Time to fix the cat problem in Dayton

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- why don’t we license cats?

Wild cats run free- while wild dogs get picked up. There is no place to take a cat you find running loose- at least not without paying someone to pick it up.

Luckily, it seems that one person has a plan to start proactively and cost effectively dealing with cats in Montgomery County:

“Population,” said Brian Weltge, executive director of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, “will always come to equilibrium to the food source.” The more cats you remove from the streets, the faster the remaining population will reproduce, as long as there is sufficient food.

Trap, neuter, return

Weltge believes trap-neuter-release is more effective than trapping and euthanizing feral cats. Of the six colonies that Munday oversees, four are stabilized — the population remains stable because the cats are all unable to reproduce. “Once stabilized, the colony will not let an outsider in unless there is a death.”

…Research by the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates there likely are 150,000 cats in Montgomery County. Of those, a minimum of 68,000 are household pets.

via Stray cat population ‘may be unsolvable problem’ for communities.

And while we often talk about the fat cats running the city- this is really an issue of misplaced good will by people trying to help. As I’ve told a neighbor, the only difference between cat food and rat food is one letter- and I’d really appreciate you not feeding both on your step.

Greg and I have a spirited conversation about it:

Out of the box thinking- good thing for Dayton. What else can we do to be proactive?

About time we had some debate: Obama vs. Republicans

When the people are finally sick and tired of being spoon-fed partisan BS coming from the corporate puppets we elect- and the tide has turned against the leader, they finally decide to try something new- that’s as old as democracy itself: Debate:

President Obama denied he was a Bolshevik, the Republicans denied they were obstructionists and both sides denied they were to blame for the toxic atmosphere clouding the nation’s political leadership….

What ensued was a lively, robust debate between a president and the opposition party that rarely happens in the scripted world of American politics.

For an hour and 22 minutes, with the cameras rolling, they thrust and parried, confronting each other’s policies and politics while challenging each other to meet in the middle. Intense and vigorous, sometimes even pointed, the discussion nonetheless proved remarkably civil and substantive for a relentlessly bitter era, an airing of issues that both sides often say they need more of.

via Off Script, Obama and the G.O.P. Vent Politely – NYTimes.com.

Long ago in American history- there were debates as well. The most famous being Lincoln/Douglas lasting 4.5 hours. In our short-attention-span, brain-dead country full of followers- who think “Avatar” is deep political thought- what happened yesterday can only be viewed as a baby step in the right direction.

Imagine a country where the Republicans and the Democrats actually had to stare each other down- in free-form debate- on what they will do once elected, and then actually be on record as having a position to be held accountable to?

Sort of like what Greg and I do daily- on the Dayton Grassroots Daily Show- where we discuss the discussion they had yesterday:

Debate is good for democracy. Let’s start requiring.

You know times are tough when bank presidents have banking problems

There are the bankers on Wall Street who carry home cash in a wheelbarrow, without ever having to sign on a line for anything.

They run the bank into the ground, get multimillion-dollar bonuses- get bailed out by the taxpayers and then “retire” with a big fat golden parachute and a pension for life.

Then there are real people, like:

Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams, president of Chase Bank in west Ohio, has been named in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Fifth Third Bank and faces a financial judgment stemming from the default of a small business loan…
The loan was for the Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuit restaurant at 5800 Wilmington Pike in Centerville, which is closed.

The lawsuit was filed in late 2009 in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. A Dec. 1 judgment awarded the bank $850,000, which includes court costs of $113,039, according to court records.

via City commissioner named in loan default case.

I’ve known Joey well for over twenty years. I’m sure this is quite embarrassing to him- as well as a financial burden. But, the reality is, at least he actually put his own money up in starting a small business, that employed people. I’m pretty sure that 5/3rd took special pleasure in making an example out of a competitor, instead of working out a deal.

To me, this just says that Joey’s more like us than like the political slime that goes into office driving a Dodge Shadow with a Bush I bumper sticker- and ends up a multimillionaire congressman driving Cadillacs (Mike Turner).

Times are tough. Welcome to the club Commissioner Williams.

Super Bowl Ads and Abortion might not mix

The Huffington Post just released a story saying the whole Tim Tebow anti-abortion ad that’s slated to run during the Super Bowl may be a fairy tale. Which is just great- after we ripped the premise of it in today’s Dayton Grassroots Daily Show.

A commercial featuring Tim Tebow and his mother Pam that is likely to air during Super Bowl XLIV may be rife with inaccuracies, according to power lawyer Gloria Allred.

The ad, which is expected to promote an anti-choice message, will be based on the theme “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life.” The Christian conservative group Focus on the Family has paid for the spot. James Dobson, the group’s founder, has a history of inflammatory statements and once said that gay marriage will “destroy the earth.”

