Nick Hrkman won't let David Esrati in the other voices column.

Other voices? Dayton Daily news protects readers from sacred cow slaughter

When Nick Hrkman took over the opinion pages I had high hopes for an improvement in the content. I was hoping to see better content. Instead, the mediocre Ray Marcano boots the excellent Thomas Suddes to Monday, and we see more even more “group think panels” presented… by the same folks we always hear from.

“Other Voices” is supposed to be about giving a platform to people the community might not normally hear from, and hopefully with substance. Not columns hawking their non-profit, or telling us how wonderful having a dog is. (I’m not linking to these stories- because the DDn isn’t deserving of the backlinks).

Readers of this blog, know, that I have to get arrested or lose an election to have my name in the paper. And, no matter what, if the story breaks on, it is never given credit in the paper. Never.

The last time I had anything published, was a puff piece about growing up at the ice rink, trying to sway Kettering to build a double rink, instead of just updating the one they have. That was a long time ago. May 14, 2015 to be exact.

I’ve had a website called Keep Sinclair Fair up since 2013. You’d think, come Sinclair levy time, they’d mention the only opposition to Sinclairs ridiculous funding at the expense of Montgomery County taxpayers. The straw that broke the camels back was the building of a Warren County campus- claiming none of our tax dollars supported it.

Never a mention. Sinclair, a major advertiser in the Dayton Daily, gets the kid glove treatment.

So, when the announcement was made to start a 2yr BSN course, I questioned why any resources were being used to compete with Wright State’s BSN program, or Miami’s– or as I learned soon after, UD also has a BSN program.

I had posted about this on Dec 1, 2022.

Since the DDn claims to never read my blog, I wrote a different version and submitted it to “other voices”. I specifically cited real people who’ve been denied access to the RN program. I surveyed friends who are nurses. I put together a cogent piece (which will be at the end of this post), that explained why our tax dollars should be used to expand the 2 year RN program, not subsidize advanced training for Premier Health (Kettering Health has their own nursing program in house) and Children’s.

Our community is facing a severe shortage of RNs for nursing homes, home health and even schools, where teachers and administrators have to try to keep students and faculty safe through a pandemic.

Hrkman sent me a very polite, rejection email, after I questioned him why it hadn’t run yet, and a piece about puppies was more important. I then forwarded his BS to a nurse with 40 years experience- who replied:

Thanks for trying. 
Reporters always want to hear from nurses, but they won’t protect our identity as sources. If the reporter actually knows me in real life, and has no reason to doubt my credibility, then they should be able to provide me the cover to speak on topics that will otherwise get us fired.  That’s the way I thought it worked. Haven’t reporters gone to jail for refusing to reveal their sources?   Maybe that’s only in the movies. 

private e-mail from source.

But wait, there’s more, in his condescending response, he questions my approach of making multiple arguments against this program. In a legal brief, it’s considered best practices if you cite as many cases as possible. In Nick’s newspaper, you have to keep it very simple, because he doesn’t think that his readers can understand that Sinclair is basically an unchecked giant slush fund built with our tax dollars – that are spent on everything but the faculty (a large percentage of which are only adjuncts) or making sure that minorities, especially Black males, graduate.

The fact that there is any waitlist at all to get into the RN program, while RN jobs are in such high demand that my AirBnB’s are often filled with very high paid “travel nurses” because of the acute shortage (one of my firsthand points of reference).

Nick’s response:

I just heard back from our education reporter and was working on a response for you. We will have to pass on your submission, but I’d like to explain why.

First, we don’t believe the waitlist situation is as dire as claimed. We found that Sinclair has recently increased program capacity and that the current wait time is roughly 1-2 semesters, dramatically lower than it has been in the past, when it had been closer to 3-4 years. If the thrust of the piece is that this BSN program creates or contributes to a bottleneck of RNs, we don’t think that’s substantiated. It does not appear that the diverted resources are creating an undue burden on the existing RN program.

