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.





Stabbing 7-year-olds and the wrong answers

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

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

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

Dirt patches, trash, and a stabbing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is that the best we can do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It doesn’t.

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

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

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

The cheap bastards in Dayton City Hall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Dayton pushes policy reforms

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

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

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

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

What can be done to help guide urban youth?

The “brilliant people” who think that this is rocket science- really don’t get it. This is the preamble and a few excerpts from the beginning of a  panel discussion in the DDn today.

Editor’s note: Teens acting out, pushing the envelope, is nothing new. Yet, when large groups come together to cause trouble at citywide events, as has occurred several times in downtown Dayton in the last year, it affects not just the youth and their families, but the city as a whole. Our partners at asked what can be done to build a more cohesive relationship with our city’s future citizens, ensuring a safe environment for all. The conversation staffers Vivienne Machi and Kamron Taylor had with four community activists touched upon issues relevant not just in Dayton, but in any community….

Brian LaDuca: If the problem is student/teen behavior as it relates (to) downtown, then I see the problem simply being a lack of well lit, invigorating communal spaces. Skate parks, music shells, dynamic store front designs (not necessarily actual stores).

Marlon Shackelford: The 5 percent of teens who are miseducated and misguided are guiding and educating the 95 percent that are bored, have idle time, are angry, and who are looking for something to do. There’s a lack of mentors and “womentors,” and a lack of efficient programs for teens.

Jonetta White: …We can no longer have this “hands-off” approach to being a community. Adults should feel responsible for ensuring the well being of their children and for the children of the community. It takes a community to raise a child, and adults cannot be afraid to step up in the lives of young people who may not have any other positive, adult influences.

Catherine Crosby: It impacts the attractiveness of the City overall. It impacts our ability to recruit companies and families to move into the City because it creates a perception that the City is unsafe.

Source: What can be done to help guide urban youth? |

I’m sorry- I’ve been to every park in this city. Every school yard. For the last three years, I’ve hung about 500 green basketball nets. I’ve cleared basketball courts of weeds and debris. This year, I am also running a social soccer program in my neighborhood. Today, we couldn’t play. You know why?

The city of Dayton can't cut their own grass.

The grass is taller than a full size soccer ball at Burns Jackson Park

The grass at Burns Jackson park was taller than a full size soccer ball this morning. The field had also been run over by several cars- since the cable fence is broken. This isn’t rocket science. When I moved to this neighborhood we had 2 basketball courts- now we’re waiting on them to refinish 1. We had playable tennis courts. People used to play softball all the time in the park- now you can’t see a mound, baselines and weeds are higher than the benches.

The city is about to spend a half a million on the old Society Bank/Third National building- despite it’s appraisal at $350K- and 2 other private bidders. They have no stated public use or public plan for the building. They have yet to do anything with any of the other 3 half-million dollar buildings they over paid for. They have money to buy other peoples property- but they can’t take care of their own.

Drive by Delco Park in Kettering anytime. All the soccer fields are well groomed, properly graded and have soccer goals. Look at the ball parks- full of people every night. Kids, adults. Dayton- nope. Can’t play soccer on a Sunday morning because Fred Stoval and company can’t cut the grass.

So, try as you might to do something with “urban youth”- good luck. After I started showing photos of the sorry condition of all of our basketball courts in my last run for City Commission- the city was guilted into spending a million bucks doing long overdue repair and replacement of courts across the city. Maybe by September they will finish the remaining basketball court in South Park- maybe not.

A city that can’t do basic maintenance has no business being in charge of anything. You want a community that people can be proud of? Learn to cut your grass.


Dayton’s Issue 6 – Deceptive mailings

Mayor Nan Whaley tries to sell issue 6 as a renewal when it is in fact a permanent tax change at the same rate.

Let’s lie about what we’re really doing.

My parents and I received a postcard in the mail today asking us “On May 6, voter FOR ISSUE 6 and RENEW DAYTON.” My father, a senior, who is relatively astute, said that he read it- and has no clue what Issue 6 is.

Dayton is a Great City. Let’s Keep It That Way!

For 30 years, the people of Dayton have voted to RENEW DAYTON to maintain our city’s most vital services.

Voting FOR Issue 6 keeps thses services intact without raising taxes, which creates good jobs and strong neighborhoods for all Dayton families.

