Faulty Fairgrounds math

“Fairgrounds $15M purchase approved” is the headline on the front page of today’s Dayton Daily news. This is what we would now call “alternative facts,” or in the past- an “F” in math.

No worries, because no matter how much you sell the Fairgrounds for to “Meds, Eds and Feds” you keep the most valuable piece of undeveloped, virgin land in Downtown out of the category of contributing tax entity. No money generated to the schools, and- with this latest plan- which is really no plan, no idea of the number of jobs that will be created- the normal excuse for the public financing of private institutions (otherwise known as either corporate welfare or screwing the little guys).

UD and Premier will redevelop the property after market analysis and community input, according to a news release from the county…. The closing is supposed to take place no later than 15 days after the end of the due diligence period, which can be extended to the end of March if the buyers choose. UD and Premier will take possession of the property no later than Oct. 1, the letter states.

UD and Premier agreed to try to retain the historic roundhouse and incorporate it into their redevelopment plans.

In exchange, the county will provide them with a $2 million credit at the time of closing, which will be applied to the first and smaller of the two payments.

“We’re very pleased that as part of this deal the county is going to be able to contribute money to not only to keep that building where it is, but to improve it,” Commissioner Foley said.

Under the agreement, UD and Premier will not be required to renovate the building by any specific date.

The institutions also can decide that the roundhouse should be taken apart and reassembled at a suitable site somewhere else. But the building has a historic designation and, if moved, would have to be reconstructed to meet historic rehab standards, officials said.

Foley said he’s confident the development will create jobs, reshape the neighborhood and support two major anchor institutions.

“We’re excited that this next step has been accomplished. We look forward to working with our partners to develop plans for future,” said Premier Health in a statement.

The purchase agreement also says the city of Dayton will work to approve a memorandum of understanding outlining how it is prepared to participate in the construction of the infrastructure to benefit and support the redevelopment project.

The city also would be expected to take ownership of the title to the fairgrounds property to make the development eligible for tax increment financing incentives.

As for the financing, UD and Premier are expected to each pay $5.25 million of the sales price.

About $2.5 million is expected to come from a state grant that was previously awarded to the Dayton-MontgomeryCountyPort Authority. And the remaining $2 million is from the county.

Source: Fairgrounds’ $15M purchase approved

As far as this math challenged writer can figure, the Fairgrounds was sold for $10.5 million- making this the steal of the century.

And, the “historic roundhouse” isn’t worth much more than a pole barn, which is all it was then and now. If we are worried about preserving buildings in this town, let’s start with ones that have taxpaying people in them, that we’ve been tearing down faster than Trump tweets.

This after, two developers probably invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop a real plan with measurable returns on investment to the community, that were tossed out, so we (the taxpayers) could basically donate this property to two institutions that already don’t pay a lick of property tax- and cried like babies when told they’d have to pay an assessment like the rest of us for new streetlights based on a democratic formula based on street frontage.

And remember, Premier/MVH had plenty of money to spare, as did their top, grossly overpaid executives to donate to Issue 9 to RAISE their income taxes .25% just a few months ago. How much they donated isn’t even fully known, because the mystery Political Action Committee that funded the campaign never filed their post election report. After it passed, one of the first things Premier did was to end support for the two Community Based Police officers they had funded for South Park and Rubicon Mill (the neighborhood FKA Fairgrounds).

Of course, Dan Foley seems to be the only one talking about this donation. Foley has been searching for a post commission job for years. First he’d hoped to be hired by the Dayton Development Coalition, and now, it looks like he’s looking for a job with UD or Premier – hopefully as sweet as what former County Administrator Deb Feldman landed over at Children’s Medical Center where she makes a cool half million a year plus (up from around $200K a year). Foley was also behind the latest failed regionalization push- which crashed and burned, where he made enemies with every black democrat thanks to Nan Whaley’s scare the west side meetings that were a total farce (the poison pill to block the plan was already well in place).

Foley likes to think of himself as some kind of visionary leader, but, he gets nothing done. Maybe this is because he’s never held a real job in his life outside of either patronage jobs through the party, or elected jobs because he’s was born into the party (his Daddy was a judge, and this is how we take care of the friends and family in the Monarchy of Montgomery County). He’s a very nice guy, but that’s really not why we should elect anyone. Voters are getting sick of the same folks getting elected over and over and doing nothing- he almost lost to Jan Kelly last time (she’s now the Republican in charge at the Board of Elections) despite outspending her and being the incumbent, and Debbie Lieberman came within a hair of losing to Gary Leitzell last time out, despite outspending him 100 to 1. If you need any proof that no elected position is safe from incompetence, just look to the White House.

This deal to give away the real estate should be stopped. Without a contract in place specifying the investment to be made and the return on investment, the property should just be kept in holding. Anything else is criminal.

As to the lie of $15 million, that’s what happens when the only reliable news source in a city has to be published by a political gadfly who the party and the paper tried to minimalize from the very first time he ran for office over 25 years ago. You’re welcome.

 

 

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.

Did something change on the GE deal?

When the school board passed the 30-year tax abatement on the GE Power building under pressure from the “economic development” folks who claimed GE wouldn’t come to Dayton without the tax break, the deal for the building and tax abatement was to an LLC. The tax break was for 30 years- yet, now in today’s paper, the building is owned by UD, and GE only has a 15-year lease.

Employees are moving into the new $51 million GE Aviation electrical power research and design center near the University of Dayton main campus.

