Freedom to die: a solution for the anti-vaxxers

Three highly educated Black women clients of mine still aren’t vaccinated. Neither is a former Republican State Rep- or his wife, the doctor. A Black client who is a recovering addict, HIV positive and works with kids- he’s not vaccinated either (says he’s never been vaccinated against anything- for religious reasons). It’s not that these people are future Darwin award candidates (dying by natural selection) they are future burdens to society because when they do get the Delta variant (or whatever comes next) they will flood our hospitals and cost us billions more (yes, we’re all paying for health care of the stupid).

There’s a parable for the religious- it goes something like this:

The damn broke and the flood was coming. Joseph, a devout believer, was in his house when the police drove through the streets warning people to evacuate. He said, I’m a believer- God will save me- and stayed.

When the water was up to his first floor, neighbors came by in boats- and urged him to leave. He said, I’m a believer- God will save me- and stayed.

When the water drove him from his second floor onto the roof- the National Guard came by with a helicopter and offered to rescue him. He said, I’m a believer- God will save me- and stayed.

When he got to the pearly gates, he looked at St. Peter and said- “I’m a believer, why didn’t God save me?” God said, “I sent the police, neighbors and the National Guard to save you.”

Dave Granlund cartoon Anti-vaxxers denying covid 19 vaccine

©Dave Granlund Link to original

There are a lot of misinformed Americans making really stupid decisions that affect all of us (and most of them voted for Donald Trump). The first and most important thing is the vaccine doesn’t guarantee you won’t get sick- it’s more of a guarantee you won’t die or get sick enough to overrun the hospitals (for now- with the variants we have now).

Being vaccinated doesn’t guarantee you can’t get and spread the virus- although, for now, it cuts that probability way down.

The stupid anti-vaxxers say- “It’s not approved by the FDA. I’m holding out for when it’s fully approved.”- Look, you don’t trust the government already- who told you to get vaccinated- and yet, you’re waiting for the FDA?

Masking and distancing do work- and they don’t really impinge on your personal freedoms. Did I ever think I’d be able to walk into a bank wearing a mask carrying a concealed weapon? Thank you Covid-19. Banning masking, banning vaccination requirements- put all the rest of us at risk as this thing will continue to spread and mutate.

The reality is, stupidity should not be allowed to be infectious. It’s time to strap on some consequences to being an Anti-Vaxxer. Employers who have un-vaccinated employees should be able to fire them without having to penalize themselves with workers comp claims. Schools should be able to demand vaccinations or run segregated facilities- yep, just like we used to have “Separate but equal” in this country based on something we had no control over- skin color- but, this time based on your low IQ and non-vaccinated status.

By the same standard- airlines should be required to deny anyone who isn’t vaccinated a seat. The fact that 6 vaccinated Dems from Texas got COVID on their flight to DC should prove that airplanes are a breeding ground for virus spread.

And finally, the real kicker- if you show up at a hospital for care after a deadline- say – August 30, 2021- unvaccinated with COVID- care will be denied and you will not be able to enter. There is no reason to spend tens of thousands on your care because you were stupid. (Note- I’ve felt the same way about motorcyclists who crash without a helmet- sorry- you flunked the IQ test).

It’s time to stop playing nice with lotteries, awards, gift cards. Blood centers have been trying to get people to donate using these same tactics for years – and I guarantee most of you never gave an ounce of blood.

If we want our freedom back, it’s time to require vaccination for all, or, for you anti-vaxxers- your Darwin award awaits.

138 Million ways make Dayton better

In my June 20th post, I reviewed the sites of the 6 choices voters have for Dayton Mayor and Commission for an indication of what they would spend $138M windfall from the feds on. Their answers, with the exception of Turner Sloss’s were almost non-existent. To start, identify the problem:

what strategic play should Dayton make with its $138M windfall? Let’s look at what our primary problems are first:

Poverty, racial segregation, loss of population, lack of desirable services in all neighborhoods, public safety, obsolete/upside down housing stock, poor schools, odd boundaries, provincial politics. Did I miss any? (as if this list isn’t way too long already).

