Justice Sotomayor, meet our Sheriff, Phil “The Torturer” Plummer

Title slide for Torture in Montgomery County Jail videoOn Feb 2, 2017 I released video from the Montgomery County Jail on Youtube. It showed the barbaric point-blank pepper spraying of the restrained inmate, Charles Alexander Wade. After they pepper sprayed him, they left him, tied down- without treating his burning eyes, for hours. Think about that. Torture, pure and simple.

The way I spliced together the series of camera angles, sound and told the story of this incident garnered 31K views.

I also supplied all the individual camera footage- and the handycam footage got 34K views. Every local news org EXCEPT Cox- used my footage in their coverage- which was watermarked. Cox waited several days until they could get the same footage raw- and never credited me for breaking the story.

In the meantime- exploitative online sites like “Now This” recut my footage and got over a million views in less than 24 hours. Current stats 1.8M views, 1.2K comments, 6.2K shares.

This morning two things happened. I read this:

Another problem with this execution is Tennessee’s new protocol for lethal injection. The first drug administered in an execution is supposed to put the inmate to sleep so he can’t feel the effects of the other two drugs: the one that causes paralysis and the one that stops the heart. But midazolam, the sedative in Tennessee’s execution cocktail, doesn’t always render complete unconsciousness. It’s possible for the inmate to feel the effects of the next two drugs, and what he feels is akin to being suffocated and burned alive at the same time.

The United States Supreme Court had declined to delay the execution, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor strongly dissented: “In refusing to grant Irick a stay, the court today turns a blind eye to a proven likelihood that the state of Tennessee is on the verge of inflicting several minutes of torturous pain on an inmate in its custody,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “If the law permits this execution to go forward in spite of the horrific final minutes that Irick may well experience, then we have stopped being a civilized nation and accepted barbarism.”

Source: Opinion | America Has Stopped Being a Civilized Nation – The New York Times

And Youtube- a year and a half later- put an adult content sticker on one of the intake footage clips.

“Hi ElectEsrati,

As you may know, our Community Guidelines describe which content we allow – and don’t allow – on YouTube. Your video Cruel and Unusual Punishment in Montgomery County Jail – Supplemental Raw Footage was flagged to us for review. Upon review, we’ve determined that it may not be suitable for all viewers and it has been placed behind an age restriction.

Video content restrictions

If a video contains violent or graphic content that appears to be posted in a shocking, sensational, or disrespectful manner, it’s less likely to be allowed on YouTube. We also don’t allow content that’s intended to incite violence or encourage dangerous activities. We review content on a case by case basis and will only make limited exceptions for appropriate educational, documentary, artistic, and scientific contexts, where the purpose of posting is clear.

In light of this, we ask that uploaders post as much information as possible in the title and description of their video to help us and viewers understand the primary purpose of the video. Please note, even with this additional context, it’s still not acceptable to post violent or gory content that’s primarily intended to be shocking, sensational”

If you ask me- we stopped being a civilized nation a long time ago, when we declared a war on poor people and started locking them up at record speed. How we treat people in the Montgomery County Jail- with over $10M and counting in settlements should have Sotomayor pissed off, and a hell of a lot of other people- but, so far, all we have is one video- with an age restriction.

And, Phil “the Torturer” Plummer is running for State Representative… go figure.

Why the sales tax hike isn’t the answer

taxes graphicI’m one of the people stirred up about the sales tax hike. I’ve already known for years that if I do my shopping in Greene county, I can save .5% on sales tax that funds the RTA- a Montgomery County Service that actually goes to Greene county on my dime (WSU and the Greene).

I was also the lone voice against giving Sinclair a second tax levy- a school which taxes Montgomery County to death, yet provides services in Greene, Preble and Warren Counties- all without them paying a lick of taxes.

And when it comes to economic development in the last 30 years, I look at the whole Fairfield Mall area- which was part cow pasture when I came to Wright State, I look at the Greene, which was forest, and I look at Cornerstone of whatever they call it- where Costco and others are- and I realize that all three are as close to Montgomery County as possible but NOT IN IT- I see the effects of our incompetent county leadership.

