My relocation incentive package

Dear Economic Development Director, Anytown USA

I’m considering moving, and am interested in seeing what kind of relocation incentive package your community will offer me. I’ve watched municipalities in my current location battle each other for developments and job creation numbers, offering all kinds of corporate welfare to justify their existence. I figure I bring value to whichever community I move to, and would like to see what you can offer.

As a 24 year-old college student, I purchased my first home for $14,500. Before the market crash it was appraised at over $128,000. 23 years, 782% rise. I then went on to purchase and rehab 4 other buildings with similar increases in value. What’s more, I served as neighborhood president, started a neighborhood for-profit development company, and was active in the marketing of the neighborhood- where it is now one of only 3 neighborhoods in the city that actually saw property tax valuations rise during the depression (calling the last economic downturn a recession is flat=out fibbing, it’s one of the reason- you have a job though, so, we’ll keep it between us).

I also started a small business, an ad agency. While my employment numbers over the last 23 years never rose above 7, on average, I employed 3 people. Considering that the SBA figures show the following:

Small businesses make up:

  • 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms
  • 64 percent of net new private-sector jobs
  • 49.2 percent of private-sector employment
  • 42.9 percent of private-sector payroll
  • 46 percent of private-sector output
  • 43 percent of high-tech employment

You can use my job-creating ability as an indicator of your city’s “small business friendly quotient” which you can then market to other entrepreneurs. While I know you like to hit home runs, singles can win games.

As a community organizer/political activist, I can help advocate for innovative and new-urbanist friendly programs. Do you need an independent gadfly to promote bike share systems, year-round schools, subsidized day-care/pre-K intervention, community recreation programs, veteran owned business initiatives? I’m your guy.

My blog, which I’ve been publishing regularly since 2005 is read by all the people who know people in my city and I’m sure that before long, I’ll have your bosses reading me too. I’ve exposed; pay-to-play politics, congressman’s wives running corporate fronts for donations and doing business with a GSA schedule while her hubby sits on the allocating committee, and broke global news when a 2x Pulitzer winner quit the local paper instead of firing half of his photographers on orders from the editor. Note- I may not treat your deals with kudos, but I’m less likely to bite the hand that feeds me if you offer me a really sweet relo package.

I’m also a perennial candidate. You have nothing to worry about when it comes to me taking office, I never win. People either love me or hate me, and since I refuse to take corporate donations, or sell my soul in exchange for votes, I can help give your local elections some level of legitimacy without actually risking your incumbents’ seats. Instead of plastering the city in lame campaign signs in my last race, I hung 300 basketball nets, 3 new rims and cleared all the courts of weeds, trash, broken glass and debris. Look at my campaigns as future ways to augment your underfunded parks and rec department, while you build spec business parks and “tech incubators” with tax dollars. If you want to talk about the drone industry as the future of your region, count me in, I used to build scale models as a kid, and passed the FAST test in the Army. I’m sure that if you give me enough of an incentive package to relocate to your community- I can get a quad copter and use my SDVOB status (I’m a service disabled veteran- who will own a business in your community) to bid on big government contracts for drone research.

I have no kids, so I’m not worried if you fund your schools adequately, or that they even perform. My city gave General Electric a 30-year hall pass from having to fund our schools, all while GE claims to need highly paid engineers to make up its workforce.

To sum up, I’m looking to locate in a JEDD (Joint Economic Development District) where my blue-collar employees are charged an income tax, but my white-collar employees are not. I’d also like a TIF- Tax Increment Financing, where instead of paying taxes to the municipality, I pay them to myself for “investment.” I’d like a relocation and training incentive, where you pay half the salaries of all my employees for the first 5 years if they previously worked at a higher paying job, but are eligible for “retraining assistance.”  I’d also like it if you paid 100% of any classes my hires take at your very fine taxpayer-subsidized community college, even if it’s funded by taxpayers in an adjoining county.

