Who owns the Montgomery County Democratic Party Headquarters?

I attended an organizing meeting for Bernie Sanders for President tonight at the Montgomery County Democratic Party HQ on S. Wilkinson Street. There were about 40 people in attendance. That equals what sometimes shows up for a MCDP meeting.

Apparently, there is a question whether Democrats can meet to organize in their own building without permission of Party Chairman, and Dayton Clerk of Courts- Mark Owens. The very one who was against the recent move to regionalism because it:

could lead to the disenfranchisement of Dayton’s 140,000 residents when pushed into a larger voting block
It’s no secret that the people behind the curtain who run the MCDP and choose candidates and endorse before primaries in local races, have already come out in support of Hillary Clinton, but is it their right to stop other Dems from organizing? To stop primary elections from taking place?
If the local Democratic party doesn’t believe in the Democratic process, maybe it’s time to withdraw their credentials, stop them from nominating half of the Board of Elections, since they don’t really stand for all Dems- just the ones they’ve already put in power.
Jon Husted, can we get an investigation?

Faux regionalism plan finds foes pre-launch: must be good

The headline is a joke. “Plan divides Democratic leaders” says today’s Dayton Daily news. Calling them “leaders” is the first miscue, and the second is referring to them as “Democratic” since the party has worked to make sure no one gets elected, or even on the ballot, before first passing muster in front of a select group of a “screening committee” of which Dayton Clerk of Courts Mark Owens and County Commissioner Dan Foley both are a part of. They endorse pre-primary filing, to strongly advise people NOT TO RUN- unless they gain the endorsement. This is how it is in the “Democratic” monarchy of Montgomery County.

The paper says there is a rift between Owens and Foley:

One county commissioner’s plan to unify the governments of Dayton and Montgomery County has apparently caused a rift between the Democrat and his party chairman before a coming announcement this week detailing the consolidation effort.

Commissioner Dan Foley, a longtime advocate for a more regional government, said he will announce the proposal, called Dayton Together, downtown on Thursday. On Monday, Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Owens tersely questioned Foley’s merger plan push.

In the letter, Owens writes to Foley: “First, a number of questions have been raised about the transparency of your actions to date, the process you are planning, who is involved and how your plans are being funded.” Foley said this effort shouldn’t come as a surprise to the community as he became active in the discussion as early as 2008 after he was first elected commissioner in 2006. Paul Leonard, former Dayton mayor and lieutenant governor, is co-chair of a 16-member committee working on the charter. Foley said committee members working on the plan would be revealed Thursday at the 1 p.m. news conference at the Engineers Club of Dayton.

“Our first job that we are going to be announcing Thursday is really building this charter so people can then form an opinion about whether they support it or not,” Foley said.

This is just the first step in a months-long process, the county commissioner said. Any charter would have to go to voters and be approved.“We’re asking people to keep an open mind until we finish the charter,” Foley said. “The community has the ability to say yes, they support it, or no, they don’t think it’s a good idea. But we’ve never really respected the community by asking them yet. So what we’re trying to do is build the process,” Foley said.

The result of that process, Owens said, could lead to the disenfranchisement of Dayton’s 140,000 residents when pushed into a larger voting block.

“They won’t have a say in local government like the people in Kettering would, Vandalia would and Huber Heights would.” Owens said in the letter it would diminish Dayton’s ability to help determine police and fire staffing, when streets are paved and when trash is collected.

Regional economic competitiveness and cost savings would outweigh some early growing pains, Foley said. “The question about a more efficient structure of local government is one that’s rooting in how can we compete better for jobs and how do we become more unified,” he said.

Source: Plan divides Democratic leaders

This  “Dayton Together” effort has been going on for a while, only it was called “One Dayton” a few years back. The group screwed a local consultant who was hired to manage the process, and seems to have scaled back the grand plans.

