138 Million ways to not blow it: Dayton Commission 2021 candidates plans

Full disclosure- at one time or another, I’ve done work for Scott Sliver, Darryl Fairchild and Shenise Turner Sloss.

Pop quiz: Dayton has a great track record of spending money on things that?

A) Make demolition contractors millionaires.
B) Make developers who donate to candidates wealthy.
C) Let Meds, Eds, and Feds all escape any kind of civic responsibility.
D) All of the above.

And now we have $138M coming our way for the people you elect to do something smart with it. So I’m going to go to all 6 candidates’ sites to look for their plans- you’d think they have one, right? Also, note that Reconstructing Dayton sent out questionnaires for the primary to all the candidates; however, the only one who is still running who filled one out is Shenise Turner Sloss. They’ve also been compiling the Campaign Finance reports in ADA-compliant format for you to review.

For Mayor we have sitting city commissioner and Dem party good old boy Jeff Mims running against former fire chief and baseball chaplain Rennes Bowers.

Mims can and should accept some of the blame for Dayton’s long track record of failure at investing in things that are good for the general populace instead of the preferred method of those on the “friends and family plan” of helping the rich get richer. Jeff’s site is at Mims for Mayor. It has the typical platitudes about “economic development” and hogwash about his accomplishments.

Rennes Bowers’ site: Bowers for Mayor has his 5 point plan of…. platitudes. Nothing else. Nothing concrete.

Winner: Neither have a plan for you. Mims has 2 votes on the commission already with Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph, meaning if he’s elected, it’s business as usual no matter who else wins. So far, the only reason to vote for Bowers is that he isn’t Mims.

For Dayton City Commission we have four candidates for 2 seats. Darryl Fairchild is the only incumbent (which almost always guarantees re-election in Dayton). He only won the last time because it was a special election and the party tried to run Rev Daryll Ward against him. This happened because Joey Williams who was all buddy-buddy with Mims, Joseph, Shaw and Whaley had to step down because he was a criminal who had turned confidential informant for the Feds. Of course, since the Feds only indicted black folks and it takes 3 votes for anything to pass the Dayton City Commission, Williams was as useless as a snitch as he was as a commissioner; no further indictments ever surfaced.

Going to the candidates’ sites to find out what they’d do with the 138M that’s coming, we find:

Darryl Fairchild: Fairchild for Dayton. Darryl doesn’t mention the $138M infusion directly on his site that seems a bit out of date with a letter to Trump, asking him not to come to Dayton, on the front page. He does have his Blueprint for Dayton which has specific policy ideas, but no actual implementation strategy. He’s supposedly going to have a listening tour in the month of July to gather input on what to spend it on.

Scott Sliver: Elect Scott Sliver. A lot about him and endorsements. Really short on policy. Scott ran against the incumbent Dems 6 years ago who now are on his nominating committee.

Shenise Turner Sloss: Shenise For Dayton. While not mentioning the $138M directly, this is a campaign platform for the other candidates to respond to. There is a reason she came in first in the primary. Read her platform Issues. If you are her opponent, weep, you’ve been outclassed, even if Shenise doesn’t specifically spend the bucks- at least she has ideas for the future.

Stacy Benson Taylor: Stacy Benson Taylor has an extensive set of plans on her site in the FAQ. She does mention the money (more than once) :

I am extremely optimistic that the money received from the American Rescue Plan Act will replace loss revenue, which will allow the City to fully fund appropriate staffing models for all city departments, including the HRC.

While the $147 Million in Recovery Act funding replaces revenue lost from COVID-19, Dayton’s most pressing issue is a direct result of the pandemic. The proposed commuter income tax reduction would result in $20+ million in lost revenue, creating numerous financial/operational challenges.

Hiring freezes, abolished positions, separation plans and budget reductions have significantly affected our city’s workforce and ability to provide vital services. The loss of the commuter tax will further exacerbate an already strained budget.

