Another reason to end local “economic development” efforts by government

In the continuing saga of incompetence in crony capitalism in Dayton, we now can thank the Dayton Daily News for finally uncovering a failure by the powers that be in handing out cash to private businesses.

Note, that this was money that was put aside as payola for allowing Waste Management and the Danis Corporation to build a mountain of trash on the West Side- not actual tax dollars:

A $100,000 West Dayton Development Fund grant the city awarded to Loritts-Neilson Funeral Home Inc. could be pulled back after the Dayton Daily News discovered the state had canceled the funeral home’s articles of incorporation in 2007 for delinquent taxes.

Ernest Neilson III, president and owner, owes an undisclosed amount of taxes to the state and more than $36,000 in property taxes on the business, 3924 W. Third St., to Montgomery County, records show.

“If the tax issues are true, then the funding would be in jeopardy,” said Timothy Downs, deputy director of the city’s economic development office, the division that distributes the grant.

Downs said he was unaware of the canceled articles of incorporation until the Dayton Daily News informed him of it.

The background reporting system the city uses did not reveal the cancellation, said Veronica Morris, senior development specialist for the city’s economic development office.

No decision had been made Thursday about the grant, which is funded through landfill fees paid to the city by Waste Management Inc. The grant money is used as reimbursement money for projects recipients of the West Dayton Development Fund have spent money on.

City commissioners approved the grant to the funeral home Oct. 12.

Neilson applied for the grant in August. The grant application he used included a question as to whether he owed any delinquent taxes to the state or any political subdivision of the state.

He responded “no.”

“I said ‘no’ simply because those were already in arrangements and I felt that was no one’s business,” Neilson said Tuesday….

If the grant award stands, Neilson will use it toward a $450,000 renovation and expansion of the funeral home, according to his application.

“He cannot use (the grant money) to help pay his taxes,” Morris said.

via City fails to investigate grant requests.

The list of grants handed out to questionable companies is long and the return on investment reports totally lacking. No other business would survive based on the practices and policies of “economic development” employees of government organizations. The only people who seem to make as many wrong calls and keep their jobs are meteorologists on local TV news. To list a few favorite “economic development” flops- where economic development gurus blew it: the funding of a new HQ for the ponzi scheme called MCSi, money thrown hand-over -ist to Ultracell which never had a production ready product and the tons of money thrown away on the “Wayne Avenue Kroger” which has decimated a neighborhood and given us an empty lot.

Crony capitalism is the correct term for when government gets to pick winners and losers in the private sector. Read this excellent essay from the NYT on crony capitalism in the US by Nicholas Kristof: Crony Capitalism comes home.

Imagine if the West Dayton Development fund went to funding parks and rec programs for kids, or for consolidating good neighbors into solid savable neighborhoods? That may have been real economic development, instead of crony capitalism at its finest.

Montgomery County Democratic Party picks school board candidates

Despite just being picked to be on the school board from a large field of qualified candidates by a majority Democratic party board- the Rev. William Schooler finds himself the odd man out in the coming school board race when the Democrats endorsed the other three candidates in the four-way race for three seats.

The election wouldn’t have even been necessary, since Nancy Nearny’s original petitions came in 8 signatures short of the 350 required until her angels at the Board of (S)elections found her 8 that got her back on the ballot.

According to sources, The Montgomery County Democratic Party tonight endorsed incumbents Nearny and Sheila Taylor (a party patronage employee in the county) and the Rev. Robert Walker (who is running with Schooler as a “team”) in the race. It’s unclear if Walker even asked for the endorsement.

Of course, Schooler is the only incumbent running who said no to GE and UD on corporate welfare, which paints a big bull’s-eye on his back. Sitting member Joe Lacey even tried unsuccessfully to have Schooler censored for suggesting that the schools would have to come to the voters for yet another levy after helping GE pay the schools nothing for 15 years. (update: Lacey lost)

Considering that the school board race is supposed to be a non-partisan one, it’s interesting that the party feels a need to take a stand.

Seeing that Nearny and Taylor helped pick Schooler in the first place makes this whole thing all the more odd.

What’s even sadder is that more of the people who applied for appointment didn’t even bother with  attempting to run.

 

Board of Elections only open for monkey business- not for voting

It’s easy to understand why the Board of Elections can’t find any money to stay open late for early voters who prefer to vote in person, they blew our tax dollars on overtime for salaried managers and on bonuses to friends and family (for longevity and “performance”).

To top if off, there isn’t an ethical or moral person sitting on either the board or working in the Montgomery County BOE or we wouldn’t have had the issues we’ve had; with the hiring of a convicted rapist without a job application (he was the brother of another worker) and a powerful lobbyist’s son who was first fired for forging a signature on an absentee ballot– then arrested for dealing meth.

The four-member board often splits down the middle by party lines, and third party or independent candidates are provided none of the assistance like having their signatures checked by board workers on their “lunch breaks” ahead of turn in.

The board salaries are exorbitant as well: $20k a year to meet twice a month. These positions are nothing but ways to pay off the local political party chiefs who either pocket the cash, or turn it over to the party coffers. Most of the patronage employees are also expected to heavily support the party with donations.

The entire office has no interest in either getting candidates on the ballot or getting ballots into the voters’ hands.

Hence- today’s article in the Dayton Daily News:

The Montgomery County Board of Elections will not have extended evening and weekend hours for early voting after Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Wednesday that he broke two tie votes in favor of the board’s two Republican members.

“My analysis considered the financial constraints of the board and the time already allocated to early voting,” said Husted.

He said there is ample time for people to vote early during normal board hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or from home.

“Frankly, I see this as voter suppression,” said Dennis Lieberman, a Democrat who offered two motions Oct. 18 to extend the board’s hours. “People are coming there at 4:30 or 5 to find it was closed. This is not what we should be doing in America.”

