Dayton Public Schools. Unsafe leadership, unsafe buses

Last night the Dayton Board of Education had a “review session.” Yes, it was a Thursday night meeting, instead of a Tuesday. Yes, it forced Board Member John McManus to have to call off work. Dr. Robert Walker and Ron Lee weren’t there. They held it in the room outside the board room- at the big square table. It was at least ten minutes in before Board Member Sheila Taylor who has repeatedly told them she is hearing impaired, had to ask for microphones. The board wasn’t taping the session, but I was.

Good thing I did, because yet again, we had a train wreck.

Or, more accurately a bus wreck.

And, yet again, no one in the DPS purchasing department under Treasurer Hiwot Abraha was fired.
The last time DPS purchased full sized buses was 2010. That means our newest buses are 7 years old. According to the expert from the Ohio Board of Education, Robert Harmon, buses in Ohio last 12.5 years- and our average fleet age is 13.5. Buses usually are retired at 150,000 miles- and Dayton has 40 over 200,000 miles. Every time the state comes to inspect, DPS loses  7-10 buses at a moments notice because the buses are deemed unsafe.

Dayton has a fleet of approximately 180 buses, and should have been replacing about 30 buses each year for the last 7 years to keep the inventory in rotation. But they didn’t.

You can blame the last school board, you can blame the last administration, you can blame anyone you want, but the reality is, without operable buses, kids don’t get to school. If they don’t get to school, well, that’s how the district gets straight F’s.

Parents are frustrated. Kids are losing. The district under Rookie Superintendent is a rudderless ship. This is the leader that gave me a first marketing assignment of how to improve attendance back in July. First clue: get the kids to and from school.

If you need evidence of failure- read this email I received today from the grandmother of a student who worked in my office under YouthWorks about 4 years ago:

No Bus, No Solution!
Hi, I am (youth works student’s) grandmother an I have sent emails, called both the Superintendent of DPS and to the head of transportation about not having a bus for my grandson to come home on because at times I do not have the money for bus fare or we have no ride to pick him up! 3 times this week no afternoon bus and went through this in Oct.2016 for 2wks. I have to keep him home due to this at times since no one can let me know that yes there will be a bus this afternoon! Since (grandson) is mildly Autistic this stresses him out and I don’t like that because of DPST they are not doing their job and say the same thing over and over! I have got to the point of thinking of pulling him out of school and do homeschooling because of the busing problem. Also there was no morning bus twice the week before and we have to be outside at 5:45am for the morning bus and had stood out side for 45minutes waiting in 6 degree temperature or even colder! Even email John McManus too  last night when I saw him on the news. I don’t want to hear about what may be done in the future they need to do something now! Is there anyone who can get in touch with? I just don’t know what to do! Thank you,

Coincidence? There are no such things.

The proposal on the table was to out right buy 30 buses for 2.5 million or so. The transportation experts both said you need at least 60 this year and the same amount each of the following year. They also pointed out that buses are currently around $85K each and next year they are projected to cost $100K. So every bus you buy now, saves you $15k- or to put in a marketers terms, buy 6 and the seventh this year is free. Put another way, the costs of maintaining current buses is also getting cost prohibitive as well, never mind you are failing the kids.

But, here is where it got weird: while the transportation guys knew we needed 60 instead of thirty, no one from purchasing had a justification for the 30 number- or why we were buying the buses outright for cash. There was no decision matrix, no chosen vendor, no information about warranty, vendor, or long term strategy.

Purchasing was deaf, dumb, mute and uniformed.

Then came Dr. Adil Baguirov to the rescue. We should finance 100 buses this year, it will cost us the same this year as buying 30 outright.

Wait? Where did he get these numbers? How did he know?

And why didn’t anyone else know?

Deja vu all over again, this sounds like the CareSource deal, which only the guy who has a private business in the health care sector seemed to know all the details. And the Patterson Kennedy land offer, where again, he was the only board member who knew there had been a $900K offer on the land- that had been rejected without being presented to the Superintendent and the full board.

No, not Dr. Baguirov, the guy who claims his main business is trucking and logistics? Yup. That guy.

The only board member who buys commercial vehicles for his business knows the whole set of options better than the people we pay to manage our district transportation system and guide purchasing.

By the end of the meeting, while Treasurer Abraha can’t figure out if we are leasing or financing the 100 bus fleet- she caves to say “acquiring” – the board wants a proposal on Board docs asap so we don’t have to waive the 48 hour rule to commit to spending 8.5M on buses next Tuesday.

That’s right- we only needed 30 buses at 5:30 but by 8, it was 100 and we’re going to have yet another meeting on Monday afternoon of the finance committee to knock this deal down in a hurry.

5:05 pm today from Cherise Kidd via email:

Special Meeting – Finance Committee March 20
In accordance with Section 3313.16 of the Ohio Revised Code and File: BD of the Handbook of Policies, Rules & Regulations of the Board, I hereby call for a special meeting of the Finance Committee of the Board of Education of the Dayton City School District, Montgomery County, Ohio, to be held on Monday, March 20, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. in the 5th Floor Conference Room located at the Administration Building, 115 S. Ludlow St., Dayton, OH 45402.
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss potential financing options for the purchase of buses.
The media is being advised of this meeting in compliance with the Ohio Sunshine Law.