Effectively cutting cost to mitigate these losses without compromising essential services coupled with strategic funding allocations are key in moving towards fiscal recovery

However, if you read the whole thing, you come down to this: she’s pro labor, anti-management and wants to keep government union jobs alive. Other than that, she seemingly thinks that the Gem City Market and the 5th Street Brew Pub models are about as good as it gets, or that throwing money at the Feldman family (Economy linen and Dayton Children’s CEO’s family) is the way of the future. She even has the gall to defend the huge expenditures by the city to protect the Klan’s right to speak on Courthouse Square, but fails to find fault in the city’s management of the George Floyd protests. She may be better at writing a campaign platform than Sliver or Fairchild, but, realize that most of what she points to as accomplishments was in her paid job as a labor rep. Still short of actual implementation rubrics.

The summary

The sad truth is $138M isn’t a whole lot of money when it comes to government spending. The new intersection at Austin Landing went north of $180M and all it achieved was to drive a nail in the coffin for the Dayton Mall. $100M is the number thrown around for the Arcade redevelopment. And while it may be enough money to run the city for about 9 months, there are other factors at work that could put a big hurt on city revenue.

Work from home is the biggest threat to the City of Dayton. We already have the highest personal income tax in the region (tied with Oakwood at 2.5%) and with folks not having to come in to work in big office towers this may be a boon for the suburbs and the nail in the coffin for Dayton. If all those suburban incomes stay in the ‘burbs, you may as well shut the doors and close the city down. The only high-wage jobs that require attendance on premise that I can think of are medical staff in the hospitals, and we just let one get torn down.

This issue is why our region is doomed, more than any other reason. Suburbs have been fighting for jobs to claim income taxes and sucking the lifeblood out of the center city. The only correct answer is to have a single income tax county-wide (at a much lower rate) and distribute it according to a formula. This would eliminate tax havens like urban townships and royalty tax breaks like at Austin Landing where only the working poor are charged a tax (if you work in 1-story buildings you are taxed at 2%, if you are white collar in an office tower, no tax). However this issue is way above the pay grade of city commission candidates. A single tax rate is one of the main goals of Reconstructing Dayton, along with uni-gov to shut down all the banana republics with their wasteful government overhead duplication.

So, what strategic play should Dayton make with its $138M windfall? Let’s look at what our primary problems are first:

Poverty, racial segregation, loss of population, lack of desirable services in all neighborhoods, public safety, obsolete/upside down housing stock, poor schools, odd boundaries, provincial politics. Did I miss any? (as if this list isn’t way too long already).

Typically, politically driven “economic development” focuses on creating jobs as the panacea to all problems, yet that system of carrots to lure businesses in has been broken and corrupt for decades. Same goes for place maker investments: Riverscape, Wright Dunbar, Town Centers, etc. Unfortunately, the only investment the city has made to attract a business with any kind of impact has been the baseball stadium: without it, many of the new businesses that sprang up around it would never have made it. But, other than the Delco Lofts- and now Mendelson’s – most of it has been “urban renewal” instead of urban restoration. The first replaces, the second rebuilds. We need a Restoration plan for the city, and so far, the only candidate talking about any of it is Turner Sloss. I don’t see concrete plans or a rubric, but the beginning of a glimmer is in her plans.

The biggest thing on the ballot may not even be who you elect this time, but how you elect next time. Reconstructing Dayton is going to circulate a petition to bring ranked choice voting to Dayton– which would eliminate the separate race for Mayor- and the expensive, mostly ignored primary that left us with this small field. To understand what may have happened had we had this in place for this cycle- read this post.

Look for my next post July 22, 2021 post, to see some provocative ideas to spend the $138M to leverage equality and equity in Dayton, instead of just fattening the pigs at the trough as we’ve done in the past. The question is- how do we invest/change to undo our decades of dumb decisions?

If you’ve got any brilliant ideas on how to make $138M work like a billion, feel free to comment. Just don’t ask any of our candidates too much- it might break their little brains.

