Thursday, March 30, 2006
On May 2nd, the people of Portsmouth should VOTE NO on converting Marting’s department store into a city building because almost everything associated with the Marting deal has been fraudulent. The deal was put together secretly and illegally by Portsmouth lawyer and political boss Clayton Johnson. Judge Marshall invalidated the sale of the building to the city on the grounds that the way the sale was “negotiated” violated Ohio’s sunshine laws, but the new corrupt Mayor and city council turned around and apparently secretly worked out another deal with Johnson that made the city the owner of the Marting building once again.
The Marting building is like the Old Maid in the card game. In that game, the player who ends up with the Old Maid card (the last queen) loses the game. The one who ends up with the Marting building loses our game because the Marting building is virtually worthless. Back when he was still capable of being honest on the subject of the Marting building, councilman Marty Mohr told a Columbus Dispatch reporter (a reporter Clayton Johnson would not talk to), “It ain’t worth anything.” Mohr was right. It will take many millions of public dollars, far more than the Mayor is willing to admit, to convert this streetwalker of a building into a city hall, millions of dollars that would be better spent on a new state-of-the-art structure, built from the ground up, which is what taxpayers and those city employees who are honest deserve.
Mayor Kalb and the city council are trying to bail out Johnson and the Marting Foundation at the taxpayers’ expense. Count on it, the Portsmouth Daily Times, the Community Common, and station WNXT, and its SOGP motor-mouth Steve Hayes, will urge citizens to vote for the Marting fraud, just as they urged voters to keep Mayor Bauer in office. Mayor Bauer was thrown out of office because of the Marting fraud, and the Marting building never should have been repurchased by the city. But since the city has repurchased it, it would only be sending good money after bad to try to hide the indisputable fact that the Marting building is approaching its 124th (!) birthday, and that behind the faux-brick curtain wall that was added forty years ago is an Old Maid who should be allowed to die with dignity instead of being preserved, like a living mummy, at the cost of many millions of public funds.
I asked Mayor Kalb at a public meeting how old the Marting's building was, and he said he didn't know. No one is more committed than him to converting the building to a city hall, and he doesn't know, or seem to care, how old it is. Kalb appears to be brainwashed about Marting's, so it would not make any difference how old it is or how many millions the conversion is going to cost. His critics believe he really doesn't have a handle on finances generally, not just the cost of the Marting's deal. He may suffer from what could be called a lottery mentality. He would like to see gambling come to Portsmouth so he wouldn't have to drive over to Kentucky.
The above photo shows the 1883 Marting's building at 515 Chillicothe St. with the 1909 facade. The building at the extreme right became part of Marting's as it expanded. Photo appears to be late 1940s.
The original Marting building was built in 1883. Marting's subsequently expanded by acquiring the buildings north and west of it. I don’t know when those other buildings were erected, but they are about the same vintage as the original Marting’s building and might even be older. A new façade was added to those old buildings in 1909, which gave an appearance of architectural unity to buildings that originally had little in common, architecturally speaking. But that 1909 façade in no way strengthened the buildings: it just made them look a little less older, a little more elegant.
The year 1909 was engraved at the top of the original Marting building when the new façade was added. This led to the erroneous impression that there is only one Marting building and that it was erected in 1909. There were a couple of buildings, which were already a quarter of century old, hiding behind the 1909 façade. Then around 1964 what architects call a curtain wall was erected, covering up the 1909 façade.
So we have a curtain wall covering up a façade covering up a building. A curtain wall can be made of brick, steel, glass, a composite material. A curtain wall is not weight bearing; it does not support the building. Usually a curtain wall is for a decorative or cosmetic purpose, to change the appearance of a building or to hide its age or unattractive and run-down condition.
