Violated, AGAIN- lost count. Chainsaw missing.

  • The Chainsaw case
    The Chainsaw case
  • The Broken Window
    The Broken Window

I got a chainsaw for Christmas. Used it Sunday afternoon.

Went into the garage today- and the window was broken out- and the only thing missing was the chainsaw. They left the case, the extra chain- the oil. They didn’t get anything else- despite there being kids bikes, my safety shield for the chainsaw- and my motorcycle and two scooters.

This is the sixth theft in 2 years.

The E-crew came- they had gloves, no prints.

But- if you happen to see an 18″ Poulan Pro, .42cc, model PP4218AVX/ 966557901 serial number s/n sn 10145D400582-3

It’s mine. Feel free to shoot the perp- or better yet- fire up the saw and dismember him.

I’ve secured the garage, and have added additional security precautions.

Warning- I was taught to shoot pistol by someone on the Army Pistol Team. I’m not going to ask any uninvited guests questions before I double tap you with some 9mm Winchester Silver Tips.

I’ve lived in South Park since 1986. The “crime spree” all tracks back to the arrival of a new “neighbor” 2 years ago. I’m not saying it’s a match- but I don’t believe in coincidences.

Barber college gets scalped- City gets beheaded

And despite the efforts of the Dayton Downtown Partnership, one of the few remaining vintage businesses of Downtown is leaving:

The owner of a 51-year-old downtown business says it will close today and move to the Dayton Mall area.

Dayton Barber College owner Todd LeMaster says police constantly harassed students after a student’s arrest on suspected felony drug trafficking nearly two years ago.

“They ran my customers off,” he said. “At the end of the day the cops could have helped me rather than forced me from downtown.”

Dayton police deny LeMaster’s claims that the school was targeted.

The college will board up its 28 W. Fifth St. location and reopen Monday at 2741 Lyons Road in Miami Twp. LeMaster says the new facility underwent $300,000 in renovations.

Aside from the felony drug arrest on April 4, 2009, Dayton police Lt. Larry Faulkner said most arrests made of students were for minor marijuana charges and followed citizen complaints.

“We’d be happy for them to stay. It is not my job to run businesses off. I am here to encourage business,” he said. “None of this rose to the level that he seems to be taking it.”

Faulkner said there have been few problems at the college in recent months.

Police began working with the college and the Ohio Barber Board after complaints about suspected drug activity.

“It was a terrible perception having their students standing out front (of the school),” Faulkner said. “The businesses and citizens didn’t like it. They felt it looked bad and gave the wrong impression.”

LeMaster agreed that students wouldn’t be allowed to hang out front, but didn’t always keep that promise, Faulkner said. This prompted more complaints and investigations.

LeMaster, who has owned the college for 21 years, said he never formally complained about police to avoid trouble.

Students performed 400 hair cuts a week before problems with police began, LeMaster said.

The school gets about 200 clients a week now. Enrollment dropped from about 75 students to 45.

LeMaster appealed a public nuisance charge filed on April 15, 2009, by the city’s division of housing inspection brought on by the student’s arrest for suspected drug possession and trafficking charges.

The City of Dayton Nuisance Appeal Board upheld the charge and ruled that LeMaster could have known of the student’s criminal activity if reasonable care and diligence had been exercised.

LeMaster said he found the nuisance charge personally painful because he strived to maintain a quality business.

“We take pride in what we do and the service we provide,” LeMaster said of the college that offers haircuts for $7. “Now they can look at a boarded-up building.”

via Barber college owner says move prompted by police harassment.

Let me translate the above paragraph in bold italics for you: “It was a terrible perception having young black males standing on the public sidewalk,” Faulkner said. “The Spaghetti Warehouse, and The Dayton Chess Club and Tri-College Bookstore” and the one resident on E. Fifth Street didn’t like the cigarette butts on the sidewalk.

Had LeMaster put up a little wrought iron fence, and put cafe tables out- served latte – and had at least one white student- he’d still be there.

