When the Emperor has no clothes: More DPS stupidity bordering on criminality

A refresher on Dutch folk tales:

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” (Danish: Kejserens nye Klæder) is a short tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, no one dares to say that they do not see any suit of clothes on him for fear that they will be seen as “unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent”. Finally, a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” The tale has been translated into over 100 languages.[1]

Source: The Emperor’s New Clothes – Wikipedia

update: 18 Oct- key part missing from this synopsis- the Emperor also knew the suit was invisible- but, chose to believe the weavers too. (end update)

We know that Dayton Public Schools has problems managing their public image. Now, the people that Rhonda Corr hired to manage it, are actually actively destroying credibility and possibly breaking laws.

Dayton Public Schools Director of Media and Public Relationships is an expert in censorship of free political speech

Dayton Public Schools Director of Media and Public Relationships is an expert in censorship of free political speech

Unfortunately, the director of Dayton Public Schools media and public relations , Marsha Bonhart, either thinks she’s doing someone a favor (providing grounds for her dismissal) or is woefully ignorant of the audacity of the email she sent out to candidates before tomorrow’s Dayton Educational Council candidates forum from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., at Ponitz Career Technology Center, 741 W. Washington Street. (The  event will be broadcast live on DPS TV Spectrum Channel 21. and hopefully livestreamed as well).

The email, suggests that free speech should be limited, political discourse restrained, and that no one should disparage her boss, Rhonda Corr, whose future tenure will be decided by the very people that Ms. Bonhart seeks to censor and reign in.

The email reads:

From: Marsha Bonhart Neilson [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2017 7:09 PM
To: Marsha Bonhart Neilson <[email protected]>
Subject: More information

Dear candidates, as an addendum to Friday’s email:

  1. It is very important that we keep this forum civil.
  2. We ask that you not participate in or instigate any “bashing” of Superintendent Corr, Dayton School Board members, or each other.
  3. Please stay focused on providing quality answers to all of the questions.
  4. When answering questions, remain seated until the end of the event.

Thank you and we look forward to you providing voters the information they need to make informed decisions.

Marsha Bonhart
Director, Media and Public Relations

Dayton Public Schools
115 S. Ludlow St.
Dayton, Ohio 45402
937-286-0023 (c), 937-542-3023 (desk)

Since Ms. Bonhart works for an organization that receives a lot of federal funds, we might look over to the Hatch Act of 1939 about what is allowed and appropriate for public employees to engage in during a political campaign. Note both the first and second bullets:

These federal and D.C. employees may not:

  • use official authority or influence to interfere with an election
  • solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency
  • solicit or receive political contributions (may be done in certain limited situations by federal labor or other employee organizations)
  • be candidates for public office in partisan elections
  • engage in political activity while:
    • on duty
    • in a government office
    • wearing an official uniform
    • using a government vehicle
  • wear partisan political buttons on duty

Source: Hatch Act of 1939 – Wikipedia

The fact that the meeting is being held in a public building, on public property, for a public purpose, specifically, to discuss issues and the candidates who have the ability to vote to hire or dismiss Ms. Bonhart, shows she’s sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong.

A true public relations professional in an organization that serves the public should know better than to get involved in this process, and know that her communications are all public record and not private.

Considering we’ve already had members of “The Slate” publicly state that they might try to skirt sunshine laws:

A member of the slate of candidates, which was endorsed by Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, (Mohamed) Al-Hamdani said the four would not show disagreement in public, doing more preparation behind closed doors. He did not address how that would fit with open meetings law.

Source: Election will change face of Dayton’s school board

We may have even bigger problems in store when it comes to what is acceptable political behavior and what is not if Ms. Bonhart is the new ruler of political dicourse.

I believe that Ms. Bonhart should either retract these rules and publicly apologize for her attempt to influence political speech and interfere with an election via her official capacity, or be dismissed for cause. I don’t expect our current board, superintendent, elections officials, the county prosecutor, the state school board, the Ohio Ethics Commission or the Secretary of State to do their jobs and censure this kind of blatant abuse of power, but, that’s why we have a free and independent press, to make sure you know when you are getting played.

When a public employee thinks they can regulate candidates speech, we have a real problem.

This needs resolution before this event begins tomorrow night.