Despite resistance from women’s groups, the ad is expected to air during the Super Bowl. It is believed that the commercial will focus on Pam Tebow’s 1987 pregnancy, during which time she fell ill in the Philippines. According to reports, doctors recommended that she abort the pregnancy, but she chose to go through with the birth of her son Tim.

Tebow grew up to be one of the most accomplished and celebrated stars in college football history, capturing two national championships and becoming the first sophomore to win the Heisman trophy.

Because abortion under any circumstance has been illegal in the Philippines since 1930 and is punishable by a six-year prison term, Allred says she finds it hard to believe that doctors would have recommended the procedure.

The attorney, who has represented a roster of famous clients, claims she will lodge a complaint with the FCC and FTC “if this ad airs and fails to disclose that abortions were illegal at the time Ms. Tebow made her choice,” according to RadarOnline.

via Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad May Be Based On Falsehood.

America watches the Super Bowl to get away from the day-to-day crap of politics. We watch the ads- hoping to be entertained. For some reason, James Dobson and “Focus on the Family” think it’s god’s will to mix politics with pigskin.

Bad move. So enjoy our segment titled: “If you can’t feed ’em, don’t breed them.”

Abortion is wrong. But ignoring birth control is just stupid. If the “Focus on the family” spent the money on helping family’s plan their children, we may solve quite a few problems.

daytondailyfail.com launches

It’s sad- that a “young professional” who just left Dayton and finds himself in Phoenix- is now publishing a site to allow the comments on articles the DDN closes them on:

this site was built by a former daytonian who still cares about the old hometown.

daytondailyfail.com, or ddf for short, exists to provide an alternative place for people from Dayton, OH to write and comment on the news of the day in their region.

it was built in less than an hour as a result of frustration with the Dayton Daily News website’s terrible commenting system on stories.

here, comments are free and uncensored (as long as it’s not illegal) – and users are free to rate, comment, and reply to comments as they please. your email will not be viewable to the web, it’s just needed to comment, and i promise to never sell you out to spammers. have at it, and try to have fun.

via daytondailyfail.com » about daytondailyfail.com.

It’s time the Dayton Daily News had a discussion with the community about how it chooses what stories to allow comments on- and how it moderates the comments. Putting stories online without commenting is dismissing the intelligence of the few remaining readers they have.

Why trains are good for Ohio

I’m not jumping up and down about Ohio building a 79 mph passenger rail system in 2011- especially since I was reading about Bullet Trains in Japan in grade school (that was in the 1970s, people). I’ve ridden on the Eurostar through the Chunnel. Engineering marvels. Been around for years. And, now, the best the most powerful nation can do is 79 mph?

Mussolini had trains that ran that fast.

I also don’t see it as a stimulus magic wand. It won’t do much for jobs- or make companies want to move to Ohio. Nope, on all accounts we’re looking like a third world nation if this is best we can do.

From the 3c is me website:

Ohio has received $400 million in federal stimulus resources to invest in passenger rail.

“With today’s historic announcement by President Obama, Ohio takes a major step toward modernizing our state’s transportation infrastructure,” said Governor Strickland. “The 3C Corridor will create economic development opportunities and serve as a model of environmental sustainability. Most importantly, it will put thousands of Ohioans to work over the next few years.”

The 256-mile 3C Corridor – stretching from Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati – would reconnect nearly 6 million Ohioans with 79 mph passenger trains for the first time in 40 years.

via 3C is ME.

However, this does get us started toward rail- and an eventual upgrade to high speed, and that is good. I’ve been hearing people complain all day in response to a post I put up on Facebook- about how it’s not going to be “economically viable” and require taxpayer support. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but trains and tracks require much less continuous care and feeding at taxpayer expense than anything resembling a road made out of asphalt. Roads are crap investments when you look at revenue. Trucking things is inefficient as all get out, as well.

This country needs to wean itself from the teat of cheap oil. This is a good step. And for those of you who have ridden real trains- you know how much nicer it is to ride a train than fly in a plane, or even drive a car.

Yep, there are people who think that trains are too slow, that they can get somewhere faster, cheaper on a tank of gas- but, they aren’t really thinking opportunity costs. I can work while on a train- I can’t while driving. Trains don’t get stuck in traffic. Trains don’t require me to stop to go potty. In civilized countries trains are the way business gets done.

Thank you, economic downturn- if that’s what it takes to get us to make smart moves like bringing back rail travel- great.

Here is our Grassroots Dayton Daily Show take on the train- coming soon to Ohio:

Plummer didn’t know- DDN doesn’t want to.

Once again, Sheriff Phil Plummer is claiming ignorance in the case of the appraisal gold mine for friends. This time- Sgt. Tom Flanders is taking the heat- for supposedly asking to have the appraisal documents shredded.

