Thursday, December 22, 2011

Does the Media Hype Homicides?

I was just interviewed by Don Hammond from Fox 45 as a follow up to my statement last Friday where I made a comment on TV. That comment was "The only reason people are afraid to come out is because the media hypes homicides."

You can access Dayton crime statistics here and they clearly show that the overall trend in crime is down. I have never interviewed with Don Hammond before and I can honestly say that I won't interview with him again. Here is why. Mr. Hammond started the interview very well by asking me some decent questions about other subjects. He then wanted me to discuss crime statistics. Then he went into intimidation mode. He pressed me on my statement above and his body language became more aggressive. I remained calm for much of the interview but he would not back down. Making statements like "You said the ONLY reason people don't come out is because the MEDIA hypes homicides." Mr. Hammond wouldn't accept my answers, especially when I stood by my original statement. He badgered me because he wanted one of two reactions. To back peddle and admit that I was wrong or to do as I did so he could get some excellent footage. He did get some excellent footage because I finally got disgusted with his interview tactics and walked off. I suspect this will make an intersting story on tonight's news because there are a lot of excellent sound bytes. I'll bet they will start the story with the ending footage and even hype their interview with the mayor so that they get better ratings. However, unless you view the unedited interview in it's entirety you are not getting the story told fairly and accurately. So I am challenging Fox 45 to show this interview entirely if they wish to run this story! After all "Fair and Accurate" is how Mr. Hammond stated that he reports the news.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Welcome Dayton Plan - How it started

We have been getting some national attention as well as some international attention lately as a result of the commission unanimously approving the "Welcome Dayton" plan which is geared towards making Dayton attractive towards foreign born citizens. If you were to Google "Dayton immigrant friendly" then you would find many of the articles about the plan and how some people praise us for the initiative and others condemn us on the grounds that we will attract illegal immigrants to our city. I have found that the best way to explain why we did this is to tell the true story about how it came about. When people hear it they say that it really makes sense and realize that our decision had nothing to do with dealing with illegal immigrants at all.

Truth. We had some issues in 2009 regarding unfair housing practices with regards to the Hispanic community that were being investigated by our Human Relations Council. However, on May 6, 2010 I was invited to the Northeast Priority Board meeting which is a district type neighborhood meeting involving several neighborhoods in the northeast section of the Corporation limits of the City of Dayton. I don't think I was expected to actually show up but I did and sat near the back of the room. I was introduced to the attendees towards the end of the meeting and asked to say a few words. When done, a man with a Russian accent asked me some questions. He tried to explain how he and about 4000 other families arrived in the U.S.A. from Russia. He described his people as Ahiska Turks.

I handed this gentleman a business card and invited him to call my office to make an appointment to meet with me. He did. I was smart enough to invite the City Manager to sit in on this meeting. The Ahiska Turkish community had two asks of us. To help them acquire a community center and to help them establish a cemetery. They invited us to integrate into their community which consisted of some 300 families in Dayton. They were buying up property in the Old North Dayton neighborhood and renovating houses. They had priorities. Number one seemed to be owning a home that no on could take from them. The City Manager and I discussed the fact that the very worst thing that could happen if we helped this group was that 4000 families of Ahiska Turks would relocate to Dayton and fix up one third of our vacant housing stock. The best thing that would happen is that they would start businesses to support their own community and then grow to support the greater Dayton community. Helping them made absolute sense since they were here anyway and doing good things.

What happened next was phenomenal. The City Manager asked our Human Relations Council to investigate what it would take to make Dayton "immigrant friendly" and attract opportunists and entrepreneurs. We discovered that immigrants are at least 2X more likely to succeed at small business than a national born resident and we had groups of people here in Dayton from all over the world who were here legally and striving towards the American dream. Thus began a series of meetings and the formation of several committees to formulate a strategy to facilitate the success of foreign born nationals in Dayton. That is it. The concept came out of a desire to facilitate the success of groups of people who are already here and now, primarily because of timing, we have been labeled by the media as being somewhat progressive because we are going against the grain of what other states in the U.S. are doing. Some other states are passing laws that are restrictive to illegal immigrants which makes those areas unattractive to legal immigrants as well because legal immigrants can be profiled and suffer the hardships of prejudice.

I continue to point out that historically, cities that embraced diversity of culture tended to thrive for hundreds of years until the leaders of the cities adopted elitist attitudes towards race and culture that destroyed the stability of those cities. Two cities that come to mind are Byzantium which became Constantinople and ultimately Istanbul and Cordoba in Spain. Constantinople was the Capitol city of the Eastern Roman Empire and out lasted Rome by 500 years. Cordoba thrived under the Moors as long as religious differences were ignored. Dayton is truly a world class city. We have world class facilities here and we certainly have world class people. Now is the time to recognize that trait and to develop it to it's full potential. Open minds open doors to opportunists. Here in Dayton opportunity knocks!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Old Tricks?

Our local newspaper has supposedly changed how they report news. I was excited when this was announced and felt that if they can maintain the new approach over a long period of time, it would be good for the entire region. I was told by some of their staff that they would no longer endorse candidates or pick sides when it came to non-partisan races. Today, they printed a story that was factual but it is very one sided, and barely "newsworthy." The story is about one of the independent candidates running for city commission. You can read it HERE

Mr. Pace announced two years ago that he would be running for city commission. He has never hidden that fact and has been aggressive in his fund raising efforts for the last two years. I would like to add an element to this story that the newspaper has failed to report. The amazing thing that was not reported was how an African American was able to set up his own production company in downtown Dayton which employed several people and generated over $400,000 a year without receiving a dime from the city or any government agency. Between 2002 and 2009 over two thirds of his advertisers and sponsors either went out of business or moved out of the city. His personal income plummeted but he managed to stay in business and only owe $2000 in state income tax. With regards to the foreclosure issue, Mr. Pace has first-hand dealings with an issue that millions of Americans have experienced, and he also understands issues dealing with unresponsive banks.

So the real questions that need to be asked are these; Why did the paper publish this story less than a week before the election when the information has always been available on the public record. Some of it for over two decades. Is this really a news story? The debates are all over and Mr. Pace has no way to rebut this story. The other question to ask is; What is the relationship between the journalist who wrote the story and one of the incumbent commission candidates up for re-election?
To me this reeks of the same old, same old that must be changed. Whether this was intentional or not it sends a bad message. It sends a message that reporting is back to business as usual at the local paper and that one political party is up to the same old lame tricks that everyone is sick and tired of. If this was intentional, shame on you DDN. If it wasn't then open your eyes and see what it is that you do to ruin yourself.

