Spend half a million, win a levy

Vote no on issue 4, no more money for Sinclair until all counties payDr. Steven Johnson continues to get away with lying about the value the Montgomery County taxpayers donate to surround counties in providing Sinclair services.

The voters just gave him a ten year license to raise tuition, buy more buildings, increase fees, not hire full-time instructors, and continue to build his empire.

Sinclair’s 10-year levy allows the school to invest in daily operations of the downtown Dayton campus as well as provide discounted tuition for Montgomery County residents. The discount means Montgomery County students pay just over $99 per credit hour while students from other counties pay around $146 per credit hour.

With the passage of the levy, Johnson said the college will continue to focus on making its educational offerings affordable and accessible.The levy, which is one of two Sinclair has in Montgomery county, faced little opposition and Johnson said he believed the results proved that. Sinclair’s second levy, an eight year $8.5-million one, was passed in 2015 with 54 percent of the vote.

David Esrati had launched an opposition campaign called “Keep Sinclair Fair” but it appears to have never picked up steam. Esrati called for Montgomery County residents to vote against the levy while advocating for other counties Sinclair serves to pay a tax levy.

Sinclair has the authority to put a tax levy on the ballot in Warren County but Johnson has said such a measure is unnecessary at this point. for (sic) The money generated by the Montgomery County levy can only be used within the county, according to state law, meaning no levy revenue can be used at Sinclair’s locations in other counties.

Source: LOCAL & STATE Sinclair’s election victory ‘a great birthday present’

Note, Keep Sinclair Fair spent a little over $1000 to their half a million plus. Throw in all the Sinclair ads you saw for non-Levy related promotion- and it probably came in at over a million. We not only have the best politicians money can buy, but the highest tax burden money can buy.

Congratulations to all Montgomery County Voters- a big thank you from Greene, Preble, Warren counties- who get Sinclair services without any property taxes at all.

A year has passed: Stephen G. Esrati 1927- Aug 18, 2016

I slept on the pull out couch at the VA Hospice. Dad. made some noises around 2am. He wasn’t really there, the spirit of the man I knew had left a few nights before, when he ate his last meal- a double bacon cheeseburger from Burger King.

I left to take a shower around 8am- and to pick up Mom. He died while I was gone. The nurse said, sometimes they wait to die alone. I’ve come to accept it.

That last meal was really a favorite- partially because as a non-observant Jew- it was the ultimate giving of the middle finger to the orthodox. He even listed it as his favorite food on his profile on the Jerusalem Post. I don’t think he ever got over being hung by his cheek on barbed wire as a young boy while riding his bike on the sabbath in Palestine. Someone had to come- lift him off the barbed wire, which had been strung to enforce their interpretation of the sabbath. He came close to losing an eye.

The right to protest always had limits, but, when your rights were taken away, it was your duty to fight. That’s why, when the fight to create an Israeli state began, he set off on an illegal journey to fight. And when the ship he was on was boarded in Lebanon, and the males of “fighting age” were ordered at gunpoint to leave the ship, he went first.

Over the last year- some young med student, has hopefully, been learning how to save someone else’s life- by practicing on the vessel that held his spirit.

Me, I’ve doubled down on fighting the good fight. From taking on the school board with their catastrophic choice in superintendents, to trying to prove that Phil Plummer runs a jail unfit for human habitation. Dad would have been proud. He also would have told me, at some point, you have to take care of your business- and all this, is for the ungrateful, those who never pay attention until it’s too late.

But most of all, I’m thankful that he didn’t live to see the rise of Donald Trump.

What happened in Charlottesville last week would have him marching in the streets. Not necessarily about the neo-nazis protesting, but Trumps comments after. To him, words matter. The difference between politicians “distancing” themselves and “denouncing” Trump are very clear in his book, and in mine. To see Cohn and Mnuchin, two Jews, stand there, while Trump makes excuses for Nazis would have been the tinder to set a fire under his ass. That they haven’t resigned, rejected, denounced, the idiot in chief is tantamount to treason in his book- not just as Jews, but as Americans.

Speaking of his book- he wrote one on citizenship to me, for my 17th birthday- but started around the time of another national tragedy- the massacre at Kent State.

You don’t have to go very far in his book to find something that speaks to the issues of the day, and that in itself is sad. The more things change- the more they stay the same.

The American Creed
When I was a kid we still had to memorize things. I don’t know if schools still do this. If they do and if we had not left the United States, you might have had to commit to memory a short statement of what it means to be an American. I learned it in the sixth grade at the George G. Hamilton School in Everett, Mass. Even today, I can honestly say that I think its author, William Tyler Page, clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, did a fine job of expressing the ideals of Americanism in “The American Creed”:

I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign nation of many sovereign states; a perfect union, one and inseparable, established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it; to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, and to defend it against its enemies.

Long before you were born, I had become convinced that freedom, equality, justice and humanity were not the operating principles on which the United States was run. I would not have been able to say that most Americans believed in those ideals, at least as long as it was cheap for them to say so. Every American paid some lip service to these principles every year.
To some it meant that an American had some inherent right to tell people in other countries how they should conduct their affairs. On the premise that the U.S. system of government was not only the best possible but actually perfect, Americans forced their ideas on other countries. That is why West Germany is a federal republic. That’s why the Philippines has a President and a Congress. And before Fidel Castro threw out the perfect system, even Cuba had it, brought at gunpoint by the United States Marines.

