It’s time to deny service to Mississippi

I hate MississippiTim Cook, CEO of Apple, is gay. According to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, some people are allowed to decline him service.

Mississippi’s governor signed far-reaching legislation allowing individuals and institutions with religious objections to deny services to gay couples…

The measure signed by Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi allows churches, religious charities and privately held businesses to decline services to people if doing so would violate their religious beliefs on marriage and gender.

Source: Anti-Gay Laws Bring Backlash in Mississippi and North Carolina

Apparently, Mississippi didn’t learn about civil rights and non-discrimination from Dr. Martin Luther King, so maybe it’s time for Tim Cook to teach them a lesson.

Let’s face it- Citizens United says corporations are people too- and have a right to buy elections, and by the same standard, they should be able to decline to serve an entire state if it wishes to discriminate.

My proposal is that Apple shut down all their Apple stores in Mississippi, tomorrow. Then, shut off access to the entire state to the iTunes store, to iCloud, to Apple Maps and any and all programs on residents’ iPhones.

I would hope that Google joins in- and sets up a geofence and denies service to the entire state. No Google. No Google Maps. No Android updates.

Throw in Facebook. Geofence the entire state. If you are in Mississippi, you’re off Facebook. Just like that.

I would think that if these three companies cut off all services within the state- Mississippi would cease to exist- but, for good measure- Ebay, and PayPal can join in too. All of these companies have believed in and supported diversity. Microsoft can jump in too- although who really uses Bing?

Since we don’t have legislators or leaders who do anything without the almighty dollar directing them- maybe, just maybe, teaching the people of Mississippi a lesson not to elect bigots, racists and haters to office will send a message to all of these holier than thou misanthropes a lesson.

Enough people died in Mississippi to end segregation in the sixties. Supposedly, we moved forward- to where we no longer judge people by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

America has no place for bigots like Phil Bryant.

Which of our corporate chieftains will have the fortitude to step up and stop this hate from spreading?

You’re fired

Uncle Sam saying You're FiredTo the Republican senators who refuse to do their job and vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick B. Garland, you’re fired.

Typically, people who refuse to do the job they are supposed to do- get fired, at least in the private sector. In the public sector- not so much.

Right now, more than ever, we need to take a look at who should be fired for not doing their job- and I’m going to start at the top.

President Obama- you promised hope and change. Yet, the same assholes that destroyed the global economy just before you came into office- haven’t been prosecuted, or even slapped on the wrist. While the income gap continues to grow, you bailed out the banks, insurance companies, and scam artists who had packaged mortgages, lied about them, built a Ponzi scheme, collapsed it- and robbed the American people blind. Need a refresher- go watch “The Wolf of Wall Street” and even better- “The Big Short.” I know Elliot Spitzer liked hookers, but he seemed to be the only guy out there who would have held anyone accountable. Your boy Eric Holder- our former Attorney General- used to be a part of the cartel that came up with MERS and robosigning of documents that were the keys to most American’s largest investment- their home/mortgage/deed- and that mess is still going to drag on for years.

Richard Cordray, who is the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should probably be fired as well. Not, because he hasn’t tried to do his job, but because he’s not been effective. Interest rates are still low for rich people and corporations- and almost usurious for those at the bottom. The fact that credit cards can still charge over 20% and be open accounts, while the prime is near zero, says you failed Rich. Go home to Ohio and run for governor.

Speaking of governor- John Kasich, who was elected by the people to be governor of Ohio- and has spent the last year, prancing around the country pretending to be presidential material and actually costing the taxpayers money to keep him safe and secure- while not doing his job- you’re fired too. How many jobs can the common man have where you can get paid by one, while not doing it?

On the local front, it should be obvious to someone that Wright State University should be hit with a blow torch. Start with the president who has to hire lobbyists and consultants with huge paychecks to go talk to the people he works for (hint- they are in Columbus- not on your board of trustees). Zero controls or checks and balances have brought one scandal after another. And here again, getting fired doesn’t mean you lose your job, unlike in the private sector. Provost Sundaram Narayanan got the axe, but because of tenure, is still employed. Go figure.

