Front page news that isn’t. DDn racist behavior- those dang black youth criminals

What you put on the front page isn’t always the biggest news- it’s the news you think will sell papers. In the business- the biggest “sellers” go above the fold- so you see it in the paper box window or on the top of the stack.

This article was below the fold- but, it’s there for a reason- to sell papers.

The headline:

One in 3 accused of felonies under 18
West Dayton statistics on arrests show large number of offenses.”

Front page image grab of front page

It’s only news on paper- not online

When you go to the newspaper site online- where there is a “free” teaser area- this article is no where to be found. Had to save the iPad edition to get the link. And let’s be clear, we all know “West Dayton” is a code word for black.

Here is how the article begins:

About one in three people arrested for felony crimes in west Dayton are under the age of 18, police officials said, and juveniles have been linked to a variety of serious offenses in the area, including a string of armed robberies over the summer.

More than 150 juveniles this year have been booked for felony assault, burglary, robbery and theft offenses that took place in west Dayton,

according to data from police reports and records obtained by this newspaper.

Almost 40 percent of suspects arrested for felony theft offenses in west Dayton were minors, compared to 23 percent of theft suspects citywide.

Some West Dayton neighborhoods have a greater share of young residents than the city as a whole, officials said. Education, poverty and socioeconomic factors can play a role in youth crime trends, according to juvenile justice experts.

via One in 3 accused of felonies under 18.

The article continues with more finger pointing statistics:

By comparison, juveniles citywide represented less than 23 percent of felony burglary and theft suspects arrested and less than 27 percent of robbery suspects, according to the police data.

Nationally, less than 22 percent of burglary, robbery and theft suspects arrested are juveniles, according to 2011 data from the U.S. Department of Justice.

We’re in trouble if this is the best quotes we can get from “experts”

Effective intervention programs must target crime-producing needs, such as substance abuse; anti-social attitudes, values and beliefs; anti-social peer associations; and a lack of self-control and problem-solving skills, according to Edward Latessa, a professor and director of the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati.

“Montgomery County has a very strong juvenile court and has developed quite a few evidence-based programs to serve youth in the community,” he said.

Dayton police are using analysts to evaluate crime data and police reports each day to determine connections between illegal activities, such as suspects and crime patterns. Officers are then assigned to specific patrols based on the data. Officials said they hope to catch young criminals in the act before their crimes progress in severity.

“The more we can interrupt any kind of patterns, any kind of criminal conduct, the better the neighborhoods will be,” Carper said.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time amongst these “black youth criminals” over the last two summers- hanging green basketball nets on decrepit courts that would get housing violation notices in any other community. Weeds growing through cracks in the pavement that were taller than kids expected to play there (Parkside courts) or rims so rusty you’d have to get a tetanus shot to dunk on safely (Gettysburg park) or backboards so rotted they could barely hold a rim (multiple- but the worst were at Burkham park and Princeton Rec). If you notice something- all these parks are on the West Side. For comparison- go to Jane Reese park in Patterson Park, where there were no weeds, rust, and the backboards and rims were in perfect condition- they even had nets.

I rarely saw adults working with kids on the courts, coaching, mentoring or getting to know their neighborhood kids. One memorable exception was on the old courts from the former Grace A Greene school, off Edison Street, where I ran into a guy with a gaggle of kids- and he was running drills, and teaching them the fundamentals of the game. He was a barber- around 42, and the kids were mostly his own and his deceased sister’s, but this is the kind of intervention we need more of- not police and courts, by the time the cops figure things out and you’re in the court’s eye, it’s already too late.

photo by David Esrati of backboard at Princeton Recreation center in Dayton

Rotting wood, bent rim. This is at one of our few staffed recreation centers

I spent a lot of time at Princeton Rec hanging nets. The courts get a lot of use, and 2 of the rims were the worthless style for chain nets that I had to use zip ties to attach the nets (it took me a year to realize I had to double the zip ties with each attachment point to stop them from becoming a fun game to pop ties by hanging on the nets). I put up three new quality rims at this court because they were missing or so badly broken it had to be done. Note- the Princeton Rec center has full time staff, not many, but some, and I never, ever saw them working with the kids outside. In fact, when I told kids to complain about the backboards and rims to the people inside- the kids told me that the city employees said that it was someone else’s job to take care of the rec equipment at their facility.

I’m not going to go on a diatribe about what needs to be fixed here. My readers are smart enough to know, kids’ youth sports are one of the best and cheapest ways to keep kids out of trouble and interacting with adults in a positive environment. My campaign literature had a picture of my x’s kid, a 10-year-old girl, who was playing football with the Dayton Vikings at the screwed up field on the site of the former Belmont High School. The program had teams at all age levels, equipment for all the kids, and was in a league of about 8 teams based out of Butler County. Figure each team had close to 20 kids, so you had over 100 kids practicing every day of the week in football season.

I ran into Bruce, the “Commissioner” last week at Skyline on Brown. The team shut down last year- apparently the move to Wilbur Wright field didn’t go too well, and the number of kids dropped. All the equipment is in storage. The kids- are on the streets, you know what happens next.

 

 

Dayton Daily news steps to new lows: Candidate faced misdemeanor battery charge

Graphic for Esrati.com

Political Mudslinging reaches epic proportions in Dayton, Ohio.

The free part of this Dayton Daily news “article” reads:

Candidate faced misdemeanor battery charge

The Republican candidate for the Montgomery County commission was arrested in Florida in 1987 after he was accused of shoving his then-wife and breaking a window at their home while carrying a knife, according to a police report obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

Candidate Mike Nolan said the incident was out of character for him and driven by emotion.

This event happened in 1987- and while it’s clearly old news, nothing in the accessible part tells you that “the case was never prosecuted.” which is in the next paragraph.

Nor did they tell you how they “obtained” the police report- probably handed to them by one of the idiots in the Democratic party who thinks they are doing to Nolan what happened to Ed Fitzgerald, just weeks before the election. In case you’ve been living under a rock- it was first revealed Fitzgerald, the Dem candidate for Ohio governor was “caught” in a parking lot at 4:30 am with a “woman who was not his wife” and then it dribbled out that Mr. Former FBI didn’t bother to renew his driver’s license for 10 years- while in political office and driving.