We don’t learn “The American Creed” in schools. We castigate people who question our government- which is less and less, by the people or for the people. Listen to Trump as he turns on the CEO of Merck for leaving his little committee- who dared to question- “@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S., Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!”

This, in response to: “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”

I miss my father.

But, I miss the ideals of my country even more.

If you have time for a short read, please, take the time to read “Dear Son, Do you really want to be an American” by my dad. I’ve shared his gift to me to you for free. In his memory- if it just helps one of you to better understand where we’ve gone wrong, it will be a fitting tribute to the man who made me.

 

Educational entertainment tonight and tomorrow in Dayton

Tonight, at about 6:30 PM at the Oakwood Wright Memorial Library in the community room, I’ll be giving an off the cuff version of the banned in Dayton TedX talk about why our elections system is broken and how we could fix it.

Wright Memorial Library is at 1776 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45419.

The group I’m speaking to is organized by Jason Liff- a friend and former client (MotoScooto- RIP). It’s a gathering of older intellectuals who still take an interest in learning. The talk is free and open to the public.

Tomorrow night, Aug 17, at 7:30 pm at the UD Roesch Library- the tallest building on campus, Pecha Kucha Dayton will have volume 32.

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Poster for Pecha Kucha Dayton Vol 32. PDF- click to download

Ten presenters talk about collecting:

Kayla Harris – Apparition Collections
Jacobee Rose Buchanan – Fantasy Costume Design
Rob Degenhart – Stories from the Self Storage Files
Teri Schoch – Collection Habits of an Artist
Christina Pereyma – Interpreting a Life from its Objects
Guustie Alvarado – Collecting Experiences for a Memoir
James Luckett – The View Behind the Cafe
Jason Harrison – The Beauty of Minimalism
Jason Antonick – A Classic Butterfly Collection
Sandy Mendelson – Life in the Liquidation Business

The event is free- Cash bar. Free parking (no passes required) in lots A, B and P.

Pecha Kucha- or PK- is 20 slides, 20 seconds each- on any subject. It’s usually family friendly, and interactive. I’ve seen the rough cut of one of the presentations and it should be awesome.

PK is produced by three South Parkians – Jill Davis, Matt Sauer and Shayna McConville It’s a program that’s global- happening in over 900 cities around the globe. Typically between 300 and 400 people show up at these 4x a year events. The location moves to expose people to different parts of the city. If you haven’t been to one, vol 32 should be a fun way to break your virginity.

DPS retreat is really an excuse to hide

“Mr Esrati, we’re going to ask you to leave” said Dr. Robert Walker, president of the Dayton Board of Education at their “Board Retreat” on Saturday, June 24, 2017.

At issue was the board taking what was presented as a critical time sensitive vote, on a report from the Treasurer, Hiwot Abraha, a mere 4 days after their regularly scheduled “business meeting” on Tuesday.

Did Abraha have no clue that this was critical on Tuesday, or was this purely an attempt to slide things through without the normal scrutiny and public comment allowed at the regular board business meeting? Me thinks the latter, which is why I spoke up, and invited my ejection.

From the agenda on Board Docs:

“May I have a motion to approve the following items:
C) Purchase Requisitions
D) Resolution: Official Certificate of Estimated Resources
E) Resolution: Original Appropriation Measure for Fiscal Yer (sic) 2018”

“Subject Resolution: Original Appropriation Measure for Fiscal Year 2018

Type Information

I recommend that the Board approve the following resolution for the Original Appropriation Measure for Fiscal Year 2017.

Rationale

Section 5705.38 of the Ohio Revised Code requires the adoption and/or amendment of an Annual Appropriation Measure.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Education of the Dayton City School District the following sums be and hereby are set aside and appropriated as indicated in the 2017-18 Original Appropriations.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, pursuant to Section 5705.412 of the Ohio Revised Code, the the Board President, Superintendent, and Treasurer certify that the Dayton City School District has in effect for the fiscal year 2018 the authorization to levy taxes, which, when combined with the estimated revenue from all other sources available to the district at the time of certification, are sufficient to provide the operating revenues necessary to enable the district to maintain all personnel and programs for all the days set forth in its adopted school calendar for the current fiscal year.”

Lee and Baguirov were absent, and Sheila Taylor abstained from this vote (using good judgement) as Walker, Lacey, Rountree and McManus voted just like this wasn’t anything different than normal Standard Operating Procedure. According to the records on Board Docs, Taylor also abstained from the Superintendents recommendations.

Note, in the Board Policy Manual, page 34, this retreat actually had instructions:

EVALUATION OF SCHOOL BOARD OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES
The Board plans and carries through an annual appraisal of its functioning as a board. Evaluation is held in the month of June, or during a regularly scheduled Board retreat, with no other items on the agenda with all Board members present. This appraisal considers the broad realm of relationships and activities inherent in Board responsibilities.

