The informal movement

In 90 minutes or so, I’m going to be standing in front of a group of Dayton marketing professionals and presenting a “Big Idea.” This isn’t the Dayton Ad Club (now, unfortunately mis-monikered as the “Greater Dayton Advertising Association) or the Dayton Chapter of the American Marketing Association or the IABC (I can’t even remember what those initials stand for) or the…. countless other “formal” organizations with chapters, bylaws and tax IDs, but an ad hoc group founded by my friend David E Bowman. The “Dayton Marketing Community” is open to all, without dues, a set agenda, or all the rest of the trappings of formality- it’s basically just an online hub facilitated by Ning.

Like minded people, getting together, to get something done. As David said, we don’t have to ask permission to have a meeting.

It’s the same thing Dr. Ervin has done with his Oregon Arts District initiative. He didn’t ask permission, he just did it.

The Pinewood Park Athletic Association probably started the same way. Like-minded people coming together.

The highly organized campaign to elect our president, for all its structure and process, still felt ad hoc to many. The message boards are still there, but they aren’t as alive as they used to be.

Some efforts are carried by momentum, some by shared vision, some by an immediate purpose, but the question I ask today is- are all the trappings of formality really what gives a movement status? Is ad hoc the new way to get things done?

I think about this a lot, when I come to things like the Dayton Priority Board system, which seems to run parallel to the neighborhood organizations. I think about this when we look at unions and management battling for position, when both should be more worried about survival (car companies and firefighters/city hall for example).

Institutions are places of higher learning- and places we send crazy people people who can’t cope with regular day-to-day life within societies norms (to be PC). I find the dual use of the word almost ironic.

I’d like to hear your thoughts- do formal organizations always get more done?

Things the city shouldn’t do.

I don’t care how tight the budget is, there are some things you don’t cut, or add charges to. Charging volunteer youth leagues for use of ball fields on a daily basis is one:

Beginning this season, the city is charging all non-city leagues a flat rate of $50 per ball field, per day to use its baseball diamonds.

It would cost Pinewood an estimated $2,500 to play games at Belmont Park and double that to also practice there, said James M. Walker, president of the Pinewood association.

via Local youth baseball leagues feel economic pinch.

That said, I do think the association should be asked to hold fundraisers each year to help upgrade and maintain their home parks. From selling ads on the fences to local business,  to car washes and the like. Some contribution is fair- per day, per field just makes me wonder if I go down to the field at the end of my street- am I going to get a ticket for playing?

But, it seems that we do have money to buy our part-time Mayor lunch and send her on junkets:

Dayton’s and Akron’s mayors have city charge cards; the Columbus mayor does not.

Dayton and Akron pay for their mayor’s travel. Columbus uses a combination of public and private funds.

In these three large Ohio cities, the policies on travel and expenses differ.

Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin is reimbursed for meals in the city that concern economic development or other official city business, said Kery Gray, a spokesman for the city commission, which is like a city council.

McLin, who is a part-time mayor — Dayton also has a city manager — has a city charge card but primarily pays for her expenses and is reimbursed, Gray said.

via Ohio.com – How mayors elsewhere pay their expenses.

Three trips overseas in the name of “economic development” while we’re holding up 3rd graders for user fees?

We have to focus on livability before we try to hustle people to relocate here. Would it make sense for the Mayor of Riverside to make those trips? Why do we have the Dayton Development Coalition? Isn’t that their job?

The Pinewood Athletic League has figured a way to work an end-run around the city policy by playing at the fields at Kemp School.

The only way I know to stop Mayor McLin from being the queen of Dayton on the taxpayers’ dime is to vote for Gary Leitzel.

If times are that tight that we have to squeeze the kids, it’s time to stop giving the Mayor a free lunch.

NYT on Comment moderation and journalism

One of the things that’s difficult in a Web 2.0 world is dealing with radicals (same as in the real world). Back to the old adage: “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.”

Give people equal access to a soapbox, and suddenly, everybody is a brilliant thought leader.

Trust me, I suffer the same delusions according to many of you.

But handling them online is another matter. I try to keep things civil here. But, when you have the scale of a New York Times, or even, help me for mentioning them in the same sentence, the Dayton Daily News, moderation from the site owners part gets tough.

The New York Times has an article about it:

newspaper journalism benefits from reader comments. Creating registration standards, inventive means of moderating and displaying comments, membership benefits for regular posters and ratings systems for useful comments are just some of the ways that other news outlets like Slate have improved the quality of reader responses.

via The Medium – Comment Is King – NYTimes.com.

The only real solution is to require real names, with a public ranking system. Let the crowd handle the comments with a thumbs up/down system.

Overtime, the radicals have to learn to work within the conversation, instead of throwing hate bombs from the cover of anonymity.

Respect is a two-way street online. Giving the masses the same ability to link, to espouse, to build their case; while getting some link juice back, is critical to a successful online forum and building a community.