UPDATE

Wed 18 May 2017

the “Friday email”

From: Marsha Bonhart Neilson [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Friday, October 13, 2017 6:05 PM
To: Marsha Bonhart Neilson <[email protected]>
Cc: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]
Subject: Candidates’ Night

Hello, Dayton School Board candidates,

Candidates’ Night, Wednesday, October 18th,  is drawing closer. As you know, the program, sponsored by the Dayton Education Council, will be aired live on DPS-TV from 6 to 8 pm with a strong presence on social media. We expect a large live audience as well.

You will be introduced and given 2 minutes to give an opening statement. When addressed by the moderator, each candidate will have 2 minutes to answer 3 rounds of pre-selected questions in addition to questions from the audience, phone callers and social media.

We ask that you arrive at David H. Ponitz Career Tech High School, 741 W. Washington St., 45402, at 5:15 for technical needs.

Again, thank you for your interest in becoming a member of the Dayton Board of Education.

Marsha Bonhart
Director, Media and Public Relations
Dayton Public Schools
115 S. Ludlow St.
Dayton, Ohio 45402
937-286-0023 (c), 937-542-3023 (desk)

Of note- the Slate don’t even get email directly- it goes through their handler, Uriah Anderson of Burges & Burges from Cleveland.

Vote NO on Sinclair Issue 4 and lower your taxes

Logic is something they are supposed to teach in college, yet, Sinclair Community College fails to use it when explaining their reason for only taxing Montgomery County property owners while having branch campuses in Warren, Preble and Greene Counties.

The Sinclair line is, residents of other counties have to pay double the tuition of Montgomery County residents. Yet, to become a “Montgomery County resident” only takes 6 months, while they’ve been taxing us for 52 years! And, by the same logic, if we just stopped taxing Montgomery county residents- and just doubled tuition, everything would be hunky-dory.

Sinclair has approximately 20,000 students. Montgomery County has about 540,000 residents, why we have to subsidize a training center for companies like CareSource, Premier Health and Kettering Health Network (who don’t pay the property tax- yet give big sums to the levy campaign) is a bit of a mystery. If the economic impact of Sinclair was so great, why is Warren County one of the fastest growing counties in the state? Could it be that their tax burden is so much lower than Montgomery County. Need proof- the Dayton Daily News built their “Print Technology Center” in Warren County 20 years ago- and now that the tax abatement has worn off- and no one reads their sad “Dayton Day Old News” anymore, they are printing in Indiana and selling their taj mahal.

Sinclair hasn’t fared well in performance measurements for value either. Wallethub did a study and Sinclair came in 2nd to worst of Ohio Community Colleges (only slightly besting Columbus State.)

I have no problem supporting Sinclair if they stop providing services outside Montgomery County- or begin to tax all the other counties they are operating in. That’s what we call “Keep Sinclair Fair” and have a site dedicated to the issue.

And because this community can be very petty to companies and people who go against the powers that be, we’ve set up a 501c4 political action committee, “Reconstructing Dayton” to work on issues of regionalism, ending cronyism and to help independent voices who support our goals.  We’ve also got some pet democracy projects to support. You can donate at will to Reconstructing Dayton to help defeat the unfair taxing of Montgomery County real estate to support the Sinclair Empire which stretches far outside our boundaries. Money will be spent to run a media campaign to inform voters that voting for Sinclair as it’s funded now is contributing to the welfare of other counties. No matter what Sinclair backers say.

We’ve seen plenty of examples of unfair taxation right here in Montgomery County, including the crazy rules of Austin Landing where only the retail workers pay an income tax. It’s time to stand up to the corrupt powers that allow this kind of punitive bullshit taxation to pass as “economic development” or a rational approach to growth.

Please consider donating and supporting our efforts to bring fair taxation to Montgomery County at all levels.

 

 

Getting property taxation right

Why isn't the purchase price the permanent valuation for the length of time you own it?

Only in Dayton is the $10K house a reality

Are you your neighbors keeper?

Every week I look at the listings of homes sold in Montgomery County and marvel, because only in Dayton can you buy a home for less than the price of a nice used car.

This doesn’t happen in surrounding communities (other than the depressed ones- Jefferson, Trotwood) . Do you wonder why?

It’s all supply and demand would be the perfect capitalists answer. But, what drives demand?

In real estate 101 they say “location, location, location” – and people choose communities based on the schools. And to some extent this is also correct. Yet, my house, bought for $14,500 in 1986 is worth close to 10x that, and a slightly larger home 2 doors down, just went for the same amount 7 years ago. It shouldn’t have sold that low, but it was a foreclosure. And, my property value dropped- not just because the price was low, but because of the cancer that moved in.

