Spend half a million, win a levy

Vote no on issue 4, no more money for Sinclair until all counties payDr. Steven Johnson continues to get away with lying about the value the Montgomery County taxpayers donate to surround counties in providing Sinclair services.

The voters just gave him a ten year license to raise tuition, buy more buildings, increase fees, not hire full-time instructors, and continue to build his empire.

Sinclair’s 10-year levy allows the school to invest in daily operations of the downtown Dayton campus as well as provide discounted tuition for Montgomery County residents. The discount means Montgomery County students pay just over $99 per credit hour while students from other counties pay around $146 per credit hour.

With the passage of the levy, Johnson said the college will continue to focus on making its educational offerings affordable and accessible.The levy, which is one of two Sinclair has in Montgomery county, faced little opposition and Johnson said he believed the results proved that. Sinclair’s second levy, an eight year $8.5-million one, was passed in 2015 with 54 percent of the vote.

David Esrati had launched an opposition campaign called “Keep Sinclair Fair” but it appears to have never picked up steam. Esrati called for Montgomery County residents to vote against the levy while advocating for other counties Sinclair serves to pay a tax levy.

Sinclair has the authority to put a tax levy on the ballot in Warren County but Johnson has said such a measure is unnecessary at this point. for (sic) The money generated by the Montgomery County levy can only be used within the county, according to state law, meaning no levy revenue can be used at Sinclair’s locations in other counties.

Source: LOCAL & STATE Sinclair’s election victory ‘a great birthday present’

Note, Keep Sinclair Fair spent a little over $1000 to their half a million plus. Throw in all the Sinclair ads you saw for non-Levy related promotion- and it probably came in at over a million. We not only have the best politicians money can buy, but the highest tax burden money can buy.

Congratulations to all Montgomery County Voters- a big thank you from Greene, Preble, Warren counties- who get Sinclair services without any property taxes at all.

Voting guide for Nov 7 2017

The party hands out their stupid voter, I mean,  “Slate cards” which tell you how to vote.

Here’s my easy one for Montgomery County/Dayton voters

Issues:

Issue 1: NO
Issue 2: YES
Issue 3: YES
Issue 4: NO

Dayton City Commission: Darryl Fairchild, Shenise Turner-Sloss

Dayton School Board: Ann Marie “Mario” Gallin, Paul Bradley, Karen Wick-Gagnet, Joselyn Rhynard.

May big money in politics and the political machine get a bit of a wake up call when it’s all done.

 

Local campaign finance winners and losers

Number one rule in journalism: follow the money.

When it comes to politics and who wants to buy your vote: follow the money.

When I look to see what I could and should support, I like to look at the money. In Montgomery County it takes a lot of work to do it- mostly because the Board of Elections (or Board of [S]elections as I like to call them) has an incredibly bad, non-ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant website.

Everything about campaign finance reporting, accountability, and researchability is convoluted in Montgomery County.

In my book, good honest campaigns are supported by a lot of small money donors. The first Obama campaign, the Bernie campaign. Small money, large base, is more than likely a good cause and campaign. When you have a very few big donors, typically it’s an attempt to “Buy the People, for the Donors” not “by the people for the people.”

In Montgomery County, on Nov 7th, this Tuesday, we have three campaigns that share a common thread: Burges and Burges Strategists out of Cleveland. These are the people Nan likes, that Sinclair and the Human Services campaign likes, and who DPS used on their last levy- and who they then hired for “marketing consulting” as a payback. I’ve written about them considerably.

Why do we hire consultants from out of town?

Is it biblical? Mark 6:4 “But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

This one makes sure to spread the money around locally to favored subcontractors. The main one being The Ohlmann Group, which also does work for Sinclair and Dayton Public Schools under a contract- even though DPS board members have publicly criticized the “work product” they’ve received.

Other favored contractors:

The funny thing is, I look down the list of donors, and, guess what I see? It’s pay to play. You have to donate to be a contractor. Like a kickback, only we don’t call it that.

Let’s start with Issue 3, the Human Services levy. This is only half a levy, they come back around and do this all again in a few years for the other half the levy. Why is this? Well, it makes more money for companies like Ohlmann and Burges, and it means that if a levy does fail, it’s only half their money gone.

Here is the complete report: Human Services Levy Campaign pre-election finance report 2017

Brought forward $358,965.27
Raised $272,132.54 this period.
Total on hand $631,097.81
Total spent to make you tax yourself? $411,749.07

That’s a lot of money. Where did it come from should be your next question. And, this is where is gets interesting- payroll deduction contributes a huge chunk. You work for any of the county agencies that benefit from this tax- you pay a vig out of your paycheck. There are literally 32 pages, 45 donations per page,  of print outs of donations from employees of Job and Family Services, Stillwater, Information Tech Operations, Human Services Plan and Develop, Development Services Workforce, Juvenile Court, Mental Heath Board, Developmental Disabilities Services, Public Health, County Commission, Human Resources.

