Sunday, September 28, 2014

Snuffy Says, "Just Say No to Counseling Centers!"

"I tolled you drugs iz the ruination of this nation!"

“Hey, Gramps, ‘gratulate  me,” my  gud fur nuthin’gransun sez to me who  I aint sean in a  munth of mondaze.
“Gratulate you? Wat fur?” I sez.”
“I’m a client,” he sez.
“Yur a wat?” I sez.
“A client,” he sez, like  sumbuddy impotent.
“Wat’s a client?” I sez.
“Sumbuddy who gits sum respeck,” he sez.
“You meen you aint a drug addick enymore?”
        “I’m not sayin that,” he sez, “but I dun turned over a new leef.”
“A knew leef? You  aint started ‘nuther marywanna plantasion haf  you?”  I sez. He surved six munths in the hoosegow fur growin’  weed in one of the hollers hearabouts fore the revenooers  swooped in like a flock of crows and burnt the hole crop and hawled him  away in  hancufs.
“Nuthin’ like that,” he sez. “I’m a residint in a hafway howse at the Counsling Senter.”
“The wat?”
        “The Counsling Senter  hafway howse,” he  sez.
        “Wat’s that?”  I sez.
“Thats wear the  clients live,” he sez.
“The clients?”
“That’s rite,” he sez.
“Acrost the rivur?” I sez.
“That’s rite,” he sez. “They take care of ev’rythin’ crosst the river.  Grub, cloase, medsin . . .”
“Medsin?” I sez spitious cuz I think medsins bin the ruination of this country. 
“Yes medsin,” he sez.
"Yore gramma Daisy Mae wuz fine till sum docktor  bak in the nineteen-sixtees give hur a medcin called Vallyum  fur hur ressless leg sindrome  and she wuz addickted fur the rest of hur life, God rest hur soul.
“The  medsin’s free,”  he sez.
“It aint Vallyum, is it?” I sez.
“No,” he sez.
“Watz it called I sez,” seein’ heez hidin’ sumpin’.
Not lookin’ me in the eye, he sez,  “Suboxycotton.”
“Aint that wat you waz busted fur sellin’ last summer?” I sez.
“No, that waz full strenth Oxycotton,” he sez. “This is wartered down Oxycotton.”
“Wartered down?  Why’re they  givin’ you watered down addicktin’ drugs?” I sez.
“You don’t think anybuddy can quit cold turkey, do you?” he sez.
“Your unkle Zeke qwit moonshine cold turkey plenty  of times,” I sez. “I never seed anywon who cud qwit easier than  Zeke.”
“Sure, Gramps, but drugs iz diffurint.”
“Diffurint!  I donut no wat this kuntrys cummin’ to. Moonshine was gud enuf fur yore father and it waz gud enuff fur my father, and we maid  it our selfs, and yore granma pitched in, stompin' grapes restless leg and all. We didn’t wate for  govinmnet handowts in some hafass howse.”
Hafway, Gramps,” he sez.
“Watever,” I sez.
“Life aint that simple anymore, Gramps.”
“Yore sure rite it aint,” I tells him. “And just wat govinment ajensee iz payin’ for all this?”
“The Department of Health and Human Services,” he says proud as a peecock, as tho he had a skulorship to Shawnee State.”
“Then how cum yore not at the hafway house now?” I sez. “Iz this yore semister brake?” I sez sarkastick.
“Coarse not,” he sez.
“Then why’re you hear?”
“Cuz the FBI raided the hafway house.”
“Wat in tarnasion for?” I sez.
“They ‘cused the owner of  cookin’ the books makin’ funny muney on Medicare and ‘rested him.”
“You meen won govinment ajency supplies the halfass  howse with drugs and muney and anuther govinment ajency raids the hafway howse for breakin’ the law?”
“I gess that’s pritty much it,” he sez.
“I hope you aint hear looking for a handout?”
“No, I aint,” he sez. “I just wanted to show you I ‘mounted to somethin’.”
“’Mounted to a client you meen?” I sez.
“That’s rite,” he sez.
“Then wat you goin’ to do? Go  back to cookin’ meth?”
“No, there’s plenty of  Counsling Senters  and  Ive been ‘cepted in another one.”
“So the Deportment of Hell and Hellish Servises, or whatever itz called,  pays the bills till  the Justiss Deportment or some other govinment ajency raids the hafass howse and 'rests the owner?”
“I gess that’s how it works,” he sez, like a client who duzn’t care who pays the bills as long as it aint him.

