeded” some of the real estate in question in a lot links deal- and someone may be holding out for another pretty paycheck.

Why they were talking to the neighborhood at all is a really good question. At no point have they come to us, the neighborhood, and actually asked what we want- just what we want to see as tenants in their grand building plans- you know, the norm- a grocery store, a hardware store, a book store…

The parcel in question came into their hands when DMHA/GDPM gave up on their “projects” off Warren which were part of the 60’s 70’s “urban renewal” programs- where they tore down perfectly good housing stock that had lost its luster and replaced it with crap construction of ugly buildings dropped out of the sky into our ‘hood. The promise then was that it was going to be “senior housing” – the only thing senior about it, “Cliburn Manor,”  when I moved into South Park in 1986 was it looked like it was near death.

So the slush fund has to make sure they have another success story in the portfolio of mismanaged tax-dollar aided projects, and is bequeathed the federal property to manage. They seek out a developer, who is willing to take a “great risk” building something in the city of Dayton- so they promise to make them whole, no matter how silly the project scope and scale is.

In this case, the developer is Oberer. The same people who did the funky deal on the Dille Farm, where they built a Costco in Centerville, but expect ambulances from Sugarcreek Township- as once again, government had inserted itself unnaturally in the middle of a real estate deal. They have hired, at considerable expense, some research firm to tell them that there is a market for the 200 plus units they’ve plotted and planned for the aforementioned area. Of course, they are going to do this deal with OPM (other people’s money) and are guaranteed by the taxpayer-funded slush fund that they won’t lose a dime- since we know we’ll make income tax go up while you build it- and who cares if anyone actually comes. They just have to “git ‘r done” and have something rise from the green space. Filling the space won’t even fall back on them. Look at how CityWide still hasn’t found a ground floor tenant for the old Elder Beerman/ReyReyTAC building downtown.

If you need an example of another project that was done like this, go study the history of One Arcade Tower/One Dayton Center/Fifth/Third Center– or whatever they call it at the corner of Third and Main. The one that wasn’t supposed to be built until 33% of it was leased- but, we ignored it and built it anyway…. and lost our butts.

In our third ring of the circus, we have the architect. While an equal player at this point- he’s really going to end up the ringmaster later, once construction begins, but for now, he’s just another part of the distraction engine that’s trying to divert attention from the fact that Dayton is looking at these new construction projects like the Cleveland Browns do when playing the Patriots- let’s keep throwing Hail Mary passes because we’ve already lost 8 of 12 and aren’t going anywhere.

The architect, in this case, Jason Sheets of Moda 4, is a super talented guy who makes cheap look chic, and clean and classy. The only problem is, we’ve already got a few examples up Brown Street that make anything look like an improvement- namely the horribly ugly and dysfunctional “University Place” that Miller Valentine built at the corner of Stewart and Brown- which still isn’t full- years later- and almost every restaurant has taken a year to build out- because of poor planning by the “architects” – and then the other Miller Valentine embarrassment- the heinously ugly mishmash finish Caldwell Street housing that replaced the irreplaceable Frank Z building on Brown. His role in this is to keep billing while everyone else argues about the plan.

Moda 4 just completed the Goodwill Building across from Coco’s- the one with the expansive parking lot- and the stark cold exterior. Not exactly a good match for eclectic South Park- but, we’re trying here.

We’ve already got a CityWide case study up in Fairgrounds- where the Genesis Project built a whole bunch of funky houses and row houses for “DINCS” and hospital employees and UD Profs- that was promised never to become student housing (they lied). Where roofs are leaking less than 10 years out, taxes are kicking in at the same time, and what was supposed to be full of homeowners- is now in flux.

As the homeowners filed out, wondering if what they’d been shown was anything like what will be built, one after another in the Goodwill parking lot- looked across the street at Marvin Gardens, which is owned by St. Mary Development Corp.- and thought- why can’t they build something that looks like that?

Marvin Garden Apartments on Warren Street

Marvin Gardens Apartments as seen from Goodwill parking lot

So as neighbors sat and looked at the presentation, with mouths agape, wondering what planet these people were from, they were serving their ultimate, yet, unrevealed role they will be used for in the future.

