McManus makes his case for change

At last nights Dayton Board of Education circus, there were two prepared speeches. One was on the agenda, and was supposed to go before citizen comments- from John McManus, and the other, came out of left field and was read by Joe Lacey.

Lacey was grandstanding, suggesting that the board that brought this rookie superintendent into the district to raise havoc, was soundly behind the teachers and valued them. This despite the breakdown of contract negotiations after Rhonda Corr kicked the professional negotiators out and tried to do it herself.

Talk is cheap. And Lacey is the only one running for re-election.

I’d not prepared a speech, because I was hoping to respond or build on what McManus would say. I knew something was coming, although I didn’t know what it would be. As usual, he’s too much of a southern gentleman to actually name names or point a finger directly, but, it was a well reasoned preamble to either firing Corr, or changing business as usual.

Here’s what hasn’t been said- since last years resignation deadline, 135 teachers have already resigned. Despite what HR Director Judy Spurlock said last week at the review session, this is a huge number, and it will grow by July 10, this years deadline. There isn’t a teacher or an administrator in the district that has faith in Rhonda Corr, with the possible exceptions of Dr. Sheila Burton who has turned into Rhonda’s lap dog, and LaMark Baker, who owes his career to her. Any other superintendent and board would have fired him, the Dunbar AD Pete Pullen, and the Dunbar Coach Darren Powell after the Dunbar fiasco game. As we saw yesterday, this derelict board decided to pin all the responsibility on Darren Powell, wrongly. He’s probably the least culpable of the above in this matter.

I asked McManus for the text of his speech, and thought it should be published. Between his speech, which Sheila Taylor actually stood and clapped for after, and the overruling of the superintendents recommendation to rehire Powell, we started to see visible questioning of Corr’s future at the helm.

My prediction is that she won’t last 3 months. The lawsuits will begin to expose her working style and lack of leadership, as well as other questionable practices. I’ll also be surprised if this board isn’t replaced wholesale before the end of July- as resignations mount and the floodgates open from depositions and legal filings against the board.

Here is the McManus speech as written-

John McManus, reading to DPS kids. This is the only board member who gets it.

John McManus, reading to DPS kids. This is the only board member who gets it.

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling to our nation’s capitol, something I enjoy doing from time to time to take in the history and the magic of the place. While there, I took the opportunity to visit a small national landmark, a quiet place that was intimately special and familiar to one of our nation’s founding fathers. As I walked the grounds and reflected on my own life, I found myself overcome with a profound sense of gratitude to the people of this community who have given me the incredible opportunity to serve in this elected system of government that has been left to us by many who came before us.

At that moment, I promised myself that I would spend my remaining time on this Board giving it every single thing I could to earn the tremendous honor that the people of Dayton have given me. I promised myself that I would no longer allow myself to be content when I should demand more. The people of this community deserve no less. Towards that effort, I would like to re-commit myself to my campaign promises to the people, and also make my own expectations known as we close one school year and hurdle towards the next.

I ran for this seat for three primary reasons. The first was due to the fact that I thought I could put my government experience to use in helping this District navigate its way out of a takeover by state government. It struck me as a fascinating challenge. Thanks to the incredible work of our amazing teachers, our staff, students, and parents, that threat is now gone for the foreseeable future.

The next reason I chose to run is because I wanted to put my experience in public sector human resources to work, hoping to improve the District’s once-dismal HR office. No government agency can expect to be well-performing if its HR office if failing. Under the strong leadership of Judy Spurlock, our human resources office is now miles ahead of where it once was, and I am so proud of her and her staff for transforming DPS HR into what I knew it could be.

The next reason that I chose to run was to take my passion for public sector administration to our community’s school district and help oversee a large scale government agency in the hopes of making it the most effective and efficient that it could be.

With the takeover threat gone for now and with the knowledge that our HR department is in the best health it has been in in a very long time, I am re-committing myself to my promise to deeply focus on administrative effectiveness and efficiency. This year has been a year of large-scale administrative changes downtown. We have a new superintendent, a new treasurer, new administrators in new positions, and long-term administrators in different positions than they once held. By now, I am confident that everyone sufficiently understands their role, and I am making a promise to my constituents to do everything that I can to help the administration effectively run this district.

I have worked in government my entire life. I’ve worked for the federal government, state government, and local government. I’ve worked in the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. Having served in all three branches of government and at all three levels of government, I have seen what it takes to ensure that a government agency runs well.

There is one common denominator, and that is planning.

We have done some incredible things at Dayton Public this year. We’ve provided expanded learning and development to our teachers. We successfully ensured the roll out of the 1 to 1 technology program. We selected and utilized Achieve 3000 and Imagine Learning to support a differentiated and personalized support system. We implemented the gold standard of ongoing assessments, that being NWEA. We have brought career technical education programs to every single high school, and we launched the Dayton Innovative Virtual Academy. The State of Ohio has commended DPS on our groundbreaking TBT, BLT, and DLT model.  We’ve invested long-overdue resources in transportation, and we’ve invested in new text books and a course of study where one had not been introduced in 6 years. Everyone in this District, from the superintendent, staff, teachers, parents, and students have my most sincere appreciation for ensuring this progress.