Friday, October 21, 2011

First Time for Everything

I have been in office for 22 months now and today I had to do something that I have never done before. I had to ask a citizen to leave my office. When they wouldn't leave at my request, I had to have our security guard come and escort them out. This does not make me proud. In fact it disturbs me a little. The truth is that I rarely get angry but someone today just pushed me overboard. There are always two sides to a story. I try to be fair when I describe mine. Let me start by stating that I go out of my way to make myself extremely accessible to our citizens.
I had a call to the office from someone with issues with our water billing. This person owns rental property so I could almost predict what the issues would be. They have owned the property for seven years, they have issue now. I have heard it before. The complaint is that we charge a meter fee whether water is consumed or not. This person feels that if the water is not being used, they should not have to pay a service fee. Fair enough, but you can request to have the meter removed for a $30 fee and installed again at a later date for $30. I informed the person of this but it was not the answer that they wanted to hear. The next issue that was predictable was going to be the one where we charge the water bill to the property owner if a tenant doesn't pay the water bill. The person was somewhat confrontational. It was almost as if anything I was saying was not going to be acceptable. So I made a clear concise statement. It went something like this; "If you own rental property and it generates income then there are certain expenses associated with a business that you need to account for. If you don't want your tenants to f**k you then you need to have control of the water bill. I have a rental and I pay the bill. We factor the cost into the rent." This person was offended by my use of one of the oldest slang words in the English language. Instead of telling me that they would prefer that I refrain from using such words, they said rather confidently "I am recording this conversation."
My reaction was simple. " Really?" I said. "Then you can leave my office."
" But I have some other issues." they replied.
"You can turn off the recorder or you can leave then." I stated.
"But,but ..."
"You can turn off the recorder or you can leave then." I stated again and I believe one more time.
"I have no recorder." Came the reply.
Now this person has either just lied to me once or they have lied to me twice. My reply was "You have breached my trust, leave my office now!"
They would not leave so I had security called to escort them from city hall.

Now let me state this. I really go out of my way to be accessible. I don't judge people and I listen to what they have to say. I have no problems being recorded if you declare in advance that you wish to do so. However, when you declare in the middle of a dialogue that you are recording me because you don't like what I have to say, that tells me that you made a conscious decision in advance that you were not going to agree with my statements and that you have an agenda. Your agenda includes wanting to embarrass me at some later date for whatever purpose you wish to serve. Fortunately I have never been ashamed of anything I have ever said. Being recorded hasn't stopped me from using risque language in the past either. In fact I have been called out for using two eight letter and one five letter cuss words that were used to describe me in a comments section of the local paper last year. People know that I am real, I don't pretend to be better than anyone else and I have never been afraid to speak my mind.
So to the person in question. If I offended you, I am sorry. However your violation of my trust offended me in a more permanent way.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Welcome Dayton Plan

Tonight we vote on the "Welcome Dayton" plan which will set us on a path to becoming a city where we facilitate the success of foreign born residents. Some extreme conservatives are opposed to the plan because they have entirely set their focus on the issue of illegal Hispanic immigrants and not on the thousands of legal immigrants that are already located here from many different nations. After all the citizens speak in favor or opposition I will be reading the following statement. It is posted here so that the media can refer to it if they want to quote my statement.

Too often it seems that people read a paragraph in the newspaper or see a 30-second preview on the evening news and presume they know everything they need to know about a subject. The Welcome Dayton plan has been slowly and carefully developed over the course of this year, with input from the Human Relations Council, Police, and various community organizations. The plan was conceived out of the necessity to support foreign born citizens who want to succeed in the Dayton region.

Our universities, hospitals and tech industries are recruiting to fill highly skilled positions. The Welcome Dayton Plan was formulated to help Dayton become a global city by attracting the best and the brightest. This plan is designed to enhance the potential of Dayton as a competitor in the global economy by attracting immigrants who bring new ideas, new perspective, and new talent to our workforce. In order to reverse the decades-long trend of economic decline in this city, we need to think globally and recruit the very best from around the world.

This is NOT about harboring illegal immigrants or drawing illegal immigrants into Dayton. We understand there are problems with people entering the U.S. illegally. The Welcome Dayton Plan leaves federal immigration law enforcement to the feds, and instead focuses on making our community one that treats all people kindly, fairly and humanely. If you are an illegal immigrant, you will be subjected to the same Federal laws as anyone else.

My office has received several phone calls and emails from citizens who are completely misreading what is really contained within the plan. If you have not fully read it, then I suggest you do before you openly criticize it. This is a living document that directs policy. With it, we are committed to facilitating the successful integration of foreign born residents and their children to be productive citizens of the city of Dayton. Failure to do this would only hinder Dayton’s economic recovery.

History has demonstrated that cities that embrace all people and cultures thrive until one culture deems itself better. It is then that they fail. Byzantium outlasted Rome by 500 years and became Constantinople. Cordoba in Spain flourished during the occupation by the Moors because the leadership there ignored religious differences. We could also look towards successful centers of learning such as Baghdad and even Timbuktu.

History proves that closed minds and resistance to change only results in failure. To those citizens who are against the Welcome Dayton plan—instead of condemning something that you didn't participate in, volunteer to help us make it better.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mayors Walks

Next Mayor’s Walk: Tuesday, May 31, Five Points

Release Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Contact: Jason Webber, Office of the Mayor, 937-333-3653

Mayor Gary Leitzell will conduct the next Mayor’s Walk on Tuesday, May 31, in the Five Points area. The two-hour walk begins at 5:30 p.m. and will convene at the Tabernacle Baptist Church, 380 S. Broadway St. Parking is available at that address.

Mayor’s Walks are opportunities for citizens to informally discuss neighborhood issues and progress with Mayor Leitzell and City of Dayton staff. Mayor Leitzell encourages residents and community leaders from across the Dayton region to participate.

