Wright State Trustees: unsafe at any speed

Usually, when a Board of Trustees misplaces over $130M, gets caught in a federal investigation of wrong doing over running an illegal trade in scientist with H1B visas (where multiple trustees or their companies were benefiting) and they still can’t explain after a $300K audit where the money went, they would get a pink slip. But, for some reason our lame duck governor John Kasich has no interest in fixing the mess he made picking this board.

We’ll start out with the number one problem, enrollment has dropped 10% this fall. Normally, when a company has a big drop in sales, the first thing you look into is why, and how to fix it. The why is pretty easy: Donald Trump shut down their pipeline of international students which has been keeping the university fat and happy (especially since they were working their indentured H1B servitude/modern day tech slavery operation on the side) and the second part comes from the bad press and inevitable looming strike. The new president and the inept board are still claiming a strike won’t happen, yet, the AAUP is dead set on it.

Let me ask you a simple question? Would you buy a ticket to the Broadway show Hamilton at full price, with the knowledge that there is a 50-50 chance that you will have to leave the show half-way through, and not know when you will be able to finish? Of course not, yet this is what they are asking of students.

The failure of the President and the Board to clear contract negotiations over the summer is grounds for termination. It’s inept. It’s risking everything. And what are we fighting over? Two things: Health care and tenure.

Let’s start with tenure. It isn’t going away, and this board isn’t in a position of strength to force this question at all. They should be wanting to grant tenure like the way they want to grant certificates, associates degrees and every other hare brained scheme they have to get students, because, once a faculty member has tenure, the odds of them leaving is a lot less. And leaving is something a lot of them are considering after the last 5 years of incompetence. Turnover is one of the clearest indicators of a shitty work environment and bad management. The flow of talent out of Wright State should be the number two concern after marketing. And maybe it should actually be number one, because without great teachers, what the hell are they selling out there? So, tenure is not something to be arguing about.

If you want a summary of what this board is up against, you don’t have any farther to go than a James Bond villain, Dr. No.  Actually, this Dr. No is a she, with an Irish accent, and you probably don’t want to play her in Jeopardy on Colonial American history.

This was at the Trustee’s meeting on Oct. 18, 2018 when she showed up along with Marvel villain, Dr. Doom, (sorry, I can’t resist- Dr. Travis Doom- head of the faculty senate and a well loved computer science professor), and told the board that they don’t have any super powers.

Of course, the fact that this board was meeting in one of their prime boondoggles, the former HQ of Wright Patt Credit Union, a building the board bought through an illegally crafted shell corporation, “Double Bowler” to benefit both board of Trustees President Doug Fecher, and also Wright State benefactor Bob Mills, who Fecher paid back by buying the old CSC building that was an anchor on Mills bottom line. That transaction alone should have put some folks in prison, but, this was the age of incompetence in Ohio- where basketball coaches got to keep their jobs because their star player liked them, and football coaches got to have horrible records and keep their jobs ( dang, Ty Lue got fired and then Hue Jackson, all this last weekend, maybe somethings going to change at Wright State too?).

This board has already shown what it thinks is important. D-1 Basketball, where no students go to games, and the university doubled the pay of the coach, despite being in a fiscal disaster, and STEM, certificates, and associates degrees… because, well, that’s really not our job, but, we’re too stupid to do our job, so look, squirrel!

What’s even better about meeting in the WPCU HQ- is that the board sits, quite literally, in the dark, hence the horrible video. It’s fitting. They are in the dark. The room was used for some kind of master planning exercise. One of those “groupthink” our way to mediocrity favored by Daytonians where it takes a herd to be heard. Around the room, on the managers offices, with their windows covered with post-its, are various themes for figuring out the Wright way out of the mess.

Wright State Trustees meeting in the darkHere are some of the “war room” names:

  • Alumni and Advancement
  • Community/Diversity/Globalization
  • Community Partnerships
  • Student Life
  • Imagination and Entrepreneurship

There are more- but, never is there a room with “Marketing.” Imagine that.

Now, since the last post, there have been two meetings of the mindless wonders called Trustees. First was the Oct. 18th meeting, where the faculty showed up in force. The outcome of that according to the Dayton Daily news- was that they sold two buildings for $2.3M.