Marting's 2005: Portsmouth's Bad Dream
Who knows what architectural decay lurks behind the curtain wall of the Marting building? We don’t know what the Marting building looks like anymore than we know what Florida’s Katherine Harris looks like behind her notorious makeup. We don’t know because we can’t peek behind the pancake. Florida’s unhappy Republican Party appears to be stuck with Harris as its candidate for the U.S. Senate, and are Florida Republicans ever regretting it, as we will regret being stuck with the Marting building as our city building.
Phyllis Diller: As Many Facelifts as Marting's
What does the 1909 façade of the Marting building really look like forty years after the curtain wall was applied? The Hollywood star Rita Hayworth used to say that men went to bed with her and were surprised the next morning to wake up with Margarita Carmen Cansino (her real name.) With the Marting building, the city of Portsmouth may think it’s going to bed with Rita Hayworth, but it will wake up not with Margarita Carmen Cansino but with Phyllis Diller. If this latest renovation goes forward, the Marting building will have had as many facelifts as Diller: four, and counting.
The Marting fraud is so emblematic of Portsmouth’s problems: underhanded politicians and unscrupulous SOGP characters putting on a front, pretending to be virtuous and civic-minded, hiding behind the flag and the cross, treating the Marting building as a kind of shrine to Portsmouth’s romanticized past. Long after the last rich white trash has retired to Hilton Head, the people of Portsmouth will have to live with the Marting building, as though being married to a mummy.
We only have to view the Marting building from behind to know who or what we are going to bed with, and if we do end up with Marting’s we should not blame it on the pimps in the Municipal building just because they are the sleazy characters who hustled us. We have a chance on May 2 to VOTE NO to the prostitution of local government by VOTING NO on the Marting referendum.
Marting building from rear: 2006
(For a complete time-line of the Marting's scam, go to Teresa Mollette's excellent website.)
Sunday, March 26, 2006
The First Commandment of Portsmouth’s over-privileged is “Local government shall not construct a new public building when a doctor, lawyer or businessman has a worthless old building that can be turned into a public building at great public expense.”
Here are five recent examples of the First Commandment at work:
(1) First Ward councilman John Thatcher and his wife, a former trustee of Shawnee State U., owned an unoccupied old house on Franklin Blvd that they had trouble selling in Portsmouth’s sluggish real estate market. The solution? They sold it, for much more than market value, to SSU as a “temporary” house for the SSU president. When the temporary president’s house was later sold, to a doctor, SSU and the tax-payers of Ohio took a $50,000 loss, not counting the furnishings and redecoration and the loss of taxes for the years the house was off the tax rolls.
(2) A doctor had an unoccupied aging Camelot Drive house, with serious structural problems, which he was having trouble selling in Portsmouth’s chronically sluggish real estate market. The solution? He sold it to Shawnee State U. at an inflated price as the permanent home for the president of SSU, even though the house is far from campus, has inadequate parking space, requires large expenditures for repairs and refurbishing, and is unstably situated on the side of a hill down which it is inclined slowly to slip. The sale was “negotiated” by the chair of the SSU board of trustees, George Clayton.
(3) Herbert Singer, an absentee landlord, living in Los Angeles, had an unoccupied building on Washington St., the former Adelphia building, on which he owed back taxes. The prospects of any business wanting to rent or buy that property were very remote. The solution? He got the city to accept the worthless Washington St. building as the next headquarters for the Portsmouth Police Dept. That way the absentee landlord in L.A. would not be responsible for real estate taxes, past and future, and he could claim a tax write off. Neil Hatcher, the absentee landlord’s agent, would get his cut. Chief Horner, always willing to play ball in a crooked game, readily agreed to this arrangement.
(4) George Clayton’s Kenrick’s catalogue store on Second St. went belly up when the Grant Bridge went down, and he was stuck with an old, empty building that he had no hope of renting or selling but still had to pay taxes on. The solution? With his political connections, he unloaded it on the county, which obtained it with pork provided by Rep. Rob Porkman and the Dept. of Agriculture. The building, on which millions have now been spent, is named The Welcome Center, but tourists complain it is seldom open and when it is it is unwelcoming. What it really is is the headquarters for the Southern Ohio Growth Partnership and the illegitimate and ugly architectural offspring of the marriage of pork and political corruption.
