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.



Why early voting is a mistake in Ohio

Early voting is dumb graphicSouls to the polls, where churches bus people to the voting booth after church weeks before the election are a strategy GOTV people love.
Wait, you don’t know what GOTV is? Get Out The Vote has traditionally been a strength of the Democratic party- which is also a fan of slate cards- printed lists of “Endorsed candidates” or as I like to call them “stupid voter cards.” Why do I call them “stupid voter cards”? Because there was once a black judicial candidate who had tried to run as a Democrat, but hadn’t kissed the party bosses ring. So he ran as an Republican, but in Ohio, judges don’t get to have their party affiliation on the ballot- since they are supposed to be impartial. On election day, he had slate cards printed for the West side of Dayton, which is predominantly black, with his photo, along side all the “Endorsed Candidates” which was the rest of the Dem party ticket. He had his people handing them out at the polls.

On the white East side, he just had his name, no photo- along side the dem ticket. He won. The party cried foul, but by that time it was too late.

Uninformed voters are the parties best soldiers. Ones that voter early, are ones they don’t have to worry about on election day.

The reason they love early voting is because of logistics. The more people who vote early, the less you have to round up and drive to the polls on election day. In Ohio, each polling place posts a list of who has voted as of 11 am, and at 4 pm- giving the GOTV people time to check off their lists, and then to start calling on the ones they think they can count on to vote their way- and get them into the polls. This is the machine that has worked in Dem strongholds for years- it’s where organized labor comes in handy. It’s where the rubber meets the polls.

But, there is another reason early voting is uniformed voting. In this presidential cycle, you might have cast a vote for Donald Trump- before you herd that he thought it was ok to “grab them right by the pussy”  or locally, voted for Issue 9 in Dayton- without knowing who had contributed all the money to the campaign to raise your taxes.

There is also the fact that in Ohio, once you cast your early ballot, you can’t change it- like in some other states.

Among the states that do allow voters to change their early ballot after it’s been cast are: Wisconsin; Minnesota; Michigan; Pennsylvania; New York; Connecticut; and Mississippi.

Source: Want to change your vote? Some states say no problem – CNNPolitics.com

There’s also the dirty tricks reaction- at the last minute, a candidate you voted for, may send out a mailer calling their opponent a pedophile. Nah, that wouldn’t happen would it? Well, in a Montgomery County State Rep race, it actually happened well before you went to the polls, making incumbent right wing jerk Jeff Rezabek look like a grade school bully with twisted tendencies – although he claimed he had nothing to do with it.

Or when the FBI director decides to restart the crazy train about Hillary Clinton’s email server less than 2 weeks before the election. Or when Donald Trump….

Early voting is only a tool to heard lazy uniformed voters who will vote your ticket into your corner. There is no reason for it to replace the old absentee ballot for those who may not be home on election day, or are serving overseas, or could be hospitalized. And, in reality, with the new law in Ohio allowing you to now take selfies of your ballot- it’s an opportunity to pay people for votes. Of course THAT never ever happens… right….. want to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?

The real answer to “early voting” is vote by mail- for everyone. Not only does it help prop up the post office, it gives people the ability to actually take time and research each candidate and issue at their leisure. It’s been the way Oregon votes for years.

Our main problem in this country isn’t voter fraud- it’s fraudulent candidates. We never know what they really stand for, or what’s coming out of their mouths next. There are truth in advertising laws with legal repercussions- but there are no truth in campaigning laws with teeth.

So if you’ve already early voted- I hope you feel good about saving someone some time and money trying to round you up like lemmings to vote their way. Me personally, I wait to the day of, and make sure I know exactly what and why I cast each ballot.


Bad idea: Oregon District T-shirt

OD with Me T-shirt

We have a slight problem with Heroin in Dayton. A bigger problem with stupid people.

There are lots of things you can put on a T-shirt to promote the Oregon District of Dayton. “OD with me” isn’t one of them. Not sure who launched this bad idea in what we in the industry would call the “Creative No Fly Zone” but- they should work with some people who deal with the aftermath of heroin addiction in our community.