A letter from the Montgomery County jailers

Sheriff Rob Streck in Jail

Maybe Streck’s new position if he continues to fail the Corrections officers of Montgomery County?

Dayton, we’ve got a problem. And I don’t mean the little Dayton, central city to a ring of banana republics that pretend to be cities or townships or whatever you want to call yourselves, I mean Dayton Ohio- the one on the map. Our jail, “run” by Sheriff Rob Streck is a shit-show on steroids.

Most readers of this blog are well aware that the County has paid north of $10M in settlements for incompetence under past Sheriff Phil “the torturer” Plummer and now under his incompetent understudy, Rob Streck. Streck wouldn’t be sheriff if not for the absolute incompetence of the Montgomery County Democratic Party that is incapable of finding candidates (probably because the Monarchy/Friends and Family plan party has no members in law enforcement for fear of all being arrested for corruption). After the two known pepper sprayings of inmates in restraints (see www.esrati.com/deadly) a few deaths and multiple cases of abuse (I’ve got a prisoner getting his leg broken by Corrections officers within a half-hour of arrival on tape waiting to be turned into yet another story- sitting in my queue of to-do’s) the mistreatment of the inmates is a well known, but this article isn’t about the mistreatment of criminals – so all of you ignoramuses who sit back and say the best way to avoid being mistreated  in the Montgomery County jail is don’t do a crime, this story is for you.

The Corrections Officers are now being abused by the incompetent Sheriff to the point that there aren’t enough of them left to run a bad jail, never mind a good one. Another senior CO just quit this weekend, and it’s little wonder why. Most are working double shifts (a “hit” in CO parlance) 4 to 5 days a week, and while time and a half may have some of them making north of six figures (that’s $100,000 for those of you like Streck who don’t realize that “Corrections Officers” shouldn’t be making that much money), the reality is no jail is safe when the folks running it are running scared- even taking pay cuts to get out of the hell hole.

Plea’s from the Union Rep, Justin Haines, to sit down and negotiate a solution are being rebuffed, wait, no, ignored, by Julie Droessler, the Personnel Director at Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the OPBA counsel Joe Hegedus are being ignored, here is the letter that was leaked:

Hi Julie and Joe,
I was asked to talked  (sic) to you guys about the staffing in the jail.
We are down 28-30 C/O’s. We have C/O’s out on medical leave and military leave.
Leaving us roughly 37 down.
All or 1st watch and 3rd watch (whole shifts) are being hit 3 to 4 times a week. On Friday
June 11 five C/O’s where double hit on 3rd watch. 2nd watch has had all but I or 2 C/O’s
get bit for overtime. Even with people being double hit. shifts are not able to cover other
watches overtime positions.
ls it possible to schedule a labor management meeting to discuss staffing issues ? If not
can something be put out to all of the C/O’s about what is being done to get people
hired and keep the people we have. It is gelling bad and we are going to continued (sic) to loose
more people (senior ones now than the pay has increased to keep the newer ones).
Since that committee put out that report in February 2019. The jail has promoted more
Sgt.’s and hire (sic) more Deputies for jail transportation. C/O’s working in the jail is no where
close to what that report recommended. I don’t know if the sheriff can send out emails
asking everybody’s input on what to do, to get people hired and keep the ones we have.
Thank You,
Justin Haines

The Sheriff has actively been recruiting new Corrections Officers and Deputies on their new “Careers page” However, they’ve been using a bait and switch techniques according to sources to just keep the jail afloat- telling new deputies that they will need to do a month in the jail before moving to road crews- to provide temporary help. Seasoned Corrections Officers all feel slighted by the $4 hr raise for starting C/O’s- while they got 83 cents. For a while, Sgt’s were being assigned as C/O’s until Haines put a stop to it, yet the fact is the jail has been understaffed for the last 10 years is the dirty little secret no one wants to talk about.

At this point, the Montgomery County Jail may be the most dangerous place to work, never mind serve time, because exhausted C/O’s make mistakes.

