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:

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


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 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.


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


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:


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"


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.