The post election shuffle: winners and losers

Elections have unintended consequences that the average voter never takes into account. The political junkies have entire scenarios modeled in advance. No matter who wins and who loses- jobs are affected, careers changed and dreams created and hopes dashed.

For Ohio- kiss legal abortion in this state goodbye. DeWine will sign a “heartbeat bill” and more restrictions will be placed on providers including strict enforcement of the bogus “transfer agreement” laws.

You can also figure that redistricting won’t really change much in 2020- no matter how the process was changed. A full house of R’s won’t do much to fix the horrible gerrymandering.

The State Supreme Court is actually a bright spot- but, a few more D judges won’t change much.

The Ohio Democratic Party needs to have a housecleaning- as does the Montgomery County Democratic Party who have let our county go from Blue to Red over the last 10 years thanks to their protection of the “Friends and Family” plan.

Russ Joseph is a prime example. His 10 years of experience and believed “political acumen” lost him a job he should have been a shoe in for. He raised more money- but instead of talking about issues, talked about a man’s family. Of course, he won’t be unemployed in January- the Party takes care of it’s own.

The biggest award is the vacant county treasurer seat that will be open when Carolyn Rice takes over Dan Foley’s open seat. Will it go to Joseph as a consolation prize? Or John McManus? Or Dan Foley? This is how we roll. For Dan Foley, if he isn’t handed a patronage job or Carolyn’s seat, he’ll have to find a job in the real world for the first time in his life.

The bigger loser in this is Dayton School Board member Mohamed Al-Hamdani who got a job in the clerks office thanks to his buddy Russ. With Mike Foley taking over, Al-Hamdani will need a new “Friends and Family” job. Maybe they’ll give him the recorders office? Who knows.

Hopefully, we’ve seen the last of Adil Baguirov and his deplorable illusions of grandeur. He ran Dayton Public Schools into the ground, while committing voter fraud and living outside the district without redress. His business deals that he engaged in were questionably self-serving. If we’re lucky, he’ll pick up stakes and go back to advising crooked congressmen from a base of operations in D.C.

With Sheriff Phil “the Torturer” Plumer now a state rep, the running of the house of death will fall to the local Republican Party to pick. They’ll have 2 years to put their name on every cruiser, badge, and sign at the jail at tax payer expense, to get ready to defend the seat in 2 years, if at all. The local Montgomery County Party hasn’t been able to find someone to run for Sheriff reliably, and let Phil run unopposed last time.

The only place local Dems did really well was in running for judge- where the “D” label wasn’t on the ballot.

Everywhere else, they took a spanking.

There are ways to fix the Montgomery County Democratic party, but they involve bigger thinking than their “brain trust” can handle. The real issues choking Montgomery County are ones of duplication of services and too many banana republics. You can read more on www.reconstructingdayton.org

There will be recounts in some races, some ballot squabbles, and the state will remain divided and red, until the party of patronage learns how to be the party of the people.

In the mean time, the backrooms will be hard at work planning how to keep their friends in jobs- instead of worrying about their dismal failures.

 

Faulty Fairgrounds math

“Fairgrounds $15M purchase approved” is the headline on the front page of today’s Dayton Daily news. This is what we would now call “alternative facts,” or in the past- an “F” in math.

No worries, because no matter how much you sell the Fairgrounds for to “Meds, Eds and Feds” you keep the most valuable piece of undeveloped, virgin land in Downtown out of the category of contributing tax entity. No money generated to the schools, and- with this latest plan- which is really no plan, no idea of the number of jobs that will be created- the normal excuse for the public financing of private institutions (otherwise known as either corporate welfare or screwing the little guys).

UD and Premier will redevelop the property after market analysis and community input, according to a news release from the county…. The closing is supposed to take place no later than 15 days after the end of the due diligence period, which can be extended to the end of March if the buyers choose. UD and Premier will take possession of the property no later than Oct. 1, the letter states.

UD and Premier agreed to try to retain the historic roundhouse and incorporate it into their redevelopment plans.

In exchange, the county will provide them with a $2 million credit at the time of closing, which will be applied to the first and smaller of the two payments.

