Whaley finally announces development plans for West Dayton

Ohio Medical Marijuana logoIn an early morning announcement, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley unveils her plan to revitalize West Dayton, promising to bring life back to several large failed city projects on the west side. “I’m glad to announce that the City of Dayton has been selected as one of the cannabis grow operators by the State of Ohio  Medical Marijuana Control Program.

The former McCall printing plant across from the soon to be renovated DeSoto Bass housing will become a indoor cultivation site, and promises to create 20 jobs. “These aren’t high paying jobs, but we know we will find plenty of highly qualified employees nearby, since I’ve been told that illegal cannabis cultivation has been going on over on the West Side for quite some time” said Whaley. The OMMCP is also allowing the city to do a scatter-site program, with a second operation in the former Kroger location on Gettysburg Ave.  It will include a dispensary and in a novel twist, Premier Health Partners will be opening up a “Doc in a box” location to provide access to prescriptions of medical marijuana on the spot- since there are limited medical offices on the West Side.

Whaley says that the revenues from the West Dayton cannabis cultivation and dispensary will be used to back fill the general fund, which has been severely drained from all the investments the city has made in Downtown projects under her watch; like the new Student Suites project on the old Dayton Daily News site, River Run, The Levitt Pavillion, the arcade, new downtown housing, and for future investments in the Fairgrounds property.

This will be the pilot program for government owned medical marijuana facilities in Dayton, when asked how she negotiated this deal with the Republicans in Columbus, Whaley said she had a sit down with governor Kasich, she showed him the quality of locally grown cannabis that had been seized on the West Side, and once they both smoked a bowl, the deal was done. Kasich’s aides, said that the Governor wasn’t prepared to comment, but that he would highly recommend the Dayton branded pot if it’s even remotely as good as what Whaley had been smoking for the last 3.5 years of her Mayorship.

The angst of the political neophytes

On a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon (14 Jan 2017), about 45 people met in the basement of the Wright Library in Oakwood to learn “How to elect & support local officials.” I was one of the panelists, along with:

  • Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton
  • Robert Klepinger, ran for congress, 10th district
  • Jimmy Calhoun, ran for congress, 41st district. Precinct captain
  • David Esrati, ran for congress, 10th district. Precinct captain, ward leader.
  • Dan Saks, congressional candidate Springfield/Clark county area

Also notably in attendance was Sarah Greathouse, the new executive director of the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

The audience was mostly women. Upset women. How did a misogynist beat their girl? Now, we have to start paying attention and fix it, because, well, women need to be in office.

Nan was loving it. Totally in her element, talking about how women are underrepresented in office.

She’s right of course, but, that’s not what the real issue is, as Nan spelled it out:

  • Money in politics- Citizens United.
  • Gerrymandering.

Unfortunately, thanks to the Republican landslide, money in politics isn’t going to go away, and more than likely, Trump will name not just one, but as many as three supreme court justices before the mid-terms and it will be all over for a long time. Too little, too late.

The gerrymandering situation, well, the audience wanted to know more about it. Because, most voters never learned how our “democracy” works in school, and certainly haven’t bothered to pay attention until now. How the apportionment board works in Ohio was explained- yet, the likelihood of the Dems grabbing the Governorship, Secretary of State and the Auditor in 2018 is slim and none, unless the backlash against Trump, and the current Republican domination of the Statehouse causes a meltdown the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

I wouldn’t count on it. Although the women’s march yesterday and all of its supporting marches did give me some hope. Organizing is great, but, if it’s just more of us vs them, without a clear list of issues, we’re all doomed.

This group is afraid to put the word “Democrat” in their name- because the founder thinks it’s meaning is kind of “murky”- well, then maybe your first goal should be to clearly define what being a democrat means.

It’s time for the local dems to learn from my friend, Rob Scott, founder of the Dayton Tea Party, and the organizer of the short lived overthrow of the local republican establishment (and yes, I have friends who I’ll never agree with politically):

Dayton Tea Party co-founder, Rob Scott, now Kettering vice mayor, said the key for the movement was that activists knocked on doors, made phone calls, held rallies and focused on issues.

“I think that’s why the tea party movement really took off because we talked about issues,” Scott said. “In 2010 it was like a big wave and it was handed over to the Republican Party.”

Source: Women’s march organizers hope to start movement

Electing women is not an issue, it’s a cause. Issues are things like we have too many jurisdictions in Montgomery County, too many different tax regulations, unfunded mandates, poor schools, an unconstitutional school funding system, the list goes on…

The funny thing about the group hosting this meeting- it’s a private facebook group.

Sort of like the private club that selects the democratic candidates behind closed doors in Montgomery County.

Which brings us to the important news of the week: This Thursday, at the IUE hall on S. Jefferson, at 7pm, the Montgomery County Democratic Party is going to have a meeting where they are talking about appointing a whole bunch of new precinct captains. If they really want to show they’ve turned over a new leaf- we’d pass a rule: no one can be a precinct captain if they work in local government, or are related to someone who works in local government. That would be a good first step to dethroning the monarchy of Montgomery County and turning the party into a true Democratic Party.

Oh, yes, and start talking about issues.

Fairgrounds to Premier and UD- or how stupid is the public?

There are the Illuminati, the Tri-Lateral Commission and the Montgomery County Fair Board as three of the most misunderstood secret societies on the planet. And, then, there is the government intervention by the Monarchy of Montgomery County and their benefactors in the transfer of the Fairgrounds to the patron saints of politics in the county.

