Why I’m voting Yes on Issue 1

There hasn’t been a good constitutional amendment on the ballot in Ohio as long as I’ve been voting. Mostly because it’s hard to do- and when the politicians do it, they screw things up. (See Medical Marijuana and the Casino amendments).

What we really need to do to solve the drug problem is have health care for all, including dental, vision and mental health. That way we wouldn’t be using jails as detox facilities. But, since we’re too stupid to realize that this current system of mostly employer supplied health care is more like indentured servitude to many, and we haven’t overthrown the system, let’s talk about what prison is for and what it’s not for.

Prison is for people who are a threat to society. If you need to read about someone, here’s a prime example from today’s news: Casey Pigge. Mr. Pigge has a low IQ, and apparently zero moral compass. Since he was sent to prison for murder, he’s managed to murder a few other inmates. None of these people should be dead, but, Mr. Pigge seems to have no problem playing judge, jury and executioner. Unfortunately, it’s unconstitutional to kill him, but, we can’t seem to stop him from killing people, even behind bars. This is the kind of person who needs to be behind bars for life.

Now, we could talk about child molesters, rapists, drunks who kill people driving. Yep, all of them too, prison. We can go after people who steal large sums of money from other people, but, putting them in prison usually doesn’t bring the money back. Making them work like dogs to pay people back for the rest of their lives- might be better.

But, when it comes to drug addicts, drug sellers, and the rest, we have a real problem. One, it takes up a lot of resources to arrest them, to charge them, then it costs a lot to jail them, and in the meantime, it doesn’t really change things much. Other people will use drugs, others will sell it- and the problem continues. Yet, the crimes in above- it’s not quite the same except stealing large amounts of money- anyone can do that.

But, we’ve seen the wizards of Wall Street rob our entire country blind- and none of them went to jail. Damn shame. Maybe the prison threshold for theft of cash should require it to cause harm to more than 5 people- and enough that someone can lose a home. I don’t really know. But, what’s that got to do with dope fiends and dealers and issue 1?

The problem with drug laws in Ohio is that they are guaranteed to be applied harsher to minorities. If you’re black with crack, you’re going to the big house. If you’re white with coke, your probably going on probation. This shit has to stop. We need to stop pretending to run some kind of justice system that only seems to penalize people of color.

Need a local example?

A visiting judge sentenced two men, including the son of a former area official, to probation for convictions of conspiracy and illegal cultivation of marijuana on Friday.

Thomas Betz, 39, the son of former Miami Valley Crime Lab director Ken Betz, and Michael Dorley, 41, could have faced more than a decade in prison. Some of their crimes carried an assumption of prison, but that was not mandatory in a case in which law enforcement seized more than 44 pounds of marijuana.

Betz pleaded guilty to first-degree felony conspiracy, illegal cultivation and money laundering. Visiting Judge Thomas Herman, who retired from Clermont County, said a potential prison sentence will hang over Betz if he violates his community control of up to five years, asking, “We’re up to 17 years, Mr. Betz, do you understand that?”

Dorley also received up to five years’ probation and could face 11 years for his second-degree felony conspiracy charge and up to 36 months for the cultivation charge.

“Our job as prosecutors is to make sure that defendants are held accountable for breaking the law,” said Butler County assistant prosecutor Jon Marshall, who was named as a special prosecutor to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Source: Thomas Betz receives probation for marijuana-related conviction

And I rest my case. Ain’t no black man getting probation for 44 lbs of weed- he’s going to jail, directly to jail, he will not pass go…

and for that reason, and that reason alone, it’s time to end the racist laws and vote YES on Issue 1.

 

Teaching teens to be “safe” in school?

Bullets or condoms- both will stop a babyConsider these facts:

In 2015, a total of 229,715 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years, for a birth rate of 22.3 per 1,000 women in this age group…

Still, the U.S. teen pregnancy rate is substantially higher than in other western industrialized nations, and racial/ethnic and geographic disparities in teen birth rates persist…

Teen pregnancy and childbearing bring substantial social and economic costs through immediate and long-term impacts on teen parents and their children.

