Dayton Daily News may be up for sale

For years- Cox Enterprises refused to sign a contract with most of their unions. All of a sudden, every bargaining unit is under contract.

There has been a mad rush to create new online properties like Dayton.com, which is laughably late- and an amateur production.

They recently offered a digital subscription for $20 a year- while they’d been robbing me for $10 a month.

Claims are, they are making money. First time in a long time, but, it’s come at a steep price. They’ve sliced staffing of actual news people to the bone. Institutional knowledge and even the rare few super-talented people they had- cut.

They’ve created an editing stable on the top floor- that attempts to edit the copy from their entire network – with disastrous results. I’m sure I’m not the only one who snickers every time I see 9/11 turned into a fraction, or key people’s names mangled or missing.

All this points to only one thing- they’re getting ready to sell the whole shooting match, and think that some internet billionaire with a J. Jonah Jameson complex is going to buy them. It happened to the Washington Post- so why not? (Amazon’s Jeff Bezo’s bought the paper, on the side, unrelated to Amazon).

I personally don’t think anyone is stupid enough to reach down this far in the barrel to buy the DDn, which is no longer separable from WHIO etc.- as part of  “Cox Ohio”- etc. but, the reality is what they would buy is the biggest mess of Internet incompetence ever concocted.

The entire digital strategy, platform, and management is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Just the fact that I, as a subscriber, have to log in so many times to the same machines- since they can’t keep track of my login screams that they have no clue how to digitally target and sell value added ads to advertisers. Just because you are the only game in town, doesn’t mean you play it well.

How long it takes for them to find a sucker and negotiate a deal isn’t something I’ll venture to guess a timeline for, but mark my words, it’s being packaged and primped for a push as you read this.

Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission vs. a reality check

When I first arrived in Dayton in 1983, fresh out of the Army on TDRL (Temporary Disabled Retirement List) I had to touch base with several local organizations to take care of benefits and other issues related to my military status.

Back then- I went to the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission- and wasted my time, with an overworked case officer who took some notes and said he’d get back to me in about 6 months. I also went to the VA- the old Brown Hospital, which reminded me of a horror flick. The docs I had to see didn’t speak much English that I could understand, and their exam was brutal. So far, 2 swings and 2 strikes. Last stop was my congressman’s office, where I got to work with the young Dan Foley- who decided to violate all rules on privacy in my case, for which he was given a scolding by Bear Monita who was Tony Hall’s local office chief at the time.

Three swings- three strikes.

The only place I received any kind of support was at Wright State in the Veterans office- run by the very sweet Mary Thomas. It was kind of the haven for vets- even though the office was smaller than a shoebox. After 18 months on TDRL, I was ready to go back to active duty- and instead chose to stay in school and opted to join the Army Reserve.

I kind of followed all kinds of scandals centered around the Veterans Service Commission – like an exorbitant rent deal with someone in the local power base. There were other issues, including the not too long ago revelation that our Commission seems to like to be extra stingy with the money going to vets in need. Every year we turn away a lot of vets, and return money to the county general fund.

The fact that the current offices are in the old St. Elizabeth, not the Job Center or the County Building, makes me scratch my head. Why are they paying rent to a private company, instead of being at the VA- the center of all Veterans Services in Montgomery County? In fact the organizations who appoint these members- all used to have full-time service officers at the VA to help represent vets in getting benefits, before a budget cut about 3 years ago cut back the hours.

Almost 10 years ago, a few fellow paratroopers and I, started an organization to support veteran-owned business. In all our time, and all our meetings, we had very little interaction with the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission.

So when I read the first article the Dayton Daily news that a bunch of the yahoos running this bureaucratic nightmare were trying to boot the newly appointed Ashley Webb off the board for questioning the legality of the Commission having 11 members instead of 5 like EVERY OTHER COUNTY in the state, and that this was another juicy part-time patronage type job- paying about $9 k a year for 2 meetings a month, I knew immediately who was on the right side of the law. Even though Ashley and I are on opposite sides of most things political, in my dealings with this West Point grad, I’ve never had anything but extremely professional interactions. Full disclosure, my firm, The Next Wave, had done some work for his company.

I spent some time trying to figure out who the rest of the commissioners were. Looking through LinkedIn- Facebook, most of them don’t show any kind of special qualifications to take on the responsibilities of taking care of veterans in our community. Not any big surprise in Montgomery County where it’s usually about who you know, not, what you know.