Facebook recently changed its algorithm to stop allowing click baiting links to appear as often in ‘newsfeeds- because the practice was ruining the FB experience- while the Dayton Daily newsless has become less and less of a journalistic endeavor and more of a click mill. The public beatdown of their “blogger” Amelia Robinson just recently for writing about the demolition of the Taco Bell at Wyoming and Brown- even though the building had been gone for a week was  quite entertaining- I’m waiting another week for her to write about the Burger King remodeling on Brown or the demolition of the very expensive pharmacy at the corner of Warren and Oak that was built for the Medicine Shoppe but never opened because MVH had changed its mind at the last minute. But I’m heading on a tangent- back to Mike Nolan.

For the record- I really don’t know Mike Nolan from Adam. I do know the other two candidates in the race- Dan Foley, everyone but mine favorite darling “nice guy” and Gary Leitzell, our former mayor and the only independent in the region to have managed not only to get elected but also to make it onto the ballot every time despite the partisan Board of Elections’ best efforts to keep the two juntas in power.

My first experience with Dan Foley was when he was working for then congressman Tony Hall- when I first got to Dayton and had to ask my congressman for some help in sorting out some military pay issues. Foley was probably 19 and had the cushy paying job in the congressman’s office because his daddy was a judge. He had a roommate at the time who was interested in the girl I was dating- and Dan decided to share some things he shouldn’t have with his roommate so his roommate could get the girl.

When I reminded him about this years later- when I’d asked for his backing in a congressional primary, he threw back how I hadn’t backed Rhine McLin against Leitzell as a reason for not backing me. He claimed to have totally forgotten about his breach of my trust- despite him getting an ass chewing from Bear Monita who was then Tony Hall’s chief of staff. My opinion of “the nice guy” image has always been tainted by that experience, but my main complaint is that Foley is nothing but an empty suit driven to keep his lifetime of sucking at the public teat alive. He’s never had a job in the private sector, nor will he ever have a hard time finding one as one of our anointed leaders of the “Monarchy of Montgomery County.”

Leitzell entered the race over a year ago on rumors that Foley was thinking of not running. The rumor was that he was headed over to the Dayton Development Coalition for a job that paid twice what the commission job pays- but when they couldn’t figure out how to slush fund more tax dollars into the DDC- Foley had to run again, at least as a placeholder. Unlike the Dayton Commission- if a county commissioner resigns or dies midterm- his party gets to replace him with anyone it wants- leaving the question of what happens if an independent like Leitzell were in office and got hit by a bus? Does the “independent party” get to select a replacement? Are you starting to see the picture?

I know Gary Leitzell pretty well. I consider him a friend. Full disclosure,  my firm The Next Wave has helped him with webhosting and printing for his campaigns on a service provider level more than a strategic level. I find Gary’s political naiveté both entertaining and refreshing. I believe his public calls for giving heroin to the worst repeat criminal offenders who are trying to feed their habit the most original thought by a local politico in probably the last 30 years- totally going against what is considered both “safe” and/or “responsible” campaign playbooks would suggest. I believe that he would be the first county commissioner to have an original thought or initiative since I’ve been in Montgomery County (1983).

Back around to the Nolan slander piece in the “Newspaper”- I believe that the public has every right to know what is in the piece- and that it shouldn’t be behind a paywall, weeks before an election. Nolan has not only held public office in this county for years, he has also served as a law enforcement officer for years after this incident. Had it been cause of major concern, he never would have been a sheriff’s deputy. The paper is engaged in a smear campaign- nothing else at this point. For this to be on the front page of the local section is a disgrace to professional journalism- something the Dayton Daily news has less and less claim to everyday.

I am republishing the entire article as a public service. I have only done this in the past when their articles have featured me in them (mostly with a negative slant). I have in the past, been threatened with lawsuits by their digital department for using their “copyrighted content” in my blog, to which I have a counterclaim of questioning the frequent use of my blog to get their stories as long time readers of this site well know- without EVER giving credit.

I believe the Dayton Daily should remove the paywall on this article- and reveal who delivered the lead on the police report. If they aren’t willing to do that, I would challenge them to change the headline to read “27 year old dropped charges surface about candidate” and a sub-head or lead of “Politics has reached a new low in Montgomery County when mudslinging rises to new lows.”

Here you go – sans paywall. Please consider supporting my legal defense fund when the “newsPaper” attacks. Remember, you also heard it here first.

The Republican candidate for the Montgomery County commission was arrested in Florida in 1987 after he was accused of shoving his then-wife and breaking a window at their home while carrying a knife, according to a police report obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

Candidate Mike Nolan said the incident was out of character for him and driven by emotion. After their divorce, the couple worked together to raise their children, he said.

Nolan faced a misdemeanor battery charge, but the case was never prosecuted.

“It is disheartening that with all the problems in Montgomery County — drugs, crime, gangs and the lack of jobs — the Democrats and the Dayton Daily News have focused on an incident the occurred almost 30 years ago,” Nolan wrote in an e-mail. “I resent their questioning my more than 30 years in law enforcement and public service.”

On the night of the incident, Judith DiCosta, Nolan’s wife at the time, told police he first broke a window, then entered through the front door after a man who was inside left the home to find a phone and call police. DiCosta said her own phone wasn’t working.

Nolan had a knife in his possession, DiCosta told police, but he laid it down once he came inside, the report said.

DiCosta said Nolan pushed her around and then picked her up and told their two daughters — ages eight and six — to get in the car because they were leaving. The police report indicates she had a bruise above her left eye.

Reached last week, DiCosta said she considers the incident a private matter. Nolan was a great father and has proved to be a great public servant, she said.

“I am sure he will make a great county commissioner,” DiCosta said.

Nolan’s opponents in the commission race — Democratic incumbent Dan Foley and independent candidate Gary Leitzell — said the campaign is about issues and accomplishments in office.

“Everybody has the right to screw up,” Leitzell said. “That’s so long ago.”

Nolan, 63, began working for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office in 1988, and his career lasted until 2010, when he retired as chief deputy. Before that, Nolan worked for the Florida State Highway Patrol for more than four years, until the end of 1984.