  • In 2010, teen pregnancy and childbirth accounted for at least $9.4 billion in costs to U.S. taxpayers for increased health care and foster care, increased incarceration rates among children of teen parents, and lost tax revenue because of lower educational attainment and income among teen mothers.
  • Pregnancy and birth are significant contributors to high school dropout rates among girls. Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, whereas approximately 90% of women who do not give birth during adolescence graduate from high school.
  • The children of teenage mothers are more likely to have lower school achievement and to drop out of high school, have more health problems, be incarcerated at some time during adolescence, give birth as a teenager, and face unemployment as a young adult.

These effects continue for the teen mother and her child even after adjusting for those factors that increased the teenager’s risk for pregnancy, such as growing up in poverty, having parents with low levels of education, growing up in a single-parent family, and having poor performance in school.

Source: About Teen Pregnancy | Teen Pregnancy | Reproductive Health | CDC

Teen males don’t get pregnant. So we don’t teach them contraception in school.

But- all kids can get shot, because we have insane gun laws in this country.

School shootings remain extremely rare, representing a tiny fraction of the gun violence epidemic that, on average, leaves a child bleeding or dead every hour in the United States. While few of those incidents happen on campuses, the ones that do have spread fear across the country, changing the culture of education and how kids grow up….

In total, The Post found an average of 10 school shootings per year since Columbine, with a low of five in 2002 and a high of 15 in 2014. Less than three months into 2018, there have been 11 shootings, already making this year among the worst on record.

At least 130 kids, educators, staff and family members have been killed in assaults during school hours, and another 254 have been injured. But the analysis went much deeper than that, exploring the types of attacks, the impact on minority students, the role of armed resource officers, the weapons used and where they were obtained, and the characteristics of shooters.

Source: How many children are affected by school gun violence in America? – Washington Post

130 kids die from school shootings, we invest millions to “train” law enforcement and kids on what to do when confronted with an extremely rare event- yet, birth control, where teen aged boys aren’t shooting blanks- and having real implications to society- we stand by and do nothing.

Like the training in Northmont this week:

Northmont City Schools students will participate in a full-scale safety drill that will include officers shooting blank rounds.

The event will be conducted at the middle school Wednesday and will Include multiple safety agencies and health departments.

The schools and the city of Clayton Public Safety Department will partner with emergency response teams from Englewood, Union, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Premier Health to conduct the drill.

New Ohio requirements mean schools must conduct a full-scale exercise every three years in every building, according to Jenny Wood, information officer for Northmont City Schools.

The middle school will be the first in the district to conduct the drill, which will focus on staff and student training. There will be several emergency vehicles at the school to support the event.

Students will be on a two hour delay Wednesday. The school day will start at 9:45 a.m., and the drill will last the duration of the day. The students will be given detailed information at the start of the school day and will remain under Northmont staff supervision throughout the experience, according to a release.

Students and staff will participate in various activities. Basic first aid, provided by Premier Health medical specialists, will be taught to students during the drill.

Law enforcement officers in attendance will shoot off blank rounds so students can hear the sound of gunfire. The blank rounds will help give avenues for the students to discuss their experience of the drill with staff and faw enforcement.

“Northmont is very sensitive to the fact we are trying to provide important and mandated safety training while balancing the needs of our staff and students with these experiences,” said Leslie Hobbs, student services director.

Students and staff will discuss what happened in small group discussions at the end of the drill. Counselors and school resource officers will be there to answer questions from students and staff.

Source: Northmont Schools to hold shooter exercise – Dayton Daily News

But have a kid ask about birth control, or an abortion, and nothing.

Sorry folks, look at the numbers. 229,715 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years in a year! And that’s not counting girls younger than 15. I was laughed at in college when I talked about a 22 year old grandmother in my neighborhood. It was true.

