West Dayton played- again…

In the land where funk began, voters should really change their preference in music after the last carefully orchestrated sideshow- their new theme song, courtesy of the bad boys of British power rock, The Who- should be “Won’t get fooled again”

After two meetings in black churches, which more closely resembled a church revival sans the passing of the collection plate, featuring the oddest collection of snake oil politicians, including the heads of both local political parties (although Sheriff Phil Plummer is the minority token Republican at the County level) a labor leader, her highness, Mayor Nan, Joey Williams and NAACP President Derrick Foward, we find out that the evil “Dayton Together” proposal had been purposefully thwarted back in March by the Dayton City Commission which annexed land in Greene County that the city “already owned.”

The Dayton City Commission on March 23 approved a petition to annex 25 acres between Ohio Route 4 and the Huffman Dam in Greene County, land it has owned since 1926. Greene County Commissioners granted the annexation petition in late April.

A city that spans multiple counties would have to detach itself from the areas located in other counties to be part of a county merger, according to research from the Greater Ohio Policy Center.

Detachment would require property owners in the proposed detachment area to lead a petition drive or put a measure on the ballot.

The annexation purposely created a roadblock protecting Dayton, elected leaders said. “It gives us better control of the land, but it wouldn’t have come up without the merger deal,” said Commissioner Matt Joseph.

Source: City annexed land to stop merger

From the start, the released draft proposal seemed stupid, leading me to believe that this whole shitstorm was nothing but a diversion, or a false flag operation, to make the real plan, to be released later look like a silk purse. It should be really evident to anyone who has watched any attempt at either merger or regionalization occur in this area that these things only happen when one party has basically failed and gone broke, or, outgrown the current form of government (Mad River Township had to become a city so they could do an income tax- because they weren’t smart enough back then to come up with illegal ways like both Miami Township and Butler Township to tax only poor people working retail jobs).

With Raleigh Trammell and his funky hat hanging in felony limbo, the black preacher posse had a power vacuum at the top, and one new hothead decided to make this his power platform to propel himself into the driver’s seat- enter Xavier L. Johnson of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. An import from Tampa, who probably has no clue how Raleigh used to walk into the Dayton City Commission chambers and had the commission kowtow to whatever was his issue of the day. The Dems, always  in fear of losing the essential black vote where all you had to do was pass out a dummy voter slate card saying “endorsed Democrat” and the sheep of the flock of fools would follow, were putty in Trammell’s hands. Pastor Johnson has his own unique way of handling anyone who attempts to say anything he knows in advance he won’t like (interrupt, then cut the mic off), but then again, as our comment god Ice Bandit’s alter ego said on Facebook:

to quote Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid, “your dojo, your rules.” Why would you think you would go to that venue and be treated like the Oracle of Delphi? After all, Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den. He didn’t drive there…

And while I’m sure Pastor Johnson thinks he’s Malcolm X reincarnated, the difference is, Malcolm built his philosophy on respect. Johnson thought he’d found his platform to build his following- he wanted to get 100,000 signatures against the Dayton Together proposal (which was laughable- since the Board of [S]Elections never lets more than 80% of carefully collected signatures be approved and the county can’t have more than 150,000 real voters) and here it is- he was just another dupe being used to collect email addresses and phone numbers of voters over a pretend issue. I do admit, he got me fired up- but, to quote Malcolm X- “Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.

I’ve been angry for a long time. I see so much potential in Dayton, being squandered by the very people who duped the good pastor. Do we really need multiple clerks of courts, multiple websites, and multiple municipal courts in Montgomery County, the smart voter would ask? Mark Owens is the Dayton Clerk of Courts- the evil merger commissioner Dan Foley was the County Clerk of Courts- and both had the opportunity to hire a whole bunch of people into patronage jobs- that all had to buy tickets to the Dems’ Frolic for Funds- and had to “volunteer” on their bosses’ campaigns. Owens talked about how bad Cuyahoga County was- and they had merged- while Franklin County is now the largest county- and they hadn’t (which is laughable- because Franklin does have a different structure) vindicating our format of County/City- yet missing the point that in Franklin County Municipal judges run COUNTY WIDE- and there isn’t a hodgepodge of municipal courts.

Sheriff Plummer talked in a Black Dayton Church how if you had a problem with one of his deputies, you call him, or vote him out. Just a few problems here, Phil- one, they all live in Dayton, where the police chief is appointed- none of them call Phil, unless their kid is in jail and being mistreated (of which the likelihood in that community is much higher). And, he’s ignoring the fact that the Dayton Police Department is half of what it was 25 years ago, and that we now have a whole bunch of private chiefs that no one can call- UD, Sinclair, MVH, Grandview, Good Sam, Metroparks. Have any question about what private police can do West Dayton- remember Samuel Dubose in Cincinnati?

We don’t need school districts with 800 students and a “superintendent” like in Jefferson Township. We don’t need a police department of 8 with a chief like in Butler Township (but they are about to fire their whole force and hire Sheriff Phil and his boys). No one knows how to tell if their County Recorder is doing a good job- even though he’s the token Countywide elected African American. These are all examples of extra overhead that make Montgomery County have the second highest tax burden in the state.

And what do you get for all that money? A police department that can’t find an “18-20 year old light skinned African American male” who boldly walked onto a school playground and shanked a 7-year-old girl through her lung– despite there being cameras. Unsolved murders of a police officer- Kevin Brame, more than 11 years ago, and Sgt. Major Woodall, a decorated veteran of three wars who was killed in his home.

Yep, I’m the former Dayton City Commission candidate who needed to have my question rudely interrupted and cut the mic off at the last meeting- who screamed an obscenity in church. Isn’t it great how the media describes it? You’re being manipulated there too, Pastor X. Used and fooled. The heartfelt apology I penned on Monday night to the pastor of Wayman and his flock- ignored. Yes, I had no business swearing in church- but, counter to what the bullies who threw me out recognize, this meeting could have and should have been in a public space- a school gym, or a county auditorium- the church building wasn’t being used for political speech was it? Wouldn’t that be a violation of the Johnson Amendment?

