When the Emperor has no clothes: More DPS stupidity bordering on criminality

A refresher on Dutch folk tales:

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” (Danish: Kejserens nye Klæder) is a short tale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that they say is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, no one dares to say that they do not see any suit of clothes on him for fear that they will be seen as “unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent”. Finally, a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” The tale has been translated into over 100 languages.[1]

Source: The Emperor’s New Clothes – Wikipedia

update: 18 Oct- key part missing from this synopsis- the Emperor also knew the suit was invisible- but, chose to believe the weavers too. (end update)

We know that Dayton Public Schools has problems managing their public image. Now, the people that Rhonda Corr hired to manage it, are actually actively destroying credibility and possibly breaking laws.

Dayton Public Schools Director of Media and Public Relationships is an expert in censorship of free political speech

Dayton Public Schools Director of Media and Public Relationships is an expert in censorship of free political speech

Unfortunately, the director of Dayton Public Schools media and public relations , Marsha Bonhart, either thinks she’s doing someone a favor (providing grounds for her dismissal) or is woefully ignorant of the audacity of the email she sent out to candidates before tomorrow’s Dayton Educational Council candidates forum from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., at Ponitz Career Technology Center, 741 W. Washington Street. (The  event will be broadcast live on DPS TV Spectrum Channel 21. and hopefully livestreamed as well).

The email, suggests that free speech should be limited, political discourse restrained, and that no one should disparage her boss, Rhonda Corr, whose future tenure will be decided by the very people that Ms. Bonhart seeks to censor and reign in.

The email reads:

From: Marsha Bonhart Neilson [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2017 7:09 PM
To: Marsha Bonhart Neilson <[email protected]>
Subject: More information

Dear candidates, as an addendum to Friday’s email:

  1. It is very important that we keep this forum civil.
  2. We ask that you not participate in or instigate any “bashing” of Superintendent Corr, Dayton School Board members, or each other.
  3. Please stay focused on providing quality answers to all of the questions.
  4. When answering questions, remain seated until the end of the event.

Thank you and we look forward to you providing voters the information they need to make informed decisions.

Marsha Bonhart
Director, Media and Public Relations

Dayton Public Schools
115 S. Ludlow St.
Dayton, Ohio 45402
937-286-0023 (c), 937-542-3023 (desk)

Since Ms. Bonhart works for an organization that receives a lot of federal funds, we might look over to the Hatch Act of 1939 about what is allowed and appropriate for public employees to engage in during a political campaign. Note both the first and second bullets:

These federal and D.C. employees may not:

  • use official authority or influence to interfere with an election
  • solicit or discourage political activity of anyone with business before their agency
  • solicit or receive political contributions (may be done in certain limited situations by federal labor or other employee organizations)
  • be candidates for public office in partisan elections
  • engage in political activity while:
    • on duty
    • in a government office
    • wearing an official uniform
    • using a government vehicle
  • wear partisan political buttons on duty

Source: Hatch Act of 1939 – Wikipedia

The fact that the meeting is being held in a public building, on public property, for a public purpose, specifically, to discuss issues and the candidates who have the ability to vote to hire or dismiss Ms. Bonhart, shows she’s sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong.

A true public relations professional in an organization that serves the public should know better than to get involved in this process, and know that her communications are all public record and not private.

Considering we’ve already had members of “The Slate” publicly state that they might try to skirt sunshine laws:

A member of the slate of candidates, which was endorsed by Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, (Mohamed) Al-Hamdani said the four would not show disagreement in public, doing more preparation behind closed doors. He did not address how that would fit with open meetings law.

Source: Election will change face of Dayton’s school board

We may have even bigger problems in store when it comes to what is acceptable political behavior and what is not if Ms. Bonhart is the new ruler of political dicourse.

I believe that Ms. Bonhart should either retract these rules and publicly apologize for her attempt to influence political speech and interfere with an election via her official capacity, or be dismissed for cause. I don’t expect our current board, superintendent, elections officials, the county prosecutor, the state school board, the Ohio Ethics Commission or the Secretary of State to do their jobs and censure this kind of blatant abuse of power, but, that’s why we have a free and independent press, to make sure you know when you are getting played.