Yet less than 400 kids have been shot (shot, not just died) in the 9 years since Columbine.

I call this misplaced priorities. What do you call it?

 

 

Why the sales tax hike isn’t the answer

taxes graphicI’m one of the people stirred up about the sales tax hike. I’ve already known for years that if I do my shopping in Greene county, I can save .5% on sales tax that funds the RTA- a Montgomery County Service that actually goes to Greene county on my dime (WSU and the Greene).

I was also the lone voice against giving Sinclair a second tax levy- a school which taxes Montgomery County to death, yet provides services in Greene, Preble and Warren Counties- all without them paying a lick of taxes.

And when it comes to economic development in the last 30 years, I look at the whole Fairfield Mall area- which was part cow pasture when I came to Wright State, I look at the Greene, which was forest, and I look at Cornerstone of whatever they call it- where Costco and others are- and I realize that all three are as close to Montgomery County as possible but NOT IN IT- I see the effects of our incompetent county leadership.

So when Debbie Lieberman says something stupid like:

“All the people out there getting petitions and getting stirred up over $36 a year, they definitely have a right to do that, but it’s very disappointing,” said Debbie Lieberman, Montgomery County Commission president. “We are getting cut by the state – our state Legislature and our governor.”

In June, the three Democrats on the county commission passed a 0.25 percent sales tax increase that works out to about $36 a year for every man, woman and child in Montgomery County….

If the tax increase is derailed, Lieberman said the county will be forced to scuttle a number of programs focused on the arts, economic development and criminal justice. The money is also earmarked for planned upgrades to the Montgomery County Jail, the focus of nearly a dozen civil rights lawsuits costing the county more than $1 million in recent years.

“If that (tax increase repeal) happens, every office in the county will be slashed. It could mean jobs, ” she said. “It certainly will not include the new officers we were going to provide the sheriff and all the programs to make the jail safer for our employees and inmates. All off that is off the table. It just can’t happen. There’s no way.”

Source: Deadline looms for tax-hike foes – Dayton Daily News

Let’s see, when the jail started having issue after issue, did you step in and remove the leadership that was costing us millions in settlements and allowing our citizens to get death sentences for just being there? Nope.

When I look at the Salem Mall and Hara Arena, I see that you were totally inept at managing and maintaining the resources we had in Montgomery County. You, who live in Clayton, one of the newest unnecessary fiefdoms of uselessness in Montgomery County.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Debbie Lieberman, and I think that Doug Barry, who has self-appointed himself leader of the anti-sales tax hike movement,  is totally unfit for office (he’s running for Dan Foley’s seat on the County Commission. However, this sales tax increase isn’t the answer for the county and here’s why: it will continue down the road of placing the burden of government on the those the least able to pay, it’s a regressive tax pure and simple, in other words, those with the least will be hit as a percentage of their income the most.

Now, why is Doug Barry just as criminal? Austin Landing. The only place in Ohio that I know of where a two tiered income tax system is in existence and he, as a Miami Township Trustee is fine with that. Through a JEDD (a Joint Economic Development District) Miami Township, which is banned from collecting an income tax- manages to share in an illegal income tax that is only levied on the little people- those who work in retail jobs at the development. People like State Rep Jim Butler, who works in a “tall office building” get exempted from the 2% income tax. This is the most unfair tax in existence and Barry, has never said a thing against it.

The problems in Montgomery County will never be solved with more taxes, what will solve them is the elimination of insane duplication and the reduction of the number of governments. I’ve started a 501(c)(4) non-profit, Reconstructing Dayton, to study and clarify the wastes in Montgomery County that need to be eliminated. Something our County Government seems incapable of addressing.

Case in point- the number of municipal courts, their inadequate websites that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and still don’t allow online filing of cases.