(5) The Marting Foundation, a speciously philanthropic front for Portsmouth’s boss, Clayton Johnson, a cousin of George Clayton, had a large white elephant on its hand: the empty Marting building, a former department store, at the corner of Sixth and Chillicothe St. The problem is a familiar one in Portsmouth: the property is unsellable and unrentable but the taxes on it still have to be paid. “It ain’t worth anything,” as councilman Mohr told a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch. The solution? Get the city to buy it for nearly $2 million and convert the now 124-year-old department store into a municipal building. The city bought it, at the inflated price, but the sale was ruled invalid by the courts. Then the Marting Foundation arranged a fall-back deal whereby the city would keep possession of the building, provided the city met certain conditions laid down by the Foundation. Imagine a con artist dictating the terms under which he will return the money he has fraudulently obtained. Like the Old Maid in the card game, the Marting building is last thing the Foundation wanted to end up in its hands. If it gets approval in a special referendum that will take place on May 2, our corrupt city government plans to go ahead and convert the former department store to a municipal building.
What these five examples demonstrate is how Portsmouth’s over-privileged classes faithfully adhere to the First Commandment: “Local government shall not construct a new public building when a doctor, lawyer or businessman has a worthless old building that can be turned into a public building at great public expense.”
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
City of Portsmouth Ordinance 941.04, dealing with the “DISPOSAL OF REFUSE AND GARBAGE GENERALLY,” states that “(a) No person, firm or corporation other than the Director of Service or his authorized
agent, who holds a lawful contract with this City shall collect, remove, transport or dispose of residential garbage and refuse within this City.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to dump or cause to be dumped any garbage, refuse, litter, junk, appliances, equipment, cans, bottles, paper, lumber, trees, limbs, brush, or parts thereof anywhere in the incorporated area of the City except as may be permitted by City ordinance or at the solid waste transfer station owned by the City.”
Portsmouth real estate developer and SOGP member Neal Hatcher has sunk, or dug, to a new low. His workmen were recently caught trying to bury trash at the corner of Fourth and Waller St. The trash, which was trucked in from some other location, didn’t look like poor trash. It looked like rich white trash, with discarded children’s toys – a cart, a bike, a football – and mystery trash in black plastic bags.
Fourth and Waller is the site of one of the many Shawnee State University dormitories Hatcher is building in what is called sarcastically “Hatcherville” by those residents who have not yet been driven out of the neighborhood. Those who have been driven out are said to have been “Hatchered.”
Joe Perry: Refuses to be “Hatchered”
One of those residents of Hatcherville who has refused to be Hatchered is Joe Perry, a young African-American property owner who refused to let Hatcher intimidate him. Perry’s aunt is the celebrated soprano Kathleen Battle, who has publicly come to his defense in his struggle against Hatcher’s bullying and bulldozing tactics. I chronicled her support of her nephew in a blog “Battle in the Fray.”
Hatcher has an ongoing risk-free sweetheart dormitory deal with Shawnee State University in which the state of Ohio takes most of the risk and Hatcher most of the profits. The public knew very little about the details of these sweetheart deals until I dug up public documents through the so-called Sunshine laws. I have written several blogs on Hatcher’s most-favored-developer status in our city.
Don’t expect Portsmouth’s daily newspaper the Daily Times to dig up anything because it is the lap dog for the Southern Ohio Growth Partnership (SOGP). When it comes to writing dirt about Portsmouth’s rich white trash, the lips of Daily Times’ reporters are sealed. Its publisher is a member of the SOGP, which is a private corporation and therefore not subject to Sunshine laws. SOGP members are reportedly sworn to secrecy, like the Skull and Bones society at Yale, to which two rich boys, George H. W. Bush and John Kerry, belonged. Bush Jr. had to settle for Skull and Bonehead.