He was promoted multiple times at the sheriff’s office and earned excellent marks on his work evaluations. Nolan also served as a Miami Twp. trustee for one term beginning in 2010.

Nolan said he has been married to his current wife, Bonnie Nolan, for 26 years. He and DiCosta were married in 1977.

Records show that in January 1987 DiCosta filed for divorce and custody of the two children in Lee County, Fla. In divorce papers seeking a restraining order, DiCosta claimed Nolan had harassed and physically abused her.

At 10:20 p.m. on June 28, 1987, Cape Coral police were dispatched to a disturbance at their home, according to a police report.

Police said as they approached the home, they encountered Nolan, who was exiting the front door while carrying his wife. He was arrested, but records show a misdemeanor battery charge was dropped in the Lee County courts two months later.

Nolan was 36 at the time and working as a driver for a shipping company, according to his resume. He and DiCosta were legally married, but he was not living at the home.

In a transcript of a hearing on the petition for divorce, DiCosta’s divorce attorney said she would make a “a good faith attempt” to have the misdemeanor charge against Nolan dropped as part of the divorce settlement.

Nolan said the experience helped him counsel his employees when they went through emotional times in their lives.

“Never, has this incident affected my ability to perform as chief deputy with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Miami Township trustee or county commissioner,” he said in a written statement.

Phil Plummer, chairman of the Montgomery County Republican party, said the incident only involved accusations.

“He was never convicted of a crime. He had a super career as a law enforcement professional. And he would have never been a police officer if he had any conviction,” Plummer said.

Past behavior has been thrust into the forefront in numerous political campaigns this year, including in the governor’s race, where Democrat Ed FitzGerald has struggled to explain why he went 10 years without a valid driver’s license. Other candidates have had to fight off attacks involving late tax payments from years ago.

In his 2012 race for the U.S. Senate, Republican Josh Mandel made a veiled reference to an accusation from a two-decade-old divorce involving Sen. Sherrod Brown to argue that Brown was a “hypocrite” on women’s issues.

The county commission funds a variety of programs and services related to domestic violence, including the Artemis Center, the YWCA emergency shelter and Erma’s House Family Visitation Center.

via Candidate faced misdemeanor battery charge | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

note to faithful readers- my posting frequency has dropped recently due to large amounts of work- and a few instance of life happening. First- the hit and run motorcycle accident, then there I  started South Park Social Soccer Sundays (more on that later) – and then a broken or badly bruised rib or two from a freak pre-season hockey injury which is still hurting and keeping me awake at night. I’ve tried to give you higher quality articles at a lower frequency to keep you happy. My apologies.

Quincy’s Fish moving downtown

full disclosure- my firm The Next Wave does work for Quincy’s fish- they had zero editorial input on this.

Heard it here first folks- Quincy’s Fish is moving from W. Third to the old Lou’s Broaster hut location at 865 N. Main St. It’s a blow to the West Side- but a boon to the lower Riverdale area and Downtown. Should be open by Dec. 1, 2014.

This isn’t a ding on opening business on the West Side- it’s a ding on our crappy system of recording deeds, collecting taxes and protecting vacant buildings in Dayton. It’s also good reason to hire a title company even when signing a lease on a distressed building in Dayton, especially if your landlord is a known felon.

Photo from Google Maps of corner of W. Third And Alder where Quincy's transformed an abandoned building

Before Quincy’s

The building, which at one time was a Pizza Hut and then a bank- and lastly “Charlies Angels” had sat vacant for a few years. The claimed owner was Mark Donelson, of Donelson Investments. Former husband of Scherrie McLin, daughter of former political power broker CJ McLin and sister of former Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin- who is now in prison for mishandling pre-paid funeral money in the family funeral home.

Donelson had moved the title into numerous persons’ names during his incarceration and apparently had never actually set up the Nevada corporation to which he had last transferred the title. The owner of Quincy’s found this out- after they had taken him to court over his failure to provide an air conditioner through the course of the lease. One was installed before they opened in November 2013- and promptly stolen the next day. Rent payments had been going into escrow until the matter was settled- which is when the question of rightful, legal ownership surfaced.

Despite months of sweat equity and investment into transforming the eyesore back into a going concern, the lack of legal standing of the “owner” of the building made any chance of stability in that location seem elusive.

Enter the old “Lou’s Broaster Hut” or “Chicken Louies” at 865 N. Main Street. Another building that has been adversely affected by failures of our city to protect investors’ investments. First was the closing of the highway access to N. Main street and construction. Then the break-ins through the roof and the theft of metal. Another abandoned restaurant, another reclamation project.

The abysmal record of the Dayton Police in solving crimes by drug seeking junkies who rely on pennies on the dollar for recovered scrap from viable buildings is good reason to pay attention to the County Commission race- where former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell is proposing an idea that’s been tested in Europe- giving the worst offending heroin addicts the drug in a controlled environment so as to keep them from causing millions of dollars of damage for scrap.

With the experience on Third Street behind them- the owners of Quincy’s think they can turn the old “White Tower” building around in 30 days and be open for business by Dec. 1, 2014.

In the meantime, the question of the ownership of the W. Third Street building will just be another case of failure of our system of recording deeds and titles. Our current “system”  came along with the relaxation of rules which allowed for the resale of mortgages without physical transfer of deeds- which was in part what led to the financial crisis and housing collapse of 2009. It’s time to stop this malarkey of  digital deed transfers and shell corporations that haven’t been fully vetted. It’s also time to impose penalties on those organizations- be it banks, or shell corps, who hold these buildings without taking care of them. In the end- they cost all of us.

Dayton City Charter Changes 2014- issues 13, 14, 15, 16

Finding the summary put out by the city of these charter changes is pretty easy- although it’s not in HTML format- just a PDF:

http://cityofdayton.org/cco/Documents/November2014CharterSummary.pdf

The summary makes it all seem nice and easy.

The current Dayton Charter is here: http://www.daytonohio.gov/cco/Documents/DaytonCityCharter.pdf but not accessible to me at this time (luckily I already had a copy of the charter).

However, the ballot language is a mangled mess- and not easily available. Several people have contacted me already to ask “what is this all about.” I attended one of the meetings of the committee, which was handpicked by the powers that be- to be as non-representative of the citizens of Dayton as possible. Looking around the room, you’d think the unions run the city (they still think they do- hand in hand with the politicos).

