The 3-point challenge

Whenever I’m out hanging nets, and there are ballers on the court, I offer up my three-point challenge. Shoot three treys in a row- and get a t-shirt. I let the little dunkers shoot from the foul line. Usually, the result is near pandemonium, with very little order, and someone inevitably trying to go twice, or wanting to change the rules to it doesn’t start counting till you make one.

When I was out with Rob D. hanging rims, he wanted to make it easy- and give away as many shirts as possible. I believe that skills and hard work should be rewarded, and on some courts- I end up giving away multiple shirts- as 9 points go in like clockwork. I believe that rewards need to be earned, that there shouldn’t be shortcuts along the way. I stick to my rules- and tell the kids that they should work on their long shot, and show me their skills next time. And, sometimes the first thing I hear after “The net man is here”- is “let me show you my three pointer.”

Going door-to-door, I get one of two reactions when I talk about giving every Dayton Public Schools student an iPad or netbook. The first is complete understanding and a realization that without 1-1 computer to student, we can’t possibly be preparing our students for the workforce- and the other, which is much rarer- is “what do you mean give them an iPad? To take home? They’ll sell (or steal) it?” It’s that second reaction that always takes me aback.

Forget about the fact that textbooks cost as much as an iPad and do a lot less for our students, and no one would argue against textbooks, it’s the idea that our kids either don’t deserve the best, haven’t earned the right, or can’t be trusted. This is our future- and we don’t seem to place a very high level of trust in our kids today. That’s too bad, because I think if kids were voting, we’d be having a better political conversation than we have now. They see what’s going on around them- and for the most part, they’ve given up on Dayton too.

When you come to a park that has a dead raccoon sitting in the parking lot, broken glass on the court that’s bisected by weed fault lines- and look up at a raggedy backboard with a rusted rim and the only thing that’s clean and glowing is a basketball net, with a florescent green bottom, that’s the beacon of hope. A $2 weave of string. It sends a message. I enjoy talking to our kids more than voters. When they ask what I am going to do for our city, they haven’t become jaded yet by the lies of those who’ve come before me. They believe. All I hope is that I can get two other people on the commission to agree with a vision of Dayton that doesn’t include tax breaks for General Electric, while we’re charging admission to our rec center to families that can barely afford to keep shoes on their kids’ feet.

That’s why one of the first things I hope to do is reward the kids who work hard at becoming our future leaders. As soon as I take my oath of office, I plan to make our rec centers free for any kid with a B average or better.

The iPads, will go home with our graduating seniors who have at least a B average and a 20 or better on the ACT. We will reward our kids for doing the work.

And, if you don’t have the grades, but want to get into the rec center, we’ll have opportunities for kids to go to tutoring centers after school- and be rewarded with passes for completing additional work.

And while I’ve also been told that by putting nets up, I’m encouraging NBA dreams instead of school work, I want to make it clear to our kids, that shooting threes can change a game, but, in the end, it’s all about making smart decisions- on the court and in life. I want to work to make our kids realize that “Smart is the new cool”- and that everything we focus on is to make smart decisions in our community to help us rise above it.

I started with the basketball nets because I believe that our parks and how we treat our citizens are indicative of what we think of them. I plan on taking this small change and building into a whole cultural shift, that Daytonians are proud, smart and ready to take on any challenge, from getting elected for under $10,000 (something some say can’t be done) to eliminating tax breaks for companies as bait to come here, because we need our taxes to create a community worth moving your business to, and that paying taxes is an investment in a great city.

November 5th, we’ll find out if enough people believe that actions speak louder than words, and if hard work pays off. If every person I talk to, tells just a part of my story to their friends, we’re on the verge of changing the game in Dayton. Thank you.

Just remember, it takes three votes on the commission to win a change. Others have had three votes and squandered their opportunities. Three new faces, three new votes, that’s the three point challenge for Dayton.

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Viola X. GoldenMark Herrescathymong Recent comment authors
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Amazing how this net thing has worked for you to build a campaign: “changing the game in Dayton”: “The three-point challenge.” You should go into marketing. LOL! Nice column.  Our kids aren’t throw-away and they deserve to know it. Adults need to get the message, too. How can we expect children who have nothing to do and nothing to do it with to give a damn about their community or their lives? This is empowering stuff. Grass-roots stuff that should matter. Keep up the good work, Esrati. It’s making a difference.

Mark Herres
Mark Herres

David, The best thing about what you’re doing is making a difference where it means something. Kids are who we need to empower because the status quo in Dayton have screwed things up so bad it will take at least 10 years minimum to salvage our city in ruin. So getting the message to the future voters who will remember what you stood for today will make a difference when they turn 18 and enter the polls . Dayton has killed the entrepreneurial spirit from anyone with a dream to get us out of this mess. Giving GE tax breaks will not change their bottom  line at all . Turning our city into a giant college town where we train them and they move were the jobs are isn’t the answer either. I just spent 21 days in the hospital and had approx. 30 different nurses around the clock- only two were there because it’s their passion to help others, the rest were retrained ex GM workers that went to school to get a new job because that’s the only profession that’s hiring  in this town. When you’re not happy with what you do and  there’s no passion or spirit  it’s just a job to get you by to feed your family. The status quo doesn’t understand what that means because they are used to sucking us taxpayers to death to retire and rehire with their full retirement and benefits like Mr. Riordan. Wait until all these property tax reassessment’s that have been approved such as IRG getting the GM truck and Bus plant Reduced from 25 million to 3 Million . Who wins then sure isn’t our schools. Big Government needs to Die so we can live again in this city. David I love you for being the asshole when it needs to be done to expose the corruption in this city And I hope you win so those Jackasses at city hall will have to squirm a little bit and have to watch what they do behind closed doors .   This includes you, Miss Whaley I know you think you’re above everyone… Read more »

Viola X. Golden

Hi, Donna7. I live in Columbus, have all my life. Most of it is getting pretty icky, partially due to the increase of low-income housing in all areas. I live on the far east side, which was considered a very nice area once upon a time. With the increased crime – hence that low-income housing – people are leaving to the country, or nicer suburbs, like rats on a ship. The value of homes has maintained a steady and slow climb over the last twenty years. My parents bought their house in the early 1980’s for 53k, and now it’s worth only 85k. The south and west sides of the city are where the notorious trailor parks and their residents reside. You can find cars on blocks, dogs on chains, lawns comprised of car parts, beer cans and trash, and families with about four teeth between them all. Kinda scary. I certainly feel the republican grip on everything here in Ohio. I work for the state, and raises are very meager. Working for the state, though, is a whole different message board! Yes, I am with you on the rise in college tuition. It appears there is no watch-dog howling at the moon over this. I am earning my education through an on-line program out of Iowa. I will never attend a brick and mortar institution again, as long as I can help it. Public education really stinks. Columbus Public Schools has laid off a large amount of teachers, as well as decreased the school day by an hour. How many hands are in the pot, anyway? My husband and I enjoy mountains, and I love the ocean. We’re thinking west coast, maybe Oregon or Washington. We both love the idea of Alaska. It’s just so expensive! My field of work/study is in the legal industry. I’m flexible, so I think I could land a job just about anywhere. We’re not going anywhere until our kids are grown (9 and 4), so it’s going to be a while. Until then, we can dream!