And while Debbie lives in Clayton- a totally unnecessary micro-government, with its own slew of overpaid bureaucrats, my favorite waste of a community is Moraine, where 6000 people pay $25 per person, per year, just to have a City Manager who is paid $145,000 a year. Do they really need their own police department? We’re working on building a visual dashboard of this kind of data– so that voters can see how much of their tax burden is for pompous politicians seat at the taxpayer financed feeding trough.

Why Moraine isn’t forced to join Kettering which already runs their schools is a mystery- about as big as why we need a sales tax increase right before the feds have mandated that all online retailers start charging sales taxes which should bring a windfall to the county.

Maybe we really don’t need a Pre-school Promise with its unregulated additional school board that spends a huge amount on advertising- and we should just start sending little kids books each month? The Dolly Parton Imagination Learning Library has proven to increase reading scores- the “Preschool Promise” hasn’t even managed to significantly  increase enrollment in a program where your tax dollars are funneled back to private businesses running sub-standard day cares now calling themselves pre-schools.

It’s funny, when circulating the petition I’ve only had three people say no to signing to put this on the ballot. One was a former arts administrator, who sucked at the teat of tax financed support of the arts, and two lawyers, who receive subsidized day care for their kids- and are big supporters of a co-op grocery for the “poor people of West Dayton” who will be most impacted by this regressive tax. The county has said if this tax increase on all goes down, they won’t have any money to support this single grocery store.

How about we just eliminate any city under 50,000 in population, and force all urban townships illegal, and eliminate all township government entirely, forcing low population density areas to use county services only- as a starting point?

The amount of money to fund all Debbie’s dreams would be available, and the number of micro-governments like Doug Barry’s Miami Township would disappear.

You can sign the petition at my office from 9-6 today and tomorrow – 100 Bonner St Dayton Ohio, it’s also available at Routsong Funeral Home in Centerville or Strehle’s Dry Cleaning of Kettering and I’m sure a few other businesses.

It’s time for the governments of Montgomery County to have to learn to live within their budgets just like the rest of us have for the last 10 years.

Political Party Insiders overrule voters will, kicking judicial candidate off ballot for 2nd time

Alan Gabel is about to get a dear John letter from the Montgomery County Board of Elections. He was rejected in February for petition vagaries  (the judgeships are identified by their start date of term, he had the wrong date for the seat) from running for judge against Erik Blaine for Montgomery County Common Pleas court. The bar to get on as a Dem, 50 valid signatures. He then turned around and collected signatures, he turned in 3108 of them, from registered voters to run as an independent and turned in enough valid signatures (he needed 1459) to appear on the ballot.

However, the Board, made up of 2 democratic party  and 2 republican party appointees- decided that he couldn’t run as an independent, overruling the voice and will of the people, because he was “still associated as a dem.”

Note, judges names on the ballot appear WITHOUT party affiliation.

The democratic party insiders are running Montgomery County Juvenile Court Magistrate Gerald Parker against Blaine.

A three way race for judge is almost as unheard of as anyone challenging a sitting judge, except in their first race. Blaine was appointed by Governor Kasich to replace Michael Tucker, who won an unopposed race for a seat on the Second District Court of Appeals. This is his first election. Previously, he’d worked at Wright & Schulte since January 2012 and he’s the Chairman of the Greater Dayton Area Friends of the NRA according to the Dayton DayOld News. Blaine, a 2006 graduate of the UD Law School is a relatively young for a judge. (Full disclosure, my case against Dayton Metro Library is in his court)

Last time I looked at a voter lists just before the May 8 primary, it struck me that there are a lot more UNC (undeclared) voters than there were D or R, which begs the question, why don’t they have at least an equal voice on the Board of Elections. What’s worse, is that on election day- if there is a dispute, the tie breaker as designated in Ohio, is the Sheriff- which in this case, means the head of the Republican Party casts the deciding vote.

That the BOE is appointed, by people who are marginally elected (precinct captains of each party- like me) is one of the political travesties allowed in Ohio.

Alan Gabel should be allowed on the ballot, the voice of 2000+ voters should outweigh the decision of 4 political patronage partisans on the BOE.