As long as I’ve put myself into a corner, let’s ask the real question about disenfranchisement, which was the purported reason for the anti-regionalization revivial. How does having the candidates who make the ballot, or are endorsed by the party, being done in a locked room on the second floor of Democratic Party HQ, by 40 hand-picked pissants (including Nan Whaley, her husband who works for Karl Keith, Dan Foley, Judy Dodge, the labor chief, etc.) make the voters vote count more than if it’s decided by some different group at the ballot box?

Or, let’s ask the real question about West Dayton that no one has the balls to ask. Why are the only three viable black owned businesses in West Dayton car washes, barbershops/beauty salons and churches? (I’ve left out funeral parlors- because it seems that the only ones that get investigated or in trouble by the State are black owned- and I don’t want to kick them while they’re down).

West Dayton is a shambles. Foreclosures. Badly boarded up buildings. Deferred maintenance on streets. The only significant construction on the west side has been prisons, landfills and schools that look like prisons.

Sure Dan Foley and David Esrati are your enemies and Regionalization is bad. Why change the form of government West Dayton when what we have is working so well?

And, that thing they are trying to distract you from? Could it be an income-tax increase? Or regionalization plan B?

Listen to the Who next time instead of party posse and the preachers.

We’ll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again

Video from both meetings to come.

 

Stabbing 7-year-olds and the wrong answers

It wasn’t but a few months ago when the Dayton School Board meeting was in chaos over the hiring of off-duty police to attend Dayton Public Schools sporting events.

The group “Racial Justice Now” saw it as just another step in the direction of the “school to prison pipeline.” There had been other meetings, in DPS buildings, where they were vehemently against the idea of “school resource officers” – that’s code for cops in schools, as sending the wrong message and being unnecessary.

The playground where a 7-year-old was stabbed during recess at Residence Park Elementary

Dirt patches, trash, and a stabbing.

And then a 7-year-old girl was stabbed yesterday on the playground, during recess, at WOW- or Residence Park elementary.

By a man described as being between 18 and 20 who walked onto the playground and shanked her through her lung.

The community is in shock. There is outrage. Fingers will be pointed all over the place,  lawyers will file lawsuits, “activists” will be up in arms, and lots of armchair quarterbacks will weigh in.

City Commissioner Jeff Mims is already making noise- as well he should, his daughter is the principal at World of Wonder. But even he recognizes that no amount of security, fences, security- will stop this, anymore than metal detectors, or school resource officers, or if you are a nut-job, arming teachers- will solve this.

This is just another example of how screwed up our country has become. It’s just closer to home.

Thankfully, this wasn’t Columbine or Sandy Hook. So far, the little girl is making a heroic comeback. But, let’s get real- this was the action of one person, who right now is still walking the streets, somehow thinking that he’s some kind of superstar- since he hasn’t been caught yet.

I have a phrase for adults who stab little girls in the chest and run- you’re a piece of shit. These are the types of people for whom capital punishment is made. Not that I’m a big fan of capital punishment as we do it in this country- where it takes 20 years and millions of dollars to take care of something that should be as easy as wiping the dog crap off your shoe and being done with it.

This isn’t about safer schools, fences, school resource officers- it’s about us. Us as in what kind of community do we live in? What kind of expectations do we place on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and freedom. And what are our community standards?

Everyone will say- this is America- we’re free, we’re a democracy, we are the land of opportunity- when if fact, we’re not. We’ve been fooled, as our rights have been diminished through the “patriot act,” our elections have been turned into an auction/reality TV show, and most of us have zero chance of economic mobility- while we all believe we can hit the jackpot, or play in the NBA – despite being 5’3″- just look at Muggsy Bogues! We’ve got more people in prison than any other “free” or “democratic” country- and refuse to acknowledge that being number 1 in this category isn’t something to be proud of.

But when it comes to community standards- this is where we fail. We set our expectations too low, and accept absolute mediocrity as acceptable. We fight change, we don’t like strong leaders, and we’ll stick with stupid because that’s what we’ve always done.

Graffiti on the pole on the playground where a 7-year-old was stabbed during recess at Residence Park Elementary

Fuck and N word, on the pole, in the playground where a 7-year-old was stabbed

I went out to the playground at Residence Park Elementary School today. I’ve been there a lot over the last 4 years- because there is one solitary backboard on the playground- and almost every other time I’ve been out, it’s needed a net and I’ve hung one. Today, I was happy to see, a net- and it wasn’t even one of mine. But, when I looked around, wondering what the scene had been the day before, where she stood, where she fell, and what kind of chaos must have been going on- I was struck by other things; how much the school looks like a prison, that the grass in the yard was splotchy and there were patches of dirt, that there was trash on the playground, that the pole supporting that backboard had obscene racist graffiti on it.

Is that the best we can do?

Is it too much to ask for our schools to be pristine oases of lush soft grass, with impeccably maintained playground equipment, and that there be no trash, no graffiti and set a standard for the community?

It took me back a few years to when I was making the video talking about my green nets. I had an intern through Youth Works- and I took him to Orchardley Park in Oakwood to shoot what a public park should look like. You’d think he was in the land of Oz. He was amazed, the park was clean, there weren’t cracks in the asphalt, the backboards had rims that weren’t rusty, they even had nets. The park had bathrooms that were open, and “they don’t even smell” was what came out of his mouth. Parents were playing with their kids, having a picnic in the grass, the sounds were of people laughing- not rap, not obscenities or the standard trash talk I hear on every single basketball court in Dayton.

That’s where we fail. We accept a sub-standard as the norm. Drive along U.S. 35 W, and count the number of light pole bases without lights between Abby Road and Liscum Drive. Then go look on 35 E.

