Tyrone, we hardly knew you. Trotwood parts ways with Superintendent

The love affair didn’t last very long between the Trotwood Madison School Board and their turnaround Superintendent, at tonight’s school board work session sources tell me that the Board accepted Tyrone Olverson’s resignation effective yesterday and that Marlon Howard is now the acting superintendent.

Olverson, came to the district last year with the mission of turning around the worst district in the state, after being a Chief Academic officer  in Youngstown, a district that had been taken over by the state. His three year plan apparently ran afoul of a union that didn’t like change, and his inability to listen according to well placed sources.

The board, had last acted in Dec 2018 to give him a contract extension through July 31, 2021, despite resistance from the union. No word yet on if the board is going to look for a new superintendent immediately or keep Howard for the entire school year. There is a board election with Vanessa Jeter-Freeman and Michael Andrews up for re-election, with only one challenger filed and certified so far: Khalilah Forte. The incumbents haven’t yet certified and no one else is running.

How much this will cost Trotwood residents is yet to be seen. Typically, in these situations there is a buy out.

Not that these moves matter, but former DPS principal David White- who had gone to Trotwood and been demoted from HS to Middle School- left now is the new HS principal at Northridge. Their grant writer- left. An elementary school principal- to Springfield. A talented school psychologist also abandoned ship.
They had the second most openings on the education job board for the region- and they are by no means the 2nd biggest district.
Now- with potential enrollment drops due to the tornadoes, will the district be able to convince enough people to come back? The School Board didn’t even wait to see the first years scores from the State tests.

 

Forums on Media and Democracy that aren’t forums

I stepped up to the microphone to answer a question about what we can do to change things locally, after being mislabled as a cameraman from DATV, and before I was a few sentences in, Dr Donald Nguyen screams out and interrupts me with “What’s your question.”

This is not how a public forum discusses ideas- or allows participation. And the good doctors behavior is excused by the 130 people in attendance because he’s screaming at me- the people the people in power love to marginalize.

Just because someone from out of town selected a panel of their voices/choices, doesn’t make it a forum- or democratic. The free exchange of ideas- means you actually have to have ideas – and unfortunately, the best the panel could do was talk about non-profit public journalism- and writing to the FCC and politicians to ask them to block the sale of Cox Media (which will happen no matter how many people complain).

The reality is- the equation changed, and none of the panelists had an understanding of it or how to fix it. I did. I was cut off by Ellis Jacobs, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, to hand the mic over to Neenah Ellis who has a 50,000 watt radio station to push her voice (WYSO). Yeah, that’s democratic.

So you know who the players without any real answers were, I share from their website:

What:   Media and Democracy: What the proposed sale of Cox Media might mean to Dayton.

Why:    The Dayton Daily News, Channel 7, and WHIO Radio are being sold to a private equity fund.

What might the impact be? What can you do?

Yosef Getachew, Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Program Director, will provide an overview of media consolidation all over the country and its impact on communities.

Join us for an exploration of how media and democracy intersect and the importance of strong local media. Panelists include:

  • Bob Daley, former political reporter (Dayton Journal Herald, Dayton Daily News, Congressional Quarterly),
  • Dr. Jim DeBrosse, retired assistant professor of journalism and a veteran newspaper reporter who worked 20 years for Cox newspapers in Dayton,
  • Dr. Joel Pruce, assistant professor in the University of Dayton’s Department of Political Science,
  • Melissa Rodriguez, community activist  A no show
  • The Honorable Tom Roberts, former member of the Ohio General Assembly and Ohio Conference President of the NAACP
  • Kevin Z. Smith, director of the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism
  • The Honorable Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering the proposed merger of Cox Media, hedge fund Apollo Global Management, and Northwest Broadcasting. Voting and the quality of representational democracy is dependent upon access to good information from a variety of sources.That’s why in May, Common Cause and Common Cause Ohio, joined by United Church of Christ, filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking the agency to deny this proposed merger. If approved, Apollo would own 25 television stations putting a significant amount of media ownership in the control of a private equity firm.

Source: Media and Democracy: What the proposed sale of Cox media might mean to Dayton

The moderator was Catherine Turcer the executive director for Common Cause Ohio which is supposed to be a “grassroots organization devoted to open and accountable government” and she gets quoted a lot in the conventional media as any lobbyist should. She’s the one who thought I was from DATV.

And, to recap the solutions that I spoke about and those that never heard the light of day, keep reading.

First- no amount of citizen input or lawsuits are going to stop corporate media takeovers. If you’ve been paying attention to the FCC under Ajit Pai we’re lucky net neutrality wasn’t totally destroyed. Sprint and T-Mobile’s merger was going ahead as of last week- there is no interest in any open competition- other than survival of the fittest.

The reason newspapers and TV stations are being bought is because it’s gotten cheaper to buy them than to buy the ads that the corporate raiders and 1% need to buy their politicians. Right now, most of local TV money comes from political spend around election time. $5B last cycle (when you include local and state issues as well as Federal offices) and continuing to grow.