He said he was at the board Friday afternoon and it was packed with people who wanted to vote early in person for the Nov. 8 general election. He said the board had budgeted for additional hours. Among area counties, both Greene and Butler boards of election have extended hours, including Saturdays.

Husted’s ruling also overturned Lieberman’s effort to allow early voting after 6 p.m. Nov. 4, which Husted said would violate state law. That law is separate from a voting reform law that reduced the early voting period but which is on hold because it will be subject to a referendum in November 2012. The board’s other Democrat, Tom Ritchie, voted with Lieberman. Husted must break all tie votes.

Board Chairman Greg Gantt and member Kay Wick voted against extending evening and weekend hours and allowing early voting after Nov. 4. Gantt said there are plenty of opportunities for people to vote from home or in the board office, as well as on election day, and the board shouldn’t spend money on staffing for extra hours…

The Rev. Darryl Fairchild, who joined other ministers in complaining about the lack of extended hours, said he was infuriated by the Republicans’ position and Husted’s decision.

“A person who is entrusted to ensure that every person gets a chance to vote decided to prevent people from voting,” said Fairchild. “It is ludicrous for (Husted) to say ‘financial concerns’ given that his party just voted to spend $15 million on a second primary in 2012.”

via No extended early voting for county.

As Reverend Fairchild points out- the idea of a second primary to select candidates for Congress is only being caused because the secretary of state chose to go with a horrifically gerrymandered new map. The BOE is hoping to hold another restricted polling place election like the one I ran in last year- with 4 polling places for the entire county- which turned out to be a farce.

The reality is, having only one elected person overseeing elections is a farce, and what we really need is to create a new system of chief ethics officers in each county to oversee not only elections but all government offices so that we don’t have the kind of mischief we see in the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

There needs to be an investigation into the overtime being paid for salaried employees, and why Montgomery County is paying double what they pay for the same jobs in Greene County. We also need to start investigating if the claims made by former employees of ballot failures are true- and if they are, need to re-evaluate the qualifications of the employees and the people who hire them.

Democracy is a farce if we can’t trust that our elections are handled fairly and properly.

It’s pretty easy to afford extended hours for a few weeks before an election, just hire some more friends and family to oversee it. Why not? Seems to be the standard operating procedure downtown.

What really needs to be investigated at the Board of Elections

Former Montgomery County Board of Elections workers try to point out that incomplete ballots may have been provided in a 2006 election. (this story broke on esrati.com) Instead of investigating the claim- the BOE starts a witch hunt on how this election info was leaked. The prosecutor’s office plays along- but fails to file charges on the leakers- or investigate the BOE to see if they really did screw up.

Net gain for the voters/taxpayers- nothing. Same old, same old.

From today’s DDN:

The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office has declined to file charges against two men who admitted distributing a Board of Elections document they said was evidence of wrongdoing in the 2006 elections, according to documents obtained by the Dayton Daily News on Tuesday.

After a review of the investigation, the prosecutor’s office cited “a lack of evidence” that election statutes had been violated, according to the investigative report filed by Montgomery County Sheriff’s Sgt. M.D. Hutchison….

“It was my position that it was either a fake or it was just a working copy,” (Steve) Harsman  (Dem Director of the BOE) said. Harsman said that the board had asked for an investigation both of the charges made in the letter and a determination of how the document was released. Hutchison’s report shows that Eric Worthen, an elections board employee from 2003 through 2006, and Douglas Tully, who worked there from 1994 through 2007, were the two former employees who admitted distributing the document.

The board must employ equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. Both Worthen and Tully are Republicans, said Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Greg Gantt.

Gantt, who is also chairman of the elections board, said he was disappointed with the prosecutor’s office decision not to file charges against them.

The four members of the board, two Democrats and two Republicans, have strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Harsman said that the board would be putting out an official statement later this week.

Worthen said Tuesday night he wasn’t surprised that no charges had been filed against him because “the document that was released was legitimately obtained.”

Worthen also said he stood behind the charges made in the anonymous letter and he wondered why the board members refused to do anything about them….

“The board did nothing wrong,” said board member Dennis Lieberman, the former chairman of the county Democratic Party, who added that “I think the information they provided is false information.”

via Charges not filed in voting dispute.

But let’s look past the matter of whether an election was conducted properly and look at the people who run the Board of (S)elections, how they get there and why no one is willing to hold them accountable. It’s time to demand a major change in how BOEs are put in place in Ohio.

First is the insane concept that we should have un-elected people running the elections. There is only one person in the state who is elected to oversee elections: the secretary of state. Our current one, John Husted, consistently broke the law about residency when he was a state rep and a state senator- with no accountability to anyone- since the local BOE continued to be deadlocked 2-2 and the deciding vote was the SOS which gave him a hall pass.

The idea of letting the Democrats and the Republicans have their political parties fill the four board seats (which pay $20k a year for 2 meetings a month) is the first bit of hypocrisy. What about third parties- and what about the gross overpayment- usually each party’s chair sits on the board to collect a paycheck.

Then we have the “separate but equal” office structure with 2 people for every one job- one a Dem and one a Rep. This is not only expensive- but has turned into the biggest patronage cesspool going. We’ve had a convicted rapist hired, without a job application. We’ve had an alleged meth dealer working there for years (son of a powerful lobbyist) who was fired for forging a signature on an absentee ballot.

