Just say no to Amazon HQ2

Say no to Amazon HQ 2, sad amazon logo

Just say No to Amazon HQ2

If your city thinks it should offer incentives for Amazon to come to town, it’s time to reevaluate your leadership.

Sure, landing an HQ for a corporate behemoth is prestigious, and  can put any city on the map, but, to offer incentives to one of the richest companies in the world, that has been stealing from local coffers from its inception?

If you are looking at empty retail developments, a hollowed out downtown, declining sales tax receipts in the last 15 years- thank Amazon. It’s not that they did anything wrong, it’s that they did almost everything right- including putting pressure on every small business (the true job creators in America) to cut margins and compete on an uneven playing field.

An uneven playing field that is just made more uneven when our leaders are willing to bend over and offer their rear ends for a reaming with a smile. There is a reason Amazon has to make more room outside Seattle- they can’t afford to stay there. They’ve already driven the housing and office markets into the stratosphere, they’ve pushed the limits of infrastructure, they’ve caused more troubles than they’ve solved- all in the name of “winning” at the capitalist trough.

Don’t worry, they aren’t alone. We’ve seen it time and time again- as companies that don’t pay taxes like General Electric leverage their “job creation” into tax free offices in places like poverty stricken Dayton Ohio. Or watched companies like Boeing move their HQ from  Seattle to Chicago. NCR did the same to Dayton- and now their stock is worth less and their CEO makes more.

It’s not governments job to subsidize and coddle business- it’s governments job to provide a safe, healthy, clean, secure and well organized platform for communities to thrive. Business is only one part of that equation. It’s time to put a stop to corporate welfare.

What’s laughable is that despite not clicking on any of the boxes of Amazon’s dream list- Dayton thinks it should be in the running. This coming from a city manager who has repeatedly failed at “economic development” projects- the Wayne Avenue Kroger debacle, where years and millions of tax dollars went into actually devaluing a community, in order to lure a store that was supposed to come- however, she’d forgotten to get that in writing. On the other- the hole on Ludlow- City Manager Shelly Dickstein gave millions to developers who didn’t do anything but promise to do something- even stiffing the demolition company that ended up owning one of the historic gems of Downtown. And then she had the nerve to insist any developer of the vacant space which the city still owns- has to buy the demolition companies building as entry to the deal (how this isn’t illegal is beyond reason).

Let’s see- Dayton doesn’t have over a million people, it doesn’t have an airport with the connections, it’s lacking in quality education (no, you can’t move 50,000 people into the Oakwood School district), we don’t have a highly educated workforce ready to switch jobs (counting the base is laughable- many of those people have contracts with the US Government that aren’t really negotiable). The list goes on.

Only the Dayton Daily news would even write about this pipe dream without laughing. The New York Times did an analysis and came up with Denver, other smart publications have also done their filtering and come up with other communities- none in Ohio.

The attraction of jobs that pay six figures landing in your city with an income tax is mouth watering, however, the chances of landing them in a city with a 2.5% income tax on top of a state income tax is slim. Especially when Denver does it without any income tax.

At some point, Ohio needs to grow up and realize that allowing this state to be a ridiculous patchwork of local fiefdoms all trying to stay in power and support the friends and family plan of the Ohio Political Caste is keeping us from competing. You can’t have 28 jurisdictions in one county, and 88 counties in a state that’s losing population and clout at an alarming rate without thinking “we’re doing something wrong.”

Nationally, this country needs to just put an end to “economic development” incentives that support big companies over small ones, and make the playing field uneven and unfair. Did the residents of Georgia even get their $100 Million they invested to lure NCR there back, before NCR asked for another handout to move within the State? Doubtful.

If you read George Orwell’s “Animal farm”- this line should come to mind: “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Corr goes vindictive

Why would one of the most senior principals in the district not be in her school?

Is it because Superintendent Rhonda Corr read a mention in this blog and looked for someone to pay for not abiding by her “loyalty oath” unwritten policy?

A principal with enough seniority to retire twice- (almost)- says, “If she stays, or Roberson is made superintendent, I’m out. Bring back Lawrence, Brathwaite and I’ll stay”

Source: In the lifeboats as the DPS ship sinks – Esrati

Shirlette “Peggy” Burks isn’t in her building- Charity Earley Girls Preparatory Academy opened up with Stacy Williams, an experienced assistant principal at the helm. Now, a month after school started, the district wants to swap her with Louise Troy Principal Karla Goins (sister of Thurgood Marshall Principal Sharon Goins).

Why this disruption a month after school starts? Staff at Charity Earley are not happy.

Burks isn’t talking, but her facebook profile says “worked at Dayton Public Schools” instead of “works at.”

With the loss of Horace Lovelace, the other single sex school principal, is this an attempt to shutter the single sex school programs?

With staff turnover at over 20% annually, it’s hard enough to keep competent people.

