Duplication and abdication: Urban League

Yesterday, I spoke about “The league of extraordinary gentle women” who rule over Dayton non-profits by being the gatekeepers to corporate guilt/gelt. They administer the doling out of millions a year in the forms of grants and operational funding of our insane patchwork of non-profits that supposedly provide valuable community services and arts and culture.

The problem is we have well over 4,000 mouths to feed, and with each corporate restructuring, consolidation, M&A and picking up and leaving, more power ends up in the hands of these powerful women. And when the going gets tough, like it has at the Dayton Urban League, the corporate cronies get going:

On Thursday, Board of Trustees chair Ginny Strausburg and members Emily Chambers, Robert Patterson, Steve Conklin, James Mitchell and Michael Powe resigned their positions, leaving 11 members on the board.

“After years of combined volunteer service by the undersigned Board members to the Dayton Urban League and life-long personal commitments to diversity, inclusion and social justice, sadly, we find that it is necessary that we take this action because we believe we can no longer be effective in our roles,” the letter of resignation said.

The six said in the letter that since June they have worked to raise funds and implement change so the League could continue.

via Six trustees resign from the Dayton Urban League.

Yesterday, I heard from several readers who are the recipients of this corporate payola that my post was way overdue, and that many are afraid to say anything about these bullies, for fear of getting the funding tap turned off.

It was also pointed out that almost every Dayton Urban League program was a duplicate of something else in the community. The only reason that this organization was funded was out of white corporate and community guilt. It’s interesting also that the DDN didn’t assign the reporter on the typical county beat, Lynn Hulsey- and instead stuck Ameila Robinson (writer of the “Smart Mouth” blog and fashion editor) on it. We’re still afraid of the race card in Dayton.

In the meantime, the paper writes:

While area politicians, business leaders and non-profit representatives plan to meet privately today to discuss ways to reopen the Dayton Urban League… State Rep. Clayton Luckie (D-Dayton) organized the meeting set for one week after the skills training and economic opportunities organizations closed.

Luckie said Thursday they will discuss “how do we work together to protect what we have and to save one icon.”

Dayton is all about hanging onto icons. We can’t let go of the Wright Brothers and the equal opportunity strap-hanger Paul Lawrence Dunbar (who was elevated to icon status to appease our systematic segregation system that we refuse to acknowledge). The reality is, State Rep. Luckie should be working his butt off to make sure Governor Elect John Kasich doesn’t destroy the state losing us the opportunity to come out of the 19th Century when it comes to transportation systems.

And so much for Mayor Leitzell’s suggestion of 250,000 people giving a dollar each-

From his analysis of financial records, Luckie estimated that it would take $500,000 and the return of programing to reopen the 63-year-old league’s doors.

Of course, the city and county are now “investigating” to see if they didn’t provide oversight:

Dayton and Montgomery County is investigating whether the organization misappropriated some of $454,000 used to help the needy pay rent. It is not clear if the city and county’s audit affected the league’s decision to close.

Considering we have an oversupply of housing (hence the need to tear down thousands of homes) the question of why rents haven’t dropped is never raised. A few ideas maybe? Another government organization that helps the needy afford homes, DMHA- has artificially boosted base rents with their government subsidies- where substandard housing can be rented at market rates to poor people. Another factor is that Single Room Occupancy has been virtually outlawed everywhere except if you are UD or WSU providing student housing. SRO allows weekly/monthly rents by the room- often times furnished- which can provide much simpler transition from homeless to home than all of these government programs.

The reality is, “the missing money” shouldn’t be the issue in the first place- the reasoning that we have multiple organizations engaged in the same thing- inefficiently and sometimes counter-productivity should be the first line of investigation. The second should be of these “Board members” and governmental overseers who were supposed to audit the books and take care of the money. Unfortunately, they all get another hall pass.

Yet again, another reason for a chief ethics officer in the County.

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3 Responses

  1. Melissa December 11, 2010 / 10:03 am
    Cheap shot at Amelia Robinson – who is also a general assignment reporter and has been working at the DDN for a long time. Are you privvy to the inner sanctum shuffling that has reporters working the desk at weird times? Me neither. Lynne could be on vacation. It doesn’t have to be “grassy knoll” time, every time, does it?
  2. David Esrati December 11, 2010 / 11:29 am

    @Melissa- think what you might. Haven’t seen Amelia on a serious story in a while. She’s perfectly capable- it’s just not her typical beat. The DDN has a history of checking skin color before assigning stories.

  3. Civil Servants Are People, Too December 11, 2010 / 4:31 pm
    the reasoning that we have multiple organizations engaged in the same thing- inefficiently and sometimes counter-productivity should be the first line of investigation.

     
    Are you proposing that each local non-profit should have a monopoly in their area of expertise?   That seems more counter-productive and likely to cause more scandal, not less.
     
    The conspiracy theories are lame.   Sometimes bad management is just that.   If the Urban League failed to manage their books, failed to win grants, failed to hold front-line employees responsible – that’s unfortunate but not a crime.  If the League goes down, it’s a shame but ultimately their own fault.
     
     
    SRO still a bad idea.   No one wants that in their community.   Rents won’t drop because they are rock-bottom already and any lower makes it impossible for a landlord to make a profit.   That’s why these beautiful old houses don’t get renovated most of the time.   I support renovation and preservation but right now “supply and demand” problems won’t allow it to happen.
     
    Being critical of public policy is one thing, but throwing figurative bombs is another.
     
     
     
     
     

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