While Congress continues to feast on the foibles of the VA, pointing fingers at anything that moves, one little minor problem continues to be overlooked: Federal contracting and its farcical system of awarding contracts and providing the lowest and best cost solutions to the taxpayers. The Feds are the largest purchaser of goods and services in this country.

As a Service Disabled Veteran, who owns his own business, and jumped through all the hoops to become a “Certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business” I still have not managed to crack the code of getting work from the Federal Government- including the VA, which is committed to spending at least 7% of their purchasing power with SDVOB’s.

While Congress has the VA on full lynch mode- and claims to have Veterans interests at heart, they’ve never gotten upset that the Federal Government has totally failed to follow it’s own law:

The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-50 Download Adobe Reader to read this link content) established an annual government-wide goal of not less than 3% of the total value of all prime contract and subcontract awards for participation by small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans.

via Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concerns (SDVOSBC) | SBA.gov.

The main reason: the government depends on the General Services Administration (GSA) to approve all potential contractors with an arcane system called a GSA Schedule. Called “a license to hunt” by veterans’ advocates, the process of getting a GSA schedule is convoluted and overly burdensome, especially for small businesses. While the GSA demands the lowest and best price offered to the government, we’ve seen how well that works with minor purchases like the the F-35 going over budget and way past on time.

From paper clips to printing to pharmaceuticals, the system is rigged so that only a small number of vendors are actually able to compete or bid all in the name of “fairness.”

The VA, is also forced to use private contractors solicited via this process- and when they fail, there are no repercussions to the  contractors.

Take my eyeglasses for example. Mine were broken on Friday May 9th 2014. I was seen that night at the VA. I’d recently had an eye exam, and went to the eyeglasses shop on Monday to get a new pair made. They told me they were running 4-5 weeks behind, which struck me as odd- since there are any number of places in Dayton that can supply eyeglasses same or next day. Luckily, I’m friends with Kevin Harrington of Downtown Dayton Optical and he made me a few pairs of fixed glasses to replace my no line bifocals that day. By Wednesday I realized switching glasses every time I got a text was going to be unbearable for 4-5 weeks, I asked him to make me a pair of no line bifocals. He got them to me the next Monday.

Sign at Dayton VA explaining delay in glasses delivery

Sign at the Dayton VA Optical Shop

It was still bothering me that a pair of eyeglasses for veterans would take that long and I contacted Director Glenn Costie- explaining that glasses are pretty essential to a veteran and there is no excuse for that long a wait. Turns out I was right.

I was called by one of his assistants who told me the contract stipulated 2 week max. They were in the process of switching contractors, to one promising one week. After a month had gone by and still no glasses, I sent a note to Director Costie asking “Why isn’t your purchasing department penalizing the hell out of this crappy vendor?” saying I would write a blog post about this situation (a blog post I wrote in a post surgery fog also got a lot of attention). The next day, a message was on my home answering machine from a woman who sounded almost incredulous that she was calling- saying my glasses were in.

A sign on the sign-in desk for the optical shop at the VA says:

“Notice to Veterans awaiting Eyeglasses
We apologize that the current wait time for eyeglasses is about 5 weeks.

The Company contracted to manufacture the eyeglasses are not meeting our expected delivery time of 5-10 days.

We are finalizing changes so that our expectations of faster delivery times are met.

We are sorry for the inconvenience.”

I’m pretty sure if I violated a contract with the government, I’d be in prison.

This isn’t the first time a VA contractor has screwed up. Last year, when it was determined that I needed to have my parathyroid gland removed, after months of unnecessary tests including 2 needle biopsies and 2 radioactive scans- despite blood chemistry clearly identifying the issue- I was scheduled for surgery at the Cincinnati VA in July with a specialist. Turns out, he too was a private contractor, and works full time for University of Cincinnati medical center. Contracted for X number of hours with the VA, he sees patients and does surgeries at the Cincy VA only on Thursdays, something like twice a month. When he decided to take a few weeks off in July- they bumped me from my initial consultation, meaning I’d have to go in August- and then wait another month to be operated on. Then, he took a day off- on his VA scheduled day. I wrote both the surgeon and Director Costie again- and here was the summary outcome email back to Costie thanking him after he stepped in on my behalf:

I’m not sure what transpired between you and Cincy.
I’d also sent an email directly to the surgeon through his private practice site.
It said something to the effect of-
“you signed a contract with the VA to operate once a month.
When you take a surgery day off- you don’t just get to bump veterans to the next month- because your private practice comes first.
Veterans didn’t get the choice when they were serving- to say, sorry- I’ll deploy next month, I’m busy.
When you miss a day- you get to do two days the next month. Our veterans deserve your best.”

He came in and apologized to me-
said it was refreshing to see the patient’s perspective. Said he’d been with the VA for 20 years- and this kind of thing still happens- because of a miscommunication- and that maybe I should come work there to help straighten things out. I said I’d pass on the government job- but thanks.

Unfortunately, other veterans don’t have the ability to call bullshit when they see things going wrong, and unfortunately, Congress seems to be so busy pointing fingers that they don’t see the problem either. Accountability means contracts must be enforced at all levels if we truly want to help our veterans- and get our tax dollars’ worth.

