Friday, June 5, 2009

Dragging Down Dayton for Political Gain

Ellen Belcher penned a very prophetic column just before the NCR announcment:

Dragging Down Dayton Gets the Region Nowhere

This passage was particularly good:

Here’s the thing, though. The animus toward Dayton — covert and overt, conscious and unconscious — is poisonous.

Is anybody better off if — borrowing from the Rush Limbaugh school of politics — Dayton fails?

Ned Hill, an urban affairs professor at Cleveland State University, said that sourness about cities isn’t “just self-defeating. It’s self-fulfilling.

And one can see how this sour poison is working in the NCR argument. It's an excuse for various people with political axes to grind to attack the Democrats and the left in general and Rhine McLin in particular. So one has politically motivated Dayton bashing becuase its important for certain political agendas to drag down Dayton.

This is the case for any bad news on about Dayton. Is it raining today? It's that damn Mayor McHats fault. Dayton has gloomy winters? Rhine McLin should resign posthaste.

There are probably issues with McLins' leadership and Dayton governance. In fact this blog is critical of Rashad Young, the city manager who serves at the pleasure of the mayor and city commission. Yet the undercurrent of the critque is dominated by right wing ideology and a very thinly veiled racism. In fact racism is apparently a bigger deal here than people want to admit, and is behind the high degree of bile and venom to the anti-Dayton/anti-McLin remarks.

Of course if a white male Republican, say another Mike Turner, was mayor, or if a bunch of conservative Republicans controlled the city commission you'd hear nary a word. The reason why is the political agenda would be to minimize urban socioeconomic problems because the goal would be to make the conservatives look good.

And one would see attacks from the left and the Democrats, the way presumably anti-Perdue people posting on Atlanta-centric forums are minmizing NCR's economic impact or questioning if it was really worth the money Perdue paid them to move

So political obsession and partisanship screws up peoples minds, leading to a sort of low dishonesty.

Dayton was identified over a decade ago by urban affairs expert David Rusk as a city beyond the point of no return, so problems have been around for a long time now, beyond the ability of Republican Mike Turner or Democrat Rhine McLin to addresss in any substantive way.

And a problematic Dayton is due to the people who live there...and here...as it's due to the suburbanites anti-urban, racist, classist and fearful attitudeds toward the city. This has led suburbanites to essentially cede the city to the underclass, which is white trash as much as it's black ghetto.

The result is the city is a socioeconomic bantustan, a behavorial sink ruled by a minority woman, who then becomes the target of potshots by suburbanites who helped create and enforce the conditions of economic & social exclusion, the consequences of which become ammunition for the ongoing dragging down of Dayton.

This place is really sick, and perhaps Nuti saw that after he became CEO of NCR, saying 'no thanks' to the bad karma that is Dayton and Vicinity.














14 comments:

Holly said...

Elephant in the room, identified:

And a problematic Dayton is due to the people who live there...and here...as it's due to the suburbanites anti-urban, racist, classist and fearful attitudeds toward the city. This has led suburbanites to essentially cede the city to the underclass, which is white trash as much as it's black ghetto.

AMEN.

"TheDonald" said...

Harsh, and exceptionally well stated.

If I have bile against Dayton it's the depths to which it's sunk from its heights. Nothing at all partisan about it.

The pattern in place now is that no jobs and no opportunity creates bitter, negative people. And the negativity feeds on itself, resulting in even fewer jobs and opportunity.

Is a grognard who has hung around here for decades, like me, and who bitches about the downfall, part of the problem? Or is someone like me doing good by challenging lazy and crappy people to do better? I really hope, the latter.

Woodrowfan said...

So, what's left that Dayton can build on? They've got two good universities (UD and WSU) and Wright Pat next door. Anything else? GM built there because innovation was already present in Dayton in the form of people like Charles Kettering.

Anonymous said...

That's right. Dayton has succumbed to a vast right-wing conspiracy. I can see the fifth collumist marching up Wayne Avenue at this very moment!

Get over it and get on with your lives.

metromark said...

"TheDonald" said: "Is a grognard who has hung around here for decades, like me, and who bitches about the downfall, part of the problem?"

I'm afraid so. Complaining and criticizing without offering a positive program or actions in return is counterproductive and poisonous.

metromark said...

Jeffrey said: "This place is really sick, and perhaps Nuti saw that after he became CEO of NCR, saying 'no thanks' to the bad karma that is Dayton and Vicinity."

Perhaps; but Nuti's predecessor, Mark Hurd, who actually lived in the community, was very supportive and was in negotiation to expand NCR's footprint in the Dayton area. It's very difficult for someone to guage the tenor of a community if they never live here . . . however, if one were to make an opinion based largely on the venom that is spewed by some, then I guess one could come to that conclusion. Thus, it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy which is what Ellen Belcher's editorial was about.