As the project sputters and spurts, the three-ring acts will be able to point at the neighbors and blame them for the delays, mistakes and failures that are to come, as the city shirks its responsibility to do what it’s supposed to- mainly sweep and repair streets, provide public services and safety forces and keep the lights on.

The only question that really needs to be answered is why the property wasn’t just sold off to the highest bidder and let them do as they please?
In the end, the results will probably be about the same.

 

Kettering resorting to corporate welfare

End Corporate WelfareIf I didn’t have an important neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, May 26, I’d be at the Kettering Council meeting asking them to vote no on this corporate welfare scheme:

The city of Kettering will contribute a record $3.6 million incentive to Kettering Health Network for its new $49 million cancer facility.

The cancer center will add 80 new jobs to the existing 3,600 Kettering Health Network jobs now in the area, said Kettering Economic Development Manager Gregg Gorsuch.

“The reasoning behind the incentive is to ensure Kettering Medical Center continues to grow and thrive in the community. They are the largest employer and revenue producer, and we want to make sure they stay in the city of Kettering and this continues to be their flagship operation,” Gorsuch said.

Source: City giving to cancer center

I’d also be calling for Gorsuch to go.

Take his salary, hire a better ice rink manager. Spend some money on advertising the ice rink properly. Invest in something that makes Kettering a better place to be- don’t buy future tax revenue.

On paper this sounds great- spend a little to make a lot- except it’s inherently unfair. The same opportunity isn’t given to every business in Kettering- and the ones who don’t pay their CEO over a million a year are probably in greater need than KHN.

The fear factor of KHN taking this building elsewhere is exactly what will happen eventually if the city keeps doing these kinds of deals. Once you open the floodgates- soon you’ll be like Dayton and have forgotten how to plow the streets, or pay your cops and teachers.

This is the redistribution of wealth- pure and simple. Those tax dollars that you are fronting to KHN were earned by people working minimum wage jobs and they deserve to get the best possible government back with them- not to help rich corporations get a break.

Kettering shouldn’t go down this rabbit hole. Just say no to corporate extortion and focus on what makes Kettering a great community.

This isn’t economic development- it’s criminal.

Unreasonable property tax changes

It seems a whole bunch of people filed complaints about their tax bills going up this year. I filed an appeal, and shared information on how to file on this site back before the March 31st deadline.

This year, county property owners filed 4,300 complaints, up 39 percent from 2014, contesting the assessed valuations of their homes, businesses and other parcels.

However, a large increase in cases was anticipated because the auditor last year completed a comprehensive, six-year valuation update. Values typically change more drastically during major revaluations. Local property owners have challenged their valuations on many grounds, sometimes claiming that the amounts are based on faulty information or a flawed assessment method.

Overwhelmingly, people who file appeals request a lower valuation, and 65 percent of cases filed in the county result in a change of assessment, according to the auditor.

Source: Over 4,000 in county appeal property values

The random changing values of real estate every 6 years is a farce and needs to be addressed. Just because your new neighbor paid more for his home, doesn’t mean yours is worth more now.

This kind of tax levy contributes to gentrification as well- forcing people from their homes as they age. Sure, the county offers a rollback if you are over 65, but, let’s be realistic, why is there a penalty for being part of a neighborhood that rises in value? Isn’t this the opposite of the “American Way” where you are supposed to prosper, not suffer, for making a good investment?

When I bought my house for $14,500 in January, 1986, it came with a lot of risk- so much in fact, that no bank would give me a loan on the property. It had been on the market for 2 years, starting out at $22,900 and was listed at $17,900 when I offered $14,500 and they took it.

Because I worked hard to fix up my house, and participated in my neighborhood, other homes have sold for a lot more. Those people aren’t buying into such a risky neighborhood anymore- and banks will finance them. They have received the fruits of my labor- and benefited from the risks I took. The question is- why should I be penalized?

This practice of raising taxes on properties that haven’t changed hands is despicable, and good reason to reexamine the entire valuation system. The fact that so many people are appealing is case in point that the system isn’t working. I’ve yet to be called for my re-evals.

I’m also at a loss why I should be paying tax dollars for the city to invest in speculative real estate, like the buildings by Garden Station, and on E. Third Street. That’s not what I pay my taxes for- to take properties off the tax rolls.

