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.

 

The cheap bastards in Dayton City Hall

When I first got involved in my second career as an unpaid citizen of Dayton, I found our city to be overly bureaucratic. We had our neighborhood organization, that got things done- and then we had the mysterious “Priority Boards” which were a huge bureaucratic buffer zone between the neighborhood and the City Commission. They had offices, staffed with several full-time employees, who made pretty decent money. More money than the city commissioners who were part-time, and supposedly the brain trust that was steering our city to prosperity.

When I, or anyone else would go to the City Commission with a complaint, they’d say “have you been to your priority board about this?” As if it was a crime to actually talk to and expect action from those we elect.

The city patted itself on the back often for being such a model of “citizen participation”- when in fact, it was just another place to hire people into patronage jobs. It really didn’t require any skill to work for the priority boards- it was all about who you knew.

So, each neighborhood had to have its own organization- a neighborhood association, which ideally was a non-profit (a 501 c-3 by the tax code), and had to hold elections to have at minimum a leader, a treasurer and a recording secretary, and then, depending on the size of your neighborhood elected representatives to your priority board seats- which could be anywhere from 1 to 4 in our case. The problem was that the neighborhoods, planning districts and precincts didn’t follow any of the same boundaries- making for coordinating the many heads more like a Hydra than a true democratic process.

At one point, to make sure the neighborhoods had a say- additional seats were created per organization, be it a full fledged neighborhood association or even a block club. Throw out proportional representation- just try to fill the rooms- to keep the patronage pogues looking busy.

The system was expensive- with offices in the seven “districts” of the city. Southeast held about 40% of the population- and always seemed to have the most “representation.” The downtown priority board was an afterthought- and didn’t even have a full-time staffer. The historic districts were split between all the priority boards- when in fact- they, along with downtown, were the ones who were most alike- and could have had a really strong voice if they hadn’t been segregated.

While the city was still flush with cash- thanks to corporate headquarters like Reynolds & Reynolds, Mead, Standard Register, NCR- it was easy to blow money on the priority board patronage jobs- which could be counted on around election time to help the Democratic Party have an Army to make sure their chosen candidates got elected. All was good and fine…

Until, well, the system broke and a Republican managed to get elected Mayor. Mike Turner, managed to tick off Reynolds & Reynolds CEO David Holmes- getting Holmes to put a ton of money behind Tony Capizzi to challenge Turner- and when Turner won again- Holmes took his company to Kettering.

There were other things at play, some pre-Turner, with Tom Danis buying off Police Chief Tyree Broomfield to step down, games played with an “Architectural review committee” slowing down the city-funded Arcade tower project- so Danis could get his Cit/Fed tower built first- and who knows what the Beerman family was doing to keep their real estate deals going- where they were making a fortune off the construction of 675, and CJ McLin and his daughter Rhine were doing the same with the 35 West deal.

The priority board system was a way to make the poor citizens of Dayton think they mattered, when in fact, they were just there to keep the party in power so that the friends and family of the Monarchy of Montgomery County could continue to kiss the wealthy asses of those who really were supporting our city.

I’d advocated for getting rid of the priority boards from day one- to have neighborhood presidents meet directly with the city manager 4 times a year. Note- the city manager- not the mayor or the commission, they aren’t supposed to be the ones running our city, but we’ve long forgotten that.

So, in today’s paper, we find out that what’s left of the vaulted citizen participation system is about $96K a year thrown out to the paupers to play pretend with- compared to a budget that used to run close to $8 million a year:

The city provided about $13,000 for 27 neighborhood festivals this year.

The city also awarded $83,046 in mini-grants to 20 neighborhood projects this year, three times the amount in 2014.

Source: Dayton pushes policy reforms

I always found it odd, that 25 years ago- our neighborhood thought it was a privilege to get to ride around on the back of a trash truck once a month on a Saturday morning to pick up the garbage that our overpaid trash collectors skipped.

People in other communities would wonder why would you pay your taxes to spend your Saturdays doing “community service” without a court order.