The presence of employees in the building at 111 River Park Drive is a milestone in this young joint venture between the company and the university. The intent is to use the building to attract more business to GE Aviation and more students to the university…

Owned by the university, the building — called the Dayton Electric Power Research Lab — “gives us the ability to compete at a higher level in electric power on aviation platforms,” Vic Bonneau, president of GE Electric Power Integrated Systems. said.

GE has a 15-year lease on the building with an option to extend the lease, said Derek Bus-boom, project manager during construction.

via GE moves into $51M aviation research site.

Now it seems that the citizens of Dayton just subsidized a building for a private university, at a huge cost to our schools, which are struggling to pay rising health care costs, rising textbook and technology costs, and serve a student body, most of which can’t afford the luxury of an airplane ticket.

General Electric is still one of the most notorious tax evaders in the United States, and UD doesn’t pay property taxes the same way churches avoid them- 5709.07 Exemption of schools, churches, and colleges.

If the GE lease is only 15 years, shouldn’t the tax abatement only be 15 years and renewable? This is not an educational building anymore than the Dragons’ field is a place that hires Dayton Public School students (one of the promises made in the final deal by then Mayor Richard Clay Dixon, to let the taxpayers pay for a facility owned by the team).

It’s time to re-evaluate what this GE facility should be eligible for in terms of tax breaks, and closely monitor employment and wages paid to see if they match the agreement.

The opportunity costs of subsidizing Midmark’s move

On Wednesday, I went to the city commission meeting to speak against handing over tax dollars to a private corporation. As usual, I was working with somewhat faulty information that I’d received from the “Dayton Daily news” in that the money was being approved by the City Commission, but was actually ED/GE funds which are from the County sales tax collections. Either way, it’s tax dollars collected to provide government services being taken from our pockets and put into the pockets of a private corporation. Here is the basics from the PR run in the DDN:

Midmark Corp. will relocate its corporate headquarters to Dayton by July.

The medical, dental and veterinary health care equipment provider said Thursday it has completed lease negotiations and will move the headquarters, to be renamed Midmark Center, to the 1700 South Patterson Building on the University of Dayton’s River Campus. The building once housed NCR Corp.’s headquarters….

Midmark received $100,000 in economic development funding from the city of Dayton to move the jobs. The estimated payroll of the employees moving to the city is $10.8 million, which will generate about $242,000 a year in taxes for the city, according to the agreement between the city and Midmark.

The new headquarters will take up more than 23,000 square feet on the fourth floor of the 1700 South Patterson Building.

via Midmark base coming to Dayton.

Originally, the city had hoped to put Midmark into one of the empty buildings they built via CityWide Development in “Tech Town”- another squander of tax dollars on subsidies of a few private businesses with money that should have been spent on providing best in class services to all citizens. That deal fell through- but UD stepped up, by offering even cheaper space in the NCR HQ building they got for a song when NCR bailed on Dayton. There are unanswered questions about how much UD pays in property taxes vs what NCR paid in property taxes on this property, but that’s something for a paid reporter to investigate.

There is the interesting sidebar to this story, that Midmark’s CEO & President Anne Eiting Klamar also serves on the UD Board of Trustees, making this yet another sweetheart insiders deal.

But before I share my speech, let’s take economics 101. Opportunity costs are the costs of actions not taken, now, and over time. While the five year payback in “income taxes” received sounds wonderful on the $100,000 “investment”- let’s look at the real costs that have already gone into that process.

We’ve paid a myriad of “economic development” people good money to go out and sell out city primarily by whoring tax incentives and deals, instead of selling on our inherent value that we offer. In turn, the money that we’ve wasted on them, and these deals (most of which had no real penalties or clawback provisions and many went far south of positive for the city) has cut our ability to pay for essential government services- like road paving, leaf collection, safety forces, parks and recreation programs, thus making Dayton a less attractive place to live and less safe of an investment- thereby sending a message that we’re a poverty riddled city, much like the ugly girl offering to pay and let a boy have his way with her so she can go to the prom.

Maybe, if we had invested the hundreds of millions we’ve squandered on these “ED” projects over the last 20 years, which benefited a few, at a cost to the many, NCR wouldn’t have left in the first place?

While Midmark may not have any direct competitors in the region, there is also the undemocratic aspect of giving to one company while not giving to their competition- since there are no open competitions for this money, with a guaranteed equal opportunity for all. Banks can’t lend to homeowners with out following the rules of equal opportunity, but our government seemingly gets to pick and choose who to favor. This should be illegal. It reeks of payola to friends and family and political donors much more than it creates wealth. We know that it doesn’t work, because we’ve been losing payroll and investment in the city for about the same amount of time as we’ve been practicing this voodoo juju in the name of good government.

Here is what I said. I was rudely interrupted by the Clerk of Commission as I was finishing up, because the City Commission isn’t really there to hear or respond to citizens at their “public meeting”- they are there to have the shortest possible meeting, so Nan Whaley can get back to her fund raising. For the record, Joey Williams and Dean Lovelace were not in attendance at the March  20, 2013 meeting where this was given:

People often say government would be improved if it was run like a business, but they never take the time to really discuss in depth what business the government should be in.

Apparently, now, the citizens of Dayton are in the medical cabinetry and furniture business- since our tax dollars are about to be invested in Midmark corporation. The payback is supposed to be increased employment and tax revenue for the city- and while that sounds just fine and dandy, it makes me wonder why we chose Midmark- over, well, anyone else?