I’d also like some guaranteed contracts with your local governments, grants from your local taxpayer-funded “venture capital fund” and ED/GE grants for job creation and retention.

I figure with these kinds of “economic development” assistance programs, this community activist can add true value to your community and you can add one more reason to keep you employed in redistributing tax dollars for public service into private pockets.

Bid packages are due the first week in January.

(note, I’m not going anywhere, sorry- I just thought I’d write something humorous for the holidays, sorry all of those that wish I’d go away)

Dayton Daily news writer Laura Bischoff – pretends to be a journalist

In today’s Dayton Daily news- “reporter” Laura Bischoff questions State Representative Jim Butler’s official bio:

In his official Ohio House biography, state Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, tells the public that he “served in the United States Navy as a fighter pilot, flying the F-14 Tomcat. ”Butler trained on the F-14 but received a medical discharge from the Navy before he ever landed one on an aircraft carrier or received an assignment to a fleet. So does that still make him a ‘fighter pilot?’ ”

via Lawmaker’s military claims questioned |

She goes on to cite a Retired Navy Capt. Jack Kennedy- claiming that Butler is “exaggerating his military experience.”

My question is if Mr. Butler had crashed his F-14, would the story have said he wasn’t a fighter pilot? The difference between being a fighter pilot and not being a fighter pilot- is one of them has actually flown a fighter. There are plenty of Naval Captains that never were Captain of a ship- does that still make them a captain (if you want to go totally stupid Capt. Kennedy). In the military, you are assigned a vocation, MOS, which is what you are trained to do, you are also assigned a unit- which may or may not use your vocation. What unit the military assigns you to has nothing to do with your skill set, or what you put on your résumé.

To be clear, there is no 2-pilot seat version of the F-14. If you’re in it- either you are a pilot- a back seat RIO or a jackass VIP getting a chance to shit yourself. The Navy doesn’t let people sit in the front seat and take their $38 million planes for a joyride for giggles.

Unfortunately- they’ll let any fool sit down in front of a computer at the Dayton Daily news and write crap. No lives are at stake, and if you make a mistake, no one dies and you don’t crash $38 million worth of avionics and propulsion systems.

Jim Butler served his country as a jet jockey after graduating from the Naval Academy. There aren’t that many people that get to do that. He now serves as our elected State Representative. Is Bischoff’s next article going to question if he really is a State Rep. because he didn’t sponsor enough bills?

The only thing that needs questioning is why did she write this bullshit article and why did it appear in the newspaper?
Frankly, if you want to talk about dishonor- questioning this naval officer’s résumé in public, when there is no legitimate basis- is the true dishonor.

The editors of the Dayton Daily News owe Mr. Butler a public apology.

When buying political office in Dayton, don’t buy local: Whaley spends out of town

The post election campaign finance reports were due Friday.

The Dayton Daily weighed in claiming this the most expensive race ever, if you add in the in-kind donations the Whaley campaign took in:

Whaley raised $364,969 and spent $411,656, according to reports filed beginning in January 2013. She spent more than she took in because of carry-over amounts from 2012

A.J. Wagner raised $122,190 and spent $140,888 during the same period. His report includes $10,000 loans from Zafar Rizvi of Butler Twp. and Michael Oberer of Washington Twp.

Together the two candidates raised $487,159 in cash and spent $552,544. By comparison, spending for the the Turner-Rhine McLin match totaled $770,000.

But while that 2001 race still wins as far as overall spending, using another measure, Whaley may very well have run the city’s most expensive mayoral bid for a single candidate. “In-kind” contributions – which are services or things of value, such as production cost for mailers or food donated for events provided to a campaign – save the campaign from having to spend money on those items and services. If the value of those in-kind contributions are included with Whaley’s total cash contributions she easily tops Turner’s spending in the 2001 race, with $532,640 in expenditures and in-kind contributions.

via Dayton Mayor candidates spent nearly $500k |

All that money, to get a measly 9,211 votes and a record low turnout of 16,334. For comparison, 4 years ago, Gary Leitzell won the office over Rhine McLin with 15,316 while spending around $20,000.