While applauding this progress, it is absolutely fundamental that Dayton Public Schools begin to sufficiently engage in long term and short term planning, and communicate that plan both internally and externally in a consistent and robust way. Our staff expect it, and they deserve it.

In the coming year, I will make it a non-negotiable requirement that I be provided with weekly updates from the administration of what is being done throughout the District. A Board cannot effectively carry out its responsibility of oversight if it is not well informed. Moreover, I will require monthly status reports on progress made that is specific to our strategic plan. We have a strategic plan, but I cannot recall the last time that we as a group sat down, studied it, and asked what progress has been made in critical areas outlined on the plan. No government agency can even hope to be performing at an optimal level if it does not develop a plan, continuously reference its plan, and dedicate itself to implementing the provisions of its plan with discipline in its execution. The plan must have appropriate point persons, coupled with actual deadlines, and specific ways in which to measure progress.

My intent here is not to micromanage. My intent is to do my job as a supervisor in ensuring that my employees are adhering to their own strategic plan in a disciplined and effective way. The people of Dayton elected me, and all of us on this Board, to do exactly that.

The most effective bosses I had were the ones who expected consistent, thorough, and reliable progress reports from me on the plan that they and I set up together. I hope to do the same for those that answer to this Board, as it will help all of us stay relentlessly focused on a charted course aimed at student achievement. Remember: accountability is not punishment. Accountability is evidence of proper management.

Finally, I will specifically refer to two examples where insufficient planning led to dissolution of order and discipline. The first example is that of the proposed reduction of force of building employees in the middle of the academic year. Although I was opposed to the RIF, I can readily acknowledge that its primary reason for falling apart was the fundamentally insufficient planning of what would come after the RIF. In fact, we had failed to replace multiple positions in senior management at the transportation garage for months after the RIF, leaving our director of transportation doing his best to lead our entire operation on his own. Our students, families, educators, and staff deserve a reliable transportation system, and I cannot help but wonder if better succession planning would have helped avoid confusion and embarrassment related to busing this year. We cannot lead and make critical and strategic decisions when the planning is insufficient.

The next example is that of the process surrounding the acquisition of marketing services. At the beginning of the year, I made a video informing my constituents that one of my three top priorities this year would be the implementation of an effective marketing program at Dayton Public Schools. This responsibility is a sacred one for me, as I was asked to approve others to speak for me to my constituents who gave me the honor of sitting in this seat. It pained me to vote against the proposal, considering that marketing was one of my highest priorities. The RFP and RFQ process was ill-handled to the point that we had to start over. That kind of performance is unacceptable for a government agency with nearly 3,000 employees and an annual budget of hundreds of millions of dollars. By the end of the ordeal, I had little to no confidence in the process and little to no knowledge of the vendor’s actual plan of action to provide effective marketing for Dayton Public Schools. By now, we have spent a small fortune on marketing, and I can only hope that it has tangible and measurable results by the time enrollment numbers are provided to the Board.

I have said what I felt I needed to say. In the coming year, I expect more information, more coordination, and more planning. Updates to the Board are critical, as is relentless adherence to our strategic plan. Long term and short term planning must be at the heart of what we do, and that plan must be communicated externally and internally on a consistent and revolving basis.

I will remind you of my reference to all of the transformational changes that have occurred at Dayton Public Schools this year. To all of you who were responsible for its implementation, I am so thankful to you for a job well done there. In the year ahead, let our planning and communication be at the center of all we do, and you will see that the changes that have been made this year are only the beginning.

Thank you.

School board member, John McManus, Business meeting, 20 Jun 2017

It has been revealed that the DEA and the professional DPS negotiating team are scheduled to meet with the Federal mediator separately in early July. The goal is to put a contract in place to stop anymore teachers from leaving the district and to begin the slow process of rebuilding respect between the parties.

I don’t see any hope for this district with either the current Superintendent or board and believe both should be removed by a judge, who can evaluate a number of insanely bad decisions, disruptions and questionable practices. Considering there are 14 people with petitions out right now, very easily the top 7 could be sworn in as soon as the election is completed in November. It would be up to the judge to say which of these existing board members should be allowed to run again.

In the meantime, an interim superintendent or superintendent team, should work hard at teacher retention, solving the bus/driver problems, and rebuilding the trust of the staff that’s stayed and the parents that haven’t walked.

Issue 9 campaign finance accounting gets an “F”

When I wrote the post back before the election about where the issue 9 money came from, I was flabbergasted.

Not only by the amount of money they spent and where it came from, but the average donation was higher than most federal campaigns. The average was $1873. Issue 9 raised the City of Dayton income tax to 2.5% and promised millions of dollars to a quasi-public organization with no voter oversight- the “Preschool Promise” and “Learn to Earn” people.

thumbnail of Neigborhoods-for-Daytons-Future-2016On the reporting deadline, “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future” they said they had a balance on hand of $94,148.76

I waited for a post campaign report. It never appeared.

I waited for a 2016 annual report- it never appeared.

