Issue 9 information session report

The group Neighborhoods over Politics, NOP, held a forum on Wednesday 12 Oct, 2016 at CSU Dayton campus.

There were about 50 people in attendance including all four Dayton City Commissioners and the County recorder Willis Blackshear. Normally, more than 2 members of the city commission causes Sunshine law issues if discussing public business.

There was an employee of the group pushing to pass issue 9- the one that hasn’t filed a campaign finance report. When asked who was bankrolling his job, all the signs, mailings- it got kinda strange.

Sorry about the quality of the video- it would really help if organizations holding candidates nights etc would read this post before holding an event like this.

Everyone needs a microphone- and to step up to speak. Preferably in the same spot.

It also helps to have a handout with the names and titles of your panel.

The people from Learn to Earn- or whatever organization they were from, seemed to be oblivious to who I was- or why I was asking the types of questions I was… with a camera… because, local “journalists” don’t ask questions….

I’ll have a post opposing issue 9 and why up here once I complete some more research.

It’s really apparent that this plan creates some new slush fund entities with no public oversight- that can take tax dollars and funnel them to private business. This isn’t what government is supposed to do with our tax dollars.

Rumor has it that an organization dumped $200K into the coffers of “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future”  and we still don’t know why.

As always- follow the money if you want answers.


Issue 9 Q&A this Wednesday- Dayton income tax increase

Dayton issue 9 info session flyer by Neighborhoods over PoliticsThe activist group Neighborhoods Over Politics (NOP) is hosting a Q&A on Dayton Issue 9- the tax increase from 2.25% to 2.5% this Wednesday, Oct 12, 2016 from 6pm to 8pm at Central State University West campus at 840 Germantown St. The event is free and open to the public.

By now, if you are a Dayton resident, you’ve seen the blue and green signs and if you are a likely voter, you’ve gotten a mailing “Paid for by “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future” Michael Voelkl, Treasurer. NOT PAID FOR WITH PUBLIC FUNDS.” Michael used to be the tax commissioner of Dayton, but retired a while back.

But, the real question is, who the hell does fund this?

It says it’s endorsed by Dayton Firefighters, AFSCME/DPSU, AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce.

Looking up organization in the Montgomery County Board of Elections worthless website- we see that they haven’t filed a campaign finance report since the annual of 2015– so there is no way to tell who’s paying for all those signs and mailings.

The former Mayor, Gary Leitzell took the time to actually read the full ordinance and makes mincemeat out of their claims on the mailer.

But, this isn’t a post to explain why I think you should vote no on issue 9- it’s about the Q&A session- which you should go to and ask the questions yourself. There won’t be any huge dollars spent against this tax hike, if it’s to fail, it will depend on a grassroots effort.

Issue 9’s backers are claiming helps “every neighborhood” and includes a bizarre venture into pre-school by City Government- instead of the School Board.

Most of the other claims are to do the things they already are supposed to do but fail at- like cutting grass on vacant lots, or resurfacing streets or taking care of parks. Want to have an extra 2 million right off the bat- don’t buy real estate for which there is no public use- and then come back and say “we need more money.”

I’ll be at this session on Wednesday with my video camera to record it and put it up on YouTube.





When the Dayton airport does cut-throat pricing to cut its own throat

Newspaper ad in Dayton Daily News for Dayton Airport lot economy parking


11 Sept 2016. I have some more accurate numbers for the airport economy lot. I’ve updated the post to reflect them.  This is more expensive than I first wrote.

There is more to the story than a city issued press release, but, you can’t count on the understaffed Dayton Daily news to know more. If you read the paper you’ve been seeing ads by the airport touting the new lower rate, and on the airport access road, there is the billboard- all bragging about the new $4.95 a day on airport economy lot rate- from the paper:

Dayton International Airport continues its expansive program of improvements through new parking rates and benefits.

The on-airport economy parking lot has a lower flat rate of $4.95 per day ($34.65 per week) when travel is booked in and out of Dayton International.

The newly reconstructed longterm parking lot was recently reopened and is a short walk from the terminal (the DAYrider courtesy shuttle is also available). With a maximum price of $14 per day, the long-term lot includes more than 1,100 parking spaces and is brightly lit with new LED lighting.

