Trotwood board undermines themselves

Dayton residents should be thanking the Trotwood School Board for not signing their superintendent, Tyrone Olverson, to a long term contract. This means, that when Libby Lolli quits, as she has done in every other contract she’s been in, Dayton has access to one of the brightest talents on the horizon.

The Trotwood board, which has made only one good decision in the last 10 years, hiring  Olverson to straighten out their years of incompetence, has now undermined his authority and given every other district a chance to hire a competent administrator away.

The real worries in Trotwood should be in the boards micromanaging of the district, as was seen in their delays and selection of an ad agency to help them tell the story of their turnaround. They fiddled, while apparently, Rome, continued to burn, culminating in the teachers union rallying against their new leader and being given credence after years of failed instruction, policy and direction.

Had Olverson been given the tools he needed, when he needed, there is a good possibility that he would have been able to effectively communicate and connect with the community his change plan. Instead, the board stalled from an Aug award date for the contract to an end of December award. Not only that, despite this being an operational tool, the board excluded Olverson’s staff from the decision making process and chose who they thought was best, even although none of them had a clue of what they were buying. I watched and filmed all 8 presentations including my own, I also reviewed all 8 proposals, and their score sheets (which were unsigned- and only from the 5 board members) there was very little intellectual horsepower or research done in awarding the contract.

Besides  errors in the RFP- including a late addition of a budget cap, the fact that they asked all 8 bidders to present, despite clearly different skill sets, (and in one case, being an agency that was dinged for not being local) they wasted agencies time and their time- by having 15 minute presentations from 8 shops instead of at least a 30 minute one each from half as many.

This is a board that hasn’t thought through what happens when they don’t give their CEO the tools he asks for on time, and then undermines him.

While I’m very pro-union, there are no guarantees that union members are any more qualified to judge a superintendents performance than a school board is. Being a teacher doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to run a school district. Considering the last superintendent and the districts performance, Olverson is the only clear change agent.

All said, he’s not perfect. He hired Raymond Caruthers from Dayton Public Schools where his record was anything but stellar. He was about to hire a culinary program lead who was under investigation by DPS and then involved in a domestic violence dispute. Olverson may have written a book about school transformation, but he hasn’t actually done anything yet.

This board needs to decide if they are going to be a board of directors over a CEO, and trust and support him and offer guidance and direction based on his well presented and structured plans, or if they are going to try to do a DPS style, we’re in charge and you’ll do what we say thing. Look at Dayton’s scores- look at Trotwood’s- it’s pretty clear the board in charge solution is a recipe for disaster.

Prediction, Olverson will be picked up by another district before Trotwood comes to their senses and they’ll be in superintendent shopping mode again. Their new “ad agency” will do a very pretty logo, and some nice posters, and run some online ads, and the people of Trotwood and the students won’t think too much of any of it, because of the turmoil at the top.

There is a way to turn a school district around. Undermining your leader isn’t it.

 

It’s time for scooters to come to Dayton

Your new scooter?

Every major city I’ve been to lately, has them. Even minor college towns like Oxford. Electric scooters are everywhere. To pay by the minute, as you slalom through town. Companies like Bird, Lime and of course the granddaddy of four letter transportation company names, UBER are all in the scooter rental biz.
But, here’s the thing, you can buy one of these and unlike a bike, throw it on a carry strap and take it into your office, a restaurant- and keep it handy. As the person who introduced Dayton to B-cycle and bike sharing, I’ve been keenly watching these scooters challenge bike sharing- with their dockless distribution and lower cost model.

When you combine a scooter with the new Free RTA Flyer downtown shuttle- you can easily reach fringes outside the B-Cycle loop- for that “last mile” functionality.

