Vote No on 6- Metroparks, a 28.5% increase in taxes

5 Rivers Metroparks NO levy bannerWhat the folks at “Five Rivers MetroParks Levy Committee” aren’t telling you is this isn’t a renewal, it’s an increase.

They like to play games and say “Our investment is $1.48 more monthly (per $100,000 property)” which is how us advertising professionals are trained to hoodwink you into buying something you can’t afford.

Let’s be clear, while you may live in a sub-$100,000 home, that factory you work in, is valued at a lot more than $100,000, and increasing taxes on businesses in a county that’s already the highest taxed county in the state is exactly why you are seeing huge investment in Warren County and a loss of population in Montgomery.

Need proof- go look at the giant distribution warehouses in Monroe. And, just remember- those new warehouses at the airport- they don’t pay this tax, nor does UD, Premier Health, Kettering Health, the Feds, Sinclair etc. This is a tax increase of way more percentage wise than the rate of inflation has gone up- or your paycheck. The only thing that’s rising like this is the cost of health care and we don’t get to vote on that.

The other thing is- this is an early levy, their levy doesn’t expire until 2019. The current 10-year levy expires at the end of 2019. Of course, your property tax re-evaluation is in 2020, so your taxes could go up twice.

Now, before you say “That Esrati, he’s just against every tax levy” let’s be clear, I’m not against every tax levy, I’m just against the ones where there is either little or no oversight and control. The Metroparks are yet another example of duplication of services that we pay for because we’re too stupid to consolidate and make things efficient in Montgomery County. Do you know who the board is of the Metroparks? Do you remember voting for any of them? Do you even know how many people are on this board, spending tax dollars on things like defunct golf courses and rocks in the river to create a water park for a couple of thousand yuppies to paddle board and kayak.

This separate entity should be underneath the county commissioners and that’s the end of the story. The next question is if it wouldn’t be more efficient to have every municipality cede their parks and recs department over to the county parks system and actually have one coordinated effort county wide. Imagine real kids programming for parks- available everywhere.

Another issue is how tax levies like this are placed on the ballot in August- giving opposition no time to organize and compete. It’s amazing you have to turn in petitions in February to run for City Commission in November, but a tax levy gets to be thrust on voters at the proverbial last minute.

Looking at their minimal campaign finance reports, it looks like the entire levy is being run for under $43K that they’ve had in the account for ages. However, this is an advantage of being a Political Action Committee- you can hide your donors till the last minute- or even after the election.

I’m guessing they are spending considerably more that $43K on the campaign I’ve been seeing. The thing is, they’ve never been told no by the citizens of the overtaxed Montgomery County.

We’ve got great Metroparks, but, our community can’t be expected to support a 28.5% increase in property taxes in addition to the burden already from 2 Sinclair Levies, 2 Human Services levies, a library levy, and the recent bumps in income taxes in so many of the communities.

Maybe the first place we could start with bumping tax receipts would be to eliminate the loophole for people like Ohio 41 incumbent Jim Butler and his township living co-workers at Austin Landing, who can avoid paying income tax in their upstairs offices while the retail workers all pay a 2% tax. (To be clear, since Butler lives in Oakwood, he can’t avoid their income tax, all 2.5% of it, but, that it’s allowed to discriminate by the color of the collar of your shirt- we have a problem).

Taxing in Montgomery County is a hot mess. We really need to reduce the number of taxes, the number of taxing organizations and all the duplication of services. See Reconstructing Dayton for more information. But in the meantime, vote no on 6 and ask Metroparks to be more reasonable in their tax hike.

UPDATE

23 Oct 2018- Amy from Metroparks came to my neighborhood meeting to add support. Actually told me I had my numbers wrong, the increase is BIGGER than 28.5%.
But, let’s put this into perspective. The Dayton Mall is already struggling to compete with the Greene and the Fairfield Commons Malls- add this tax on top of their bill- and you can almost seal the deal on it’s demise. Here’s the thing, Metroparks is blaming the Ohio house which locks in levies not to collect more than what they get when passed- no matter what your property valuation does. That’s all well and fine- but, the idea of flexing our property values based on arbitrary appraisals is also insane. We need to lock price by actual market value for the purchaser- with no flex built in. This stops gentrification and screwing people for fixing things up. We also have to look at redistricting counties as well as precincts. There is no reason for Beavercreek and Fairborn not to be part of Montgomery County, and have rural parts of Western Montgomery county in a more rural county.

