LEFT OF DAYTON

ANTIOCH, THE US MILITARY AND THE DAYTON DEVELOPMENT COALITION, THE INSIDE STORY | March 15, 2008

This is a stunningly well researched and insightful look at the role of the Dayton Development Coalition {DDC} in  the proposed closing of Antioch College. The DDC appears to be acting as a “shadow” government, doing the bidding of the local ruling elites.Much credit goes to the authors of this remarkable document for exposing this dirty political laundry for all to see.

Visit theBlaze @Closing Antioch College: Cui Bono?

Closing Antioch College:Cui Bono?

How Antioch University is cozying-up with developers amidst regional military base realignment

By Laura Fathauer

While the country talks of recession, the Dayton region is preparing for a growth of high-paying, high-tech jobs. Along with this is a growth of construction and infrastructure development, some of which can already be seen around Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the Mall at Fairfield Commons.

Many of the jobs gained will need to be filled locally, and area organizations and educational institutions are already creating cooperative educational efforts to address these workforce needs. Almost all of this growth is related to the missions and contractors that will be moving on or near the base. It seems that nothing in the region is untouched by the results of the US Military’s 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process.

Including, quite possibly, a small liberal arts institution in Yellow Springs Ohio, called Antioch College.

Antioch College is renowned for its leftist liberal slant. The college produces educators, researchers, social workers, scientists, musicians, and yes, even a few activists. Antioch College’s location in the picturesque left-leaning town of Yellow Springs is a good fit for the 153 year old school-the town has had weekly protest of the War in Iraq since its start, come sun or snowstorm. With the college’s historic dedication to civil rights activism and critical thinking, it seems implausible that Antioch College would spawn an institution that would grow to have ties to the Dayton region’s efforts to retain and attract military interests and military contractors to the region. Yet that is what has happened.

The college has struggled financially since the seventies when its endowment was mostly spent on the expansion of Antioch. Almost 40 programs, centers, and organizations were connected to Antioch University at its peak; by 1990 only five remained, including the college. In the mid-90’s the college developed a weekend and a masters program to supplement the revenue stream of the college. These programs later spun off into a fully-formed campus of their own in Yellow Springs, Antioch University McGregor, one of the five current adult learner/graduate programs in the Antioch University system.

Antioch University McGregor started to distance itself from the college almost immediately after it was spun off. In 1996 the Antioch University Board of Trustees fired the college president, and the college faculty were angered at the Trustees’ failure to consult with the college prior to this action. The college faculty debated a vote of no confidence in the Trustees, and the Antioch McGregor administration at the time felt this action was perceived negatively in the Miami Valley. The idealogical separation widened over time and eventually became a physical separation when Antioch McGregor relocated their campus to the opposite side of Yellow Springs.

The divide that grew between the two campuses is clear in how 9/11 and the War on Iraq affected the campuses. In the weeks following the 9/11 attacks, college students engaged in a number of activities focused on promoting peace. Students organized a “Convergence for Peace” rally in Yellow Springs, and a few did street performance theater at Dayton Mall. The students who went to the mall wore shrouds resembling burkas to promote cultural understanding, and carried signs, stating “Our grief is not a cry for war.” According to an article in the Dayton Daily News, the students “were spat on.” In early 2003, after the start of the Iraq War, college students again demonstrated for peace at an area mall- this time the mall across from Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Those demonstrators had eggs thrown at them.

Antioch McGregor, in contrast, publicizes their military connections. In a press piece regarding their programs, Antioch McGregor states “The tragic attacks on September 11th signified the need to make national security a top priority and to change the way it is approached. Individuals have dedicated time, changed careers and made sacrifices to ensure the nation is well prepared to prevent future attacks.” Antioch McGregor highlights an alumnus of their Conflict Resolution M.A. program who works at nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The alumnus developed an evacuation and regrouping plan for the pentagon post 9/11, and worked on security plans for the base. According to the release, the graduate “brought her liberal arts education experience to a conservative career and effectively organized and instructed training sessions for proactive defense techniques.” This release from Antioch McGregor was published in a newsletter from the Greater Dayton IT Alliance, an advocacy and development group that shares offices with an organization called the Dayton Development Coalition.

THE DAYTON DEVELOPMENT COALITION

In 1994, private sector interests created an organization that would become the Dayton Development Coalition (DDC), “a private non-profit organization to lead regional economic development.” Its mission is to support “job creation and prosperity for the citizens of Dayton.” A year prior to the creation of the organization, the US military went through its third round of the US’s Base Realignment and Closure process. More commonly known as BRAC, the military’s process started in 1988 under the United States Federal Government. BRAC’s purpose was to close excess military installations and realign assets in order to save money and achieve maximum efficiency, in line with Congressional and Department of Defense (DoD) objectives. It is unknown if the creation of the DDC predecessor in 1994 was a direct result of the third round of BRAC in 1993. But in 2002 after congress announced the fifth round of BRAC would occur in 2005, the DDC started planning for the process. The coalition established the Wright-Patt 2010 commission, a group of “volunteer community leaders and elected officials.” The DDC’s intent was that the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Wright-Patt) would not only have zero job losses in the 2005 BRAC, but that it would gain jobs as well. This commission also planned to look out for the interests of the Springfield Air National Guard base.