Respectfully,
Robert Walker, D.Min.
President
Dayton Board of Education

Not that the board can whip up the money and just run down to Joe’s School Bus lot and pick out 100 bright shiny buses anyway- the wait time according to the experts is 6-8 months from order to delivery, but we have to do this deal in a hurry. Sort of like the contract with the Ohlmann Group that the board wasn’t allowed to see, voted a week early on, and then wondered why nothing had been done three weeks later, and oh yeah, btw, the deal wasn’t for $112,500 a year like on Board Docs, but for $345 a year, with a one year contract and 2 one year extensions (more on this to come).

This is just one more example of the incompetence of a criminally negligent school district at managing the health, welfare and safety of our schools. ?Buying buses is just part of the solution, we’re still failing at routing, staffing, and demonstrating competent leadership.

A real superintendent would have fired someone for even suggesting that a 30 bus purchase was a viable option, here, we didn’t.

It’s time to remove this school board, superintendent, treasurer and legal counsel for gross incompetence. The only way to do this is to collect over 4500 signatures and present the failings of this board to make reasonable and competent decisions.

This one, has put children in danger.

That’s not what schools are supposed to do.

Remove 5 members of Dayton Public School Board of Education? Yes please.

If you’ve been paying attention to the many meetings of the Dayton Public Schools Board of Education, you know that it’s turned into an absolute shit show since they picked Rhonda Corr as Superintendent. Just recently, they gave her a three year extension to her unorthodox one-year initial contract, after less than 7 months on the job- 7 months of turmoil and strife.

Not that the board needed Corr to create this mess, they do well on their own.

However recently, they’ve taken their incompetence to the level of criminal gross neglect- as showcased by their ignoring the first clause of the buyout contract with David Lawrence that they were supposed to vote on without comment.

The week prior, they voted early to award a contract that was published as $112,500, waiving the 48 hour rule only to have an hour conversation about a contract with the Ohlmann Group, that they obviously hadn’t read, or understood. The real amount of that contract, only revealed through a public records request that took too long, and was delivered on a ream of paper instead of the requested digital documents, $345,410 per year- with two additional one year options, making the contract worth a potential $1,036,230.

Considering that there were only 3 bidders, the second place bidder was at $321,100, and that the RFQ had stated that the cap was $300,000, one wonders why the only bidder under the cap wasn’t awarded the contract, especially, since it was the only true minority qualified business. (That bid was submitted by my firm, The Next Wave).

An old adage comes to mind, it’s called the rule of “P’s” – “Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.” Which fully sums up the actions of this board and leadership. How hard is it to publish an agenda? How hard is it for board members to take the time to either read what they are voting on- or, ask and get competent explanations from staff on what and why they are being asked to vote on.

The 48 hour rule exists for a reason- to allow both the board and the public to review actions of a public body before a meeting. It is only supposed to be waived when there isn’t time to properly notify everyone- something that shouldn’t be that difficult- posting an agenda 48 hours in advance of a public meeting.

From their own manual:

Emergency Meeting
Emergency meetings are called when a matter of urgent necessity must be decided and there is not enough time to allow for the 48-hour notice to members, or the 24-hour notice to the media. An example of a reason to hold an emergency meeting would be if a boiler were to suddenly break down in a school building and need replacing. The board could then call an emergency meeting to authorize payment.

Which brings us to their frequent use of the 48 hour rule- and the boards inability to actually review and know what they are voting for. The discussion about the buyout that wasn’t supposed to be discussed. The confusion about accepting a million dollar contract that they had obviously never seen.

These actions are clearly grounds for removal from office.

  • A board member is guilty of misconduct in office if he or she has willfully and flagrantly exercised authority or power not authorized by law, refused or willfully neglected to enforce the law or to perform any official duty imposed upon him or her by law, or is guilty of gross neglect of duty, gross immorality, drunkenness, misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance.
  • The petitioner must file a specific accusation of misconduct in office in Common Pleas Court.
  • The petition must contain valid signatures from people who live in the school district equal to 15 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the most recent election.
  • After the signatures are submitted to the court, a trial must be held within 30 days.
  • If the case isn’t dismissed by a judge, hearings proceed. A judge hears the case though the board member may ask for a jury trial.

Source: Can a school-board member be removed from office?

To take them to court, we’d need to collect signatures of 4,574 voters in the Dayton Public Schools district to move this forward. The only question is can one petition cover all 5 board members who willfully and flagrantly neglected their duty to comply with the contract terms they’d hashed out over months in executive session, or if this is just clear violation of the public trust and they can be prosecuted? Or, do we have to get circulate 5 individual petitions to do this? People who want to help get signatures should message me. Anyone planning to run in the fall, could start collecting the removal signatures while they collect their signatures to get on the ballot.