Drive down W. Third street and see how many businesses are closed, but still have signs up, or are boarded up badly. Then look in other communities like Kettering, or Centerville- and ask “would they allow the buildings to rot and be overgrown with weeds?” The answer is no.

When we let our city look like a dump. When we let graffiti stay up. When we let weeds grow through cracks in our basketball courts- aren’t we sending a message that our people really don’t matter?

Are we sending a message that it’s OK to run the streets and stab little girls on a playground? Why hasn’t anyone stepped up to say “piece of shit’s name is ____________” – is it because we don’t feel safe? Is it because we’ve cut our police to the bone, while allowing private institutions that don’t pay property taxes like UD, Premier Health, Kettering Health, Sinclair- to start their own police forces to protect their assets, but leave the rest of us hanging? Add up the number of the institutional cops and they probably come close to equaling the Dayton Police department- throw in the  DPS  “School Resource Officers” and you’re probably exceeding the number of “real police.” It’s just another example of how we take care of the money- and leave the poor people to suffer on their own.

There was a meeting a few weeks ago against regionalization- and there will be another Monday. The white racists of the establishment, with their token African American pogues, who have been slowly stripping every last bit of value from the citizens of Dayton, who pay the 2nd highest income tax in the second highest tax burdened county in the state- will get up and say with a straight face that streamlining and reducing our government overhead is a bad thing. They will talk about disenfranchising black voters. They will stand there and say that what we have works.

It doesn’t.

Residence Park is proof that the system has screwed a 7-year-old girl over, and we’re going to continue down the path of the wrong discussion. It’s not about a stabbing. It’s about the condition of the community that set the stage for that stabbing.

Until we realize that we have met the enemy, and he is us, we’re screwed.

It’s time to take a serious look at our problems. Our leaders. Our operational performance at the basics of government. The way we conduct our elections. The way we “rehabilitate” our “criminals” and even who the real criminals are. And as always, the old detective/journalists adage holds true- “follow the money” and you will find out where the real injustice is happening, and it’s not as simple as a knife and an unknown piece of shit.

The Dayton music pavilion that we overlook

Everyone knows that the solution to Dayton’s problems is a single silver bullet project- one that will change the future of Dayton forever- catapulting us back into the heyday when all was grand (somewhere between November 1955 and May of 1956).

We’ve done Courthouse Square, the Convention Center, Sinclair Community College, The Arcade, Arcade Tower, 5/3rd Field, Riverscape, the Schuster Center and countless other “game changers,” all with the same effect- not much. The most media attention we’ve gotten has been- take your pick:

  • The Dayton Accords- which brought peace halfway around the world- but, were actually negotiated in Greene County.
  • John McCain announcing Sarah Palin as his running mate- also in Greene County.
  • A hoax concert by Limp Bizkit at the Sunoco station in South Park.

Of the three- the last was the most successful (no money spent, no politicians involved).

The new silver bullet is a concert pavilion on Dave Hall Plaza- where for years we’ve had a summer concert series on two portable stages that’s worked OK- the Women in Jazz show, Reggae Fest, Blues Fest, etc.

But, since Kettering has the Fraze (which lost money for at least the first 4 seasons before turning a profit) and Huber Heights just opened the Rose- which made a little in its first season- Dayton wants to bring a concert facility downtown- because, we don’t have one? Oh, we’ll get to that in a bit…

The nonprofit group Friends of the Levitt Pavilion Dayton has a goal of raising $5 million by the end of this summer to pay to build a state-of-the-art amphitheater in Dave Hall Plaza.

The group plans to intensify campaign efforts in coming weeks and months to raise the money needed to pay to construct the free outdoor music venue, which is slated to begin in 2017. The planned opening of the pavilion is late May 2018.

The state’s capital budget, unveiled this week, calls for allocating $550,000 for the pavilion.

The venue will be an anchor destination that offers world-class musical performances and acts at no cost to visitors that builds community and spurs on revitalization of the urban core, according to supporters and local officials…

Fundraising for the Levitt Pavilion Dayton is underway, and donations are being accepted at levittdayton.org and on Facebook. The pavilion has a page at twitter.com/LevittDayton.

The roughly $5 million capital project will create an amphitheater in Dave Hall Plaza, on the north side of Crowne Plaza Dayton. The pavilion’s lawn will hold at least 2,000 people and will host 50 free music concerts each year.

The amphitheater will be a “community gathering place” that features a mix of national, international and local and emerging acts, supporters said.

The Dayton Levitt Pavilion will be part of a network of signature Levitt Pavilions across the nation, which are subsidized by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation.

The foundation provides signature pavilions about $1.5 million in assistance in the first five years. But local support and funds are a necessity.

The foundation then provides about $150,000 annually for operating costs in perpetuity. Pavilion operations typically cost about $500,000 annually.

Pavilions are located in Westport, Conn.; Memphis, Tenn.; Bethlehem, Pa.; Arlington, Tex.; and Los Angeles and Pasadena, Calif. Pavilions are planned for Denver, Colo., and Houston, Tex.

Each Levitt Pavilion has an open lawn setting where everyone is welcome to enjoy the free concerts in an idyllic outdoor atmosphere, said Sharon Yazowski, executive director of the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation.

“No two pavilions are designed the same, ” Yazowski said. “Through a community-driven design process, each Levitt Pavilion is designed to reflect the personality and character of the city where it is located, taking into account local aesthetics and traditions.

”Levitt pavilions are a proven model for reinvigorating neglected areas, and cities that have welcomed the amphitheaters have benefited from new retail, restaurants and other investments, supporters said.

The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation’s objective is to reactivate underutilized public spaces and create family-friendly music venues that bring together people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic status to interact and develop stronger bonds, said Mescher.