My big question is why wouldn’t you buy your own? I’ve been thinking about one of these for a while, and just saw this deal on Amazon for the SWAGTRON City Commuter Electric Scooter, 18mph on 8.5“ Run Flat Cushioned Tires, Cruise Control, Phone Mount, APP Controlled, Foldable, Portable – Swagger 5 Elite Official Ride of The Chicago Cubs

Not sure why I think I want the scooter of the Cubs… but, here’s the thing, it’s on sale for $271. Buy one for you- buy one for your kids. And, voila- reduced carbon commutes to the grocery store, a run to Ben & Jerry’s, or just a quick way to get from A to B. With our bikeways- some of you might actually be able to commute on one. Just make sure to always wear a helmet- and consider getting a safety vest to be seen, since they haven’t over run Dayton yet. As a motorcyclist- I also highly recommend gloves anytime you are on 2 wheels- just because if you do go down, scraped skin on the palms really sucks (first hand experience long ago).

The reviews of this scooter are generally good. I’m pretty sure most of them are made in the same factory in China, and just rebranded. If you want to look at the Swagtron site- the scooter is $350 with a $50 off coupon, so Amazon has that price beat.

You want folding- to make it easy to store. It has an app that’s of questionable functionality.  Some allow you to lock your scooter- this one doesn’t. The scooter has a headlamp- which is absolutely critical.

If you do buy it- and kill yourself, I’m already writing this disclaimer- use at your own risk. Since you’ll be on Dayton’s bleeding edge of users, the risk increases until drivers get used to them. And, as a motorcycle rider- I can tell you drivers with cell phones still haven’t figured out motorcycles or bicycles yet, so be safe.

These are a lot of fun though, just like they were when you were a kid. Only thing is- this supposedly supports up to 330 lbs!

Happy scooting Dayton!

 

Esrati report, episode 7 How many public meetings do you need?

Welcome to the Esrati Report- this is the first post with the new blog theme. Would love to hear what you think in comments.

Why am I doing live video blogs daily, instead of the old style posting you ask?

Well, one, because local news is full of car crashes, fires, credit card skimmers and the like. While important news and analysis is missing. I’m also hoping to give you the news that matters in a way that’s just a bit more entertaining- since, basically, Dayton has so many jokes to tell thanks to the dunderheads that think they know what’s good for us.

And, because I realize that half the people read- and half the people watch TV. So, to get to all of you- I’m doing both at once. Now, for the confusing part- I’m posting this video, which was shot last week on Dec 3rd today on Dec 11th. Yes, I’m a bit behind on the video posts. Why? Well, I want you to watch them on Youtube first- and subscribe- so I can try to monetize the youtube channel to help pay for all this- and to give local advertisers a way to reach the smart folks in Dayton.

And because, we still don’t have the workflows all figured out. So, this will post with a date of the 3rd- even though we launched the new site on the 11th. Confused- don’t be.

If you don’t want to watch- you can read. The text might not match the video exactly- I’m not a robot reading this – and you may miss out on the funny graphics we try to add. So watch or read- up to you.

This is an important subject. It’s my goal to get all public meetings broadcast on open platforms. And, that they are interactive. The real key will be to reduce the number of meetings- and organizations so that we can actually keep track of all the money.

Sort of like forcing Wright State not to have all these separate non-profit shell companies to hide their dirty deals from public scrutiny, but that’s an upcoming post.

Subscribers to this channel know that I’ve spent a lot of time video recording public meetings and putting them up on Youtube for all to see.

The Dayton Public Schools board of education, the Montgomery County Democratic party, the Wright State board of trustees, candidates nights even the Library board.

There’s a reason for it. In Ohio, as in many states we have a set of laws – the Sunshine laws, which contain the Open Meetings Act- that makes it a requirement for public business to meet in public- with a few, very defined exceptions- and, all of those exceptions- can only be taken under consideration in a meeting announced and concluded in a public meeting.

These laws are the only ones that come with a 250 page handbook- the “Yellow Book” – written in plain English- to make sure that even the knuckleheads we elect can figure it out.

Speaking of the knuckleheads- they are required to undertake a public training every year- on these very laws.

Before the advent of video cameras, public bodies were very careful- some even used to make sure the doors were open to city hall- even in the middle of a snowstorm- when a public body was in session. They wanted to make sure there were no questions of meeting in private, the Smokey back rooms that used to be the place public business was done.

