Things are changing- thanks to blogs in Dayton

This week, the tide turned ever so slightly, in the eventual transformation of Dayton via the Web 2.0 experience. I’ll explain.

Last week I did a post on DaytonOS about some screw-ups at the Montgomery County Jail. Monday morning when I get in my office I have a voice mail from Sheriff Vore. After connecting, the following happens:

  • The prison program director/chaplain comes out to my office in the rain to pick up a print-out of some educational material for an inmate.
  • The Warden, a Major, calls and leaves a message on Tuesday, and calls again on Wednesday to make sure that the chaplain had taken care of me- and to go over some of the issues I brought up with Sheriff Vore to improve procedures.
  • Sheriff Vore responds to my post with a comment. Changes are in process on visitation instruction sheets, the prisoner information website and how future upgrades will be done.

Responsiveness in government? I’ll say.

I also got a call from Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams to discuss his reasons for abstaining from the vote on the civil rights ordinance. This was at home, on a Sunday night. Now, granted, Joey and I have had a friendship going back to our first runs for office so many years back (I think it was 1989) when I was running against Clay Dixon for Mayor and he was running for School Board for the first time. We can have a conversation about issues- and agree to disagree, and still respect each other. I’m still not swayed by his arguments, but the conversation reminded me of my responsibility to carefully walk the line between critic and cynic.

On Friday, I had coffee/hot chocolate with County Commissioner Dan Foley and his aide de camp, Paul Woodie. The premise was an update on the Sports Tourism initiative, but it took a few other detours. A few things that I’ll share:

Paul agreed with me that our efforts at economic development by government aren’t giving us real long term results. His example of the deal the city did with Mead to do Courthouse Square was a 20 year deal, and on the 21st- they bailed. Dan was happy with four projects that the county sees as pluses- like 350 jobs in Brookville for a distribution center- I look at that as small potatoes because we are “investing” tax dollars into things we don’t own. I pushed the idea once again of a massive Sportsplex on the Parkside homes location- showing off something the whole region would own with pride- on our front door to the world on I-75 vs. a pop-up McBox development like BallPark Village- that would be owned by carpet baggers.

The second issue was the regionalism moves. They consider the 911 consolidation to be a successful first step in moving forward- I agree, but think that we are extremely short on strong leadership and focus on a unified direction. Paul pointed out, that as long as we have different tax bases- things like Wolpert moving to the Beavercreek side of County Line Road instead of into Research Park is a chance to avoid income tax on employees. This kind of hodge podge tax collection is divisive and detrimental. It’s also a pain in the ass for small businesses.

On top of all this, I was interviewed by Yvan Melinkoff who writes opinion for the Dayton City Paper about my views on development. He was making the rounds- talking to me, Bill Pote of Dayton Most Metro, Teresa Gasper who is part of the group looking to bring in Richard Florida as a consultant etc. He’d found my site and was interested in my take on the issues.

Last but not least, a friend who has a keen interest in politics ran into me in the gym this morning- and shared with me that a friend of his saw my take on how to solve some of the problems in the Dayton Public Schools- and wanted to find out more about me, and discuss the ideas. Both of them work for DPS. The consensus was that my ideas had merit- but apparently I need to cut back on the hyperbole. So we’re still battling the style vs substance issue in Dayton afterall.

This was a long post. Kudos to you who managed to read it all.


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