Free, quality live music promotes community-building and shared experiences at a time when U.S. concert tickets can be prohibitively expensive for many families, supporters said. On average, concert tickets cost almost $79 in 2015.

Levitt Pavilion shows attract top-notch acts and up-and-coming performers. About 20 of the artists who have performed on Levitt stages in recent years were nominated for Grammy awards in 2016, according to the foundation.

Black Violin played on the Levitt circuit. The band performed at sold-out shows at the Victoria Theatre in March….

All that foot traffic will lure light retail, restaurants, bars and other businesses, and the project optimizes a space that has been underused for a long time, said Ellen Ireland, who serves on the Friends of Levitt Pavilion Dayton Board of Directors.

This project will build community through free music and will kick-start economic development and bolster reintegration in the urban core by bringing as many as 125,000 people downtown, she said.“For us to be the ninth (Levitt Pavilion) is huge,” Ireland said. “It’s key to get our fundraising well underway and finished so that we make sure it happens here and not somewhere else.”

The Levitt model demonstrably works, and Dayton’s project will draw from the experience of other cities with pavilions to succeed and have the biggest impact, Ireland said.

The proposed state capital budget includes $550,000 in funding for the pavilion project.Rep. Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton, said he pushed for the inclusion of the Levitt pavilion funding in the state capital bill because, “most vibrant cities have a happening music scene. I think Dayton has some components, but I think Levitt will really push that over the edge.”

Strahorn said the project will complement the growing number of people moving to downtown Dayton.

“I think things like the Levitt will engage more people to want to move into that space, and want to live in that walkable space,” he said.

Source: Backers seek $5M for Dayton music pavilion

Island Park Banshell, 2016 photographed by David EsratiBut, wait- we already have a concert pavilion/bandshell, with plenty of free seating. It’s in Island Park, but- oh, I must have forgotten, we only invest if it’s Downtown, or helps UD, Premier Health, or Kettering Health, or a major corporation that doesn’t want to pay taxes (GE, Emerson, Midmark, Standard Register, or any of the tenants in Tech Town). We’ve also seen summer concerts under the Riverscape ice rink/pavilion- as well as shows on the streets- ala Dayton Revival festival or Cityfolk festival.

Now run by Metroparks, what started out so aptly named “White City Amusement Park” the Island park band shell sits mostly unused- and forgotten. Erected in 1939, the “Leslie L. Diehl Band shell was sponsored by the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, the city and the Works Project Administration for their “enjoyment of music and other wholesome entertainment” according to the bronze plaque that is covered with the patina of age on the right front pedestal. It used to be the home of the “municipal band” – back in the day when high schools in the city still had marching bands and music programs, and the health and welfare of the citizens wasn’t ignored in the name of “economic development.” The band shell had fallen on hard times- just like the rest of the city- and in 1995, the countywide tax that funds Metroparks (an example of regionalization that we don’t fight) were used to restore the band shell- which will be ignored for the new bright shiny thing Mayor Nan can bring to Downtown.

Considering that both the Fraze and the Rose already host a number of free concerts – should we call the Levitt the “Bus Hub Concert Pavilion” or, the keep the Daytonians in Dayton concert pavilion- or what it really is- the anti- “White City Amusement Park Band shell?”

And, one last note- to Fred Strahorn- ““most vibrant cities have a happening music scene”- haven’t seen you at any Yellow Cab shows or at any of the many bars that are keeping our local music scene going. I must have missed you at the Limp Bizkit show.

 

Dayton is number ONE!

actually posted to Facebook.

actually posted to Facebook.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics” is a quote that’s now listed as unattributable, then there is the reality distortion field around Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley who has the misguided audacity to bandy bullshit as fact: “The Dayton region’s housing market has been named the healthiest and most sustainable in the country!”

First off, the study is reported in the Business Journal- that pinnacle of page click bait, and conducted by Nationwide insurance, which came to this far-fetched conclusion:

“The insurance company studied 400 metropolitan areas in the U.S. and ranked the regions based on indicators such as employment, demographics, the mortgage market and house prices.”

Anywhere you can buy a house routinely for less than you pay for a new car- it will sort of skew the figures- and note, it’s the Dayton region- not Dayton, of which she’s the mayor. The “Dayton region” is made up of 30+ fiefdoms that make no sense (recently working on a client’s business in Washington Township- I had to pick Centerville for Facebook- which doesn’t recognize a place called Washington Township) and add unnecessary overhead to everything in our region- including Mayor Whaley who is paid more than the average family of four makes in our city a year- for her part-time job requiring only a few hours per week by charter.

But, don’t worry- Dayton also comes up tops in other lists, by “Site Selection Magazine” and numbers of heroin induced deaths (I think we just slipped to second) and most definitely number one for the worst public school district in the state with more school districts than anyone would ever recommend if they were drawing this whole gov-r-n-ment thing up from scratch.

The one thing Dayton is number one for is disrespect. Daytonians loathe their city, their government, their leadership and with good reason. Take a drive around, especially in Santa Clara or Jane Reese or Westwood – and look at the “healthiest housing market” examples. When 1 out of 6 homes is vacant – or worse, boarded up- or falling down- talking about being number one is downright disrespectful to our intelligence.

If you want to paint a rosy picture of Dayton there are plenty of amazing things to talk about- but the difference is that they are based on actual facts (the best lies are ones that are based on possible facts- just a bit of marketing genius that I’ll share). However, Nan and the city of Dayton can claim very little actual responsibility for them. We have awesome bike paths, great metroparks, a world-class tourist attraction in the Air Force Museum, Sinclair has really affordable college tuition, super affordable housing, a few great historic neighborhoods, a great school of the Arts, a good indy music scene and immigrants have settled here successfully.

Saying we’ve got the number one healthiest and sustainable housing market in Dayton is what a feckless sycophant would say. Congratulations Mayor Whaley, once again- you’ve blown it.