Ofiicials Agree: A Vote FOR Issue 6 Keeps Dayton Moving Forward

“The earnings tax is the largest source of money for the general fund, which pays for basic services – police, fire, street maintenance, snow removal, recreation centers and parks. If the earnings tax is not renewed, the impact would be nothing short of a disaster in the city of Dayton”

– Mayor Nan Whaley

To explain this honestly, Mayor Nan should tell you that for 30 years Daytonians have voted to raise an additional  .5% tax on people who work in the city via a TEMPORARY tax. This raised our total income tax from 1.75 to 2.25% which 30 years ago, was the highest in the region, with the exception of Oakwood which charged 2.5% on its residents- mostly because it has few people who actually work in Oakwood- and many who worked in Dayton and they needed to collect something.

The nature of these local municipal income taxes is sort of the same as what made the founding fathers revolt against the British- taxation without representation. Workers at law firms, corporate headquarters and major businesses downtown were to pay this tax- without having a say in what it was spent on, or if it was necessary. Our city fathers even sold it to the taxpayers this way- you vote for it- but most of it comes from commuter workers, and- the rest of the pitch was- it’s only temporary, until we get out of the hole we’ve dug ourselves into with our fat cat, nepotism system of government. The voters voted for it, time after time. The taxpayers- those commuter workers of Oakwood, Centerville, Vandalia, grumbled for a while, then, they started doing what commuter workers easily can do- commute elsewhere, where a move from Dayton to Kettering saved them .5% or to Austin Landing – the whole thing (if they are a white collar worker instead of a blue collar worker- yes, I know- I’m still scratching my head on that one.).

Dave Holmes, past CEO of Reynolds and Reynolds was the first to pull his Corporate HQ out of Dayton for greener pastures. No, he didn’t say it was because of the income tax, but, it was because of the income tax- and the arrogant treatment of the “monarchy of Montgomery County” that ran like a private club. Of course, he was also the first to find out that the taxpayers could be hoodwinked in the region, into paying to relocate his operations- with tax breaks offered to move to Kettering’s research park, then to build the Reynolds spin-off (back in Dayton) Relizon HQ at the corner of Monument and Patterson (now being taken over by CareSource, after Relizon’s step-child, WorkFlow One got bought by Standard Register- the last remaining old school big company in Dayton). They also got funding to build a call center- called a TAC- in the old Elder Beerman building- only to later abandon it, and sublease parts out to the Area Agency on Aging- and now also- CareSource. Every time he shuffled his walnuts on the table, he got tax breaks- much like a three-card monte shyster scores on his marks.

Again- the tax increase was temporary, it would have to be renewed, and each time, the same story was told – you don’t pay this tax, it’s other people paying this tax. People like Pam Morris at CareSource, who lives somewhere else but makes over $3 million a year administering federal tax dollars intended for the poor- and making her rich. Yeah, we can vote to stick it to her. But the flip side is, all her employees pay it too. And, we still build her buildings for her, and her parking garages, and give her incentives- because, we’re addicted to the teat of that income tax to keep the boat afloat. Every municipality is now, especially with the cuts in Ohio’s local government funds. Other communities are renewing and raising their “temporary” taxes too- with some, like Huber Heights that has been on a wild spending spree, talking about a 2.35% rate. Kettering is also boosting theirs, after years of managing on 1.75%

The patchwork of different tax rates in Montgomery County- and the state of Ohio is a major pain in the arse to businesses of all sizes. Different filing rates, filing times, filing forms, and filing websites. It makes Ohio a very business unfriendly state. Fines on missing deadlines can be in excess of the amount a business owes. Because of the complexity- companies like Intuit, maker of Quickbooks, can justify charging more for the tax tables for payroll than the software that runs it and get away with it. A secret hidden cost that could easily be done away with by a simplified statewide fair and balanced income tax.

Back to the reason Oakwood charges 2.5% is so it can collect .25% over and above the rate Dayton charged- and this gave them the ability to keep their amazing services at the highest levels. Things like backyard trash collection, sidewalk shoveling, and a combination police/fire/paramedic force that not only gave excellent service, but wrote traffic tickets and would make house calls when you got broken into. Dayton can barely manage to answer the phone. Even Oakwood is now struggling due to state cutbacks- and the end of the “death tax” killed off their last cash cow. They are making hard choices.