Additional Mayor’s Walks for 2011:

Monday, June 6—Jane Reece
Monday, June 13— Five Oaks
Monday, June 20—Westwood
Monday, June 27—Sandalwood Park
Monday, July 11—Belmont Business District

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trials and Tribulations

Today, I have to vote on a lease agreement that will have an impact on the future of our city. It was my original intent to abstain from voting because I know the owner of the business competing for this property. I felt that would be the ethical decision since he has kept me updated with his efforts to utilize this property and acquire a lease. I have thought carefully about this decision and have decided to exercise my right to vote "no" on a matter of principle. I have no doubt that the company named in the lease has good intentions and the ability to succeed with this property. However, my concerns are the following. For the last year, we have declared as a city, that we would strive to become more business friendly. We also claim to want to help local entrepreneurs succeed. I have heard from many small business owners that they feel it is unfair how we hold them to the same standards as a multi-million dollar company. We ask for financial reports, floor plans, architectural drawings and business plans that they often pay a premium to produce. In this case though, it appears to me that we are holding the small, local entrepreneur to a much higher standard than the big multi-million dollar out-of-state developer with a history of doing ordinary things with extraordinary buildings. We appear to be talking out of both sides of our mouths. We have asked the local business owner to produce a financial statement and a business plan so that we could determine if his idea was a good concept for the building. He never asked for money. He only asked to change one clause in the existing lease that would allow greater flexibility for his purpose.
After viewing his plan our staff solicited another company and agreed to do business with them based on a financial statement and a drawing on a single piece of paper which was presented as a conceptual plan. It simply shows removing some jet fuel tanks and moving a security fence. We then designed a lease based on their simple concept. Now, they can develop whatever plan they want after we have agreed to the terms of this lease. Personally, I think this was the wrong thing to do. We should hold them equally accountable to produce a bona-fide business plan and design the lease based on their business plan. I have a conscience and I have high standards. The way this deal was put together simply does not meet my standards of doing business. I empathize with the little guy since I too have been denied business loans, financial support and had big companies fail to pay after shipping goods. I sincerely hope that I am completely wrong on what I anticipate could be the result of today's vote. However, I feel it is better that one of us be wrong (that being me) and the other four be right versus all of us being wrong in 5 years when this lease is re-evaluated.

You can read the local newspaper story HERE.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

State of the City Address

Here is tonight's State of the City Presentation.

Good evening and thank you for coming. I want you all to know that this speech has been posted on my blog page at www.daytonmayor.org so it is available as I speak to any interested party.

First, let's all thank Major Tom Duperee and his staff of the Salvation Army Kroc Center for hosting us here this evening. This $40 million facility opened last May and has quickly established itself as one of the Dayton region’s crown jewels, offering recreation to area youth and comfort to the troubled. Last year, in only seven months, the Dayton Kroc Center served nearly 135,000 meals to local citizens. And that’s not even a full year’s worth of service. Let’s give a round of applause to Major Tom and his staff for improving the lives of so many Daytonians in need.

We’re here this evening because the Kroc Center provides a perfect example of what is still possible in Dayton. Critics and cynics are quick to point to the many challenges facing us. But I think a world class facility like the Kroc Center proves that many great things are still happening in the Gem City.

But I didn’t invite you here tonight to hit you with the usual political rah-rah rhetoric. Most State of the City speeches follow a tried-and-true formula — over hyping the good and oversimplifying the bad. Well, tonight we’re going to examine the true State of Our City. No politics, just economic reality and harsh facts. Five facts, to be exact.

Fact #1: Dayton is on its own.

It’s true. The State is cutting funding to most Ohio municipalities, including Dayton. Most of the Obama administration’s stimulus dollars have been dispersed. NCR and GM are gone and they’re not coming back. We can no longer expect government to bail us out or to lead us to the promised land. Nor can we put our faith in two or three giant companies and pray they stick around.

It’s a new economic world out there, folks. What worked in the past will no longer sustain us. So, we’re on our own. Winston Churchill said it best. “Gentlemen, we are out of money. Now we have to think.”

But this situation in which we find ourselves should be empowering — and not disheartening. The recent slashing of the State’s Local Government Fund is the State’s way of forcing municipalities to modernize their approach to governing. This new economic world requires us to be faster, sharper, leaner. More creative. Whether or not we agree on Governor Kasich’s proposed $6.5 million dollar cuts to our Local Government Fund is irrelevant — we have to hold the cards we’ve been dealt.

Fact #2: Dayton must reinvent itself to survive and thrive.

You don’t need me to tell you this. This is something that everyone in this room already knows. Dayton has a rich and wonderful history of being one of America’s key manufacturing centers and we still have many strong production companies within the city. But it’s our ability to innovate and create that is going to bring about this new Dayton that we must build together.

Some of America’s most creative and enterprising minds have hailed from Dayton, Ohio — the Wright Brothers and Charles Kettering are among those best remembered.

But today, there is a new generation of innovators at work in Dayton -- innovators who may well put our city on the map in a new way.

Like the Wright brothers and Charles Kettering, these new innovators work in laboratories and workshops, but with high-tech tools and resources not imagined just a few years ago.

Take, for example, the entrepreneurs at the RFID Convergence Center, the only RFID-based commercial incubator in the world, just a few blocks south of here at Tech Town.

These innovators are finding commercial applications for the next generation of this fantastic data management technology. Their work, and the efforts of many others in other technology fields, holds great promise for industry and for Dayton’s future.

So today that Dayton Originals spirit of ingenuity is alive and well, and we have everything we need to turn things around in Dayton. And slowly but steadily, we are succeeding.

Fact #3: If we’re going to get anything done, we need to work together

If we’re going to move Dayton forward, we need to cut the political party b.s. of yore and find compromise. We cannot have R’s and D’s being critical without offering solutions. Thankfully, I serve on the Dayton City Commission with a wonderful group of people who truly love this city, care about its citizens, and DO offer solutions to our problems. Commissioner Nan Whaley, who is leading the charge in making Dayton one of the most bikeable and walkable cities in Ohio. Commissioner Joey Williams, who is constantly helping improve our youth and recreation options and programs. Commissioner Matt Joseph, who ensures the City maintains a close working relationship with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Commissioner Dean Lovelace, who tirelessly works to ensure the human rights of Dayton citizens are upheld. Commissioners, will you please stand and be recognized? Thank you for all you do for this city.

To move Dayton in a forward direction we cannot point fingers at two parties and dwell on the past. We can't change what once was, but we can change what will be. In the past people on both sides of the political fence were critical, but in Dayton it should be that you can no longer be critical unless you offer solutions. Ben Franklin said that “Any fool can criticize condemn, and complain and most fools do.” If you have a complaint, offer a solution. It gives the other side a basis from which to consider an alternative. And be certain to have all your facts straight. I know there are always three sides to a story: yours, mine, and the truth. This is the basic foundation that we must all work by if we are to resolve conflict and resolve things in a fair manner.

As Mayor, I have spent my first year in office not focusing on politics as usual, but strategizing ways to empower our entrepreneurs and business owners, who have the power to lead our economic recovery and be trail blazers on the path to Dayton's prosperous future.

After taking office last year, I set about researching and identifying who the real key players are in Dayton. Who are the men and women who can create jobs and build a rock-solid 21st century economy? In the last year, I had 116 appointments related to local businesses and quickly discovered that Dayton is truly blessed to have so many visionaries in its midst. People like Sandy Mendelson, who is currently redeveloping the long-dormant former Delco building. Jeff Samuelson, who has overseen several major development projects in Dayton, and has several more that will be breaking ground this year.

