Dumb, dumber and Dayton Public Schools

Last week Dayton Public Schools launched their enrollment campaign- done by the Ohlmann Group, the highest bidder. We mentioned it: If this is the best DPS can do.

thumbnail of Ohlmand Group Invoice #1

Radio invoice

thumbnail of Ohlmand Group Invoice #2

Outdoor invoice

They spent $20k in media, but were supplied invoices from The Ohlmann Group- not the invoices from the media outlets. Considering their contract says they are only going to mark their invoices up 10% – DPS has no clue if they were paying 10% over net or gross- because, they don’t have anyone there who knows anything about buying media. The way radio and TV stations bill ad agencies as a middle man, there is the gross amount- and a 15% agency discount. It’s all horseshit these days – since the media outlets long ago hired huge sales teams- and even offer “free” production of ads. That’s why you see the “pan and scan” with a voice over ads- over and over for local businesses.

We asked for the DPS instructions to Ohlmann for this campaign and the invoice for the “creative” but those have not been released.

The real issue is that right after the campaign launched, DPS got hit with a protest over a 4th grader being put in handcuffs. DPS should have consulted their marketing/pr firm for an appropriate response, but, instead, stood mute as people asked questions. Instead of taking the campaign down- they continued with their “Great things are happening” while the public is hearing- we put kids in handcuffs. We’ve yet to see anyone from Ohlmann at a board meeting.

But, what we do see is a circus. At the last review session, where we asked at the beginning if they should be continuing with an ineligible board meeting, Board President Dr. Walker claimed they knew nothing of it (lie). Considering I’d informed responsible parties within the district, by continuing, they violated their own rules.

They discussed, and wasted the first 90 minutes of another one of their epic meetings – the handcuff situation, the “newcomers academy” or “international academy” and what to do with the historic Longfellow, without an iota of research, historical reference or input from their overpaid staff.

The handcuff issue was actually old news. This happened last fall. To have it come up now- just reeks of incompetent messaging management. The proper response is a simple one, instead, they did their best to imitate United Airlines.

On the international school- we’ve been there done that. First was the ESL school, Miami Chapel, and then, when that closed and was torn down, they put 900 kids over at Patterson Kennedy Elementary and it was like the united nations. Of course, institutional knowledge isn’t valued in DPS- most of the people who know this stuff have been shown the door, and the rest- well, they are ignored by the new superintendent and crew- who think they know it all and everyone who works there is expendable except them.

As to Longfellow. This conversation was as confused as could be. Why we need an entire building to house approximately 60 kids is confusing already. But, the boards lack of knowledge about historic structures, real estate development, real estate disposal, and preservation is epic. However, they throw out all kinds of possible “solutions” without any research or supporting documentation. Why they waste the public’s time with their wild ass ideas is incompetence on display. This time, it was costing them at least several hundred dollars an hour, as their attorney from Subashi & Wildermuth, Tabitha Justice (that’s really her name- a lawyer named Justice) had arrived to be part of the following executive session and sat through the clown show while her meter was running. Not a single mention of how the board disposed of the old Hawthorne School, or any discussion of Historic Tax credits. Of course since they fired their property manager in the November putsch, they don’t even have someone to assign this to.

Then came Dr. Hazel Rountree with a “presentation” based on her visit to Cleveland. We were assuming Cleveland Ohio, but the first site she pulled up was Cleveland Tennessee. She was so excited about the ads their agency had done, and was going to show them to us, but the district filtering software wasn’t allowing it. She wanted to get the agency from Cleveland who did these ads to give the district a quote. Does that mean they’re ready to fire The Ohlmann Group already? That Hazel didn’t know how to give a presentation using PowerPoint doesn’t give us much hope for our kids. There is a microsite for the “Get 2 School- you can make it” campaign, but as to what video she wanted to show, we’ll never know. BTW- while Hazel was fumbling her website- Superintendent Rhonda Corr who should have know immediately that Hazel was on the wrong site- sat on her thumbs and let Hazel twist in the wind.