How we got to have 11 commissioners is itself, a story that can only come out of a political cesspool. It seems the Veterans Commission wanted to blow money on its own building, but the County Commission didn’t think that was a good idea. Instead of having the debate- and showing that the Vets Commission was failing most vets, that we expect better and then cleaning house, they went and had the statehouse pass a law allowing the County Commission to double plus one the size of the commission so cronies could put the kibosh on the Vets cockamamie plan. Sort of like putting the address of all 4 casinos into the constitutional amendment- and then realizing that it was a bad idea and having to fudge it later. Face it- Ohio Politics is the theater of the absurd.

Somehow, Ashley Webb, a West Point grad, who showed up on the local political scene at the same time as the Tea Party, was put on the commission by one of the local service organization chapters. It doesn’t help that he ran against Debbie Lieberman in the last election- a member of the organization that has oversight on the six puppets who were still on the commission illegally.

The conditions of the puppet-majorities appointment was a budget over $2.5 mill- which hadn’t happened since 2011. Webb uncovered the oversight- tries to right the wrong- and ends up “the bad guy” by the clown puppet posse? Not in my book, the guy is a hero.

Questions arise about the money paid to these County Commission-created patronage jobs- do the appointees owe the money back. They say no. In reality, the place to point the finger is at the County. It’s their job to manage the funds- and the positions and follow the law, especially since they created it in the first place. But, remember, this is the same organization that put the Rev. Raleigh Trammell, a convicted welfare cheat, in charge of a welfare program and shed all responsibility.

The real question is what does the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission do? Nine people on the payroll- with 11 overseeing it. The actual numbers of veterans assisted is incredibly low- seeing how they’ve repeatedly turned down most requests- and seem to have a revolving door of vets who utilize their service- not doing much outreach at all (see mention of my vet biz org above).

I checked in with Dayton VA Chief Glenn Costie about housing the commission at the VA- the epicenter of Veterans’ services in the region- and much closer to the geographic center of Montgomery County, and he’s pretty sure he can put together a reasonable rental agreement on his campus. Seeing that every veteran who is eligible for services by the Commission- is also eligible for some care at the VA, it makes sense to put them together.

UPDATE

4 May 2015 from Director Costie: “We would probably not charge rent….it would happen as part of an MOU or enhanced use lease like we do for the post office and the credit union…that in exchange for in-kind services….we would provide the space ”

Every other county in the region has to maintain a transportation service as part of their charter- to ferry vets to the VA. MCVSC doesn’t have to do that since they farm it out to RTA. The real question is, what are they doing that requires 9 staff in the first place, and why can’t they find places to spend the money on veterans?

This veteran can tell you there are significant needs within the veteran fraternity and it’s sad that this organization has been asleep at the wheel for years.

Ashley Webb may be the first step in the direction that this organization needs to take. The question is, as the board gets reformulated, who will be the next steps?

Misplaced angst over symbolic protests

When Facebook gives me more news than the Dayton Daily news, we’re all in trouble. Never mind the fact that I’m paying $9.95 a month for their newspaper-on-crutches, but now they are offering it for $19.95 for a full year of digital access. Nothing says desperate like knocking your price down to next to nothing. Click bait is their “new strategy” posting tidbits on Facebook, hoping to get you to hit their paywall. Exactly the behavior Facebook is trying to minimize. But, that’s all moot.

Photo of a protester at Wright State University standing on the American Flag

An unknown patriot stirring the pot.

In today’s Facebook feeds, friends are arguing about the veteran who protested at WSU by standing on an American flag. As someone who has actually been arrested and had to win 5 court cases protecting your right to symbolic protest, I can guarantee you he was within his rights- and had he just stood their protesting with a sign, no one would be talking about it.

His sign- according to WDTN:

“I stand…-With Eric Shappard (SIC- should be Sheppard) and the preservation of 1st Amendment rights
-For all men and woman in service to this country
-For the accountability of media and other social institutions
-Justice, equity, tolerance, and diversity
-Upon the belief higher learning should provoke students to question social norms, mainstream values, and power structures
-The ‘American” spirit, is a revolutionary spirit- On the American flag because there’s nothing more American than that!