Typically, politically driven “economic development” focuses on creating jobs as the panacea to all problems, yet that system of carrots to lure businesses in has been broken and corrupt for decades.

Source: 138 Million ways to not blow it: Dayton Commission 2021 candidates plans | Esrati

In advertising there are two ways to get attention: paid media and earned media. Paid is when you buy ads and hope your target media sees them, earned is when you do something that’s talk worthy, attention getting, different enough to be noticed.

I take the same approach to leveraging $138M to impact the most Dayton residents and bring attention to Dayton as a leading innovator in new approaches to our old problems.


Look, you already pay out the butt for it. A half percent sales tax on everything you buy helps fund it. Fed funds (your tax dollars subsidize it) and because this is a town GM built, we look at public transit entirely wrong- as something poor people use. It’s time to break that mindset. After your home, your car is probably your second biggest expense. Buying it, filling it with pollution spewing gas, insurance, license plate, parking, maintaining roads etc. And, yes, if you’re poor and can’t afford a car, it’s probably your lifeline to get to work.

In big cities like NYC, London, Paris, Chicago, public transit is essential and you can live without a car. In Dayton Ohio, we don’t wonder why so many people live in poverty- nor do we think of ways to get them out of it. Making RTA free will help poor people save money. It will also allow us to build things on surface parking lots downtown and increase density and tax revenue, cut pollution and offer access to low wage workers to employers who need them. Just realize Amazon warehouses have to have parking for their trucks and also all the employees- and those parking lots cost money.

How do we fund it? Bring ads back onto buses (some genius stopped selling them a few years back) and that’s half the $10M you need to make up for lost fare revenue (estimated at $10M a year) and the other half, well, I’ve got an idea on how to get that covered without tax dollars, but, in the meantime, commit $5M a year for 3 years to see what happens.

We’re down to $123M.

Childcare, 24 hour.

Free for city residents who work in the city. Half price for those that work in the city but live outside.

This isn’t a new idea, I first proposed it when I ran for Mayor back in 1991. Number one problem for poor people is affordable child care. We spend a ton of money on welfare and other support, when what young families really need is the ability to go to work, without having most of their income going to childcare providers. Why it needs to be 24 hours a day, because if we want to build things again, assembly lines make more money when they work 24/7. If there is going to be a push to bring manufacturing back to Dayton- and build on what’s left of our tool and die industry- this will help.

And, poverty is the worst thing for kids- isn’t that what “Learn to Earn” and the “Pre-school promise” keep telling us?

Let’s build a 24 hour day care attached to the new West Dayton Library right on 35, near our abandoned industrial sites. Let’s bring industry back to West Dayton- along with jobs. Let’s keep Rosa Parks open 24 hours as well. On the East Side- build onto the East side library on Waterveliet, using some of that old Belmont land.

And, let’s get Premier and UD to work together to make one new daycare center for both of their employees and others, on the old fairgrounds site to serve it, and downtown workers. North East- collaborate with Childrens Medical Center and build another. For this, we’d seed it with $40M- and look for a lot of money from philanthropy and the feds.

We’re down to $83M

The Dayton Affordable Care for All

I’m stealing out of Dr. Mike Ervin’s playbook. We have a very expensive duopoly health care system in Dayton that is choking our economy instead of stimulating it. Health care is a major stumbling block for all small businesses and even big ones.

Dr. Ervin had an idea to go after the largest employers in the region to provide a cheaper managed care plan than the two insurance companies offered- and basically, blackmailed the insurers into buying him out- making him rich, and keep the status quo.

I would talk to the two hospital groups and say we’ll take our health insurance money from the city and from DPS, two of the largest employers in the region, and find some others, and either build a new public hospital and offer a co-op style benefit- no insurance company needed, or offer the money directly to the hospitals in exchange for actual health care instead of “insurance” folks in the middle.

