The man with the answers?


About 4 or 5 years ago, Mike Robinette, formerly of MVRPC, brought Richard Florida into town to speak. It was at the Ponitz center (bldg. 12 of Sinclair). The room was packed with every mover and shaker in town (not that they accomplish much moving or shaking). And next thing you know, everyone is talking about the “Creative class”- and “Tool town” soon became “Tech Town” etc. etc.

So, if you missed the first shot of Richard Florida’s cool-aid, you can get it again tomorrow night at Wright State:

WSU: Presidential Lecture Series – Richard Florida
Richard Florida

Thursday, March 1, 2007
7:00 p.m. DELAYED TO 8PM!

Apollo Multipurpose Room
WSU Student Union
Free & Open to the Public
No Tickets Required

Social theorist and public intellectual Richard Florida will join the WSU community in celebrating its 40th Anniversary as a Presidential Lecture Series speaker, in collaboration with the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education SOCHE.

Author of The Rise of the Creative Class, named a leading breakthrough idea by the Harvard Business Review, Florida believes that human creativity is the engine of economic growth and that for the first time in history, economic growth depends on the further development of a wide spectrum of human capabilities.

As to my opinion of “the creative class” (of which by profession I am a part)- creatives without strong, visionary leadership are as clueless as the next group.

If you want progress and change, there is nothing like a benevolent dictator.

Tenure in teaching- or I’m glad I’m not Steve Jobs.

Teaching is one of the last honorable professions left. At least that’s my opinion. Underpaid, overworked, asked to do the impossible daily- teaching is a profession of underdogs- and underdogs should have a union (just like NCAA atheletes should- but that’s another can of worms).

Steve Jobs is getting blasted for his position on tenure- and although unions consider tenure a key bargaining position, I believe it is as outdated as buggywhips and slide rules.

No one should be guaranteed a job- unless they are performing it well. Especially, if you want a quality product. I remember the teachers who were great influences on me- the ones who instilled the love of learning for me: Mr. Lynn Canfield taught band at Roxboro Jr. High School- and embodied the beauty of music in everything he did. Mr. David DiCarlo who coached football and taught comparative government at Cleveland Heights High School and challenged me more than any college professor- and made me sweat harder than any sergeant  I encountered in the Army. Mr. Steve Young who taught English at the same high school- I disliked him, but he introduced me to more great authors in one year than any other teacher- he made me put into words what I liked and disliked about them in a way that has stuck with me (you’re reading this now- hint). Dr. Michael Cleary at Wright State- could make statistics fun, memorable and even understandable- an amazing gift- not because I understand basic quality concpets now- but because I saw a master teacher practicing his craft.

None of these people were there for the money- or because they had tenure. It was because they had a passion for what they did. Paying them a scale based on seniority instead of on results is a crime. If we had a school system full of teachers like these- we’d have the results we want for the limited dollars we are willing to commit.

So, when the California Teachers Union goes after Steve Jobs- I ask this: why not bargain for technology for all students in exchange for trying it without tenure? Make Steve put his money where his mouth is- and see if we can’t really change education?

Here is a link to a story with comments about the Union and their misplaced attack:

The California Federation of Teachers has invited Apple CEO Steve Jobs to either attend an annual CFT convention next month or offer a public apology for his “insulting comments” to California’s teachers. Should Jobs fail to apologize or neglect to attend the conference, where he is encouraged to speak with the people who educate California’s children and hear from them what the situation is like, the CFT will create a new award specifically for Apple’s chief. “We’ll call it the Rotten Apple, for the individual who best personifies the need to think differently about public education and teacher unions,” California Federation of Teachers president Mary Bergan wrote in a letter to the executive. Bergan aggressively rebuted Jobs’ statement to an educational reform conference last week, where he expressed belief that the schools have become unionized “in the worst possible way” and that the unionization with lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is “off-the-charts crazy.”continue reading: MacNN | Jobs to get “Rotten Apple’ award without apology

The economic impact of snow days

I grew up in Cleveland. Driving in this snow is actually fun for me (and no, I don’t drive an SUV or 4WD vehicle). But, I have to say this: we do a lousy job of clearing the streets in Dayton and there should be no excuse.

Yes, I am well aware of the number of miles in Dayton. But, thats a cop-out. When the going gets tough, the tough get plowing. How could we fix this? Ask a naive 27 year old who works for me: “why don’t they just sit a pot of money aside to hire everyone with a plow to jump in on snow days” he says.