I’m not including the link. I’m not suggesting anyone buy one of these. But, if you did- and you think this is funny- please, don’t ever wear this shirt in public.

This qualifies as an #EpicMarketingFAIL

The Decertification of Sanity in Ohio

A group of moron legislators in Ohio are trying to pass a “constitutional carry” law in Ohio- House Bill 147. They think it’s a god-given right to carry a concealed firearm, and that we’d somehow all be safer if people with zero training were allowed to carry concealed weapons.
As a recent CCW course graduate, before it went from 12 to 8 hours, I can say that the CCW course was inadequate compared to my military training and Jr. NRA training I got as a 13-year-old. But it was something.

From the Dayton Daily news:

Only Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Vermont and Wyoming currently have a “constitutional carry” law, the phrase given bills like House Bill 147.

Paul Zeltwangar, R-Mason, one of those who cosponsored the bill, said since the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, “what’s the purpose of the registering process?” Zeltwangar said there are no negatives associated with the bill.

Other area lawmakers supporting the bill include Reps. Niraj Antani, R-Miami Twp.; Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton; Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield; Nino Vitale, R-Urbana; Jim Buchy, R-Greenville; Margaret Conditt, R-Liberty Twp.; and Ron Maag, R-Lebanon.

via Foes fire back at Ohio gun bill.

My basic stance on gun ownership is that it should be as least as difficult to get a gun as it is to get a car and a driver’s license. Some training, a written test and competency evaluation. Insurance should also be part of the deal. However, since we’re moving away from permits and training, what else could we change to be more “constitutional?”

You currently need permits to sell beer and alcohol, to brew beer and you have to be over 21 to consume it. This seems awfully restrictive and intrusive, HB 148 will reduce the drinking age to 12 and allow anyone to sell alcohol.

HB 149 believes that medical licenses and training are also unnecessary, Ohio will become the first “Free Medicine State” where anyone can practice medicine and charge for it.

HB 150 goes hand in hand with HB 149, dropping requirements for law school or passing the bar exam. With the new influx of “doctors” we’ll need more “lawyers” to sue. After all, Clarance Darrow never graduated from law school.

HB160 will eliminate all professional certifications and requirements of competency for architects, structural engineers, surveyors. Said Representative Antani, “they built the pyramids and the great wall of China without any licenses.”

HB 161 will eliminate all certifications for public safety personnel. “It’s obvious that police training doesn’t stop cops from shooting unarmed black men in the back for a traffic stop” said Rep. Zeltwangar, so why pretend anymore.

HB 162 eliminates all requirements for health department inspections, agriculture inspections, etc. “They eat a kind of sushi in Japan that can kill you” says Rep. Buchy, “what are we so worried about.”

HB 163 however strengthens licensing requirements for barbers and hair dressers. “We can’t have felons using a razor blade on people without proper regulation, and of course, having a bad haircut is a crime” said Rep. Maag.

And we’re still firmly against allowing gay people to marry and women to choose the right to have an abortion because, well, because we’re Republicans.

The Republican members of the Ohio House are scrambling to find other things to un-regulate and de-certify, including oversight on slot machines and casinos, fracking, fertilizer sales and application and ending the onerous task of doing safety inspections on roller coasters- “aren’t they much more exciting when they derail?” said Rep. Koehler.

Unfortunately, the only training and certification we really need in Ohio isn’t being talked about at all: IQ, Civics and Sanity tests for all elected officials, because electing stupid people is not just our constitutional right, it’s our destiny.

From the “fiscally responsible” Commissioner, Joey Williams?

On the campaign trail, Commissioner Williams talks about how he brought fiscal responsibility to City Hall under his watch.

Sure, that’s why the city spent over $4 million first declaring part of Twin Towers blighted, then paying for appraisals, options and buildings in a 12 acre parcel over 5 years of his watch- with no contract from either the developer or Kroger for them to take possession of the parcel or to build a new Kroger.

We don’t talk about that.

Matt Luongo at the Dayton Revival

Matt Luongo, visionary, hero, concert promoter, at his brainchild, the Downtown Revival in Dayton OH Sept. 8, 2012

But, now, we’re going after Matt Luongo. Who? The guy that actually delivered something- a music festival in Downtown Dayton that bombed financially- but, was a pretty good freshman shot at doing something positive in the city.

