Can the Dayton View Hustlers shoot hoops as well as they shoot each other?

I ran into Mark Baker last night at the Marshall blowout of Ponitz. Mark has been working with the youth of this region for years, mentoring, coaching and making sure that academics gets the same weight as athletics. He’s now the coach of Trotwood-Madison. He was wearing a pork-pie hat. It looked good on him.

Mark is a leader, an inspiration and an unsung hero of our community. Unfortunately, our Mayor is none of the above. She wears hats that make her stand out, but not much else.

We need to support more Mark Bakers, and less Rhine McLins. If Mark had been given $127,000 to use toward his programs– we’d be seeing more kids succeed in school and in life, and fewer homicides.  Unfortunately, Rhine took that money from lobbyists and people who want favors and blew it on mailings trying to smear Gary Leitzell, instead of telling us what she plans to do to make Dayton better.

There is no excuse in these hard economic times for accepting large campaign donations from people outside this community– the right answer is to say “thank you, I’ll accept $500, and could we give the rest to a charity like Mark’s in Dayton?”

We’ve got kids in a gang called the “Dayton View Hustlers.” They’ve been busy shooting each other- on the basketball court, at parties, and even at funerals for each other. These are kids who’ve lost a sense of purpose, who haven’t been given an opportunity to thrive in our community- so they’ve turned to street thuggery. They’ve been missing a Mark Baker in their lives.

Our city has cut its parks and recs programs to the very bone- almost to the point of nonexistence. We’ve even gone as far as to try to charge a youth baseball league for use of the ball fields that they’ve been using for 30+ years.

Instead of building one mega-sportsplex in the center of town- we decided to build two- as if we still believe in a “separate, but equal” doctrine. Instead of investing in our youth—our future—we’ve given money out to corporations like candy, almost weekly, in the name of “economic development.” Had we nourished the Mark Bakers of Dayton instead, the “Dayton View Hustlers” would be the name of a basketball team, instead of a thug gang.

It’s time to use our heads for more than a hat rack, and turn this town around.

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15 Responses

  1. Larkin November 1, 2009 / 11:18 am
    Better look in your own neighborhood too, brother. 
     
    And east, where the wiggas are more dangerous than those that they imitate. 
     
     

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  2. David Esrati November 1, 2009 / 12:13 pm

    @Larkin- your “logic” escapes me-

    the use of the DVH as an example is not the point. Kids need rec programs- and opportunities for development more than we need to give $125K over to corporate welfare.

    You are missing the rather big point about $127K in campaign donations- vs donations to worthy charity.

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  3. Larkin November 1, 2009 / 1:09 pm
    Sorry, David, I disagree. Kids have rec programs. Kids have parks.The kids that don’t have parents that can put the groceries on the table, or keep a roof over their head– those are the issues that the city needs to address. Again, you are just talking about what others are doing. Would you not encourage (or fund) economic development– or would you choose to fund youth hockey over jobs? 
     
    I agree that the current administration has done a lousy job of economic development. They have not been successful at bringing any REAL commerce to the city. This doesnt mean that we don’t need economic development, just that we need someone who can be effective at bringing new business to this town, and more effective at creating at atmosphere that is conducive to strong and healthy industries. 
     
    The fact that you chose the WEST side of town (which most people read as black) as your example of people “shooting each other” as well as shooting hoops is offensive. There are serious problems a foot, and they’re not going to be solved with “rec programs.” 
     
    For months I’ve been suggesting that Dayton might do well to study how other cities have addressed some of these same problems rather than reinventing the wheel for ourselves. 

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  4. David Esrati November 1, 2009 / 1:16 pm

    @Larkin- I guess you support giving money to politicians instead of people like Mark Baker. I’m not going to continue your focus on the “West side” BS.

    We don’t have rec programs anymore. I remember when we did- and even then, they weren’t anything as advanced as Kettering’s.

    Yes there are serious problems with unemployment- and under employment- they are not “East side” or “West side” problems- they are Dayton problems.

    Jobs and industry come when they feel they can make money- and it shouldn’t take corporate welfare to lure them.

    That’s the point of this post- nothing else.

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  5. Gene November 1, 2009 / 1:36 pm
    The parents of these kids don’t care. Well, most don’t care.