But, let’s be honest about what’s really bugging Mark Owens. Dan Foley used to be clerk of courts. He full well knows that there is only one need in the county for a clerk of courts, one single website for all legal filings, and one database and system- at the county level. That’s the way it’s done in Columbus. Municipal judges, who are limited to hearing misdemeanor cases, run countywide. If we really were doing this right, Kettering, Centerville, Vandalia, Huber Heights, Oakwood, Miamisburg and who knows who else- would all lose their municipal courts- and the patronage jobs that go with them (Owens has a staff of 90 I think). And, the races for Municipal Court judge- plums to hand out to the party faithful in the law profession (just because politicians make laws, we somehow think lawyers are somehow qualified to be leaders, nothing can be farther from the truth) would be harder to control. (We rarely ever have someone challenge a sitting judge in Montgomery County- thanks to an “unwritten agreement” between the parties– another way voters are disenfranchised- by Mark Owens, who DOES NOT BELIEVE IN LETTING VOTERS CHOOSE CANDIDATES).

Let’s be really honest. The idiots in Columbus who keep talking about Ohio taxes being too high are missing the problem. Ohio’s problems stem back to the Northwest Ordinance of 1785 which divided Ohio into 88 counties and gave us this insane structure of villages, townships, cities, counties and a whole other grid of school boards, that has no rhyme or reason, but results in way too much governmental overhead.

80% of Ohio’s population is packed into large urban areas. The rest of it- is rural farm land with sparse population. By electing so many Tom, Dick and Janes, we really end up with quantity over quality and a big whopping bill to pay.

Don’t count Foley as a saint either- his goal is to get a job at the quasi-public slush fund he helped start- the Dayton Development Coalition which will pay him 2 to 3 times what he makes as a County Commissioner- for doing next to nothing (County Commissioners also do next to nothing- since we have a County Administrator who actually runs the county).

The biggest problem in all this is that we have to say “look at this” to legitimize doing the right thing. That regionalism worked in Indianapolis or Louisville or even partially in Columbus isn’t how you make something better- look at the entire State of North Carolina that runs via County Governments and wake up.

Also- stop picking party puppets to get elected by the party instead of the people. That would be a real start to regionalism.

Ginger and Spice- oh so nice

No this isn’t a post about a British girl band. It’s an overdue review/recommendation of the little Chinese restaurant, Ginger and Spice,  that opened on Brown Street back in January.

It’s squeezed in between Subway and Hot Head Burritos- in the little strip built by JZ Properties- when we already thought we had enough choices. It has had a bunch of places go in and close. Tropical smoothie, DQ/Orange Julius, etc. When I saw it was going to have an Asian place I was wondering how they were going to fit it all in. The answer: tightly.

Beijing Pork from Ginger and Spice in Dayton Ohio

Beijing Pork from Ginger and Spice

The food is wonderful. The Beijing Pork, the first time I had it- was one of the best Chinese dishes I’d ever had- unfortunately, it’s never been quite the same- but- still good. Their menu description:

Lightly breaded and fried pork loin, layered with delicious sauce crafted from pineapples and tangerine rinds.

Ginger and spice wontons from Ginger and Spice in Dayton

Ginger and Spice wontons

Another favorite is the Ginger & Spice Wontons – which have a bit of a kick – again their description:

Handmade wontons stuffed with ground pork, seasoned with our mild spicy house special sauce.

They say they source a lot of their ingredients locally- and try to stay with organic/gmo/hormone-free sources. It may be part of the reason they’ve had two one dollar price increases since they opened. At one point, I had an email with a list of their local providers, but I can’t find it now. Their website doesn’t list them.

Dayton tax dollars being donated to the rich

The Talbott Tower is owned by Allan Rinzler. He’s not exactly hurting for cash- he can afford to donate enough money to have a sports complex named after himself at Wright State. The Talbott tower is one of the higher occupancy towers left in downtown- in fact, I remember Mr. Rinzler telling me it’s one of the only ones to not go into bankruptcy/foreclosure.

And this is probably one of the reasons why:

The corporate headquarters for YMCA of Greater Dayton is moving to an office building across the street in downtown Dayton.