I met with nearly all of the leaders of the region — both political and economic. And here is my conclusion. Some move, some shake. Some move AND shake. And some don’t move or shake at all. And they know who they are. And so do you.

Every single citizen plays a key role in designing Dayton's future, but everyone’s piece of the puzzle needs to be connected to the other pieces in the proper order. You see, as Mayor, I envision myself standing over this huge puzzle. All the pieces are here. The people are here. The businesses are here and the facilities are here. Some of it has already been assembled and is ready to connect to the next piece. That is what we need to do. Connect the pieces. It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to come together.

When I met with these business leaders, over and over I heard the same lament: We want to create jobs. The opportunities are there. The labor pool is there. But we’ve just been stymied by red tape, declining property values, and the fact that so many people think investing in Dayton is foolhardy. So we listened and we asked for some solutions. This year we are implementing some of those solutions.

In fact, my leadership council, made up of 25 of the finest minds in the region has been challenged to work on solutions to move Dayton in a positive direction. I would like to recognize the members that I know are here tonight ......
Ted Bucaro
Larry Couchet
Steven LeFlame
Julie Liss-Katz
David McDonald
Irvin Moscowitz
Phil Parker
Jeff Samuelson
and Stacy Thompson.

If anyone else is here, please stand. Give these people a round of applause because they truly care about this city and they are all volunteers.

Fact #4: Dayton is evolving

2010 saw many positive changes at the local government level, beginning with increased transparency and a more 21st Century approach to sharing public information.

For the first time, City Commission schedules and materials were made available online for anyone to review before any contracts or legislation were voted on. We followed this up by implementing an online registration system for alarm permits and police reporting, as well as allowing citizens to find crime statistics, waste and recycling schedules, and other information. We established a strict open-door policy with the Mayor’s Office--you can send me an email, I’ll actually get it and what's more, I read it! And chances are, I’ll respond personally to you.

Facebook fans on the City of Dayton page increased from 1000 to nearly 7500 in 12 months, making communication with our citizens instantaneous with the click of a mouse. We have expanded our presence on YouTube and regularly communicate with citizens via email and social networking.

In 2011 you will see more of this happening. You will be able to track housing violations and you can now pay water bills online. We have also improved our web sites to make them more user friendly. Check out the Recreation and Youth Services web site for a good example of this.

Let's talk about recycling. In January 2010 we were paying $38 a ton for trash to be disposed of in a land fill and $14 a ton for Rumpke to take our recyclables. By mid year this dropped to $6 a ton for recyclables and in 2011, based on the contract we have, this has dropped to $2 a ton and grown from less than 200 tons to over 400 tons a month, saving the City money and resources.

It is important to note that Dayton’s crime numbers in key categories have continued to decline this past year, as they have for several years.

This success can be largely attributed to the crime prevention work that our Police Department is conducting under the leadership of Chief Richard Biehl and a first-class command staff. Our police are not simply reacting to crime, they are working in organized, intelligent ways to prevent crime, in cooperation with our citizens.

Dayton’s firefighters, under the leadership of Chief Herbert Redden, are among the finest serving any American community, and we are fortunate to live and work with their protection and service.

Dayton’s continuing economic recovery has never been more apparent. Just look at what is going on in the private sector.

Just one week ago, GE Aviation broke ground on the $51 million research center it will occupy at the edge of the University of Dayton campus. This development and the technology jobs it will bring are huge wins for Dayton and should serve as a catalyst for other companies to invest in Dayton and our Ohio Aerospace Hub. The entire process from the public being notified in the press on April 1st, 2010 of GE's interest in the region to the groundbreaking took a mere 54 weeks. Not some 5 years.

Nearby, UD will soon begin construction on a new student village on Brown Street. The transformation of the campus area continues, and the University of Dayton continues to provide leadership and partnership for our city’s future.

Progress is not limited to the southern side of downtown. To the north, a construction crane now stands above Grandview Hospital, where a major investment in new facilities is underway.

Also just north of downtown, the reconstruction of the Great Miami Boulevard and Grand Avenue will begin very soon. This project will bring a new look and major road improvements to neighborhoods near Grandview and the Dayton Art Institute and encourage investment there.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, I invite you to check out the latest and very striking new building at Dayton’s Tech Town Campus. Its doors will open soon, providing even more opportunities for technology jobs in Dayton.

We also opened three new bridges since the beginning of 2010 which is amazing in itself. These are truly works of public art with their lighting effects.

Our business community continues to innovate and invest. Techmetals, an east Dayton manufacturing firm, recently completed a significant expansion in record time and its making specialty metal products for clients around the world.

In the heart of downtown, Premiere Health Partners is making a major investment at 2nd and Main by purchasing the former Fifth-Third office tower and keeping 700 jobs in downtown Dayton.

Also, very shortly, we will gather at the site of the old Howard Paper Mill on Edwin C. Moses Boulevard to begin the demolition of that long-abandoned industrial property. When it is gone, another eyesore will have disappeared and another brownfield will be ready for productive re-use.

Development and progress is happening in neighborhoods as well. In fact, we have seen an increase in volunteerism in the neighborhoods. Our Priority Board Chairpersons have assumed a greater role in developing solutions for their neighborhoods and I would like to recognize those Chairpersons who I meet with regularly to solve problems and discuss ideas. They are …
Ms. Mary Ellington from Innerwest
(and if you are here, please stand up)
David Greer from North West
Kevin Jones from F.R.O.C. Or for those who don't know, the Fair Rivers Oaks Council.
Dan Kennedy from South East
David Powers from North East
Ms. Patricia Rickman from South West
and Stephen Seboldt from Downtown.

Community partners and investors are building dozens of quality housing units on every side of town—from downtown near Fifth-Third Field, to the Roosevelt-Westwood area, to Twin Towers in east Dayton, to the Fairfield neighborhood of northwest Dayton.

And, federal Stimulus dollars are being put to good use, with hundreds of rehabs or demolitions planned for the next two years. In fact, the first few new homeowners of Neighborhood Stabilization Program homes have already moved in. To these homebuyers and to our development partner CityWide Development Corporation, I offer sincere acknowledgment and thanks.

(PAUSE)

We are all too painfully aware of the tough job losses our community has suffered in recent years. But today there is not only hope, there is real progress on the jobs front.

For the first time in several years, city income tax revenues are trending up. Though the increase is modest, it indicates that jobs are returning and our local economy is starting to grow again.

And there is real promise for future growth because of some recent investments by businesses in Dayton.

Homebuilder Ryan Homes has purchased a building in Dayton’s Northwest Industrial Park and will locate a manufacturing operation there. Hiring begins this summer.

We also have a whole slew of trail-blazers taking a risk on Dayton by living their dreams and opening coffee shops, cafes, bistros and restaurants. We also have people opening service businesses but often their effort is overlooked by the media. To all of them — we are all grateful.

