DPS sleight of hand by doomed superintendent Ward

Changing the district’s school configurations is a distraction from the real issue at hand- leadership.

With the superintendent’s contract up for renewal, after 6 years of running the ship in circles, this “reconfiguration” as part of the solution, along with the rushed implementation of “1 to 1 computing” are just moves to distract the board from the fundamental problem- Dayton Public Schools are headed for a state takeover in 2 years, and the current superintendent is incapable of making any real improvement in test scores, retention of students or staff, or quality of education. Even the “Improved graduation rates” are still embarrassing. The third grade reading guarantee will result in half the students repeating the third grade.

Changing back to a middle school model for only some of the schools is just a magician’s sleight of hand trick to distract and give false hope that this “revelation” requires the keeping of the captain of this sinking ship.

Reshaping more than a dozen schools this fall is “a must,” according to Dayton Public Schools leaders, who say seventh- and eighth-graders have major academic and discipline problems in the current school configuration.

Joe Lacey and Adil Baguirov are the only school board members who had the sense to vote no- and abstain, from this sideshow. Other members of the board should be wondering how this became the solution of the day- and why they fell for it. Normally, program changes as drastic as this involve a careful communications strategy, a lengthy preparation plan, and building a cadre of leaders to explain the change.

However, DPS doesn’t have a communications team. This is because the current superintendent is incapable of firing grossly incompetent, or even marginally competent people from her team. The good ones leave for other districts- where they are paid more, respected and have real professional development programs. What’s left are the die-hard educators who refuse to let go of their ideals, and those who would never be hired by another district, or if they are- wouldn’t keep their jobs long.

Forty minutes later, the school board approved a resolution to reconfigure the grade makeup at 15 of the district’s 28 schools, meaning that more than 1,000 students and dozens of teachers and staff likely will make an unexpected move this summer. The plan removes grades 7 and 8 from most existing PreK-8 buildings, creates three middle schools at the existing Wright Brothers, Wogaman and E.J. Brown elementaries. It adds grades 7-8 to Meadowdale High School. No existing schools will close, and no new schools will be built.

Why change?

Superintendent Lori Ward said she knows the move will be disruptive to many, but said the district has to make changes that it thinks will help the most children succeed.“We find ourselves very, very challenged to make sure seventh- and eighth-graders are ready for high school,” Ward said. “I will tell everybody in this room, we’re not bringing it, as a district (on that front).”

Ward said seventh- and eighth-graders now have some of the highest suspension rates in the district and are roughly 30 percentage points behind state peers in most subjects.

There is no admission from Ward that the original change to K-8 schools was highly contested by the teaching staff that knew that mixing 8th graders with 3rd graders was a recipe for disaster. Top performing schools like Horace Mann, slipped- parents who knew better pulled their kids out.

Other districts have dedicated 9th grade buildings- for the very reason that this is the key failure point for teens, who are struggling with the move from K-8 grades that mostly don’t count, to the real world of High School.

Other districts that have attempted to fix poor performance- have moved to year-round schools- to fight the proven “summer slide” where kids lose about 20% of their skills each year. One of the reasons for all the new buildings was air conditioning- which would make year-round schools possible. Was this idea even discussed? No.

Wyetta Hayden, DPS chief of school improvement, said grouping all seventh- and eighth-graders into eight schools — rather than the current 17— will allow the district to cluster appropriate staff and offer better academic options. That means making algebra and career tech courses available to all of those students, with the hope of adding marching band and middle school sports.

She also said it ends the practice of having kindergartners in the same hallways as eighth-graders.

If it’s such a good idea, why is your top performing school (and the only one that’s worth 2 cents) Stivers 7-12?

And what’s this “hope of adding?” To quote master Yoda, “do or do not, there is no try.”

DPS Curriculum Director Bob Buchheim, a former middle school teacher and principal, called the switch a win for all elementary students, and “a must” for middle schoolers.

If this this is a win and a must, why are we keeping Stivers and Belmont 7-12? We won’t talk about Longfellow- because, well, no one talks about Longfellow. It’s sort of like Area 51 of the Dayton Public Schools. It’s where we keep the aliens.