“Well, I’m glad you aint no client of mine,” I sez as he gows off and I waves to him and he waves bak and I sez to myself, “Wat’s this country comin’ too anyway?”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Multiple Chance Drug House

"Beware of snake-oil salesmen peddling miracle cures."

In a flyer distributed for the 20th anniversary of the Marsh House, Counseling Center, Inc.'s,  founder Ed Hughes wondered what the late Jim Marsh, after whom the halfway house is named,  would have said about the 20-year-anniversary and celebration. "I think he [Jim Marsh] would find it just perfect," Hughes wrote. Just perfect? The sign in front of the facility advertises "miracles." From what I have learned about Ed Hughes, I would say Counseling Center, Inc., and its Compass Point affiliate, rather than being perfect, are perfectly awful. As Mark Twain might have said, "Beware  of snake-oil salesmen peddling miracle cures." I believe the Council Center, Inc./Compass Point  is a curse and is one of the reasons Portsmouth has a reputation, backed up by statistics, of being among the most drug-ridden cities in Ohio. Counseling  Center, Inc., is a business, not a humanitarian operation, and the more addiction there is in Portsmouth the more prosperous Hughes' business becomes. Counseling Center, Inc., has attracted drug addicts from other  Ohio counties and from other states as well for a decade because Hughes knows how to get the government and the tax-payers  to pay for housing and feeding and transporting his "clients," as he calls his drug-addicted customers.

Business is so good that Counseling Center, Inc./Compass Point Housing keeps on expanding  in Portsmouth and beyond, buying residential houses and converting them into half-way houses, which lowers property values in the neighborhood because people don't want to live near these so-called half-way houses where, their critics claim, based on their personal observation, that at least some of the addicts continue to obtain drugs because of lax supervision. This is particularly the case, according to  Shawnee Sentinel reporter Wally Leedom,  at the Counseling Center's facility that claims to have the highest level of security, what he calls the Second Chance Drug House, which occupies the former juvenile detention center in Boneyfiddle, for which Hughes pays no rent to the county, according to Austin Leedom, Wally's father.   I am reprinting a succinct interview with a woman Wally Leedom posted last summer because it suggests that the Counseling Center's Second Chance facility is much less than perfect, in spite of the claim "We believe in miracles,"  and might more accurately be called the Multiple Chance Drug House.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

644 4th Street: The Turning Point?

The misinformed, misleading classified ad that
appeared in the Portsmouth Daily Times, 9/9/2014

It is too early to say for sure, but something happened in the Municipal Building in connection with 644 4th Street  on Tuesday September 16th, that may turn out to be an important date in the history of the reform movement in Portsmouth. The scam sale of the Marting’s building a dozen years ago was the turning point in the struggle against the Johnson-Hatcher poverty-fueled racket that milked the state and federal governments of money that was supposed to alleviate poverty in Portsmouth but actually increased it. What happened on September 16th may be the turning point in the struggle against the new crook on the block, Thurman “Ed” Hughes and his rapidly expanding drug-fueled “counseling” businesses, which are supposed to be reducing Portsmouth’s dependency on illegal drugs but are actually increasing it.

The classified ad above, which I have enlarged,  appeared in the Portsmouth Daily Times (PDT) where it was buried, in very small type, in the back pages where it would not likely be seen by neighbors living near 644 4th Street, in Boneyfiddle, or by anyone else either. But even if they had seen it, would they have known what it meant? In the deceptive language of the ad, the words “counseling” and “dormitory” and “client” are used but there is no mention whatsoever of drugs, addiction, or rehabilitation. Until just a few days before the hearing on the 16th, nobody in the 4th St. neighborhood had seen that ad or known about the hearing scheduled by the City Planning Commission (CPC) in the Municipal Building until somebody put a flyer with a copy of the ad under the door of a 4th St. resident, around September 13th, and within hours most of the neighborhood knew that 644 4th St., along with a house at 1327 Kinney’s Lane, were to be converted into "residences" for "clients" of Ed Hughes' lucrative counseling businesses. According to Austin Leedom, for the year 2012, Hughes reported income of over $19,000,000 (that's nineteen-million dollars!) to the Internal Revenue Service.

