Issue 2 opponents, supporters face off in Dayton

Published: Thursday, October 12, 2017 @ 9:17 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 12, 2017 @ 9:15 PM


            A public forum on state Issue 2 was held Thursday night at Sinclair College. Dale Butland (left) with the anti issue 2 campaign makes an opening statement at the start of a forum. Matt Borges and Yvonne Curington, with the pro issue 2 campaign, are seated at the table. The forum was hosted by the Dayton Daily News, WHIO-TV, WHIO Radio, Sinclair and the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area. LISA POWELL / STAFF
A public forum on state Issue 2 was held Thursday night at Sinclair College. Dale Butland (left) with the anti issue 2 campaign makes an opening statement at the start of a forum. Matt Borges and Yvonne Curington, with the pro issue 2 campaign, are seated at the table. The forum was hosted by the Dayton Daily News, WHIO-TV, WHIO Radio, Sinclair and the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area. LISA POWELL / STAFF

State Issue 2 supporters and opponents came to Dayton on Thursday night to trade statistics, stories and barbs — and repeatedly accused the other side of distorting the facts and making bogus claims or promises.

The exchanges during a public forum about Issue 2 at Sinclair College featured a lively and combative debate focused primarily on whether the ballot initiative would actually lower drug prices in the state.

Issue 2: Complete coverage, past stories, video and more

Foes and supporters of Issue 2 agree that there is widespread confusion about the initiative among voters, but they blame one another for causing it by running deceptive campaigns.

“This is a really important issue … but I think it’s an issue that is about as clear as mud for most of us, so we’re hoping to clarify some things this evening,” said WHIO Radio news director Brittany Otto, who moderated the panel discussion.

The forum was hosted by WHIO Radio, the Dayton Daily News, WHIO-TV, Sinclair and the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area.

Dayton Daily News reporter Katie Wedell and WHIO-TV anchor James Brown selected questions for the panel submitted by audience members and people who listened or watched the discussion at home.

Thursday’s forum was broadcast live on WHIO Radio and online at DaytonDailyNews.com and WHIO.com.

Based on questions from listeners, viewers and audience members, many people want to know if Issue 2 truly would save the state and taxpayers money and how it would impact consumers who do not receive medications through state programs.

Panelists, however, gave very different answers about what will happen if the ballot measure passes on Nov. 7.

Issue 2 would save the state and Ohio taxpayers $400 million each year by requiring it to pay no more for prescription drugs than the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, said Matt Borges, former Ohio GOP chairman and a representative from “Yes On Issue 2.”

The VA gets a 24 percent federally mandated discount on all drugs sold to the agency, and the state can get those savings, leaving more public funding for schools and other programs and could support tax relief for Ohioans, he said.

The passage also would “create immediate demand in the marketplace for prices to come down — for the federal government, other states and private entities as well,” Borges said.

“It lowers prices for everyone,” he said.

RELATED: Your questions answered on Issue 2

But Dale Butland, former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) and a representative of Vote No on Issue 2 campaign, said nearly every expert who has studied the ballot initiative has concluded that it will raise drug costs for most Ohioans while decreasing access to medications for vulnerable residents.

Butland said the two-thirds of Ohioans who do not get medications through state health insurance programs will not save “one penny” if Issue 2 passes, and they would likely see higher prices since drug companies will have to shift costs to these consumers.

Butland said Ohioans may be angered by rising drug prices but approving Issue 2 will not make medications any more affordable and could cost Ohioans millions of dollars more through higher prices.

“Yes, we all need access to affordable drugs, but Issue 2 isn’t the answer – it’s a prescription for disaster,” he said.

RELATED: What’s really going on with Issue 2?

Throughout the night, Borges and Butland took shots at each other and launched blistering attacks on the motivations of the other side’s campaign.

The drug companies spent $126 million dollars to defeat a similar ballot issue and California and have already spent more than $30 million on TV ads in Ohio to try to sink Issue 2, Borges said.

“You think it’s because they care about their patients? You think it’s because they are good people? Or do you think it’s because they care about protecting $711 billion worth of profits?” Borges said.

Greedy drug companies have rigged the system to charge the highest prices possible and avoid negotiations, Borges said, and they threaten to raise drug prices to punish Ohio if voters try to get a better deal on medications through this ballot issue.

But Borges “continues to trumpet this ridiculous and preposterous idea that Issue 2 is going to save the state $400 million” when the state budget director concluded Issue 2 won’t lead to savings, Butland said.

RELATED: Who is the man behind Issue 2?

Medicaid accounts for most of the state’s spending on medications, but it is an insurance program that pays pharmacies for prescription drugs, said John McCarthy, former Ohio Medicaid director who is a representative of the Vote No campaign.