Apparently, this is how half a century of service is rewarded under Rhonda “Chaos” Corr.

 

Dayton’s International Man of Mystery, Adil Baguirov, has ties to Russian “Laundromat”

American’s don’t understand the relationships between Azerbaijan and Armenia- or that an Ahiska Turk is more Russian than Turkish, but, let’s just say between the Azerbaijan and Armenia may as well be the Hatfields vs the McCoys, or the Union vs the Confederacy.

Dr. Adil Baguirov, recipient of money from the Azerbaijani Laundromat

So you found out I got a questionable quarter million dollars? Vote for me! Dr. Adil Baguirov

We outlined the crazy dealings and shell companies of Dayton School Board member Dr. Adil Baguirov back on Aug 5, 2017. Our main complaint, which every official organization refused to investigate, was that Dr. B didn’t reside in the district, and should be removed from the School Board.

In that research, we uncovered a cornucopia of shell companies, many unreported, some of which he quickly shut down, to stop questions about possible improprieties and conflicts of interest.

Two things stood out: For a guy who has endless time to draw out public meetings, and all the answers on the dealings of the district, he has no debt, and seems to be rolling in cash.

And, that his pedigree was many pay grades above his current position.

We deduced he was his DPS seat as a stepping stone to higher office (he “won” his seat in an uncontested election) and is now starting that bid for the State Rep seat coming up next year.

Within three hours of publishing the piece at midnight, I got a warning via Facebook messenger from a friend:

You must have him investigated. He seems to be a total fraud. I cannot imagine no one checked where he lived…

This is juicy story. Be careful, they will come behind you with big guns.

We published the names of all his shell companies in that initial post. As with most investigative pieces, some parts come into focus later.

An Armenian journalist Emil Sanamyan, reached out to me two nights ago, with the missing link. There has been an international scheme uncovered by The Guardian and the the Danish newspaper Berlingske where large sums of money have been moved around to buy influence or lobby for Azerbaijan and Turkey. The investigation is calling it the Azerbaijani Laundromat:

Azerbaijan’s ruling elite operated a secret $2.9bn (£2.2bn) scheme to pay prominent Europeans, buy luxury goods and launder money through a network of opaque British companies, an investigation by the Guardian reveals.

Leaked data shows that the Azerbaijani leadership, accused of serial human rights abuses, systemic corruption and rigging elections, made more than 16,000 covert payments from 2012 to 2014.

Some of this money went to politicians and journalists, as part of an international lobbying operation to deflect criticism of Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, and to promote a positive image of his oil-rich country. There is no suggestion that all the recipients were aware of the original source of the money. It arrived via a disguised route….

The scheme has been nicknamed the Azerbaijani Laundromat. Confidential banking records were leaked to the Danish newspaper Berlingske and shared with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the Guardian, and other media partners. The data covers a 30-month period. It may show the tip of an iceberg.

Source: UK at centre of secret $3bn Azerbaijani money laundering and lobbying scheme | World news | The Guardian

In the list of all the companies that received this “dirty” money- we find a connection to our minor league politician, Dr. Adil Baguirov- who has a “consulting company” Turbillion– which received: $253,150 USD from HILUX SERVICES LP of Great Britain for 1311125026365614 PAYMENT TO THE CONTRACT N 121 DD.01.11. 2013, exactly four days after Dr. B was elected as the first Azerbaijani to an American office.

Most of the funding came through the British company Hilux Services LLP and its account in an Estonian bank from Baktelekom MMC, a limited liability corporation in Azerbaijan. A reporter for OCCRP discovered that the Azerbaijani company is owned by a businessman with ties to that country’s first family. The payments, prosecutors allege, were made in exchange for Volonte’s efforts to mute the European body’s criticism of Azerbaijan’s human rights record.

Source: Businessman suspected in Italian bribery case linked to Azerbaijan’s first family

So, we’ve got a human rights apologist winning election to the Dayton School board? So what? And who cares if he got a quarter-million for being a mouthpiece for some foreign government? According to fellow school board member Sheila Taylor “he’s done more for this board than anyone.”

I can’t verify anything the Armenian journalist writes about Adil’s lineage, other than his wife is most definitely the daughter of  Turkish Ambassador to the United States from 1979-1989. Mr. Sanamyan has no problem stating publicly that there is more to Dr. Baguirovs lineage:

Of course the KGB and the NKVD don’t publish their membership lists, so I’m deferring to the journalist that speaks Russian.

The fact that Baguirov worked for lobbyists and Federally elected officials, and received foreign money is kinda one of those things that would usually get you into trouble in this country, but, all bets are off since President Trump took office.

Baguirov went to the Trump inauguration, and of course, there is a Trump/Turkish investigation going on,

The German bank that loaned $300m (£260m) to Donald Trump played a prominent role in a money laundering scandal run by Russian criminals with ties to the Kremlin, the Guardian can reveal.