Why our tax dollars are subsidizing a private company, Tyler Technologies, to do government work is also questionable. How and why did a private company end up with this multimillion dollar contract to play games with our tax rates? It’s time for some real answers.

El Rancho Grande opens- a year late

There is a story here. I don’t know what it is.
I’m sure there is one pissed off small business owner.

El Rancho Grande is now open at the corner of Stewart and Brown Street. I wish them the best of luck. How a business can make it after paying rent for a year without a single dollar coming is a monumental achievement.

An investigation should be led by city leadership how our permitting process went wrong- and how did we let a building get built that somehow can’t get businesses open faster. This is not the first business in this building to be delayed- Shish Wraps, Fusian, Cassano’s all had delays.

Once again- congrats to El Rancho Grande for making it through the maze of codes and rules and hoops and smoke and mirrors that Dayton seems to put in the way of every small business.

Redefine police.

My Facebook feed is full of videos of police acting badly. The news is full of stories of police brutality, aggression, militarization, racial bias. Our prisons are full of people with mental illness, addiction, poverty and the worst pox in America- being black.

The system is broken, expensive, and fundamentally flawed. In Ohio, you don’t even need a high school diploma to be a cop, and it’s good to see that you don’t need one in journalism either- almost all news sources directly quoted Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine saying that Ohio is one of three states that don’t require this- but none found out what the other two are.

Police officer training in Ohio is loosely regulated and mostly insufficient, but Ohio is just a microcosm of the state of police training in the United States. It’s debatable if we have any semblance of an idea of how to go about training police, and I’m going to blame 40 years of progressively more violent portrayals of police in film and television as a starting point for our failure.

We’ve gone from Andy Griffith as Sheriff Taylor to Michael Chiklis as dirty cop Vic Mackey in The Shield. Sgt. Joe Friday barely pulled his gun in Dragnet, but Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens in Justified, shot at least 18 people and still had a job. The TV show SWAT, was the beginning of cops thinking they could be soldiers and criminals got the idea that machine guns were status symbols for gangsters with Scarface. Not that it hadn’t been done before; during prohibition where every bad guy had a Tommy gun in our portrayal of Al Capone and John Dillinger.

In reality, the best cops I know are more social worker than bully, and could probably qualify for a master’s in counseling better than their target shooting skills. The sad thing is, the violence they have to deal with is mostly borne out of  other issues that our society refuses to address: drug abuse and mental illness, chronic poverty, inequity. Just changing the training isn’t enough- we have to change the whole concept of what a “free society” really is supposed to look like.

More surveillance isn’t the answer

Right now, the leading solution to police brutality issues is bodycams- a very expensive and misleading approach. Take a look at your cellphone camera- and think of how many unindexed, untagged, unorganized photos and videos you have. Now, think about storing video of you at work, every day, for at least 30 days- for you- and all of your coworkers- all to be made available on demand?

And personal video is only an after-the-fact solution- no matter what studies say about people behaving better when they know they are being observed. Need proof- watch this video showing what happens when a black man with corn rows openly carries an AR-15

There is a video on Facebook which takes this video and juxtaposes it with this video  of a white guy doing the same things- without the same result- but making it seem like it’s the same people organizing it (it’s not)

Needless to say, being on candid camera isn’t the answer.

More guns aren’t the answer either.

There has been a mad rush for “self protection” in this country, which is sad. In most civilized nations people don’t think they need a gun to be safe. Statistics clearly show this, but, thanks to our founding fathers (who can’t possibly have made a mistake) we’re convinced that having a deadly weapon is almost a god-given right.

In many countries the police don’t even have guns. Go look at your average beat cop today- a gun, a taser, a bulletproof vest, a shotgun or AR-15 in his trunk or mounted next to him inside the cruiser.

The poverty penalty

You have a right to a speedy trial, you have a right against unlawful detention, but, it seems this is more likely for wealthy white people than for poor black people. A recent opinion piece in the New York Times suggested abolishing bail.

This is a national problem. Across the United States, most of the people incarcerated in local jails have not been convicted of a crime but are awaiting trial. And most of those are waiting in jail not because of any specific risk they have been deemed to pose, but because they can’t pay their bail.