Second, the column is unfocused. Your critiques are wide-ranging: Sinclair shouldn’t be diverting resources to a BSN program; Sinclair shouldn’t be investing resources outside of the county; Sinclair shouldn’t be competing with existing 4-year programs at other universities; the certification/accreditation industry is contributing to a shortage of nursing staff; the health networks operate as a duopoly in our region and don’t pay taxes. Any one of these critiques could fill the space of a contributed column and then some, but you are packing too much into too small of a space to do any of them credit.

Third, we aim for our contributed pieces to come from those affected by or close to the topic being discussed. A question we ask: Why is this the person to tackle this topic? You explained to me over the phone that you heard through nurse/healthcare tenants about this situation. A piece on this topic would be much more meaningful if it were coming from one of them, for example, or at the very least didn’t rely on an amalgamation of three hypothetical people to illustrate the problem.

I appreciate you taking the time to submit to us and for your patience as we reviewed the submission. We’ve decided to pass on it, but that does not mean you can’t submit on a different topic. I would be happy to work with you to come up with a topic that will work for our Ideas & Voices section. We have developed a rubric for contributed columns that I will attempt to make more clear in an upcoming Sunday package. To briefly summarize, we are looking for opinion pieces that: 

  1. Identify a problem in our communities that is substantiated by existing reporting (we don’t report news from this section). The more focused on a single, local issue, the better.
  2. Explain the urgency or need to address this problem and how both the contributor and reader is affected by it.
  3. Propose a solution or solutions to the identified problem.
  4. Lay out clear action steps that allows our audiences to be a part of that solution. Volunteering, donating, voting, etc. The more concrete and accomplishable for the average reader, the better.

You have no shortage of identified problems and their solutions, David. My inbox is always open.

 Thank you,

Nick H.

Hrkman response via email 12/15/22, 3:32 PM

Well, Nick, you want me to identify a problem in our community substantiated by existing reporting is your first problem. The Dayton Daily news is almost incapable of reporting on half the corruption in the community. For instance, zero coverage of my lawsuit against the Board of Elections, or my Federal case seeking the release of the Nan Whaley tapes that were played to the grand jury in the “culture of corruption” case. And, when I first report on “Hoodie Gate” at Dayton Public Schools, and you run a story about it a week later– the fact that your paper doesn’t give credit for the story appearing on first.

I’m about to publish another story about a lawsuit that’s interesting- does that mean I can’t write an “other voices” about it in your paper until you report it?

I thought I made it very clear that there is an emergency in our community, the shortage of RN’s right now. That any resources diverted to an unnecessary higher degree, are resources that aren’t being deployed right now- to fill a critical need.

My solution was to focus all those resources on the RN program.

Of course, the fact that Premier and Sinclair are major advertisers, power players, and capable of doing no harm according to all those on their gravy train, means they are untouchable.

And, the fact that I just got 100,000 votes in a congressional race, with less than $40K to spend, fighting my own party, and in a gerrymandered district- should say, I have a voice that is worth hearing- more so than Nick’s or Ray Marcano’s – so that taxpayers know how and where their tax dollars are being wasted and by whom.

Here’s the piece he rejected.

Reading the news isn’t enough

The story sounds wonderful. Sinclair Community College is expanding its nursing education to include a 4-year Bachelor of Nursing Degree. They just renewed one of their 2 levies. We, the Montgomery County taxpayers, have been subsidizing Sinclair’s “low cost” degrees for over half a century. There is an acute shortage of nurses, this must be a good thing, right?

Meet Jacob. He’s not actually 1 person, but three rolled up into one, two named Jacob and one named Alexis. All three, want to be in nursing. Unfortunately, Sinclair’s 2-year nursing program is backed up, with a waiting period for enrollment.

Jacob 1 is currently an STNA (State Tested Nursing Aide) and on the wait list. Jacob 2, was in a 4 year nursing program at Xavier, but dropped out, partially because of the cost. Alexis is a phlebotomist, currently cleaning houses, while she works on getting a nursing degree from Fortis College, where she’s accumulating a ton of debt, but only paying $50 a month now. All three, Montgomery County residents, would love a low cost 2-year nursing degree from Sinclair, but… the wait list.