 

Understanding “Dayton Together” rationally

Dan Foley, Valerie Lemmie, Paul Leonard, Mike Kelly and who knows else, may have some ideas about how to reform government, but they have zero ability to sell their plan.

Today’s Dayton Daily news includes this ludicrous statement:

Dayton Together also plans to conduct a cost study to determine if merging the governments will save money.

Foley said the initiative likely will not move forward if it does not benefit taxpayers through cost savings.

“If the answer comes back we can’t save very much, then this probably isn’t going to go very far,” Foley said.

Source: Plan would radically change city, county

How can you present a plan with a straight face, without doing the cost benefit study?

The reality is, there will be major pushback from the status quo; the current elected officials and their little kingdoms of patronage jobs. The local party system in place in Montgomery county is full of elected officials and people they get to hire to cushy, non-accountable jobs in the bowels of government.

These are called the “Party Central Committees” and most people couldn’t tell you who their precinct captain or ward leader is to save their lives. I know, I am one, although I missed the part about the cushy job with nice benefits.

Need an example? There is no reason to have two clerk of courts, with two websites, two court systems, two buildings (even though they are adjoined). Between Mark Owens and Greg Brush, and all the jobs they control (including of course jobs for friends and family) you have massive duplication of resources- plus two extra elected races that people could care less about. Owens is running unopposed if you need proof.

From Foley and Leonard’s editorial:

Many community leaders and elected officials have voiced opposition to our work. Some expressed concern that metro government would disenfranchise minority communities. This is far from our intent, so we hired Dr. Mark Salling, a Cleveland State University demographer, to determine if county council districts could be designed to actually increased minority representation.

Through Dr. Salling’s work, three council districts in the metro structure are majority minority districts — meaning, new opportunities for countywide minority policy makers. In a county that has never in its history elected a minority citizen to the Montgomery County Commission, we see this as a big step for greater inclusion.

Source: Challenges in region call for a metro government

What they’ve proposed is going to be the major sticking point: 10 districts with a representative each, 1 at large and a separate mayor’s race. By eliminating all other elected county positions like engineer, coroner and clerk of courts, leaving only the prosecutor (because nobody screws with Mat Heck in this area) as the only existing elected position that stays- we lose probably a dozen stupid choices on the ballot. Ask most people the difference between the County Auditor and the County Treasurer- and they can’t tell you the difference.

Of course, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is going to scream the loudest- she ran the most expensive campaign in a long time so she could crown herself queen of the city- an entity that’s a fraction of its former self- thanks to mismanagement, misguided “leadership” and an ingrained system of petty politics that has done no citizen any favors.

She’s got the black ministers on her side and the NAACP as well. Two groups who get way more play in the current system than they ever should command. And in this battle, they’ve already come out strongly against this baby step toward regionalization without a clue of what the current system has effectively done: totally diminished their true power.

More elections and more elected officials, don’t mean more power, they mean less.

This is where civics 101 would come in handy. Take 100 people, give them 10 offices to fill. You now have 90 people, with 10 “elected leaders.” Take a bell curve- which is the way most things distribute- including IQ. Did those 90 people pick the cream- the top 10 smartest people on that curve to lead them?
Probably not. Need proof? Look at the latest Republican primary field for President.

You now have 1 “leader” for every 10 people. This is the current system.

Take a simplified version of the proposed new system. You have 100 people, they vote for 3 people. Their odds of really picking 3 good people have increased.

You now have 1 “leader” for every 32.33 people.

Power hasn’t been diluted near as much, with less leaders, people actually have more power in who they elect.

When you factor in that the new system only has 4 countywide candidates: the prosecutor, the “mayor,” your local zone rep and the one at-large rep, spread out over a much larger population, you’ve actually increased your voting power, giving more control to fewer people to make bigger decisions.

With great power, comes great responsibility.

My initial take is that this plan is asking us to still elect too many people. 10 districts with one regional rep, across seemingly random regions is sort of what we have with the Ohio house and Senate (only with more seats). Trying to figure out who your State Rep is and what population he or she serves is pointless- most Ohioans couldn’t tell you their names either. Ohio would do just fine with a unicameral system (one house instead of two), because again, the more seats actually decrease accountability.

I’m not comfortable with the “mayor” of Dayton/Montgomery County being picked by the population at large either. It will be a very expensive race (especially if Nan decides she wants it) for another titular seat. Instead, I’d rather have a system where the elected body has to pick the person among the 11 that can unite and lead- as in a parliamentary system.

I’m also questioning 10 districts instead of 6 and 1 plus a mayor. Again, the more seats, the more you’ve diluted power.

It’s pretty obvious to those who know what’s going on that this change would turn the party power upside down for a period of time while they figured out how to corrupt it back into the current form- and that may be all that Dan Foley and partners want to do. Who would Karl Keith be if not for being able to hire Mr. Whaley? Or Mark Owens for hiring Matt Josephs brother? (It’s actually the other way around- Matt’s brother and Mark got Matt into office so they could own a piece of their budgetary bosses).

As to the major flaw of this whole mess- allowing the urban townships to keep on operating providing income tax free havens within the county limits- no one is touching that part with a ten-foot pole. Couldn’t possibly want to stop the biggest flaw in our current system- that would take real leadership.

 

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.

The Petty Party of Montgomery County

At 7:00 p.m. tomorrow, January 13, the executive committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Party will meet to decide the fate of one of their long-time leaders.

Normally, yours truly wouldn’t be invited to this kind of meeting, but they don’t have a choice. I was duly elected precinct captain, and when the 5 precinct captains of the first ward met, 2 others who have been wronged by the party over time, graciously opted to vote for me, providing a 3-2 selection as the Ward leader and automatic inclusion on the Central Committee. Note- this doesn’t get me on the screening committee- which is only for those who either have sworn a blood oath, or been elected and are in control of patronage jobs which are handed out like candy to people they then use to fill in the open precinct seats- to make sure they control who runs for office.