The CPC Lacks the Authority

About twenty-five people showed up for the hearing, more than had been expected, so it was moved from the Engineer’s Office to Council Chambers. The City Manager Derek Allen, who chaired the hearing, surprised everybody  by declaring at the outset  that Item # 1 on the agenda, Compass Point Housing's request to "utilize" the houses on 4th St. and Kinney's Lane for "dormitory style living for up to 10-14 "residents," was out of order because the CPC had no authority to authorize such a utilization and that the item should not have been on the agenda in the first place. The Counseling Center and its Compass affiliates—I would call them fronts, not affiliates—would have to take their request to convert 644 4th St. and 1327 Kinney’s Lane into drug rehabilitation “dormitories” to the City Council. The CPC lacked the authority? The hearing should not have been held? How could that be when the City Planning Commission itself had submitted and paid for the classified ad in the PDT?  Hadn’t the City Manager, who chairs the CPC, read the ad before it appeared in the PDT? And if the City Manager hadn’t read it beforehand, hadn’t the City Solicitor, and shouldn’t he, as the city's chief legal officer, have understood that it was a mistake to bring the issue before the CPC? But he apparently  didn't know.  Was this an example of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing? Was this  snafu the result of the City Solicitor’s notorious cluelessness?

The City Manager’s announcement that the hearing was a mistake was not the only surprise. When he got a chance to say something, Craig Gullion, executive director of Compass Point Housing, said his organization was no longer interested in acquiring 1327 Kinney’s Lane, anyway, because it was too small for the 10 to 12 “clients” he had wanted to house there. Isn’t the size of a house the first and most obvious thing one notices, and wouldn’t the County Auditor’s website have provided the exact square footage for the executive director to determine whether 1327 Kinney’s Lane was a house he wanted to utilize? The size may not have been the only problem with the house. Since 1327 Kinney's Lane is owned by Municipal Court Judge Steven Mowery’s family, wouldn’t the sale of it to the Counseling Center/Compass Point Housing have raised the issue of his  possible conflict of interest, and might that not have been a possible additional reason why the Mowery property was not  suitable for a half-way house?

Boneyfiddle Saturated with Counseling Center, Inc.

The question now is whether the Counseling Center/Compass Point Housing is going to request the City Council to allow it to acquire 644 4th Street, which, if I understood correctly, they would need to do since that house is at present a private residence rather than a commercial property. But if they make such a request of the council and if they go ahead with their plans for 644 4th, they may wish they hadn’t because now as a result of those attending the-hearing-that-shouldn't-have-been-held, the 4th St. residents know what the Counseling Center and Ed Hughes are up to and they are strongly opposed to it, having signed a notarized petition to that effect that was handed to the CPC at the hearing. The Boneyfiddle district is now the most saturated Counseling Center neighborhood in Portsmouth. There is for starters the Counseling Center's Stepping Stone house for pregnant girls at the corner of Front and Court Street. Then there is the large Counseling Center facility located in the former Scudder School on the corner of 4th and Court Street, and not far from that is the Second Chance facility, at 521 5th Street, which previously had been a detention center for delinquents. In "Neighbors in Terror at Second Chance Drug House," Wally Leedom interviewed a middle-aged housewife who lives near that facility. She told him that drug deals go down  day and night through the metal fence. We owe to Austin Leedom, the retired but tireless former deputy sheriff and his son Wally deep thanks for being the first to expose the government-financed racket Hughes is running in Portsmouth and in other counties in Ohio.

