Payback, Parachute or Patronage? Husted rehired by Dayton chamber

Still under scrutiny for violating election laws by voting from and representing a vacant house, the vacant suit makes a triumphant return to the Dayton Chamber of Commerce.

State Sen. Jon Husted has been hired by the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce to oversee its workforce development efforts, the organization said Friday, Jan. 30.

Husted, R-Kettering, will serve as director of workforce education and employer services for the chamber’s Education and Public Improvement Foundation while also continuing as a state senator.

Phil Parker, the chamber’s president, said Husted will join the organization on Feb. 1. Husted was one four people interviewed for the job, which attracted more than 60 applicants, Parker said….

The move marks a return to the chamber for Husted. Until 2005, he worked part-time for the organization as executive director of its foundation, leaving that job when he became house speaker. Between 1997 and 2000, he was the chamber’s vice president of economic development…

Husted said many of Ohio’s legislators hold other jobs outside elected office, and he sees no conflict between his role as a legislator and his work with the chamber.

“I’m advocating for macro issues that are good for the community in my role in the chamber, not anything specific to a business or anything like that,” he said.

As a state senator, Husted has a base salary of $60,583.70.

Parker and Husted declined to say how much the chamber job will pay.

via Husted to join Dayton chamber.

One can only wonder how out of 60 applicants, a man who said his Speaker of the House job took so much time that he had to live in Columbus- is now going to have time for a side job as a lobbyist (that’s what the Chamber does mostly- lobby).

Any time a job title reads as long as this “director of workforce education and employer services for the chamber’s Education and Public Improvement Foundation” you should realize this is a made up position. It’s been leaked to me that Parker was seriously ticked off at the Dayton School Board and Dr. Stanic for hiring a Cleveland PR firm no-bid. Could this be a move to make their lives hell- since Husted is a cheerleader for charter schools?

Or is this just another case of Dayton’s chronic “good ole boy” network taking care of its own– just in case Jon gets a spanking and is sent home from the Senate. By hiring him now, it doesn’t look the same when he’s got his tail between his legs (where it belongs) for breaking the law.

Is it time for Dayton to rethink rooming houses?

Right now, I’d venture that Dayton has an ample supply of affordable homes. Right now, the economy is tanking and people can’t get credit. Out of work, under-employed, trying to get by.

When this country was going through its industrial boom at the turn of the twentieth century, immigrants and rural Americans flocked to the city centers, where there were jobs, and quickly- there was a housing shortage. Rooming houses were often the solution. Sharing a bathroom, kitchen and common area, with a furnished private bedroom was an accepted practice. Young single people, would rent week-to-week or month-to-month to follow jobs, opportunities and their dreams- without having to tie themselves to a lease, the inter-dependency of a “housemate” situation. Moving from city to city wasn’t as difficult.

Come to think of it, I lived that way when I was in the army. My possessions all fit in a footlocker, a duffel bag and one suitcase.

Somehow, our society has twisted to a material world- where ownership of things; houses, cars, furniture, kitchen gadgets, TVs and all the other things that supposedly are required to be “established” and a full-time, card-carrying part of “modern society” have become more important than what’s in our heads and in our hearts.

To become “homeless” is to be a drop-out from civilization- when in fact, civilization may just need some reality-field adjustments. Not all of us need or want a MacMansion in suburbia with 1.7 children and 2 cars in a 2.5-car attached garage. Maybe the person with no mortgage and no moving truck required, is really living the true American dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness- and the rest of us are just tied to paying the man for the privilege of property ownership?

Rooming houses, the regulated and inspected type, aren’t that much different from hotels that rent by the week or month, they just don’t have corporate branding attached. We find no problem with an “extended stay hotel”- but a rooming house is considered one step above a drug den.

Maybe as a strategy to bringing people back to Dayton and spark urban revitalization, we need to look at bringing back the rooming house as an accepted form of residential housing. Tough times, require some new looks at old ideas.

This post is dedicated to F. B. who better make it out of the hospital.