Saying this is a County issue is dodging the problem. Every single one of the 30+ banana republics like Kettering, Centerville, Moraine and Union- send their citizens into this hell hole- yet pass the buck to the county commissioners. It’s time to stop ignoring the fact that your citizens deserve better, even if they did break the law. It’s time to start requiring all the Mayberry RFD police departments in the County to start detailing police officers to the jail to serve as C/O’s until this staffing nightmare can be resolved. Either that, or start finding jails outside of Montgomery County to send your hoodlums to. The reality is, any jurisdiction be it city or township, that sends their citizens into this shitshow is failing their citizens.

If Streck can’t fix this, he should be removed from office for gross incompetence, and whomever his Republican party boss  (his old boss Plummer) picks to replace him should have 30 days to propose a solution, or it’s time to ask the State to take over the jail until competent leaders can be found.

Just remember- a lot of the people in the jail are innocent until proven guilty. The only question now is why isn’t Streck an inmate? Because he’s committing a crime daily in his mismanagement of the jail.

And if you wonder what the real solution is to our jail problem- be sure to subscribe to Reconstructing Dayton, the organization committed to identifying waste and eliminating expensive duplication of services in Montgomery County.

How to do a background check in Dayton Ohio- and how it could be easier.

The first response to a facebook job posting was obviously too good to be true. Someone with a long history of accounting and bookkeeping applied. She loved dogs (we have 2-3 in the office daily) and wrote a very nice cover letter. No grammatical errors, covered our test questions (attention to detail is important) and the resume was a little long (3 pages) but all applicable.

But, since I’ve been burned by criminal con-artists before, I thought I’d do a quick search of criminal prosecutions in Montgomery County. For that, I headed over to the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts website- mistakenly called “Pro”- for “public records online” – but really should be named “AMATEUR” from the sites functionality and user interface.

The site is not mobile friendly, there are so many things about it that could be dramatically improved by using basic web interface design tools (color coding of filings in the docket would be a godsend- with plaintiff, defendant and court filings all coded with standard colors would make it much easier to find what you are looking for – as a start). But the biggest flaw is that none of these valuable public records are indexed by search engines- or linkable – ie- here’s her record.

I can tell you why this happened in Montgomery County long ago in Internet time. In the early days of search, if you searched for “Economy Linen Dayton” all that would come up were all the lawsuits they filed against former customers for non-payment. This was of great concern to the Feldman family- and they reached out to me on how they could fix their search results (my firm was an early pioneer in building websites and SEO and taught a class in how to use WordPress as a Google beater). Instead, since Deb Feldman was the county administrator, and her family owned Economy- they just forced the information to be hidden.

It also doesn’t help that Ohio insists on the idea of electing amateurs to jobs that should be performed by professionals- like County Clerk of Courts, Recorder, Auditor, Treasurer, local School Board Members- and even has a few jobs where you have to have actual certification to do the job like County Engineer or Coroner or, whelp, Judges (as if voters can tell a good judge from a bad one other that what the judge did to your cousin Billy Bob).

All the above to get to this- Miss Job applicant came up more than once. Four times to be exact. Once as a notary, twice as a debtor and once as a defendant, where on Monday, March 22, 2021 10:08:56 AM, in an TERMINATION ENTRY – COMMUNITY CONTROL- Judge Gerald Parker ordered her:

9. A requirement that the defendant not work in any capacity where she conducts financial transactions, handles cash, has access to employer/customer cash, checks, or credit information, or manages employer/customer finances;

Needless to say, I copied the judge on my response to her that I didn’t think it’d be a good fit at my office and maybe she should consider manual labor or dog walking. I also called the plaintiff who thanked me profusely. Hopefully, her next appearance online will be with equally crappy website run by the Sheriff that shows people in custody in the Montgomery County Jail.

In the meantime, to do a background check in Dayton Ohio, you are unfortunately challenged by the fact that we don’t have a statewide Clerk of Courts site with e-filing and unified search like the State of Wisconsin (see this post).