However, if you want to see the difference between a district doing competent marketing and DPS’s failure- all you have to do is go look at the Cleveland Public Schools YouTube page and see how many videos they are posting and compare it to DPS.

There are ways to run a school board meeting, and a good superintendent wouldn’t allow school board members to turn it into a carnival barkers midway. Corr has no concept of control or command- and often sits there like a dazed bystander. Someone should show her video of how Kurt Stanic ran a meeting- or better yet, bring Stanic back.

As a final insult, the agency DPS hired to help them, Ohlmann, is spending $125K on media to promote the pre-school promise for Learn to Earn. And, after reading my firms proposal on how to market DPS, Learn to Earn is copying our playbook according to the Dayton Daily news:

The Preschool Promise board approved a large marketing plan this week, including plans to hire a vendor to run a “field campaign” for grassroots outreach in Dayton. Board member and former Dayton mayor Clay Dixon said the marketing approach “is of the utmost importance.”

“That is actually how we’ll go out in the community, shoulder to shoulder, eyeball to eyeball, with the parents to make sure they are aware of the program, aware of what we do to get those kids into one of our quality programs,” Dixon said.

The board’s request for proposals for field campaign vendors is going out this week. Lightcap said the vendor will hire people who know Dayton’s neighborhoods and can build relationships with community partners, all in an effort to connect with the families who would participate in expanded preschool.

Source: Dayton Preschool Promise: Board plans marketing blitz for public

When the Issue 9 people finally release their post election finance report- how much do you want to bet that Ohlmann either worked on the campaign or donated to it? We may never know, since the Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future- seems to be exempt from post election or annual filing.

In the meantime, we’ve got a school board with an ineligible member, fumbling around with issues, while their lawyer racks up billable hours for sitting on her thumbs, and a union that’s ready to strike. We’ll have more on how to remove the entire school board posted soon.

Short memories. Dayton Public Schools

Summer of 2016, Dayton Public Schools thought they needed a tax levy.

Then came Mayor Whaley- who needed a tax levy even more. For some reason, the board rolled over and played dead.

They’d changed Superintendents, bringing in the rookie Rhonda Corr to replace Superintendent Lori Ward- who they had to spend big bucks to get her to go away. September 14, 2016, they find out, Ward had pulled a rabbit out of a hat- getting the district an A in Annual Yearly Progress- the first A they’d had on a State report card in decades. This averted state takeover. It also gave Corr and crew breathing room.

But, since Corr didn’t like some of Ward’s people- she had a housecleaning- ostensibly a Reduction in Force, to get rid of opposition, and so she could justify bringing in her own team of highly paid assistants. The board, under leadership of Dr. Adil Baguirov, claimed the district was short about $4.5 million- although no one could provide real numbers. On the chopping block along with the opposition, were about 30 para-professionals (teachers aides) who were widely credited with helping get the A in AYP.

Along came Nan’s issue 9. A quarter percent increase in the city income tax. The board actually BACKED it- despite it creating a whole other quasi-public school board for pre-school only. These “Learn to Earn” folks even got to pay themselves big money- instead of the $5k a year the board members make. And, btw- get $4.5 million a year- without any stipulations on where it goes- charters, private schools, churches, as long as they are doing pre-school. There is a bit of a conflict of interest here, but, we’ll save that for another post that’s coming.

That levy, btw- was financed with big money- although we still don’t know the full extent, since the “Neigborhoods for Dayton’s Future” PAC  that solicited the $1873 average donation still hasn’t filed their post campaign finance report.

Then the board has to finish doing Rhonda’s dirty work, buying out David Lawrence, who was Chief of School Innovation- and partially responsible for the A in AYP. They blew that buyout, but had the money to throw around.

And all of a sudden, after not buying any new full size buses since 2010, they are about to buy 30 and take 10 more on a grant. It’s an overdue $2.1 million buy. But, Dr. Adil Baguirov, who happens to be the only one who also buys trucks from the same dealers for his trucking company- all of a sudden jumps in with all the facts and figures and the district is ready to commit to long term financing of 110 buses.