From the DDN: Dayton Daily News – 2016-08-27

Source: Airport parking now has lower economy lot rate

What did they leave out you ask? How about that the price used to be $6 a day for years to start? And, there are only 2 competitors for airport parking: a former client of The Next Wave, Park-n-Go, and Westwind. In order to run their shuttles onto the airport and advertise “airport parking” both are bound by rules and regulations and have to pay a 10% tariff on every customer. So, when the airport forces them to cut rates, the airport makes less all around. In Dayton airport parking ads those are the “hidden fees” that in fact come right back to them.

Do the math. The airport has 1100 2800 spaces in the long term lot- meaning the city leaves at least $2800 a day on the table. Multiply that times 365 and you have $401,500 $1,022,000  potentially less in parking income from the lot. Then you add up the advertising costs, newspaper, and billboards, and maybe some TV- and you’ve spent another $50,000 at least. They average about $300,000 a month on the economy lot- or 60,000 parking days, so at minimum, it’s $60,000 loss each month, times 12 or $720,000 they are really losing by the $1 price cut. There is also the potential that with the low price, the city is pulling people away from their more expensive options which are $14 long term, $18 garage, $20 valet and $24 short term.

Dayton Airport Parking Configuration

Long Term$14.001100
Short Term$24.00390

Park-n-Go has about 1100 850 total spots, with only a few hundred 350 committed to the self-park economy lot at $4.95 a day plus .50 for the city. They make most of their money from their valet service at $9.95 a day (plus $.99.5 city tax) which offers your car ready and waiting as you get off their shuttle- cleared of snow- or with the A/C already running. That price puts them well below the city close in lots- or the city valet rate, but with a “white glove” level of service. The city also collects an extra $.99.5 from each of these- making PNG still cheaper than any of the higher priced city lots.

The reality is, the Airport has the advantage all the way, since they don’t have to pay property taxes, and they don’t have to make a profit. Trust me on that last part. All one has to do is look at the horrendous deal the city did to build a parking garage- that gave away the bottom floor to the rental car companies for free for 20 years- and then spent over $600K in legal fees to try to weasel out of the bad deal. (they lost). And note, half of the people parking in the three story garage, are paying $18.00 a day to park on the roof- with no cover over their car.

Speaking of bad deals, in case you didn’t see the other story about the Airport- we’re also getting screwed with some of the highest fares in the country.

The average price of a domestic ticket dropped to $361 in the first quarter, down 7.8 percent from the same period in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Dayton International Airport saw a drop in average fare amounts for the first quarter of 2016. Prices for airfare averaged about $427.59, down from $431.57 in the first quarter of 2015.

Source: Ticket prices remain high at Dayton airport |

When NCR pulled out of Dayton, one of their excuses was the lack of flights and the costs.

Maybe, the airport could focus on actually adding value to the community, instead of trying to put small independent business people out of business.

And maybe, we stop the insanity of having a regional asset, run by, and paid for, by a single municipality? The city of Dayton has way too many other things to work on, in the city- not in Vandalia.
If there is a real reason for regionalism, it’s that stupid moves like this, affect the whole region.



It’s your tax money they are speculating with…

Tonight, the Dayton City Commission bought the hole in the ground where the Schwind and the Dayton Daily news used to sit. They spent $450K of your money. That hole still has to be filled in. The old Cox historic building- nope, they didn’t buy that. They left that with the demolition contractor, who no doubt will be the one they pay to fill the hole he left.

They also handed over the “Paru Tower” to the land bank- so they wouldn’t have to pay taxes to the schools. And Mayor Nan has the nerve to call herself the education mayor. Not only did they pay $500K for it- keeping it out of the hands of private developers who were willing to pay $350K for it- and pay taxes, they gave a commitment to the Landbank for $250K for “maintenance.”

Oh, and, they also decided to commit to a three way contract to build a multi-million dollar bandshell  on Dave Hall Plaza to give free concerts, and contribute another $500k.

All in one evening. And remember, they want to raise taxes in November.