Issue 2 does not force drug companies to sell those prescriptions to pharmacists at the lowest VA price — it says the state can’t pay more than the VA price, McCarthy said.

The state may not be able to purchase prescriptions at the VA prices, which would lead to less coverage for Medicaid recipients, opponents say.

UD, WSU, Sinclair and Clark State pledge to partner with Amazon

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 4:41 PM

In this Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, photo, an Amazon employee gives her dog a biscuit as the pair head into a company building, where dogs are welcome, in Seattle. Amazon says it received 238 proposals from cities and regions hoping to be the home of the company’s second headquarters. The online retailer kicked off its hunt for a second headquarters in September, promising to bring 50,000 new jobs. It will announce a decision sometime in 2018. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
In this Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, photo, an Amazon employee gives her dog a biscuit as the pair head into a company building, where dogs are welcome, in Seattle. Amazon says it received 238 proposals from cities and regions hoping to be the home of the company’s second headquarters. The online retailer kicked off its hunt for a second headquarters in September, promising to bring 50,000 new jobs. It will announce a decision sometime in 2018. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Four local colleges and universities have pledged to partner with Amazon as part of a regional effort to try to convince the company to build its second headquarters in southwest Ohio, according to documents obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

The presidents of the University of Dayton, Wright State University, Sinclair College and Clark State Community College signed a letter to Amazon president and CEO Jeff Bezos in support of the region’s bid for the company’s anticipated $5 billion investment.

Amazon today announced it received 238 proposals from cities, jurisdictions and others from across North America that want the online retailer’s second home, called HQ2.

RELATED: Dayton competes with 237 others for Amazon’s HQ2

The letter from the four schools says the Dayton region has 23 colleges and universities, including “some of the best” in the world.

Sinclair, Clark State, UD and WSU collaborate to benefit the region through education, training and workforce development programs, according to the letter.

More than 90 percent of the Dayton region’s largest employers work with educational institutions to develop their current and future workforces, and other important partners include Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Southern Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE) and Ohio Department of Higher Education, the letter states.

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In 2015 to 2016, SOCHE placed more than 15,000 students in internships across the region.

“Together, we partner with top thought leaders worldwide to provide innovative, world-class education to senior executives, emerging thought leaders and front-line supervisors and professionals,” the letter reads. “We absolutely pledge to do the same for Amazon.”

RELATED: Dayton, Cincy work together to try to lure Amazon’s $5B headquarters

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein said the city was part of a regional project proposal led by the Dayton Development Coalition, and the city collaborated with Cincinnati by sharing data that she says highlights the strengths of the combined cities.

But Dayton Development Coalition President and CEO Jeff Hoagland sent a letter to the coalition’s board of trustees earlier this month clarifying that Dayton and Cincinnati did not submit a joint proposal, according to a copy of the correspondence obtained by this newspaper.

He said the mayors of Dayton and Cincinnati discussed the possibility of a joint proposal, but development leaders ultimately decided to submit separate proposals for each region, though they did work collaboratively.

Hoagland said the Dayton region’s proposal notes Dayton’s position as the mid-point between Cincinnati and Columbus and the “rich resources” the three markets offer.

Dayton competes with 237 others for Amazon’s HQ2

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 11:08 AM


            Dayton is one of 238 areas seeking the next Amazon headquarters. STAFF
Dayton is one of 238 areas seeking the next Amazon headquarters. STAFF

Amazon this morning announced it has received 238 proposals from cities, jurisdictions and other partners across North America attempting to land Amazon’s second headquarters.

The Dayton region submitted a proposal. Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and other Ohio communities did the same.

The city of Dayton was part of a regional project proposal led by the Dayton Development Coalition, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

RELATED: Dayton, Cincy work together to try to lure Amazon’s $5B headquarters

The proposal outlined several potential sites in the region for Amazon to consider, and the city also collaborated with Cincinnati on its proposal by sharing data highlighting the strengths of the Dayton-Cincinnati region, Dickstein said.

The Dayton Development Coalition declined to comment for this article, citing a “confidentiality agreement” with its clients.

Dayton employee fired for moonlighting gets job back

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 12:17 PM

Some City of Dayton workers might have to quit 2nd jobs

The city of Dayton must reinstate an employee it fired after the city alleged she worked a second job in conflict with her public employment and violated other personnel policies.

In its disciplinary proceedings, the city found Roberta Beyer failed to obtain permission from management before working a second job it says was incompatible with her position as a recreation facility specialist at the Dayton Convention Center.

Roberta Beyer was fired from her job at the Dayton Convention Center. But she won her job back on appeal. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF(Staff Writer)

Beyer, who was fired in February, also was found by the city of being unprofessional or rude to a client and requiring the city to pay overtime to another worker for a scheduling decision she made, city records said.