I think highly of Director Costie- and I was saddened to hear that he’s going to Phoenix to try to clean up that mess, but the real question is when is the GSA going to be held accountable for securing contracts that are routinely ignored?

Back in 2005, on behalf of my veterans business group, VOB108, now VOBOhio, I wrote a proposal for a GSA EZ schedule to help small businesses have a chance at selling to the federal government. That would be a good start- and possibly allow small businesses a true shot at government contracts- and also, what are the true penalties involved in not performing to contract standards?

Considering new government rules on medicare and medicaid asking for verified outcomes, isn’t it time for the same when hiring contractors for the VA for service delivery to our veterans? And, while we’re at it- how about the same for our Congressmen- when you don’t work and shut down government, you should lose your job and be sent to prison.

 

You may not know what the party central committee does- or why it’s important. This is the lowest of low political positions- it takes five signatures of party members in your precinct to get on the ballot, most run unopposed- and of the 360 seats less than a third are filled via election. It’s not a paid job, the party meets at least 6x a year and for the most part, you never get asked to do anything if you are a precinct captain.

The most important things the central committee, as run here, does- is nominate people to open seats- like when a state rep dies or goes to prison- notable heirs to seats via the party are Rhine McLin who became a State Rep this way, Fred Strahorn who got back into the State House when Clayton Luckie went to the big house (stealing campaign money) and putting people on the board of elections- as they just put Rhine McLin and John Doll on after Denis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie went toe-to-toe with the Secretary of State on keeping the polls open and losing.

That’s not how it’s supposed to be- the precinct captains should be the front lines of organizing the party faithful and informing them of issues, candidates and rallying voter turnout, but in Montgomery County- it’s mostly about making sure the “Monarchy of Montgomery County” continues their hold on their fiefdom. It’s the friends and family plan for politics.

After I exposed that many of the seats were held by people in patronage jobs in the last elected body- we had even fewer candidates running this time. And even some of the write in candidates forgot to vote for themselves- 19 of you just had to vote and write your name in to win- and you failed to do that.

Now, the seats that are open are available for appointment- and if some of you ask nicely- the powers that be may allow you to be on the committee (just don’t tell them you read about it here – or like me).  At the reorganization meeting, there were 115 elected, yet only 78 showed up. I taped the whole meeting so those of you who wonder what a Reorganization meeting looks like- can watch. With our crew- the number one thing is to vote as quickly as possible, with no discussion, no debate- and no challengers to the party. Dictators would love this organization.

Watch the video: (something garbled the video in the render- re-rendering now- and will reupload tomorrow night)

Former Congressional Candidate Mack Van Allen tried to change the constitution so that we’d elect in 2 year cycles instead of 4- since we had such low participation. This is how it’s done in Cincinnati, where one precinct this year had 5 candidates (we were lucky to even have one in most precincts). After some debate, the call for the vote was quick and held incorrectly- you can’t have both votes be Aye- and say the Ayes have it. While another precinct captain wanted to be recognized to speak- to point out many of the typos, inconsistencies in the soon to be accepted constitution- it was claimed that we’d already had discussion and it was time to vote- and that I need to read “Robert’s rules of order.” Then after the quick votes- we were sent to our wards to elect a ward leader- who is then on the “Executive Committee”- the group that meets in private before the public meeting and discusses who gets what seat and a chance to run. There is also a “screening committee” that picks who we should “endorse” in primaries- sort of negating the whole concept of primaries.

In Ward 1- 5 of the 6 elected precinct captains were in attendance. Judge AJ Wagner, Martin Gehres (son of Judge Gehres) Joe Lacey, Russ Joseph (brother of Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph, and wanna be next Dayton Clerk of Courts) and me. Joe nominated me to Exec- AJ seconded and Russ had to ask me- who do I vote for- and of course I said me- and I’m now in the exec room. Of course, Russ- as Clerk of Courts and Party Chair Mark Owens right hand- was in exec anyway as an appointment.

If you are interested in an appointment to the party- look up your precinct here: http://www.voterfind.com/montgomeryoh/vtrlookup.aspx

And then see if your precinct is open:

Precinct
captain
Day 1-aAJ Wagner
Day 1-BJoe Lacey
Day 1-cMartin Gehres
Day 1-DDavid Esrati
Day 1-ETheresa Lea Whitley
Day 2-AYoussef Bahammi
Day 2-BVicki A Morris
Day 2-cMatthew R Cox
Day 3-FFrieda T Brigner
Day 3-H Mary Ellen Kuehne
Day 3-KDebra L Ownens
Day 4-ASamuel J Braun
Day 4-BSarah Jolie Zecchini
Day 5-ADavid K Greer
Day 5-BFred Strahorn
Day 5-cRichard C Green
Day 5-EBarara Jean Harris
Day 6-BStacey Benson-Taylor
Day 7-ARhine Lana McLin
Day 7-BStacy M Thompson
Day 8-AKarl L Keith
Day 8-cMitchell Dean Kearns
Day 8-DKeith J Belluardo
Day 9-cMatthew F Joseph
Day 12-ACatherine M Merkle
Day 13-ASusan R Martin
Day 13-B Jerome McCorry
Day 14-DWillis Blackshear Sr.
Day 15-BJohn R Smith
Day 16-ARichard Clay Dixon
Day 16-CSteven Samuel Brack
Day 16-DCreola Reese
Day 17-CLinda S McKenna
Day 18-ABetty Jane Owens
Day 18-BKimberly N Gaines
DAY 18-CHearther R Layne
Day 20-ANathan P Greaney
DAY 20-DThomas J Ritchie Sr
Day 20-CMarcia R Knox
Day 22-ASinthy Eugene Taylor
Day 22-bAnita L Andrews
Day 22-CAlvin Freeman
Day 23-ARussell M Joseph
BT-ADebra B. Armanini
BT-bKymberly Brush
BT-EWilliam N Davis II
VD-JSteve P Harsman
HAR-IChristine Kinter
HAR-JRoland Winburn
Har-LGuy Elsmire Jones
HUB 1-BLuicle J Dale
Hub 3-dGeorgia Hickey-Wolf
Hub 5-CDavid Lee Richards
Hub 6-BDavid P Fecke
Jef-BBrice C Sims
Jef-DLynn G Thomasson Sr.
KT 1-AKelly R Weinert
KT 1-ERonnie R Hall
KT 1-FKathy Lynn Williams
KT 1-GKevin G Crisler
KT 1-HNolan C Thomas
KT 2-BFredrick Schindler
KT3-ALawrence Kent
KT 3-BDavid B Dreety
Kt 3-FRoberta J Beyer
Kt 3-GRita D. Orlowski
KT 3-JMiriam K Maue
KT 4-ANancy K Enright
Kt 4-B Breanda C Wallen
Kt 4-CClaire D Mertzman
KT 4-DLousia S Dreety
KT 4-FNicolas D Gough
KT 4-HJohn J Murphy
KT 4-JJames T Ambrose
TR 1-AWanda M Adams (deceased)
TR 1-ENancy L Marino
TR 2-ASonya C Eggleton
TR 2-CSarah Vigina Clark
TR 2-DMartha Clark
TR 2-EDerrick E Turner Sr
TR 3-ABruce D Kettele
TR 4-BPatrick S Thomasson
RV-CWayne E Small
RV-DWilliam R Flaute
PMDavid C Owens
MIA-NLinda P Ford
MIA-OMark E Landers
WCR-GRenee Sheppard
MBG 2-BCharles F Bowling
Oak-ASteven C Byington
OAK-BNicholas G Gounaris
OAK EWard C Barrentine
OAK GCarol J Holm
P-NLB-ABetty L Bennington
CTN 1-BMat Heck Jr
CTN 1-CDennis A Leiberman
CTN 1-DSharon Lynn Hunter
CTN 3-AJames T Gorman
CTN 3-CGherly A Hart-Groff
UN-BRobin L Davis
WS-BKriss Gang
WS-HDouglas M Trout
WS-IBridget Oaks
WS-MStephen J Schlkers
WS-OPual S Robinson Jr
WS-RJohn R Doll
WS-SL Mack Van Allen
WS-VOlive A Kiley
WS-XBeverly A King
CV-CCharlotte M Vitali
CV-GStephen N Davis II
CV-HDavid Allen Saphire
CV-KMichael J Rice
CV-LLarry L Pierce
CV-OLee C Falke

Then ask the party chairman, Mark Owen, if you can fill the seat.

And, btw- this information has never been published on the party site- www.montgomerydems.org It’s one of my goals to improve the site.

And there is your short lesson in “democracy” – Montgomery County (Ohio) Democratic Party style.

 

Someone questions something in Dayton- shoot the messenger.

Yesterday, the Dayton Daily news posted an obituary on Edyth Lewis. In it, they spelled our former mayor’s name “McClin”- for pointing out the typo- I get called names, and one person suggests that if I’d die right now, it might increase my chances of winning some precincts. For those of you who don’t know, the name is McLin. We’ve got highways named after her father, a gym at WSU etc. There is no excuse other than lack of any kind of editing and proofreading talent at the paper.

Also yesterday, someone tried to claim that my recent posts about two former candidates’ death notices- not getting obits was a form of trolling for reads to this blog- and they did it on the article that was there to prove that obits were being missed.

Today, it’s front page news that Miller Valentine has a “plan” for redeveloping the “Fairgrounds like the Greene.” The paper supplies a pretty site plan picture- only, there is no indication that Miller Valentine is doing anything like the Greene. The main differences? The Greene always has had parking garages, and the development has zero exclusive residential – all of the buildings are mixed use. The Miller Valentine plan is decidedly missing both garages and has separate residential. And while they show a 35,000 square foot grocery store, the question is which company is going to use that size space? That’s approximately the size of the Wayne Avenue Kroger store which was deemed in need of replacement- which sucked over $4 million of the taxpayers’ money to create nothing.

Now, Miller Valentine has its hands out for public funds? Who is going to fill these spaces, or are we, the taxpayers, just supposed to finance their pipedream without signed leases and some sort of performance contracts in place?

Anyone can draw a pretty picture and sell an idea, but execution of it is another matter. One only has to look at Miller Valentine’s project “University Place” at the corner of Brown and Stewart to see its total failure to address parking properly- and that there are still multiple vacancies 5 years later should make it clear, this isn’t Steiner at work (developer of the Greene and Easton in Columbus).