To do a background check effectively, you have to check ALL of the following sites:

Montgomery County PRO: https://pro.mcohio.org/pro/ Which covers felony cases.

There are 7 municipal courts to check:
Montgomery County muni-court: (another horrible website) http://www.mccountycourts.org/
with 2 different sub-sites: Eastern and Western– but, not to worry- they both use the same PRO system to keep cases- although you’d hardly know it. Note- both of them are not secure (website basics 101).

Then you have the step-children websites- very expensive and should be totally unnecessary: note- you should check both criminal and civil on each site.

Three bastard mayor’s courts (why these are allowed to exist is beyond comprehension)

Greene County https://courts.greenecountyohio.gov/eservices/home.page.2

They are nice enough to include the other courts- muni- on the same page:

You should also check Warren County and Springboro and Franklin:

Warren County Clerk of Courts: https://www.co.warren.oh.us/clerkofcourt/

Miami County Clerk of Courts: https://www.co.miami.oh.us/117/Clerk-of-Courts

That is just the list of court sites the region pays for- to make life more difficult and expensive for all. This is one of the areas the region could be much more efficient and effective in spending your tax dollars. It’s one of the reasons I founded Reconstructing Dayton– to make everyone aware of how much public official incompetence costs us. This is no way to run government. We could have one statewide court docket management site to do all records for all courts- and besides saving money- make our lives much easier.

Other recommended steps: Check the person out on Social Media: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram – no guarantees that you’ll find what you want, but at least you may find out who they know that you know for personal references.

Calling personal connections is HIGHLY recommended- don’t just trust that because they are friends with a lot of people you are friends with on social media- doesn’t mean they all would vouch for them.

Calling former employers to confirm employment is the minimum. Asking for references is also advised.

Check actual educational qualifications. Universities will confirm a degree. I should have done this in my case.

Credit checks aren’t always legal- but can give you additional information. Typically, people with better credit are responsible.

You can pay for some information checking services- this is what private background check companies do, however, they probably don’t disclose which ones they use. I have a subscription to BeenVerified.com  which isn’t supposed to be used for background checks (it’s interesting what the legal do’s and dont’s are) and as a test, it found some court cases that I wasn’t aware of- like domestic violence – yet it didn’t have the felonies for embezzlement (yet). These services are all owned by one group– and marketed under different names: BeenVerified.com, PeopleLooker.com, NumberGuru.com, NeighborWho.com, Ownerly.com, PeopleSmart.com and Bumper.com. You aren’t supposed to use these for background checks. I use it for finding people for interviews, finding classmates for our reunion committee and verifying online buyers for online sales to make sure that we’re not being scammed.

I always run a google search on the person. Some are absolutely worthless if their name is very common. But, it never hurts to look.

As a landlord, I’ve used background check services before and found them moderately useful, however, just adding that you will use one in your ad often scares away some.

 

 

Why is Brian Higgins in the Montgomery County Jail?

Full disclosure- Brian Higgins is a friend, former client, fellow paratrooper.

Last Monday I reported that Brian Higgins was being sent to a federal prison for a competency evaluation in yet another strange twist of the “culture of corruption” investigation by the Federal Bureau of Incompetence.

First arrested on April 30, 2019, Higgins has been free on his own recognizance for over 2 years. He’s made every court hearing, he’s reported his whereabouts and contacts with police (even if he just called about a car wreck needing assistance). He’s not been convicted of any crime, nor has the state proved that he’s committed one.

Yet, last Monday, the Feds took him into custody after the trial- ostensibly to ship him off to a Federal Prison in North Carolina, Butner,  for an evaluation, yet, he’s being held in the Montgomery County Jail- taking up a bed and your tax dollars ever since.

Screen capture of Booking information for Brian Higgins

Now, Roshawn Winburn has plead guilty– and is due to serve a year long prison sentence, and to this day, is going about his daily business- due to report to the feds in September. Williams served about three months- and skipped the local jail- reporting directly to the Fed prison in Ashland KY- as did Clayton Luckie.

