How about billing UD for riots? False alarms are not the big problem.

The day after the second riots in the UD Ghetto, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl is in the paper complaining about the costs of responding to false alarms- even though the numbers have been declining for 6 straight years:

Dayton police responded to more than 4,600 false burglar alarms last year, which police officials say wasted law enforcement resources and taxpayer dollars.

Chief Biehl this week briefed the city commission on proposals that could reduce false alarms, including requiring security alarm companies to take additional measures to verify whether an alarm activation is legitimate before contacting police to respond.

via Dayton police want to reduce false alarm calls |

Of course, the idea that citizens like it when police actually come when someone calls isn’t something on his radar yet- since we no longer dispatch officers after many thefts, instead having you report it by phone. Communities really like to see police on their streets, writing tickets, doing day to day police duties in a highly visible way. Oakwood and Kettering don’t have speeding in their cities- and haven’t had to rely on speed cameras to do their work, because they actually do traffic enforcement. Dayton could learn a lesson.

I’ve written about the insanity of charging citizens for false alarms before – what I think would be a better system is to charge criminals for repeated calls- read about my neighbors:

Instead of fining taxpaying citizens for false alarms, why aren’t we fining our criminal element for abuse of services? If we calculate the cost of a police call to a residence at a nominal $120 (2 officers, 1 hour each, $60 an hour) their 33 calls come out to $3,960. The costs could be levied against the property tax bill and either the house gets shut down until fines are paid, or the property gets seized as a nuisance and sold to pay the fines.

via Revenue enhancement strategy for Dayton Police Department.

But the main reason I bring this back up, is that the same day that Biehl is whining about responding to false alarms, he’s not making a peep about the costs UD is sticking DPD and a bunch of other police departments with the costs of responding to student riots:

In the parking lot near the RecPlex, local law enforcement gathered for another round of UD students’ post-game celebrations. They have become a ritual following the team’s three previous NCAA games and leading to arrests and some vandalism. But police were ready if fans got too excited. In addition to university police, there were 28 Dayton police officers, 33 State Highway Patrol officers and SWAT teams from Kettering and Dayton who patrolled campus streets.

via Despite loss and rain, students and fans still cheer on Flyers |

I’m guessing each SWAT deployment is approximately 24 people, on top of the others- so we’re talking about 110 plus officers for at least 4 hours each- for each of three riots- 440 hours each, times 3 is 1,320 hours.

Compare that to:

Despite the downward trend, Dayton police wasted so much time responding to false alarms last year that it equated to devoting two full-time officers to the activity, Biehl said. Two officers are required to respond to every alarm call, in case a crime is underway. via Dayton police want to reduce false alarm calls |

Wow, considering there were 150 actual break-ins, I’d say having the equivalent of 2 officers out of 350 full time on alarm responses is really not too bad.

I know that when my office was broken into, I first told the alarm company NOT to dispatch, as I got out of bed and walked across the street, only to see that my office door had been kicked in and that I was already too late to catch the thieves in action. I was lucky, because when the responding officers caught the crew that had my stuff- one of them had a gun.

No, Chief Biehl, slowing down the process to respond to alarms is a move in the wrong direction. You should be working to respond more quickly to alarm calls, to make criminals know that Dayton takes property crimes seriously, and that criminals who steal are persona non grata in our city. If anything, you should be working with alarm companies and video monitored businesses to be able to tie in to their systems in real time, to improve arrest rates.

And, when it comes to rowdy UD students- bill the school. They need to suffer the same way alarm owners do if they get too many calls.


5 years later- Bike share to come to Dayton

March 31, 2009, I wrote a post “Pave more roads or free bikes? Stimulus for the future” talking about bringing bike share to Dayton:

The idea of the free bike isn’t new, and it’s not out of reach. It’s working in Paris, and it’s being rolled out in small communities across the country and a few big ones. To appease the old school thinkers in Dayton- remember, the Wright Brothers were bicycle builders first.

via Pave more roads or free bikes? Stimulus for the future.

Photo of poster announcing Bike Share coming to Dayton

5 years later- Bike share announced.