Because this was such an epic night of mis-directing tax dollars to private ambitions, instead of the public good, I decided to go down and speak. I had plenty better to do, which is why I’m writing this at 11:15 at night, at work.

Here’s what I said- give or take, before the three minute timer went off:

It’s nice to be here in a real, legal, political meeting, where I know I won’t be rudely interrupted or have the mic shut off.

You weren’t hired to be real estate speculators. You were hired to run a city and provide services to our citizens.

You’re failing.

Former Mayor Paul Leonard said that he counts on me to try to keep you straight and honest. I take that as an honor. He asked me, “Whatever happened to being the safest cleanest city?”

And I wonder that too.

Because, frankly, I think the problem in this city is sitting in front of me.

How else do we have a police force that’s half the size, and can’t solve the murder of one of their own, over 16 years later?

Or find the murderer of SGT Major North Woodall?

Or find the cretin who stabbed a young girl on a school playground, in broad daylight?

Maybe it’s because you have money to buy buildings for which there is no public use.

Not just one, two, or three… but on a shopping spree.

There’s 601 E. Third. $450K

There’s the old Supply One on Wayne. $450K and you gave it away for $10

There’s the old Key bank. $500 K. And now- another $250K to hold it? Really?

And then there’s the Schwind and the Dayton Daily building which are now an expensive hole in the ground.

10 years ago, a local developer had a plan to turn the Schwind into student housing and still comply with the HUD deal. His plan cost $1.7 million then. You’ve spent twice that to tear it down and grow a money pit.

But, lets not stop there. We have a band shell. It’s in Island Park. Apparently, that’s not good enough for you. You want to spend half a million more to build a new bandstand… while people aren’t feeling safe in their homes.

You now have the nerve to be asking for a tax increase?

You’ve spent 5 million on empty buildings and a hole in the ground.

And I’m not even bringing up the $5 million plus you spent without a contract to secure property for the Wayne Avenue Kroger that never came.

The sad thing is it’s really hard to un-elect you thanks to our rigged charter.

But, it isn’t as hard to do a charter amendment anymore.

If you insist on spending millions more on real estate speculation and a band shell, it’s time that we start a charter amendment process to strip you of the ability to spend tax dollars for real estate for which there is no immediate public use.

Another charter amendment to stop you from giving tax breaks to companies that pay their CEO more than 10x what they pay their lowest paid employee.

To end tax breaks and incentives that aren’t equal opportunity open to every business, from the corner store-owner, to the corner office type.

And lastly, it’s time to stop the charade of allowing rich white men to control their own private police forces in the city of Dayton to protect their royal white rear ends.

If you want a cop that has police power, you get them from the City of Dayton, not the UD police, or the Miami Valley Hospital police or the Grandview police or even the Metroparks police.

They’ve all grown while our department has shrunk.

If you want to hire your own, you should have to pay a $50K a year license fee- so we can hire the cops we need so there isn’t blood in the streets-

Which I place fully in your hands.

So, go ahead, be real estate tycoons… because, I’m tired of paying for it, I’m tired of you supporting your supporters, like a certain demolition contractor, and I’m sick of seeing all of the development efforts focused downtown.

I would have continued with this:

There is often talk of West Dayton as a food desert. I don’t see you going into the grocery business…. Why is that?

Get back to basics.

For Kevin Brame. For Sgt Major Woodall, for the 7 year old who’s afraid to go on the playground now.

We, the people of Dayton don’t need any more real estate. We need you to protect our investment in our real estate.

It’s not about the empty buildings, it’s about the ones that still have people living in them.

Because we are supposed to have a government of the people, for the people.

But, I always have to stop at 3 minutes exactly- and they never respond. Because they don’t really work for us, or care what we say.

I’m going to be working with Neighborhoods over Politics [edit and addition- 20 aug 2016] with like minded people who give a shit, [end addition] to write the charter changes and to collect the signatures needed. We’ll be on the primary ballot next Spring, when Joey Williams and Jeff Mims and Nan Whaley will all be trying to get on the ballot for the fall.