You see, the tax dollars that are being handed over to Midmark, came out of the pockets of people who are working two jobs just to make their house payments. And their house, well, it’s worth less now because the house a few doors down went into foreclosure and is now occupied by a bunch of dope using thieves, who keep breaking the law and causing the police to visit, oh, 22 times a year on average.

Now those hard working residents, have to buy security cameras, replace the chainsaws that have been stolen out of their garage (twice) and they have to buy new bikes for their kids, a new lawnmower, you get the picture…

Why do hard working Daytonians pay taxes? To hire police officers to stop thieves? To pick up leaves or sweep streets? Apparently not. We pay taxes to invest in Midmark Corporation!

Not only are we spending money on this Midmark giveaway, we pay our hard earned money to hire a staff of “economic development specialists” who seem to believe that they are worth considerably more than a police officer on the street protecting citizens. What if we took those salaries and instead, made sure that Dayton was a safe place to live, where our investments in things like bicycles, lawnmowers, chainsaws were protected?

Maybe it would be easier to live in Dayton and take care of our property, and someone would want to live near us that didn’t engage in crime on a daily basis? Crimes against us.

You see, the criminals stealing my property, aren’t much different than what you are about to do- you are taking my hard earned tax dollar and handing it over to someone else- someone who may even be a business competitor of mine. You are also robbing me of additional police resources- the stuff that I thought my tax dollars were going to be used for.

This isn’t the first time the City has thought they were in a different business than providing services to their residents- I recall a recent initiative to bring a Kroger to the corner of Wayne and Wyoming. Millions of our tax dollars went to acquire options, and property for a grocery store that never came. Just imagine, instead of spending over a million dollars to own an empty lot, you’d spent it on doing the peoples business- police protection, I still might have my bicycle and my chainsaw and my lawnmower- and I wouldn’t be down here wasting my time trying to get the city to stop engaging in “economic development” and try doing the business of the city- which means making our neighborhoods safe and our city an affordable place to do business.

You could probably even cut your income tax rate- if you stopped doing “business” that isn’t any of your business, nor is it mine.

The way you help Midmark is by not getting distracted from what the business of Dayton is.

If you personally want to help Midmark- take your salaries to  the stockmarket and buy stock in Midmark- but that’s the only acceptable thing you should do for Midmark with my tax dollars.

After I sat down, Mayor Leitzell made the lame response, one that reeks of the weakness of vision of our City- “If we didn’t do it, someone else would.” He told me later, everyone on the commission doesn’t like these deals, but fears not doing it. Of course, if everyone else is doing crack, that’s no excuse to do it too, at least, that’s what my momma taught me (well, almost, since crack didn’t exist when my momma was teaching me the difference between right and wrong).

I have an audio recording that’s 7 minutes long, which starts part way into Mr. Down’s explanation that this is County money, and then my talk.

Play

 

Dayton Public Schools reconfiguration challenges

When I grew up in Cleveland Heights, we had elementary schools from k-6, junior high for 7-9 and high school from 10-12. To me, that was the way it was. It was a little odd that 9th grade counted as high school but you weren’t at the high school, but that’s the way it was. As I was finishing elementary school in a building from the twenties, they were building a new elementary school in the parking lot next door and were closing off the street the school was named for to have enough room to build the new modern “open” building. From the day it was built, teachers have struggled with noise from the open plan, where classrooms didn’t have walls to the ceilings or a door. Progress.

Luckily, Dayton Public Schools didn’t fall for the open floor plan in their 28 new buildings, but they did structure the buildings originally for PK-8 and 9-12. Of course, it wasn’t totally consistent, with Stivers being a 7-12 building, but close enough (note it’s the only school that we kept the old building and just added new wings).

Since the de-seg order, almost all DPS kids were bused, so “load balancing” of kids to the school was relatively simple- just drive the kids to the right building, no need for placing schools where the school age population is. As we’ve learned in the attempt to switch back to “neighborhood schools” shifting populations makes for difficult allocation of kids to schools- add in a steadily fluctuating enrollment in charter schools and things get very complex.

To make matters worse, thanks to annexations and strange map-drawing skills, Dayton looks more like an octopus than what most cities look like. Throw in bold geographical and man made dividers like rivers and interstates, it makes getting kids to schools a major undertaking- never mind what you have to do with kids once you get them into the buildings.

Wright Brothers Elementary School with construction sign

A few old parts were saved, like Wright Brothers Auditorium

When the state offered the 2/3 financing of new buildings and voters passed the levy for the new buildings (a bonanza for the construction industry) money was allocated based on enrollments at the very beginning of the charter movement when virtually anybody could open up a school and start getting $5k per kid, per year, while teaching in a building that didn’t have to meet any of the same standards required for the public schools. When many of these failed, their students bounced back to DPS causing a new crunch on space. Unfortunately, to keep the demolition companies happy (also major donors to politicians) we agreed to demolish all of our old buildings. I’ve been watching the very slow progress as Patterson-Kennedy is destroyed- a building built better than any of the new buildings. These could have served as over-flow and load balancers in some cases, but it’s too late for that.

Despite the fact that Harvard is able to teach in 250 –old buildings and Cambridge in 600 year-old buildings, taxpayers were told that public school education couldn’t be done in our existing old buildings- while charters managed to do just fine in the same old buildings (Emerson Academy is at the end of my street and seems to be performing above DPS averages in a building from the 1920s and Richard Allen Academies are also doing well in the old United Way building on Salem). Even UD has managed to sell a high-dollar educational experience in old buildings, imaging that.