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

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

UPDATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Airport parking now has lower economy lot rate

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

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

Dayton Airport Parking Configuration

LotPriceSpaces
Economy$4.952800
Long Term$14.001100
Garage$18.001400
Valet$20.00200
Short Term$24.00390
Overflow$4.951400

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Ticket prices remain high at Dayton airport | www.mydaytondailynews.com

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

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

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

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West Dayton played- again…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: City annexed land to stop merger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video from both meetings to come.

 

Disrespect breeds disrespect

Well, that was priceless. At the church revival meeting to hang Dan Foley and the “Dayton Together” plan- which has no chance of passing- I went up to ask a question- was interrupted at least 3 times in the first 25 words- and then had the microphone cut off-
to which I loudly told the pastor in charge- “FUCK YOU” gave the 1 finger salute and walked back to my camera, where I was asked to leave.
It’s really easy to be against something – especially change.
It’s hard to answer a question- but, not hard if you don’t let someone ask it.
The question I was attempting to ask- Why do we have the second highest tax burden in the state- yet, in the last 30 years- our police department has been cut in half- while private police departments have grown- paid for by organizations that don’t pay taxes- UD, Premier Health, Kettering Health- and why do tax collectors like MetroParks, Sinclair, Dayton Public Schools also have private cops?
Is this the best our current system can do? Is that why you can’t find a punk who stabbed a girl in broad daylight in a school yard- despite having witnesses and video?
It’s time for some kind of change….

I’ll have video uploaded sometime tomorrow. But, I’m sure someone has it up already…

UPDATE

Here is the video of the comments. We have 2:20 of Pastor Johnson telling everyone how this will work. I begin at 2:29, first interruption 12 seconds in. 2:41, at 2:50 second interruption, 9 seconds later, mic off at 2:53 that’s a total of :24 seconds.

I owe Pastor Cooper of Wayman A.M.E. an apology. However, Pastor Johnson of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church owes me one. Disrespect breeds disrespect, people. Cutting microphones off and censoring questions isn’t what we do in this country.

Time to clean house at Wright State

I like Dr. David Hopkins. A lot.
I’ve done work for him- not a lot.

I’m a Wright State graduate. I was active in Student Government. Inter Club Council and Student Affairs when I was a student.

All that being said- in light of the really good journalism at the Dayton Daily news by Josh Sweigart, it’s time to clean house.

The newspaper no longer publishes editorials. There is no editorial bully pulpit that calls people out when things have gone to shit.

At Wright State- they’ve gone to shit.

First indication was when they hired Jim “Lefty” Leftwich on some consulting contract to get business from the state- while he had a contract from the state. Right there, someone should have ended up in prison- but, no, that was the tip of the iceberg.

Then comes the scandal of H1B visas. The school went into bunker mode. People got fired (and had the audacity to sue for “money owed”). Others, demoted. One person- the long time legal counsel, retired with a lump sum payment.

At the same time- they create an off-books corporation “Double Bowler Properties” with a lobbyist/former congressman to “acquire real estate” quietly. There is an interlocking directorship with the Director of the WSU Board of Trustees- who voted on the hiring of his son to do “cyber security” by the university, without a public job posting- a serious conflict of interest and violation of rules.

Then all of a sudden, there is some hoo-hah about the university needing “internet security upgrades” for “The Presidential Debate” and the numbers are in the millions- all for a few hours of a nationally televised show.

Next comes the whole issue of hiring Ron Wine Consulting- and continuing to pay Ron (no one has proved he has any employees and he doesn’t have a website) a million plus in a year when there was no contract in place. Mr. Wine makes suggestions like “you should offer to hold a fundraiser for the (insert politician’s name here)” as part of his counsel, yet claims he’s not a lobbyist. He also thinks he should be paid a commission on contracts he brings in to the school, something that shouldn’t sit well with anyone in charge of a public institution- funded largely by the taxpayers.

I could go on. I could link to article after article. I could sit and wait- and hope that the Ohio attorney general and the FBI and the others do their jobs- and start throwing people in prison, but we all know white collar crime doesn’t land you in prison- only being poor or having drug offenses will do that. These are all wealthy people. They have that magic “Get out of Jail Free” card given to them as a birthright.

Wright State needs new leadership. Yesterday.

This is too much of a distraction. It’s been taking up too much bandwidth. It’s time for a new set of trustees, a new president, and some sort of independent ethics oversight, since the moral compass of what Wright State should and should not be doing with tax dollars seems to have been tossed off campus.

The university is a key part of our community, which has hitched its cart to the stupid strategy of “Meds, Eds and Feds” (none of which pay property taxes). When the wheels come off one of the key parts of the cart, we’re all at risk.

Sorry Dr. Hopkins, too much has gone off the tracks under your watch. You’ve fallen in with the wrong crowd, and lost your credibility. It’s time to step down.