Up until then- talk of bicycling in Dayton was mostly revolving around our amazing bike path system and a mountain bike course as part of Five Rivers Metroparks. Andy Williamson was organizing the first bicycle summit- which was held in August ’09. I made arrangements for Bcycle to bring one of their prototype bikes and give a presentation. Most people looked at that 35-pound bike like an albatross. I saw beauty.

This isn’t a bike for sport riding- or for a daily commute- this is a “magic bike” that’s there anytime you need a bike. I started making the rounds explaining how the system works and what the advantage would be. I sat with Dr. Ervin and gave him a rundown. I made presentations at World Usability Day- and shared the idea with university presidents and anyone else who would listen.

I made a lot of posts too:

Today at 10 a.m., Mike Ervin, Sandy Gudorf, Andy Williamson and Scott Murphy as well as Mark Donaghy of RTA all stood up at the 2nd Street Market and announced that next year, 6 years after my first post- that we’d see 22 bike stations with approximately 200 bikes hit the streets downtown. No vendor has yet been selected. There is a million dollars available from the Federal Highway Administration- and the City of Dayton is kicking in $250K according to Mayor “I never miss a photo opp” Whaley. RTA will manage the maintenance, operation and distribution of the bikes. Details on pricing aren’t available yet.

No word on the name of the system or if any major backers are buying naming rights. To me, this is a no-brainer sponsorship for one of our two health-care duopolies- but, who am I to suggest where you waste your millions in marketing dollars?

I once built an interactive map on Google Maps- and using a multi-site system- where there are distributed nodes- not continuous coverage- for places like the Dayton Mall/Austin Landing area, WSU/WPAFB/Fairfield Commons mall etc- I came up with a need for at least 100 stations and 1,500 bikes. 22 stations and 200 bikes is a start.

It’s a very good day for Dayton, with this announcement and the Flyers advancing to the Elite 8 to face Florida tomorrow night.

A step to end modern day slavery: NCAA vs. student atheletes’ union

When the coach of the football team makes more money than the university president, you have a problem. When the athletic director gets paid an $18,000 bonus because one of his wrestlers won a national championship, you have a problem. When the football program has virtually unlimited funding, but the price of college skyrockets- you have a problem. All built on the fallacy that college sports are “amateur” endeavors.

That idea just got a serious challenge from the National Labor Relations Board in a ruling today:

Peter Ohr, the regional NLRB. director, questioned that familiar construct. He called Northwestern an employer and deemed all its scholarship football players eligible to form a union based on a litany of factors, including how much time players devote to football as many as 50 hours during some weeks and the control exerted by the coaching staff and their scholarships, which Ohr called compensation. “It cannot be said that the employer’s scholarship players are ‘primarily students,’” the decision said.

via College Players Granted Right To Form Union –

The ruling, which will be contested, somehow only applies to private universities, not to public ones, but, if allowed to stand, and only private schools pay players, you’ll see a giant sucking sound as talent moves to the money. Ohio State would become “Little sisters of the poor” faster than Gordon Gee can tie a bow tie.

The reality is, being a college coach is a better job than working in a bank any day of the week (no offense to any of my banker friends) and that it’s not a job you initially go into for the money. It’s hard work, long hours and a lot of ridiculous rules thanks to the NCAA trying to maintain its stranglehold on one of the last great monopoly/slave trade operations going.

If the money that is generated by television contracts and ticket sales and licensing were divided reasonably between the players and the coaches, and the rest of it went back to the universities to help lower the cost of tuition, we’d be a long way toward reducing the skyrocketing costs of education. We’d also not be a nation of hypocrites, who believe that hard work is rewarded fairly. If you want to talk about communism in this country- how is it that every athlete gets paid the same tuition on a team (of those on scholarship) regardless of performance? While the bosses (coaches, AD’s etc.) get paid wildly well for the fruits of their labors.

It’s long overdue to change this system and pay the athletes. It’s also time to stop pretending that a coach is worth more than a university president.

Thank you NLRB for finally stepping in and doing the right thing, and congratulations for the smart players at Northwestern who stood up for their rights and called the entire country out on this disgraceful injustice.

And “local media” becomes less local

The Cox empire may own Dayton with the “numbah 1” TV station, the only newspaper and a few radio stations (K99, the Eagle, WHIO Radio), but the competition are the biggest players in TV- and one just got a lot bigger.