Four doors down, a house sold for $95K 3 years ago. The new couple put at least $40K into it before splitting. It sold in a day- price unknown, but for well over $125K. And my property values are sure to go up.

Yet, I didn’t change locations, and my schools still suck. My investments in my house shouldn’t penalize me with higher taxes anymore than what my neighbors do. The value will come to me, and to the community, when I sell.

How and why do the actions of others affect my property values? If I own a share of stock in 3M, does my value go up just because Apple had a great year? No. Yes, if I go to sell my car, and someone else paid X for a similar car- that’s the price- but, I’m not selling my home, I just want to live here. Why should my value change until I do something?

Simple answer- it shouldn’t. And, this constant re-valuation of real estate based on the actions of others is causing gentrification, housing bubbles, foreclosures, and a mangled economy.

The purchase price of an owner occupied home shouldn’t change until the house is sold. The same should be said of rental property. When the government steps in and raises your property value for taxation purposes, they become an uncontrollable variable in a business equation. They distort markets. They screw existing businesses and property owners when they offer tax abatement to the new guy, while the long term investor gets shafted.

And, it’s almost counterproductive to do improvements to your property, if the tax man is just going to charge you more. But, what could be worse? Your neighbor doing improvements.

Case study: Dr. Michael Ervin, shadow mayor of Dayton before he left town for Scottsdale AZ, bought a dump of a bar in the Oregon District and poured $1.6M into it. This skewed the valuation tables for his neighbors, who were thankful the bar left, but were asked to pay more for Dr. Mike’s excess. Some, couldn’t pay the additional taxes and were forced to sell or move. Others might have spent more on a crappy house, because Dr. Mike did what he did. The market skewed. But, 10 years later, when it came time to sell, Dr. Mike got less than half his money back on his taj mahal. Yes, it’s still double the value of any of the other single family homes- and still skews things, but, the only person paying the tax on the new market rate evaluation- $725K , should be the new owner. Just as the neighbors who never left, shouldn’t have been forced to pay more when the $1.6 boondoggle went in.

The reason we pay property taxes is supposedly to support public infrastructure and government to keep our investments safe. Income taxes are supposedly a more progressive tax that are supposed to be based on ability to pay. When property taxes unfairly start to penalize people for making a long-term investment that they hoped to keep- it’s wildly unfair, un-American.

The fact that almost every office building downtown has been foreclosed on, while tenants have moved to fairer pastures funded in part by tax dollars- with more advantageous tax structures (both income and property tax) like Austin Landing is proof positive that our property taxation and income taxation hodge podge is causing more problems than it’s helping.

The value of the Kettering Tower, once the premier office space in Dayton, was decimated by Dayton’s high income tax (now 2.5%) and property taxes based on market forces beyond the owners control. Would Austin Landing have looked so good, without the huge investment in infrastructure by the county, or the income tax free zone for white collar workers (while the retail underclass pays 2%)? Probably not.

It’s time to realize that tax policy and abatement has serious consequences to the entire region, and we need to find a way to level the playing field and stop letting the choices others make, affect our tax rates.

Regional tax policy, from property to income tax, needs to be set and managed at the county level, and by fair market forces, for all of us to live within our means, and to stop changing the playing field in the middle of the game.

 

R.I.P. the Dayton Daily news

Who killed the newspaperThe “newspaper” that shows up on a very few doorsteps tomorrow morning will have come to you from Indianapolis. The deadline for this cost saving measure is now 5pm. They started testing this 2 weeks ago, so when I saw the Dragon’s lose their last game of the playoffs on a Sunday night- I got to read about it in Tuesdays paper.

The old saying, “never argue with anyone who buys ink by the barrel” no longer holds in Dayton, since the Cox sisters are too cheap to even buy ink anymore. It’s the cheapness that’s helped kill it off, bit by bit. First with putting the printing plant in Warren County- no doubt to avoid the high Montgomery County taxes- which they happily endorsed (they in effect, voted with their feet after only 30 years of paying for Sinclair Community College), their whittling of actual talent from the ranks- where they laid off their photographers (and lost a 2x Pulitzer winning photo editor, Larry C. Price- the story broke here on this site btw). They cut the news staff, they built a “national copy editing desk” pooling “talent” on the fourth floor, thinking all copy editors do is check grammar, and edit for length (I’m the son of a newspaper copy editor, who taught me that good editors check facts, do their research, and know their city better than the reporters to help make sure the story isn’t only factual and concise- but, fair and balanced.)

