LEFT OF DAYTON

Musings…undated

September 29, 2007
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It’s been almost two months since joining the internet world of “blogging”. I did not start this discourse with much of a plan in mind, just some vague ideas about runnin’ my mouth about things I’m interested and, in the process, do both some enlightening and enraging, some informing, some dissembling and posting of some provocative opinions.

Inspired [?] one day by the umpteenth prostitute struttin’ past my storefront, eyes flickering from car to car, trying to catch a look-an acknowledgment for an assignation, I grabbed the keyboard and started peckin’ . You can call the Man, but the Man has other priorities in a city where crimes far more “serious” than some hooker trying to make a 20 spot demand their response. Not that there isn’t enforcement of laws, it is just that the laws don’t really work…and talking about that got me started on this blog, a place to holler about hookers…[!}. You can read more about that subject in the archives.

I’m cribbin, compiling and copying, plus adding my own commentary. I don’t have very many answers. The cliche is that the more you know the more you know how really very little you DO know { a tip of the hat the GWBush on that one…]. So you come up with more questions & I like sharing what I think are answers, and or, discussion points., that may or may not develop into answers. Some of you have already joined the conversation, there is plenty of room for other voices. My focus is The War in Iraq/Afghanistan, the First Amendment, Educational issues, Blue Dog Democrats, city living and it’s too early to tell what else . The blog title says it all.

Your thoughts, comments, ideas, are most welcome. Please share them.

A listing of other Dayton area blogs can be found at:

http://www.squidoo.com/daytonweblogs/

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THIRD DAYTON CHARTER SCHOOL SUED BY OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL

September 24, 2007
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The shift in political direction at the state level becomes ever more evident with each passing day. Charter schools [a category in which Dayton leads/bleeds the state] are notoriously UNACCOUNTABLE for the millions of dollars they siphon off from the city school system. This loss of funds is a major factor in the overall performance of and support for the City’s school system. The failure of the last School levy, which I believe was at least partially racially motivated, has exacerbated this difficult situation. Public Money that could be going to improve our schools, teacher pay etc has been going to fund privately operated “schools” which have consistently [with exceptions] been shown to under perform their public counterparts. Accountability has to trump hype. I am glad to see the Attorney General taking such an aggressive stance. Following is the press release from Mr Dann’s office:

ATTORNEY GENERAL DANN FILES SUIT AGAINST MORAINE COMMUNITY SCHOOL, ASKS COURT TO CLOSE IT AS A FAILED CHARITABLE TRUST.

September 21, 2007

DAYTON ~ Citing a continued failure to educate children, Attorney General Marc Dann asked the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court to declare the Moraine Community School to be a failed charitable trust and to enjoin its governing body from further operating a charter school.

The Attorney General filed similar suits against two other Dayton-area community schools, Colin Powell Leadership Academy, and New Choices Community School last week in a drive to hold the state’s publicly funded charter schools accountable for their performance.

In the complaint filed today, the Attorney General states that Moraine Community School, which has received $5,879,111 in public funds since opening five years ago, has failed to achieve its stated purpose of establishing a “high quality program” in which “all children will achieve success.” As evidence of that failure the complaint notes that over the past five years Moraine Community School has:

  • Met only three of the 32 applicable indicators for school performance;
  • Amassed persistently dismal Performance Index Scores, averaging 66.1 our a possible 120, giving it an institutional GPA or “F”;
  • Failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress standards for the past four school years;
  • Consistently lagged behind the performance of the West Carrollton City School District on State tests.

“By any measure, this school, like those we filed suit against last week, is an utter failure,” Attorney General Dann said. “I am using my authority to regulate charitable trusts to protect the kids MCS is not educating and to protect the taxpayers whose money is being wasted. Hopefully, as a result of this suit and the others we’ve filed and may file in the future, that money will now be redirected to traditional public schools and community schools that will use it to prepare Ohio’s children to compete and succeed in the 21st Century.”

Ohio report cards use muRiple measures to determine each school’s designation. To earr
one of the 30 indicators for 2006-07, at least 75% of students tested must score proficient
or higher on a given assessment. Any resutt at or above the state standard is
shown in bold.