But, the real deception of the mailer is that Dayton voters have repeatedly voted to continue taxing without representation because they knew that without it- service cuts would happen. Guess what, service cuts have happened every year, even after they voted for it. Our temporary tax didn’t keep our kids’ swimming pools from being plowed under, they didn’t keep our police department staffed well, and cuts to fire and parks and everything else they promised wouldn’t happen- happened. There was no guarantee- but at least we had the option not to renew it to send a message.

This Issue 6 is an attempt not to renew the temporary tax- but to make it a permanent one. If we defeat it in May, we’ll see it again in November. Maybe as another temporary tax.  Because Nan Whaley is the Queen of Nan Whaley land- you only see her name, her picture on the mailing. And the treasurer of the mysterious “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future” is a Michael Voelkl, who lives in what I one called “Tony Capizzi’s Private Neighborhood” across from 10 Wilmington Place that was paid for with public dollars so City employees who at that time had to live inside the city limits, could live in a pseudo-gated community. Michael Voelkl, you see is a city employee, the “taxation and revenue manager” of the City of Dayton.

One wonders how much of the Hatch Act is being broken by having Mr. Voelkl head up the effort to make sure he still can be paid with taxes on those “commuter workers.”


Voelkl retired from Dayton in 2003 and later took the position of New Carlisle’s tax manager in 2010. Thanks reader “skeptic” for correcting me.

Let’s be honest- this vote isn’t about renewing Dayton at all- it’s about bolting in the cord on the life-support system. It should be a no-brainer to pass, if it were presented honestly- but that’s not Mayor Nan’s style- she has to turn everything into an epic political battle for her to win- at any cost. Which frankly makes me sick and repulsed. This could have been easily sold to voters honestly- saying that these temporary tax levy campaigns are a pain, are expensive and take time, please help us cut out the waste of time. We’re still going to raise your water and trash rates, and charge you fines for police to respond to your alarm calls, and raise prices on parks and recreation, and complain we ran out of salt- but, at least, we’re not going to lie to you anymore- we can’t live within our means, and 2.25% is the minimum it takes- thank you.


How 5 people made Dayton a better place today- While Nan “nanvassed”

Last Monday night I had a candidates’ night over on Burkhardt. I noticed the church had a rim out back without a net- and that there were courts just up the street that I hadn’t put nets on. Unfortunately, my ladder wasn’t in the car (my mom had been grocery shopping) so I went back Tuesday morning before work and took down the rusted chains and put up 3 nets- stickers and stencils.

The park was in horrible shape. According to Google maps- it’s called Orville Wright park. Orville would have been ashamed. The courts were strewn with broken glass- and weeds. The backboards were rusted. The playground equipment had a wall of weeds- taller than the kids it was designed for- and trash was everywhere. I made a plan to come back on Saturday to clear it.

  • Photo of Orville Wright park before Esrati and Crew cleaned it up
    The weeds and glass owned the court
  • Photo of Tabatha Muntzinger painting backboards
    Tabatha Muntzinger paints backboards
  • Photo of the crew that cleaned up Orville Wright park
    The crew who cleaned up Orville Wright park
  • The bed of a pickup truck was filled with dirt and weeds from the court
    What was on the court- was now in Lewis’s pickup truck
  • John worked hard and ended up with dirt on his face
    John was wearing the dirt off the court
  • Photo of Orville Wright park after Esrati and Crew cleaned it up
    Orville Wright Park after we’d cleaned it up.

Friday I got a message of Facebook from a woman, Tabatha Muntzinger, who lives near the park, but hadn’t taken her kids there until Friday. She was disgusted and had seen my stickers- and looked me up, and was trying to figure out who owned it- the city or Dayton Public Schools. I told her I was planning on going there on Saturday to clean it up. She said she’d help. So today at 11, we started. We had help from her husband Kyle, who used to teach Social Studies at Belmont, and Lewis Gast and his stepson John. Four and a half hours later it looked totally different. Some neighborhood kids even showed up and helped. We filled Lewis’s pickup truck with weeds- just from the courts. Tabatha repainted the 3 backboards. A neighbor from across the street came by and thanked us.

But what really ticked me off today, was the announcement in the paper that the city commission just approved half a million dollars to demolish four remaining outdoor pools. Burkham, Mallory, FROC and Stuart Patterson. We always seem to have money for demolition- but, we can’t find the money to put up nets and paint backboards and repair basketball rims.