The list goes on. But what is most intriguing is that while the county cries poverty- bonuses, raises and an excessive amount of overtime (for salaried directors) are being handed out. Here is a spreadsheet of pay at the BOE for you to examine from a public records request made by a reader:

First Name Last Name Job Title 2004 Overtime Lump Sum Longevity 
TINA BROWN DEPUTY CLERK 31,823.60 0.00 1,700.00 1,950.00
CAROLYN CLARK CLERK 40,632.60 5,535.40 3,060.00 0.00
ROBYN FECKE CLERK 34,177.55 2,938.15 4,125.80 0.00
STEVE HARSMAN DIRECTOR 85,762.09 8,871.61 6,910.00 0.00
WILLIAM HIBNER III CLERK 34,365.75 1,840.15 1,860.00 0.00
HELEN JACOBSON CLERK 15,806.56 2,065.59 0.00 0.00
LAURA JORDAN CLERK 27,574.35 0.00 1,700.00 2,850.00
BEVERLY KING CLERK 58,491.74 7,545.74 4,810.00 0.00
ROBIN LEHMAN CLERK 54,740.00 0.00 1,700.00 0.00
SUSAN MARTIN CLERK 46,814.21 8,314.81 3,877.00 0.00
CATHERINE MERKLE CLERK 41,043.52 3,747.12 3,450.00 0.00
KAREN O’MEARA CLERK 5,333.75 2,076.12 0.00 0.00
ALICIA SCOTT-BEY CLERK 36,325.33 3,636.73 1,675.80 0.00
BETTY SMITH DIRECTOR 65,208.40 0.00 5,200.40 0.00
First Name Last Name Job Title 2005 Overtime Lump Sum Longevity 
TINA BROWN DEPUTY CLERK 30,236.60 0.00 0.00 1,559.00
CAROLYN CLARK CLERK 44,626.46 6,239.23 2,000.00 0.00
ROBYN FECKE CLERK 33,187.08 1,219.45 1,000.00 0.00
STEVE HARSMAN DIRECTOR 83,019.60 0.00 3,600.00 0.00
WILLIAM HIBNER III CLERK 36,325.56 2,064.52 1,000.00 0.00
HELEN JACOBSON CLERK 12,278.42 0.00 150.00 0.00
LAURA JORDAN CLERK 27,144.80 0.00 0.00 1,522.00
BEVERLY KING CLERK 67,425.27 9,743.73 3,100.00 0.00
ROBIN LEHMAN CLERK 7,602.72 0.00 0.00 0.00
SUSAN MARTIN CLERK 46,043.32 5,468.40 2,600.00 0.00
CATHERINE MERKLE CLERK 42,572.38 1,521.37 2,600.00 0.00
KAREN O’MEARA CLERK 6,056.63 570.00 0.00 0.00
ALICIA SCOTT-BEY CLERK 31,363.13 50.33 300.00 0.00
BETTY SMITH DIRECTOR 64,268.80 0.00 0.00 0.00
First Name Last Name Job Title 2006 Overtime Lump Sum Longevity 
GUY ABER CLERK 6,816.25 851.25 0.00 0.00
APRIL ALFORD CLERK 9,079.75 2,198.75 0.00 0.00
DENIS ASLINGER CLERK 36,037.08 6,111.88 2,000.00 0.00
TINA BROWN DEPUTY CLERK 36,845.39 5,671.44 0.00 0.00
CAROLYN CLARK CLERK 52,660.20 10,913.40 3,000.00 0.00
ROBYN FECKE CLERK 38,591.45 7,069.85 600.00 0.00
STEVE HARSMAN DIRECTOR 97,918.41 9,080.65 5,000.00 0.00
WILLIAM HIBNER III CLERK 38,887.34 3,341.74 1,700.00 0.00
HELEN JACOBSON CLERK 14,891.20 215.47 1,100.00 0.00
LAURA JORDAN CLERK 18,093.20 0.00 0.00 0.00
BEVERLY KING CLERK 70,451.69 18,620.49 500.00 0.00
SUSAN MARTIN CLERK 49,070.61 9,505.01 900.00 0.00
CATHERINE MERKLE CLERK 44,551.98 4,986.38 900.00 0.00
KAREN O’MEARA CLERK 14,320.00 2,967.50 0.00 0.00
ALICIA SCOTT-BEY CLERK 35,014.20 2,001.40 1,100.00 0.00
BETTY SMITH DIRECTOR 98,332.11 9,686.35 5,000.00 0.00
First Name Last Name Job Title 2007 Overtime Lump Sum Longevity 
GUY ABER CLERK 23,991.94 1,526.24 1,000.00 0.00
APRIL ALFORD CLERK 29,281.45 858.15 2,500.00 0.00
DENIS ASLINGER CLERK 48,077.05 3,290.25 3,750.00 0.00
TINA BROWN DEPUTY CLERK 36,931.54 1,527.54 2,500.00 0.00
CAROLYN CLARK CLERK 48,418.22 2,675.42 3,750.00 0.00
CHRISTOPHER COONEY CLERK 6,172.50 627.50 0.00 0.00
ROBYN FECKE CLERK 37,799.66 2,132.95 2,500.00 0.00
STEVE HARSMAN DIRECTOR 93,850.40 0.00 5,000.00 0.00
WILLIAM HIBNER III CLERK 42,291.56 2,488.76 3,750.00 0.00
HELEN JACOBSON CLERK 13,953.23 0.00 0.00 0.00
SUZANNE JOO CLERK 5,547.50 157.50 0.00 0.00
BEVERLY KING CLERK 64,848.33 6,076.33 4,000.00 0.00
ROBIN LEHMAN CLERK 39,631.10 1,770.65 4,050.00 0.00
SUSAN MARTIN CLERK 47,156.53 2,888.53 2,500.00 0.00
CATHERINE MERKLE CLERK 47,997.86 2,229.86 4,000.00 0.00
JOHN MURPHY CLERK 22,928.26 1,428.26 1,500.00 0.00
KAREN O’MEARA CLERK 21,415.71 824.01 1,300.00 0.00
ALICIA SCOTT-BEY CLERK 33,927.94 259.14 800.00 0.00
BETTY SMITH DIRECTOR 93,850.40 0.00 5,000.00 0.00
First Name Last Name Job Title 2008 Overtime Lump Sum Longevity 
GUY ABER CLERK 40,250.26 10,455.70 0.00 0.00
APRIL ALFORD CLERK 37,146.88 6,921.28 0.00 0.00
DENIS ASLINGER CLERK 60,236.28 15,069.88 0.00 0.00
TINA BROWN DEPUTY CLERK 49,778.03 14,634.03 0.00 0.00
CAROLYN CLARK CLERK 61,645.19 16,248.39 0.00 0.00
CHRISTOPHER COONEY CLERK 52,985.74 17,054.54 0.00 0.00
ROBYN FECKE CLERK 52,573.66 14,805.66 0.00 0.00
ANNA FERNANDEZ CLERK 16,085.20 6,885.20 0.00 0.00
STEVE HARSMAN DIRECTOR 134,659.70 38,354.02 2,500.00 0.00
WILLIAM HIBNER III CLERK 49,745.02 9,506.62 0.00 0.00
HELEN JACOBSON CLERK 15,951.21 975.45 0.00 0.00
SUZANNE JOO CLERK 28,525.36 4,695.48 0.00 0.00
LAURA JORDAN CLERK 26,682.74 5,275.24 0.00 0.00
BEVERLY KING CLERK 86,393.17 28,429.97 0.00 0.00
ROBIN LEHMAN CLERK 73,447.41 21,793.01 0.00 0.00