Both Superintendent Rhonda Corr and the staff lawyer, Jyllian Bradshaw, should be able to be terminated for cause by a competent board, for allowing the discussion to occur on the Lawrence buyout contract, and for voting for a million dollar marketing contract, without having it either presented or properly explained to the board. The board treasurer, Hiwot Abraha, was in charge of the marketing RFQ, and should also be held responsible for them voting a week early, without proper review.

Replace the five board members, Robert Walker, Ron Lee, Hazel Rountree, Joe Lacey and Adil Baguirov with competent members, who then remove Corr, Bradshaw and Abraha with cause, and replace them with competent people, and maybe, Dayton Public Schools will have a chance.

 

Trump, Turner, The F35 and unicorns

The F35 is made of moneyTrump says the F35 costs too much. Congressman Turner has never met a weapons program, especially one run out of his district, that he’s not in love with. The F35 is a mythical air superiority, one size fits all services, fighter, that was obsolete before it ever flew. A unicorn is a mythical creature that allegedly looks like a horse, but has a single large horn protruding from its forehead.

On 13 June, 1944, the Germans sent the first V-1 across the channel to bomb London. This was a week after the Allies had landed on Normandy. V stood for Vengeance. 1 was because it was first. The first crude cruise missile, long before microcomputers, GPS, and laser guidance systems were developed.

The modern cruise missile can deliver a larger payload, across longer distances, faster and can be retargeted in flight. It was the beginning of the end of the need for slow, large, manned bombers.

The Air Force, run by pilots, high on testosterone and brainwashed by watching the movie “Top Gun” too many times, still believe that battles in the sky are won by men in cockpits. They’ve pushed for newer, faster, stealthier, more lethal, planes even though the Germans were smart enough to take their pilots out of danger to deliver bombs back in 1944. The Japanese, who hadn’t yet become the geniuses to give us the Walkman and the transistor radio, gave up on the idea of trying to bring their pilots home and invented the Kamikaze, a one way ticket to Valhalla, as a desperation move to do what the Germans were doing without a guy in the sky.

The F35 is our Kamikaze, no matter what the technology, no matter what the price. There is no sane reason to put a human in a plane to go battle with other aircraft. The future, is in drones/unmanned aerial vehicles/remotely controlled aircraft. Yes, that thing you bought the kids for Christmas for $49.95 is the entry level air superiority fighter. Just add a few million more, and you have a craft that can go faster, farther, deliver more payload, and pull as many G’s in a turn as you want- because without a pilot in the plane, you don’t have to worry about the fundamental limitations of humans- they weren’t meant to go on a roller coaster without rails traveling at mach 2. Typically a fighter pilot is trained to manage up to 9g’s in very short bursts. Much longer, and the risks become deadly.

For those of you who don’t comprehend mach 2, it’s 1534.54 miles per hour, twice the speed of sound. The fastest roller coaster in the world right now tops out at 150mph, and may max out at 4-5 G’s for very short periods of time.

Remotely controlled vehicles don’t care how many G’s they pull or how fast they go. They can even be disposable, just like Kamikaze pilots. This is, and has been the future of warfare, and the defense industrial complex doesn’t care. They want to sell us the most expensive buggy whip ever in the day of the electric, self-driving car.

The F35 pilot is equipped with a helmet that costs over a half-million dollars each. It’s a marvel of technology- by turning his head to the floor- he can see through the bottom of the plane and what’s below, swivel his head back- and he can see all the way behind him, look at something- and mark a target- all while flying at hypersonic speeds, but why? All this information can feed a pilot on the ground- far away- or not feed a human being at all. We know what the enemy looks like, just program the computer to kill it.

Unfortunately, while President Trump knows the public has been getting shafted with cost overruns and on the most expensive weapon ever, he thinks that shaving 20% off the cost changes things and makes it better. It doesn’t. It just makes it a cheaper coffin for our pilots who will be facing hordes of unmanned craft that cost next to nothing comparatively and can pull 20 G’s and not pass out.

Last summer, I sat down with Moshe Arens, former ambassador to the United States from Israel, and their 3 time defense minister. He’s an aeronautical engineer by training, and was a staunch opponent of Israel buying the F35 (he lost that by one vote). His answer was a much less expensive plane built and flying with Israeli battle tested technology, that first flew in 1986. The Lavi was cheaper, single mission, and higher tech than what had been proposed by the US. However, Arens lost his battle by one vote, with Israeli politicians believing that by helping the American military industrial complex get what they want, Israel would solidify its interdependence with the US.

While Trump is asking to look to an upgraded F18, maybe, he should be looking to the Lavi, or to the Swedes who went the low cost route with the JAS 39 Gripen, of course, either of these aircraft wouldn’t come with nice fat campaign donations that fund chicken hawk politicians like Turner’s campaign. Lockeed Martin is his number one contributor, and the defense industry is his number one segment.