Dayton will demolish its four shuttered outdoor swimming pools, finishing the transition to splash parks as its primary outdoor aquatic attraction.

Dayton City Commission this week approved a $545,232 contract with Belgray Inc. to demolish the closed pools and pool houses at Burkham, Five Oaks, Mallory and Stuart Patterson Park.

The same contract includes $215,000 to expand and upgrade the Mc-Intosh Park splash park and $80,000 to begin smaller improvements at the Five Oaks, Mallory and Stuart Patterson splash parks.

Splash parks are small, zero-depth water play areas that spray water from colorful structures….
The city once had seven outdoor swimming pools, but Parlette said six of them closed between 2004 and 2009, leaving the Fairview pool near Good Samaritan Hospital as the only outdoor option. The city has indoor pools at its three recreation centers.

via City to raze 4 pools, improve splash parks.

Apparently, kids don’t really count for Commissioners Whaley and Williams- because they don’t donate to their campaigns.

Of course, you can’t learn to swim in a splash park- and the Army doens’t have a splash park test. So more poor kids won’t know how to swim- something that can save their lives- and also – is a great way to stay out of trouble in the summer.

In fact, while the five of us were doing what the city couldn’t I had to see this on my Facebook feed:

The nanvassers talk- we do. Elect Esrati

What Nan and her “nanvassers” were doing while we were cleaning up Orville Wright park

And, we got treated to hear that the $40 million or so we “invested” in Tech Town- may have a tenant for the empty building- soon. Really? We have money to build buildings with public money, for private companies- while we don’t have money to put up nets? Tech Town is corporate welfare- taking our tax dollars and subsidizing a few businesses- read on:

Two years after it was built, Tech Town business park’s newest building may soon have a tenant that occupies an entire floor, the president of Citywide Development said Friday.

“We have, right now, someone who has executed an L.I.

— that is, a letter of intent — for a floor” in Tech Town III, the third and newest building in the technology-oriented business park on Dayton’s northeastern edge, said Steve Budd, Citywide president.

“I can’t tell you who that is right yet,” he added.

Though used for community expos and meetings from time to time, the $9.1 million building that offers more than 60,000 square feet of space has remained empty since construction was completed.

The $40 million Tech Town business park has three buildings. The two older buildings are almost full, officials of Citywide have said. Citywide, the city of Dayton’s development arm, owns the park and acts as landlord to tenants there.

via Tech Town may get tenant.

In the pool article- there was this line:

“Quite frankly, (pools) are just more costly to maintain and operate,” Parlette said, citing staffing costs, water, chemicals and more. Parlette would not estimate a cost difference between pools and splash parks, except to say “it’s a big number.”

Mr. Parlette, pools are for everyone. Tech Town is corporate welfare. I’m sure, $40 million would have kept our pools open.

That’s a big number.



A Dayton Streetlight Tax: because the Dayton City Commission can’t do its job

day in the life: day in the light

Creative Commons License marya via Compfight

Now we have the Dayton City Commission about to shift the cost of lighting the streets to the property owners in Dayton because it has been so busy giving away the store that there’s no money left for basic services:

The City Commission will vote next Wednesday on a streetlight assessment that will affect just about every property owner in the city, raising around $3 million to cover the cost of the lights and improve at least one-quarter of them.

“I look at this an investment program that will give the city better lighting for safer streets and save us money,” City Manager Tim Riordan said prior to the first look at the proposed resolution.

The six-year assessment would cover all property in the city, including such tax-exempt properties as churches, and city, state and federal buildings.

It would shift the cost of the streetlights from the city’s General Fund, which covers the day-to-day operations of the city, directly to property owners.

via Streetlight fee on city commission agenda.

This tax will raise about $3 million a year and is scheduled for 6 years. Calculation will be based on property value, not lineal feet of street, so people who have dark streets will be paying for the blazingly bright Belmont Business District just because the commission can add a tax.

Part of this money will be used to switch existing lights over to LEDs which consume a lot less electricity. Federal law requires cities to start making the switch – with each switched fixture costing half as much to run over the course of the year. We’re required to replace at least 1/3 right now according to the city manager.