Here’s parts of the story from WDTN’s Pam Elliot, who seems to be the only real reporter in town these days:

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – It was supposed to put Dayton in the national spotlight and generate millions for the city. Instead, it’s left some people singing the blues and chanting “show us the money.” Even taxpayers are out for now.

2 NEWS Investigates obtained a letter in which the president of the limited liability company set up to put on the music festival, “Downtown Revival” reports more than a $200,000 loss and little hope to pay those he owes….

The trail of unpaid services doesn’t stop there. 2 NEWS Investigates found out your tax dollars ended up supporting what was to be a privately funded event. That’s because Downtown Revival, LLC hasn’t paid the City of Dayton either, and the city leaders who agreed to a contract with the company don’t seem to know where your money is.

When Mayor Gary Leitzell’s assistant told us he wouldn’t be talking about it, we approached the mayor at City Hall. He said he’d talk with us when he looked at the details. A week later, there was still no word from the mayor.

City Commissioner Nan Whaley did agree to an interview. “We’ll certainly try to recoup the money paid to the city for those efforts. We recognize, too, that Matt’s trying to do something, trying to support that effort but we’ll go after the money as well,” she told 2 NEWS.

The money amounts to more than $60,000 for help from police, fire, and public works. Our public records request produced only one check to the City of Dayton, that being for $10,000 dated September 7, 2012.

The City’s public information officer was reluctant to comment.

Pam Elliot : So is it in the legal department now?

Tom Biedenharn: No. It doesn’t necessarily have to go to the legal department.

Elliot: So what is the process?

Biedenharn: We work with the vendor.

Elliot: Is Matt Luongo or Downtown Revival, LLC coming forward with money?

Biedenharn: We are working with him.

Elliot: Are you confident you’ll get the money?

Biedenharn: Sure. Sure.

But 2 NEWS Investigates doesn’t know why the city is so sure it will get paid. Rice and Nye received an identical letter this year from Matt Luongo, President, Downtown Revival, LLC, which reads, “We will not have assets sufficient to satisfy any of our remaining liabilities. On behalf of Downtown Revival, I offer my sincerest apologies.”

The letter directs them to take their questions to Tom Whalen, attorney for Downtown Revival.

We did, but got no answers….

The city says the city manager’s office has been in conversations with Luongo to work out repayment, but if that doesn’t work, they’ll send the matter to the Finance Department’s collection program.

via Big dollars owed City and vendors | 2 NEWS Investigates.

For those who have no clue how Luongo got to do what he did, you might want to look at where he worked previous to his turn in the sun at the community’s expense. His father, former CEO of the Berry Company, opened doors for him- at the Dayton Development Coalition and then UD.

Director of Development, University Initiatives
University of Dayton
December 2009 – August 2011 (1 year 9 months)

Dayton Development Coalition
Director, Business Recruitment
2005 – 2009 (4 years)

Somehow, someone looked past the facts that he had no experience in concert promotion, wasn’t signing for anything personally, and had no personal assets on the line.

That’s fiscal responsibility Dayton Style, thanks to Commissioner Williams. As to Ms. Whaley, a local businessman told me she had no clue what an LLC was. Well, maybe now she does.

But seriously, folks, $200K is about what we pay Steve Budd at Citywide a year, it’s about what the Dayton Development Coalition spent on their annual meeting a few years ago where they brought in a Las Vegas artist to do a painting of John Lennon while spinning the canvas and giving away t-shirts in plastic tubes. This is small fry theft, but I’m sure Matt Luongo will be hung out the way Raleigh Trammell was too- while letting the big crooks walk.

(and btw- there are links that I could put all through this post- from old posts on Esrati.com talking about a lot of these things- but, that would take time- and I’ve got work to do. Wayne Ave. Kroger has its own category, search for Trammell, Luongo, Dayton Revival, etc.)

Inspector Gotcha at work in Vandalia

Last night we heard both Presidential candidates talk about being pro-small business.

What we needed to hear was that if either was elected, “Inspector Gotcha” would be put on America’s Most Wanted List and hunted like Bin Laden.