The YMCA is finalizing a lease at the Talbott Tower for 9,000 square feet for its corporate headquarters. The organization’s headquarters are currently in an 8,000-square-foot space in the 111 W. 1st St. building across the street. The deal will keep the group’s 30 employees, with a total payroll of $1.25 million, in downtown. Those employees will continue to support downtown retailers, and pay Dayton income taxes.

“We were presented with a great opportunity and we’re excited to go over to the Talbott Tower,” said Dale Brunner, president and CEO. “We’re excited to sign it and stay part of the downtown area.”

The city of Dayton on Wednesday morning approved a $75,000 neighborhood grant to help the Talbott Tower fund about $150,000 worth of renovations in the new space, in order to keep the YMCA in downtown. That decision reflects the fact that nonprofits are now among the most dynamic office users in downtown, and the most sought after by office tower landlords looking to fill their vacancies.

Bob Grabringer, property manager for the tower, will act as the construction manager and will hire subcontractors with whom he already has a relationship.

Source: Dayton YMCA to move HQ into Talbott Tower – Dayton Business Journal

That’s $75K of your money- enough to pay a cop or two for a year, or mow an awful lot of empty lots- or tear down a few abandoned homes. If you were the owner of the building across the street that the Y was moving away from- you could use that money to try to keep the Y in your building, but that’s not how it works in Dayton. We take care of those who take care of those who run for office.

This isn’t the first time Rinzler has been on the receiving end of a good taxpayerfunded deal- he was one of the partners that owned the old Sears building downtown, along with the Feldmans (our former county administrators family), Mr. Sandy Mendelson, Mr. Jason Liff and Irvin Moskowitz all got a nice bit of action to make sure that the county could put a fountain on a tiny bit of that parcel. Bought for $200K and sold for over $8 million.

There are lots of other developers who have gotten support from the city- and still ended up in bankruptcy. Your tax dollars contributed to the Arcade, the Arcade Tower, the former CitFed, 5/3rd bank and now Premier Health Tower, all of which failed.

Don’t you wonder if all the money that’s been squandered on “economic development” had been spent on cleaning and repairing streets, safety forces, better schools, parks- and getting out of the way of developers- we might never have taken a dive. Or if we hadn’t raised our income tax over that of every other community- since it was collected from non-residents- who have now all voted with theit feet to the mecca of tax-free income (if you are a white collar employee only) at Austin Landing.

Tax dollars that are spent in pursuit of tax dollars are dollars a lot like a certain cartoon character who used to say, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”- but, Tuesday never seems to come to Dayton.

The Dayton Daily makes up the news

As most of my readers know- I’m a huge University of Dayton Women’s basketball fan. So last night- I was at Milano’s watching the first battle of the roommates- and former Flyers, Andrea Hoover who was a third-round pick by the LA Sparks and Ally Malott who was a first-round pick by the Washington Mystics.

Unfortunately, Hoover’s Sparks continued their losing streak and lost.
But, no, wait, the Dayton Daily news gave the game to…. well….

WNBA  Malott’s Sparks win Flyer reunion  Former University of Dayton standouts Andrea Hoover and Ally Malott played against each other for the first time as professionals Tuesday, and while Hoover put up better numbers, Malott’s team, the Los Angeles Sparks, beat the host Washington Mystics 84-80.  Both players came off the bench, Hoover for 20 minutes, Malott for eight. Hoover scored four points on 1-for-5 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. Malott did not attempt a shot and went scoreless.

Uh, the facts please. Every thing in this DDN article is wrong.

WNBA

Malott’s Sparks win Flyer reunion

Former University of Dayton standouts Andrea Hoover and Ally Malott played against each other for the first time as professionals Tuesday, and while Hoover put up better numbers, Malott’s team, the Los Angeles Sparks, beat the host Washington Mystics 84-80.

Both players came off the bench, Hoover for 20 minutes, Malott for eight. Hoover scored four points on 1-for-5 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. Malott did not attempt a shot and went scoreless.

Source: IN THE NEWS

To get this right – Malott plays for the Mystics and won, 84-80. Need proof- here’s the WNBA box score link. Their site is actually really awesome- with easy to track individual players’s stats.

