2017: the sound and the fury

2017 sucked graphic from esrati.comFor the record: I hated Faulkner in high school. But, if the title fits- so be it.

Last year was a struggle. Ending with me laid up for 4 days in bed with a cold that wouldn’t quit. It was like a detoxification period. Pour fluids in, sweat them out. Binge watch Netflix. Repeat.

For the record: “The Punisher” was better than expected- would love it if someone could tell me what gangster classic film they were paying homage to with the carousel scene. Black Mirror season 4- provocative as ever. Really liked “Kill the DJ” and “Archangel.” Do not watch the new Will Smith movie “Bright” unless you have a high tolerance for bad writing, bad directing and stupidity.

Serious stuff about 2017.

The School Board continued to be insane. Replaced their marketing RFP with an RFQ for the beginning of the year. As I jumped through the idiotic hoops for a second time, I find out that someone I trusted and cared about, betrayed my trust – and screwed me, my mother and the disabled veteran who you’ve read about on this blog. On the verge of losing my business from their need for cocaine, tattoos and Kate Spade handbags- a true friend stepped in and saved it all.

If all of you made an extra effort to buy Pizza Factory Pizza this year, you would be helping me make it back to that person.

In the midst of the betrayal discovery, I released the video about the pepper spraying in the jail of a second inmate in restraints. This video wasn’t as disgusting as the one where Sgt. Judith Sealey tortured Amber Swink by pepper spraying someone fully helpless- but, when the odds are 5-1 it was still bad. While my video did get on 22/45- Cox did their typical dipshit move of ignoring it until they could get un-watermarked video- and ran the story without credit.

The sad thing is, at the end of the year, Sealey was still promoted, and retired on medical disability. The jail is still an embarrassment. Phil Plummer is still Sheriff- (and actually considering running for higher office) and it’s business as usual at the jail- understaffed, unsafe and inhumane.

The school board then voted to award a marketing contract to The Ohlmann Group, despite never having looked at the RFQ on the analysis. They spent a ton of money running a digital campaign along with bad billboards- and then complained about it and the work that was done for them. It did make for entertaining video DPS Fails School Marketing 101. But it was just more writing on the wall of how off the tracks DPS had derailed under the reign of Rhonda. Next up, Rhonda hires 2 African American women to her cabinet to manage marketing and PR– right after her handpicked right hand quit and filed an EEOC complaint.

In the midst of that mess at DPS we did a little digging into the ringmaster of the circus- Dr. Adil Baguirov and found that the carpetbagging board member might also be a little more decietful than meets the eye. On April 5th we publish the research and video: International Man of Mystery: Adil Baguirov – which should have started a chain of events leading to his removal from the school board at the least- and possible ethics and criminal charges at the most. Nothing happened- until I forced his resignation 2 days after election day in November. With Trump complaining about voter fraud and Paul Manafort being prosecuted for money from the same place Adil has been getting funded– I’m still wondering why this hasn’t been a bigger news story.

Of course, the BOE, the Ohio Elections Commission, the Ohio Ethics Commission and the Secretary of State still are playing all kinds of games with zero oversight. When I went to file to run for the Montgomery County Educational Services Center I was greeted with line and verse how I wasn’t eligible to oversee an organization that now has control of direct tax dollars from my district and my city- and serves as a double-dipping retirement home for former Superintendents.

We’ll return to this issue in 2018 and see who has the last laugh.

While piecing my business back together, my disabled veteran friends life falls apart. He stops taking his meds, self-medicates and ends up in jail. I shared this with you in Pink Slip. He’s been thoroughly screwed over and over by a country that he swore an oath to protect. The VA actually rejected his disability filing- saying he didn’t show up for an evaluation, despite the fact that I’d told them over and over that he was currently incarcerated- for his mental illness. This is another fight waiting to happen in 2018- and we’ll see who has the last laugh again.

After many months of piecing together the evidence of what my former friend and employee had done, we had our “day in court”- well, actually the grand jury.  Typically, the joke is you can indict a ham sandwich in a grand jury- since no defense is mounted- just evidence presented. Before I left the room- one juror asked me for a job, another called out as I left- “Don’t worry, not everyone is like her.” Seemed like they were on my side. The DPD Detective went before them 2 weeks later- and must have said something different- because next thing you know- “No true bill.” In Montgomery County, under “Prosecutor” Mat Heck, you can spend 2 weeks in jail for being near a nickle bag buy- but, if you steal enough money to buy a low-end luxury car from your boss, his mother and a disabled veteran- you walk.

This is yet another issue to be revisited in 2018. We’ve already won a civil case against her for the money she stole from the veteran. Thank you to Terry Posey Jr. of Thompson Hine for representing the veteran pro-bono.