Thanks to Vandalia, we get to see another prime example of stupidity in power:

One building code issue remains unresolved between the city and the new Scene 75 entertainment complex on Poe Ave. near Wyse Rd. next to Interstate 75.

The city says the fire alarm system isn’t loud enough. Scene 75 owners say it meets code, especially since it is teamed with a visual system.

Until the issue is resolved, an occupancy permit will not be issued and the building will continue to operate under a temporary permit.“We think we’re in compliance,” said Les Sandler, part of the ownership group of Scene 75, which opened in early July. “We have two systems, a sound system and a sight system. The place lights up when the system goes off.

“We’re continuing dialogue with the city. We’ll get past this.”Vandalia building inspector Ted Baker informed the city council in a work session this week the sound system for the alarm is not enough, especially on weekends when 1,000 or more people are in the building, which contains a restaurant, bar and snack areas and several entertainment venues such as go-karts, miniature golf and a 4-D theatre.

“The system designed on paper met code,” said Vandalia building inspector Ted Baker, “but it didn’t pass muster when it went into the field.

”Because of that, Scene 75 has been granted three occupancy extensions as long as firemen are on the scene as a temporary measure in what is called a “fire watch” in case there are problems.

via City, Scene 75 in dispute over fire alarm system | www.daytondailynews.com.

Let’s be absolutely clear- the system meets code. However, if there is a fire, Inspector Gotcha doesn’t think’s that Scene 75’s patrons will be able to hear the alarm and will stand around, despite the lights all coming on, sirens going- and continue to play their games as if nothing is going on. Employees, who have been trained on evacuation techniques and procedures, will also stand around either mute, or will high tail it out, leaving the video gamers and go-cart drivers to fry into crispy critters because, well- the sirens aren’t loud enough.

This has caused the owners of Scene 75, or the citizens of Vandalia to pay to have firemen on the scene while Scene 75 is open (over 3 months) and frustrate and hassle a new small business that has more important things to focus on.

While I’m sure Inspector Gotcha thinks he is doing his job, this isn’t the seventies or the Beverly Hills Supper Club. The risk to the owners of Scene 75 of not having a system and procedures to evacuate a building in case of a fire is clear and they have met code. It’s time to stop Inspector Gotcha from rewriting the laws on the spot. If government bureaucrats had their livelihood on the line and had to take responsibility for their actions, we wouldn’t see this kind of pedantic, capricious behavior.

This is the kind of over-regulation small business really worries about, and the kind that Wall Street Banks aren’t.

Fire Inspector Gotcha now- and let Scene 75 have their occupancy permit.

“The last nail in my political future” – supporting gay marriage

Yesterday, the president, our first black president, finally took the correct stand on gay marriage- to support it. It’s not about god, the bible or religion, it’s about equal rights. The same equal rights that were so long in coming to the black community, are starting to have a chance for the LBGT community.

On twitter and Facebook- I made some comments- including that this may be the biggest small business stimulus package the president could make- florists, wedding photographers, caterers, DJ’s, tux rentals, limo rentals, event facilities- all could see huge rises in business if we follow through and make it the law of the land- without any federal “stimulus” involved.

A few haters came out on Facebook, including from a friend who happens to be black and a minister.

David watch this. You may be putting a nail in your political future in the city.

a second message

Well you remember you said this when we you are soliciting the ministers I influence. Wrong position to take because I will tell them not to support you! There are more people who oppose this postion (sic) than you think. And yes there are a lot of churchs (sic) that are standing with us in our Moral Majority and Traiditonal(sic) Family Values. You are out

I never knew I was in. I’ve been to the screening committee of the ministers several times- and never once been endorsed.

And, my final answer to him:

I believe “single issue” voters are one of the biggest problems this country faces. Judging candidates on issues that have ZERO bearing on the office they are running for (when I’m running for City Commission for instance) is a huge mistake.
It’s polarizing this county and causing us to ignore the much bigger issues. Gay marriage won’t make one iota of difference to most of the people who will vote against me over it-
it’s like you worrying about your next door neighbor’s back yard flower selection-
the current city commission offers you zero candidates btw- so what now?
There are many white voters who didn’t want to give equal rights to “niggers” either- how do you feel about that?