When you take Whaley’s $532,640 and divide it by number of votes, she spent an astonishing: $57.83 per vote. Wagner, spent $19.78 per vote to get 7,123 votes.

Looking over the reports a few things:

  • Mims and Williams reports are incomplete, missing their expenditure pages.
  • Greer’s report says he spent $4,414.19- but only has listed $300 expense to Dayton Weekly News- suggesting he was doing totals for the campaign- not the period (which was only from Oct. 18 to Dec. 6, 2013.)
  • A.J. lists his vendors, right down to everyone he paid to stand out at the polls on election day. Nan’s lists vendors- who then subcontracted work- so you don’t know what she really paid for or to whom. Apparently, her friend Gen Murphy runs a temporary services company now- since she paid her $1,000 for “election day services” which is a nice way of obfuscating who got paid on election day.

Whaley spends big money with out-of-town people:

  • Ohio Democratic Party 10/17/13 $22,971.09 Contribution 340 E. Fulton Street Columbus OH 43215
  • The New Media Firm 10/18/13 $4,905.50 Media 1730 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Suite 213 Washington DC 20036
  • Momentum Analysis 10/19/13–$1,000.00 Consulting Fee 1508 Monroe Street, NW Washington DC 20010
  • The New Media Firm 10/23/13 $36,003.18 Media — 1730 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Suite 213 Washington DC 20036
  • Ohio Democratic Party 10/29/13 $18,384.51  Contribution 340 E. Fulton Street Columbus OH 43215
  • JVA Campaigns 10/29/13 $7,293.70 Media  1301 Dublin Road, Suite 302 Columbus OH 43215
  • The New Media Firm 10/29/13 $14,236.75 Media  1730 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Suite 213 Washington DC 20036
  • Ohio Democratic Party 10/30/13 $6,204.43 Payroll Service 340 E. Fulton Street Columbus OH 43215
  • JVA Campaigns 10/30/13 $2,250.00 Media 1301 Dublin Road, Suite 302 Columbus OH 43215 1486
  • Ohio Democratic Party10/31/13 $12,022.84  Contribution 340 E. Fulton Street Columbus OH 43215

Note, this is all within a 2-week period- and tells us nothing of what she was actually buying. Mailings, TV time, volunteers- we have no idea.

And, there are media buying firms in Dayton who have a lot more experience buying media in our market. Considering the regular commission for placing TV and Radio by an agency- is 15%- this is $54,897.90 in buys, sending $8,234 out of our community to DC or Columbus- and that was just the money on media- what the ODP did with their $59,582.87 in two weeks, we’ll never know.

The real question is where have all the voters gone? 4 years ago 29,750 people made a decision on who would be mayor. This year, 16,334. Did we really lose 13,416 voters? Or were that many people non-plussed by the choices?

Four years ago I got 9,440 votes. That’s 229 more votes than Whaley won with. Had I drawn the same number this time, I would have come in 2nd to Williams and you’d be calling me commissioner.

  • Jeffrey J. Mims Jr. 8,698 30.94%
  • Joey D. Williams 10,333 36.76%

It was also interesting that the Dayton Daily News didn’t mention anything about Mims having to quit his elected position on the state school board – giving the Republican Governor yet another appointee, until after the election. It was on Nov. 17th in an article written by the Akron Beacon Journal:

Just one board member — Jeffrey Mims of Dayton — is African American, and Mims is resigning from the board after getting elected to the Dayton City Commission Nov. 5. Mims is also a Democrat, meaning the board could add another Republican when Gov. John Kasich names his replacement.

Just two of the 17 members reside in urban school districts, and one of the two is the departing Mims.

via Obscure board has big impact on school policy |

A minor detail, conveniently overlooked, despite my asking Jeremy Kelley of the DDN what happens to Mims school board seat in our pre-general election interviews.

