DDN can’t deliver today?

No paper on my doorstep- and I keep calling- to get a busy signal.

Maybe when they switched to their McNews version- they also cut back on customer service phone lines? I’m number 32 in cue for their lame online service form-

The only reason I’m posting- is I know more than a few McNews staffers read this blog.

It’s Sunday- 30 April- 10:21- and no paper.

It’s now 10:41- andf their stupid online “live assistance” counts down- to “no agents currently available” – with the phone still busy- it looks like I won’t be getting my Sunday paper.

When you are a monopoly- you can get away with crapola customer service.

CareSource does have options downtown

Today’s Dayton Daily News reported that CareSource will be building a 51 million dollar office complex at the corner of Main and Monument because “their requirements can’t be met in the vacant space downtown’?
If CareSource wasn’t asking for $500,000 from the City of Dayton and another $500,000 from the Montgomery county ED/GE fund, I wouldn’t care where they built- or what. But, since they are asking for tax dollars, I should get a say- and I say there is a building available that can handle all their needs and then some- and it doesn’t involve replacing old buildings- it’s an adaptive reuse that would save a great piece of Dayton’s history.
My option for CareSource: The Mendelson’s complex on First Street- across from and next to 5/3rd Field- home of the Dayton Dragons. For less than $11 million, they could have buildings with huge floor plates, tall ceilings, and nuclear blast resistant strength (they haven’t built buildings like this for over 40 years). The buildings are also eligible for Historic Tax Credits- that are like money in the bank.
As an added benefit- the complex comes with the Webster Street Market building- that could be put under Five Rivers Metroparks management to expand the 2nd Street Market- and, CareSource could build a parking garage that they would use by day- and Dragon’s fans could use at night.
Frankly, I’ve seen the buildings the Port Authority has built for MCsI (now defunct) and Relizon– and none of the compare to the grandeur of Mendelson’s old Delco plants that once housed Charles Kettering’s (modest) office.
Since the Mendelson buildings have more space than CareSource needs- they could be mixed use structures with retail on the first floors, some rental office space on the second, CareSource on the upper floors- and real loft space on the top floors. The views from the top floor of plant 1 (on the Dragon’s plaza, next to the main entry gate) are some of the best views in the City and would eclipse Performance Place as the premier housing downtown.
When my firm did work for Mr. Mendelson, I spent quite some time walking through these buildings- and even was there till past midnight mopping water after a fire hit the 4th floor (an employee set it)- and I can tell you- these are buildings that deserve a tenant with vision and the ingenuity of Boss Kettering- CareSource should seriously reconsider.
Our leaders should weigh these options before they hand over our tax dollars.

What do you think?

Face the problem- don’t regulate it.

The Dayton City Commission doesn’t have the foresight to see that the Oregon District’s only chance of booming is allowing more entertainment type businesses serving and selling liquor- since the historic ordinances limit what you can do to a building and zoning requirements that make it impossible to occupy currently vacant buildings.

Last night- they voted no to the 5th Street Deli’s application for a carryout license- because a small loud group of Daytonians whined really loud.

The problem has been discussed in other entries on this site- enforce other laws against bad behavior- not stop people from making a living in the City.

The Commission also voted against a bunch of other licenses- for various reasons- here’s the list:

The City Commission is objecting to these 18 liquor permit renewals:

•Webster Station, 300 E. Third St. Reason: 72 calls for police service from 1-1-05 to 2-27-06 for thefts, disorderly persons, drugs, shootings, stabbing.

•Abada, Inc. doing business as Fairground Shell, 1224 S. Main St. Reason: several violations for sale and furnishing liquor to a person under 21.

•Sereen Corp. doing business as Dana’s Market, 1034 W. Stewart St. Reason: 59 calls for police between 1-21-05 and 2-27-06. The Drug Hotline receives numerous calls of drug activity monthly in and around this store at all hours.

•Maple Grove Restaurant & Lounge, 3401 E. Third St. Reason: In 1997 this permit was transferred to Ronald Antrican Jr. The real owner is Ronald Antrican Sr., a convicted felon who is not allowed to possess a liquor permit.

•Asylum Inc., 605 S. Patterson Blvd. Bar 3 Basement. Reason: Business closed. Liquor permit must be surrendered to the state division of liquor control.

The following locations were investigated by the Ohio Organized Crime Investigative Commission in 2004 as part of a conspiracy to obtain stolen merchandise:

• Dearborn Market, 601 Dearborn ave.

• Nora Foods Inc., doing business as Jackie’s Market, 375 S. Broadway St.:

•GNS Enterprise of Dayton, Inc., doing business as KJ’s Carryout, 2117-19 Germantown St.