Yep, I used the “n” word.

Unfortunately for me, I don’t really make decisions based on either my political future- or what’s politically correct for my livelihood either. I run a small business in this town- and have attacked many of the biggest possible accounts in this town and have been turned down even for working with charities because I have attacked the “powers that be.” We once did a project for Caresource- that will never happen again after my post comparing the crimes of their CEO vs. the crimes of a leader of the black ministers. I dug into the Dayton Development Coalition and their hiring of Lori Turner’s firm (wife of Congressman Turner) on a no-bid contract and went after improper campaign donations to Steve Austria by the local poster child for misguided corporate welfare – Qbase (and no, I don’t have time to get you all those links). I’ve had the nerve to go and look for work from Teradata’s COO (former chair of DDC) and look him straight in the eye after mocking their status as a public welfare leach (to his credit- he took the meeting and didn’t have a problem looking me right back in the eye- and yes, Bruce, my firm does better work than what you’ve been buying, but that’s your problem).

Last Saturday night I got called every name in the book by an elected official, because I’d been too hard on him in a post. I’d betrayed our friendship, and he was right- I was too hard and I did a quiet edit of the post (David Lauri, please leave this alone- I know you love to show off your Google cache recovery skills).

It’s not easy sticking your rear end on the broiler over and over. Some would say I’ve cooked my goose by speaking out, and others would say I’m toughening the meat. But unlike the president, I can’t waltz into George Clooney’s mansion and pick up $12 mill the next day. There are a few readers who’ve gone out of their way to send some business my way, despite “the risk”- TP, BW, LW, – I thank you. I hope the work that we at The Next Wave have done has been worth your risk.

I also have to thank the one elected official brave enough to endorse what I do and mean to this community on video: Stacy Thompson of the Dayton Board of Education. When I put the call out asking for support, she was the only one who stepped up.

If my endorsement of equal rights was the last nail in my “political future” I guess I should be writing my obituary now, because I’ve never done any of this for a political future- I’ve done it because I wanted to speak out for truth, justice and to prod our community into thinking beyond the drivel that has passed for a discourse on the future of our region. I don’t do this for me, I do it for us, you included. This site is my hammer, and thanks to the shallowness of some of our loudest voices in this community, I’ve got an endless supply of nails.

And, if you want to see this voice grow stronger, and you need better marketing, I have four employees who would be very grateful for a chance to work with you. The nails, unfortunately, do hurt them.



When the State wants to dig in your dirt

The Ohio EPA is discussing the licensing of compost heaps. Not the one in your backyard- but, if you have a community garden- the new standards will require logging of all waste contributed.

That’s right- want to throw your banana peels and coffee grounds into a community compost pile (like we have in South Park) and according to the new rules- you can’t.

Community compost piles come under Class IV

This proposed rules revision creates a new Administrative Code chapter solely for composting regulations and extensively reorganizes the rules. All composting rules will now be found in Chapter 3745-560. ….

3745-560-400 to 499 Class IV

via Composting Rules.

I could write a full post on this- but, the people at Garden Station have info on their Facebook page-http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=184707348240364

Basically all community gardens would be required to register their compost piles with the Ohip EPA and keep meticulous records of everything added to the pile, how much, from where and when as well as what is removed from the pile, how much, when and where it went. If the garden registers as a “class 4” composting facility it does not have to pay registration fees but is subject to inspection by the EPA and is severely limited as to what materials it may compost. For this classification all materials must be from the site and be considered “yard waste” only. These can include wood chips, sawdust, straw, newspaper, brush, Christmas trees, garden waste, grass, green plants, leaves, branches and old mulch. The representative admitted that under the current regulations even throwing a rotten tomato from a garden plot into the compost pile would be breaking regulations for a class 4 site because it would require a different class of license, additional regulations and a registration fee.

and the DDN farm blog has more info as well: http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/farmlife/entries/2011/03/16/compost_oh_epa_to_inspect_regu.html

the EPA planned to inspect community gardens (when I talked with them on the phone, I thought they could be exempted if their compost wasn’t much bigger than a residential one), I wasn’t too concerned. But yesterday, a representative from the Dayton branch of the Ohio EPA talked with a group of (quickly upset) community gardeners about how composting regulations apply to community gardens – and that the OH EPA would be coming out for inspections.