A few other interesting details on the reports:

Whaley got a sizable donation well after the election from the CEO of CareSource:

  • Pamela Morris Lemmon 10736 Falls Creek Ln. Dayton OH 45458 11/18/13 Check $1,500.00

Is this to help grease wheels for more taxpayer-funded construction for CareSource- which is hauling in windfall money thanks to the Affordable Care Act?

And, will Oberer Development still be doing their development with city support on Warren Street since Mike Oberer extended a $10K loan to A.J.? Rumor had it that George Oberer got a call from Nan threatening further support for them working in the city if they continued to support her.

His report includes $10,000 loans from Zafar Rizvi of Butler Twp. and Michael Oberer of Washington Twp.

Dayton Mayor candidates spent nearly $500k |

To download and look at the reports yourself, go to the site: and select 2013, and 2013 Post General.






Quincy’s Fish now open on W. Third Street

Quincy's Original Fish House cod on a bed of fries with 2 slices of bread.

Quincy’s Original Fish House cod on a bed of fries with 2 slices of bread.

I’m lucky. I’ve been invited to the sneak peek, and stopped in on the quiet opening day.
I’ve tried the Whiting, Perch and Cod- which is every fish on the menu, and I’m a fan.
Now, full disclosure, I do work for Quincy’s- but, I’m going to make a confession- I don’t usually like fried fish. I’m a raw sushi kind of guy- the fish and chips thing was never the same since being served it wrapped in newspapers in England off a street cart- where the grease was so thick you could lube your axles with the newspaper when you were done eating.
So, I ran some of it over to an expert- my mother. 85 years old and still sporting the Brit accent. She pronounced it as great too.
They make everything from scratch- and the menu is super limited. 3 kinds of fish, all served on 2 slices of bread, with hand cut fries and peppers and onions. Warning- the peppers and onions are powerfully hot. I get hick-ups eating them, so be careful.
The coleslaw is also made fresh and is equally awesome.
Prices at lunch are $3 cheaper than dinner. The lunch portion will fill you up- the dinner portion- will almost feed two. Leave room for desert too- Keith has started selling his Chocolate Chunk cookies- $1.59 ea or 2 for $3.00. Pretty amazing.
The Whiting is $4.99 at lunch, and $7.99 at dinner, The cod and perch are $5.99 at lunch and $8.99 for dinner.
They are open at 11 a.m.- and stay open till 11 p.m. Monday- Saturday and close at 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Head over to 3907 W. Third St., just before Gettysburg, across from Auto Zone in the old Pizza Hut.
Their phone is (937) 263-3474 (FISH) Call ahead to have your order ready. The lobby is small.

Web site:


June 21 2014, Quincy’s is now also serving broasted chicken. I’m not sure what makes it “broasted” – it’s cooked in a Henny Penny pressure fryer- but- that’s the word they are using. It’s really good as well. Go in and check it out.

Saving money in Dayton: Cell phone bills

Last year I had to switch from a pretty amazing family plan with corporate underwriting to a solo plan with Verizon. My cell bill went from about $70 a month to $110 a month. That’s almost $500 a year that could have bought a new pair of skates and gloves for this hack hockey player.

With the one year anniversary coming up- I decided to do some comparison shopping. I have an iPhone 5- btw, which can run any network with the appropriate SIM card. I’m happy enough with it- and don’t feel the need to upgrade.

Calling Verizon and just suggesting I switch to Sprint or T-mobile got an instant offer of a “valued customer” cut to $60 a month before taxes- or about $70 a month in real world. However, despite having 2 gb of data in the plan- to share it with my iPad or laptop was going to add $20 more a month- no matter what- so I was only looking at a $20 discount.

For the record- I had unlimited calls, texts and a 2 gb data cap- and paid extra to be able to hotspot it from my phone.

Sprint- who I used to love- had me talking to a call center in some other country- and started out right away with trying to sell me a new phone. I didn’t feel like they “got me.”