So when Debbie Lieberman says something stupid like:

“All the people out there getting petitions and getting stirred up over $36 a year, they definitely have a right to do that, but it’s very disappointing,” said Debbie Lieberman, Montgomery County Commission president. “We are getting cut by the state – our state Legislature and our governor.”

In June, the three Democrats on the county commission passed a 0.25 percent sales tax increase that works out to about $36 a year for every man, woman and child in Montgomery County….

If the tax increase is derailed, Lieberman said the county will be forced to scuttle a number of programs focused on the arts, economic development and criminal justice. The money is also earmarked for planned upgrades to the Montgomery County Jail, the focus of nearly a dozen civil rights lawsuits costing the county more than $1 million in recent years.

“If that (tax increase repeal) happens, every office in the county will be slashed. It could mean jobs, ” she said. “It certainly will not include the new officers we were going to provide the sheriff and all the programs to make the jail safer for our employees and inmates. All off that is off the table. It just can’t happen. There’s no way.”

Source: Deadline looms for tax-hike foes – Dayton Daily News

Let’s see, when the jail started having issue after issue, did you step in and remove the leadership that was costing us millions in settlements and allowing our citizens to get death sentences for just being there? Nope.

When I look at the Salem Mall and Hara Arena, I see that you were totally inept at managing and maintaining the resources we had in Montgomery County. You, who live in Clayton, one of the newest unnecessary fiefdoms of uselessness in Montgomery County.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Debbie Lieberman, and I think that Doug Barry, who has self-appointed himself leader of the anti-sales tax hike movement,  is totally unfit for office (he’s running for Dan Foley’s seat on the County Commission. However, this sales tax increase isn’t the answer for the county and here’s why: it will continue down the road of placing the burden of government on the those the least able to pay, it’s a regressive tax pure and simple, in other words, those with the least will be hit as a percentage of their income the most.

Now, why is Doug Barry just as criminal? Austin Landing. The only place in Ohio that I know of where a two tiered income tax system is in existence and he, as a Miami Township Trustee is fine with that. Through a JEDD (a Joint Economic Development District) Miami Township, which is banned from collecting an income tax- manages to share in an illegal income tax that is only levied on the little people- those who work in retail jobs at the development. People like State Rep Jim Butler, who works in a “tall office building” get exempted from the 2% income tax. This is the most unfair tax in existence and Barry, has never said a thing against it.

The problems in Montgomery County will never be solved with more taxes, what will solve them is the elimination of insane duplication and the reduction of the number of governments. I’ve started a 501(c)(4) non-profit, Reconstructing Dayton, to study and clarify the wastes in Montgomery County that need to be eliminated. Something our County Government seems incapable of addressing.

Case in point- the number of municipal courts, their inadequate websites that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and still don’t allow online filing of cases.

And while Debbie lives in Clayton- a totally unnecessary micro-government, with its own slew of overpaid bureaucrats, my favorite waste of a community is Moraine, where 6000 people pay $25 per person, per year, just to have a City Manager who is paid $145,000 a year. Do they really need their own police department? We’re working on building a visual dashboard of this kind of data– so that voters can see how much of their tax burden is for pompous politicians seat at the taxpayer financed feeding trough.

Why Moraine isn’t forced to join Kettering which already runs their schools is a mystery- about as big as why we need a sales tax increase right before the feds have mandated that all online retailers start charging sales taxes which should bring a windfall to the county.

Maybe we really don’t need a Pre-school Promise with its unregulated additional school board that spends a huge amount on advertising- and we should just start sending little kids books each month? The Dolly Parton Imagination Learning Library has proven to increase reading scores- the “Preschool Promise” hasn’t even managed to significantly  increase enrollment in a program where your tax dollars are funneled back to private businesses running sub-standard day cares now calling themselves pre-schools.