The duopoly already helps control Dayton politics through their backing of things like the tax raising Issue 9, and backing candidates they like. It’s time to turn the tables. It’s time to cut the BS about their “non-profit” status. If you can afford to pay your CEO $4M a year and a bunch of administrators $1M a year plus, you aren’t a non-profit. Same goes if you can hire a private police force that reports to your CEO- that has complete autonomy- yet, full police powers.

It’s time to pass a tax on income of “non-profit” companies that cap pay at 10x the median pay of their organization, or 20x the lowest pay. Either they pay a 50% income tax on anything over the limit- or start charging property taxes just like everyone else pays. And, btw- you can’t deed restrict competition from building a new hospital on Good Sam land. It’s also time to charge them $75K a year for every gun carrying rent a cop pretending to be a police officer instead of a real Dayton police officer- but, this is also part of another initiative.

How much would this cost? No one knows. One, taking the revenue from the insurance companies and the hospitals of the largest employers health care dollars and stop paying the middle man of an insurance company- automatically cuts about 35% off the bill. Second, without high priced CEO’s running the show- and building marble and glass 5 star hotels instead of industrial strength medical facilities without frills- but high on latest tech and profit sharing docs- working for better outcomes cuts cost. And, by opening this plan up to small businesses in the City of Dayton at very affordable rates, we see a huge boom in real employment in the city.

Cost: I’d be willing to seed it with the $80M and forget anything else. Throw in the $30M a year the city and DPS spend on health insurance (I’m guessing based on old memories)- I’m pretty sure, we could become the first city in the nation to have a true universal affordable health system. Face it- we already built the model to solve grocery stores for the underserved with the Gem City Market, why not do the same with health care?

Plus- a little Billionaire money from the former Mrs Amazon and a few other billionaires and we’d be set.

BTW- Ideas like this guarantee that if I ran again, I’d be facing opponents with obscene amounts of money to silence me.

Equity in Housing Valuation

This one is also a powerful game changer where airing the dirty little secrets of a corrupt industry (like health care in the US) can go a long way to fixing an institutionalized problem.

When banks used to redline to discriminate against lending in Black neighborhoods, or communities like Oakwood passed laws to keep Jews out, the Feds stepped in and fixed it. No one has stepped in to fix the new version of redlining- valuation, for both sale and tax purposes. It’s time to stop appraisals from saying the same house in West Dayton as one in Belmont has a valuation of half or more than the other.

Currently appraisers for banks use “comps” usually within a mile radius of a home and come up with a number that tells you what your house is or isn’t worth. Who made the banks king of valuation in the first place?

It’s time for the City of Dayton to put in a universal valuation rubric for housing values. Houses can only be evaluated by these factors, square footage, number of rooms, garage space, size of lot and condition. Nothing else. And stop playing games with tax valuation as well- at least on owner-occupied properties to start with. Remember the saying “A mans home is his castle”- well, it’s not in Montgomery County- since they’ll jack your tax rates up 40% at the drop of a hat and push you out.

The tax value of your home is what you paid for it. If you sell it for more to someone else- that’s their price- and that’s it. But, having your neighbors new garage raise the  tax cost of your house is criminal.

If we don’t undo the framework of institutional racism that holds West Dayton property values in the dumper- we’re complicit.

We may end up spending money fighting lawsuits- but, we may also start seeing investment back in West Dayton when property values have to be appraised on equal values instead of on the racist valuations.


This is the ultimate big picture solution for Dayton (the city on the map- not the actual city limits). If we went to Countywide government and eliminated 30+ banana republics- with elected officials, city managers, police chiefs, etc- all being condensed down to a single government- we’d save hundreds of millions of dollars a year- so we might be able to have parks and recs like Kettering across the whole county. Or have a single court system- that even has “Night court” so stupid things don’t have to make you miss work. Imagine how much easier payroll becomes for small business- if there is only one income tax authority to pay.

These are my discussion starters on how to invest the Covid relief funds. I’d love to hear your ideas in the comment. I’m sure not hearing much out of the candidates.