If you go here: http://www.voterfind.com/montgomeryoh/ballotlist.aspx the BOE will let you look at a sample ballot in advance.

The language is overly verbose- and not accessible to copy and paste easily into this site. Issue by issue- here is the synopsis.

Issue 13 should be voted for. It changes the requirements for number of signatures required to propose changes or overturn votes by the city commission to a reasonable number. The existing charter language depended on a percentage of registered voters- which had zero connection to the numbers of existing voters- setting the bar too high to be attainable.

Once issue 13 is passed, we, the voters, may be able to change the requirements for recalling commissioners or the required numbers of signatures on obsolete petitions- something this committee refused to address.

Issue 14 should be voted for. The Dayton budget and compensation rules are arcane and obtuse. Not that a ton of progress is being made in the way we spend and track our money (we had an employee in the law department stealing considerable sums despite our current rules).

Issue 15 should be voted for. The current charter has a bunch of really antiquated rules- that need to go. This issue takes care of that.

Issue 16 is the one where we should really look twice.

Currently section 2 of the Charter is short and sweet:

Sec. 2. [Enumeration of Powers.]
The enumeration of particular powers by this Charter shall not be held or deemed to be exclusive, but, in addition to the powers enumerated herein, implied thereby or appropriate to the exercise thereof, the city shall have, and may exercise, all other powers which, under the constitution and laws of Ohio, it would be competent for this Charter specifically to enumerate.

They want to change it to:

Sec. 2 Powers of the City
The city shall have all powers of local self-government possible for a city to have under the constitution and laws of the state of Ohio as fully and completely as though they were specifically enumerated in this Charter.
A. The powers of the city under this Charter shall be construed liberally in favor of the city, and the specific mention of particular powers in the Charter shall not be construed as limiting in any way the general power granted in this article.
B. The city may participate by contract or otherwise with any governmental entity of this state or any other state or states of the United States in the performance of any activity which one or more such entities has the authority to undertake.
C. All powers of the city shall be vested in the Commission, except as otherwise provided by law or this Charter, and the Commission shall provide for the exercise thereof and the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the city by law.
D. The City Manager shall be the chief executive officer of the city, responsible to the Commission for the management of all city affairs placed in the manager’s charge by law or this Charter.
E. The Commission may elect to operate under state municipal law in lieu of the provisions of this Charter or §171 thereof pertaining to limitations on the manner, form, or uses of taxes, fees, assessments, and other revenue sources. However, any such measure shall clearly state this intent, may not be passed by emergency legislation and shall require four votes for passage.
On this one, I’m asking for your help in figuring it out. The city explanation of all this legalese is:
Issue 16: Powers of the City
Dayton is referred to as the first city to adopt the City Manager form of government. The 1914 Charter was new ground and the writers tried to ensure Dayton would have broad powers to serve its citizens. But they could not have guessed what might happen 80, 90, or 100 years later and now Dayton is hampered by that 1914 language. Today, the Ohio General Assembly is making changes in how cities operate and Dayton needs to have all the powers that other cities and villages are given.
This does not change the way the City of Dayton operates. We will still have a City Manager form of government and the members of the Commission will still be elected in the same way and represent the entire city. This is designed to ensure that Dayton has the maximum flexibility to respond to a changing environment.
Dayton has to fight hard to attract businesses, residents and amenities; we can’t afford to have one hand tied behind our back by archaic language. With the serious conversations being held about the State changing municipal income taxes, Dayton has to be able to respond immediately to potentially devastating changes in the law. This Charter change provides us with the same flexibility every other city has. (Section 2)
The line “Dayton has to fight hard to attract businesses, residents and amenities; we can’t afford to have one hand tied behind our back by archaic language.” makes me not want to vote for this change. I’ve already seen how our lovely commission believes it’s ok to hand over millions to a private developer- IRG getting the Emery/UPS building at the airport- which they scrapped and profited from, or the deal to give GE, one of the nation’s largest tax avoidance companies get a 30-year tax abatement in the “name of economic development.”
Since Nan Whaley appointed herself queen, we got shafted with a street light assessment, we voted to make a temporary tax permanent, and we watched property values plummet.
At this point, I’m inclined to vote no. I don’t trust the commission to be allowed to pick and choose which State laws benefit them most (remember, State law is mostly formulated by our Republican leadership these days).
Let’s stick with the Charter we have on this- just to show them they need to do a better job of informing us of proposed changes in advance. So YES, YES, YES, NO is my current suggestion.

 

Why South Park property values rise

In today’s Dayton Daily news, the front page story talks about the tanking property values in Montgomery County- and then gushes over South Park- a “gainer” among the rest of the failing county.

To begin with, you have to realize that when your property is already way undervalued due to the failures of our local governments (yes plural- since we have way too many) over the last 40 years, we’ve allowed sprawl and “economic development” to run our community. Both of which have caused the costs of basic government services to grow faster than the tax base.

Our “median assessed value” is still almost half of what the rest of the county is. Take that into consideration, as well as our neighborhood of 850 odd houses, is a very small sample of the whole. So when you read everything in the DDn article about why our neighborhood’s appraised values went up- remember, it’s a tiny increase in the grand scheme of things- where you still have a sinking ship deeply in need of triage.

Soaring South Park

It was exactly that kind of effort — over many years — that has contributed to rising values in the South Park and other historic districts.

Together, the 1,875 residential properties in the 10 historic districts as defined by the county saw 14.4 percent increase in total assessed value. Only the Oregon District, which lost 9.3 percent, and McPherson Town, which declined by less than 1 percent, saw decreasing values.

The South Park Historic District was the county’s biggest gainer. The median assessed value for the 646 residential properties in the district increased by 32.1 percent during the three years, rising from $66,905 in 2011 to $88,410.

In South Park, the county’s largest historic district, only 35 residential properties — or about 1 in 18 — lost value, according to the newspaper’s analysis.

Brian Ressler, president of Historic South Park, Inc., the district’s non-profit neighborhood association, attributed much of the neighborhood’s resurgence to two businesses that have dedicated themselves to buying and rehabilitating homes there — Full Circle Development (Gasper) and The Home Group Realty Co.