The City of Dayton has also been reaching out to its immigrant population, who are investing millions of dollars into our economic infrastructure. In fact, this very neighborhood is home to many citizens who recently moved to the U.S. from the former Soviet Union. I have met with many community leaders from the Ahiska Turkish community and have heard the same sentiment many times — people from foreign countries want to live and invest in Dayton because this city holds incredible opportunities for people who want the American Dream. I’d like to give special thanks to Mr. Tom Wahlrab and the Dayton Human Relations Council for leading the charge in making Dayton one of America’s most immigrant friendly cities. Tom, thank you for all you do.

As you can see, we are not quietly waiting for the world to notice Dayton and for opportunities to come to us. We are building bridges and foundations for future growth on several fronts.

Commissioner Matt Joseph and City Manager Riordan recently chaired a workgroup focused on strengthening the relationship between the City of Dayton and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The possibilities there are enormous and promising.

I have a few people that I would like to thank personally before I conclude. Firstly, Tim Riordan our City Manager. He is at the helm of this ship we call Dayton. Without him we would not be actively moving forward at our current pace.

I also want to thank Stanley Earley and Shelley Dickstein our assistant Managers who work tirelessly keeping Tim in order!

I want to thank every single city employee AND every single County employee who work endlessly to provide safety services to our citizens. From Law enforcement, fire and emergency services, road and sanitation, water and recreation as well as convention centers and airport staff. Without them we would not have this city.
As a side note, in case anyone is interested. The city manager and I meet regularly with the county administrator Debbie Feldman and County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman. If any County Commissioners are here, please stand.

I really want to thank the staff of the local newspaper who have helped me become a better leader by teaching me not to react to the news of the moment. On the same note, I want to thank the staff at Fox 45, Channel 2, the Dayton Business Journal and the Dayton City Paper for their willingness to help promote the positive stories about Dayton.

I also want to acknowledge William Pace who told me that he wanted to become a voice for the people and has willingly attended some 500 plus neighborhood and Priority Board meetings to hear citizen concerns and has put out many sparks before they became fires. His proactive approach is a model for other like-minded people to follow. In my entire time on the Southeast Priority Board I have never met anyone willing to attend that many community meetings!

Then there is my personal aide, Jason Webber. He is my bulldog in the Mayor’s office. Without him, this event would not have been possible and my life would be more hectic than it already is.

In conclusion, I present

Fact #5: Dayton will prosper.


But don’t take my word for it—just ask the Financial Times, who just yesterday named Dayton one of America’s Top 10 Cities of the Future in the. Dayton was chosen out of 405 cities across North and South America. Among cities with populations less than 250,000, we ranked second in foreign director investment strategy, third in small business friendliness, and ninth as a City of the Future. The Financial Times praised Dayton for our Tech Town technology park, the Ohio Aerospace Hub, our focus on advanced manufacturing and information technology, our abundant water supply, and our skilled workforce.

Our future is bright even if our present is filled with challenges. But let’s be realistic — change will not happen overnight. The type of long-term changes that we are currently experiencing won’t be felt for a long time. I’m talking years. You don’t solve decades worth of decline in one year or four years, and any politician who will tell you otherwise is a flat-out liar.

However, we have to anticipate the inevitable, and it is inevitable that things will get better. Enough with the negativity — we can’t listen to the naysayers who are so quick to say that Dayton is falling apart. Look closer. Growth is happening — slower than we’d like — but it IS happening.

We can no longer make money the primary focus of our projects or let money dictate how we proceed. We must focus on solving the problems and then utilize what limited resources we have to solve those problems. If we have no money then we just have to fix problems without it! If we inspire people to start their own businesses and create jobs for citizens then the money will come.

Ladies and gentlemen, YOU are the ones who will lead the recovery. Not government. So get involved. All government can do is help support you. The passion and devotion that will change Dayton will only come from you — the citizens.

The tide has shifted. If you haven't already done so, it’s time to switch surfboards so we can move forward together, united with this new tide.

I will be frank. We don't know what the future holds but moving forward to reach it is better than standing firm and getting knocked over by that tide, especially when you have seen it coming for a while. They say that the best way to predict the future is to create it. I believe that the future of the Gem City is great. I believe that you believe it too. We have world class buildings, we have world class school facilities and higher learning facilities, we have world class citizens with world class ideas. Now is the time for us to put those ideas into action. This is our moment. Let’s work together and seize it.

Thank you and God bless.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mayor’s Walks for 2011 Begin on April 18

Release Date: Friday, April 15, 2011
Contact: Jason Webber, Office of the Mayor, 937-333-3653

Mayor Gary Leitzell will conduct the first Mayor’s Walk for 2011 on Monday, April 18, in Dayton’s Rubicon Mill Neighborhood. The two-hour walk begins at 5:30 p.m. and will convene at the Community Room at the Patterson Homestead, 1815 Brown St. Parking is available at that address.

Neighborhood Walks are opportunities for citizens to informally discuss neighborhood issues and progress with Mayor Leitzell and City of Dayton staff. Mayor Leitzell encourages residents and community leaders from across the Dayton region to participate.

Additional Mayor’s Walks for 2011:

Monday, April 25—Sandalwood Park
Monday, May 9—Old North Dayton
Monday, May 16—College Hill
Monday, May 23—Rocky Hills
Tuesday, May 31—Five Points
Monday, June 6—Jane Reece
Monday, June 13— Five Oaks
Monday, June 20 –Westwood

Rain Dates: Monday, June 27 and Tuesday, July 5.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Municipal Employee Appreciation Week March 28 to April 1, 2011

UPDATED 3/25/2011

Mayor Leitzell’s
Municipal Employee Appreciation Week March 28 to April 1, 2011

Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell announced details of the second annual City of Dayton Employee Appreciation Week which he has expanded to include all municipalities in the region. From Sunday, March 27 to Saturday, April 2, 2011 municipal employees will receive special discounts at a variety of local businesses when they show their ID badges. The current list includes;

Angel Heaven 11 N. Miami Street West Milton 10% Discount

Baker’s Heating & Cooling 2500 N. Main St. 937-274-9966 10% Discount

Barnsider Restaurant 5202 N Main Street 937-277-1332 15% Discount (April 1st only)