Without follow up notification of responses, through e-mail or RSS, a site fails their readers in keeping the discussion going. We try to make it easy for you to engage in enlightened discussion here, but the Dayton Daily News just can’t figure out how to do it right.

Maybe one day our online traffic will give us more credibility than those who got it just by being a monopoly. Where buying ink by the barrel, only means you aren’t smart enough to read the writing on someones Facebook wall.

Roosevelt Class of 1959: Time to party

As a public service, I’m posting this- you’ll know if you were a Teddy or not.

The Roosevelt Class of 1959
50th Year Class Reunion Celebration

When:     Friday & Saturday, June 19 & 20, 2009
Where:     Hunters Glen Clubhouse (Friday) Meadowbrook Country Club (Saturday) (Facilities located in Clayton, OH)
Cost:        $65.00 per person

The committee is looking for classmates & your help is needed.  Please:
1.    Contact class members & share this information.
2.    Inform the committee of names & addresses of classmates.
3.    Send information to Mary Jo Chenault Wiley at [email protected]

Note- this is the perfect item for the Dayton Most Metro Calendar!

DaytonMostMetro adds events calendar

Who needs a “Young Creative Summit” to build a digital hub? Bill Pote over at DaytonMostMetro just created an events calendar online, with RSS feeds, and all the connectivity to web 2.0 goodness you’ll need.

You can’t log in as a member- and manage your own account (which means more work for Bill)- but it is easy to add to your blog (hint- readers who have their own sites) and I’ve added it to mine at the bottom of the right scroll bar for now.

Jump over to the Dayton Most Metro calendar and add your event: http://www.daytonmostmetro.com/dmmcalendar2/events/index.php

The more we use these kinds of tools- the stronger our community gets. Note- Dayton Most Metro doesn’t limit your online comments to 500 words, or constantly bombard you with negative news about Dayton like the Dayton Daily News. Make sure you click on his ads to help fund his effort.

Warehouse Theater in Downtown Dayton

Dayton has a great theater community. Maybe it’s left over from the Kenley Players days, or is a direct result of it. The Human Race does a wonderful job, as does the Dayton Playhouse.

Add the Warehouse Theatre (note stupid British spelling) in Downtown Dayton. From their website:

Vicki Brown, Sharon Lane, and Phyllis Turner, three musicians, who have been around the block more than a few times, have joined forces to create a new avenue for their creative travels.

What?

A coordinated effort to seek out gifted performers and present them to small audiences in an intimate concert setting.

Why?

We are always interested in hearing new artists and get ecstatic when we stumble upon a live show of original music that moves us in some way. We often use the term “they takin’ me to church” when that happens because it lifts the spirit. When you make a really good music energy connection it can make you high on life for days afterwards.

We want to seek out those experiences and share them with others. That’s our goal in this venture. If we can help artists get some positive exposure in a new city or give local artists an interested audience for their performance – that would make us very happy.

Where?

WareHouse Theatre started out at Front Street Warehouse in Dayton. We turned a blank 20X60 room into a beautiful little theatre (see the kudos page). We had a few events there and feedback was great, but the fire marshal got wind of us and shut us down. The building code would not allow us to have public events for more than 49 people, including the musicians and the staff. So we canceled our next show and started thinking about alternatives.

We must be living right because within 3 days we had a new space for concerts. Liz Stutzman of C2 invited us to have our concerts at her space. When we went to check it out we were just blown away at our luck. There is a beautiful stage, professional theatre lighting, state of the art sound system, even a videographer’s booth. The main floor seats 260 people, but can be made smaller if needed. When you enter the building there is a coffee counter and hanging out space. We use this space for our hospitality room and are happy to say we don’t have to worry about being legal. There is no problem with our offering a glass of wine and some little nibble to our guests. It seems like the perfect place for us to be. We hope you think so too.

C2 is at 51 Best Street in Dayton. You can access it from N. Main where the 75N exit is. Just turn off N. Main like you were getting on the highway and just before the exit you will see the building on the right. There is plenty of parking and the correct entrance will be well marked for our events.

You can also access Best Street from Riverside. Go west on Babbit, across from the fountains and at the stop sign you will be at Best Street. Turn right and you are there!

We like the fact that we are still downtown and hope you do too. Call if you need more details. 937-212-1600

via About Us.

They’ve got Tod Weidner coming May 30, and Windham Hill Recording artist Scott Cossu coming June 19.

I’ve known Sharon Lane for a long time- and Phyllis Turner for a few years. I’d trust them to keep things interesting and fun. You should too. Check them out at their new space and support the local music scene.

Civil service testing reviewed by Supreme Court

Listening to “Morning Edition”  on NPR the other day, I heard about problems New Haven, Connecticut, was having with their fire department’s  civil service testing process. Sounded just like Dayton. I highly recommend clicking over and reading the whole story- but here is the part that was interesting to me:

The brief also argues that even New Haven’s oral examinations did not use many of the modern techniques relied on in the majority of fire departments today, where real equipment or tabletop models, for instance, are used to simulate real-life situations.