The two who fell from grace- former county auditor, judge and mayoral candidate, A.J. Wagner, and current school board member Joe Lacey- who tried to run for state rep and wasn’t endorsed. The two who voted against me- Russ Joseph, brother of Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph and heir apparent to party chair, and current Dayton Clerk of Courts, Mark Owens, and Judge Daniel Geheres’ son.

Tomorrow night, the secret society is meeting in private to decide if they should put former Dayton Mayor, daughter of the all powerful C.J. McLin, State Senator Rhine McLin back on the Board of Elections- or should they find someone else to have the cushy job that pays $20K a year for two short meetings each month.

The Dems are mad at Rhine because she broke ranks and supported Wagner for mayor instead of her royal highness, Queen Nan.

Rhine sent all the central committee members a “Fellow Democrat” letter in December- asking for their support and stating her case.

For those of you who don’t know about the Board of [S]Elections – it’s an organization that is totally controlled by the two major parties- to run your elections. This is why third party candidates, independent candidates, and anyone who doesn’t kiss the party’s ass, runs a high risk of not making it to the ballot. Plus, it controls a bunch of patronage jobs- and grossly overpays the staff- especially the directors, one from each party. It gets a little confusing because the actual board is 2 Dems, 2 Republicans- yes- a virtual deadlock on every issue- that gets to hand over the deciding vote to Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican. The members of this board aren’t elected by the people, nor do they have oversight by the people- just Husted. That’s the way we like it in Ohio- ethics be damned.

Rhine has been in the seat for 2 years of a 3-year term- thanks to a deadlocked vote during the last presidential election, where Husted managed to get the 2 Dems, Dennis Lieberman (spouse of County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman and former party chair) and Tom Ritchie Sr.- regional director of AFSCME (a big public service union) kicked out of their jobs when they stood up to Husted on early voting hours.

The party picked Rhine and John Doll. Doll is a check-collecting, empty suit. McLin on the other hand threw herself into the job and is the only member who bothered to become a certified elections/registration administrator.

McLin is also a party legend. She’s currently vice chair of the Ohio Democratic Party (which isn’t quite as petty), vice-chair of the Mid-West Caucus of the Democratic National Committee, vice chair of the Mid-West Executive Committee of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, and the Mid-West Representative for the Black Caucus of the Democratic National Committee.

She also notes- “I have consistently donated to the Party.”

Face it- it’s pay to play on top of requiring a blood oath and major butt kissing.

Frankly, none of these people deserve to have anything to do with elections. Their idea of running people for office includes interviews that start out with the question “If we endorse someone else, will you drop out and work to get them elected” before petitions are even turned in.

I’ve run in 6 different counties- and no other county Democratic party endorses in primaries- that’s what the primary is for- for the voters of the party to decide whom they want to run for office- not 40 hand-selected members of the “Monarchy of Montgomery Party” to decide for them. They are patently undemocratic- and Rhine herself has benefited from this winnowing process for years. She’s as guilty as the rest of them- the only difference is while she was happy when Nan was her lap dog- when she was mayor- the moment Rhine lost to Gary Leitzel, she lost value to Nan, who along with Mark Owens and Karl Keith had taken over the party- kicking Lieberman to the curb. Now, Nan is a rabid dog, going after Rhine- her former mentor, out of spite- for Rhine recognizing that A.J. was the better man for the job than our monomaniacal mayoress. There are still deep divisions in the party- but, most are afraid to speak- for fear of losing their plum patronage job that either they- or their family members have thanks to their party loyalty.

This is the dirty secret of the Dayton Montgomery County Democratic Party. But, now you know.

And I’ll try to fill you in on what happens, despite me not really wanting to have anything to do with this disgustingly undemocratic process. In 2018, the party will once again elect new precinct captains- that’s when we may be able to organize, and re-populate the central committee with people who believe in democratic principles- instead of the self-anointed royal family we have now.

5 of 6 structures in Dayton are occupied

Photo by David Esrati of the demolition of the OOF hall in St. Annes Hill

We tear our city down literally- too well.

The Dayton Daily news headline is “1 in 6 structures in Dayton are vacant” and it sounds horrible.

Of course it does- because the Dayton Daily news thinks bashing Dayton is good for selling papers (not that they are doing a good job of that- you can now giveaway 4 subscriptions with your one subscription for free….).

The real story is in where the vacancies are- and how much money the city is pouring into the hands of demolition contractors, instead of doing things to strengthen the city.

Here are some excerpts from the DDn hack story:

About one in six structures in Dayton are vacant even though the city has spent millions of dollars knocking down eyesores and some areas show strong signs of blight reversal.

Urban decay continues to plague area neighborhoods, including a handful in which more than one-third of structures are empty or abandoned, according to the results of a citywide property survey obtained by this newspaper.

Vacant homes and buildings drag down property values, attract criminal activity and provide neighbors with a disincentive to invest in their properties.

But the survey data show that less than 10 percent of structures are vacant in nearly half the city’s neighborhoods, suggesting some stabilization in the housing and commercial real estate markets.

The city and its partners have removed more than 2,200 structures since 2009. The city has spent $18 million or more on demolition.

“We’re not out of the woods, but I think these numbers show things are improving,” said Aaron Sorrell, Dayton’s director of planning and community development.

Earlier this year, Dayton hired the Ohio-based Thriving Communities Institute to survey all parcels in the city to document their conditions and whether or not they are occupied.

Two-person teams spent months canvassing the city to assess, map and photograph every structure and empty lot. The information will be used to create a database to guide Dayton’s demolition strategy and how it invests community development funds.

The survey found the city is home to about 53,574 parcels containing structures. Of those, about 6,601 — or 12 percent of the total — have vacant homes, buildings, garages and other structures.

No one next door

Blight casts a long shadow over day-to-day life for some residents of the Santa Clara neighborhood.