Then, came more cuts, and the peter principle. Literally, the semi-competent city hall reporter becomes the editor, a cub reporter cum layout artist becomes the vp of content, a fresh faced sales guy becomes market vp, etc. While the people who actually can dig a story, or write well, get early buyouts or become contractors.

The sad fact is, Cox has invested in one horrible digital strategy after another. Their epaper is a total joke, they’ve built multiple websites for the paper, for the city, for the TV station, for the “news radio” station and tried to integrate “talent” but never understood their audience, or that no one but them thinks or cares what screen they get their news on- be it an iPad, Kindle, cell phone, desktop or even TV- it’s the news- and they want it on demand and time is valuable.

Not that the rest of the industry has it right. The New York Times has seen its subscriber base grow, but revenues drop. Their new iPad app, actually stripped features and fails at the basics of user interface design compared to their old app- but, at least it doesn’t suffer from sudden page scrolls with a random touch- so all can be forgiven.

Here’s the saddest part- rumors have it that reporters are now graded by how many clicks they can get online. They’re on Facebook trolling and clickbaiting for links and comments, they are writing headlines that any respectable journalist would scoff at. And sadly, none of them know how to monetize it properly.

While Google and Facebook are becoming the richest content companies on the planet- without any professionals making content, the “professionals” are failing. Hell, even the fake news has more eyeballs these days- with or without the Russians.

Why? Because they broke one of David Ogilvy’s rules. Was Ogilvy a journalist? Nope- he was a hotel kitchen worker who became a legend in the advertising business building one of the largest and most successful ad agencies in the world. His rule: “The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife” applies. We’re not interested in car crashes on 35, or local monkey sightings, we’re interested in actual news that affects us- how our leaders are performing, tax dollars invested, successful strategies paying off in business, opportunities to become more intelligent, better informed, well versed. Tips on making it in our city- and what will make our city better. Successful news outlets create a relationship between reader and story teller. This blog has about 2600 posts, and 26,000 comments. The refinement of the story, the enhancements of my readers, the community we’ve created, is what builds a stronger community resource- one that is actually of value.

I’ve built this site for the community- allowing others to have a platform. I’ve engaged, I’ve learned, I’ve listened, and over the years- I’ve built trust. So that when things are going wrong, people no longer call the Dayton Daily- they call me. It’s how I get tips that lead to stories like another pepper spraying of a restrained inmate or a school board members shaky residency (which lead to other revelations).

If Governor Cox could see what his skinflint offspring had done to the paper he worked so hard to build by his own hand (banks turned him down so many times, that when he built his offices at 4th and Ludlow he built it to look like a bank- it now sits at the middle of a mess caused by the city and his family) he’d rise from the grave and chisel his name off his tombstone.

The only reason to pay for the paper these days? Josh Sweigart , a reporter who seems to be the only one capable of single handily digging in and revealing the sad truths about our city that’s been left without the checks and balances a strong fourth estate is supposed to provide. Oh, and the obituaries, to find out who died (also often incomplete) and the bid notices. Other than that, it’s cliff notes of things you can find elsewhere- often with better writing and even a comments section that’s managed right- like, oh, that’s right- you’re reading it right now.

 

A Dayton candidates night and a voters fright

Last Wednesday night, instead of working, or doing something fun, I went in for a two hour reminder of why Democracy no longer works in America.

(full disclosure- my firm has done some work and printing for the following candidates or their businesses, Jocelyn Rhynard, Shenise Turner-Sloss, Darryl Fairchild, Karen Wick-Gagnet)

When this country started, it was easy to pick people for elected office. You’d have a town hall of all the white male property owners, they all knew each other, and they chose the people based on personal knowledge and it was done.

Now, we just let anyone on the ballot, at least anyone that can make it through the political parties barricades and hurdles enforced by the board of (S)elections, and then to raise as much money as possible to run for an office that very few of the candidates and even fewer of the voters really understand.

Both the Dayton City Commission and the Dayton Board of Education positions are limited in their actual scope and power. This is by design. They are only allowed to hire a few people, and are there as a corporate board, to guide and review the performance of the leader they hire, be that person called a City Manager or a Superintendent. Instead, we’ve got ego-maniacal demi-gods running who think they not only steer the ship, but also are the guys running the engines, standing guard duty, manning the radar, cooking the food and even scrubbing the decks- all for a mere pittance on the school board and on a salary way richer than it should be for the city commissioners, who only have to show up for one meeting a week.