It now seems that educators in Dayton are having second thoughts about not having middle schools. Unfortunately, we don’t have buildings to spare or necessarily in the right places, so we’re considering expanding the high achools to 7-12 with Belmont coming online now, others may follow. There is no chance of building anything new- and of course, we were in a huge rush to tear down the former Julienne which might have served well as a central junior high, albeit a large one.

None of this is easy logistically. Unfortunately, the best solution might be to work collaboratively with some of the charters that have extra space in their buildings, however that’s almost like asking for a Hatfield/McCoy marriage.

As a neighborhood-focused community activist, what I find most disconcerting about the whole gerrymandering of kids and schools by market forces is that our neighborhood children have an incredibly hard time getting to know each other well- with most neighborhoods having kids in 5-10 different schools. East End Community Services has worked incredibly hard at connecting their neighborhood with Ruskin School (a rare instance of a charter coming back into the DPS system) and creating a true “community school.” To me, this is the major downfall of deseg. busing and our public/charter school configuration: kids don’t know their neighbors.

Cleveland Heights had true neighborhood schools. Of my friends from high school (with a graduating class of about 850) the people I’m still most connected to as I turn 50 are the ones who went to elementary school with me. We had between 80 and 100 kids in my grade and so I’m extrapolating that there were 8 elementary schools in the district (they’d actually closed a few due to declining population when I was in grade school). Kids in Dayton aren’t getting that shared experience that I had- and that’s a shame. Somehow, we need to figure out how to reconfigure our neighborhoods so that despite kids going to so many different schools, we can at least give them a stable connected community to build their long-term relationships that have meant so much to me.

As I drove past the former Boys and Girls Club at Keowee and the U.S.-35 off ramp (the strangest place to put a kids’ facility I think I’ve ever seen) I noticed that the building was for sale and it looked like the charter school had left. I then drove down Hickory Street past the old YWCA which was given to the neighborhood by Virginia Kettering in 1971 and stopped being a Y or a neighborhood facility sometime before 1986 when I moved into South Park. The city also just closed and sold off the Bomberger Teen Center and has cut the number of neighborhood Recreation centers down. How are we supposed to give our kids what we took for granted? How can we compete with the seemingly stable districts in our suburbs like Kettering, Oakwood or Beavercreek?

I have a vision for bringing  our neighborhoods back to being neighborhoods, the problem is I’m finding mostly deaf ears. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Full disclosure: My company, The Next Wave has done some work for DPS, this post doesn’t contain any proprietary knowledge or information and wasn’t written on behalf of the district or with its permission or oversight.

Most favored developer status in Montgomery County?

In today’s Dayton Daily News we get to read about the “land bank” and how the city is wiping the debts off some sites that they’ve decided were over-encumbered by tax debt and making them available for development:

The targeted properties include:

• The former Dayton Electro Plate Inc., 1030 Valley Street;

• Rita Construction, 824 Leo Street; and

• the MPT Real Estate building, 1801 Home Ave.

These properties were selected for the land bank because a developer, with a successful track record in Dayton, sees their potential, said Aaron Sorrell, the city’s director of planning and community development.

“We were looking for high-profile properties, with owners who had walked away,” Sorrell said. “All the properties have brownfield issues.”

The land bank, a project initiated by Montgomery County Treasurer Carolyn Rice, is a non-profit, public corporation created to acquire low-value properties from foreclosures, lending institutions, and private individuals and sell them to organizations that aim to redevelop the community.

Once in the land bank, property taxes and deeds are cleared prior to being released to a developer.

“Our goal is to quickly turn the properties around to new owners,” said Paul Robinson, Montgomery County’s deputy treasurer, adding that this could mean within a few days.

The Dayton City Commission today will hear a first reading on a memorandum of understanding with the land bank to establish a procedure for acquiring properties. If approved, the land bank board will vote on the agreement on Feb. 21.

Then on March 9, the Montgomery County Board of Revision will preside over the tax foreclosure cases on the targeted properties and assess if they are truly abandoned.

If the Board of Revision finds in favor of transferring the property to the land bank, there is a 45-day waiting period.

Mike Heitz, managing partner for Garrett LLC, based in Lexington, Ky., said that if the three properties are land-banked, he’s committed to taking them on. The company has given the city of Dayton a $500 deposit for each property that will go toward expenses incurred during the process.

Garrett LLC — responsible for the transformation of the former Howard Paper Company site at 354 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd., in Dayton, which is now for sale — specializes in acquisition and clean-up of brownfield properties.

• The Dayton Electro Plate Inc. property has been vacant for 16 years and currently has a delinquent tax balance of $564,246, according to the Montgomery County Treasurer’s Office. The assessed value of the property is $734,557.

The site was used since 1924 for coating metals with rustproofing materials by an electroplating process. In April 1996, the company ceased operations prior to petitioning for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Later that year, the Ohio EPA conducted an emergency removal action at the site due to risk posed to both the local population and the environment by the chemicals remaining on-site.

Heitz said he plans to demolish both the Dayton Electro Plant building and Rita Construction.

• Rita Construction, a large warehouse on Leo Street, was certified delinquent in 2009 and $168,824 in back taxes are owed. The property is valued at about $1.3 million.

• Heitz said the Home Avenue building will be renovated and a potential tenant/owner has been identified. That site was certified delinquent in 2009 and $160,786 in back taxes are owed. The building has an assessed value of $643,740.

“This is about putting properties back into productive use,” Dayton City Commissioner Nan Whaley said. “These are community properties that need to not just be sitting.”

via 3 Dayton sites first targets of county land bank.

