Tonight, the Dayton City Commission bought the hole in the ground where the Schwind and the Dayton Daily news used to sit. They spent $450K of your money. That hole still has to be filled in. The old Cox historic building- nope, they didn’t buy that. They left that with the demolition contractor, who no doubt will be the one they pay to fill the hole he left.
They also handed over the “Paru Tower” to the land bank- so they wouldn’t have to pay taxes to the schools. And Mayor Nan has the nerve to call herself the education mayor. Not only did they pay $500K for it- keeping it out of the hands of private developers who were willing to pay $350K for it- and pay taxes, they gave a commitment to the Landbank for $250K for “maintenance.”
Oh, and, they also decided to commit to a three way contract to build a multi-million dollar bandshell  on Dave Hall Plaza to give free concerts, and contribute another $500k.
All in one evening. And remember, they want to raise taxes in November.
Because this was such an epic night of mis-directing tax dollars to private ambitions, instead of the public good, I decided to go down and speak. I had plenty better to do, which is why I’m writing this at 11:15 at night, at work.
Here’s what I said- give or take, before the three minute timer went off:
It’s nice to be here in a real, legal, political meeting, where I know I won’t be rudely interrupted or have the mic shut off.
You weren’t hired to be real estate speculators. You were hired to run a city and provide services to our citizens.
Former Mayor Paul Leonard said that he counts on me to try to keep you straight and honest. I take that as an honor. He asked me, “Whatever happened to being the safest cleanest city?”
And I wonder that too.
Because, frankly, I think the problem in this city is sitting in front of me.
How else do we have a police force that’s half the size, and can’t solve the murder of one of their own, over 16 years later?
Or find the murderer of SGT Major North Woodall?
Or find the cretin who stabbed a young girl on a school playground, in broad daylight?
Maybe it’s because you have money to buy buildings for which there is no public use.
Not just one, two, or three… but on a shopping spree.
There’s 601 E. Third. $450K
There’s the old Supply One on Wayne. $450K and you gave it away for $10
There’s the old Key bank. $500 K. And now- another $250K to hold it? Really?
And then there’s the Schwind and the Dayton Daily building which are now an expensive hole in the ground.
10 years ago, a local developer had a plan to turn the Schwind into student housing and still comply with the HUD deal. His plan cost $1.7 million then. You’ve spent twice that to tear it down and grow a money pit.
But, lets not stop there. We have a band shell. It’s in Island Park. Apparently, that’s not good enough for you. You want to spend half a million more to build a new bandstand… while people aren’t feeling safe in their homes.
You now have the nerve to be asking for a tax increase?
You’ve spent 5 million on empty buildings and a hole in the ground.
And I’m not even bringing up the $5 million plus you spent without a contract to secure property for the Wayne Avenue Kroger that never came.
The sad thing is it’s really hard to un-elect you thanks to our rigged charter.
But, it isn’t as hard to do a charter amendment anymore.
If you insist on spending millions more on real estate speculation and a band shell, it’s time that we start a charter amendment process to strip you of the ability to spend tax dollars for real estate for which there is no immediate public use.
Another charter amendment to stop you from giving tax breaks to companies that pay their CEO more than 10x what they pay their lowest paid employee.
To end tax breaks and incentives that aren’t equal opportunity open to every business, from the corner store-owner, to the corner office type.
And lastly, it’s time to stop the charade of allowing rich white men to control their own private police forces in the city of Dayton to protect their royal white rear ends.
If you want a cop that has police power, you get them from the City of Dayton, not the UD police, or the Miami Valley Hospital police or the Grandview police or even the Metroparks police.
They’ve all grown while our department has shrunk.
If you want to hire your own, you should have to pay a $50K a year license fee- so we can hire the cops we need so there isn’t blood in the streets-
Which I place fully in your hands.
So, go ahead, be real estate tycoons… because, I’m tired of paying for it, I’m tired of you supporting your supporters, like a certain demolition contractor, and I’m sick of seeing all of the development efforts focused downtown.
I would have continued with this:
There is often talk of West Dayton as a food desert. I don’t see you going into the grocery business…. Why is that?
Get back to basics.
For Kevin Brame. For Sgt Major Woodall, for the 7 year old who’s afraid to go on the playground now.
We, the people of Dayton don’t need any more real estate. We need you to protect our investment in our real estate.
It’s not about the empty buildings, it’s about the ones that still have people living in them.
Because we are supposed to have a government of the people, for the people.
But, I always have to stop at 3 minutes exactly- and they never respond. Because they don’t really work for us, or care what we say.
I’m going to be working
with Neighborhoods over Politics [edit and addition- 20 aug 2016] with like minded people who give a shit, [end addition] to write the charter changes and to collect the signatures needed. We’ll be on the primary ballot next Spring, when Joey Williams and Jeff Mims and Nan Whaley will all be trying to get on the ballot for the fall.
If the voters have any common sense, and some good people chose to run, maybe, we can get rid of all three in the primary, change the charter to stop giving away the store to the rich, and actually get some things done.
If you are interested in helping, we’ll have a sign-up soon, but it might help if you either comment on this post, or at least follow it for notifications in the future.
Very well said, if I am still in town; count me in.
I’ll definitely sign. Let me know when.
I know what it takes to get signatures. Let’s start now. I underestimated this commission. I thought they were morons but now I know they are cretins …. They never anticipate the unintended consequences of their actions. There is no longer someone on board to hold them in check.
All I can say, David, is “Amen!” Do you know what the tax increase is for? At least, partially? Education for preschoolers. Something that can make a difference for middle income families. Why not immediately support education, and let us vote on ALL the money they spend on real estate? I was disgusted when I heard the news this morning! I’ve spent a lot of time defending my decision to live in Dayton. Nan and the commission are making this harder and harder.
I know you have better things to spend your time on. Thank you for still taking the time to speak for those of us who still care.
I often bust your chops, David, but you are spot on with this!! Maybe Nan should spend less of her time being “outraged” (her word) about Donald Trump’s actions and consult him about making good real estate investments. ;) She’s certainly not doing very well on her own. You are 100% correct that government shouldn’t be in the real estate business!
Since Charter amendments are so easy to make now, why don’t you start getting a parade of citizens to go to these meetings and start asking them to amend the Charter to introduce term limits? It would be interesting to see how the local media would cover it when a couple hundred people keep showing up at meetings asking them to implement term limits. Think they’d report on it? Probaby not.
Keep up the good fight and taking good care of your folks. Hope they’re doing well.
Wow. Nicely put, Dave.
Just when I think City of Dayton politics has hit bottom, the elected officials (read : hacks) get out a shovel and start digging.
Maybe set up a website for this issue: make it a major movement!
Bravo Dave count me in. I was appalled in hearing about this. What’s happened to our public servants? Let’s make a deal.
If you read the next post on this blog- you know my father died less than 14 hours after I went and gave this speech.
Give me some time to mourn, to put things in order, and then the campaign will begin- although I do not believe in term limits- I believe in fair and honest elections.
Thank you all.
Had to update the part about Neighborhood over Politics- who I won’t be working with.
Give me a few more days- and we’ll get started.