If the two developers who invested considerable time and money in the rigged competition to buy the Fairgrounds for their private developments don’t sue- you know there were payoffs made.

There is no logic to this deal, there is no math that backs it up, there is no rationale that would pass muster- even on the TV show “Are you smarter than a fifth grader.” In this case, you could probably make the threshold third grade and still be ok.

The Country Fairgrounds didn’t deliver any property tax, or real economic impact in the county. It is prime, unpolluted real estate in the heart of what’s now being referred to as “Mid-Town” (which is laughable- since “Downtown” has become mostly a joke since Austin Landing, The Greene, and Pentagon Parkway have stolen so much from the city core).

The conditions of the sale, or rules of the game, to acquire this gem in the Gem City were to pay for the fairs relocation and to show a plan for a royal flush- jobs, housing, retail, i.e. create a success story that could compete with development at…. Austin Landing, The Greene, and Pentagon Parkway.

And while none of those generate income taxes (the exception of course is Austin Landing with its reverse Robin Hood TIF/JEDD tax on only the little people who work in retail and fast food in one-story buildings) ostensibly, the Fairgrounds would bring in plenty of income tax to Mayor Nan Whaley’s new 2.5% income taxed Dayton, tied for the highest with Oakwood.

There will be no property taxes on this prime real estate to pay the Dayton Public Schools- who are funded, unconstitutionally, solely on property taxes (and state and federal handouts).

Premier Health and UD will now own the property, be able to do as they please with it, and not pay taxes- as they don’t pay on their deals now- including UD’s sweet deals for Emerson, GE, Midmark etc.

Listen to the “unlogic” in the mouthpiece story by the Dayton Daily, if it’s news, it’s news to us, News:

The university and health care system on Monday announced they have reached a $15 million agreement to purchase the 37-acre South Main Street site, which comes less than two weeks after a pair of proposals to remake the property were rejected for not meeting certain criteria and asking for too many public dollars.

UD and Miami Valley Hospital officials said the purchase is an investment in the future that ensures that new development on the land is compatible and complementary with investments they have and will continue to make in that area.

The University of Dayton and Premier Health will redevelop the fairgrounds by starting with “a blank piece of paper,” said UD President Eric Spina.

“Hopefully, we’ll leverage the assets and create opportunities for our faculty and for our students,” Spina said. “I mean, that’s really the key. This is a long play.”

Dayton and Montgomery County leaders emphasized the historic relevance of the announcement and how much work it to took to reach this point. They said they are confident the property will become a high quality mixed-use development.

“(This) opportunity now gives us the time to do the really good work to make sure this is a development that lasts the ages,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.“Congratulations to everyone who has been working on this the past 100 years.”

On Nov. 30, the city of Dayton, Montgomery County and fair board officials announced they rejected two proposals to redevelop the fairgrounds from Dayton-based Miller-Valentine Group and Indiana firm Thompson Thrift.

The proposals failed to meet certain criteria and originally sought more than $20 million in public infrastructure assistance, officials said. The minimum bid price for the fairgrounds was $15 million to help move the annual fair.

Within 48 hours of the announcement, city and county leaders met with representatives of Premier Health and UD to discuss the future of the property. On Monday, the groups held a joint press conference to announce the purchase plans, which are expected to be finalized in coming weeks, with financing coming from multiple sources, officials said.

The county fair and a horse show will take place as scheduled next year. The property is expected to fully change hands in the fall. The purchase agreement is expected to be completed in about a month.

Both Spina and Miami Valley Hospital president Mark Shaker said they have not decided what they will use the space for as the deal came together quickly.

“When the thing fell apart, well we had to step in,” Shaker said. “It was the right thing to do.”

With UD and student residences being just a few blocks away, Spina said it would make sense to extend some of campus to the fairgrounds location.

Shaker said Miami Valley Hospital, which is part of Premier Health, is landlocked and would benefit from having some room to grow.

On Monday, Spina emailed staff and students to tell them the fairgrounds purchase is a “strategic decision consistent with our history and character, and supports the future of the university.”

Spina noted the fairgrounds’ proximity “to GE, Emerson, the Marriott and other university holdings” at Patterson and Stewart, two blocks from UD’s student-centered investments on Brown Street.

Spina admitted the land will likely see some expansion of UD’s campus or Premier Health’s Miami Valley Hospital.

“Ultimately, I think this area will have some university opportunities and it will have some hospital opportunities,” Spina said. “Probably the vast majority of it will go to development of one kind or another.”

UD said its involvement began in October when Miller-Valentine asked for support of its redevelopment proposal. When the city, county and fair board rejected that plan, UD and Premier took an active role in acquisition talks.

“It was highly likely that if action was not taken quickly, this opportunity would have been lost and the fairgrounds would have continued to deteriorate, or it could be developed to the detriment of the university and the investments in that area,” Spina said in the email.

Premier Health President Mary Boosalis sent a letter in support of Miller-Valentine’s overall site design and planned uses for redeveloping the fairgrounds.

But UD and Premier said they will take their time to figure out the best uses for the property and will create a plan from scratch.

The development will have to go through the city’s planning and zoning process, and it should achieve the community’s desired vision for the property as a high quality, mixed-use urban environment, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

UD and Premier will be committed partners whose role in redeveloping the fairgrounds will be much deeper and more significant than if an outside developer was brought in to transform the site, said Whaley, who noted that the property is an important piece of real estate.

