The Eric Spicer diversion

In Dayton, it’s hard to not be separated by about 1.2 degrees of separation. Especially in political circles. I met and got to know Eric Spicer when I last ran for Congress and he was running for the Republican nomination for State Representative against the disgraced drunk Jarrod Martin and the eventual winner, Rick Perales who has his own issues.

Spicer came off as a straight-up, stand-up guy. Trusted friends told me that as well. But when I read the paper about his Termination from the Greene County Sheriff’s office for undeclared reasons, I don’t scratch my head at all, I know it’s political.

Greene County Sheriff, Gene Fischer, had placed Spicer on admin leave for 7 months before yesterdays confirmation.

“He was placed on leave after the Yellow Springs police standoff ended in the death of Paul E. Schenck, a resident, who fired more than 100 shots at law enforcement officers on July 30.”

according to the DDN today

For the record, only one person died, or was wounded in that standoff- Schenck. There is no lawsuit pending against the County for neglect or incompetence. Also for the record, Spicer wasn’t the highest ranking Sheriff’s office at the scene either.

And while I hate to report third hand, a quick search finds this blog piece with allegations of what’s really going on, from a blog maintained by a friend of Schenck:

inside information that Eric Spicer was being set up as a fall guy. I emailed the person who left the comment and here’s the bullet points of what they told me:

That contrary to what has been reported, Eric Spicer was not in command. His only command decisions were to call for a SWAT negotiator and a helicopter.

That Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer and Chief Deputy Mike Brown were on hand. They were the ones in command.

That Eric Spicer was trying to remove neighbors to safety in order to eliminate the sense of urgency to kill Paul. With nobody in danger, Spicer hoped that SWAT and the other agencies would cease antagonizing Paul, allow the sun to come up, and let the professional negotiator talk him out.

That if that plan had been allowed to proceed, Paul would be alive.

But instead of allowing that plan to work, that SWAT was using armored vehicles to deliberately provoke Paul into firing.

That Paul was only firing when he was provoked.

That one of the two men in charge, Chief Deputy Mike Brown, smelled of alcohol.

That there had been complaints about Brown’s drinking in the weeks and months leading up to this incident.

via Eric Spicer » Kick Him, Honey.

For an in-depth look at what happened that night, the same writer, Benjmin Whitmer, has a pretty decent essay, simply titled “Paul Schenck” It was his follow up post about Spicer’s firing that elicited some people to comment and step up for Spicer.

Information that’s come to me from trusted sources tell a story of Sheriff Gene Fischer being an absentee Sheriff, who is happy to be a politician instead of a cop, and delegating down to his Chief Deputy Mike Brown, who was promoted when Fischer faced a challenge from former Sheriff’s office employee Charlie Barrett. Fischer circled wagons, handing out promotions to people to guarantee support for his campaign instead of Barrett’s, who was the union boss. What’s funny about this is Barrett, who was a Sgt. before having to step down to run against Fisher, complained of Spicer being a political hire:

Barrett charged that Fischer brought political buddies into the office such as Capt. (and now Major) Eric Spicer and that destroys the morale. Fischer was Spicer’s campaign treasurer for Spicer’s unsuccessful bid to become a state representative in a primary race against incumbent Jarrod Martin and Rick Perales, who will face Democratic candidate Bill Conner for the 73rd state house seat.

via Greene County Sheriff’s race pits incumbent against former… | www.daytondailynews.com.

As much as Montgomery County is run by a Monarchy of Dems, Greene County is run the same way by Republicans. It’s what happens when we allow every office to be politicized and patronage jobs to be the currency of our community.

Unfortunately, Greene County Dispatchers who have recordings of Brown calling into dispatch, sounding intoxicated, meddling in stops, or the road supervisors complaints of mos-management will all stay firmly swept under the rug as long as the politicians feel they can make Spicer the scape goat. Just remember, Fischer was Spicers campaign treasurer, before he turned on him and hung Spicer out to dry. Anyone who feels safe in their job based on the political winds in Greene County is clueless. Eventually, ships full of holes sink and take all hands, no matter what.

The fact that Spicer isn’t filing for disability like another former Sheriff’s office commander- John DiPietro, speaks volumes more about Spicer’s character.

Undoubtedly, many tax dollars will be spent sorting this out, after Spicer sues for wrongful termination, and years will pass as those in power hope to outlast his bank account (as long as taxes are collected, politicians will deny the inevitable and continue to waste money on lawsuits- I know from personal experience). In the mean time, Spicer will have a hard time finding a job using his 25+ years experience.

This is what happens when we continue to vote for smiling faces with big campaign war chests instead of the best qualified people- and have a media that can’t write the hard stories.

The public needs real proof that Spicer needed to be fired, instead of demoted or admonished. We shouldn’t have to pay to allow costly political executions rule our government. If the mainstream media outlets ask for the right public records, there will be some interesting documents questioning the inner workings (or non-workings) of the Sheriff’s office.

If some Greene County employees have some guts- you can add comments here safely and anonymously. Please stick to facts, and not personal attacks. You can help save the tax payers a lot of money and wasted circus time with your input.