It’s funny, when circulating the petition I’ve only had three people say no to signing to put this on the ballot. One was a former arts administrator, who sucked at the teat of tax financed support of the arts, and two lawyers, who receive subsidized day care for their kids- and are big supporters of a co-op grocery for the “poor people of West Dayton” who will be most impacted by this regressive tax. The county has said if this tax increase on all goes down, they won’t have any money to support this single grocery store.

How about we just eliminate any city under 50,000 in population, and force all urban townships illegal, and eliminate all township government entirely, forcing low population density areas to use county services only- as a starting point?

The amount of money to fund all Debbie’s dreams would be available, and the number of micro-governments like Doug Barry’s Miami Township would disappear.

You can sign the petition at my office from 9-6 today and tomorrow – 100 Bonner St Dayton Ohio, it’s also available at Routsong Funeral Home in Centerville or Strehle’s Dry Cleaning of Kettering and I’m sure a few other businesses.

It’s time for the governments of Montgomery County to have to learn to live within their budgets just like the rest of us have for the last 10 years.

Court clerks are jerks in Montgomery County

We have too many clerk of courts in Montgomery County. We have too many courts too.

In the entire state of Wisconsin and Florida, there is one universal courts website. All cases, criminal, civil, probate, are managed in one place. They have one login per attorney, one set of forms, one set of fees, one set of processes- making it easy-peasy for attorneys to do their job. This also makes it easier for news organizations, background checkers, and for people who are trying to keep track of legal precedents and case law (like LexisNexis and Westlaw).

It’s also a hell of a lot more cost effective. We’ve been digging into the costs of the court websites in Montgomery County- and have gotten graceful help from some communities when we’ve filed public records requests, others have played dumb.

You can see the costs of each municipal court website on Reconstructing Dayton, our 501(c)(4) that is set up to research and then inform voters how their tax dollars and time are being wasted by unnecessary duplication and complication of and by government in Montgomery County.

You’ll see that Kettering and Miamisburg use the vendor case management system, Civica CMI from the firm of the same name in Englewood.

Vandalia Municipal Court uses a case management system from Henschen & Associates, Inc. in Bowling Green Ohio.

Oakwood, Dayton, Montgomery County Municipal, and Dayton Municipal have all been non-responsive. We’ll be filing complaints about their failure to respond to public records requests soon.

The insane thing is that none of these systems allow for online filing, or online case management and research. I just got a scan of the snail mail judgement that was mailed to my attorney in a case where a local harlot stole money from a Service Disabled Veteran that I had power of attorney for. That means anyone doing a background check, won’t find it, at least until we get the judgement recorded in Montgomery County Common pleas court. The fact that it can’t be accessed online other than a list of actions is criminal.

Screen shot of the Montgomery County Ohio lame court efiling website portal

It’s 2018 and this is the best they can do?

The County Clerks site is a home grown mess with its multiple domains. “ProNet” is one part and it’s efiling another, managed by Tybera out of Orem Utah, but it at least allows for online filing for civil and criminal cases, but not for probate or juvenile cases.

It’s time for a unified system in Ohio, but, we can start with working on it here. Franklin County has a single site– including their single countywide municipal court – which may be part of the reason Columbus is growing, and we’re losing congressional representation (among other things).

Which leads us to the people who “run” these courts. Mark Owens has been the Dayton Clerk of Courts since 1991. In that time, he has seen the rise of the internet, but still hasn’t made the effort to provide an efficient web filing system. Maybe, because it helps create work for the 45 patronage jobs he presides over. Mark is the godfather of the local Montgomery County Democratic Party too. He needs more people, because, well, they have to print out and mail all these documents- something that’s been done away with in the County Common Pleas court.

And, now, we’re asked to vote for his Chief Deputy Clerk, Russ Joseph, who was appointed by Mark and the Central Committee to take over the County Clerk job when Greg Brush “retired” to go work in Cincinnati for their Clerk of Courts. It helps to be an appointed incumbent running for office, even if you’ve spent 10 years not moving the Dayton Clerks office into the twentieth century. He was appointed Nov 20, 2017, he has to be on the ballot this November – and is facing Republican businessman Mike Foley, to run for the remaining 2 years of the current term.

