The Trap Behind the Deal: Danielle Richardson standing against a tide of corruption

Danielle Richardson has been leading the way to save the Old Union School within the Lakota school district. She led a group of protestors to the school board meeting on Monday June 8, 2015 to stop the giveaway the district is attempting to create with a Boys and Girls Club offering free babysitting service to area tax payers. The deal is essentially a levy building consensus exercise designed to pull together the business community with the progressive aims of the government school. What is being destroyed in the process is a bit of history within West Chester, Ohio and the efforts of the tax payers at maintaining sanity from the runaway costs of the Lakota school system—for which they are paving the way for yet another tax increase.

Karen Mantia the superintendent of Lakota is up for a contract renewal, which should be allowed to expire and part ways because of her ineffectiveness from a community perspective. Under her watch taxes have gone up and so have her labor costs not resulting in an increase in services offered to the community. She is everything that people like me said she would be at the very beginning. Lakota during the levy fights have since yielded to the labor union strategy of pay for play programs and reduced programs putting as a priority their employees over the kids who attend resulting in a failure that is only hidden by the benefits of an affluent district. She has ridden the coat tails of that success and sought wherever possible to utilize progressive consensus building mechanisms like the Community Conversation program which costs $40K per year to do nothing but change people’s minds about increased property taxes. The other strategy utilized by her has been to make alliances with former opponents from No Lakota Levy to quiet them during upcoming levies, which is what the Old Union School giveaway is all about.image

Danielle’s protestors had a hardy presence even though it will fall on deaf ears, because Lakota has no other management option but to ask for more money and make deals to gain public support for tax increases. By giving away the Old Union School to development, the cost of the tax increases for the property owners involved are marginalized and everyone gets to walk away from the deal thinking they did something nice for kids—and everyone sleeps well at night with that belief. But that’s not the end of the story for everyone else not associated with the deal—and that’s the issue of concern.

Through an alliance with the Community Foundation Lakota has one of its largest levy cheerleaders which penetrate the heart of the GOP community within Butler County. In this way Mantia and her consensus builders within the Lakota organization gets the Republican Party to support unionized labor which indirectly works against them politically with the amount of PAC money that is generated through union dues. The Old Union School deal is something more reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s backroom deals with Uranium One. It pulls local Republicans in on a trap set by her, using children as bait, to attack their financial base indirectly with union fees. It marginalizes their protests in public because they are all in on the deal, and moves them politically to the left neutralizing their future opposition when tax increases are proposed.

Lakota is too far committed to this Old Union School deal to listen to protestors now. Their goal is not to work with the local GOP as Mantia is a former school teacher herself—they are a progressive advocate intent to water down the GOP into a more centralist organization which has shown itself to be the case over the last four years. Mantia’s not alone of course; the woman who hired her was Lynda O’Connor who openly befriended many of the No Lakota Levy people in 2012 to the point where we supported her for re-election. She’s now the president of the school board and has helped pull all these elements together with consensus building of her own.   People who would normally disagree politically play ball because they want a piece of the pie that this Lakota team helped build. In this case the Lakota alliance with the Community Foundation and area developers whom I worked with in the past are the primary players.  I along with a few others exposed this ill begotten alliance when we started our own foundation to compete with the Community Foundation which resulted in a violent backlash toward myself—which has been well documented—much of it led by the same person who is advocating on behalf of this Boys and Girls Club project. The evidence had been emerging for quite some time, so we flushed it out, and not everyone had the courage to stand up to it. In the end, there were a lot of people who quietly showed me their support, but really in the end just like Danielle Richardson is experiencing now—it’s a lonely road that only one or two people at any given time have the guts to expose. Danielle’s protest is more of an exposure of this vile behavior than a hope for change. The silence and slander from Lakota is the confirmation of her validity because it’s the only play they have in the matter. The slander doesn’t always come from direct sources, but in the roundabout ways within party politics.image

But it should never be taken for granted that the overall goal of the Old Union School deal is to weaken the grip of the GOP, gain support for a future tax increase, and offer free babysitting services to already addicted parents who cannot afford to put their children in daycare so both parents can work and pay for the large mortgages it takes to live within Liberty/West Chester Townships. It is far cheaper to pay the taxes for those levy addicts than the yearly daycare costs—and that is at the heart of the entire strategy which pulls all these parties into supporting indirectly radical labor union intentions dedicated to progressive politics—anti GOP strategies. So while the Old Union School demolition and rebuilding of a new Boys and Girls Club might give local developers some much-needed work, the gains are short-term exclusively but the impact to the GOP down the road is gradual erosion of its small government platform.

As much as area Republicans might want to chastise Richardson for being a radical activist and a say-no-to-anything and everything related to progress type, she is more Republican than a whole room full of GOP leaders—and she’s not even a hard-core Republican. She’s a libertarian in almost every way yet her intentions and goals benefit the GOP far more than Todd Hall’s grand unification of the GOP strategy of pushing out all the radicals and pulling in all the business types under the same tent. Because when it comes to levy time, those who took the deal won’t be able to stand against the tax increase, and Lakota knows that. That’s the main objective of the Old Union School demolition and property giveaway. It’s a flytrap for insurgents who have too high a profile to stand honestly against the corruption as Danielle Richardson is. And for her, it’s going to be a lonely road.

If you want to join her you can at the following link:

As for fans of Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom who are distraught that No Lakota Levy members are involved in the Old Union School deal, do not fret. The resistance to the future tax increases is alive and well, and more vibrant than it was even four years ago when No Lakota Levy was in its prime. Things evolve and new faces emerge as other faces fade off under the pressure and make deals. People like Danielle Richardson will be a part of those future fights which of course begins with events like this one centering on the Old Union School. I wonder what Lakota will do when they can’t answer the questions that Danielle brings up……………..they certainly can’t call her a sexist. Ummmmmm, that might be a difficult problem for them to overcome. What’s the old term……………………….”what comes around……………goes……………..”

Rich Hoffman


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