This is the travesty of Dayton. While the people who are still here fighting to make their community a nice place to live, and paying the 2nd highest income tax in the county, the cheap bastards in city hall are bragging about “awarding back less than $100,000 a year” to help those who volunteer- while giving multi-million-dollar tax breaks to General Electric, while raising trash and street light fees, and still having no problem buying buildings for half a million each- for which there is no public use.

Yeah. “Cheap bastards” is actually a nice name, for people who are really taking a crap on the people they represent. And, one other thing, you shouldn’t have to work so hard to have a great, safe, clean neighborhood. You should be able to spend your time living your life.

Gifts for the person with everything- and gifts for Dayton

Yes, this is a list of products that I hope you’ll buy from Amazon, where I will get a cut. But to keep it interesting, it’s also a list of things you can’t buy (unless you are part of the 1% and can control elections) and, of course, if you really want to make a difference- you’ll do all your shopping locally with independent retailers.

And- I’m going to start out with the most outrageous gift that will change your life: The Squatty Potty. Watch the video- and buy from this link- read the reviews- seriously: http://amzn.to/1HpUmAg

A gift you can’t buy- a real website for the Montgomery County Board of Elections- that has a complete list of every office you can run for, who is in it, when the term expires, and the requirements to run. That would help clear the poop from the system locally.

Tired of selfie stills? Want to make action movies like a pro? From the folks that make the DJI “Drones”- comes the Osmo a stedi-cam like no other. Buy here- http://amzn.to/1ljQyGy

A gift you can’t buy- real news from the local media. No, it’s not news when there is a traffic accident, or a shooting, or another drug bust. That’s only relevant is you were in the accident or the resulting traffic jam, knew someone in the shooting or it happened on your street. Real news is why our Dayton Public Schools suck, why Sinclair is failing to meet real needs for truck drivers, welders and the medical programs. All have a waiting list, despite claiming they’re on it. Real news is why our local politicians keep buying buildings for which there is no public use, giving away tax revenue to companies that move inside downtown, or about businesses that are successful in our community.

We'll keep the light on for you

We’ll keep the light on for you

Turning on the lights, automatically. I’ve had a timer on my porch light for years- it sucked to program, it sucked to change the time for Daylight Savings Time- then, this happened: http://amzn.to/1HpWrMM it even works on motors- and most importantly- doesn’t burn out CFL bulbs. Me likey.

What you can’t buy- true transparency and sunlight on the meetings of the Dayton City Commission- no more illegal work sessions where the commission meets to do all the actual discussion of the issues before they come and rubber stamp them in public. Follow the damned charter and the state sunshine laws already.

Keep the heat on while being super cool- get a Nest Learning Thermostat. Seriously. This one will save you money and make you really happy and comfy in your own home or office. Installation is a breeze- and I can now control the temps in both my home and office from my phone. This product keeps getting better with software updates- and my utility bills keep coming down. I have the first generation, they are now on the third. http://amzn.to/1HpXfB5

Best thing I’ve ever bought to save money, and they let you know how you do compared to people in your area as well.

What you can’t buy? Take a look at a heat map of economic activity for Dayton. See the cold spots on the West Side- while Miller Lane and Austin Landing are hot. It’s time to look at comprehensive regional investment and stop tilting the playing field. First step- Countywide income tax- flat rate at 1.5% divvied up based on a formula based on square miles, population, political overhead and need. Same thing for school taxes. Reward lean organizations with low overhead- that utilize regional assets like the regional dispatch center, or pay their politicians reasonably, or have the lowest ratio of administrators to workers, with MORE money- and penalize the high overhead ones. Make it easy for small businesses to calculate tax rates by not having to worry about every single jurisdiction. Make it about the region- not filling the pockets of the Gunlocks, Singers, Mills of the region.