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

While I was at Princeton Recreation Center (also known as Northwest or Dabny) hanging nets on Sunday- it was clear the city’s main effort at fixing up the basketball courts has been in the removal of my stickers from the poles – which give the number to call for net replacement. The kids asked me why I hadn’t fixed the crap rim and backboard- next to the rock. It’s not good enough that I hung three top of the line rims there- and keep the nets up. When I suggested they call Commissioner Williams, one of the kids- a girl who was riding around on a bike, dismissed me “we’re just trying to play basketball here.”

Mediocrity reins supreme in Dayton OH.

A good friend thanked me for posting about the passing of two former candidates for the Dayton City Commission. I didn’t write much- but, both times, the following day, the paper had a decent send-off for these past leaders. Granted, both of them died way too young (55, 53) but, by no means should they have received more ink than this man- Tom Wilson. The sum total of the obit that I could find in the DDn is this:

KETTERING —

Former Montgomery County Sheriff Lewis “Tom” Wilson died Friday, a day after his 86th birthday.

Wilson, of Kettering, served as sheriff from 1979 to 1987.

Funeral visitation is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, April 4, followed by the funeral services at 2 p.m. at the Kettering Routsong Funeral home, 2100 E. Stroop Road.

via Former sheriff Tom Wilson dies at 86 | www.mydaytondailynews.com. Posted: 6:26 p.m. Sunday, March 30, 2014

No photo, no recollections, no noted accomplishments- just what amounts to the same as a death notice.

From the paid death notice:

WILSON, Lewis Thomas Of Dayton, Ohio, died peacefully in his apartment at One Lincoln Park on March 28, 2014, the day after celebrating his 86th birthday. Tom was the 5th born to Russell and Madeline Wilson of Falmouth Ky. on March 27th, 1928. His family moved to Dayton where he graduated from Wilbur Wright HS in 1946. While there, Tom lettered in football and track, worked as a lifeguard at NCR’s Old River, and met Lois Joan Anderson whom he was married to for 54 yrs. After high cchool, he got a job with NCR as a key bank setter where he saved up enough money to pay for his first year at UD and was awarded a football scholarship. Tom would soon find his calling and spend a total of 37 years in law enforcement. He served 8 years with Oakwood and graduated from the FBI National Academy. Tom then served 19 years as chief deputy sheriff and 10 years as sheriff of Montgomery County from 1978 to 1988. He was past president of the FBI National Academy Association of Ohio, the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association, Law Enforcement Officers Association of Montgomery County, Ohio-Indiana Police Association, S.W. Ohio Police and Sheriffs Association and was awarded the Ohio’s Outstanding Sheriff’s Award in 1981. His involvement and lifelong contributions to the Dayton community are many where he has served as past president of the Dayton Agonis Club and on the boards for AAA, Goodwill Industries, Dayton Boys/Girls Club, Kiwanis Club, Easter Seals, Camp Fire Council, and Old Time Newsies. He was past master of George Marshall Lodge which became Far Hills Lodge #784, a member of the York Rite Bodies, a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason, Royal Order of Jesters, and a past potentate of the Antioch Shrine Temple. Most of all, Tom was deeply dedicated to his family and numerous friends and always strived to deliver an unsurpassed level of excellence in all that he did. Tom was predeceased by his wife, Lois in 2003. She was the love of his life. He is survived by his very dear loving companion, June Mathewson of Centerville, OH; son, Joseph C. Wilson of West Carrollton, OH; 2 daughters, Penny Ellis of Boulder Creek, Calif., and Wendy McArdle of Bristol, Vt.; 2 grandsons, Jason Wilson and Alex Ellis; 2 granddaughters, Caroline McArdle, Jenna McArdle; 2 great grandchildren and a host of loving nieces and nephews. A Masonic service will be held at 1:45 p.m., with a memorial service to follow at 2:00 p.m., Friday, April 4, 2014, at Routsong Funeral Home, 2100 E. Stroop Rd. in Kettering. The family will greet friends in the funeral home from 10:00 a.m. to 1: p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Antioch Building Corp., 107 E. First St., Dayton, OH 45402 or The Dayton Masonic Foundation for the Scottish Rite Learning Center, PO Box 932, Dayton, OH 45401. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.routsong.com

Published in Dayton Daily News on Apr. 2, 2014
- See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dayton/obituary.aspx?pid=170459471#sthash.uj8Jvzy1.dpuf

In the past, the DDn has been criticized for not remembering D-Day, Pearl Harbor Day, MLK Day, etc.- so they make sure to give ample coverage- but, that’s not really news in our community, that’s fluff. A man whp served in our community as the highest elected lawman for a decade, deserved more.

The fact is, with all the “retirements” and cutbacks- the Dayton Daily news institutional knowledge base is minimal. They don’t know the history, the connections, the reason 2+2 often only equals 3 in this community.

My father chastised me for writing about the death notices- and calling them failed obits. I’m pretty sure, had I not written about them, the DDn wouldn’t have either. To Tom Wilson, and all his friends- and I’m sure he had way more friends than I’ll ever have, he deserved better. I’m sorry I didn’t catch it. And to TP, thanks for pointing this out.