The price of being an activist in Dayton

I was talking to a vendor a week ago about how hard it was to fill positions right now. He responded in kind- and told me how he knew of a job that’s part-time and pays well, running livestreaming video for a church.
My firm does livestreaming- and multi-cam recording, and I said I’d be interested- thinking I’d have to haul my equipment there, set up- tear down each week. Nope- they have the equipment, they just need an operator. I’m a morning person, and that it was in one of Dayton’s most beautiful churches, with an amazing organ, sounded like a good way to earn a little extra money (at minimum $5200 a year).

I applied, had a great phone interview, was offered the terms:

Regular Sunday Service $100.00
2nd Service on the Same Day $40.00
Special Worship Service $80.00
Weddings, Baccalaureates, Funerals, etc. $80.00
Weddings, Baccalaureates, Funerals, etc. Rehearsal $40.00
Concerts (Up to 4 Hours) $80.00
Concerts (Per Hour, After 4 Hours) $20.00
Other Related Work (Per Hour) $20.00

I filled out the paper work and was scheduled to start on Sunday.

Well, that was before someone in the church decided that because of my public profile, I’m not an acceptable employee of their church. (Note, Congressman Turner is a member of their congregation). I got the call today that I’m not hired, I will not pass go, and will not collect $100 this Sunday or any other Sunday.

Yes, speaking out against corruption also hurts your livelihood in this provincial small town.

If you have experience running a video live stream with remote cameras, and are looking for a job, let me know and I’ll pass on the contact person.

Hopefully, your politics, your race, your religion all align- as well as the content of your character- fit their profile.

In the meantime- they definitely fail the “equal opportunity employer” test.

Remembering Sandy Mendelson


15 July, 2021- an attorney called and asked that I revise this post, because I’ve somehow hurt the family of the deceased. I’ve edited the new parts of the post- not the block quote from Apr 8, 2012 which is inset- to remove anything that isn’t 100% factual. Just because the man died- doesn’t mean the facts get to be altered.

Yesterday they had a funeral for Sandy Mendelson. I didn’t go.

I also read in the paper, on the TV news websites, that he was a “supporter of downtown” and a “successful business man.”

I have a different perspective on him. But, I wasn’t going to spend part of my 4th of July weekend writing about him, I have better things to do. Luckily I’d written my “Sandy Story” long ago, and anyone who knew him or did business with him has one. Most of the time their story included something not very nice. For all his jocularity, deep down, he was cruel – especially to those closest to him. I once watched him berate his son, in front of a customer to the point of tears, where Harlan pulled cash out of his pocket and threw it at his dad, saying, “Here’s your _______ $25,” and stormed off.

My Sandy story started around December 1999:

I stood up at the Dayton City Commission meeting after losing against Bootsie Neal and Dean Lovelace for a commission seat, and threatened to file for an injunction to stop the “emergency legislation” the commission was enacting to purchase the former Sears site downtown for the Riverscape fountains project.

A brief recap of the Sears project: a group of local businessmen formed an LLC to purchase the Sears building for $200,000 with a five-year option on the real estate that it was on for $1.5 million. The businessmen included Alan Rinzler who owns the Talbot Tower and other real-estate holdings; Sandy Mendelson, owner of Mendelsons; Jason Liff, a local real estate broker and former owner of MotoScooto, and Bruce and DeNeal Feldman, owners of Economy Linen.

Full disclosure once again- after I threatened to file the suit to stop this “emergency legislation” I naively approached Mr. Mendelson to do his advertising, something he mentioned when giving me a $500 cash donation for my campaign (a donation I had to return and get as a check to satisfy the BOE- who doesn’t believe cash is legal tender for donations larger than $100). He told me to “go-to-hell” when I called- which I didn’t understand, since I didn’t realize at the time he was part of the LLC. Over lunch at Franco’s he explained his part of the deal and told me that “nobody cares” about this, and I had a simple choice- file the suit (which at best would stall the deal and force it into a regular ordinance- taking two readings and 30 days to go into effect) and “find my body parts in different area codes” (exact words- you don’t forget threats like that from someone you barely know at the time, who wears a lot of gold jewelry) or, drop it, and have a nice little advertising account that puts money in your pocket.