The teachers union isn’t too happy. The paraprofessionals know they are toast. The deal Adil is talking about seems to have a 10 year service and maintenance contract attached- meaning the districts mechanics are probably going to lose their jobs too.

And, all of you voters are just along for the ride.

Watch the video- and don’t get fooled again.

 

Amateurs. School boards and quasi school boards.

If you have lots of meetings, it’s hard for people to pay attention. That’s been the modus operandi of the Dayton Public School Board under Dr. Adil Baguirov. Meetings were long, and many. Last night, where they had to pick a new president and vp and parliamentarian, the meeting ran 2 hours, and then into executive session for at least another 2.

Note- the president doesn’t make more money, has no more power, and has no extra duties other than to run the meeting. The district is run by the Superintendent, who is well paid to be the voice and leader of the school district. So, why it took 2 hours to do that is a pretty good indication of what’s wrong. They even had a long argument about their start times- so this year, their meetings will begin at 5:30 instead of 5pm. Sheila Taylor suggested they put an end time on their meetings- to be fair to the employees who have to be there, to be fair to the board members who don’t get paid more- and to try to put a damn cap on the long pontificating from the dais that became the norm under Baguirov. She was shot down.

She also voted as the only no to appointing Dr. Robert Walker (Div.) as president and Dr. Hazel Rountree (Ph.D.) as VP. I kept waiting to hear her resign in her later speaking opportunities- it was clear she had no faith in Walker.

Most bizarre was the speech by John McManus, who basically ushered Walker to the center seat- saying he’d promised to support Walker and would vote for him, but, if Lacey or Walker couldn’t get 4 votes, he’d step in…. really?

One change, it seems DPS is now going to record all meetings, but they take forever to post them, despite having the tools and bandwidth to do it in real time.

We recorded last night.

If you are looking for insight on how they are going to solve the RTA busing issue, don’t look here, they are still saying it’s not their problem and that they can’t organize a solution because of liability issues- both, untrue, especially next week when the state does count week for attendance for funding.

But as crazy as the DPS board is, we may have a new champion in amateur hour- the “Learn to Earn” board which is now in charge of $4.5 million a year from Dayton taxpayers thanks to the passage of issue 9. To start with- they meet in Riverside, not Dayton. And while they have managed to publish their meeting schedule, they haven’t published minutes, or much of anything on their website. They still have Lori Ward as the DPS superintendent.

We sent our video genius to try to film their first meeting- so the public could see exactly what this unelected body will do with your tax dollars.

First meeting- they got a lecture on the Sunshine Laws- from someone from “Nan Whaley’s office”- here’s that excerpt:

 

Every one who is interested in Ohio politics should learn about the Sunshine laws. Especially school board members (hint, hint).

They get to spend their money anyway they want- unlike the DPS board. So hiring consultants like UD Professor Richard Stock is not a problem for the Learn to Earn (or help our board earn) board. Stock is one of the people who helped guide the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission on the abomination that is Austin Landing- with its two tier tax structure (only the little people pay taxes there).

Stock catches himself trying to self-edit, since this is a real public meeting- and, oops, maybe he shouldn’t share the facts that the pre-school promise won’t make a bit of difference to the residents moving into Dayton’s new tax abated projects- singles, empty nesters- not parents with kids- at least not parents with good jobs with kids.

The reality is, this board has to waste tax dollars, duplicating a lot of the things that DPS already has in place- finance, HR, health benefits, legal counsel, purchasing, video of meetings etc- as well as a website… that all are overhead- to help give money to people who have 5 star pre-schools? Really? Remember, DPS has the most 5 star pre-schools, and they aren’t at capacity- and have to scrounge for money.

The entire meeting is here:

Lastly, and most important- the pre-election report from  Neigborhoods for Dayton’s Future.PDF was the last filing of the organization that paid for this tax funded quasi-public slush fund. They have still not filed their post general election filing. You can see the big dollar donors in my last post about this.