When a public employee thinks they can regulate candidates speech, we have a real problem.

This needs resolution before this event begins tomorrow night.

UPDATE

Wed 18 May 2017

the “Friday email”

From: Marsha Bonhart Neilson [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Friday, October 13, 2017 6:05 PM
To: Marsha Bonhart Neilson <[email protected]>
Cc: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]
Subject: Candidates’ Night

Hello, Dayton School Board candidates,

Candidates’ Night, Wednesday, October 18th,  is drawing closer. As you know, the program, sponsored by the Dayton Education Council, will be aired live on DPS-TV from 6 to 8 pm with a strong presence on social media. We expect a large live audience as well.

You will be introduced and given 2 minutes to give an opening statement. When addressed by the moderator, each candidate will have 2 minutes to answer 3 rounds of pre-selected questions in addition to questions from the audience, phone callers and social media.

We ask that you arrive at David H. Ponitz Career Tech High School, 741 W. Washington St., 45402, at 5:15 for technical needs.

Again, thank you for your interest in becoming a member of the Dayton Board of Education.

Marsha Bonhart
Director, Media and Public Relations
Dayton Public Schools
115 S. Ludlow St.
Dayton, Ohio 45402
937-286-0023 (c), 937-542-3023 (desk)

Of note- the Slate don’t even get email directly- it goes through their handler, Uriah Anderson of Burges & Burges from Cleveland.

Board of Elections takes care of its own

Once you turn in petitions the rule is you are finished. No statement of your petitions’ validity is given until the actual board meets to certify. I’ve pointed out many times the agenda doesn’t provide any information – just a repeating worthless document- an outline of the structure of the meeting.

When I turned in petitions with 50 signatures that I collected for Congress- and signed the petition circulator statement AFTER I collected them in front of Steve Harsman (as you do with City Commission petitions) he ruled them invalid- kicked me off the ballot. Then when William Pace didn’t sign the agreement to run statement, if the signatures were valid- he was kicked off the ballot (despite someone calling him at 4 p.m. on the last day of the turn in- telling him to sign- and his faxed-in papers were ignored- plus the nominating committee- who was empowered by his petitions was also ignored). Basically- if they can find a reason to fail a non-party favorite candidate, they do. Either party.

But, when one of their own is about to fail- things change. Bryan Suddith, who used to work for the BOE and check petitions, turned in his petitions early marked “Kettering City Council”- the day they were due, he got a call that he was going to be turned in for election fraud because he didn’t put “Kettering City Council, Ward 4” on his otherwise valid petitions.

His anonymous caller told him to call the BOE and say an exact phrase- much like spies use to verify the identity of an undercover agent- like, “the sun shines nicely on the North side of the building today” to be responded to with, “flowers will grow, in the spring.”

This triggered an admission that his petitions were about to be kicked. He rushed down, withdrew his petitions, quickly gathered 100 more signatures (something the low number requirement makes possible) and was placed on the ballot.

District 3 council member Tony Klepacz will run unopposed after the board of elections invalidated petitions filed by Jan Kinner. Kinner had enough valid signatures from residents of the district. However, “no ward designation or number is listed with the council seat on (his) petition,” according to attorney Mary Montgomery with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. She advises the board of elections. Montgomery said it was in the board’s discretion to invalidate the petition. Montgomery County Board of Elections member Kay Wick pointed out “we don’t ask them specifically (for the district)” on the petitions.

However, when asked by other members, Board of Elections Deputy Director Steven Harsman said all other candidates did list the district number. Members also argued Kinner could have called the board of elections to learn the status of his petition.

Wick said she had heard of other candidates seeking the status of their petition and rectifying any issues by gathering signatures on a new petition with the district number. Board members John Doll, Gregory Gantt and Kay Wick voted to invalidate Kinner’s petitions. Member Rhine McLin abstained.

Current Kettering Vice Mayor Bruce Duke will face challengers Patricia Higgins and Bryan Suddith for the District 4 seat.