Now, instead of devoting increased resources to the 2-year RN program, Sinclair is going to provide a BSN program, an additional 2 year program for those who already have a 2 year RN. Yes, while there is an acute shortage of RN’s, they are going to start competing with Wright State and Miami and a ton of available online BSN programs. 

The question is why?

Is it to solve the nursing shortage? The shortage that has nursing homes struggling to keep staffed for the welfare of their residents round the clock? Or, is it something else? Like corporate welfare?

For those of you who don’t understand the difference between a RN and a BSN, let’s be clear, when you get wheeled into the emergency room with a life-threatening injury, what’s important isn’t the number of years of school- but, the number of years of experience on the job. However, our education industry and our “certification industry” both believe that an extra 2 years of classes makes patient outcome improve. Or could it just be that every BSN just has 2 extra years of experience?

A good friend was on her way to medical school when she ran out of money before her senior year of college. She switched to a 2-year nursing program run by a local hospital (yes, hospitals used to train their own nurses- with on the job training, like an apprenticeship) and then, went back to school to finish her undergrad in biology. She had 5 years of school by that point, but only an RN next to her name. She then went on to get a graduate degree in anatomy and was still only an RN. Would you think that someone who has a 2-yr RN plus the equivalent of the first 6 years of medical school would be more qualified than a BSN? Absolutely.

Yet, our local hospitals want to be able to pass accreditation with more BSN’s on their staff and force RN’s to take more classes to work up the corporate ladder- this isn’t necessarily about quality of care at all.

Now, the hospitals, who have a duopoly in Dayton, and already don’t pay property taxes to support Sinclair, want the taxpayers of Montgomery County to subsidize their employee training program, diverting critical resources from training the needed RN’s.

At some point, someone has to say no to Sinclair. And if you understand this argument, I’d hope you join me in asking Sinclair to reconsider the use of our tax dollars to subsidize the hospitals.

This, apparently, needs to be submitted by anyone but me. Nevermind our tax dollars are being squandered, it just can’t be me who talks about it.

Nick wants to make sure you have a puppy, or someone’s non-profit gets a plug. Or, that anyone else gets to pipe in about an issue in our community.

Hey, here’s one- your newspaper is on life support, other than articles by Tom Archdeacon, there isn’t much worth paying for. You can’t write anything bad about the people who advertise, or anything good about people who do what you do- with less resources and very little funding (thanks to the few of you who donated after the “hoodiegate” article came out.

But, wait, there’s more, in the next few weeks, I’ll tell my loyal readers about how the Montgomery County Educational Service Center is being used as another slush fund, how a certain disgraced politician changed his name after being sued for millions, and maybe a few other things… things you’ll never read about in Nick’s newspaper.

Could the MRNA vaccine be the solution to the US China trade imbalance?

How to fix the trade imbalance with China

From the NYTimes today:

China’s hospitals were already overcrowded, underfunded and inadequately staffed in the best of times. But now with Covid spreading freely for the first time in China, the medical system is being pushed to its limits.

The scenes of desperation and misery at the Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, captured on one of several videos examined by The New York Times, reflects the growing crisis. Even as Covid cases rise, health workers on the front lines are also battling rampant infections within their own ranks. So many have tested positive for the virus in some hospitals that the remaining few say they are forced to do the job of five or more co-workers.

Source: ‘Tragic Battle’: On the Front Lines of China’s Covid Crisis – The New York Times

Apparently, the Chinese didn’t come up with an effective vaccine, or a distribution program in the last 3 years. The scenes at the World Cup where a hundred thousand people were all celebrating soccer in a giant spreader event, with no masks on, were too much to keep the Chinese people in lockdown mode any longer, and now- they have a problem. Covid is hitting them, like it did us in 2020 in NYC- only, 10x worse (more people). Sure, they can make more body bags, but, apparently, we make one thing they can’t, an MRNA vaccine.