 

Why we should shoot in Syria

I don’t believe that the U.S. Military would ever turn on our citizens, although Kent State is a glaring example to the contrary, and the case of the drones’ use in far away places to kill “Americans” who had pledged to wage war on their mother country. However, when a country uses air power against its own citizens, it would be nice if someone stepped in to stop what amounts to mass murder. That time came long ago in Syria and passed. It also passed in Darfur, Liberia, and countless other countries.

The U.S. was quick to react in Libya, because of course, they had resources that were important to the petrochemical giants who make huge donations to the U.S. Congress. Syria on the other hand, only exports some oil to Europe and hasn’t exported any since 2011.

The tools of war are taken for granted globally these days, with the U.S. one of the largest exporters of killing machines on the planet. Some war is good for our economy unfortunately, and therefore, we tend to look the other way when these tools are used for oppression and suppression. No matter how much money the sales of weapons systems bring to our economy, and to the military industrial complex, these always end up having a negative overall impact on our economy when you figure in the true costs of wars. They are always a negative- from the deaths of our troops, to the increase in costs to take care of our disabled veterans, all the way down the line to where you realize the lost opportunity costs of perfecting killing, instead of forwarding the human race toward a peaceful and bountiful planet for all.

In other words, for every bomb, bullet or soldier we “invest” in- the return is negative compared to creating food, health care, education, shelter for all. For all the money wasted in the Iraq/Afghanistan war, we could have obliterated poverty globally, through humanitarian initiatives and focusing on the good in the world instead of the several thousand who were represented by 20 odd jerks who hijacked a few planes and crashed them.

Syrians don’t deserve to have their government turn on them. We should obliterate anything that can fly against the people of Syria, and possibly, if we can locate them, neutralize any chemical weapons or their delivery systems. As to threats from any other nations of retaliation against Israel for our leveling the playing field in Syria- we should unequivocally state that any excuse for an attack on Israel will be met with hell being rained on any country’s military that launches an attack. That’s how owning the biggest, baddest military is supposed to thwart aggression by others. Fear is one of the most powerful motivators.

I do not believe that action against Syria should be prolonged or ongoing, nor should it lead to an invasion or occupation. It’s just about taking the howitzers away from the guys in war against people with slingshots.

If our country would only help the underdogs at home as much as it’s willing to go to bat for underdogs in other countries, we might have a better moral authority on the world stage, but for now at least, we should do everything in our power to stop a deluded dictator the use of chemical weapons and air power against his own people.

 

Who delivers in the snow?

Snow removal mission accomplished, City of Dayton, side streets

Corner of Bonner and Adams Streets before 8am Mar 25th, 2013

The City of Dayton Street Maintenance department delivered this morning- with a plow, hitting my street (which is three blocks long) and the rest of South Park. This is what we pay taxes for- and it’s the first time in a long time that the City has impressed me in a “snow emergency.” (Here’s a post out of frustration about snow removal from 2009)

Schools are off for “Spring break” this week, so it’s not causing a school shutdown, but, it does have an impact on local businesses who depend on customers who won’t come if the roads are bad. Investing in top notch delivery of services like snow removal has a bigger economic impact in one day, than the “investment” in a private business like Midmark– and is what the city has failed to understand over the last 20 years.

Clear streets are also essential for delivery of police and fire services, if the roads aren’t passable- fire trucks can’t get to a house fire. We also see a dramatic decrease in traffic accidents when streets are passable- all of which are keys to economic growth (unless you own a body shop or towing company).

And, onto who doesn’t deliver in the snow? The Dayton Daily news- can’t get their iPad edition delivered. Apparently the snow is interfering with their electrons getting to my house. I called, and they started to offer the dead tree edition- until I repeated “iPad edition.” Guess I get to read my old stories re-published in the DDn later today- if ever.

But, the real experts at delivery in Dayton today, weren’t delivering in Dayton- they were delivering on the home-court of a lower ranked opponent in the Women’s NCAA basketball playoffs, where the University of Dayton Women’s team went into double overtime to beat St. John’s 96-90. Congrats to the UD Women, who are the best deal and real deal when it comes to watching more hoops for your buck (yep, they sell tickets for a buck on televised games and $5 normally).

If you haven’t watched the UD Women this year, don’t call yourself a basketball fan. And considering that they only have 3 seniors this year, maybe you should be buying season tickets now (the games are all general admission- so I’m not sure they even sell season tickets- yet).

I’m almost tempted to spend the day shoveling snow for campaign donations, but I’ve got a ton of work to do, so get out there and do it yourself ;-)

(note, as I was finishing this at 8:26 the plow just went back down Bonner)

 

Premier Health Partners to kill Carmen’s Deli

July 29, 2009, while the economy was in the Dumpster and 5th/3rd was in the process of leaving the old Cit Fed building, my friend Haitham Iman made the gutsy move and took over a space that had failed repeatedly as a deli and put his life savings on the line- here is what I wrote:

I’ve known Haitham Iman for years. I’m sure many of you who have attended events at the David Ponitz center, Building 12, of Sinclair know him too.