TO view details of the suit,  which outlines the schools failures  in specific detail,  visit :  http://www.ag.state.oh.us/press/07/09/pr070921_case.pdf


Charter School Traffic Wreaks Havoc on North and Richmond Ave’s

August 18, 2007
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If you have had the unfortunate experience of trying to make use of the US Post Office parking lot at the DaytonView Station at 550 Salem ave at the same time parents of students at the Richard Allen Charter School located just north of the PO are either dropping off or picking up their kids you know the true meaning of chaos. Every parking space in the Post Office lot is taken; there is a stream of cars from Salem , up North Ave and onto Richmond ave, completely paralyzing any movement. And this happens twice a day fro 45 to 60 minutes at a time.

I am not a fan of Charter Schools and the location of this one, with virtually no school parking and the resulting chaotic condition makes absolutely no sense to me. According to workers at the Salem Post office this situation has been going on since the school opened nearly two years ago. Repeated requests by clerks and management at the Post Office for the school to correct the problem have been basically ignored. My call to the school today received the response that ” it was the parents, not us who are parking there. We’ve told them not to park there but they do it any way.” Wow, talk about not taking responsibility… Now the Post Office is apparently going to erect a fence between the parking lot and the school, which will solve part of the problem, parking for Postal patrons, but end up creating more chaos on the street as parents will now have to stay in the cars and inch through the tiny parking lot to pick up and drop off their kids.

How the zoning board let this get by them is completely beyond me. Didn’t anyone think through how students were going to get to and be picked up at the school? Why give a use permit for a situation that is guaranteed chaos? To top things off there does not appear to be any easy solution. There are homes that are in the rear of the school, facing Richmond ave, that could possibly be bought and razed to create a larger parking lot, but that may or may not be feasible. It does not seem reasonable that neighborhood residents and Postal patrons should have to suffer the consequence of poor planning. What does seem reasonable to me is to relocate the school somewhere where this chaotic situation will not be re-created.


Musings and Miscellania

August 14, 2007
2 Comments

GLAD to see Karl Rove leaving the White House, though very skeptical that much will actually change…I mean how can Dubya operate without his Brain??

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The Committee for a Democratic Majority, in an email from Sen Ted Kennedy, sent this message:

Draw the Line

Two weeks ago, the Bush Administration and their rubber-stamp Republicans forced revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that expand the government’s right to spy on American citizens without outside oversight.

Each of us wants to do everything in our power to protect America from the threat of terrorism. But the Bush Administration refuses to draw a line between fighting terrorism and violating basic civil liberties.

Once again, George Bush, Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzalez are taking the Bill of Rights into their own hands. Tell the White House to stop scaring the American people into turning over their rights:

Sign the petition at http://www.democraticmajority.com/wiretaps

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For more info on the controversy about Antioch College check out Antiochians.org where you will find much information NOT covered by the MSM, including links to the Dayton Development Coalition which is rumored to be working to bring a unit of the General Dynamics Corp. to be sited next to the new grounds of McGregor University located on the outskirts of the Village proper…. a fascinating journey into the inner machinations surrounding the pending closing of Antioch College.

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Here’s a really audacious move:

RNC Now Seeks Shelter of Executive Privilege
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report

The Republican National Committee said it will not abide by a subpoena and turn over documents to a Congressional committee investigating the firings of at least eight US attorneys last year because the RNC is waiting to see if the White House will assert executive privilege over RNC documents at the center of the controversy, according to an outside law firm retained by the RNC.

Get the whole story at: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/081407A.shtml

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President Bush, in another anti-science move, has vetoed Senate Bill 5 regarding stem cell research:

The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 – (Sec. 2) Amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct and support research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo.

Pandering to his ever dwindling support base Bush takes Another step back from the future of medical research. Is it now clear that these guys just don’t get it???

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The Queen of Viscousness, Ann Coulter is due to speak at Xavier University in Cincinnati on September 6. Counter demonstrations of disgust are in the works.

The Human Rights campaign is spearheading a drive to raise funds for Progressive Xavier campus student groups as a positive counterbalance to the the Queen’s visit. Visit https://secure.ga4.org/01/thanksann to make a donation.

In case you need your bllod pressure raised a bit, here a few ugly quotes from Ms Coulter’s Book of Nasties:

.ann-coulter-quotations.gif

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Back on July 30th the NY Times published an op ed piece that sought to claim that the Iraq War was

A War We Just Might Win

 

By MICHAEL E. O’HANLON and KENNETH M. POLLACK…

 

Glenn Greenwald

The truth behind the Pollack-O’Hanlon trip to Iraq

which can be read in full at http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/08/12/ohanlon/index.htm.