“They have contributed a lot to basically creating a market where there wasn’t one before,” Ressler said of the two businesses. “They’ve been able to increase demand for housing in the neighborhood in a way that couldn’t have occurred before because they’ve been able to do so much at once.”

A number of other folks have also pitched in to rehabilitate homes in the neighborhood – many of which date to the late 1800s.

Holly DiFlora, owner of The Home Group, said she and her husband Michael, who grew up in Old North Dayton, began buying blighted South Park properties in 2006 after retiring and moving back to the area.

“We’ve done 35 houses in the neighborhood,” DiFlora said of the rehabs. “We knew we had to do critical mass in order to really jump start the neighborhood. And we have.”

Longtime residents Pat and Susan Moran won’t argue about the progress, but like many property owners with increased appraisals they’re ambivalent.

Their two-story home on Bonner Street, built in 1890, increased almost 19 percent, from $101,300 to $120,230.

So, were the Morans happy with their new assessment?

“Yes and no,” Pat said with a grin. “If we were going to sell it, sure.”

But it also means they’ll pay more in property taxes.

“I think it’s good for the neighborhood,” said Susan, “but it’s not good for the individuals.”

via Most Montgomery County homes lose value | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

Asking Brian Ressler, a relative newcomer to the neighborhood on what caused the increase is like asking a first-year med student to be “Dr. House” who solves the toughest medical problems- all within 50 minutes every week.

South Park is a success, not because of the investment of the DiFloras and the Gaspers- although they definitely helped. It’s a combination of things that are fundamentally different from what other neighborhoods in Dayton are doing (the smaller historic districts- Oregon and McPherson Town both dropped in value- again, very small sample sizes make the numbers meaningless).

So, if you want to know what really caused the values to go up, you need to do some quick comparisons. The City of Dayton made a concerted effort to “bring back Wright Dunbar”- investing many millions into redevelopment. More than DiFlora and Gasper ever dreamed of spending. At one point, the city spent a million to redo just 4 homes- that all sold at a loss. This kind of attempted government intervention has never proven to be effective. If you want to see what wholesale dollars poured into neighborhoods does- look at Twin Towers that has had a gazillion spent on new homes, social services and even their own school program. Values are still stagnant at best. Look at the Fairgrounds neighborhood- where the Genesis project poured millions in- and the city promised that it would never turn into student housing. Section 8 residents are getting the boot- so investors can house 4 UD students in illegal (supposedly) rooming houses billing by the semester. Homes built with city money are now requiring new roofs before the tax abatements are even finished.

South Park has been an organic work in progress for almost 3 decades- when the historic designation was made in 1984- it forced renovations and changes to the exteriors to conform to a stricter set of standards with oversight. This stopped many slumlords from being able to come in and quickly solve paint problems with vinyl siding and falling down porches by putting up aluminum awnings. It also bonded neighbors together- with a mission, to make sure that no one was getting anything over on the rules. It’s how I got in trouble for putting up wood grain vinyl garage doors- on a dump of a garage on a house that had been on the market for 2 years without an offer.

Secondly, the neighborhood has really good physical natural boundaries. Sort of like the Oscar Newman “defensible space” that when implemented incorrectly in Five Oaks- failed. We have Woodland Cemetery to the south, U.S. 35 to the north (which split the neighborhood from the Oregon District in the early 1960s. Wayne Ave. to the east and either Warren or Main to the west depending on whom you talk to. Good fences are said to make good neighbors- good boundaries make good neighborhoods.

Because the effort to become a historic district was organic- and home grown, it pulled the neighborhood together, and we did everything we could to try to help each other in the process of rehab and reclamation. One early investor, Dan Campbell- a union carpenter, taught me everything I know about framing and hanging drywall- which he gladly shared in exchange for help on his projects. We shared tools, we cleaned alleys together- and we worked on Home Tours to show off our work.

In the mid-1990s, I did a video about the neighborhood- a 30-minute TV program- to run on DATV and to be handed out on VHS tape. It was called “South Park Soliloquy”- and while it was meant to market the neighborhood- I stayed away from talking about the “Victorian Houses” and the rehab efforts- and talked more about the kinds of people who had chosen to live here. Instead of baroque chamber music and a stuffy voice over- it’s in the neighbors’ words- with the happy music of Buckwheat Zydeco (I traded building Buck’s first website for the rights). We started to evolved from a house centric appeal to become the “neighborhood where neighbors become friends.” The video is still on YouTube.

And although many of the neighbors who are in the video have left and a few have passed, the energy of this video continues to thrive in this neighborhood.

As part of the Genesis project- and to protect their investment, Miami Valley Hospital has funded two community-based police officers for almost twenty years. And while I can’t say that crime has decreased dramatically – there is a better connection between neighbors and the police helped create a sense of security that wasn’t here before. All neighborhoods should have their own, dedicated officers that know the community inside and out.

Neighbors also banded together to form South Park Preservation Works- a non-profit development company that took some of the worst houses in the neighborhood and stopped them from having to be demolished. A for-profit neighborhood development corporation, South Park Social Capital, was my brainchild around 1998 to try to keep the old Skinners bar from reopening- and to shut down a carry out that belonged to a drug dealer. Although the corporation failed- we now have very reputable businesses in both locations- one being the South Park Tavern and the other Oak St. Antiques.

We also worked hard at growing our social events, and doing things that weren’t your typical neighborhood events. Does your neighborhood produce Shakespeare? How about a Halloween Parade with a marching band before trick or treat? Or, dog walking flash mobs, or hot toddy parties, chili cook-offs and now social soccer Sundays? All of these contribute to a focus on quality of life issues- and knowing your neighbors. These are all post video events- you can see our porch, patio and deck parties in the video.

We’ve attracted investors other than the Gaspers and the DiFloras as well. A client of my ad agency came into the neighborhood- and wanted an office like mine. I had bought the boarded up corner grocery back in 1988 on the day the stock market imploded for $2,200 and $2,400 in back taxes. I knew of another building like it that was on the market- and they ended up buying 4 properties in the neighborhood all for $15K. One of which was the house next to the Morans- which skyrocketed in “value” according to the reappraisal.