Until they publish their campaign finance report, they shouldn’t be allowed to meet, or to spend any of the funds- in the name of Sunshine. Also, they need to provide minutes, organizational documents, and their articles of incorporation etc. as well as disclose all expenses. These are public tax dollars at work.

We’ll tape the Friday meeting, but after that, they should have to pay someone to do it. And, maybe, they should consider having their meetings in Dayton- since it’s our money, and our city they are working for- meeting in Riverside just doesn’t cut it.

Fallout from Issue 9 passing?

Starting January 1, 2017, Dayton residents will pay 2.5% income tax up from 2.25% income tax. Believe it or not, the residents actually voted to raise their own income tax believing any one of several lies:

  • It’s for the kids, because we are going to fund the “pre-school promise” of free pre-school for all.
  • We’re going to keep essential city services and add 20 police officers.
  • The tax is mostly paid by people who don’t live in the city so it’s like legalized theft- taxation without representation.

With this increase we pay the same as Oakwood. We don’t have their schools, their housing values, their public safety forces, but we pay the same. This causes a problem for Oakwood, who used to survive on the .25% gap between rich CEO’s living in Oakwood and working in Dayton that they could collect- now- all the tax goes to Dayton- leaving Oakwood to either raise their income tax- or stop forgiving all of the income tax paid to outside jurisdictions- or raise property taxes. Brookville has already said they won’t forgive 1% of any other jurisdictions- so if you live in Brookville and work in Dayton- you’ll be paying a whopping 3.5%

Just remember that John Kasich lowered your state income tax .25% because he’s such a great guy- and stopped giving money back to all the local governments- which has put them in this bind.

As to Dayton- the quasi-governmental “Learn to Earn” people who are just charter schools in disguise will be getting somewhere around $4 .5 million a year for the next 8 years. They are allowed to keep 20% for overhead. They were funded by a mysterious PAC which didn’t file their post election report- but their pre-election report showed that this effort was well funded by all the people who manage to not pay real-estate taxes. We will see if the BOE posts their report late tomorrow.

The average donation in the pre-election report was $1873.00.

Connecting the dots?

When I saw that East End Community Services just announced a big building for a new pre-school, I said- ah ha, thank you Issue 9.

East End Community Services is seeking financing to build an $8.3 million, 44,000-square-foot child and family learning center at the intersection of Steve Whalen Boulevard and Wyoming Street in the Twin Towers neighborhood — on land that could be donated to the nonprofit….

The learning center project would consolidate existing East Dayton Head Start classrooms and services done now at several sites, and if completed would grow the group’s space to seven classrooms for infants through pre-schoolers, with the children’s programs specifically managed by Miami Valley Child Development Centers.

Source: East End Community Services proposes $8.3M expansion –

Since there are no restrictions on these tax dollars, could this be one of the places Learn to Earn will spend the money? And- will there be parity across the river?

Adding police and cutting police

Miami Valley Hospital has been a benefactor of Historic South Park and the Fairgrounds/Rubicon neighborhood for the last 15 or so years. Subscribing to the idea that if the neighborhood around them is a slum- and riddled with crime, they may have a hard time attracting nurses and doctors to come to the hospital late at night (need an example- see Good Sam).

They funded the Genesis project and rebuilt the Fairgrounds neighborhood- subsidizing the housing for their employees- and making promises that the houses wouldn’t become student housing. Of course, they lied on the second part- as multiple homes have become very profitable Single Room Occupancy housing for some landlords who seem to be exempt from city law.

They also funded 2 community based police officers- actual Dayton Cops who only worked our neighborhoods. That was a big part of why Historic South Park was able to turn around- and be one of the few neighborhoods where property values actually increased- while the rest of the county tanked in the aftermath of the Wall Street real estate meltdown.

They have recently stated that they will stop funding our CBP’s in March. Why pay for Dayton cops- when:

  1. Dayton voters just voted to pay for more cops
  2. MVH has it’s own private police force and chief who have all the same powers as Dayton Cops- but don’t have to report to anyone elected or be subject to the same sunshine rules on their actions.