Expect a lawsuit.

And, remember- you read this story on Esrati.com first. The Dayton Day-Old news won’t attribute who broke it.

 

“What is Esrati’s end game”

Graphic accompanying Esrati's Endgame postA friend was asked this week, “you know Esrati, what’s his end game?” and my friend had no answer.

Really, it hasn’t changed since I bought my crap house in South Park on Jan 28, 1986- the day the Challenger space shuttle blew up. Buy low, sell high.

Sure, my $14,500 house could sell for 10x that now. And my neighborhood is one of the few in Dayton that has rising property values. But, that’s not enough.

Dayton Ohio, as a city, hasn’t seen the same prosperity, and other neighborhoods are suffering. It’s why I set out to run for Mayor back in 1993, after experiencing the incompetence of the leaders who jack slapped me for installing the “wrong garage doors” on a “historic home” way back when.

All these years later, the same kind of fools think they know how to fix Dayton, and instead, keep dragging it down.

When I talked to Paul Leonard, the “Rock-n-Roll Mayor” of Dayton- who was leaving just as I came to town, he asked a simple question: “What happened to “be the cleanest, safest city in America”? And there you have it. We went from a simple guiding principal, to one of let’s pretend government knows how to do “economic development.”

We blew a ton of money on the Arcade back in the early 80’s- and are about to do it again. We built the tower next to the arcade with tax dollars- and then lost it. We built new schools, only to see them shrink and die. We’ve torn down old buildings, and made it impossible to re-purpose them, so that they become rotting reminders of what was once a boom town. We’ve raised taxes to support a patchwork of fiefdoms, that add no value at all to the community- with more police chiefs, fire chiefs, mayors, city managers and school superintendents for  half a million odd people- while the city of NYC with 8.5 Million people can manage with one each.

I could go on, with the quasi-governmental organizations, non-profits and end-runs around a system so convoluted no one knows who does what and why- many with tax dollar support, and zero oversight;  like the morons running the Metro Library system with $187M of your tax dollars- and no respect for your rights, or Sinclair Community College which is doing everything with Montgomery County money that it gets- to expand services outside the county.

Which brings me to my end game. It’s really simple. Uni-government, that’s run by people who are elected, not anointed in the bowels of political party HQs. A government that believes in good schools, safe streets, excellent services, equal opportunities and fair and equitable taxation and incentives.

It’s really not that complicated. It’s not utopia. It’s just not possible in this lifetime says my friend, who posed this question to me.

But, that’s the problem with Esrati. He’s wired differently and thinks “Yes we can.”

I’ve spelled out the framework for Reconstructing Dayton. And, hopefully, as soon as I get past these two lawsuits, and the primary this spring has enough people named to the Montgomery County Democratic Party Central Committee to stop being the party of patronage, we can get moving on undoing the stupidity of people who believe that you have to color within the lines drawn in 1785 when Ohio was formed by the “Northwest Ordinance.”

Who in their right mind wouldn’t like to see Greene County and Montgomery County join together and create a single government that has one set of courts, one police force, one safe jail, one zoning law, one tax collecting authority, etc etc. (other than all the micro-minded people “working” in micro-fiefdoms like Moraine, Clayton, or Oakwood- don’t get me started on the urban township tax dodges).

Go look at the growth in Columbus, Cincinnati and even Cleveland- and ask why isn’t it happening here? This city has so much going for it- yet, we can’t get past all of our personal prejudices. We’re still as racially and economically separated as ever, we have people living in poverty for no good reason, and jobs and industry are passing us by. We used to build things like trucks, refrigerators, cash registers in Dayton- now, the world turns to places like Spartanburg SC and Marysville Ohio. There is a reason for that, and it is us.

It’s time to have a serious discussion of these issues. To analyze how we’ve become a place that has to pay people to come invest. A place where we have all the pieces to build a great economy, but lack the instructions on how to put them together effectively.

That’s my end game. Are you in?