If you are paying out the nose for cable- my suggestion is to invest in a HD antenna, and a TiVo. Seriously. I’ve had a TiVo for a long time- and there is so much good TV on broadcast, and services available via online- that you just need a box to coordinate it all. I’ve got a series II HD and a Romio – make sure you buy the lifetime service contract instead of annually- they last forever. Here are your choices- http://amzn.to/1Hq0gBo The new Bolt looks amazing- but, I got a rocking deal on the Romio. So much better than any cable company DVR- I’m amazed that Apple or Amazon hasn’t bought TiVo yet. Great recommendation engine- like Netflix- with search functions built in- find everything coming up with Allison Janney in it- and it records everything- from West Wing to interviews.

While we’re on the subject of unified entertainment- it’s time we move to unified government. Really. We can’t afford to keep paying for 1,000 or more elected offices (I’m guessing – since there is no unified list- I’m thinking of adding it to this website) and finding 1,000 people qualified to do this political horseshit.

Need proof that the local Dems are incompetent? Mike Turner has run for Congress virtually unopposed for 15 years. Need proof that the local Republicans are incompetent- look at the County Commission. One real countywide system. Ditch the local school systems too. Distribute the poor kids equally throughout – since there is no greater indicator of poor test performance than poverty. This shouldn’t be that hard- should be easy- just like TiVo.

I bought a carpet cleaner on one of the Amazon deals of the day. Used it yesterday. While it cleaned the carpets great, it kept reminding me of how much I actually love my Dyson vacuums. It’s about industrial design- the cleaner has the cord coming out of the base- and I was running over it constantly- my Dyson has the cord coming out up top- near where I’m maneuvering it from. Yes, they are expensive, but the “Amimal” I’ve got at the office is still humming almost 20 years later- and I’ve been able to fix it myself with parts bought online and video from YouTube. http://amzn.to/1IcZ6cI Design is everything- and on the new one I bought for the house it is even easier to use the attachments. Do yourself a favor- upgrade.

For a local change of pace- how about having elections that don’t suck. This means a well informed electorate- that actually comes out and votes- knowing more than what is in the pathetic League of Women’s Voter guide. Cutting down the number of offices would go a long way toward this- as would having a real BOE website- but, most importantly- let’s have real debates. Not these moderated forums where the moderator has control. There is no moderator once elected- we actually need to see candidates questioning the people they are elected to serve with. It’s about finding out who really knows what the issues are.

And, that’s it for my Holiday gift guide. Do you have any other things that you can’t live without that I should add to my list? Just remember- Esrati.com is free- and pretty much uncensored- so if you like what I’m doing here- help me out and start your Amazon buys from one of these links- and a tiny percentage of every purchase comes back to me- to help pay for hosting, domain name registration and rewards me just a little bit for taking time to dig deeper into what happens in Dayton.

 

 

Post election present: higher trash fees

Trash left in Alley by Dayton "trash collection"

I turned this in to “Dayton Delivers” 2 trash collections ago- after it had sat for at least 1. Still there.

After the last election where stupid Dayton voters put the “Endorsed Democrats” on the ballot, we got hit with a fee for new street lights.

This year, we get higher trash fees:

Dayton proposes the largest waste collection fee increase in years, which comes at a time when the city lost a major service contract and personnel costs are rising.

The city in 2016 proposes increasing the annual fee by $10 to $151.90.

The proposed fee hike exceeds the increases of the three previous years combined.

Dayton’s waste collection fees usually are tied to the consumer price index, which has been flat because of low fuel prices.

But a fee hike is necessitated to cover employee raises and rising health-care costs, city officials said.

“It’s related to costs,” said Stanley Earley, Dayton’s deputy city manager.

Also, Dayton next year will lose thousands of customers because Riverside is switching providers.

Dayton provides waste pick-up and disposal services to about 55,000 customers.