Strong opposition

The school board vote on the change was not unanimous. Board President Adil Baguirov first suggested delaying the decision a week, then abstained from the vote.

Board member Joe Lacey was the lone vote against the move, arguing that the district just dropped the middle school system less than a decade ago, when the district’s overall performance index was the worst in the state. He also warned of possible fallout.

“We are in a competitive environment. We had a school called Patterson-Kennedy on Wyoming Street and we closed it because we had too many schools,” Lacey said. “Just a few years later, Emerson, a charter school, opened (blocks away) and became one of the highest-performing schools in the city.

“You can’t treat people like this and not expect… people to leave Dayton Public Schools.”

Joe Lacy understands. There are options, customer service is important. Giving the few remaining dedicated parents in the district the finger by springing this on them at the last minute is the action of desperation. Note, we’re still the holder of the worst performance index in the state- for a district that hasn’t been taken over…. yet.

Even some in favor of the plan had concerns. Teachers union President David Romick was upset that teachers had little notice and no involvement in planning. Ruskin Elementary teacher Karissa Jobman worried the plan would have to be thrown together too quickly and called for a task force to make sure it is done right.

The district posted a timeline on its website saying parent meetings would be at affected schools in the next two weeks. Burton said the district will begin to send notifications of 2016-17 school assignments to parents next week, giving them about three weeks to respond before open enrollment begins March 1.

Teachers’ deadline to file school transfer requests is Feb. 15. DPS Human Resources Director Judith Spurlock said she is beginning talks with the teachers’ union about staff needs.

“I want this to be successful. I think it could turn this district around,” said school board member Hazel Rountree. “It’s the move that we need. We can’t keep doing little baby steps and expect change.”

Source: Schools’ revamp stirs emotion

Ms. Rountree has been on the board for 2 years. Ron Lee, Reverend Walker, Sheila Taylor, have been on much longer. John McManus is the new guy- barely finding his way to his very expensive board seat (he spent around $30K to barely beat Nancy Nearny- (Full disclosure: I printed some of his materials at my business). To think that this idea of middle schools is a good idea as the ship is going under- and a lifeboat move at best- says that none of these people belong on the board.

These are issues that should have been brought up long ago, and discussed publicly, before making this move.

It’s time for new leadership. Effective leadership. Leadership that will clean house, communicate effectively with all stakeholders and get results. No more smoke and mirrors, no more parlor tricks.

Fire Lori Ward now. Reconsider the reconfiguration. Stop the distraction of 1-to-1 computing.

Hire someone from within the district who can clearly tell the board what their vision is, their assessment of current staffing and personnel, what their plan would be, and how they would engage stakeholders to join them with the execution of  the transformation of the district.

It’s time.

Woosh, we’re a test market

Last summer, it wasn’t safe to drink the water in Toledo, thanks to a giant algae bloom.

Now, it’s not safe for the people of Flint to drink the water because when the “Emergency Manager” for the bankrupt city decided to switch water supplies- the acidic river water flushed the calcification in the lead pipes away- and the water is now contaminated with lead.

Even the little town of Sebring, Ohio, is having issues with high lead content in the water, despite our governor’s blustering statement that if he was facing a water crisis like the one in Flint “every single engine of government has to move when you see a crisis like that.”

Well, Dayton, knock on wood, has excellent water. And while we still have plenty of lead pipes for distribution, our hard well water, still deposits plenty of calcification to line and protect us. Our water is even softened with a huge lime kiln and has our blue lagoon off Route 4 to store our lime for keeping our water from tasting like nasty well water.

Woosh water station photo

A Woosh Station outside- which isn’t possible, because current system isn’t suitable for winter.

So, you have to wonder what brings the Israeli tech start-up Woosh to Dayton to test their purified water stations to compete with bottled water. And, why do people in Dayton still buy so much bottled water- that often times isn’t as tasty as what comes out of our taps.

That was my first question when I met with Itay Zamir  and Dani  Oren from Woosh Water when I met with them at Sinclair on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Their first answer was “people get innovation here” followed by “people care about the environment”- at least that’s what they’d been told. Why these guys were talking to me is another odd question. It seems the PR person who is handling them for the powers that be thinks this blog is well read- and I was the party responsible for bringing bike share to Dayton-  and these guys love bike share.