When laws are made- that can’t possibly be enforced, who is our government serving? Will there be a “Composting Police”- will they write tickets, put community gardeners in jail? Come in with a bulldozer and flatten your raised beds? Confiscate your cabbage?

These regulations are right up there with sodomy laws- a place the government doesn’t need to be involved in, and would have a hard time proving a transgression has taken place. However- they both are about crawling up the people’s rear ends- where they don’t belong.

Time to test voters in Ohio?

Yes, we’re the state responsible for GW Bush’s reelection. We also gave the Country John Boehner. And now, despite every indication that money spent on all-day kindergartens is probably the best education investment that we can make- 30 Republican senators think it’s a bad idea:

Removing mandates will be a way to relieve financial pressure from school districts, which will likely face further budget cuts once the state budget is set, said State Rep. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, who plans to introduce a bill that would eliminate all-day kindergarten….

West Carrollton Superintendent Rusty Clifford said they have no plans to turn back to half-day after seeing the difference in their students’ vocabulary, reading and writing. “By the middle of February, our students in an all-day program are already at the place where our half-day students were at the end of year.”

via Cost is the main reason why more districts don’t do all-day kindergarten.

If you need supporting evidence on the value of K and pre-K education, read my previous post on Geoffrey Canada and his world-famous efforts with his Harlem Children’s Zone. Also remember that the state has been in contempt of court for almost 20 years- for its unequal funding system for schools.

However, there were two absolute justifications for this boldly stupid move by Republican lawmakers in the very same edition of the Dayton Daily:

“Lobbyists – Affluence & Influence,” prepared by Ohio Citizen Action’s Money in Politics project, found that during the last legislative session, members of the Ohio Senate’s Finance Committee received 60 percent of their contributions — $1,523,365 — from lobbyists, firms that employ them and other lobbying entities such as law firms specializing in government relations.

House Finance Committee members received nearly 50 percent of their campaign contributions — $3,301,561 — from lobbying entities, the report found.

The full report can be found at http://moneyinpoliticsohio.org.

via Lobbyists are big donors to state budget writers.

And this gem, possibly explaining a lot more about the state of our state:

Ohioans set another liquor record last year, purchasing 11 million gallons of booze.

Call it a 13-year high. Since 1997, Ohioans have purchased more and more hard liquor each year.

The Division of Liquor Control said Tuesday that 2010 sales of spirituous liquor hit $753.7 million, which exceeded 2009 sales by $19 million, or 2.6 percent. Spirituous liquor contains more than 21 percent alcohol by volume.

via Hard liquor sales climb in Ohio | Ohio politics.

Just remember, we always have money to lock our citizens up for being stupid- and we always have money to elect stupid people. Why does smart scare Ohioans so much?

It’s time to eliminate all funding for “economic development” in this state, raise taxes on booze and smokes, legalize and tax pot and prostitution- so we can balance our budget and start focusing on having people smart enough to understand the costs of stupidity. The rest of you can go to Kentucky (which was smart enough to ban smoking and posts the health departments ratings in the windows of restaurants).

We may need to have a sobriety test at the polls at this rate, and while we’re at it- let’s have a literacy test for voting too. Because we can’t afford to keep electing idiots to represent us.

