Don’t tell me Ohio is business friendly

Just after writing about Bill Rain leaving the state for greener pastures, Nicole Gianuglou called me. You don’t know Nicole, but she’s a criminal according to the Ohio State board of pharmacy. Her crime: using the word “Apothecary” as part of her business name; “Preen Apothecary.”
Now, 95% of the population have no idea what the word means, and the other 5% have been reading too much of “Elle,” “Cosmo” and the like- because it’s the new hip term for beauty care- with that old school feel.
It’s so hip and cool that “Bigelow Chemists” (also a name that is only good for real pharmacies in the State of Ohio) has a whole section of their site called “apothecary.” What, you’ve never heard of C.O. Bigelow either- but they are the “oldest apothecary in America” and owned by Les Wexner and Limited Brands.
This is another case of bureaucrats getting paid too much to protect their jobs instead of the public- in this case it’s “Jess Wimberly” who is a “compliance agent” for the state pharmacy board.
Nicole is facing up to a $250 fine and 30 days in jail- a forth degree misdemeanor, the same type of charge that the City tried to pile on me for the mask case.
I know we’ll all feel safer with Nicole in jail, and not confusing us like CO Bigelow does with their .75 ml Marvis Jasmin Mint Toothpaste that they sell for $8.95 a tube.

Nicole’s store is:
Preen Apothecary – she doesn’t have a site yet.
you can e-mail her at nicole at Preenapothecary dot com
Preen has moved- here is their current info:

2508 Far Hills Ave.
Oakwood OH 45419
937 293.1818

new phone number too.

The Brain drain.

About 5 years ago Dr. David Ponitz recommended that I read “The Rise of the Creative Class” by Richard Florida- he said as he was reading it, it reminded him of me (the guy is a prince).
Next thing you know, the MVRPC holds a morning meeting bringing Mr. Florida in to speak. The room is full. Every powerbroker in town is there. All of a sudden, everyone is talking about luring the”œcreative class“ and “Tool Town” becomes “Tech town.”
The problem is, even if the “Creative Class” did come to Dayton, they would have a hard time getting the “entrenched class” thinking in creative ways- and allowing things to happen outside the”rules,” many of which are seemingly unwritten.
When I ran for office- one of the things that drove me nuts is the old Morris Furniture building on E. Fifth Street in the Oregon District. You know the one- just to the left of Newcome’s tavern, 3 grand stories, beautiful bay windows- and vacant for the last 30 years. It’s vacant because zoning requires X number of parking spaces within X distance. However, since the building is in a Historic District- and nothing can be torn down, there is no way to add parking- so the building has been zoned into obsolescence.
The Gem of E. Fifth Street So the best building in the Oregon District sits and rots. All because some pencil pushing bureaucrat can’t see that the rules are working against the ideals of the Historic Preservation rules that are there to save the building. My friend Lakeisha Sabol has sold this building several times- only to have each fall through when the permits can’t be had.
So- this brings me to the net result. The “creative class” that everyone wants so bad- gets frustrated- and moves to greener pastures.
I’m sad to say that one of my best friends and clients is on his way to new opportunities in Tampa Florida today. If you are looking for the catalyst of the downtown housing renaissance, his name was at the top of the list.
His very first project as a developer was to help put together the deal for the Job center which has been hailed nationally as a model of how to deliver social services. His housing projects included: The St. Clair Lofts, The Ice Avenue Lofts and he was a founding part of the Cannery project. He also took 401 S. Main from eyesore to eye candy.
He would have made a great head for the
Wright Dunbar development organization- but was passed over to give a patronage job to former City Commissioner, Bootsie Neal, who’s claim to fame was driving her city vehicle down to city hall then calling the cops to say she thought there was a bomb in it.
He would have made a great head of economic development as well. But that job remains filled by Norm Essman- who couldn’t sell gas for a dollar a gallon.
So, Dayton loses one of it’s creative class, just one more example of losing the innovators this town was once famous for.
Bill Rain, whose e-mail was always brain@, I’ll miss you.