“We’re very pleased that as part of this deal the county is going to be able to contribute money to not only to keep that building where it is, but to improve it,” Commissioner Foley said.

Under the agreement, UD and Premier will not be required to renovate the building by any specific date.

The institutions also can decide that the roundhouse should be taken apart and reassembled at a suitable site somewhere else. But the building has a historic designation and, if moved, would have to be reconstructed to meet historic rehab standards, officials said.

Foley said he’s confident the development will create jobs, reshape the neighborhood and support two major anchor institutions.

“We’re excited that this next step has been accomplished. We look forward to working with our partners to develop plans for future,” said Premier Health in a statement.

The purchase agreement also says the city of Dayton will work to approve a memorandum of understanding outlining how it is prepared to participate in the construction of the infrastructure to benefit and support the redevelopment project.

The city also would be expected to take ownership of the title to the fairgrounds property to make the development eligible for tax increment financing incentives.

As for the financing, UD and Premier are expected to each pay $5.25 million of the sales price.

About $2.5 million is expected to come from a state grant that was previously awarded to the Dayton-MontgomeryCountyPort Authority. And the remaining $2 million is from the county.

Source: Fairgrounds’ $15M purchase approved

As far as this math challenged writer can figure, the Fairgrounds was sold for $10.5 million- making this the steal of the century.

And, the “historic roundhouse” isn’t worth much more than a pole barn, which is all it was then and now. If we are worried about preserving buildings in this town, let’s start with ones that have taxpaying people in them, that we’ve been tearing down faster than Trump tweets.

This after, two developers probably invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop a real plan with measurable returns on investment to the community, that were tossed out, so we (the taxpayers) could basically donate this property to two institutions that already don’t pay a lick of property tax- and cried like babies when told they’d have to pay an assessment like the rest of us for new streetlights based on a democratic formula based on street frontage.

And remember, Premier/MVH had plenty of money to spare, as did their top, grossly overpaid executives to donate to Issue 9 to RAISE their income taxes .25% just a few months ago. How much they donated isn’t even fully known, because the mystery Political Action Committee that funded the campaign never filed their post election report. After it passed, one of the first things Premier did was to end support for the two Community Based Police officers they had funded for South Park and Rubicon Mill (the neighborhood FKA Fairgrounds).

Of course, Dan Foley seems to be the only one talking about this donation. Foley has been searching for a post commission job for years. First he’d hoped to be hired by the Dayton Development Coalition, and now, it looks like he’s looking for a job with UD or Premier – hopefully as sweet as what former County Administrator Deb Feldman landed over at Children’s Medical Center where she makes a cool half million a year plus (up from around $200K a year). Foley was also behind the latest failed regionalization push- which crashed and burned, where he made enemies with every black democrat thanks to Nan Whaley’s scare the west side meetings that were a total farce (the poison pill to block the plan was already well in place).

Foley likes to think of himself as some kind of visionary leader, but, he gets nothing done. Maybe this is because he’s never held a real job in his life outside of either patronage jobs through the party, or elected jobs because he’s was born into the party (his Daddy was a judge, and this is how we take care of the friends and family in the Monarchy of Montgomery County). He’s a very nice guy, but that’s really not why we should elect anyone. Voters are getting sick of the same folks getting elected over and over and doing nothing- he almost lost to Jan Kelly last time (she’s now the Republican in charge at the Board of Elections) despite outspending her and being the incumbent, and Debbie Lieberman came within a hair of losing to Gary Leitzell last time out, despite outspending him 100 to 1. If you need any proof that no elected position is safe from incompetence, just look to the White House.

This deal to give away the real estate should be stopped. Without a contract in place specifying the investment to be made and the return on investment, the property should just be kept in holding. Anything else is criminal.

As to the lie of $15 million, that’s what happens when the only reliable news source in a city has to be published by a political gadfly who the party and the paper tried to minimalize from the very first time he ran for office over 25 years ago. You’re welcome.