Speaking of which, if you drive through hollows in southern Ohio you will see that some of the poor whites who live in them have a simple solution about what to do with trash. They dump it into the nearest gully and when that fills up they move on to the next gully. Hatcher apparently thought his most-favored-developer status gave him the right to bury trash at the sites of his dormitories. He didn’t get away with burying trash on the corner of Fourth and Waller, however, because somebody in the neighborhood is reported to have made a phone call. Rather than risk prosecution and bad publicity (not in the Portsmouth Daily Times but in the Shawnee Sentinel), Hatcher is said to have come and ordered the trash removed.
The Hatcher trash incident can serve as a metaphor, because too much of local, state, and national government consists of covering up the illegal and unethical connections between business people and politicians, both of whom like to take cover behind flags and crosses. At the national level we have the widespread corruption resulting from the collusion between politicians and business lobbyists like Jack Abramof. At the state level, in Ohio, we have Representative Bob Ney facing indictment as the taker of Abramof’s bribes, and we have the exposure by the Toledo Blade of the coin-investment fraud perpetrated by a Republican fund-raiser with ties to Gov. Taft. In Portsmouth we have city government functioning as the tool of the SOGP, and we have venal university trustees and crooked city council members bailing out with public funds owners of distressed residential and commercial properties. A doctor’s house on Camelot Drive, far from the campus, with little parking space and with serious structural problems, was purchased as the official home of Shawnee State’s president. An empty department store on Second Street owned by one of Portsmouth’s over-privileged was converted with pork funds into a Welcome Center and a headquarters for the SOGP. And the empty 114 year-old Marting’s building will be converted at great public expense into Portsmouth’s “new” city hall unless the voters in May say no to a referendum that would give a go-ahead to the project.
One valuable tool the public uses to expose these real estate shenanigans are the so-called Sunshine laws, which enable private citizens to dig up documents that public officials would otherwise prefer never saw the light of day. Nobody dug deeper into the dirt than John Welton, aka Doug Deepe, who used the Sunshine laws to uncover levels of corruption and scandal that no one had plumbed before.
A nationwide Sunshine Week was held March 12-18. A Sunshine forum was held at Shawnee State University on March 13. Martin Susec, a representative from the state attorney general’s office, as well as state representative Todd Book, were part of the program. Councilman Bob Mollette and his wife Teresa were among those who were in attendance, because they have become leading proponents and users of the Sunshine laws. The Mollettes’ websites are devoted to making government transparent by making public documents available to researchers and bloggers.
It was Teresa Mollette who provided me with one of the photos Joe Perry took of Hatcher’s trash at the corner of Fourth and Waller. I decided to turn Perry's photo into Trash Art, which is a school of modern art that transforms refuse into something artistic. I turned Perry’s photograph of Hatcher’s trash into a semi-abstract composition that I named “Rich White Trash by Moonglow.” Since much of the covering up and the skullduggery takes place in the dark, I felt moonlight was appropriate.
“Rich White Trash by Moonglow”
Police chief Horner, Mayor Kalb, and the city council are doing their best to keep the public in the dark, which means returning to conducting public business in secret meetings. It was a series of secret meetings that led Judge Marshall to rule invalid the sale of the Marting building to the city. But with chutzpah that you have to be impressed with, Mayor Kalb, the city council , and Chief Horner are insisting that they have a right to conduct the secretive style of government that Judge Marshall ruled illegal.
Horner was snapping photos at the Sunshine forum at SSU and he has taken to snapping pictures of those who attend city council meetings, some of whom he accuses of being “domestic terrorists.” While Chief Horner’s campaign against drug dealers appears to be ineffective, his campaign of intimidation of concerned citizens who might request public documents from his department is chillingly effective. Like the record of his son’s drug convictions, which have been expunged from public records, and like the disbursements from a drug-funded police bank account, which he won’t give a public accounting of, there are some items he wants to cover up, like the trash at Fourth and Waller.