The WP2010 Commission was a “pretty closed effort” until after the initial 2005 BRAC closure and realignment recommendation list was released, according to a statement on the DDC’s website. Along with saving military “missions” and the associated jobs from leaving Wright-Patt, the WP2010 commission also wanted to establish the base as “a receiver site for work moved from other bases.” In prior BRAC rounds, recommendations to move missions to Wright-Patt were overturned with criticisms that Dayton lacked the workforce and contractor infrastructure. From its start, the WP2010 commission intended to counter those criticisms prior to and during the 2005 BRAC round. In the initial 2005 BRAC recommendation list, both Wright-Patt and the Springfield base were slated for “realignment”, which meant jobs would be cut or transferred to other bases. Upon receiving this list, the WP2010 commission and the DDC kicked into full gear by organizing a “regional effort” to lobby the BRAC commission on behalf of Wright-Patt and the Dayton region. During the process, the commission would also have to take up the cause of saving the Air Force Institute of Technology, a graduate program located on the base at Wright-Patt.

By most measures, their efforts were a resounding success. The Dayton Daily News declared “A Big Win for Wright Pat” (sic) after the BRAC Commission voted on its final revised recommendations. There were no losses at the Air Force Institute of Technology nor at the Springfield base. Losses at Wright-Patt and in Kettering were more then offset by the jobs saved and gained at WPAFB. In September, 2007, the Dayton Business Journal stated that BRAC will bring 5000 jobs, $1 billion in contracts to the region, along with an additional 700 IT jobs from Boston recruited following BRAC. The estimate for construction costs to prepare Wright-Patt for realignment was budgeted at $335 million. Increasing the jobs in the region has a secondary benefit as well; in 2003 local military and civilian retirees received $633 million in disbursements. As the “baby boomers” age, this economic impact will also grow; a 2003 estimate was that 67% of the civilian workforce employed by the military would be of retirement age by 2007.

ANTIOCH CONNECTIONS

In 2003, Antioch McGregor wanted to expand their presence in the Dayton Region. In planning its future in the region, the school undoubtedly worked closely with its Board of Visitors, made up mostly of area businesspeople and two Antioch University trustees. Joining the Board of Visitors that year was Ronald Wine, the President of the DDC. An Antioch McGregor press statement indicated that Mr. Wine was a “welcomed addition to the board at a time when Antioch University McGregor is planning for increased exposure locally and regionally.” Ron Wine was also on the WP 2010 commission, which was in its second year of preparation for BRAC. The President of McGregor, Barbara Gelman-Danley, would later reciprocate by joining the Board of Directors of the DDC in 2005, a position she continues to hold today.

If the only connection is that a campus president is on the board of a regional development organization, it could be set aside as a coincidence. But the connections between the region’s most powerful development and defense lobbying coalition and Antioch University are deeper and go back even further than 9/11. Consider:

  • In the mid-nineties, early in Antioch McGregor’s history, Bruce Bedford joined the McGregor Board of Visitors and would become its Chair. Bruce Bedford then later moved up to the Antioch University Board of Trustees, of which he is still a member and treasurer. Bruce Bedford was the president and co-founder of investment group Flagship Resources Inc., a company spun of of the Mead corporation located in Dayton.
  • When Flagship Resources was acquired by The John Nuveen Co in 1998, Bruce Bedford managed the consolidation and became responsible for overseeing the combined funds. Joining Bedford in the transfer from Flagship to Nuveen was William Schneider, the chairman of Miller-Valentine Partners Ltd, a real estate investment company. Today, Miller-Valentine Partners Ltd. operates as the Miller-Valentine Group, a design/construction/development company.
  • William Schneider was a trustee member of DDC from at least 2002-2005, and is also a past chair of the trustees; according to some reports he has also held the position of Director of DDC.
  • Ron Wine was Director of DDC during the years William Schneider was a Trustee and Chair of the DDC. During this time, Ron Wine joined Antioch McGregor’s Board of Visitors.
  • The Miller-Valentine Group is responsible for the construction of the new McGregor building, and is managing the development of the Education Village, the business park where Antioch McGregor is now located
  • Glenn Watts, former Vice-Chancellor and CFO of Antioch University, retired from Antioch just prior to the construction of the new McGregor building. Glenn Watts was one of the founding Board members of the Yellow Springs organization called Community Resources, and became the secretary of Community Resources after retirement, a position he still holds. Community Resources owns the land for the Education Village, and donated 10 acres of the Education Village to Antioch University McGregor for their new building.