If the voters have any common sense, and some good people chose to run, maybe, we can get rid of all three in the primary, change the charter to stop giving away the store to the rich, and actually get some things done.

If you are interested in helping, we’ll have a sign-up soon, but it might help if you either comment on this post, or at least follow it for notifications in the future.


What you won’t find the private police working on…

Dayton Daily News cutting about SGM Woodall Murder

Gone, but never forgotten. SGM Woodall, US Army Special Forces

Dayton used to have a police force of 500 sworn officers.

The city may have less people, but it’s still shaped like an octopus and big.

Now, Dayton has around half that. Still, racially unbalanced compared to the general population.

And, still, unable to find the killer of one of their own. You’ve seen the banners on the stations- “Reward” for the killer of officer Kevin Brame.

I feel bad that I’m writing this on the 30th- instead of July 29.

It’s my annual post asking to find the killer/s of Sgt Maj North Woodall. A decorated veteran of 3 wars who was killed in a “home invasion.”

It would be easy for me to put it in my calendar and get a reminder every year, but I don’t. Because I don’t want it to be easy. I don’t want to forget Sgt. Maj. Woodall, or the fact that his killers are still on the loose. I don’t want it to be automatic- I want to have to remember. I want to feel guilty when I write a post a day late.

That front page story from the July 29, 2009 Dayton Daily news hangs, yellowing, right above my computer- “Veteran of 3 wars, 85, dies in home invasion.”

You won’t find the private police at U.D., Miami Valley Hospital, Grandview, Good Sam, Metroparks, Sinclair Community College doing a damn thing to investigate that murder- or trying to find the killers. Nope, those are the police forces of the rich white folks who’ve been running this city for long before I got here.

We have money to buy buildings for half a million dollars for which there is no public use. We find money for paying a certain demolition contractor to tear things down. We find money for developers- and give away taxes for our schools to General Electric and any other big company that waltzes into town…

And now we want more income tax. Because, our friends in high places still have their hands out…

at least those who didn’t pack up and move to the tax free (for white collar workers only) mecca of Austin Landing…

Instead of charging a $50K per year fee for each private police license- and making sure our department still has the people it needs to solve crimes, our city is coming for more money, to pay for pre-K education (because Mayor Whaley thinks shes the education goddess of Dayton). They say they want more money for police too… but, we’ve heard that before.

What we really want is killers brought to justice.

For Kevin, for his sister Karen who will never give up. For Sgt. Maj. Woodall, for whom I hope to never give up.

But, maybe, just maybe, the voters of Dayton will learn, we don’t really want to solve those crimes-

because the victims are black men.

And we all know, black lives don’t really matter in Dayton the way rich white mens lives do….


When the city of Dayton is the public nuisance

In fact, this is such a brilliant solution to crime that the city actively uses this with bait electronics left in plain sight to entrap car thieves.

It’s not right. It’s not the right approach. It’s how losers justify the fact that they can’t do their job- they make excuses; “we don’t have the manpower” or “the judges don’t do their job” or “we’re out of space at the jail.” Our city suffers more because we’ve grown to accept mediocre government as the norm.

From crappy basketball courts, to crappy schools, to crappy public safety forces.

Just remember, while Dayton has lost half it’s police force in the last 25 years, UD, MVH, Grandview, Good Sam, Sinclair and Metroparks all have hired their own private police force in numbers to exceed the losses by Dayton. Yes, only rich white people deserve police protection in Dayton.

That includes South Park which gets 2 MVH funded police officers thank you very much.

That doesn’t account for what I’m about to share next.

City of Dayton public nuisance stickerEvery time there is a rash of car break-ins in Dayton, someone says “the cop told me to just leave the car unlocked and let them into your car.”
Last week, the city of Dayton came to South Park and told a mentally ill man to leave his home and not come back for a year.

It wasn’t a rental. He owned it.

Yes, he’d had some calls to the house by the police. Someone OD’d one time- on the porch. But, being a den of inequity and a drug house? By the standard set around the corner– he wasn’t close. Yet, the city, declared the house a “Public Nuisance” and kicked out the residents, made it a crime to be on the property for a year, and walked away.

