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 | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

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 | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

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 | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

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: http://esrati.com/category/bike-share-in-dayton-ohio/

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 – NYTimes.com.

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 – NYTimes.com.

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 esrati.com 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.

#resistanceisfutile

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.

Old fashioned entry-level jobs

I was having a discussion today about first jobs, entry-level jobs, and “when I was a youngster” type stories.

Someone mentioned that in Oregon and New Jersey they have people pump gas at gas stations. Why? Back when I was a kid, and gas was well under a buck a gallon, not only would they pump your gas- but they’d check the oil, washer fluid and even your tire pressure. Some of them were high school kids, others- were old guys. Every day in grade school I walked past the Shell station on Lee Rd. four times a day- and I’d wave and say hi to “Smiley”- who had to be a grandpa- and was pumping gas. By the time I was in high school, Smiley was gone- and we were pumping our own gas, albeit without a hold-open lever.

A bunch of brothers named Barrett, used to work at the Sohio station. By the time I came home from the Army, one of them ran it. Besides pumping gas, they worked on cars. Now the corner mechanic is a thing of the past.

A lot of kids got their first jobs as baggers at grocery stores. Sure we still have baggers, but back then, it was different. You might push your own cart out the door- but then you’d leave the cart with your purchases at the corral, and they’d give you a plastic disc with a number on it- that you’d hang on the window- and pull back up- and a youngster would load your bags into your car. Not only did carts never get stolen, they also did bash your car in the lot. And kids had jobs.

We all remember paper routes, well those of us who are pushing the half-century mark. Budding entrepreneurs were given a block or two as their local territory. You’d deliver the papers every day according to different instructions. Some inside the screen door, others in a paper box, some up the stairs- or around back. Once a week you’d go knock on doors and hope to get paid. Checks, cash, and it was almost an honor system since almost all paid the carrier instead of having a subscription. It was a very personal relationship. I’m pretty sure many people “bought” the paper just like many buy Girl Scout cookies- just to keep a kid employed. I had favorites on my route. Some would offer me a cookie almost every time I collected. One old guy was a camera collector- he had hundreds of split 35mm cameras. I’d never heard of or seen one before- and he had them all. It was always fun to have him show me his latest acquisition.

My father always talked about being an usher at a movie theater. He, and his friend Johnny Bowles, used to see all the movies that way. I barely remember that job being around when I was old enough to go to the movies.

Now, kids even have a hard time finding jobs in fast food. There are adults competing for those jobs- even seniors, trying to make it on their meager Social Security checks. I’ve had a bunch of kids come through my office via the Montgomery County YouthWorks program, where our government pays for them to make $8 an hour to job shadow, and intern, despite having limited job skills. Right now I’m graced with two awesome young ladies who are both cheerleaders. Their enthusiasm to learn, to experience, to participate is inspiring. But, the sad thing is we are paying tax dollars to make it possible for them to experience jobs that will require them to go to at least two years of college, which is growing more expensive by the minute.

Not everyone is ready to be a college graduate. Not everyone can afford to be, with the amount of money it now costs to go. It’s time to look for ways to create more entry-level jobs – to stop subsidizing Wall Street and look to invigorate the entry-level job market. How can we reward companies for insourcing and creating entry-level workers?

Maybe it’s time to cut payroll taxes on entry-level workers or offer rebates for job creation, instead of tax breaks for promises of new jobs. We need to make it culturally cool to be the person who hires as many local people as possible, and take the pedestal away from those who outsource, offshore and exploit workers.

It’s time for a new version of old fashioned entry-level jobs. Suggestions?

The Eric Spicer diversion

In Dayton, it’s hard to not be separated by about 1.2 degrees of separation. Especially in political circles. I met and got to know Eric Spicer when I last ran for Congress and he was running for the Republican nomination for State Representative against the disgraced drunk Jarrod Martin and the eventual winner, Rick Perales who has his own issues.

Spicer came off as a straight-up, stand-up guy. Trusted friends told me that as well. But when I read the paper about his Termination from the Greene County Sheriff’s office for undeclared reasons, I don’t scratch my head at all, I know it’s political.

Greene County Sheriff, Gene Fischer, had placed Spicer on admin leave for 7 months before yesterdays confirmation.

“He was placed on leave after the Yellow Springs police standoff ended in the death of Paul E. Schenck, a resident, who fired more than 100 shots at law enforcement officers on July 30.”

according to the DDN today

For the record, only one person died, or was wounded in that standoff- Schenck. There is no lawsuit pending against the County for neglect or incompetence. Also for the record, Spicer wasn’t the highest ranking Sheriff’s office at the scene either.