 

 

Understanding “Dayton Together” rationally

Dan Foley, Valerie Lemmie, Paul Leonard, Mike Kelly and who knows else, may have some ideas about how to reform government, but they have zero ability to sell their plan.

Today’s Dayton Daily news includes this ludicrous statement:

Dayton Together also plans to conduct a cost study to determine if merging the governments will save money.

Foley said the initiative likely will not move forward if it does not benefit taxpayers through cost savings.

“If the answer comes back we can’t save very much, then this probably isn’t going to go very far,” Foley said.

Source: Plan would radically change city, county

How can you present a plan with a straight face, without doing the cost benefit study?

The reality is, there will be major pushback from the status quo; the current elected officials and their little kingdoms of patronage jobs. The local party system in place in Montgomery county is full of elected officials and people they get to hire to cushy, non-accountable jobs in the bowels of government.

These are called the “Party Central Committees” and most people couldn’t tell you who their precinct captain or ward leader is to save their lives. I know, I am one, although I missed the part about the cushy job with nice benefits.

Need an example? There is no reason to have two clerk of courts, with two websites, two court systems, two buildings (even though they are adjoined). Between Mark Owens and Greg Brush, and all the jobs they control (including of course jobs for friends and family) you have massive duplication of resources- plus two extra elected races that people could care less about. Owens is running unopposed if you need proof.

From Foley and Leonard’s editorial:

Many community leaders and elected officials have voiced opposition to our work. Some expressed concern that metro government would disenfranchise minority communities. This is far from our intent, so we hired Dr. Mark Salling, a Cleveland State University demographer, to determine if county council districts could be designed to actually increased minority representation.

Through Dr. Salling’s work, three council districts in the metro structure are majority minority districts — meaning, new opportunities for countywide minority policy makers. In a county that has never in its history elected a minority citizen to the Montgomery County Commission, we see this as a big step for greater inclusion.

Source: Challenges in region call for a metro government

What they’ve proposed is going to be the major sticking point: 10 districts with a representative each, 1 at large and a separate mayor’s race. By eliminating all other elected county positions like engineer, coroner and clerk of courts, leaving only the prosecutor (because nobody screws with Mat Heck in this area) as the only existing elected position that stays- we lose probably a dozen stupid choices on the ballot. Ask most people the difference between the County Auditor and the County Treasurer- and they can’t tell you the difference.

Of course, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is going to scream the loudest- she ran the most expensive campaign in a long time so she could crown herself queen of the city- an entity that’s a fraction of its former self- thanks to mismanagement, misguided “leadership” and an ingrained system of petty politics that has done no citizen any favors.

She’s got the black ministers on her side and the NAACP as well. Two groups who get way more play in the current system than they ever should command. And in this battle, they’ve already come out strongly against this baby step toward regionalization without a clue of what the current system has effectively done: totally diminished their true power.

More elections and more elected officials, don’t mean more power, they mean less.

This is where civics 101 would come in handy. Take 100 people, give them 10 offices to fill. You now have 90 people, with 10 “elected leaders.” Take a bell curve- which is the way most things distribute- including IQ. Did those 90 people pick the cream- the top 10 smartest people on that curve to lead them?
Probably not. Need proof? Look at the latest Republican primary field for President.

You now have 1 “leader” for every 10 people. This is the current system.

Take a simplified version of the proposed new system. You have 100 people, they vote for 3 people. Their odds of really picking 3 good people have increased.

You now have 1 “leader” for every 32.33 people.

Power hasn’t been diluted near as much, with less leaders, people actually have more power in who they elect.

When you factor in that the new system only has 4 countywide candidates: the prosecutor, the “mayor,” your local zone rep and the one at-large rep, spread out over a much larger population, you’ve actually increased your voting power, giving more control to fewer people to make bigger decisions.

With great power, comes great responsibility.

My initial take is that this plan is asking us to still elect too many people. 10 districts with one regional rep, across seemingly random regions is sort of what we have with the Ohio house and Senate (only with more seats). Trying to figure out who your State Rep is and what population he or she serves is pointless- most Ohioans couldn’t tell you their names either. Ohio would do just fine with a unicameral system (one house instead of two), because again, the more seats actually decrease accountability.