To Obama- “shameful” or “Criminal”

Steal food from a grocery store to feed your family- go to jail. Steal trillions from the global economy, pay yourself a bonus and the new President calls it “shameful.”

Obama told reporters he was outraged by a report of $18.4 billion paid out in Wall Street bonuses, as taxpayer money was being used to shore up the crumbling financial system.

“That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful,” Obama said while hosting a meeting in the Oval Office with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Vice President Joe Biden.

Obama said he and Geithner would send a message to Wall Street players that “there will be time for them to make profits and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now is not that time.”

via Obama vows broad economic plan, scolds Wall Street | U.S. | Reuters.

From the Dayton Business Journal:

The average 2008 bonus for employees at Wall Street securities firms was $112,000, according to data from New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli….

On Wednesday, media reports said Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) plans to defer bonus payments to some investment-banking staff this year.

The move is in sharp contrast to Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., which is being investigated for making between $3 billion and $4 billion in bonus payments in late December, days before the securities firm was acquired by BofA. Merrill lost $15.3 billion in the fourth quarter.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office issued subpoenas Tuesday seeking the testimony of former Merrill Chief Executive John Thain and BofA Chief Administrative Officer J. Steele Alphin on the bonuses.

via Obama calls Wall Street bonuses “shameful” – Dayton Business Journal:.

Sorry, Barack, you are going to have to do better than that. These were bonuses on top of regular exorbitant pay. Any bonus paid to any exec on Wall Street to a company that has taken a dime from the TARP- should be demanded to be returned, or face jail time. Felony jail time.

Don’t mince words, don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, pay it back or go directly to jail.

Parking downtown- don’t solve the problem- build a website.

Gotta love the people at the DDP, instead of working to build standardized parking rates, signs, and create a real parking infrastructure, with tax breaks for cooperation- they build a website.

The Downtown Dayton Partnership launched a Web site Thursday to help people find parking in the city.

The site,, has an interactive map of downtown’s parking options and discounts for monthly parkers.

A chief complaint about visiting or working in downtown Dayton has been parking.

“We’ve heard the parking concerns of downtown businesses and visitors,” said Sandra Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

On average, it cost $85 a month to park there in 2008.

Starting next month, the city-owned Transportation Center Parking Garage — next to the convention center — will reduce rates for monthly parking to $35 on the upper floors, from $55.

Downtown-based CareSource, a health care management company, used to pay for about 250 spaces at the garage, said a parking official, but those employees now park at the garage across from the new CareSource building on Monument Street and Main Street.

via Web site created to ease downtown Dayon parking – Dayton Business Journal:.

Other cities like Cincinnati, have developed programs where three hours are $1 to encourage visitors to find spaces in every garage- and making on-street parking short term only. Also, with standardized signs and rates, it makes it easier for the new visitor to figure things out.

Of course, we could quickly double the number of on-street parking spaces by moving to end-in parking. People don’t even know how to parallel park anymore- it’s time for end-in asap.

As long as parking is free at strip centers and the malls, people will continue to shop there, even walking the equivalent of 2  or 3 city blocks without knowing it.

Strickland on the right track with education

Finally, something that makes sense- the Governor wants to increase the school year to 200 days to match the rest of the industrialized world. However, phasing it in over ten years is lame.

In his State of the State speech, (Gov.) Strickland also proposed school funding changes to bring the state’s share of the cost of education to 59 percent. With the changes, he and lawmakers would meet their “constitutional obligation to our children,” a reference to four Ohio Supreme Court decisions ruling the school funding system unconstitutional, he said.

The changes in education are aimed at moving Ohio ahead, despite tough times, he said.

“…we’ll take these steps with a very deliberative purpose. It’s because, as President (John F.) Kennedy once put it, ‘We want to be first. Not first if. Not first but, but first,” Strickland, a Democrat, said.

The changes, most of which would require approval by the legislature, include:

*Establishing all-day kindergarten in all schools.

*Phasing in 20 extra schools days over a 10-year period, bringing the learning year to the international average of 200 days.

*Expanding the school day with activities such as community service and tutoring.

*Establishing a four-year residency program for teachers to complete to qualify for their professional teaching license.