Is this legal? Should it be? Well, this is how unions get so much power in politics. And, when you look at who backs these issues, unions are always all lined up behind them.

The other donors? It’s only 7 pages, 8 donors per page. 56 donors, and of those, only 14 are small money (less than $500) donations. Most are deposits of the money from the employees, and then the 24 big boys and contractors. $257, 400.

Dayton Development Coalition $10,000
Shook Construction $5,000
Miami Valley In Ovations $20,000
Ohlmann Group Inc $2,000
Downtown Dayton Partnerships Corp. $2,500
Sebaly Shillito and Dyer $2,500
Hocks Pharmacy Inc $900
Fifth Third Bank $7,500
PNC Financial Services Group $10,000
Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association $135,000
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce $1,000
University of Dayton $20,000
Burges and Burges Strategists Inc $3,000
Marty’s Personal Care LLC $1,000
Key Bank National Association $2,500
Jennifer Wolf $2,500
Colbert Family Health And Wellness $2,500
Dayton Public Services Union $500
Resident Home Association $2,000
Choices in Community Living $2,500
Total Homecare Solutions $5,000
Toward Independence INC $2,000
Oberer Construction Managers $2,500
Area Agency On Aging $15,000

Note the big money from the hospital lobby? Guess what? None of them pay a property tax, but reap huge money back from this levy.

And the Dayton Development Coalition and the Downtown Dayton Partnership- funded with some tax dollars. The Area Agency on Aging- is a primary beneficiary of these tax dollars- if not totally funded by them. Sounds fishy to you?

And of course, there is Burges and Ohlman- throwing a kickback amount for the windfall that comes their way. Pay to Play all the way. Apparently, $5K buys a big ad contract in Montgomery County.

How big?

  • Burges gets $90,629
  • Ohlmann gets $205,958
  • Spark Space Creative gets $47,096

And for the record, none of them are “union shops” and yet, all the promo materials they produce for the campaign- get Union bugs of some sort. The funny one is the signs- which have a “Graphics Art Guild” label- which isn’t a union, it’s a trade association.

On to Issue 4, the Sinclair Levy. I run the opposition campaign, on the Keep Sinclair Fair website.

thumbnail of Citizens For Sinclair

Click on image to download readable PDF

We don’t get to charge a vig to Sinclair employees to fund our property tax levy (again, one of two levies- this is the big one, the other was added 2 years ago, is much smaller). Unlike most of the county workers who benefit from Issue 3 who get charged payroll deduction, Sinclair staff isn’t represented by a union.

The saddest thing about looking at the payroll deduction is that President Stephen Johnson, who makes over $400K a year, only donates $100 a pay period, while one of his top lieutenants, Madeline Iseli, who makes about a third of his pay, donates $55.

Here the donations get mixed in with all the payroll deduction amounts. And the numbers get even bigger.

$628,116.27 brought forward
$51,586.17 raised this period.
$679,957,37 on hand
$408,786.39 spent.

Hmmmm, one thing sticks out. The amount spent on this levy- and the amount spent on Issue 3- $411,749.07.

Almost the same. It’s as if these two campaigns are in cahoots.

And why wouldn’t they be? Look who cashes in.

C3 Group $500
Sparkspace Creative $46,282.31
Ohlmann Group: $205,957.98
Burges & Burges: $82,287.485|
And of course, a ton of money to the fake union sign maker: Patriot Signs $18,300.21

If you compare the two campaigns- it’s as if central bookkeeping just sent duplicate invoices for the vendors. This isn’t the way things are normally done people. There is ZERO oversight of these vendors by the campaign committees- it’s as if the vendors just run the show.

The last campaign is the School Board slate. Or the Al-Hamdani, Bradley, Harris, Wick-Gagnet Committee. This is more like an actual campaign. No payroll deductions, but not exactly a normal fund raising distribution. Almost all the donations are $100 or more. Many of the donors don’t live in the district- some don’t live in the state. Union money, PAC money. These donations look very different than those of other candidates for school board.

thumbnail of Al-Hamdani, Bradley, Harris, Wick-Gagnet Committee

Click on image to download accessible PDF

Start total: $0
Raised: $50,503.00
Spent: $30,233.51

Most were raised at two fundraisers, one at Corner Kitchen and another at Coco’s (full disclosure, I have done work for Karen Wick and Jim Gagnet of Coco’s for years).