In other words, we are locking people up for being poor. This is unjust. We should abolish monetary bail outright.

Some will argue that bail is necessary to prevent flight before trial, but there is no good basis for that assumption. For one thing, people considered to pose an unacceptable risk of flight (or violence) are not granted bail in the first place. (Though the procedures for determining who poses a risk ought to be viewed with skepticism, especially since conceptions of risk are often shaped, tacitly or otherwise, by racist assumptions.)

Source: Too Many People in Jail? Abolish Bail – NYTimes.com

Sometimes the really big ideas are the simplest.

But, back to police training. Arguments can be made for higher standards, longer training hours, more continuous education, but so much of what we’ve focused on for our police officers is based on reacting to worst case scenarios: terrorists, “active shooters” and tactical supremacy.

Maybe what we need to focus on is a totally different approach to police work, training, hiring, and perception.

The riots in Baltimore weren’t caused by a menace to society. Freddie Gray was a loser x-con with a knife clipped to his belt- who “fled” police. Walter Scott was pulled over for a tail light violation that was questionable, and shot in the back when he ran. Somewhere, we’ve made a dramatic mistake on who we’ve chosen to “serve and protect.”

I return to the changes in police as portrayed in the media. I don’t recall the national FOP protesting the violent portrayal of police officers. I have heard FOP officials defending cops repeatedly for using a gun before their mouths. I’m still haunted by the shooting of John Crawford in a nearby Walmart- while holding a bb gun and talking on the phone, and the shooting of the 12-year-old Tamir Rice on a playground by an overzealous cop.

There is a video that inspired this post- of four Swedish police officers on a NY City subway, subduing a fight. Listen to their language, and watch how they treat their “perps”- this is a start:

If you’ve seen a really good cop doing his/her job, it looks and sounds more like this- than a gunshot ending all chances to discuss matters.

It’s time to set some national standards for police training, ethics, situational awareness and integrity, before we have more riots caused by police reacting badly. It’s time to reexamine our criminal justice system, which is putting record numbers of people behind bars who are more of a threat to themselves than to others. It’s time to invest in peace in America before we worry about peace in the Middle East.

You can’t take care of the world, while your own backyard is full of injustice.

UPDATE

the next morning- a very good NPR morning edition piece on changing police training: http://www.npr.org/2015/05/18/407619610/ways-to-avoid-community-violence-after-local-police-encounters

Listen carefully to the part where they changed the images in the academy, stopped falling in silent at attention- instead greeting one another, and the focus on the constitution.

INSKEEP: Whether a city explodes in protest or not, may depend on decisions made years before an officer ever pulled his gun or a citizen started recording video. Sue Rahr believes something similar. She’s thinking about police training. She is in charge of the police academy in Washington state.

SUE RAHR: You always want to create space and time so that you have the opportunity to engage in some kind of de-escalation strategy with the person first.

INSKEEP: Rahr points to a police shooting in Cleveland, Ohio, last year. An officer approached a man with a gun and killed him. The man turned out to be 12, and the gun turned out to be a toy. An investigation continues. Rahr says the officer might have learned to approach more carefully. That would avoid any sense of danger until he understood the situation. For two years, Rahr says, she has been adjusting the training for every local police recruit in Washington state. They’re supposed to focus less on being warriors and more on being guardians of citizens’ lives.

RAHR: We changed the training environment itself. We removed a lot of the symbols and the tools of the trade that were on the walls with murals of the Constitution. And we spent a great deal of time talking about the Constitution and what it means to a police officer. I tell my recruits in the first week there at the academy, my entire career, my training on the Constitution, consisted of how to work around it so that I could make an arrest and prove a case. It never occurred to me when I was working the street that I was there to support the Constitution. I viewed myself as being there to enforce the law. Some of the other things that we’ve done is move away from some of the military protocols. Instead of requiring recruits to snap to attention and be silent when a staff member passes, we require them to engage in conversation because that’s a skill they need in the field. Effective police officers are able to engage community members in conversation.