That said. Sorry about the audio in this video. The PA provided by the City of Dayton at the Northwest Recreation Center badly needed a new XLR cable, but, we’re too busy giving away millions to downtown investors to spring for $15 for a new cable (or less if you go to CCT). I’m even sorrier for what was recorded.

Of the school board candidates, only one actually talked about what we might need to do to change the way we deliver education in the classrooms to move achievement forward- that from Mario Gallin, a former school member who works at Ruskin for East End Community Services and still attends every board meeting. The Ruskin/EECS educational delivery method is based upon the Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Children’s Zone model of comprehensive wrap around services. The only other candidate to mention anything of the like was slate member Paul Bradley who spoke of the Oyler school in Cincinnati which he knows about because his fiancee worked there.

The seating and speaking arrangements were telling. First came “the slate” from the left, then the soloists, who have their own alignments, and the sole incumbent, Joe Lacey who cited parenting duties for calling him away and leaving early. Then the Commission candidates, less Joey Williams. In an unprecedented concession, Priority Board Chairman David Greer allowed Jeff Mims to have Williams time allotment, which judging by Mims reactions to questioning the city’s loss of funds due to internal errors, was a mistake. Mims got defensive and blamed the mess on former planning director Aaron Sorrel, which Darryl Fairchild was quick to call him on. Somehow, despite massive failures in her past, City Manager Shelley Dickstein always gets a hall pass, no matter how much taxpayer money is wasted, and the city commission is never to blame either.

The “slate” is four candidates running together for the school board. Insiders believe them to be hand-picked by Mayor Nan Whaley. Mohamed Al-Hamdani, William E. Harris Jr., Paul Bradley, and Karen Wick-Gagnet have hired a campaign manager (Nan’s old campaign manager) Uriah Anderson, who works for the ever popular Burges & Burges out of Cleveland. They are the folks Sinclair and the Health and Human Services levies both hired (hence the dual billboards around town). This kind of money, power and help hasn’t been seen since the “Kids First” slate ran in 2001 with the sole goal of putting a ton of money into the hands of demolition contractors, construction companies, architects and adding a $645 Million jolt to an ailing Dayton economy.

If you want to read an interesting excerpt on Kids First, follow this link. They spent over $200K on a campaign where all their opponents collectively spent $13,000 between 5 candidates. Note that the four seats that are up this time- were filled by unopposed candidates (Lacey, Roundtree, Lee and Baguirov). The last cycle, we had 4 candidates for 3 seats, and newcomer John McManus spent north of $35K to unseat Nancy Nearny by a mere couple of hundred votes forcing an automatic recount, while the other incumbents Walker and Taylor waltzed on in.

When asked (by me, via Chairmen Greer) why the slate hired an outside consultant, and how much they paid them, the room seemed to turn on Mohamed Al-Hamdani who tried to pass off the question with “we haven’t paid them anything yet” – while defacto saying their campaign manager worked for Burges. The slate is keeping quiet about how much they’ve raised or spent, and because the first reporting deadline isn’t until Oct 28th- the voters will have very little time to learn who is buying their candidates and for how much.

Needless to say, if you look back to the Kids First promises, and the whys, the district is in the exact same sorry shape now as then. Still at the bottom of the barrel for educational achievement, yet with a much higher staff turnover, more turmoil, a third less students, funded by an ever shrinking property tax base (often thanks to Nan Whaley and her love of tax abatement as economic development). The only difference between that slate and this one is that the Kids First slate actually would openly embrace charter schools, while anyone running for school board now has to categorically blame them for the failing of the district.

I still plan to listen to the candidates again, yet, I threw up a little when I heard Reverend Harris saying that he was going to concentrate on truancy as his platform. This is the simpletons solution to educational improvement- and why I also laughed at Dr. Roberson’s entire presentation of his case for why he should be superintendent. The other single issue candidate seems to be Jo’el Jones, who thinks all of our problems can be solved by the office of family and community engagement rising from the ashes. I agree it’s needed, but, it won’t solve the problems of this sinking ship.

While there is no doubt more to Jocelyn Rhynard than her four kids in the district, and her involvement in her kids school, River’s Edge, I didn’t feel she had a fully formed plan and was way too nice in her response about how she’d work with current superintendent Rhonda Corr. Going back to being on the campaign trail with former Dayton City Commissioner Dick Zimmer, it’s always bothered me that procreation counted as qualification for office- he’d start out with “I was born in Dayton, grew up in Dayton, had 9 kids and 19 grandchildren” – as if he chose where to be born, grow up. Mim’s also tells the same sorry story about how he told his family to move to Dayton when he was 3 months old. Rhynard, like Gallin, actually attends school board meetings regularly. Jo’el Jones is also sometimes there. I’ve never seen any of the slate attend.