And while I hate to report third hand, a quick search finds this blog piece with allegations of what’s really going on, from a blog maintained by a friend of Schenck:

inside information that Eric Spicer was being set up as a fall guy. I emailed the person who left the comment and here’s the bullet points of what they told me:

That contrary to what has been reported, Eric Spicer was not in command. His only command decisions were to call for a SWAT negotiator and a helicopter.

That Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer and Chief Deputy Mike Brown were on hand. They were the ones in command.

That Eric Spicer was trying to remove neighbors to safety in order to eliminate the sense of urgency to kill Paul. With nobody in danger, Spicer hoped that SWAT and the other agencies would cease antagonizing Paul, allow the sun to come up, and let the professional negotiator talk him out.

That if that plan had been allowed to proceed, Paul would be alive.

But instead of allowing that plan to work, that SWAT was using armored vehicles to deliberately provoke Paul into firing.

That Paul was only firing when he was provoked.

That one of the two men in charge, Chief Deputy Mike Brown, smelled of alcohol.

That there had been complaints about Brown’s drinking in the weeks and months leading up to this incident.

via Eric Spicer » Kick Him, Honey.

For an in-depth look at what happened that night, the same writer, Benjmin Whitmer, has a pretty decent essay, simply titled “Paul Schenck” It was his follow up post about Spicer’s firing that elicited some people to comment and step up for Spicer.

Information that’s come to me from trusted sources tell a story of Sheriff Gene Fischer being an absentee Sheriff, who is happy to be a politician instead of a cop, and delegating down to his Chief Deputy Mike Brown, who was promoted when Fischer faced a challenge from former Sheriff’s office employee Charlie Barrett. Fischer circled wagons, handing out promotions to people to guarantee support for his campaign instead of Barrett’s, who was the union boss. What’s funny about this is Barrett, who was a Sgt. before having to step down to run against Fisher, complained of Spicer being a political hire:

Barrett charged that Fischer brought political buddies into the office such as Capt. (and now Major) Eric Spicer and that destroys the morale. Fischer was Spicer’s campaign treasurer for Spicer’s unsuccessful bid to become a state representative in a primary race against incumbent Jarrod Martin and Rick Perales, who will face Democratic candidate Bill Conner for the 73rd state house seat.

via Greene County Sheriff’s race pits incumbent against former… | www.daytondailynews.com.

As much as Montgomery County is run by a Monarchy of Dems, Greene County is run the same way by Republicans. It’s what happens when we allow every office to be politicized and patronage jobs to be the currency of our community.

Unfortunately, Greene County Dispatchers who have recordings of Brown calling into dispatch, sounding intoxicated, meddling in stops, or the road supervisors complaints of mos-management will all stay firmly swept under the rug as long as the politicians feel they can make Spicer the scape goat. Just remember, Fischer was Spicers campaign treasurer, before he turned on him and hung Spicer out to dry. Anyone who feels safe in their job based on the political winds in Greene County is clueless. Eventually, ships full of holes sink and take all hands, no matter what.

The fact that Spicer isn’t filing for disability like another former Sheriff’s office commander- John DiPietro, speaks volumes more about Spicer’s character.

Undoubtedly, many tax dollars will be spent sorting this out, after Spicer sues for wrongful termination, and years will pass as those in power hope to outlast his bank account (as long as taxes are collected, politicians will deny the inevitable and continue to waste money on lawsuits- I know from personal experience). In the mean time, Spicer will have a hard time finding a job using his 25+ years experience.

This is what happens when we continue to vote for smiling faces with big campaign war chests instead of the best qualified people- and have a media that can’t write the hard stories.

The public needs real proof that Spicer needed to be fired, instead of demoted or admonished. We shouldn’t have to pay to allow costly political executions rule our government. If the mainstream media outlets ask for the right public records, there will be some interesting documents questioning the inner workings (or non-workings) of the Sheriff’s office.

If some Greene County employees have some guts- you can add comments here safely and anonymously. Please stick to facts, and not personal attacks. You can help save the tax payers a lot of money and wasted circus time with your input.

 

Dayton media bias called out

Remember when a guru was going to buy the old Society/Key bank building for half-a-million dollars at auction, and the Dayton Daily News crawled up his legal behind with a microscope, questioning everything about him? I do. I wrote about it: “You must be crazy – to invest in Dayton” It turned out they were partially right, the Commander Swami sold off what he could in the building (including a ton of really nice office furniture for pennies on the dollar) and then neglected to heat the building, allowing pipes to freeze, break and flood parts of the building rendering it worth even less.

But as I pointed out in that article, there were plenty of lawsuits against local “developers” that pretty much go unreported.