As always, follow the money. In 2018, the Montgomery County Democratic Party must run a better candidate against Turner, or realize that we’re just backing turning our pilots into kamikazes instead of winning battles so that Mike can have money to continue to be your congressman suck up to the defense industry.

You don’t have to believe in unicorns, or vote for Mike Turner, or believe that the F35 makes us safer. It just costs a lot, like President Trump keeps saying. If he wants to drain the swamp, killing the F35 would be a good start.

 

Montgomery County Democratic Party ch-ch-changes…?

It was refreshing to see a whole bunch of fresh faces at the January 2017 Montgomery County Democratic Party meeting. Trumps been in office less than a week, and people are already seeing what happens when the system fails to stop stupid.

Welcome to the too little, too late club.

There are lots of new groups starting up- indivisible, the resistance, blue Ohio, the progressives, etc. etc. I did a “negative post” about the dangers of neophytes last week, and was the bad guy, for explaining that you can create all the groups you want, but, you won’t get on the ballot unless you work within the existing system.

The front of the flyer- the back has a lot more to say.

Click to download the PDF

So last night, I showed up with my pamphleteer of the revolution hat on. I had a nicely printed 5×7 card explaining what has to change. I sat through the laughable “executive meeting” which is now held on the too small stage, behind a screen, with an agenda that’s almost identical to the general agenda. And when it came time to vote to add new precinct captains to the roll, I asked “how many of them either work for elected officials, or are related” and almost got booed off the stage. “That’s not relevant” and “people who work in government are more likely to be involved” and “why.” As it turns out, only one of the 17 new appointees admitted to being related, which is great, compared to the rest of the central committee.  At the end of the exec meeting- I started handing out my propaganda. Some refused (Russ and Matt Joseph both turned it down). I went out to the general meeting area- and handed them out- saying “Welcome” to everyone as I passed out my flyer.

Some people came up to me immediately and thanked me. Others swung back around and said “I agree with …”

However, online today, I’m the bad guy. I’m arrogant, rude, my approach sucks, they don’t agree with my tactics- etc. Apparently, investing time and money in putting together a handout isn’t ok, and saying “welcome” is rude. Hissing and booing when I speak- is, just prim and proper.

Maybe that’s why the piece included “We need to talk about issues, not personalities” and ended with “Go ahead, shoot the messenger.”

The full PDF is available here. Friends And Family Are Great For Cell Phone Plans, But That’s Not How We DEMOCRATS Win Elections.

There was no discussion of issues, strategy, plans. There were requests to sign up for committees, there were requests to sign peoples petitions, there was the hat tip to the elected officials in attendance. The floor wasn’t asked for input. It’s the same old party.

However, there has been one change- they’ve hired a new executive director; Sarah Greathouse.  Sarah and her husband Erik have been political operators for a while. And for the first time- the party site actually lists who’s on the central committee, if they were appointed or elected, who are the ward leaders and who is appointed to the executive committee. There is no mention of who is on the “screening committee”- or if it’s still going to choose our candidates and endorse in primaries.

The executive committee also named Sarah to the Board of Elections to replace John Doll, giving them $20K a year to help compensate her.

Now that the party doesn’t have the dead weight of the old HQ to support, the treasury coffers should be in much better shape. With an executive director who actually understands the internet, we may start seeing effective fund raising and competent emails being sent out (the old way was to send pdf’s of bad flyers as attachments).

For all the newbie politically active- the goal of the party should be to elect democrats, and especially, start winning the offices at the State level that run the gerrymandering operation that’s known as the apportionment board (Governor, Secretary of State and Auditor) in 2018.

In the meantime, I’m giving Ms. Greathouse the benefit of the doubt, and will do whatever I can to help make the democratic party- a true democratic party.

We’ve got a lot of work to do.

And just remember, “Hindsight is 2020”

The angst of the political neophytes

On a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon (14 Jan 2017), about 45 people met in the basement of the Wright Library in Oakwood to learn “How to elect & support local officials.” I was one of the panelists, along with:

  • Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton
  • Robert Klepinger, ran for congress, 10th district
  • Jimmy Calhoun, ran for congress, 41st district. Precinct captain
  • David Esrati, ran for congress, 10th district. Precinct captain, ward leader.
  • Dan Saks, congressional candidate Springfield/Clark county area

Also notably in attendance was Sarah Greathouse, the new executive director of the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

The audience was mostly women. Upset women. How did a misogynist beat their girl? Now, we have to start paying attention and fix it, because, well, women need to be in office.

Nan was loving it. Totally in her element, talking about how women are underrepresented in office.

She’s right of course, but, that’s not what the real issue is, as Nan spelled it out:

  • Money in politics- Citizens United.
  • Gerrymandering.

Unfortunately, thanks to the Republican landslide, money in politics isn’t going to go away, and more than likely, Trump will name not just one, but as many as three supreme court justices before the mid-terms and it will be all over for a long time. Too little, too late.