Despite the City being at least 50% African American, the reality is that the Monarchy of Montgomery County only tolerates enough African Americans to stay in power. We have no interest in strengthening and supporting black business- unless they are large supporters of the political machine or move in the correct circles.

The damage has been done, yet another business in Dayton closes up and moves to suburbia- and we can wait for the next art gallery, coffee shop or tax supported business to take the bait.

Best wishes to Mr. LeMaster. Sorry to see you go.

PART 2 (added 2 hours later)

It occurs to me that I should have supported my claim that political supporters, especially white ones- get a different treatment. Read this post about an “unnamed nightclub” in Downtown Dayton:Houses of ill repute vs. regulators of no respect. Now- look at this article that was published by the DDN this a.m.:

DAYTON — An unidentified man was shot four times early Friday morning during an argument at Hammerjax nightclub in downtown Dayton, police said.

The victim was taken to Miami Valley Hospital where he was listed in stable condition.

Police responding to reports of a disturbance heard gunshots shortly after they arrived at the nightclub at 111 East Fourth Street at about 2:30 a.m.

via Man shot at downtown Dayton nightclub.

The difference- one club owner hosts birthday parties for Rhine McLin and gives gifts of tile mosaic portraits.

LeMaster was cited and harassed-

“a public nuisance charge filed on April 15, 2009, by the city’s division of housing inspection brought on by the student’s arrest for suspected drug possession and trafficking charges.”

While shootings at nightclubs…. hmmm.

A.J. Wagner shows the Governor who’s boss

First Montgomery County Common Please Judge A.J. Wagner is going to retire, so the Dems can appoint a replacement- so they can run as an incumbent, then after the Governor makes his pick- AJ says nope, not handing it over to local attorney Steve Dankof- because apparently, Dankof isn’t going to keep one of A.J.’s patronage pals.

Hmmm. Sort of like saying you didn’t bid after you won the auction.

Wagner, a Democrat, said in November that he wanted to retire during an Democratic administration, so that his staff would have a better chance to keep their jobs. After Republican John Kasich defeated Strickland, Wagner decided to retire this year.

“There was no other reason for me to retire at this time,” Wagner said in a letter faxed to Brown. “the person who has been appointed to replace me has informed me he will not keep one of my staff members. Therefore, I am rescinding my resignation effective immediately.”

Wagner said he would be returning all presents and reimbursing the court for the farewell party held in his courtroom on Tuesday.

via A.J. Wagner: I’m not retiring | Dayton Courts: Legal and crime news.

It’s this kind of BS that runs this city into the ground. A.J. should be removed from the bench for lying in office. His pension should be rescinded, and his entire staff should be fired- and have to compete for their jobs back.

It’s time to stop the patronage, political party maneuvering- and start remembering who you work for. Any one in a real world job wouldn’t get away with this for a minute.

Atlanta has leadership- we have Leitzell.

In Dayton, our solution to the big hole in our population is to decrease the number of homes. It’s a rear guard, defensive effort that puts money into the hands of the demolition contractors (who are big campaign donors) and the landfill operators. And although the analogy that starts this excerpt from Thomas Friedman is about digging holes- filling a landfill isn’t the way you dig yourself out of a hole:

Everyone knows the first rule of holes: When you’re in one, stop digging. But people often forget the second rule of holes: You can only grow your way out. You can’t borrow your way out.

One of the best of this new breed of leaders is Atlanta’s inspiring mayor, 41-year-old Kasim Reed. A former Georgia state senator, Reed won Atlanta’s mayoral race in December 2009 by 714 votes. The day he took office, Atlanta had $7.4 million in reserves, an out-of-control budget and was laying off so many firefighters there were only three personnel on a truck, below national standards. A year later, it has $58 million in reserves, and Reed has a 70 percent approval rating — which he earned the hard way.

Reed started his reforms by enlisting two professionals, not cronies, to help run the city: Peter Aman, a partner at Bain & Company, a consultancy, to be his chief operating officer; and John Mellott, a former publisher of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, to lead a pension review panel. Atlanta has 7,000 city employees, but today, says Reed, “you can’t hire a receptionist” without it “personally being approved by Aman.”