When it comes to the patience of Boneyfiddle residents, 644 4th St. may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, just as the Marting’s building had been for for the whole city a dozen years ago. The 4th St. residents are united now and could lead a campaign against Ed Hughes’ rapidly spreading cancerous Counseling Center businesses. If they do, then we should be thankful that the misleading and mistaken classified ad appeared in the PDT, for out of its misbegottenness may grow a movement that might put Counseling Center, Inc., out of business, like the racketeering SOGP was by the FBI in 2012.
644 4th St.: the house the Counseling Center has designs on

Earlier must-read posts on Ed Hughes and the Counseling Center

"Just Say No to Ed Hughes" (click here)

"From Pill Mills to Counseling Centers" (click here)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Miracle on 2nd Street

318 2nd St. before . . .
and after . . .

Before you read further, look at  the webpage on  Facebook for 318 2nd St. Street (click here). What has happened architecturally at 318 2nd St. is not just a renovatation, it is a remarkable transformation, if not a miracle, especially in the interior. Going against the American grain, in which appearance is everything, the exterior of the new 318 is simple and unprepossessing. Contrast it in that respect with the Marting building, which is really three old buildings with a phony, pretentious soulless fa├žade hiding a dark, dank interior.

The owners, Gary and Tim,  have turned the the former crack house into a state-of-the-art student residence that makes the dormitories in Hatcherville look like Hoovervilles, and they have done it, if what they told me is accurate, without the kind of public assistance, tax breaks, and  financial guarantees that Neal Hatcher squeezes out of local public officials, who are his political puppets. 

The history of  the building at  318 2nd St. reflects the history of Portsmouth in the last half century when hundreds of  buildings fell into disrepair, and ended up like orphans after a plague, the plague of drugs. For a while, the way a pimp might corral  desperate down-and-out dollar prostitutes, Shane DeSimone had bought 318 2nd St. from a Kentucky bank along with a number of  other abandoned Portsmouth buildings.  For a previous post on DeSimone, click here. But DeSimone could not keep up with the payments on the buildings, declared bankruptcy, and the city was stuck with his buildings, including 318 2nd St., which had been a crack house where drug deals went down at the back door day and night.The neighbors complained and the city condemned the building, which meant it was destined to be torn down. But like a prisoner on death row, it had to wait its turn before it could be demolished, and there were lots of others in line ahead of it. That’s when Gary and Tim bought the building for a couple of thousand dollars with the aim of raising it, like Lazarus, from the dead.

It would take many more thousands of dollars and a lot of work, but in  an incredible display of entrepreneurial  daring they took the risk. Some people thought they were loco,   but they displayed just the kind of entrepreneurial, competitive spirit that Portsmouth needs.  They hope that the members of one of SSU’s athletic teams might be tenants, say the women’s basketball team, because the building is ideal for a group of students who have bonded together, as athletic teams tend to do.   In the deal Hatcher has with SSU, he cannot lose, there is no risk, because the university guarantees that if the occupancy rate in Hatcherville residence halls falls below a certain percent, he will be reimbursed by the university. (For more on Hatcherville, click here.) Corruption and non-competitive sweetheart deals are the norm when it comes to buying and selling property in Portsmouth, as it was in the notorious sale of the Marting building.  Gary and Tim have no such sweetheart deal. But they have heart and imagination. They have a dream, a beautiful dream, and it looks like the dream is becoming a reality.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Snuffy's Take on Jim Kalb's Open Letter

Jim Kalb composing his open letter to Kevin W. Johnson

Iffen you red Drek Aillen’s Cock-n-Bull Opin Litter, now reed Jim Kalb’s  to the failed antic deeler Kevin W. Johnson. Summite suspeck Ol’ Jim din’t rite the litter cuz it lax the redneck shit-and-piss retrick that made Jim  the most famus Appleashen in the whirl fur 48 ours a few yeers back. Sumuthers mite suspeck Jim didn’t rite it cuz it haz finnishin’ skool wurds like “therefore,” “ultimately,” and “abide” wen all he haz iz a vacational edjication. Weather itz by Jim or his bitter haff wif the govinment krazy chek. Iffen you aint red Jim’s Appleashen masterpiss, just klick here.

Jims open litter iz not so much a litter az a chronicul of govinment cunfusion, cullusion, and dilusion in witch Jim cumplanes Kevin always kept him, that iz Jim, out of the loop privyusly but iz trying’ to suck up to him now that Kevin iz on the sity man’gers shitlist.