Hmmmm. There’s a creative idea. Or, maybe we should have plow mounts on every SUV the city owns, and train cops, firemen, trash collectors, water meter readers and bureucrats how to plow? How about all the school bus drivers who aren’t working anyway? We need a better sollution


The fact is- while we don’t have hurricanes, floods (anymore- knock on wood), wildfires, drought (yet), wonky electricity or other problems other places have- we do have snow- and not that much of it (this ain’t Buffalo). So when we get hit, we need to have a mobilization plan that works- and here’s why: the economy suffers when people can’t move.

Businesses close, schools can’t do count weeks (an absurd concept thought up by bureaucrats), people can’t get to the hospital as quick, etc. It screws up cash flow for our poorest people, and it makes TV news unwatchable (as well as normal programming- I’m so sick of seeing shows squished on my big screen HD set which I bought just so I could see the “big picture”)

So- where is the leadership in Dayton on this? How many years are we going to let this BS continue? Figure out a better strategy, because we can’t afford a 4 day wait to see plows on our side streets and a week off every time it snows more than 6 inches in 24 hours. Days off mean less tax dollars collected- hell, the county even gave everyone a 2 day extension, this is an investment that pays for itself.
How about a goal for next year: never more than one consecutive snow day. And for the year after- no snow days. How about this as an economic development pitch: our workforce shows up 24/7/365 without the problems you have elsewhere- like wildfires, hurricanes, wonky power….

yeah, that’s economic development.

It’s back… Dayton Politics is alive… again.

I’m not sure what’s going on- but is back, and it either stole, or is the same people as (same post- both sites)- note: daytonwatchdog now seems to be down…
Last we heard before it went down- it was up for offers for a takeover. I offered to host it- and to help with setting WordPress to work properly- I guess I was ignored. But, they must like my site- they are using the same K2 Theme I use-

I’m going to have to change my header or something now… damn.

Political nepotism and duplication: Branding Dayton

Am I the only one who questions this?

Of course it’s easy to spend money and duplicate effort when you hire the wife of the Congressman:

Coalition polls region to find brand – Dayton Business Journal:
That’s the question the Dayton Development Coalition wants to address after deciding the region needs an identity of its own.

The coalition is in the midst of a campaign to brand and market the Dayton region. The $1 million project now is in the research and information-gathering phase. Marketing materials will be unveiled in September followed by a rollout to the communities within the region, said Maureen Patterson, project manager.

Coalition leaders are working to raise $200,000 to leverage a matching grant from the Ohio Business Development Coalition that will go toward the project, said Edward Burghard, executive director of the OBDC….

A lot of the work is being done by expert volunteers, but the coalition has hired a few groups: the University of Dayton is helping with research, Turner Effect is working on marketing, and Real Art Design Group is doing the creative marketing materials.

The coalition isn’t the only local entity working on a regional branding project. The city of Dayton in the next three weeks will choose a marketing company to brand the city, said City Spokesman Tom Biedenharn. The city’s request for proposals indicates it will work in conjunction with the coalition’s effort.

For the record: I own The Next Wave, an ad agency in Dayton. We decided not to bid on the Dayton proposal when we saw that the city wasn’t smart enough to know how to e-mail the rfp- and it had questionable past-performance requirements built in.

A note on regionalism in Dayton

I find it fitting that our Representative to the House is referred to as “Mike Turner, R- Centerville.”

Thanks in part to Republican gerrymandering, and our former Mayor’s swift exit from urban to suburban living once he didn’t have to live with the little people anymore- we now miss having our regional brand attached to our regional rep.

One of Turners “big” accomplishments as Mayor was to get the Interstate signs in Columbus to read “Dayton” instead of “Indianapolis” for I-70, how about he gets his regionalism hat on and get his district tag changed back to  Dayton- either by legislation or by moving back?

What we need is the Walmartization of our political system

From personal experience, and from the sidelines as an informed observer it’s clear that our political system as it sits (not stands- for that would be almost noble) is now fully populated by the best politicians money can buy- while a vast majority of Americans are now only capable of purchasing the bare necessities- at Wal-Mart.

If you are the CEO of any “publicly owned” company (which is now a laugh since a majority of people only “own” stock through payments to large insurance companies- most of which are no longer Mutuals, but are now also “publicly owned”, and or their pension funds- which are increasingly being under funded) you are in a position to buy legislation favorable to your industry- through lobbyists (a luxury that the general public used to believe were one and the same as the politicians they elected) that will guarantee that you don’t have to “suffer” through being held accountable for your lousy performance while losing market share, laying off thousands of workers, going off-shore to produce anything and everything and cutting benefits that used to provide the American worker with a standard of living that was the envy of the rest of the world.