A few weeks ago, Larry Ealy turned in enough valid signatures to run as a Democratic nominee for Governor. No less than four articles appeared in the Dayton Daily News about “possible voter fraud” in his petitions. Other candidates have turned in all kinds of wonky petitions- and there is never another word said. In fact, a certain Democratic Party Queen was investigated for forging petitions for a gubernatorial candidate when she was in college and it never made the paper. She’s now sitting in office. What was most interesting was how the paper felt the need to recap an entire story of the questionable prosecution of one of the circulators for conviction of voter fraud years ago– yet, there is no law against a convicted felon circulating petitions in Ohio, nor is there one stopping them from voting (a common misconception).

When I ran for Commission last time, the paper had to make sure that readers knew I had tax liabilities, even though they were small and being taken care of. No mention of one of my opponents failed business ventures with lawsuits galore, or his wife’s vehicular homicide charges. In fact the first time he ran for office, they barely figured out that he didn’t actually live in the city when he filed- and he had to get his property annexed into Dayton to run legally.

Then there is the persecution of Raleigh Trammell, the preacher who used to be able to come and yell at the City Commission at will when he was in his prime. Had I ever raised my voice to the commission like that, I’d have been arrested. Despite the fact that Reverend Trammell had been convicted of felony welfare fraud and served time in the late seventies, no one seemed to question how he was given a contract to administer welfare dollars for years without oversight or why no one else was held responsible? Someone kept signing those checks right? I lost some friends in the local business community for posting this question (three times) “who’s the criminal”  Let’s see, the President of the United States makes $400,000 as the most powerful man in the world, and the CEO of CareSource pays herself $3 million a year with tax dollars that are supposed to go to aid the poor? Oh, but that’s right, without these quasi-governmental contract jobs Dayton would be in bankruptcy just like Detroit right now. Something is wrong when companies that only get tax dollars as income, spend it on lavish CEO pay and hire a bevy of lobbyists.

Nah, the media won’t write about that here.

But, wait, just a week ago, the Dayton Daily news did three pieces questioning the Dayton Development Coalition and their questionable right to be secretive with their financials, despite being a quasi-governmental organization. Never mentioned their hiring of Congressman Turner’s former wife on a grossly inflated no-bid contract to come up with a horrible branding campaign. Nope- not a word. You had to read that here on Esrati.com.

Somehow, local developers have managed to tax the little peoples’ income in townships where income taxes aren’t supposed to be levied. That’s right- if you are a white=collar worker, working for a law firm that has a state legislator on staff and a candidate for Lt. Governor- you don’t pay income tax, but if you work for a retailer and are paid close to minimum wage- you pay income tax. Barely a peep in the media- had to read it here: Only the people who don’t pay off politicians pay income taxes at Austin Road

There is a former local restauranteur who made a real mess of her business and is currently serving prison time and facing deportation when she gets out. They’ve had a field day reporting about this stupid case of insurance fraud. Yet, right across the street, there is another restauranteur who has a history that’s even more fascinating that has never hit the local press. Confidential sources inside the Cox Castle confirm that they’ve known about this story- bur didn’t think it was newsworthy. Note, this restauranteur was financially backed by a local kingmaker who likes to think he’s the man behind the curtain and Dayton’s savior.

As they’ve always said- politics makes strange bedfellows.

If you look at the Dayton Daily News over the last year, hardly a week has gone by without some mention of Drones and UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicle) as our potential economic savior. I’m sorry, but I built model airplanes as a kid and flew them, but that didn’t make me the next big thing since the Wright Brothers. First, we need to get some basic terminology straight- drones and UAV’s aren’t interchangeable terms. A drone is something that isn’t controlled by a pilot. It just goes up and does its thing. UAV’s can be a drone- or they can be remotely piloted. If it’s not bigger than a lawn chair, and it doesn’t fly over 1.000 odd feet- it’s no different than a model airplane (don’t quote me as an FAA source). Really, if this is our future- we’re all in trouble. Even if it’s big- and flies fast and high like a Predator, this isn’t going to solve the world’s problems- not like renewable energy, greener technology, sustainable agriculture. Nope, this is a line of bunk created to keep a small group of fear-o-crats in high priced suits in jobs. The Dayton Development Coalition has gotten a hall pass for years, despite it being an illegal slush fund for tax dollars being funneled to lobbying activities. And yes, loyal readers have read that here too- including the flow chart that showed how it was a big circle jerk of money for what is left of Dayton’s old boy network.