INSKEEP: So you’ve started this training – changing training – in Washington state before the incidents of the past year. But now we’ve had the incidents of the past year. And on this program, our correspondent Martin Kaste spoke with a number of officers who spoke of the risk of police becoming passive. They may be videotaped and scrutinized at any time, all their actions could be called into question – things they did in a split second and maybe it would be better for them to drive past that apparent crime scene than to get involved. How do you deal with that risk?RAHR: Well, I think it – you avoid that risk by the culture that is set in the police department where the officer works. And this is a part of policing that we don’t talk about often enough and that is the internal culture of the police department itself. There’s a cultural anthropologist named Simon Sinek. And Simon Sinek said the most important influence on the behavior of an officer on the street is going to be the internal culture of that police department. And so you need to focus on building a strong culture internally, where the leaders in the police department demonstrate respect and they set the tone for what they expect of their officers. Their behavior needs to model the kind of behavior they want to see on the street. So if you have a police department with a very strong, healthy culture and the officers know that if they are doing their best on the street and they’re wading into a difficult situation, they know that their leaders will support them, even if things don’t go well, if the officers are following policies and procedures. If an officer works for an agency where they believe the leaders are going to throw them under the bus if they make a mistake, then you’re absolutely right. The officers are going to drive past and not dive into that because they don’t want to take the chance of being unfairly criticized and punished.

Source: Ways To Avoid Community Violence After Local Police Encounters : NPR

 

Confessions of a rink rat

This was published today in the Dayton Daily News, responding to an earlier article where Kettering Council is deciding the fate of the Kettering Ice Arena. They’ve hired a consultant, to help decide whether to invest more money in the rink- or possibly change it’s use and eliminate the ice.

After school and Friday nights, Sunday afternoons, I spent on skates going round and round the ice rink.

There were pretty girls in figure skates twirling around in the center, and the hockey jocks showing off their wheels before the guards cautioned them to slow down. We all disliked Frank, the rink manager, who insisted on playing waltzes during public sessions off the big reel-to-reel tapes, complete with announcements of reverse skate, couples skate, and ladies choice.

It was at the rink that I made many of the longest lasting friendships. Some of them surviving 40-plus years and hundreds of miles. I watch on Facebook as little Wendy Grace had her own sons playing hockey at the very same rink. Thurmond, who was a rink guard and the driver of the green AMC Hornet that we had so many adventures in, had his son live with me for a while as a UD sophomore.

And then there was hockey, the sport that I’m still playing at 52 in an over-30 league called “Huff-n-Puff” at the Kettering Rec Center. It’s no checking, but not without contact. We’ve got Charlie who flies all over the world for his work with UD, still playing at close to 70. His wife comes to watch every game in his raggedy Toyota with the NY Rangers bumper stickers. For a long time Bob P. was playing. He stopped at 73 to focus more on riding his bicycle. Some of the guys who were in their forties had called him coach when they were 15. There’s Bob M., who’s the skipper of the Dayton Dragons — we’ve let his kid play with us, despite Mike being way too fast for any of us to catch and being well under the age limit — starting at about 16 — so father and son could play together. This year a full-bird Colonel joined us — with her pony-tail, M.D., and a license to fly an A-10- but don’t call her ma’am on the ice.

If you realize that guys drive in to play at 10 p.m. on Thursday nights from as far away as Springfield, Troy, Springboro — and most of these guys have been playing in the league for years — you understand what a special place the Kettering Ice Arena is.

Now we hear that there is discussion about its future. The options: to repurpose the space for something else, to reinvest in the current rink, and even possibly double down by adding a second rink with seating enough to hold minor league hockey games.

A “consultant” has been hired to provide the options so the powers that be can decide the fate of this community amenity.

Arguments that less than 15 percent of Kettering’s residents use the rink ring hollow to me. The same could be said about libraries, public schools, swimming pools, skateboard parks, BMX tracks, soccer fields and the Fraze Pavilion, give or take a few percentage points. The fact that Kettering makes an effort to provide such a wide variety of things to bring people together is what makes it what I consider the best run, most forward thinking community in the county. I’ve often said if Kettering was in the center and the largest community in the county, regionalism would have happened long ago.

As to the rink losing money and being poorly run, what price do you put on keeping kids off the streets in a safe and healthy environment? And, even though I didn’t like the way old Frank ran my rink growing up — there was a lot to be said for reverse skate, and couples skates — he knew more than I gave him credit, even if his taste in music sucked.

