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Why Dayton needs to stop acting like a city in decline

Last night, I had the honor of attending the Dayton Public Schools Superintendent’s Scholars ceremony for kids getting straight A’s (yep- one of the Esrati household is brighter than most). There, we got to hear and later meet an exceptional student from Thurgood Marshall High School- Ashley Cooper [1]. Ms. Cooper has a 4.1 gpa, is involved in all kinds of extra-curricular activities and is a Gates Scholar. Yep- she has a free ride to any school she gets in.

She wants to major in Political Science- and is accepted at Ohio State. I think she’s setting her sights too low- but, that seems to be typical in Dayton, we don’t realize that our city will be an undeniable powerhouse in the future- not because we have great leadership, or great schools, or even Gates scholars- but because we have something everyone needs and takes for granted: clean water:

Every gallon of water we use has an economic value — the value of whatever we can actually do with that water, whether it’s brew our morning coffee, grow an acre of wheat, or make a microchip.

Yet in our homes, our schools, our companies and organizations, we typically behave as if the opposite were true. We act as if clean, on-demand water has zero economic value. Especially in the developed world, the value inherent in water is hidden under a cloak of invisibility. Although the water has indispensable usefulness, it rarely has a price.

What’s often oddly missing from the conversation about the business of water is the price of the water itself. The companies that are taking water seriously today have something at risk — their inability to function without reliable water, or their reputation if they squander or damage local supplies. Some see an opportunity in persuading other businesses to try to understand their water risk.

What is so striking is that businesses that start to take the economic value of water seriously immediately start to use it and think about it differently.

via The Business of Water | Fast Company [2].

Sure the Dayton Development Coalition has their H2Open for business [3] initiative, but unfortunately, we’re still confused about how to work together to sound like a real region on the move.

Just like Ms. Cooper, who could be shooting for Harvard, Yale, Princeton or other Ivy League powerhouses-yet is headed to OSU, we are still wasting considerable energy spinning our wheels in Ohio talking about banning abortion, ending collective bargaining and taxes on casinos- instead of blowing away our insane jigsaw puzzle of jurisdictions that make true leadership and vision a virtual impossibility.

If there is one thing I’ve noticed while watching the Cory Booker [4] show- “Brick City” [5] is that he has a single focus on crime reduction- and that his leadership position changes perception in the community.

We have no local leadership.

Every government authority has been handed over to committee, with city managers, administrators and directors- all given quasi-power and a bully pulpit that’s been cut down to pre-school size.

We forget the power of powerful voices- our school superintendents share the stage with the 7 dwarfs (the school board)- the Mayor has the four mouseketeers, the County administrator has the three blind mice- and our superstars, like Ashley Cooper are constantly surrounded with people without a purpose, without clear authority to go out and change the world.

We’re sitting on the most valuable resource known to man, yet we still fail to capitalize on it.

We’ve got talent like Ms. Cooper- and we fail to recognize it (the only major news outlet to show up in Google results for a search on Ashley Cooper, Gates Scholar [6] is channel 45- FOX!).

How much else do we fail to recognize and capitalize on due to our dilution of leadership capital?

(and note, if you want to see change in Dayton- so that we can vote to change “leadership” mid-course- please contribute to the legal fund to challenge our ridiculous city charter [7])


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed [8]! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating [9]. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!
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Yet another reason David Esrati makes it impossible for him to be loved.

You’ve got no reason to make a snipe at an 18-year-old with great grades who decides to get her education at The Ohio State University, which possesses some of the greatest scholars in the land and world.

And here’s a big known secret about the Ivy League: they’re no smarter. I’ve been to Harvard parties in Cambridge while lecturing at Emerson, and the average level of conversational intelligence isn’t discernibly higher than in any state university environs I’ve been in. Just look at all of the Ivy League morons making a huge mess of the globe in our government. The Ivy League’s reputation is only that, reputation.

Perhaps she wants to stay near her family, which is a big consideration for most. It’s really none of our business, and pretty cheap to publicize in the fashion you chose to.

Your need to nitpick on something so trivial, just shows you are trivial. People love when you righteously speak up to power, but loathe you in the end for stupidity like this. You always seem to take one step forward, followed by two steps backward.


Research confirms that Somedude is correct.  Stacy King, a few years ago, compared students accepted and enrolled in Ivy League schools to those who were accepted to an Ivy but chose to attend elsewhere.  Long-term, there was no difference in their career advancement or earnings.  What matters is individual motivation, not elite private vs. state schools.