One was the Kettering Center- a fiasco of a building downtown that WSU hasn’t been able to figure out what to do with for the last dozen years. It’s right across from Riverscape, and next to the Engineers center and ugly as sin. It’s also full of asbestos- making renovation and repurposing expensive. That building was sold for a million to KC Dayton Partners, LLC- which could be anyone. It’s not listed as an LLC in Ohio at the Secretary of States office.

The other building they sold, at a fire sale price to a real estate investment group out of Solon, a suburb of Cleveland, was part of the “Research Park” in Kettering that took perfectly good farmland and turned it into an oasis of tax abatement in Kettering. Reynolds and Reynolds abandoned downtown Dayton to move their campus there, Kodak/Scitex built a plant, and Community Blood Center and Tissue Services sank a ton of money out there too. Woolpert, a government contractor, helped create this mecca, yet, moved out of Dayton and directly across the street from this “oasis” so they could be in Beavercreek where there is no income tax. Smart. This was supposed to be the silicon valley of Dayton, with partners of the University of Dayton, Wright State and… well, Kettering, who is now buying back the land, because this oasis never really reached its potential. This was the STEM incubator, and was supposed to help put Wright State on the map. Instead, we’re on the map for asking to host a presidential debate then backing out. One other holding out by Research Park connected to Wright State is the STEM charter school- which has been another project that has benefited WSU donor Bob Mills. It’s currently adding an expansion- using his “Synergy Building Systems” company once again as the general contractor.

And, while the building has been on the tax rolls listed between $4M and $3M – they sold it for $1.3M. One has to wonder how this price came about, how potential bidders were notified, etc. Selling things at 70% off isn’t that hard. 54,612 sq feet of offices- 3 acres of land, built in 1985, sounds like a great deal for someone but not Wright State. Sounds like a much better deal than what “Double Bowler” paid for the building they were holding the meeting in which went for somewhere north of $4M for  63,849 square feet. But, then again, the board president wasn’t making money off this deal (that we know of). The big difference is that the Research Park building actually had tenants…

They heard from the Mission Vision twins again, but, I stepped out to hear and film the faculty press conference. I’ll have to review it and get back to you on their progress. It’s highly doubtful that this lipstick on the pig will do anything to bring students back or instill faith upon the heathen faculty. A much quicker way to change perception would be to clean sweep the board except for the student trustees and new Trustee Bruce Langos.  Yes, that’s me who you hear calling for Fecher and Bridges to resign. I think the audience was in too much of a state of shock to react- but a faculty speaker came up to me later and thanked me for it.

Fast forward to the finance committee meeting in the same empty building, still in the dark, last Friday. Fecher sat in, even though he’s not a finance committee member. This time, a much smaller audience, as the committee sits and listens to staff tell them that they are now working on their first 3 year plan. Nevermind that this board never asked for a three year plan before- or noticed the money flying out the door over five years. All is great and grand, as long as the faculty don’t strike and force yet another 10% to not enroll in the Winter- effectively blowing the whole thing out of the water.

Again- no mention of marketing, other than approving spending $53,508 with Ruffalo Noel Levitz LLC  to try to entice high school students to enroll, and wasting $76,235 with The Ohlmann Group of Dayton for “professional services to obtain traditional media space (print, broadcast, outdoor, direct mail), as well as digital media e.g. email, online social (Facebook, Twitter) and other digital media advertising services.” Remember- no marketing plan, yet- willing to spend money, hmmm. Readers of this blog will also recognize the Ohlmann Group as the agency of record for one of the other failure school boards- Dayton Public. And, wouldn’t you know it- they are also the agency of Board President Doug Fecher’s company, Wright Patt Credit Union. You should be seeing a pattern- or maybe you need a refresher?

There was a lot of discussion over the cost of health care, with Wright State being self-insured, but working through Anthem. The real question true “disrupters” would be asking is why doesn’t WSU turn the WPCU offices into a mini-public hospital for the school of medicine and compete directly with the duopoly of Kettering Health and Premier Health by offering cut rate, direct to consumer pricing care by the people who teach the rest of them how to deliver health care? By the time you take the cost of paying Anthem to be the middle man, and do all the negotiation of bullshit rates with the duopoly- you could be providing true community service and fixing health care in “Raider Country.” And, stop supplying cut rate interns to the people who are screwing you and all of us too.

But, we don’t have true disrupters or deep thinkers on the board. We have idiots. Because for the last half hour they were in a tizzy over online learning. They wanted more, higher quality, and kept talking like they could compete online- where they are a click away from Stanford, MIT, Harvard and others- and they can barely keep the doors open at Wright State.