This is one of the first potential wins for the “Dayton Regional Trade Alliance” (DRITA) which has been shuffling politicians back and forth between Israel and Dayton- and we’ve got a few lobbyists on the payroll to try to sell Dayton as a manufacturing mecca, just prime to produce Israeli tech products for a much larger market. County Commissioner Dan Foley was there in 2013, along with then Dayton Assistant City Manager Shelley Dickstein when they first met with Woosh.

To explain Woosh- is pretty easy- it’s a glorified water fountain, that washes and “purifies” the bottle before filling it- with a credit card reader built in to take your money. The water is purified with O3- or Ozone, that’s made with water and electricity- and is the secret to cleaning your bottle. Could you use your own bottle and fill it from any old water fountain- sure- but, this water fountain has a few differences- the ozone treatment is one, the measured use replaceable filter (just like your refrigerator might have) and the wash step- for a price about half of what bottled water costs.

The system has been tested in Tel Aviv- with some success. There was also some push back- when they first rolled it out with free water- there were complaints about the registration process requiring a credit card. The difference of course is here it freezes. They don’t have an outdoor machine ready yet.

The machines cost around $20K each right now- but when they ramp up to mass production the price should fall. What’s missing right now is the business model. When pressed for how these are managed, who gets the money, and why you want to Woosh it- was all pretty vague. Right now, the three test stations in Sinclair generate money for Woosh. There is no payback to Sinclair for water, electricity or even rent for the floor space. Both Montgomery County and Dayton City Hall are planning on adding Woosh stations too- and according to the Dayton Daily- each org is kicking $25K over to Woosh to be in the pilot program. If this sounds a bit like Tom Sawyer charging his friends to do his work painting his fence you and I are in agreement. Of course, the payoff is the promise to build the Woosh in Dayton- for sale all over the U.S.

This is what happens when politicians do business deals.

That all being said- the Woosh guys are on a mission- to do away with the buying of bottled water. Ever looked at the bottle of water you bought at Sam’s Club or Kroger? Mother Jones did a story that a lot of the “premium brands” come from areas hit by drought. Many are just filtered tap water. The costs of bottled water add up; branding, bottling, transport, advertising- all for something we should already have- just open a tap, put it in the fridge- and voila. The fact that not only has bottled water use been growing at astronomical rates- but, that it supposedly outsells all soda sold on the Sinclair campus (the school wouldn’t give actual numbers). And that’s at $1.50 or so a bottle. Nice margin there if you can get it.

There is also the issue of BPA in the plastic bottles that most bottled water comes in. All the “purity” of the water is put at risk by this chemical used in the bottle.

BPA (bisphenol-A) is a potentially toxic estrogen-mimicking compound used in plastic production that has been linked to breast cancer, early puberty, infertility, and other maladies. It’s dangerous enough that it has been banned in baby bottles in Europe, Canada, and even China—but not in the U.S. And it turns out that it’s almost entirely unavoidable. It’s in water bottles…

Source: 6 Steps to Avoiding BPA in Your Daily Life

The novelty of the Woosh system is the way you can buy it in bulk- and become a “member” – and use an RFID tag- or your Tartan card- to buy your water, instead of the single serve via cc option. The real killer cost here is the cc transaction processing cost- which is why giving a discount to larger purchases- or using the Tartan card is good for Woosh. They have also somewhat gamified their system- to track how much environmental benefit you are granting the world by Wooshing instead of hitting the bottle.

Really- as long as people are willing to pay stupid amounts of money for bottled water- Woosh makes sense. I’m not really sure why the genius innovators in Dayton haven’t started selling our tap water bottled instead of handing money over to Woosh- but we could still do both. It sure seems smarter to ship Dayton’s wonderful water to Flint than to allow Pepsi, Coke & Nestle to ship their hoity-toity water from drought zones.

Or better yet- start mass producing Woosh stations right now- and sell them to Flint, as a cheaper solution than having the National Guard handing out free bottled water daily. If someone from DRITA was smart enough to get it in writing that they’d be produced here- it shouldn’t be too hard to find demand for a whole bunch of these Woosh stations right now in Flint.