Source: Wright State Flag Protest Draws Crowd – WKEF-TV ABC 22 News :: News – Top Stories

Unbelievably, not a single local “news source” had either the protester’s name, or even were able to verify his status as a WSU student. If my Facebook friends are to be believed, yes, he’s a WSU student.

His first mistake was thinking that WSU students would know who Eric Sheppard is- and what that has to do with the American flag. Sheppard was protesting at Valdosta State University – standing on a flag to make a statement about the treatment of black men in this nation who are being gunned down. A publicity seeking veteran, Michelle Manhart, decided to do something about it- going to campus with her daughter filming- and stealing the flag. Amazingly, the cops did the right thing and arrested her and returned the flag. The video pushes buttons and the right wing nut jobs had a field day praising the veteran for her actions, albeit it turns out she had posed in Playboy on active duty and even posed nude later for PETA with… wait… an American flag.

Symbolic speech is powerful stuff. The Nazis understood it well. So did the Ku Klux Klan. Burning books, burning flags, burnings of effigies, ISIS is justifying its atrocities by using orange jump suits for its victims- to symbolize our detaining “their people” in Guantanamo bay. I actually had to explain to one person on Facebook why symbolic speech can be more effective than a standard protest, which in this country is usually measured by numbers- hence we have things like “the million man march.” Usually, in America, you need a herd to be heard in public. Of course, in private, you just need a lot of money and I guarantee you access to anyone you want in Washington, D.C.

The problem with symbols is they don’t always mean the same thing to everybody. Maybe that’s why early religions had such an issue with idolatry. And you have to remember, when the religions started out, most of this wasn’t written- it was spoken, since universal literacy and the printing press were far off in the future. I still find the symbol of Christianity being a cross to be odd- to celebrate Jesus, memorialize the brutal way that he died. Do we, as Americans use guns as a symbol to memorialize and remember Abraham Lincoln, JFK or Martin Luther King? No.

Another post on Facebook had this image going around- another view of what the American Flag stands for today:

American exceptionalism illustration on an American FlagThe article it linked to, was about how other countries don’t understand America, or how Americans don’t seem to understand what living in a “free society” really means. The reactions to these flag protests, full of vitriol, the grandstanding- over a symbol, taking over the conversation, when most Americans are living on the edge of survival- paycheck to paycheck, with a safety net that’s constantly being withdrawn inch by inch. We prefer the dream of success to the reality we live in. Thinking that we can all become an NBA star, a millionaire if we only work hard, or President of the United States, is so far from reality- if we weren’t all so seduced by this fantasy, any right minded psychologist would call us delusional.

There is a lot to protest about in this country. A few years back the Occupy movement tried to bring a focus to the wrongs of the wizards of Wall Street who have robbed our country blind and brought the “world’s strongest economy” to its knees, yet, the Dow continues to climb beyond any recognizable relevance, the Fed continues to print money like candy- and the richest Americans are getting richer at a record pace, while the rest of us are being asked to “pay more of our share” to keep this house of cards from falling.

To add insult to injury, we take more interest in one aging former Olympian’s transgender celebrity story than we do of the countless millions who aren’t able to feed their children, schools that aren’t preparing our children for colleges that are pricing themselves out of the reach of those who get there (if they aren’t shot by a cop for playing cops and robbers on a playground), so that they can get their panties in a twist over standing on a piece of cloth.

The flag, which we pledge allegiance to so easily, is a symbol. Symbols mean different things to different people. Our country is supposed to be one where different people can have free discussions over issues- my only request is, let’s start having the discussion about ones that matter. I agree and support the actions of the Wright State protester- and you should too, if you truly believe in what our country’s founders said when they declared our independence in 1776.

Just say no to naloxone

Naloxone, or Narcan® is the antidote for heroin overdose. It puts first responders in a position to “save” junkies from their stupidity. The same junkies who, in many cases, have been taking up inordinate amounts of their resources- causing crimes to feed to their habit.

Some first responders don’t feel comfortable intervening in Darwin’s work. Others, worry about liability, as practicing medicine isn’t what they signed up for. And, in many cases, it’s really a moot point, because many junkies just come back and do it again.

The reality is, our country is schizophrenic about addiction and drug use. While there is a growing base of support for legalized marijuana which was often labeled a “gateway drug”, cigarettes which are said to be more addictive than heroin- are getting carte blanche access to a new nicotine delivery system via vapor/e-cigs. Stats are showing a decline in smoking among teens but a huge uptick in e-cig use.