RELATED: City of Dayton employees now must report moonlighting

But city policy did not clearly specify when employees were supposed to notify management about their outside employment or what constituted a conflict of interest or prohibited employment, according to the Civil Service Board’s decision ordering Beyer’s discharge be reduced to an unpaid suspension.

Earlier this year, the city updated its policies to require all employees to seek departmental approval before seeking outside employment, and several employees have been notified their second jobs are in conflict with their city responsibilities.

Beyer has worked with the city as a recreation facility specialist at the Dayton Convention Center since 2010. She was first hired by the city in 1997.

RELATED: Dayton employee accused of metal theft wins job back

Beyer’s attorney declined to comment for this article. We have contacted the city of Dayton and will update this story when we receive a response.

In February, the city fired Beyer after ruling she violated three of its personnel policies and procedures.

The city said an investigation found that she did not get permission from management before working for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, a union representing technicians, artists and crafts persons in the entertainment industry.

She did work at various locations, including at the Wright State Nutter Center and Schuster Center.

The city said the employment interfered with the performance of her work responsibilities at the convention center.

The city also concluded she scheduled an employee to work four hours of overtime and acted unprofessionally toward a client last November.

Beyer had “extensive” personal problems when she acted unprofessionally and should have taken the day off or should have been told to go home, the civil service board decision states.

But the Civil Service Board ruled against city claims that she was incompetent, inefficient or neglected duty.

The board, however, found Beyer neglected her duty to be fiscally responsible by scheduling the employee to work overtime, but they said the error did not merit her being fired.

The board also ruled that she did not violate the city’s code of ethics or personnel policies related to her outside job.

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Since 1992, city code has prohibited employees from engaging in incompatible employment, but it does not define or provide examples of what is prohibited by the charter or interferes with workers’ government job responsibilities, the board said.

The city in 2012 updated its policy to say that employees cannot have other jobs that hurt the quality or quantity of their job responsibilities or hold jobs that conflict with their “duties, obligations and loyalties” to the city.

Employees needed management approval when the supplemental employment was related to their city of Dayton positions, but employees were left to “police themselves,” and Beyer did not believe her other job conflicted with her city employment or required approval by her department’s director, the board said.

“Finally, there was no convincing evidence that appellant’s supplemental employment adversely affected her work for the city of Dayton,” the board’s decision states.

MORE: Popular tax incentives could be history: What it would mean for Dayton

In recent months, the city has issued letters to employees about the revised supplemental employment policy, and employees were required to submit requests to engage in additional work, city spokeswoman Toni Bankston said last month.

The city now has an ethics committee that considers requests for outside employment from city employees, and 11 requests went before the committee, Bankston told this newspaper last month.

Records obtained by this news organization indicate that three members of the Dayton Fire Department in September were told that their outside employment requests conflict with the their city positions.

They were told they would “forfeit their employment with the city” if they chose to engage in that supplemental work.

Greene County man targeted in raid sued federal government twice

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 6:24 PM

JOEL MONTGOMERY
JOEL MONTGOMERY

The Greene County man whose house was raided by law enforcement for the second time in two years Thursday morning is a former Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employee who twice sued the federal government, according to court documents.

RELATED: Property owner arrest prompts FBI search warrant in Greene County

Both suits ended with a stipulation of dismissal filed in August 2014, more than a year before a 2015 raid at Joel B. Montgomery’s Spring Valley home. That search revealed more than 170 weapons, some being fully automatic, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. No federal criminal charges show up in publicly-available online federal court records.

RELATED: Dozens of firearms seized in Greene County 

This news organization has attempted to reach the lawyers involved in Montgomery’s lawsuits.

Montgomery, 48, sued the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Air Force, the Air Force’s office of special investigation and some individuals alleging unlawful electronic surveillance of him, according to a complaint filed in 2013 in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.

In that lawsuit, Montgomery said he found a GPS device underneath his vehicle, a camera in the WPAFB office in which he worked and a bug in his home, all from 2006 to 2007. At the time, Montgomery said he had certain security clearance and worked for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) and at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), according to the complaint.

In 2007, Montgomery sued General Dynamics, the U.S. Dept. of Defense, the Air Force and an individual for slanderous material that caused him to lose his job and for his company, M and M Aviation, to lose its Air Force contract dealing with “Tactical and Theater Missile Warning Systems,” according to that complaint.

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Montgomery’s suit said that from 2002 to 2004 he was a program manager in charge of the Electro-Optical Materials Intelligence Group of GDAIS, a Dept. of Defense contractor. The complaint said that because of derogatory information, Montgomery was placed on leave without pay and later terminated.