The guys from Woosh aren’t monogamous to Dayton, apparently they’ve been having a dalliance with the city of Miami Beach- to install a “Smart Water Stations Network” in Miami Beach- they signed an agreement back in March, 2015. Let’s hope that Shelley Dickstein remembered to get this manufacturing contract in writing this time- unlike her Wayne Avenue Kroger deal.

The Woosh system deploys with three stations at Sinclair on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. One will be outside the Tartan marketplace, another at the Main St. Cafe and the third at the Sinclair end of the parking garage walkway in Building 14.

Time to clean house at Wright State

I like Dr. David Hopkins. A lot.
I’ve done work for him- not a lot.

I’m a Wright State graduate. I was active in Student Government. Inter Club Council and Student Affairs when I was a student.

All that being said- in light of the really good journalism at the Dayton Daily news by Josh Sweigart, it’s time to clean house.

The newspaper no longer publishes editorials. There is no editorial bully pulpit that calls people out when things have gone to shit.

At Wright State- they’ve gone to shit.

First indication was when they hired Jim “Lefty” Leftwich on some consulting contract to get business from the state- while he had a contract from the state. Right there, someone should have ended up in prison- but, no, that was the tip of the iceberg.

Then comes the scandal of H1B visas. The school went into bunker mode. People got fired (and had the audacity to sue for “money owed”). Others, demoted. One person- the long time legal counsel, retired with a lump sum payment.

At the same time- they create an off-books corporation “Double Bowler Properties” with a lobbyist/former congressman to “acquire real estate” quietly. There is an interlocking directorship with the Director of the WSU Board of Trustees- who voted on the hiring of his son to do “cyber security” by the university, without a public job posting- a serious conflict of interest and violation of rules.

Then all of a sudden, there is some hoo-hah about the university needing “internet security upgrades” for “The Presidential Debate” and the numbers are in the millions- all for a few hours of a nationally televised show.

Next comes the whole issue of hiring Ron Wine Consulting- and continuing to pay Ron (no one has proved he has any employees and he doesn’t have a website) a million plus in a year when there was no contract in place. Mr. Wine makes suggestions like “you should offer to hold a fundraiser for the (insert politician’s name here)” as part of his counsel, yet claims he’s not a lobbyist. He also thinks he should be paid a commission on contracts he brings in to the school, something that shouldn’t sit well with anyone in charge of a public institution- funded largely by the taxpayers.

I could go on. I could link to article after article. I could sit and wait- and hope that the Ohio attorney general and the FBI and the others do their jobs- and start throwing people in prison, but we all know white collar crime doesn’t land you in prison- only being poor or having drug offenses will do that. These are all wealthy people. They have that magic “Get out of Jail Free” card given to them as a birthright.

Wright State needs new leadership. Yesterday.

This is too much of a distraction. It’s been taking up too much bandwidth. It’s time for a new set of trustees, a new president, and some sort of independent ethics oversight, since the moral compass of what Wright State should and should not be doing with tax dollars seems to have been tossed off campus.

The university is a key part of our community, which has hitched its cart to the stupid strategy of “Meds, Eds and Feds” (none of which pay property taxes). When the wheels come off one of the key parts of the cart, we’re all at risk.

Sorry Dr. Hopkins, too much has gone off the tracks under your watch. You’ve fallen in with the wrong crowd, and lost your credibility. It’s time to step down.

To renew, or not to renew, is that even a question? DPS Superintendent Ward’s Contract

The Board of Education seems to be putting their elbows in their ears and saying “Nah, nah, nah, nah” while ignoring the upcoming deadline to review, renew or take action on Superintendent Lori Ward‘s contract.

Coming due next month, Ward is paid almost $200,000 a year- and has been at the helm since taking over from Kurt Stanic in March of 2010.

The district is two years away from state takeover.

In today’s paper- we find out that:

The top Dayton Public School was Valerie PreK-6 School, at 44 percent, earning a D….

(in Graduation rates) Dayton Public’s high schools earned an A (Stivers), a B (Ponitz), and four F’s (Thurgood Marshall at 73.5, Dunbar at 66.7, Belmont at 59.1 and Meadowdale at 50.0).