Our trade imbalance with China has been out of control for decades. We buy stuff made in China, and the ships go back practically empty.

This is a chance for the morons in Congress to fix that. Forget tariffs as the only tool in your toolbox. Offer our highly effective MRNA vaccines to the Chinese, reboot our ventilator lines that we set up when the epidemic hit (or sell them our spares). Even offer to send our trained and vaccinated military medical teams over to help- in exchange for wiping a few trillion off the debt.

Military superiority isn’t the only way to win wars, sometimes, you can kill them with kindness- and establish a favored nation status that means something. We all know Putin is too busy to help his largest neighbor, so maybe instead of spending so much time and effort on trying to be a military powerhouse, we change course and save the world, instead of being the leading risk to humankind by sticking with the insane idea of mutually assured destruction.

Almost 2 billion Chinese on our side would go a long way to a brighter future.

John Beaulieau- the Bman- fired from WTUE

Another reason terrestrial radio is toast

This is not a proper news story. (Most of it was written 23 Nov at 10:26 am)

It’s the kind of BS the Dayton Daily news would pass off as reporting- without citing their source as Facebook.

Local radio legend John Beaulieau, know as “The BMan” – who has been on WTUE forever, is no longer on the air.

“Yes..I am no longer employed.

Yes..I’m getting around..

Yes..I will be in touch..

Yes..I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving..from the bottom of my heart…

My friends Rock! Lol”

John’s Facebook page- as of 3pm yesterday or so.

I’ve known John forever- but really got to know him better when he was the voice of the Dayton Bombers, when my firm was their ad agency. John was the voice of the Bombers- booming, loud, larger than life. He loves hockey- and the fans loved him. I don’t remember him ever missing a game.

John’s been more than a voice to WTUE over the years- he’s been their soul- embodied. At events/live remotes, from motorcycle blessing of the bikes, to truck pulls to you name it- there he was. Loved, loud, proud.

I grew up listening to WMMS in Cleveland- and was lucky enough to know a few of the jocks, because they’d come into the stores where I worked, and shopped at the record store that was my happy place (sadly closing this Dec 31 after a loooong 55 year run). You could tell the time slot by who was on the radio, they understood the relationship between the station and the community.

There have been a lot of Dayton greats on the air, but, John was different. He was humble. He was everyman. He was Dayton’s version of the hardest working man in show business.

Now, if you are wondering why you are reading this on Dec 26, it’s because John took down his first post to friends- that alerted me to the story, which I promptly wrote- and then held off publishing after having a chat with John. But, yesterday, Christmas Day, he told the world in a post- and I’m sure the Dayton Day-old news will report it now… but, just so you know, there is still one person who has the institutional knowledge, the connections and the platform to keep you informed in Dayton of the news.

To the geniuses at Clear Channel- or whatever you call yourselves these days. Congrats, we now know you’ve graduated from the Elon Musk School of Management.
There is no reason to I heart radio in Dayton anymore- you stabbed the heart of radio when you silenced the B-man at Thanksgiving.

an all I want for christmas story

An all I want for Christmas story…

Earlier this week, before the arctic invasion, the Grinch visited the region and had everyone talking. It wasn’t exactly the baby Lindbergh kidnapping, despite there being twice as many babies taken, and of course, they weren’t white or rich… which is why this story will soon be forgotten. But, should it be?

It seems that people have to die to have us take action. And, even then, the actions may not solve the problems. Ask the parents of Sandy Hook students who were gunned down. Or, all the people who have laws named after them, quick, can you tell me what Jennifer’s law is? Or Johnathan’s Law?

Five month old twins, Kason and Kyair Thomas, were sitting in the back seat of their mother’s black 2010 Honda Accord, while their mother, a door-dasher, was in a Donato’s Pizza, picking up an order (remember when pizza places had their own delivery drivers).

A 24 year old, mentally ill woman, Nalah Jackson, hopped in the still running car and drove off… to Dayton, where she dropped one of the twins off in the airport parking lot, before driving off again. A 5 state “be on the lookout” alert, or BOLO, was issued. Social media erupted, where is the baby? A few days later, the second baby was found safe, the kidnapper caught, and all was right with the world.