Now, please read between the lines and let’s compare and contrast some other deals- and think about what’s happening here.

Ostensibly, the reason development hasn’t taken place is a combination of the fact that these sites are polluted and carry liabilities. The company has gone bankrupt- and there is no way that any sane individual would take a risk on them- there are also heavy back taxes on the “worthless property.”

Isn’t this a little like the Arcade? The liabilities on the property are great- partially because of its historic status which adds additional costs to development. Yet, the developers who jumped in to try to save it- had to pay the back taxes and are continuing to struggle to pay current taxes on a property that no one else has the balls to touch. Why aren’t they given this kind of clean slate deal? Is it because they aren’t a “most favored developer.”

We have another developer in town who has the taxpayers fund a very expensive highway interchange, which feeds some prime property he cornered a long time ago. He then moves a company with a brand new HQ that the taxpayers subsidized a half mile down the road to his new development- and then gets to take all his property taxes and reinvest them on his project (despite the fact that the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission MVRPC- says we’re already over-built and market saturated in the  kind of buildings he’s throwing up).

Then we have the University of Dayton first buying up NCR property which takes much of it off the property tax rolls because they are a non-profit educational institution- and then, they start developing office space for one of the biggest companies in the world, GE, which also gets to skip paying property tax for 30 years.

In this example, we have the city clearing the liens on three properties for a guy who is putting down $1,500 to be handed property on the books at almost $2.6 million. Quite a deal. No auction on these properties, no marketing of them- nope, we found a friend and we’re going to hand the properties over without letting anyone else have a shot.

I could bring up the IRG deal for the Emery/UPS facility at the airport- but, that one is such a HUGE rip-off of the taxpayers, it makes me too mad to delve back in. You can go read the old posts and figure it out for yourself.

Anywhere else, public scrutiny would stop this kind of “most favored developer” status and these funky deals that aren’t open for competition, but in Dayton, this is business as usual.

Keep your head down and carry on.

The secret group trying to do regionalism without telling anyone: One Dayton

please note: this is a long post for esrati.com, but it is the unveiling of a secret group that is already spending your tax dollars with favored political consultants to advance a cause that can’t be spoken of in public… yet. I hope you find it useful and informative.

A group has been meeting to begin a regionalism movement in Montgomery County, and as always it’s being done behind closed doors because we, the people, aren’t smart enough to participate until they’ve planned and announced their grand strategy.

Businesses have been contacted and asked to pledge money, and a non-profit 501c4 has been set up, and once they had enough pledges in hand, they were to crawl up the mount to ask the great Clay Mathile for his blessing and support.

Only one problem: you don’t do regionalism behind closed doors. Ever.

Not unless you want it to fail- which is exactly what Ms. Deborah Feldman, the criminally negligent county administrator, is trying to do by undermining the process by attempting to sneak a contract to her good friend Bill Burges (the “levy master” ) in Cleveland.

That contract was issued and voted on at the June 14, 2011, County Commission meeting, item 11 0959 for $197,000.

The request was sent to only five consultants, and only Burges responded. The fact that he included two of the other “consultants”- Jack Dustin of WSU and Don Vermillion of UD (and former county administrator) in his proposal pretty much sealed the deal. Two others, one in Cincinnati and one in Indianapolis didn’t respond. With less than a month to respond, Burges submitted a 22-page document: “PUBLIC DIALOGUE ON REGIONALISM”

What is odd, is the people selected to be the “fiscal agent” for the program: one of the signatures on his proposal, Deborah L. Norris of Sinclair Community College. Dick Ferguson of UD, who works for UD President Dan Curran, is also a contractor- for a project run by his boss, Curran.

So, let’s follow the money roundabout. County Commissioner Dan Foley, City Commissioner Joey Williams, UD President Dan Curran, Chamber of Commerce President Phil Parker, former chamber pogue and now head of hospital lobby, GDAHA Brian Bucklew start up a non-profit 501C4 called One Dayton. Dayton attorney Josh Chernesky is the statutory agent. 7/13/2011

The stated goals:

A. To promote the social welfare of the citizens of the Miami Valley;
B. To research, develop and promote the distribution of information about the benefits of regional collaboration;
C. To improve prosperity and competitiveness of the Miami Valley by acting as a catalyst for regional service consolidations;
D. To initiate and implement collaborative economic development efforts;
E. To encourage the development of public policies that will lead to greater economic opportunity and a better quality of life for citizens of the Miami Valley; and
F. To engage in any lawful act or activity and to do all things necessary, convenient, or expedient to further the general purpose of the corporation either alone or in association with other corporations, firms, associations or individuals.
SIXTH: The corporation shall have no initial members.
SEVENTH: No part of the net earnings or assets of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its members, directors, officers, or other private persons, except that the corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Article Third hereof.

So if you read it the way I do- 6th says no members, and 7th says we can pay people who aren’t members- but once membership has been declared- we can only pay reasonable compensation.

Yet- right off the bat, the county commissioners commit $197,000 of your tax dollars, to a consultant out of Cleveland, almost 30 days before the non-profit has even been incorporated. Of that, there are four $27K payouts to Sinclair, Central State, WSU and UD, $25K for “seed money” for a 30-minute TV show on regionalism (total cost not quoted) and $54K to Burges & Burges for consulting and $10K for long-distance travel and expenses. The only sure thing seems to be managing 3 summits.

Note, much of this is before the election for the County Commission- a way to put Judy Dodge and Deb Lieberman in the public eye at public expense.