Sinclair Broadcast group is the largest conglomeration of local TV stations in the country- owned by a bunch of right wing nut jobs. They control ABC 22 and Fox 45.

LIN Media owns NBC 2 and WBDT 26 and just got bought by another huge conglomerate making them the “numbah 2” vs. Sinclair.

This happened yesterday and was in the NY Times- a real newspaper:

Media General said on Friday that it would acquire LIN Media for $1.6 billion in a cash-and-stock deal that will create the second-largest local television broadcasting company…

Both Media General and LIN Media operate local television stations that act as affiliates to the big broadcast networks like ABC, CBS and NBC.

The combined company will own 74 stations in 46 markets and reach 26.5 million households, or 23 percent of the market in the United States. It will rank behind only Sinclair Broadcast Group in terms of number of stations operated.

via Acquisition by Media General Creates 2nd-Largest Local TV Owner –

What does this mean for the average viewer- not much. What does it mean for political ad buys? It’s getting easier and easier to buy up local inventory for political ad season which is becoming the multi-billion dollar cash cow that keeps these stations in business. Watch for the first wave of political mudslinging to begin to hit the airwaves this Monday for the May primaries. As usual, Ohio will not be spared, big money will flow into the Boehner campaign since he’s facing “opposition” in the primary, and look for a ton to be spent by people like Bill Beagle in OH-5 with a ton of opposition.

Local TV used to be the checks and balance on local newspapers- somewhat. With this latest move there is zero local control of our media- unless you count or the Dayton City Paper as media. Even the Dayton Business Journal which started out as a local operation is controlled by a media conglomerate.


Boycott Family Dollar. Makes Walmart look good on employee compensation

The security cameras that were all over the store didn’t catch a thing when a robber stepped behind the counter and pointed a gun at the manager’s head, that’s because they were fake. The manager had just taken over the store after 8 years with the company. She’d lived in the neighborhood most of her life and knew most of the customers. On her second day in charge, the back wall of the store had collapsed, and water had poured in. Three weeks later, they were only coming around to get estimates on repairs.

In the time she’d been promoted to manager, the Chief Operating Officer of Family Dollar had both appeared on “Undercover Boss” and left the company to “pursue other interests.” He probably had a hard time living with his conscience, realizing that the company exploits workers and is part of what’s wrong with America today. Sure, showing up on “Undercover Boss” and playing Santa Claus is great- but, bailing out a few people doesn’t mean the rest of the company’s employees won’t hate you for your stunt.

The robber fired a shot in the store. Luckily, no one got hurt. The new manager wanted to quit, but jobs are hard to find. She has 2 kids at home and a disabled baby daddy. The robber has continued on a spree, hitting several other dollar stores. The police think they are close to finding him. Family Dollar put a security guard in the store for about a week- and added real video surveillance cameras and panic buttons throughout the store.

But, here is the crazy part. The “manager” wasn’t being paid as a manager yet.  After 8 years with the company, most as an “assistant manager”- she was still getting paid a whopping $9 an hour. The manager’s job, which pays a whopping $800 a week, wasn’t hers yet- she was an “acting manager.” And I always thought actors were paid better than their real-life counterparts.

My advice was to tell them that if she’s not being paid as a manager, she’s not responsible to do the duties of one. Their response was to cut her hours back to 30 a week and that she “no longer had a store.”

A little poking around online finds that Family Dollar has settled lawsuits galore, for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and that their expectations of “managers” amount to being slave labor that must work 60 hours plus to make things work via their allotted budgets. Meaning management is lucky to make around $13-$14 an hour. This is a company that’s traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Who invests in companies that engage in corrupt and illegal labor practices? Where are the investigations by state attorneys general into a company that’s been sued and lost in several states over its crappy practices? For all the people that talk about unions being the demise of American manufacturing- it’s these kinds of management practices that gave unions their moral high ground to organize.

And the store that had the shot fired- used to qualify as one of the “high-risk” stores eligible for higher manager pay, but they took away that status too- just weeks after the robbery.

One other well documented despicable practice of this “business” is that when employees leave the company they aren’t entitled to cash in their earned vacation time. As a condition for hiring, you are forced to sign that right away.

Family Dollar stores don’t deserve to be in business with business practices like this. Boycott Family Dollar.