Bee that az it may, Jims litter to Kevin W. begins,

             "Hello Vice President Kevin W.”

He leaves  off  hiz last name witch iz suposed too bee sarkastick  like you wood begin a litter to the president, “Hello President B’rack Husane,” leavin’ off hiz last name Obummer.  Summite say iffen he rit the litter hisself he cud cum up with sumthin’ better like, “Hello Vice President Kevin W. who  I woodn’t piss on if you waz shit on fire.”  But la-dee-da Jim sez insted, "I copied this correspondence to all concerned because, well, that’s just the proper way to do things (in my opinion)." Wat Jims  reely doin' ritin’ fancee-dancee like this iz makin' fun of kweers who rite like that. Then Jim  sez supersillyous,I don’t know if you have ever read the Charter, you don’t understand the language in the Charter or you just flat out refuse to abide by the Charter and other laws/rules governing Council.” Jim leckturing Kevin W. on vilelating the chatter iz ironick cuz Jim iz the biggist vilelator of the chatter in the anals of Porchmuth like he did on the Martin’ bilding and the Kiwanis Playground. Hell, there aint nobuddy who vilelates the chatter more’n Jim.

Jim also ‘cuses Kevin of subvertin’ the Design and Review Bored. Speekin’ of bored, don't we have more than enuff bored fellas in sity govinment and nobuddy more so than Jim, as shone in the  classick schnapshot of him  ketchin’ twenty winks during a counsil meatin'.

As fur Kevin’s dilutions of grander, Jim in hiz litter quotes an emale in witch Kevin rote, “As you know, Derek is called by our fire or police Chief whenever there is a fire, homicide, robbery or a bear in the city. I have asked to be called as well; as the Mayor (or Acting Mayor, in my case, effective July 1) I should be aware of such activity.” In uther wurds, Kevin W. wants to be in the loop as much az he wants to keep Jim out of the loop. If theres a bear or a bare-ass stewdent running up Chillyclothy street, Kevin W. wants to be woked up and tolled about it.

Then in a kleer warnin’ to Kevin W.,  Jim kwotes the city chatter like it’s the Bibull, the furst commandmint being you better follow the chatter or you cud end up convickted: “Any violation of the provisions of this section by a member of the Council shall be a misdemeanor, conviction of which shall immediately forfeit the office of the member so convicted.” Of coarse our currant sity man’ger wuz prevously convicted of lying under oath about givin’ a buddy of his a no-bid contrack for gravil or sumthin’ butt he waz hired anyway. In fakt, I think one of the kwalifications fur the job waz you gut to have  a please record or at least to have been a bankcorrupt.

Jim allso cumplains in his litter ‘bout Kevin tellin’ Drek to take a vacation. Kevin tellin’ Drek to take a brake iz like Hitler rekomending that Muscleenie becuz he’s virgin on a nervuss brakedown shood take a long vakation and leeve Itally to the Nasties. Not your call Kevin,”  Jim sez in his opin litter. “The City Manager is perfectly capable of scheduling a vacation for himself when he feels the need.”

Here’s the hippocritical enden of Jims opin litter to Kevin W. “Since you took a seat on City Council I’ve witnessed a loss of confidence that Portsmouth residents have in their city government. I’ve seen nothing from you but hidden agendas and a failure to follow the laws and rules governing the city. I’ve watched you speak for City Council as a whole without being asked. You thrive on controversy and you constantly share information with the media before it is ever discussed by Council. Now allow me to ask a question of you: Do you plan to continue your actions on City Council as you have to this point? If you have no intentions of changing, would you consider making it easier on everybody and cheaper on the City and just resign your seat on Portsmouth City Council?”

Jims  crittersizin’ Kevin W. Johnson on vilelating the city chatter iz ironick cuz like he did on the Martin’ bilding and the Kiwanis Playground, Jim iz the biggest  vilelator of the city chatter in the hisorry  of Porchmuth. Hell, there aint nobuddy who haz ever vilelated the chatter more’n Jim.