Did they secure the house? No.

Windows are missing. A piece of cardboard in the door isn’t “securing” anything.

If I did this, I’d be facing charges.

Photo of unsecured vacated nuisance house in Dayton OhioWhat they’ve done instead is sent a message on a bright orange sticker to scrappers to “please scrap here”- remove all the remaining copper wires, copper plumbing, appliances, mechanical systems – anything of value.

Since the owner is banned from being on the property- he can’t do it.

Gee, this is how to protect our neighborhood values?

I’ve said before that you should be happy if you get burglarized – the most dangerous crime to your property is when a bank comes and forecloses on the home next door. No matter what it was worth the day the Sheriff kicks the tenants out- it will be a lot less by the time the bank unloads it- if they can unload it. If the scrappers don’t come first.

It’s been a week since this mess was created by the City of Dayton.

Let’s see if they can board it up properly before the close of business today?


An apology, and who really gave Westwood the finger

A bit of time has passed since I gave the single finger salute, yelled an expletive and left a West side church with an escort.

That night, I went and composed a letter of apology to the pastor at Wayman Chapel AME and sent it. It was copied to a few people who also know the pastor,  to make sure he got wind of it.

Here it is:

From: David Esrati <[email protected]>
Date: May 9, 2016 at 9:34 PM
To: [email protected]
CC: …..
Subject: My sincere apologies

Pastor Cooper,
I owe you, and the good people of Wayman Chapel a deep apology. There is no excuse for what came out of my mouth in your church.
I’ve been to Wayman many times- and have almost always felt welcome.
The reason I say almost, is I’ve been told several times at candidates events not to video the event- which I find curious, because I thought we held these events to inform the public.
What happened tonight was something that’s never been done to me in 26 odd years of being in local politics.
I’ve spoken in chambers, I’ve spoken in churches, in neighborhood meetings.
I’ve handled hecklers. I’ve been called names. I’ve even been arrested- because I stood up when no one else would- but, I’ve never had a microphone cut off- and been given such a smug response.
That is an issue I have with Pastor Johnson. I would welcome your guidance in mediation on this matter.
Churches are special places-
places where people come to heal, to come together- not to censor and disrespect.
I had no business saying what I said-
I should have been a bigger man-
but, I wasn’t.
For that I’m deeply sorry.
I hope you can accept my apology.

my cell is 937-

To this day, no response at all.

An email on official City of Dayton letterhead from Nan Whaley to a public political meeting about the defunct regionalization meetingAt the third meeting, held in a Trotwood church on June 6th, I was met in the parking lot by a lot of the same people who surrounded me at Wayman- sporting new “Wayman Security Team” t-shirts. They wouldn’t let me into the public meeting with my camera to hear the speeches of the politicians explaining why they had held two meetings about a regionalization plan that they had already managed to subvert- long before the meetings. The invite on city letterhead from Mayor Nan Whaley is at right. I stood outside and held my cell phone to record it. I pointed out to many public officials as they entered that this wasn’t a legal public meeting. Right up until three Trotwood police cruisers showed up, and I was told to leave the “private property.”

And, btw, if I wasn’t white, I’m sure I wouldn’t get away to talking to these officers the way I did, even though I was totally within my rights.

Using churches for political meetings is a violation of the Johnson amendment.

Organizations recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code are subject to limits or absolute prohibitions on engaging in political activities and risk loss of tax exempt status if violated.[3] Specifically, they are prohibited from conducting political campaign activities to intervene in elections to public office.[4][5]

This was clearly a political meeting and an attempt to intervene in elections, especially when a member of the press is banned. For years, we’ve let the Black Ministerial Alliance be a part of the political process in Dayton when we shouldn’t. And, if one looks at the conditions of the West Side, the people of West Dayton should be asking themselves twice why these men of the cloth are the ones driving the late model Benz’s while their flock is living next to a drug, whore or vacant and dilapidated house.

My neighborhood has seen steady improvements in property values over the 30 years I’ve lived here and been a part of my community, South Park. Pastor Cooper had yet another shooting outside his  church’s front door last night on Leland Avenue in Westwood- recently called  out in the Dayton Daily news as the most troubled neighborhood in the city and where property values have plummeted.