Jefferey said...

"TheDonald" said: "Is a grognard who has hung around here for decades, like me, and who bitches about the downfall, part of the problem?"

What you post here and at Urban Ohio confirms some of my personal impressions of Daytonians...in that you note some of the same things that I've experienced or noted. I used to discount my opinions as "just me", not having any greater validity, until I started reading your things. Then I felt a bit of confirmation that I wasn't just some lone malcontent.

@@@@

"I'm afraid so. Complaining and criticizing without offering a positive program or actions in return is counterproductive and poisonous."


One could post positive programs or actions every week, and it would be as pointless as doing an anti-Dayton flame every week. The reason why is the only proposals with validity are those coming from people with money, power, or access to money or power. That's who has a voice on these issues. Lone bloggers or internet commentators have no voice nor clout.

This is why I try to confine this blog to descriptive stuff and some commentary.

Jefferey said...

"So, what's left that Dayton can build on? They've got two good universities (UD and WSU) and Wright Pat next door. Anything else?"

There was some good things in the Dayton paper over the weekend on the topic. A lot having to do with small and midsized business and related topics. A point is that there are a lot of little-known businessess here that are growing or becoming the private sector job base. This has long been the case with the tool & die industry, and this applies to other types of business, too.

The paper also did an article on major employers, which seem to be "Mil & Med"..the military sector and medical employment.

My own look at some economic stats at the census website shows medical & social services as the top employer here, and growing.

"TheDonald" said...

I've thought some about the NCR loss over the weekend.

The "problem" is that Dayton and areas like it ascended at the dawn of the modern industrial age, at a point in history when a midwestern location wasn't considered a liability but simply part of a great and growing nation, and access to venture capital wasn't the driving force behind significant new business. In other words in 1900 or so a man like John Patterson really could make a difference and build something great, in Dayton. Today, if you're not in the sunbelt, you're ghetto and you're crap, and you need VC backing to launch a business above the lemonade stand level. In short, Dayton and areas like it are utterly unfashionable and repulsive in marketing terms for industries like high tech, electronics and software, and medium sized rust belt cities like Dayton generally have no access to large amounts of capital. Sic: nobody believes in us, and our location "sucks" just because it's where it is.

So, no matter how far Dayton has fallen, in practical terms there is absolutely no purpose to reflecting on how it happened or how to prevent it from happening again. If Lexis left Dayton (after gutting and sending every conceivable IT job to India's "superior" workforce) that is just the way things are done today.

What I think really needs to happen is that Dayton needs to leverage its current strengths - including lots of smart and chronically underemployed people in the area, good natural resources like water and moderate climate, and access to great universities, and attract all new businesses that are *not* in what is now "traditional" high tech.

In other words, in order for Dayton to not turn into a crappy and depressing low density slum like Middletown, we desperately need to redefine ourselves in categories that don't even exist or are nascent right now. Since the rest of the country, and current business interests, have been defining us, against our wishes, for decades. "Just a small rustbelt city doomed to failure" is what the press says.

Greg Hunter said...

Great post! Yes, you can talk 'til your blue in the face but none of it will be done. Has anybody heard a word from Phil Parker?

Austin Thompson said...

You make a very accurate description of right-wing posturing in the midst of increased pain among Dayton's poor and working class families.

But the reality is that the political right in Dayton, like elsewhere around the country are aligned with the interest of big business no matter what the consequences may be for ordinary folks. The problem here is that capital will flee in order to make more profits, whether that means moving to to a developing country or an anti-union, regressive tax policy state like Georgia.

Jefferey said...

"But the reality is that the political right in Dayton, like elsewhere around the country are aligned with the interest of big business no matter what the consequences may be for ordinary folks."


Case in point being the schadenfreude when Moraine Assembly closed down. The political right was happy to see union workers lose their jobs.

"TheDonald" said...

"The political right was happy to see union workers lose their jobs."

Wow. Do you have a citation for that? That's about as self-destructive as it gets...

Geoff said...

"The political right was happy to see union workers lose their jobs."

Let's look at the reality of that statement, shall we? No one from that community (Left or Right-wing) was "happy" to see jobs leave in such a devastating way. Large-scale layoffs hurt small non-union employers just as much as the union membership.

Such statements serve only to divide a community and the nation. Us -vs- them allows leaders on both sides to ignore the real issues at hand to further their own personal financial interests.

Personally, I was union for several years, but have been non-union for the past decade or so. I see the labor issue as a tertiary issue at best in Dayton. Issue one has to be injecting education and experience into the City Manager, City Planner and the Mayor’s Office.