The gerrymandering situation, well, the audience wanted to know more about it. Because, most voters never learned how our “democracy” works in school, and certainly haven’t bothered to pay attention until now. How the apportionment board works in Ohio was explained- yet, the likelihood of the Dems grabbing the Governorship, Secretary of State and the Auditor in 2018 is slim and none, unless the backlash against Trump, and the current Republican domination of the Statehouse causes a meltdown the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

I wouldn’t count on it. Although the women’s march yesterday and all of its supporting marches did give me some hope. Organizing is great, but, if it’s just more of us vs them, without a clear list of issues, we’re all doomed.

This group is afraid to put the word “Democrat” in their name- because the founder thinks it’s meaning is kind of “murky”- well, then maybe your first goal should be to clearly define what being a democrat means.

It’s time for the local dems to learn from my friend, Rob Scott, founder of the Dayton Tea Party, and the organizer of the short lived overthrow of the local republican establishment (and yes, I have friends who I’ll never agree with politically):

Dayton Tea Party co-founder, Rob Scott, now Kettering vice mayor, said the key for the movement was that activists knocked on doors, made phone calls, held rallies and focused on issues.

“I think that’s why the tea party movement really took off because we talked about issues,” Scott said. “In 2010 it was like a big wave and it was handed over to the Republican Party.”

Source: Women’s march organizers hope to start movement

Electing women is not an issue, it’s a cause. Issues are things like we have too many jurisdictions in Montgomery County, too many different tax regulations, unfunded mandates, poor schools, an unconstitutional school funding system, the list goes on…

The funny thing about the group hosting this meeting- it’s a private facebook group.

Sort of like the private club that selects the democratic candidates behind closed doors in Montgomery County.

Which brings us to the important news of the week: This Thursday, at the IUE hall on S. Jefferson, at 7pm, the Montgomery County Democratic Party is going to have a meeting where they are talking about appointing a whole bunch of new precinct captains. If they really want to show they’ve turned over a new leaf- we’d pass a rule: no one can be a precinct captain if they work in local government, or are related to someone who works in local government. That would be a good first step to dethroning the monarchy of Montgomery County and turning the party into a true Democratic Party.

Oh, yes, and start talking about issues.

Why bother to have elections at all in Montgomery County?

Donald Trump won Montgomery County.

The local democratic party did nothing to win any new seats, and Debbie Lieberman came within 1% of losing to Gary Leitzell, who only spent $6000 and barely campaigned.

No seats changed hands. No republicans were replaced, no incumbents got voted out. Phil Plummer who should be in jail instead of running it- got re-elected.

Mike Turner hasn’t faced a serious opponent since his first race.

The local dems endorsed Ted Strickland from the start as well as Hillary Clinton and we see how that turned out.

We don’t really hold elections here, we just rubber stamp decisions made in back rooms on who should be allowed to run.

UPDATE

an hour after posting: And one other thing happened, without anyone knowing in advance, from Thomas Suddes:

Then there’s the General Assembly. In January, Republicans, led by Speaker Clifford Rosen-berger of Clinton County, will hold 66 of the Ohio House’s 99 seats. That’ll be the biggest House majority either party has held since Ohio went to a 99-member House in 1966 – 50 years ago….

It takes 66 House votes – the number that Rosenberger will have – to pass a bill as an emergency measure. That may seem like inside baseball, but for this: Voters can’t challenge emergency measures in statewide referenda. If Republicans could’ve passed union-busting Senate Bill 5 as an emergency measure, voters couldn’t have killed SB 5 (as they did, resoundingly, in a 2011 referendum).

Source: Ohio Democrats find selves in tough spot

How does labor feel about that? Some labor groups even backed Portman in this election.

In the spring election, be it in May or March (I can’t remember, because they switch it up- and the Board of Elections site is worthless) the democrats will be selecting their new precinct captains and ward leaders. It only takes 5 signatures of registered dems to get on the ballot. It’s long overdue to throw out the stacked deck of patronage job holding precinct captains that keep allowing the Monarchy of Montgomery County to continue with their lame “leadership.”

This is also the year where three seats will come up on the Dayton City Commission- Mayor Whaley, Joey Williams and Jeff Mims. The question is who will really try to challenge them. Whaley raised half a million last time so she could raise your taxes, charge you for street lights, and raise your water and trash bill, while buying empty buildings and giving away Garden Station for $10. Williams has repeatedly won more votes than any other candidate, yet has done little but go with the flow. Mims, despite being a former educator, local and state school board educator- has zero problems allowing more tax abatement shortchange Dayton Public Schools.

But, consider everyone in the country who said Congress was broken, worthless and gridlocked, how many seats changed hands?

Case closed.

The highs and lows of election day 2016

Nina Esrati and David Esrati voted 2016

Mom, me, I voted stickers- missing Dad.

Today was the first election day, where I didn’t have my dad to talk to, to take to the polls, to take the photo of him, mom and me on their porch with our “I voted today” sticker.

My father believed in this country, its ideals, its principles. He also believed strongly in the fourth estate, of which he was a part of, to keep us informed, to set wrongs right, to make our country better, through an informed electorate.

