It’s not the kids, it’s the parents.

Well, now I know. It’s 11pm that the kids are supposed to be inside by.

At 10:15 or so- there was a racket outside of my office. I walked out and there were 20 kids milling around the corner. I advised them in my best command voice to find their way home and their parents. They dispersed, although there seemed to be some confusion on the ownership of a bike that seemed more expensive than what these kids could afford. It was left in the street- so I moved it onto the sidewalk- before a small girl came back to claim it.

A nice couple on a motorcycle asked what was going on, and I told them that these kids seemed to be out past their bedtime.

Here is the curfew law- from the City site:

2.5 Curfew (Hours: 11:00 pm to 5:00 am)

No minor under 18 years of age shall be on a street, highway, park, alley or other public place between the hours specified unless:

(a) The minor is accompanied by a parent, guardian or other person 21 years of age or over and authorized by the parent or by law to have custody of the minor; or

(b) The minor is traveling to or from a place of employment, or is responding to an emergency, or is acting under direction of a parent or guardian; or

(c) The minor is emancipated under ORS 109.550 to 109.565.

2.5.2 Curfew Hours. The hours between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. are the hours of juvenile curfew.

2.5.3 Police Custody. Peace officers are authorized to take minors violating curfew into custody as provided by ORS 419.569.

2.5.4 Penalty for Violation. A violation of any provision of section 2.5 of the Dayton Municipal Code is a Class B violation and is subject to a $250.00 fine per each violation.

via City of Dayton — Curfew.

Leaving the office at 11:40 or so- I still heard kids making noise from midway down the next block. I went home, dropped off my gear and went back out with a flashlight to find out why kids are in the street this close to midnight.

As I get down around 31 Bonner where there are literally kids spilling off the porch, the same couple pulls back up on the bike. This time, they aren’t so nice in asking me what I’m doing.

I explain that kids should be in bed by this hour. To which I’m told to mind my own business and who the duck do I think I am. The kids are running their mouths too- in between smoking. I point out to one that he’s not old enough to smoke- and he says “I’m seventeen.” BINGO.

The guy on the bike wants to pick a fight, the wife wants to call the cops on me- and supposedly does. I tell them I’ll wait till the cops show up. This isn’t good enough for “Dad” who wants to throw down in the worst way to show off his manhood to the “children.” This is how we teach our children in the summertime- when school isn’t in session- “and they can be up till 4:30 in the morning if they want Mother Trucker” as “mom” pipes in.

The pressure becomes too much for “Dad”- and he decides he has to protect his brood. Off comes the sweatshirt to reveal the blue “wife beater t”- and then he’s an inch in front of me. I continue to say, I’m just waiting for the police. In the meantime, “mom” is telling me about how her kids were “molested by Mexican’s just last week” and that I must be a molester too. She screams for her man to hit me- but, he can’t quite bring himself too- although I’m supposed to be shaking in my shoes. He grabs my shirt, and starts twisting me around to push me to my knees- the shirt rips, my glasses start to come off- and he starts to reach for my flashlight- as if he want’s to pull it up and choke me- then thinks better of it when he sees I’m not going to get into it with him.

I stand back up, dust off- and call 911. “I’ve been assaulted, please send an officer to 37 Bonner.” The “wife” yells- “Tell them 31, since I’ve already called them”- “OK 31” I say- the dispatcher asks me who assaulted me, to which I reply I don’t know his name- and he proudly says “Dan Bowen Jr.”

Dispatch advises me to walk home, lock the doors and wait. The “posse” behind me hears me say 113 Bonner as my address and start repeating it as if they’d been given the combination to Ft. Knox.

The crews show up a little slow- it’s shift change in the Second District- and they were coming from the First. The officer says he was amazed to find it- of course, no GPS in the cruiser.

I give my side of it, another cruiser appears- and he tells him to head down to the lynch mob down the street.

We exchange some shared confusion about the state of East Dayton parenting, and he heads down the street.

I sit down and write. I’m still feel the adrenalin that comes with the fight or flee reflex that I seem to have learned to ignore to my own detriment. I wonder how confrontations affected Gandhi and King when they preached non-violence and held their ground and their principles.

More than anything, this convinces me that for all the “progress” we’ve made in South Park among the “neighborly”- we’ve failed to engage and provide for all the kids in the neighborhood. Had we had programs for the kids to play baseball, soccer, or basketball- had we had scout troops, and after school activities, maybe these kids would not only know me, but know better.

As the years have gone by, I’ve become less connected to the kids that walk the streets down here. I used to know many more of them, when I was working on the houses and the office.