*Eliminating so-called “phantom revenue” from the school funding formula. The formula now assumes local school districts collect more revenue as property values go up, but state law doesn’t allow tax collections to increase with property values.

*Replacing the Ohio Graduation Test with the ACT college entrance exam, end of course exams, completion of a service learning project and submission of a senior project.

via Strickland unveils sweeping changes for Ohio schools | Ohio politics.

What is still missing is a commitment to Head Start and parental coaching. I wrote about how early childhood education is a better investment than remedial teaching later in this post: Should Dayton be investing in child care?

It’s also time to talk about a post HS year of service requirement nationally, in exchange for at least a 2-year associate’s degree at a community college.

America needs to get serious about education. Yesterday.

The dumb things Congressmen think of…

Now thanks to Republican Congressman Pete King of NY we have legislation that makes silent cell phone cameras illegal. I guess having silent cameras is ok- or what’s next- making video cameras make noise like old movie film?


To require mobile phones containing digital cameras to make a sound when a photograph is taken.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Camera Phone Predator Alert Act’.


Congress finds that children and adolescents have been exploited by photographs taken in dressing rooms and public places with the use of a camera phone.


(a) Requirement- Beginning 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, any mobile phone containing a digital camera that is manufactured for sale in the United States shall sound a tone or other sound audible within a reasonable radius of the phone whenever a photograph is taken with the camera in such phone. A mobile phone manufactured after such date shall not be equipped with a means of disabling or silencing such tone or sound.

via Search Results – THOMAS (Library of Congress).

We’re in the midst of 2 wars, a financial crisis, and 60,000 people being fired in a day- and Pete King is worried about cell phone cameras?

I’m sure the people of NY ‘s 3rd district are real proud of this bumpkin.

Downtown’s finally getting bigger.

I’ve always said one of the problems in Dayton is our narrow definition of Downtown. I consider South Park, UD, Miami Valley Hospital, Grandview, the Dayton Art Institute, the Oregon District- all to be downtown- and have been laughed at for it.

Now, apparently the idea has caught on:

The effort is divided among three committees focused on the plan for downtown, a value proposition for the urban core and funding sources for implementing the plan. The group defines value proposition as the things that make Dayton an attractive place to locate and its competitive advantages.

Dr. Mike Ervin, a local philanthropist and co-chair of the planning effort, said the principles laid out on Jan. 27 are meant to act as a starting point for the discussion over downtown’s future.

The group hopes to have a draft plan completed by June, he said.

“The future belongs to those regions taking urban revitalization seriously,” Ervin said. “Those are the regions that are and will continue to attract high-value jobs, young professionals and those businesses and institutions that want to employ them.”

Also chairing the planning effort are Michael Greitzer, co-chair of the Downtown Dayton Partnership Greitzer, and Dayton City Manager Rashad Young.

During the press conference, the group issued what it calls guiding principles for planning. The list includes such issues as housing, sustainable development, training for green jobs and evaluating and recommending whether the city should have streetcars.

Ervin said the area under review will include not only the central business district, but also other neighborhoods and landmarks such as Miami Valley Hospital, the University of Dayton and the Dayton Art Institute.

Public Meetings:

Feb. 10: Noon at Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St.

Feb. 12 5 p.m. at c{space, 20 N. Jefferson St.

Feb. 17: 7 p.m. at Sinclair Community College, Charity Earley Auditorium, Ponitz Center.


Short surveys offered at Surveys also available at Dayton Metro Library branches.

[note- I got this error message at the end of the online survey: The system cannot find the file specified.]


Discussion threads have been set up at


Official Facebook name: A Greater Downtown Dayton Plan.

via Local leaders want input on revitalizing downtown.

While it’s great that Mike Ervin is pushing for yet another plan for the future, if he really wants to lead downtown back- he should consider running for mayor. We’ve had a lot of plans and projects for “fixing downtown:” Courthouse Square, The Arcade, The Arcade Tower and the Cit Fed Tower, the Schuster Center, Riverscape, and 5/3rd Field all come to mind.