“It would not be fine with the city of Dayton if the people waited for 100 years for a strip mall to go on this property — that’s not OK with us,” she said.

Whaley said she and county leaders have discussed relocating the fair and selling the fairgrounds for at least three years, but interest in that happening dates back at least to John Patterson, who publicly declared his support of the move around the turn of the previous century.

Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley said the announcement was the result of behind-the-scenes work, and there were times that the obstacles in the way of moving the fairgrounds seemed insurmountable.

“I thought maybe it was an idea whose time was not ready — but I am glad it is,” he said.

Miller-Valentine and Thompson Thrift declined to comment for this article.

Source: Deal struck to sell county fairgrounds

The only true statement that’s highlighted belongs to Foley- that behind the scenes skullduggery and large donations to political campaigns (like the recent Issue 9 tax increase- that got huge donations in the first reporting period from Premier– masked through their partners in the crime we call racketeering- but they call duopoly health care).

Why did the real estate have to be turned over at all without a plan? Or why didn’t the city and the county just hand $15 M over to the fair board, since the fair board isn’t allowed to just do what any other property owner would do and sell it to the highest bidder?

If the deals from Miller-Valentine and from Thompson Thrift weren’t acceptable- how is no plan from UD or MVH? How many times can the people we elect lie to us?

Is there any doubt as to why there were only two companies stupid enough to bid on a proposed project in this den of inequity we call Montgomery County- where it all depends on who you know? Crawford Hoying, the new darlings of Nan Whaley, were probably warned off not to bid, knowing this was a sham competition to begin with. Steiner Properties– who developed The Greene had no interest after their last attempt ran into Whaley blocking – to do The Greene on the old Parkside homes property- which is still prime real estate sitting fallow.

The cost to development in Dayton is relatively low compared to other places in the country- and there are developers like Simon who have no limits on their ability to pay their own way to develop large projects- but, kingmakers like that, prefer to work in fiefdoms where the local lords don’t overestimate the size of their britches, or have bottomless back pockets.

And that’s why we just sold the primest piece of real estate in the county for a vague I. Maybe. Owe. You.

It’s still a party instead of an organization for all local dems

Somewhere I read the invite wrong- I thought the Montgomery County Democratic Party was actually going to admit that their way of working wasn’t, and it was time for a real change.

I went to the meeting last Thursday night in the stunning new quarters (the old building was a shithole) and saw a huge crowd, including many fresh faces. The time to do a mea culpa was ripe- after Montgomery County voted for Trump, and Gary Leitzell came withing spitting distance of dethroning Debbie Lieberman on the county commission, despite spending almost no money, creating no organization, and having zero support from the local Republican party which may be only slightly more incompetent than the local dems.

The fact that the opposing party chair, Sheriff Phil Plummer was unopposed, despite news story after news story of incompetence, criminal behavior and racist tendencies in his department should be the first clue that the Dems are impotent.

But, we got a short speech from Party Chairman Mark Owens, a short speech from Mayor Nan Whaley- who still think that electing a woman president is more important than electing democrats, and the introduction of Sarah Greathouse as the new executive director. Willis Blackshear stepped up to speak for Fred Strahorn, as if only a black elected man can stand in for another black elected man ( of which there are only a handful in this county), and then off to socialize.

Greathouse and her husband have been political campaign consultants in the area for at least the last ten years. They’re part of the party inner circle. It will be interesting to see if she is able to bring some sophistication to the mechanics of the organization- starting with a website that isn’t a joke.

Nothing was said about a plan to regain seats, although they did have a monster list of all the seats that will be available in 2017 for people to volunteer to run for.

That list should be available, along with every open seat, requirements for running, job responsibility, etc on the local board of elections site- but that would require competency there too- which isn’t possible since the people running the BOE are appointed by the incompetent parties, neither of which actually has wanted people who aren’t on the friends and family plan to run.

What the party needed to do?

Stop all endorsing of candidates in primaries and pre-selection process. The object is to elect dems, not to narrow the field before an election. A party with a strong and active base, should be able to inform their members of who their choices are- and by members, I mean all Dems in the County- not just the card carrying cabal that has been running things for time eternal.

Bring  back the candidates school, but take a lot of the trouble of running a campaign out of the hands of novices. It’s hard enough for people to decide to step up to run, while having jobs, families, and other responsibilities- but also having to learn how to do a website, manage the voter walking lists, craft campaign materials, order signs, distribute said signs and materials, go to candidates nights, knock on doors and of course raise money.

This is the parties job. It would be easier to build one network of websites for all Dem candidates, including donation tools, manage all the door-to-door data and targeting for candidates (who generally have no idea how data-driven modern campaigns are- or would have any way of managing it)- building one master list of Dem voters and letting all the candidates update and use it. Never again should a presidential campaign come to town- building the data from scratch as well as finding the people to do the work, that should be in place. That’s the difference between a political organization- and a “Party” that’s more like a social club for those who know the handshake.

And most importantly, someone needs to build a data wall- of all the available offices- and start planning who will run for every seat, in the not only the next election, but also the one after that and the one after that. I like Rob Klepinger, but, running him against Mike Turner twice was a joke, as have been every other challenger for the last 14 years.

The real key will be to take over the statehouse despite gerrymandered districts for the 2020 session- when redistricting is up next- or, figure out a legal strategy to force districts that make both geographic and rational sense. While Turner’s district is actually now manageable in one media market, a look at the seat vacated by John Boehner and now owned by Warren Davidson- that stretches from Cincinnati up to Mercer County- is not.

An inclusive organization, that puts democratic principals ahead of personal relationships is the only way we’ll see change.

Willis Blackshear and I will have a sit down after the turn of the year to discuss these issues. I already know we don’t agree on the endorsement in primaries, but, we’ll see who is more persuasive.

Telling people “it’s not your time” or asking them “if we don’t endorse you, will you drop out” are the two least democratic sayings of the local party.

And if you need proof of why parties aren’t the best people to pick candidates, twice the local party and the state and national party chose a woman to run for president, only to be beat by a novice black man with an Arabic middle name the first time, and by a reality show host the second.

Unfortunately, for this current crew- their next best choice for running a governor is probably a reality show host who was arrested for picking up a prostitute- Jerry Springer. Need I say more?

Why bother to have elections at all in Montgomery County?

Donald Trump won Montgomery County.

The local democratic party did nothing to win any new seats, and Debbie Lieberman came within 1% of losing to Gary Leitzell, who only spent $6000 and barely campaigned.

No seats changed hands. No republicans were replaced, no incumbents got voted out. Phil Plummer who should be in jail instead of running it- got re-elected.

Mike Turner hasn’t faced a serious opponent since his first race.

The local dems endorsed Ted Strickland from the start as well as Hillary Clinton and we see how that turned out.

We don’t really hold elections here, we just rubber stamp decisions made in back rooms on who should be allowed to run.

UPDATE

an hour after posting: And one other thing happened, without anyone knowing in advance, from Thomas Suddes:

Then there’s the General Assembly. In January, Republicans, led by Speaker Clifford Rosen-berger of Clinton County, will hold 66 of the Ohio House’s 99 seats. That’ll be the biggest House majority either party has held since Ohio went to a 99-member House in 1966 – 50 years ago….

It takes 66 House votes – the number that Rosenberger will have – to pass a bill as an emergency measure. That may seem like inside baseball, but for this: Voters can’t challenge emergency measures in statewide referenda. If Republicans could’ve passed union-busting Senate Bill 5 as an emergency measure, voters couldn’t have killed SB 5 (as they did, resoundingly, in a 2011 referendum).

Source: Ohio Democrats find selves in tough spot

How does labor feel about that? Some labor groups even backed Portman in this election.

In the spring election, be it in May or March (I can’t remember, because they switch it up- and the Board of Elections site is worthless) the democrats will be selecting their new precinct captains and ward leaders. It only takes 5 signatures of registered dems to get on the ballot. It’s long overdue to throw out the stacked deck of patronage job holding precinct captains that keep allowing the Monarchy of Montgomery County to continue with their lame “leadership.”

This is also the year where three seats will come up on the Dayton City Commission- Mayor Whaley, Joey Williams and Jeff Mims. The question is who will really try to challenge them. Whaley raised half a million last time so she could raise your taxes, charge you for street lights, and raise your water and trash bill, while buying empty buildings and giving away Garden Station for $10. Williams has repeatedly won more votes than any other candidate, yet has done little but go with the flow. Mims, despite being a former educator, local and state school board educator- has zero problems allowing more tax abatement shortchange Dayton Public Schools.

But, consider everyone in the country who said Congress was broken, worthless and gridlocked, how many seats changed hands?

Case closed.

Issue 9 already working to fill Nan’s hole

Yesterday, Dayton voters gave the city commission an extra .25% of their income- for the kids, for public services, for paving streets and of course, to fill Nan’s hole:

The Dayton City Commission this morning approved spending $294,500 to finish demolishing and cleaning up the majority of the former downtown Dayton Daily News property in the hopes of setting the stage for its redevelopment.

The city has approved hiring Bladecutters Inc. to work on the nearly 2-acre site, which has been stuck in limbo for several years after a student housing project failed to move forward. The city recently declared the property a nuisance, which will allow demolition crews to remove the problem conditions.

Earlier this year, Dayton commissioners authorized the city to spend about $450,000 to purchase the property from Steve R. Rauch Inc.

Rauch, a demolition firm, was expected to be granted the deed to the land from its owners as part of a settlement over unpaid demolition costs. But that transfer has not yet happened.

Source: Dayton to spend $294K clean up stalled downtown project site

Note, the city contributed a million to the “developer” who was going to build “student housing” on the site. That money went bye-bye.

As to Rauch owning the Historic old Cox building on the corner, one wonders if the building inspectors will go after him for the unsightly exterior violations the way they go after people in my neighborhood for peeling paint (but neglect the dope houses).

And in other news, Dr. Tom Lasley and Learn to Earn staff all left on their all expense paid 8 year joyride at taxpayer expense, while the Dayton School Board is in the process of firing at least 32 para-professionals who are hands-on, in the classroom folks.

I can tell, Dayton is well on the way to being great again already!

 

The highs and lows of election day 2016

Nina Esrati and David Esrati voted 2016

Mom, me, I voted stickers- missing Dad.

Today was the first election day, where I didn’t have my dad to talk to, to take to the polls, to take the photo of him, mom and me on their porch with our “I voted today” sticker.

My father believed in this country, its ideals, its principles. He also believed strongly in the fourth estate, of which he was a part of, to keep us informed, to set wrongs right, to make our country better, through an informed electorate.

Today, Wright State Medical School called to tell me the brick, bearing his name, was installed today. He had donated his body to the school- in the hope that some young doctor, might be able to learn something and go on to do good.

But, at 2:14 am, I sit here writing, with Donald Trump 5 electoral college votes short of a win. With the Republicans holding on to the house and senate, and potentially appointing three supreme court justices. Wall Street and World Financial Markets are in a tailspin. And, frankly, the entire country is in shock- that he won, that she lost, that it was this close… but, as I’ve been known to say, “never underestimate the stupidity of people in large numbers” – a quote that is sometimes attributed to George Carlin, but probably wasn’t his.

It’s not that he won, or she lost that has me in shock, it’s that in this election we went from the already tainted dirty world of politics, down to something more resembling a cage fight to the death. This was the election where, quite frankly, there were no holds barred, no blows too low, or any resemblance to statesmanship, decorum or decency.

Our country will need a lot of healing. And a lot less polls, predictions and armchair quarterbacks. We need to take the cards that have been dealt, and figure out how to win, if that is even remotely possible.

And on that note, I have to recount the high point of today. I went to the Dayton School Board meeting, where, per usual, the agenda was posted last minute and the failed transparency and communication skills of the worst district in the state were about to be glaringly obviously exposed.

About 50 people showed up in addition to the normal cast of characters. There were parents, para-professionals, principals (more correctly, principal, Mr. Fowler of Kiser) and teachers- all there to talk to the board about cuts being made in classrooms across the district. And per usual, the people we elected to that board, felt very little need to hear from the people they represent. It was that same attitude by the Dayton City Commission 30 years ago, that pushed me into politics.

The board opened, and immediately went into executive session, for what Board President Dr. Adil Baguirov said would be “about an hour.” The people in the room had no clue of what this meant, or what it was about. The district no longer prints agendas, instead using some wonky flawed, non-ADA compliant, proprietary software called Board Docs- that is worthless on a mobile device.

A parent stood up and said, “since they are having a private meeting, is there any reason we can’t have one? Right here? I’m a social worker and I’m good at facilitating these kinds of things” or something to that effect. I started the video camera back up and taped. It should be posted tomorrow afternoon. That the BOE doesn’t tape all their meetings and have them available is one more indication of their disdain for the people they represent- they have an amazing video system available with robotic cameras.

The people went around the room to introduce themselves and say why they were there. Paraprofessionals who had been told to pack up and leave, yet hadn’t officially been fired by the board who has to approve all personnel issues, told stories of being with the district for over 20 years. That they didn’t understand that how, a district struggling to meet the third grade reading guarantee, was dismissing the people who helped the district get it’s only “A.”

There was talk of the 1-1 computer plan- and how a chromebook can’t show a child from the Congo how to open a milk container, or teach a kindergartner how to use a mouse. There were stories of how teachers had some of their students come back to the district to teach- and one mother/teacher- who told her daughter to avoid DPS, because of this very issue- lack of respect for those who are doing the work in the trenches. The director of the Challenger School who was on the list to be fired today, had to pull herself together to talk about losing her baby of 25 years- one of the few things the district has that’s a real success- something that brought STEM to the district before anyone knew what STEM was. There was a bus driver who professed his knowledge of how to fix the most fundamental DPS problem- actually picking up and delivering students- on time. The entire group would love nothing more than that to happen- and can’t understand on how or why it hasn’t.

And while I was there recording it – ostensibly as a citizen journalist, I did something I shouldn’t have and shared my story of the districts ineptitude in PR, marketing, managing an RFP, and even in their failed deal making on real estate where they sold a property to CareSource without a deed restriction precluding tax abatement. What shocked me more, other than my own self-exclusion from potentially working for the district to help them not screw up in the future- was when Dayton Daily News reporter Jeremy Kelley spoke up and interjected some facts about executive sessions and process and procedure- that, my friends, was a first.

After an hour and a half- the social worker felt that everyone had had their time to share, and wondered where the board was. She announced her intention to go invite them to come and hear the ideas they’d gathered- and to ask the board why they weren’t coming back on time.

I knew what was about to happen, and didn’t intervene. I thought maybe someone else would be galvanized to action after being smacked down for asking for respect and integrity from elected officials. For her honorable intentions, she was chastised by several board members, treated like a child and put in a corner. DPS security chief, Jamie Bullens appeared with one of his aides, dressed in black shirts, and stood by, in case she didn’t get the message.

Then came the speeches. Dr. Baguirov stated facts on falling enrollment, from 2000 to today. He talked about the ratio of administration to students- a stunning 1 administrator for every 136 students. Cincinnati, is at 1 to 236. Yet, we were only firing 20. Today.

The youngster on the board, John McManus tried to single out the Challenger center director for a pass from todays lynching. He had Sheila Taylor on his side for a few, until Joe Lacey, who has become cranky and sour, schooled the rest of the board about his experience during the last reduction in force. And Hazel Rountree launched into a tirade about how we had to bring in someone outside to fix what what couldn’t be fixed before. Ron Lee did point out that there are many unintended consequences to each and every dismissal- from seniority bumps to lawsuits, but in the end- the list was executed.

And of course, the board felt the need to blame the state, the feds, and everyone else for their difficulties, telling the people to go fix that for them.

Expect the Nov 17 meeting to be overrun with pissed off people. It will be ugly..

Both Debbie Lieberman and Judy Dodge spent real money on their reelection, despite being challenged by financially weak republicans with zero party support. Judy won  over Bob Matthews by 3% Debbie squeaked by Gary Leitzell with a single point plus lead.

And the county went to Trump.

A giant FAIL to Mark Owens, Nan Whaley, Karl Keith, who were incapable of fielding candidates that could even come close to winning. This is what happens when all you worry about is keeping your job, shilling for Hillary and getting your mitts on peoples paychecks who can’t vote you out of office.

If there was a time for a group of real democrats to join together to overthrow the Monarchy of Montgomery County, this would be it. Just the fact that embattled sheriff and republican party chair Phil Plummer was unopposed should be enough to shame them, if there was any shame to be had.

It is now 3:01 am and I checked the NY Times site, and we have a misogynist president who promised to “Make America Great Again.” My father has turned over in his cold storage.

My worst fears have almost all come true. Like Britain after the Brexit vote, we now have a brand new reality facing us.

Only one word comes to mind.

Courage.

Save

Signals crossed: Mayor vs School Board for Dayton Tax hike “for the kids”

Earlier this week, the Mayor and her minions started testing the waters for a .25% income tax hike, raising Dayton’s rate to rival Oakwood’s highest in the County 2.5%. Oakwood, with the best schools, the lowest crime, perfectly kept streets and backyard trash pickup. A place where public parks look like Disneyland- and even have public bathrooms “that don’t even smell” (that quote from a DPS student who was amazed at Orchardly Park while helping me with a hoops Dayton video).

Part of that money is to go to pay for comprehensive pre-school.

DAYTON — Under the threat of a state takeover, Dayton Public Schools Board of Education members agreed during a work session Saturday to draft a resolution of necessity, the first step toward placing a levy before Dayton voters in November.

The levy plan being forwarded is a temporary five-year, five mills levy targeted toward improving after-school and summer programs with possible technology components, said Adil Baguirov, board president.

“In the long run it’s more prudent and much cheaper to invest in early childhood education and summer programs and after-school programs and educational technology than it is into prisons and all kinds of remediation later in life,” he said.

Without showing improvement on its state report card, the district runs the risk of being operated under an Academic Distress Commission within the next two years. New funding could pull the district back from the brink, said Joe Lacey, a board member.

“We need to try to do something – an additional program, if you will – over and above what we’re doing to try to bring us out from under the threat of academic distress,” Lacey said. “We’ve seen some successes with that at our schools, specifically Ruskin (Elementary School).” Baguirov said the levy is not permanent and not meant for general operating funds.The measure, however, is headed toward the same ballot as a Dayton income tax increase proposed by the city. Voters in November will be asked whether to approve a 0.25 percent increase on income earned in Dayton to help close a projected budget shortfall, fund police and fire services and pay for universal preschool.

Source: Levy proposal for Dayton schools pushed forward | www.mydaytondailynews.com

Whoa, hold on there. If we just wait 2 years for the State takeover, we don’t have to worry about paying for the schools at all- it’s the State’s problems- so isn’t a 5 year levy a bit much?

And, maybe because the Mayor didn’t even bother to come to the meeting where the three Superintendent candidates were presented to the public- we might infer that coordination between the two political bodies has broken down? Both coming to tax payers “for the kids” at the same time is a monumental recipe for disaster.

Dayton already spends more per student than any other district in the county, with the worst results. Noted, they also deal with the most special needs students, an 85% poverty level population, and has to compete with charter schools that don’t have to meet any of the same requirements for hiring teachers, testing, certification etc.

So, what should tax payers really ask for in terms of change?

David Esrati Campaign literature from 1993

It was 11×17, both sides, a lot to read- too bad not enough did.

I go back to my campaign literature from 1993 when I was running for the seat that eventually was Dean Lovelace’s entry to the dais:

Neighborhood-based Schools
“It takes an entire village to raise a child”
African saying

An entire VILLAGE, people, not an entire City. If we return to neighborhood schools the parents can get involved again. The chief reason for Dayton’s decline is busing. It is The Problem. As your commissioner I will spend at least an hour a day in one of our public schools.

I also proposed, long before our new buildings with A/C were built,

The year-round school

To combat the suburbs, and to keep our kids out of trouble, I recommend we move to year-round schools over the next 12 years. We aren’t farmers, our kids don’t work the fields in the summer. Learning is a lifelong experience, we need to reinforce that with a year-round learning environment.

Subsidized Day Care

An innovative day-care program is needed to attract new busines and new citizens to the city, as wellas to put our high percentage of single parents back into the work force as productive taxpayers. This would be a high-quality 24-hour service, that would provide long-term benefits to our citizens and make your investment in Dayton grow.

Hmmm, and no one took me seriously? We decimated our parks programs, filled in the swimming pools, and the school year remains the same as everyone elses, despite having a tougher challenge.

What DPS needs to do to improve test scores and keep kids out of trouble is move to a longer school day, with a longer school year, add an additional 20 days to the 180 day school year, with a 4 day school week  for most of the year except for leading into testing weeks.

The school day would be 8:30 to 5:30, but actual academic instruction time would be limited to 4 hours a day. The other hours would be doing art, music, phys ed, home ec, extra curriculars, and individualized guided learning. You want to be a programmer- you go hang out with the computer club, you want to be a social worker, you volunteer with a social service agency, you want to be a teacher, you tutor younger kids. Teachers have more time to plan, and to guide students in their personal passions- be it genealogy, chess, quilting or gardening. And, every school should be raising it’s own food- as both a hands on learning biology and agronomy, but as a business model as well. Hire Lisa Helm from Garden Station to lead the charge- since Nan and friends are evicting them from their gift to our community.

Yes, negotiating the new teacher contracts will be tough, but most inner city teachers aren’t there for the money, especially since Dayton doesn’t pay well. And we need to take a new look at transportation- no more door to door- but have neighborhood stops, on roads built to handle buses- and ways to get kids in a community to know each other. We need to find ways to build relationships back into the neighborhoods- since when you get right down to it- people are always what make a city, what make a neighborhood- not the buildings and certainly not the politicians.

I was talking about the cost of summer and the summer slide 25 years ago. Here’s a bit from an article from the New York Times about “The families that can’t afford summer” – which is most of Dayton:

Most American schools take a 10- to 11-week break during the summer. The assumption that underlies summer vacation — that there is one parent waiting at home for the kids — is true for just over a quarter of American families. For the rest of us, the children are off, the parents are not. We can indulge our annual illusion of children filling joyful hours with sprinkler romps and robotics camp or we can admit the reality: Summer’s supposed freedom is expensive.

In 2014, parents reported planning to spend an average of $958 per child on summer expenses. Those who can’t afford camps or summer learning programs cobble together care from family members or friends, or are forced to leave children home alone. Self-care for 6- to 12-year-olds increases during the summer months, with 11 percent of children spending an average of 10 hours a week on their own. In July 2014, a South Carolina woman was arrested when she left her 9-year-old in a park while she worked. Parents afraid of being at the center of a similar incident may be more likely to park their kids in front of the TV.In summer, the lack of affordable child care and the achievement gap collide for lower income families. Most kids lose math skills over the summer, but low income children also lose, on average, more than two months of reading skills — and they don’t gain them back. That puts them nearly three years behind higher income peers by the end of fifth grade, and the gap just keeps getting wider. Researchers credit the summer slide for about half of the overall difference in academic achievement between lower and higher income students.

Source: The Families That Can’t Afford Summer – The New York Times

Arguments can be made for a 5 day school week with year round school until DPS comes out of academic emergency- but, moving to a full, real world work world for teachers would be a monumental struggle. There is a beauty to the four day work week- look at what Dayton did with trash collection savings. When you have a Tues-Friday schedule- all those national holidays except the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas and New years- all become standard days off.

We need a radical fix for Dayton Public Schools. Anyone who thinks more money is going to fix it is delusional- because you can’t sell the same inferior product with a higher cost to voters- they will vote with their feet, just throwing Dayton deeper into the hole.

As to the City levy- the only way I’d support it if it included a rescission of all property tax abatements for companies with employees making more than $250K a year. We’re not subsidizing the rich on the backs of the poor anymore- and this goes for non-profits and schools as well. When you realize that half of the income for the hospitals is tax dollars for medicare, and the universities are heavily subsidized with grants and loans for students- it’s time to stop padding pockets into the stratosphere on the backs of the little people. The Brexit vote should be a good clue to politicians world wide that the working class is fed up with the redistribution of wealth and the widening gap.

We’ve been sold Sinclair as our savior against kids unprepared for the workforce for years, instead of making sure a high school diploma still meant something.

It’s time to reinvent our idea of school, and of how to help the poor get a real chance at not following in their parents footsteps- neither the city or the DPS tax plan will do anything to substantially revamp the equation, nor spells out actual mechanics of making it happen.

Look at my old campaign literature- and realize you missed out on 25 years of forward thinking and let’s get busy making real changes happen.

 

 

Dayton to try to raise income taxes, because there isn’t anything else left to tax

The reason Dayton had the highest tax rate in the county with the exception of Oakwood was because the tax mostly affected people who couldn’t vote for it. Non-resident workers downtown were subjected to a 2.25% income tax, meaning if they lived anywhere else with an income tax, they used to get an exclusion from paying anything under. So only the poor stiffs in Oakwood who worked in Dayton had to shell out the extra .25% to Oakwood.

Now- almost every suburban community is raising to 2.25% since State funding dried up- and some of them have the gall to say, sorry, you still have to pay our income tax, even if you work in Dayton too.

Ouch. So now, Mayor Nan, who can find half a million to buy at least 3 buildings for which there is no public use- and give away huge tax breaks to big corporations like GE and Emerson- says- we need to raise our tax to 2.5% even though they’ve already hit us with a street light tax, a trash and water increase and the police department is running record leand.

The city of Dayton plans to ask voters to approve a 0.25 percent income tax increase that supporters said will help close a projected shortfall, fund police and fire services and pay for universal pre-school.While Dayton voters will decide if the increase takes place, the tax is paid by people who work in the city.If approved, the tax rate would climb to 2.5 percent for a period of eight years.

Source: Dayton to seek income tax increase | www.daytondailynews.com

Folks, remember the big meetings to stop the city/county merger? They were just the warm up act for this mess.

If it weren’t for Caresource downtown adding federally funded jobs like feral cats procreate in South Park- the city would have been broke long ago. Now, you have to wonder- how long will they want to pay that extra .25% on Pam Morris’s $3M a year paycheck? Will they need to move their HQ to Austin Landing too- where only the little people get taxed?
Is there a clause in it that excuses the hike for white collar workers?

