My responses are in red.

Wells, Chris" wrote:

Allow me to begin by saying that I think your views our taxation in this
City are on the mark. It's a vicious cycle. The City feels it must
maintain the highest income tax in the area to survive and if it had its way
would seek an increase. The commission is already gearing up for it's
campaign to renew the rate. When are they going to realize that if they
had a reasonable income tax rate, people will stop looking for employment in
the suburbs. Employers will be able to attract employees, and won't need
tax incentives to simply be competitive in the city. And they would
actually be able to collect tax from the big corporations, instead of
offering abatements just to keep the buildings from emptying.

I'm glad you understand this part of my platform- most do not. We need to learn to live within our revenue
stream something that hasn't happened for a long time.

However, I take exception to the following.
"1. End court ordered busing. It has replaced racial segregation with
economic segregation. Our focus should be on highest quality education
solutions, based on choice, and community involvement - not on race based
This is a fine notion and the dream of many....but the City of Dayton
Schools had already lost the infrastructure to support neighborhood schools,
has admitted to a multi-million dollar deficit. So from where would the
money come to rebuild neighborhood schools? You are still going to have
busing in Dayton even if you end the desegregation order.

I said return to neighborhood schools - not building schools in neighborhoods. All this means is that all
the children in the same neighborhood go to the same school - they will still have to ride a bus. We
currently have more schools than we need for the number of students. We actually need to shut some more
down, do maintenance on what we keep open. The deseg order has to go though. Also- if the richest men in
Dayton can build and open a new school in less than 2 years - and say they will make a profit in 5 years-
why can't we?

"An example of this failed effort is the corner of Salem & Grand."
Bad Example....St. Mary's Development Corporation has acquired most of the
funding to do this project. Renovation will begin over the next couple of
months, mostly funded by State and Federal grants.

7 years later. As I said, the city made a bad move.

"5. Reorganize the citizen participation system to eliminate the expensive
layer of bureaucracy and create a new system with a direct feed to the City
manager. I propose having neighborhood presidents meet with the City Manager
on a monthly schedule to keep in touch with citizen driven issues."
As a member of the Neighborhood Association and Priority Board systems, I
am concerned about point #5. Exactly what is the "expensive layer of
bureaucracy" that you refer to?

7 site offices, with staff and support costs is expensive - approx. 6 million a year.
Instead - we could move the CSA's into an Ombudsman's office that takes calls centrally for the whole city.
Each call is assigned a priority, an estimated time to resolve, and then is routed properly. Each week the
City commission would review the list of resolved, and unresolved problems- and the manager would be graded
by response times- and results. The priority board members would meet directly with the city manager - and
be a united force - instead of split 7 ways. With 20 years of priority boards we have lost 100,000 in
population - and I have yet to hear someone say they bought a house due to the great priority board

My personal view of what citizen
participation does, is report to the commission the inept handling of
citizens issues by the city management and staff. If it were not for
Citizen Participation, the City would be held completely hostage by the
labor unions, as there would be no organized contingent to speak out against
their outrageous demands. The citizens on our priority boards are just
that....citizens, working class citizens. They work many many hours
volunteering in their neighborhoods and communities and I think your
comments are a nasty attack on a program you clearly have no understanding

Which is exactly why I want to not split the citizens up in 7 fiefdoms, and why I want them to have a
straight shot to the top. Judy Martinson has no power in City Hall, she is just a buffer.
I have a very clear understanding of how this works (or doesn't work) - believe me -

As for having neighborhood presidents meeting with the City Manager on
a monthly schedule...I can't think of a bigger waste of the tax payers money
than to have the City Manager sit and listen to issues and concerns that she
has no intention of addressing unless it pads her resume'.

No- the bigger waste is the 25 staff heads sitting in on every commission meeting - just in case a
commissioner or a citizen has a question. The City manager needs to have direct contact with the customers-
that is who she serves.

You have the intelligence and the passion to do a good job as a Commission

Thank you.

but I would suggest you get out and talk to the citizens and promote
citizen participation.

I am promoting meaningful citizen participation. I have sent the same needs statements in year after year-
to be told there is no money - while fountains and ball fields are built for the rich.

Let them know how they can be a part of a most
wonderful opportunity to truly make a difference. Visit all of the priority
boards' meetings, find out what's really happening in the city.

I have been to a ton of meetings. I know most of the neighborhood presidents, and a lot of the priority
board members. I have been doing this for 8 years - unpaid. I have started the first Neighborhood for-profit
development corp. in the city which is currently completing the new Cafe Potage on Wayne Avenue- and did the
marketing video "South Park Soliloquy" for the neighborhood on a shoestring budget.
I am used to being attacked for all kinds of things, but to be told I don't know "what is really going on in
the city" is laughable. I even published an online 'zine for 2 years about what was going on in the city.

Go out and
speak to the CDC's and NDC's, these are all Non-Profit Organizations,
organized by neighborhoods and churches, and they are doing wonderful

All of which is unfortunately necessary, because we have an undesirable business environment. Between
bureaucracy, meddling, high taxes, and uncooperative banks- we drive people to the suburbs.
I appreciate your input- and tried to answer as best I could. I hope I can count on your support Nov. 2nd.


Your 10 point plan is a model for us all.

However, once elected, how can you ever hope to get any reforms through the
commission? You are going to need at least 3 or 4 votes on any given issue,
and your fellow commissioners are going to vote against any solution you
bring to the table just because you are who you are. How will you overcome
the personal vendettas that I see as the biggest stumbling block to your

- Johnny Harshbarger

Thanks for the praise of the 10 point plan.

I can work with Mary Wiseman and Dean Lovelace. Lloyd Lewis will vote based on what Mary does. Even the Mayor and I agree on some things (not giving $750,000 for a pizzaria!). Bootsie has voted with Turner so many times over the last year- that they would need my vote, making for interesting new discussions. I see the commission much different with a true independent voice - something that has been sorely missing. - David

No profanity, no comments without signatures (this isn't speak-up)

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updated 30 Sep 1999

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