We’ve seen one departure from the board of trustees, Nina Joshi resigned, without having to take any flak for the questionable benefits her firm, UES, may have received from the H1B visa scam. Other trustees are pretending that they haven’t done anything wrong either- like the president of the board who voted on his own son’s hiring by the university to a questionable specially created position. Seriously, we need to go to Japan and learn about honoring the company ideals- so these cretins would feel shame and do seppuku on themselves. Maybe WSU athletic director Bob Grant, can join them all- since after firing the men’s basketball team coach for lack of “fan engagement”- I bet the Nutter Center would sell out to watch these people line up- and disembowel themselves- since apparently, winning games and graduating your players isn’t enough. BTW- when the successful women’s coach left right after firing of the men’s coach- it probably had more to do with his not wanting to work for a ruthless athletic director.

And while we’re on the subject of firing in higher Ed- you all know my position about Sinclair’s expansion into Warren, Greene, and Preble counties– without taxation. Fire President Steven Johnson and bring in someone who understands who pays for his subsidies.

Moving on, there are oh so many more opportunities to fire people in Dayton. Nan Whaley, Shelley Dickstein and Aaron Sorrell- that hole where the Dayton Daily News building used to be? You’re fired. How about letting the Community Blood center tear down that beautiful block of buildings just south of the Blood Center? Another empty lot, great. I was just in Cincinnati on Friday night- and why is it that the hottest parts of downtown still have all the old buildings? hmmmm….

The Dayton Board of Education sort of fired Superintendent Lori Ward by not renewing her contract, or that of Treasurer Craig Jones. Both are still drawing a paycheck, but no replacements are in sight- and in the meantime, the company that they hired to staff the district with substitute teachers may be breaking the law by not treating long-term subs more like employees- and playing musical chairs with sub spots. The reality is, DPS was short 30 teachers this year, hello? Isn’t that job number one- have a teacher in the classroom?

To all the local taxing jurisdictions of Montgomery County. As a small business owner, can I tell you the idea of trying to track and pay all of your individual income taxes is a ridiculous burden, and that we now have an area, Austin Landing, where depending on how many floors your building has, actually dictates who pays income tax or not. Seriously- all of you- FIRED. We need to come up with a taxation strategy that is fair, universal, and easy to report- like a statewide income tax- that’s redistributed to the locals. One taxing authority, one tax rate. Less paperwork, fewer penalties and let’s get on with business. Oh, yeah- and if you are a little podunk government like Beavercreek township, or Moraine etc. you don’t get any of the money back- because you shouldn’t exist. We need to implement some kind of limits on what qualifies as a jurisdiction worthy of taxpayer support based on a ratio of people to governors. We don’t need to support 26 police chiefs, or 24 Chief Building Inspectors, or 28 city managers. It’s time to do what the big banks have done, the hospitals have done, the insurance companies have done, the grocery stores have done- and consolidate. All you straphangers living off the stupid jurisdictional boundaries created by the Northwest Ordinance of 1785- you’re fired too.

Who would you fire? I’m sure I’m going to make someones list (don’t worry- I’ve been fired before).

New plans for the Dayton Arcade leaked

poker-tournamentsThe sudden abandonment of the Fairgrounds project by Miller Valentine left many scratching their heads, especially when their new project, the Dayton Arcade is a project that’s been floundering for almost 30 years.

An anonymous source says Miller Valentine and the city are busy lobbying to grant a limited gambling license to the Arcade for, ready, a poker palace.

Dayton has been identified as poker heaven, with leagues, private games, and bootleg poker operations running rampant and around the clock, especially since the elimination of online poker.

The difference between poker and other table games- if there is actual skill involved, and the house only takes a small rake on every hand. This is why normal casino operations devote a small amount of space to poker, as compared to other actual gambling where the house has much better returns.