Today, Wright State Medical School called to tell me the brick, bearing his name, was installed today. He had donated his body to the school- in the hope that some young doctor, might be able to learn something and go on to do good.

But, at 2:14 am, I sit here writing, with Donald Trump 5 electoral college votes short of a win. With the Republicans holding on to the house and senate, and potentially appointing three supreme court justices. Wall Street and World Financial Markets are in a tailspin. And, frankly, the entire country is in shock- that he won, that she lost, that it was this close… but, as I’ve been known to say, “never underestimate the stupidity of people in large numbers” – a quote that is sometimes attributed to George Carlin, but probably wasn’t his.

It’s not that he won, or she lost that has me in shock, it’s that in this election we went from the already tainted dirty world of politics, down to something more resembling a cage fight to the death. This was the election where, quite frankly, there were no holds barred, no blows too low, or any resemblance to statesmanship, decorum or decency.

Our country will need a lot of healing. And a lot less polls, predictions and armchair quarterbacks. We need to take the cards that have been dealt, and figure out how to win, if that is even remotely possible.

And on that note, I have to recount the high point of today. I went to the Dayton School Board meeting, where, per usual, the agenda was posted last minute and the failed transparency and communication skills of the worst district in the state were about to be glaringly obviously exposed.

About 50 people showed up in addition to the normal cast of characters. There were parents, para-professionals, principals (more correctly, principal, Mr. Fowler of Kiser) and teachers- all there to talk to the board about cuts being made in classrooms across the district. And per usual, the people we elected to that board, felt very little need to hear from the people they represent. It was that same attitude by the Dayton City Commission 30 years ago, that pushed me into politics.

The board opened, and immediately went into executive session, for what Board President Dr. Adil Baguirov said would be “about an hour.” The people in the room had no clue of what this meant, or what it was about. The district no longer prints agendas, instead using some wonky flawed, non-ADA compliant, proprietary software called Board Docs- that is worthless on a mobile device.

A parent stood up and said, “since they are having a private meeting, is there any reason we can’t have one? Right here? I’m a social worker and I’m good at facilitating these kinds of things” or something to that effect. I started the video camera back up and taped. It should be posted tomorrow afternoon. That the BOE doesn’t tape all their meetings and have them available is one more indication of their disdain for the people they represent- they have an amazing video system available with robotic cameras.

The people went around the room to introduce themselves and say why they were there. Paraprofessionals who had been told to pack up and leave, yet hadn’t officially been fired by the board who has to approve all personnel issues, told stories of being with the district for over 20 years. That they didn’t understand that how, a district struggling to meet the third grade reading guarantee, was dismissing the people who helped the district get it’s only “A.”

There was talk of the 1-1 computer plan- and how a chromebook can’t show a child from the Congo how to open a milk container, or teach a kindergartner how to use a mouse. There were stories of how teachers had some of their students come back to the district to teach- and one mother/teacher- who told her daughter to avoid DPS, because of this very issue- lack of respect for those who are doing the work in the trenches. The director of the Challenger School who was on the list to be fired today, had to pull herself together to talk about losing her baby of 25 years- one of the few things the district has that’s a real success- something that brought STEM to the district before anyone knew what STEM was. There was a bus driver who professed his knowledge of how to fix the most fundamental DPS problem- actually picking up and delivering students- on time. The entire group would love nothing more than that to happen- and can’t understand on how or why it hasn’t.

And while I was there recording it – ostensibly as a citizen journalist, I did something I shouldn’t have and shared my story of the districts ineptitude in PR, marketing, managing an RFP, and even in their failed deal making on real estate where they sold a property to CareSource without a deed restriction precluding tax abatement. What shocked me more, other than my own self-exclusion from potentially working for the district to help them not screw up in the future- was when Dayton Daily News reporter Jeremy Kelley spoke up and interjected some facts about executive sessions and process and procedure- that, my friends, was a first.

After an hour and a half- the social worker felt that everyone had had their time to share, and wondered where the board was. She announced her intention to go invite them to come and hear the ideas they’d gathered- and to ask the board why they weren’t coming back on time.

I knew what was about to happen, and didn’t intervene. I thought maybe someone else would be galvanized to action after being smacked down for asking for respect and integrity from elected officials. For her honorable intentions, she was chastised by several board members, treated like a child and put in a corner. DPS security chief, Jamie Bullens appeared with one of his aides, dressed in black shirts, and stood by, in case she didn’t get the message.

Then came the speeches. Dr. Baguirov stated facts on falling enrollment, from 2000 to today. He talked about the ratio of administration to students- a stunning 1 administrator for every 136 students. Cincinnati, is at 1 to 236. Yet, we were only firing 20. Today.

The youngster on the board, John McManus tried to single out the Challenger center director for a pass from todays lynching. He had Sheila Taylor on his side for a few, until Joe Lacey, who has become cranky and sour, schooled the rest of the board about his experience during the last reduction in force. And Hazel Rountree launched into a tirade about how we had to bring in someone outside to fix what what couldn’t be fixed before. Ron Lee did point out that there are many unintended consequences to each and every dismissal- from seniority bumps to lawsuits, but in the end- the list was executed.

And of course, the board felt the need to blame the state, the feds, and everyone else for their difficulties, telling the people to go fix that for them.

Expect the Nov 17 meeting to be overrun with pissed off people. It will be ugly..

Both Debbie Lieberman and Judy Dodge spent real money on their reelection, despite being challenged by financially weak republicans with zero party support. Judy won  over Bob Matthews by 3% Debbie squeaked by Gary Leitzell with a single point plus lead.

And the county went to Trump.

A giant FAIL to Mark Owens, Nan Whaley, Karl Keith, who were incapable of fielding candidates that could even come close to winning. This is what happens when all you worry about is keeping your job, shilling for Hillary and getting your mitts on peoples paychecks who can’t vote you out of office.

If there was a time for a group of real democrats to join together to overthrow the Monarchy of Montgomery County, this would be it. Just the fact that embattled sheriff and republican party chair Phil Plummer was unopposed should be enough to shame them, if there was any shame to be had.

It is now 3:01 am and I checked the NY Times site, and we have a misogynist president who promised to “Make America Great Again.” My father has turned over in his cold storage.

My worst fears have almost all come true. Like Britain after the Brexit vote, we now have a brand new reality facing us.

Only one word comes to mind.

Courage.

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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.

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Issue 9- follow the money- and tax shifting

While everyone is all excited about CareSource building a new building on the old Patterson High School site that they bought from the Dayton Board of Education for a cool million, just be aware that it’s probably the last money DPS will see from that property.

Because, of course, they sold it to the tax exempt Port Authority, who will then build the building for CareSource, and pretend to own it- or the City Commission will flat out abate it, or CareSource will claim non-profit status, despite paying their CEO $3 million plus a year.

Note- all of CareSource’s revenue comes from Federal money that is targeted to the poor. Instead of the government administering the distribution of money for health care, we’ve “privatized” it because, well, we don’t trust the government to spend our money wisely. That’s why the President of the United States only makes $400K a year, and generals make about half that. Pam Morris, CareSource CEO is worth more- and you wonder why your health care premiums keep going up?

Moving on- CareSource is in the campaign finance report for “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future” a sham Political Action Committee that is doing a great job of raising money and spending it outside our community- “for our future.” On 10/6/16 they wrote a check for $25,000 to raise taxes on their employees by .25% to help fund the city. Remember, they don’t pay property taxes that fund the schools, but they are willing to charge their employees- who are paid with Federal funds.

And- in another twist, to help your medical bills skyrocket- the Greater Dayton Hospital Association tossed in a cool $30,000 on 9/15/16. This is the organization that helps the two major health care operations in the area collude and maintain high prices for less than optimal care as reported by the New York Times earlier this year. If I was paid as much as their director to write this blog, I’d get you the link – and more. Note, CareSource’s CEO’s salary is set by her board, which has people from the hospitals on it, and CareSource in turn spends their money with the hospitals in one gigantic mutual admiration and back patting and wallet padding society.

This campaign has contributions from some strange places- but, before we get to those, if you look down the list- if you are a vendor with the city, you wrote a check, if you are a high level staffer, you wrote a check, if you are a city commissioner, you or your campaign wrote a check, if you are labor and you do contracts with the city you wrote a check, if you receive funding from the city- you wrote a check.

Remember how they keep selling Issue 9 by telling us that for the average person making $35K the cost is only dollars a week and how the tax is mostly paid by people who work in Dayton but don’t live in Dayton (taxation without representation)- note, the people who can vote, aren’t donating to this campaign at all. This is being sold to people as if they are stupid.

And, the only guaranteed by the legislation winners- Learn to Earn Dayton- donated $8,000 which is chump change to pay for a potential $4 million coming into your organization a year- of which 20% will go to pay their overhead and salaries.

This is anything but a “grassroots campaign,” the average donation from 150 donors was $1873.

Compare that with almost any other campaign in this community- that’s probably 10x the average.

If you wrote a check for $100 or less, you are one of a very small group of cheap-skates, most likely, low level party people who felt pressured to show support, or who thought it might help their career advancement in the Monarchy of Montgomery County.

Usually I point out donors of $1000 or more in this kind of article- but I think in this case- $2,000 is the starting point, since it’s over the average, and people from out of the area:

  • M.O. and Nancy Diggs Jr. $5,000
  • Jerome and Patricia Tatar $2,500
  • Crown Services $3,000
  • Sandy’s $5,000
  • Friends of Nan Whaley (as if she really has any) $5,000
  • Ohio Council 18 AFSCME $5,000
  • Learn to Earn Dayton $3000 (why wouldn’t they buy their future sugar daddy some campaigning?)
  • Moodys of Dayton  $2000
  • Susan Woodhull $2000
  • Huntington National Bank $2500
  • Roger Glass $10,000
  • Copp Integrated Systems $2000
  • Weston PAC 1101 Pennsylvania Ave Washington DC $1500
  • Malt Products Corp (of NJ) $2500
  • Shook Construction $5000
  • MV Commercial Const. $10,000
  • 34 N. Jefferson LLC $2500
  • The aforementioned Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association $30,000
  • First Financial Bank $2500
  • CH2M Hill Engineers of Englewood CA $5,000
  • Hollywood Gaming $2500
  • Woolpert Inc. $10,000
  • Danis BLDG Constr. Co $2000
  • LWC $50000
  • Passero Assoc LLC of Jacksonville FL $5,000
  • HMV Hoot of Brethesda MD $1000
  • SPT of Chicago IL $1000
  • Lyn Leibowitz of CO $250
  • Dayton Business Cors? $5000
  • Realtors Political Action Com. $2,500
  • Learn to Earn Dayton – another contribution $5,000
  • DP&L $25,000
  • CareSource $25,000
  • Hazen and Sawyer of NY NY $3,0000
  • Arcadis of Highlands Rance CO $2,500
  • Richard Lapedes and Maureen Lynch $2,500
  • John Scott $2001
  • Larry Taylor $2000
  • Michael Emoff $2500
  • Charles Simms $4500
  • John Stafford $2500
  • Tina Bustillo $3500
  • Peter Haley $2500
  • Crawford Hoying $50000
  • Fund Raising Net $4629

If that doesn’t make you queasy about this campaign- note that they also spend their money in strange places, much of it outside this community:

  • LJR Custom Strategies of New Orleans LA for polling- $11953
  • Politech of Las Vegas NV for consulting $2,800  plus aother $2,800
  • Rust Belt Strategies of Columbus – Program MGT Russ Joseph- $5000
  • Stand up for Ohio – Youngstown- program MGT $1750
  • Community BLDG Strategies of Kent Oh for consulting $5,0000 + another $5000
  • Burges & Burges of Cleveland for consulting $20,000 + another $10,000 + another $10,000- $40K total.
  • Ohio Organizing Campaign of Youngstown for Consulting $3,400
  • Angle Mastagni Mathews of Ft Worth TX $10,795 no purpose listed
  • The New Media Firm Inc of Washington DC for media placement- digital ads- $35,000

and their printing provider- seems odd, Spark Space Creative– of Dayton. This organization has the same name as a Columbus firm, but runs out of a house on Peters Pike by a former Lexis employee Errin Siske. Her website is a holding page. Yet, they spent $4830- no purpose given, $18,422.27 for printing, $9273.97 for printing, $10,409.42 for printing. That’s a lot of printing ($42,935.66) to be doing out of your house.

There are a lot of talented local firms that could have been hired- but, instead, they chose to bypass the Dayton talent. They spent $218,478.19

That’s a lot of money.

And, as always, in politics, follow the money.

Note- the whole report is here: neigborhoods for-daytons future 2016 pre-election finance report. It’s filled out by hand- so that it can’t be compliant with the ADA or easily readable by google or those with disabilities. Good way to cover things up.

UPDATE

7:30 PM A dedicated reader took on the trouble of retyping the entire report- in a proper PDF- so it is accessible and searchable. It also has correct math. Although for the life of me- I couldn’t read some of the chicken scratch- so I can’t verify everything. But, compare the reports and see why this is important. Accessible 2016 10 27 Neighborhoods for Daytons future campaign finance report

Here is another video- shot on Tuesday, of Mayor Whaley and Jeff Mims trying to sell this tax hike at a forum sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha. I didn’t ask a question, because of the format of the questioning- and maybe because the last time I asked a political question in a church I was thrown out (although I was assured that wouldn’t happen here).

 

 

Issue 9 information session report

The group Neighborhoods over Politics, NOP, held a forum on Wednesday 12 Oct, 2016 at CSU Dayton campus.

There were about 50 people in attendance including all four Dayton City Commissioners and the County recorder Willis Blackshear. Normally, more than 2 members of the city commission causes Sunshine law issues if discussing public business.

There was an employee of the group pushing to pass issue 9- the one that hasn’t filed a campaign finance report. When asked who was bankrolling his job, all the signs, mailings- it got kinda strange.

Sorry about the quality of the video- it would really help if organizations holding candidates nights etc would read this post before holding an event like this.

Everyone needs a microphone- and to step up to speak. Preferably in the same spot.

It also helps to have a handout with the names and titles of your panel.

The people from Learn to Earn- or whatever organization they were from, seemed to be oblivious to who I was- or why I was asking the types of questions I was… with a camera… because, local “journalists” don’t ask questions….

I’ll have a post opposing issue 9 and why up here once I complete some more research.

It’s really apparent that this plan creates some new slush fund entities with no public oversight- that can take tax dollars and funnel them to private business. This isn’t what government is supposed to do with our tax dollars.

Rumor has it that an organization dumped $200K into the coffers of “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future”  and we still don’t know why.

As always- follow the money if you want answers.