Dayton is number ONE!

actually posted to Facebook.

actually posted to Facebook.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics” is a quote that’s now listed as unattributable, then there is the reality distortion field around Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley who has the misguided audacity to bandy bullshit as fact: “The Dayton region’s housing market has been named the healthiest and most sustainable in the country!”

First off, the study is reported in the Business Journal- that pinnacle of page click bait, and conducted by Nationwide insurance, which came to this far-fetched conclusion:

“The insurance company studied 400 metropolitan areas in the U.S. and ranked the regions based on indicators such as employment, demographics, the mortgage market and house prices.”

Anywhere you can buy a house routinely for less than you pay for a new car- it will sort of skew the figures- and note, it’s the Dayton region- not Dayton, of which she’s the mayor. The “Dayton region” is made up of 30+ fiefdoms that make no sense (recently working on a client’s business in Washington Township- I had to pick Centerville for Facebook- which doesn’t recognize a place called Washington Township) and add unnecessary overhead to everything in our region- including Mayor Whaley who is paid more than the average family of four makes in our city a year- for her part-time job requiring only a few hours per week by charter.

But, don’t worry- Dayton also comes up tops in other lists, by “Site Selection Magazine” and numbers of heroin induced deaths (I think we just slipped to second) and most definitely number one for the worst public school district in the state with more school districts than anyone would ever recommend if they were drawing this whole gov-r-n-ment thing up from scratch.

The one thing Dayton is number one for is disrespect. Daytonians loathe their city, their government, their leadership and with good reason. Take a drive around, especially in Santa Clara or Jane Reese or Westwood – and look at the “healthiest housing market” examples. When 1 out of 6 homes is vacant – or worse, boarded up- or falling down- talking about being number one is downright disrespectful to our intelligence.

If you want to paint a rosy picture of Dayton there are plenty of amazing things to talk about- but the difference is that they are based on actual facts (the best lies are ones that are based on possible facts- just a bit of marketing genius that I’ll share). However, Nan and the city of Dayton can claim very little actual responsibility for them. We have awesome bike paths, great metroparks, a world-class tourist attraction in the Air Force Museum, Sinclair has really affordable college tuition, super affordable housing, a few great historic neighborhoods, a great school of the Arts, a good indy music scene and immigrants have settled here successfully.

Saying we’ve got the number one healthiest and sustainable housing market in Dayton is what a feckless sycophant would say. Congratulations Mayor Whaley, once again- you’ve blown it.

 

Cheerleaders don’t win football games

An exchange on Facebook, when I commented that I think it’s embarrassing that you can buy a house in Dayton for $20K. One that’s actually habitable.

John Patrick I feel like you should not run for office in Dayton after these and other similar comments.

David Esrati John Patrick- I’m sorry you feel that way. I guess you prefer to continue to watch taxes go up, services go down, schools fail, and people leaving not just Dayton- but Montgomery County. Do you even know who picks the candidates you see on the ballot? Didn’t think so.

Josh Opsahl Wow. Gotta say I pretty much agree with John here. David, while I find you consistently informative and appreciate your knowledge and perspective, your inability to reign in your dickishness pretty much precludes your ever getting my vote. The last thing Dayton needs is more disparaging negativity. While I expect our elected officials to be able to meaningfully critique the problems at hand, and I think you’re fantastic at doing so, I also expect our elected officials to cheerlead our city and to be able to play nicely with others. These do not appear to be your strong suits.

I’m sure you’ll value my opinion not in the slightest, but as part of the voting public, I just want to point out that your tactics undermine your efforts.

David Esrati To John and Josh. Let me explain something to you- cheerleaders don’t win football games, and you don’t want the most popular person in your high school doing brain surgery on you.
Keep voting for the idiots you elect- and watch as your region deteriorates. The collective IQ of those Daytonians elect isn’t enough to make it to triple digits.

An intelligent addition:

Donna MartinDavid Esrati, Not surprising at all …The figures that keep being floated for sales of homes in Dayton by the press are misleading, as they combine the “area” and do not list Dayton alone. For 2014, Dayton had 1540 sales… with the median sale price at $35,000.

John Patrick You’ll find cheap houses in any major city in the Midwest. Inexpensive homes are a direct result of sprawl so it’s tough to battle. Let’s rebuild our struggling neighborhoods instead of bringing them down with negative comments

and this is where I’m just tired of the stupidity-

David Esrati And John- my neighborhood isn’t struggling- except to get adequate service from the city. Go fuck your “negative comments”- I’ve bought 5 houses and fixed them up- wtf have you done? Oh, excuse me- who the fuck are you?
Run for office just once please.

Oh, yeah- did I point out that John Patrick lives in Columbus….