 

Two years, $400,000 in your pocket. This right after you “make a mistake” in tearing down part of a historic building and get an additional $215,000 handed to you on a demolition contract. Only in Dayton Ohio can someone be so lucky so often.

It helps when you donate to the right people in politics, for a long time.

The Five Rivers MetroParks plans to use a $1 million Clean Ohio grant toward the purchase and cleanup of the defunct Larch Tree Golf Course.

That is, if the parks organization carries out the purchase option agreement it signed with owner of the old golf course, Bearcreek Farms, Inc. in Dayton, in February….

Five Rivers would like to turn Larch Tree, an 18-hole golf course property, into conservation land and make it a part of the 360-acre Great Miami Wetland Mitigation Bank conservation area that sits adjacent to the golf course, according to Dave Nolin, Five Rivers director of Conservation….

Montgomery County Auditor’s records show that Bearcreek Farms, Inc. took the old golf course from Steve R. Rauch in June of 2012, the same year the golf course closed due to lack of business. However, Rauch is listed as the incorporator for Bearcreek Farms for records filed in the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

Rauch bought the property for $600,000 from Financial Services, Inc. in April of 2012.

via Five Rivers MetroParks sets sights on property.

And the old line of “well, we’re using federal dollars to do it” doesn’t cut it- those “Federal dollars” are our tax dollars too. Insider information is being passed to people in advance of government purchases- or, government employees are being told about “opportunities”- you buy this property for this much- and they go ahead and do it. Much like the botched land purchase by the South Transfer Station:

Montgomery County last year paid $475,000 for a parcel of land that sold for $70,000 five months earlier, a price jump the county blames on botched communications with its real estate broker.

The parcel at the northeast corner of Springboro Pike and Cardington Road had been targeted by the county for years yet was snapped up by a newly formed company that then resold it to the county in September 2013 for nearly seven times the price paid the previous March.

via Botched land deal blamed on mixup | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

Of course, both these deals are chump change compared to the raping the citizens of Dayton took on the bad deal with IRG at the Dayton Airport- where the city gave the “developer” a check for $3.5 million and the rights to scrap the assets of the former Emery Air Freight building that was on a guaranteed lease to UPS until 2019. It’s been over three years on that debacle and IRG hasn’t brought any jobs to the site, it now sits unkempt- missing 4 emergency diesel generators, a huge stainless steel fuel farm, a multi-million dollar automated sorting and conveyor system and who knows what else. The term of the deal was 3 years- and no one has demanded performance or the property back.

Anyone who wonders why donors would hand a mediocre city commissioner half a million dollars to run for Mayor- a job that pays $45K a year, should look at deals like this and realize that this is just tithing to the “monarchy of Montgomery County”- the network of mostly democratic office holders who have been taking care of the “Friends and Family” for years- selling out the citizens left and right.

If you wonder how the Arcade – a project we taxpayers put millions into, ended up being sold to Tom Danis for $36K plus a check to former Police Chief Tyree Broomfield for $100,000 to resign.

If you wonder who owned a bunch of properties right in the path of US 35 W that had to be bought and torn down for construction to begin.

If you wonder why demolition is the preferred method of “economic development in Dayton”- etcetera- it’s all because some political donor wrote a check. And as they say- payback is a real mo-fo.

Obit for Michael P Osgood

a tiny obit- for a community leader

I’ll be the first to admit it- I never got along well with Mike Osgood.

But when the second former candidate for the Dayton City Commission dies within a week, way before their time, without a real mention in the DDn- I figure I owe it to them to share the news of their passing with the community. I’m really reluctant to add an obituary category to this site, but of late, it may seem appropriate.

Michael was a friend and protégé of our former mayor, now Congressman Michael Turner.

He was also very active in the Huffman Historic Area- rehabbing and renting houses. He sat on the board of directors for Wright Patt Credit Union, and served on other non-profits’ boards.

Mike ran for City Commission 3 times- first in the 1996 special election which Abner Orrick won. Osgood came in last of four candidates, even trailing Mark Donelson II, who was married to Sherrie McLin.

In 1997- running for the same seat at the normal election time, he again came in 4th of four, with Mary Wiseman and Lloyd Lewis winning.

In 2001 he tried again- for the same seat, and came in third, this time besting Abner, but losing large to Dick Zimmer and Joey Williams.

The tiny obit in today’s paper:
“OSGOOD, Michael P. Age 54, passed, June 3, 2014. Mass 10:30 a.m., June 9 at Church of the Holy Angels. Westbrock F.H., Dayton”

Hopefully, someone can do a better job of sharing Mike’s impact on our community.

Rest in peace, Mike.

There was nothing wrong with Schwind building, nor the old Dayton Daily News building on Ludlow. Both were solid buildings in good locations, and prime candidates for adaptive reuse.

But, apparently the right local developers didn’t pay off the right people, because money that could have made their projects an easy go- was spent instead with long-time Dem Party supporter Steve Rauch.

What’s most interesting is that this was after he “mistakenly” tore down the historic addition to the original Cox building.