Source: Dayton trash fees likely to increase next year

Because you read this site, you aren’t a stupid Dayton voter, so you’ll understand the following:

  1. Costs should have dropped over the last year, since fuel prices are now 1/3rd or less than they were.
  2. If the costs of labor are so high, maybe we should put our system out to bid- obviously, Riverside found a better deal. Of course, if you are Nan Whaley, who accepted tens of thousands of union dollars to her half-million-dollar campaign, you have to pay the union back somehow.
  3. If the 55,000 customers pay $10 more per year, that means we needed $550,000 more to keep the price the same. Let’s see, we spent $450,000 for a building on Wayne Avenue next to Garden Station that has zero development, we paid $450,000 for a building at 601 E. Third Street that has no development, we are in the process of buying the “Paru Tower/Key Bank/Society Bank/Third National Bank” building on North Main for $500,000 with no signed contract, hmmmm, right there is 3 years of revenue for the trash service that went to buy trashed buildings with no public use.
  4. And, oh, yes, there is also the million dollars we gave Student Suites to make the hole in the ground on Ludlow, and the $167,000 we spent tearing down parts of the old DP&L steam plant at E. Third and Webster… do you see where your tax dollars are being spent yet?

The fact is that while this issue will slide under every one’s radar until January when the first bills get mailed, everyone is up in arms because Queen Nan, media attention whore, is making statements about accepting Syrian Refugees- and trying to square up against Governor John Kasich, media whore, who is saying no Syrian Refugees will be coming to Ohio.

Note, your chance of being killed by a teen driving a car with temporary plates while texting are much higher than your chance of being a victim of a Jihadist. But, that’s the point- why discuss things we can fix here in Ohio- like School funding- or reinstating proper leaf collection, which actually make a difference?

Only one upset in Dayton

You can pull up the results of the Nov. 3, 2015, Montgomery County elections here: http://www.mcohio.org/document_center/BoardElections/ElectionResults/11032015es.pdf

It wasn’t Darryl Fairchild’s turn after all. Despite falling on his sword to let Jeff Mims take Nan Whaley’s seat, Democratic party pick Chris Shaw beat the former party favorite by a measly 169 votes. Matt Joseph cruises in to collect a paycheck for four more years of doing nothing, and the reign of Queen Nan continues.

In the Dayton School Board race, newcomer John McManus squeezes past Nancy Nearny. At his watch party were almost all the other board members, including his opponent Sheila Taylor. The first issue on their agenda will be if they should renew Superintendent Lori Ward’s contract. My guess is the vote just got a lot closer.

The big success was local defense attorney Mia Wortham Spells beating the Dem party pick- Colette Moorman by 265 votes. Enough that it should be good through the final. Moorman was on the Dem party stupid voter card and should have ridden the coattails of Joseph and Shaw, but she didn’t. For Moorman, a magistrate, the only thing that changes is her new boss for the next 6 years- her opponent.

The Sinclair levy passed convincingly 54-44, with at least three quarters of a million behind it. As the treasurer of www.keepsinclairfair.org I can tell you that this is fine- people will see their tax bill go up, while the taxpayers in Warren, Greene and Preble County- where “no Montgomery County tax dollars are spent” get away with a small tuition increase and NO tax at all. When the big Sinclair levy comes up in a few years- we’ll be ready, and Dr. Steven Johnson can learn to live on a 1 mil levy when the big one fails. He can try charging $50 more a credit hour in Montgomery County- since that’s all this really costs… if you believe his bullshit.

At least Montgomery County voters voted Yes on issue 1, and No on 3 – unfortunately, the legislature pulled a fast one, and now have the ability to do anything they want to any statewide ballot initiative (as if they weren’t doing it already).

Results were held until 9pm because Butler and Hamilton Counties couldn’t get their polling places handled properly. That would be a #fail for Secretary of State Jon Husted who still hasn’t figured out how to overcome the stupidity of the BOE system in Ohio where friend and family get to run elections instead of professionals.

With all the confusion on Issue 2 and 3- I consider this more of a state IQ test than an election. I’ve not looked at the Statewide results yet to see how we Buckeyes did collectively, but I have faith that Issue 3 will rightfully go up in smoke. Too bad “investors.” When Ohioans pass a pot law, maybe we’ll still be able to buy some Acapulco Gold, or some Mile High Weed, but for now, we’re still a pot free state.

