The management for the Air Force One program is right here in Dayton. Our friends and neighbors (and even a political candidate) work hard to maintain and keep Air Force One flying- but, here is a story about them spending $24 million dollars on some refrigerators. That’s right- refrigerators.
The Boeing Company was awarded a nearly $24 million contract in December to engineer the refrigerators for Air Force One, the Defense Department said.
The two units being replaced came with the aircraft in 1990 and are no longer able “to effectively support mission requirements for food storage,” the Air Force said in a statement on Saturday.
“The units were based on the technology at the time and designed for short-term food storage,” the statement said. “Although serviced on a regular basis, reliability has decreased with failures increasing.”
Perhaps in anticipation of taxpayer sticker shock, the Air Force also said “the engineering required to design, manufacture, conduct environmental testing and obtain Federal Aviation Administration certification” were all included in the cost.
The contract — for $23,657,671 — says that work on the units is expected to be completed by Oct. 30, 2019.
Air Force One must be able to feed passengers and crew for weeks without resupplying, according to the news website Defense One.
According to the site, that would require storing about 3,000 meals in huge refrigerators and freezers below the passenger cabin.
Two galleys can provide up to 100 meals at one sitting, according to the Air Force.
The simple cost effective solution is one that every grunt has had to endure- they are called “Meals Ready to Eat” and require absolutely zero refrigeration. You can pack a whole bunch in the space where the fridges are, and they have a shelf life approaching the half life of the nuclear war the president seems so intent on starting.
As to feeding all the straphangers with the fake news organizations- MREs are pretty close to fake food- so they are only fitting for the fake news folks.
There is no excuse for spending $24 million on special refrigerators. In fact, MRE’s may be too nice for these folks- PB&J and some government welfare cheese would be even more appropriate.
Program managers at WPAFB- look out, soon you may hear “You’re fired” for this boondoggle expense.
And Boeing, maybe we really should be buying from Airbus.
Every week I look at the listings of homes sold in Montgomery County and marvel, because only in Dayton can you buy a home for less than the price of a nice used car.
This doesn’t happen in surrounding communities (other than the depressed ones- Jefferson, Trotwood) . Do you wonder why?
It’s all supply and demand would be the perfect capitalists answer. But, what drives demand?
In real estate 101 they say “location, location, location” – and people choose communities based on the schools. And to some extent this is also correct. Yet, my house, bought for $14,500 in 1986 is worth close to 10x that, and a slightly larger home 2 doors down, just went for the same amount 7 years ago. It shouldn’t have sold that low, but it was a foreclosure. And, my property value dropped- not just because the price was low, but because of the cancer that moved in.
Four doors down, a house sold for $95K 3 years ago. The new couple put at least $40K into it before splitting. It sold in a day- price unknown, but for well over $125K. And my property values are sure to go up.
Yet, I didn’t change locations, and my schools still suck. My investments in my house shouldn’t penalize me with higher taxes anymore than what my neighbors do. The value will come to me, and to the community, when I sell.
How and why do the actions of others affect my property values? If I own a share of stock in 3M, does my value go up just because Apple had a great year? No. Yes, if I go to sell my car, and someone else paid X for a similar car- that’s the price- but, I’m not selling my home, I just want to live here. Why should my value change until I do something?
Simple answer- it shouldn’t. And, this constant re-valuation of real estate based on the actions of others is causing gentrification, housing bubbles, foreclosures, and a mangled economy.
The purchase price of an owner occupied home shouldn’t change until the house is sold. The same should be said of rental property. When the government steps in and raises your property value for taxation purposes, they become an uncontrollable variable in a business equation. They distort markets. They screw existing businesses and property owners when they offer tax abatement to the new guy, while the long term investor gets shafted.
And, it’s almost counterproductive to do improvements to your property, if the tax man is just going to charge you more. But, what could be worse? Your neighbor doing improvements.
Case study: Dr. Michael Ervin, shadow mayor of Dayton before he left town for Scottsdale AZ, bought a dump of a bar in the Oregon District and poured $1.6M into it. This skewed the valuation tables for his neighbors, who were thankful the bar left, but were asked to pay more for Dr. Mike’s excess. Some, couldn’t pay the additional taxes and were forced to sell or move. Others might have spent more on a crappy house, because Dr. Mike did what he did. The market skewed. But, 10 years later, when it came time to sell, Dr. Mike got less than half his money back on his taj mahal. Yes, it’s still double the value of any of the other single family homes- and still skews things, but, the only person paying the tax on the new market rate evaluation- $725K , should be the new owner. Just as the neighbors who never left, shouldn’t have been forced to pay more when the $1.6 boondoggle went in.