What’s even funnier- is that persons vaping in the bar, may not even have nicotine fluid in their vape- it may be hash oil- and you’d be none the wiser. Chalk one up for the druggies.

Fentanyl is the “new problem” for junkies. Dealers apparently don’t see the value in return clientele and are cutting their H with Fentanyl- with deadly results. It’s a synthetic opiate- that’s much more powerful and fast acting. It’s a sad day when you need 100% organic labeling on the drug you’re buying to ruin your life- but, that seems to be the case.

Governments can pass laws all they want against drug use, but they won’t stop it anymore than laws against prostitution have worked, or prohibition with alcohol. Drug use is here to stay. What we have to decide is what our real goal is in society? Is it to eliminate people’s escape mechanisms- or to create a huge incarceration industry- or to improve everyone’s quality of life?

Think about it. You may never ingest a single illegal substance. You may not know anyone who does, but you pay for it in so many different ways.

  • The cost of crime to feed the addicts’ habits.
  • The lost hours of productivity as people deal with their loved ones’ addictions.
  • The cost of emergency services to respond to overdoses.
  • The costs of locking people up.
  • The cost of insurance against the actions of addicts- who are more likely to be uninsured motorists involved in accidents, thieves, etc.
  • The cost of health care provided “for free” to these physically debilitated junkies.
  • Costs of maintenance programs that substitute one drug for another at public expense.

Face it- we all pay the costs of a few peoples’ illness.

This isn’t unique to the United States- just our huge emphasis on incarcerating people for being involved with drugs are. We spend billions on a system that doesn’t solve anything. Just like Naloxone- it’s not a cure, just a quick fix- a return back to square one, to start the merry go round again.

Should we just let junkies die? While that sounds harsh- we seem to be in favor of the death penalty too, seeing as we allow it. It’s amazing- the State can’t find the drug combo it wants to use to kill people- with drug companies “refusing to supply it” – while Fentanyl seems to work just fine on the streets.

We need to totally rethink how we want to deal with drug addiction in this country. Suppose we supplied clean kits and provided no questions drug purity testing? Would heroin deaths and the need for Naloxone drop?

Or, if we just legalized the drugs and tried to make sure that the people who want to go through life stoned- can do so without impacting the rest of us? Sometimes I think we’d do better to just wall off a Vegas like compound- where people can go in and do whatever they want- signing waivers to enter- with the only condition is much like the old Vegas ad tagline- “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” You want to gamble, prostitute, do drugs- go to the compound, let the rest of us get on with our own lives free of your “sins.”

While I believe my body to be a temple- and that ingesting drugs and  alcohol are a defilement, most of the population has no problem with drinking- despite the huge numbers of deaths from drunk driving- and costs associated with lost productivity due to hangovers. Taking drugs is really a crime against yourself in my eyes- and having the government get involved in your personal decisions doesn’t work out most of the time, be it pregnancy, marriage or assisted suicide.

You can make a historical argument for such a place- didn’t the founding fathers declare: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” – and if you think heroin is going to make you happy- who are we to stop you?

Hazel Rountree on Hazel Rountree

I’m sorry- when I run for public office, it’s about serving the people of the community. It’s because I believe in representing people and helping our community. When I first heard Hazel Rountree talk about why she was running for Dayton City Commission, despite barely completing half of her Dayton School Board term I was aghast. I didn’t think there was anyone stupid enough to say I’m running “because there is a vacancy without an incumbent.” No, voters really are that stupid- and need that explained, and that’s why she “was called” to run.

But, apparently, Ms. Rountree, who already has a high-paying government job working for the president of Wright State University, thinks that once you get elected to the City Commission, it’s a seat for life- because, well, there isn’t an incumbent. Watch this “educated” and “wise” candidate, tell us how it is.

I’ve got the entire candidates’ night video here, if you want to learn more about Darryl Fairchild, Scott Sliver, Chris Shaw and Municipal Court judicial candidate Mia Wortham Spells- who doesn’t have a primary.

Matt Joseph wasn’t in attendance, he’s the one incumbent, who according to Hazel has a job for life.

In all my time on the campaign trail, I’ve heard some pretty horrible candidates, but, I’ve never heard anyone like Hazel who not only takes themself so seriously, but would tell you “it’s their time” because the seat is open. For all her self-proclaimed wisdom and intelligence, I’ve never heard anything as flat-out stupid as her answer to a very legitimate question.