Source: Bank that lent $300m to Trump linked to Russian money laundering scam | World news | The Guardian

If you want to read more than you ever wanted to know about how money flows to foreign terrorists and questionable deals that look more like payola, look at the New Yorker article “Donald Trump’s worst deal” and realize this was being structured while Dr. B was building his political lobbying chops in D.C. And that the same people fingered in the “Laundromat” which sent his consulting company money, were the people who were financing the Trump deal in Baku; all connected to “Ziya Mammadov, the Transportation Minister and one of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful oligarchs. According to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Azerbaijan is among the most corrupt nations in the world.”

Surely, there will be an investigation of Dr. Adil Baguirov now…

Ah, hell no, this is Dayton, where we only prosecute drug dealers and sex offenders and cops shoot photo journalists by “accident.”

What we do know is that Dr. B is gearing up for his next election:

www.adilbaguirov.net

www.adilbaguirovblog.com

www.adilbaguirov.org

and the start of his run for OH-40- funded by CrowdPac.

And, one other thing, in light of his four different sites, is his Website development being handled by the Internet Research Agency?

Now will someone look into this?

 

 

The rest of the Pete Pullen story…

How does DPS hire 2 people to run PR, pay them $180K a year, and the way the community finds out who’s the new head basketball coach at Dunbar- is on my blog?

Way to welcome new coach, Chuck Taylor to Dunbar.

The job was posted, Chuck applied, came prepared to the interview. He’d passed on other coaching positions- waiting for the right job, right time. He’s no stranger to the Dayton basketball community- having run his own AAU team for 20+ years. A Dunbar Roth grad, he lead Roth to a basketball state championship as a point guard, before Roth’s program moved to Dunbar when Roth closed. This was his chance to “come home” and lead.

The other part of the story that’s missing, is that Coach Pullen did a cardinal sin in a very petty district- he dared to apply for the Wayne High School coaching job, although he was never called for an interview. Just like the Trump administration, in the new DPS, where “Great things are happening”- it’s all but an unwritten rule that you sign a loyalty oath. Any deviation from devotion to the Corr machine- and you are out. Got questions? See the Tom Archdeacon story in Sunday’s Dayton Daily where the celebrated soccer coach at Belmont of last year, Julie Raiff, was replaced this year, because she dared to go to Northridge for more money as a Special Ed teacher. The district line for her- we want a coach who is in the building.

Which brings us back to Dunbar’s new coach- who has a full time job as Judge Gehres’ bailiff. He may be the new direction for Dunbar, as what Principal Crystal Phillips told her 63 year old coaching stead as she unceremoniously turned him out to pasture, but Taylor won’t be in the building either.

Coach Pullen had already retired from teaching the year before last, but still taught two PE courses last year. This year, he’d opted out, but is also currently recuperating from major surgery- and did his interviews in a wheelchair- which probably also didn’t help his case for keeping his job.

Phillips also said that Pullen didn’t have a good rapport with college coaches as a reason for not keeping him, yet the fact that there would be seven college coaches at his practices says volumes.

In PR, the secret is always getting ahead of the story. In this case, considering the smoldering smirch on the district of the Dunbar/Belmont football fiasco last year, the new PR fiasco of the announcement at an emergency meeting about the new academic eligibility standards, you’d think the PR wizards on staff would have made sure that this change wouldn’t be yet another target for tomato tossers- but, they failed.

In the end, Dunbar will do fine in basketball. The question again, is why is this change being made this late? Would Dunbar have lost two star players, DeVon Baker and Caleb McConnell, to SPIRE Academy in Geneva, Ohio, for their senior year? Other districts know that parents of star athletes choose to enroll their kids in schools because of the coaches, not necessarily because of academics. If your ticket to college is being punched because you can play hoops- that’s the first thing you look for.

However, I sure wouldn’t want to be on the other side of the coming Dunbar parents and alumni storm- which all could have been avoided had this been handled properly.

Kettering cop assassinates passenger in traffic stop

Kettering police Chief Chip Protsman tried to justify a murder by suggesting that Officer Jonathon McCoy was ok in spending 69 seconds telling a passenger in a car what to do at gunpoint.

It was Philando Castile all over, without the facebook live video from the driver of the car.

Kettering police officer Jonathon McCoy gave nearly 30 commands to the occupants of a gray Ford van last Sunday once he saw the front-seat passenger had a gun in his right front pocket.

What started as a traffic stop of the woman driver for not signaling while changing lanes and malfunctioning brake lights escalated into an officer firing nine shots at Jason Hoops.

Source: Officer warned suspect before fatal shooting

I watched the video, and wonder where the “to serve and protect” part comes in.