Symbolism, rhetoric and idiots on parade

Today is 9/11 (2010)
Up until 2001 if you said it- I thought of a Porsche. German engineering at its finest.
Of course, the association of German engineering overlooked the German-engineered genocide during WWII.
But, as Americans, we’re not going to let go of a terrorist attack so easily. We can’t- because it has been used as justification for two wars, the unconstitutional addition of the “Patriot Act” and the creation of the department of “Homeland Security” which may be a bigger oxymoron than “military intelligence.”
The latest round of firecrackers added to the fire and brimstone that we conjure up with 9/11 has been to threaten to burn the Qur’an. A stunt crafted by a sociopathic man of the cloth- who’d rather preach hatred than love. The media has given him the fuel to feed his publicity engine for more than the 15 minutes of fame that everyone should be entitled to according to Andy Wahol.
But, burning books is nothing new- especially here in Dayton.
It was soon after I arrived here- that another “Minister” decried that books were tools of the devil and staged a book burning on W. Third Street near Gettysburg. I was incensed- because this wasn’t the America I had sworn an oath to protect with my life- it was a cruel caricature, a series of side-shows, hell, one big sideshow. What our founding fathers had created, after a profound amount of intellectual discussion and debate, had been turned into something only P.T. Barnum could relate to.
The days of four hour debates by candidates is long gone. In fact- the art of debate is a dying skill, replaced by sideshow symbolism and the rhetoric of scalawags.
25 odd years later- that same preacher who burned books in Dayton somehow managed to find his way into my office seeking help in communicating his new message. It took me a while before I made the connection, and was surprised at how time and maturity had changed both the man and his message, because after the cameras leave, and the papers stop writing about the stunts and speeches we still have to step back and account for our actions. He’s now a pioneer in urban aquaculture- teaching inner city youth how to farm fish. He’s still a bit on the fringe- driving a H1 Hummer with a message to accept Christ or suffer eternal damnation, but he’s not burning books anymore.
The terrorist action of 9/11 2001 was a made-for-the-media event. However, the rules of media physics are totally different than Newton’s laws- events now create reactions by orders of magnitude greater- and the big ones, it’s on a logarithmic scale. Bin Laden understood the symbolism and the effect- and did if for the expected knee jerk- we complied.
How do we rationalize the responses to 9/11? Was giving up much of our freedom and privacy really what we wanted to do? Or is it what Bin Laden wanted?
Attacking a Third World nation like Afghanistan and losing thousands of our soldiers and trillions of our dollars to achieve what? Bin Laden is laughing at us from a cave somewhere.
The folly of Iraq, where we’ve also spent trillions and lost thousands- how do we justify it?
Never mind how many civilians we’ve killed- or Afghani and Iraqi patriots who are defending their countries in the same way we’d defend ours. It amazes me to think that any proud people would ever accept an invasion- and accept the rule of another country- because we sure wouldn’t. You know you’d be tempted to take pot shots at foreigner who dropped bombs on us? Of course you would, it’s the American way.
Terrorism is a poor man’s way of waging what professionals call an asymmetrical war. It’s how the little guy topples the big guy. It’s why conventional warfare is obsolete, even though America hasn’t accepted it yet.
With our economy in shambles, over 10% of our population unemployed, the gap between the haves and the have-nots widening at a pace never before imagined, Bin Laden and his 20 suicidal warriors have inflicted what could be considered a near mortal wound to our nation.
Trillions spent on the war, another trillion or two on propping up the economy with no end in sight- and we’re allowing an idiot who wants to burn a book to take central stage?
What is the appropriate symbol we need to set this country back on track, where we worry more about solving our problems and rebuilding our own economic engine?
It’s not hope or change as spoken by our President, we’ve cashed those chits out. It’s not a revolt against taxation as the tea party rants on. What will it take to get our country back to thinking about itself in a macro healthy way?
It’s this same kind of economic mess that helped lead Germany to the “National Socialist” party. Are we heading in the same direction? Closing off our borders to immigrants and the strong anti-immigration policy is reminiscent of the Nazis’ “Master Race” ideas.
To me, 9/11 is becoming less significant every year, to others, it’s become a near holy day. I’d much rather celebrate a day of our triumphs than a day of travesty, but, that won’t keep the rhetoric engine stoked as well.
It’s 9/11 and if you want to do something patriotic- hire an American, buy local, and call for our troops to come home. It’s time to move forward again.
It’s time to stop allowing the sideshow of a book burner to distract us from the true task at hand- rebuilding America and our global reputation.
It’s not politics or the power of the best military in the world that will do either- it’s the principles espoused by the golden rule- do unto others as you’d have others do unto you.
We’ve forgotten that.
We’ve been caught up in too much symbolism and rhetoric, led by idiots on parade.