For the record- I bought my first house in Dayton for $14,500 in 1986. I’m pretty sure neither of these armchair leaders were even born then. I bought my office in 1988 for $2,400 and $2,200 in back taxes. I bought the two cottages in 1995 for $19,500 each (I overpaid- but had to get the street under control and was looking forward to when I’d need to take care of my parents). I bought the house behind me in 1999 for $50K (I think) and sold it 2 years later for $138K after extensive rehab.

Historic South Park is one of the few neighborhoods in the city where they raised property taxes. This didn’t happen by accident. Our average home sale is probably 2x the city median. I’d say my brand of “dickishness” helps raise neighborhood expectations and standards better than our “leaders” with their tax breaks for GE, “economic development” scams, buying up empty buildings with no public use, cutting of services, pay increases for part-time jobs and love of keeping their friends and family in government jobs…

No, cheerleaders don’t win football games. Remember that.

 

An outsider’s prescription for Dayton

Infrastructure

The ignored secret behind successful organizations (and nations) is infrastructure. Not the content of what’s happening, but the things that allow that content to turn into something productive.

Here are some elements worth considering:

  • Transportation: Ideas and stuff have to move around. The more quickly, efficiently and safely, the better. This is not just roads, but wifi, community centers and even trade shows. Getting things, people and ideas from one place to another, safely and on time is essential to what we seek to build.
  • Expectation: When people wake up in the morning expecting good things to happen, believing that things are possible, open to new ideas–those beliefs become self-fulfilling. We expect that it’s possible to travel somewhere safely, and we expect that speaking up about a new idea won’t lead us to get fired. People in trauma can’t learn or leap or produce very much.
  • Education: When we are surrounded by people who are skilled, smart and confident, far more gets done. When we learn something new, our productivity goes up.
  • Civility: Not just table manners, but an environment without bullying, without bribery, without coercion. Clean air, not just to breathe, but to speak in.

Infrastructure and culture overlap in a thousand ways.

At the organizational level, then, it’s possible to invest in a workplace where things work, where the tools are at hand, where meetings don’t paralyze progress, where decisions get made when they need to get made (and where they don’t get undone).

It’s possible to build a workplace where people expect good things, from their leaders and their peers and the market. Where we expect to be heard when we have something to say, and expect that with hard work, we can make a difference.

It’s possible to invest in hiring people who are educated (not merely good grades, but good intent) and to keep those people trained and up to speed.

And it’s essential for that workplace to be one where the rule of law prevails, where people are treated with dignity and respect and where short term urgency is never used as a chance to declare martial law and abandon the principles that built the organization in the first place.

Yes, I believe the same is true for nation states. It’s not sexy to talk about building or maintaining an infrastructure, but just try to change the world without one.

Here’s something that’s unavoidably true: Investing in infrastructure always pays off. Always. Not just most of the time, but every single time. Sometimes the payoff takes longer than we’d like, sometimes there may be more efficient ways to get the same result, but every time we spend time and money on the four things, we’re surprised at how much of a difference it makes.It’s also worth noting that for organizations and countries, infrastructure investments are most effective when they are centralized and consistent. Bootstrapping is a great concept, but it works best when we’re in an environment that encourages it.

The biggest difference between 2015 and 1915 aren’t the ideas we have or the humans around us. It’s the technology, the civilization and the expectations in our infrastructure. Where you’re born has more to do with your future than just about anything else, and that’s because of infrastructure.

When we invest (and it’s expensive) in all four of these elements, things get better. It’s easy to take them for granted, which is why visiting an organization or nation that doesn’t have them is such a powerful wake up call.

Source: Seth’s Blog: Infrastructure

As I sat stuck in a traffic jam yesterday reaching from Downtown to Moraine, on I-75 N at 4:30 pm, I thought about who was the idiot who has I75, Main St, Warren Street- all covered with orange barrels at the same time? Who wasn’t working proactively, right then- to not just clear the blockage- but, trying to re-route as much traffic onto alternative roadways, and also- how did we allow the I-75 downtown reconstruction to shut down all the exits to downtown for so long…

But, then I realized the answer is nobody, because we don’t have leadership with the vision to see the implications of our pettiness, because it’s all we know. We have, and have had, leadership for so long that’s arrogant, unresponsive, and hell bent on their political future more than our regions. And then this piece comes out from Seth Godin this morning.

What started me on my political highway of failure at the hands of an uninformed and underinformed voter base, is summed up in Seth’s fourth point- Civility.

After crossing the gods of garage door appropriateness,  I went for help from my elected leaders with the asinine notion that they would listen and help.

Seth: “but an environment without bullying, without bribery, without coercion.”

When I went to the City Commission out of frustration about garbage collectors working 30 hours, getting paid for 56- and got shut down- and then the Commission had a secret, illegal meeting to discuss ways to block citizens from speaking at City Commission meetings- I expected a groundswell of support as I brought this issue to the forefront. Instead, I was arrested, mocked, and locked into a prolonged legal battle when all the resources were stacked in their corner.