Russ previously served with the Dayton Municipal Clerk of Court from 2004 to 2017, first as the Administrative Assistant for three years and then as Chief Deputy Clerk for 10 years. As Chief Deputy Clerk, he oversaw the office’s $3.6 million annual budget and 45 employees. This included the Clerk’s four divisions as well as administrative staff including the Chief Information Officer, Accountant and Director of Operations.

In 2008 Russ was named the Deputy Clerk of the Year by the Ohio Association of Municipal & County Court Clerks. Russ currently serves as a Trustee for the Southwestern Ohio Municipal Court Clerks Association where he’s been a member since 2004. He’s also a member of the National Association for Court Management and the Ohio Association of Municipal & County Court Clerks.

…He is also a Certified Court Manager, having completed a multi-year program through the National Center for State Courts Institute for Court Management and the Judicial College of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Source: About

All that experience, and not a massive move to consolidate and simplify the clerks sites throughout the county. His site makes no promises of implementing change, just, vote for me, I’m great, and btw- here’s a list of my fundraisers and that I raised a bunch of money.

This is incompetence.

As a builder of websites, I can tell you that it would be very easy to have one integrated county wide site, even with different front ends for each municipality. We do this all the time with open source content management systems. Unfortunately, politicians with a degree in “Sociology & Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a concentration in Environmental Science” missed anything about running a business or computer science.

We’re working on a campaign to bring this issue to the forefront, not just in Montgomery County, but statewide. If you are an attorney, a bill collector, an investigative reporter or anyone else that has to interface with this horrific mishmash of bad websites and inept clerks, and would like to support forcing the simplification and consolidation of online clerks sites in Ohio, please consider making a donation to Reconstructing Dayton. Because we are a 501(c)(4) your donation can remain entirely anonymous.

It’s time to get clerks that aren’t jerks in office and doing their job effectively.

First Montgomery County countywide citizen initiated referendum in the works

Reliable sources have informed Esrati.com that former Republican Party chairmen, Greg Gantt and Rob Scott are working together to write a referendum and collect the necessary 14,583 voter signatures to put the recently approved sales tax increase to the test on the November ballot.

The .25% sales tax increase was rushed through the county commission in a closely choreographed series of hearings where everyone and their mother who sucks at the county teat, got up and spoke in support of raising the sales tax.

The County Clerk of Courts Russ Joseph said we need it. He didn’t bother to mention that the stupid system of multiple municipal courts with their own clerks, staff and websites is a giant waste of money in Montgomery County– nor did he suggest ways to streamline government and save money.

The people from the “PreSchool Promise” came out in support also. An organization with ZERO public oversight, huge ad budgets, that exists to give public tax dollars to private companies running glorified day cares in many cases.

The list goes on.

The task of getting that many valid signatures stops most referendums on issues like this, as does the difficulty of writing acceptable ballot language. This is why we have so much overlap and duplication in government in Montgomery County.

Once the language is approved, petitions have to be circulated and then turned in at least 90 days before the November 6, 2018 election.

The tax increase is currently scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 1, 2018. No word on if the petitions are submitted that the hike would be delayed. The cost to retailers of having to implement the new rate should be considered by the County- and they should delay their action until after the issue has been decided once the petitions are approved.

This country was founded because of taxation without representation. To put this tax hike to the voters is the correct action.

Final sales tax public hearing today 1:30 pm

For the second time in a week, the Dayton Day-Old News selectively quoted me at the first sales tax hearing. All they managed to get out of my presentation was that the sales tax was regressive, hurting those with the smallest incomes the most.

What they left out was the majority of my speech- where I pointed out that Montgomery County has WAY too many governments- all adding to overhead. Watch the video:

For those of you who would rather read- here’s the text:

A sales tax increase hurts the working poor much more than any other tax you could impose. They don’t have the option of leaving the county to save, or to order online from retailers that don’t charge tax. It takes up a larger percentage of their disposable income, since other than food, rent and energy, this tax applies.

