The 50cc answer to dependence on foreign oil

Genuine Buddy Scooter

Genuine Buddy 50cc Scooter

And then frustration set in. Local business man Jason Liff started Motoscooto on Wayne Avenue at the height of gas prices- and since then, prices have been dropping steadily- as unemployment has gone up. His selection of quality scooters has improved- adding the Genuine Scooter brand and CFMoto to a line up of LinHai and Fly Scooters.

In a conference call the other day with some other Genuine dealers, he found out that their bread and butter scooter sales is in a scooter he can barely sell- the 50cc variety. And it comes down to State laws- with Ohio having some of the most byzantine of options.

In many states (note, I can find a definitive list for Mopeds, but not for scooters) two wheel vehicles under 50cc’s don’t require anything but a valid driver’s license – and if they have pedals, may not require a license at all if they can’t go over 30 mph.

In Ohio we’ll allow a 14 or 15 year old on the road with a Moped- with a “probationary license”. Yet, we don’t require a motorcycle helmet or the completion of a motorcycle safety course for adults, we require a Motorcycle license to ride anything without pedals. This adds a level of bureaucracy that severely hampers sales of the most energy-efficient scooter- the 50 cc- which all get over 90 mpg. Buyers realize that if they have to get a license- they may as well opt for a 125cc or larger scooter.

It also changes insurance costs- lumping the two types together in one category- motorcycle.

It’s time to make a uniform law across the nation that allows 50cc scooters to be ridden by any adult with a valid driver’s license with a helmet to encourage use of these energy-efficient vehicles.

The quickest and easiest way to reduce the need for foreign oil is to use less of it. Inexpensive, quick, fun, 50cc scooters are a huge step in the right direction. Because California banned the 2 stroke scooter- unless it meets its tougher emission status these small scooters can cut oil consumption and emissions. If we all just took 10% of our trips by scooter- in the summer months- the effects would be … (I’ll leave it up to our math quant reader to calculate the impact).

Other laws should also be changed: free parking of scooters in garages, on sidewalks (as long as they don’t impede pedestrian flow) and permissible use of bike lanes- with cyclists getting preferred rights- can make this a more scooter-friendly nation.

In Europe where gas prices have been in the $7 gallon range for a long time- scooters are everywhere, year round. The Federal government has already standardized driver’s licenses and forced States to comply with drinking ages, and your driver’s license in one state works in others- it’s time to put a nationwide standard for scooter licensing, with incentives for scooter commuters.

Our dependence on foreign oil is an issue of national defense- it’s time we tried the 50 cc solution.

But does city hall listen? Employee cost saving suggestions ignored?

In today’s DDN the “Professional” manager is asking for crowd sourced solutions to the budget problem:

City revenues are down across the board through April as income tax collections continue to slide $1.5 million below already conservative projections, according to information the finance staff gave city commissioners Wednesday, May 26.

“We are at the same income tax (collection levels) as we were in 1994,” Assistant City Manager Stan Earley said.

Revenue from investments is nearly $400,000 off budget predictions as a tough European economy has helped returns slide from 3.5 percent in 2008 to 0.7 percent so far this year.

City Manager Tim Riordan will embark on a “listening tour” next week to hear suggestions from citizens about how to strip $6 million from the city’s $155 million budget in order to plug a deficit.

Riordan and Mayor Gary Leitzell or a few city commissioners will be at the Southeast Priority Board, 2160 E. Fifth St., at 7 p.m. June 3 to hear ideas from citizens on what Riordan called “difficult options.”

The options being considered are to:

• Raise new revenue, including a possible income tax increase.

• Cut expenditures by reducing or eliminating services.

• Stop investments in infrastructure, technology, equipment and development.

via Dayton wants your cost-cutting ideas as it faces big revenue loss.

Yet,  documents provided to me from November of 2009, show employees within the Department of Parks and Rec’s had turned in suggestions outlining nearly a million dollars in savings to the city- only to be ignored.

The concept centers around reducing the Department of Parks and Rec back to a division- underneath Public Works- and cutting out a bunch of top management- including that of C. LaShea Smith- a city hall insider who doesn’t have a recreation background.  From the City Website- they still list a Director and an Acting Deputy Director- who also have an “Executive Secretary”

LaShea Smith, Director

Robin Williams-Waller, Acting Deputy Director

Joe Parlette, Golf Manager

Stephan Marcellus, Senior Recreation Program Coordinator

Brittany Collins, Senior Athletic Program Coordinator

via Staff | City of Dayton Ohio Recreation | Staff Members.