These laws went on Ohio’s books in the mid-fifties. They aren’t new.

They are there to protect you and me.

And, yet, public bodies continue to ignore them. In fact- they do all kinds of things to avoid complying- and it’s time they stop.

Some of the tricks they use- are to have a “work session” or “review session” where they say they don’t actually vote on anything- but deliberation and discussion takes place. There are no legal provisions for these kinds of meetings in the Dayton City Charter- yet the Dayton city commission continues to do this- because they don’t want you to see how the sausage is made.

Other boards do things like split up into committees- and try to meet in smaller groups- thinking they are being slick. This is another way to avoid having to do the hard work while the public is watching. Or, by delegating their work to a committee of outsiders- which should be grounds for removal from office for abdication of duties- but alas it’s not.

There are other rules- about meeting round robin- be it via email, phone, text or a series of meetings with a single person. It’s hard to stop these- but, lets be very clear- they are illegal.

There are also rules about a meeting of a majority of members outside of the public view- which is broken all the time by County Commissioners and best friends Judy Dodge and Debbie Lieberman- who are often out in public together. It’s a no-no- but, people seem to have let it slide for so long that it’s become moot. It shouldn’t be.

Now for the universal truth I can tell you about public bodies- the worse they are, the more they meet. Competent leadership doesn’t require multiple meetings to discuss the same agenda. They don’t need to split up into subcommittees or delegate to others. They take care of business- themselves. In an orderly and competent manner. This often means actual public discussion of the issues, questions of staff and directions with timelines for responses.

It’s sort of like what happens in the corporate boardroom- where the CEO is on the hotseat- and the board demands clarity in plan and action.

Another part of this whole public meeting thing is the publishing of an agenda- and minutes afterward. The good organizations never have a problem doing this- often with at least a weeks leadtime. This shows they are prepared, forward thinking, and not reactive.

The bad organizations can’t manage this simple step.

Some think that they need to pay for a software as a service called Board Docs. This is a waste of money. Most don’t use it properly, data isn’t searchable and it’s not mobile friendly.

And, last but not least, we have the public comments section of the meeting. Good organizations welcome public input- and actually respond with a summation of the issue- and set a response plan. Bad organizations worry more about cutting off the citizen and getting out of their meeting.

If you are evaluating public bodies, something else to look for is public access to the meetings- online. In days of old, we counted on public access television to broadcast the local commission meetings- just like CSPAN covers congress. What used to be an expensive, technology burden, can now be done with a simple digital video camera and later uploading to youtube at minimal cost- like what I do. If you want to get fancy- with multiple cameras- there are affordable remote cameras, control rooms, or even open source options like what I use to broadcast this show. There is no excuse for not recording your public meeting- and uploading it to Youtube- unless you’ve got something to hide.

Notice- I keep mentioning YouTube- not Facebook. The reason is that Facebook is a walled garden- requiring a membership to access content. It also doesn’t come up in search the same way that Youtube does. Youtube is the second leading search engine after Google for good reason (and it’s not just because Google owns Youtube). In terms of ADA compliance- Youtube even makes a rudimentary automatic closed caption- so deaf people can watch your meeting.

I was planning on talking about this issue today even before I saw the article on the front page of the Dayton Daily about the jail task force cancelling their public meetings and instead meeting in private subcommittees. Look at their reasoning for doing it. Hint- they’re all the reasons the law is there in the first place. To stop that kind of doing business in back rooms.

There is one other issue to address besides the fact that your local public body should be publishing all their meetings online in video- preferably live- is that there are too many public bodies in this county- making it harder for people like me to act as a watchdog over all of them. It’s an intentional tactic to take power away from us. Remember, we’re supposed to have a government of the people, for the people. Live video recordings that are archived are part of the way we can keep our politicians honest and our government ours.

Let me know what local body you think isn’t making the public access grade in comments.

And if you want to know more about my fight with DPS to keep them meeting in public- watch this video:

Esrati report, episode 6

Welcome to the Esrati Report, I’m David Esrati and you don’t want to be me.