Butler’s Concrete LLC 937-835-3194 or 937-307-3856 10% Discount

Cachet-G! E. 133 E. Third St.937-461-2665 15% Discount

The Cakery 140 Woodman Drive 937-258-2320 10% Discount

Champion Auto Service 1524 Milburn Ave. 937-228-3057 10% Discount

Chateau Club 4302 Webster Street 937-277-8209 10% Discount

Christopher’s Restaurant 2318 E. Dorothy Lane 937-299-0089 10% Discount

Color Tile and Carpets Plus 3609 Linden Ave.937-253-1131 10% Discount

Computer MD 937-436-2972 937-604-5452 10% Discount

Custom S 4023 Salem Ave. 937-275-4255 10% Discount

Desserts By Ann K 600 E. Second Street 937-361-7785 10% Discount

Double Tree Hotel 11 S. Ludlow St. 937-461-4700 10 % Discount

Dublin’s Pub 300 Wayne Ave. 15% Discount

Randall Dwillis Massage Therapy 8529 N.Dixie Dr. $10 off Massage 937-890-6050

Good Year Tire 21 Otterbein Ave 937-277-2724 10% Discount

Good Year Tire N. Main Street 10% Discount

Isaac’s Transmission Service 2467 Patterson Road Kettering 937-256-
0248 937-654-8797 Cell 10% Discount

Main Hardware 3016 N. Main Street 10% Discount

Mary Ann’s Kitchen 3651 Salem 937-281-1478 5% Discount

Mendelson’s 340 E. 1st St. 461-3525 10% Discount

Muffler Brother’s (Beavercreek) 1355 N. Fairfield Road 937-429-2420 10% Discount

Ohio Automatic Transmission 3164 Salem Avenue 937-275-5574 10% Discount

Patterson Chase 460 Patterson Road 937-8766 15% Discount

Person’s Automotive 1414 N. Main Street 937-674-3258 10% Discount

Price Clothing Store 4th & S. Jefferson St. 937-224-7631Additional 5% off on sale merchandise

Restoration Resources 480 Congress Park Dr 937-433-1768 10% not to exceed $250

Rinaldo’s Bake Shoppe 910 W. Fairview Ave 937-274-1311 10% Discount

Rut’s Eatery 32 James H. McGee Blvd. 937-718-2461 10% Discount

St. Anne’s Violin Shoppe 1500 E. Fifth St.20% Discount

Smokin’ Bar-B-Que 200 E Fifth St. Dayton 937-586-9790 10% Discount

Submarine House 3598 Salem Ave. 937-274-1755 10% Discount

Top Of The Line Salon & Barber 2836 Salem Ave 10% Discount

Top of The Market 32 Webster St.10% Discount

Towe’s & Associates CPA’s 415 S. Miami St. West Milton 937-275-0900 20% Discount

Uno’s Chicago Bar & Grill 126 N. Main St.15% Discount

Upper Deck Tavern 2652 Blanchard Ave 937-298-3929 10% Discount

Xclusive Cuts 4321 N. Main St. 937-9864 10% Discount


Municipal Employee Appreciation Week was put together with the assistance of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and associates of Mayor Leitzell. This particular week was chosen because Dayton was settled on April 1, 1796.

“Employee Appreciation Week is a way of acknowledging the hard-working men and women who serve the citizens of this community,” Mayor Leitzell said. “Dayton’s small business community really stepped up to show our local government employees how much they appreciate the work they do, whether it’s plowing streets during the winter, filling potholes in spring, patrolling neighborhoods, or addressing citizen concerns.

We hope this small gesture — which won’t cost taxpayer’s a cent — conveys a big ‘thank you.’ It also demonstrates a reconnection with the local business community.”
During this time, Mayor Leitzell asks all citizens to show their appreciation for the entire region's civil service workers by waving and saying “thank you.”

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Forward Thinking

More proof that Dayton is a progressive city!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

What is with all the hype?

Four weeks ago the Dayton City Paper published a center fold article about my first year in office. You can read the article HERE. The paper is our local Alternative Weekly Newspaper and they want to become a little more controversial than they have been previously. This candid interview assisted with that.

On Wednesday a citizen exercised her right to speak for three minutes at our evening commission meeting. I won't bore you with the details but you can view the entire commission meeting or just move the cursor to the center and watch her make her statement and my reply.

It must have been a slow news day because this made headline news that evening and was the lead story on one TV news station

Dayton mayor called out for cursing: wdtn.com



Now you have to ask yourself what exactly would motivate someone to come downtown to sit through a commission meeting so they could spend three minutes complaining to the mayor about words printed in an article that is 4 weeks old. I won't elude to much but her mentioning the name of the former mayor to me after the meeting was somewhat telling.

I was able to give an explanation on my regular 3rd Friday of the month interview on Fox 45.

Dayton's News Source :: Top Stories - Fox 45 In The Morning: Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell

There have been several threads regarding this incident on Facebook. None of which have been favorable to the citizen because everyone realized that I was simply describing what someone else had called me to the Dayton City Paper reporter. It was the papers choice to print the words in their entirety without blank spaces. Not mine. If you haven't read the article yet then you may very well be disappointed with "nasty" words in question here.

I made it very clear during my campaign that I wouldn't change my personality in order to become Mayor and I wasn't going to change after becoming Mayor. The Dayton City Paper article was written by someone who realized this and wanted everyone else to know it too.

The moral to this story is this;

There are choices and there are consequences to those choices. You can choose to stand in front of a bunch of city administrators and the entire city commission and spout off to me about what you think I should or should not be doing. This may get you some TV time and three minutes of fame that could very well backfire on you OR if you have an issue with me, you can call the office at 333-3653 and make a personal appointment to meet with me behind closed doors. Bring a witness if you feel the need to do so. You will have my undivided attention for 30 minutes or maybe longer. I may not tell you what you want to hear but I will tell you why I did or didn't do something. You may be very surprised with my answer and leave with a lot more information than you came with.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Good News About the Region - THE GOOD NEWS SURROUNDING THE DAYTON REGION

Information provided by David McDonald Author of "Saving America's Cities"

There is a tremendous amount of good news about the Dayton Region. Some of this news you have heard before. Some of it you likely have not heard. I have completed my own demographic analysis on cities for approximately thirty years, and have over 4,000 pages of demographic reference material in my office. Hopefully you will find this information interesting. Please feel free to update the information and return to me.

THE DAYTON REGION METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREA

The number of people in the Dayton MSA is a very important statistic, and one that requires some explanation. Most demographic books copy each other on their numbers. Most of the time these resource manuals are within a close tolerance of being right. I do not know why the numbers for Dayton are so badly in error with these demographic companies, but they are. All of the demographic reference manuals that I can find list the Dayton Region (Dayton MSA) at around 839,000 people. This is grossly in error. A conservative estimate for the Dayton Region Trade Area (MSA) is 1.2 million people. I could make a case for 1.3 million, but that would be slightly stretching it. I have heard some groups within our region use this same number (1.2 Million) and I have heard some use significantly more. There is no justification for more, but 1.2 million is an extremely significant and positive number for us. The Dayton Region is all or parts of 7 counties and the breakdown is listed below.