I wrote Jan Kelly, director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections and asked where it was and got the following response:

David,

Good afternoon.  You raised a question as to whether or not a local PAC (Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future) has been compliant with reporting requirements under campaign finance law. The PAC filed a 2016 Pre-General report as they were participating in promoting an issue during last falls’ General Election cycle. They did not file a Post-General report. They did file an Annual Report. Our campaign Finance Department has not yet audited all 2016 reports. All 2016 reports are scheduled to be audited over the summer including all PAC’s. If a PAC failed to file a required report, at the conclusion of the those audits, letters will be sent to the Ohio Election Commission listing all PAC’s which are not in compliance. We expect that all audits will be complete by the end of July and letters to the Elections Commission would follow shortly thereafter. I hope explanation this answers your question.

Happy Memorial Day.

Repeated calls to Ms. Kelly went unanswered as to where the annual was. Finally, on Friday, I contacted David Landon who is the R in charge of campaign finance reporting and he got me a copy of the annual. It was 2 pages long.

thumbnail of 2016 Annual Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future PAC Campaign Finance Report

2016 Annual Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future PAC Campaign Finance Report (click to download)

It showed only one expense in the period between the pre-election filing and the annual: $1051.33 to Code Credit Union on 12/30/16 for a “Visa PMT” – it never said what the payment was for.

Let’s do basic math- $94,148.76 – $1051.33 = $93,097.43

Which should be the balance on hand, only slight problem. They start out with a balance on hand of $51,969.67, meaning $42,179.09 was unaccounted for.

And you wonder why I didn’t trust the PreSchool Promise/Learn To Earn quasi-governmental school board with our tax dollars?

We need an immediate accounting of where the Political Action Committee money went.

 

If this is the best DPS can do…

Screenshot of bad microsite for DPSWhen you hire an ad agency that likes to buy media- of course, the first thing you do is buy media.  Dayton Public Schools hired The Ohlmann Group, who bragged about winning the “Mercury award” for media buying all seven years the award has been in existence. Airing today, radio spots on 103.9- Clear Channel Alt rock station – directing people to the new landing page site www.enrolldps.com

Which starts off with:

GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING AT DAYTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

At Dayton Public Schools, good grades aren’t just for our students. The State of Ohio recently awarded Dayton Public Schools a grade of A for “value added,” recognizing the improvement we’re making in our students’ education. From our top-rated preschools to our innovative elementary and high school technology initiatives and career programs, the future is filled with tremendous promise. Enroll now and discover how Dayton Public Schools provides the teachers and educational resourcess (sic) that help every child thrive.

More stock photos, stock icons, and links back to bad DPS forms like this one- the actual enrollment page: http://www.dps.k12.oh.us/students-parents/student-enrollment-and-records/online-student-registration.html

Please tell me one thing on this page that makes you confident that DPS is any different than it was last year – the year before, or the year before that? Should you really be bragging about “Award winning athletics- Committed to providing student-athletes with a healthy athletic experience designed to enhance their overall development” considering the district just got put on probation for 3 years by the Ohio High School Athletics Association?

Here we go spending money on radio, billboards, new bad websites, without addressing any of the issues facing the district.

My favorite is the part about the 1-to-1 computers: “Will my child receive a chromebook? As part of the district’s 1:1 Initiative, all students and content area teachers (including self-contained teachers) grades 1-12 will receive a Chromebook for the upcoming school year. Similar devices will be available for kindergarten students”- leaving out that they won’t actually have possession of said chromebook, or be able to bring it home, you just get to use it to drill and fill while in a classroom.

Considering radio reaches communities well outside DPS, one has to wonder what DPS thinks they are doing? Do people in Kettering really need to hear this message?

Another #FAIL brought to you by the fine folks at Dayton Public Schools.

 

Whaley unopposed, Shanklin resigns, DPS is still a clusterduck

If Nan Whaley thinks the reason she’s unopposed is because she’s doing such a good job, she’s as delusional as DPS Superintendent Rhonda Corr and the Dayton Public Schools Board of Education. If any of them had any sense, they’d do what Wilburt Shanklin did- resign. Shanklin was the embattled nominee to the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission who was appointed by the County Judges illegally, since he was already sitting on a county appointed board.

The reason Nan is unopposed is partially because no one wants to run against a candidate with $140K in the bank, and a record of spending half a million to run for a job that pays $47K a year. The other reason is that the petition process is so flawed, it should be illegal to use the city prescribed petitions. I’ve written extensively about these bad petitions- with their non-required “Ward and Precinct” boxes- and the requirements for notarization, but the main question is since when was graphology a requirement for working at the BOE? To say you can’t recognize signatures – when collected via a clipboard- is just one way that the partisan Board of (S)Elections keeps people off the ballot. Any process that generates a minimum 20% failure rate by even the most careful candidates- should be re-evaluated.

If my father hadn’t died, it my mother didn’t have dementia and I was the sole caregiver, you can bet your last nickle that I would have run. Although, they’ve often found reasons to disqualify my petitions at huge cost to the voters in the past.

That there is no primary gives the commission challengers more time to do the work and to raise the money. Hopefully, the voters will realize that with no chance of replacing Nan- maybe it’s time to add some people who do more than dress well and say yes to her highness on command.

The Veterans Service Commission position will be filled by the judges within 60 days. I’m a member of both the American Legion and the Disabled Veterans of America. I’m requesting my name to be on the list- or will be submitting my name on my own. I believe there is lots of room for improvement to the VSC- including doing what the law requires- immediate aid, when necessary. Shanklin probably resigned because it was becoming apparent that he wasn’t going to survive the court scrutiny. Mark one up for Mat Heck’s Montgomery County Prosecutors office. They actually acted on public bodies breaking the law.