Jim Gagnet, took the impossible project of 424 Hickory and saved it- before he brought Coco’s back to the neighborhood. He’s currently finishing up 3 more houses on Lincoln Street- one of which was a horrific looking green monster of a house- that’s now a beautiful shell. He invests here because he knows that there are others willing to invest- the planned project just South of Coco’s and the new Goodwill all bode well for him making a return.

No amount of government investment or even private capital make as much impact as the efforts of the social capital in a neighborhood. It’s not about investing in property- it’s about investing in a community. Once the projects were torn down about 4 years ago- where you had a bunch of people who weren’t necessarily there by choice, there was another burst of investment (this is where DiFlora and Gasper came in). The neighborhood was well on its way before that. One investor, Eric Segalewitz, had bought the entire block facing the projects- while they were still up. He turned the houses into hipster pads and is now about to cash out. People thought he was crazy when he bought them- they don’t now.

We’ve also been lucky enough to have some really amazing small businesses in the ‘hood that have stuck it out. A major person behind almost every volunteer effort for years has been Bill Daniels from the Pizza Factory (he also owns the South Park Tavern). He’s provided food for volunteers more times than anyone can count. He’s gone out and given coupons for free pizzas to people for doing great Christmas decorations- you don’t have that in every neighborhood- but you should. Our newish coffee house- Ghostlight, the same thing. Custom Frame Services has done the same thing over the years. When we decided to do a sculpture- we hire our neighbor Hamilton Dixon- and we have an incredible whirligig on Park Drive now.

There are more amazing things about this neighborhood than I can write- I’ve left off our urban gardens, and our food truck shindig, etc.

It’s people that make a city- not buildings and certainly not government. The sooner you figure that out, the sooner your property values will rise, too.

additional note: Monday 6 Oct- in the same edition of the Dayton Daily news- on the “editorial page” was a full page story about Pecha Kucha Dayton- the team that puts this amazing event on- of course- 3/4 of it- lives in South Park.

another note: Tue 7 Oct. As of 2015- South Park will no longer qualify as a HUBzone according to the SBA. Another sign that things have changed.

NAACP asks about “economic development”

I’ve been to more public meetings than most. For the most part- they suck. Forums aren’t forums, Q&A is random, some moderators have no clue how to run a meeting- and a lot of people like to talk too much- myself included.

I try to get out and video as many as possible that I think may be interesting and share them with you. Good idea number one if you are going to hold a forum- have someone video it and post to YouTube.

Good ideas number 2-5:

  • Have a podium and a microphone- with your organization on the podium (just like the Presidential Press Secretary) it answers a question- and it makes it easy for a set and forget camera.
  • Have a moderator who always REPEATS and focuses the question and directs who should answer. If multiple people will answer- have a strict timer.
  • Have set questions in advance- that are given to the panel, and the audience in advance. This isn’t 60 minutes gotcha- this is a forum- where people are trying to learn and understand and discuss.
  • Provide a backgrouder- a synopsis of the issue, with key points, reference links, opposing views- prime the pump. Make sure everyone knows what’s going on.

All that said- also, make sure you don’t do what happened here- make sure everyone knows what time it starts, stops and what’s expected. Also- don’t make everyone sit through the whole thing- have a schedule, bring speakers in at designated times and be respectful of their time.

The issue was “Economic development” – and particularly the West Side. I have my own views on this- skip forward to 1:18

From their Facebook page:

Dayton Unit NAACP Educates Citizens About The

Economic Development Environment In Dayton

On Monday, August 25, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy, the Dayton Unit NAACP will hold its monthly community meeting entitled, “Economic Development Environment In Dayton.” The distinguished guest panelists will be Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton; Catherine Crosby, executive director of the Dayton Human Relations Council; Richard L. Wright, executive director of Parity Inc.; John A. Lumpkin, vice president of wealth management and financial advisor for Morgan Stanley; and Silvia Anderson, manager of workforce services for OhioMeansJobs in Montgomery County. The moderator will be Chris Shaw, chair of the Dayton Unit NAACP Economic Development Committee.

“The Dayton Unit NAACP is highly concerned about the lack of Employment Opportunities to include City, County and State Highway Construction Jobs; Small Business Development to include Retail Outlets, Restaurants and Service Facilities; and the lack of Franchise Businesses which are so prevalent in other areas of the Region, said Derrick L. Foward, president of the Dayton Unit NAACP. “We look forward to hearing the great things these leaders are accomplishing from an Economic Development standpoint in Dayton proper,” said Foward. “The citizens of Dayton are counting on you in a BIG way to enhance their quality of life.”
“The Economic Development Committee is concerned about jobs, business development and wealth building,” said Shaw. “While we know issues and opportunities exist, by bringing together community stakeholders, we will be able to update the residents of Dayton on collaborative efforts to further these goals. We look forward to community participation,” said Shaw.

via Dayton Unit NAACP.

There were about 50 people in attendance. At the end- I was asked to take a photo of everyone with their hands in the air- “hands up don’t shoot” for their FB page. Good to know I’m good for something.

Dayton is failing its kids

History repeats itself. Readers of this site remember what happened to me at the Spring Urban Nights when I went to document a swarm of kids near the RTA hub.

UPDATE @ 10:45 p.m.: Six tickets for disorderly conduct have been issued to juveniles stemming from the fighting.

Most of the skirmishing seemed to located in the area of the RTA hub on Third Street.

Urban Nights ended at 9:30 p.m., said Val Beerbower, public relations and communications manager with the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

FIRST REPORT: Reports of fighting downtown involving at least 100 people have prompted police to ask for extra crews to help restore order.

There are reports of fighting being reported at the RTA hub on Third Street. There have been reports of fighting at First and Patterson earlier.

At 9:58 p.m., Jefferson Street was being blocked to stop civilian traffic at Third and Fourth streets.

Dayton police are asking for additional officers from the city’s east and west sides as well as from the University of Dayton.

via Dayton police responding to fighting downtown | Dayton, OH News | www.whio.com.

I didn’t go last night, because I was pretty sure it would happen again- and I had a ton of work to finish. I wouldn’t have waded into another one of these swarms again.

In front page news, Dayton Public School scored near the bottom of all Districts in the State. Jefferson Township and Trotwood Madison were right there with them.