The coach should be benched.

I’d heard a bit of this story before I saw it on ESPN this morning while I was at the YMCA. Jason McElwain, the autistic team manager for the Greece Athena Varsity Basketball team got to play in his first game at the end of the regular season- with 4 minutes left. The team was up by 20.
He missed his first two shots, then proceeded to hit 6 of 10 treys, would have been 7- but his foot was on the line. 4 minutes, 20 points, and the teams leading scorer.
The coach, Jim Johnson, said he was crying on the bench- for joy.
He should be crying because he deserves to lose his job.
I don’t care if J-Mac is 5’6” – or autistic, you don’t walk onto a basketball court and put up 20 points in 4 minutes if you don’t have skill. He obviously had enough skill to have been on the team instead of being the manager, and enough skill to be playing in the playoffs, instead of sitting on the bench with towels.
Underestimating people should be the eighth deadly sin.
Was it because Jason was 5’6” that he didn’t make the team? I guess Spud Webb should have been a water boy too.
Was it because he was autistic? I thought we had laws in this country against discrimination.
Either way, I’m rooting for Jason to be off the bench and on the court. I hope the Greece Athena AD takes another look at how his coach missed on giving this kid a fair shot, because it seems obvious- it would have been nothing but net.

What do you think?

More on Derek Farmer in the DDN

Today almost the entire editorial spread was dedicated to the Derek Farmer speech.

Both sides aired their opinions. They were both strong. None were wrong- they were opinions.

This is what living in a democracy is all about- the freedom to disagree. So we have to thank Ms. Wortham for bringing Mr. Farmer in to speak- and we have to thank Lt. Beane for protesting- it started a discussion. We also have the Mayor to thank for making it a race issue- because that’s something we need to still talk about in Dayton.

These are the kind of strong emotions that get people to act- to write letters to the editor, to talk about the issue over coffee, lunch, or while getting their hair cut. This is what Mike Peters does in his little 3×4″ box on the editorial page this is all good- this is what a good newspaper should do- give us information to form opinions- and a forum to discuss them.

It’s also what this blog should do.

It’s what I was trying to do when I donned the mask at the Dayton City Commission meeting – so long ago…

Please note- while the two sides disagree, no one is rioting in the streets, burning buildings or acting like idiots- like the Muslim extremists who didn’t like the Danish cartoons of Mohammad.

Now the question is- has this changed anything?

What do you think?

A list of possible locals for Dayton City Manager

Joe Tuss- former economic development head for Dayton- now left hand man at the County.

Steve Budd- He’s build CityWide Development up from nothing- time to test him.

Paul Woodie- Former Dayton planning chief: He thinks he’s running the city now- so it’s a minor detail.

David Holmes- used to run Reynolds and Reynolds. Had a strong opinion that Tony Capizzi would be better than Mike Turner. He’s run a big corporation- why not let him show us that CEO touch that was worth millions a year.

David Gasper- He build up a company that made ATM software- sold it off, and has written some very intelligent position pieces in the press.

Bill Rain- Local developer with big cahones. A great salesman. Has a vision.

Phil Parker- He straightened out the Chamber of Commerce- and is well liked. Time to try a little harder job.

David Bohardt- He ran for Mayor claiming he has all the answers.

Valerie Lemmie- she has experience- but, I think it’s always a bad choice to get back together after a break up.

Maureen Pero should be on this list- but I think she’s right up there with Thomas Noe – getting paid crazy money for doing nothing worthwhile.

David Ponitz- The only man in town that can walk on water. However, he has done enough for this community to last about 100 lifetimes- he deserves a quiet retirement.

Dr. Nelson who used to be with Montgomery County Health Commission suggested Dean Lovelace in a letter to the editor on Friday. I’ve made my feelings about Dean well known, and if he had a spine surgically implanted before taking the job, he could probably do the job. But, in general, Dean isn’t capable of making a tough decision- or getting people to move to his side of things.
I’m looking for suggestions? Any others that should be on this list?