Just remember- if you read it in the Dayton Daily- it may be news- to the people they write about….

 

Campaign contribution tracking, bribery and you

Traffic camCitizens United threw the door open to unlimited money in politics. The Federal Elections Commission “tracking” of donations is such a joke that another site, www.opensecrets.org is the only place you can go to get actual, usable data- like, who gave to whom, from what industry, to what cause etc. However, it’s still built on top of the FEC Data which is bad data to begin with. Need proof? Look at this old post where billionaire Wall Street wizard Steven, or is it Stephen? Is listed with two different names.

When it comes to local and state campaigns, the record keeping is even worse. Handwritten reports are routinely turned in, scanned- and posted on badly built websites to make the records “public.” No database of local election donors exists, making it very hard and time consuming to trace the donors and tie cases like this Redflex bribery scandal together:

A former chief executive officer for red light ticket camera company RedFlex Traffic Systems, the vendor for red light cameras in the Dayton area, pleaded guilty to participating in an eight-year bribery and fraud scheme, the FBI said Friday.

There was no mention of any links to the Dayton area, but officials in Columbus and Cincinnati were said to be involved in the scheme.

According to the plea agreement obtained by the Dayton Daily News, various unnamed elected officials in both cities received disbursements through the Democratic Party from a consultant hired by the company totaling $30,000. The payments were in the form of campaign contributions. The Columbus Dispatch was reporting Friday that one of the officials was Columbus City Council President Andrew Ginther.

The announcement came from Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart of the Southern District of Ohio and Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office.

The executive, Karen L. Finley, 55, of Cave Creek, Arizona, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Terence P. Kemp of the Southern District of Ohio to a one-count information charging her with conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and honest services wire and mail fraud.

Finley’s sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date, the FBI said.

According to the announcement, from December 2005 to February 2013, Finley, who served as CEO of the red light camera enforcement company, admitted that between 2005 and 2013 she participated in a scheme in which the company made campaign contributions to elected public officials in Columbus and Cincinnati through a consultant retained by the company.

While the consultant is unnamed in court documents, a Dayton Daily News review of campaign contributions found that John P. Raphael made a $20,000 contribution to the Ohio Democratic Party on Oct. 21, 2011 – the amount and date referenced in the Finley plea agreement. His address is listed at 261 E. North Broadway St., Columbus.

Raphael’s clients include contractors who, according to the city auditor’s office, hold more than $61.7 million in contracts with Columbus City Hall. Raphael didn’t immediately return a request for comment left on a voice mail message system.

Among them are construction companies and Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., the company that supplies and operates the city’s red-light cameras.

“According to admissions made in connection with her plea, Finley and others, including another executive of the company, agreed to provide the conduit campaign contributions with the understanding that the elected public officials would assist the company in obtaining or retaining municipal contracts, including a photo red light enforcement contract with the city of Columbus. Finley also admitted she and her co-conspirators concealed the true nature and source of the payments by the consultant’s submission and the company’s payment of false invoices for “consulting services,” which funds the consultant then provided to the campaigns of the elected public officials,” the release said.

Source: Camera vendor admits bribery

Considering that Dayton is still using the Redflex cameras, and our over $650,000 was spent in our last mayoral election- it’s hard to believe that some Redflex money didn’t make it into someone’s campaign coffers.

But, how are you going to tell? There is no database to look up all donors and all donations and all recipients. It’s download each one of the campaign finance reports- as many as 6 a year in an election cycle – per candidate- and then go through them manually- trying to put things together. Trust me, someone tipped the FBI off on this, because there is no way they started this by connecting the dots online.

Considering that our voting records are on line- and available in a searchable format, including our address, party affiliation, age, and voting history, don’t you think we should be able to look up who bought our politicians.