The original article was widely quoted and reproduced by War Supporters seeking cover for the miserable failure[s] in the run -up and conduct of the war. Glenn Greenwald conducted an interview with Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, one of the report’s author’s. For insight into understanding the Bush administrations efforts at cover-up of the past and current situation in Iraq this is must reading.


Charter Schoools, Dayton Public Schools, Vouchers & the Battle Over Who Pays…

August 10, 2007
2 Comments

As the parent of present and past Dayton Public School students I have watched with dismay as the Charter School movement has grown and, in the process, has helped decimate the Public School system. The way our schools are currently funded has been declared unconstitutional by the Ohio Courts but the Republican led legislature has totally dragged its feet on solving the problem. School Board elections in the DaytonDistrict this fall make this discussion all the more relevant.

The article I have reprinted below is a very insightful and devastating critique of how our kid’s education and future has been sacrificed on the Neo-con/republican altar of “privatization”.

SHADOWS ON HIGH: Are Our Kids For Sale?

Bill Todd and Bob Shaffer live far away from each other but share the same goal: Putting a price tag on every child’s head.

They are both politicians running for office. Each has ties to the big-money school choice movement. Each has ties to Dave Brennan and White Hat Management.

The ultimate goal of the Ohio and Colorado voucher crowd is to put a dollar on the head of every student wherever they may go. They think of it as an educational free market. But the market has more to do with money in the pocket than education in the classroom.

Vouchers were born in an emergency caucus during the Voinovich years. David Brennan in his big, white cowboy hat held court in a recently renovated Statehouse Rotunda. A balking and then moderate State Senate (even under Dick “Cement Head’’) got a rare personal visit from an impassioned Gov. Voinovich. Brennan’s largess to GOP coffers is legendary and oft written. And White Hat schools became the McD’s of for-profit Ohio educatin’ – with Dave Brennan in the role of Ray Kroc – or to many of his foes, just a crock.

And so sayeth the White-Hatted man’s wallet that vouchers became the law. More lucrative charters followed shortly after. And television stations grinned with glee as they discovered endless taxpayer stories of voucher and charter misadventures. Missing money. Kids who tested poorly. Books the auditor couldn’t peek inside.

Colorado recently got a taste of politics Ohio style. Colorado Senate candidate Bob Schaffer was the deciding vote at the Colorado Board of Education on rewarding Brennan’s White Hat Management with a contract to provide programs for charter schools. The vote came after his Senate campaign accepted $3,600 in contributions from Brennan.

ProgressOhio’s sister organization, ProgressNowAction, called for Shaffer to disclose his ties. Given our Ohio experience, $3,600 is either being bought cheap by Brennan or the largess down the line will be much greater than expected.

Why do we say cheap. Well Shadows research discovered a hidden $870,000 slush fund under investigation in Ohio that was created for the twisted “every-child-counts-for-profit” crowd to what else – influence politicians. What Shadows discovered was a well-funded non-profit organization whose goal is to profit from kids by siphoning even more money away from public schools and into vouchers.

This group has ties to a candidate for Columbus Mayor who, guess what – wants to take over Columbus schools.

The non-profit is called “All Children Matter.” A quick Google search for “All Children Matter’’ provides a link to People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch and with a few clicks, readers can read all about it.

Its purpose is to recruit, train and fund candidates who support school vouchers.

“With its base of wealthy funders and ability to stealthily intervene in local, state and federal political races, the ACM network is an effective tool for the movement to privatize public education,’’ PFAW contends.

Its stealth efforts in Ohio aren’t so invisible any more, thanks to Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

Last February, her office notified the Ohio lawyer for All Children Matter that it failed to file a complete and accurate campaign finance report and violated Ohio’s campaign limits by accepting a whopping $870,000 from All Children Matter’s Virginia state PAC. The Virginia PAC “is not permitted to make contributions in Ohio, as it has not registered with or otherwise become established as a PAC in Ohio,’’ Brunner’s office wrote.

Then the letter goes on to state that the Ohio group “expended over $800,000 of contributions to influence the 2006 Ohio Primary and General elections.’’ That’s no chump change.

While the shenanigans of this group are new, the Ohio players and tactics aligned with it are old. Once again, the lawyer for the group is Bill “Transparent’’ Todd, who is running for Columbus mayor.

He incorporated ACM’s Ohio affiliate and is representing the group in a pending case before the Ohio Elections Commission that challenges AMC’s ability to move the money from Virginia to Ohio. (This is the same Bill Todd whose other client, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, was found guilty of operating an illegal PAC when it savaged Justice Alice Robie Resnick in the infamous Lady Justice TV campaign.)