T-Mobile was incredibly helpful. Yes- I know they don’t have LTE here yet- next fall, but, they don’t include a contract either. Pay first month and a month in advance, and unlimited everything- and to get 4.5 gb to use as a hotspot- $68 pre tax or $78 with taxes.They offer discounts for military, veterans, AAA members- ask and see what they can hook you up with. I got 15% off for being a veteran.

Now we’re talking. They send a SIM card- and you are in business. One warning- don’t request the SIM card until you are out of penalty phase for your current provider- for me, that’s Dec 21. TMobile expects instant activation- and Verizon will ding me $120 for terminating before the drop dead date. If I want a phone- “with approved credit” – it’s $149 right now for a 16gb iPhone 5S and $22 a month for 2 years. No interest, no contract. I can easily sell my current 32GB iPhone 5 for at least $350 so it may be a decent option- but, as I said- I’m OK with the 5 for now.

T-Mobile and Sprint are really shaking up the field right now- with unlimited data and fixed length phone financing- instead of the pay in perpetuity for a phone that’s subsidized.

It doesn’t really matter what company you have now- try calling and see. First question is always- “when do I not face an early termination fee”- and then threaten to switch on that date. If could save you some serious cashola.

Another option is the Republic Wireless phone. It’s an earlier version of Android, and you have to buy the phone upfront- but the bill for a “smart phone” is $10- 25 or 40 a month depending on what you pick. Their secret is that most of the time- your voice and data are over a wifi hotspot, but that when you aren’t in wifi range- they use Sprint’s towers. PizzaBill has had one for about a year and seems pretty happy.

And, btw, if you break your cell phone, or drop it in water or any such other #FAIL, check out my friend and fellow veteran Jim Kreinbrink’s shop in Cross Pointe Center- Cell Phone Repair– he can fix phones, tablets, netbooks, laptops and game systems. (937) 435-2771 175 E. Alex Bell Rd., Ste 240, Dayton, OH

This is the first post in a planned series of “how to save money in Dayton Ohio” as an added value to my readers. If you have ideas- feel free to add them in comments- or contact me. Maybe I’ll need to come up with an official “Esrati Reader Discount Card” which will get you discounts at establishments around town :-)

The continuing marginalization of North Dayton

One of the things our data driven, self-organizing, self-filtering, irrational decision making world seems to be bringing is complete and utter polarization. We self-select our friends, our news sources and our environs, first virtually and then in the real world.

“Because most of the people” is the most dangerous rationale for most business decision making, and in our media/money driven elections, the same can be said.

Ohioans voting down a chance for an improved redistricting system a few years ago is case in point.

The move of Hauer Music to the 725 strip is another. I’m sure that someone looked at where a majority of their business came from- and said we’d do better to be closer to them- and thereby just wrote off points North. It’s been happening a lot over the last 30 years- as first the Salem Mall fell, and then one-by-one other big boxes left too.

Yet, we’ve been told for years that the intersection of I75 and I70 is the “Crossroads of America” and that it is an ideal place for distribution. Yet, do you see a megamall anywhere near there? We have vacant space at the NorthWoods exit, we have the strip at Miller Lane which adds nothing original or unique to the community, the Poe Avenue office buildings that are nondescript and seem to be happy with what’s available on Miller Lane. The only thing that’s happened North worth mention from a standard of living aspect, in years is Scene 75– a family fun center on a massive scale. Other than that one project- what has happened North of Downtown? (Don’t talk about tax subsidized businesses like the CAT distribution hub etc- I’m talking quality of life and amenities).

One oddity- is that all three County Commissioners make their homes North right now. Yet, so much has been poured into Austin Landing it’s almost surprising that the County hasn’t moved its offices there and handed over the tower to Sinclair.

Granted, population density is far higher in the newer southern and eastern suburbs, but North and West seem to be continuing a downward slide in population and amenities. One wonders if the failure to build the Western counterpart to 675 was the beginning of the end, or the fact that 35W was given short shift with all the traffic lights and intersections instead of real exchanges and a true highway.