As Tom Peters said in “In Search of Excellence” – “stick to the knitting” and Wright State’s knitting is basic degrees for white kids in a nine county or so area- where EVERYONE with a high school diploma gets in. If you’ve forgotten this, go back and read “The Fall of Wright State” and come back here.

You’ll never compete with online education with the overhead of that campus weighing you down. There are basic, fundamental strengths that Wright State does have, or could exploit- but that would require people with a bit more marketing brainpower than these fools seem to be able to access.  Hint- the accessible/disability services was one of your core strengths- get back to it. Second hint: The military ed part- you’re on the right track- but, your execution sucks. The rest, you’ll have to pay me, but, the idea of being an innovator in shaking up health care is a powerful one, especially since it’s the number one issue on voters minds in the upcoming midterms. Get busy on this- and forget about screwing your faculty- it won’t work. They are smarter than you- and they have the likes of Dr. No and Dr. Doom, and you’ve got Doug Feckless. I mean, Fecher.

And, stop meeting in the dark. It’s embarrassing.

For those of you who are students of consumer safety history- “Unsafe at any speed” was the book that pushed Ralph Nader to the forefront of automotive safety. What we have here is the Trustees that crashed the university known as Wright State from a high flying success into the ground. Until they’ve been removed- Wright State will continue to be at risk.

 

 

 

 

 

David Esrati, the most dangerous man in Dayton

Ideas are currency.

And in Dayton Ohio, we used up our quota sometime before 1950, because, frankly, up until then we were on a roll. Inventions poured out of this little city. The cash register, the airplane, the step-ladder, the electric starter and even ice-cube trays. We had a few hits after 1950 like the pop-top and the search engine, but, generally, we ran out of gas.

We did stupid things like slice through downtown with a big elevated highway, and we allowed sprawl like no-ones business (actually- it was great business for a few people in power who profited greatly from insider knowledge), and we let our racism tear this city apart.

That all happened before I got to town and pissed off the powers that be by putting up the wrong kind of garage doors on a garage that came with a $14,500 house. Yes, a house that cost less than a parking spot in NYC for a year. That was the beginning of the attempt to tame this wild new thinker in Dayton.

I’ve been called names, I’ve been assaulted by a Mayor, arrested by another Mayor, I’ve been called a pedophile by a Union Chief- who also picked a fight- and then as I got out of my car- slammed the door on my leg. I’ve had my house shot, my office windows broken 2 nights in a row, I’ve been threatened with bodily harm, and had microphones shut off as I spoke at public meetings. I’ve been thrown out of libraries, locked out of public meetings and written up for peeling paint. I think I’ve even been falsely accused of double dipping my chips.

However, the internet has given me a chance to speak and be heard. I’ve broken stories of illegal campaign donations, payola to our congressman’s wife, torture and deaths in the jail and international men of mystery pulling a fast one on the hapless school board and then the Republican party.

But, when it comes to being recognized as a legitimate voice in the community the door has been slammed shut. For the first three years I applied to be a speaker at TEDx- and rejected.

thumbnail of daytonaaf-letter

Thrown out of Ad Club

And yesterday, I got told that my slides were too political, and we can’t have you speak at Pecha Kucha this Thursday night. Yep, talking about hanging basketball nets instead of putting out political yard signs is too risque for PK. Then the mail had an unsigned letter from AAF Dayton, formerly known as the Dayton Ad Club. My membership dues were being returned and I wasn’t welcome as a member. I’d been a member of the club for at least 25 years, but chose to join Cincinnati last year after they gave the Silver Medal to a guy who just showed up in town about 7 years ago. Hell, he barely made it to the meetings. So much for years of volunteer work, community contributions, and actually hiring people and giving them their first jobs in the business.

Good thing is, Cincinnati still welcomes me.

Now a few friends have said things like, you know, if people keep telling you that you have a tail, at some point you might want to look back and do something about it.

To them, I say, sure thing. I’m sure that people told Rosa Parks, “Lady, look, just go on to the back of the bus and don’t make no stink, Whitey is awful nice to even let us ride on their buses with them”

And, others told Martin Luther King, to just stick to the bible and preaching, all this marching and rabble rousing will just get you thrown in jail or worse.

How do I know that? Here’s the opening of his letter, from the Birmingham jail- I’d highly recommend reading the whole thing.

16 April 1963

My Dear Fellow Clergymen:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work.