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PDF- click to enlarge or download

This wasn’t the only issue that they were going to vote on, nor was it the only thing the public should be informed of. An odd RESOLUTION TO AUCTION PROPERTY AND GOODS was included, without any specifics being given. This could be anything from extra desks to the real estate on Wyoming near MVH and UD, the site of the former Patterson Kennedy Elementary School, that this blog featured in my post and video “Dirty Deals Done Dirt Cheap”. Of course, I wasn’t still at the meeting when this was discussed, but how can a board vote to approve something as unspecific as this? And, why on a Saturday morning retreat, instead of the business meeting?

There is no other school board that meets as often, as long, or does more to disrespect the public than this one. The sheer number of meetings and length, force people who want to be involved or serve as checks and balances to go to ridiculous measures to track and follow. The Open Meetings laws of Ohio, known as the Sunshine Laws, unfortunately don’t even have a provision to stop this kind of obfuscation of the public business, but maybe they should.

While I stated they are breaking the law, it barely matters, because the Sunshine laws have the least amount of teeth for punishing misbehaving public bodies that could possibly written into law. Think of them more like a 20 year old cat with one tooth- not a tiger. However, one parent was so incensed by Saturdays actions that she’s ready to file a pro se action on Monday and is looking for affected citizens to join her in the suit. She’s had legal help in formulating the argument. Please message [email protected] if you want to participate.

Also note, seven more teacher resignations since Tuesday. How much longer is this board going to whistle Dixie while a contract isn’t put in place? Some observers have said that this boards actions, from the firing of former Superintendent Lori Ward, Treasurer Craig Jones, the hiring of the outsider, rookie, Rhonda Corr, to the strife of the RIF, to the payoff of David Lawrence, to the failure to negotiate, is all part of a plan to decimate the district and force State takeover- giving the Republicans in the State House their petri dish for replacing regulated public schools with charters city wide- much like what happened in New Orleans after Katrina. It’s a Betsy DeVos wet dream come true.

In other business, why is Ron Lee, with being absent so many times that he couldn’t vote on the Dunbar Coaching choice, still allowed on the board? The State Law, is 90 days, however, in a normal school board, this could mean 2 meetings in a row, however since Dayton meets almost 2x a week, maybe there should be a tougher standard. Of course, this part of the law is what would be used to send Dr. Adil Baguirov off the board for non-residency, something this board refuses to do.

The Darran Powell Question
From the board policy document pg 120:

Reconsideration
No question decided by the Board will be raised again during the same school year except upon a motion to reconsider, made at the same or next Board meeting. Only a member who voted with the prevailing side may move to reconsider a motion that has been adopted. A majority vote of the entire membership is necessary to reconsider an action that has been taken.

Other than the new school year may technically start in July, by having this rushed meeting, and it not coming up, there can be no revote now on the hiring of Dunbar football coach Darran Powell, who was not hired last Tuesday. His petition for a revote now has 1547 signatures and 399 comments.

Final word: At least a few board members are beginning to see the sheer insanity of this “organization” that can’t get its business done according to schedule. Watch for future developments.

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The kind of information that should be given at every meeting.

Also note, much of the “Superintendents presentation” – which has information of the type that should be given at EVERY meeting, shows some troublesome stats- like declining graduation rates, poor 3rd grade reading scores, and horrible enrollment stats for the coming year, despite the best efforts of The Ohlmann Group with their premium priced contract.

Read it and weep.

Medical marijuana in Ohio: a false positive

Welcome to Ohio, where medical marijuana is now legal, except, you can’t get it, use it, sell it, grow it. Only in Ohio folks, where despite being a democratic state in the last 2 presidential races, we’re run by a bunch of goober republicans who are beyond reckless in their pursuit of petty control over everything that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, while the important stuff gets ignored.

They rushed through their medical pot legalization after a bunch of rich assholes tried to get the voters to create a constitutionally guaranteed monopoly on pot sales in Ohio. Luckily for once, the old adage of “never underestimate the stupidity of people in large numbers” didn’t hold true and voters told the future barons of pot to go smoke their stuff somewhere else.

Unfortunately, the legislature has now made pot legal, and then, put it on the legislative slow boat for the next two years. In the mean time, states like Colorado are rolling in dough off taxes on legal pot for all. We’re still locking people up for possession- as if being stoned is a threat to humanity. The real threat is the idiots we’ve elected- not just at the state level, but now, we have local jurisdictions passing ordinances to delay any kind of pot-dispensary in their jurisdiction for the next six months- as if legal pot would be here in the next 24 if we’re lucky.

My old friend and republican sparring partner Greg Hunter was in town, and we decided to have a little conversation about medical marijuana and recorded this last month. Sorry, personal events have slowed me down a bit. Here it is for you to enjoy, debate and discuss.

If the State legislature really wanted to do their job, the first thing they’d do is put together some parameters for how dense and big you can be in order to have your own local banana republic within the state. A simple formula based on population density would regulate how much power to do local legislation is possible, forcing cities to merge, urban township tax havens to disappear, and stop duplication of resources in the name of political patronage positions… but, no- teasing us with medical marijuana legalization without implementation is much more fun.