Critics of the New Haven test say relying too much on multiple-choice tests and structured oral exams can produce officers who are “book smart” but “street dumb.”

Torre, the lawyer for the white firefighters, responds that the test used by the city was carefully designed by an independent firm, that the oral exams were conducted by panels of predominantly minority examiners from outside the district, and that the takers who studied hardest got the highest marks.

via Supreme Court Hears Firefighter Promotion Case : NPR.

It seems that Dayton should be closely watching this case- and looking at alternative testing processes to assess promotions- including peer review.

When working as a team, where life and death situations are the norm, most people know who the “go-to” guy/gal is. We should be able to work something out in Dayton that makes sure that we have the best people being promoted based on qualification, not on seniority or on the ability to score well on multiple choice tests.

Destination Dayton!

If you’ve not met Teri Lussier or read her blog “The Brick Ranch”- it’s time to run over and read this post:

I had an interesting conversation the other day. A potential buyer is looking online and finds me and gives me a call. He’s a Californian. He’s a family man. He’s a hard-working construction guy. We have a long talk.

He lives east of San Francisco and has been looking for a home out there for two years. He can’t afford anything, so he starts to look elsewhere. For some reason he looks at Dayton Ohio. “I could pay cash for a house in Dayton.” Yes, yes he could. I have to ask, “Why Dayton?”

“I’m sick of paying rent. I can’t afford to live in California and own a home. I want my kids to have some room.” That’s why people buy homes out here in Dayton, but there was something else, something more. The ties that had bound him to the west coast all these years were gone and now he was free to start a new life somewhere else. Why Dayton? “I don’t really know. My wife and I have been talking about this for a very long time and we think it’s time to reverse the wagon train.”

That struck me. “Time to reverse the wagon train”….

continue reading at Dayton Ohio Real Estate | Why move to Dayton Ohio? “It’s time to reverse the wagon train” | TheBrickRanch.com | a conversation about where and how to live happily in Dayton Ohio.

Dayton is an affordable place to live, even if you forget about the part about having abundant water, no earthquakes, easy traffic and commutes, a decent amount of culture and a nascent hip indie music scene.

Thanks to the BRAC– we’ll also have a lot of construction jobs- which will lead to other jobs. If you are sick of a 600 square foot apartment in NYC for $2000 a month- or, can’t afford to buy a house in California- we’re waiting for you in Dayton Ohio.

Grandstanding vs. Action: the stimulus

Until the bad economy hits you, it’s easy to point fingers and say things like “they bought a house they couldn’t afford” or “the union contracts were too rich” or some other lame excuse.

Reality is, the whole financial system is being held together with chewing gum and duct tape. It’s fragile, it’s smoke and mirrors and the new economy that is emerging is more like a preemie than a healthy birth. One wrong step, and it could be bad news.

That’s why the powers that be in Warren County- the “booming” Warren county- feel very smug in their grandstanding turn down of federal stimulus money: the big bust hasn’t hit them yet. They don’t have any old economy mainstays in Warren County because 20 years ago they were just a bunch of farmer Bob’s (which was a good thing). Here is an excerpt from the Dayton Daily News:

Warren County told the Ohio Department of Transportation to keep $373,000 allocated for transit improvement. In fact, commissioners also are looking for a way to turn down another $1.8 million in stimulus funding available to the county for energy efficiency improvements to government buildings.

Commissioners said they rather have the money go to pay down the national debt. Warren is the only county in the state to refuse the money.

via Commissioner: Policies will run country off cliff.

In Dayton, we’re faced with the news that Cafe Boulevard is in reorganization. This isn’t GM, and there are no unions to blame here. It’s just a woman-owned local business that is suffering the effects of the meltdown. It’s part of what makes Dayton different and they employ a couple of dozen people who aren’t making millions and paying themselves bonuses.

If you are can afford a $25-per-person meal and are still going out to eat- you can do your part to help the economy by just going one time and giving Cafe Boulevard a try (329 E. Fifth Street Dayton 45402). If you’ve never been- you’ll be experiencing something new. If you have, you are giving them a chance to prove that they can give you an amazing meal. If the food and the service aren’t up to par- let them know, while you’re there so they can work to fix it- asap.

Unlike the Warren County Commissioners, I’m asking you to do something about fixing the economy instead of pointing fingers, or grandstanding. It’s a small action, but one that can make a difference. And, while you are down in the Oregon District– stop in and see Dale Walton at Gem City Records and buy an old fashioned CD- even a used one, and then stop in at Pacchia or Jazzy Java for your coffee, and maybe pick up a bottle of wine at the 5th Street Wine and Deli, and then head to the Neon to see a movie. One night out, $100 and you can help five local businesses stay in business.

It’s up to us to do our part in this and grandstanding shouldn’t be part of the equation.