• Cornell Meat King Supermarket, 3509 Cornell Ave.

• G & G Carryout, 3620 Germantown St.

• Gilsey Investments, Inc., doing business as Gebhardt’s Superette, 1609 Gilsey Ave.

• Linden One Stop, Inc., 1330 Linden Ave.

• Superette Enterprise, Inc., 200 Burkhardt Ave.

• Jabar & Shalash Enterprises, Inc. doing business as Shop N Save Food Mart, 1413 N. Main St.

• Superior Trade, Inc., doing business as Rollins Mini Market, 2045 Salem Ave.

• Amier Inc., doing business as Rick’s Grocery, 911 Huffman Ave.

• Abdel Latif, Inc., doing business as E.B. Drive Thru, 3830 Germantown Pike

• Greenland Food, Inc., doing business as AM PM Market, 3700 W. Third St.

A small group-

A friend pointed me to this site in Cincinnati- A small group. The idea is put in practice in my neighborhood- The South Park Historic District- where a small group of committed citizens works together to strengthen our neighborhood. This organization helps small groups be more effective. Take a look at the site.

Here is their opening quote by Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Oregon District – more feeble thinking

Oregon District – OHDS Board Position Regarding Saturation

The meeting went for 3 hours- and nothing was accomplished. If a vote had been taken- the people in favor of holding the license numbers to 17 would have been outnumbered- probably 4-1.

The scary thing was- no one was willing to discuss alternatives or implications- that keeping the limit increases the value of existing licenses to the point that change won’t happen.

The same people who fought Pacchia, Thai 9 and What You Eat- which became Blue Moon- all sat and made the same knee jerk negative assumption that more licenses will lead down the slippery slope to Strip clubs and biker bars.

No one was willing to admit that the problems of drunks in the street should be addressed by the police- not by limiting licenses. That littering, public urination and disturbing the peace- are all already crimes- that aren’t addressed- talk about beer googles- the tunnel vision expressed by the more “senior” members of this small group was amazing. All the recent rise in property value came from their sweat equity- not the proximity to fine dining establishments.

What’s worse- in Dayton, the squeeky wheel will get the oil- and the City Commission will kow tow to the vocal minority.

The real crime in the Oregon District is the vacant and under-utilized real estate- rotting away while the suburbs attract restaurants to their entertainment districts. Look to Miller Lane, 725, or N. Fairfield Road- and ask why hasn’t any national sit down chain located in the city? Is fast casual all we can expect? It’s this kind of NIMBY thinking that’s killing Dayton and it’s time for it to stop.

If this does come to the City Commission- it’s time to stage a rally of epic proportions – offering to buy out the whiners- and let the wine flow.

What do you think…?

ReBorn on my doorstep- DDN dumbs down

In what could signal the death sentance for the Dayton City Paper– the “new and improved” Dayton Daily News showed up on my doorstep (late) this morning- complete with Rob Brezsny’s Freewill Astrology column. Many people considered the astrology in the DCP the only truly redeeming feature- it’s just a matter of time before the DDN starts distributing the GO section free- as has happened in many major markets where the dying business of printing news on dead trees has shown remarkable effort to squeeze the last dollars out of a dead technology.

Younger audiences aren’t interested in paying for a newspaper when they can get their news online- and speaking of online- it seems that once again the DDN only ReWorked half their business- ignoring a much needed ReDesign of their ReTarded website.

Not only is the site difficult to navigate, the randomness of what makes it online and what doesn’t is maddening. For instance- today they did a feature on a movie that was going to be shown at 2 and 4:15 today- and then not again- as part of a film festival. They dedicated a “full page” in their new tab arts section- but the story wasn’t available online to help promote the showings.

Besides the no-jump stories (which just means the story shows up in 2 places- and repeats itself) and shuffling the sections- with a new look- and a few new items- the paper is still missing the one thing that makes a newspaper worthwhile- real, insightful content. Thankfully, Tom Archdeacon still works there- but, with the dumbing down (larger print- no jumps) and the increase in “police beat” coverage- a stabbing in Dayton will still be more important in the DDN than the rape of Darfur- or the pillaging of the US by GWB and company.

Frankly, if this is the best they can do- moving to the NCR property wasn’t enough- they should have moved to Warren County next to their printing presses and let someone who really understands what the power of the press could mean for this community. We need smarter people to move this area forward- not a dumbed down media.

What do you think?

The Oregon District liquor battle continues….