Source: Charter schools fail in K-3 Literacy

The board met at a retreat on Saturday, and went into executive session- but no mention was made of the contract or plans to either retain or replace Ms. Ward.

With scores like these, the decision should be pretty clear.

Legal, illegal, and illogical gambling

monopoly for the lazyThe online poker sites got shut down.

The online fantasy sports leagues have run into a bit of trouble because the only people who were winning were working with inside info.

Yet Wall Street is still going a hundred miles a minute with all kinds of convoluted “financial products” with absolutely zero oversight. Need proof? Go see “The Big Short” which makes the shenanigans understandable even to a non-finance major.

If you were starting up a company and someone offered to “invest” in it for a fraction of a second- would you consider them an “investor”- nope. Yet, this kind of wild distortion of financial markets has been allowed to exist on Wall Street for the last 40 years.

Fantasy sports leagues will be banned before 40 months are up.

The financial illiteracy of most Americans is epic. Most don’t think they have a direct connection to Wall Street since “they don’t own stock.” Yet, fail to understand that their employer may be publicly traded, their pension or retirement (if they have one) is invested, their government depends on bond ratings for public works projects, their car and health insurance are tied to the markets, and their home value is directly dependent on interest rates, lending practices and secondary markets that are being manipulated to maximize profit for a very small part of our society- by sociopaths who don’t have to fear any repercussions for their actions. After all, some of them really do deserve to pillage a billion dollars away from our collective net worth each year.

They can gamble with the world economic order with impunity- but, you can’t play poker for money. You can however play “mega-millions” and throw away your money.

This should piss you off, but since most of you feel powerless anyway- it’s just better to continue to fight the day-to-day struggle of getting through this game called life without losing your shirt, home, health or job.

When the banks were allowed to cross state lines, and begin investing with your money that they were holding for “safekeeping”, it should have been greeted with a big fat no from the public, the politicians, the regulators and even the bankers. Banking was never supposed to be risky, sexy or a license to gamble- but that’s what it’s become. Same goes for Wall Street and the tools of finance. Debt and equity in publicly traded companies used to be serious – now it’s more like a roulette wheel. Apple hasn’t changed its business model in years- yet the markets have had the valuation going up and down like a yo-yo- same goes for Google (now Alphabet) and a host of other companies. Yet, somehow, Amazon, which has barely turned a profit- is valued higher than WalMart- which has turned massive profits year-in, year-out and has real, tangible assets worth billions. Never mind the “unicorns” – darlings of Wall Street- mostly tech companies, that haven’t made their first dime, but were valued in the billions. Remember when Google was offering to buy Groupon for $6 Billion- and now…. Groupon who?

There is the old fable about the emperor’s new clothes, the one where the emperor is naked, but only a naive kid has the balls to point it out.

The reality of our entire economy is built on 4 words “In God We Trust”- which is on our money. Not, “In Government We Trust”- because then it’s too easy to point fingers- better an invisible force- because in reality- the whole system is really just a house of cards. We make it up as we go along. The value of our currency isn’t linked to anything other than what we think it is- for some, it’s how many dead presidents it takes to buy a hit of heroin, to others, it’s more like monopoly money- and how much can they amass before the game is over.

The difference is when you are playing Monopoly, there are rules- and the game ends. With our economy, the rules have all been thrown out the window, and the game isn’t supposed to end, nor is anyone supposed to say the emperor is naked.

Bad news- the emperor is naked.

Today, the New York Times reported that Mike Bloomberg is considering running as an independent for president and willing to stake $1 billion of his own money. The difference between Bloomberg and Trump is that Bloomberg has actually run for office, and governed- and he really has that kind of money. The reason he has that kind of money is because the system allowed it- and now, we’re going to see that our fabled democracy really isn’t anything but an auction for the right to run the casino.

There are a lot of people who thought this election was going to be Clinton vs. Bush. I’ve been saying it’s going to be Bernie vs. Trump, unless the Republican party brokers the convention- in which case I fully believed that Trump would continue on as a wild card independent- and split the R vote making a NY Jew our next president. I might have only been slightly off, seeing as Bloomberg is the more electable NY Jew, or at least one who can outright buy his way straight to the White House.