Residency rule for City Manager job applicants?

There are several letters to the editor about the residency rule today- and one suggests that the city actually try to hire from within our own population instead of a national search.
Why not? I’m always quite amazed at what local companies are willing to pay “consultants” from other markets- while unwilling to pay local firms for the same or better work.
The mark of a real leader- the type of person who should lead our City- should be that the people beneath them- are prepared and ready to step up should they step down. We haven’t had that from our “national search process” in the past. Nor have we had great success at assimilating someone with a strong vision (remember how fast Dayton sent Bill Estabrook out the door?).
There is a lot to be said of “institutional knowledge” in this city- with so many deals being done behind closed doors- anyone walking into the managers position from out of town may as well be walking into a mine field without a map- unless they depend on the people they catapulted over (who may or may not decide to guide them).
No- it’s not about residency in the long run- it’s about how we choose to do our business. In a transparent market- an outsider can compete and win. But in a closed system like we’ve had for years, that outsider must spend so much time working their way into the inner circle that by the time they may be ready to make something happen, it’s too late.
If you wonder why Jim Dineen was so well accepted so quickly- it wasn’t because of his stellar vision or management skills, it was because he knew the game, the players and the “rules.” This is why David Bohardt, David Holmes, or (longshot) me, makes more sense than hiring from outside.
The longer we wait to either change the way we do business, the longer we’ll have to wait for real progress in our city.

These may be 29 cops we don’t need in Dayton

When I was 16 my best friend’s Mom was the Mayor of the city. One night, he did something really stupid- he went and ran over 29 stop signs in his Mom’s station wagon. He probably would have run over more, but one of the signs tore a hole in the transmission and the car died after leaving a trail of transmission fluid like a mile long arrow saying “Here I am- look at what I did.” Obviously, his Mom had an alibi, and my friend did not.
He was sentenced to pay for the damages, do public service and he learned his lesson. It was an expensive lesson for him, the other people in the car (I wasn’t one of them) didn’t have to pay a dime- nor were they blamed for the destruction.
Today, my friend runs a large company with his brothers, employees a lot of people and is a model citizen.
The “justice” system worked.
Then there is Derek Farmer.
When he was 16 he and a pal robbed a jewelry store in Downtown Dayton. His pal managed to shoot and kill both a civil rights leader and a Dayton cop. Derek went to jail for a 18 years for aggravated robbery. That’s 2 more years than he had been alive when he made a dumb ass decision to help rob a jewelry store with a thug with an itchy trigger finger.
While living in prison, with a bunch of fellow losers, Derek decided to turn his life around. He found god, he found an education- and he decided to be a lawyer. Maybe that’s why we euphemize prison into “correctional institution” in this country- suggesting that people who go there will be corrected into proper human beings who play by the rules of society.
Speaking of “rules of society”- we have people who enforce those rules- they are called police officers. They are supposed to uphold the laws of our country- and follow the rules. They are in fact, held to a higher standard than you or I, expected to be exemplary citizens- people we can look up to, people who should serve as role models to our youth. To people like a young Derek Farmer, who are supposed to respect and respond to a police officers instructions just because they are wearing a uniform that says they aspire to that higher standard, they are the people you can trust and respect to follow and enforce our laws without regard to race, religion, wealth or fame. As Joe Friday used to say- “just the facts, mam”
So, when Derek Farmer- now 48 years old, a member of the bar (also a higher standard in the eyes of the law) and a productive, model citizen came back to Dayton to speak about overcoming adversity- one could look at this case and say- the system worked. Here we have a success story of how a punk kid turned out OK. Much like my friend the son of the Mayor (he’s now 44).
Instead, we had 29 or so of “Dayton’s finest”protesting his speech. Some even proclaiming Mr. Farmer should still be in prison. Last I checked, police officers are not judge and jury- and if they think they are- they don’t belong in uniform.
Those are strong words- and I’m sure that one day, some member of the FOP will throw them back at me. But it seems to me that Mr. Farmer is a better role model than those officers. It is my opinion that officers who don’t believe our system works working, probably shouldn’t be a part of that system. In fact, they might do better working as officers in some totalitarian system where it is ok for a cop to be judge, jury and executioner. We may be short police officers now, but with cops like these, who needs a “correctional system”?
To Mr. Farmers credit- he said he would protect their First Amendment rights to protest- but, if there is one thing I’ve learned about free speech- it’s never free. Maybe the protesting cops should turn in their badges and put their money where their mouth is.
I don’t think our city will miss you one bit.