And although the City didn’t renew his contract, Mr. Donnell Gregory, PhD was the “youth czar” for a year- and paid $60,000 with no tangible benefits to the city. He was hired as a contractor outside of Civil Service- and is a fraternity brother of Commissioner Williams. He’s now employed by the University of Dayton. His video still appears on the Youth Commission website.

The “Friends and Family” plan has been working in the City of Dayton for a long time- attempts to do a FOIA request to include street number and name- to cross reference employee households was denied.

But, if City Hall is really interested in saving money- why didn’t heads roll about the retroactive  pay raise former City Manager Rashad Young gave himself, without a vote of the City Commission? And why wasn’t the step raise to middle and top management retracted– since we were in a crisis?

Here are the three PDF documents suggesting a million dollars in savings:

Budget suggestions

Memo to Civil Service

Presentation for budget proposals

It’d be interesting to hear what the City Manager’s response was- and why these cost savings plans aren’t being implemented.

It is who you know. DDC hires Howard?

While it’s almost impossible to figure out why the Dayton Development Coalition gets to hand over no-bid contracts to  Congressman Turner’s wife, and pays its President almost more than the City Manager of Dayton and the County Administrator COMBINED, it’s even more interesting to think about what could be done with the money instead?

Regional government could cut the overhead of every taxpayer in the County- but, instead, it seems we just keep hiring people. For an area with a decreasing population, we sure seem to be able to hire more and more people to “grow the region.” The only thing that’s been growing is the number of overpaid bureaucrats, with very fat paychecks.

Several unconnected sources have informed me that the Dayton Development Coalition has a new hire. Of course, going to their website won’t tell you that- and according to this person’s former employer- she’s still working there:

Sharon Howard publicity shot from WDTN

Sharon Howard

Sharon D. Howard currently serves as Executive Director of Community and Public Relations for WDTN-TV, Dayton NBC affiliate. Included in her many duties she is the host of “Dayton and Beyond,” a weekly public affairs program. Over the years, she has interviewed such notables as Johnnie Cochran, Kenny G, Jerry Springer, Gloria Steinem and many more. She coordinates all station community projects, including Channel 2’s COATS FOR KIDS and FOOD FOR FRIENDS. She also is responsible for administering station community and public relations.

Howard is affiliated with numerous civic and volunteer organizations including the Sinclair Community College Foundation Board of Directors, the Board of Directors of Culture Works, Board and Founding Member of the Dayton Area Broadcasters Hall of Fame, the Salvation Army Board of Trustees and the Kettering Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors. She is also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Tau Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and The Dayton Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. In December of 2005, she was appointed by Ohio’s Governor to serve on the Ohio Arts Council Board where she chairs the Education Committee and serves on the Executive Committee. Howard holds a BA degree from the University of Dayton.

via WDTN Website: Sharon D.Howard.

However, on Jan 8, 2010, the DDN reported Howard had been part of a WDTN downsizing. Now, I’m the first to say- I think Sharon is a wonderful person- and extremely talented, but her quiet hiring by the Dayton Development Coalition, an organization that is quasi-governmental and accepts public money, leaves me wondering exactly what job she is filling and how many people were interviewed? Sources have said that Howard is being paid via funds provided by DP&L- a place well known as a landing ground for political types either being put out to pasture or being cared for and fed until they may be useful. The list of DP&L alumni is long- however, I don’t have time to confirm the names that come to mind- but Tom Studevent and Kevin DeWine (while he was a State Rep) are two absolutes. (If you have more- please add in comments).

Howard’s salary at the Dayton Development Coalition is reputed to be over $110k/yr. Nice place to land, if you know the right people. It’s even better than what State Senator Jon Husted gets paid by the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce for a job he never has to show up for.

If the region wants to get serious about “economic development” we’re going to have to get serious about creating a single development group, preferably non-governmental (like, duh, the Chamber of Commerce) and stop hiring “friends and family” to do pretend work while the tax base shrinks and the population goes broke supporting all the family members of elected officials and political party favorites.

The problems that this “circle of friends” who’ve been running the region for way too long, from Corporate Chieftains to Political Party Potentates, is that the people (taxpayers) who ultimately get stuck with the bill for fountains with laser shows, Corporate Headquarters that are tossed aside after two and a half years and expensive ad campaigns proclaiming “get midwest” can’t afford it.