Instead of raising our taxes, might it have made sense to take the UPS/Emery air freight building at Dayton International Airport from UPS and started scrapping it ourselves- raising at least $4 million just from the diesel generators and the stainless steel fuel farm? Add in the $7 million UPS paid the city to get out of their lease, and we’d have $11 million to spend right away on replacing mercury vapor lights and cutting the cost in half citywide. There was also a pretty sophisticated conveyor system that could have been sold or scrapped for several million more. Instead, we gave it all away to IRG, including a check right off the bat for $3.5 million.

So, the reason you are about to be taxed for streetlights is really not because we’re broke, but because you, the voters in the city of Dayton decided to elect some dim bulbs to the city commission. Note, Mayor Gary Leitzell was the only one who voted NO to give away the valuable asset of the UPS/Emery Air Freight hub to the vulture capitalists at IRG.


Revenue enhancement strategy for Dayton Police Department

Today I saw a police car on U.S. 35 running a speed trap. This is called a “revenue enhancement strategy” by some police officers, bringing dollars into the government’s pockets from fines. The problem is, if you challenge the ticket and go to court, paying the police officer to come in to court, plus the court costs turn the whole mess into a negative revenue stream.

So much for speeding tickets.

The City of Dayton decided several years back to fine property owners for false alarm calls. The first two calls per year were free, after that, the fine kept going up. So instead of calling dispatch immediately. the alarm company calls me first. When my office was being broken into, I went across the street with my cell phone and flashlight to find the front door busted open and my office trashed. When the cops caught the criminals about 4 hours later – it turned out one of them had a gun. Good thing it took me a few minutes to find my keys that night.

Last week I got these stats from our neighborhood police officer about calls over the period from Jan. 2010 to Jan. 2012 to one house near me:

Total number of calls-  33.  This number reflects the calls made for police service as well as officers putting  themselves on an investigation at this location.

The calls were broken down into categories.

  • Wanted                                5
  • 911                                         4
  • Juvenile                               4
  • Family Trouble                  3
  • Miscellaneous                    3
  • Medical                               2
  • Alarm                                  1
  • Noise                                   1
  • Domestic Violence           1
  • Drugs                                  1
  • DWOC                                1
  • Burg                                    1
  • DWI                                    1
  • Transport                          1
  • Assault                               1
  • Intox                                   1
  • Fight                                   1
  • Suspicious                         1

There were 6 complaint reports and 1 memo report at this address.

There were 7 arrests at this location.

That’s one call every 22 days.

The house in question is behind on taxes. The taxes are only $744 a year due to buying the home out of foreclosure, and yet they owe $2,622.52. They not only don’t pay for police service, but they receive an unwarranted amount of it.

Their house is actually bigger than mine, yet, despite paying about the same to purchase mine in 1986 as they paid in 2009, their taxes are less than half of mine.

Instead of fining taxpaying citizens for false alarms, why aren’t we fining our criminal element for abuse of services? If we calculate the cost of a police call to a residence at a nominal $120 (2 officers, 1 hour each, $60 an hour) their 33 calls come out to $3,960. The costs could be levied against the property tax bill and either the house gets shut down until fines are paid, or the property gets seized as a nuisance and sold to pay the fines.

Former Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, once said: “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society” and uncivilized neighbors who can’t follow the rules cause my property values to drop, my quality of life to suffer and the cost of my government to rise. Instead of locking them up (which also costs us all) it’s time to place the costs of their criminal behavior back on the criminals.

What do you think? If you like this post, please consider donating to my campaign. Practical politicians don’t get elected for free.

Merchandising our schools- lame attempt to help fix Ohio’s School funding problem

Sure, Ohio State makes a mint selling “officially sanctioned” merchandise. Terrelle Pryor jerseys made the school a lot of money before he tried to cash in on his fame and brought the machine down to its knees.

Now, we’re going to try to solve our pre-K-12 funding problems by allowing schools to sell merchandise instead of only the booster clubs, thanks to a new bill introduced by local State Rep. Mike Henne:

School districts in Montgomery County could become the first in Ohio to explore new revenue streams — beyond relying on taxes, state and federal aid and donations — under a new bill that would allow them to earn profits on its facilities, services and merchandise.

State Rep. Mike Henne, R-Clayton, introduced the bill Friday that would amend current legislation and allow Montgomery County’s 16 school districts to pilot the new program. The bill would allow districts to earn profits off a variety of services, including rentals of classes to selling school merchandise, such as T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts, above costs.