Where to get baklava in Dayton.

So if you think this is a strange title for a post- it’s just a way to demonstrate that blogs are the next big thing- and old media isn’t.

My friend Kristen, who I’ve taken Pilates with at the Downtown YMCA for the last 3 years, was looking for “Where to get baklava in Dayton” and ended up on this site.

Why- because I had written about chosing the next City Manager over baklava at my party.

Kristin thought this was crazy- finding my blog- talking about the party she didn’t make- and ending up calling me to ask where I got the baklava.

So much for the Yellow pages.

So to answer the question- you can get a whole sheet of it- enough to serve 50 people, for about $23 at Halal grocery at the corner of Wayne and Keowee- they also have their other Grocery down by the Dayton Mall- off Prestige plaza drive.

So- enjoy the baklava- tell them I sent you- and have a great party of your own.

The Dayton Daily News makes a change

Without announcing it, the “new” version of the Dayton Daily News now only provides bite sized stories on the front page- no more stories that link across pages. It’s a small change, but another indication that they are going more USA Today than NY Times.
I keep waiting to see them take a run at the Dayton City Paper by releasing “Go” – their Friday entertainment supplement as a free weekly. If you have been watching closely- they have started putting in news re-caps under the heading “Things to be talking about.”
Probably the most entertaining thing in the paper was the sidebar by business editor Jim Dillon talking about more local coverage. As far as I can tell, the business section produces the least local content per person of the entire paper. Even when handed a story on a plate- the Dayton Ad Club awards release as an example, they fail to get it into the paper.
It has been my observation that the tone of the local paper has much to do with the economic vitality of a city. When a community has a forward thinking, optimistic paper, it seems to create an environment for positive growth. Unfortunately the local editors (TV and Print) subscribe to the “If it bleeds, it leads” mentality, sensationalizing the negatives and rarely looking deep enough into the issue.
There are solutions to problems in this community- however you are unlikely to read about them in the DDN. Ideas are never given credence in this community unless you have a large group behind you. Individuality and independent thought aren’t valued- hence a loud mouthed minister with a flock will get more face time than an independent candidate with original ideas. As former city staffer Paul Woodie told me long ago “you need a herd to be heard.”
The recent turn of event’s for Ricky Boyd’s firing are a good example of this phenomena. My first impressions of Mr. Boyd were severely tainted when I caught him an outright lie about his military service in Vietnam in my first campaign for office. I have not had any respect for him since (nor did I ever hear him claim to have served in Special Forces ever again).
How one man’s loss of his patronage job becomes front page news, while thousands of Delphi employees are at risk showcases the DDN’s lack of understanding of what is important- and what isn’t. The newspaper should serve as a loudspeaker for new ideas, not as the censor of record.
Unfortunately, the paper still seems to think it knows best what is good for its readers by moving to even more pre-digested news instead of reaching to make people think. This latest round of changes is just one more move to the mediocre from an organization that exemplifies the word mundane.
As a last note- look more to blogs to get intelligent perspective on what can and will make a difference in our community.
And- hope that the DDN returns Leigh Alan to the front of the Metro section- he was one of the few independent thinkers that they used to share with us.