The difference between Pastor Cooper and Pastor Johnson and me? I actually know and go to their neighborhoods. I believe actions speak louder than words.

The real question is what are the political geniuses of Dayton who sponsored this meeting up to? Why did they hold three meetings when they knew this plan was already toast? What was their goal in stirring the pot?

Regionalization is a very serious subject and one that needs to be addressed. These meetings, which I put on Youtube, were all about what they were against, not what they are for. They have no plan, other than to stick their heads in the mud and reject any change. The status quo is fine by them.

I went to the meetings so that the public would have full unfettered access to what was said.

Why haven’t the organizers posted video? Where is their website with a discussion of the issues? What are their plans to improve conditions in the very neighborhood where they stood and preached at will about the evils of the only regional plan on the table.

And, why would they have meetings in churches, run by pastors, if this is publicized on official city letterhead?

If you ask me, the people who lead these meetings should be the ones apologizing for their failures to the people of Westwood, for letting the community rot, while proclaiming that they are fit to lead this community.

And in the end, I’m the bad guy…







Dayton will need to raise taxes to pay off the panhandlers lawsuits

In the “told you so” file-

The city of Dayton is considering new panhandling rules because its current regulations are likely unconstitutional and unlawfully restrict free speech.

The Dayton commission today is expected to introduce an ordinance to amend, replace and eliminate some regulations on solicitation that the city’s law department believes do not pass constitutional muster.

Recent court decisions have concluded that asking for money or expressing a need for assistance is protected free speech, and the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office recently challenged Dayton’s rules on this basis.

Dayton is looking at eliminating the requirement that people who engage in solicitation register with the city. The city also is considering eradicating a prohibition on soliciting before sunrise or after dark.

“I’m glad to hear that Dayton is taking a good look at its ordinance,” said Joseph Mead, cooperating attorney with the ACLU of Ohio, which challenged the constitutionality of the city of Akron’s “anti-panhandling” ordinance. “Hopefully the city takes steps to avoid the litigation that Akron faced.

”In April 2015, the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office filed a motion to dismiss some solicitation charges that were pending in a Dayton Municipal Court case involving Clayton Peck. Peck has been arrested more than 200 times for panhandling.

Angelina Jackson, assistant public defender, argued Dayton’s panhandling rules are unconstitutional because they prohibit certain types of speech based on content.

Jackson said the city also was inappropriately restricting First Amendment rights by requiring people to get a permit to solicit. Prosecutors dismissed the charges before a judge issued a ruling.

But today, Dayton’s own law department says the city’s ordinances on solicitation are unlikely to survive a legal challenge because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Ariz.

In that case, the Supreme Court clarified how laws that restrict the topic or content of free speech are unconstitutional.

Since then, federal courts have ruled against municipalities’ “anti-panhandling” laws for violating the free speech of poor and homeless people, according to advocacy groups.

“In the wake of that decision, a number of federal courts have invalidated panhandling laws that imposed more regulations on begging than on other forms of speech,” wrote the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.

The Reed v. Gilbert case has cast doubt on the constitutionality of laws like Dayton’s that seek to restrict charitable solicitations, said Mead, the attorney.

Source: Panhandling rules could change

and go back to…

With a serious shortage of police on the street, no new hires in sight, we’re going to make holding a sign up on the corner illegal? Really?

Besides the slight problem with the U.S. constitutional protection of free speech, the city is going to “fine” or “incarcerate” panhandlers? Why not just give them minimum-wage jobs cutting grass on vacant lots instead? Between the wasting of time of valuable police officers making- oh around $30 an hour, and the cost of paperwork, court time, jail- the fines that will be levied and not collected…
Laws that can’t be enforced are laws we don’t need. The legal defense on this one, when the ACLU steps in, will cost the city thousands.

Let’s just think about this for a minute- is wearing a shirt that says “I’m homeless please help” illegal too?

Source: Dayton panhandler law- it’ll cost us. – Esrati

Naw, don’t elect Esrati, don’t listen to him, move along, nothing happening here.