The attempt by Portsmouth politicians to make recalls more difficult, government more secretive, and pork more plentiful is being done on behalf of the rich white trash of the SOGP, which controls the city. No matter how you slice it, and where you bury it, that’s what it comes down to. If and when the voters cannot recall crooked public officials and do not have access to public documents, that will be a dark night indeed.
Friday, March 17, 2006
519 Third Street
In recent blogs, in “Grossly Misrepresented” and “Miserable Failures,” I made the case that, at this particular time, for those of us who live in the First Ward, in the city of Portsmouth, in the state of Ohio, in the United States of America, things could not be worse politically, considering who we have representing us as president, governor, congresswoman, mayor, and councilman. I want to say more, now, about Timothy Loper, the councilman in question. I will elaborate on what I had written about him in an earlier blog, “Lord, Help Us!” Rumors that Loper has recently undergone a religious conversion only adds to the eerie symmetry between the highest and the lowest, between the White House and the First Ward. All I can say is that when incompetence, criminality, and Pentecostalism combine, “Lord, help us!”
When I told an acquaintance whose opinion I respect that I was going to interview Loper, I was warned he was “worthless,” unable or unwilling to hold a job, and like other Lopers, prone to lawbreaking and violence. I knew that Carl Loper, a member of the Portsmouth Police Dept., had slain his estranged wife with a shotgun. I knew that Carl’s son, Zane Loper, a part-time policeman, had been convicted of sexually molesting retarded children at the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MRDD) center, and that he was serving a long prison term. Timothy Loper was not in their league, of course, but my acquaintance warned me that I and anyone else in the reform movement who helped him get elected would live to regret it.
In spite of these warnings, I interviewed Loper on the porch of his home on Madison Avenue on a humid afternoon. His wife came to the door once during the interview and one of them asked the other if the dog had been fed. They spoke like caring dog owners and like loving parents, which I'm sure they are. Loper told me of his difficulty in finding work in the
Only later did I learn that Loper himself had not been part of the recall movement. I recently talked to someone who had collected signatures in the First Ward for the recall of Sydnor. "How many signatures had Loper collected, I asked? I was told, "One!" While he did none of the work that made the recall vote on Sydnor possible, Loper offered himself as a recall candidate, much like someone who watches others plant and nurture a crop and then volunteers when it is ripe to harvest it, for himself.
It was a very close race, but Loper was finally declared the winner. But not long after he took his seat on the city council, he changed his tune and supported the Marting’s scam and voted with those other council members who are in the pocket of the SOGP, which controls
If I had checked out Loper’s rap sheet on the Portsmouth Municipal Court website, as Lee Scott was urging people in the recall movement to do, I might not have been so surprised at what a lowlife Loper showed himself to be. Among other things, his rap sheet reveals that he has a drinking-and-driving problem. He has been arrested for driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, driving with expired tags, and driving well over the speed limit. In May 1998, his traffic problems resulted in a thirty-day sentence in the county jail, which was suspended, but he was put on probation for a year.
If driving and drinking are a problem for Loper, so is handling money. In March 1995, he and his wife were taken into court and ordered to pay a
Those are the financial and personal difficulties Loper was in at the time he decided to run for public office, first as a recall candidate, in 2004, and then for a full term, in November 2005. It seems some people, when they fail at everything else, when they are desperate enough and have no where else to turn, turn to religion and to politics. To revise a famous observation of George Bernard Shaw: Those who can, do; those who can’t do anything else, run for public office, whether it’s for the presidency of the
The high school dropout who has trouble handling alcohol, automobiles, and money, found himself as a councilman with something other people finally were willing to pay for: his vote. He had found his calling. Like a surfer who takes somebody else's surfboard, he had ridden the recall wave into office and then had joined with those who want to make recalls even harder than they already are. Recalls are already harder, under the
Having been elected to the city council as a reform candidate in the special recall election of 2004, Loper was determined not to let his campaign promises and the city charter stand in his way of being reelected in November 2005. Since he was running unopposed, his chances of reelection looked good. There was one serious problem, however. Loper and his wife had moved out of the First Ward following the auctioning off of their
519 1/2 Third St.