I think it bothers me even more that Dan who lives down the street, and I, hadn’t met at a block party, or in a neighborhood meeting. He saw me as the enemy in this, when in fact, I was concerned about my neighbors.

We both live in Dayton, on the same street, yet in different worlds.

How do we fix this? I know that fighting isn’t the answer. Hopefully, he’ll learn too. I’m tempted to send some of Pizza Bill’s pizza tomorrow- because with pizza, all things are possible.

[Update 5:30 am] the left hip hurts like hell, bad day to have to go to the doctor too from a work standpoint.

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63 Responses

  1. Allison July 9, 2009 / 8:14 am
    tg, I use OBIS too, Jay was recommended to us years ago by another happy client. I order the criminal/credit/eviction package on every adult who will be living in the house. I also check every court database site and never use any names or phone numbers they provide on the application, I use the phone book. I highly recommend OBIS, they give a same day response and are very affordable. They also maintain a database of their clients tenants, where you can rate them for other landlords.

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  2. David Esrati July 9, 2009 / 8:39 pm

    So it gets better: I leave my office around 6 to run an errand, and look back to see the cops pull up. Thinking the alarm went off- I check my phone, and head down. Turns out Mr. Dan Bowen Jr. called them to complain that I was down on his block this morning and “pointing fingers at his house.” Another waste of police resources.
    What had happened, around 10am  I went down to talk to Jim from “Smokin BarBQue” who lives across the street from Dan- and where the assault happened to ask him if he saw anything. Another neighbor and friend, Bill M. came over to talk too. We had a discussion about what went on. Bill lamented about the kids having to live around some drug dealers- and give me the run down on who belonged to who. I was back at the office around 10:25am.
    Apparently, Mr. Bowen is the new Mayor of the 1-50 block of Bonner.
    Around 7:15 I went to ask other neighbors if they saw anything. I called Bill, to ask him to be out on his porch so I would have a witness if anything happened- he said he’d just talked to Dan – and tried to explain to Dan that I’m a good guy and a friend of his. Apparently Dan was trying to tell the Lotneys his version of the story.
    As I’m knocking on doors- Bill calls out that the home I’m knocking on doesn’t have anyone home, and Dan comes out with his chest puffed out again. This time, I’m recording it.
    Bill calls us over to the porch to mediate- we made some progress- but, Dan got quite upset when he realized I knew all about his record. I was “stalking him” and getting into his “business.”
    He left the porch in a bit of a huff. Then Bill put the final piece of the puzzle together- Dan used to live at the corner of Johnson and Perrine.
    He was the knucklehead who threw a 12 week old golden retriever puppy out over the fence. The very same one who came to me, full of worms, scared, and beaten down.
    Thank you Dan. I’ve already gotten the best gift ever from your sorry ass, and, I guess there was a reason you and I crossed paths.

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  3. Loni Podiak July 10, 2009 / 12:18 am
    No one made any progress with Lotney? he just doesn’t get it You rent to problem people and you have problem renters. the whole neighborhood suffers.

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  4. tg July 11, 2009 / 12:58 pm
    For the record, Tanks isn’t located in South Park.  But an interesting tidbit someone shared with me is that Tanks is as close to South Park as it is to Oakwood.  So why don’t we just say that Tanks is Oakwood and let them handle the situation???  (joke) 

    Loni – a couple of neighbors are meeting with Barb this week to talk about the situation and offer to possibly take over as property managers for them. 

    The father of a friend passed away last week.  At his funeral, the priest read a letter the three sons wrote to both of their parents mostly thanking them for being such good parents.  They said they wished they had written it all down, not just for them and future generations of their family, but for others as well.   I thought about this situation and I thought about Pops and could only imagine what Bowen’s family would be like if he was the type of father Pops was.  I can only imagine how good the world would be if everyone had someone like Pops helping them grow.

    Clearly the kids don’t have that option.  Cleary Bowen didn’t have that kind of father.  So maybe there is something to be said for befriending the kids and showing them a better way to try to break the cycle.  I don’t know that it needs to be an organized neighborhood program, but just a matter of human decency and common courtesy.    Maybe David’s pizza idea isn’t such a bad one after all!

    I know when I’ve been through tough financial times in my life, it’s frustrating to see others around you with everything you only wish you could have.  South Park is a great neighborhood because it is so diverse – architecturally, culturally and soci0-economically.   Yet the downside of that is the have nots live side by side with the haves.   When you kick a dog, it bites.  When you kick someone who is down, they fight back.  So maybe if we start to befriend or at least treat the Bowen’s of the world with kindness and consideration, they won’t be so tempted to fight back?