Source: Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.]

So, since I won’t be able to take the stage on Thursday to talk about “The Long Game of Basketball Net Propaganda” at PK- here’s the banned presentation- please share it with everyone.

Banned in Dayton:

And if you’re wondering about my other 2 PK presentations

And when we stop sharing ideas. We’re broke.

Let the draft dodger in chief and his straps eat MREs

The management for the Air Force One program is right here in Dayton. Our friends and neighbors (and even a political candidate) work hard to maintain and keep Air Force One flying- but, here is a story about them spending $24 million dollars on some refrigerators. That’s right- refrigerators.

The Boeing Company was awarded a nearly $24 million contract in December to engineer the refrigerators for Air Force One, the Defense Department said.

The two units being replaced came with the aircraft in 1990 and are no longer able “to effectively support mission requirements for food storage,” the Air Force said in a statement on Saturday.

“The units were based on the technology at the time and designed for short-term food storage,” the statement said. “Although serviced on a regular basis, reliability has decreased with failures increasing.”

Perhaps in anticipation of taxpayer sticker shock, the Air Force also said “the engineering required to design, manufacture, conduct environmental testing and obtain Federal Aviation Administration certification” were all included in the cost.

The contract — for $23,657,671 — says that work on the units is expected to be completed by Oct. 30, 2019.

Air Force One must be able to feed passengers and crew for weeks without resupplying, according to the news website Defense One.

According to the site, that would require storing about 3,000 meals in huge refrigerators and freezers below the passenger cabin.

Two galleys can provide up to 100 meals at one sitting, according to the Air Force.

Source: Air Force One Needs 2 New Refrigerators. Together, They Cost $24 Million. – The New York Times

MRE image

One Meal Ready To Eat.

The simple cost effective solution is one that every grunt has had to endure- they are called “Meals Ready to Eat” and require absolutely zero refrigeration. You can pack a whole bunch in the space where the fridges are, and they have a shelf life approaching the half life of the nuclear war the president seems so intent on starting.

As to feeding all the straphangers with the fake news organizations- MREs are pretty close to fake food- so they are only fitting for the fake news folks.

There is no excuse for spending $24 million on special refrigerators. In fact, MRE’s may be too nice for these folks- PB&J and some government welfare cheese would be even more appropriate.

Program managers at WPAFB- look out, soon you may hear “You’re fired” for this boondoggle expense.

And Boeing, maybe we really should be buying from Airbus.

 

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Medical pot + guns = no. OVI + guns = OK

Guns and alcohol vs guns and potThere are plenty of instances with drunk people shooting someone. Yet, most people who smoke pot say it mellows them out.

Of course, we can’t talk about illegal pot use- we’re talking about a prescribed medication for a medical condition.

People who register with the state of Ohio to legally use medical marijuana will be prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law, according to guidance released by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

In an open letter to federally licensed firearms dealers, the ATF advised in 2011 that marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law so any use of the drug is unlawful, and gun dealers are prohibited from providing guns or ammo to anyone they have cause to believe uses pot.

“There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such is sanctioned by state law,” the memo says.

Source: Medical marijuana users in Ohio can’t own or possess guns

Schedule 1 drugs aren’t really drugs- as in medicine- they are “Banned substances”- “Substances in this schedule have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.”

To get to the drugs- you need to go to “Schedule 2” which is defined as “Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence” and include such winners as:

“hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), methadone (Dolophine®), meperidine (Demerol®), oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®), and fentanyl (Sublimaze®, Duragesic®). Other Schedule II narcotics include: morphine, opium, codeine, and hydrocodone.

Examples of Schedule IIN stimulants include: amphetamine (Dexedrine®, Adderall®), methamphetamine (Desoxyn®), and methylphenidate (Ritalin®).

Other Schedule II substances include: amobarbital, glutethimide, and pentobarbital.

Oh, no- we don’t have any problem with any of those Schedule 2 drugs. They wouldn’t possibly be dangerous to mix with guns.

But in a world where a game show host is president, “conservatives/Republicans” just voted to raise the national debt by 1.5 Trillion dollars, and the president and the party are endorsing a child molester- logic no longer takes precedent.

And while any blood alcohol content while carrying is cause to revoke your CCW- having an misdemenor OVI isn’t.

It’s time for logic to apply to our laws.

Faulty Fairgrounds math

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Fairgrounds’ $15M purchase approved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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