The neighborhood is devastated by the news. The new police chief at MVH- another former Dayton Cop- is thinking he just got more men under his command- which in a cops mind is like getting a bigger gun.

As if we didn’t notice…

And the myth that the higher income tax will continue to be paid by the businesses in Dayton who have employees that live outside the city- is all well and fine, except we’ve seen the growth of jobs at Austin Landing and Pentagon Parkway- where there is no income tax for white collar workers. In the long run, that 2.5% vs 0% figure is great for developers who want to build office parks on farm land- and is horrible for a city trying to fight its way back.

The worst part about it is that to encourage companies to locate in Dayton, the only tool left to entice them is handing over property tax abatement that adversely affect Dayton Public Schools- which are the number one reason why people with kids move out of the city if they can- leaving the district full of kids in poverty- that require more wrap-around services to effectively educate. It’s a vicious circle- and Dayton can’t seem to learn from its mistakes.

There are solutions, but they won’t come from City Hall, or other elected leaders. In the next few weeks, you’ll learn about some of them here, on esrati.com

Dayton Issue 9- making poor people poorer

You know when Hillary Clinton said she was broke- and yet had million dollar homes?

That’s sort of how any smart Dayton voter would normally look at raising their taxes to pay for “city services”- which is what issue 9 is ostensibly all about.

Right after Queen Nan got herself elected with half-a-million dollars of OPM (other people’s money) to a job that only pays $45K a year- she promptly decided to add an assessment to every property owner in Dayton to replace all our street lights with high efficiency LED street lights- but, wait, isn’t that what we already pay taxes for?

Now, she knows that after the shopping spree that bought all the empty downtown buildings she could get her hands on- and gave away tax abatement to 80% of downtown property owners- directly hurting the Dayton Public Schools who get a majority of their funding from property taxes- she comes out with issue 9. And to bait and switch- she’s hitched her wagon to “the pre-school promise” which is supposed to miraculously improve our school performance on incoming kindergartners. Except- pre-school doesn’t do that for kids who have other issues- like extreme poverty.

And here lies the problem- for years, Daytonians have believed that you can tax income and since 70% of it is paid by people who live outside the city- who can’t vote, it’s like “free money.” Well, the problem is, if you do that, and jobs and businesses can’t move- no problem, but as we’ve seen- Austin Landing and Pentagon Parkway have filled with new office buildings– where the employees pay NO INCOME TAX AT ALL- at least as long as they work in tall buildings and wear a white collared shirt (Austin Landing is the most unfair, illegal, taxation district in the country- where only the little people who work at Kohl’s and Kroger pay taxes).

That’s why Nan can buy any office building she wants with your money so cheap- some businesses have abandoned downtown Dayton, and some have abandoned Dayton altogether- because they don’t want to operate in the County with the second highest tax burden in the State.

But- back to the pre-school promise. We already have “5 star preschools” – there are 14 of them, run by the elected group charged with education- the Dayton Board of Education. And while people complain they are only open 4 days a week- if Dayton gave them the $4.5 M a year that was going to go to the quasi-public “Learn to earn” people, they could be open a fifth day- and even afford transportation for those pre-schoolers. But, no, then we can’t hand 20% of that money each year to Nan’s friends- and let them spend it on overhead, their own paychecks and with pre-schools and daycare facilities that aren’t “5 Star”- and, there is no income restriction- so they could even pay for third shift daycare for kid that belongs to a doctor who works at Miami Valley Hospital.

If Nan truly cared about education- she wouldn’t have given tax abatement to General Electric, CareSource, Emerson, the list is long.

And, if you really wanted to see DPS improve- she could spend the $4.5M each year for 8 years- to build out citywide wi-fi that would get every single kid in DPS online at home- with their new 1-to-1 chromebook- so they could really teach themselves how to code, or open an online business, or take part in the global economy. And we could offer low price access to people to compete with Time Warner and ATT to the rest of the citizens- to help bridge the digital divide.