Which is the lead in for the shit show at the Board of Education which I’ve been covering extensively since the Board decided to replace Lori Ward and Craig Jones with, well, there may not be words….

Last week we covered the Board violating the contract that they spent months negotiating to buy out David Lawrence, before they even approved it. Mat Heck, did you pay attention? Then there was the issue of them waiving the 48 hour rule to vote to accept a contract a week early to hire the Ohlmann Group to do their marketing. Two weeks later, Ohlmann still wasn’t on the job according to Hazel Rountree, who was wondering why no one was showing up to the DPS Virtual School meetings. This started another discussion at last nights meeting. That is after “Parliamentarian” Joe Lacey was looking at the wrong agenda and they passed motions on something that was never properly moved or seconded.

The board hadn’t heard from Ohlmann- who wasn’t entirely sure the District had committed to them. The solution? Create more stupid board lead task forces to tell the “experts” they hired- how to fix the problems the board keeps creating. We went to one today and filmed. Dr. Baguirov thinks he’s an expert at web design and usability now – and even suggested using Flash on the site. He showed off charter school sites- and their emphasis on enrollment on the front page- and thinks the district needs to build enrollment landing pages. Wow, this is some comprehensive strategy in the works. The people from the Ohlmann group sat there and nodded- and said the board needs storytellers. Working with a camera on them didn’t make them too happy. We’ll post that session tomorrow- right here. (posted 6pm Mar 9, 2017)

Never mind that Ohlmann was the highest bidder by $50K and over the stated limit the district announced. If this had been a construction contract, it would be void for exceeding the estimate by 10%, but, surprisingly, there is very little real law in Ohio on how to conduct competitive bids by school boards.

We’re starting to think the real value to our agency is to do a reality webshow on Disaster Districts, sort of like Kitchen Nightmares or Restaurant Impossible. The board should welcome this, since we’ve seen where reality TV stars end up these days.

Two things to think about from this post: This blog lead the way on calling out Shanklin’s appointment to the VSC and he’s gone. And, after me chastising the board for not taping all their meetings and not using a PA to help Board Member Sheila Taylor hear- they started to tape the off week meeting in the room of the square table- and using microphones for about 60% of the time.

Progress. It comes slowly in Dayton Ohio.

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Faulty Fairgrounds math

“Fairgrounds $15M purchase approved” is the headline on the front page of today’s Dayton Daily news. This is what we would now call “alternative facts,” or in the past- an “F” in math.

No worries, because no matter how much you sell the Fairgrounds for to “Meds, Eds and Feds” you keep the most valuable piece of undeveloped, virgin land in Downtown out of the category of contributing tax entity. No money generated to the schools, and- with this latest plan- which is really no plan, no idea of the number of jobs that will be created- the normal excuse for the public financing of private institutions (otherwise known as either corporate welfare or screwing the little guys).

UD and Premier will redevelop the property after market analysis and community input, according to a news release from the county…. The closing is supposed to take place no later than 15 days after the end of the due diligence period, which can be extended to the end of March if the buyers choose. UD and Premier will take possession of the property no later than Oct. 1, the letter states.

UD and Premier agreed to try to retain the historic roundhouse and incorporate it into their redevelopment plans.

In exchange, the county will provide them with a $2 million credit at the time of closing, which will be applied to the first and smaller of the two payments.

“We’re very pleased that as part of this deal the county is going to be able to contribute money to not only to keep that building where it is, but to improve it,” Commissioner Foley said.

Under the agreement, UD and Premier will not be required to renovate the building by any specific date.

The institutions also can decide that the roundhouse should be taken apart and reassembled at a suitable site somewhere else. But the building has a historic designation and, if moved, would have to be reconstructed to meet historic rehab standards, officials said.

Foley said he’s confident the development will create jobs, reshape the neighborhood and support two major anchor institutions.

“We’re excited that this next step has been accomplished. We look forward to working with our partners to develop plans for future,” said Premier Health in a statement.

The purchase agreement also says the city of Dayton will work to approve a memorandum of understanding outlining how it is prepared to participate in the construction of the infrastructure to benefit and support the redevelopment project.

The city also would be expected to take ownership of the title to the fairgrounds property to make the development eligible for tax increment financing incentives.

As for the financing, UD and Premier are expected to each pay $5.25 million of the sales price.

About $2.5 million is expected to come from a state grant that was previously awarded to the Dayton-MontgomeryCountyPort Authority. And the remaining $2 million is from the county.

Source: Fairgrounds’ $15M purchase approved

As far as this math challenged writer can figure, the Fairgrounds was sold for $10.5 million- making this the steal of the century.

And, the “historic roundhouse” isn’t worth much more than a pole barn, which is all it was then and now. If we are worried about preserving buildings in this town, let’s start with ones that have taxpaying people in them, that we’ve been tearing down faster than Trump tweets.