There is a house in the First Ward at
The Scioto County Auditor lists
The Third St. house was built in 1900, as a private residence. At some point a shed in the rear and a narrow annex were added on the eastern side of the building. The auditor’s records suggest and others have told me that a shoe repair shop once occupied the narrow annex. The annex has been referred to more recently as a “storeroom,” and even more recently as the residence, or office, of Third Ward councilman Timothy Loper. There is an attempt to make it look like somebody lives at 519 and at
Whenever it was added, the white vinyl façade on the front lower half of the house, like the façade on the Marting’s building, is meant to hide its age. A photograph of the rear of the shingled house gives a more accurate indication of the decay – the loose shingles, the rotting gutters, the sagging frame. Judging by the exterior and especially interior condition of the house, it is very unlikely anyone lives there now. When anybody last actually lived in the house is not clear.
Having asserted that 519 ½ Third is Loper’s bonafide residence, Kuhn concluded the First Ward is where Loper is entitled to vote. “The standards employed by the Board of Elections to determine a person’s voting residence,” Kuhn wrote, “includes the provision that if the voter temporarily leaves the residence at which he is registered to vote, and intends to return, the voter is considered to be validly registered to vote at the address to which they intend to return.” The reason where Loper is legally qualified to vote is an important issue is that he could not continue to sit on the city council if his legal residence was no longer the First Ward.
Kuhn claimed last Oct. that Loper intended to renovate, but the only permit that has been issued for
In a notarized affidavit, Julie Stout testified “That Timothy Loper told me that his wife had no interest in moving back to the First Ward, and so he would find an apartment within the First Ward to fraudulently claim as his residence while continuing to reside at his current address outside the ward.” Stout also swore that Loper “hinted that money would not be an issue with him acquiring a new residence in the First Ward. I [Stout] asked him how he would get the money to get a new place that was better that the house on
The provision of the ORC that the city solicitor alluded to but, characteristically, did not specify in his 18 Oct. 2005 memo to the city council, was ORC 3503.02 (A). That provision states “That place shall be considered the residence of a person in which the person’s habitation is fixed and to which, whenever the person is absent, the person has the intention of returning.” This rule to allow someone to vote in a ward from which he or she is temporarily absent does not cover Loper’s case. Loper’s fixed place of habitation was
The issue of which ward Loper has the right to vote in is directly related to issue of whether he has the right to remain as councilman from the First Ward. If he does not have the right to vote in the First Ward, he does not have the right to serve as its councilman. If his primary residence is in the Sixth Ward, he is not qualified to remain on the city council. The Portsmouth City Charter (Section 3) states that “Any member of Council elected from a ward shall forfeit his office if he removes from said ward, and then Council shall at once fill the vacancy for the unexpired term.”
Kuhn’s claim that Loper’s living with his wife in the Sixth Ward is only temporary is something that Loper and his wife will have to swear to, because I have filed a formal challenge to the Board of Elections, asking them to investigate and hold a hearing on the matter. I believe the Board of Elections, at a minimum, has a responsibility to question Timothy and Teresa Loper to determine where they and their dog now live, and whether Loper, his wife, and his dog intend to settle permanently in that storage room at
Loper should not be allowed to continue to lie about his place of residence, because it makes a mockery of the Portsmouth City Charter, the Ohio Revised Code, and the spirit of honest democratic government. This shameful situation raises the question of whether
Think of 519 Third Street as the house where Portsmouth’s culture of prostitution is shamelessly practiced, as a kind of annex to the city council chambers, and when every church and building of notable architectural and historical importance in Portsmouth is torn down to make way for parking lots and shopping malls, let 519 Third St. remain, along with the Marting building, as a monument to the vices of our river city, so that a hundred years from now parents can take their children by it and say, “There, ninos, is the house of ill repute, where a gringo councilman claimed he lived, back in the days when criminals and corrupt politicians and developers controlled this city, and no one believed it could ever be any different.”