My own father was challenged at the polls for presenting his VA photo ID. He held his ground, and one of the supervisors figured it out ok.

That wasn’t true for a friend of mine. She and her husband went in to vote- same polling location as last year, same address, and somehow, her husband was allowed to vote, and she was made to vote provisionally. The difference? He’s white, she’s black and it was a South suburb. We’re still making Third World countries look good when it comes to ballot box access.

The biggest problem still hasn’t been solved: too many elections/candidates/jurisdictions/issues and no reliable source of information. This again turned out to be a low turnout election.

It’s not a true democracy unless everyone has a chance to be heard, and for every vote to count equally. Let’s get to work on that people.

The hole on Ludlow Street

Photo by David Esrati of the demolition of the Dayton Daily News building 1923 addition

The day after demolition was allowed to continue

Last week the Dayton Daily news had the sad, sad story of poor Steve Rauch who didn’t get paid for tearing down a perfectly good historic building. No mention of performance bonds- which is the norm for projects like this:

The company that demolished parts of the historic Dayton Daily News building at 45 S. Ludlow St. has sued Student Suites Dayton LLC for allegedly not paying its nearly $800,000 bill.

The civil lawsuit filed Thursday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court by Steve Rauch Inc. seeks financial damages and a foreclosure on the mechanic’s Lien against Student Suites Dayton (SSD), which originally planned to build a 350-unit, $18 million housing complex that could serve Sinclair Community College students.

Steve Rauch told this newspaper last week that he stopped working on the project when the billing cost for his work hit $869,000 and he still hadn’t been paid.A demolition contract between Student Suites Dayton LLC and Steve R. Rauch Inc. specifies a payment of $1.292 million. Rauch said he stopped working on the project because he hadn’t been paid.

“What a mess that place is down there, isn’t it?” he said. “I’ve liened it — against Student Suites. They haven’t paid me a dime.”

Rauch said he initially held off on filing a lawsuit, hoping to get paid as the project moves forward. “We are not the bad guy that put a bullet in the deal,” he said.

Through an email, Student Suites Dayton declined to comment.The suit alleged Rauch performed all demolition of the former Dayton Daily News and Schwind buildings, and related services. The cost, $775,195, has been due since Jan. 21, 2014, the lawsuit alleges. Interest of 10 percent per annum on the principal has been accruing since then, according to the suit.

Rauch’s attorney, Gregory Page, said the total owed, including interest, is more than $900,000.

“Based on SSD’s ongoing refusal to pay the sums due and owing, Rauch caused multiple affidavits for mechanic’s lien to be recorded against the property,” the suit alleges. “SSD’s actions, including, but not limited to, its failure or refusal to pay the sums due to Rauch, constitute a breach of contract.

”Besides compensatory damages and pre- and post-judgment interest of 10 percent, Rauch seeks attorney fees and costs, and for a judgment ordering the property to be foreclosed and sold. He is also asking that the plaintiff’s liens be paid from the proceeds of the sale.

The city of Dayton, which originally committed $1 million toward the project, increased that to $1.215 million in April 2014. The city’s share went toward demolition and cleanup of the former Schwind Building property.

Aaron Sorrell, Dayton’s director of planning and community development, said at the time that the money was from additional grants, not city general funds.

Complications arose over the Schwind Building, which was demolished in 2013.

A deed restriction imposed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development limited use of the property to low-income housing, and the Students Suites project did not qualify.

Sorrell also said then that the Student Suites project was delayed because the developer could not obtain financing for it as a result of the deed restriction.

The plan to rejuvenate the area for housing while leaving the original Dayton Daily News “bank” building — which is on the National Register of Historic Places — was announced in April 2013.

Source: Ludlow housing project halted

Considering that Rauch also “mistakenly” tore down a part of the historic part of the Dayton Daily news building that was supposed to stay, the developer could counter-sue, that Rauch damaged the viability of the project. Of course, the fact that Student Suites probably asked him to do it by “accident” won’t come out until the gloves come off in the courtroom.