For a year and a half, my firm did award winning advertising for Mendelson’s Liquidation Outlet. We re-did his logo, introduced the new tagline “The first place to look for every last thing” and developed the “explorer” character in a series of TV ads. His business grew substantially. When we couldn’t agree on terms for me to close my business and come run his retail operation, including the eBay business that I had pushed him to, we parted ways. I did do a small campaign a few years ago because he had severely damaged his brand publicly by suggesting he was closing and moving to another location and his sales were down. He stiffed me for a few thousand dollars: to date, it’s the biggest uncollected debt my business has had in 22 years.

Back to the Sears deal- if the names DeNeal and Bruce Feldman don’t ring a bell, maybe Bruce’s wife’s name does: Debbie Feldman, our county administrator, who is one of Montgomery County’s highest paid government employees (as far as I know only Steven Johnson at Sinclair is paid more and it’s a horse race between Debbie and Dayton Schools Superintendent Lori Ward for second depending on how you count their perks).

The price that the LLC got for their $200K investment and option on the Sears deal? $8.7 million.

Front page story anyone?

Source: The different standards for public graft and corruption in Dayton, Ohio | Esrati

The tagline is still painted on the side of the building facing Canal Street Arcade and Deli. When I first told it to Sandy, he barked back, “Why not just the first place to look?” and I had to explain that he was a liquidator and had “last things.” It was a play on finding things in the very last place one looked, because – obviously – you’d found it and stopped looking.

He also watched the first TV  spot with the explorer character and said, “Who’s the chubby kid?” then told me he was “giving me enough rope to hang myself.” I explained that a Pierce Brosnan walking through his shithole of a store in a tux wouldn’t quite work. After the ads started running, he said, “Get that chubby kid back.”

The ads were successful: they changed the perception of his store from a place for pocket-protector-wearing engineers to a place to go on a shopping safari. It didn’t matter what I told him about shopping aisle width (needed to be wide enough for 2 carts to pass each other, or that if you put a cart in a shoppers hands they’ll buy twice as much), nope, he wasn’t interested in the anthropological science of shopping: he thought packing it higher and deeper was all it took to make him more money.

I didn’t really hate him, until he fired a young lady I recommended him to hire. He claimed she’d been stealing from the drawer, but I knew better. Months after he fired Ruth, he caught one of his “trusted” back office employees shorting the drawers. She’d been doing it for years. He refused to apologize to Ruth.

(removed opinion) The obituary for most people idealizes their life. If there was anything to idealize about Sandy, I don’t know what it was other than his midas touch.

The man lived a life of turning shit into shinola, moola, bucks, and somehow he managed to have more inventory than any business I’ve ever worked for yet figured out a way to not to have to pay taxes on any of it. He was a genius at making money; I’m not so sure he was as good at making friends.

But those he did make friends with sure manage to keep making out, as I saw the new Economy Linen building rising at the corner of James H. McGee and Gettysburg. The Feldman family must have taken lessons from how Sandy made his money because they are still making money off the taxpayers of Montgomery County with their tax breaks and free land, all while Ms. Feldman makes the big bucks at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

They can carry Sandy’s torch as supporters of Dayton who are really just in it for themselves.

Because he’s gone now, and I won’t miss him.

While I’m proud of the work I did for Mendelson’s Liquidation Outlet, I should have filed that lawsuit- and risked people finding my body parts in different area codes. At least I wouldn’t still feel dirty all these years later.


15 Jul 2021- I was at another memorial service about a week later- talking to a former employer. This post was discussed. I told them how I’d tried to talk Sandy into building a “Battle Bots” arena on the 2nd floor- and hosting teams from local schools to compete- and to broadcast it locally. It would bring young people into the store- and inspire more creative uses of the junk he had accumulated- as well as serve as a promo for his company. He couldn’t understand the concept- so it died on the vine. For the lawyers who think that I somehow hurt Sandy’s family with this post- and the family- it’s nice to know that your feelings are so affected by my words- since Ruth is still waiting for that apology- a decade plus later.