Santa Clara was ground zero of Ohio’s foreclosure crisis. Five years ago, government data showed it was one of the 10 most abandoned areas in the country…

More than 35 percent of structures in the Santa Clara neighborhood are vacant. It had the highest proportion of vacant structures out of Dayton’s 66 neighborhoods.Some other parts of the city are nearly as empty. More than one in three structures are vacant in the Southern Dayton View and Roosevelt neighborhoods.

There is no directly comparable data for previous years, because the U.S. Census only measures individual units and not structures.

Still, the 2010 Census found that nearly half of units were empty in the Santa Clara area. About 44 percent of units were uninhabited in Southern Dayton View and 40 percent were unoccupied in Roosevelt, the Census said.

Combined, Santa Clara, Dayton View and Roosevelt have 844 abandoned structures, which tend to attract drug users, prostitutes, metal thieves and fire bugs.

But despite the prevalence of run-down properties, the city’s problem with abandonment seems to be receding as decrepit homes and buildings are reduced to rubble.

In Santa Clara, the city has leveled dozens of structures since the late 2000s, including some of the most abominable eyesores. The city has prioritized removing fire-damaged structures and blight along major corridors as well as in “asset development areas” near schools, employers and institutions.

City officials estimated Dayton had about 8,000 to 9,000 empty structures in 2009.

If those numbers are accurate, Dayton’s supply of abandoned structures has been reduced by as much as 27 percent.

“I think in most neighborhoods, there has been a decrease in the number of vacancies,” Sorrell said.

Notably, in 31 neighborhoods, fewer than one in 10 structures are empty.

And in some areas, residents can count the number of empty structures on two hands.For instance, less than 1 percent of structures are empty in the Forest Ridge / Quail Hollow neighborhood.

In the Eastmont, Gateway, Pheasant Hill, Shroyer Park and Patterson Park neighborhoods, less than 2 percent of structures are vacant.

The problem, however, remains daunting.

On average, it costs the city about $11,000 to demolish and remediate abandoned properties.

Based on that rough estimate, it would still cost the city tens of millions of dollars to dramatically decrease the number of vacant structures.

Source: 1 in 6 structures in Dayton are vacant

Let’s analyze the problem. In some neighborhoods, vacancy is running much higher. This means either no one wants to live there because the housing stock is too far gone, there is too much crime, there are no amenities, or, most importantly- there is no security in investing because no one sees a future where they get their money back. This is business 101.

Other neighborhoods the vacancy rates are much lower- but still too high.

Some neighborhoods aren’t having problems at all- and still have some vacancies.

Instead of fixing the problems that cause people to disinvest, we “invest” in demolition. We’ve spent millions of dollars taking tax generating inventory off the shelf. We get zero return for doing this. At an average cost of $11,000 just to tear a property down, that’s $11,000 that could go toward relocating neighbors into the solid neighborhoods- or to the ones where vacancies are just beginning to be a problem. We could also hire a new policeman for every 6 houses we tear down- to try to stop the “drug users, prostitutes, metal thieves and fire bugs” that these vacant houses supposedly attract.

We have not gone after banks to stop foreclosures- or hold them accountable for the properties that they empty out. We not only lose a citizen, we know that when we kick people out- the houses are getting scrapped and become worthless almost overnight. The cost is huge. Stop evicting people, unless you hold the banks accountable for the condition of the homes.

In order to see investment return, there has to be some kind of real plan in place to make the neighborhood attractive to investors. Why not waive all property taxes for any investor that purchases at least 3 homes in the same under-populated neighborhood- and give them $5000 each toward rehab? Condition of tax waiver- at least one tenant paying income tax per property. This means no more mowing lots, no more blight- and the houses have to meet exterior code. We have no problem waiving taxes for employers- why not do it for small investors?

We had a company in Dayton that hired x-cons to tear down houses and recycle the materials- we put them out of business by not awarding contracts fairly or smartly.

There are parts of Dayton that are doing OK- but, they can’t afford to keep paying to tear down others problems. You don’t build a city up by tearing it down. At some point, you just have to give up on providing services and worrying about neighborhoods that are half-empty and start working on keeping others from joining them.

Wake up people. Your leadership isn’t wearing clothes on this one.

Government of the people, for the people reexamined

It was 2012. I ran for Congress. I made a video about the foreclosure crisis and called on the banks to admit responsibility for the properties they seize and let rot.

I didn’t go to the hardest hit parts of the city- I just went a few blocks from my house and office.

Occupied. Home owner. In progress.

Occupied. Home owner. In progress.

The house where I’m sitting on the porch, with the siding falling out on the side- has had occupants for about a year now. It’s still not painted, but, it’s back to habitable.

The guy who lives in it, is young, a contractor, he specializes in floor sanding and refinishing. He’s doing work around the neighborhood- and he, and his lovely girlfriend have been at a few neighborhood functions.

They like it in South Park.

The house had sold at one time for well over $150K- and been totally rehabbed. He bought it for a fraction of that.

What was red, and unsightly is now an Air B&B and architects office

What was red, and unsightly is now an Air B&B and architects office

The house where the sink, furnace, and wiring is cut- is now an architect’s office and Air B&B. People pay $90 a night to stay there. The owner, lives next door. It’s a total rehab- and completely finished. Cute. Friendly. A neighborhood asset.

Why am I pointing these two out?

Because, the city of Dayton did nothing for this to happen. The neighborhood is what made it happen.

People are still investing in South Park, wanting to live here, wanting to fix things up, because of the community we have created. Our public schools suck just as bad as they do for Westwood, or Residence Park or Dayton View- which has way nicer housing stock.

We all have the same crappy street cleaning, same crappy trash collection, same overburdened police, same poor parks and rec department- but houses that would have been doomed for demolition come back from death’s doorstep here. True, the historic zoning makes it harder to tear things down, but, in South Park things are happening.