“It’s not about redoing all the school funding formula,” Henne said. “It’s about giving (schools) the ability to make some additional money.”

For the next two years, operating funds for Ohio schools have been cut nearly $780 million in state funding….

Henne said the pilot plan was suggested by Vandalia-Butler City Schools and its treasurer, Dan Schall.

“Dan thinks he can fill the gaps (with this bill),” he said. “It’s how creative and how much the school system decides to use it.

“Everything they do has to be within the mission of the school system. They can’t create something like how to make a widget better or open a restaurant. Maybe they come up with an online program how to learn French, whatever it is.”

Vandalia-Butler’s current operating budget is $35 million. Schall said if the bill passes, he projects his district could eventually generate 1 percent of new revenue of its total budget.

“Dan’s one of the more progressively thinking treasurers out there,” Henne said. “He’s always trying to think outside the box.”

Under the current law, only booster clubs — such as ones for marching bands and athletic teams — and not school districts can make profits off merchandise, concessions and other activities. Henne said the updated bill would allow school districts to charge beyond what it costs them to operate a particular venue, class or service.

Schall said passage of the bill creates “an additional revenue stream for us. (Currently) we can’t sell anything. We can’t rent for profit. That doesn’t help the taxpayers.

“If we can rent that facility or sell T-shirts or give art classes, we can get a revenue stream that won’t be taxes.”

Schall said the amended bill “is something, down the road, that could replace as much as 1 percent of our budget. It’s a first step in identifying new revenue streams.”

Henne said the bill will allow schools to “sell their brand, rent space (for a profit), sell educational services and sell technology.’

via Schools may generate revenue from sales of goods, services.

So, now, in addition to little Timmy’s parents having to pay for Timmy to play basketball with an additional fee, the school can also start selling him school branded clothing at a markup to make up for the fact that our system for funding schools in Ohio was ruled unconstitutional long before little Timmy was born and the state legislature has done nothing to fix?

There used to be a couple of cool hippies who lived behind my office. They had a bumper sticker that applies to this – it was something like: “Wouldn’t it be great when schools had all the money they needed and the Air Force had to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

School funding in Ohio is broken. Selling merchandise may be a fun distraction for some administrator in a school district that still can afford to pay them to do something other than meet all the other state mandates while working with a lot less money, but it is far from what the students in Ohio need.

It’s time to fix our school funding problems once and for all, and to have the best schools in the nation, because, no matter what the “economic development” gurus say, the number one thing that drives a community value is the quality of the schools- and the number one thing that drives value in our new economy is a well educated workforce.

Unfortunately, in Ohio, we’ve been told that the lottery was going to provide revenue to our schools and now, that casino gambling and video slots at racetracks are going to be engines of economic growth. The only thing that grows our capacity to compete is education- and it’s time to stop nickel and diming our educators.

When our greatest threat is the economic destruction caused by a debt downgrade from a bond rating agency- maybe it’s time to have less F-35s and more A students.

The Dayton (s)election on Tuesday

I’m not going to tell you how to vote. That would be pompous and very Dayton Daily News like (although rumor had it- they don’t endorse anymore- I don’t know since iOS5 came out- their iPad app has been broken- so I can’t see the editorials).

But, because I tend to tell all when it comes to Dayton politics, I figured my readers should know how I’m voting.

The issues:

Issue 1: I’m voting no. While I think it’s fine that we can have justices for life on the Supreme Court- even they are smart enough to know when to resign for the most part (although it sucks that some have to wait for a President of their persuasion to be in charge before handing over the seat). As to judges in Ohio being able to run later in life- I don’t see the need. As it is- even when they retire- they all can keep serving as visiting judges etc- and do, well past their prime. Let’s give some younger people a shot. Especially since the way we elect judges in Ohio is stupid anyway (there are limits on what they can say or not say when running). We need better ways to elect judges – not a way to keep them in forever.

Issue 2: Vote HELL NO on 2. Even though it has some things I agree with- like requiring government workers to pay at least 15% of their health care costs (too low a bar to begin with) and that it would end the stupidity of “prevailing wage”- and pay for longevity over performance- the idea that collective bargaining goes out the door is insane (just like our Wall Street governor). Instead of using a wrecking ball, this bill needs to be handled like a chisel in the hands of DaVinci- finely trimming the excesses of the ages while still respecting the rights of public employees.