Now, there is a difference in graduate schools between the best programs (which aren’t all at Ivies) and the average ones.  Maybe Ms. Cooper will go to Michigan for her law degree?


If you can’t take valid criticism, you shouldn’t accept comments. Obviously the inappropriate sniping you dished out to an 18-year-old that the community should be proud of is completely lost on you. You are your worst enemy.


Available water resources is not totally unique to Dayton, you can find similar resources in the Great Lakes -Upper Midwest. There are lots of aquafers and rivers running under and through the whole region. While Dayton does have great water resources, why would they pick Dayton over say Columbus, or Cleveland, or Buffalo….?

OSU is a good school, probably better than Ivy’s in certain programs. So you’re basically saying Dayton’s bar is set to low, and bright students shouldnt even bother with staying in Ohio much less Dayton?


She should have chose Antioch College, if it ever gets back!  Na, I agree with David E. and the others here, too; it’s her choice!  I wouldn’t choose UD nor Wright State though if I were her.  It might be as stated by somedude she wants to stay close to home–I don’t blame her there … But, she won’t find work in OH, bet ya that, especially if she wants to come back to Dayton where I’m seeing businesses close left and right, in Kettering, too, like Midwest Physical Therapy.
Yes, water is a wonderful commodity, thank God for water!  And finally–YOU GO ASHLEY!!  Hope she goes all the way for her doctorate, too, she’ll need one.

Earth to Dayton

Dayton is a city that has been in decline since the democrat forced busing plan went into effect.  The 150,000+ decent people that have fled the city over the last 40 years are not going to forget why they left.  Having the government send your best of the best ivy league prep kids across town to a racist, retard filled black neighborhood so hundreds of decent kids could get beat up by future racist obama voters is still an open wound. 

Any responsible, hard working, law abiding, conservative, intelligent, educated christian living in the City of Dayton is living in a city where they have taxation without representation.  Dayton is a great example of what happens when racist black, self hating white liberal, or organized crime union backed commissioners effectively drive all the responsible and productive people out of the city.  Take back and straiten out your own neighborhood first David and prove to us this open sewer of a city might be savable.   

Bubba Jones

OSU is a good school- but when given a free ride- ride the lear jet, not the piper cub. – DE   David, PLEASE don’t use airplane analogies when you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.  Lear Jets havent’ been made in decades.  If you’re wanting to use the “Cadillac of the airplane world”, you should have said Gulfstream or one of their flagship jets, G-550.  And, the Piper Cub is an awesome plane that is a blast to fly.  It’s kind of like the tortoise in the old fable – slow and steady which ultimately won the race.   I’m not sniping out at an 18 year old – DE   You are sniping!  How dare you second guess the decision of this young lady!!!!  You have no idea what her decision points were for deciding what school to attend.  You don’t know if she was accepted at other schools.  You don’t know what her family situation is.  You don’t know shit about her other than she’s at the top of the class where she goes to school.   That doesn’t necessarily mean that the world is her oyster.   And, yes, I understand the “networking value” that Ivy League schools provide.  I also know that alumni connections at schools like OSU, Purdue, Notre Dame, etc. go a long way too.   Instead of second guessing her, you should (for once!!) keep your mouth shut.  Now, man up and apologize to her in this public forum.   Gates pays 100% through doctorate – DE   While the GI bill doesn’t pay 100% through doctorate, it is a (well deserved) generous boon to many people seeking higher education.  When given that boost, one could argue that Vets should only attend the best schools possible.  But I know of one Vet that chose Wright State when he probably could have chosen several other schools.  Is that bar lower or higher than OSU?  Again, don’t second guess this young lady.   Write your own blog if you hate it that much. – DE   Oh, c’mon, David.  Don’t act like a bratty 7… Read more »

Bob from the Boro

I am an alumni of The Ohio State University.  I am proud that my son who had many options choose OSU because of their oustanding academic reputation.   You clearly have issues with the Bucks since instead of addressing the point made by Somedude you started your response talking about a totally unrelated comment about the pay rate of the school president.   I would not want to send my kids to an ivy league school so that they can be pummelled by stupid liberals who have no idea what the real world is like.   Most colleges are hot beds of liberal craziness, but I think the ivy league is the worse of the worse.