138 Million ways to not blow it: Dayton Commission 2021 candidates plans

Full disclosure- at one time or another, I’ve done work for Scott Sliver, Darryl Fairchild and Shenise Turner Sloss.

Pop quiz: Dayton has a great track record of spending money on things that?

A) Make demolition contractors millionaires.
B) Make developers who donate to candidates wealthy.
C) Let Meds, Eds, and Feds all escape any kind of civic responsibility.
D) All of the above.

And now we have $138M coming our way for the people you elect to do something smart with it. So I’m going to go to all 6 candidates’ sites to look for their plans- you’d think they have one, right? Also, note that Reconstructing Dayton sent out questionnaires for the primary to all the candidates; however, the only one who is still running who filled one out is Shenise Turner Sloss. They’ve also been compiling the Campaign Finance reports in ADA-compliant format for you to review.

For Mayor we have sitting city commissioner and Dem party good old boy Jeff Mims running against former fire chief and baseball chaplain Rennes Bowers.

Mims can and should accept some of the blame for Dayton’s long track record of failure at investing in things that are good for the general populace instead of the preferred method of those on the “friends and family plan” of helping the rich get richer. Jeff’s site is at Mims for Mayor. It has the typical platitudes about “economic development” and hogwash about his accomplishments.

Rennes Bowers’ site: Bowers for Mayor has his 5 point plan of…. platitudes. Nothing else. Nothing concrete.

Winner: Neither have a plan for you. Mims has 2 votes on the commission already with Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph, meaning if he’s elected, it’s business as usual no matter who else wins. So far, the only reason to vote for Bowers is that he isn’t Mims.

For Dayton City Commission we have four candidates for 2 seats. Darryl Fairchild is the only incumbent (which almost always guarantees re-election in Dayton). He only won the last time because it was a special election and the party tried to run Rev Daryll Ward against him. This happened because Joey Williams who was all buddy-buddy with Mims, Joseph, Shaw and Whaley had to step down because he was a criminal who had turned confidential informant for the Feds. Of course, since the Feds only indicted black folks and it takes 3 votes for anything to pass the Dayton City Commission, Williams was as useless as a snitch as he was as a commissioner; no further indictments ever surfaced.

Going to the candidates’ sites to find out what they’d do with the 138M that’s coming, we find:

Darryl Fairchild: Fairchild for Dayton. Darryl doesn’t mention the $138M infusion directly on his site that seems a bit out of date with a letter to Trump, asking him not to come to Dayton, on the front page. He does have his Blueprint for Dayton which has specific policy ideas, but no actual implementation strategy. He’s supposedly going to have a listening tour in the month of July to gather input on what to spend it on.

Scott Sliver: Elect Scott Sliver. A lot about him and endorsements. Really short on policy. Scott ran against the incumbent Dems 6 years ago who now are on his nominating committee.

Shenise Turner Sloss: Shenise For Dayton. While not mentioning the $138M directly, this is a campaign platform for the other candidates to respond to. There is a reason she came in first in the primary. Read her platform Issues. If you are her opponent, weep, you’ve been outclassed, even if Shenise doesn’t specifically spend the bucks- at least she has ideas for the future.

Stacy Benson Taylor: Stacy Benson Taylor has an extensive set of plans on her site in the FAQ. She does mention the money (more than once) :

I am extremely optimistic that the money received from the American Rescue Plan Act will replace loss revenue, which will allow the City to fully fund appropriate staffing models for all city departments, including the HRC.

While the $147 Million in Recovery Act funding replaces revenue lost from COVID-19, Dayton’s most pressing issue is a direct result of the pandemic. The proposed commuter income tax reduction would result in $20+ million in lost revenue, creating numerous financial/operational challenges.

Hiring freezes, abolished positions, separation plans and budget reductions have significantly affected our city’s workforce and ability to provide vital services. The loss of the commuter tax will further exacerbate an already strained budget.