This after, two developers probably invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop a real plan with measurable returns on investment to the community, that were tossed out, so we (the taxpayers) could basically donate this property to two institutions that already don’t pay a lick of property tax- and cried like babies when told they’d have to pay an assessment like the rest of us for new streetlights based on a democratic formula based on street frontage.

And remember, Premier/MVH had plenty of money to spare, as did their top, grossly overpaid executives to donate to Issue 9 to RAISE their income taxes .25% just a few months ago. How much they donated isn’t even fully known, because the mystery Political Action Committee that funded the campaign never filed their post election report. After it passed, one of the first things Premier did was to end support for the two Community Based Police officers they had funded for South Park and Rubicon Mill (the neighborhood FKA Fairgrounds).

Of course, Dan Foley seems to be the only one talking about this donation. Foley has been searching for a post commission job for years. First he’d hoped to be hired by the Dayton Development Coalition, and now, it looks like he’s looking for a job with UD or Premier – hopefully as sweet as what former County Administrator Deb Feldman landed over at Children’s Medical Center where she makes a cool half million a year plus (up from around $200K a year). Foley was also behind the latest failed regionalization push- which crashed and burned, where he made enemies with every black democrat thanks to Nan Whaley’s scare the west side meetings that were a total farce (the poison pill to block the plan was already well in place).

Foley likes to think of himself as some kind of visionary leader, but, he gets nothing done. Maybe this is because he’s never held a real job in his life outside of either patronage jobs through the party, or elected jobs because he’s was born into the party (his Daddy was a judge, and this is how we take care of the friends and family in the Monarchy of Montgomery County). He’s a very nice guy, but that’s really not why we should elect anyone. Voters are getting sick of the same folks getting elected over and over and doing nothing- he almost lost to Jan Kelly last time (she’s now the Republican in charge at the Board of Elections) despite outspending her and being the incumbent, and Debbie Lieberman came within a hair of losing to Gary Leitzell last time out, despite outspending him 100 to 1. If you need any proof that no elected position is safe from incompetence, just look to the White House.

This deal to give away the real estate should be stopped. Without a contract in place specifying the investment to be made and the return on investment, the property should just be kept in holding. Anything else is criminal.

As to the lie of $15 million, that’s what happens when the only reliable news source in a city has to be published by a political gadfly who the party and the paper tried to minimalize from the very first time he ran for office over 25 years ago. You’re welcome.

 

 

Fallout from Issue 9 passing?

Starting January 1, 2017, Dayton residents will pay 2.5% income tax up from 2.25% income tax. Believe it or not, the residents actually voted to raise their own income tax believing any one of several lies:

  • It’s for the kids, because we are going to fund the “pre-school promise” of free pre-school for all.
  • We’re going to keep essential city services and add 20 police officers.
  • The tax is mostly paid by people who don’t live in the city so it’s like legalized theft- taxation without representation.

With this increase we pay the same as Oakwood. We don’t have their schools, their housing values, their public safety forces, but we pay the same. This causes a problem for Oakwood, who used to survive on the .25% gap between rich CEO’s living in Oakwood and working in Dayton that they could collect- now- all the tax goes to Dayton- leaving Oakwood to either raise their income tax- or stop forgiving all of the income tax paid to outside jurisdictions- or raise property taxes. Brookville has already said they won’t forgive 1% of any other jurisdictions- so if you live in Brookville and work in Dayton- you’ll be paying a whopping 3.5%

Just remember that John Kasich lowered your state income tax .25% because he’s such a great guy- and stopped giving money back to all the local governments- which has put them in this bind.

As to Dayton- the quasi-governmental “Learn to Earn” people who are just charter schools in disguise will be getting somewhere around $4 .5 million a year for the next 8 years. They are allowed to keep 20% for overhead. They were funded by a mysterious PAC which didn’t file their post election report- but their pre-election report showed that this effort was well funded by all the people who manage to not pay real-estate taxes. We will see if the BOE posts their report late tomorrow.

The average donation in the pre-election report was $1873.00.

Connecting the dots?

When I saw that East End Community Services just announced a big building for a new pre-school, I said- ah ha, thank you Issue 9.

East End Community Services is seeking financing to build an $8.3 million, 44,000-square-foot child and family learning center at the intersection of Steve Whalen Boulevard and Wyoming Street in the Twin Towers neighborhood — on land that could be donated to the nonprofit….

The learning center project would consolidate existing East Dayton Head Start classrooms and services done now at several sites, and if completed would grow the group’s space to seven classrooms for infants through pre-schoolers, with the children’s programs specifically managed by Miami Valley Child Development Centers.

Source: East End Community Services proposes $8.3M expansion –

Since there are no restrictions on these tax dollars, could this be one of the places Learn to Earn will spend the money? And- will there be parity across the river?

Adding police and cutting police

Miami Valley Hospital has been a benefactor of Historic South Park and the Fairgrounds/Rubicon neighborhood for the last 15 or so years. Subscribing to the idea that if the neighborhood around them is a slum- and riddled with crime, they may have a hard time attracting nurses and doctors to come to the hospital late at night (need an example- see Good Sam).

They funded the Genesis project and rebuilt the Fairgrounds neighborhood- subsidizing the housing for their employees- and making promises that the houses wouldn’t become student housing. Of course, they lied on the second part- as multiple homes have become very profitable Single Room Occupancy housing for some landlords who seem to be exempt from city law.