I’ve already pointed out that the average donation to the Political Action Committee shoving this down your throats was $1873. That the donors are all the people who will probably get some of this money back in contracts with the city- or services or tax abatement for their business.

Hell, we just gave CareSource half-a- million dollars today- despite the fact that their CEO makes $3 million a year- and it’s all paid with tax dollars from the feds.

We shouldn’t be taxing the poor people in Dayton to help CareSource, or General Electric, or create an alternative “board of pre-school education”- we should be spending money where it comes back to all of us- in services for all.

I filmed this video Wednesday afternoon, edited it Thursday, posted it on Facebook at 6pm last night and it had over 1,500 views inside of 16 hours.

Issue 9 is spending $35K on digital advertising. I haven’t spent a dime on advertising- but, if you want it to reach more people by election day- feel free to donate by sending money to [email protected] at paypal, or dropping off a check at 100 Bonner St Dayton Oh 45410.

It won’t take that much to get it in front of a whole lot of people- or you can just share it online. Watch and share.

Let there be light. A video about Dayton’s misplaced priorities

First there was CityWide development- a quasi-government organization that sucked up tax dollars to fix up a house here or there. 30 years later, it’s a fricking bank, building spec buildings that it rents for sub-market rates and hurts local property owners who try to compete. This is the worst of governement.

We don’t vote on who runs CityWide, we barely pay attention to it. And we’ve never asked for our money back- because, well, it’s supposed to come back as the “vibrancy factor”- as in, if we fake looking successful, we’ll be successful. You know people like this- it’s called “fake it till you make it” and if you don’t “make it” – at least you look good doing it.

Then we added the Downtown Dayton Partnership. At first we paid a snake oil salesman a ton of money to “revitalize downtown”- until he ran out of town on a rail, and we started using it as a place to park people we liked and wanted to pay well with no real oversight. We even passed an extra tax levy to fund them. Their major contribution 15 years later- they hire a company from out of town (out of state really) to pay people minimum wage to be “ambassadors” (a fancy name for street sweepers) to keep downtown clean. Their big twice a year parties- Urban Nights, are done with- after mobs of kids of the wrong color decided to come en masse.

Next up, the Port Authority. What’s this? They build buildings for rich private companies, but don’t have to pay property taxes on them, because “we” own them. The idea is, we get income tax from them, so it’s all ok. Can’t give the money to the Dayton Public Schools, because they, well, suck, but- we can give money to city government, because, they do such a great job (at getting themselves and their friends re-elected).

Throw in the Dayton Development Coalition for good measure. They take care of our Congressman (and they used to take care of his now X-wife- remember “Get Midwest”)- because, well, he makes money come back to the companies we built the buildings for that don’t have to pay taxes. You shouldn’t pay attention to these people either- but if you’re wondering why Wright State is in a bunch of trouble, look to former Port Authority and Dayton Development Coalition “leaders” who are right in the middle of it.

So now, we’re supposed to raise the already high Dayton City Income tax to 2.5% because a bunch of the people who either get handouts from government, don’t pay taxes, or have been buying the people in power off for a long time, put a few hundred thousand into a campaign to tell you that you need ANOTHER quasi-government slush fund to pay for pre-school for all.

Let’s be clear. All of Dayton’s eligible four year olds is about 1,500 kids each year. That’s about 1 % of the population. But, Dayton Public Schools, a public system, with lots of oversight, already provides FREE pre-school that’s “5 star rated” to about 400 students and isn’t at capacity. If they had some more money, they could provide transportation which would boost their numbers.

But, no- along comes Dr. Tom Lasley, with his “Learn to Earn” program. He thinks that if he gets every kid into pre-schools, even if they are run by someone in a house, and are “three star” or more, he’ll dramatically change the educational outcomes of Dayton Public Schools.