I apologize for not writing the story about a sitting mayor who is also a Realtor, handling the lease for a county agency, or about the lack of accountability for a woman dying by dog bites, or any of the other stories people have asked me to write over the last month or so. I’d love to do it, but, unfortunately, when you write articles like this and expose local media bias, your ability to earn a living from local business is hampered. I’ve been working my rear-end off trying to make a living so that I can afford the time to hang basketball nets again this summer- and to pay all my taxes on time (wouldn’t want the paper to write me up again for it). I’ve also got to paint my house by June 1st, and because I do it right (my last paint job lasted almost 20 years before it started to peel), I need to work extra hard.

Of course, if I step on too many toes, I may end up an unsolved murder, like that of the father of a former Mayor. Word on the street has it that his father was killed because of a flip-flop on a vote on a landfill. I’m still wondering when Sgt. Maj. North Woodall‘s murder will be solved- or that of Dayton Police Officer Kevin Brame.

When I first ran for mayor over 20 years ago, I had my office windows shot out two nights in a row. That was a message not to keep screwing with the system. Lucky for you, I’m better at sending messages than receiving them, so here we are 20 years later- the “ad guy with nothing to say” (what former DDn editorial page writer Martin Gottlieb said about me when I ran the first time) is still telling it like it is.Thank you for reading- and your continued support. Did I miss much?

Tax dollars going where they should: Dayton to repair basketball courts

I can tell you that there were only four basketball courts in Dayton that were worth playing on that belonged to the city last year- at the new rec center on the old Roosevelt site, 2 at Riverview and one at Jane Newcome.

Dayton Public supplied a few more to the inventory- with Dunbar and Rosa Parks having courts that were nice (although Dunbar’s needs to be swept often since it is on a flood plain- and often covered with gravel).

As part of my campaign for City Commission last year I hung more than 300 basketball nets on our lame courts and rims. Here was the video about it:

But, now, since I shamed them in the video and with my campaign last year, the city is finally going to start putting our tax dollars where they belong- into our parks.

In total, about 23 basketball courts and 15 tennis courts will be resurfaced and improved. About 13 tennis and two basketball courts will be eliminated.

“In some cases, people aren’t using these because the courts are unusable,” said Aaron Sorrell, director of the city’s department of planning and community development. “Where we’ve made improvements to our parks, we’ve seen a significant increase in use, and that’s the intent here.

“City officials evaluated 34 parks that have basketball and tennis courts, and they assessed the condition, use and location of the parks and amenities.The city identified 17 parks that need repairs, which will be performed in two phases. Each phase is expected to cost about $500,000, depending on the winning bids,’’ officials said.

via Dayton plans upgrades to 17 parks | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

I’ll still be putting nets on rims this summer. I’ve already delivered 1 net this year and had a request for another a week ago (I gave back the ladder I’d borrowed from Mike Riley of Insignia Signs and just got my new ladder this Wednesday).

My next plan is to start summer basketball camps for kids at up to 10 locations. I want to hire local college players to supervise teams of local high school players to run the camps. The high school players will be paid with funds from Montgomery County Youth Works, I just need to find between $20-40K to pay supervisors, supply balls, water buffaloes, and practice pinnies. Now, at least we’ll have some nice courts.

I’m not sure what courts are due for repair- since the DDn writer talks about parks I’ve never heard of. “Belmont park” is probably “Walnut Hills” since it’s one of two roller hockey rinks. And, why Jane Newcome is getting repaved is beyond me- when it’s almost perfect while the heavily played Dayton View park is being ignored. If there is one place that needs the lights back on for late night ball it’s at the corner of Broadway and Superior.

Of course, my name will never be mentioned in the DDn as the reason the city has finally decided to do something about our deplorable basketball courts- but that’s OK. You will know- and the kids who play, know the “net man” came last year and listened- and acted, and this year- things got better.

Thanks to those of you who really helped out last year- and I’m going to miss some names I’m sure- but Kevin B., Shannon O., Bill R., Missy W., Scott H., Tabatha M., Kyle M., Lewis G., Jim J., Adrian H., Rob D., Norm W., Isabelle S., Sara M., Brent J., Mike G., Milt C., Kevin H., Brian W., Barry B., Terry P., thanks- and also to Jai and Cory for working on the video.

My only advice to the city is: Invest in the best rim out there- one that’s built for outdoor ball and that has a design for hanging nets that can’t be beat: The First Team FT172D of all the rims I’ve seen, this is the only one that will stand up and last – can take chains or nets (please stick with nets- chains are brutal on the balls and also dangerous). It’s worth the extra money.

Thank you to the City Commission and the city staff that have made this happen. This is the kind of investment in our community I can be proud of.

Here is City Manager Tim Riordan on the planned improvements: