We elect stupid people.

In the latest tiff over who can get the most publicity for a non-issue, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer should win a prize for the stupidest statement by a local politician:

Plummer said he signed the letter out of concern that taxpayer resources are at stake and that some of the children could join gangs here and get involved in the heroin trade.

“Is anyone vetting these kids? Is anybody doing background checks on these kids?” Plummer asked.“We need to take care of our own first. That’s not a selfish point of view. Everybody says the federal government is going to pay for this, but it is still our tax dollars.”

via Immigrant friendly but mired in controversy | www.mydaytondailynews.com.

How exactly do you do a background check on a kid from a dirt poor country?

I do agree we could try to take care of our own first- with one in five kids living in an environment where there are questions about where their next meal is coming from. Where we have an educational system where an 80% graduation rate from high school is considered OK and even those “graduates” aren’t really ready for college.

We have children here living in conditions that we would send money to a third world country to rectify, yet, Mayor Whaley is offering up the Naval Reserve training facility on Gettysburg to kids from Honduras- while I’ve been talking to people about turning it into a charter boarding school- to provide a safe place for kids to live while their parents or guardians are going through tough times. Yes, we could be taking care of our own first- but, that doesn’t make headlines.

Leave it to the two Dayton Mayors with the biggest egos to have a knock-down drag-out in the media over a non-issue and the dumbest of our local pols to join in. The Beavercreek council- yes, those who fought the RTA from bringing “those people” from Dayton to their mecca of retailing stepped up to say no to immigrant children, as did Plummer and State Rep. Mike Henne who joined Turner in a photo session for the paper.

You can expect to see all of them- out working with our own kids, you know, doing things like making sure our basketball courts have rims and nets on them- and no vegetation growing through the cracks in the pavement?

And while Montgomery County’s latest brilliant solution to the scourge of  the “heroin trade” is to put up badly designed billboards that say “heroin kills”- where are the programs for youth recreation?

I drove by the Gateway Sports complex yesterday and Kettering fields by the river- and saw empty baseball diamonds in the middle of summer on a Saturday afternoon. Contrast that with driving by Delco park almost any day, where you see hundreds of kids playing soccer- with adult supervision.

I’m not saying that sports are an answer to keeping kids off drugs- but, it’s a good start. Where are programs like that in Dayton, Mayor Whaley? And, going back a few years- Mayor Turner?

Last week I went by Mary Queen of Peace on Gramont. I stopped and talked to a guy who lives across the street from the playground and asked what happened to the basketball court rims? He told me the church took them down- and locked the gates.

a personal note-

I just stopped into Tuffy Brooks on Friday and saw my friend Jim. He’s ordering my fourth box of 100 nets. This will clean out my net money. I’m out of stickers to put on the poles to give kids my number to call for a net. I’ll be needing more zip ties- and the chain nets I bought- don’t attach to the rusted “chain” rims I run into at places like Gettysburg park- so I need to buy some type of S hook to put these nets up because zip ties aren’t the answer. If you can spare some money to donate to our own kids, it will go a long way toward my efforts to keep our kids on playgrounds instead of into other stuff.

I’m including a few photos:

  • Esrati hangs nets so kids can play
    Kids behind the Dayton Boys Prep academy
  • Rimless backboard in Dayton Ohio
    This backboard has been missing a rim at Virginia McNeal park- right next to UD Arena
  • Photo of nets taken down and replaced by David Esrati
    Nets I’ve taken down- most of them, with green on the bottom (mine)
  • Gettysburg park leaning backboard
    While the leaning tower of Pisa may be an attraction, this backboard at Gettysburg park isn’t.
  • Rusted rims in Dayton built for chains
    This is the type of S hook I need to source to hang chain nets on these rusted rims
  • Crime scene photo in Dayton Daily news with Esrati net and sticker in background
    I would be happier if my nets didn’t appear in the paper as background for a crime scene

I’ve been reporting issues non-stop with our courts with the Dayton Delivers mobile app. The backboard without a rim at Virginia O’Neal Park- or Welcome Park- depending on which sign you read- was reported resolved a few days after I turned it in. I went back to the park- and the rim was still missing – and I reopened the case. If you have a smart phone- download the app- report potholes, unpainted speed bumps, tall grass in parks, street lights out- instead of grandstanding, lets start seeing our commission get a report each week about the number of issues opened- and resolved in Dayton each week- instead of the focus on Guatemalan kids. Our kids deserve better than this.