The right way to do this is pretty simple. All candidates register as a candidate and are issued a debit card for purchases, and if need be, an online check-writing account. All donors must register with a REAL Federal Elections Commission, which would require their Social Security number, employer, industry, address, age and yes- their voting record (actual times and places they vote- not how they voted) and through that portal- they can donate as much as they want to any political organization- with a direct bank-to-bank transfer. You know, if they can catch old Denny Hastert for not reporting hush money transfers, we ought to be able to catch the money transfers that turn our political hacks into paid shills.

The system would include a smart phone app for collecting donations at fundraising events, and all cash collected would have to be immediately deposited.

Vendors would also have to register, so they could be paid, making it possible to quickly see which vendors are used by which candidates. Lobbyists would also have to be paid through the system, and have their accounts made public.

The system would bring total transparency to all political campaign money, and also make researching cases like this Redflex scandal an easy one to track.

This is probably why Columbus has been coming down so hard on the traffic cams, not because they work, but because of resentment that some of the money didn’t come their way. Redflex gets a percentage of every ticket that is issued into perpetuity from their cameras- providing a non-stop source of revenue to continue the payoffs.

If the system was a simple purchase and you own it, the money flow would be 100% back to the community that bought and installed them. If there was one part of this deal that always stunk it was the payoff to Redflex. However this isn’t any different than the deal the casinos made to be handed a monopoly on gambling in Ohio.

Our campaign finance reporting system is a joke. Creating a single portal for all donations would put an end to a lot of the games that are being played in order to buy your way into office.

Will this system be implemented? Not until we get rid of the best politicians money can buy- they like it just the way it is.

UPDATE

27 June 2015 If you want to see the way a real newspaper reports about a news story- you should wander over to the Chicago Tribune:
This is the link to a short article: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-01-23/news/ct-redflex-red-light-bribery-20140123_1_redflex-holdings-ltd-company-policy-camera-company

but the link at the end (it’s 2 pages) has a link to a summary of all the articles about the red light scams in Chicago- including short yellows, the firing of Redflex etc-
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/redlight/

Event: The cost of gold- child labor and mining presentation

An older miner and a younger boy are chin deep in frigid water 150-meters below the surface as they work a gold mine near Syndicate on the island of Masbate. Image by Larry C. Price. Philippines, 2012.

An older miner and a younger boy are chin deep in frigid water 150-meters below the surface as they work a gold mine near Syndicate on the island of Masbate. Image by Larry C. Price. Philippines, 2012.

This Friday night, June 19, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 125 N. Wilkinson St., Dayton, OH 45402 at 7 p.m., you can hear my friend Larry C. Price talk and share his amazing photographs that catalog  horrendous mining practices that bring gold to you. The event is FREE!

He’s been on assignment for the last two years in Africa, Indonesia and the Philippines, taking  photos for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. This is the write-up for another talk on the same subject:

Larry will show work from the Philippines, Burkina Faso and Indonesia where children, some as young as four, smash boulders, haul 60-pound bags of ore, handle mercury and other toxic materials, and dive underwater into deep pits.

Although large foreign countries had mined Burkina Faso gold for almost half a century, it wasn’t until the famines of the 1980s forced families off their farms that artisanal or small-scale mining took root. Now, to maximize profits, entire families work the mines—this means putting children to work as child laborers. Gold fever shows no sign of ending.

The Philippines produced more than 1 million troy ounces of gold in 2011, ranking 18th in world production. More than half of that gold came from small-scale mines. In these mines, many of them illegal, entire families, including very young children, dig, pan, crush and haul rock. Children risk injury and death and face long-term health problems caused by back-breaking labor, exposure to dust and chemicals and, worst of all, mercury poisoning. Indonesia and the Philippines officially ban child labor, the burning of mercury and most small-scale gold mining. But in both countries, pervasive corruption, payoffs to local officials and weak central governments make it difficult to curb these practices, especially in remote areas.

Source: Talks @ Pulitzer with Larry C. Price | Pulitzer Center

The photographs are some of the most powerful you’ll ever witness. This is nothing new for Price, who has won the Pulitzer Prize twice for his reporting in war zones. To get the photos, Price crawled into dangerous mine shafts, was often submerged in water, was exposed to mercury that the miners use to identify the gold, and risked his life, to bring the story to the rest of the world.