Montgomery County is already one of the highest taxed counties in the state by the time we finish paying for Health and Human Services’ two levies, Sinclair’s two levies,  Metroparks levy, the Library Levy, school levies, and anything else- like a street light assessment in Dayton.

When you look at the cost to business to try to keep up with the different income tax rates for all 28 jurisdictions in this county- you can call that a tax as well. The overhead of having too many chiefs for a declining number of Indians.

In the meantime- Warren County- is the fastest growing county. Their taxes are lower. And, they even get a Sinclair campus with no tax levy. Go figure.

But, the real tax that nobody wants to talk about is the politician tax. We have way too many politicians in Montgomery County. That’s because we allow almost anybody with a back 40 to become a city. The City of Moraine. 6000 people. And they have to pay for a mayor and commission, and a city manager- for $145,000.

That works out to $25 per person per year to pay for a guy who’s job it is to do exactly the same thing the County Administrator does.

The list goes on. Why does Jefferson Township have a school district, with a superintendent and a treasurer when all their students total 315? If we used that formula for Dayton, we’d have 41 superintendents.

And for another example, why do we have a Vandalia, Miamisburg, Kettering, Oakwood, Dayton and county municipal courts- with a website for each- none of which allows basic online filing? Hint, Franklin County has just one site- and one municipal court system.

No, raising taxes isn’t the answer anymore. It makes us uncompetitive.

Just like all of little fiefdoms add to our overhead – and don’t add much back.

With every less police chief- we could have two or more sheriff’s deputies on the streets.

With every less “City Manager” we could have more money for paving and sweeping streets.

With every less Court website we might have a single one that actually works.

If you are to be leaders, you need to come up with a better answer than just hiking another tax.

It’s time to hike some of these banana republics out of business- and have logical rational leadership with lower overhead and better management skills.

At ReconstructingDayton.org we’ve begun working on the data sets and metrics to show Montgomery County Voters how much all of you politicians are costing them. Not only in pay per person they rule, but in how much payola per elected official it takes to get elected in Montgomery county so you can continue to raise our taxes to pay for all of you.

When voters see how much all these fiefdoms cost, maybe they will wake up and it will be time to slim down our governments instead of our wallets.

Thank you.

In between last week and this week, the supreme court issued a mandate for all online retailers to have to collect sales tax, regardless of if they have a presence in the state. And while some say “Amazon already does this”- it’s not entirely true- since Amazon also manages some sales for other retailers, who don’t have to charge sales tax- this will make ALL orders subject to the tax.

Maybe the Commissioners should consider their new windfall, and delay this tax. I’ve already heard there are people ready to gather 15,ooo signatures to put this vote on the November ballot. I’ll be helping them.

It’s time to bring some sanity to our tax structures in Montgomery County- watch this page on Reconstructing Dayton for more data on the breakdowns of cost per person for our elected officials, etc.  BTW- thanks to those of you who donated to help our cause last week. We’re a 501(c)(4) non-profit so you can donate, support a cause, and not have your name reported (just like the national PACs do it).

To say that YouthWorks, Pre-school promise (which is only in Kettering and Dayton right now) and the corporate welfare ED/GE program are critical to a functioning county government is an insult to the taxpayers, who have also been told that two Sinclair levies, two Health and Human Services levies, a Metroparks levy and a Library levy are also critical.

In today’s paper they even mentioned supporting the arts. How will the 25% of Montgomery County residents who are living in poverty, supposed to afford a ticket to the philharmonic before you increase the sales tax?

I can’t be there to speak today (I’ll be in court trying to get justice for a Service Disabled Veteran), so I’ll be sending a proxy.

If you want to go, it’s on the 10th floor of the County Administration building, 451 W. 3rd St. Dayton. Enter the parking garage from 2nd Street, and ask for your parking to be validated by the county commission. They shouldn’t be able to charge parking for a meeting. Festivities start at 1:30/