Normally, in order to do demolition of any sort- there is a required performance bond- so as to make sure the job gets completed. Someone in City Hall should be getting fired over this, but since that someone is either Aaron Sorrell, or Acting City Manager Shelley Dickstein, no one is saying anything. After all, they engineered this cluster-duck.

Of course, I did a FOIA request on who got paid what by the city. I’m not a full time journalist, but lucky for us, the Dayton Daily news hasn’t fired Steve Bennish- their last remaining reporter with a brain, and he’s coming out with a long piece in tomorrow’s paper (available online this morning).

What bothers me, is that his answers from City Hall don’t match the ones I got.

Here is my request- and my follow up- with their answers:

From: David Esrati
Sent: Monday, October 26, 2015, 10:27 a.m.
To: Bankston, Toni
Subject: FOIA request-

Toni,
I talked to Stan Early about this on Sat. morning-
I want to find out the status of:
“The city of Dayton, which originally committed $1 million toward the project, increased that to $1.215 million in April 2014. The city’s share went toward demolition and cleanup of the former Schwind Building property.
Aaron Sorrell, Dayton’s director of planning and community development, said at the time that the money was from additional grants, not city general funds.”

Were the funds released? To whom? Whom were they supposed to go to?

Thank you

Her response:

On Oct 28, 2015, at 12:10, Freeman, Angela wrote:

Mr. Esrati:

Please be advised that the funds came from the Moving Ohio Forward Grant, which was used to demolish vacant and foreclosed properties.  We expended a total of $183,591.37.  The funds went to Student Suites to finish the demolition of the Schwind Building.

Angela Freeman | Executive Secretary | City of Dayton | Office of Public Affairs |

Hmmm, only $183.5K- to Student Suites.

So, they committed 1.2 million- but only release 182.5K something didn’t sound right.

Try again:

From: David Esrati
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015, 1:24 p.m.
To: Freeman, Angela
Cc: Bankston, Toni
Subject: Re: FOIA request-

So the million was never released?

And a response:

From: Freeman, Angela
10/28/15, 2:37 p.m.
To: David Esrati

In total, $938,591 was expended directly to Student Suites, under our development agreement.  Of that, $183,591.37 was an amendment utilizing MOF funds.  The larger, original balance was from the Development fund and was $755,000.00.

Other expenditures from the City were:

$220,000 to CityWide

$25,000 to Schwind Building Restoration Project

Who was the “Schwind Building Restoration Project” that got $25K and what did the taxpayers get back?

Who is asking about what CityWide did with almost a quarter of a million? And why aren’t they liable for the hole in the ground?

Why didn’t the city sue Student Suites- who got $183.5K and left us with a hole in the ground?

You think these questions would be answered in the Dayton Daily news piece coming tomorrow from Steve Bennish? But, no.

The best line in Bennish’s piece:

The city of Dayton, which owned the former Schwind building next door and agreed to have it demolished despite a deed restriction and lien on the property, now admits that was a mistake.

Source: Funding problems, legal woes stall downtown Dayton project | www.mydaytondailynews.com

 Because the city allowed a project to be rushed through, before financing was arranged and a development contract in place- the historic Cox building is now sitting rotting.
From the DDn:

A breakdown of city of Dayton expenditures also shows the city has spent $938,591 on the project. That doesn’t include $420,000 the city spent to pay off liens on the Schwind building, which has been torn down.

More city spending could follow. Dayton Interim City Manager Shelly Dickstein is concerned that another round of winter weather could damage the historic former newspaper building.

“We’ve looked at the cost to fill the hole so it’s not sitting there blighting the community and so that the building could be buttoned up and not exposed,” Dickstein said.

Rauch estimates the cost to finish the demolition would be $500,000 — to remove basement walls and fill in holes.

So now the demolition costs are up to $1.75 million.