Community forum:

Tuesday, April 11, 7 to 8 pm

Park Manor Community Room
(Park Manor is the tall senior housing just S. of the Urban Krag)

Guest speaker attorney Steve Milby, former director of Dayton’s City Law Department, will discuss liquor permits in the Oregon District. Learn about the history and rationale for the OHDS liquor permit policy. Mr. Milby will present a brief overview of the three grounds upon which to object to liquor licenses: location,character of the applicant and saturation. Mr. Milby was instrumentalin guiding previous OHDS Trustees in developing the policy as well as in representing the City of Dayton in numerous liquor license hearings and court cases involving the district. He will also answer questions from attendees and the OHDS Trustees will hear comments from attendees. Come and put your 2 cents in.

Welcome to Dayton- “home of the trigger for the bomb”

Today, the Dayton Daily News editors took the position that we should celebrate killing people- by building shrines to the work that was done to create the most evil of all mens creation: the nuclear bomb.

Thankfully, they offered an alternative view by Professor Joseph C. Kunkel who went as far as to suggest that the dropping of the nuclear bombs on Japan was a terrorist act. The killing of 200,000 civilians- even during wartime, is nothing to be proud of.

While there is much to be said for “we must remember our past- so that we don’t repeat it”- no one will forget the nuclear bomb- until everyone of them has been destroyed- and that is a dream far removed from our future.

At some point- all this comes down to money- not historical signifigance. Museums and historical sites require constant care and feeding- into eternity. Instead of investing money preserving Dayton’s connection to the bomb- maybe we should be more worried about what our future generations may remember Dayton for.

Instead of being a community fixated on the past- like the ever present ghosts of Orville and Wilbur Wright- why don’t we focus our energy on creating a vibrant, forward thinking community that works together to make this an incredible place to live and work.

Ideas like the Five Rivers Outdoor whitewater park- or working together to end sprawl and create a viable “Green” community.

We need to have forward thinkers at the helm – not people who can’t take their eyes off the rear view mirror.

What do you think?

The corporate pillaging of America continues in Dayton

Delphi is closing 4 of its 5 local plants. The direct job loss is 5,500, the indirect impact is something for economists to take wild ass guesses about- but there is one group that guaranteed won’t suffer- the people who made the bad decisions that got Delphi in this mess.
If a small business owner/manager sets his prices too low, pays himself or his employees too much, or makes a poor quality product- he goes out of business and declares bankruptcy- losing much of what he owns. When GM’s managers make mistakes they still get paid millions. Would this fiasco be happening if everyone of them would have their personal property at stake?
When I talked to one of my clients about this (another small business owner- who used to work for Arthur Andersen) he suggested another liable culprit- all the shareholders who accepted dividends that were improperly paid while the company wasn’t meeting its pension obligations.
While Delphi is quick to point to the total wage and benefit cost to it’s unionized workers- and the high costs of negotiated pension benefits- where is it proven that paying anyone million dollar salaries makes a company better? Are CEO’s really in that short supply?
The big question is- if instead of closing the plants and laying off union employees- Delphi was forced to turn the plants over to the employees- could they make better decisions? International (the manufacturer of heavy trucks) was going to close a plant in Springfield MO some years back. The new plant manager, a recent MBA named Jack Stack thought the plant should be able to make money. He got the top managers to mortgage their homes and buy the plant- and then, realizing that the big corporate mechanism had subverted basic business principles – the management team started teaching the workforce how to read the financial statements (the score card for business) so the workforce could see how to win. They also created an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) so that the “monkeys running the zoo” (as one CEO famously said of his employees) also owned the zoo. Stack wrote about the turnaround in the book “The Great Game of Business” which I highly recommend.
If this country is to survive- without having an open class war (witness the riots in France over lifetime employment contracts) – maybe it’s time to start holding the robber baron’s of business accountable. My basic business 101 course taught me that “profit is a return for risk”- where is the risk in running a company into the ground and getting paid millions? Believe it or not Mr. CEO- there are many people out there that could not only live an entire life on a million dollars, managed well- but also many more competent than you at building a business and growing it- providing jobs- and making our nation strong with start-up capital of less than what you take home in a year.
Until we tie the top salaries in public companies to the bottom salaries in the company (Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream used to not be able to pay the highest person in the company more than 7 times what the lowest person made) we are going to continue to see this kind of pillaging of the American workforce until there is no one able to buy anything – made here or in China. These are radical proposals- but drastic times call for radical change.
If Mr. CEO wants to play with not only his peoples lives- but also those in the communities that his people live in- he needs to be held accountable. Either that, or he needs to be risking his own money- that’s right, if you don’t like the ratio between highest and lowest paid- take the company private- and see how long you can run your company while losing billions each year.
What do you think Delphi workers?