The reality is, Bloomberg isn’t going to fix the casino- it’s what made him.

Others say Bernie is talking about a chicken in every pot, a car in every driveway kind of idealistic dreams that won’t ever fly thanks to Congress, and they may be right.

Having four choices for president is also a wild card- as it’s never happened before. What happens when you have Bernie, Trump, Bloomberg and random Republican (insert Kasich, Cruz, Rubio or Christie). all of a sudden, the whole system gets incredibly strange- because the Electoral College doesn’t really allow for a 4-way race.

And while you may not be able to bet on fantasy sports for much longer, and you may be cut out of the windfalls of Wall Street- and online poker has to be on the down low, there is one organized betting game still left as an option- you can bet on political outcomes– and no one has shut it down- yet.

Oh, the irony of it all.

 

 

 

 

What a right to bear arms means- really.

For years, I’ve tried to argue about the 2nd Amendment by bringing up the part most skip- “a well regulated militia” and gotten nowhere. Today, Aloysius Schneider from Centerville made the argument absolutely clear in his letter to the editor- I’m reposting:

A lesson in gun ownership

Re: “Reader: Militia ‘is every able-bodied man’,” Jan. 13: For those who think that the Second Amendment is a God-given right to universal unrestricted gun ownership, it is instructive to read the Articles of Confederation. The letter writer interprets “A well-regulated militia” as every able-bodied man. What about able-bodied women?

One can get a better feel for what the founding fathers had in mind by reading Article Six of the Articles of Confederation: “No vessels of war shall be kept in time of peace by any State, except such number only as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defense of such State or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State, in time of peace, except such number only as in the judgment of the United States in Congress assembled shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such State; but every State shall always keep up a well regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutred, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field-pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition, and camp equipage.”

It is obvious that what the founders meant by “militia” is equivalent to our National Guard, not every able-bodied man.

And none of the rights enumerated in the Constitution are God-given. God is never mentioned in the Constitution beyond the requirement that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States” and “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The rights were granted by citizens assembled, not by God.

ALOYSIUS SCHNEIDER, CENTERVILLE

Source: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

If you want to own a gun, first qualification should be military service. Once returned from service, you can continue to train at the local armory, where your weapons are stored and guarded, around the clock. Regular qualification is required, as is annual training.

Hunters in rural areas would be allowed to have a shotgun (non-automatic) a rifle (bolt action) in the home, provided they have a safe. Any additional weapons, would be kept in the County armory. Qualification would be required annually.

Go ahead- let me have it.

 

The $20,000 house problem solution

Yes, you can buy a house for under $20,000 in Dayton. I bought three of them.

The problem is that our system isn’t set up for buying $20,000 homes. In fact, banks don’t want to give loans on them, insurance companies don’t want to insure them, and for the most part, people don’t want to live near them- for fear their “comps” will be brought down- devaluing their home.

And I’m talking about the homes that are habitable- not shells, waiting for demolition.

The city is backed up with a demolition list that will never get cleared. We’re spending an average of $11,000 to tear each one down- with no real return on that investment. It’s money down the drain.

In the meantime, we’re giving incentives to build new units to people like Sims Development, and Crawford Hoying, to build more housing. Desirable, “market rate” housing. The problem is- our population is stagnant and declining- not just Dayton proper, not just Montgomery County- but the entire state of Ohio. We’ve lost congressional seats because of it.

What happens when you add housing inventory when you have declining population? Simple rules of supply and demand apply- housing inventory loses value, market gets flooded. The other problem is that the inventory isn’t exactly lining up with the demand. Poverty isn’t decreasing- but the supply of low-income housing is decreasing as subsidies have been cut. Numbers of jobs that can afford to support a normal mortgage have decreased, young college-educated home buyers are already carrying significant college debt. If this sounds like the setup for another economic collapse based on a screwed up housing market, you’re paying attention.