Congratulations to Clayton Peck who may now get a very big check.

Too bad we can’t sue politicians for doing stupid things…

Signals crossed: Mayor vs School Board for Dayton Tax hike “for the kids”

Earlier this week, the Mayor and her minions started testing the waters for a .25% income tax hike, raising Dayton’s rate to rival Oakwood’s highest in the County 2.5%. Oakwood, with the best schools, the lowest crime, perfectly kept streets and backyard trash pickup. A place where public parks look like Disneyland- and even have public bathrooms “that don’t even smell” (that quote from a DPS student who was amazed at Orchardly Park while helping me with a hoops Dayton video).

Part of that money is to go to pay for comprehensive pre-school.

DAYTON — Under the threat of a state takeover, Dayton Public Schools Board of Education members agreed during a work session Saturday to draft a resolution of necessity, the first step toward placing a levy before Dayton voters in November.

The levy plan being forwarded is a temporary five-year, five mills levy targeted toward improving after-school and summer programs with possible technology components, said Adil Baguirov, board president.

“In the long run it’s more prudent and much cheaper to invest in early childhood education and summer programs and after-school programs and educational technology than it is into prisons and all kinds of remediation later in life,” he said.

Without showing improvement on its state report card, the district runs the risk of being operated under an Academic Distress Commission within the next two years. New funding could pull the district back from the brink, said Joe Lacey, a board member.

“We need to try to do something – an additional program, if you will – over and above what we’re doing to try to bring us out from under the threat of academic distress,” Lacey said. “We’ve seen some successes with that at our schools, specifically Ruskin (Elementary School).” Baguirov said the levy is not permanent and not meant for general operating funds.The measure, however, is headed toward the same ballot as a Dayton income tax increase proposed by the city. Voters in November will be asked whether to approve a 0.25 percent increase on income earned in Dayton to help close a projected budget shortfall, fund police and fire services and pay for universal preschool.

Source: Levy proposal for Dayton schools pushed forward |

Whoa, hold on there. If we just wait 2 years for the State takeover, we don’t have to worry about paying for the schools at all- it’s the State’s problems- so isn’t a 5 year levy a bit much?

And, maybe because the Mayor didn’t even bother to come to the meeting where the three Superintendent candidates were presented to the public- we might infer that coordination between the two political bodies has broken down? Both coming to tax payers “for the kids” at the same time is a monumental recipe for disaster.

Dayton already spends more per student than any other district in the county, with the worst results. Noted, they also deal with the most special needs students, an 85% poverty level population, and has to compete with charter schools that don’t have to meet any of the same requirements for hiring teachers, testing, certification etc.

So, what should tax payers really ask for in terms of change?

David Esrati Campaign literature from 1993

It was 11×17, both sides, a lot to read- too bad not enough did.

I go back to my campaign literature from 1993 when I was running for the seat that eventually was Dean Lovelace’s entry to the dais:

Neighborhood-based Schools
“It takes an entire village to raise a child”
African saying

An entire VILLAGE, people, not an entire City. If we return to neighborhood schools the parents can get involved again. The chief reason for Dayton’s decline is busing. It is The Problem. As your commissioner I will spend at least an hour a day in one of our public schools.

I also proposed, long before our new buildings with A/C were built,

The year-round school

To combat the suburbs, and to keep our kids out of trouble, I recommend we move to year-round schools over the next 12 years. We aren’t farmers, our kids don’t work the fields in the summer. Learning is a lifelong experience, we need to reinforce that with a year-round learning environment.

Subsidized Day Care

An innovative day-care program is needed to attract new busines and new citizens to the city, as wellas to put our high percentage of single parents back into the work force as productive taxpayers. This would be a high-quality 24-hour service, that would provide long-term benefits to our citizens and make your investment in Dayton grow.

Hmmm, and no one took me seriously? We decimated our parks programs, filled in the swimming pools, and the school year remains the same as everyone elses, despite having a tougher challenge.

What DPS needs to do to improve test scores and keep kids out of trouble is move to a longer school day, with a longer school year, add an additional 20 days to the 180 day school year, with a 4 day school week  for most of the year except for leading into testing weeks.