The taxpayers have lost trust in the people who run the region behind closed doors, yet, once again- we’re seeing the chess pieces moved around by an invisible hand- that’s beyond reproach.

Had enough? Wait till the upcoming exposé by Dayton Daily News business reporter- John Nolan, who could possibly write a Pulitzer=worthy piece on the Monarchy (or Mafia) of Montgomery County. We’ll see what the Dayton Daily decides to print. It only took them a year to catch up with the Qbase debacle– cleanly leaving out the huge donations to politicians in exchange for multiple handouts.

But, in case the DDN doesn’t run anything, you still have I’m just wondering when I can get a job like Ms. Howard.

An open invitation to Joe Roberts

Joe Roberts

Joe Roberts, running for Congress OH-3

Joe Roberts was Dr. Mark MacNealy’s campaign manager. Sources have told me that he is running in the special election primary for the Democratic nomination for Congress in OH-3.

I can find nothing about him online. [correction 5pm: he now has a facebook page and also gives this URL] I am offering to post his bio- info- etc. on – and/or sit down for a session of the Dayton Grassroots Daily Show- so that my readers can start to form an opinion on whom to support.

This offer also goes out to other candidates who are filing.

I’ve begun the process of filing the designation of treasurer form- and have my 50+ signatures (but will continue to collect insurance signatures for a few more days). I’ll soon have my donation system back in place and will begin fund-raising.

It’s a sure bet that there is zero chance of matching Turner dollar for dollar in a full out media campaign. I’ll have a campaign finance reform plan to announce when I win the Democratic nomination on how to best serve the citizens of Ohio 3.

However, if you know Joe Roberts- please have him contact me.

Thank you.

Laws broken that will never be prosecuted: The Monarchy of Montgomery County

It’s bad enough that we have 10% more government overhead than the rest of the country- with plenty of duplication of services, but now we also have a rampant case of illegal nepotism being exposed in the region.

Of course this is nothing new, it’s been going on forever. This “exposée” in the Dayton Daily News only covers relatives of elected officials- if we counted the family of political party insiders, and top hired officials (who report directly to those elected positions) we’d find out that we have an epidemic.

A Dayton Daily News survey of all 31 elected Montgomery County officials found 13 with relatives working for the county, including six whose relatives work in the elected official’s office.

A total of 19 county employees are relatives of elected officials. Three of the relatives worked for the county before the elected official became a county employee.

The county has 4,640 employees overseen by elected and non-elected officials. Ohio’s nepotism rules cover all public employees.

Eight of the 19 employees related to elected officeholders are in-laws, nieces, nephews or cousins, none of whom are covered by the law’s restrictions unless they live with the official. The law prohibits public employees and officials from being involved in the hiring of close relatives, such as children, grandchildren, spouses and parents.

via Officials taxed with ethical, perception issues when relatives work for county.

I’d write more about this- but, since I first wrote about the “Monarchy of Montgomery County” last October, and nothing happened, I don’t see what good it is to keep harping on this matter.

The County Prosecutor won’t go after any of these people, because he’s just as guilty. The State people won’t intervene because they count on the party faithful to deliver votes they need.

Expecting the voters to hold these people accountable is almost impossible. As I’ve continually said- we have the best politicians money can buy.

On the special election primary

A lot of confusion on the Dayton Daily News comments boards about this expensive special election primary- and it’s time to dispel some of that confusion. If only one person runs- there STILL has to be a primary. All the way up until 40 days before the November election, a primary must be held. Had MacNealy waited until 40 days- and then dropped out- the Democratic Party could nominate a replacement. This happened in 2006 when Stephanie Studebaker dropped out– and a special election primary was held- with a 2.3% turnout.

The dates for filing and certification are still not fully decided. For now, the filing deadline will be June 10th. A write in deadline would be June 13th or so. The petitions will be verified either July 11th of July 14th. The primary election results won’t be certified until August 8th.

The site is now parked at GoDaddy- with a holding page. His Facebook page isn’t updated with his dropping out. There is no information online about Joe Roberts, his campaign manager who is supposedly running.

I’m continuing to collect signatures- and making video- (note, I’ve been taping everyone- but not everyone is on youtube).

While others have volunteered to circulate my petitions for me- I believe that if you want to represent the people of Ohio-3, you should be willing to ask them face to face to sign the petitions.

Day 2 of collecting signatures

Day 2 of collecting signatures- and shared with you on YouTube. Today, you can see Dave Crowell of Custom Frame Services, Vicky Valerin of Tri-College Bookstore and Rob Degenhart of Park Hills Crossing sign my petitions.