We need more than platitudes and feel good stories- which is also part of Mohamed’s approach. He’s got a great story to tell of how he came as an immigrant and Dayton’s been good to him, but, he moved back into the city the same day he filed to run, a part he conveniently leaves out.

Hopefully, in the Wednesday night Dayton Education Council candidates night at Ponitz High school (741 W. Washington Street) – starting at 6pm we’ll here speeches sounding more like cogent solutions to stop the turmoil, turnover and terrible achievement scores instead of homilies and grand standing.

If any candidates need an example of what a plan to improve school/student performance looks like, I offer this video I made last December to make a case for a trans-formative plan to discussion. Of course, since no one on the board cares about anything except their own agenda- it was never discussed.

If you are looking to research candidates online- here are the websites I can find:

Of course in most of my searches, more shows up about many of these folks on esrati.com.

Thanks for reading.

Sneak peaks and sexy eats at Dayton’s next downtown grocery

Eclectic kitchen with a rooster on hand

Chip Kennedy is crazy. But, so were the Wright Brothers. He thinks he can create a downtown mecca of food from all parts of the world, in a space that’s even smaller than the Oakwood Dororthy Lane Market, and do it with style.

Getting ready for the pop-up dinner

Tomorrow, Oct. 1st, from 2 to 8, he’s teaming up with another crazy person, Chef Anne Kearney, formerly of Rue Dumaine, who will do a pop-up cash only dinner to rock your socks- while you wander around what will be “District Provisions” – a place where foodies will think they’ve died and gone to heaven and interior designers will say “damn, I wish I has his style.”

Kennedy has a vision of a place, more like Cleveland’s West Side Market than a traditional grocery, with different shops from different parts of the world- in what could only be called a curated walk through the continents. The last thing Dayton had that resembled this was the arcade, when you could still go in and buy fresh seafood, fruits, baked goods- before the City tried their hand at turning it into a mall with a fancy glass roof. The location is the old Dietz Block building, also known as the Norman Miller Furniture building at 531 Wayne Ave, behind Wheat Penney and catty-corner to Eastway. Currently, the only business operating out of there is Crafted and Cured, which has beers on tap and meats and cheeses for a charcuterie (a new hipster experience).

Copper pots ready for a special meal

Next up will be the Mediterranean section, with a wood fired copper kettle of an oven, an oyster bar, a butcher shop, deli, bakery retail outlet and then produce and candy. After that, an Asian and Hispanic areas. How the mechanics of these mini-foodlands will work is still a mystery to be solved, but, the aesthetics of the place will have you falling in love.

The copper wood fired oven of District Provisions

The copper wood fired oven of District Provisions

While the grocery co-op on the near West side is still in fundraising mode, Chip has been busting his butt and using his own money to build his dream, without help from all the “economic development geniuses” we’ve got on the payroll in Dayton. They aren’t spending half-a-million to build him a parking lot, they aren’t giving him huge tax abatement or job creation credit. And that’s too bad, because the kind of business he’s creating is the kind that makes Dayton a more interesting place to “live, work, play” and keeps one of Dayton’s beautiful old buildings- in use and alive.

The scale for the deli of District Provisions

While District Provisions won’t be for everyone, it will be a reason to come and spend money downtown, and experience something unavailable in the ‘burbs. It also has the ability to be a place where new urbanites can meet and mingle – while engaged in shopping for necessities, something that has become harder and harder to do anywhere downtown- other than the 2nd Street Market which is only open for a smidgen of time a few days a week.

Jack Lukey’s oyster and Caviar bar

For new residents of the Wheelhouse, or the Delco Lofts, Water Street or the Charlie Simms projects, this will help remind them that their investment is safe. Access to buying food without feeling like you are in a depressed area will stop them from getting depressed (yes, Wayne Avenue Kroger is nicer, but it still has the lighting of a dollar store, and the only parking lot that could host the soapbox derby).

While I look forward to District Provisions, and even more so to the pop-up dinner tomorrow, I want to say that I don’t fall into the total trap of “there aren’t any supermarkets in Dayton” – because there are – they’re just not the suburban style ones. In my neighborhood, we have the awesome Halal International Grocery, there is Dot’s by the Kettering border that has awesome meat, you’ve got a few Hispanic markets on Troy St and E. Third, and then there are a few independent grocery stores on Gettysburg, James H. McGee, Save-a-lot’s on Wilmington, and Linden etc.