What we haven’t fixed is putting someone in charge who can paint a big picture and get people on board.

Realizing Downtown is bigger than the 12 blocks between the river and the railroad tracks isn’t rocket science. Getting a real board of directors (City Commission) who can guide the CEO (the City Manager) on a path to prosperity- that’s the real plan.

R.I.P. Helen Wishon

Got an e-mail from the neighborhood list:

Helen Wishon, former Southeast Priority Board member and past president of the Neighborhood Leadership Institute Alumni Association, died yesterday.  As a South Park representative on the Priority Board she worked to beautify her neighborhood and to provide positive opportunities for the youth in her area.
While a member of the Southeast Priority Board Helen served as Chair of the Housing Committee, and on the Executive and Land Use Committees.  She planned and organized Southeast’s annual recognition dinner for  for many years.  She was a tireless and generous advocate for stray animals.

Helen was one of my heroes. She was willing to fight to be heard- although some took her just for being old and bitter. At one time, she owned “Alexanders” the bar on Brown Street, that was as famous for it’s drink and drown nights as it was for being next to the Todd Burlesque. Both are now an empty green field between an old Dayton firehouse that’s been turned into a house- and a lot that has had two of the ugliest buildings ever- first a Rally’s burger drive through and then a “Medicine Shoppe” drug store that’s never really opened.

The block used to have character- just like it had Helen- a character. At times she was the foil to the neighborhood machine- and others, she was its strongest advocate. She may not have been a “preservationist”- but, her home was always not only well kept, but had the most spectacular display of flowers around. Helen fought for the less fortunate, for the class of people who didn’t know they had a voice. She was a shrewd businesswoman, who understood there had to be balance between what was feasible for business- and what could be expected by the community. Her work on the priority board was all volunteer- and she took it seriously.

South Park has lost a few of its grand dames over the last few years. I’ll still miss Betty Jane John, Pat Breidenbach and now Helen. They were all strong women, who were fearless and lived life on their terms.

Those who knew Helen could probably add quite a few anecdotes to this brief remembrance, and I hope you do.

I’ll just remember that if it hadn’t been for Helen, there never would have been water spigots on the Burns Avenue center boulevard- and now, there may not be someone to haul out the hose and water the plants anymore. That small gesture may not be missed by most, but, if that’s the small change you can make in the world- and just a few notice it, then you’ve made a difference.

Helen made a much greater contribution, and she will be missed.

[add] Services for Helen will be on Monday February 2, 2009 at the Burns Avenue Gospel Mission Chapel located at 64 Burns Avenue at 6:30pm.  Friends and family are welcome to gather after the service for light refreshments at the South Park Tavern located at 1301 Wayne Avenue.  Contributions to SICSA in Helen’s name may be made in lieu of flowers.

Yet another case for National Health Insurance

It seems the Dayton Daily News got scooped again by another newspaper- this time out of Tennessee. When the Mazer Corporation closed Dec. 31, 2008, without filing the proper notice with the State- it seems they also stole 3 weeks of health insurance from their soon to be laid off workers:

A new development has added insult to injury for former employees of Mazer Corporation. Former employees are finding out their health insurance was gone long before they were sent home….

Three weeks ago Mazer Corporation told their employees they’d be laid off, but they left one thing out—that their health insurance had lapsed a month earlier.

“According to our handbook, anytime a termination at midnight that night that’s when all your benefits and health insurance is terminated,“ said Hanneken.

Instead, health insurance was terminated on December 3, but Mazer continued to deduct premiums.

via Former Mazer Corp. Employees Had No Insurance | TriCities.

If President Obama really wants to see an economic stimulus- it’s time to create a national, single payer health plan with simplified reimbursement schedules. It’s time to truly level the playing field between small and large businesses in the delivery of health care benefits to hard-working Americans (at least those of us who still have jobs). Depending on this arcane system of employer controlled “group health plans” makes it near impossible for people to truly have free will in selecting jobs.

We deserve a plan as good as the one Congress gets. Especially, with the deficits we are about to incur bailing out the financial wizards of Wall Street.