Seth: “we expect that speaking up about a new idea won’t lead us to get fired.”

Our City (Dayton – the location on the map, not the one divvied by political fiefdoms that battle constantly) would do well to look at Seth’s list of four simple elements of “infrastructure” to learn how to put things back into order.

It’s not about highways and civil engineering – it’s about civility.

It’s not about big ideas- it’s about being free to express them, without fear.

It’s not about education- it’s about the values we place on it.

And lastly, it’s not really about infrastructure as much as it is about values we hold sacred.

For the benefit of all of us, not just the inner cabal of the  Monarchy of Montgomery County.

Thank you Seth Godin.

 

 

Our thin skinned Princess Mayor

Well it didn’t take long for our Princess Mayor to learn that not everyone is enamored with her royal highness. After her “State of the City Address” the comments on Facebook were less than kind- about her hair, makeup, clothes. This is nothing new- Rhine McLin was constantly mocked as Mayor McHat- and for her funky glasses with one round lens and one square. When Gary Leitzell continued to wear his earring, some scoffed as well. Back before the Internets- Mayor Richard Clay Dixon was often called Mayor Diction- because of the way he mangled/mumbled words.

None of them sent email blasts to their supporters or made a blog post about how wrong it was.

Nan of course, was hurt, and published her second post since she’s been elected. Note, she didn’t even bother to post a thank you after buying her seat.

I want to talk about moving Dayton forward, they wanna talk about my eyebrows!

This past Wednesday I gave my first State of the City address to a standing room only crowd in the Dayton City Commission chambers. In my speech, I shared the Commission’s priorities for the coming year and our vision for creating jobs and economic opportunities for the residents of Dayton. You can watch the speech in its entirety here.

Much of the news coverage was fair and shared the ideas discussed in the speech. Unfortunately, one Dayton Daily News reporter decided to go another route with her unfair internet coverage of some comments that attacked how I looked and what I was wearing.What I wear is not news. Internet musings related to my appearance is not news and random irrelevant remarks posted on a Facebook page should not be the focus of mainstream news reporting.

via STOP Media Sexism!.

I’ve already caught hell for stating that I don’t think anything Amelia Robinson writes for the Dayton Daily news is worth reading, so count me as neutral here. And, this line from the piece in question should prove it:

“Oh, and New Jersey Mayor Chris Christie is fat.”

For the record Ms. Robinson, States don’t have mayors- they have governors, but, the cold hard fact is that the piece that Whaley calls “Media Sexism” is really in support of our Princess Mayor- saying that women shouldn’t be judged by the way they look or dress, but by their substance. I’m sure our Mayor will be calling the DDN editors on Monday demanding Robinson be fired.

My rule on this site for comments is generally you can say anything you want about me as long as it is opinion and not false. You can call me ugly and say my mother dresses me funny.  You can’t say I’m a bank robber. You can’t talk trash about other commenters. You also can’t accuse people in public office of criminal behavior- unless it’s already well established. I try to keep things civil.

When it’s unsigned- it means nothing to me. If you are willing to sign your name, it has more veracity. That’s why my recent nomination to the Dirtbag Ohio hall of fame by anonymous pissants makes me laugh. They even used the See You Next Tuesday word to describe me. I’m sure our Princess Mayor would have called the FBI out if they’d called her that.

Quite frankly, both A.J. Wagner and Gary Leitzell defined Dayton’s number one problem as marketing and changing our image. Leitzell’s solution to lame media coverage and crap like this was to only talk to them when he had something positive to say about Dayton- refusing to comment on things like when we made the top 10 list for most vacant cities. He was way more media savvy than people gave him credit. Wagner talked a great game starting out in his campaign, until he fastened on to the “Dayton lost 9,000 jobs line” which pretty much sank his campaign. Princess Nan just defined her mayorship half way through month two by her thin skin and low self-esteem.

Lucky for her, no other news outlet should touch this with a ten foot pole. Only the DDn which no longer knows how to report news, or recognize it when it happens, would waste time reporting on what a few dozen idiots write on Facebook.

Word from inside the paper says Robinson is told to write this kind of crap. If anyone should be fired, it’s the editor who let the “Mayor Christie” of N.J. is fat line get published. Then you can look at the idiots who think what people say on Facebook matters.

First lesson for elected leaders: never let others define the conversation if at all possible. Second lesson- it’s never about you- but about your community.

If Whaley wants to change the conversation, she needs a thicker skin yesterday. She also can stop doing things like hiring campaign flunkies like Hilary Browning as a commission aide- without posting the job.

There, that’s a story the DDn could write about, one that matters.