Apparently a few of you are enjoying this form of haphazard entertainment and are goading me to continue.

Just to be clear, it takes a whole team of people to produce a news show- or a comedy show, and this is being done by me, with a little help from one of my employees.

We’re still learning, experimenting and fighting with technology in order to get this the way we want it.

Today, I want to talk about a lawsuit in Rhode Island, where a 17 year old student is suing for civics lessons as a constitutional right.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to know”

She’s never taken a class in government- or civics as it used to be called, and has no clue about what the point of taxes are or the differences between democrats, republicans and independents- to which I say, not that much.

Yet, someone has helped her file a lawsuit in federal court against the entire State of Rhode Island saying that their failures in preparing students for citizenship is violating their constitutional rights.

To which I say right on.

You don’t want dummies in the voting booth.

That’s how you end up with dummies in power.

One of the quotes in the New York Times story talked about a Dayton Public School’s namesake: Horace Mann. Mann was an early advocate of compulsory public schooling, wrote in 1847 that education’s purpose was to foster “conscientious jurors, true witnesses, incorruptible voters.”

Think about it, as we have one associate after another associate of “individual number one,” being sent to prison for their roles in debasing our democratic system.

If you don’t think better informed voters is an absolute- just go look at the video where Jimmy Kimmel asks people which is better- Obamacare or the Affordable care act- and listen to the fools who don’t know they are the same thing.

Or, ask the average voter who all their elected representatives are- and what their jobs are.

Most can’t even get half of them right.

But, let’s go back to schools teaching civics. I was lucky – I had a year of civics- called “Political philosophy” and “Comparative Government” in high school, taught by one of the best teachers I’ve ever had- The Football coach at Cleveland Heights High School. You can blame David DiCarlo and my father for my interest in politics –   and this broadcast.

DiCarlo didn’t have textbooks. He lectured. We took notes. He gave quizzes and tests and it was hard. Intellectual rigor, the Socratic method, he lived it. You walked out of his class with a sore hand and a spinning head. It was the only class that prepared me for college- the rest was done by Uncle Sam in the United States Army.

There is a tendency to confuse teaching history with civics and the two are very different. Although you can infuse history with civics, mostly we teach history as a recounting of conflicts. War is the failure of civics and statesmanship. It’s a crappy way to approach the art of organizing civilization.

The sad thing is that teaching civics may be too little too late at this point. We should have seen the writing on the wall long ago, and started this curriculum change much earlier. Like back in Horace Mann’s day.

I’ve been working on a book for the last three years on how we can change politics in this country- by better informing voters of their choices.

But, without the ability to understand the information- what good would it do?

This is a case that I’ll be following and you should too.

If you liked this form of haphazard entertainment via the intertubes- please like and share on YouTube. If you don’t like it- feel free to give it a thumbs down all you want. In fact, please subscribe so you can smash every single video I produce.

We’ll try to do this everyday- around the same time- to tell you all the news that’s news to the Dayton Daily news and the local tv stations.

For now, signing off and sayonara- this is David Esrati, the most dangerous man in Dayton.

Reminding you that a little knowledge can get you in a whole heap of trouble.

The Esrati Report S1 Ep 5

Welcome to the Esrati Report, I’m David Esrati and you don’t want to be me.

Well, the results are finally in.
A Foley in and a Foley out.  And, no, we’re not talking about a Foley catheter- although the results are almost as painful to think about.

Lifetime politician Dan Foley is officially out of office and off the government teat. Foley, the son of a local judge has never had a job outside the smothering warm arms of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. Starting as an intern in Tony Hall’s office up to  patronage jobs in the Clerk of courts office and then public office first as a clerk of courts and then as a county commissioner- he has officially lost to a guy named Smith. J. Todd to be exact.

This is what happens to Dems who try to win seats that cover adjoining solidly Republican counties. Of course, had Foley run in Montgomery county- he would have won, just on his good name- well, except, another Foley, Mike, did exactly that according to Dan. He even tried to accuse Mike of stealing his last name in a support video for another party crony, who lost to Mike Foley- in the election and the recount.

