When unethical behavior becomes the norm, when corruption is standard operating procedure, when corrupt practices are expected instead of the exception, the rule of law becomes a joke. And a community that lives without rules- suffers.
If you are looking for why every other city in the state has huge cranes building new buildings downtown, and new housing being built like crazy, and wonder why Dayton seems behind and lagging, it’s because we’ve created a system that rewards mediocrity. I’ve struggled to understand why people tolerate this locally for over 30 years. Most people just accept it, and try to work within the system and accept it- “you can’t fight city hall.” And, given my track record of “losing” you’d think I’d have stopped long ago, or moved away. Psychologists have a name for people like me- a “Moral Rebel” the rest of you, have other names.
It was never my plan to stay in Dayton after college, in fact, before my Junior year- I was looking to transfer anywhere- away, where I didn’t feel like I was sitting in a cabbage patch with a bunch of vegetables learning from mostly mediocre professors at a mediocre school. I’d read Tom Peters’ books- starting with “In Search of Excellence” and it seemed like there was no one else here in search of excellence- or even in search of average. This was the land of mediocrity, with Generous Motors driving the ship. Where else could a bunch of high school drop outs make $50K a year? The economic spinoff of just that one business was immense. It kept a small industrial laundry called “Multi-Service” in business cleaning and recycling leather work gloves and the walk off mats. I worked there, as the director of marketing, watching the working poor walk to work in a neighborhood business that kept food on their plates and the cable bill paid- until, the city moved them out of that nice little neighborhood into a “modern” facility- a mile away- but far enough to cut the neighborhood ties. A high placed official in City Hall once told me that in Dayton, “you need a herd to be heard” leaving out the part that most of you are sheep. Scared sheep to boot.
“Economic development” are the two words that can be interchanged with “graft and corruption.” It’s where the working poor subsidize the rich. Where public tax dollars flow into private hands with some kind of magic frosting that makes shit seem like a palatable sandwich. It’s how City Hall has made excuses to funnel money into projects to “bring jobs” but more often than not are just demolition contracts for the friends at the root of the problem- the “Monarchy of Montgomery County.” That’s a family run business, with two larger than life factions, nope, not the Hatfields and the McCoys- but the local Dems and the local GOP.
We’ve torn down more of Dayton than we’ve built up. We bulldoze farms to escape urban decay. Our population has been shrinking- as our footprint keeps enlarging- and with every extension of services, we add another banana republic, another 2-bit mayor, school superintendent, police chief- and call it progress. We destroy Trotwood- and we build Austin Landing and think we’re winning. If you can’t see what’s going on, and understand the re-arrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic, you aren’t paying attention.
The FBI came in and made “big arrests” of four Black men- calling it a “Culture of Corruption” and yet, the amounts of money don’t come close to what our chief law enforcer, the County Prosecutor, Mat Heck, stole from the taxpayers. Yes, stole is the correct word, and yet, people question how I could dare to challenge his “bonus” plan. They make excuses for public corruption, because, well, “we’ve always done it that way.” Actually, we haven’t. But, we’ll disclose that this week, we’ll also show you how Heck’s payola is breaking other laws- and should be justification for a dismantling of the two party system in Montgomery County- if not the entire State of Ohio.
What’s even more disconcerting right now, is a President who refuses to accept the results of an election, and a whole bunch of members of Congress, who seem to think that they owe an allegiance to the president, not their country or their constitution. Trump calls the Georgia Secretary of State asking him to change the results? This is a crime- just as much as Mat Heck handing out “bonuses.” But, somehow, we are no longer a country of laws. It was just as wrong when Trump tried to swing a deal with a Ukrainian despot for dirt on Biden- and that went unchallenged by the Republican buffoons in the Senate. It’s just as wrong when Mitch McConnell, can control the Senate single-handedly and refuse to help Americans who are teetering on a collapse of the entire economic equation – risking foreclosures, evictions and famine on our own people.
We’ve let things get out of hand. We’ve forgotten our principles and replaced them with internet memes and total bullshit like “Make America Great Again”- when in fact, we’re so far off the great stand that over 330,000 have died and many more will due to the lack of leadership by people who are supposed to care about the health and welfare of Americans.
To disavow the results of an election should be cause for removal from elected office. Either elections grant power and take it away, or we’re going to just give up on democracy altogether and make Trump president for life. You can not serve our country and only swear allegiance to the president- and as part of your job, it’s to create a check and balance against a rise to power by a dictator. If you aren’t deeply concerned when all 10 living former Secretaries of Defense, including 2 that were appointed by Trump, write a letter to warn off the military from getting involved in the legal transfer of power, you failed civics 101 (if you ever took it in school in the first place).
Standing by as our president pardons war criminals on one hand, while handing out the Medal of Freedom to Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes, is an abdication of responsibility and a breaking of the oath that members of the House of Representatives take:
“I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
That does not include overturning election results. The actions of our president in his last days in office, of wanton disrespect of the election, or our laws, of international standards of warfare and the rewarding of those who are raising up against our system of free and open elections, all constitute reason for removal from office and the end of the rebellion.
The people have spoken, they called for a change, and yet, some think they are above the law because they were entrusted to make it or enforce it and are doing neither.
If someone doesn’t step up to challenge it, either Mat Heck’s corruption to Jim Jordan’s sedition, to the President’s treason, everything we’ve believed in will not continue to exist.
Either laws apply to everyone, equally, or why do we bother with them?
Tomorrow, Reconstructing Dayton, will publish the second revelation of why Mat Heck is breaking the law by handing out over a million dollars in bonuses to his minions, during a pandemic, when belt-tightening was the norm. There is an Ohio law that public defenders must be equally compensated with prosecutors. By his illegal diversion of funds that were supposed to be returned to the general fund into the pockets of his band of partisan prosecutors, he has broken this law.
120-1-06 Facilities for a county or joint county public defender office.
The supporting staff, facilities, equipment, supplies, and other requirements needed to maintain and operate an office of a county or joint county public defender shall be sufficient to allow quality representation and shall be substantially equivalent to that provided for the county prosecutor’s office. In applying this rule, the following criteria shall govern:
(A) The salaries for public defender attorneys shall approximate and be in parity with the compensation received by prosecutors with comparable years in practice and experience.
Emphasis added to section (A). I demand an investigation by anti-corruption officials in the State and Federal Government into Mat Heck’s illegal actions and his removal from office.
A million here, a million there, soon- that’s real corruption.