The city of Dayton will spend $215,000 more than it had originally planned to pay for the demolition and cleanup of the Schwind Building property, which officials said will help the roughly $18 million student housing project move forward.

A federal deed restriction on the Schwind property along Ludlow Street meant the Student Suites developer was unable to secure financing that would have covered the demolition and cleanup costs, said Aaron Sorrell, Dayton’s director of planning and community development.

The city is increasing its contribution to $1,215,000 from an original commitment of $1 million to fulfill its promise of fixing issues on the Schwind property, officials said.

“The reason we pushed this forward is because there was a shared sense of responsibility,” Sorrell said. “Our agreement with Student Suites is we’d deliver the Schwind property free of any liens and encumbrances: We have not been able to do that because of the deed restriction.”…
Sorrell admits that footing the bill for the remainder of the Schwind cleanup means the city will not be able to remove as many blighted and abandoned homes as it could have otherwise. But the additional expense will help a project progress that will provide a boost to the revitalization of downtown, he said.
via Dayton to pay for Schwind cleanup.

I’ve been watching a house at 828 Frizell, near DeSoto Bass to see how long the city would take to demolish it. Unlike the Schwind, it needed to come down, although it was making a damn good effort to self-destruct without any help.

The first picture was taken April 10 at 7:27 pm. The neighbors told me that they heard a massive boom- as the house slid off its foundation, and the chimney toppled onto the home next door. The city put some cones out.

photo of 828 Frizell, which slid off it's foundation

House at 828 Frizell on April 10, off the foundation

May 8, I went by again, expecting to see it demolished. Nope. 8:48 pm

Photo of 828 Frizell Ave

May 8, 2014, 828 Frizell is still leaning left.

Last night, after hanging nets, I drove by, it was after 9:30 and dark- the house was a pile of rubble. I didn’t see anyone out to ask when it came down, but was glad to see the city had finally addressed this serious public safety hazard.

The differences between 828 Frizell which needed to come down, and the Schwind which didn’t are night and day. But, the result is the same- public money being spent to tear our city down, instead of to make our city a great place to live.

I’ve already said that at the rate houses are being blighted and torn down, we will expend a hundred million and never keep up. We’ll always be the dog chasing the tail, instead of moving forward. Had we handed half the money we wasted on tearing down the Schwind to developer Bill Rain, he would have had student housing and low income housing in the Schwind to conform with the deed restrictions. Had they handed him the old DDN building- he would have had ground level retail and parking on floors 2 and 3. I’m pretty sure local developer Bob Schiffler would have done something similar.

But the housing stock demolition process is a whole other story.

Some houses like 828 Frizell were absolute demolition cases- many others are in the process of following in the footsteps. The process starts when a bank forecloses on a property that isn’t worth anywhere near what they lent on it- or, the tax bill is exceeding the value the home can be sold for.

Why the declining value? The wizards of Wall Street contributed a great deal to the demise of home values with their derivatives markets and loan bundling. But the City of Dayton has done much of the damage to its own property values over a long period of time. School busing to “solve” segregation was the first strike, where the city lost 100,000 people in a short time. Adjusting for those losses compounded the city’s problem- instead of adjusting to a smaller population, they asked for and got a higher income tax- to be charged to the people who couldn’t vote for the tax. Businesses began their exodus, first to the Kettering Research Park, and then to Austin Landing. Both tax-supported projects that made money for developers- and political donors- and hurt tax collection even more.

The one at Austin Landing is particularly odd- white collar workers don’t get taxed, while blue collar workers do. They just voted to make the district bigger last week;

Three south suburban communities now have more land from which to draw income tax revenue after they approved expanding a zone covered by an agreement.

About 11 acres will be added to the Austin Landing property from which Miamisburg, Miami Twp. and Springboro split income tax revenue.

Legislative leaders from those three jurisdictions Thursday night approved an amendment to increase the Austin Center Joint Economic Development District.

A JEDD is a partnership granted certain oversight authorities, including levying taxes, under the Ohio Revised Code….

The Austin Center JEDD levies a 2.25 percent income tax on all retail businesses and some offices (emphasis added) within its boundaries, according to Miami Twp. records. That percentage is consistent with Miamisburg’s income tax rate. Springboro’s
via 3 jurisdictions vote to expand Austin tax zone.

The city, already plagued with a remaining low income population, which results in lower test scores for students in the beleaguered school system, then began to cut services to families, closing rec centers, not taking care of parks, and cutting basic maintenance like street paving, grass cutting in public spaces, even housing inspection. The great “Model Cities” inspired “Priority Board” system was eviscerated, leaving  a skeleton on life support.

In a series of desperate for tax revenue moves, the city worked against existing businesses, picking favorites and subsidizing some businesses while ignoring others. Attempts to “improve” things like their efforts to be real estate developers for the Wayne Avenue Kroger- took millions of dollars- with the city actually “blighting” the neighborhood into failure with a series of options on the “doomed” properties. When Kroger pulled out, no one was fired, or even questioned, on how they could go this far without a contract.

Other cities tried to chase down blight and demolish, only to realize that it was like going down the rabbit hole. Philadelphia finally said enough- instead of allowing property owners the easy route of boarding up shit properties, went after owners demanding that they fix up or hand over.