A simple solution

Currently, one of the economic measurement tools that economists love to bandy about is “new home starts.” A strong construction market is considered a jobs stimulator, since the construction industry is still considered a low-tech, blue-collar employment engine- i.e., you don’t need a college degree or even a high school education in their minds to build homes. The reality is you don’t even have to be an American anymore to build homes- with immigrant labor owning the roofing, sheet rocking and masonry work forces for most building developments. That’s both illegal and legal immigrants by the way

What is missed is the effect on supply.

What Ohio should do is put a moratorium on new unit construction unless the state has an increase in population exceeding 2% annually. The only way to build new units, is to buy up and demolish old units with a ratio of one structure for every 2,500 square feet of new construction. The “structure” definition could be variable based on location- more on this later. While this would add approximately $10,000 to the cost of each normal sized new building, it decreases inventory and in the end helps drive up property values.

The worst homes would be demolished first, and the values of marginal homes would rise as new construction credits rise. This would help low-income people recapture some of the value sucked out of their neighborhoods by the foreclosure crisis. It would also stop government from diverting money for services to making empty lots.

Along with the demolition credits, the state could issue credits to rehabbers- for taking old buildings and renovating them- effectively incentivizing rehab. The credits for rehab- would be at double the rate of demolition- i.e., rehab 2,500 square feet, get to sell the equivalent credits of 5,000 square feet of new construction. Why this incentive? Because rehabbing old infrastructure and bringing it back online, doesn’t require government to run new water and sewer lines, nor does it require adding police patrol areas- or, even in the case of infill new construction that wouldn’t require these either- it doesn’t fill up a landfill with demolition debris. It also makes it more affordable for rehab which often has higher costs due to compliance with new construction code .

Incentives can be placed by changing the credit awards structure- with some neighborhoods getting double credits for demolition, and others, fractional credits. Same can go for rehab projects.

Even as population begins to grow- the credit system can be kept in place based on where you are building. Any place where new utilities or infrastructure is required- would continue to require trade credits- infill to existing developments, no. If your county isn’t growing in population, swaps will still be required.

This system is sort of in-place with Historic Tax Credits- but generally is only used on large-scale development. The idea of this new system is to force value back into the worst communities where developers haven’t gone because of the policies of banks and insurance companies.

Do you have a better idea?

Cheerleaders don’t win football games

An exchange on Facebook, when I commented that I think it’s embarrassing that you can buy a house in Dayton for $20K. One that’s actually habitable.

John Patrick I feel like you should not run for office in Dayton after these and other similar comments.

David Esrati John Patrick- I’m sorry you feel that way. I guess you prefer to continue to watch taxes go up, services go down, schools fail, and people leaving not just Dayton- but Montgomery County. Do you even know who picks the candidates you see on the ballot? Didn’t think so.

Josh Opsahl Wow. Gotta say I pretty much agree with John here. David, while I find you consistently informative and appreciate your knowledge and perspective, your inability to reign in your dickishness pretty much precludes your ever getting my vote. The last thing Dayton needs is more disparaging negativity. While I expect our elected officials to be able to meaningfully critique the problems at hand, and I think you’re fantastic at doing so, I also expect our elected officials to cheerlead our city and to be able to play nicely with others. These do not appear to be your strong suits.

I’m sure you’ll value my opinion not in the slightest, but as part of the voting public, I just want to point out that your tactics undermine your efforts.

David Esrati To John and Josh. Let me explain something to you- cheerleaders don’t win football games, and you don’t want the most popular person in your high school doing brain surgery on you.
Keep voting for the idiots you elect- and watch as your region deteriorates. The collective IQ of those Daytonians elect isn’t enough to make it to triple digits.

An intelligent addition:

Donna MartinDavid Esrati, Not surprising at all …The figures that keep being floated for sales of homes in Dayton by the press are misleading, as they combine the “area” and do not list Dayton alone. For 2014, Dayton had 1540 sales… with the median sale price at $35,000.

John Patrick You’ll find cheap houses in any major city in the Midwest. Inexpensive homes are a direct result of sprawl so it’s tough to battle. Let’s rebuild our struggling neighborhoods instead of bringing them down with negative comments

and this is where I’m just tired of the stupidity-

David Esrati And John- my neighborhood isn’t struggling- except to get adequate service from the city. Go fuck your “negative comments”- I’ve bought 5 houses and fixed them up- wtf have you done? Oh, excuse me- who the fuck are you?
Run for office just once please.