We could ditch all 28 municipalities in the county, get rid of the urban township tax havens, have one regional government, and charge a flat 1.5% local income tax and come out way ahead, but then the Monarchy of Montgomery County couldn’t keep their friends and family on the plan. So, let’s raise taxes and make sure that every business left looks to leave.

You’re fired

Uncle Sam saying You're FiredTo the Republican senators who refuse to do their job and vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick B. Garland, you’re fired.

Typically, people who refuse to do the job they are supposed to do- get fired, at least in the private sector. In the public sector- not so much.

Right now, more than ever, we need to take a look at who should be fired for not doing their job- and I’m going to start at the top.

President Obama- you promised hope and change. Yet, the same assholes that destroyed the global economy just before you came into office- haven’t been prosecuted, or even slapped on the wrist. While the income gap continues to grow, you bailed out the banks, insurance companies, and scam artists who had packaged mortgages, lied about them, built a Ponzi scheme, collapsed it- and robbed the American people blind. Need a refresher- go watch “The Wolf of Wall Street” and even better- “The Big Short.” I know Elliot Spitzer liked hookers, but he seemed to be the only guy out there who would have held anyone accountable. Your boy Eric Holder- our former Attorney General- used to be a part of the cartel that came up with MERS and robosigning of documents that were the keys to most American’s largest investment- their home/mortgage/deed- and that mess is still going to drag on for years.

Richard Cordray, who is the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should probably be fired as well. Not, because he hasn’t tried to do his job, but because he’s not been effective. Interest rates are still low for rich people and corporations- and almost usurious for those at the bottom. The fact that credit cards can still charge over 20% and be open accounts, while the prime is near zero, says you failed Rich. Go home to Ohio and run for governor.

Speaking of governor- John Kasich, who was elected by the people to be governor of Ohio- and has spent the last year, prancing around the country pretending to be presidential material and actually costing the taxpayers money to keep him safe and secure- while not doing his job- you’re fired too. How many jobs can the common man have where you can get paid by one, while not doing it?

On the local front, it should be obvious to someone that Wright State University should be hit with a blow torch. Start with the president who has to hire lobbyists and consultants with huge paychecks to go talk to the people he works for (hint- they are in Columbus- not on your board of trustees). Zero controls or checks and balances have brought one scandal after another. And here again, getting fired doesn’t mean you lose your job, unlike in the private sector. Provost Sundaram Narayanan got the axe, but because of tenure, is still employed. Go figure.

We’ve seen one departure from the board of trustees, Nina Joshi resigned, without having to take any flak for the questionable benefits her firm, UES, may have received from the H1B visa scam. Other trustees are pretending that they haven’t done anything wrong either- like the president of the board who voted on his own son’s hiring by the university to a questionable specially created position. Seriously, we need to go to Japan and learn about honoring the company ideals- so these cretins would feel shame and do seppuku on themselves. Maybe WSU athletic director Bob Grant, can join them all- since after firing the men’s basketball team coach for lack of “fan engagement”- I bet the Nutter Center would sell out to watch these people line up- and disembowel themselves- since apparently, winning games and graduating your players isn’t enough. BTW- when the successful women’s coach left right after firing of the men’s coach- it probably had more to do with his not wanting to work for a ruthless athletic director.

And while we’re on the subject of firing in higher Ed- you all know my position about Sinclair’s expansion into Warren, Greene, and Preble counties– without taxation. Fire President Steven Johnson and bring in someone who understands who pays for his subsidies.

Moving on, there are oh so many more opportunities to fire people in Dayton. Nan Whaley, Shelley Dickstein and Aaron Sorrell- that hole where the Dayton Daily News building used to be? You’re fired. How about letting the Community Blood center tear down that beautiful block of buildings just south of the Blood Center? Another empty lot, great. I was just in Cincinnati on Friday night- and why is it that the hottest parts of downtown still have all the old buildings? hmmmm….

The Dayton Board of Education sort of fired Superintendent Lori Ward by not renewing her contract, or that of Treasurer Craig Jones. Both are still drawing a paycheck, but no replacements are in sight- and in the meantime, the company that they hired to staff the district with substitute teachers may be breaking the law by not treating long-term subs more like employees- and playing musical chairs with sub spots. The reality is, DPS was short 30 teachers this year, hello? Isn’t that job number one- have a teacher in the classroom?

To all the local taxing jurisdictions of Montgomery County. As a small business owner, can I tell you the idea of trying to track and pay all of your individual income taxes is a ridiculous burden, and that we now have an area, Austin Landing, where depending on how many floors your building has, actually dictates who pays income tax or not. Seriously- all of you- FIRED. We need to come up with a taxation strategy that is fair, universal, and easy to report- like a statewide income tax- that’s redistributed to the locals. One taxing authority, one tax rate. Less paperwork, fewer penalties and let’s get on with business. Oh, yeah- and if you are a little podunk government like Beavercreek township, or Moraine etc. you don’t get any of the money back- because you shouldn’t exist. We need to implement some kind of limits on what qualifies as a jurisdiction worthy of taxpayer support based on a ratio of people to governors. We don’t need to support 26 police chiefs, or 24 Chief Building Inspectors, or 28 city managers. It’s time to do what the big banks have done, the hospitals have done, the insurance companies have done, the grocery stores have done- and consolidate. All you straphangers living off the stupid jurisdictional boundaries created by the Northwest Ordinance of 1785- you’re fired too.

Who would you fire? I’m sure I’m going to make someones list (don’t worry- I’ve been fired before).