Effectively cutting cost to mitigate these losses without compromising essential services coupled with strategic funding allocations are key in moving towards fiscal recovery

However, if you read the whole thing, you come down to this: she’s pro labor, anti-management and wants to keep government union jobs alive. Other than that, she seemingly thinks that the Gem City Market and the 5th Street Brew Pub models are about as good as it gets, or that throwing money at the Feldman family (Economy linen and Dayton Children’s CEO’s family) is the way of the future. She even has the gall to defend the huge expenditures by the city to protect the Klan’s right to speak on Courthouse Square, but fails to find fault in the city’s management of the George Floyd protests. She may be better at writing a campaign platform than Sliver or Fairchild, but, realize that most of what she points to as accomplishments was in her paid job as a labor rep. Still short of actual implementation rubrics.

The summary

The sad truth is $138M isn’t a whole lot of money when it comes to government spending. The new intersection at Austin Landing went north of $180M and all it achieved was to drive a nail in the coffin for the Dayton Mall. $100M is the number thrown around for the Arcade redevelopment. And while it may be enough money to run the city for about 9 months, there are other factors at work that could put a big hurt on city revenue.

Work from home is the biggest threat to the City of Dayton. We already have the highest personal income tax in the region (tied with Oakwood at 2.5%) and with folks not having to come in to work in big office towers this may be a boon for the suburbs and the nail in the coffin for Dayton. If all those suburban incomes stay in the ‘burbs, you may as well shut the doors and close the city down. The only high-wage jobs that require attendance on premise that I can think of are medical staff in the hospitals, and we just let one get torn down.

This issue is why our region is doomed, more than any other reason. Suburbs have been fighting for jobs to claim income taxes and sucking the lifeblood out of the center city. The only correct answer is to have a single income tax county-wide (at a much lower rate) and distribute it according to a formula. This would eliminate tax havens like urban townships and royalty tax breaks like at Austin Landing where only the working poor are charged a tax (if you work in 1-story buildings you are taxed at 2%, if you are white collar in an office tower, no tax). However this issue is way above the pay grade of city commission candidates. A single tax rate is one of the main goals of Reconstructing Dayton, along with uni-gov to shut down all the banana republics with their wasteful government overhead duplication.

So, what strategic play should Dayton make with its $138M windfall? Let’s look at what our primary problems are first:

Poverty, racial segregation, loss of population, lack of desirable services in all neighborhoods, public safety, obsolete/upside down housing stock, poor schools, odd boundaries, provincial politics. Did I miss any? (as if this list isn’t way too long already).

Typically, politically driven “economic development” focuses on creating jobs as the panacea to all problems, yet that system of carrots to lure businesses in has been broken and corrupt for decades. Same goes for place maker investments: Riverscape, Wright Dunbar, Town Centers, etc. Unfortunately, the only investment the city has made to attract a business with any kind of impact has been the baseball stadium: without it, many of the new businesses that sprang up around it would never have made it. But, other than the Delco Lofts- and now Mendelson’s – most of it has been “urban renewal” instead of urban restoration. The first replaces, the second rebuilds. We need a Restoration plan for the city, and so far, the only candidate talking about any of it is Turner Sloss. I don’t see concrete plans or a rubric, but the beginning of a glimmer is in her plans.

The biggest thing on the ballot may not even be who you elect this time, but how you elect next time. Reconstructing Dayton is going to circulate a petition to bring ranked choice voting to Dayton– which would eliminate the separate race for Mayor- and the expensive, mostly ignored primary that left us with this small field. To understand what may have happened had we had this in place for this cycle- read this post.

Look for my next post July 22, 2021 post, to see some provocative ideas to spend the $138M to leverage equality and equity in Dayton, instead of just fattening the pigs at the trough as we’ve done in the past. The question is- how do we invest/change to undo our decades of dumb decisions?

If you’ve got any brilliant ideas on how to make $138M work like a billion, feel free to comment. Just don’t ask any of our candidates too much- it might break their little brains.

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