When you say stupid stuff like that, I just chalk it up to the source (someone who was not swift enough to get signatures right on a petition to run for public office ) so don’t worry about having hurt my feelings.

I hope you keep the website up to date as many of your posts make me laugh out loud.


Hey Bub, my comment on Antioch was sort of tongue-in-cheek, but Antioch has had successful grads: Rod Sterling, Correta Scott King (not sure she graduated though).  But any college one chooses shows the student wants to better themself, even Sinclair or Miami-Jacobs as a start, or one of many tech schools out there …
There’s also National College now, too, on Woodman Drive.  But I do not think Antioch College is up and running again yet however–and yes, they are hippie freak liberals, but the weekend University Midwest is more shall I say Independent.  But it’s all learning and knowledge, and affordable with grants.  At least at Antioch, you are not just a number in a high seat in the rafters!
David E., How the heck is clean water in OH going to help my poor ass?  My family tell me to take any job so I can pay my bills, and look for better work as I go along.  At fifty, I just cannot fathom working with idiots in landscaping or bars or restaurants, convenient stores, etc.
I will also bet all of you we are going to see more suicides!  I feel sorry for husbands out of work with kids …
I feel sorry for Obama who I think is really trying to help America, although it seems he’s helping other countries more.  Can someone please explain to me what is happening to the land of the free?  Where are the jobs going to be for all the kids in colleges now, in the future?  The only companies that are going to survive in America are McDonald’s and Microsoft, Skype and sports … Go figure …
And sorry Dave, I don’t have a dime to change the charter … Start a new March of Dimes and maybe I could find one on the street to donate.  When is the damn city elections anyway, I guess I’ll Google it, we need Lovelace out of there, he’s just a puppet and does nothing for Dayton except promote free tax services.  I’d like to see his tax returns …

Donald Phillips

So water is now the savior–after how many plans? But I don’t understand the connection between hydrocephalus and economic development.

Turd Buglar

What do the City of Dayton and a landfill have in common?
They both smell and no one want to live next to it.


Turd- Please leave Dayton then, now!


buglar- no dictionary results–that figures, another Jethro Bodine, go back to the hills boy!

David Lauri

Gary, bless your heart, having written posts like this one, this one, and this one, among others, you really live in a glass house when it comes to criticizing others’ misspellings and typos.

Turd Buglar

Gary my spelling error was an attempt to fit in with the illiterate obama voting base and make them feel comfortable.  As we all know DSP has not required its future members of the democrat party graduates to be able to spell, write complete sentences, or speak english well enough to work at the drive thru window in more than 30 years.  


Delta Sigma Pi or Dayton Public Schools? :-) While were on and off the subject (DSP). When I went to Antioch in 1990, some of the students could not spell either, didn’t know what words get capitalized, didn’t know paragraphing … T
Delta Sigma Pi or Dayton Public Schools?  :-)  While were on and off the subject (DSP).  When I went to Antioch in 1990, some of the students could not spell either, didn’t know what words get capitalized, didn’t know paragraphing … They must have went to DPS; but, it’s not always the teachers’ faults, it’s the parents who don’t care then the kids don’t care–they care more about thier shoes and cell phones, and X-boxes!
David L. I’m used to a SpellChecker!  English and Obama are capital, too!  Who cares anymore, this is only a blog!  And I don’t Facebook nor Twitter–what a waste of time, unless you are dyslexic!  Rock and Roll for a living dudes!
hey must have went to DPS; but, it’s not always the teachers’ faults, it’s the parents who don’t care then the kids don’t care–they care more about thier shoes and cell phones, and X-boxes! David L. I’m used to a SpellChecker! English and Obama are capital, too! Who cares anymore, this is only a blog! And I don’t Facebook nor Twitter–what a waste of time, unless you are dyslexic! Rock and Roll for a living dudes!


What is that red helmet you’re wearing, David?

Ms. G

I am a little late to this party, but I wanted to let Esrati know I am one of those surrounding Ms. Cooper who apparently has no purpose or direction in life… I was proud that Ashley made her OWN decision about where to go. She had plenty of people pushing her in many directions, but she was bold enough to do what she wanted. I admire her for that. I am fortunate enough to have a career I love and a job in that career in the city that raised me, so I resent the idea that becoming something or someone has to involve leaving that place.

Also, Gates doesn’t always pay for education up through a doctorate. Right now it is contingent on going into a STEMM related field in regards to paying for anything past a bachelor’s degree.