We have a church- that houses an arts center. We may have another one on the way- right next door. The neighbors produce free Shakespeare in the park, we have progressive parties in the summer, an active neighborhood association. One idiot organizes social soccer on Sundays. We have a book club, hot toddy parties, the list goes on.

Since I moved here in 1986, we’ve been lucky to add places like Custom Frame Services, Halal International Grocery, Pizza Factory, South Park Tavern, Remember When Antiques, Coco’s, Jimmie’s Ladder 11, Spin City, Ghostlight Coffee and The Next Wave as locally owned, independent businesses. Unfortunately, we lost Graeff Hardware, Poppelmeirs, a shoe repair, a car parts store, a small bakery and a few others.

There are still opportunities here- and interest. Someone is thinking about a wine bar, another about a conference center/reception hall.

And all of it happens, without the help of an “Economic Development director” or the “West Dayton Fund” or ED/GE grants, or tax abatements or any of the other government “tools” that you constantly hear about as the reason for a “renaissance.”

On Monday the City Commission will swear in another pawn in the game, and re-seat a seat warmer. The Mayor will talk about all the things that she has accomplished- and yet, things are still grossly wrong in Dayton.

Property values are still moribund. Population is stagnant. Schools are the worst in the state. Our expectations from government are low. Taxes and fees are increasing. Service is lackluster.

The city has cut funds to neighborhoods considerably. Our police force is at record low staffing. Problems we had 25 years ago are still being dealt with- or pushed to the back burner, while we’ve added the heroin epidemic on top of it all. White-collar jobs are still fleeing downtown for Austin Landing, the Greene, and if it wasn’t for Obamacare driving the growth of CareSource, Dayton would be broke.

The focus always seems to be on buildings. We were told if we fixed the Arcade and built new “class A” office space downtown jobs would return, then we were told if we built new schools, performance would improve, now we’re looking at the Arcade again, we’re buying buildings with no public use for a premium over market value, we’re making holes in the ground on Ludlow street- all in the name of “economic development.”

For 2016, my advice to Dayton: go back to Lincoln and the Gettysburg address. Invest in community, in the power of people. Look at communities and figure out if the density is there to have them come back- or look to consolidate to other neighborhoods. Find ways to improve the quality of life. Stress pride in our community. Talk about what we have that’s working- and celebrate those that make living in the city awesome. Find ways to empower people who homestead. Look at empty houses as opportunities. And most of all, stop accepting mediocrity.

We need to dig in and find our collective integrity, a new respect for our citizens, innovate our way around the hand we’ve been dealt, inspire all to expect more, and bootstrap our way into being a city that is once again known as the cleanest, safest city in America. Invest in people, not in the buildings- and the return will surprise you.

South Park isn’t perfect, but, we’ve managed to buck all trends. It happened because we decided that we wanted something better, and came together to make it happen.

Of the people, for the people.

Uncertified candidates for 2016

Update- NOW CERTIFIED

These names are based on filing petitions today. The signatures won’t be verified by the Board of (S)elections until Friday. As many as 30% of the petitions that are filed could fail.

In the Ohio 10 Congressional race we will see Robert Klepinger take another run at Mike Turner. Last time out Klepinger didn’t make much of an effort and got the customary 37% of people who would rather die than push R. Don’t expect him to raise anywhere near the money it takes to unseat an incumbent.

Peggy Lehner will face a primary for Ohio State Senate 6th district- from Barbara Temple (probably the former Dayton Police assistant chief) and then the winner will face Democrat Lu Dale, vice Mayor of Huber Heights.

In the Democratic safe 39th state rep seat, Fred Strahorn is running unopposed.

In the 40th- Republican Mike Henne is facing a primary from Huber Heights Mayor Tom McMasters (who switches parties every other election) and then will face Democratic party stalwart Dave Richards from Huber Heights who will take on the winner.

In the 41st, Republican incumbent Jim “fighter pilot” Butler is facing the unknown James M. Calhoun.

The 42nd has incumbent Republican Niraj Antani facing a rematch with Pat Merris, a West Carrolton councilman.

Up north in the 43rd there will be a Dem primary between Trotwood Councilman Bruce Kettelle and David Sparks to face first-term incumbent Republican Jeff Rezabek. Note, Roland Winburn pulled petitions for this race to run for his old seat – but didn’t turn them in, and his son, Roshawn, pulled for the 40th and didn’t turn them in. Update Kettelle’s petitions failed.

Montgomery County Commissioner Democrat Judy Dodge, faces the winner of Robert H. Matthews Jr. vs. Charlotte McGuire – both running as Republicans.

Deb Lieberman is also facing the winner of a Republican primary with Donald Birdsall and the newly minted Republican Gary D. Leitzell, former mayor of Dayton (turning in 50 signatures beats 2000).

Of course, no one runs against Mat Heck Jr. for County Prosecutor for fear of reprisal.

County Clerk of Courts has Dem Incumbent Greg Brush facing  Republican Tim O’Bryant.

Republican Michael Foley is running again, this time against Dem incumbent Willis E. Blackshear for County Recorder. In 2012 Foley ran against Brush, and O’Bryant ran against Blackshear– so we have a swap. Update- Foley’s petitions failed.

The only other race that’s opposed locally- is C. Ralph Wilcoxson is running as an R vs. Tony Capizzi. This is Ralph’s second run at an incumbent judge- but the first where he didn’t try to go the independent route- instead opting to run as an R and skip the 2,000 signature requirement.

Carolyn Rice, Paul Gruner, Kent Harsbarger, Mary Wiseman, Phil Plummer, Mary Donovan, Michael T. Hall, Michael L. Tucker- all get a free pass at more years in office. Isn’t democracy in Montgomery County grand?

Again, none of these names mean a thing until the unelected, partisan, Board of (S)elections has final say on the quantity and quality of the signatures turned in by these candidates.