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Terrorism for Dummies (click)
When George W. Bush made his campaign appearance at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth on September 10, 2004, I was one of those peacefully demonstrating on campus against his administration and his policies. I held up a hand-lettered sign that read: BUSH: “A MISERABLE FAILURE.”
I was quoting a phrase Dick Gephardt had used to describe Bush's career. Referring to that phrase in The Atlantic Monthly, Jack Beatty had written, “With one phrase Dick Gephardt has defined the issue to be decided next November. Can a ‘miserable failure’ of a president win re-election? Bush's victory would testify to a civic failure more dangerous to the American future than any policies implemented or continued during a second Bush term. A majority would have demonstrated that democratic accountability is finished. That you can fail in everything and still be re-elected president.”
I and the other demonstrators had been corralled on a traffic island at the entrance of the university, surrounded by yellow police tape, as if we were at the scene of a crime or accident. As we would learn, we were being quarantined, so the dissent we represented could be confined and insulated from the president. We were not going to be allowed to pop Bush’s bubble. Most vehicular traffic coming from the north, down
Through the efforts of an electronic prankster, George Johnson, who wanted to break through the Bush Bubble, web surfers who Googled the phrase “miserable failure” were directed to Bush’s official biography on the White House website. With Karl Rove at the wheel, the sharp right turns the Bush administration had been taking ever since 2000, had alarmed and angered many Americans. Bush handlers could maneuver the president away from demonstrators in
Keeping protestors out of sight, squelching or Swiftboating opponents and critics – this was standard operating procedure for Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign and an integral part of what came to be known as Bush’s “Bubble Presidency.” Bush became the Bubble Boy. As he was in
In the 2004 campaign, Bush avoided visits to large universities, even avoiding the
From the transcript of Bush’s rally inside the
Zell Miller: Working Both Sides of the Street
A “discerning Democrat” was with Bush at the rally at SSU, namely 72-year-old Senator Zell Miller, of Georgia, an experienced political prostitute for both political parties. In a speech at the Democratic national convention in
Miller had been out of office when he was appointed to the unexpired term of
In the same
So Miller did not sit in the presidential box at the Republican Convention at
That was the Rove spin on things in the first week of Sept. But in
Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican with insecurities about his cajones, liked to carry a big stick and travel to
“Success is counted sweetest
By those who never succeed.”
There was at least one other Democrat at the
Kalb became mayor of
Unfortunately, when some people who are much more ambitious than they are talented reach the end of their rope, when their failures in the real world finally convince them they can’t make it any other place, they go into politics. This was the case not only with George Bush, whose failures in the oil business and baseball preceded his failures in politics, but also with Kalb, who had gone about as far as he was going to go at the local Kroger’s supermarket, where in an example of the Peter Principle, he rose to be manager of one of the departments, a glorified "shelf-stocker" the Sentinel called him, but he rose no higher, apparently lacking the native intelligence, education, and executive ability to be a Kroger manager. To rework an aphorism attributed to George Bernard Shaw, “Those who can, become managers at Kroger’s; those who can’t, become mayors of
As a result of Kalb turning him in, Mayor Bauer was recalled from office, but neither he nor anyone else in city government was ever indicted for crimes in connection with the department store. It was only a game of musical chairs. Once in office Kalb became as enthusiastic a supporter of the purchase of the 100-year-old department store and its conversion into a “new” city hall, as Bauer had been.