Hope to see you there.

 

Tiny Houses come to Dayton. 2 years later…

Tiny House Jamboree in Dayton Ohio

Coming to the Hook Estate June 19- June 21

The last time I ran for Dayton City Commission I had a section of my platform about building Tiny Houses in Dayton. It wasn’t discussed by anyone on the campaign trail. No one cared. Dayton just voted for more of the same. Next weekend, the “Tiny House Jamboree” is coming to the Hook Estate– great, we can look, but it’s still not legal to build one in Dayton.

Last year I wrote:

Do zoning and building codes really protect our property values- or keep us safe? Or are they just another way for government to stick its nose where it doesn’t belong? Is the reason for big houses- because the construction, home building, banking and insurance industries don’t want you to build your own house for cash?

Source: Why infill housing fails in a failing community. The Tiny House option. – Esrati

One of the biggest problems in our real estate market is the practice of valuation. Your house isn’t worth what you say it is- even if someone else wants to buy it for that amount- unless they have cash. All others must rely on “Comps” or “Comparables” and this makes tiny houses a bad option for a neighbor. Your house is worth $120,000, the tiny house next door is $20,000- that hurts your property value, so zoning laws “protect us” from diversity. Of course, if someone wants to build a million dollar home next door- you’re all for it (discrimination is alive and well).

The reality is that Dayton is losing population, losing value, and losing taxable property at an appalling rate. Our geniuses in charge think the solution is to build new versions of the same thing and people will come. As I said in the above referenced post- this is insanity.

The more I think about successfully implementing tiny houses in Dayton- I think they need to be built in mini-communities, on three lot parcels. In the center would be a shared space, community room, with a small workshop, storage for garden tools, laundry, mud-room, and mini-gym. It would have a solar roof, and also serve as the geothermal hub for the 8 tiny houses that would surround it in a semi-circle.

These little communities would be valued collectively- and billed collectively for taxes, trash, water- and would have one shared fast pipe internet connection.

By regulation, one home would be reserved for transitioning the homeless, veterans, and recovering addicta in order to qualify for the “collective” tax/trash/water billing. If you don’t want to “adopt” a low-income household- you pay full boat for each unit.

If you want examples of this type of community- Dayton still has a few “Mutual Homes” arrangements- left over from idealists of another time. Read more about it on Jeff Dwellen’s amazing Daytonolgy post: Dayton’s Socialist Suburb

I’m happy the Tiny House movement is gaining traction in Dayton. It took from 2009 to 2015 for Dayton to launch bike share after I brought the idea to the table, so maybe by 2019 we’ll start to see Tiny Houses.

Political campaign hot cards and websites for less

Shameless plug, or doing my part to change the way politics work?

One of the biggest problems facing America is the high cost of running for office. I know full well how much it costs, having run more times than most (and lost).

To help cut the expense of running for office- my firm, The Next Wave, does campaign pieces- websites- printing- for a lot less than what most “political consultants” charge- and it looks better.

We just did a logo, hotcards, letterhead, envelopes, car magnet and a website for local judicial candidate Mia Wortham Spells.

Hot Card for Mia Wortham Spells

Front of hotcard for Mia Wortham Spells

Mia Wortham Spells hotcard

The back of the Hotcard for Mia Wortham Spells

The website is basic, but functional and responsive. Done in WordPress, with a PayPal donation engine. You can learn how to manage a WordPress website yourself by coming to one of our Websitetology Seminars, the next one is Tuesday June 23.

Our printing prices are some of the best in town- 1000 4/c, 2/s 4×6 hotcards on 16 pt stock are only $44.55 You can find more prices at www.thenextwaveprinting.com

We’re also doing design work, hotcards, banners and yard signs for Dayton City Commission Scott Sliver and signs and some other printing for Dayton School Board candidate John McManus.