The commission has scheduled a hearing on the case August 24.

Don’t get too excited. This is the same nearly toothless elections panel with a history of looking the other way. Still, the case is pending and while Todd is haranguing Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman and Democrats on city council for noodling over things in private, he’s working for yet another non-profit that attempts to influence elections and public policy in the dark.

Todd maintains that the Secretary of State has it all wrong – or in lawyer lingo “the transfers you reference clearly fall with the ambit of R.C. 3517.102(B)(2)(a)(vi),’’ Todd wrote in a January 11 letter to Brunner’s office. Uh huh.

What he’s saying is Ohio law allows unlimited transfers between “affiliated PACS’’ and the Virginia and Ohio PAC are clearly affiliated.

Then he goes on to say that his client can’t comply with the order to “refund’’ the $870,000 “because it does not have the resources available to make a refund of that magnitude.’’ (Keep in mind PFAW’s characterization that it has “a base of wealthy funders.’’

All this is even more interesting in light of a recent Columbus Dispatch article that included these nuggets:

“Democrats pointed out that Todd’s biggest individual donor — at $20,000 — was David L. Brennan, president of Akron-based White Hat Management, a for-profit operator of charter schools in Ohio and six other states.

Todd has called for a mayoral takeover of Columbus Public Schools and the creation of city-sponsored charter schools as a way to improve the district’s performance.

In February, he helped incorporate a nonprofit called School Choice Ohio, which shares a lobbyist and Downtown address with White Hat.

Todd said yesterday that Brennan’s support came because of his proposals for Columbus schools, not the other way around.’’

Word that Todd has close ties to Brennan – and another shady non-profit, School Choice Ohio – were news to a lot of people. But why, when Transparent Todd called for the mayoral takeover of the Columbus Public Schools did he fail to even mention that he’s tied to two groups created to shift money away from public schools? Didn’t he at least have an obligation to get that out in the open?

Both Bill Todd and Bob Shaffer seem to be following the same political script – and their nexus appears to be David Brennan’s political donations and White Hats’ for-profit expansion.

And if rumors are true, these money games are only a part of the shadowy future of Ohio taxpayer funded education.

Advocates of public education hope to go to the ballot next year and ask voters to support a new, hopefully constitutional, system of paying for public schools. Opponents of public education want to fight it – and make money for their friends who help them fight it.

While advocates for school districts — “Getting It Right” — are trying to determine and fund the Constitutional requirement for a thorough and efficient level of education funding, Brennan and the “every child counts for profit crowd” see a rather twisted opportunity.

Rather than put a dollar figure on each student and send it through your local school district, they would like to mandate that the money flow with your child wherever they go. The result – our Ohio kid’s education becomes more about packing the classroom to make a profit from your property tax dollars, than a thorough and efficient education.

Are the two remaining GOP leaders Bill Harris and Jon Husted part of the effort? After all, we know that Husted and his joined-at-the-hip GOP attack-dog and Crown Prince Kevin DeWine are constantly trying to butter up attacks on Governor Ted Strickland to “solve” the school funding problem. Harris, ever the true-believer, and Husted – lover of charters — would be keys to raising the support level for such an effort.

It’s doubtful that Brennan could succeed without the involvement of these legislative leaders, and given Brennan’s track record of donations and politicians, he’s probably already promised money to defeat the pro-public school effort. But if rumors are true, he may be finding a way to make even more profit for his White Hat schools by linking dollars to each child’s body.

It is a sad reality in modern politics, that some businessmen seem more interested in finding out ways to use our tax dollars to make a business profit – and education funding is a big, fat, juicy pot of relatively untapped money.

Whether it’s the questionable $870,000 siphoned to influence Ohio election campaigns, or just using a position of power to help along the White Hat’s of the world as Todd and Shaffer appear to have done– the purity of an ideological debate of alternative education models clearly has given way to a money grab for a large untapped pocket of tax dollars.

But there will be no subtlety of campaign finance games and influence peddling if rumors are true and leaders like Harris and Husted push a tax dollar bounty to be placed on every child’s head. Ohio kids will represent dollars per classroom desk – and profit pressures will dictate educational pressures more than Ohio’s job starved need for an education outcome focus.

So just remember, beneath the ever growing shadows of a big white cowboy hat, rumor has it – your kids may be for sale soon.

And no matter how you slice it someone else will be getting the benefits.


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

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