Just as President Bush Kalb turned out to be
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
I’ve heard Republicans blame the unions for
The fundamental reason for greater
In Resolution #13, the Portsmouth City Council granted PACIC an extraordinarily broad mandate. The mandate of this private corporation, consisting mainly of businessmen, bankers, and lawyers, was no less than “To promote the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the inhabitants of the community . . .” In the following year, 1965, the Ohio state legislature passed a law allowing municipalities to designate community improvement corporations, such as PACIC, as their agent. As if PACIC hadn’t already been granted extraordinary power in Resolution #13, for the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the people of the Portsmouth area, the Portsmouth City Council passed another resolution, #30, designating PACIC as the city’s official agent, or legal representative.
The previous, pre-war, heavily industrialized but now depressed post-war city of
As far as
Incidentally, when it provides relief, the
With the creation of PACIC, in 1964, important functions of the
In this economic twilight zone of “enterprise zones” and “enterprise communities,” the only real competition is among those vying for government assistance. It is a rare “entrepreneur” in the “enterprise community” of greater
The politically conservative HAADA gives annual awards, nicknamed “Horatio’s,” to those who have allegedly pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. Enron CEO and President Bush buddy Ken Lay was one of those awarded a “Horatio” by the HAADA. Since then Enron has collapsed and Lay has been indicted. Did the entrepreneurial “Kenny-boy” ever benefit from government favors? Did Portsmouth real estate developer Neal Hatcher ever get an abatement from the SOGP or a sweetheart dormitory deal from the local state university?
Taps for Private Piggy
Jesse Stuart, the Kentucky author (shown left in a misleading floodwall mural), became the region's anti-pork prophet. Pork drove him to distraction and arrested his artistic development. It was downhill after his second novel, Taps for Private Tussie, a neglected classic of American literature. Hatred of pork drove Stuart further and further to the right politically until in the end he was reduced to a reactionary polemicist, extolling the land and denouncing the federal government, the satanic purveyor of
Jesse Stuart, the Kentucky author (shown left in a misleading floodwall mural), became the region's anti-pork prophet. Pork drove him to distraction and arrested his artistic development. It was downhill after his second novel, Taps for Private Tussie, a neglected classic of American literature. Hatred of pork drove Stuart further and further to the right politically until in the end he was reduced to a reactionary polemicist,romanticizing Kentucky and excoriating Ohio,
extolling the land and denouncing the federal government, the satanic purveyor ofpork and dependency.
What Taps for Private Tussie revealed is that, in addition to fierce independence, there is a strand of dependency in Appalachian culture that is vulnerable to governmental paternalism. "The fault lies not in our government but in ourselves," is one of the unpopular ideas subtly dramatized in Stuart's novel.
Maybe the SOGP and its acronymic cousins are necessary evils. The city government may not have been up to the challenge of getting and managing all the pork the city has become dependent on, especially since some of
Speaking of murals, I will close with the most recent example of a SOGP murals-related pork project. The 2003 Executive Report of the Greater Portsmouth Enterprise Community (GPEC) included the following statement: “SOGP is . . . the lead agency in development of the new
From start to finish, the
“I want to thank my friend Rob Portman, Congressman Rob Portman,” Bush told the faithful at the
Like many of Bush’s unscripted elliptical-cryptical moments, this needs translating. What Bush meant is that Portman had told him not to forget to mention the
The president did say that Portman, modest (wink-wink) public servant that he is (“Here’s typical Portman”), should really be given the credit for this particular obscene project.
"Lifting" has another meaning, stealing, that is appropriate in this case, because that is what the
The floodwall murals had been promoted as a way of attracting tourist dollars to
What an architect could do in the way of attractiveness and functionality was severely limited by the grocery-department store provenance of the building. You can't make a Taj Mahal out of an outhouse. The Welcome Center should help the city council understand why the Marting building cannot be made into a suitable home for the city government. We have a new attractive state-of-the-art county jail, built from scratch. Don't visitors to Portsmouth deserve as much as the inmates of the county jail?They do, but unfortunately they are prisoners of the SOGP and Portsmouth's pork-ridden politics.
Since its opening, the