Roshawn Winburn not in Custody

Look up Roshawn Winburn here https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/

What makes the innocent until proven guilty Higgins deserving of incarceration? Only one possible answer- the feds are on a vendetta. Until they have a place for him in NC, there is no reason for him to be in the Montgomery County Jail. He’s not a threat to himself, or others, or the community.

Who are the feds protecting? Themselves?

 

How to weigh in on the public option for health care coverage

I was happy to see that 2 people in congress actually care that freedom- should include your right to manage your health care coverage- instead of your employer.

“Two leading congressional Democrats issued a call Wednesday for ideas on a “public option” health insurance plan, a campaign promise of President Joe Biden’s that faces long odds politically.

The wide-ranging request from Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey asks basic questions such as who should be eligible to enroll in a new federal health plan, how benefits would be designed and what payments should look like for hospitals, doctors, drug companies and other medical providers.”

I’m purposefully not giving credit to the shitty “newspaper” that published this AP story- because it failed to give you the actual information on HOW to submit the ideas. Don’t worry- they were one of many that did exactly the same thing.

So- here’s the contacts- and the questions- email to both-

[email protected] and [email protected]

1. Who should be eligible for the public option? Should a federally administered plan be available to all individuals or be limited to certain categories of individuals (e.g.,ACA Marketplace eligible individuals, private employers and individuals offered employer coverage)?

2. How should Congress ensure adequate access to providers for enrollees in a public option?

3. How should prices for health care items and services be determined? What criteria should be considered in determining prices?

4. How should the public option’s benefit package be structured?

5. What type of premium assistance should the Federal government provide for individuals enrolled in the public option?

6. What should be the role of states in a federally-administered public option?

7. How should the public option interact with public programs including Medicaid and Medicare?

8. What role can the public option play in addressing broader health system reform objectives, such as delivery system reform and addressing health inequities?

You can find more information here (PRI request PDF). 

Source: Congress wants your input on a public option healthcare plan! – National & International – WED 26May2021 – | NEMiss.NEWS

And here was really fast response (feel free to copy or adapt). I urge you to write as well:

1. Who should be eligible for the public option? Should a federally administered plan be available to all individuals or be limited to certain categories of individuals (e.g.,ACA Marketplace eligible individuals, private employers and individuals offered employer coverage)?
Available to all.

2. How should Congress ensure adequate access to providers for enrollees in a public option?
Cut off all medicare and medicaid money to any hospital organization that refuses it- and to any hospital that pays anyone over 20x their average employees wages and claims non-profit status.

3. How should prices for health care items and services be determined? What criteria should be considered in determining prices?
Benchmark against foreign countries- because there is no free market here. 

4. How should the public option’s benefit package be structured?
As simply as possible- it must include dental and vision- because kids can’t learn if they can’t read- and good oral health is a key preventative measure against many other diseases.

5. What type of premium assistance should the Federal government provide for individuals enrolled in the public option?
Sliding scale based on income. Children under age 5 should all be enrolled free, and that coverage continues until they have completed their education (no coverage for drop outs)

6. What should be the role of states in a federally-administered public option?
Nothing.

7. How should the public option interact with public programs including Medicaid and Medicare?
All three programs should be unified into one. Simplification is the key to success.

8. What role can the public option play in addressing broader health system reform objectives, such as delivery system reform and addressing health inequities?
Simplification of all insurance forms through a unified system.
Providing all patients the option of enrolling in an electronic health records system that is owned by the patient- not the health care provider. To solve the inequities- mandate that no elected official anywhere, can have any insurance OTHER than the public option as a condition of being in office.

It’s time to fix health care in America. It costs more, has worse outcomes and stifles economic mobility. The Pandemic showed we can fund some parts of health care for all- even though in reality- we already do. Hospitals can’t deny care, they just act like the Mafia and prefer to punish those who haven’t paid their vig in advance.

There is zero reason for health care to require insurance. It’s a basic, fundamental requirement for a country to be an economic powerhouse.

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