Funny that the final report and rollout is described this way:

After the November election, (bold italics added for emphasis by esrati) co-chairs will finalize and roll out a final report including key goals, major opportunities, serious problems and obstacles, clear strategies and tactics for how to achieve change and expected impact and results. This report has the possibility to be a roadmap, designed by local leaders and citizens, hard for any elected officials and others to ignore.

Why the election cycle is even mentioned in the proposal should raise eyebrows.

This part about sponsorship should also be seen by all. Burges includes names and categorizes them as cash donating suckers and donation in kind friends for us:

The following organizations could serve as financial supporters, in-kind resources, key communicators and community outreach vehicles to strengthen the process and advance participation and results.

  • Cox Media
  • Central State University
  • City of Dayton
  • Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Dayton Bar Association
  • Dayton Development Coalition
  • Dayton Foundation
  • Dayton Power and Light
  • Greater Dayton Hospital Association
  • Sinclair Community College
  • THINK TV
  • University of Dayton
  • Wright State University

The following organizations could serve as in-kind resources, key communicators and community outreach vehicles to strengthen the process and advance participation and results. Some may also be sponsor candidates. All will be asked to generate publicity, attendance and conduct satellite summits.

  • Congressman Michael Turner
  • Dayton Business Committee
  • Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority
  • Dayton Metro Library
  • Dayton Most Metro
  • Dayton NAACP
  • Downtown Dayton Partnership
  • Five Rivers Metroparks
  • Generation Dayton
  • Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority
  • League of Women Voters of Montgomery County
  • Local library systems
  • Montgomery County ESC/Dayton Public Schools
  • Montgomery County mayors, managers and trustees
  • Parity, Inc.
  • Organized labor
  • Our Common Heritage
  • State Legislative Delegation- Bipartisan House/Senate Representatives
  • United Way of the Greater Dayton Area
  • Up Dayton and Communications Council
  • WVSO
  • Other civic, faith or media partners

When it comes to Burges & Burges’ qualifications- he gives a long list of his teaming partners – like WSU and UD working together- and then only gives his organization cred for doing levy work. He does claim to “Serving as the lead consultant for winning the election for Cuyahoga County Reform” yet doesn’t say what he actually did, or how he did it (and leaves out the fact that the impetus was an FBI bust for rampant corruption in government)- much more was said about what he’s done here.

B&B has had a long-standing engagement with Sinclair on strategic, research and communication projects; and collaborated with the Fitz Center on projects such as the Neighborhood School Centers, regional dispatch and the DPS Levy [Issue 52]. B&B has also worked effectively with many other IHE’s for 28 years, and its principals have decades of higher education experience.

They go on to say:

We know the area well, after years of work for the Human Services Levy, Sinclair Community College, Dayton Metro Library, Dayton Public Schools, the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, GDRTA, the Greene County Public Library, Greene Memorial Hospital, Miami Valley Career Technology Center, United Way and others.

He also adds:

We have worked well with area leaders, are members of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, in the Miami Valley weekly and have an office located at Shook Construction.

The list of people on his team include five from his office and a really long list of people from the “partner” universities and their accomplishments.

What blows my mind is that this same approach, of town halls and summits etc. was just done by the Miami Valley Planning Commission– which had very little public engagement, cost a lot more – and basically told us that sprawl and overbuilding us are killing our ability to afford the infrastructure. Yet, MVRPC- our own REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION wasn’t asked to bid on this program. Nor were local people who have been working on this and who registered the domain name OneDayton.org-  Dayton Most Metro, Bill Pote.

They, along with other groups who could have managed this “strategic initiative” like local agency “The Ohlman Group” weren’t asked to bid. Nor was anyone from the “poster-child-for-regionalism” community of Louisville. Other documents obtained by this author would suggest that the core leadership group had a different plan on the table, but something made the County Commission pull the trigger early (maybe because of budget cycles, or maybe to pre-pay for on the side election polling assistance).

Considering regionalism is something that requires a broad based, non-political, well reasoned public support, the fact that the first money that the group spends publicly, without clearly identifying who is behind this initiative – is hand money to a political operator from outside the region to plan the “educational component” of the program.

Commissioner Foley, who has been the sole Montgomery County Commission voice on this project, seems to have convinced the two candidates up for reelection that spending county dollars to have them front the forums will be good for their re-election campaign, and that they can probably pick up tips from Burges on running their campaigns based on his polling. I’m sure Burges will do fine- like he did on Rhine McLin’s reelection campaign.

The way to do regionalism is out in the open. With a very good presentation of facts with supporting documents. How many police chiefs, fire chiefs, city planners, economic development hacks, street maintenance directors etc.- never mind elected officials, elections, and borders we have to pay to maintain- vs. the cost  structures other states operate on that have county government like Florida or North Carolina.

Do the taxpayers really like supporting all these extra layers of “government” if for a much lower tax bill- we could have more service providers and less tax apologists?

The reason you haven’t read about this anywhere else but esrati.com is clearly taken care of in the Burges Proposal: “Clearly, Cox Media is the ratings leader for integrated lV, radio, internet and print news. Involving Cox would raise awareness of residents. Cox also has a new digital production facility, low production rates and a positive record of participation in recent civic issues” and as well as: “Greater Dayton’s key websites, whether based at large media organizations, IHE’s (Institutions of Higher Education), civic andeconomic development organizations or standing independently like Dayton Most Metro”

Bribing media outlets isn’t out of Burges reach either: “Whether or not this level of media involvement is entirely achieved, it is important for strengthening awareness and engagement. Determining the level and net cost [after media sponsorships] will define how far we can go with media involvement. If helpful, we will work with the county to help build commitments to participate from the media, other sponsors and partner organizations between the time the project is funded and when it formally begins.” remember, Burges places media buys for all the levy campaigns and major political campaigns- nice loot to wave in exchange for “public support.”