Officer McCoy was on a traffic stop. He approached the car on the passenger side and started asking for license and registration. He also started asking who everyone in the vehicle is- on a traffic stop. Last I checked, police don’t have the right to start asking people why they are in a neighborhood, or what they are doing.

(added 3 Sept) Ohio is a stop and identify state, however, even in this case, the cop was beyond his rights:

“Stop and identify” statutes are statutory laws in the United States that authorize police to legally obtain the identification of someone whom they reasonably suspect of having committed a crime. If there is no reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, is being committed, or is about to be committed, an individual is not required to provide identification, even in “Stop and ID” states.  (end addition)

We have a fourth amendment that protects us from this kind of harassment- well, maybe not in Kettering. If you need a refresher:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Then when McCoy saw the butt of a gun sticking out of the passengers pocket he panicked and pulled his gun, pointed it at the passengers head and said “You reach for that gun, I will blow your brains out, do you (expletive) understand me?”

My question is if it is legal to carry a concealed weapon in Ohio, what gives an officer the right to pull a weapon out, point it at someones head and threaten to blow their brains out?

Police apologists will say, he was an ex-felon and didn’t have a right to have a weapon. How did Officer McCoy know Jason Hoops was a felon?

They will say that Jason didn’t comply with the orders. I can tell you from experience that when guns are pointed at you, people are screaming at you, not everyone reacts rationally or normally.

They will say they had  “a signed statement from someone who said Hoops said was not going to go back to prison and “was willing to take out any cop that he had to.”” Yet, McCoy couldn’t have known that either.

And of course, the kicker, “Protsman said that what called “pipe bomb” making materials found at Hoops’ residence were still being investigated.”

So, according to Chief Protsman, “What I’ve seen in this video, I’m pretty confident in saying that this officer did a very good job on this stop,”

Excuse me? A man is dead, without judge, jury or anything but the judgement of one cop who over-reacted. If this is a “good job” he needs to find a new job.

“Stand your ground” is not for cops.

The moment Officer McCoy saw the gun, he should have said, to the driver, “can you please shut the car off, and put the keys on the roof for me” as he backed away from the vehicle, “I’m going to check something and I’ll be right back.” Going back to his cruiser, he should have asked for assistance.  At no point, should he have felt threatened by a gun in the vehicle, or in the pocket of a passenger. At no time, should he have pulled his weapon and pointed it at someone, it was a traffic stop. Mr. Hoops didn’t have a warrant, wasn’t suspected of committing a violent crime, he was a passenger in the car of a bad driver.

How big a threat was Hoops? Watch the woman walk into her house from the car with her dog. Did she seem scared? The driver pleads to Officer McCoy “please don’t do that” after McCoy says he’ll blow Hoops brains out. She wants to get out of the car- before he goes full Sgt. York on Hoops. Can you blame her? Obviously she understands she’s in danger with a rabid cop- and that bullets go through bodies.

Instead, because Officer McCoy was poorly trained, scared and over-reacted, we have a dead citizen. Even if Hoops had the gun in his hands, if he hadn’t pointed it at anyone, he wasn’t a threat when the officer came to the car. Hell, McCoy has to ask the rear seat passenger after unloading his weapon on Hoops- if the gun was real. So, toy guns in your pocket is a threat too? Did anyone study the Tamir Rice shooting? Another case where the cops could have stayed out of harms way and deescalated the situation.

““We know there was a physical confrontation where the officer reached in and grabbed hold of Mr. Hoops’ right arm, trying to stop him from reaching down towards the gun,” Protsman said. “This continues for a little bit.” Did Protsman, or McCoy learn anything from the Samuel Dubose murder in Cincinnati- that officers don’t reach into vehicles? Experts testified that this is a dangerous move by an officer. Why didn’t McCoy back away, and seek cover?

Because McCoy shouldn’t be a police officer.

Chief Protsman shouldn’t be defending McCoy’s actions.  And, the investigation of officer shootings should no longer be trusted to local authorities. It’s time for a federal investigation team, similar to what happens when a plane crashes. Bring professional, unbiased, detectives to discern the facts from the fiction. This is the proposal being made by the parents of man killed by a cop in Kenosha Wisconsin.

When a plane crashes, experts pick through the wreckage to determine the cause and make recommendations to prevent the next accident. The process is so effective that for the last several years, the death rate from crashes of American commercial planes has been zero. But no comparable system exists in policing — and that may help explain why you are far more likely to die at the hands of a cop than to perish in an plane crash. Police officers in the United States now kill about 1,000 people and wound more than 50,000 every year.

Of course, no independent team arrived to perform a forensic analysis of the younger Mr. Bell’s death. Instead, the Kenosha police department spent two days investigating its own officers before ruling that the shooting was justified.

Source: Why Are Police Officers More Dangerous Than Airplanes? – The New York Times

Even the way the Dayton Daily news frames this story, it’s as if the cop had a right to pull his weapon on a traffic stop. Have we forgotten the shooting of Walter Scott in North Charleston N.C. where Officer Michael Slager might have gotten away with murder if not for a passerby video taping him shoot Scott in the back.