The crazy part- this exceeds the cost projections former local developer Bill Rain had estimated to turn the Schwind into housing for students and still comply with the HUD restriction, but the city wouldn’t offer to help at all, finally forcing him out of the deal which he was given hope on by his “friend” Steve Budd at CityWide. Rain was going to use the DDn building as first floor retail and convert the upper floors of the very solid building into parking for the project. The historic Cox building- would have been adapted use as well.

However, local “power brokers” weren’t paid off, and Rain left for Tampa, where he’s done a series of much larger projects, including the conversion and adaptive reuse of a hospital into a long-term care and assisted living facility. (Full disclosure, Rain is a friend, and a client, I visited the hospital project several times and saw first hand what he did. I also witnessed his work on the St. Clair Lofts and Ice Avenue Lofts in Dayton).

The DDn even admits that they were all excited about these out of town hucksters with their no-money down deal:

The stalled state of the project is a stark contrast to the excitement that accompanied the original announcement from Cox Media Group that “a preliminary plan has been agreed upon for the sale and revitalization of the vacant historic Dayton Daily News building and adjacent property.”

“In addition to the sale of the historic Dayton Daily News’ building and property, Cox Media Group Ohio is contributing $1 million to restore and protect the legacy of the historic building,” the April 2013 announcement said.

The Cox people were most excited, but won’t say this- to get out of the property taxes on their empty building (they also demolished Channel 7 asap to avoid paying property taxes) and to not have to pay the Special Improvement District tax that supports the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

Bennish does manage to get this gem into the story:

In the 2013 announcement, CMGO (Cox Media Group Ohio) said it had been working with the city of Dayton, Student Suites and a California-based nonprofit, United Housing and Community Services Corporation, to finalize a plan to build an $18 million multi-purpose complex on the property. Sinclair was not involved, but once the project was completed its students would have access to housing just a short walk from their classes.

United Housing would own the project “once it was leased up,” said Sorrell.

Attempts to reach United Housing were unsuccessful and there was no listing for the non-profit in a statewide telephone directory.

In a bond document on file with the city of Dayton, United Housing was listed as the borrower of the proceeds of the bonds issued by the port authority.

Student Suites, the document said, “gathers a team of architects, local contractors and financial experts to provide a completely finished project.”

Note the part about “bonds issued by the port authority”- yet earlier in the article Jerry Brunswick (withdrawn school board candidate), the current straw man in front of the Port Authority (another organization that screws up public money with little oversight):

Jerry Brunswick, president of the Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority, said in the early stages of the project the plan was for the authority to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance up to $15 million. The bonds would be sold through an investment banker.

“I never heard that the (bankers’) investment committee approved it,” Brunswick said. “And we asked. We were told they never approved it. If there was a lien in front of the property, it would certainly impede a positive credit decision.”

He added: “A lien in front of you is not a great way to sell a project. The project still makes sense. We’d like to issue the bonds and we have a new program that can be a part of this.”

Uh, if it had a lien on it then, and now it has a lawsuit and an unfinished hole, I’d say this deal is dead.

Bennish briefly covered the buildings’ history- but, that back story is full of the institutional knowledge that is needed to really understand how we got to where we were today.

With the long-shuttered Arcade across the street, the Student Suites project was seen as a ray of hope for that part of downtown and possibly a catalyst for future development. Then came a snag.

A major legal hurdle involved the deed restriction and lien on the Schwind building, which was imploded as part of the development plan. HUD had imposed the restriction after funding a previous owner’s plan to put low-income housing there.

Records show the Schwind had a rough history. The city originally acquired the building from HUD in 2003 after the owner defaulted on a HUD-insured mortgage. The city transferred the building to Rain & Associates in July 2004, but the building then went into foreclosure and was sold in 2007 through a foreclosure sale to the Schwind Building Restoration Project. The city re-acquired the building in August 2013 as part of the Student Suites project.

The “snag” was fully known and ignored by the city and by Student Suites. This is what we normal working stiffs call incompetence. That Dickstein failed the Wayne Avenue Kroger – with no contract with a tenant before expending over $4 million to aggregate a 12 acre parcel, using multiple rounds of real estate options, blighting the neighborhood wholesale, and spending enormous sums on appraisals, and negotiations should have been the end of her and Sorrell.