Dayton Public Schools again had the lowest performance index in the area, with its 75.2 mark ranking. Dayton had the second worst ranking among Ohio public districts, only ahead of Warrensville Heights in northeast Ohio. On another measure, DPS did meet two of the 24 state testing standards, putting it ahead of Cleveland, Youngstown and Canton schools, and tying Dayton with Columbus, Toledo and Akron…

Dayton (2), Trotwood-Madison (3) and Middletown (3) schools ranked lowest in standards met…

Dayton, Trotwood and Tri-County North were the only local schools to receive three F’s in value-added….

Trotwood (74.8), Northridge (73.1) and Dayton (72.2) had the lowest graduation rates, although Dayton’s rate was an improvement from last year’s 69.9.

via How did your schools rank in new state report card report? | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

There is a direct correlation between these two news stories. And there is a solution- and it costs a lot less than what our city wastes in corporate welfare under the guise of  “economic development.”

We’ve abandoned our youth.

I grew up in a community that was more Oakwood than Dayton. Cleveland Heights wasn’t as wealthy, or as lily white in the 70’s but it had a focus on its kids. There were “park monitors” in the summer in parks throughout the city- high schoolers who were paid and sent to parks and school playgrounds with a duffel bag of bats, balls, Frisbees, and a job description of helping kids have fun together. We spend a couple of million each summer on our YouthWorks program putting kids into businesses – but nothing to let kids lead kids. Heights also had outdoor pools, an ice rink, the sorts of things one only finds in Kettering today. School scores aside, I think Kettering gets many more things right in their spending priorities which seem focused on quality of life- which in turn positions them nicely for the private sector to do their own economic development. For those of you who aren’t aware- they have an ice rink, BMX track, an internationally recognized skate park, indoor outdoor pools with waterpark features, enough soccer fields to host the world cup (if only parents were watching) baseball, softball and basketball courts all in top condition.

Dayton, our largest city can point to a few dedicated private citizens and organizations doing the right thing:

Little league LogoFirst Dayton Little League: Located in Dayton, OH, First Dayton Little League is in Ohio District 8 under District Administrator Shannon Walker. The league has been a chartered member of Little League since 1951. Approximately 90 children are participating in First Dayton Little League, which fields 5 teams. The league president is Ron Johnson.

via First Dayton Little League.

The program at Washington Park died a few years ago, due to a number of factors. Here are a hole 90 kids, out of probably close to 20,000 that are involved in “America’s pastime.”

When it comes to youth football- there is a small league that does it’s best to make things happen for the kids.

The Dayton Jets Youth Football and Cheerleading (DJYFC) is a youth football organization based in Dayton. We are a certified non-profit with the State of Ohio and a recognized 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. We are a member of the Butler County Youth Football League (BCYFL) in Hamilton, Ohio. Also affiliated with the American Youth Football Association (AYF), one of the largest international youth football organizations established to promote the wholesome development of youth with an emphasis on learning, playing, and enjoying the sport while instilling high moral standards.

via The Mission | Dayton Jets Youth Football and Cheerleading.

They involve more kids than the Little League organization. For a while the now renamed “Vikings” team, played on the worst field I’ve ever seen- the old Belmont High Schook practice field- before giving up and moving to Wright Brothers school field. When they asked repeatedly for DPS to help them with an electricity drop and permission to place a POD container, they got nowhere until a connected parent pushed for some help.

From the Dayton Jets site (they ge

Teens who do not participate in after school programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes or use marijuana or other drugs; they are also more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and engage in sexual activity. (YMCA of the USA, March 2001)

Children in after school programs were half as likely to drop out of high school, and two and one half times more likely to pursue higher education, than students not participating. (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids 2000)

Young people need the influence of caring adults and positive role models in their lives. Good after school programs can accomplish that by helping youngsters develop the knowledge, skills and healthy habits to achieve their greatest potential. (US Secretary of Education Rod Paige, 2003)

via Did You Know? | Dayton Jets Youth Football and Cheerleading.

Soccer, the cheapest sport out there, in terms of equipment, is staging a surge, mostly due to the immigrant community- both the Turks and Mexicans get it- and want programs for their kids.

DASA’s Commitment to our Community

Our Value Statement:
Teaching important lifetime skills in soccer, teamwork, and promoting a healthy, active lifestyle, kids having fun!

Our Mission:
To continuously provide a high-quality, affordable, recreational soccer experience for Dayton youth and their families.

Dayton SAY is the official youth soccer program for the City of Dayton Recreation and Youth Services. We are committed to serve the children of Dayton with the same intent, “Building community togetherness, stability and growth using recreation and youth services to enhance the quality of life for Dayton youth and families”.

via Dayton Area Soccer Association – (Dayton, OH) – powered by LeagueLineup.com.

And, lastly, basketball, where we are finally doing something about the decrepit state of our outdoor courts, there are three resources:

For all my visits to basketball courts in the city- I’ve only encountered one “supervised” session, where a 41-year-old barber from Trotwood was working with neighborhood kids, his kid and his dead sister’s 5 kids that he’d taken in, at the old Grace A Greene courts, where there are 6 backboards, 5 rims and a lot of weeds in the cracks.

Going to the city rec’s page- they offer:

The City of Dayton’s Youth Sports Leagues are great for learning sportsmanship, teamwork, and developing athletic talent. In the fall and winter we offer a variety of basketball leagues. In the spring and summer we offer T?ball, coach pitch and kid pitch baseball, girls’ softball, and boxing. We also provide various classes to get youth active and moving all year long.

via Dayton Ohio Athletics | City of Dayton Ohio Recreation | Athletics.

and of course- a video of our very unathletic  mayor making a speech at “Youth Baseball Day.” If you watch the video, you find out that in order to make the field playable at Princeton Recreation Center- it took help of the Cincinnati Reds and three other donors. Our city, while it has no problem handing off a million plus dollars to tear down buildings for a developer without money or a plan, can’t maintain its own baseball fields.

I’m sure there are other programs- one of my favorites is the what used to be called the “Invincible Regulating Striders” and now just the Dayton Striders. A champion drill team that keeps kids busy and gives them goals.