The school day would be 8:30 to 5:30, but actual academic instruction time would be limited to 4 hours a day. The other hours would be doing art, music, phys ed, home ec, extra curriculars, and individualized guided learning. You want to be a programmer- you go hang out with the computer club, you want to be a social worker, you volunteer with a social service agency, you want to be a teacher, you tutor younger kids. Teachers have more time to plan, and to guide students in their personal passions- be it genealogy, chess, quilting or gardening. And, every school should be raising it’s own food- as both a hands on learning biology and agronomy, but as a business model as well. Hire Lisa Helm from Garden Station to lead the charge- since Nan and friends are evicting them from their gift to our community.

Yes, negotiating the new teacher contracts will be tough, but most inner city teachers aren’t there for the money, especially since Dayton doesn’t pay well. And we need to take a new look at transportation- no more door to door- but have neighborhood stops, on roads built to handle buses- and ways to get kids in a community to know each other. We need to find ways to build relationships back into the neighborhoods- since when you get right down to it- people are always what make a city, what make a neighborhood- not the buildings and certainly not the politicians.

I was talking about the cost of summer and the summer slide 25 years ago. Here’s a bit from an article from the New York Times about “The families that can’t afford summer” – which is most of Dayton:

Most American schools take a 10- to 11-week break during the summer. The assumption that underlies summer vacation — that there is one parent waiting at home for the kids — is true for just over a quarter of American families. For the rest of us, the children are off, the parents are not. We can indulge our annual illusion of children filling joyful hours with sprinkler romps and robotics camp or we can admit the reality: Summer’s supposed freedom is expensive.

In 2014, parents reported planning to spend an average of $958 per child on summer expenses. Those who can’t afford camps or summer learning programs cobble together care from family members or friends, or are forced to leave children home alone. Self-care for 6- to 12-year-olds increases during the summer months, with 11 percent of children spending an average of 10 hours a week on their own. In July 2014, a South Carolina woman was arrested when she left her 9-year-old in a park while she worked. Parents afraid of being at the center of a similar incident may be more likely to park their kids in front of the TV.In summer, the lack of affordable child care and the achievement gap collide for lower income families. Most kids lose math skills over the summer, but low income children also lose, on average, more than two months of reading skills — and they don’t gain them back. That puts them nearly three years behind higher income peers by the end of fifth grade, and the gap just keeps getting wider. Researchers credit the summer slide for about half of the overall difference in academic achievement between lower and higher income students.

Source: The Families That Can’t Afford Summer – The New York Times

Arguments can be made for a 5 day school week with year round school until DPS comes out of academic emergency- but, moving to a full, real world work world for teachers would be a monumental struggle. There is a beauty to the four day work week- look at what Dayton did with trash collection savings. When you have a Tues-Friday schedule- all those national holidays except the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas and New years- all become standard days off.

We need a radical fix for Dayton Public Schools. Anyone who thinks more money is going to fix it is delusional- because you can’t sell the same inferior product with a higher cost to voters- they will vote with their feet, just throwing Dayton deeper into the hole.

As to the City levy- the only way I’d support it if it included a rescission of all property tax abatements for companies with employees making more than $250K a year. We’re not subsidizing the rich on the backs of the poor anymore- and this goes for non-profits and schools as well. When you realize that half of the income for the hospitals is tax dollars for medicare, and the universities are heavily subsidized with grants and loans for students- it’s time to stop padding pockets into the stratosphere on the backs of the little people. The Brexit vote should be a good clue to politicians world wide that the working class is fed up with the redistribution of wealth and the widening gap.

We’ve been sold Sinclair as our savior against kids unprepared for the workforce for years, instead of making sure a high school diploma still meant something.

It’s time to reinvent our idea of school, and of how to help the poor get a real chance at not following in their parents footsteps- neither the city or the DPS tax plan will do anything to substantially revamp the equation, nor spells out actual mechanics of making it happen.

Look at my old campaign literature- and realize you missed out on 25 years of forward thinking and let’s get busy making real changes happen.