Then Reed tackled the city’s biggest problem: runaway pensions, which were eating up 20 percent of tax revenues and are rising. In the early 2000s, the police, fire and municipal workers’ unions persuaded the city to raise all their pensions — and make it retroactive. So, between 2001 and 2009, Atlanta’s unfunded pension obligations grew from $321 million to $1.484 billion. Yikes.

Reed couldn’t cut existing pensions without lawsuits, but he cut back pensions for all new employees to pre-2000 levels and raised the vesting period to 15 years from 10. When union picketers swarmed city hall to protest, Reed invited them all into his office — in shifts — where he patiently explained, with charts, that without pension reform everyone’s pensions would go bust.

By getting the city’s budget under control, Reed then had some money to invest in more police officers and, what he wanted most, to reopen the 16 recreation centers and swimming pools in the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods, which had been shuttered for lack of money. “People were shooting dice in the empty pools,” he said. Local businesses have now offered to finance after-school job-skills programs in the reopened centers. Cut here. Invest there.

Reed combines a soft touch with a hard head. I like how he talks about both Atlanta and America: “We are not going to be what we have been for the last 50 years if we don’t change, and everybody in a position to have more than two people listening to them needs to be saying that, because the time we have to make the adjustments is running out. We need to get on with it. Whether it’s the deficit, education or investing in young people or immigration — we are not tackling [them] in the fundamental ways required. We’re just doing it piecemeal. We’re just playing and surviving. And we need to be very clear where just surviving takes you: it takes you to a lifestyle of just survival.”

via Cut Here. Invest There. –

Note- economic development in Atlanta is hiring more police officers and reopening recreation centers- and then letting business take care of business.

Atlanta is considered a boom town when compared to Dayton. If they are solving problems by improving quality of life- why aren’t we focused on that- instead of the mysterious “economic development” by government?

Tearing down houses doesn’t bring us more social capital. Where is the plan to bring more people to Dayton?

When are we going to tell the world we’ve got a great place to operate inexpensively- then do everything we can to make it true? It’s time to give up control on areas we’ve given up on- and let market forces go wild.

It’s time to guarantee that if you invest in Dayton- you won’t be broken into. That your building won’t be tagged with graffiti.  It’s time to cut the bureaucracy – and the overhead of so many watchdogs- who aren’t doing anything except getting in the way.

It’s time to present a vision- and head toward it at full force.

And, I’m not picking on Mayor Leitzell- it’s just using the alliteration of leadership and Leitzell- there are a whole bunch of “leaders” in this town that need to get focused and fast.

Note- I added bold and italics to “inspiring mayor” above. It’s time to inspire Mayor Leitzell.

Economic recovery will fail with gas over $3 a gallon: investigate

Retailers just reported a bounce in holiday sales that were actually over what they were pre-meltdown. The very same day- the price of gasoline shoots up to $3.20 a gallon.

If the oil companies had any sense, they’d realize that by gouging now, we’ll end up with more people declaring bankruptcy again, prices on everything else will go up, employment will drop and we’ll be back in trouble.

The Feds need to closely investigate what is causing the run-up in gas prices- and start enforcing price fixing laws. The way that prices jump- and where they jump, reeks of collusion and discrimination (I almost always notice higher prices in urban HUBzone areas- compared to other communities).

With record profits the last time we saw gas go to $4 a gallon, it was clear what was really going on. We can’t afford a “double dip recession” handed to us by a single industry.

Even though it’s 20 degrees out, I’m considering firing up the motorcycle and getting out the heated gloves and jacket for a morning meeting in Brookville. You may think I’m crazy- but the reality is there is only one way to win against our fuelishness- and that’s to use less of it.

Once again- I will remind you of a tax break that I proposed that would help this country break its dependence on foreign oil- the walk-to-work tax credit. This kind of focused economic development, along with support for environmentally positive programs like BCycle bike sharing could help turn this country from a petro-drunk into a gas-teetotaler.