The reason we pay property taxes is supposedly to support public infrastructure and government to keep our investments safe. Income taxes are supposedly a more progressive tax that are supposed to be based on ability to pay. When property taxes unfairly start to penalize people for making a long-term investment that they hoped to keep- it’s wildly unfair, un-American.
The fact that almost every office building downtown has been foreclosed on, while tenants have moved to fairer pastures funded in part by tax dollars- with more advantageous tax structures (both income and property tax) like Austin Landing is proof positive that our property taxation and income taxation hodge podge is causing more problems than it’s helping.
The value of the Kettering Tower, once the premier office space in Dayton, was decimated by Dayton’s high income tax (now 2.5%) and property taxes based on market forces beyond the owners control. Would Austin Landing have looked so good, without the huge investment in infrastructure by the county, or the income tax free zone for white collar workers (while the retail underclass pays 2%)? Probably not.
It’s time to realize that tax policy and abatement has serious consequences to the entire region, and we need to find a way to level the playing field and stop letting the choices others make, affect our tax rates.
Regional tax policy, from property to income tax, needs to be set and managed at the county level, and by fair market forces, for all of us to live within our means, and to stop changing the playing field in the middle of the game.
If your city thinks it should offer incentives for Amazon to come to town, it’s time to reevaluate your leadership.
Sure, landing an HQ for a corporate behemoth is prestigious, and can put any city on the map, but, to offer incentives to one of the richest companies in the world, that has been stealing from local coffers from its inception?
If you are looking at empty retail developments, a hollowed out downtown, declining sales tax receipts in the last 15 years- thank Amazon. It’s not that they did anything wrong, it’s that they did almost everything right- including putting pressure on every small business (the true job creators in America) to cut margins and compete on an uneven playing field.
An uneven playing field that is just made more uneven when our leaders are willing to bend over and offer their rear ends for a reaming with a smile. There is a reason Amazon has to make more room outside Seattle- they can’t afford to stay there. They’ve already driven the housing and office markets into the stratosphere, they’ve pushed the limits of infrastructure, they’ve caused more troubles than they’ve solved- all in the name of “winning” at the capitalist trough.
Don’t worry, they aren’t alone. We’ve seen it time and time again- as companies that don’t pay taxes like General Electric leverage their “job creation” into tax free offices in places like poverty stricken Dayton Ohio. Or watched companies like Boeing move their HQ from Seattle to Chicago. NCR did the same to Dayton- and now their stock is worth less and their CEO makes more.
It’s not governments job to subsidize and coddle business- it’s governments job to provide a safe, healthy, clean, secure and well organized platform for communities to thrive. Business is only one part of that equation. It’s time to put a stop to corporate welfare.
What’s laughable is that despite not clicking on any of the boxes of Amazon’s dream list- Dayton thinks it should be in the running. This coming from a city manager who has repeatedly failed at “economic development” projects- the Wayne Avenue Kroger debacle, where years and millions of tax dollars went into actually devaluing a community, in order to lure a store that was supposed to come- however, she’d forgotten to get that in writing. On the other- the hole on Ludlow- City Manager Shelly Dickstein gave millions to developers who didn’t do anything but promise to do something- even stiffing the demolition company that ended up owning one of the historic gems of Downtown. And then she had the nerve to insist any developer of the vacant space which the city still owns- has to buy the demolition companies building as entry to the deal (how this isn’t illegal is beyond reason).
Let’s see- Dayton doesn’t have over a million people, it doesn’t have an airport with the connections, it’s lacking in quality education (no, you can’t move 50,000 people into the Oakwood School district), we don’t have a highly educated workforce ready to switch jobs (counting the base is laughable- many of those people have contracts with the US Government that aren’t really negotiable). The list goes on.
The attraction of jobs that pay six figures landing in your city with an income tax is mouth watering, however, the chances of landing them in a city with a 2.5% income tax on top of a state income tax is slim. Especially when Denver does it without any income tax.
At some point, Ohio needs to grow up and realize that allowing this state to be a ridiculous patchwork of local fiefdoms all trying to stay in power and support the friends and family plan of the Ohio Political Caste is keeping us from competing. You can’t have 28 jurisdictions in one county, and 88 counties in a state that’s losing population and clout at an alarming rate without thinking “we’re doing something wrong.”
Nationally, this country needs to just put an end to “economic development” incentives that support big companies over small ones, and make the playing field uneven and unfair. Did the residents of Georgia even get their $100 Million they invested to lure NCR there back, before NCR asked for another handout to move within the State? Doubtful.
