What was Esrati thinking about in 2001 for Dayton?

It occurred to me while writing about the debate, that I’d sent a punch list of ideas for Rhine to her on the eve of her taking office. I put it as a PDF link in the post about the debate.

Sure, PDF’s are web accessible- but, I thought I’d bring a conversation about it by posting the contents here. You can comment away. More of the “strangely bad” ideas from the guy the newspaper thinks is a horrible choice for the Commission.

Pay for performance for city manager.

Rescind all non-emergency ordinances from the last 30 days that weren’t directly related to legal or real estate.

Ask for an analysis of emergency ordinances over the last 4 years. Why were they passed as emergency’s and how can we avoid this from happening.

Please document all meetings of the commission in executive session from the last year- and please show when in each regularly scheduled meeting of the commission these were announced.

Ask staff for a complete list of all city owned property- it’s cost to buy, when bought, purpose it’s used for, plans for it, revenues received, holding costs, etc.

Ask for briefings from each department in a full meeting – of strategies for improving quality of life, working within budget, how they contribute to the welfare of the taxpayers.

Ask to see results of safety forces physical fitness tests. What is the program for improving results?

What is the status of every public park? What are the long term plans for improving our parks and rec facilities.

What is our sidewalk inspection program?

How often are streets swept? How do we do it most effectively (cars off streets)?

Where do our traffic fines go? How can we use them for additional police staffing?

What is our policy on signage at abandoned businesses?

What are the top 25 specific locations for police calls – how are we addressing these issues? What is our programmed approach to making these areas clean up?

Are the priority board staffs the best use of our funds- or should the money go into direct assistance?

How often does the City Manager meet with neighborhood presidents?

Please report the expenses of all trips abroad by commission members and city staff and how they positively affected the city.

Please document benefits of our Sister City relationships.

How does the Bureau of Cultural Affairs do a better job than private non-profits? Could our money be better spent with Culture Works or some other organization?

Show how our contributions to the arts match with other communities- based on Dollars per person, and also, compared as a proportion to household income.

Review our investment in CityWide Development Corporation and the Downtown Dayton Partnership. Are there better ways to fund these projects? Compare salaries of chief executives in relationship to responsibilities.

What are we doing to improve regional cooperation? What is our strategy for the next 20 years?

How do we create programs for non-professional, high-tech, or health care job creation?

How do we develop youth for community leadership? Evaluate Boy/Girl Scout, JA, 4H, Sports leagues, Chess and Debate programs, Youth Music programs? How can we create a regional youth approach structure?

Skate park, bike tracks, outdoor basketball stadiums, X-Games courses etc.

Public access programs? Government programming? Review the programs, expense, usage, viewership feedback? The city apparently has closed captioning capability- DATV does not. Look at redesigned informational graphics that are more professional.

Citizen vision presentations- give citizens the opportunity to make presentations about things they think would improve the city. Have them work with the clerk or other staff to prepare professional presentations.

Respond to all citizens speaking at commission meetings with written responses- clarify with each of them what the issue is- and what they expect the outcome to be.

Create a response system- that works to evaluate every complaint – and how it was handled. Grade performance, access costs of resolving the problem, track complaints.

Create a one-stop info center for rehab programs. Including info on tax credits, incentives, etc. Assign technical assistance people to developers- have them graded by the developer- and the developer by the neighborhood.

Create a graphics standards manual for the city- esp. standardizing business cards.

Make sure every employee has an e-mail address on the card- and is instructed to only use it for city business.

Evaluate all city forms, business services for web use-  how can we make the city as accessible as possible.

Develop a new theme- or at least a logo for the “City of Neighbors” that isn’t multi-colored, or having the type all out of wack. Implement the logo across all city vehicles-

Make sure all city vehicles don’t have rust showing- touch up trash trucks weekly if need be.

Create a rewards program for city employees who go out of the way to make Dayton Great- have an annual competition.

Focus all city employees on making Dayton a great place to live.

Have an anonymous tip line for citizens to report staff that speak negatively about the city. A- How’s my attitude line?

I love Dayton? Campaign- use public access airways to highlight what’s great.

Adopt a neighborhood program- every city employee must become a member of a neighborhood organization- and spend 12 hours a year in the neighborhood. Must not be the neighborhood they live in.

City employee uniforms- make them available- possibly looking like a hip college team jersey-

Look at revenue from street level advertising- bus shelter ads? Mini billboards- etc.

Work on city pride programming- try to enroll every organization in telling stories about what’s great in Dayton at every meeting- post a different story every day on a web site for public use. WE NEED HEROES!

Do not up the costs of parking meters downtown willy nilly .25 per half hour could be a set standard.

Create a unified parking lot rate structure and signage downtown- offer tax breaks to operators that join the program.

Build an ice rink on the West Side- and an outdoor basketball arena on the east side to encourage racial cross pollination. Recognize Ron Harper.

Create a tribute to Dayton Funk music of the 70’s by sponsoring youth band practice areas- with professional music directors. Try to duplicate SYM with other music genres. Encourage Drill teams, winter guards, youth drum corps.