How BCycle becomes a reality in Dayton

In order for Dayton to get a bike-sharing system- we will need private businesses and institutions to buy in and support it. Wright State and the University of Dayton already understand the value a bike sharing system can bring to their parking impaired institutions, once Sinclair and the Hospitals and LexisNexis buy in, we may have the critical beginnings of a way to make this happen.

However, some small businesses in Denver have started to get it as well:

The wheels on the B-cycles will go round and round for Kentwood City Properties’ 70 employees who were given memberships to Denver’s bike-sharing program along with helmets last week from company owners Dee Chirafisi and Jim Theye.

“John Hayden, a broker in our office, is on the steering committee for B-cycle,” Chirafisi said. “Every Tuesday we tour all our new listings. He does it on his bike, and he’s always at each property first. One day on the property tour, we all took a bike. We had so much fun, we decided we want to support this program.”

Chirafisi and Theye decided to take “a large chunk” ($30,000) of their annual marketing budget and invested in a sponsorship, which included the memberships, helmets and 20 bikes with baskets emblazoned with the real estate company’s logo.

“They’re the first Denver company to really build their entire marketing efforts around Denver B-cycle,” said Denver marketing maven Steve Sander. “I view this as a true investment in something that is good for them and good for the community.”

Memberships start March 1 when the B-cycle fleet awakes from hibernation. The program was put on hiatus for the winter in part due to weather conditions, and to give organizers time to “tweak” kinks in the program, such as touchy touch-screen technology, and somewhat confusing instructions.

When the bikes are back, Kentwood will have “passes” to rent B-cycles to show properties to potential buyers. A B-cycle will also take up residence in the front window of the 1660 17th St. building.

“It’s a perfect fit for the way they do business and the vision they have of experiencing downtown,” Sander said.

via Parker: For real estate firm, a healthy way to pedal deals – The Denver Post.

With traditional advertising channels becoming less efficient, and consumers tired of the constant barrage of marketing messages- the idea of providing a service instead of just talk is taking off. The Pepsi Refresh campaign is probably the best example of a marketer taking their money and putting it into doing something instead of just talking about it.

The local hospitals have made similar efforts with their branding contracts for High School sports stadiums- but, these stadium deals do little for the community at large-and aren’t an asset for bringing people and potential companies to Dayton. BCycle could have a huge impact in our community- both from the standpoint of solving some serious parking and transportation issues on campuses- but, also in our communities attitude toward bicycling and healthy lifestyles.

If you think your company might be interested in sponsoring BCycle in Dayton- please drop me a line.

The fear of speaking out and up

My last post was up for less than a day, before the owner of the restaurant in question kindly asked for me to take it down.

Unfortunately, the Internet doesn’t have a real delete key. There are many of you who can figure out how to read it by going through caches, by using the wayback machine- or looking in RSS feeds. Plus- a few really pertinent comments were added- that I don’t have a right to censor. So I password protected the post- and if you look around, or write me an e-mail- I’ll gladly give it to you. Of course, if you want to try your mad code-breaking skills- the password is a word from the post’s title- take a wild guess at which one… you’ll probably get it.

But- I posit to you, it’s this kind of fear of airing our grievances that has us where we are today in Dayton- facing huge obstacles to overcome, with leaders who fail even the most basic leadership skill tests. Those who have vision- often don’t have power, those with power- often only use it to keep their power to themselves. Those who study leadership know that you can only gain true power by giving yours away- yet, that is rarely done here.

We’re terrified of the new, the different, of speaking out and up- because we fear that those with very little power, use it to punish, to blackball, to ostracize, to ridicule.  I’ve often quoted Paul Woodie, one of the more interesting people to have worked in Dayton City Hall- who told me early on “In this town, you need a herd to be heard.” How true.

I’ve written so much about bad behavior by our elected “politicians” in this county- and even given them a name: “The Monarchy of Montgomery County”- yet, there has been no outrage, no investigations of merit, and very little punishment of those behaving badly. The wagons are circled, the lies protected.

A small chink in the system- in neighboring Greene County comes with the fall of the “House of Schmidt” to which the Dayton Daily opines:

The pattern is egregious.