Already, you can read in the Dayton Daily News that the Democratic head of the Board of Elections, Steve Harsman was trying to see if I could be rejected for running in the special election because he rejected the valid signatures of voters who wanted to see me on the ballot when MacNealy got on. You can also read that the Montgomery County Democratic Party is already thinking about endorsing in a primary- instead of letting the Democratic voters decide. These are the people who have done nothing to find candidates to run against Turner for the last 8 years.

I don’t know MacNealy’s campaign manager, Joe Roberts- and would be interested to see his positions. Anybody know who this guy is? Does he have a site with his positions? Has he been involved in local politics? Has he run for anything previously?

From the DDN:

DAYTON — Dayton activist and business owner David Esrati is the latest Democrat to announce that he’s running for Congress to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Turner in November.

On Friday, May 21, Esrati said he has started collecting the 50 signatures required to get his name on the ballot to run in the 3rd Congressional District. The district covers most of Montgomery County, northern Warren County and all of Clinton and Highland counties.

Political consultant Joe Roberts of Kettering, who announced he was running earlier this week, picked up candidate petitions on Friday.

The party’s former candidate, Dr. Mark A. MacNealy of Vandalia, informed the Montgomery County Board of Elections earlier this week that he is no longer seeking the 3rd Congressional District seat held by Turner. Roberts was working for MacNealy before he dropped out of the race.

Steve Harsman, director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections, proposed to the Ohio secretary of state a deadline of June 10 for candidates to file petitions for a special election to be July 13. He expects a decision from the state by Monday.

The state will pay for the special election estimated to cost between $300,000 – $325,000. Esrati ran in the Democratic Primary for the 3rd congressional District in 2008 and lost to Jane Mitakides who lost to Turner in the general election. Esrati’s last election was a bid in 2009 for Dayton city commissioner.

Esrati’s petitions to run for Congress in this year’s May 4 primary were rejected by the board of elections because his candidacy declaration was not properly signed and dated. Harsman asked the Ohio secretary of state to determine if Esrati’s earlier filing prevented him from seeking the office again.

“It’s the secretary of state’s opinion that he can file for it,” Harsman said.

Esrati said he is video taping citizens as they sign his candidate petitions. Esrati, owner of The Next Wave advertising agency, plans to incorporate the video footage into his campaign ads.

“I have a passion for honest, open government,” Esrati said. “I can bring accessibility. I can bring new thinking. I can bring a true independent perspective that’s not going to sell out to corporations and special interest groups.”

Roberts said he’s running because he’s tired of seeing families suffer.

“We really need someone to step up with a middle class background who understands what it is to live from paycheck to paycheck,” he said.

The Montgomery County Democratic Party plans to look at all candidates who file, then decide whether to endorse, said Mark Owens, chairman of the party.

via Esrati to run for Congress | Ohio politics.

I’ve had a lot of calls of support today- and I’ve been thanked for posting the actual petition form online (something our Board of Elections isn’t capable of) so others can take it out and run as well.

Primaries should give voters choices- including to vote against me. That’s the American way- or at least it was until we became a plutocracy thanks to the Wall Street Casino. A few positive comments on the DDN piece would be appreciated- the haters are out in full force.

If you’d like to sign the petitions, drop me a line. Thank you.

OH-3 Join me as I collect signatures.

Last time I ran for Congress I made a commercial that showed you the houses of my opponents- which don’t look like, or have the kind of mortgage that most of the citizens in Ohio 3 have. I called it “Represent” and it’s very important to me.

It’s important because the whole concept of the House- with its short 2-year terms- was for real people to take leave of their “day job” and go “represent” the people. The founding fathers would be disgusted if they now knew it cost a million dollars to run for Congress- and that it had become a cesspool of career politicians. The idea that there were barriers to entry- like fund-raising and non-stop campaigning- would be abhorrent. The idea that political districts would be gerrymandered to give preference to one party or another would be unthinkable. Yet, that’s the world we live in.