I’m not comfortable with the “mayor” of Dayton/Montgomery County being picked by the population at large either. It will be a very expensive race (especially if Nan decides she wants it) for another titular seat. Instead, I’d rather have a system where the elected body has to pick the person among the 11 that can unite and lead- as in a parliamentary system.

I’m also questioning 10 districts instead of 6 and 1 plus a mayor. Again, the more seats, the more you’ve diluted power.

It’s pretty obvious to those who know what’s going on that this change would turn the party power upside down for a period of time while they figured out how to corrupt it back into the current form- and that may be all that Dan Foley and partners want to do. Who would Karl Keith be if not for being able to hire Mr. Whaley? Or Mark Owens for hiring Matt Josephs brother? (It’s actually the other way around- Matt’s brother and Mark got Matt into office so they could own a piece of their budgetary bosses).

As to the major flaw of this whole mess- allowing the urban townships to keep on operating providing income tax free havens within the county limits- no one is touching that part with a ten-foot pole. Couldn’t possibly want to stop the biggest flaw in our current system- that would take real leadership.

 

Woosh, we’re a test market

Last summer, it wasn’t safe to drink the water in Toledo, thanks to a giant algae bloom.

Now, it’s not safe for the people of Flint to drink the water because when the “Emergency Manager” for the bankrupt city decided to switch water supplies- the acidic river water flushed the calcification in the lead pipes away- and the water is now contaminated with lead.

Even the little town of Sebring, Ohio, is having issues with high lead content in the water, despite our governor’s blustering statement that if he was facing a water crisis like the one in Flint “every single engine of government has to move when you see a crisis like that.”

Well, Dayton, knock on wood, has excellent water. And while we still have plenty of lead pipes for distribution, our hard well water, still deposits plenty of calcification to line and protect us. Our water is even softened with a huge lime kiln and has our blue lagoon off Route 4 to store our lime for keeping our water from tasting like nasty well water.

Woosh water station photo

A Woosh Station outside- which isn’t possible, because current system isn’t suitable for winter.

So, you have to wonder what brings the Israeli tech start-up Woosh to Dayton to test their purified water stations to compete with bottled water. And, why do people in Dayton still buy so much bottled water- that often times isn’t as tasty as what comes out of our taps.

That was my first question when I met with Itay Zamir  and Dani  Oren from Woosh Water when I met with them at Sinclair on Wednesday, Jan. 27. Their first answer was “people get innovation here” followed by “people care about the environment”- at least that’s what they’d been told. Why these guys were talking to me is another odd question. It seems the PR person who is handling them for the powers that be thinks this blog is well read- and I was the party responsible for bringing bike share to Dayton-  and these guys love bike share.

This is one of the first potential wins for the “Dayton Regional Trade Alliance” (DRITA) which has been shuffling politicians back and forth between Israel and Dayton- and we’ve got a few lobbyists on the payroll to try to sell Dayton as a manufacturing mecca, just prime to produce Israeli tech products for a much larger market. County Commissioner Dan Foley was there in 2013, along with then Dayton Assistant City Manager Shelley Dickstein when they first met with Woosh.

To explain Woosh- is pretty easy- it’s a glorified water fountain, that washes and “purifies” the bottle before filling it- with a credit card reader built in to take your money. The water is purified with O3- or Ozone, that’s made with water and electricity- and is the secret to cleaning your bottle. Could you use your own bottle and fill it from any old water fountain- sure- but, this water fountain has a few differences- the ozone treatment is one, the measured use replaceable filter (just like your refrigerator might have) and the wash step- for a price about half of what bottled water costs.

The system has been tested in Tel Aviv- with some success. There was also some push back- when they first rolled it out with free water- there were complaints about the registration process requiring a credit card. The difference of course is here it freezes. They don’t have an outdoor machine ready yet.