If you read George Orwell’s “Animal farm”- this line should come to mind: “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
In this Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016 photo released by the East Liverpool Police Department, a young child sits in a vehicle behind his mother and a man, both of whom are unconscious from a drug overdose, in East Liverpool, Ohio. Drug overdoses killed a record 3,050 people in Ohio last year. AP Photo.
A small business I work with has had the Dayton Fire Department stop by almost every other day- because someone OD’d in their parking lot. The other day it was a city employee. The medics revealed that when they looked him up- they found out that he had been treated the day before as well. If a Narcan® revival was a frequent flyer bonus, we’d have people with miles to go to the moon and back.
Current practice is to revive them, offer treatment, which they refuse and let them go right back to using.
That would classify it as insanity- doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
I wrote a post about Narcan, coincidentally, 2 years ago to the day: “Just say no to naloxone” I was chastised in comments. And in the two years, we’ve just seen massive increases in overdose deaths- turning Dayton into the Heroin epidemic epicenter of the nation.
Two friends of mine, who are former journalists (the real kind- no longer employed by the Dayton Daily news) went out on an assignment from a foreign publication to do a story about the heroin problem. Within 30 minutes, they’d taken a photo of a roadside sign offering treatment- and followed a DPD ambulance to an OD victim in a parking lot of the U-haul franchise. Photos, story- the works- easy peasy.
In my last piece I spelled out the societal costs of heroin and overdoses- and they still apply. The drain on resources puts your life in danger- while the paramedics are out dealing with a self-inflicted wound- you might have to wait for a ride while you are having a stroke or heart attack.
Save and release ain’t working.
It’s time to change the way we do things. The first time you qualify for a trip back from death, you are taken to clinic where you are held for four hours, where you have to watch a video explaining the new practices and procedures on Narcan- and given a chance to enroll in a treatment program, offering methadone, Suboxone, Naltrexone, Vivitrol etc.
You are also informed that the next time you need to be revived, you will spend 24 hours in the center. There will be round the clock counseling available, but, you won’t be receiving any medications that aren’t prescribed as part of a doctor supervised program.
Third visit, you’ll spend 3 days in the center. Fourth visit, a full week. Fifth visit, a month. At the end of the month, you will have an option to voluntarily stay in a highly supervised treatment program for up to a year, or walk.
Unfortunately, after the fifth visit, you will no longer be revived by safety personnel. If you are unidentifiable as a five time loser, and are being treated for the sixth time, you will face a mandatory 1 year mental health incarceration. This isn’t in a prison, but a secure treatment facility. There are no options for appeal, or release. If you are identifiable by the medics, treatment will not be administered.
Drivers licenses or state ID’s will be “punched” with each treatment- as reminders and for medical personnel to check.
Right now, we are kidding ourselves if we think we can arrest suppliers and take enough drugs off the street to solve the problem. All the posturing of law enforcement is an insult to our intelligence. Heroin addiction isn’t a criminal problem- it’s a mental health one. Yet it does cause massive increases in crime and threats to public safety.
What we can do is seize all assets of anyone caught with what we would identify as quantities to distribute- and use the proceeds to fund the treatment programs.
Of course, the other option is to stop kidding ourselves, and just start providing addicts with safe, inexpensive heroin and take the profit motive out- and give people who want to stay high permission- no judgements. This has been done in other countries and has cut crime and deaths considerably. There are people who are able to function in society while high- this is nothing new- my paternal grandfather was a PhD MD and a morphine addict his entire adult life.
If you have any better ideas, feel free to leave them in comments.
It’s time to stop the insanity cycle of save and release in Dayton Ohio- it’s not working.
“My kid could have done that” or “have you heard of Fiverr” are the next things out of most people’s mouths.
But, when I’m not writing this blog, making logos is one of the things I do for a living. So, yes, I’m biased, and no, your kid can’t really do it- unless they happen to be incredibly talented, like this guy:
In 26 years of business, I’ve had lots of college trained kids walk in here- who still couldn’t do a good logo. Alan could.
But, the real questions are; do you need a logo, what is a good logo, and how much is it worth.
Why do we have logos, brands, tribal marks? I can show you a multitude of logos, or just pick 2, and you’ll understand.
Paul Rand, one of the masters of graphic design said “… the ideal logo is simple, elegant, economical, flexible, practical and unforgettable.”
That’s a tall order list. If I said the word “swoosh” most of you would think Nike.
Yet, Phil Knight thought that there was no better logo than the 3 stripes of Adidas- because the stripes actually helped make the shoe better. He only paid Carolyn Davidson $35 for the original swoosh logo- and look at it now. (For the record, they came back to her and made up for their original stinginess).