SUSAN MARTIN CLERK 64,972.08 19,749.68 0.00 0.00
CATHERINE MERKLE CLERK 65,131.40 18,677.00 0.00 0.00
JOHN MURPHY CLERK 36,623.96 9,167.96 0.00 0.00
KAREN O’MEARA CLERK 38,879.74 10,398.14 0.00 0.00
JENNIFER ROBERTSON CLERK 10,162.38 4,428.38 0.00 0.00
ALICIA SCOTT-BEY CLERK 35,574.62 2,413.02 0.00 0.00
BETTY SMITH DIRECTOR 132,551.58 36,245.90 2,500.00 0.00
CAROL VARRO PART TIME CLERK 28,199.00 9,744.00 0.00 0.00
First Name Last Name Job Title 2009 Overtime Lump Sum Longevity 
GUY ABER CLERK 37,211.52 2,307.32 0.00 625.00
APRIL ALFORD CLERK 33,338.84 337.84 0.00 925.00
DENIS ASLINGER CLERK 51,275.28 2,679.08 0.00 925.00
TINA BROWN DEPUTY CLERK 39,052.78 1,128.18 0.00 1,075.00
CAROLYN CLARK CLERK 49,505.37 684.17 0.00 1,150.00
CHRISTOPHER COONEY CLERK 56,986.39 2,150.39 0.00 1,000.00
ROBYN FECKE CLERK 43,808.95 1,841.95 0.00 1,575.00
ANNA FERNANDEZ CLERK 26,525.13 825.13 0.00 0.00
STEVE HARSMAN DIRECTOR 101,407.00 0.00 0.00 3,775.00
WILLIAM HIBNER III CLERK 46,968.92 1,021.52 0.00 825.00
HELEN JACOBSON CLERK 13,064.52 0.00 0.00 0.00
SUZANNE JOO CLERK 34,710.73 1,019.53 0.00 600.00
LAURA JORDAN CLERK 26,672.33 649.60 0.00 550.00
BEVERLY KING CLERK 66,219.51 2,404.51 0.00 1,175.00
ROBIN LEHMAN CLERK 58,484.75 2,634.75 0.00 1,850.00
SUSAN MARTIN CLERK 50,556.06 1,056.46 0.00 1,850.00
CATHERINE MERKLE CLERK 53,633.09 1,768.49 0.00 975.00
JOHN MURPHY CLERK 31,780.43 1,095.03 0.00 575.00
KAREN O’MEARA CLERK 32,948.36 836.36 0.00 900.00
JENNIFER ROBERTSON CLERK 34,711.86 1,020.66 0.00 600.00
ALICIA SCOTT-BEY CLERK 34,516.80 0.00 0.00 0.00
BETTY SMITH DIRECTOR 101,407.00 0.00 0.00 3,775.00
CAROL VARRO PART TIME CLERK 13,735.00 442.50 0.00 0.00
First Name Last Name Job Title 2010 Overtime Lump Sum Longevity 
GUY ABER CLERK 42,603.13 7,059.13 0.00 0.00
APRIL ALFORD CLERK 33,373.06 1,596.26 0.00 0.00
DENIS ASLINGER CLERK 50,265.08 4,359.48 0.00 0.00
LINDA BREWSTER CLERK 6,998.80 401.30 0.00 0.00
TINA BROWN DEPUTY CLERK 42,355.05 3,983.05 0.00 0.00
CAROLYN CLARK CLERK 52,992.73 7,087.13 0.00 0.00
CHRISTOPHER COONEY CLERK 60,163.00 8,017.40 0.00 0.00
ROBYN FECKE CLERK 42,714.65 2,507.45 0.00 0.00
ANNA FERNANDEZ CLERK 32,841.25 3,689.25 0.00 0.00
JOHN FLETCHER CLERK 25,981.34 1,854.14 0.00 0.00
STEVE HARSMAN DIRECTOR 129,986.18 35,970.18 0.00 0.00
WILLIAM HIBNER III CLERK 51,110.89 5,259.69 0.00 0.00
HELEN JACOBSON CLERK 9,974.98 0.00 0.00 0.00
SUZANNE JOO CLERK 35,810.65 3,945.05 0.00 0.00
LAURA JORDAN CLERK 30,387.30 1,173.77 0.00 0.00
BEVERLY KING CLERK 71,694.14 11,179.90 0.00 0.00
ROBIN LEHMAN CLERK 62,613.25 10,613.25 0.00 0.00
SUSAN MARTIN CLERK 51,934.15 5,582.95 0.00 0.00
CATHERINE MERKLE CLERK 60,493.83 10,441.83 0.00 0.00
JOHN MURPHY CLERK 32,835.46 2,573.06 0.00 0.00
KAREN O’MEARA CLERK 31,732.79 1,676.79 0.00 0.00
DAVID OWENS CLERK 14,336.16 801.76 0.00 0.00
PRISCILLA RITCHIE CLERK 18,492.01 779.13 0.00 0.00
JENNIFER ROBERTSON CLERK 36,529.45 4,663.85 0.00 0.00
ALICIA SCOTT-BEY CLERK 33,198.45 0.00 0.00 0.00
BETTY SMITH DIRECTOR 126,771.09 32,755.09 0.00 0.00
CAROL VARRO PART TIME CLERK 12,817.50 0.00 0.00 0.00
First Name Last Name Job Title 2011 Overtime Lump Sum Longevity 
GUY ABER CLERK 18,487.50 487.50 0.00 0.00
APRIL ALFORD CLERK 15,225.60 0.00 0.00 0.00
DENIS ASLINGER CLERK 21,767.80 91.00 0.00 0.00
LINDA BREWSTER CLERK 10,080.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
TINA BROWN DEPUTY CLERK 18,480.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
CAROLYN CLARK CLERK 21,856.80 0.00 0.00 0.00
CHRISTOPHER COONEY CLERK 25,077.71 160.91 0.00 0.00
ROBYN FECKE CLERK 19,382.40 0.00 0.00 0.00
ANNA FERNANDEZ CLERK 14,508.88 204.88 0.00 0.00
JOHN FLETCHER CLERK 13,840.16 57.76 0.00 0.00
STEVE HARSMAN DIRECTOR 44,371.20 0.00 0.00 0.00
WILLIAM HIBNER III CLERK 21,213.60 0.00 0.00 0.00
HELEN JACOBSON CLERK 6,216.96 0.00 0.00 0.00
SUZANNE JOO CLERK 15,556.80 0.00 0.00 0.00
LAURA JORDAN CLERK 10,688.66 0.00 0.00 0.00
BEVERLY KING CLERK 28,838.40 0.00 0.00 0.00
ROBIN LEHMAN CLERK 25,398.75 498.75 0.00 0.00
SUSAN MARTIN CLERK 21,776.76 90.36 0.00 0.00
MARK MAZER CLERK 11,700.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
CATHERINE MERKLE CLERK 24,183.97 423.97 0.00 0.00
JOHN MURPHY CLERK 14,764.80 0.00 0.00 0.00
KAREN O’MEARA CLERK 14,448.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
DAVID OWENS CLERK 14,764.80 0.00 0.00 0.00
PRISCILLA RITCHIE CLERK 13,640.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
JENNIFER ROBERTSON CLERK 15,556.80 0.00 0.00 0.00
ALICIA SCOTT-BEY CLERK 15,600.20 65.00 0.00 0.00
BETTY SMITH DIRECTOR 44,371.20 0.00 0.00 0.00
CAROL VARRO PART TIME CLERK 5,760.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