For those going to the Pop-up-

Fresh organic tomatoes for Chef Anne Kearney

a few items from the cash only menu:

  • Pernod opoached Blue Point Oysters, leeks, spinach, tarragon, AWS bacon, creme $12
  • Belgian endive, Honeycrisp apple, bleu cheese, walnut salad, Banyuls vinaigrette $9
  • Fire-roasted Scottish salmon, butternut squash, leek ragout, Jamestown pea shoots, parsley garlic pistou $24
  • Sherry braised pork, YAYA grits, fire-roasted shiitakes $22
  • Steak Frites, grilled hanger steak, pommes frites, truffle beurre, aioli $23
  • Bickelcreek Farm rhubarb & raspberry crumble cake $7

Chef Anne is using as many locally grown ingredients as possible. Again- cash only.

Flags, anthems, patriotism and “American Values”

Suppose NFL owners just fired 90% of the players for refusing to stand for the National Anthem today? What would happen? Their moneymaking machine would be in a world of serious hurt. Fans would be incredibly upset, with many taking sides and dividing us even more than the old football rivalries. There would be a lot of misplaced anger, against players, owners, and our “dotard” in chief- Donald Trump.

Colin Kaepernick would still be unemployed, America would still a place where police kill citizens almost without any repercussion, and we’d still have more people in prisons than any other “free country.”

Not to mention, we’re the only industrialized country to have its citizens turn to GoFundMe when they get cancer, instead of just working with their doctors to beat it. The number one cause of bankruptcy in America is still caused by health emergencies, not bad financial decisions.

After 9/11 it became fashionable and politically popular to wear a flag pin. I did it. Veterans started to gain a new respect, long overdue, but still for the wrong reasons. We live in a country where we still allow our wars to be fought by the poor, minorities and volunteers, instead of because of universal duty. This means when those in Congress send our young people to risk their lives, few have to worry about their own children or grandchildren going to meet an uncertain future.

Donald J. Trump went to a private military academy for high school, yet, didn’t enlist. His kids didn’t enlist. Yet, here he stands, picking fights like a high school bully on an elementary school playground with a country so poor that most of its people are living in poverty, and many face food insecurity (take your pick, his country or N. Korea, unfortunately the same statement applies to both).

He blames everyone for what he sees as our problems, from Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama to NAFTA and immigrants. Now, he’s calling Colin Kaepernick’s mom a bitch. This is not the leader of the country I stood up and swore an oath to defend, this is a mockery of it.

But, this is what happens when we, as a country, elect a game show host to the highest office. Of course, he’s questioned the validity of our journalists, our election results, and the integrity of even those he’s hired and fired in record time.

We can’t place the blame solely on Trump, there are 435 in the “House of Representatives” and 100 in the Senate, that have stood by and failed to act as a check and balance on a man so obviously unfit to be our president going back to his recorded “grab them right in the pussy” “locker room talk” and his statement that “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” back in January of 2016- at a campaign rally in Iowa.  Whatever happened to the “never Trump” republicans?

They sat on their hands when he blamed both sides for the violence in Charlottesville. Being a Nazi is apparently OK with this president, and even some of his Jewish cabinet. Even the idiots in Israel who preferred him over Clinton in the election sat by mute. It’s as if common sense has taken a vacation.

Now, some of the people who gave him millions, NFL owners, are twisting in their seats, hoping that they aren’t about to regret it. Because, unfortunately, in America today, it’s not about freedom, or constitutional rights, or even democracy- it’s absolutely clear, it’s only about the money.

Always wrapped in the flag.

When I see a “flag” covering an entire football field as I saw at the beginning of the Browns v Colts game today, and look back at the photos of the president at the Alabama rally where he decided that those who protest are “sons of bitches”- I see the flag being used to cover for our sins instead of representing our values. And I can’t stop being reminded of how important the swastika was to the last party that rose out of hate, bigotry and powerlessness- the Nazis in Germany.

There are no winners in nuclear war, and never has this country had a president who didn’t understand this.

Backgrounds are important for leaders with small hands

His speech at the U. N. should have been enough for someone to raise the question of impeachment.

“No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the wellbeing of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more… The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”

He even contradicts himself: “In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch.” Just don’t take a knee at a football game.

Congress impeached Bill Clinton over his “lies” about a blowjob.

How they fail to act now, is incomprehensible.