If you don’t think this pattern is getting out of hand, you aren’t paying attention.

If McCoy is the kind of cop Kettering and Protsman want to defend, I retract all my statements about Kettering being the best run community in the region.

If this is “to serve and protect” we’re safer without police.

 

DPS fires a legend

September First is a little too close to basketball season to be firing a coach, especially when it’s your legendary leader of your most successful basketball program. But, nope, last minute is the way DPS sophomore superintendent Rhonda Corr rolls.

Former Dunbar head basketball Coach Pete Pullen confirmed at 4:33 am this morning that he had been dismissed from coaching duties. Facebook posts suggest that the new Dunbar coach is former Stivers assistant coach Chuck Taylor. Pullen had lead Dunbar to amazing domination of State Basketball championships- 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012. NBA champion Norris Cole came through his program as did Daequan Cook who played in the NBA.

Instead of firing rookie district athletic director Mark Baker, who was firmly in the middle of the Dunbar/Belmont fiasco last year, they instead hastily extended Baker’s contract for 2 years- which brought the wrath of the Ohio High School Athletic Association upon the entire district. Pullen, had resigned as Dunbar’s AD, accepting his failure in the gpa calculation/playing of an ineligible football player, and just wanted to go back to coaching his beloved men’s basketball team into his retirement. Now that dream is dashed, we’ll see if the rest of the story comes out, since the district had a hole card on Pullen’s allegiance until yesterday.

Pullen is an interesting guy who started coaching women’s ball before taking over the men. This is probably part of his success formula at Dunbar. Women’s coaches have to coach a different game, one not centered on shear athleticism, dunking, and speed. Dunbar mens teams benefited from his approach to playing a complete, well disciplined game.

My first experience watching Pullen and his posse, was probably seeing them at a game in Trent arena soon after it opened. Coach Pete and his 4 assistants could be described as either a group of morticians, or blues brothers impersonators. All with black suits, white shirts and black skinny ties. And, while I found the costume entertaining, the game he brought was outstanding. There is a reason why Dunbar had the “x” factor working in their favor- Coach Pete created it.

This year wasn’t going to be as fun as previous years, for any of the Dunbar coaches. Robbed of players who used to be able to go to any charter school, including DECA and play at Dunbar- they were restricted to student/athletes who lived close to the school. The women’s team had 9 DECA kids. Now?

The timing of this dismissal couldn’t be more wrong. Late in the pre-season, and just before a three day weekend where DPS administrators can hide and let it blow over.

Parents will be outraged, as well as community leaders (some who sent their own boys to play for him) and Dunbar alumni. Old men, who’ve given their lives to a program that’s done something few others have, deserve a more dignified and gracious exit from a program they’ve built to set the standard in the district.

There will be more to this story, but, remember, you read it on Esrati.com first.

a few notes added 6pm same day.

Coach Pete’s record: 12 years. 261-51, 6 final fours, 4 state championships.

Chuck Taylor- Works for Judge Dan Gehres for a full time job. Judge Dan is the lazy political judge who took 9 months to add two lines to my lawyers brief and call it a “decision” on the mask case- thereby pushing the legal timelines to give the city a chance to appeal after I filed the civil suit. Not saying anything bad about Taylor- but, his boss is one of the people that’s part of the system that’s screwed the pooch in Dayton for a long time.

 

It’s your constitution, protect it or lose it.

A conversation that didn’t happen: “Rosa, why didn’t you just go to the back of the damn bus?”

Another: “Patrick, are you sure about that give you liberty or give you death line? Is that your final answer?”

A letter that was never written from a Birmingham jail

What if the founding fathers said “eh, taxes” no big deal…

Sheriff Joe Arpaio did something very wrong- he ignored the Constitution, under the power of law. In other words, he swore an oath to protect the constitution and then used his power and authority to violate it.  Every soldier swears an oath upon enlistment:

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Source: Oath of Enlistment – Army Values

Wording first adopted in 1789. Let that sink in.

Standing up to authority and calling them out on misbehavior is difficult enough when it’s a school board or mayor. When it’s a sheriff, you’re arguing with a man with a gun and a badge.

What Arpaio did was tantamount to what the Nazi’s did pre-WWII- stopping people on the streets to see if they were Jewish. You know what happened to 6 million of them. The idea of stopping someone and asking to see their papers is about as un-American as it gets- yet that’s exactly what Arpaio was doing- even after he was told not to. The issue is covered clearly by the 4th Amendment:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Source: Constitute

And if that wasn’t clear enough- they stuck another Amendment on-

Amendment XIV

Section 1 All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Source: Constitute

Sheriff Joe broke the law. He was awaiting sentencing. Then, the president pardoned him. Some people say, well other presidents have pardoned people- and reel off some of the more egregious examples- however, there is a process to this, and most of the time, pardons are in the works for 5 years.