No, unless you have money, you don’t have a voice in Washington- or any office in our country anymore, because it’s become very expensive to run for office. Media time alone can cost billions during an election year- and while the sound-bites are flying and the mud is slinging, the rest of America- the people who typically depend on advertising to sell their goods and services are locked out of affordable media time to get their message out.

So- what we need is massive price cut on the cost of elections. Why bother investing money in political campaigns in the first place when we could just have a giant Gov-Mart buy all the media en masse and dole it out according to a simple formula based on how many people you will serve? Make the playing field absolutely level. All the media ads will say is go to this website: and compare your choices online. The election is this date. Vote.

Online, every single candidate has to have had a blog (like this one) going for at least a year, expressing his or her position on the issues. That way, the public can actually determine how the candidates stand, and once elected- when they screw up, the public can comment and let them know. Lobbyists as we know it, would have to find a new line of work. Politicians would actually have to stand by what they say they would do. And maybe, we’d start getting the government we were once promised- that suggested we would be able to pursue life, liberty and happiness without having to be rich.

This post was brought on by two things- since it’s not quite election season (yet): Leonard Pitts gave an softly-stated, eloquent speech at UD last Wednesday against our loss of our Constitutional rights for supposed protection from “Terra- ists” where he stated that his body of work over the years makes it easier to determine his position on the issues is much clearer than that of our elected “leaders”; and a single paragraph from the Dayton Daily News “Other Voices” column of 8 Feb 2007 by Beth Lerman supporting bringing our troops home- where she said this:

“The least satisfying visit we made was to Rep. Mike Turner, R. Centerville. Three times I asked for his position on Iraq, and three times he refused to answer, saying he was there to listen to me, not the other way around.

I have no sense of where he stands on the war, other than he said he supports the troops – but we all do”

With the new, one low price political ad buy, and required political blogs- we would no longer have the problem of knowing where our “leaders” stand- and maybe we could get back to a true representative democracy. In the mean time, with 21 months to go, we’re heading right back into presidential election hell.

If we want a revolution, it needs to be by taking the process onto the Internet- where the playing field can be leveled. Yes, I know that someone will argue that everyone doesn’t have a computer- but, who said they had to have a TV?

For a lot less than the cost of just a few presidential election season, we could buy laptops for everyone, cover the country with Wi-fi, and change the way the political system doesn’t work in this country.

Either way, Gil Scott Herron had it right back in 1971, “The Revolution will not be televised”, because only the politician who has sold out to the highest bidder will be able to afford it. This is the only place where we need the economies of scale of a Wal-mart to step in and disrupt the market, or we’re all doomed.

Rhythm In Shoes this weekend at UD!

Looking for an amazing, one-of-a-kind, foot-stomping, good-time on the old-town tonight thing to do?

Go to a Rhythm in Shoes show, tonight and tomorrow at UD!

Dayton is blessed with two unique professional dance companies- the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) who blew me away last weekend with their Colorography show- and Rhythm in Shoes- which can be described as vaudeville meets tap-dance meets performance art  meets comedy show.

If you’ve never been- you’re missing one of the great arts experiences in Dayton

Rhythm In Shoes » Blog Archive » What’s Happening
Our next concert appearance will be at the University of Dayton, February 8, 9 & 10 at the Boll Theater – 8:00 pm.
Call our office for tickets (937-226-7463)

Go, have a good time, tell them I sent you :-)

Something free to do tonight:Leonard Pitts speaks at UD

Leonard is on a crusade- to figure out what works in changing young black peoples lives around.
He’ll be speaking tonight at UD- for free. Hopefully, I’ll see some of you there.

His column appears in the Dayton Daily News – he’s one of my favorite editorial writers.

University of Dayton – Distinguished Speaker Series
Leonard Pitts
Author of “Betrayal of Trust”
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
8:00 p.m. Kennedy Union Ballroom

David Esrati on Breakfast with The Beatles on WTUE

Since some people seemed to have a hard time figuring out WTUE’s website – and couldn’t listen live, I’ve made a podcast of the parts where Ann Stevens and I were on the air- no commercials, and sorry- no Beatles tunes (we don’t have the rights- and Apple Corps is known to sue)- but, you’ll get the idea of what was said.

Included is a long list of people who I thanked- and some other interesting thoughts about Dayton. The people who called in were great, and I had a fantastic time.

Note: Ann started the tape in the middle of me doing a read about the “B-man”- I’m not bald with a goatee….

so you miss the opening.