Note, the governor of Ohio makes $144,269

This is how we pay people to hand out patronage jobs to rapists, dope fiends, friends and family?

How about a real investigation?

 

Miscarriage of justice: lying thieving CEO gets 7 days in prison, grocery clerk gets hammered

If you need further illustration of what is fueling  the #occupy movement, compare and contrast two local court cases.

The first is a white-collar swindler, Michael Peppel, who robbed 271 investors of huge sums of money, caused at least 1,300 people to lose their jobs, made his suppliers eat his debts, and then sat in his luxury home on house arrest for years while his lawyers were paid with stolen money- to keep him out of jail- only to be sentenced by a judge for life- to 7 days in prison:

U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith, who concluded in August that a prison sentence of eight to 10 years would be appropriate under advisory federal sentencing guidelines, said she was moved by 113 letters of support she received from friends and family of Peppel. He was allowed to remain free until the Federal Bureau of Prisons directs him to report to a prison.

Peppel pleaded guilty to charges that he participated in a conspiracy to intentionally report false revenues and earnings at MCSi, to cover up losses and prop up the company’s stock prices.

Beckwith noted that five children, an ailing mother and brother depend on Peppel for support. The judge acknowledged that the sentence she imposed was a “huge” departure from the sentencing guidelines but said she does not believe Peppel is likely to repeat his white-collar crimes and that he does not present a threat to the public. There was no evidence that he had looted the company, the judge noted.

via Former CEO gets 7 days in prison, $5 million fine.

Also note, the MCSi was the recipient of locally funded corporate welfare- in that the Montgomery County Port Authority built them a new HQ at 4751 Hempstead Station Drive in Kettering and got caught holding the bag until Mead decided to bail from Downtown in the former Mead Tower to fill the empty building paid for by your tax dollars.

Compare this to a local grocery clerk who stole food stamps and sold a few handguns:

A Dayton grocery store employee who was implicated following investigations into alleged food stamp trafficking and other illegal activities at several local businesses has pleaded guilty to three federal criminal charges.

Mohammed Qaqa, who worked at Food City, 1829 Germantown St., pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to charges of dealing in firearms without a license; unauthorized acquisition, possession and use of federal food stamp access devices; and wire fraud.

Qaqa originally faced 11 counts of dealing in firearms illegally, seven counts of misuse of food stamp cards and two counts of wire fraud, but the other charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Still, he could face as many as 40 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines, but few people are sentenced to the maximum penalties, authorities said.

As part of his plea agreement, Qaqa admitted that on April 30, 2010, he sold a 9 mm handgun for $275 while he worked at Food City. The handgun was reported stolen in 2008.