Oh, yeah- did I point out that John Patrick lives in Columbus….

For the record- I bought my first house in Dayton for $14,500 in 1986. I’m pretty sure neither of these armchair leaders were even born then. I bought my office in 1988 for $2,400 and $2,200 in back taxes. I bought the two cottages in 1995 for $19,500 each (I overpaid- but had to get the street under control and was looking forward to when I’d need to take care of my parents). I bought the house behind me in 1999 for $50K (I think) and sold it 2 years later for $138K after extensive rehab.

Historic South Park is one of the few neighborhoods in the city where they raised property taxes. This didn’t happen by accident. Our average home sale is probably 2x the city median. I’d say my brand of “dickishness” helps raise neighborhood expectations and standards better than our “leaders” with their tax breaks for GE, “economic development” scams, buying up empty buildings with no public use, cutting of services, pay increases for part-time jobs and love of keeping their friends and family in government jobs…

No, cheerleaders don’t win football games. Remember that.

 

Dayton Public Schools gets an “F” in reading but didn’t fail

The news for the tiny Jefferson Township district was good- they got an “A” on K-3 Literacy improvement. They are the only ones locally – at least that’s the way the Dayton Daily news reports it. But, let’s be real- the entire district is 450 students- split that up by 13 grades- and you get 19.5 students per grade- or 78 students you are rating. There shouldn’t even be a Jefferson Township school district.

When it comes to Dayton, the DDn reports:

Dayton Public Schools was the only local district to receive an “F,” and it trailed most of the state’s other large urban public districts.

Source: Jefferson Twp. leads way in reading

It’s real easy to say that Dayton Public Schools is failing. Point the blame at teachers, principals, superintendents and the school board- or on standardized testing, state funding, or poverty.

That’s pure horseshit.

Let’s blame exactly who is failing little J’onee, Otis,  La’quarius and LadonnaMae- the parents, or in most case, single parent. It’s the parents responsibility to teach their kid to read. Not Sesame Street, not “My little professor” or some other educational toy.

If your kid can’t read. shut off the TV. Cancel your cable. Get a library card- and get books for FREE, every week and read with your kids. Problem solved. Unless of course the problem is that the parents can’t read either- because, well, they went to Dayton Public schools as well.

Every single preacher in this city needs to have an after school literacy program at their church (if their flock can’t read the bible, they aren’t going to keep their job very long). Every neighborhood needs to organize reading circles. Instead of the Mayor being on TV at ribbon cuttings- start doing what Mayor La Guardia used to do- reading to kids on the radio. The NAACP needs to start worrying about illiterate kids just as much as they seem to be worrying about black on black crime.

The schools do need to take action as well. Every single student who is failing reading- there should be a home visit- and the first question should be, “where is the bookshelf in your house” and the second should be to get them a library card (most Dayton Public Schools don’t even let kids bring home their text books anymore btw). The home visit should include directions to the nearest library, the hours, and a lesson in how to check out books and return them on time. If the parents are unable to get to the library, it’s time for the schools to partner with the library system for home delivery of books. And, a reading buddy should be identified for every kid that’s failing- this can be a relative, neighbor, or even older kid in the schools- who can stop in and discuss the books the failing reader is working on.

There is no excuse for getting an F in reading that can be assigned to any one entity. If it takes a village to raise a child- the whole city flunks when a kid can’t read. That we don’t hold parents responsible and provide them with support mechanisms to fix this- is our fault.

This problem can be solved. But only when we all work together.

Sale on Amazon prime this weekend

Amazon prime sale: $73 for the year starting at 6pm Friday- till Sunday until Midnight.

For those of you who shop at Amazon and don’t have a prime membership, here’s a chance to save some cash. Prime gets you free shipping on almost everything you could want from Amazon- which can save a lot if you order a lot, but, it also gives you access to their prime video- which has complete seasons of classic TV shows, movies, and even some original content. Compare the cost to Netflix- and it’s cheaper.

This offer is celebrating their recent Golden Globes win for their original- “Mozart in the Jungle”- which I’ve not watched.

But- I thought I’d make sure my readers would know.