Source: Candidates for Nov. election set

Wick knew what happened. As to Kinner calling the BOE to learn the status of his petition- absolute HORSE SHIT. Unless you know the exact words to ask- the secret phrase, ZERO information will be given, not even what candidates will be discussed in the upcoming meeting. I’ve ASKED repeatedly for the classifications of valid and invalid petitions before, only to be told “come to the meeting.”

Special privilege was granted to Suddith. Kinner deserves to be on the ballot. And the BOE needs to be investigated and charged with racketeering and election fraud.

Also, petitions that have questionable language or unnecessary “gotchas” built in need to be evaluated and reformulated every time a candidate is kicked off the ballot for procedure. The failure rate is getting too high. Wick is correct “we don’t ask them specifically (for the district)” on the petitions.”

Dayton’s petitions ask for Ward and Precinct- yet they don’t require them to be filled in, and they are the only petitions that require notarization (other than Oakwood- which was supposedly going to remove this antiquated rule).

This kangaroo court needs to be investigated. Not by the Secretary of State, but by the Justice Department. Kudos to Rhine McLin for abstaining.

Dayton City Charter Changes 2014- issues 13, 14, 15, 16

Finding the summary put out by the city of these charter changes is pretty easy- although it’s not in HTML format- just a PDF:

http://cityofdayton.org/cco/Documents/November2014CharterSummary.pdf

The summary makes it all seem nice and easy.

The current Dayton Charter is here: http://www.daytonohio.gov/cco/Documents/DaytonCityCharter.pdf but not accessible to me at this time (luckily I already had a copy of the charter).

However, the ballot language is a mangled mess- and not easily available. Several people have contacted me already to ask “what is this all about.” I attended one of the meetings of the committee, which was handpicked by the powers that be- to be as non-representative of the citizens of Dayton as possible. Looking around the room, you’d think the unions run the city (they still think they do- hand in hand with the politicos).

If you go here: http://www.voterfind.com/montgomeryoh/ballotlist.aspx the BOE will let you look at a sample ballot in advance.

The language is overly verbose- and not accessible to copy and paste easily into this site. Issue by issue- here is the synopsis.

Issue 13 should be voted for. It changes the requirements for number of signatures required to propose changes or overturn votes by the city commission to a reasonable number. The existing charter language depended on a percentage of registered voters- which had zero connection to the numbers of existing voters- setting the bar too high to be attainable.

Once issue 13 is passed, we, the voters, may be able to change the requirements for recalling commissioners or the required numbers of signatures on obsolete petitions- something this committee refused to address.

Issue 14 should be voted for. The Dayton budget and compensation rules are arcane and obtuse. Not that a ton of progress is being made in the way we spend and track our money (we had an employee in the law department stealing considerable sums despite our current rules).

Issue 15 should be voted for. The current charter has a bunch of really antiquated rules- that need to go. This issue takes care of that.

Issue 16 is the one where we should really look twice.

Currently section 2 of the Charter is short and sweet:

Sec. 2. [Enumeration of Powers.] The enumeration of particular powers by this Charter shall not be held or deemed to be exclusive, but, in addition to the powers enumerated herein, implied thereby or appropriate to the exercise thereof, the city shall have, and may exercise, all other powers which, under the constitution and laws of Ohio, it would be competent for this Charter specifically to enumerate.

They want to change it to:

Sec. 2 Powers of the City
The city shall have all powers of local self-government possible for a city to have under the constitution and laws of the state of Ohio as fully and completely as though they were specifically enumerated in this Charter.
A. The powers of the city under this Charter shall be construed liberally in favor of the city, and the specific mention of particular powers in the Charter shall not be construed as limiting in any way the general power granted in this article.
B. The city may participate by contract or otherwise with any governmental entity of this state or any other state or states of the United States in the performance of any activity which one or more such entities has the authority to undertake.
C. All powers of the city shall be vested in the Commission, except as otherwise provided by law or this Charter, and the Commission shall provide for the exercise thereof and the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the city by law.
D. The City Manager shall be the chief executive officer of the city, responsible to the Commission for the management of all city affairs placed in the manager’s charge by law or this Charter.
E. The Commission may elect to operate under state municipal law in lieu of the provisions of this Charter or §171 thereof pertaining to limitations on the manner, form, or uses of taxes, fees, assessments, and other revenue sources. However, any such measure shall clearly state this intent, may not be passed by emergency legislation and shall require four votes for passage.
On this one, I’m asking for your help in figuring it out. The city explanation of all this legalese is:
Issue 16: Powers of the City
Dayton is referred to as the first city to adopt the City Manager form of government. The 1914 Charter was new ground and the writers tried to ensure Dayton would have broad powers to serve its citizens. But they could not have guessed what might happen 80, 90, or 100 years later and now Dayton is hampered by that 1914 language. Today, the Ohio General Assembly is making changes in how cities operate and Dayton needs to have all the powers that other cities and villages are given.
This does not change the way the City of Dayton operates. We will still have a City Manager form of government and the members of the Commission will still be elected in the same way and represent the entire city. This is designed to ensure that Dayton has the maximum flexibility to respond to a changing environment.
Dayton has to fight hard to attract businesses, residents and amenities; we can’t afford to have one hand tied behind our back by archaic language. With the serious conversations being held about the State changing municipal income taxes, Dayton has to be able to respond immediately to potentially devastating changes in the law. This Charter change provides us with the same flexibility every other city has. (Section 2)
The line “Dayton has to fight hard to attract businesses, residents and amenities; we can’t afford to have one hand tied behind our back by archaic language.” makes me not want to vote for this change. I’ve already seen how our lovely commission believes it’s ok to hand over millions to a private developer- IRG getting the Emery/UPS building at the airport- which they scrapped and profited from, or the deal to give GE, one of the nation’s largest tax avoidance companies get a 30-year tax abatement in the “name of economic development.”
Since Nan Whaley appointed herself queen, we got shafted with a street light assessment, we voted to make a temporary tax permanent, and we watched property values plummet.
At this point, I’m inclined to vote no. I don’t trust the commission to be allowed to pick and choose which State laws benefit them most (remember, State law is mostly formulated by our Republican leadership these days).
Let’s stick with the Charter we have on this- just to show them they need to do a better job of informing us of proposed changes in advance. So YES, YES, YES, NO is my current suggestion.

 

Dayton Charter review committee: second report

I went to what was to be the last official meeting of the Dayton Charter Review Committee. Former Mayor Richard Clay Dixon was nice enough to recognize me and allow me to participate- at least for a little bit, until the FOP rep decided to be a jerk.

Interestingly- the committee is only working on what it was told to work on by the commission. My questioning of changes needed in the petitions for Commission, with their high propensity for filing failure, were sort of ignored: “that wasn’t on the list.”

Although changes are coming that would make it possible for citizens to finally petition the government to change the charter or to force a vote on commission passed legislation. Currently, it takes 10% of REGISTERED voters to put an initiative on the ballot- which works out to somewhere around 10,000 signatures (Mayor Whaley only had 9,000 votes in the last election as a point of comparison). In the future- 2,500 votes will guarantee an opportunity to get an issue on the ballot.

On those petitions- they will no longer have the “Ward and Precinct” boxes which are on the current petitions- but are tacitly ignored by the Board of Elections- which is odd, because everything else on the form is ironclad required. I’m still not sure if they are going to require notarized signatures of signature gatherers- an absolutely meaningless step that only does one thing- guarantees that last-minute signatures are almost impossible to collect. Having a Notary witness a signature of a petition gatherer has zero relevance over the validity of any of the collected signatures- so what’s the point?

No mention of the elimination of the “Nominating committee” as well. This archaic idea makes zero sense- and was proved to mean nothing when William Pace turned in over 650 legitimate signatures on petitions- but wasn’t allowed on the ballot because he hadn’t signed a clause that he would accept the chance to run. If the nominating committee was “empowered” by the 500+ valid signatures- then they should have been able to pick any qualified candidate they like- regardless of if William had “accepted” the nomination. And besides, no nomination is valid until the “handwriting experts” at the Board of Elections certify a petition- so how can you accept something you aren’t qualified to run for yet?

Apparently- much of the committee’s time was spent arguing over protecting the hiring practices that are in place, with the FOP, IAFF and AFSCME reps all voting to delay the final work of the committee to the commission until they have another meeting- which is scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, Aug. 4, at 3:30.