I don’t have the luxury of Mr. Burges inside connections. All I have is the most read political blog in Dayton- that tries to give those that care to know about the nasty inner workings of our obsolete and crumbling political/nepotism machine in Montgomery County and it’s minor fiefdoms. I know this post is long- but, you now have most of the documents that I have on this back room deal- and a little analysis to chew on.

What say you, members of the community now called OneDayton in the greatest sense of the word?

8:34 am note: the fallout from this piece has already begun. I’ve decided to add to this piece in the comments.

Bikes or Boats?

Without any real value analysis (just like the way the giant fountains were pushed down our throats) Dr. Mike Ervin and Five Rivers Metroparks are about to raise and spend $4 million on a pet project of making Dayton a kayaking destination.

Were any other studies done to see what could have maximum bang for the buck? How big is this kayaking community? And, besides being good for one local business, White Water Warehouse on Valley Street, who else really benefits?

From the Dayton Daily News:

Officials have set a goal to complete fundraising by September for the $3 million needed for the $4 million river project that would remove one low dam from the Great Miami River and install two rock formations suitable for kayaking and canoeing in downtown Dayton….

Removal of the dam likely will cause the river to be more narrow, but the rock formations will continue to give it the depth necessary for water recreation, Scarff said. The rock formations, known as “drop points” will be installed at RiverScape and behind the YMCA on Monument, essentially extending RiverScape to that point.

Openings in the rocks will allow an easy passage for kayaks and canoes and another more adventurous whitewater-style passage.

River access points will be improved at RiverScape and behind the Y, and at Wolf Creek and in the Carillon Park area. Scarff said the project will create a flowing river, improve aquatic diversity, maintain flood control, improve safety and help create a sense of vibrancy that should attract people to the community and retain young professionals.

“We have the opportunity to create a real kayaking scene,” Scarff said.

via Organizers seek $3M more for river by September.

For less than half of what they plan to spend on creating that “real kayaking scene” for the couple of thousand kayakers in the region (and I’m rounding up to be nice)- we could have a world-class bike-sharing program in Dayton. Bike sharing- the thing that other than a feeble mention by Nan Whaley during the “Bike Summit” and the failed “Yellow Bike” experiment (I’ve looked for Yellow Bikes downtown every day- and the only one I’ve seen was being ridden by a junkie in front of my office- like it was his).

A bike-sharing program can help spur business downtown by making it easy for the 20,000 Sinclair students to get off campus without having to risk losing their valuable parking spaces, it can help Miami Valley Hospital employees move from their new building at 2nd and Main to the hospital campus (where parking is a huge problem) – it can help UD eliminate some of its parking issues, as well as give a healthy option for getting from point A to point B.

Nice Ride MN is a hit. The Twin Cities bike share recently celebrated its one year anniversary in June. And in July they started an expansion by adding more stations and bicycles to the network.

We talked with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak who told us about how they got Nice Ride MN off the ground:

“We were gonna have to build a really big system. So I went to Blue Cross and I said we wanna do this. It’s gonna be a major health initiative it’s gonna cost $3 million dollars, we need you to put up a million dollars. And they looked at it, and looked at it, and they said ‘yes’….I was totally blown away. And then we leveraged another million and a half from a federal grant – and again, this was Oberstar – so we got that $2.5 million.”

via Minnesota expands bike share after 1 year

Bike sharing is practical, useful, energy efficient, forward thinking and most importantly- impacts a hell of a lot more people. Almost everyone has ridden a bike- I’m guessing that fewer than one in a thousand has kayaked.

While boondoggles on the river should be nothing new to Daytonians (The fountains no longer have a laser show, there was a very long expensive lawsuit over the fact that the 5 fountains couldn’t converge – forcing the addition of the central spire fountain- never mind the $8.6 million the county was extorted out of by a group of local businesspeople including the direct family of the county administrator) have we really looked at what would have the most positive impact on the community?

Given a choice between bikes for all or kayaks for a few- bikes should win.

It’s time to call GE’s bluff- GE can afford taxes

GE pays no taxesThe Dayton Public School board is being rushed to vote to give away 15 years of taxes so that General Electric will pay UD payments in lieu of taxes.

The big question isn’t why, but is this legal? The Why is supposedly in the name of “economic development” so that GE won’t go somewhere else and build their fancy new office building with their “80 jobs.”

The question is- how can any legislator vote to release GE, a major government contractor, that spends tens of millions on lobbying, give them the right not to pay taxes without a serious problem with conflict of interest? This deal has GE making “payments in lieu of taxes” to a tax-exempt major Catholic university- UD. Since when did politicians have the right to direct money to private religious organizations? And, btw- the contract is all the way to 2041.

UD will get $373,041 per year for the first 15 years- or $5,595,610. That’s not exactly chump change.

This whole thing stinks.

Let’s also ask how our school board members may have conflicts in interest: Joe Lacey is a county employee, Sheila Taylor is a City of Dayton employee, and Ron Lee sits on the City Plan Board. Are these people able to act without pressure from their employers to do what is right for the schools? At a time when the school system is making cuts left and right- why should GE, a company that paid its CEO Jeff Immelt $15.2 million in 2010, get a hall pass on paying property taxes?