Phil is good at pointing fingers:

“There’s no cover-up here. It was a mistake by a new sergeant in that office,” said Plummer, a Republican, “If I’d known about this it wouldn’t have happened because it shouldn’t have happened.”

via Request to destroy foreclosure sales files was a ‘mistake,’ Plummer says.

To add insult to injury- the Dayton Daily News has closed comments on this article- probably because they’re afraid that people within the Sheriff’s own office will leave comments that nail him to the wall.

It’s time to quit this charade. Not only should Plummer be investigated, so should Vore- for how the amount got raised- and how he hired Plummer’s sister in the first place. Then we should also look at the Clerks of Courts who’ve blindly paid the invoices without asking questions until it’s election time: So Greg Brush should shut up- and Dan Foley (prior clerk) should be doing some time in the hot seat.

While hard working people in Montgomery have been getting screwed by watching their housing values drop thanks to these fly-by-night appraisals by uncertified friends and family- these people have been making serious money.

They all belong in jail.

Game changers- Apple did it with the iPad- why can’t Dayton?

Apple iPad

The Apple iPad

Today Apple announced the iPad. I’m not in love with the name- sounds like a feminine hygiene product to me {update- a skit from 3 years ago makes fun of this name- not for those easily offended} , but, since Apple makes it- it will sell no matter what it’s called. I would have preferred ApplePad or even the return of the Apple Newton name (a product that was ahead of its time in many ways).

Sometimes talking with Greg is like riding a mechanical bull, so my serious ideas about how the iPad is a potential game changer got banged around pretty hard in our video. But, I’ll be posting thoughts over on the business site soon. If you don’t know what an iPad is- Apple has lots of information on its site as to the nuts and bolts. What I see is the potential for newspapers to finally abandon print- jettisoning the daily delivery of a dead tree with ink- into a real delivery of their product- news. With the ease of distribution through the Apple iBook store- and the future potential to target ads to individuals through this intuitive interface- this could be the savior of the newspaper business. If wifi were ubiquitous, the connectivity issue would work- get a free iPad with your subscription to a “sponsor” paper (sort of the way cell phones are sold)- but the cost load is delivered through targeted ad delivery and some subscription revenue to the paper.

Each newspaper would collect a “scrape” from other newspapers who are read through the sponsor’s device. The DDN would own the database and relationship and make money by managing your relationship with advertisers along with delivering the local part of the news. This wasn’t included in the presentation – but, is not much different from the way the apps store has worked for delivery of ads. Granted, no one is making billions yet from iApps- except Apple- but that could change if enough iPads landed in peoples hands and enough printing presses went the way of the dodo.

But- back to the game changer part. Apple is not the first e-reader, or tablet computer. In fact, they are late to the game- as they were with the Mac and with the iPod and the iPhone. They just came up with a better idea with a better design. So much of Apple’s aura is from the interaction between people and a computer.

That interface is where Dayton could use a total overhaul. We project ourselves as Dayton when it suits us- but most of the time, we’ve got 500 different chiefs ruling 600 Indians. We’ve never been elegant- or easy to explain. We operate in our own little reality distortion field – thinking we’ve got a product people want- when if fact, we don’t have a product at all.

If Dayton were what we think it is, we wouldn’t be seeing a steady stream of bad news- with jobs leaving, crime happening and committees being formed constantly to solve our problem. Nope, we’d have a Steve Jobs to lead us – with a clear vision- of creating something insanely great for us to announce to the world. We’d be making best practices, instead of copying them. We’d be asking “what if” more and not “how do”- there was a time when Dayton did lead the way, but no longer.

With our low cost of living, moderate climate, central location, abundant water, nice people and enough smart people hiding in the woodwork- all we need is a nice shiny vision of where we’re going and how to get there.

Before Steve Jobs came back to Apple they were on the brink of collapse. Now- where are they?

Memo to Mayor Gary Leitzell: Steve Jobs doesn’t do ANYTHING by committee.

I see a different Dayton- do you? In the meantime- take another look at the iPad- do you see the game changing potential? I do.

Leitzell’s first folly

I like Gary Leitzell. I even liked Rhine McLin- both nice people. I’m sure that Gary isn’t on the take- and has the people’s best interests at heart. But today he announced his “Leadership Council”- and I’m really wondering how this group is going to come up with BIG ideas. Especially after hearing Mr. Leitzell on the campaign trail talking about helping start 1000 small businesses- something that doesn’t seem to be well represented on this “council.”

From today’s DDN:

Mayor Gary Leitzell, today, Jan. 26, announced the founding of his Leadership Council, a diverse 17-member committee of community leaders who are acknowledged experts in their respected fields.