Qaqa also admitted that on June 11 he illegally purchased an electronic food stamp card for $270 that contained $543.39 worth of food benefits, which he used to purchase various items. He admitted that on June 11 he also used a wire communication device to try to defraud the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food stamp program.

While working at Food City, Qaqa illegally sold 11 firearms and caused the loss of $2,779 by illegally trafficking in food stamp cards, according to the plea agreement. Qaqa bought seven cards for half the value of the benefits they contained.

via Grocery worker pleads guilty to federal charges.

Although we don’t know Mr Qaqa’s final sentencing- I’m sure it’s more than 7 days. One also has to wonder where does Mr. Peppel get $5 million- from an offshore bank account where he stashed the money he stole?

Justice in the United States no longer wears a blindfold, just a green accountant’s visor, checking off your balance sheet to see if you can afford the “get out of jail free” card- while the poor continue to “go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.”

Judge Sandra Beckwith should be disbarred and thrown in prison immediately. Note, she was appointed by GW Bush, as if you would have guessed otherwise.

There is no excuse for her soft touch sentencing on this CEO- Criminal Extra Ordinary.

Corporate welfare causing a catfight on Dayton School Board

Dayton Public Schools were one of the biggest losers when NCR picked up and moved to Atlanta. NCR paid a lot of property tax that funded the system and when the University of Dayton acquired the 25 acres with the former World Headquarters building for $18 million, that revenue went away. UD doesn’t have to pay property taxes as a “non-profit.” Unfortunately, neither do our large hospitals- Miami Valley Hospital, Grandview, Good Sam- all get a hall pass when it comes to paying property taxes despite paying executives multi-million dollar salaries+benefits and acquiring property left and right (the recent Premier Health Partners purchase of the former Citizen Federal/Fifth Third bank building at the corner of 2nd and Main also cut DPS tax revenue).

Never forget that it’s been a long time since the Ohio Supreme Court found Ohio’s formula for funding education through property taxes unconstitutional in 1997 and nothing has been done to change it.

The UD/NCR deal was thrown back in the spotlight when UD decided to underwrite a GE jet engine research facility on the former tax generating NCR property, serving as a false front to give GE a 15 year tax abatement. This “deal” was covered on this site in detail as it happened.

Now, we have political gamesmanship going on in the school board race, with Joe Lacey (who is not running and is the only school board member to have the guts to comment here) calling out the recently appointed replacement for Jeff Mims, Bill Schooler, a liar in statements made to the Dayton Daily News last week.

From today’s DDN:

Dayton Board of Education member Joe Lacey has filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission against fellow board member, the Rev. William Schooler regarding comments Schooler made about the General Electric multimillion-dollar tax abatement deal the board approved in July.

Schooler is running for the board seat he was appointed to last winter. Others vying for the three seats in the Nov. 8 election are incumbents Nancy Nerny and Sheila Taylor and challenger Robert C. Walker.

Lacey — who said he’s backing Nerny and Taylor in the election — alleged Schooler violated election law by making false statements designed to promote himself….

Schooler said in a recent newspaper article that he voted against the tax increment financing (TIF) arrangement in the board’s 4-3 decision because it will sacrifice more than $400,000 per year for the first 15 years of the TIF deal.

Lacey, who voted in favor of the TIF, noted the district “did not give or expend financial resources” as part of the approved agreement. “The district did vote to abate taxes on future property improvements under the tax increment financing agreement, but there was no abatement of currently existing property,” he wrote in the complaint.

To entice GE to pick Dayton, the city created the TIF plan to forgive all property taxes against the estimated $19.2 million facility for 15 years, then split the property taxes evenly between the city and Dayton Public for the next 15 years. The district would receive about $311,000 annually in the second 15 years under current distribution rates.

Lacey also took issue with Schooler saying the district likely will return to the voters with a levy in 2013-14 and have to explain why it gave $6 million in future property tax revenue.

“Mr. Schooler’s statements that the district ‘sacrificed’ and ‘gave away’ district resources are designed to alarm the voting public to support his candidacy because of his opposition to the district’s actions,” Lacey said in the complaint filed Tuesday…

A probable cause panel will hear the complaint Oct. 27 and decide whether a violation occurred, Executive Director Phil Richter said.

via BOE member files complaint.

The problem with all of Lacey’s argument is that while technically correct, that the School Board didn’t give away tax dollars that it was receiving- it lost those when UD took over the property, the reality is that GE can well afford to pay taxes and shouldn’t be allowed to hide behind UD’s tax abatement at all- it’s pure and simple corporate welfare handed out to one of the biggest tax evaders in corporate America.

If Lacey is saying that Schooler is lying about the need to go back to the voters for a levy, does that mean that Joe Lacey is guaranteeing that there will be no levy? Can we have that in writing, and who will enforce it? Certainly not the kangaroo court run by Mr. Richter and the Ohio Elections Commission which seems to make great efforts to go after minor losing candidates for campaign finance reports while leaving things like 17 members of Qbase senior management all donating $1000 ea to Congressman Steve Austria’s campaign, in the same week, with most of them never having given over $250 ever to anyone except for the former CEO and his wife.

A ruling on Oct 27th does nothing to solve the matter either, only adding more publicity to the rift between the two factions on the school board. To keep score, here’s the lineup: Yvvone Issac’s (the last remaining kids count candidate) and Stacy Thompson (highest vote getter in all Dayton races last year) and Schooler (the recently appointed member) all voted against the GE handout. Only Schooler is on the ballot of the minority block. For the majority vote you have Joe Lacey and Ron Lee who aren’t up for election and board president Nancy Nearny and Sheila Taylor who voted to give away the store.