Iz this what sity managemint govinment in Porchmuth haz cum too? The bankruptured, incompitent Kroaker clerk a-lying with the convickted sity man’ger aginst the Connivin’ Actin’ Mayor affective July 1? Guvnor Kasick haz got it rong. It aint the devil whose in controll in Porchmuth, itz the lawyers and develuppers that pulls the strings of the underhanded, bankruptured and incompetint politishins of witch the out-to-lunch Jim Kalb is the epitymee. 

Political Puppets of Portsmouth

Monday, July 28, 2014

Derek Allen's Cock-and-Bull Open Letter

Cock and Bull, Matt Sesow

We have  come full circle. As a result of the familiar fraud of musical chairs made possible by four-year terms, one of the most incompetent and dishonest mayors in Portsmouth history,  Jim Kalb, is mayor again, at least in name. Because of the current crisis in Portsmouth’s city government, concerned citizens should read City Manager Derek Allen’s “Open Letter to the City Council,”  which is bundled with  his July 14, 2014 city manager’s report, located on the city’s website. (See link in Appendix A, below or click here  for the report and then scroll down seventeen pages.) Allen’s Open Letter confirms  the suspicion that instead of being part of the solution, Allen, as city manager, is part of the problem. He is very ambitious, but as city manager he has, statutorily, virtually no power.  As city manager, Allen has  lots of responsibilities but very little authority. His primary responsibility, as city manager,  is to carry out the policies and directives of the city council. If Allen is worn to a frazzle after only six months, it may in part be because in addition to his many responsibilities he is also a commuting city manager who still makes his home in Piqua, Ohio, some two and half hour drive  from Portsmouth. He doesn't commute every day of course, but even weekend commuting would be tiring.

The city manager form of  government is a misleading misnomer; it should be called the city council form of government. But Allen appears to think that as city manager he has quite a bit of power.   As he writes in his Open Letter, "I stated that there was a methodical plan to be installed and that I knew the steps to ensure success. I intended to implement changes to turn Portsmouth around and cease people laughing at this community." One of the steps that would "cease people laughing" at Portsmouth was having a city manager form of government and hiring a leader like himself to be city manager. "The city," he wrote, "had no other choice but to turn the operations over to a professional [himself] in order to reverse the present course or face failure and financial collapse." Instead of being the servant of the city council, he often sounds in his letter like its master. "On February 4, 2014," we read in his letter,  "each council member received a list of my 2014 goals and objectives . . ." They received his goals and objectives?

Allen is sure he knows how to stop people laughing at Portsmouth because he recently was a village administrator in Delta, a small  community of about three thousand people in the northeast corner of Ohio, a community, he claims, people used to laugh at until he turned it around.  What is odd about his claim is that Delta had and still has a mayoral, not a city manager form of government, and what is odder still is that  he was not the mayor of Delta but  only the village administrator, who worked for the mayor.  If there was a dramatic turnaround in Delta, shouldn't  Dan. D. Miller,  who was and still is mayor,  get at least some of the credit? But credit for what? I have made a cursory examination of  the per capita income and population data for Delta and it does not appear that any dramatic turnaround has taken place  in the last five years or so. The most newsworthy thing that's happened in Delta in the last year  was the breakup of a big cockfighting ring that was operating in the area. As many as fifty people were arrested and as many as seventy roosters were confiscated. It was a big story in Fulton County.  Google "Delta and cockfighting" and see for yourself. I suspect that the turnaround that Allen allegedly  single-handedly brought about in Delta may be a cock-and-bull story.

I predicted when the city manager form of government was proposed several years ago that it would not, because it could not, succeed. But I did not think it would implode so fast. I think Allen's days (including as many extemporaneous vacation days he can squeeze in) are numbered, and no matter the circumstances under which he leaves, it is going to cost the city money that it cannot afford, anymore than it could afford to expend the money it did for the costly  job search that led to Allen's hiring, and for that we have our officious, underhanded First Ward councilman Kevin W. Johnson to thank. Johnson is the begetter of the cockamamie idea of returning to the city manager form of government that proved such a failure in the past.