They also funded 2 community based police officers- actual Dayton Cops who only worked our neighborhoods. That was a big part of why Historic South Park was able to turn around- and be one of the few neighborhoods where property values actually increased- while the rest of the county tanked in the aftermath of the Wall Street real estate meltdown.

They have recently stated that they will stop funding our CBP’s in March. Why pay for Dayton cops- when:

  1. Dayton voters just voted to pay for more cops
  2. MVH has it’s own private police force and chief who have all the same powers as Dayton Cops- but don’t have to report to anyone elected or be subject to the same sunshine rules on their actions.

The neighborhood is devastated by the news. The new police chief at MVH- another former Dayton Cop- is thinking he just got more men under his command- which in a cops mind is like getting a bigger gun.

As if we didn’t notice…

And the myth that the higher income tax will continue to be paid by the businesses in Dayton who have employees that live outside the city- is all well and fine, except we’ve seen the growth of jobs at Austin Landing and Pentagon Parkway- where there is no income tax for white collar workers. In the long run, that 2.5% vs 0% figure is great for developers who want to build office parks on farm land- and is horrible for a city trying to fight its way back.

The worst part about it is that to encourage companies to locate in Dayton, the only tool left to entice them is handing over property tax abatement that adversely affect Dayton Public Schools- which are the number one reason why people with kids move out of the city if they can- leaving the district full of kids in poverty- that require more wrap-around services to effectively educate. It’s a vicious circle- and Dayton can’t seem to learn from its mistakes.

There are solutions, but they won’t come from City Hall, or other elected leaders. In the next few weeks, you’ll learn about some of them here, on esrati.com

Pecha Kucha Dayton at the Masonic

Two of my favorite things in Dayton come together Thursday 15 Dec 2016: Pecha Kucha Dayton which is presentations of 20 slides with 20 seconds each- at the Masonic Center overlooking the city.

Doors open at 7pm for tours of one of the most incredible buildings in Dayton, the presentations start at 7:30 or so (PK is pretty informal). Slight difference is that they are asking for a minimum $2 donation at the door (PK is funded totally by donations and sponsorships btw) because of issues with the Masonic’s liquor permit. For me, PK is about the presentations- but for some, the normally free beer and snacks are the draw (because the Masonic has a liquor permit- it will be cash bar for wine and beer and the catering is by Elite).

Typically they have between 8-10 speakers lined up. Some drop out at the last minute. I’m looking forward to seeing what Michael McCorkle does in his presentation about Dayton’s own, world champions, Invincible Regulating Striders drill team. Also up is my friend and fellow veteran, Zach Sliver- talking about his Dayton Inspires project. (update: he bailed)

The posted list of speakers also includes:

  • Sharon Stoltzenberger, paintings
  • Douglas Picard, baking bread + making good
  • Josher Lumpkin, board game geek
  • Jan Futrell + members of the Inventing Peace Program
  • Yetunde Rodriguez, textile art
  • John Humphries, art/design/architecture
  • Mitchell Eismont, professor of graphic design via socio-political issues

If you’ve never been to a PK night, don’t worry – the crowd is friendly and fun, and the presentations are usually interesting, thought provoking and fun- audience interaction is also welcome.

PK is a global phenomena, with over 900 cities participating. Dayton is celebrating volume 29 on the 15th. It’s produced by three South Park residents- because of course, all the cool kids live in my ‘hood.

I’ve pushed for the Dayton Public Schools to adopt PK as a way to engage students and teach them the discipline of presenting with impact. So far, no DPS administrators have come to check things out.

Parking is free- and typically, we’re done by 9:30. Bring a friend, and prepare for a good time. Next one will be in the spring. This is a quarterly roving juke joint driven by powerpoint. Make sure to sign up for their newsletter, or like them on Facebook if you want to stay in the loop.

Fairgrounds to Premier and UD- or how stupid is the public?

There are the Illuminati, the Tri-Lateral Commission and the Montgomery County Fair Board as three of the most misunderstood secret societies on the planet. And, then, there is the government intervention by the Monarchy of Montgomery County and their benefactors in the transfer of the Fairgrounds to the patron saints of politics in the county.

If the two developers who invested considerable time and money in the rigged competition to buy the Fairgrounds for their private developments don’t sue- you know there were payoffs made.

There is no logic to this deal, there is no math that backs it up, there is no rationale that would pass muster- even on the TV show “Are you smarter than a fifth grader.” In this case, you could probably make the threshold third grade and still be ok.

The Country Fairgrounds didn’t deliver any property tax, or real economic impact in the county. It is prime, unpolluted real estate in the heart of what’s now being referred to as “Mid-Town” (which is laughable- since “Downtown” has become mostly a joke since Austin Landing, The Greene, and Pentagon Parkway have stolen so much from the city core).

The conditions of the sale, or rules of the game, to acquire this gem in the Gem City were to pay for the fairs relocation and to show a plan for a royal flush- jobs, housing, retail, i.e. create a success story that could compete with development at…. Austin Landing, The Greene, and Pentagon Parkway.