Schooler is supporting the only challenger, Rev Robert C Walker, which could potentially shift the power to the minority if both are elected. Nearny almost didn’t make the ballot, which would have done this automatically had not the Board of (S)Elections found 8 additional signatures as good on her petitions (for the record, I signed her petition believing it is in the best interest of the voters to have the choice to make the decision- not the BOE).

The real question is are the voters even paying attention to any of this. When the Dayton Informer has asked the #Occupy Dayton protesters if they knew about the GE deal- most have been totally unaware that this kind of thing isn’t just happening on Wall Street but here in Dayton on South Patterson boulevard thanks to UD, GE and our current Dayton Public School board.

[full disclaimer, I own The Next Wave – a local advertising agency that is currently engaged in contract work for the Dayton Public Schools public information office- ultimately, any contract over $5k has to be approved by the school board, and by writing this I am taking a chance that the great work we are doing to transform the image of the schools could become a political football by my writing this. I believe the quality and value our work provides the Schools should outweigh any political repercussions from my attempt to honestly cover the important issues in our community]

 

Montgomery County Board of Elections outed again by Elections Workers

The heat on the Montgomery County Board of (S)Elections continues from the “Concerned Election Workers of Montgomery County Ohio” in a second mailing.
This letter begins by asking how Director Steve Harsman managed to get the media to try to investigate the whistle blowers instead of responding properly to the allegations. Our “elected officials” promptly tasked the Sheriff to find the whistle blowers so as not to disturb the corrupt little club in the basement of the County Building where they find jobs for convicted rapists who are family members.

The second two allegations- that the Board’s failure with 8 provisional ballots prevented a Kettering business from getting a liquor permit in 2006 followed by allegations that Harsman and Deputy Director Betty Smith have been paying themselves outlandish amounts of overtime (almost $70K between the two of them in 2010) merit further investigation.

That Smith and Harsman’s base salary starts out at double what other board of elections directors make should be the first question, followed by the outlandish overtime.

The document is a real eye-opener: Montgomery County Board of Elections Outed 2 letter PDF Please download, read and distribute.

Although I received this today, typically this group also mails to every other BOE in the state, the secretary of state and media outlets. Harsman was also hot on the case last time to see the address labels, thinking that some of them were actually generated in the Board of Elections and “stolen.”

What is clear is that some honest people who have worked under these two have had enough of the undemocratic ways of our “guardians” of the (s)election process and are going to continue to dig up dirt until a proper investigation by an impartial and honest investigating agency takes place.

Why one hasn’t been invited in yet is a mystery- other than the people in power, want to stay in power instead of in jail.

Illegal signs from the people who make the laws

It’s election time again. Not that voters really have any choices in our community thanks to our Board of (S)Elections and the obsolete Dayton City Charter which put the power of access to the ballot into the hands of unelected political party pogues.

When I run for office, all my signs go on private property, with permission of the property owner, as is required by law.

Dean Lovelace, Matt Joseph and the two challengers, Mark Manovich and William Pace all are engaged in placing their signs in the public right of way. I witnessed Russ Joseph (Matt’s brother and a County Employee) placing Joseph signs near the OH4 on ramp off Valley Street the other day- in violation of the law. I even called out to him- “you know you are breaking the law”- and he answered he knew.

Here is from the city website:

Illegally placed campaign signs in Dayton OH in the public right of way

When the people who make the law- break the law...

Illegal Signs

The City of Dayton is stepping up efforts to remove illegal temporary signs on public property that adversely affect the appearance of streetscapes, neighborhoods and business districts throughout the city.To halt the proliferation of illegal signs, the City of Dayton Street Maintenance crews will remove and dispose of temporary signs located within the public Right of Way, which includes tree lawns throughout the city. Sign removal will occur during the crews’ routine work assignments in the neighborhoods. Examples of illegal temporary signs include real estate signs, placards, and various advertisements placed on utility poles or in the public Right of Way.These kinds of signs are an unsightly blemish on the appearance of our neighborhoods and business districts. The quantity and variety of signs that are cropping up on street corners and along roadways are a distraction, and they can pose a visual barrier to motorists. We must discourage this practice for the sake of our neighborhoods.

via Illegal Signs.

Considering we just passed an ordinance that makes it illegal for the homeless to hold a sign (after we already required them to get a permit to beg) and have had such great success at moving them off our corners, I believe the same standard should be applied to political candidates. At $250 per sign or 30 days in jail for each sign, we’d be out of debt and idiot candidate free in no time, since the sentences would have them all incarcerated for at least 4 years.

Of course, the panhandling law didn’t solve the problem for the region- it just moved it around. Here is a picture of a panhandler holding a sign on the 675 off ramp to Col .Glenn next to Dave Dennis Chrysler the other night.

Panhandling with a sign in Riverside

Panhandling moved to Col. Glenn at the 675 off ramp

I hate to tie yet another post back to the #occupy movement, but this is yet another example of politicians holding themselves to a different standard than their constituents.

I ask all of you to join me in the lawful cleanup of all political signs in Dayton from public right of ways- center median strips, vacant lots, intersection corners not on private property. I ask the City of Dayton public works department to do their jobs- and the police department to fine and arrest the candidates for breaking the law.

Political signs are the lowest form of political speech known to man- saying nothing. If having signs out is the only way the voters know you- you don’t belong in office anyway.

It’s time to have real debates, instant runoff voting, deliver equal space in an honest voter’s guide to every voter and move to vote by mail. In the meantime- let’s start by applying their own laws to their campaigns.

Local media minimizes Occupy Dayton rally- while ignoring their role in the rally

In the same issue where they proudly show how much money is being spent with TV stations on Issue 5- they cut the number in half of the people in the protest:

Demonstrators allying themselves with protesters around the country who say they are fed up with corporate greed and perceived government indifference to Americans who aren’t wealthy and powerful, rallied Saturday on Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton.