From the Dayton Daily News:

The school board is set to vote Tuesday on a resolution supporting the TIF. City Commission will vote Wednesday to convey the land to a limited liability company set up for the TIF, then vote next Wednesday on the TIF agreement itself, assistant city manager Shelley Dickstein said.

If the EPISCenter property — owned by the University of Dayton and located near the Dayton Marriott — is eventually worth the $20 million that city and county officials project, its annual property tax bill based on today’s rates would be about $645,000.

Dayton Public Schools would normally receive about 65 percent of those property taxes, meaning the schools would be sacrificing $420,000 per year for the first 15 years of the TIF deal.

GE spokeswoman Jennifer Villarreal said the Dayton project was possible only after “significant collaboration” between UD, GE, Dayton, the county and state and CityWide Development Corporation.

Other groups that would lose future tax revenue due to the TIF are the Human Services levy fund ($95,000 annually), the city of Dayton ($70,000), and Sinclair, MetroParks, Montgomery County and the Library system ($10,000 to $25,000 each annually).

“In order to compete with some of the suburban proposals, which included a 15-year, 100 percent tax abatement, we (also) structured the first 15 years as a 100 percent tax-free period,” Dayton assistant city manager Shelley Dickstein said.

via Dayton city schools plan?15-year tax break for GE.

We’ve already seen the beauty of a previous Shelley Dickstein deal- in the Wayne Avenue Kroger debacle, where the city spent millions of dollars to secure a site that Kroger backed out on. There was no hold-harmless clause in the contract to hold Kroger liable if they didn’t perform- the same is missing from this GE deal.

Oh, but GE promises to provide “in kind services to support our students”- but not in writing.

In fact- the promises GE makes are all pretty vague- other than to be able to set their payment schedule for the next 30 years-  without having to renegotiate, or revalue the property, or the taxes due. Why isn’t this option offered to every single business in Dayton? Or is it only to companies who don’t pay any federal taxes- despite being able to pay their CEO a ton of cash.

Here is a mention in the timeline – with no contractual obligation: “GE Aviation will assign an Education Leader for the Dayton area to work with DPS’ next Associate Director of Career Technical Education to begin developing new programs”

The mechanism being used is a TIF- which is covered by ORC 5709.41 section C, wherein a municipal corporation may exempt up to 75% of the real property taxes due on a project that is declared to be an improvement for public purposes for a period of ten years without approval from the local school district- yet with approval from a school district can be increased up to 100% of the real estate taxes and extended to thirty years.

Of course, “an improvement for public purposes” is hard to define- other than the claim that this will bring income tax revenue in. Yet- income tax revenue isn’t spent on schools- which are a necessity last I checked.

GE is getting a four-story building containing approximately 138,355 square feet of rentable space comprised of approximately 51,125 square feet of office space and approximately 87,230 square feet of lab space. It will be owned by 111 River Park LLC and leased to GE Aviation Systems LLC – the true value of this will be $19,200,000 considering the “special purpose nature of the proposed building although the construction costs may be considerably higher.” Read that as- this building isn’t worth as much to anyone else- so we shouldn’t have to pay taxes on what it’s worth- yeah, huh. Try using that same excuse on your house (actually, Raj Soin tried that on his mansion in Greene County- and lost).

The city does take care of the unions for the construction of the building- forcing prevailing wage:

To the extent required by law, Owner agrees that all wages paid to laborers and mechanics employed to construct the Building shall be paid, as required by Chapter 4115 of the Ohio Revised Code, at the prevailing rates of wages of laborers and mechanics for the classes of work called for by the Building, which wages shall be determined in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 4115 of the Ohio Revised Code for determination of prevailing wage rates.

And despite all the mumbo jumbo in the contract- mostly about the value and the waiving of taxes- there is nothing requiring GE to employ a single person- at any wage rate. So the question really becomes- what is the “public purpose” of this deal?

There is an out:

SECTION 12. Severability. Should any portion of this Agreement be declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional, invalid or otherwise unlawful, such decision shall not effect the entire agreement but only that part declared to be unconstitutional, invalid or illegal and this Agreement shall be construed in all respects as if any invalid portions were omitted.

Which basically says- we screwed up- it’s just because we missed something- and not our fault. Yep- like the requirement to give something tangible back to the city for this sweetheart deal?

I read over 90 pages that were supplied to me from internal sources on this deal- and nowhere did I see a requirement of GE to employ anyone- or create new jobs, or generate tax revenue in any way.

There is no reason for the Dayton Public School Board to grant this abatement, nor is there justification for the City Commission to sign off on this deal.

The only thing that should be done at this point is to put Shelley Dickstein and the entire bunch of “economic development” honchos on the stand and have them state under oath what the “public purpose” is on this deal- and how it is legal to have a government funnel funds in lieu of taxes into a Catholic university’s coffers.

If this deal goes away- the only loser is UD. If it does get done, the loser is every single Dayton Public School student for the next 15 years and 25% of them for the next 15 years after that. Also- it is patently unfair that any business has to pay property taxes in the City of Dayton if this deal is offered to GE but not to any other business. It shouldn’t be legal for the idiots we elect today to create financial trauma for the idiots we elect in the future.

To the DPS board and the Dayton City Commission: vote no. Make GE pay. You’ll be heroes. GE can’t walk away from this deal over what is rounding error on the financial statements. Even if our members of congress can’t stand up to GE- you can. Jeff Immelt can explain how he pulled out to Michelle Obama- who may consider the education of poor black children more important than subsidizing Boeing’s next jet engine.