Allen was not very open in his Open Letter about his experience as the Safety Service Director in Celina, Ohio, where he was fired, arrested, convicted, fined, and given a suspended 90-day suspended jail sentence for dereliction of duty in public office. Allen had problems in other jobs, but Portsmouth residents were kept in the dark about them by the city council and by the underhanded chair of the search committee, Kevin W. Johnson. My recollection is that we learned only after he was hired that Allen had a criminal record.  Johnson was like the crooked conductor who doesn't announce the true destination of the train until after it has left the station. In reverting to the city manager form of government, as I pointed out in an earlier post (see "The Crooked Conductor" below), we are historically going in the wrong direction. According to a relatively recent scholarly study of the subject, cited in that post, the misnamed city manager system is giving up the ghost. If  Johnson is the crooked conductor in my train metaphor, Allen is the fast and loose engineer who writes five-page cock-and-bull open letters when he should have both hands on the throttle.

Kevin W. Johnson says, "All aboard!"

Appendix A

Previous River Vices posts on the subject of city manager

Barry Feldman (click here)
Gerlach Against City Manager (click here)
City Manager: Repeating the Same Mistake (click here)
Vote No on City Manager (click here)
City Manager Search (click here)
Snuffy Smith on City Manager (click here)
Kevin W. Johnson: The Crooked Conductor (click here)
City Manager Valentine (click here)
Kalb: The Dopiest Councilman of All (click here)

                                                                    Appendix B            

Allen's Open Letter to Portsmouth City Council

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Deification of Derek Jeter

The amount of hype preceding  every  All-Star Game is heavy, but  this year the hype was  horrendous. It was horrendous because it was accompanied by the  idolization of Derek Jeter, who is retiring at the end of the current season.  Not even the Great Bambino, the Sultan of Swat,  Babe Ruth, was idolized anywhere near the degree that Jeter has been.  The  idolization of Jeter spills over to deification. For some Americans,  he’s  Derek Jesus. He did not hit with the power of Ruth and dozens of other legendary sluggers. He did not play shortstop with the range and skill of a dozen others who have played that position. He did not run the bases with the speed of the fastest. He was good, very good, but what he was great at was being good for so long. For example,  he was a good base stealer for  so long that he holds the record for most steals in Yankee history. There were lots of Yankees who were faster than he was, but nobody ran longer. Except for an off-, injury-plagued year in his mid-thirties, he was always at the top of his game. It was his longevity that enabled him to compile the very impressive statistics that he has. Lou Gherig was known as the Iron Horse because of  his durability. Gehrig  played a record seventeen seasons for the Yankees, but Jeter broke that record and at  the end of the 2014 season will have played for twenty years, three years longer than Gehrig.

Jeter began playing for the Yankees in 1995, about when chemical cheating began. It was as prevalent as it was because it was profitable. Baseball was slipping into the doldrums in the latter part of the twentieth century. It needed a jolt and  steroids juiced it up. It became much more profitable for the players, especially for the juiced stars, but also for the complicit team owners. Then the pervasiveness of the chemical cheating was revealed in news reports and in tell-all books like Jose Canseco’s Juiced (2005), the subtitle of which was Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big. Baseball defended itself by transforming  baseball’s Mr. Clean, Derek Jeter, from the Anti A-Rod into the Shining Knight of Abstinence in baseball’s scandalous, dark night of steroids. His final transformation  was from the Shining Knight to The Captain, making him the god of  baseball. Jeter has been the well-paid poster boy for the most monopolistic team in American sports, a team located in the financial capital of America, where the dress code once called for pinstripes. George Steinbrenner was a stereotypical unscrupulous capitalist, but Jeter's deification has helped rehabilitate The Boss's reputation. The reason for Jeter’s deification was  not just his longevity but also his reputed integrity.  He has put up very impressive numbers in his long career without apparently committing the cardinal sin of modern baseball, without using  performance enhancing drugs (PED’s). He apparently achieved greatness without the chemical cheating that was so prevalent in major league baseball in the last quarter century.