And while none of those generate income taxes (the exception of course is Austin Landing with its reverse Robin Hood TIF/JEDD tax on only the little people who work in retail and fast food in one-story buildings) ostensibly, the Fairgrounds would bring in plenty of income tax to Mayor Nan Whaley’s new 2.5% income taxed Dayton, tied for the highest with Oakwood.

There will be no property taxes on this prime real estate to pay the Dayton Public Schools- who are funded, unconstitutionally, solely on property taxes (and state and federal handouts).

Premier Health and UD will now own the property, be able to do as they please with it, and not pay taxes- as they don’t pay on their deals now- including UD’s sweet deals for Emerson, GE, Midmark etc.

Listen to the “unlogic” in the mouthpiece story by the Dayton Daily, if it’s news, it’s news to us, News:

The university and health care system on Monday announced they have reached a $15 million agreement to purchase the 37-acre South Main Street site, which comes less than two weeks after a pair of proposals to remake the property were rejected for not meeting certain criteria and asking for too many public dollars.

UD and Miami Valley Hospital officials said the purchase is an investment in the future that ensures that new development on the land is compatible and complementary with investments they have and will continue to make in that area.

The University of Dayton and Premier Health will redevelop the fairgrounds by starting with “a blank piece of paper,” said UD President Eric Spina.

“Hopefully, we’ll leverage the assets and create opportunities for our faculty and for our students,” Spina said. “I mean, that’s really the key. This is a long play.”

Dayton and Montgomery County leaders emphasized the historic relevance of the announcement and how much work it to took to reach this point. They said they are confident the property will become a high quality mixed-use development.

“(This) opportunity now gives us the time to do the really good work to make sure this is a development that lasts the ages,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.“Congratulations to everyone who has been working on this the past 100 years.”

On Nov. 30, the city of Dayton, Montgomery County and fair board officials announced they rejected two proposals to redevelop the fairgrounds from Dayton-based Miller-Valentine Group and Indiana firm Thompson Thrift.

The proposals failed to meet certain criteria and originally sought more than $20 million in public infrastructure assistance, officials said. The minimum bid price for the fairgrounds was $15 million to help move the annual fair.

Within 48 hours of the announcement, city and county leaders met with representatives of Premier Health and UD to discuss the future of the property. On Monday, the groups held a joint press conference to announce the purchase plans, which are expected to be finalized in coming weeks, with financing coming from multiple sources, officials said.

The county fair and a horse show will take place as scheduled next year. The property is expected to fully change hands in the fall. The purchase agreement is expected to be completed in about a month.

Both Spina and Miami Valley Hospital president Mark Shaker said they have not decided what they will use the space for as the deal came together quickly.

“When the thing fell apart, well we had to step in,” Shaker said. “It was the right thing to do.”

With UD and student residences being just a few blocks away, Spina said it would make sense to extend some of campus to the fairgrounds location.

Shaker said Miami Valley Hospital, which is part of Premier Health, is landlocked and would benefit from having some room to grow.

On Monday, Spina emailed staff and students to tell them the fairgrounds purchase is a “strategic decision consistent with our history and character, and supports the future of the university.”

Spina noted the fairgrounds’ proximity “to GE, Emerson, the Marriott and other university holdings” at Patterson and Stewart, two blocks from UD’s student-centered investments on Brown Street.

Spina admitted the land will likely see some expansion of UD’s campus or Premier Health’s Miami Valley Hospital.

“Ultimately, I think this area will have some university opportunities and it will have some hospital opportunities,” Spina said. “Probably the vast majority of it will go to development of one kind or another.”

UD said its involvement began in October when Miller-Valentine asked for support of its redevelopment proposal. When the city, county and fair board rejected that plan, UD and Premier took an active role in acquisition talks.

“It was highly likely that if action was not taken quickly, this opportunity would have been lost and the fairgrounds would have continued to deteriorate, or it could be developed to the detriment of the university and the investments in that area,” Spina said in the email.

Premier Health President Mary Boosalis sent a letter in support of Miller-Valentine’s overall site design and planned uses for redeveloping the fairgrounds.

But UD and Premier said they will take their time to figure out the best uses for the property and will create a plan from scratch.

The development will have to go through the city’s planning and zoning process, and it should achieve the community’s desired vision for the property as a high quality, mixed-use urban environment, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

UD and Premier will be committed partners whose role in redeveloping the fairgrounds will be much deeper and more significant than if an outside developer was brought in to transform the site, said Whaley, who noted that the property is an important piece of real estate.

“It would not be fine with the city of Dayton if the people waited for 100 years for a strip mall to go on this property — that’s not OK with us,” she said.

Whaley said she and county leaders have discussed relocating the fair and selling the fairgrounds for at least three years, but interest in that happening dates back at least to John Patterson, who publicly declared his support of the move around the turn of the previous century.

Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley said the announcement was the result of behind-the-scenes work, and there were times that the obstacles in the way of moving the fairgrounds seemed insurmountable.

“I thought maybe it was an idea whose time was not ready — but I am glad it is,” he said.

Miller-Valentine and Thompson Thrift declined to comment for this article.

Source: Deal struck to sell county fairgrounds

The only true statement that’s highlighted belongs to Foley- that behind the scenes skullduggery and large donations to political campaigns (like the recent Issue 9 tax increase- that got huge donations in the first reporting period from Premier– masked through their partners in the crime we call racketeering- but they call duopoly health care).