There are people with money up North- and they deserve opportunities in retail, entertainment, health care, and music stores. The city of Huber Heights seems to be the only community working to establish itself as a contender as the last bastion of a complete full service community, while Vandalia, Englewood, Butler Township, Clayton, Trotwood all seem to be spinning their wheels.

It’s time for the north suburbs to consider consolidating and working together to have a much louder voice in the region and to speak with one voice as a viable community worthy of investment. We’ve already seen that Washington Township and Centerville can’t get their acts together and that both Moraine and Miami Township prefer to be run like a circus sideshow instead of like professional governments. The time is right for the North to start putting some serious points on the board.

I’m not sure that a music venue was the ideal move by Huber Heights- but, it sure is the gutsy one.

I’ve always thought that Chambersburg Rd. as well as access to Huber from Route 4, were all grossly under engineered for access. If Huber is able to upgrade its cross-town roads to equal those that cut through like gashes (Troy and Brandt Pikes) they may be able to better distribute their amenities to other communities. Having an AFB as a margin to your community as well as a super highway make it hard for a true city center system to work. There is also the question of how long the islands of Dayton in the Huber Heights school districts should remain as part of Dayton now that there is no residency rule. Quail Hollow, Forest Ridge etc. should be repatriated to Huber to save Dayton money and give Huber Heights a better chance of winning in the battle of North vs. South.

The last thing that should be encouraged north is more sprawl. It’s important to keep our farmland and green spaces green, but, to do that, we need to take a serious look at what’s happening in the county and evaluate what the future will bring if we don’t have a real plan.

I’m sure many of you have opinions on the shifts over the last 30 years- please share your ideas and thoughts in the comments.

8 years on the Commission- and Nan’s going to Mayor School

Interesting- Bill DeBlasio from NYC isn’t going… but Nan is.

The question to be answered is are taxpayers paying- or is it her campaign treasure trove?

More than two dozen newly-elected American mayors are gathering at Harvard University next week for a three-day leadership conference.

The seminar on Transition and Leadership for Newly Elected Mayors, co-sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, will run from Wednesday (Dec. 4) until Friday (Dec. 6) at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Institute Director Trey Grayson says the seminar is an opportunity for new city leaders to engage with and learn from academics, policy experts and political practitioners on the urgent issues and complex challenges of governing today.

The newly elected mayors will participate in a variety of sessions that include transitioning from the campaign to office, finance and administration, jobs and the economy, public safety, education and technology.


New mayors scheduled to participate include Kathy Sheehan of Albany, N.Y.; Esther Manheimer of Asheville, N.C.; Marty Walsh of Boston; John Ducey of Brick Township, N.J.; Bill Carpenter of Brockton, Mass.; Marni Sawicki of Cape Coral, Fla.; Patrick Cannon of Charlotte, N.C.; Richard Kos of Chicopee, Mass. Aja Brown of Compton, Calif.; Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio; John Eberhart of Fairbanks, Alaska; Mark Holland of Kansas City, Kan.; Howard Wiggs of Lakeland, Fla.; Philip Levine of Miami Beach, Fla.; Jerry Morales of Midland, Texas; Toni Harp of New Haven, Conn.; Harry Rilling of Norwalk, Conn.; Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Harry LaRosiliere of Plano, Texas; Lovely Warren of Rochester, N.Y.; Rusty Paul of Sandy Springs, Ga.; Ed Murray of Seattle, Wash.; Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg, Fla; D. Michael Collins of Toledo, Ohio; Ron Bigelow of West Valley City, Utah; and John McNally of Youngstown, Ohio.

via 25 newly elected mayors gather at Harvard – Education –

Funny, no one suggested this to Mayor Leitzell when he took office. Of course, he was already dealing with being trashed in the paper at least 5 times before even being sworn in.
Ms. Whaley has already had a hand in “accidental demolition of a landmark” – giving herself a pay raise as an emergency and turning down a lease to the food truck incubator project.