Issue 3: Vote No. Health insurance is no difference than the mob promising not to hurt you if you pay them for “protection”- the idea of leveling the playing field with insurance for all is a step in the right direction- but not really the same as universal health care. This proposition will probably end up in the courts- and just cost us more money arguing while the insurance companies continue to rip us all off as useless middle men with too much power. Unfortunately, we don’t get the option of voting for universal health care- and cutting insurance people out of it altogether.

Dayton City Commission: Matt Joseph hasn’t done anything in 8 years except avoid running against me. His record- what little there is – is that of a placeholder.  Can’t vote for dead weight.

Dean Lovelace- wouldn’t even be in office had Mark Henry not resigned mid-term and created a special election- back in 1989 (I think) – I jumped in that race and siphoned some votes away from the white wives’ candidates: Judy Orick and Mary Sue Kessler, giving Dean his win. He’s been right on predatory lending and the “living wage”- but was so wrong on the equality vote (see reader David Lauri’s page ) and his absolute failure with the Department of Justice intervention for integration- that he’s cost this city its public safety. Not only that, he suffered a stroke a few years ago and has been coddled though it (missing as many meetings as he did- he should have been replaced). We need new blood.

Speaking of blood- we’ve got a bloody mess running- with the tacit approval of Mayor Leitzell- William Pace. The DDN ripped him a new one several weeks after the Dayton Informer published about Pace’s legal mess and bankruptcies. Pace has no business being in office- or even on the ballot, but, that’s because we have a process built into the charter that does a great job of stopping people from running. The reality is- Pace winning might finally cause the voters- or give us a commission that might change the rules- as opposed to having doorstop Joseph and ludicrous Lovelace continue on forever… begrudgingly, since you can’t write in- or recall, or do anything to change it other than to screw it up worse- I’m voting for Pace. Heaven help us.

Mark Manovich wouldn’t be on the ballot had I not gotten him 150 signatures (he got me 50). I’ve known Mark a long time- having served with him on the board of South Park Social Capital- an organization I founded- and he pretty much destroyed (he lost a lot of his own money on it- ’nuff said). Mark is an order of magnitude smarter than anyone on the current commission- and is so far from being a politician (other than having the law degree) that he, combined with Leitzell (another who fits that “so far from being a politician” mold) that we might actually see some interesting conversation at the legal meetings of the commission. I’m voting for Mark- without reservation. He’s the best candidate we’ve had in ages.

Note, in 2 years, things will be much different in the Whaley, Williams, Leitzell races- with many candidates in primaries- and  big money at play. I hope to have some exciting young candidates on the ballot to give us some real brainpower on the commission- if Dayton is still a functioning city… and not a subdivision of Montgomery County.

Dayton School Board- you can vote for three of the four. Not a real choice- it’s just about picking sides. There is Bill Schooler, who has teamed up with Robert Walker for the Full Reverend Ticket- vs. Nancy Nearny/Sheila Taylor team. Which do you want to go with? Who will be the odd person out? We could also call this the battle of the sexes, but why- or even black vs. white.

The real problem is the school board is divided. What’s even more interesting is Nearny and Taylor picked Schooler to be on the board over 5 other qualified candidates. Schooler absolutely gets my vote for voting no on the tax giveaway to UD and GE.

Walker has a long history of service running the Wesley center. I’ve been impressed with him for years. He’s a grounded, well meaning man of principle.

As to Nearny- she almost didn’t make it on the ballot, coming up short- before the Board of (S)Elections found her an extra 8 signatures. She’s the easier one to have a discussion with compared to Taylor who is a County worker in a patronage office.

Since the top 3 vote-getters get in- I’m only voting for 2 – Walker and Schooler. I’d prefer Nearny over Taylor, but, can’t vote for her due to her vote to give GE a tax break. I also don’t appreciate her getting a hall pass on signatures (I was 3 short once- they couldn’t find them for me). I even signed her petition.

These are my opinions- and mine only. You do as you please. It’s a free country (even if elections are generally owned by the 1%).

Remember to vote on Tuesday, November 8. Then pray immediately after- unfortunately this is not an opportunity to elect or vote on the best or smartest, just the best of what we have.