In such a small town as Xenia, the truth had to be known — or should have been known — to a wide range of people in important positions. It’s simply hard to believe it wasn’t. After all, people were quitting out of frustration with the way the office was run. Others were unhappy.

The leadership of the Republican Party needs to take some blame. That party totally dominates elective offices in Greene County. With that power comes responsibility.

The fact that Greene County doesn’t have a vibrant two-party system fosters complacency in officeholders. The dominant party has to know that and keep its own eye out for bad behavior.

The Democrats also failed. That party has to pick its targets carefully. It missed one. Nor do the media have much to be proud of here. The story broke only because one employee finally went to the state.

Still, of course, the offender here is Mr. Schmidt.

via Editorial: Schmidt case has message for Greene leaders | A Matter of Opinion.

However, I beg to differ- the offender here isn’t Mr. Schmidt- it’s us, the people- who’ve sat in complacently while our “representatives” and the “system” that we swear by- continues to fail us, to embarrass us, and to cause our community to lose value and our values. That we haven’t risen up, spoken out and stopped the madness. The Dayton Daily just wrote a story about the coroner who is working three jobs- that they aren’t posting online- without a call to end the stupidity of electing a coroner. We had the sheriff and his appraisers, the city manager and his child porn-surfing grandpa on the payroll, the convicted rapist hired by his sister at the BOE, the father-in-law, the brother, the uncle etc. We’ve had welfare money handed out to convicted welfare thief – and family members benefiting from county real estate deals. We’ve had retroactive pay raises that weren’t approved by city commission, hell, they didn’t even know it happened, and all this- doesn’t make us wake up and scream?

What we’ve allowed to pass for leadership in the community is an embarrassment. And despite the criticisms hurled this way for my “negativity” – let’s be realistic-there are no voices other than this one calling for investigations, prosecutions and change.

But, you don’t have to accept me as a leader. That’s what at least seven (I think- I can’t even remember them all at this point) elections have said to you who are keeping count. Why do you keep running if you keep losing? Why can’t you accept that no one wants to hear your voice- we wish you’d just go away.

To all of you- my supporters and my detractors- I will share with you an essay by someone far smarter than me. You should read the whole thing- twice, and then print it out, or add it to your Kindle or iPad or even cell phone- and reread it every time you see our community stumble- and then think- what can I do to change things, how can I make a difference? Do I need to enter the fray by running for office? Do I need to support someone who has the vision? How will I identify the leaders I want to lead? And what can we do with the impostors we’ve got?

Here is an excerpt- and there were many I could have pulled- but this will have to do:

We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. Who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set them. Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they’re worth doing in the first place. What we have now are the greatest technocrats the world has ever seen, people who have been trained to be incredibly good at one specific thing, but who have no interest in anything beyond their area of exper­tise. What we don’t have are leaders.

What we don’t have, in other words, are thinkers. People who can think for themselves. People who can formulate a new direction: for the country, for a corporation or a college, for the Army—a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things. People, in other words, with vision.

via Solitude and Leadership: an article by William Deresiewicz | The American Scholar.

What is your vision? Who stands between you and achieving it? Is it your boss, your partner, your community leaders, the banks, is it you? Is it Inspector Gotcha? Do you need to go and read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill (only .89 for kindle)?

Do you feel a need to blame someone else for where we are?

Are you a part of the problem, or part of the solution?

Share your answer below.

DBJ profiles Mayor Leitzell- labels me a detractor (not so)

The story won’t be available to the masses online for another week- but for those of you who subscribe to the Dayton Business Journal you can read the front-page story by Joe Cogliano looking back at Gary Leitzell’s first year as mayor.

Gary likes to call himself a problem solver- and prefers to work discreetly. And while it’s often forgotten, he’s only 1 vote with no veto power on a commission of 5, so it’s not like he’s been handed a very big hammer to rebuild a house that’s been suffering from years of inept leadership and management.