From the LA Times:

McCall staples a poster to the plywood covering the door. The poster declares the building “a blighting influence,” in violation of a city code that requires all buildings to have working doors and windows. Plywood or other boards are prohibited, and the fine is $300 per opening — per day.

After decades of ignoring the blight that has spread through its neighborhoods, Philadelphia is trying to reclaim its vacant homes through aggressive initiatives designed to compel negligent owners to fix their properties or see them seized and torn down.

via City of Brotherly Love finally tackles neighborhood blight - Los Angeles Times.

McCall is a city employee- and the city realized that boarding up a house actually hurts the value of all the other homes on the block. So do the stickers saying a “house has been winterized” – meaning that water won’t freeze and break pipes- but is also a printed invitation to scrappers to come steal anything and everything inside.

Accountability for ones investments is long overdue in Dayton. From slumlords like Jan Singleton, who has managed not to pay taxes- or take care of his properties for years, confounding the city law department and inspectors- to the city itself, which has no problem charging you $250 to cut your lot- while they have foot high grass on our boulevards.

Before and after photo as city cuts grass in public boulevard

How high was the grass on Burns Ave. before the city cut it? Ticketable for sure.

How can a city have any legitimate authority to tell people to cut grass when they can’t do it themselves? Yet, they can pump a million and a quarter into the developers’ and demolition companies’ hands for the Student Suites project on Ludlow.

Back to the Philly Story:

Neighborhoods where the new strategies have been applied have seen home prices rise 31% over four years,compared with a 1% rise in comparable areas, according to a study by Ira Goldstein of the Reinvestment Fund. The initiatives increased home values by $74 million throughout Philadelphia, Goldstein said, and brought in $2.2 million more in transfer tax receipts.

Philadelphia had been spending millions of dollars a year to tear down vacant properties, and it didn’t seem to be making much headway, said Rebecca Swanson, who directs the city’s vacant building strategy. So in 2011, city officials decided to try a strategy they hoped would prevent properties from becoming run down in the first place.

The city utilized software used by the IRS to track down owners of the vacant buildings. Then the city took the owners to a newly created Blight Court. The door and window ordinance also allows the city to attach liens to property owners’ other personal property, including, in some cases, mansions in the suburbs.

“That was the whole point, to catch them early, cite them for doors and windows, and hopefully that incentivizes the owner to come out of the woodwork and do something,” Swanson said.

Where is the accountability for the money squandered on Tech Town- where tenants pay no rent, driving rents down on other buildings where landlords have to pay the same taxes they always have had to? Ask Dayton Hydraulic and Jerv Janney how he feels about city subsidies of the Water Street project- while his buildings already have to compete with Tech Town? He’s suing the city for a bunch of money- because he’s been backed into a corner.

This is a city that just bulldozed every public outdoor swimming pool. Has committed to spend a million dollars on fixing up basketball courts after a political opponent embarrassed them by hanging 300+ nets on courts that weren’t being serviced (btw- I’ve yet to see a new rim, new pavement, or backboard).

It’s time to stop thinking demolition is the answer. Blight will stop when there is a legitimate reason to live in this city. Saying we’re a leader in demolishing things ain’t it.

Half a life ago, I met James R. Greene III, and yes, he referred to himself that way. He had purchased a recently renovated home on Ringgold Street for his grandfather, that my friend Howard Rambo had turned into a showplace.

James was one of the most self confident people I’d run into in the civilian world- and even then, talked about changing the world. Nothing was beyond his reach.

In the years since, we’ve crossed paths many times, and I’ve tracked his career, from a staff attorney at NCR to running his own shop, going after the civil rights cases and wrongful death cases that make you go hmmmm.

Officer Kevin Brame, check, Kylen English, check- he threatened to run for Mayor many times, and one time came up very short on signatures.

The Dayton Daily had no problems coming up with mud to smear him as soon as he announced, but, in his passing- this was all the ink they found worthy of mention- a short, paid obit:

GREEN, III Esq., James R. Age 55 of Dayton passed away May 28, 2014. Service June 3, 11 AM at St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church.

via James R. GREEN Obituary: View James GREEN’s Obituary by Dayton Daily News.

For someone who has been on the community’s forefront for years, he deserves a better recounting of his life than I can give-

if you have something to share about James- please do so in comments.

Dayton has lost one of our leading voices. James will be missed.

John Boeher wants to privatize the VA, while Gen. Shinseki makes $200K, and the health-care industry donates $265 million to politicians

Apparently the people at the VA don’t donate enough to politicians.

Gen. Eric Shinseki is in charge of the VA, and is a service-disabled veteran. The operation is immense.

one of the nation’s biggest health care systems, a far-flung operation that treats 6.5 million people a year at 151 hospitals and 820 outpatient clinics, with more than 18,000 doctors and an annual budget of more than $57 billion.

The need for care has increased with a surge in the number of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, coming on top of a population of aging veterans who were already straining the capacity of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Improvements in battlefield medicine mean that many service members survive with severe injuries that need treatment after they leave the armed forces….

Q: How big is the Department of Veterans Affairs?