This is hooey. No amount of pre-school preparation are going to solve the fundamental problems facing Dayton kids. Hunger, homelessness, drug addiction, parents incarcerated, pre-school doesn’t fix that. “Learn to Earn” is a phrase I personally find revolting. I learn because I love learning. To me knowledge and education are a form of worship. It’s how we evolve. It’s not how we earn. This phrase, when applied to our community that is disadvantaged in so many ways, reminds me of “Work sets you free” which was what the Nazi’s put on the gates of hell. I don’t make that comparison lightly.

The four to five million that we will donate to “Learn to Earn” may provide pre-school to another 500 students- but the real bonus is to the staff – including Dr. Lasley, who will spend 20% of it on paying themselves and for overhead. Next up is all the pre-schools that will now be able to get public money for day care- for anyone- not even poor kids, who are already covered by Title 20 money. That’s right, if you live in Dayton, and make $200,000 a year, you can have “Learn to Earn” pay for your child care while you work third shift at Miami Valley Hospital. They didn’t tell you that part.

Of course, Issue 9 is also going to pay for more cops. Let’s talk about “more cops.” Dayton used to have a force of over 500. We are at near our lowest staffing levels ever. But, there are probably 600 cops in Dayton now- the problem is they work for the people who are giving money to this campaign. The hospitals all have private police forces, the universities all have private police forces, MetroParks has a private police force. They don’t answer to anyone. Need a clue how this works Dayton? Ask Samuel Dubose. Any more questions?

And while a small business can’t get their parking lot access restored on North Main Street- because “there is no money available,” the City of Dayton has money for buying back the hole in the ground on Ludlow. And, we always have tax abatement plans for companies where the CEO’s annual salary has two commas in it. GE, CareSource, Emerson, Premier Health etc.

If we were going to raise taxes and wanted to improve our neighborhoods, and do something for all of Dayton- we could invest in free wifi city wide. All of the 15,000 Dayton Public School students will have their own computer next year- but many don’t have internet access anywhere but school. Bridge the digital divide with that money and you open the flood gates to online, self-guided learning for 15,000 kids- instead of preschool for 1500- and guess what, we can even let the taxpayers use it too.

Believe it or not, the United Nations Human Rights Commission declared internet access a fundamental human right back in 2011. No one declared preschool one.

Watch the video. Share the post. Vote no on issue 9.

We can raise taxes when it’s actually for the people, by the people, not another sell out to private enterprise.

MCOFuture: Groundhog day groupthink for the last generation

I walked out. Couldn’t take it any more. Sitting in a room with 300+ people rehashing the dreams of a future that will never come, thanks to their inability to see what’s right in front of them.

MCOFuture was the brainshild of our County Commission- a grand plan to follow to make everything successful- by copying others, by doing what others did and without admitting that structurally we’re built to fail.

The first “brilliant” idea is a “Council/Congress of Governments” or CoG. I almost lost it when they cited an example in Northern Alabama that encompasses 5 counties with 45 jurisdictions. We’ve got 1 county and 28 or 29 (does it matter- it’s too many). The goal they are pursuing on this is to create yet ANOTHER layer of quasi-governmental bureaucracy to make the many march as one. Of course, we saw how well that worked with the 911 project. The key, according to Jack Dustin of Wright State is to make sure the organization is crafted to last. What we really need is to construct an organization to start eliminating other organizations. We can start with eliminating urban villages and townships in the county, we can follow up with unified schools, and finish with eliminating city governments and moving to a true Countywide unified government- but alas, that would put all the politicians and their patronage job lackeys out of work, and that was almost the entire room.

Next up was Sinclair touting “work force development” and training for jobs of the future- so we can lure employers here with our abundant, well trained labor force. Of course, the problem is figuring out what exactly the “jobs of the future” will be and what we’ll concentrate on. County Administrator Joe Tuss talked about advanced manufacturing as one, and logistics and distribution. I almost have to laugh when one friend on Facebook (RD- I’m talking about you) reminded me that at one time we were going to be a center for composites, and lately it’s been RFID and drones- excuse me- UAVs.