That KRC is the only publicly owned rink in Montgomery County makes Kettering a place people want live in and to visit. Wonder what happens when a city loses that ability — look at Dayton where I live.

More than likely the consultant will come back with either shut it down, or double down. For Kettering’s sake, and for the sake of a bunch of old Huffing-and-Puffing hockey players, and for kids who may one day become Olympians — I hope that Kettering realizes what a gem they have.

David Esrati is a middle aged rink rat and mediocre hockey player.
Source: Confessions of a rink rat | www.mydaytondailynews.com

Note- there is another publicly owned rink in Montgomery County- the bastard Riverscape rink, that’s 3/4 size and useless for anything but curling, broomball and a very few public session skaters. That they didn’t build a full-size rink (after already upgrading from a half-size) was stupid. They don’t make 3/4 size Zamboni’s either.

I’ve gotten quite a few notes from people on this piece. The reality is, when the consultant comes back to advise Kettering, we’re going to have to look closely at the recommendations, and then mobilize forces if the answer isn’t to keep it.

There is only one person in the area that would benefit from closing it down- and that would be Randy Gunlock of Austin Landing fame. He has wanted to build a rink in the complex- and bring a minor league team to the region- but, he’s competing with KRC and South Metro Ice rink- right near his location. South Metro doesn’t hold a candle to KRC- and if KRC shut down, there would be a whole bunch of people looking for ice time somewhere in the area.

Hara Arena would also lose if KRC built a second sheet with 1000+ seats- as the Dayton Demonz would probably move. No one should think the Federal Hockey League is a very good investment, but, if the Demonz leave Hara, there wouldn’t be much left to justify keeping the ice going there. It’s really hard for private rinks to compete with publicly funded ones.

There had been plans to build an ice rink on the original Wright State master plan, but it never happened. The Bombers had to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get the ice into the Nutter Center- something that could have been taken care of for a lot less, had the original man behind the Nutter Center, Tom Oddy, listened to a freshman who visited his office on his second day on campus. I made a pitch to put ice in, or at least set it up for ice- for the future. Oddy said he’d just bring in portable ice- and that took the retrofit price from a few hundred thousand to a few million.

The best location for a new rink for Dayton would be at the Fairgrounds- or on UD land along Stewart. With a ton of college kids from the East Coast who already know how to skate- we could see more family friendly reasons to come eat on Brown St and then take in a game or go skating. Throw in a small Cineplex and Dayton might start to see a nexus of accessible family fun. Toss in an indoor skatepark and bike track, and lookout.

There is one other thing to consider- Dayton spent $23 million to build the stadium for the Dragons in the name of “Economic Development”- and very few Dayton kids have every played a game on that field of dreams. Ice rinks aren’t like that. When the pro’s aren’t playing, anyone else can go skate on the very same ice. If Kettering understood how many people came to Kettering- and got a positive feeling about their community just because of that facility- it’s all money well spent.

Saturday night: PechaKucha 20×20 – Dayton – Vol. 23 @ A World A’Fair but FREE

I feel bad that I still haven’t put together the video for YouTube of my infamous “how to piss people off” presentation at PK night 22 back in March- but- here we are in May- with something new: PK on a Saturday night!

We’ll be at the Dayton Convention Center Saturday, May 16th, 7:30 p.m. with a PK as part of Dayton’s vibrant annual A World A’Fair celebration! We’ve got our own meeting room and will be serving beer + peanuts. There is a separate entrance to our space on the main floor, so no need to pay for PK. Look for our posters. The festival will have plenty of food and beverage for hungry people, and admission is $8 at the door, right next to us.

Source: PechaKucha 20×20 – Dayton – Vol. 23 – A World A’Fair

So- come on down- ride Dayton Link to the Convention Center, and enjoy an evening of presentations that will hopefully make you laugh, think, drink, or…

The Convention Center is in the block between S. Main and Jefferson, on E. Fifth Street across the street from the Crowne Plaza. You can park in the Transportation Center garage- or on the street for free.

PK 22 is sponsored and organized by the  AIA (the local architects) so we’ll hear architects do their thing. Since PK was invented by a couple of Canadian architects in Japan, they somehow think they are better at it than the rest of us. PK has spread across the globe to over 800 cities, so this isn’t just a Dayton thing.