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  6. jstults November 3, 2009 / 9:33 pm
    @Larkin: I agree with you that rec programs aren’t the answer. Those kids aren’t stupid, they can see they won’t have a way to participate constructively in the economy when they’re too old to play youth league basketball.  I disagree that what Dave wrote was ‘offensive’, the Dayton View Hustlers are a gang, they shoot people and sell drugs, those are plain facts.
    I followed the link to the Dayton biz journal article, and that sort of thing does sound like the answer.  Not rec leagues, but mentoring from successful professionals.  If you want kids to grow up to be contributing members of society, they need some ‘samples of behaviour’ to follow.
    @Gene: you’re right, volunteers from a ‘mentoring collaborative’ will never be as successful as  a parent who cares.
    David said, “Jobs and industry come when they feel they can make money- and it shouldn’t take corporate welfare to lure them.” So what’s the value proposition for a business owner to open up ops in Dayton? The taxes are higher, Ohio’s a ‘union shop’ state,  the Mayor wears a funny hat, the Dayton View Hustlers are not a farm team for the NBA…

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  7. Mistaken November 3, 2009 / 10:57 pm
    I messed up big time today. I concentrated all of my research on Gary and paid not much attention to you, other than seeing you turn up to the debate looking like you don’t own dress clothes. I still liked what you had to say, it even outweighed the problem I had with your postcards (mentioned below). I voted for you today, only because I totally disagreed with what Nan said at the debate; it didn’t make any sense.  At least some of what you said made sense.
    Came home the other day to a big postcard left on my door by you. I read it and thought it sounded like you were talking down to everyone by calling them Einstein sarcastically. It was also confusing as it listed mayoral candidates as Rhine McLin and Gary Leitzell and then said vote for 1. Some could deduce that you’re saying to vote for McLin since she is the first one listed.
    Then today, I read about how you defaced city sidewalks with chalk.
    Why are you running for a professional office if you are incapable of being professional? Professionals don’t talk down to their supporters, they show up looking credible, they don’t draw on sidewalks like a 12 year old that wants to play hopscotch.
    I haven’t even begun to mention the racist undertones some of these blog posts contain. The city was devided in the 2005 election, you keep crying. It sounds like you are trying to stop yourself from saying “The west side ghetto keeps screwing everything up just to vote for a black mayor!”
    I’m one of those people that tends to be misjudged because of the words I choose to use or how I say things. You might be too. You still have to cast a neutral eye on your own actions, think about how others see you and how that affects what you are trying to accomplish. Clearly, as shown by your massive defeat today, everyone but you saw inappropriate and sometimes childish things from your campaign. You set yourself up for such a loss without even knowing it, how would you have served this city any better?
    Democrat who voted Gary

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  8. David Lauri November 4, 2009 / 3:56 am
    I didn’t think the chalk templates were a bad idea but rather a clever, inexpensive way for David to get his name out there, but he should consider Mistaken’s and other’s comments.  If more people than not think that spray chalk templates are defacing property and unprofessional, perhaps David should reconsider that approach.
     
    David should definitely think about (and can’t help, obviously, but think about, considering the time and effort he’s spent) whether he wants to run again and if so why he’d want to run again. Spending less than 50 cents a vote is indeed an accomplishment if what he wants is to bring some attention to issues. If what David wants is primarily to bring attention to some issues, being likeable enough to attract enough votes to win needn’t be a big part of his strategy.
     
    If, however, David’s been running for office because he actually wants to be elected to office, he’s got to modify his approach. Do some voter research now to try to learn why people who didn’t vote for him didn’t do so. Think about what he’s willing to change in his approach that won’t go against his principles.
     
    David might do well do watch Milk and The Life and Times of Harvey Milk because two strategies Milk adopted might work for him.  One is to get a professional campaign manager and to listen to her.  Another might be to work first to get Dayton to adopt district elections for commission.
     
    Regardless of what David decides about what his priorities are (whether he even wants to run for office again, whether he wants to run for office again primarily to raise issues or because he actually wants office), he deserves congratulations for his perseverance and for bringing openness and debate to the process. Whatever one thinks about his approach, I think one has to agree that David cares about Dayton.

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  9. Jeff November 4, 2009 / 4:28 am
    David might do well do watch Milk and The Life and Times of Harvey Milk because two strategies Milk adopted might work for him.  One is to get a professional campaign manager and to listen to her.  Another might be to work first to get Dayton to adopt district elections for commission.
     
     
    If Dayton had disrict elections Esrati would have been on city council by now.  Even opening up the commission to more seats (like Cincinnait, for example) would have improved his chances.

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  10. concerned November 4, 2009 / 8:22 am
    Hate the message–Don’t hate the messenger.  David used The Dayton View Hustlers as an example  as to what could be accomplished for communities that support folks like Mark Baker.  I’ve met him and I was impressed with his core values and his passion to come back to a community and help where help is desperately needed.  I am sure he did not have to come back to the Dayton Community– HE CHOSE TO and that is the point. I also want to point out that these same issues reside in the east side  as well.  Education and Opportunity is not a black and white thing.  What is comes down to is accountability.  We need to create a sense of community that connects both the east and west sides to deal with these issues.  I am hoping that people such as Gary Leitzell and Mark Baker can bridge that gap.For true success in Dayton, stop looking at Dayton as black and white, east side and west side.  We all live in Dayton and need grass roots community actitivism to make the change happen.  We need to take the streets back from the thugs and hold our children accountable for their actions.