Truth is- Gary’s done a great job- but, we have to remember, the bar was lowered pretty low by our last mayor, and our commission isn’t exactly made up of out-of-the-box, risk-takers. In fact, collectively they are the least ambitious bunch of people we could have “elected.” The number of unanimous decisions is mind-boggling, and when there is any dissent, it’s usually for very wrong reasons (the equal protection ordinance comes to mind- where Lovelace voted no- and Williams abstained).

But, the article was about Gary- and when Cogliano called- I had to ask, why me? He said I was the first (and apparently only) person he thought of  who would go on the record with something contrarian. In Dayton- a lot of people will say all kinds of crap behind your back, but few have the balls to say it on the record- hence, we almost always fail debate 101 and go for the consensus opinion on everything.

I am disappointed with Gary on how little he’s used his blog since getting elected. Not that he’s ever been a really prolific blogger- but, mostly he’s used it since the election to lash out at the DDN (I know you’re thinking- Esrati is one to talk). I had hoped he’d open up the frustrations in City Hall to public discussion online- and solicit more views, hasn’t happened.

When it comes to the push for regionalization- there has been nothing out of his office. Dan Foley seems to be the only elected leader talking about it- and he almost got beat by an Oakwood housewife (I’m saying that out of jest – I respect Jan Kelly and thought she would be a great addition to the County  Commission).

A quiet challenge to the city staff about finding alternatives to raising trash fees- unless we improve service isn’t exactly going to set the world on fire. We’ve seen zero substantive  legislation forwarded from the mayor- or the commission for that matter. The commission is a legislative body – after all.

The role of mayor is a leadership position. That’s why the extra $10K a year. Yet business leaders I’ve spoken to haven’t heard a leader speak. As much as I detest Mike Turner- when he spoke or met with business leaders- they came away feeling optimistic about our future. We need the same from Mayor Leitzell. As I say in the DBJ piece- “Generals wear stars for a reason and they show them for a reason. He’s failed to pull rank and say who is in charge”- even if he was to push the leadership role to the city manager- and put him on point (as it should be).

What should we expect? What would make a difference?

  • Most important starting point: figure out a way to hire replacement police and fire personnel. Either change the rules so we can hire using a rule of 10- or make it possible to hire from other departments. Newark, N.J., just laid off 167 experienced officers– and we can’t hire a single one.
  • Our priority board system is an extra layer of bureaucracy that separates the people from power- it’s time to cut the staff- and divert the money directly to the neighborhoods. If people on our current managerial team can’t each be assigned neighborhoods to mentor and develop as part of their responsibilities- we need new management in City Hall. It’s time to make sure that City Hall makes direct connections with the citizens who are left- so that we can start rebuilding.
  • Leitzell talks about starting small businesses- and our growing immigrant population, but we’ve not actually put a campaign in place to start recruiting inbound migration. Leitzell talks about the Turkish refugees, but have we hired anyone who speaks Turkish to help support a budding community? While we’ve had a growing Spanish-speaking population- the city website doesn’t have a word of Spanish on the front page- why don’t we have a Spanish-speaking ombudsman at least?

Solving problems is mostly a retroactive process- we’ve got a future that needs a visionary. It’s time for Mayor Leitzell to start painting the road map to a brighter future for all. We know he can paint miniatures- let’s see his big picture emerge in 2011.

The life and death of a small Dayton business

Happier Days with MotoScooto

Happier Days with Motoscooto

UPDATE MAR 2011-apparently it cost more to go bankrupt than to keep the doors open- and Motoscooto is back in business.

The vultures descended on Motoscooto yesterday. After a 2-year run, the small, independent scooter store auctioned off the remaining inventory online- and will be no more.

The small former gas station on Wayne has had its share of tenants over the years. When I first moved to South Park, it was AAA Glass, a family business. They moved to a larger building on Nathan Place- right across from the DMHA Cliburn Manor- only to be broken into, vandalized, and tagged on a regular basis thanks to the projects. They now are over on E. 2nd Street across from the 2nd Street Public market- and their old building is gone, taken down by Miami Valley Hospital- which refuses to disclose its plans for the large parcel they’ve assembled along with CityWide (an area that could have taken the new Kroger- but wasn’t in the running due to the secret master plan by the people who pull the strings in Dayton).