At least 100 people, a few of whom wore Halloween-style masks, carried signs and chanted.

via Over 100 demonstrators join ‘Occupy Dayton’ rally.

Not that 200+ people at a rally is a huge achievement, but considering this is growing from nothing to something exponentially in a few weeks, I still think we may be witnessing the start of the 2nd American Revolution– Arab spring style.

I was interviewed by David and Audra Sparks of “The Dayton Informer” and you can see why I don’t get elected- I’m not a good soundbite guy. I’ve got a lot of respect for what these two are trying to do- providing an alternative video news outlet for Dayton. Without access to fiber, the major problem in doing this type of site is upload speeds. Just another way the media barons keep the competition at bay. Here’s the interview:

You can see the size of the crowd toward the end of the video, and it numbers well over 100.

Please consider donating to the Dayton Informer via paypal to [email protected] to help them continue to bring this kind of reporting to our community.

While the media still wants to mock the people for wearing Guy Fawkes masks, or not having a message, it’s pretty clear that our governor knows exactly who he wants to spend our tax dollars on: the very same corporations that already aren’t paying their fair share of taxes (and stop with the corporations don’t pay taxes, they pass it through to the consumers BS- they also spend quite a bit lobbying- to further unbalance the playing field), again, from today’s Dayton Daily News:

As promised, Gov. John Kasich is pursuing job creation at every turn, but his biggest successes have involved offering packages of more than $240 million in grants, loans and tax breaks to convince a handful of Ohio companies to sit tight or move just a few miles rather than pack up and leave the state.

via Kasich approves more than $240M packages to retain jobs.

Corporate welfare isn’t going to be so popular for very much longer. What was sad is that Mr. Sparks asked protesters yesterday if they knew local elected officials (with the exception of Dayton School Board members, William Schooler, Yvonne Isaacs and Stacy Thompson) all voted to give GE over $15 million in tax abatement just a few months ago, and the protesters had no idea.

Even though protesters are ill-informed, they won’t stay that way for long. Once they start really digging into how things got the way they have, we may be able to finally get a few constitutional amendments passed:

  • No more tax abatement at any level other than the national, unless broad policy is behind them (environmental protection).
  • Completely eliminate any private donations to political campaigns.

If the “Occupy” movement could just get these two things onto the ballot, we’d have a springboard for changing everything else.

There is one old adage that the media should remember when reporting on things like this movement, confounding their standards of clarification as part of the news gathering process: Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

They have changed the world before, and it could be starting now. As to why they are stupid- the mass media can blame themselves. The story has been out there for years, they’ve just failed to report it.

When will we see 99% Democrats on the ballot?

#occupyDayton sign that has it all

Saw this one sign catches all at #occupydayton rally today

I’ve seen accusations that this #occupy movement is just a start of the Obama campaign. I don’t think the President has any clue of how to mobilize these people, or he’d already be doing it.

The big question to me, is when will see see candidates grasping onto the movement? We have Tea Party Republicans, when will see a 99% Democrat, and what will they look like?

If I were to run for Congress in our new district- to take on the winner of Mike Turner vs. Steve Austria, and were to run as a 99% Democrat, here would be my platform:

  • Introduce federally funded political campaigns at all levels. No donations at any level allowed. Every voter would get a magazine, giving equal space to each candidate, who is welcome to run any kind of informational website that he or she wants. All candidates must debate- at least 3 times and the debates must be placed on YouTube and public access TV. National candidates would buy time on national TV. And, btw, campaign season is 6 weeks – no more.
  • Any company receiving federal assistance, or any kind of tax abatement, must have in place a pay scale that limits pay between the median employee’s paycheck and the top executive’s by a 20 to 1 ratio. This also includes any company that the Federal government buys from. No shell companies allowed, no layers of ownership, plain and simple, if you have a product or service you are selling the U.S. government, every single component, every single part that’s in it- is figured into your product offering and your employee payroll. This would stay in place until unemployment in this country is less than 6% and that the median household is making a living wage. After that, we can consider moving the ratio up to maybe 25x.
  • For the remaining one or two companies left on the planet that don’t accept our tax dollars for goods and services, and are “publicly traded” on Wall Street, new rules are put in place- or even re-enact Glass-Steagall for starters. It’s time to eliminate flash-trading altogether, and restore some connection between company performance and profitability with actual stock value- long term. The entire derivatives market can be shut down, as well as increasing the amount required to buy options to something north of 50%. It’s time to take volatility and computer generated roller coaster rides out of our economic system.
  • Since health insurers all count on government funds this would do a great job of eliminating the excesses of our stupid “health insurance” system- and maybe we can move to a true health-care system.
  • We’d leave Afghanistan and Iraq immediately, and start charging NATO countries and South Korea for their defense that’s been paid for by the American taxpayer- if we aren’t paid, we come home.
  • We need to simplify the tax code and the process of collecting and filing taxes. To start, it’s time for a national payroll tax system, where every single payroll tax is collected the same way, using the same portal, with simple calculations automatically performed and filed. No more W-2, W-3, 1099 and all the other BS. How much do you pay the employee? Where do they live? The taxes are automatic. It’s also time to standardize the national sales tax at 3% on every single transaction- which is then redistributed per capita to the local governments. If you have too much local government, it gets split up even more. Internet sales, brick and mortar sales- same thing. The only thing that I’d consider leaving out of the tax is unprocessed basic food items. Flour is tax free, Bisquick would be taxed. All fruits and vegetables are tax free.
  • The power to give tax breaks would only reside in Congress and must be applicable in broad categories. No more giving breaks to this particular industry or another.
  • If the candidate was super ballsy, he or she would offer to get paid the median income of their district too. What better incentive than to try to actually raise the standard of living for their constituents?

Is this the end all and be all of what a 99% Democrat would look like? I don’t know. As far as I know, there isn’t one out there (yet). What would you add or subtract to this?