Build a senior citizen bridge league. Encourage chess tournaments. A city bowling program. Tennis programs, swimming programs.

Look at adding the librarys to the new schools, rec centers, senior centers. Build new 24-hour centers- as social hubs in the neighborhoods. Possibly include wood shops for rehab work- gyms for physical fitness- etc. Aim high.

Think Big. Dream large.

Turn the commission into a thinking policy body- and as coaches for the city manager. It’s not just about voting or oversight.

Look at affordable day care as a competitive strategy for both job creation and job recruitment and retention.

Create “champions of Citizen communication” within city hall.

Try to eliminate city published newsletter on paper- move to the web.

Campaign finance reform.

Make sure ballot requirements are in line with state guidelines- including referendums and recalls. Eliminate barriers to running for office.

Establish a set schedule of public forums for the next race- well in advance. Buy airtime for debates etc.

Evaluate a public bath- for the homeless.

Sidewalk sweepers for main roads and neighborhoods before special events.

Work with neighborhoods to create realtor open house programs when the inventory of available homes is high. Coordinate open house programs to market the city.

Investigate the SWAT team mutiny. Set policy for future safety force walk outs.

Ask city staffers to wear name tags at commission meeting. Include department names.

Stop having the entire executive staff at meetings- have commissioners inform the clerk of questions two days before- if staff can’t provide adequate answers- ask them to attend. If policy discussion is going to involve their department- encourage more than just the director to attend.

Leave doors open during commission meetings.

Remodel commission chambers to be more visually interesting – and possibly reflect the importance of the meetings.

Encourage neighborhood for profit development corporations like SPSC (South Park Social Capital) to handle the tough problems. Have the city be a partner. Encourage public private development partnerships.

Work on RTA becoming truly regional. Look at circulator routes as ways to build communities. The current hub and spoke system is built for sprawl. Evaluate light rail options.

Revaluate the RTA sales tax – try to make it a regional development fund- take ED out of local jurisdictions hands and put it into a regional development team. Eliminate CountyWide- grow CityWide- nix the Port Authority. Stop whoring for deals. Push for a national ban on tax abatement incentives.

Legislate tax relief for profiting on rehabbing in CRA areas, historic districts. Eliminate capital gains taxes from these deals.

Create a certification program for rehab partners- to avoid having to subsidize single entities on Rehabarama type efforts.

Focus on visible infrastructure. Siebenthaler and Third Street bridges. Repaving Salem- etc.

Structure CityWide as a development bank- for the region. Offer linked deposits to banks who participate.

Examine why gas stations in the city charge for air- while suburban stations don’t.

Re-examine Dave Hall plaza as a site for festivals- real stages- hotel expansion, permanent facilities- is this duplicating what CourtHouse Square does- how can we “warm-up” courthouse square- new water features- like the interactive fountain on Riverscape?

Convention Center expansion?  How do we capitalize on additional parking at new Reibold garage? Is it time to connect the skywalk all the way across?  How do we connect the Oregon District to the Neon Movies, terra cotta district, convention center- Sinclair?

Eliminate zoning requirements that hogtie buildings- like the one in the Oregon District that has no parking. Can’t occupy it without parking- can’t tear anything down to make parking.

Create a criteria for liquor establishments in the city- how to be a good neighbor- what will work best for all involved.

Create a vision book – showing what’s cool in other cities to inspire our city to greatness- ask citizens to contribute articles, pictures, video’s of things they wish we could have.

Have a war on grass in gutters, sidewalks- look for neatly edged everything.

Empty lot beautification projects.

Matching grants for façade improvements in targeted commerce districts.

Reconsider eliminating curb side recycling – costs of dumping more trash are higher. We need higher participation. Start offering rewards for not throwing out recylables- and work with area businesses to improve our efforts. Give trash collectors the ability to cite properties for dumping. Reevaluate the make out and quit policy. Stop citizens from having to collect trash.

Hire extraordinary people, expect great things.

Don’t have prayer breakfasts as Mayor. Have a Mayors Breakfast and invite everyone.

Don’t let clergy behave like spoiled children in the community. This also goes for SCLC, NAACP and the Unions.

Always carry business cards- encourage feedback via a website. Build it into the citizen satisfaction database.

Build on Sinclair as a major economic development engine.

Have fun. Don’t be afraid. Always remember that the citizens are your boss and customer. Be yourself, and challenge the press to put their money where their mouth is at every opportunity.

So the question is- knowing that Rhine had this, how’d she do?

And, how much has my vision changed? I’d like your opinion.

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3 Responses

  1. Dad October 15, 2009 / 7:25 am
    Since moving to Dayton, I have walked every day to combat my diabetes. Never in my life have I come across such dangerous breaks in sidewalks. I am convinced that the city has no sidewalk inspections at all.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. John Ise October 15, 2009 / 10:02 am
    David, this is a GREAT list of ideas, suggestions. 

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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