% OF COUNTY COUNTY/
POPULATION IN POPULATION/
COUNTY DAYTON REGION IN THE
COUNTY POPULATION TRADING AREA DAYTON REGION

Montgomery 536,445/ 100%/ 536,445
Greene 156,003/ 100%/ 156,003
Miami 102,854/ 100%/ 102,854
Clark 141,439/ 90%/ 127,295
Champaign 40,205/ 60%/ 24,123
Darke 52,214/ 60%/ 31,328
Preble 42,184/ 70%/ 29,529
Shelby 49,303/ 70%/ 34,512
Warren 216,348/ 30%/ 64,904
Butler 359,442/ 25%/ 89,860
Clinton 44,359/ 15%/ 6,653


APPROXIMATE TOTAL DAYTON REGION POPULATION 1,203,506

Notes: Every town and borough in the nation has a Metropolitan Statistical Area that they identify with. (ie: a large town with plenty of good opportunities for shopping, dining, the arts, etc.) The boundaries could relate to rivers, mountains or state lines. However, the majority of the time it relates to factors as simple as “how far is it to the closest big city where I can shop”. This is not only determined by distance but also by road systems, and thus ease of travel. Many of the counties listed above are split, from a shopping standpoint for reasons mentioned above and thus you have percentages of the populations less than 100% shopping in Dayton. The loss in these counties is predominantly to Cincinnati and Columbus.

How do we relate to the significance of 1.2 million people in the Dayton Region MSA? There are 20 states in the nation that do not have a single Metropolitan Statistical Area as large as that of the Dayton Region. Eight states have only one MSA that roughly equals that of the Dayton Region. Therefore, a total of 28 states (56% of the states in the US) cannot equal or beat what we have right here in the Dayton Region. Another 15 states only have one MSA that exceeds that of the Dayton Region. Ohio is the 7th largest state in the nation, and Dayton is surrounded by four larger MSA’s: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Indianapolis. However, this should not detract from the fact that the Dayton MSA is the 46th largest MSA in the nation (Note: Depending on varying assessments, you could technically rate Dayton as being #45 or #47).

Good News About the Region - THE DAYTON REGION’S 600 MILE RING

Information provided by David McDonald Author of "Saving America's Cities"

Within 600 miles of Dayton are approximately 52% of the population of the US. (Note: If you count that part of the 600 mile ring that encompasses Toronto and the surrounding Canadian area, you technically come up to what would amount to 56% of a US population total.)
Florida, Texas and California account for approximately 30% of the US population. However, these states are too geographically disperse to be of any real significance to a corporation looking for a headquarters from which they can grow their business by expanding out in relatively nice, neat concentric circles – which most companies ideally want to do.
That only leaves 18% of the US population in all the rest of our states.
If you move the center point of the 600 mile ring 100 miles north, south, east or west, you lose population in all directions.

The Dayton Region is right in the middle of the vast majority of the population in the US, and therefore is one of the absolute best places you could find to build and grow a business. Note: I recently read a statement that within 500 miles of the Dayton Region were 60% of the population in the US. I recalculated my numbers to make sure I was not missing something. My numbers are approximately correct 52% within 600 miles).

Interesting statistic: If you go 250 miles east or south of Atlanta, you are in the Atlantic Ocean. Go 600 miles southwest and you are into water moccasins. Go 600 miles west, and you are getting into prairie dog territory. Go 600 miles north and you are right back in the Dayton Region.

Good News About the Region - GROWTH OF THE DAYTON REGION

Information provided by David McDonald Author of "Saving America's Cities"

Between the year 2000 and the end of 2008, the Dayton Region grew by 1.8%. That, on the surface, may not be significantly high growth, but if you take into account that over this nine year period the Dayton Region has been divesting itself of the last remaining remnants of its old industrialized base (along with several Fortune 500 companies) this is outstanding growth. Now that we are all but complete with the "removal of the old" our growth rate should start to soar. In the past, too much notoriety has been given to a few high profile departures from the Region and not enough attention given to all the small companies that have located in our region – offsetting, and then some, the publicized losses. Montgomery County is one of the few counties in the region that is losing population, but the region, as a whole, brings up Montgomery County. The Austin Road interchange projects over the next five years should bring Montgomery County back into the positive growth category. Currently there are in excess of 34,000 businesses in the Dayton Region. To put this 1.8% growth rate into perspective, look at the growth rates of the following Ohio MSA’s over the same nine year period:

NINE YEAR
CITY/MSA GROWTH RATE

Cleveland - 2.7%
Lima - 2.8%
Mansfield - 2.7%
Toledo - 1.0%
Cincinnati + 5.7%
Youngstown - 4.8%
Akron + .6%
Columbus + 9.8%

There is already significant talk in Cincinnati of the merging of the Cincinnati and Dayton Regions. This is taking place and it will foster continued and escalating growth in our Region.

Good News About the Region - VACANCY RATES, SHOPPING, WATER

Information provided by David McDonald Author of "Saving America's Cities"

DAYTON REGION OFFICE BUILDING VACANCY RATES

The office building vacancy rate for the Dayton Region (10.88%) is less than it is in Cincinnati (20.69%), Columbus (19.89%), Cleveland (12.48%), Indianapolis (20.93%), Louisville (18.15%), Atlanta (16.76%), Pittsburgh (11.09%), and Charlotte (19.07%). Our Region is stronger than many people think!


DAYTON REGION SHOPPING

The Dayton Region has two world-class shopping malls that I would estimate to be in the top 15%, success wise, of all malls in the US. There is only one mall in all of the Cincinnati Region that is as good as either Dayton Mall or The Mall at Fairfield Commons. That mall is Kenwood, and it is approximately 10% better than either of our malls, but then the parking at Kenwood is terrible, and we have two excellent malls compared to Cincinnati’s one. Our lifestyle center, The Green, beats anything Cincinnati has to offer.


DAYTON REGION WATER

Everyone probably knows that we sit on top of one of the largest aquifers in the US. You might not know that the upper Midwest (including the Dayton Region) contains between 16% and 18% of all the fresh water in the world.

Good News About the Region - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB

Information provided by David McDonald Author of "Saving America's Cities"

Wright Patterson AFB is an outstanding addition to the Dayton Region. The base traces its origin directly to the Wright Brothers’ pioneering flights in 1904 and 1905 at the Huffman Prairie Flying Field located in the middle of the installation. Wright-Patterson is one of the largest, most diverse, and organizationally complex bases in the Air Force. Its missions range from acquisition and logistics management, to research and development, education, flight operations and an assortment of other defense and non-defense activities.