Yes, but Ford pardoned Nixon is the next thing out of your mouth. And while there is no one who would have rather seen Nixon go to prison than my father, he explained it to me long ago- the trial, the distraction, at that level, it wouldn’t have been good for the country. Or as a friend likes to say, “the juice ain’t worth the squeeze.”

When President Trump pardoned Arpaio, he was circumventing the constitution, and letting a little bit of our democratic foundation be eaten away. Yet, we don’t see the venom on this issue like we do on any infringement of “god given 2nd amendment rights to bear arms.” What Trump did was give tacit approval to round people up without any other probable cause other than looking Hispanic. Substitute Black, Jew, Japanese and this should offend you. A lot.

Trump has already attacked the media relentlessly, calling it fake news. One of the keys to our whole system of checks and balances used to be a free press. Now, it’s the enemy of the president. Who will inform of us these transgressions- and who will take a stand?

Do we expect congress to do it? They’ve stood by for the most part, while he’s dismantled treaties that protect the environment, they didn’t denounce him when he stood up for Nazi’s in Charlottesville, and now this?

Remember, they swore an oath too.

This happened late in the day on Friday. Congress isn’t in session. You can stand idly by and let this slide, because, well, it doesn’t really affect you- you aren’t Hispanic- and old Joe, ain’t even the Sheriff anymore. But to that, all of us must remember the words of Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Source: First they came … – Wikipedia

It is time to speak out.

This post is dedicated to my friend and fellow veteran, Zack Sliver, who stepped in and up when others wouldn’t. Wishing him a quick recovery, and justice.

 

 

DPS PR machine is still not doing its job

First rule of public relations: be honest.

Second rule of public relations: be proactive. Be in front of the storm, not in the middle of it, or after it passes.

Third rule of public relations: be trustworthy, which is an extension of the first two rules.

Despite hiring 2 PR professionals for $180K a year, in addition to an “ad agency” for $345K a year, Dayton Public Schools continue to soil themselves through inept public relations. It may have absolutely nothing to do with any of the people who are hired to do PR, because this school board and superintendent are totally tone deaf and sabotage their own positions of authority at will and often.

Here is some backstory of how the move from the 2.0 to 1.0 gpa for athletics began, long before the Dunbar vs Belmont eligibility fiasco last year. (btw- I went to the rematch on Thursday and watched Belmont annihilate Dunbar 42-0). The story comes from “the man who would be superintendent” if it wasn’t for a board that doesn’t like strong black males with better community ties than they have. David Lawrence, the former Chief of Innovation for Dayton Public Schools, before he was bought out for big money to go away by this incompetent school board, told me he proposed this lowering of standards plan to former superintendent Lori Ward over 3 years ago. Note, he was a DPS athlete who went on to play D-1 sports. He still holds track records at Welcome Stadium.

His reasoning made sense. First, there are other districts, albeit ones that aren’t failing in all academic categories, that use this standard. Not that Oakwood or Centerville has to apply it to as many students, but they will allow kids to participate. But here is the kicker, he put the blame squarely on the teachers in this district, who sometimes would only give a midterm and a final, with no quizzes, tests, or other evaluation items like class participation, attendance, homework, etc. This meant some kids were being discriminated against- because some teachers don’t really try to work with the dumb jocks and take great pleasure in ambushing them.

Dang.

Didn’t see that one coming at all. But when you have a district with a horrible graduation rate, failing at all levels of academic success, this story seems more legit than the one coming out of the PR machine days after a seemingly secret meeting pops this change on us like a magician pulling an elephant out of a hat. We expect a rabbit, not an elephant.

First issue is why was this done, without proper public knowledge in advance, at an unscheduled meeting? That’s a guaranteed sign of “we’re being sneaky” instead of “we’re being strategic.” Proper PR handling would have made sure this issue was out in public long before and well explained and discussed before hand- as well as having proper answers for the board members who voted against or abstained. That way, it doesn’t feed the fires of the public who sees this as yet another lowering of standards.