The two diamonds at the end of my street are unrecognizable as diamonds anymore. A neighbor had to spend hours working on weeding the cracks in the tennis court, and then tightened a net to be able to play tennis with his kids.

Our schools have cut gym. Busing makes after school sports a very difficult process for parents. Each neighborhood has kids attending a dozen plus different schools. Scouting is an expensive proposition for low-income youth. Our two Boy’s and Girl’s clubs shrunk to one (where the outdoor courts in the parking lot have 4 backboards and 3 rims).

We filled in our outdoor pools. We sold off our recreation centers or tore them down. We’ve failed our kids.

And then we wonder why our schools are failing and we’ve got kids wilding in the streets?

Scoff at my hanging green basketball nets, (over 500 so far)- but it guilted city hall into investing a reported million dollars in court replacements and upgrades. Now, we need to figure out how to get kids working with role model adults on those basketball courts if we want to keep them out of the criminal courts.

It’s not just a question of can we do better? It’s we must do better. We’re failing our kids.

[update] first comment on Facebook by Jay Madewell- music programs too. DPS has no more music programs (except Stivers). Time to bring back music into the schools. [/update]

If there are any youth sports programs that I missed- or programs for kids in Dayton- please leave them in comments- thank you.

The un-politician running for Congress in OH10, meet Rob Klepinger

Qualifications for running for congress as set out by the founding fathers:

  • Be 25 or older
  • Live in the US for over 7 years.

New qualifications for Congress according to media, politicians, and stupid voters:

  • Spend at least a million dollars with the media, be a career politician, and don’t say anything that sounds like you have a mind of your own.
  • Sell out to special interests to get the million dollars.
  • Be a stuffed suit. Preferably a lawyer.

Mike Turner, “our” congressman fits description two perfectly. His well oiled machine even had some idiot voters having Turner signs next to Obama signs in the last 2 elections.

If you listen to Mike Turner, his favorite thing to say is “I work for Wright Patterson Air Force Base”- even though he voted to shut it down along with the rest of the government.

Political races shouldn’t be defined by dollars in the campaign fund, they should be defined by ideas. Right now with an overwhelming number of Americans believing used car salesman or trained monkeys could do a better job in Congress, it’s sad that when a decent guy, a school teacher, decides to run for Congress because he meets qualifications of the founding fathers, he is totally ignored because he doesn’t meet the “New Qualifications” of being what I like to call “the best politician money can buy.”

I sat down and talked with Rob Klepinger for a short interview so you can see what a real person running for Congress sounds and looks like. He doesn’t have a proper campaign site up, and he’s not raised enough money to have to file campaign reports, but if you are sick of a dysfunctional Congress- you may want to amble over to Facebook and at least like his page:
www.facebook.com/RobKlepCongress

The current Ohio district 10 contains all of Montgomery County and Greene County and a sliver of Fayette County.

Here is the interview- enjoy

New look for Esrati.com

Just letting all our loyal readers know, with the advent of WordPress 4.0 our old theme wasn’t allowing comments, forced us to do a quick presto changeo to a new theme.

Good news is it’s fully responsive- so, your mobile experience should improve.

If there are any problems- or you notice anything wonky- leave a comment or drop us an email please (contact on side of page).

Thank you for your patience through the switch.

 

Incompetence of Dayton City Hall on their Street light tax

Screenshot of Dayton Streetlight assessment

I don’t even own my own home according to the city of Dayton

$6.69 was how much the Certified mail cost.

Time to prepare the letter- stuff the envelope with the 4 checks totaling $577.92 to return, had to cost another $20 in labor, paper, envelope etc.

Instead of getting their money now, they’ve turned it over to the Montgomery County Treasurer- adding additional costs- of data entry, and adding to bills- in an installment plan over the next 6 years.

Instead of cash in hand, they now get it in six payments.

All because they claim it wasn’t received by their deadline- despite being mailed in the same city 2 days before.

This, is what we call in business, STUPID.

Obviously, Finance Director C. LaShea Smith doesn’t understand net present value, or labor costs.

This is a horrendous waste of taxpayers’ money.

Just opening letters and posting the accounts would take them days.

Having a hard deadline, while they may think makes things “fair”- without an unofficial grace period, is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

And note, since none of my four assessments was over $250, they never mailed me anything.

The only reason I knew where to go to find out the amount that was due- was because they had sent my father an email with a link to the site with the amounts.

There I was amazed to find out that someone in Beavercreek owned my house.

Still incorrect: Go to http://maps.cityofdayton.org/public/SLSAPrePay/Default.aspx type in my last name and see this (screen shot above):

Voucher Link Account Number Parcel ID Parcel Location Owner Name Owner Name Cont. Owner Address Street Light District Annual Amount (Advanced Payment) Total Amount (Advanced Payment)
View Voucher 15645 R72 02702 0021 113 BONNER ST DAVID ESRATI 2130 HEDGE GATE BLVD B $37.60 $225.60
View Voucher 15652 R72 02702 0028 122 BONNER ST DAVE ESRATI 113 BONNER ST B $16.94 $101.64
View Voucher 15656 R72 02702 0033 100 BONNER ST DAVID ESRATI 113 BONNER ST B $25.07 $150.42
View Voucher 15668 R72 02702 0046 120 BONNER ST DAVE ESRATI 113 BONNER ST B $16.71 $100.26

Apparently, the city IT people are incompetent as well- after talks with someone in the treasurer’s office, they determined that the city was pulling from the wrong data field- and that on my house record, someone had transposed numbers back in 2010 and fixed all the main screens- but just not this one.

Calls to the city weren’t returned in a timely manner- and the issue is obviously still not fixed.

Ms. Smith ends her expensive letter with “We appreciate your support and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.”

How about, “I’m sorry, we like to waste your tax dollars, and cost the city money, because we really don’t know what we’re doing.”

If I was a city commissioner, I’d be asking City Manager Tim Riordan about the competence of his staff. Maybe if they weren’t so busy giving money away to businesses and developers to keep them in Dayton, they wouldn’t be turning their noses up at cash being sent to them.

[update] Soon after posting this, Kerry Gray, assistant to the City Commission, called about this. He took notes to pass to the commission. He told me that only 1.7% of the properties attempted to pay in advance. Can you say #FAIL [/update]