But, it shouldn’t be.

There is nothing in the constitution about kidnapping or cars, and you don’t even need to have a drivers license to pull this off, so, no one can say, cars caused this crime. And, no one died, so it’s a Christmas miracle story. Thankfully, this all happened before the thermometer broke at minus 7.

We’ve moved on. And we shouldn’t have.

Because, despite the willingness to spend a ton of money with cops all over being tasked to rescue the baby, and so much attention poured into it, with people thinking they had just been deputized to find the car, the kidnapper and the baby- we’re missing the point.

None of this should have happened. And, we could do something about it, but we don’t.

About the same time that we were all patting ourselves on the back and saying, the twins are safe, Congress was passing an omnibus spending bill that included a $45 billion increase to President Joe Biden’s defense spending plans. Do you feel safer? With the biggest peacetime defense spending ever?

Did those defense dollars protect Kason and Kyair? What if Santa stepped in, and said, “No, No, No, little children of Congress, spending money on weapons of war isn’t making anyone safer, you could do so much more.”

Let’s first ask the question why the kidnapper wasn’t being treated for her mental illness? Do we have the same health care that our congressmen do? Of course not. National health care is only something every other advanced country does. We just build better bombs for killing. Could that monster of a defense budget be trimmed by half and the money put into keeping American’s healthy and safe from catastrophic illness? Of course they could. We only spend more on defense than well… China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, and South Korea — combined. Note, six of those are allies (I refuse to call Saudi Arabia an ally).

What happens to our gross domestic output, when money is spent on health care for Americans instead of bombs for war? We’re healthier, safer, and the economy grows exponentially, because healthy Americans produce more, end up in prison less, require less public assistance, and the insane costs of “insurance” which is pure overhead goes away. Maybe, the kidnapper isn’t the mentally ill one- maybe it’s Congress with the true affliction.

But, of course, you say that government run health care would make us all have to wait longer for care, that it wouldn’t be as good, that we wouldn’t have the freedom to choose our doctor. Get cancer, without health insurance and tell me how that all works out. And, I hope you don’t have to buy insulin either- where you’ll be paying at least 10x what the rest of the world does.

So, forget Santa’s first gift of reason on all of us. What else could we have done to stop this kidnapping from happening? How about affordable, subsidized day care for all? Then maybe the twin’s mom, wouldn’t have them riding around in the back of her 12 year old car while she door-dashes for those too lazy to cook, or pick their own pizza up.

Absurd you say? What would happen if we spent $45B on daycare for all instead of more bombs, drones and war? Parent’s could give full attention to their jobs, and not have to worry about their kids welfare. Let’s also point out, that the Gig economy, which is what makes Door-dash viable, is just a new form of wage slavery. To do it, you have to supply the car, the gas, the cell phone, you have to pay for your own insurance, you have “freedom” to work when you please, but no guarantees of income, or dignity or even safety (we’re just in the process of turning juveniles who shot and killed a Lyft driver in Dayton over to adult court for trial on murder charges in case you forgot).

What would happen if we eliminated the slavery of the gig economy, and made sure that our young people could raise the next generation without having to resort to keeping their children with them while they work. Again, the impact of those billions being spent to provide for American children, would supercharge the economy, and increase the speed of money (once you build a bomb, the money just sits there, in a warehouse, until you blow something up- which then has to be rebuilt- often at a cost to us as well). Paying day care workers instead, the money gets spent and the economy grows.

When the people finally hear Santa’s message, and they think about how just these two shifts in our national priorities would make us all safer, more productive and wealthier- moving us closer to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness which was what the founding fathers started with, long before they guaranteed the right to bear arms… the people may decide to rise up and demand that Congress rethink their position on what constitutes national security. Is it more bombs, or is it health care, more ships, or day care.