They need TV ads because there are still folks without smart phones and who don’t use the internet that vote. Read that as old folks. No advertiser really wants to buy non-trackable, unpersonalized ads anymore- except huge consumer products companies like P&G who still believe they sell TP and laundry soap to everyone.

The issue of ad revenue going away from TV, radio and newsprint is two fold: one the digital divide and two, the control of the online ad targeting which belongs to Facebook and Google almost exclusively. The answer: internet sales tax for products bought- which goes on top of every sale to provide for universal internet access to all Americans, everywhere. Call it the next Interstate system – call it a WPA project- it’s only when everyone has access- can they all be informed.

The second part is a tax on internet advertising which currently isn’t taxed. The revenue from this would go to fund the fourth estate- the journalists who can counter the BS Faux News and the like. There is no other way to fund journalism that doesn’t go through FB or Google.

Those two massive changes aside, where the unprepared panel with nothing to add, got to comment, the next phase was what can we do locally.

This part I got out, before Ellis pushed me aside- and that is to require every public body that meets in public to create a video that is either livestreamed and then archived on YouTube- complete with ADA transcription- and a comment section- to which Ms. Turcer said something about “Turn on the cameras” campaign outside. But, what was missing was the next part- which is the most important part: we need an elected official to work on behalf of the public as a chief ethics officer- to investigate and prosecute violations of the sunshine law, violations of election law, and when the public trust is broken.

For the instances like when I uncovered that Dr. Adil Baguirov didn’t live in the Dayton Public Schools district and shouldn’t have been allowed to serve- or run the contracts the way he did for the sale of the Patterson Co-Op site or the bus deal. See www.esrati.com/manofmystery to start. Or, the torture in the jail www.esrati.com/deadly

Or better yet- the crazy violations of the sunshine law by the task force created by one of their panelists, Nan Whaley, and her slate of candidates for the DPS board- see Goodbye Sunshine. That’s the case I’ve fought by myself (with a little help from my friends) all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court- which Ms. Turcer should be backing- but wasn’t even aware of.

The reality is no elected official has ever been removed from office for violating the Sunshine laws- or if it actually has happened, you have a better chance of winning mega millions.

Regionalization and a condensing of public entities is also a way to help make sure that elected and public officials can be scrutinized. There are way too many banana republics in “Dayton” which is comprised of over 30 jurisdictions in Montgomery County- not including school boards and miscellaneous other organizations. See www.reconstructingdayton.org which is an effort to start deciphering the real cost of too much government and duplication of services.

There was some discussion about how the FBI and the DOJ had “Mislabeled local government as a “culture of corruption” by some die-hard suck ups and former city employees. Nothing could be further from the truth- if the speakers were informed properly, and  if the FBI and the DOJ was doing their job, more indictments would have been made already including Mayor Whaley who steered contracts and has been involved in “pay to play” campaign funding for over a decade.

Public forums only work when the public actually has a chance to get their voices heard. For all Neenah Ellis talks about WYSO being so great- she’s ignored every overture I’ve made to her to discuss Reconstructing Dayton a true regional issue.

Getting access to news is only half the battle, having people smart enough to fight with the information is the next 40% and the last 10% is actually being willing to speak Truth to Power without the backing of a herd – to be heard.

Esrati wins action on library internal video

thumbnail of DECISION ORDER, AND ENTRY GRANTING RELATORS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING RESPONDENTS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Click image to download PDF of Judges decision.

After almost 4 months of delays caused by the library supplying faulty video to Judge Gerald Parker, and pressure from me to find them in contempt, the judge was finally supplied watchable video and ruled against the libraries argument that the internal security video wasn’t public record.

The Court has reviewed the surveillance video at issue and finds that the surveillance footage does not meet the criteria necessary to be excluded from public records disclosure as a security record.
Because the definition under R.C. 149.433(A)(3)(a) exempts “[a]ny record that contains information directly used for protecting or maintaining the security of a public office against attack, interference, or sabotage” (emphasis added), there must be evidence of the specific uses the government agency makes of the record for security purposes in order for a record to be classified as a “security record.”…

This case balances two important societal needs: the need to protect the public’s right to privately use the public library and the public’s need for access to information held by governmental
bodies. While Esrati is the Relator here, he is representing a larger interest than his own. Likewise, The Library is representing the privacy interests of its patrons.

The judge then orders the library to supply copies of the multiple videos with the faces blurred of patrons to protect their faces. There was no way to tell what people were reading, or what materials they were checking out. The library will spend considerable money in redacting the video, more than the $1000 award that Parker assigned to me.  For some strange reason, Parker did not fully come down on the side of David in this case against Goliath, by not awarding attorneys fees. Considering the plaintiff in this case bore the costs of the defense against him via his taxes, it’s hardly going to lead to other people defending their rights if this travesty is allowed to stand.