I believe in a return of the House to the people. I won’t, and never have, accepted money from special interest groups. And although I welcome endorsements, my positions are absolutely clear- they appear on this site- over the last four plus years- in black and white, for all to discuss. There is no dodging of the hard “hot button questions”– just my thoughts on what has interested me. I believe in smaller government, that provides and supports equal opportunity to all in this country- especially for small businesses in government contracting (it’s time to come up with a GSA schedule EZ- and cut the average response to a proposal from hundreds of pages of boilerplate to a few meaningful pages of a contract). I believe in closing the Wall Street Casino and opening back a real financial market- where true investors- not gamblers, make real choices about a companies’ bottom line- and buy a true stake in the company (Apple – and every other business on the exchange- didn’t change the way it did business yesterday- but its stock price fell like it got hit with a recall or something).

I believe in a public option- and single payer. I don’t believe we could do health care without doctors- but I know for sure we could do it without the “mob”- the insurance companies- who’ve inserted themselves like crooks asking for a “scrape” of your health care costs- to pay for million dollar paychecks. It’s posts like this- that separate me from every other politician- and let me tell you- it’s not good for business either in this small-town minded city.

I’m not going to recap every position or idea. But, I am going to promise you a new kind of representation- one where you really know what’s going on with your Congressman- every step of the way. So, join me as I walk to collect my signatures- and hear my own mother, Nina- age 82, call me nuts for doing this. These are the people who are recommending me to represent you- not the special interests, not the big money political action committees and they are the reason I do this- although the handicappers wouldn’t give me (or anyone else) a 100-to-1 shot at beating Mike Turner this fall.

But, isn’t that what a democracy is about- having choices?

If you’d like to sign your name on video- please call me at 937-228-4433 to set up a time to stop by the office. Thank you for your support. Remember, you must be a Dem or undeclared- you must be a resident of Ohio 3, and you must believe that I belong in the “House of Representatives.”

Esrati declares candidacy for Congress, OH-3

Just to make sure there is no confusion, I videotaped my signing of my petition forms- before I go out to collect my 50 signatures (yep, you only need 50 to run for Congress but 500 to run for Dayton City Commission). I’m videotaping my signers as well- so expect updates daily.

If you want to sign my petition and say why you think it’s good to have choices on the ballot- and are either an independent or registered Democrat- please e-mail me to set a time.

Here is the reading and signing of the petitions:

and if you want to run- I’m attaching the Form 2-E that you need to fill out- it’s a PDF, with form fields to fill in, I didn’t put the tips in- but, I’ll be happy to walk you through it. Remember, this is for Democrats only and the turn in date is probably 15 June and possibly the 8th of June.

Form 2-E for Congress

As long as Dr. Mark MacNealy is going to cost all the taxpayers in OH-3 the expense of a primary election- I’m hoping you get a real choice.

Maybe even Jenifer Brunner will run as a carpet bagger- we know a nice house in Kettering that a certain State Rep might lease her.

MacNealy drops out- campaign manager to run

Dr. Mark MacNeal, who never had a chance to inflict as much as a gnat bite decided to drop out of the race for congress in OH-3 according to the Dayton Daily News:

Democrats will have a second chance to field a candidate against U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, after the party’s candidate dropped out of the race today, May 19.

A special election will be held in mid-July, according to Steve Harsman, director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Dr. Mark A. MacNealy of Vandalia said in a letter to the Montgomery County Board of Elections that he was no longer seeking the Third Congressional District seat now held by Turner, Harsman said.

He said MacNealy cited “a change in circumstances” for his decision to withdraw. MacNealy was unopposed in the Democratic primary earlier this month…

Harsman said a special Democratic primary election is required by law and the Ohio Secretary of State is assisting in determining when that election will be held and when candidate petitions are due.

Harsman anticipates that the filing deadline will be in mid-June. The race is only open to Democrats, who must have 50 valid signatures to be on the ballot.

via Democrats seek new candidate to run against Turner.

The local democratic party has once again failed voters by not having viable candidates run in a primary. Now, the voters in Montgomery County are going to pay for a primary- costing over $150K to run a candidate who won’t stand a chance of beating Turner- or even inflicting any damage.

Sources tell me that MacNealy’s campaign manager Joe Roberts, is going to run even though his only bonus is the “Roberts” name- which may cause confusion with former State Rep Tom Roberts.

There undoubtedly will be an additional carpet bagger or surrogate throwing their name into the ring- just because they can get their name out- and lose gracefully- blaming the short cycle. Of course, all bets are off for 2 years from now which will have the new voting maps in play.

My initial reaction is to turn in petitions with the correct date for this primary- however, fundraising isn’t even a remote possibility to go head-to-head with Turner, and I can think of better things for people to spend their money on than a campaign- like hiring people in OH-3.

What are your thoughts?