This is where the cool cats will be hanging Saturday, and me. Hope to see you there.

When you’re bad, mediocre looks good: Dayton Daily news attempts at social

I had a talk with Ron Rollins last night at the Sideshow X. Ron’s an artist, and the editor of the “Opinion pages” of the Dayton Daily news.

He assured me that the Dayton Daily news was not for sale. I think that decision is way above his paygrade, but, I’m glad he’s so sure.

In the world of journalism, there had always been the struggle of keeping the journalism and the business/ad side separate. With the advent of the internet and the free sharing of content news organizations got scared. Very scared. The first and biggest enemy was Craigslist- where their bread and butter money maker- classified ads- went flying away too. Instantly.

Craigslist isn’t perfect. They have a real problem with spammers- especially in the personals sections (the benefit of these spam ads has never been obvious to me, same way spam email never made much sense either). But, the prospect of free for a listing to hire your new office manager or to sell your crib beat the hell out of $7 a line of micro type for a day on the non-searchable, version the newspaper provided.

Hence, newspapers love to run stories about Craigslist killers, thieves and scams.

The real issue of the “newspaper” was never the news part- it was the “paper” part. Taking the electron bits that were used by word processors, digital cameras, page layout programs, etc.- and converting them into physical atoms- was and is expensive. It’s also stupid. For the price of a bad tablet- you can rent subscribers a digital version much cheaper than the cost of printing a paper, and distributing it across the region. The brainiacs at Cox built the state of the art buggy whip printing facility (in Warren County) just about the time the Internet was about to take off. They try to put frosting on the pig by calling it a “Print Technology Center.”

In an everlasting quest to make a buck- they follow other models blindly and think they know what they are doing as page counts go up- which means ad showings go up. This was what Ron was so proud of last night- and I’m just laughing.

Besides being a pain in the ass to Dayton, with this blog, my real job is owning a small ad agency. The reasons it’s small, and in Dayton are because of personal choices I’ve made as the only son of two amazing aging parents that I have to take care of. Although I may bitch about it sometimes, I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than to have them across the street from me- and for me to be able to give them back the time they spent raising me.

All that said- my ad agency isn’t like the others- it’s called “The Next Wave” for a reason- and the main one is that I’ve always been ahead of the curve on where the industry is headed- first with a Mac for Desktop publishing and direct to film print prep, digital video, open source content management, organic SEO, customer relationship management systems, social media, and now working with sophisticated marketing automation.

Advertisers no longer struggle with finding space to run ads- online there is an almost infinite supply of ad space to buy, and while it’s easy to sell ads to the unsophisticated locals who still think they know how to buy ads and make them on their own, the real money in advertising these days is going to companies that can directly target very specific customers- which is why Facebook is cashing in beyond it’s wildest dreams and Yahoo is not. Note, the Dayton Daily had a partnership with Yahoo for a while.

In order to directly target customers for advertising, there are a couple of keys online: very specific content that is accessed by a distinct URL, with very little chance of inadvertent clicks (meaning ads that you are trying to navigate past to get to  more content- don’t count as clicks when most of them are accidental) and that the content can’t be accessed without a click- meaning the whole paper as a picture on an iPad that can be scanned- isn’t worth a damn for generating targeting data.

Facebook is fighting click bait like crazy- the idea that you post content that forces a click with teasers is bad in their book- because it makes you go off their site to another- and this is the main way that the DDn is driving views and thinking they have a “social strategy”- they don’t.

Social media has been co-opted by idiots who think it’s a one way platform to foist your content and ads onto people. That may be 95% of what social is by current day practitioners- but it’s not. Social is two way – with hosted, moderated conversations- like the comments on this site. Where social discussion takes place. Very few old media have figured out the power of subscription to comments either via email or RSS- but, it’s what makes Facebook so powerful- example in case I’ve lost you- you comment on a friends post, every time someone else comments, you get a notification asking you to come back and comment again- that’s social strategy.

I could write an entire book on the strategy of effective social marketing- but instead I’ve been teaching my www.websitetology.com seminars since 2005. No one from the Dayton Daily news has ever taken the seminar- and it’s too bad- they might have learned something.