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  11. Mistaken November 5, 2009 / 6:02 pm
    Sorry concerned, but David’s post reeked of racist tones. I’ve also talked to a lot of people who voted for Gary but not for David. They ALL felt he was unprofessional, sometimes talked down to voters via mailings, and his personality is abrasive. If I thought his chalk was ridiculous, I’m sure others did as well. If David wants to run again, he’s going to have to do more research on how to carry himself physically as well as through his mailings.

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  12. David Esrati November 5, 2009 / 6:22 pm

    @Mistaken- you want to make accusations of racism, sign your name.

    I didn’t have any “mailings” nor did Gary.

    Chalk is a guerrilla marketing technique used all over the world- sorry if you are too stupid to read that it’s chalk- and understand how it got my name out for a fraction of what anyone else spent. Urban nights- I was everywhere.

    As to being abrasive- that’s your opinion. You probably also think that secret meetings of the commission are perfectly ok, or that campaign kickbacks are great too.

    And, it’s not up to you “if I want to run again”- it’s up to me. Remember, 11 people tried to get on the ballot- only 5 got on. Didn’t see your name on there did I?

    Is it better to have unopposed candidates- because had Gary, Jim and I not run, you wouldn’t even had to have an election in Dayton- all the judges and the Clerk of courts were unopposed. I guess that’s your idea of democracy.

    I could purge you from this site- but I don’t-

    but, frankly- you better come back with something more intelligent- especially, since Gary Leitzell’s people delivered most of my door hangers that you thought “talked down to voters.”

    You know what they say about opinions don’t you? Everyone has one- just like they have something else to eject their waste.

    And I guess this proves you right- I am abrasive.

    Cheers!

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  13. jstults November 20, 2009 / 11:21 am
    I thought you guys might be interested in an article I found today [1].  It talks to the intersection of opportunity, motivation and a caring parent (and it made me smile).  The kid in the article wants to go to the Air Force Academy and be a fighter pilot.  The Tuskegee Airmen have a Youth in Aviation program where they send high-schoolers to get their private pilots license (~$6k worth of lessons in this case). A lot of people can’t afford that sort of investment, certainly not a single Mom raising two kids. It’s also clear that his Mom cares; she’s driving him a pretty far piece on a regular basis so he can do these lessons.
    My favourite part of the article; this young man clearly has his head on straight:

    Young black men aren’t limited to basketball or being a rapper,” Colin said. “Basketball is a game. Flying is a career choice. It’s something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

    A 17 year-old doesn’t say something like that unless he’s had a significant parental figure (most likely Mom in this case) invest their time and effort in helping him grow up to be a useful member of society.
     
    What’s the lesson for Dayton?  Giving $6k to every underprivileged high-school senior is unaffordable, but finding ways to train the ones who are motivated so they can participate constructively in the economy shouldn’t be too hard (don’t flame me, I know that sounds terribly naive).  We just need to find marketable skill sets that can be taught for less.  Training ‘knowledge workers’ has a much lower overhead than training pilots, a PC and a network connection is about all you need.
     
    The other thing I like about this story is that a private association like the Tuskegee Airman can have a very significant impact for not a lot of money.  The reason that money goes so far is because it isn’t a one-size-fits-all government program that is just throwing money down a hole.  It is the intersection of a motivated young man with a supportive mother given access to an opportunity he wouldn’t otherwise have.  Most of the investment here is from the kid studying hard to pass his ground tests and check-out flights; the cost of the lessons is a pittance compared to that.
     
    [1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/19/AR2009111904330.html

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  14. David Lauri November 20, 2009 / 12:54 pm
    Giving $6k to every underprivileged high-school senior is unaffordable
     
    Is it?  It took me a while to find a count of Dayton Public Schools 12th graders but http://ohio.schooltree.org/district/Dayton-City-School-District-SD-012201.html reports 950 seniors (out of a district total of 19,813). As David blogged about today, Dayton just paid $145,000 in a settlement to William Hill. Sure, $145,000 / 950 is only $152.63 per senior, but that $145,000 doesn’t include what was spent on attorney fees fighting that case, and that case is just one example (how much money was wasted on the Victor Pate case?). Maybe the City of Dayton couldn’t afford to give $6,000 to every DPS senior, but there’s a helluva lot of money being wasted on legal battles.
     
    I wouldn’t advocate cutting a check to each DPS senior but rather making money available should any of them choose to go on to college or even vocational training. Even $1,000 towards textbooks would be something.

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  15. J. Manning November 24, 2009 / 5:56 pm
    To the post that stated we need to create jobs, I agree – but don’t confuse one issue with another. Giving the parents of the troubled youth jobs will not magically fix the problem. I suspect that many of these gang members are products of troubled homes and deficient parenting, and I realize you’re not going to save all of these kids with structured programs but in my opinion it’s worth trying to help the ones you can.

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