I still posit that part of this policy is driven by fall out from sanctions imposed on the district after the Dunbar fiasco. The board had to lower standards in a hurry because most high schools wouldn’t have had enough players to play this year after athletes from DECA and other charter schools could no longer play for the program of their choice. In other words, the district was reacting instead of being proactive. Yet, none of that is in the explanation being circulated on Facebook by new media relations head Marsha Bonhart:

Lots of discussion about Dayton Public Schools and the sports policy – and a lot of confusion. As director of public relations and media at DPS, please allow me to help everyone understand the bar is NOT being lowered – it’s being raised. Student athletes who carry a GPA between 1.0 and 1.99 will have to raise their grades each quarter AND pass five classes to remain eligible to play any sport. They must be involved in an hourly, Monday – Thursday academic improvement program that includes tutoring. They have to remain in the program for a year until their GPA raises at least to 2.0. If they do not show quarterly improvement and do not pass the classes, they will not participate in any sports. If their grades slip the next year, they are back in the program for the entire year, again.
The deal is, improve your grades, pass five classes or you don’t play. This is for grades 7-12, girls and boys. Questions? 542-3023 (937)

Note, this is on her personal account, not on an official district channel. The post on the site, which most people can’t navigate, is here, posted Aug 26th (the decision was made and announced Aug 22):

FAQ for New Athletic Eligibility Policy

DPS to encourage athletes to perform better in the classroom

To Our Parents and Community,

There has been lots of discussion about Dayton Public Schools and the new sports policy – and a lot of confusion.

As director of public relations and media at DPS, please allow me to help everyone understand the bar is NOT being lowered – it’s being raised. Student athletes who carry a GPA between 1.0 and 1.99 will have to raise their grades each quarter AND pass five classes to remain eligible to play any sport. They must be involved in an hourly, Monday – Thursday academic improvement program that includes tutoring. They have to remain in the program for a year until their GPA raises at least to 2.0.

If they do not show quarterly improvement and do not pass the classes, they will not participate in any sports. If their grades slip the next year, they are back in the program for the entire year, again.

The deal is, improve your grades, pass five classes or you don’t play. This is for grades 7-12, girls and boys. Questions? (937) 542-3023

Marsha Bonhart Neilson

Director of Public Relations & Media, Dayton Public Schools

Source: News | FAQ for New Athletic Eligibility Policy

Maybe the big news is that Marsha has a new last name?

Or that she tries to legitimize the lowering of standards as “he bar is NOT being lowered – it’s being raised”- which is straight out of a 1980’s style PR textbook, where you try to reframe the truth. This is a complete and utter #FAIL, days after the fact. If this is the best spin DPS can put on this dead on arrival PR nightmare, Marsha and her new boss should be next on the chopping block. See the three rules at the beginning of this post.

My main questions still remain: why is this study table policy limited to athletes? The district is in academic emergency, shouldn’t all students getting less than “C’s” be getting mandatory help? And, besides the discriminatory nature of this plan, last I heard, we didn’t have money to pay teachers more, so who is paying for these professionals to help guide our dumb jocks up to a 2.0? The district is claiming volunteers? Is that really the answer?

As with most cases DPS, we have to look at the root problems: poverty and low expectations. If you believe in expectancy theory, this lowering of GPA requirements reinforces a problem that the district is already fighting to overcome. The timing of this announcement should have been made before school started as well- which means, once again, we’ve started a school year out with controversy- much like last years RIF. This kind of leadership is only reinforcing perceptions of a district in turmoil. Competent leadership would know better- but we don’t have competent leadership.

No PR machine on the face of the earth can fix stupid. At this point, only voters can. Yet, even though he was the lone vote against this change, Joe Lacey still shouldn’t be on this board, he’s part of the problem that made this fiasco happen when he hired Rhonda Corr, which is the real reason this district has been mired in controversy for the last year.

 

Worst school district lowers academic standards for sports

How do you raise the bar for a failing district? You lower the eligibility grade for athletic participation of course! Only Dayton Public Schools would do this, without any warning, without notifying the public, without public discussion, at an emergency meeting last night. Why? Because, the district is run by an incompetent school board who hired an untested, rookie superintendent, who hired an AD that flunked eligibility 101.

Dayton Public Schools’ existing policy required students to earn at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale in order to play. The new policy will allow students between 1.0 and 1.99 to participate — if they enroll in their school’s Athletic Academic Intervention Program.

In order to remain eligible, those students must “remain enrolled for at least one calendar year, must attend all study tables, and must make satisfactory progress toward the established goal of a 2.0 GPA each academic quarter.

DPS attorney Jyllian Bradshaw explained that last item. It means if there is any quarter where a sub-2.0 GPA student-athlete sees their cumulative GPA decline, the student-athlete will immediately be academically ineligible for the next quarter. But a student with a 1.3 GPA who increases it to a 1.4 will be eligible for the following quarter.

Source: DPS lowers GPA for sports eligibility, adds mandatory tutoring

Board member Joe Lacey, actually had the brains to vote against this- saying a C average isn’t that hard to maintain. Dr. Adil Baguirov abstained. The other four (Ron Lee was absent AGAIN)- thought this was a good idea. This is why they all need to be removed.

First of all, athletics, like academics, requires discipline. If you can’t be disciplined enough to get a C average, why is a D ok, with a study table?

And, why, are only athletes being given access to “Academic Intervention Programs”- shouldn’t ALL students who don’t have a “C” average have this right?