Wright-Patterson has approximately 26,000 employees and is in the process of adding approximately 1,000 new employees due to the base realignment and closure program.
They are also replacing approximately 700 to 1,000 retirees annually - most of whom will stay in the area (There are approximately 20,000 military retirees in the Dayton Region). Effectively then, WPAFB hires approximately 2,000 new employees annually(1,000 to 1,200 new and 700 to 1,000 replacements with a high percentage of the retiring service members remaining in the Dayton Region). WPAFB is the largest single-site employer in the region, occupying approximately 8,000 acres. Their importance as an incubator of new hi-tech businesses is beyond measure. The physical plant on Wright-Patterson consists of in excess of 16.5 million square feet. The total economic impact on the Dayton Region is in excess of $4.5B. The payroll of military and government civilian employees is in excess of $1.7B. The non-payroll expenditures were $1.7B. The indirect jobs supported by the base are estimated to be above 30K (restaurants, dry cleaners, etc.). Even though military and civilian retirement disbursements are not considered a part of total economic impact due to regulations, the annual disbursement of military and civilian retiree benefits in late 2007 was approximately $754M.

Good News About the Region - REGIONAL HOSPITAL GROUPS

Information provided by David McDonald Author of "Saving America's Cities"

Within the Dayton Region, Kettering Health Network and Premier Health Partners, combined, employee approximately 51,000 people and are expanding at a rate in excess of 1,000 employees per year. Health Grades, Inc. recently completed its eighth annual Health Grades Hospital Quality and Clinical Excellence Study. In this study, the nearly 5,000 hospitals in the US were evaluated, and the top 5% (roughly 270 hospitals) were given the “Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence” award. Dayton had five hospitals to receive this award, (Dayton will likely soon add a sixth.) Very few regions can boast of this level of nationally recognized quality healthcare. Many of these hospitals have even higher ratings is specific areas of care. Miami Valley, Good Samaritan, Kettering, Grandview, and Southview have been chosen as distinguished hospitals for clinical excellence by Health Grades. Of Ohio’s 67 hospitals, only 25 received this honor. In addition, the Dayton region is now ranked #3 in the nation for overall hospital quality by Health Grades, Inc.

Good News About the Region - AREA COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

Information provided by David McDonald Author of "Saving America's Cities"

The Dayton Region boasts of 34 institutions of higher learning, which includes two world-class universities and one world-class college. Wright State and the University of Dayton have a combined enrollment approaching 30,000. Sinclair is one of the finest and fastest growing colleges in the US with a current enrollment in excess of 40,000 annually. There are more than 100,000 students in 20 different colleges within a 60 mile radius of Dayton. UD, with its UDRI (University of Dayton Research Institute) will soon start to rival WPAFB as an incubator for the next generation of businesses to lead the Dayton Region. Combined employment is in excess of 12,000.

Good News About the Region - MANUFACTURING IN THE DAYTON REGION

Information provided by David McDonald Author of "Saving America's Cities"

Within the Dayton Region are 2,500 manufacturing companies, employing 120,000 people. These companies create an annual payroll of $1.6 billion, create $59 billion in annual sales and have been responsible for $2.3 billion in economic development. This $2.3 billion in economic development was generated between 2006-2008! It created 7,888 jobs! Each dollar of sales could have a ripple effect of $2.18 in regional sales because of the area’s strong manufacturing cluster.

The Dayton Region is one of the largest tooling, machining and material processing centers in the US. FUTURE GROWTH: Data analysis identifies advanced manufacturing as a strategic growth industry in the Dayton Region. Four areas of manufacturing concentration – aerospace, computer/electronics; chemical, plastic and rubber; and metalworking and machining – are expected to add a significant number of jobs in the next ten years. To make sure the Dayton Region is poised to meet this demand, the Region’s academic, public and private sectors are collaborating to align workforce education and training programs with manufacturer’s needs.

Good News About the Region - SCHOOLS

Information provided by David McDonald Author of "Saving America's Cities"

Dayton Public Schools is an urban district of more than 15,000 students in pre-kindergarten through high school, with the second highest graduation rate (83.3%) among Ohio’s big city districts. Attendance is steadily being improved – 91.3% since 2001. Dayton has more board certified teachers than any district in the Dayton Region. Stivers School of the Arts was ranked among America’s best public high schools in U. S. News & World Report for the second consecutive year. DPS has produced 15 Gates Millennium Scholars since 2000, and four Coca-Cola scholarship finalists since 2003 – two of which were national winners.

Excellent single-gender schools also exist. Charity Adams Early Academy for girls, Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy, and Montessori (River’s Edge Montessori at Franklin). There are also excellent schools that address special interests at the high school level. These are Academic Management Academy at Thurgood Marshall; cutting-edge college-centered career pathways at the David H. Ponitz Career Technology Center, international Baccalaureate at Meadowdale; and international award-winning visual and performing arts at Stivers School for the Arts.

DPS is partnering with the Dayton Foundation, the University of Dayton, and a host of local businesses, health and social service organizations to operate five pre K-8 schools as community centers in the after-school hours. The centers are part of the district’s initiative to create strong neighborhood schools. The recently opened Kroc Center, operated by the Salvation Army, is a $65 million facility that is state-of-the-art and a one-of-a-kind in the United States. They have dedicated a large part of their facility to enhancing the education levels in the area of early childhood education.

Charter schools in the City of Dayton and the region have been a mixed bag over the years. However, today, thanks in large part to the activities of the Fordham Foundation, Charter schools are among the best in the city and the region.

The district, currently in the final segment of its $627 million school construction program, will have opened a total of 26 new schools with state-of-the-art technology by 2012. To date, 15 of these schools have been opened.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"I Feel Capital!"

I believe the title line comes from the movie "Tombstone" but this month marks my one-year anniversary in office and I’ll be marking the occasion by discussing Dayton’s future with some of America’s finest leaders. Next week I’ll be in Washington, D.C. attending the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors and Mayor’s Innovation Project. At these multi-day events, mayors and city managers from all over the country gather to strategize strong, lasting solutions to the problems affecting our cities. Last year I got to promote Dayton in front of President Obama and hopefully I’ll get that opportunity again this year. I’ll be out of the office, but if you need to contact me at that time, feel free to email me at gary.leitzell@daytonohio.gov or call my legislative aide Jason at 937-333-3653. I will respond to your phone call or email upon my return. Thanks and I’ll talk to you soon!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A New Year a New Approach

Now that I have been in office for one year I am going to attempt to post on here at least once a week. I can't guarantee that I will succed at that but I will try. The truth is, sometimes I get wrapped up in busy work and blog posts are not a top priority. I post more frequently to the House Blog but even those posts are few and far between.

In the mean time. Here is an interview that I did for one of our "Talk to City Hall" episodes promoting local business.