It is up to all of us, to call for an end to this madness, before his madness ends with a nuclear exclamation point. It is not OK to defend his actions, to take his side, to threaten NFL players for making a political statement.

It is patriotic to demand he leave office, and take his supporters with him. Anything less, may lead to the fall of our republic. Don’t confuse our flag, anthem or standing or sitting with patriotism. Patriotism is taking action to end the rule of this infidel.

DPS Board wastes 4 hours to move backwards

Once again, Dayton Public Schools believes rose colored glasses will somehow solve their public relations fails. In an epic 4 hour meeting, first we handed out awards for showing up to bus drivers, awards for janitors for cleaning and a real award from the State for Teacher of the Year to a Stivers teacher, Rachael Murdock.

Then it was into a presentation first by Dr. Sheila Burton and then Dr. Elizabeth Lolli about how there was some good in the state test scores- which put us as the second worst district in the State (behind Trotwood). While this kind of information is great, it’s not really useful as “good news.” It’s like saying “we got shutout, but, at least we didn’t fumble the football” (and by the way, the score was 654-0).

It also shouldn’t be presented by administrators.

The proper way to present this, by a competent PR staff, would be a presentation outlining the steps we’re taking over the next 3 years, in order to remedy the issues. What best practices have we implemented that caused things to move up, how we compared to the State in areas we didn’t move up, and what are the performance goals for the future.

While identifying that Horace Mann got 5 “A”s is nice – without knowing what the “A’s” were in, or why, or how- is useless information and a waste of our time. How are we going to replicate those “A’s” across all the other schools is more important. It’s not what grade you got, but what you learned- and how you will improve that counts.

This set up the first fireworks. After Burton and Lolli finished, Baguirov had to blather on about schools getting “A’s” and how we’re not all failing. It was a ramble- unchecked. Joe Lacy had a totally illegible slide to show his analysis- and was promptly cut off by Walker. Rudely. Joe, stormed off the dais. When he returned to vote on an unscheduled Exec session midway through the meeting- he asked if he was allowed to vote now- after he’d been cut off.

The discussion in executive was obviously about the upcoming decision to replace Pete Pullen with Chuck Taylor as the head boys basketball coach at Dunbar. The public comments were dominated by people singing Pete’s praises. The only one to not talk about Pete, was the poor girl who was a DECA student who had cheered for Dunbar for her entire high school career- only to be told she couldn’t finish her senior year for her school, with her friends- and was risking her chance at a scholarship.

Sheila Taylor took a roundabout way of explaining how this was all the Ohio High School Athletic Associations fault and sorry. “We tried to appeal” was Taylor’s line- nevermind the fact that had she not given district athletic director Mark Baker a 2 year contract- this probably wouldn’t have happened.

The fireworks finale was the vote on Taylor/Pullen for the coaching job, but slipped in-between was the board voting not to pay Huffmaster on the contract they signed for Strike Prep. $35,766.78 will be cited in the lawsuit Huffmaster files- and then throw in fees, and penalties and this will cost even more.
The board should be held personally liable for the breech of contract. The superintendent as well, since she didn’t bother explaining that this wasn’t an optional payment.

The Taylor vote had a lot of BS attached. First and foremost, Baguirov announced he’d abstain. Why, not sure. Reality- dereliction of duty. He did this after Lacey actually made a competent case for why the board should reject the recommendations to not rehire the legend for a rookie coach.

He cited 20 years experience, the winning record, the loyalty, and the scoring system which seemed more subjective than objective- especially when you are talking a coaching legend with a record that’s unmatched- compared to a rookie with zero high school coaching experience. But his most damning point was that only 2 people applied to be head coach at one of the states premier programs.

There could only be one reason- insider information and bias. Why wouldn’t we have more applicants? Probably because no one that knows anything about the program and Pete’s legacy would apply until Pete resigned- what idiot would think they’d get picked over a coaching god?

And there lies your problem- only a system run by idiots would toss away one of the best coaches in the State- and possibly in the country – and that’s what we have. Only Chuck Taylor had the inside line on the plan, and here we are.

Lacey walked off to talk to the Dunbar parents, former players, coaches and of course the media- because he’s running for reelection, and because, he’d already been disrespected by the board that evening. This one vote isn’t a good reason to keep him, but, for the first time in a long time- Joe was actually right on the money. That should scare us all.

Until next meeting of the circus clowns, stay sane, and send your kids to CJ or the Miami Valley School. No signs of intelligent life emanate from the puzzle palace on Ludlow.

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.