Bennish didn’t talk to Rain. The Schwind Building Restoration Project was when Bob Schiffler took over the project. Schiffler had successfully and beautifully done the old Chemineer building at the corner of Fourth and Main- but, soon after they transferred the property to him- PNC took over our beloved local lender, National City Bank- and called his notes- forcing him to sell his beautiful mansion on Oakwood avenue and regroup. The Schwind was ancillary damage.

The education of Aaron Sorrell and Shelley Dickstein at taxpayer expense is getting expensive. Bennish gets this beautiful piece in:

Sorrell acknowledges that the lien and deed restriction were raised by Student Suites as a hurdle to financing, but he said the developer redesigned the project to make the Schwind site part of a second phase that would kick in when the lien was removed.

“We’ll take responsibility for the HUD lien,” Sorrell said. “But the developer has struggled to find financing.”

Dickstein too acknowledged that the city made mistakes. “Looking in the rear view mirror, the project moved forward without financing in place,” she said. “In hindsight, we would change things.”

Maybe the reason the developer has trouble finding financing is because it’s really hard to do much in Dayton or even Montgomery County, due to it having the second highest tax burden in the state? Add to that, the additional tax to support the Downtown Dayton Partnership which gets away with no blame on this mess. Lenders aren’t bullish on doing any renovations in Dayton- or the use of Historic Tax credits to finance them- not a single one has worked since the Cannery- and that went into foreclosure as well- despite a very high rental occupancy rate. (Rain was one of the initial developers in that project- but left early when it was pretty clear that his partners, Beth Duke and Dave Williams had a different vision. Williams, by the way, after flopping a big project in Clayton, got hired by CityWide).

Before he died, Alan Rinzler once told me that he owned the only building in the central business district (the Talbot Tower) that hadn’t been foreclosed on). This is how damaged the Downtown real estate market is.

Considering the city has been going to town issuing tickets to home owners in South Park for peeling paint (I completed painting 3 of my houses this summer)  it’s crazy that this boondoggle hasn’t brought the wrath of Nan onto someone (I’m pretty sure my neighbors are paying for my sins).

A contract between Student Suites and the city required Student Suites to provide the city “with a fully executed copy of a payment and performance bond issued by a surety authorized to do business in Ohio and acceptable to the city … which bond will guarantee completion of the developer’s obligations under this agreement and payment in full of all contractors, material suppliers and others who contribute to the design and construction of the project.”

Student Suites has not provided proof of the performance bond, Sorrell said, although it did pay to insure the demolition activities.

The city’s Housing Inspection Division last year issued a violation to Students Suites ordering the LLC to remove trash and debris from the area. The city says there was no response to the order, which was sent by registered mail to Student Suites’ Independence, Mo., offices.

Whoa, wait- the demolition permit was issued before the proof of performance bond was filed on a project this big? And Sorrell still has a job?

The final chilling end to Bennish’s piece, suggest more of our tax dollars will go to prop up this clusterduck:

Dayton officials are now working to see how they can at least secure the building from the weather before winter arrives.

“We are very concerned about getting it done in the next month or so,” Dickstein said. “With the freeze and rain there is exposure on the historic building. It’s an important project and we want to see it be successful.”

If no one comes to the table, Dickstein said, “We will explore our abilities to move forward with enforcement action on the historic building and move forward to preserve the building and remove the blight and fill in the hole in the ground.”

A good start would be firing Sorrell and Dickstein, and then liquidating CityWide Development to pay for the fixes, and then dismantle the Downtown Dayton Partnership and start returning the tax to the property owners. Those who want the common area maintenance performed by the “Ambassadors” (minimum wage workers in green shirts hired by an out-of-state firm)  can band together to hire their own street sweepers.

Then, maybe, we can learn to leave the development to the private sector and concentrate on providing basic city services like plowing snow and collecting leaves, and hanging basketball nets on city courts.