But, when it comes to who they spent their money with, the same names:

Burges & Burges: $12,000
Uriah Anderson (an employee of Burges- and Nan’s former campaign manager) $486.86
Spark Space Creative: $9,037.70
Patriot signs: $2,511.02

What is still missing is the money spent on media, and if that will be done by Ohlmann, or by Burges & Burges direct.

thumbnail of Rhynard, Jocelyn; Friends of Jocelyn Rhynard

Jocelyn Rhynard campaign finance report, click to download semi-readable PDF

For comparison, you can look at the finance reports of school board candidate Joceyln Rhynard where there are much more random donation amounts, and none of the same vendors. Full disclosure, she bought her actual union made signs from my company.

What is interesting is some of the same donors contributed to both campaigns- even though only four candidates can win.

As a final note, here are some photos of the Burges purchased campaign signs with the fake union bug.

Burges and Burges uses Patriot Signs who plae a fake union bug on their signs

Fake union bug of the Graphic Arts Guild on each campaigns signs

 

 

 

 

Montgomery County Voters Guide Issues

Statewide we have Issue 1 or “Marsy’s Law” on the surface looks like a victims rights law. Problem is, we already have almost all the parts of it on the books. It doesn’t need to be written into the constitution. When both prosecutors and public defenders are against it- you probably should be too. Vote NO on issue 1.

The issue that’s getting all the attention is Issue 2. It’s also a bullshit law, that probably shouldn’t be on the books. If we really cared about lowering drug prices or improving the delivery of health care, we’d have single payer and stop allowing hospitals to be duopolies with tax exempt status. And, we’d throw a bunch of them in prison for causing this country to have the most expensive health care in an “industrialized country.” But, here’s the thing- if drug companies are willing to spend $70 Million or more- to get you to vote no- do the opposite, just to give them the middle finger. It won’t save you any money- it won’t save the state any either- but, it will tell big pharma that the people are tired of being jerked around- $600 epi pens? Exactly. Vote YES on Issue 2.

Issue 3 is the Montgomery County Health and Human Services levy. Well, that’s actually a lie, it’s half of it, since they split it into two and staggered it. This is great for the campaign consultant they hire out of Cleveland to run their campaign – so we can give him lots of money- and waste it on campaign materials and all those ads (also good for local media outlets). But, here’s the thing, my mom is 89, and she depends on the services this levy provides, and so do a lot of other seniors. Sure, all of these quasi-public agencies could be run more efficiently and cheaper, but once again, we’re back to Single Payer Health Care or, real, efficient, well-run government in Montgomery County-and we don’t want to hold our breath waiting. It’s a lot of money, and we can’t advertise “move to Montgomery County if you want excellent care for you once you turn 65” – so, Vote YES on Issue 3.

Issue 4 is the Sinclair levy- the big part, 3.2 mils. They added a second levy 2 years ago for about a single mil. I didn’t have time to really organize resistance. I’m a big believer in affordable public education and think Sinclair is generally a good thing, however, Dr. Steven Johnson has a god complex- and can’t stop growing Sinclair and spending money. He’s extended services into branch campuses in Greene, Preble and even Warren Counties- none of which pay a dime in property tax. Hey Dr. Steve- go get tax levies passed in Warren, Preble and Greene first, before you ask us to keep paying for your grandiose plans of world domination. We’ve paid for 52 years in Montgomery County- at least those of us who haven’t been given tax abatement (80% of downtown properties and companies like GE and Emerson and Midmark). So, this November 7, vote NO on Issue 4 and help Keep Sinclair Fair.

There are other issues in various Montgomery County communities- and I can’t cover them all. These are the County wide ones.

You don’t have to agree with me, you don’t have to like what I say and you don’t even have to read Esrati.com- but, I know how many people do… you aren’t alone, and me, Google and the NSA are watching.

Senior day care facility shuffle part 2

On April 2nd 2017 I wrote about the closing of one of the Senior day care facilities.

Friday was the last day for the Senior Resource Connection Adult day services facility in Kettering.

Source: Senior day care facility shuts down – Esrati

After surveying the landscape of options, I got mom into the Day Away program at St. Leonard in Centerville. Outstanding staff, facility, and for 2 days a week, my ability to focus 100% on work was restored.

I’d been meaning to write this week that the SRC facility had been taken over by Goodwill Easter Seals and reopened. I learned of this from an employee of SRC. I’d not been contacted by the facility, as a former “client”- nor had I seen anything in the media. But it seemed to me, that just like our tangled mess of local government duplicated services- that we’ve got the same problem in social services, health care, and non-profits.

Today, I got a letter in the mail from CHI Living Communities, the parent of the St. Leonard center. As of Sept 1, 2017, they too will close.

There is a meeting scheduled for families in July where they will explain options.

One thing I do know is that the need for these kinds of facilities is growing, not shrinking, and that if anything, we need more options not less.

Considering much of this is managed through our social services levy and the Area Agency on Aging, I think it would be great to get some kind of community analysis of needs and resources for caring for seniors who are still able to function in their own homes, but benefit from some social interaction as well as caregiver support.