“The Leadership Council marks a bold step in Dayton’s long recovery process. The Council, which is composed of some of Dayton’s best and brightest minds, will meet regularly to discuss ideas and strategies that can help further spur our economic turnaround,” Leitzell said.

The council’s purpose, according to its mission statement, is to foster economic development and growth in the city by undertaking independent initiatives and by providing advice and counsel to the Mayor….

The members of the Dayton Mayor’s Leadership Council

* David H. McDonald (Co-Chair), president, The McDonald Group LLC

* Jeff Samuelson, AIA (Co-Chair), managing member, jz Companies

* Phillip L. Parker, CAE, CCE, president & CEO, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

* Gregory M. Gantt, Esq., partner, Allbery Cross Fogarty, chairman Montgomery County Republican Party

* Thomas A. Raga, vice president of advancement Sinclair Community College

* S. Ted Bucaro, government and regional relations director University of Dayton

* Anne Higdon, president, ISUS Corp.

* Larry E. Couchot, partner, Couchot Hogenkamp

* William Duncan, partner, Thorn, Lewis and Duncan Inc.

* Julie Liss-Katz, director of public affairs, Premier Health Partners

* Glenn Alexander, former Dayton Fire Chief

* Stacy M. Thompson, Dayton Public Schools board member, KeyBank Vice President

* Cassandra S. Mitchell, educator, Journalism/Mass Communications Instructor/Community Outreach Specialist/TV Producer & Host

* Steve LaFlame, union liaison

* Col. Tim Donohue, 88th Mission Support Group Commander, Wright-Patterson AFB

* Richard Haas, president, Grandview/Southview Hospital System

* Rev. Wilburt Shanklin, Living Word of Faith Church

via Mayor announces development advisers.

In fact- I’m wondering why we’re still expecting government to solve our economic woes.  Maybe if the City could actually concentrate on fundamental service delivery- and learn how to get out of the way of people who actually make things happen around here.

I think Anne Higdon and Jeff Samuelson are great choices- but, the load of Republicans- McDonald, Gantt, Raga (the ones I know about) are a mistake.

And because I put my money where my mouth is- I’d recommend either Jan Lepore Jennelson East End Community Services or Amy Radachi Rebuilding Together Dayton, Wesley Center director Dr. Robert Walker, Jim Gagnet of Pacesetter Painting and Coco’s Bistro, Bill Daniels of Pizza Factory and- believe it or not- some of the people who are paid by the City- like the City Manager Tim Riordan, the planning director John Gower, Steve Budd from CityWide.

I’d also look to some of the people from UpDayton, like Theresa Gasper who has helped turn South Park housing around almost by herself.

The key to making this really work- is not picking people who expect to be on it- like Phil Parker- who already are supposed to be part of the system. But to pick people who are self-starters, the type of people who start the small businesses in this city- and mine them on their secrets. MVH, Sinclair, UD- already have the ability to speak with a big stick.

Let’s pass that stick around.

Your thoughts?

Dayton filmmaker getting wild in the house

Full disclosure- my name appears in the credits- my camera was used for the first two months of filming.

Mike Webber is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose credits include four theatrical films for Twentieth Century Fox and Lionsgate. With his latest film,  “The Elephant in the Living Room” Webber gives audiences a firsthand look deep into the most dangerous and fascinating subculture in the United States.

An award-winning documentary film about the controversial world of exotic animal ownership within the suburbs of the United States. THE ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM offers an unprecedented glimpse into the fascinating subculture of raising the most deadly and exotic animals in the world as common household pets.

Mike tells the story of two men in Ohio- one is Tim Harrison; a police officer, firefighter and paramedic for the city of Oakwood. In his career- Harrison has captured and rescued literally hundreds of escaped lions, tigers, alligators, bears, and the largest and most deadly snakes on earth, all in the United States.

The other is Terry Brumfield who has been an animal lover his entire life. But none of his pets compare to the love he has for his two African lions which were bottle-fed and hand-raised as cubs in his home.

via The Elephant in the Living Room | About.

Mike picked up a prestigious ACE award in 2008 from the American Film Institute/Discovery Channel/Humane Society of the United States at the SilverDocs Film Festival to help complete this important film in the international competition.

Please help Michael out by clicking through the trailer to YouTube and giving him a five star rating- and tell your friends about it. The film will be presented in Dayton on March 22nd at the Schuster Center. 100% of the proceeds of the showing in Dayton will go to the charity, Outreach For Animals,  that supports Tim’s work in dealing with these animals.

I’m pretty sure this is the type of thing that Film Dayton wants to do – and to promote. It will be interesting to see what they do to help pump up this local filmmaker who was actually rejected from WSU film school!

Mike has worked for over two years on this project- and has funded it entirely on his own. No requests for government handouts or special entitlements.