But, what we’re really doing is allowing for mediocrity- something this district is already well acknowledged as a leader in. That’s why we fail (that’s with an “F” grade- every educational standard by the state- except for the manufactured  stat “annual yearly progress” which we got an “A”).

There isn’t a single athletic scholarship available for a student with lower than a C average. Why should we not set the bar at that level?

And, what does this do to the reputation of all the athletes that have come before? Will people think that Commissioner Joey Williams was able to play high school ball with a D average? Or Norris Cole? Give me a break. Give us all a break. If the board thinks D’s are acceptable at any level, they need to resign.

Need to see what happens when you coddle athletes based on physical skills over academic ones? Head over to Netflix and watch Season 1 and 2 of the documentary “Last Chance U” about the football program at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba Mississippi, population 732.

The story is of athletically gifted losers ending up at a junior college trying to redeem themselves to go back on track for D-1 or possibly the pros.

It’s a story of fantasy. Much like a focus on educational excellence at Dayton Public Schools.

Is this new lowering of academic standards a last chance attempt to boost enrollment that is dropping due to the threatened strike? Or, because new rules stop charter school kids from picking which athletic program they can attach themselves to? Why was this enacted in a hurry- without public knowledge, after the start of school? What’s the new enrollment figure?

You want the answer? Here’s the new district tagline to sell this brilliant move:

“Dayton Public Schools, where losers can still play.”

It applies to the administrators that thought this up, as well as to the student athletes who play because of this new lowered standard.

This will be a litmus test question for any candidate running to replace Lacey, Baguirov, Rountree and Lee.

It should be grounds for removal of Walker, McManus and Taylor.

If you aren’t up in arms about a failing district already, this should be a clear indication that academics aren’t a priority in Dayton.

 

DPS: Special meeting coming. Corr going?

In an almost unprecedented show of foresight and planning, Dayton Public Schools sent out a notice of a special meeting yesterday at 1:44 pm.

In accordance with Section 3313.16 of the Ohio Revised Code and File: BD of the Handbook of Policies, Rules & Regulations of the Board, I hereby call for a special meeting of the Board of Education of the Dayton City School District, Montgomery County, Ohio, to be held on Tuesday August 22, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. Room 6S-115 of the Administration Building, located at 115 S. Ludlow St., Dayton, OH 45402.

The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Board to vote on recommendations from the Policy Committee. Following the vote, the board is expected to go into executive session to discuss matters of personnel and the sale and/or purchase of real estate.

The media is being advised of this meeting in compliance with the Ohio Sunshine Law.

More than likely, the discussion of real estate sales is Baguirov’s last chance to sneak a deal by the stooges before we have a new superintendent. Any action on the Patterson Kennedy site on Wyoming without a proper auction at this point should be investigated as criminal.

As to personnel, the only thing to discuss is if Superintendent Rhonda Corr resigns, is fired for cause, or is just plain bought out. This board is embarrassed by the teachers no confidence vote, yet doesn’t want to seem as if they are “reacting.”

Let’s go back to last month- when I called for them all to R-E-S-I-G-N, at the business meeting. Baguirov responded by asking the auditor up, but, then Corr called HR chief Judy Spurlock up to respond to my claims of mass resignation. If you watch carefully at the beginning, as Spurlock begins to hobble on crutches with a open laptop in hand, I go to her to offer to carry the laptop for her and was rebuffed. Then she stands at the podium and says we’ve only lost 93 teachers this year- and 89 this year.

So we went and tried to build a spreadsheet from the HR reports over the last year from Board Docs- but, they didn’t post the spreadsheets. So we did a public records request- and had a CPA analyze the data.

Comprehensive for School Year 2017.

The breakdown is neither pretty, or sustainable. Total resignations of staff is 600. Workforce of around 2400- which means 25% turnover. No professional organization can survive that.

Spurlock said 89 teachers left.

Our count: 187.

Here is the break down by position:

Adjunct4
Adjunct staff11
Administration30
Clerical18
District support staff5
Mental health tech3
Nutrition2
Nutrition srevices7
Occupational theraphy assistant1
Occupational therapy1
Operations29
Paraprofessional59
Psychologist2
Security resource officer6
Teacher187
Temporary162
Transportation73
Total600

And, of course, I’m also including the entire spreadsheet. working Human Resources COMPREHENSIVE 06-30-17   

Because, Rhonda, these are F-A-C-T-S.

Note: we had to correct a lot of issues- likely, keystroke errors, with names not quite matching. When we broke things down by schools- school names didn’t match, etc. If the board knew how to run an organization, they’d have asked for this report themselves, complete with pivot tables on which schools lost the most, and tried to interpret what’s been happening. But, no, even taking Spurlock’s word of half the true amount, didn’t set off alarm bells. If Corr isn’t gone by Wednesday, maybe a judge will see past their incompetence and criminal neglect of duty to manage our district properly.