The idea is to use poker to draw other businesses, and provide the critical mass of people to sustain round-the-clock food, massages, and other services, as well as liquor- which MV will hold on to to generate revenue.

The Arcade’s poker rotunda also will make a stunning backdrop for televised tournaments.

MV sees this as an opportunity to also lure a boutique hotel operator to the site- and offer “Poker getaway weekends” for the serious poker player.

Plans to have the initiative on the ballot for the fall are being finalized with a hopedfor opening date of April 1, 2017.

Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt in Dayton Public Schools

Lori Ward Superintendent of Dayton Public schools?Gee thanks Dayton Board of Education. It’s been about a month since you decided not to renew the contracts of Superintendent Lori Ward and Treasurer Craig Jones.
Usually, bold moves like that have the next step of hiring a replacement. In an organization that’s failing as absolutely as yours, this lackadaisical approach to naming the next superintendent and treasurer is only achieving one thing: FUD. That’s Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt- a great strategy for failing organizations.

This is the time of year, when other districts are looking to hire for the next school year. Without a person in charge, the smart people (the ones you want to keep) either think they have a line on the top job- or, they start to entertain offers. Either way, considering DPS was unable to fill 30 teaching positions this year (an indication of failing leadership if there ever was one) every day we go without a decision, is another day that the kids lose, the staff loses, and the city loses.

The old adage if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen still applies. And, even if this board can stand the heat, it’s not proven if any of them actually know how to cook. The latest flurry of sideshow distractions like reconfiguring the district to bring back middle schools, the 1-to-1 computer rollout, and the ongoing racial tensions over security and guilt by association, make observers wonder if the board has any idea of what a functioning board should be doing.

When Trotwood pillaged DPS last year and stole top teachers, principals and administrators it should have been a serious wake-up call  about the superintendent’s grasp and connection with staff. Retention of top people is a good indication of competence.

If the board, led by the young Ph.D., can’t figure out a plan of action, maybe turning in resignations might be the right move. Inaction isn’t action. And, twiddling your thumbs while the district hangs in the lurch is unacceptable.

Make a decision. Either renew a contract, or audition and name a replacement- but do it soon.

The clock is already ticking to the state takeover.

Dayton is number ONE!

actually posted to Facebook.

actually posted to Facebook.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics” is a quote that’s now listed as unattributable, then there is the reality distortion field around Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley who has the misguided audacity to bandy bullshit as fact: “The Dayton region’s housing market has been named the healthiest and most sustainable in the country!”

First off, the study is reported in the Business Journal- that pinnacle of page click bait, and conducted by Nationwide insurance, which came to this far-fetched conclusion:

“The insurance company studied 400 metropolitan areas in the U.S. and ranked the regions based on indicators such as employment, demographics, the mortgage market and house prices.”

Anywhere you can buy a house routinely for less than you pay for a new car- it will sort of skew the figures- and note, it’s the Dayton region- not Dayton, of which she’s the mayor. The “Dayton region” is made up of 30+ fiefdoms that make no sense (recently working on a client’s business in Washington Township- I had to pick Centerville for Facebook- which doesn’t recognize a place called Washington Township) and add unnecessary overhead to everything in our region- including Mayor Whaley who is paid more than the average family of four makes in our city a year- for her part-time job requiring only a few hours per week by charter.

But, don’t worry- Dayton also comes up tops in other lists, by “Site Selection Magazine” and numbers of heroin induced deaths (I think we just slipped to second) and most definitely number one for the worst public school district in the state with more school districts than anyone would ever recommend if they were drawing this whole gov-r-n-ment thing up from scratch.

The one thing Dayton is number one for is disrespect. Daytonians loathe their city, their government, their leadership and with good reason. Take a drive around, especially in Santa Clara or Jane Reese or Westwood – and look at the “healthiest housing market” examples. When 1 out of 6 homes is vacant – or worse, boarded up- or falling down- talking about being number one is downright disrespectful to our intelligence.