In the midst of this mess, a prospective client cold calls my business looking for help. They’d paid The Ohlmann Group a shit-ton of money to grow their business- and were less than happy. We started work at picking up the pieces and fixing the most broken e-commerce site we’d ever seen. Everything Ohlmann had done had to be undone. It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last time that my business is turned to as the Agency of Last Resort- after Ohlmann and others like them have done a client wrong. We also had to resurrect a very popular Dayton events site after another agency (some people who used to work for me mutinied in 2012 started their own thing in 2013) screwed it up. And while these clients made a huge difference in bouncing back from the thief’s damage, the best news came when we were on a winning team for a huge VA contract that will hopefully bear fruit by the middle of 2018, and we won solo our first government contract with the Cincinnati VA to produce some videos.

Since the Dayton Daily news won’t admit that they’ve basically become a click-bait company, this site was here to tell you why it’s now the Dayton Day-Old News– printed in Indianapolis in the afternoon. The skeleton staff that’s left has little institutional knowledge left- and a hatred of this blog. It pains them deeply to admit that there is someone else doing their job, unpaid, better, than they do. I won’t win a Pulitzer or a MacArthur Fellowship Grant for doing this, but, if you appreciate it, donations are accepted. Feel free to nominate me for either award- lol, hell, I can’t even get on a TEDx stage in this town.

August brought the near downfall of DPS as Rhonda Corr single handily pushed the union contract to the last day before folding the day they were supposed to strike. Her incompetence, which we had documented throughout her reign of terror was still being tolerated by the Board who is now under the rule of Rev Robert Walker, who seems oblivious to what is going on around him. Somehow, evaluations that were carefully worded to outline her failings got changed and turned into a sugary sweet rendition of a lie, which as usual, came back to bite them when the lawyer investigating the EEOC complaint un-earthed the real underbelly of the beast, giving the board (with newly added Rev Harris replacing Baguirov) reason to put Rhonda on paid administrative leave pending her ouster from Dayton.

In between, the union settlement and the vote of no confidence in Corr or the School Board by the DEA, this site caused a mini-meltdown on the sixth floor of DPS HQ- when I released just the short cell phone video of a teacher being dragged down the hall. While they tried to sweep this whole thing under the rug, and more people left the district including coaching legend Jim Place, and the distraction of Rhonda’s impeachment process began, we kept digging to finally come up with the full video- and the travel records of a principal who’s gone more than most– and seems to be getting preferential treatment.

So many DEA members have thanked me for the work I’ve done here on esrati.com for the last year and a half, but, while it’s nice to get some recognition, I still feel that I’ve failed the district. My goal has always been to help it get better, and while the new board will be taking over soon, and Joe Lacey did not get re-elected, we still have a long way to go. I’m confident that Dr. Lolli is an order of magnitude better than Rhonda Corr, but, I still believe their are a whole bunch of people in high places who shouldn’t have jobs in this district, and I don’t know if this board or Superintendent has the skills to separate the wheat from the chaff. Judging by the supposed selection of the rookie Rev William Harris to lead this board in 2018, overlooking the recognized talents of John McManus to run a board meeting properly, I wonder.

I still think Rev Walker and Sheila Taylor and even McManus should be deposed on what happened with the Corr evaluations, and the Baguirov investigation (or non-investigation) before being allowed to continue with their duties.

In 2018, I hope to see the following: progressive democrats rally to run for every single seat on the central committee and end the Monarchy of Montgomery County– where friends and family get (s)elected and the rest get dealt with behind closed doors.

The Board of Elections, Ohio Ethics Commission, Ohio Elections Commission and Secretary of States office investigated for unfairly applying rules to un-endorsed campaigns and candidates.

The story of my library eviction will be coming to you shortly, and we’ll hope that the powers that be, do the right thing and my second civil rights case in Dayton turns out to prove me right again. It shouldn’t be this hard to be a citizen in Dayton.

It’s also time to begin to tackle the issues of Reconstructing Dayton, a PAC I started to try to bring change to Dayton- the point on the globe- not the clusterduck of fiefdoms that shouldn’t exist. Almost every story above- has something to do with ad hoc boards working with tax dollars without real oversight by professionals. From the School Boards and the ESCs to the Library, Learn to Earn, the Port Authority and all the “Development” organizations- we’ve got a veritable mess of “local control” that’s out of control thanks to the missing fourth estate.

The Greeks said: scientia sit potentia ~knowledge is power. Gordon Gekko riffed and said “The most valuable commodity I know of is information.

The people of Dayton deserve to be more than mushrooms. They’ve been kept in the dark and fed night soil for too long.

Welcome to 2018.

That which didn’t kill me in 2017, made me stronger. Hang on for the ride.

 

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!