And then, when the voices all rise, with Santa at the front, Congress gives their response. Santa, is a socialist! He can’t be trusted. He wears a red suit, his nose is red, he’s a RED! And his workshop, where he has little people working in a sweat shop (that’s the real reason he’s at the North Pole- saves on air conditioning for the factory floor), he doesn’t even pay them, we don’t care how good Mrs. Claus’s cookies may be. They demanded his tax returns, and claimed he wasn’t a non-profit, no matter how many toys he gave away, because he’d failed to file a 990.

The sad news is our elections were never stolen, they were bought by the people who bought your congress and the president. But, those twins were stolen, and the real crime of the century may be we’re all guilty of letting it happen, every time we go to the ballot box and vote like sheep for people who don’t care one iota about your health, safety or welfare, or that of the twins.

“National security” is an oxymoron, and we need to stop electing morons who don’t understand that.

This Christmas, Santa, we don’t want toys for all the good little girls and boys, we want health care and day care and someone like you to run for president in 2024.

Happy Holidays from David Esrati, the candidate who asks the hard questions.

Dayton Public School board illegally approves spending $68K on hoodies, despite acknowledging that they didn't follow procedure and the district bought them without board approval or an RFP

Dayton Public Schools and “HoodieGate”

It’s time to fire Dr. Libbie Lolli, the School Treasurer Hiwot Abraha, new Business Manager Dr. David Lawrence, and charge Dayton Public School board members, Will Smith, Dr. Chrisondra Goodwine, Karen Wick-Gagnet, and Dion Sampson with crimes in office. The crime: looking the other way when a $68,000 expense was not only authorized without board approval, but apparently without an RFP, bids and an evaluation.

What did they buy? Hoodies, for every single high school student, with their school name on them. Yep, the taxpayers are now dressing high school students (who cares about grades K-8- the little ones can freeze) with branded hoodies.

Did I mention, the DPS code of conduct prohibits hoodies to be worn in schools? Oh, that’s right.

You can watch as board members Joe Lacey and Jocelyn Rhynard question and ultimately vote no. Board member Gabriella Pickett was out.

This video should start at 3:58:20 where Lacey asks the question. NOTE – yes- this is 4 hours into a board meeting. That’s par for the course for this dysfunctional organization.

The board members ACKNOWLEDGE this process began in October. They ACKNOWLEDGE it wasn’t on board docs earlier. They won’t say who actually requested these, although it may have come out of the Athletics committee (Smith, Wick and Goodwine) but that’s unclear. At some point, someone had to get size and quantity of all high school students- and place an order. That would fall under the new “Business manager” Dr. Lawrence who sits deaf and mute on this discussion.

There is no discussion about precedent. Does this mean every year, every 9th grader will get a hoodie from now until eternity? Nor, does this cover the change in the dress code so they can actually wear them to school.

At most districts, if this was a directive of the board, the Superintendent would put the process out to bid, try to engage the community and possibly sell sponsorship of the hoodies to business- perhaps with a company logo on the hoodie- or ads on scoreboards or even in the building- or ask philanthropists to donate to pay for this.

Since none of that happened, the cost of this should be taken out of the paychecks of the administrators, as well as criminal charges being pressed. I’ve filed a Public Records Request with the Schools (this used to be easy- send to the in-house counsel, now the district spends north of $1M a year on contracted legal representation).

When I get the documentation, I’ll post- and will refer this to County Prosecutor Mat Heck, and to the Attorney General, although just by watching this video- it is clear a crime has been committed and done so knowingly.

Open honest government starts when the public keeps an eye on public meetings and calls BULLSHIT when the law is broken. This is a case that’s perfect for a Sunshine law lawsuite- but the plaintiff has to fund it all- and hope that local judges will actually pay the legal costs (apparently- it’s discretionary, since “Judge” Gerald Parker said I won in the library case- but refused to reimburse my legal fees as suggested by Ohio Law. Parker should be challenged next time he’s up).

The kids of Dayton probably would like the hoodies- however, they might also like band instruments, or even the right to take home their chromebooks… which they can actually use for learning. But, we don’t trust them with those- only hoodies- that they can’t wear to school.

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