The machines cost around $20K each right now- but when they ramp up to mass production the price should fall. What’s missing right now is the business model. When pressed for how these are managed, who gets the money, and why you want to Woosh it- was all pretty vague. Right now, the three test stations in Sinclair generate money for Woosh. There is no payback to Sinclair for water, electricity or even rent for the floor space. Both Montgomery County and Dayton City Hall are planning on adding Woosh stations too- and according to the Dayton Daily- each org is kicking $25K over to Woosh to be in the pilot program. If this sounds a bit like Tom Sawyer charging his friends to do his work painting his fence you and I are in agreement. Of course, the payoff is the promise to build the Woosh in Dayton- for sale all over the U.S.

This is what happens when politicians do business deals.

That all being said- the Woosh guys are on a mission- to do away with the buying of bottled water. Ever looked at the bottle of water you bought at Sam’s Club or Kroger? Mother Jones did a story that a lot of the “premium brands” come from areas hit by drought. Many are just filtered tap water. The costs of bottled water add up; branding, bottling, transport, advertising- all for something we should already have- just open a tap, put it in the fridge- and voila. The fact that not only has bottled water use been growing at astronomical rates- but, that it supposedly outsells all soda sold on the Sinclair campus (the school wouldn’t give actual numbers). And that’s at $1.50 or so a bottle. Nice margin there if you can get it.

There is also the issue of BPA in the plastic bottles that most bottled water comes in. All the “purity” of the water is put at risk by this chemical used in the bottle.

BPA (bisphenol-A) is a potentially toxic estrogen-mimicking compound used in plastic production that has been linked to breast cancer, early puberty, infertility, and other maladies. It’s dangerous enough that it has been banned in baby bottles in Europe, Canada, and even China—but not in the U.S. And it turns out that it’s almost entirely unavoidable. It’s in water bottles…

Source: 6 Steps to Avoiding BPA in Your Daily Life

The novelty of the Woosh system is the way you can buy it in bulk- and become a “member” – and use an RFID tag- or your Tartan card- to buy your water, instead of the single serve via cc option. The real killer cost here is the cc transaction processing cost- which is why giving a discount to larger purchases- or using the Tartan card is good for Woosh. They have also somewhat gamified their system- to track how much environmental benefit you are granting the world by Wooshing instead of hitting the bottle.

Really- as long as people are willing to pay stupid amounts of money for bottled water- Woosh makes sense. I’m not really sure why the genius innovators in Dayton haven’t started selling our tap water bottled instead of handing money over to Woosh- but we could still do both. It sure seems smarter to ship Dayton’s wonderful water to Flint than to allow Pepsi, Coke & Nestle to ship their hoity-toity water from drought zones.

Or better yet- start mass producing Woosh stations right now- and sell them to Flint, as a cheaper solution than having the National Guard handing out free bottled water daily. If someone from DRITA was smart enough to get it in writing that they’d be produced here- it shouldn’t be too hard to find demand for a whole bunch of these Woosh stations right now in Flint.

The guys from Woosh aren’t monogamous to Dayton, apparently they’ve been having a dalliance with the city of Miami Beach- to install a “Smart Water Stations Network” in Miami Beach- they signed an agreement back in March, 2015. Let’s hope that Shelley Dickstein remembered to get this manufacturing contract in writing this time- unlike her Wayne Avenue Kroger deal.

The Woosh system deploys with three stations at Sinclair on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. One will be outside the Tartan marketplace, another at the Main St. Cafe and the third at the Sinclair end of the parking garage walkway in Building 14.

The “regionalization” plan that wasn’t

When Joey Williams actually posts something political on Facebook, you know people are talking. And that Joey is distancing himself from the new plan is an instant giveaway that this plan is DOA. Not that he has any clout- but, I digress.

I’ve always said that if Kettering were the largest community in the County – and there was talk of regionalization, it would have happened already. Kettering, for the most part, is the model of effective government.

Can’t say that for either the vounty or the City of Dayton, where nepotism, favoritism and as I like to refer to them- “the monarchy of Montgomery County” rule.

This idea of merging the county and the city governments is a joke, if you aren’t including the townships- it’s just a backward move at consolidation- trading in 5 grossly overpaid members of the Dayton City Commission for 3 even more overly paid members of the Montgomery County Commission, who have even less to do.

