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Understanding “Dayton Together” rationally

Dan Foley, Valerie Lemmie, Paul Leonard, Mike Kelly and who knows else, may have some ideas about how to reform government, but they have zero ability to sell their plan.

Today’s Dayton Daily news includes this ludicrous statement:

Dayton Together also plans to conduct a cost study to determine if merging the governments will save money.

Foley said the initiative likely will not move forward if it does not benefit taxpayers through cost savings.

“If the answer comes back we can’t save very much, then this probably isn’t going to go very far,” Foley said.

Source: Plan would radically change city, county [1]

How can you present a plan with a straight face, without doing the cost benefit study?

The reality is, there will be major pushback from the status quo; the current elected officials and their little kingdoms of patronage jobs. The local party system in place in Montgomery county is full of elected officials and people they get to hire to cushy, non-accountable jobs in the bowels of government.

These are called the “Party Central Committees” and most people couldn’t tell you who their precinct captain or ward leader is to save their lives. I know, I am one, although I missed the part about the cushy job with nice benefits.

Need an example? There is no reason to have two clerk of courts, with two websites, two court systems, two buildings (even though they are adjoined). Between Mark Owens and Greg Brush, and all the jobs they control (including of course jobs for friends and family) you have massive duplication of resources- plus two extra elected races that people could care less about. Owens is running unopposed if you need proof.

From Foley and Leonard’s editorial:

Many community leaders and elected officials have voiced opposition to our work. Some expressed concern that metro government would disenfranchise minority communities. This is far from our intent, so we hired Dr. Mark Salling, a Cleveland State University demographer, to determine if county council districts could be designed to actually increased minority representation.

Through Dr. Salling’s work, three council districts in the metro structure are majority minority districts — meaning, new opportunities for countywide minority policy makers. In a county that has never in its history elected a minority citizen to the Montgomery County Commission, we see this as a big step for greater inclusion.

Source: Challenges in region call for a metro government [2]

What they’ve proposed is going to be the major sticking point: 10 districts with a representative each, 1 at large and a separate mayor’s race. By eliminating all other elected county positions like engineer, coroner and clerk of courts, leaving only the prosecutor (because nobody screws with Mat Heck in this area) as the only existing elected position that stays- we lose probably a dozen stupid choices on the ballot. Ask most people the difference between the County Auditor and the County Treasurer- and they can’t tell you the difference.

Of course, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is going to scream the loudest- she ran the most expensive campaign in a long time so she could crown herself queen of the city- an entity that’s a fraction of its former self- thanks to mismanagement, misguided “leadership” and an ingrained system of petty politics that has done no citizen any favors.

She’s got the black ministers on her side and the NAACP as well. Two groups who get way more play in the current system than they ever should command. And in this battle, they’ve already come out strongly against this baby step toward regionalization without a clue of what the current system has effectively done: totally diminished their true power.

More elections and more elected officials, don’t mean more power, they mean less.

This is where civics 101 would come in handy. Take 100 people, give them 10 offices to fill. You now have 90 people, with 10 “elected leaders.” Take a bell curve- which is the way most things distribute- including IQ. Did those 90 people pick the cream- the top 10 smartest people on that curve to lead them?
Probably not. Need proof? Look at the latest Republican primary field for President.

You now have 1 “leader” for every 10 people. This is the current system.

Take a simplified version of the proposed new system. You have 100 people, they vote for 3 people. Their odds of really picking 3 good people have increased.

You now have 1 “leader” for every 32.33 people.

Power hasn’t been diluted near as much, with less leaders, people actually have more power in who they elect.

When you factor in that the new system only has 4 countywide candidates: the prosecutor, the “mayor,” your local zone rep and the one at-large rep, spread out over a much larger population, you’ve actually increased your voting power, giving more control to fewer people to make bigger decisions.

With great power, comes great responsibility.

My initial take is that this plan is asking us to still elect too many people. 10 districts with one regional rep, across seemingly random regions is sort of what we have with the Ohio house and Senate (only with more seats). Trying to figure out who your State Rep is and what population he or she serves is pointless- most Ohioans couldn’t tell you their names either. Ohio would do just fine with a unicameral system (one house instead of two), because again, the more seats actually decrease accountability.

I’m not comfortable with the “mayor” of Dayton/Montgomery County being picked by the population at large either. It will be a very expensive race (especially if Nan decides she wants it) for another titular seat. Instead, I’d rather have a system where the elected body has to pick the person among the 11 that can unite and lead- as in a parliamentary system.

I’m also questioning 10 districts instead of 6 and 1 plus a mayor. Again, the more seats, the more you’ve diluted power.