If there is one candidate I hope you don’t ever vote for again, it’s Hazel Rountree.

Daredevil on Netflix. Dayton and its Wilson Fisks

Daredevil on Netflix teaser imageIt isn’t often I make media recommendations on this site. The last one (out of the 2500 or so posts on this site) that I remember, was to go see “An inconvenient truth” and that was in 2006.

And now, I’m going to recommend you watch Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix. All 13 hours of it. Forget “House of Cards” as the examination into the depths of our failed political system, so much more can be said with allegory.

For those of you who never read comic books, Daredevil was a sideshow in the Marvel metaverse, almost a novelty character. He was a blind lawyer, who after losing his sight at 9 while saving a man by pushing him out of the way of a speeding car, gained incredible powers of using his other senses to “see” the world around us- right down to listening to your heartbeat to see if you were telling the truth. He wasn’t out to save the world, just to turn his community around, Hell’s Kitchen in NYC. He didn’t use a gun, just his hands and martial arts tools, to bring bad people to justice.

The story, once you get past the idea that a blind man can see with a sonar sense, is that of good vs evil, and the way that the line between the two can be foggy. The demarcation is often in the eyes of the beholder.

The story line of the Netflix version of Daredevil is the struggle between an all-powerful man behind the curtain, also a native of Hell’s Kitchen, who has his vision of a “Better tomorrow” for this down-on-the-luck community. Although he’s never referred to as “The Kingpin” in this season, Wilson Fisk, played by Vincent D’Onofrio is a believable bad guy, which is part of what makes this show so worth watching. In advertising as in almost everything else, when it’s believable, when it’s based on fundamental human truths, it has a much deeper emotional connection with those who experience it.

D’Onofrio will be nominated for Emmy awards for his performance, channeling his inner Marlon Brando, commanding the screen with his expressions and posture as much as his words and actions. The others in the cast, seemed resoundingly human, compared to other Marvel Epic Productions, where the right words, the wink and the nod, gave away that this was fantasy fiction. Daredevil is not campy, it isn’t funny, and the good guys get hurt both physically and emotionally. This is Marvel at both its darkest and brightest at the same time.

Comic books were traditionally short, 18 pages of art, 18 pages of ads for things like Xray vision glasses and sea monkeys. The static art would leap off the page, and often say more than the words that were in the thought bubbles, speech bubbles or the third person narrators voice- often that of Stan Lee- with his “Welcome fearless readers.” (Note, of all the naming projects I’ve done in my real world job of advertising- one of the companies I’m most proud of naming is “Fearless Readers,” a comic book shop in East Dayton). To read a comic book didn’t take very long- but to understand it- took a whole backstory/history lesson. Not much different than understanding how Dayton and Hell’s Kitchen got to be the communities they became. It’s not a short newspaper story that really tells you much, it’s the accumulation of that back story- of the understanding of all the plots that twist and weave into the fabric of where we are today.

With every Marvel story told in movies, I felt shortchanged. All my history lessons in the Marvel universe weren’t needed- it had been condensed, compressed and manipulated into an action packed box office powerhouse- that took years of reading and shoved it into a 2-hour box. XMen, Iron Man, Captain America and even the Avengers left me feeling like I’d just bought the Cliffs Notes instead of reading the classic. Not so with Daredevil over the course of 13 hours. (Thank the recent hernia operation for giving me the time to watch it all in 3 days).

This story has been repeated across our country, where money

UPDATE

13 April 15 (this post was over 1300 words when I completed it. Somehow- the second half is missing. I’ll take another stab at it later- sorry)

The Decertification of Sanity in Ohio

A group of moron legislators in Ohio are trying to pass a “constitutional carry” law in Ohio- House Bill 147. They think it’s a god-given right to carry a concealed firearm, and that we’d somehow all be safer if people with zero training were allowed to carry concealed weapons.
As a recent CCW course graduate, before it went from 12 to 8 hours, I can say that the CCW course was inadequate compared to my military training and Jr. NRA training I got as a 13-year-old. But it was something.

From the Dayton Daily news:

Only Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Vermont and Wyoming currently have a “constitutional carry” law, the phrase given bills like House Bill 147.

Paul Zeltwangar, R-Mason, one of those who cosponsored the bill, said since the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, “what’s the purpose of the registering process?” Zeltwangar said there are no negatives associated with the bill.