This was just the first step in the case- getting the video released, so that I could file a Federal case for violations of my civil rights, where all of my attorney fees will be covered.

I’m going to make another attempt to settle this case with the Library, but I have a feeling the directors arrogance will get in the way of common sense.

Considering I already have the library admitting that they were in the wrong in ejecting me, how they can want to continue this case is unreal.

From their lawyers letter to my lawyer Oct 25, 2017,

“The unfortunate removal of Mr. Esrati from the library was precipitated by the improper actions of the security guard that was under contract with the library. By Falsifying the circumstance which ultimately resulted in Mr. Esrati’s ejection, the guard was not acting pursuant to library policy.”

As to Judge Parker, when you rule for the plaintiff- and yet stick them with their legal bills, you have no respect for the Sunshine Laws which depend on citizens taking risks to make sure those in power follow the law. Your decision on the legal fees will be appealed.

This is just one more example of my willingness to fight for the public and their rights every time.

 

 

 

10 years without answers: SGM North Woodall

Dayton Daily News cutting about SGM Woodall Murder

Gone, but never forgotten. SGM Woodall, US Army Special Forces

I try to remember to do this every year on July 29th.

Sometimes I’m a day early- sometimes a little late.

Today I’m early. SGM North Woodall, a warrior, a veteran of three wars, was killed in his home in Dayton and no one has been prosecuted for his murder.

There are no excuses for the Dayton Police Department on this. They get a big fat “F.” There are no excuses for his neighbors, who didn’t see anything, didn’t hear anything.

We failed to provide the basics that he fought for, that he pledged his life for- while fighting in places far away- SGM North Woodall didn’t get life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He got murdered.

Just remember, that while the current commission had $650K to spend to protect 9 Klansman on the square- they don’t have the money to keep our police staffed at adequate levels to properly do their job to protect all of us- and an 85 year old retired hero.

If I’m elected this November, this will be one of the things I fix. For SGM Woodall- and for the rest of us, who should never have to live in fear of being murdered in our homes- and the crime to go unsolved.

School board hell bent on violating sunshine laws again- just to show they can at will

Expecting anything remotely resembling rational behavior from the Board of Education that hired two sociopathic superintendents in a row would be like suddenly believing in Santa Claus on your death bed.

thumbnail of 869425 Response by defense sco

Click on image to download pdf of Wildermuth’s response

The board just had to pay their old attorney, Brian Wildermuth of Subashi Wildermuth & Justice, to file a response in my appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court over their claims that their closed door meeting on a school bus constituted an “Information session” and was somehow exempt from the Ohio Open Meetings Act- also known as the “Sunshine Laws.” The fact that Wildermuth can’t write a word of truth in his response is immaterial, the fact that they somehow think this is worth fighting is beyond believing in Santa Claus. It would have been infinitely cheaper to just pay the fine and say they were sorry- but, no one on this board is that bright.

There latest brilliant move is to hold a “retreat” outside of the district. How far outside? Dave and Busters in northern Cincinnati. This is illegal.

Note, the new Ohio Attorney General is incompetently posting the handbook now as a Microsoft Word Document- which can harbor viruses, isn’t universally readable, etc. instead of a PDF like predecessors. Here’s the link to the Yellow Book.

The Ohio Open Meetings Act
Chapter Eight: Duties of a Public Body, Section A, 1, Page 104 “A public body must conduct its meetings in a venue that is open to the public. Although the Open Meetings Act does not specifically address where a public body must hold meetings, (emphasis added) some authority suggests that a public body must hold meetings in a public meeting place that is within the geographical jurisdiction of the public body. Clearly, a meeting is not “open” when the public body has locked the doors to the meeting facility.”

thumbnail of Board retreat Dave and Busters 20 Jul 2019

PDF of DPS Board retreat Agenda in Cincinnati- click image to download or view

In case the board didn’t know it- the board retreat scheduled this Saturday will constitute a violation. I have 2 years to file for an injunction after the fact.

Board Retreat
Saturday, July 20, 2019
Dayton Board of Education’s
Board Retreat
Tri County Commons (Dave & Buster’s)
11775 Commons Dr
Springdale, OH 45246
Here’s the agenda.
And, of course, there is the clause that’s never enforced in Ohio-
(4) A member of a public body who knowingly violates an injunction issued pursuant to division (I)(1) of this section may be removed from office by an action brought in the court of common pleas for that purpose by the prosecuting attorney or the attorney general.
Considering this board is in charge of the worst district in Ohio, and the State takeover has been postponed by the legislature, this would seem to be the perfect way to remove the entire board and start anew, without having to “take over the district.”
I reached out to the only reasonably sane board member to ask if he was going, and John McManus said he was informing the board that he would not be attending this illegal meeting. The only question is which of the other 6 will go.
It’s hard to be the worst school district in the state, especially when your board members can’t read the law.
I’ll thank Santa Claus for the $500 fine when they get done with their game playing at Dave and Busters.
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