If you want to paint a rosy picture of Dayton there are plenty of amazing things to talk about- but the difference is that they are based on actual facts (the best lies are ones that are based on possible facts- just a bit of marketing genius that I’ll share). However, Nan and the city of Dayton can claim very little actual responsibility for them. We have awesome bike paths, great metroparks, a world-class tourist attraction in the Air Force Museum, Sinclair has really affordable college tuition, super affordable housing, a few great historic neighborhoods, a great school of the Arts, a good indy music scene and immigrants have settled here successfully.

Saying we’ve got the number one healthiest and sustainable housing market in Dayton is what a feckless sycophant would say. Congratulations Mayor Whaley, once again- you’ve blown it.

 

A little sunshine on Sinclair meetings?

Sinclair President Steve Johnson wants to have private talks about public issues.

Message sent to faculty and staff of Sinclair Community College

Dr. Steven Johnson thinks he can have private meetings with faculty and staff, to talk about very public things:

  • Health Sciences Center
  • Enrollment Task Force
  • State Budget Midbiennial Review (MBR)

“This meeting is open to employees of the college and is not intended to be a public or media event.”

Suggestion Steve- go work at a private university that accepts no public dollars.

The “Human Rights violations in Cuba”?

I’m sick of hearing sanctimonious comments about the United States lecturing Cuba on basic human rights.

Cuba has 11.7 million residents.

We have 2.2 million incarcerated- mostly, poor, black or in need of proper mental health care.

We have abject poverty, higher infant mortality, the highest per capita murder rate, no national health care – the list goes on.

We’re a third world nation now.

It’s time we stopped “solving the world’s problems” and started solving our own.

Communism isn’t the enemy. Castro isn’t the enemy.

Unbridled capitalism has failed us in every way.

We’ve got the best government money can buy- and frankly, it’s not worth a crap.

Kudos to President Obama for fixing this farce left over from the fear-mongering of the 1960s.

Now, if Congress would actually do their job and vote on a supreme court nominee. Or do we have to buy them too now?

 

Wright State- Wrong University Leadership

The new wright state logo not done by YorkBranding or Push Inc. showing Wright State leadership under Dr. David Hopkins

Wright State’s new logo signifying Dr David Hopkins’ leadership

Dr. David Hopkins is a nice guy. A very nice guy. But, frankly, how many screw ups is a leader allowed to have before he gets shown the door. Obviously, at least 9- like a cat, if it’s Wright State, Wrong University.

Off the top of my head- we have the hiring of Jim Leftwich, former head of the corrupt Dayton Development Coalition, who was working for the state at the same time as he was working for WSU- and funneling contracts to… wait for it… himself.

Then we have former state legislator, and now, lobbyist cum consultant, Ron Wine, collecting a million a year on a “consulting contract” – except, there was no contract- to “bring opportunities” to Wright State- which reeked so badly that statehouse leader Cliff Rosenberger felt it necessary to tell his fellow legislators “use caution on everything because clearly they can’t handle themselves right now.”

And of course there is the H1-B visa scandal, where the university was sponsoring these permits to work in the U.S. for companies locally, including ones owned by some members of the board of trustees- as a modern day indentured servitude. Then in the investigation, they hired a law firm and an accounting firm and can’t figure out which one was protected by legal-client privilege when the newspaper did a Freedom of Information Act request.

As if that’s not enough to sink any mere mortal’s job, somehow, the son of the chairman of the board of trustees got hired to a $125K a year “information security job” straight out of the Air Force for a position that wasn’t posted- and the chairman voted on it. Of course, next up- a call for a $8 million “internet security upgrade” that was needed because of the very public presidential debate. One doesn’t have to wonder too hard which of the trustees was going to get the contract for this work.

Two weeks ago, the University proudly announced a “new logo” for which they went to Florida to find the talent to help rebrand them (sounds painfully like the University of Dayton going to Philly for their sports rebrand which flopped originally). This week- they chuck the work in the trash can. You can see the UD link for my list of curated local firms easily capable of doing the work- leaving mine out (I’m a Wright State grad- and have done more than a few corporate rebrands in my career).