Now the problem is that boards of elections actually insist that you use your given name on the ballot. It was such a problem for Idotha Neal, that she went and officially changed her name to Bootsie so she could put it on the ballot.

All this arguing about what name people should use to run for office is getting old.
I heard Bootsie Collins wasn’t happy about Bootsie Neal using his name back in the day-

And there is now talk to require all politicians to sign up for unique stage names just like in Hollywood to avoid confusion. You know- because voters are so stupid, we can’t tell the difference between George H Bush and George W Bush…

David O'Esrati for....Hint to any of you thinking of running for office- Irish names have traditionally been winners in Ohio, so if you aren’t an O’Neal or a Foley, or an O’Bama, consider changing your name before you run. O’Esrati

No.

Have you heard a Dayton Public Schools ad on the radio or seen a billboard lately? It’s because you have to spend money to make money. That means “count week” is coming up- where the state comes in to physically count how many students are enrolled with each one counting for a nice chunk of tax dollars.

Dayton Public Schools insults their marketThe board and the Ice Queen Libby Lolli, seem to think that insulting parents and the community is a good idea- by telling us “GOOD GRADES START WITH GOOD ATTENDANCE” – with a bad stock photo- and then- the insult- “Dayton Public Schools- Change for the better”

Uh, what better? You’re the worst district in the state- and honestly, good attendance starts with reliable bus service. DPS hasn’t yet mastered the art of actually picking up students to bring them to school- never mind what happens inside the buildings. And if DPS really cared about attendance- instead of paying for ads, maybe they should pay for transportation for high school students? Oops- did I just say something smart. I’m sorry.

Latest horrible news that you won’t hear in the local news- is that there seems to be a vendetta against white women teachers going on in Charity Earley Girls Academy- where two well respected teachers were fired for supposedly saying the same odd thing in two classrooms and now another one just resigned after also being accused of something bizarre.

Look, DPS- 20% turnover in staff is unacceptable. It’s part of the reason you are dead last in the state. Maybe if you realize that respecting parents, students and your staff is the first step toward moving out of the dumper- you might actually get somewhere.

Last but not least, this news in from Greene County where once again tax dollars are being diverted to provide corporate welfare. Radiance Technologies, an employee-owned defense contractor headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, has outgrown the space at its current Beavercreek office, prompting a move to another Bob Mills project. You know Bob- he’s the guy who’s made out really well as a Wright State booster who seems to keep getting paid back 10 to one on his donations to the university.

Now, he’s building a new office space for Radiance- and Jeff Hoagland, Julie Sullivan and the entire team at the Dayton Development Coalition have supported the project.

What project is that? Radiance Technologies was one of two companies awarded grant money through the Greene County Community Improvement Corporation’s Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP). The amount of public funding given to the company was not disclosed, but will be used toward its relocation efforts.

Seriously? The whole company relies on public funding- our defense dollars. Why are you paying double for this?

You know what the number one Economic Development tool is for Greene County- specifically Beavercreek? No income tax. But, keep giving the money away to a company that would have located there anyway- and see how long the coffers still have money to burn.

While we’re on the subject of corporate welfare, you know that extra half percent sales tax we pay in Montgomery County for RTA- well now, employees of Care Source and Premier Health can park on side streets along the free circulator route downtown and not have to pay for parking downtown- well, anyone who works downtown can do it for that matter.
This free circulator route idea is awesome, and it just started a month ago- and I’ve been keeping an eye on the empty buses running every ten minutes every chance I get. I’m just waiting for DPS kids to figure out they can ride these for free- and see how fast we shut it down.

If you liked this form of haphazard entertainment via the intertubes- please like and share on YouTube. If you don’t like it- feel free to give it a thumbs down all you want. In fact, please subscribe so you can smash every single video I produce.

We’ll try to do this everyday- around the same time- to tell you all the news that’s news to the Dayton Daily news and the local tv stations.

For now, signing off and sayonara- this is David Esrati, the most dangerous man in Dayton.

Reminding you that a little knowledge can get you in a whole heap of trouble.

 

 

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