After AAA moved out of 1400 Wayne, it was Michael B’s detailing service for a few years- until they got chased out for the Wayne Avenue Kroger deals and the “blighted” neighborhood designation. The back building has been leased to “Noah’s Ark” car repair- where Spanish is the main language- and fixing cars is the business.

The little gas station sat vacant between tenants. But, it was always a nondescript beige, before Motoscooto took over- and pumped some life into it- with its black and green paint scheme. The building wasn’t quite big enough to do sales and service. So he had the sales in the station- but the repairs were down the street next to 35- an inconvenient solution. The belief was that with the high car count on Wayne Avenue and the low rent (thanks to the blight designation- plus there were still options on the building when they moved in- and might have had to move out if the Kroger deal had gone through) the hope was the visibility and ease of access would make up for the issues of managing two spots.

Empty Pawn Shop on Fifth

The empty pawn shop on 5th St that could have been Motoscooto

The process to open was painful. There were other locations that would have worked better- but City Hall said no. There was a 6,000 sq. ft. former pawn shop on 5th Street in the Oregon District- with an additional 6,000 sq. ft. upstairs for about the same rent as the 2-building solution. But, no- scooters can’t be sold there because, well- Inspector Gotcha would rather have art galleries and porn shops. The former pawn shop still sits empty- 3 years later.

Even in applying to go into what has been a historically automotive location on Wayne Ave., in a “blighted” neighborhood, where the city still held an option to purchase and tear down the building- the city wanted $2k for a permit. Intervention by an architect got the fee down to $200. It shouldn’t be this hard.

The quest to find a space in the city- took a year- unfortunately, it was the year of record scooter sales- when gas was approaching $4 a gallon. Had things moved faster, he might have had a better shot at establishing a base clientele.

Sure, Jason wasn’t perfect. His no BS straight talk and low tolerance for tire kickers- didn’t always make for the best customer experience. But, considering the hurdles you have to jump to get into the automotive retailing business- you’ve got to give him a little credit. The state requires you to “register” every product line that you carry- can you imagine if that rule was applied to other small businesses- or even large ones? And Ohio, unlike other states, doesn’t distinguish between 50cc scooters and Harleys- all need a motorcycle license. Many states allow a standard driver’s license to suffice for the 50 cc scooters- which top out around 40 m.p.h.- and are capable of getting 110 m.p.g. or more. So much for “Green Ohio.”

And, yes- he could have sold more accessories and the like, but, given the confines of his retail space, it was a lot of work just moving scooters in and out to display them out front on a sunny day. He also had issues with shoplifting- and a few days before the end, some low-lives stole his 3-rail trailer. Had he been on Fifth- upstairs could have been the accessories space- making for easy inventory control- while the scoots and service were downstairs- c’est la vie.

I think the most telling thing about the life and death of Motoscooto- was that one of Dayton’s “development” jedi masters- who easily makes close to or over $100K a year- was in the store buying the Genuine Scooter that he had hemmed and hawed over for the whole summer. Instead of supporting a local going business and paying a little over cost (which was the deal he was offered as the wheels were coming off the business in September) – he waited for the going-out-of-business auction and stole the scooter for $500 under cost. That sure is representative of how we do economic development in this city when it comes to the little guys.

As a full disclaimer- I, too, bought one of the remaining scooters. But- also note, I’ve done the branding work for this venture from day one- and done it at a considerable discount, because I wanted to see all of you enjoying scooters in Dayton- the way I do. Those of you who know me, know I’m on my vintage Yamaha Riva all over town in the summer- and sometimes even in the winter. I’ve written off some work that we did, and will miss the activity in the black-and-lime building, but what I’ll miss most- is the little bit of the American dream that slipped away this Christmas eve.

If there is anyone brave enough to jump back in the scooter business- the brand, the lease, and a whole bunch of insight on the business can be bought from Jason. With gas prices headed up again, and the economy seeming to rebound, maybe this is your future business. Drop me a note if you are interested.