But when you look at the two logos at right, you not only immediately know what the companies are- but, what they stand for. Apple, for sleek design, simplicity, friendly, a knowledge focused company. Harley for rugged individualism. Both brands have their cults- and their logo is their voice and soul. People tattoo these logos on their bodies.
If you want to learn about logos and branding, I always recommend the book “The Brand Gap” by Marty Neumeier.
He explains that a logo is not a brand. That a brand isn’t what you say it is- it’s what THEY say it is. He talks about two important concepts- the “hand test” and the “swap test.”
And, that’s where we come down to why does a city need a logo, what is a great one, and what is the value to a community.
Let me ask you what would Paris be without the Eiffel Tower? London without Big Ben? DC without the Capital, the Washington Monument? And you say those aren’t logos- and you are right- they are icons. Which is what a logo is too, when it’s well designed.
When it comes to city logos, there are a few that “represent” a city to me.
One really belongs to the Detroit Tigers baseball team- but, when you see that highly stylized D, you know immediately, you’re dealing with a motor city lover. The logo is bigger than the team, it’s the city.
The “I heart NY” logo was a response to the city’s recent bankruptcy, and drop in tourism, as part of an ad campaign by Wells Rich and Greene in 1977. The logo, sketched out in a taxi by Milton Glaser, was actually done pro bono. It helped re-position the city to tourists and became an icon almost instantly. After 9/11 it had an even deeper impact.
All four of the logos I’ve shown as examples of well done graphic design, have been part of merchandise sales in the billions of dollars. People pay extra for a shirt, hat, boots, computer, because of the logo and the brand- and the associative qualities they represent.
Which brings us around to the Dayton/Fairborn attempts at branding.
I’ll now explain the swap test. If you switch the swishy swooshs above the type- does it make any difference? In “The Brand Gap” Neumeier shows us the Nationwide frame logo that they later abandoned to return to their eagle- and the Polaroid logo. Almost anyone over 50- would think that the Nationwide logo- when replaced with the word Polaroid made more sense- and Polaroids color grid- could go anywhere.
See the graphic to the left. The Polaroid logo in the Nationwide frame makes better sense, to those of us who remember the old Polaroid film.
And that’s why both the Dayton and Fairborn logos lose me immediately.
But, there is more- when you turn those logos into black and white- especially the Fairborn logo- or try to embroider it- they kind of fail.
More colors, means more expensive. Less emphasis on the type- more on the swoshies.
And, again- what are we looking at? Fairborn looks like a bird- which I can almost buy. I actually like it better in one color. Dayton, reminds me of the emblem on an Asics running shoe- sort of. Is there an “A” in it? Hmmmm.
When I look at students portfolios, or even those of journeyman art directors, I look for an ability to make things fit in a more interesting way than I’ve ever seen them before. I look for subtle cues that there is something more than meets the eye.
A classic example of that is the FedEx logo done by Landor and Associates.
Once you see the internal arrow in between the E and the X you get why it’s great.
Even in black and white, that arrow is still there.
And then there is the “hand test”- take an Apple ad, cover up the logo- and you still know what the ad is for. The product is distinctive, the restraint, even the choice of fonts. There aren’t many brands that can do that. Harley comes close- to most motorcyclists- you can hear a Harley before you need to see one.
Circling back to the local branding exercises. No matter what Fairborn thinks, they are irrelevant. Dayton is where we all live. The little subdivisions and pop-up micro-republics are a joke. As much as I think of Kettering, if anyone had the right idea long ago- and wasn’t driven by racist behavior, Dayton would be all that mattered, as rightly it should. Regionalism is the only thing that’s going to make us relevant- not a logo, not a tagline, not a new office building, interchange, or technology.
The Dayton brand needs a boost- much like NY did. Detroit is bouncing back. Because a good brand, builds pride, gives people something to rally around. For me, I prefer to wear old UD gear that just says DAYTON in the old arch. Not because it’s great, but, it has a certain comfort level- using the standard athletic vernacular. I also have a few Dayton Ohio t-shirts that I like to wear that all look better than what the city just bought.
While we’ve run our flag up as the birthplace of aviation, I’m thankful to not see the Wright Flyer in the logo. But, when I think of Dayton, I think more of a city of industry, brought forward by devilishly smart iconoclasts who walked to the beat of a different drummer. I think of people who changed the course of so many things- from retail to beer packaging. There is value in our history, and in our friendliness and approach-ability. Although I always hated the “City of Neighbors” logo, there was more there than there is in this new concoction.
As to the price tag, had they spent that at a shop better known for branding, they might have gotten something really good.