Generally, the meeting was run by former city Planning Director, Paul Woodie, the go to guy for anyone who wants anything done in Dayton. He left the city to work for Premier Health Network for quite a while- kicking off the changes in the Fairgrounds neighborhood – which is now becoming more UD housing despite promises by the city and MVH for it not to be.  Paul pushed off the discussion of the last issue that the Commission chartered them with investigating- the ability to create townships within the city- a bizarre request, which he claimed would require too much investigation into State law. I can just see it now- as South Park would petition to become a Township- eliminating the city income tax- and expanding our boundaries to include UD- since we already have MVH within our planning district. Another tax free haven… to pretend to be a part of our community like Washington, Miami, Harrison, Butler, etc., townships- where drama and mismanagement are the norm.

I’m posting PDF’s of the documents I picked up. I’m not sure what the city commission will do with these recommendations- or if they even have to abide by them. Our Charter is an antique that’s desperately in need of updating- but, there weren’t very many engaged people in the meeting I sat through- with one exception- one young lady who did want to know why the petitions weren’t part of the discussion (I circulated a proposed redesign of the current petition)  and she also caught a double negative that they were proposing as a change.

If the recommendations all make it to the ballot this fall, it may be possible for us to fix the petition process in the March primary once and for all. They are also setting a ten-year requirement for review- something that is currently missing.

Of course, no changes are being made to the current language for a recall- which requires 25% of the registered voters’ signatures- or 25,000 signatures. Nope, Mayor Nan and Crew likes their cushy safe jobs; too much to risk having to answer to the public.

Typically, the charter has only been revised when the commission has needed to change something like how bonds are handled or taxes raised to keep the city out of trouble. To proactively fix fundamental flaws is a rare occasion. We will see what makes it from this committee onto the ballot soon enough.

The Dayton Charter review committee

Not that anyone cares, but the Dayton City Commission appointed a charter review committee to clean up the City Charter. which is an old and tired document.

I’ve been calling for changes to the recall and charter change requirements for years. Of course, I wasn’t invited to work on the committee.

Here is who the commission appointed:

  • Richard Clay Dixon – Chairperson
  • Jason Antonick
  • Jimmy Calhoun
  • Mike Galbreath
  • Gaye Jordan
  • Marcia Knox
  • John Lumpkin
  • Pat Rickman
  • Greg Scott
  • Manicka Thomas
  • Dave Williamson

They’ve already completed most of their meetings, and a Freedom of Information Act request got me the following minutes: 2014 Charter review committee minutes from which I culled the following:

Meetings are held in the City Manager’s Large Conference Room, Second Floor, City Hall on Thursdays:

  • June 12, 3:30-5:00
  • June 26, 3:30-5:00
  • July 10, 3:30-5:00
  • July 24, 3:30-5:00

and if needed- an additional one Thursday, July 31, 3:30-5:00

I’ll be attempting to visit the final scheduled meeting tomorrow to clarify the following:

4. Change special elections to require 50% of voting.
Members directed that no additional action be taken on this tiem (sic).

Mr. Gray explained that the commission did not expect to put each item up for a separate vote or to put all the items in one package for a single vote. He explained that the commission would welcome suggestions from the committee on how to organize the items into a few ballot issues.

While this is a great start to make changes to the former rules that were based on number of total registered voters, which could exceed the number of residents over the age of 18 due to rules of the Board of Elections- nothing is mentioned about the petitions, their language and the obsolete requirement of having a notary sign off on petitions. I hope to bring this up tomorrow.

They are still planning to discuss language for the following:

  • Ensuring that the City has the power to levy service charges, fees and taxes granted by the state to local governments
  • Permitting the City to levy special assessments using the standard provisions of state law that may change from time to time.
  • Permitting the City to enter into arrangements and contracts with other governments. The absence of this provision in our Charter could be used against us since it is in most city charters.

Considering they just popped the street light assessment on residents without a vote, I would think more people would be upset about additional ways to levy taxes without votes by the public.

Please consider joining me at the meeting on the 24th.