Other area lawmakers supporting the bill include Reps. Niraj Antani, R-Miami Twp.; Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton; Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield; Nino Vitale, R-Urbana; Jim Buchy, R-Greenville; Margaret Conditt, R-Liberty Twp.; and Ron Maag, R-Lebanon.

via Foes fire back at Ohio gun bill.

My basic stance on gun ownership is that it should be as least as difficult to get a gun as it is to get a car and a driver’s license. Some training, a written test and competency evaluation. Insurance should also be part of the deal. However, since we’re moving away from permits and training, what else could we change to be more “constitutional?”

You currently need permits to sell beer and alcohol, to brew beer and you have to be over 21 to consume it. This seems awfully restrictive and intrusive, HB 148 will reduce the drinking age to 12 and allow anyone to sell alcohol.

HB 149 believes that medical licenses and training are also unnecessary, Ohio will become the first “Free Medicine State” where anyone can practice medicine and charge for it.

HB 150 goes hand in hand with HB 149, dropping requirements for law school or passing the bar exam. With the new influx of “doctors” we’ll need more “lawyers” to sue. After all, Clarance Darrow never graduated from law school.

HB160 will eliminate all professional certifications and requirements of competency for architects, structural engineers, surveyors. Said Representative Antani, “they built the pyramids and the great wall of China without any licenses.”

HB 161 will eliminate all certifications for public safety personnel. “It’s obvious that police training doesn’t stop cops from shooting unarmed black men in the back for a traffic stop” said Rep. Zeltwangar, so why pretend anymore.

HB 162 eliminates all requirements for health department inspections, agriculture inspections, etc. “They eat a kind of sushi in Japan that can kill you” says Rep. Buchy, “what are we so worried about.”

HB 163 however strengthens licensing requirements for barbers and hair dressers. “We can’t have felons using a razor blade on people without proper regulation, and of course, having a bad haircut is a crime” said Rep. Maag.

And we’re still firmly against allowing gay people to marry and women to choose the right to have an abortion because, well, because we’re Republicans.

The Republican members of the Ohio House are scrambling to find other things to un-regulate and de-certify, including oversight on slot machines and casinos, fracking, fertilizer sales and application and ending the onerous task of doing safety inspections on roller coasters- “aren’t they much more exciting when they derail?” said Rep. Koehler.

Unfortunately, the only training and certification we really need in Ohio isn’t being talked about at all: IQ, Civics and Sanity tests for all elected officials, because electing stupid people is not just our constitutional right, it’s our destiny.

The nobody cares election

Two years ago, before the petitions were turned in and certified for the upcoming special election (which was a mayoral and 2 commission seat year) I attended a candidates’ night that I described as:

the oddest candidates’ night of them all- 2 hours of people who may not be on the ballot, talking about what they won’t be able to do anything about if they got elected mayor.

via The non-candidates’ mayoral forum – Esrati.

I, being the candidate who believes in a well-informed electorate, went out and videotaped the very long, poorly structured event and put it up online.

Today I was sitting with Scott Sliver, one of the 5 candidates for Dayton City Commission that will have the field narrowed in May to four, and asked if there were any candidates’ nights so far? None was the answer, in fact the first is April 20th by the League of Women Voters. That’s just a few weeks before the election. None in BEH, Walnut Hills, Northern Hills, FROC, Patterson Park, McCook- not a one.

Full disclosure- my firm, The Next Wave is doing printing and design for Mr. Sliver.

Lucky for me, because I’m going in for surgery tomorrow, and won’t be able to carry anything like a video camera for a few weeks. Not lucky for voters who still care.

Of course these stupid runoff elections 6 months before the real one are just something to make running for office more expensive and to give the overpaid people at the Board of (S)Elections something to do. Do we really need to narrow the field? Instant runoff balloting would make this easy. Just rank your choices 1 to 5 and then a computer runs a little routine and says if your number 1 choice didn’t get enough votes, your vote rolls to your number 2 and so on until the top two choices have more votes than the rest. One election, and you never have to worry about voting for “someone you like, but doesn’t stand a chance.”