Both Watts and the Miller-Valentine Group have expressed their desires to market to the defense contractors and other organizations that BRAC is bringing to the region. “If BRAC comes to the area, I would like to see them come to Yellow Springs,” stated Watts in an interview with the Yellow Springs News in January 2008. In an interview with Gerry Smith, current Vice-President for Miller-Valentine Reality, the Dayton Business Journal reports that Miller-Valentine will also be marketing the Yellow Springs park to the businesses brought in with BRAC. From the DBJ article: “While some companies may choose to locate in the hustle and bustle of Beavercreek, others will choose the laid-back atmosphere of Yellow Springs, Smith said. ‘Not everyone wants to fight the congestion of the Fairfield Mall,’ he added.”

Connections Map

Connections Map

REGIONAL TRANSFORMATION

The same year that Gelman-Danley joined the DDC Board of Directors, in 2005, the DDC started developing the ‘regional’ part of their vision. It initially formed a committee of eight regional representatives: one business leader and one elected official from each of the Greene, Montgomery, Clark, and Miami counties. After BRAC, DDC continued this regional ‘marketing’ in efforts to recruit contractors and other business associated with the missions that are moving to Wright-Patt. The signing of BRAC into law didn’t halt the Wright-Patt planning by the DDC; recently the DDC has announced a revision to its WP2010 commission, the Wright-Patt 2020 Initiative. With this initiative, the DDC wants to capitalize on the BRAC gains by recruiting jobs and business to take advantage of the research and development at and around WPAFB.
This integration of the Dayton region with Wright-Patt is not a coincidence; the DDC is championing this vision as the future for the region, and even as a model for defense installations around the country. From the DDC’s current website:

Our approach to supporting our defense installations begins with two key factors: first, that all sectors of our community – academic, business and government – are unified in our efforts to work with and support our installations. Second, we have developed an overall regional plan for economic development that integrates the interests and missions of the DoD into our own strategies and plans. Local support for our installations is successful because we understand the goals and strategies of the DoD at large. We believe local support serves as the foundation for the DoD’s ultimate success in achieving its goals – and we believe the Dayton Region’s model, as illustrated above, can serve as a national model for Military Transformation and Jointness as we commit resources to our local installations across the gamut of support and infrastructure needs they may have.

ANTIOCH’S FUTURE?

In 2002 Antioch University was dealing with financial problems related to the 9/11 stock market crash, like many other educational organizations. With the university suffering from weak leadership, the Board of Trustees temporarily gave Bruce Bedford (then chair of the finance committee of the board) the powers of the University Chancellor, and Bedford and Vice-Chancellor Watts led an effort that consolidated power to the University Administration. The actions at this time also had two other results unrelated to the financial problems: the college’s strategic plan was abandoned; and the power of the university’s policy committee, the University Leadership Council (ULC), was increased. (Mcgregor president Barbara Gelman-Danley is one of 7 ULC members, which consists of the five campus presidents, the university chancellor, and the university CFO.)

Burying Antioch College

Antioch McGregor’s Groundbreaking

Seven years after the 2005 BRAC was announced, the Antioch University Board of Trustees voted to close Antioch College, and Antioch McGregor is moving into a new building constructed by the Miller-Valentine Group. Under the ULC’s plan, the college was to be closed from 2008 to 2012, the same years that BRAC realignment is legislated to occur. The ULC’s vision for the future of the College was this: “a developer might emerge with the concept of developing a new urban village on the Antioch College site;” “This is a vision to create a lifelong learning center where graduates and professionals can come to enhance their careers and lives. This will require non-profit private partnerships and might include the following: increased density of the current campus and opening up remaining areas to build affordable faculty and retiree housing.” The June 2007 Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce minutes report that in Toni Murdock’s presentation to the Chamber (the current Antioch University Chancellor), she stated that the University had already been in contact with development companies that have done this type of work.

The current director of the DDC is apparently on board-J.P. Nauseef, who was COO under Ron Wine in 2003, views Antioch McGregor as the way to carry on Antioch’s legacy in the region, according to an article in the Dayton Business Journal. It comes as no surprise that Antioch McGregor is hosting an event coordinated by the DDC on March 14th, aimed at briefing Greene County business leaders on the preparations for BRAC. The economic development associated with BRAC will have great impact on the region and on Yellow Springs.

But at what price?

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2 Comments »

  1. Esrati and DaytonOS have both posted on DDC, and I’ve touched on the campaign contributions of their management on my blog, so there is a developing body of knowleage on the group. This just adds to t.

    An archives search of the DDN may yield more background.

    Historically there have been shadow organizations pulling the strings locally for a hundred years.

    In the pre WWI era there was the local Manufacturers Association, which organized to break strikes and bust unions.

    During the early Charter government era there was a good government committee which ran endorsed slates to control local government, acting as “nonpartisan” fusion group.

    During the 1960s (perhaps in the 1950s too?) there was an Area Progress Council that was sort of an insider group of movers and shakers.

    Comment by daytonology — March 16, 2008 @ 5:31 pm

  2. Actually, Antioch has seemed run down for a while and the perception is it doesn’t offer majors in the fields that can land you a job, WPAFB is staffed at about half of what it was during the cold war, and the Dayton area has been in a recession for years.

    Comment by Kim Shoemaker — September 4, 2008 @ 9:03 pm


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61 Y/O VIET VET WORKING FROM THE LEFT OF CENTER

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