A: The clinics and hospitals serve more than 230,000 veterans a day and deliver care in 85 million appointments a year. The 6.5 million patients treated each year include more than 757,000 whose military service began after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

via History and Context of an Embattled Department of Veterans Affairs – NYTimes.com.

And while heads of local Dayton health networks make upwards of $4 million, to run a much smaller operation- that claims to be a non-profit, and receives well over half of its revenue from the government via Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements- Shinseki makes $200,000 a year- doing his public service job for the taxpayer.

And while mistakes happen in all health care facilities, the latest uproar over delayed care or medical malfeasance has Faux News in an uproar, all medical providers screw up, get sued, lie, cheat and steal, that’s how lawyers make money in this country.

But, when Speaker John Boehner, who served 8 weeks in the Navy before being discharged for a bad back, says he wants to privatize the VA, one has to wonder why?

More than two decades ago, Boehner said he offered an idea that was controversial at the time: Why not privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs?

The idea was soundly rejected by veterans organizations.

Now, in the midst of a sweeping scandal over reports that veterans had died waiting for treatment, Boehner, R-West Chester Twp., said Friday that the idea still has merit.

“I still like the idea and especially now,” he said, but cautioned that “until we understand what’s happening and until we understand whether it can be fixed or how it can be fixed, all veterans seeking care shouldn’t have to wait.”

Boehner, in an exclusive interview with the Dayton Daily News on Friday, said he believes the problems at the VA are “systemic,” and said he is not convinced that having VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resign will fix the problem.

via Boehner wants to privatize the VA.

As a veteran who receives excellent care for myself- and my 87-year-old father, I can only come to one conclusion: VA officials don’t contribute money to political campaigns anywhere near as much as the people who run our private health-care system.

In the 2012 cycle- the health industry ranked sixth in all giving, donating $265,727,881.

56% of the donations went to Republicans, not that it matters. The reality is, money spent on political campaigns by companies that receive public dollars should be banned. This means if you are a defense contractor, a health provider, any company that sucks on the public teat, you shouldn’t be able to buy your way into office with the taxpayers picking up the tab.

Gen. Shinseki isn’t the problem in the first place – if the idiots in government had listened to him, when he warned Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld that the numbers of troops to occupy Iraq would be in the hundreds of thousands and would suffer casualties, we’d have a lot less dead and wounded soldiers.

It’s time to hold Boehner and the rest of Congress responsible for a war that has bankrupted our country, a political system that is corrupt, and a media conglomerate that feasts like vultures on the only truly successful health care-organization in the country when it comes to providing care efficiently- the VA.

Thank you Gen. Shinseki for your service, as a general and as chief of the VA.

The latest “news” from the paper that publishes stories about its own meteorologist rescuing a kitten – is that in 13 years, the VA has paid a pittance in settlements and attempts to suggest that the VA is a horribly run institution where veterans die from delayed care.

Of course, the metric that’s missing- the VA doesn’t spend a ton of money with Cox enterprises for advertising like the local private hospitals. When you draw a comparison between just the local yokel hospitals and the entire VA system- it’s comparing watermelons to a tenth of a grain of rice.

The fact that the idiots in Congress have latched onto this story is just further proof that we need IQ tests for our Congress as qualifications to run. That the NYTimes calls this an uproar- is an embarrassment to journalism as well:

The uproar over medical care for military veterans involves one of the nation’s biggest health care systems, a far-flung operation that treats 6.5 million people a year at 151 hospitals and 820 outpatient clinics, with more than 18,000 doctors and an annual budget of more than $57 billion.

The need for care has increased with a surge in the number of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, coming on top of a population of aging veterans who were already straining the capacity of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Improvements in battlefield medicine mean that many service members survive with severe injuries that need treatment after they leave the armed forces….

Q: How big is the Department of Veterans Affairs?

A: The clinics and hospitals serve more than 230,000 veterans a day and deliver care in 85 million appointments a year. The 6.5 million patients treated each year include more than 757,000 whose military service began after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

via History and Context of an Embattled Department of Veterans Affairs – NYTimes.com.

The reality is our private hospital system turns away people every single day for lack of insurance. Billions are paid out in malpractice suits in the private sector- and this is ignoring the fact that many veterans have very serious health conditions due to their military service.

While it’s easy to pick on the VA – by those who have never experienced the system, and that there is always room for improvement, this veteran would suggest that this is just smoke and mirrors distracting Americans from the real failures of the “American Health Care System” that fails many more Americans daily than the VA does in a decade.

The fact that General Shinseki runs a system far bigger than all of Premier Health Partners for less than a tenth of what Premier pays its top dogs, totally escapes the public. The fact that Shinseki, is himself a Service Disabled Veteran who has counted on the VA for care gets overlooked.

Considering that we now have the fewest legislators who have served in the military in our nation’s history, most of them need a real lesson in what public service is.

The VA has been on a massive search for veterans to enroll in its programs- with many veterans unaware that they are eligible for care if they served more than 180 days and have a general or honorable discharge. This manufactured hysteria about failed care isn’t helping the mission or improving the system in a meaningful way.

Our veterans deserve better than being used as fodder for selling newspapers. If someone with integrity exists in journalism today- they’d do a true comparison between this government-run health-care system and the joke of our private one. Dollar for dollar, patient for patient, the VA would win hands down.