Why Wright State ignores local talent, over and over is another sign that they don’t value their own graduates’ degrees much, nor the regional talent that they keep espousing.

Here is the gist of their reasoning for the new logo crashing and burning according to the Dayton Daily news:

Wright State University President David Hopkins says the school is scrapping a new logo that was unveiled last month for reasons that included “a number of deficiencies in the design.”

The university said Thursday that it will keep its current logo after considering feedback from community members, faculty, staff and students.

The proposed logo change — which included removing Wilbur Wright and color changes — was part of a larger rebranding effort the university launched in 2014.

Steve Gabbard, associate brand manager at Wright State, said that during the feedback process some said the logo looked too similar to logos used by Rumpke Waste & Recycling and Intel.

“The Wright Brothers connection was required,” Gabbard said. “People couldn’t imagine a logo without it.”

Hopkins sent an email to faculty and staff this week announcing the decision, but did not go into detail about why the new logo was rejected.

“Last month, we released recommended changes for campus review and input. That review has highlighted a number of deficiencies in the design,” Hopkins wrote. “At this point, the logo change is suspended and the branding effort will continue.”

Gabbard said the university initially removed the image of Wilbur next to the Wright Flyer because “it looked like someone missed the plane.”

Gabbard said WSU’s goal is to increase enrollment; each student contributes at least $10,000 to the school. Last fall’s enrollment was 18,059, according to the university’s website.

WSU paid Florida-based YorkBranding $250,000 over the past year — with the majority going toward the design of the logo. In total, the university has spent around $850,000 on its branding effort, Gabbard said.

Despite opting to keep the logo it launched nearly two decades ago, university officials say funds paid to YorkBranding were worth the cost.

Source: Wright State rejects new logo, keeps Wilbur

What’s not clear is how they stumbled onto YorkBranding for the blame on this, because when they announced this sucky logo, they were working with another Florida firm according to that DDn article:

The new logo is part of a larger rebranding effort the university launched in 2014. Trustees recently approved a $522,200 contract with the Orlando, Fla.,-based marketing firm Push, Inc. to help lead the effort. The total cost of the rebranding wasn’t immediately available.

Source: New Wright State logo doesn’t include Wilbur |

Once again, we seem to have a question of who did Wright State really hire? Push or York?

If Wright State really wanted to do a brand makeover, this was a topic of discussion in my very first meeting with David Hopkins over gyros. I suggested that the athletic brand “Raiders” had zero connection with the Wrights -and that the Green and Gold- selected because someone was a Packers fan made no sense either. There is a holistic approach to rebranding Wright State- but neither Push nor YorkBranding has a clue.

As to the idea that the brand mark is going to do much to change Wright State from “Beavertech” into a world class destination university, once again, someone needs to have their head examined. The fact that WSU has a “associate brand manager” is a clear indication that the university jumped the tracks long ago. The administrative bloat under Hopkins has raised costs, while faculty morale has dropped precipitously. All the new buildings do little to improve the quality of the education- and the fact that Wright State can’t find it within themselves to hire their own graduates to do their rebrand speaks clearly to how they value their own product.

Although, when they do hire their own graduates, like my classmate Bob Grant who is now the Athletic Director, his recent decision to fire the Basketball Coach, Billy Donlon, because he was failing “fan engagement” reaches new lows in reasons for firing. The man produced graduates, changed lives, and still won a lot of games, despite having the lowest paid assistant coaches in the league. He also loved Wright State and bled Green and Gold for what it’s worth. Maybe if the university spent less on hiring former congressmen like Steve Austria as “consultants” (Austria is an actual registered lobbyist) and could explain how the odd hiring of the coach’s dad as the “Director of Operations” (makes for a really odd chain of command, don’t you think) the coach might have had a better shot. As to one big-money donor complaining that WSU basketball isn’t anything like UD basketball- the first thing to question is where did this genius go to school? Wright State isn’t Harvard either, nor should it be.