It’s pretty obvious to those who know what’s going on that this change would turn the party power upside down for a period of time while they figured out how to corrupt it back into the current form- and that may be all that Dan Foley and partners want to do. Who would Karl Keith be if not for being able to hire Mr. Whaley? Or Mark Owens for hiring Matt Josephs brother? (It’s actually the other way around- Matt’s brother and Mark got Matt into office so they could own a piece of their budgetary bosses).

As to the major flaw of this whole mess- allowing the urban townships to keep on operating providing income tax free havens within the county limits- no one is touching that part with a ten-foot pole. Couldn’t possibly want to stop the biggest flaw in our current system- that would take real leadership.

 

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Diane

My youngest graduates high school in three months, and I’m currently planning to move out of state. Montgomery County recently raised the property taxes on my 1970’s 3-BR brick ranch a whopping 49% to just shy of $4000/year. And no, I haven’t gold-plated the latrine. Property taxes on a similar house in my destination state are $488/year. There is also no state income tax, out-of-state pensions aren’t taxed, and the sales tax is 4%.

Montgomery County would have to pull off nothing short of a miracle to get their taxes in line with where I’m headed, and based on the stranglehold historically enjoyed by the local Democratic party, I just don’t see that happening.

I wish all of you who choose to stick it out lots of luck. I’ll send you a postcard.

truddick

So they’re going to gerrymander some districts in this plan? Horrid idea. Elect everyone county-wide, let each voter cast a vote for only one candidate, and let the top 10 take office. Gives independents and minor-party candidates an outside chance of having a seat.

And they’re hiring a consultant to determine “if” the plan will save money. They can’t do the math themselves? The game doesn’t change; their consultant knows what results they want, and those are the results they’ll get–consultants know that future lucrative employment depends on delivering the goods desired so that the happy customers will give them repeat business and positive referrals.

Diane

I have my sights and my heart set on a tight-knit community in NE WY, population 4600. By the time I get there, I will be retired; commuting will be a non-issue. The town’s water comes from melting snow and the creek that runs nearby. Speaking of water, Sperling’s “Best Places Health Overview” lists this town’s water quality as 50 out of 100; air quality as 93 out of 100; and Superfund index as 100 out of 100 (in each case, higher is better). These figures are based on EPA measurements of ozone alert days, number of pollutants in the air, watershed quality indicators, number of Superfund sites and costs of pollution clean up. In comparison, Dayton’s numbers are: Water quality in Dayton, Ohio is 33 on a scale to 100. Air quality in Dayton, Ohio is 87 on a scale to 100. Superfund index is 30 on a scale to 100. In other words, there is really no comparison if breathing, drinking and not erupting in cancerous tumors are important to you. Don’t believe me? http://www.bestplaces.net/health/city/ohio/dayton I swam competitively in HS and college and still enjoy my 100 laps. This little town happens to be the smallest in the country boasting a YWCA with a pool. My favorite hobbies are hand spinning and knitting, and my destination is home to the largest wool processing facility west of the Mississippi. They have a decent public library for a place this small, excellent schools, an animal rescue organization where I could volunteer and assist with dog training, local fire and police, plus a small hospital, a senior center, UPS/USPS delivery service and internet – in other words, everything I need and nothing I don’t. I don’t care about fancy restaurants, shopping malls, opera, ballet, live theater, concerts, museums, sporting events or anywhere else where crowds of loud, rude people choke streets and clump together like bed bugs. I already have a master’s degree so am pretty sure I’m done with brick-and-mortar higher ed, although there’s always Coursera and Khan University and Lynda.com if I get curious or bored. I do care… Read more »

Bubba Jones

Way to go, Diane!! I don’t blame you a bit!!

Your destination is a little on the cool side for my tastes, but you are headed to some beautiful country. I passed through there in Dec. of ’83. Beautiful… but cold!

Diane

Thanks, B. J. I am very excited!

Not too worried about the cold. I would much prefer to put on another sweater than suffer through OH’s miserably hot and humid summers. I grew up in NE PA where it was common to go trick-or-treating in the snow.

It does get hot in WY for sure, but the plains/high plains/desert climate is so dry, you don’t break a sweat. Do have to be careful to stay hydrated.

Now those winds may take some getting used to: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/34/a5/17/34a517cd25a271b096a73f4b56283f65.jpg

EZ name changed to orignal post name- you can't have multiple names here

Re county taxes, found this interesting DDN piece from 2012 that I thought I’d share: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/how-does-your-community-stack-up-a-snapshot-of-pro/nSn3J/