Why did the real estate have to be turned over at all without a plan? Or why didn’t the city and the county just hand $15 M over to the fair board, since the fair board isn’t allowed to just do what any other property owner would do and sell it to the highest bidder?

If the deals from Miller-Valentine and from Thompson Thrift weren’t acceptable- how is no plan from UD or MVH? How many times can the people we elect lie to us?

Is there any doubt as to why there were only two companies stupid enough to bid on a proposed project in this den of inequity we call Montgomery County- where it all depends on who you know? Crawford Hoying, the new darlings of Nan Whaley, were probably warned off not to bid, knowing this was a sham competition to begin with. Steiner Properties– who developed The Greene had no interest after their last attempt ran into Whaley blocking – to do The Greene on the old Parkside homes property- which is still prime real estate sitting fallow.

The cost to development in Dayton is relatively low compared to other places in the country- and there are developers like Simon who have no limits on their ability to pay their own way to develop large projects- but, kingmakers like that, prefer to work in fiefdoms where the local lords don’t overestimate the size of their britches, or have bottomless back pockets.

And that’s why we just sold the primest piece of real estate in the county for a vague I. Maybe. Owe. You.

Why bother to have elections at all in Montgomery County?

Donald Trump won Montgomery County.

The local democratic party did nothing to win any new seats, and Debbie Lieberman came within 1% of losing to Gary Leitzell, who only spent $6000 and barely campaigned.

No seats changed hands. No republicans were replaced, no incumbents got voted out. Phil Plummer who should be in jail instead of running it- got re-elected.

Mike Turner hasn’t faced a serious opponent since his first race.

The local dems endorsed Ted Strickland from the start as well as Hillary Clinton and we see how that turned out.

We don’t really hold elections here, we just rubber stamp decisions made in back rooms on who should be allowed to run.

UPDATE

an hour after posting: And one other thing happened, without anyone knowing in advance, from Thomas Suddes:

Then there’s the General Assembly. In January, Republicans, led by Speaker Clifford Rosen-berger of Clinton County, will hold 66 of the Ohio House’s 99 seats. That’ll be the biggest House majority either party has held since Ohio went to a 99-member House in 1966 – 50 years ago….

It takes 66 House votes – the number that Rosenberger will have – to pass a bill as an emergency measure. That may seem like inside baseball, but for this: Voters can’t challenge emergency measures in statewide referenda. If Republicans could’ve passed union-busting Senate Bill 5 as an emergency measure, voters couldn’t have killed SB 5 (as they did, resoundingly, in a 2011 referendum).

Source: Ohio Democrats find selves in tough spot

How does labor feel about that? Some labor groups even backed Portman in this election.

In the spring election, be it in May or March (I can’t remember, because they switch it up- and the Board of Elections site is worthless) the democrats will be selecting their new precinct captains and ward leaders. It only takes 5 signatures of registered dems to get on the ballot. It’s long overdue to throw out the stacked deck of patronage job holding precinct captains that keep allowing the Monarchy of Montgomery County to continue with their lame “leadership.”

This is also the year where three seats will come up on the Dayton City Commission- Mayor Whaley, Joey Williams and Jeff Mims. The question is who will really try to challenge them. Whaley raised half a million last time so she could raise your taxes, charge you for street lights, and raise your water and trash bill, while buying empty buildings and giving away Garden Station for $10. Williams has repeatedly won more votes than any other candidate, yet has done little but go with the flow. Mims, despite being a former educator, local and state school board educator- has zero problems allowing more tax abatement shortchange Dayton Public Schools.

But, consider everyone in the country who said Congress was broken, worthless and gridlocked, how many seats changed hands?

Case closed.

Issue 9 already working to fill Nan’s hole

Yesterday, Dayton voters gave the city commission an extra .25% of their income- for the kids, for public services, for paving streets and of course, to fill Nan’s hole:

The Dayton City Commission this morning approved spending $294,500 to finish demolishing and cleaning up the majority of the former downtown Dayton Daily News property in the hopes of setting the stage for its redevelopment.

The city has approved hiring Bladecutters Inc. to work on the nearly 2-acre site, which has been stuck in limbo for several years after a student housing project failed to move forward. The city recently declared the property a nuisance, which will allow demolition crews to remove the problem conditions.

Earlier this year, Dayton commissioners authorized the city to spend about $450,000 to purchase the property from Steve R. Rauch Inc.

Rauch, a demolition firm, was expected to be granted the deed to the land from its owners as part of a settlement over unpaid demolition costs. But that transfer has not yet happened.

Source: Dayton to spend $294K clean up stalled downtown project site

Note, the city contributed a million to the “developer” who was going to build “student housing” on the site. That money went bye-bye.

As to Rauch owning the Historic old Cox building on the corner, one wonders if the building inspectors will go after him for the unsightly exterior violations the way they go after people in my neighborhood for peeling paint (but neglect the dope houses).

And in other news, Dr. Tom Lasley and Learn to Earn staff all left on their all expense paid 8 year joyride at taxpayer expense, while the Dayton School Board is in the process of firing at least 32 para-professionals who are hands-on, in the classroom folks.

I can tell, Dayton is well on the way to being great again already!