    Just a thought from the crazy idealistic Aquarian who is an eternal optimist.  But then there is that expression that you get more with sugar than vinegar.  Maybe there’s something to that…or to just killing them with kindness.

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  5. Loni Podiak July 11, 2009 / 4:42 pm
    I talked briefly to Barbra this morning before  synagogue and she seems to believe Dan’s side of things.  She also said she has nothing to do with Ken’s properties or his screening of potential tenants. She told me about some new tenants on Bonner ( handicapped couple who are in some way connected with  the mission). She assured me they were quiet, and they do seem to be. I live around several socio-economically disadvantaged families who have become dear friends’ we all look out for one another and help where we can. Dan Bowen moved in across the street from me with his girlfriend (after leaving his wife down the street)they have a lot more problems than being financially disadvantaged. The 7 kids were hungry, dirty and often locked out of the 3 room apartment. They were completely  unattended while she and Dan sat in the air conditioning with the blinds closed. They would certainly take advantage of your kindness but their lifestyle is of their their own choosing. I am not the one to befriend kids, but the oldest ones are in desperate need of something before the next generation of babies start coming. I am open to suggestions and am willing to help in any way I can. The Lutheran church had a wonderful kids program a few years ago, it was funded through the Jacobs Ladder project, I think maybe Stephanie (next door to me) knows the details she ended up running it before The then pastor wanted to only focus on teens and it closed after several key people left. If we could get our hands on the community center at the corner of hickory and Perrine (HUD owns it)and start our own community center, complete with kids programming we could help the all of neighborhood kids both haves and have-nots.

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  6. PB&J July 16, 2009 / 9:31 pm
    All i can say is thank god for vigilantes like you David. Keeping all your neighbors safe from those crazy kids, hopped up on moutain dew, with their baggy pants and rap music. Keep the streets clean! And hey, if you don’t like the way their parents are raising them.. Screw it, you can go tell them what to do right? If they live on your street, you’re their boss… And don’t worry about all of those people that think you’re an egotistical ass, with no concern for other peoples opinions but your own. If you’re right all the time, they must just be ignorant. It’s people like you that give me hope for the future. Screw Dayton Commissioner. Esrati for President!!!

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  7. Loni Podiak July 16, 2009 / 11:57 pm
    PB&J, I lived across the street from the people David is talking about. Maybe you should live across the street from these people before calling David “egotistical ass”  It’s nice to see someone standing up for what needs to be done, rather than hiding inside the house complaining about it. We would do well to have a few more Davids in the world  and at 1 less PB&J.

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  8. tg July 18, 2009 / 9:35 am
    PB&J – many of us grew up “back in the day” when people knew their neighbors and neighbors kept an eye out for each other.   We knew if we were acting up and our parents didn’t see it, if a neighbor did, our parents would hear about it and we’d get in trouble.  Much like if we got in trouble at school, we got in trouble at home too.  I can’t think of a time when I came home complaining about a perceived injustice at the hands of a teacher that my parents took my side, let alone went to school to talk about why that teacher was being mean to me.

    There’s a reason for the comment “it takes a village to raise a child”.  Clearly the family being discussed is dysfunctional and as long as the kids grow up seeing Dad assault a neighbor for suggesting what was ultimately in those kids’ best interest, those kids will grow to think that behavior is normal.  And another generation will grow up to be dysfuncational and be a burden on society. 

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  9. Jeff July 19, 2009 / 6:41 am
    PB&J – many of us grew up “back in the day” when people knew their neighbors and neighbors kept an eye out for each other.   We knew if we were acting up and our parents didn’t see it, if a neighbor did, our parents would hear about it and we’d get in trouble.

    This sounds very much like the neighborhood I grew up in in Chicago.  There was a lot of “self-enforcement” going on like tg describes (had to be because people lived so close together).

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  10. Mistaken November 5, 2009 / 6:48 pm
    Still not sure why you had to mention his record or get into his business in the first place.
    (b) The minor is traveling to or from a place of employment, or is responding to an emergency, or is acting under direction of a parent or guardian; or
    They were watching their kids who they obviously directed to play outside at night, you had no reason to mosey down there and harass them. Bringing up his record and being abrasive that way, you’re lucky you didn’t get shot or beat. People in Dayton are crazy, don’t you know?

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  11. David Esrati November 5, 2009 / 8:25 pm

    “People in Dayton are crazy, don’t you know?” – only you “Mistaken”

    if you used a real e-mail, you’d get follow up comments delivered.

    The kids were not being watched by any adult when I went down to investigate. But, you’d have to be able to read to understand that.

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