He’s the always smiling, nice guy, who makes sure your experience is exceptional when it comes to the food at events.

Now, he’s the guy on the grill- only it’s his grill, in his and his lovely wife Carmen’s new restaurant on the first floor of the 5th/3rd Tower, in the old Swisher’s Too location….

via Carmen’s Deli now open- go see Haitham.

He started with 3 employees; now, he has 6. He’s worked hard to build his business and a following, despite being in a building that had its tenants abandon ship, the building go into foreclosure and then be sold for dimes on the dollar to one of the richest, largest companies left in Dayton: Premier Health Partners, owners of Miami Valley Hospital, etc.

Premier is now about to fill the tower with 900 employees, news that made Haitham leap for joy when he first heard the news. His lease ran through 2014 and he looked forward to 900 new customers right on top of his little dining spot. First assurances were that no one would lose out, but, then the powers that be changed the plan, serving Carmen’s Deli with an eviction notice. It seems Premier wants to feed its own people by building a cafeteria – right on the first floor. They offered Haitham a management position, which was what he had before he took charge of his future and started his version of the American Dream. He turned them down- politely I’m sure.

Premier also offered him a chance to take over the old Kitty’s/Thomato’s/Mediterra/piano bar, etc. space- but it requires about a $300K build-out which is beyond Haitham’s reach. My sources say they shopped the same space to other restaurateurs in town but offered the build-out- and still didn’t get takers.

Most of us would think, how can they boot him if he has a lease? If he tried to walk on them, they’d go after him like rabid dogs. Premier’s lawyers claim that his lease didn’t transfer after the foreclosure and they have the right to boot him now. His customers are outraged, some have even offered their legal services pro-bono to help him out. He’s a David without a slingshot getting his lunch eaten by a Goliath who could take care of this within the rounding error on their books. But, he’s at their mercy.

Precedent

Jimmy Brandell was a thorn in Miami Valley’s side for years. He bought the bar at the corner of Brown and Wyoming streets before the hospital had visions of a grand campus. First it was the second home of the Walnut Hills (first home is now Tank’s) and then when he split with his partner he renamed it Jimmie’s Cornerstone Tavern. He built his business with Dayton’s first CD jukebox and a bar menu that started early for hospital employees getting off third shift. He knew he had it good- and the hospital had decided they wanted his building bad. For years they went back and forth until finally, the hospital made Jimmy an offer he couldn’t refuse: to move him across the street to the old Ladder 11 firehouse, complete with a large attached parking lot. If you hadn’t been to the Cornerstone- you missed a good dive- but, if you haven’t headed over to Jimmie’s Ladder 11 since he opened on 11/11/11, you’re missing out on the Taj Mahal of firehouse bar food and drink.

Jimmy had leverage in bricks and mortar- Haitham, unfortunately only held a lease.

But what about all our “Development” organizations?

Haitham has talked to the Downtown Dayton Partnership, Citywide, the powers that be at the City of Dayton Office of Economic Development- and while they all liked talking about his start-up 3 years ago, now, they like talking about the jobs that Premier is bringing (well not really bringing, they’re just shuffling- but we call that development). Citywide has space in the first floor of “Courthouse Crossing” or did (they might not own it anymore) including the former Roly Poly location that rolled out of downtown under the cover of darkness. There is also the former Chick-filet location in the Key Bank tower (formerly Mead tower) which is too small, but so far, no one has come up with some options to save 6 jobs and a business that committed to downtown when others wouldn’t. Sure- our tax dollars have gone to help Uno around the corner, and Citilites across the way in the Schuster has been butted up with public money, but so far- nothing for Haitham.

Unfortunately, when the “undeveloper” Paul Hutchins sent Boston’s Bistro packing for a plan that never happened- way back in 2006, he also stripped the space of what it needed to become a bar again. That space has been empty ever since- and is spitting distance from Carmen’s. If only…

The reality is, it’s one thing to wheel and deal in real estate, but it’s another to destroy jobs. Yes, Premier will be able to brag about having the only building downtown with 100% occupancy (except for Kitty’s space), but they’ll also be driving a business out.

You can call this progress all you want, but what we’d give to have back Seattle East, Boston’s, the Dugout Deli, Wendy’s, Frisch’s, The Diner on St. Clair, etc. To have a vital downtown, we need diversity and choices in food. Premier isn’t doing itself a favor by tossing Carmen’s out like trash- even its employees may miss options.

I’m not suggesting this should be the taxpayers’ responsibility, but since we subsidize Premier Health through Medicare/Medicaid and not taxing the hospitals- maybe Premier can find it in its heart not to kill this small business. It’s healthy for our community to keep it.

A local unsung hero

Note: On the request of Jeff- I’ve deleted most of the post. The Army-produced video has his rank wrong.

Jeff doesn’t like the headline either- he’s not a hero- just a guy doing his job. I’m not changing the link. He’s still a hero in my book- for many reasons,

Jeff Lee grew up in Beavercreek, graduated from Beavercreek High School and Wright State University.

I was in his wedding.

Jeff Lee, thanks for being my friend all these years, and thank you for your service.