For the record, the five choices in the upcoming election, 3 of whom I’ve never heard speak in public on political matters. are:

There is going to be an “open seat” since Commissioner Lovelace has been allowed to placehold for the last three years after his many strokes. Honestly, he should have been replaced in a special election after he missed 5 consecutive meetings according to the charter. Instead he took half a year off and then some. I’d like to give you more insight on the above candidates- but I can’t. No candidates nights. Lame-o websites.

I’m voting for Sliver, one vote, at this point. It’s called “plonking” around here- and it makes sure your vote doesn’t counterbalance by giving the guy who could come in above you that chance. As I’ve said earlier, I’ve known Scott for 25+ years, when we both started our own small businesses in the advertising field at the same time. He later closed up shop to become the touchy-feely pastor who feeds poor families in need.

After the League of Women Voters candidates’ night- I may consider Shaw or Fairchild. Rountree was just elected to School Board. I don’t like quitters, ever. Plus, I’m terrified who they may choose over much better qualified candidates to replace her (she was in the field of 8 when they picked William Schooler instead).

I’ve yet to see anything resembling leadership or real effort from Joseph who is a very nice guy, but a place holder on the commission. He’s been there for 12 years and has a very thin resume of accomplishment.

At this point, if more than 8,000 people vote in the primary (early voting is open now) I’d be shocked. It’s the election that nobody cares about.

UPDATE

13 April 15 Candidates nights:

  • Northern Hills Candidates Nights- Belle Haven School, 7pm  13 April 2015
  • Riverdale Neighborhood Association- Tuesday 14 April 2015
  • League Of Women’s Voters: 20 April, 6:30 p.m., Dayton Library Main Branch, 215 East Third Street Dayton
  • 22 April, 6pm Dakota Center 33 Barnett Street Dayton OH 45402 (off W. 5th)  Black Lives Matter.
  • April 26, 11:30 am Wayman Chapel 3317 Hoover Ave.

 

 

Last day to register to vote in May election

In May- all Dayton voters will be asked to choose who they want to advance in the nonpartisan city commission race. This is NOT a primary- you don’t have to declare party affiliation to vote.
The state has made changing and updating your voter registration easier- now allowing updates online: https://olvr.sos.state.oh.us/ovru/Modify.aspx
I usually have voter registration forms at my office at 100 Bonner Street, but, you can now print them out yourself.
You can go to any school or library- as well as the board of elections in the basement of the county building at 451 W. Third Street across from Sinclair Community College.

It’s not a democracy if you don’t actually vote, people.

Dreams of selling pot brownies out of City Hall’s building

The City of Dayton is the worst real estate speculator in the region. They also aren’t very honest about what “they” own (I say “they” because it’s the taxpayers that foot the bill). Recently there was an article about a building at 15 McDonough St. behind Garden Station that they owned and leased part of to Gosiger. I did a FOIA request on when the city purchased the building, for how much- and to see the copy of the lease with Gosiger and got nothing back. They are selling the building for “$10 to Bacon Street Properties LLC, which lists Gosiger’s headquarters at 108 McDonough St. as its mailing address” yet- somehow, “City Properties Group… (also) is involved in the project.” They are the ones from Louisville that have the old Supply One building next to Garden Station.

A long time ago, a local developer managed to get a printout on greenbar computer paper of the entire listing of city owned properties. With one property per line, the folded stack was several inches high. There was, and is, something fishy about that. But, on to other issues.

You may remember when a local entrepreneur tried to lease the old Chin’s, Elbo’s, Sa Bai from the city to have a Food truck kitchen, teaching facility, rental hall. Tonia Fish was paying rent, and then the city decided to kick her group of small businesses to the curb- which was part of a prior article on Esrati.com:

The Great Thanksgiving Day Food Truck Massacre

It started on Tuesday, when Tonia Fish told me that her temporary lease on the old Chin’s/Elbo’s/Sa-Bai space at 200 S. Jefferson St. may not be renewed. A meeting of some sort had been held in City Hall and the decision was coming. Mayor Leitzell had told me that in the executive session last week, where this matter was being discussed, Nan Whaley wasn’t prepared to vote on it and it was tabled. Had they had another illegal meeting of the commission to discuss this lease? There wasn’t an announced session- and since Executive sessions have to be done either as an emergency and announced- or gone into from a regularly scheduled meeting- what had happened?

via Explaining irrational behavior in Dayton, Ohio – Esrati.

The building sat vacant for over a year. Zero rent. Of course, no one in City Hall is going after Sa-bai for breaking their lease, or back rent.