All this comes down to the old maxim often attributed to Steve Jobs: “A” people hire “A” people, “B” people hire “C” people. It’s time for a complete housecleaning at Wright State from the president and the board of trustees down to the athletic director, and the “associate brand manager.”

Wright State University needs to reexamine itself from the ground up. Is it supposed to be a school with a “top 100” basketball program, and be a world renowned research facility- or is it supposed to be an affordable place for local residents to get a degree while working, or being stationed at Wright Patt?

Now that the “lobbyists” are having their way with allowing community colleges to serve outside their counties and to possibly offer 4-year degrees, why not just let Sinclair take it over and we cut overhead and tuition drastically? I guarantee Wright State would grow exponentially with tuition at $98 a credit hour- no matter what logo you put on the school- even if it looks like a local trash company.

 

 

I’m David Esrati, and I don’t approve this message

David Esrati portrait 2016

I took my own mug shot.

It’s happened a lot recently. Randomly, I’ve connected with someone who said “Aren’t you David Esrati, I read your blog.” Not necessarily read it every post, but, have read it. One of my hockey teammates even said it was helpful to him when he looked for “Where to get Baklava in Dayton

A very pretty, sweet woman walked up to me, and said she was touched by the piece I wrote in the Dayton Daily news about the Kettering Ice Rink. When I asked her name, she said she was nobody- and only gave her first name.

A conversation in Kroger yesterday turned to politics, and I was asked again- am I done running? Right now, I’m running a business, taking care of elderly parents and 5 pieces of real estate, and then there is this book I’m neglecting right now. I’ve yet to see a whole bunch of people show up and say they want to help me run. I also had to hear again about how our County Auditor thought it was OK to make me the punchline at the Dems’ big fundraiser. It didn’t sit well with some of the people who buy tickets to these things because they lobby- not necessarily agree with the party and its politburo of friends and family.

Others tell me, you need to stay out of politics. Retire the blog. Just concentrate on your business. Make money.

But, then the brilliant minds at Cox- owners of the newspaper, a TV station they call “the leader” and a bunch of radio stations- decide to can 27 people in copy editing- and hand it over to some farm team. I’m the son of a copy editor- and know how important it is that the people editing the people reporting the news actually know the city, the people, the players and even the pronunciations of street names, and if it’s a council or a commission- and if the mayor can vote or not on an issue. I guess their buy-one-give-away-five subscription plan failed to boost eyeballs- like everything else they do- other than give us better quality content- meaningful content.

This Tuesday is the most important primary I think I can ever remember in my lifetime, and could be one of the most pivotal in our country’s history. In a country where less than half the people vote- and less than half of those vote in primaries, we let a very few people chart our course, while we all bitch about the outcomes.

I get pissed when I get an email from the Montgomery County Democratic Party, of which I’m a member and on the central committee- telling me to vote for Hillary. I don’t recall a vote at any meeting where we decided whom to endorse.

You should get pissed too when people tell you who to vote for. But, you should get even more pissed when people just don’t vote. To think Nan Whaley was elected by such a small proportion of our population- is testament to how screwed up our system has become.

Everything I’ve done with the close to 2,500 posts I’ve published here- is to try to make people think, to engage, to make them more aware of what, who, and why our city is where it is today. Tuesday, you can do your part to set a course for our country’s future.

And, I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. But, for me- the only two candidates I’m sure of are Bernie Sanders and PG Sittenfeld. I just wish I had other choices in other races- and knew that I wasn’t going to be one of a small number of people setting the course of this next election.

And, while I can think of other things to do, instead of writing this blog- I can’t imagine living in a city where the only source of news and insight is coming from one place run by imbeciles.

Love or hate me, I am my father’s son. He, with the master’s degree in Political Science- and the knack for language, and the many years of reporting real news, and teaching his son the importance of checks and balances provided by the “fourth estate.” Today, the old man turned 89, and he’ll still find something to fix in this post after I finish.

Happy birthday pops.