And as a side note, I sent a proposal to the Dayton Public schools to ask them to pay $5 per net I hang at their schools and was turned down. The only reason I asked, was because I was called into the office and scolded for placing my “Elect Esrati” stickers on school property with the number to call for a net. Considering buying nets onesy twosy is a $5 proposition- and doesn’t include the labor- I figure I average about 20 minutes per net- including driving time, ladder time, etc.- it was a steal of an offer. I was turned down by the Superintendent. I’m still hanging nets on their properties.

Also note- the only guaranteed maintenance to our parks by our Mayor and her minions- every single one of my stickers on a basketball pole has been scraped off. No nets hung by the city.

 

 

Merchandising our schools- lame attempt to help fix Ohio’s School funding problem

Sure, Ohio State makes a mint selling “officially sanctioned” merchandise. Terrelle Pryor jerseys made the school a lot of money before he tried to cash in on his fame and brought the machine down to its knees.

Now, we’re going to try to solve our pre-K-12 funding problems by allowing schools to sell merchandise instead of only the booster clubs, thanks to a new bill introduced by local State Rep. Mike Henne:

School districts in Montgomery County could become the first in Ohio to explore new revenue streams — beyond relying on taxes, state and federal aid and donations — under a new bill that would allow them to earn profits on its facilities, services and merchandise.

State Rep. Mike Henne, R-Clayton, introduced the bill Friday that would amend current legislation and allow Montgomery County’s 16 school districts to pilot the new program. The bill would allow districts to earn profits off a variety of services, including rentals of classes to selling school merchandise, such as T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts, above costs.

“It’s not about redoing all the school funding formula,” Henne said. “It’s about giving (schools) the ability to make some additional money.”

For the next two years, operating funds for Ohio schools have been cut nearly $780 million in state funding….

Henne said the pilot plan was suggested by Vandalia-Butler City Schools and its treasurer, Dan Schall.

“Dan thinks he can fill the gaps (with this bill),” he said. “It’s how creative and how much the school system decides to use it.

“Everything they do has to be within the mission of the school system. They can’t create something like how to make a widget better or open a restaurant. Maybe they come up with an online program how to learn French, whatever it is.”

Vandalia-Butler’s current operating budget is $35 million. Schall said if the bill passes, he projects his district could eventually generate 1 percent of new revenue of its total budget.

“Dan’s one of the more progressively thinking treasurers out there,” Henne said. “He’s always trying to think outside the box.”

Under the current law, only booster clubs — such as ones for marching bands and athletic teams — and not school districts can make profits off merchandise, concessions and other activities. Henne said the updated bill would allow school districts to charge beyond what it costs them to operate a particular venue, class or service.

Schall said passage of the bill creates “an additional revenue stream for us. (Currently) we can’t sell anything. We can’t rent for profit. That doesn’t help the taxpayers.

“If we can rent that facility or sell T-shirts or give art classes, we can get a revenue stream that won’t be taxes.”

Schall said the amended bill “is something, down the road, that could replace as much as 1 percent of our budget. It’s a first step in identifying new revenue streams.”

Henne said the bill will allow schools to “sell their brand, rent space (for a profit), sell educational services and sell technology.’

via Schools may generate revenue from sales of goods, services.

So, now, in addition to little Timmy’s parents having to pay for Timmy to play basketball with an additional fee, the school can also start selling him school branded clothing at a markup to make up for the fact that our system for funding schools in Ohio was ruled unconstitutional long before little Timmy was born and the state legislature has done nothing to fix?

There used to be a couple of cool hippies who lived behind my office. They had a bumper sticker that applies to this – it was something like: “Wouldn’t it be great when schools had all the money they needed and the Air Force had to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

School funding in Ohio is broken. Selling merchandise may be a fun distraction for some administrator in a school district that still can afford to pay them to do something other than meet all the other state mandates while working with a lot less money, but it is far from what the students in Ohio need.

It’s time to fix our school funding problems once and for all, and to have the best schools in the nation, because, no matter what the “economic development” gurus say, the number one thing that drives a community value is the quality of the schools- and the number one thing that drives value in our new economy is a well educated workforce.

Unfortunately, in Ohio, we’ve been told that the lottery was going to provide revenue to our schools and now, that casino gambling and video slots at racetracks are going to be engines of economic growth. The only thing that grows our capacity to compete is education- and it’s time to stop nickel and diming our educators.

When our greatest threat is the economic destruction caused by a debt downgrade from a bond rating agency- maybe it’s time to have less F-35s and more A students.