We’ve done door hangers for Beavercreek Township Trustee Tom Kretz, notecards for State Rep. Jim Butler,  Butler Twp. Trustee Joe Flanagan, Liberty Twp. Trustee candidate Rhonda Freeze and of course former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell and city commission candidate David Greer (one of my favorite portrait shoots). This is mostly in the name of full disclosure- and just because we do design and print for these people, doesn’t mean it’s an endorsement.

What’s funny is that the local Democratic party does a lot of its printing out of Columbus instead of supporting a local Service Disabled Veteran (me) and probably pays more for everything.

Don’t overpay for crappy printing for campaign literature that no one will read anyway – buy it from The Next Wave.
:-)

It’s time you elected politicians as tight with their own money as they’ll be with your money.

 

The real cost of private police forces

If only…

I walk into Kroger on Wayne Ave., and there he is, armed, and probably a lot more dangerous than he looks. The private security officer. Kroger pays for him, and that cost is reflected in my grocery bill.

Family Dollar on Wayne, despite multiple robberies, including one where a gun was fired inches away from a manager’s head– pays for a private cop for a few weeks then stops- because if they had to build his pay into their product costs- apparently, people would stop shopping there.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped Miami Valley Hospital from having its own private police force. Note- I used the word “police” not security guard. Sure, we’ll just add it to your bill, which we make up as we feel fit, one price for you, another price for you, and yet another price for someone else.

The University of Dayton has a police department, too. More like a secret service. Get arrested by them as a student, and we’ll deal with you in our secret court and our secret system, even if you were committing a felony. A country of our own apparently.

The rise of private police forces and hired gun security services is a relatively new thing. The real question is should these private armies really have legal standing? And, why are they necessary in the first place?

Some blame the cost of unions and pensions of the real police. Others say crime is rising and we have to protect our fiefdoms.

The reality is that society is breaking down and we’re blissfully ignoring the warning signs.

When the City of Dayton decided that “creating economic opportunity” was more important than essential city services, money started flowing to places like CityWide Development, the Downtown Dayton Partnership, the Dayton Development Coalition, its own internal Department of Economic Development- and then throw in the insane waste of tax dollars buying up real estate that then stopped producing taxes while they sit on it until someone wants to have it for a song…. and dance, promising “Jobs!”

Our police force has basically fallen in half since I moved into the city in 1986. The city hasn’t gotten geographically smaller, and the population didn’t drop by half either, so less police have to deal with the same distances, a few less people, and an economy that keeps making things more difficult to stay on the right side of the law (poverty and crime are closely related).

Take all the money that we’ve spent on the fixing up of the Arcade (the last time- before we sold it to Tom Danis for $36,000), the Arcade Tower ($37 million- later sold off in foreclosure) and the countless little pieces of property that we bought without any public use (no one has explained why the city spent over $100,000 for the plot of land that is now known as Garden Station 20 years or so ago). The latest fiasco at the Cliburn Manor site is only another example of tax dollars diverted from public uses to benefit private parties. At some point, this has to stop.

It’s kind of weird that the biggest tax-exempt organizations in Dayton- are also big employers- and also the owners of the largest private cop shops (Sinclair also has one, but, it’s quasi-government as is Five Rivers Metro Parks which you can add to the list). Suppose both of them paid taxes instead of for their private police forces- and Dayton added another 60 cops to the streets? Cut out Sinclair’s cops and add another 20 or so? Instead of spending $5 million trying to acquire real estate for Kroger to build a new building at Wayne and Wyoming- had another 20 cops on the street.

Now, once you’ve added another 100 or so cops, Dayton doesn’t seem safer, it is safer. Prices at Kroger and Family Dollar and Miami Valley Hospital are lower- because they don’t have to hire a private army to protect them. Tax payers aren’t getting fleeced in phony real estate deals either- that often benefit these big employers as well.

And, guess what, you even created 100 new jobs in Dayton. Ones that protect my business, my home and my peace of mind. We know that the police officers who respond to a crime are well trained, accountable, and ultimately responsible to us- the taxpayer.

And if you need a further reason to justify the ending of these private police forces, remember, Hitler had his own private police force, too.