The regionalization expert cited in today’s Dayton Daily news says:

“(David) Rusk, founding president of the research group Building One America. The former Albuquerque, N.M., mayor wrote “Cities without Suburbs,” a study often described as the bible of government regionalism….

“In effect Dayton city hasn’t received any dowry from the marriage. It hasn’t received a square foot of additional territory. It hasn’t picked up population. It hasn’t picked up any tax base,” Rusk said. “In effect it has simply swapped a governing body that’s elected solely by the residents of the city of Dayton for a governing body that’s elected by everybody in Montgomery County.”

Source: Merger plan has long way to go

Let’s review: Both the city commission and the county commission have basically one job- to hire a professional administrator to see over their large budgets, union contracts, and running the organization. In the business world, we call these the board of directors- unfortunately- in the political world- we elect people- not based on their expertise, or knowledge of running effective organizations- but, based on a popularity contest closely controlled by two local political parties- that operate more like “good ole boys (and girls) clubs” than effective political operators. Their most important role is to get people elected who can then hire the party faithful (again- under-qualified) to work in patronage jobs.

Each elected office gets a budget for these friends and families- the worst offenders are the Board of Elections- where convicted rapists get hired without a job application, Dayton Waste Collection- where generations of a certain union family continue to keep their jobs even when they can’t drive, and oh, lets see- almost every other department in the city.

Remember when the young City Manager, Rashad Young, had his grandpappy working in IT- the one with the kiddie porn on his work computer? Or going back- way back, when our Mayor Richard Clay Dixon was working for Dayton Public Schools- and taking sick days from his DPS job to travel on government business? Or, back to the county- how County Administrator Deb Feldman- signed off on a convicted felon, Raleigh Trammell, to run a welfare program? (And yes, he was convicted of welfare fraud BEFORE she gave him the position).

Realistically- both governments are cesspools. It’s almost laughable when the Dayton Daily quotes this:

“This is a conversation not precipitated by scandal, as it was in Cleveland, and certainly not by the fact that our local public officials are in any way lacking in integrity, dedication to the public and ability,” said U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice, an officer of the nonprofit Dayton Together group, which currently has about 20 members.

That’s because we can’t add two plus two together for the most part, your honor. The reason for the huge shift to Warren County- for the loss of population in Dayton- and the death spiral of property values in our city core- is from ineptitude and a lack of understanding of how the pieces fit together. Readers of this site are constantly reminded of how this mess is failing us.

This plan has it backwards- the way it should work- is the largest municipality in the county should run the county. This would immediately force the other communities to put away their pet squabbles and join together quickly to over power the stupidity that runs Dayton. Merge Centerville, Kettering and Washington Township into one- and let them run the show. Then Dayton would add Trotwood and Jefferson Township and maybe even Harrison Township- to one up the other. Then Huber Heights and Riverside would join forces with CKW and maybe throw in Moraine too. Next you know, Miamisburg, West Carrolton are looking for partners- and voila- regionalization has happened- much the way a parliamentary system works- where you have to form alliances to gain power.

However, the State could step in and fix all of this mess, putting limits on number of elected office per capita within a region defined by population density. No more 6 man police departments, or kangaroo municipal courts. No more “economic development” officials at lower than the county level. And most importantly- a lot less political overhead- the true reason that it sucks to do business in Ohio- where there are so many different tax rates, rules and authorities it makes your head spin.

This hair brained idea of merger should be the last hurrah for Dan Foley- who is only in politics because he’s the son of a judge, and he thinks he was some kind of wizard for implementing computerization when he was the clerk of courts. The reality is, if we graded any of our leaders based on performance; ie- growth of jobs, wealth, population, or efficiency – none of them would have kept their jobs longer than a single term.

One quote gets it right in the paper, Mark Owens:

“We have 86 counties in Ohio that have our kind of government. If there’s something wrong with that kind of government, it ought to be done on a statewide basis, not making Dayton and Montgomery County some type of a test tube or laboratory to figure out what’s going on.”

And the answer is yes- our state is a mess.