Instead, we’re giving the space away, again:

Bethany and Aaron Horn, who own Cheeky Meat Pies, have agreed to a five-year lease with the city of Dayton for 200 S. Jefferson St.

The building will feature a breakfast and lunch establishment called Cheeky Cafe and Bakery, as well as a casual dining joint called Weeds Diner, likely featuring “farm fresh” food and alcohol, including craft beers.

“The cafe side will be more comfort food, and the Weeds side will be more seasonal based,” Bethany Horn said about the 5,786-square-foot South Jefferson Street property, located across from the Dayton Convention Center.

Sai-Bai closed in 2013 after accruing more than $60,000 in unpaid rent and taxes, which resulted in the city starting eviction proceedings….

Horn said the cafe should open around May, and the diner hopefully will open by August….

Under the terms of their contract with the city, Horn Food Enterprises will pay no rent through the end of this year, but will be required to pay $14,518 in rent and parking in 2016 (or $2.25 per square foot).

The Horns will pay $15,965 in rent and parking each year for the remainder of their five-year contract (equal to about $2.50 per square foot). They have a trio of renewal options to extend their lease for an additional five years.

Horn Food Enterprises are not being charged rent for the first nine months because the owners will make considerable improvements and renovations to the space, especially the kitchen, which will become the property of the city of Dayton, city officials said.

“If we wanted to make the space reasonably leasable or rentable, those would be expenses we would have to incur,” said Joe Parlette, Dayton’s director of recreation and youth services.

Parlette said the city in the last two years reviewed probably 15 business plans for the site, but the Horns’ proposal won out partly because they had capital and were ready to move forward.

Parlette said the new agreement means all of the city’s leasable space in that area is occupied. The city also owns property that is rented by ThinkTV, Gilly’s and Drake’s Gym.

“Anytime the city can avoid a vacancy downtown is a win for the city and its neighborhoods,” he said. “It will give citizens another unique option to enjoy downtown.”

via Two restaurants to open in downtown property | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

Why the director of Parks and Rec is doing property management is the first question. The second should be is why was the space no longer usable after SaBai left? Maybe because they took everything they put in, including the washroom sinks and left the city with a mess. No one is being held accountable for that.

And, considering Ms. Fish was in, and paying rent of $850 a month for a space that wasn’t “reasonably leasable” – the taxpayers went without 2 years of potential rent and tax revenue because, well, why?

The last laugh may be on the city, when it turns out the real business plan according to confidential sources is that the “Weeds Diner” is planning on selling marijuana edibles as soon as the laws allow it. That should just go over fantastically with the fine folks of Dayton. We already saw how fast Moraine backpedaled on their land lease to potential pot growers.

What we really have is questionable business practices by a government that can’t figure out how to plow snow, sweep streets, or get a cop to a Family Dollar while an assault is taking place in less than 10 minutes. Why our city is so focused on other people’s business instead of running their own is a major question.

When you realize these people at city hall spent at least $4 million to get a Kroger to Wayne Avenue and failed. They also tore down the Schwind, the Dayton Daily News and part of the historic back- for student housing that’s not coming thanks to a HUD deed restriction that they should have known about. The list goes on. Who in City Hall is qualified to review “15 business plans” and make this decision? The same one who spent $450K on 601 E. Third St?

Maybe it’s time to divest the city of all its real estate holdings that aren’t directly used for providing taxpayer services? Or maybe, it’s time for the rest of us to start eating pot brownies so we can be just as high as the fools we have managing our real estate holdings.

UPDATE

5 April 2015. As if I needed more evidence to prove to you that the city is an incompetent property manager, this was in the morning paper.

DAYTON —Hundreds of thousands of dollars in infrastructure and equipment was removed from a vacant industrial building owned by the city of Dayton.

The security officer at the McCall Building, 2333 McCall St., filed a report Friday night on a breaking and entering, according to the Dayton police report.

Wiring, electrical equipment, copper pipes and generator equipment was listed as missing, an estimated $500,000 loss, according to the report.

The building is listed on cityfeet.com, a website that markets available commercial space.

The 348,000 square-foot building, valued at $1.5 million and available for rent at $58,000 per month, is listed as one of Dayton’s economic development sites.

via Thieves strip $500K in material from city-owned building | www.daytondailynews.com.

Another half million that could have been spent providing government services wasted.