The Dayton Daily thinks their launch of www.Dayton.com is somehow a success. Rollins even thinks the clown posse they hired to help them with the marketing of it know what they are doing. Of course, when you’re bad, mediocre looks good. The reality is, adding more properties to manage isn’t the answer- launching good ones is. We’ve seen them try this before- and I mocked it then, anyone remember MeetFred.com?

The reality is that most of the people in journalism still don’t know how the internet can make their content gathering and curation so much easier and more powerful. You wouldn’t believe what I can learn in advance from this site and its web-stats. I know when almost anyone in the public sector is job hunting- or been naughty, before you’ll ever read about it in the Dayton Daily news. And just remember, this is the hobby site of one person- they have an entire paid staff doing theirs….

The real question is- and I ask this of my readers who’ve taken the time to read this, if they call, how much should I charge the people at Cox Media to tell them how to save their sorry “media empire?”

 

Time AS Money. The Dayton Time Bank

A long time ago, barter was replaced with currency, and a lunatic science called economics was invented- which later gave us “finance” which led to the insanity of Wall Street having the ability of turning our economy into a joke.

The idea of paper money being worth something is something you were just born understanding in America. You don’t question it, you just take it for granted- “In God We Trust” is all you need to think that greenback actually means something.

But, there are other economies- the black market, the barter economy, the secondary markets of used goods, and then, well, there’s now a TimeBank- right here in Dayton.

I went to an orientation tonight- the first step, and a required one, to become a member. It’ll take about 2 hours of your time- and then, you never have to go to it again. They hold them the first Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at 624 Xenia Avenue in Dayton’s Twin Towers neighborhood- and the Third Sunday at 4 p.m.- with a potluck dinner at 5:30 p.m. on that Sunday- more on the food later.

The concept of TimeBanking is that everyone has value- and can do something for someone else- and in exchange for that hour, you get an hour in your Timebank- to spend with someone else. You get 2 hours’ credit just for attending orientation.  The system relies on software to match up offers and requests-  I offer an hour of marketing help, you offer an hour of weeding. Your hour is worth my hour. An hour is called a time dollar. One for one. If it sounds like socialism- it sort of is. Neurosurgeon or nanny- your hour is the same. It’s up to you on how many hours you want to earn- or spend and with whom. The site is sort of like a dating site- with reviews of your work, and keeping track of your hours.

The cool thing is- non-profits- who usually beg for volunteer hours, can now reward volunteers with hours for hours- and they are like the Fed- they can keep giving away hours as long as they want. So, my neighborhood can pay me for running my neighborhood soccer program, or for an alley cleanup, Habitat for Humanity or Rebuilding Together, could “pay” its volunteers with hours- and they can then collect from others. All of it- unreported to the IRS- sort of like Bitcoin in the beginning.

You can register as an individual, or a business, or a non-profit. Then, make requests for services if you can’t find someone already offering it.

It’s already happening in over 430 communities around the globe, with over a million hours swapped. And, your hours in Dayton can be spent in those other communities.

The driving force behind this has been Kate Ervin, who got interested in this 10 years ago- before the software was available. Then, the cost of administering the program would have been high- but, now- it’s easy. Some communities charge a cash membership fee- but, with the help of East End Community Services, where Kate now works, they are able to offer it with free memberships.

If your church is a non-profit- and you do community outreach, think about joining. If you are a member of a non-profit that does any kind of community volunteer work- join. If you like helping people- join.

The really interesting part comes from being a part of a community of volunteers who meet monthly for the pot-luck. It’s here, where you meet others who are offering their services- and you can find out who you want to spend your time dollars with.

This is a great way to fill in your professional schedule- and meet people you might not be able to work with using normal dollars. I plan on offering a limited numbers of seats to my www.websitetology.com seminar for time dollars. I’ve got a client who is a psychologist who isn’t set up to take all insurances- who may grow her practice this way.

I hate gardening- and weeding. I love helping people with marketing. Well worth a trade for a few hours a week. In some communities- dentists and doctors have joined.

Here’s a video- and a link to the homepage: https://hourworld.org

and a link to a PBS piece on it: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business-july-dec10-maine_11-17/