Here’s the problem- the speed of change right now is faster than you can prepare for. Who predicted the Internet 20 years ago having the effects it does now? Who trained for it? Exactly.

The reality is we’ve been pouring money into Sinclair Community College for a long time. It’s a leader in inexpensive education and training and still, you don’t see companies flocking to Dayton to do their thing.

The final straw was listening to Dr. Learn To Earn, Tom Lasley, talking about how everyone else is already ahead of us. We have to catch up with others and invest in pre-K education and create graduates ready to earn. It’s really funny that he’s saying this today as the New York Times has a story about having a bachelor’s degree to be a file clerk. I think the people in the room are on the right track to increase employment- keep making more bureaucracy so we can hire more dolts who believe that government can solve these problems at this level.

Let me explain why “Learn to Earn” isn’t just a lame slogan, but a total turd.

  • Not everyone is college material. Lasley talked about the lack of the GM job for life working in a factory without a degree being a thing of the past. If everyone has a college degree, or a master’s or even a Ph.D. it doesn’t make a bit of a difference, we still have an economy that isn’t designed to be fair. Our country is allowing the economy to be run like a game of Monopoly- where the goal is to own everything and bankrupt the other players. That’s our definition of winning- and as long as that’s the goal, there is no hope for the low skilled or even the middle class. Until we move to a system that rewards those who create the most jobs- instead of creating the most value in a stock market that’s run like a casino- we’re toast.
  • The other thing about learning that seems to have been lost in both “Learn to Earn” and “No Child Left Behind” is that learning isn’t something you do up to a certain level and stop. Either you’re a person who learns and loves to learn- because you value the gifts we’ve all been granted, or you don’t. Education isn’t everything- and especially the institutionalized educational factory model we’ve built and accepted as the standard. Someone smart in the audience asked what happened to apprentice programs? There used to be a day when you could become an architect that way- but, we legislated that away. Our idea of education as a product of a process has to go away. We have to become a community that values smart individuals, that rewards those who think for themselves. This meeting was a case study in follow the herd. #FAIL
  • Lasley did point out that India has more honor students than we have students. This is why we have to look at local economies as local ecosystems and find ways to reach maximum employment utilizing local labor, capital, resources. I look to my friend James Kent who is “deconstructing homes” using ex-offenders to create value- both in employing those whom others won’t and by the creative recycling of what others consider a nuisance. He calls his business a “social enterprise.” We need to look to create our own value with what we have. And- it’s got to be for all, not just those who read and write well.

Why the future has to begin in the present

I’ve been to too many of these visioning meetings. I have a huge binder of the 20/20 vision that was done around 1999 (I think)- and nothing became of it. So here’s the suggestion of how we really deal with these issues:

We stop expecting government to solve problems government wasn’t supposed to deal with. Do you see any mention of economic development in the Constitution?

Why do we have to do all these things to make this a great place to live, work and play? It’s already a great place to do all that- we just have way too many “leaders” wasting our time and money on overhead- instead of on delivering best-in-class services to our citizens. There were 300 people in that room- that we waste money on electing, where we could probably elect 15 to run the entire shooting match- and put all the rest of the money into making sure our roads are paved, our parks are beautiful, the police and fire are best in class, that we have great schools (that focus on learning for learning’s sake- instilling the values of integrity, rigor of thought and a higher purpose for mankind than to just win at Monopoly).

If we did the fundamentals right, with lower overhead, don’t you think companies would want to move here, invest here, raise a family here? It’s as if the people we elect thrive on pointing out what we don’t have, instead of improving on what we do have.

The fastest way to success is to build on strengths, not to spend all your efforts on fixing the deficiencies. Unfortunately, we’ve elected a crew of people who don’t know how to think for themselves and lead us to excellence.

That’s the first thing we need to change if we want a future in Dayton, OH.

(And one other note- it’s sad that in that huge crowd, talking about the future- I was the only one tweeting it. You can’t invent your future if you can’t use the tools we have today.)