Almost everyone involved in and connected to baseball has helped glorify Jeter—the fans, the complicit owners, the obliging commissioners; the adulatory New York sportswriters; and even the professional arbiters of the sport, the umpires. As reported recently in the New York Times (7 July 2014),  a statistical  study revealed that umpires, in calling of balls and strikes in regular games, favor pitchers  who have been selected for All-Star Games over those who have not by a margin of 17 percent. Based on my observation of the electronic balls and strikes tracking  available to me as a subscriber to MLB.TV, I suspect a study would show umpires in the calling of balls and strikes similarly favor All-Star hitters.  And at no time would umpires be more inclined to favor the All-Star Jeter than in his farewell year and in his final All Star Game. But umpires were  not the only ones on the field at the All-Star Game who favored him. The National League starting All-Star pitcher Adam Wainwright revealed how much even an opposing player  could get  caught up in the delirium of deifying Jeter.  After returning to the dugout, the somewhat giddy Wainwright  admitted to reporters that he had deliberately grooved a pitch to Jeter in the first inning of the All-Star Game. Wainwright  wanted   “The Captain” to live up to the very high expectations baseball fans have for him.  Wainwright subsequently tried to downplay if not retract his admission, but truth will out.  To vary the  famous Latin quotation in vino veritas (in wine there is truth), I would say in delirare veritas  (in delirium  there is truth), as the Oracle at Delphi was believed to have demonstrated.


Jeter is not only the anti-A-Rod, he is, at a subliminal level of  our national psyche, the anti-Obama. This does not mean Jeter is anti-Obama or even a  Republican.  As  close to his black father as he appears to be, Jeter is not anti-Obama. On the contrary, he admitted voting for Obama in 2012. Typical of remarks online to this revelation of Jeter’s vote for Obama were the following three comments on Free Republic, a conservative chat room: (1)“Normally a guy who plays it close to the vest and shuns controversy like the plague, Jeter blasts out his presidential choice. This Yankee fan feels confused, as a hero becomes just another dumb athlete.” (2) “A great baseball player, an economic moron. Life goes on.” (3) “Derek Jeter proves he’s on dope.” But contrary to the claim that Jeter “blasted out” his presidential choice, Jeter usually plays it close to the vest when it comes to politics and does avoid controversy like the plague.  He’s no dope. He knows it would be bad for his lucrative endorsement business and Jeter clothing line to offend either conservatives or liberals.

In the minds of many conservative white baseball fans Jeter  apparently represents the triumph of American values and the realization of  the American Dream. With no more than a high school education, Jeter mastered his physical craft and became, if not  one of the one percent,   at least extremely wealthy, with a large ocean-front mansion in Florida. In a poll conducted by Fortune Magazine of who the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders were,  Jeter came  in at Number 11. President Obama didn’t crack the top 50. Jeter is  not, like Obama,  a liberal Harvard law school graduate and former community organizer whom  many conservatives feel is, as president, leading the country down the road to socialized medicine, same sex marriage,  and Islam. If Jeter looked more like his black father maybe  there would be less idolization of him, and perhaps if Obama looked more like his white mother there might be less fear and hatred of him. But as it stands, the bi-racial Jeter and the bi-racial Obama occupy important if antithetical niches in the American imagination,  the one being deified, the other demonized. A central figure in the BALCO steroid scandal, Victor Conte, said there was no way in the world Jeter could have become the  ageless athlete he did without PED’s. The same has been said of David Ortiz the Red Sox slugger whose lackluster, injury-plagued career took off only after he was released by the Twins after no team was interested in trading  for him. After his release, he was signed  by the Red Sox. That may have been  when he began taking a PED, which not only improves a player's performance on the field but speeds up his recovery from injuries and slows down the process of aging off the field  Ortiz is widely believed to have been among those players who tested positive for PEDs in a test in which players were guaranteed anonymity. Was Jeter one of those who tested positive? It seems very unlikely but who knows for sure?

Jeter has been accused not only using PED’s but also of being gay or at least a switch hitter. He was featured in a cover story, “Jeter’s Swinging Years,”  in GQ (April 2011), a magazine that has been suspected from its inception of catering to gay readers. The photos of him in that issue are not only humorous but in light of its reputation, suggestive.

Jeter in GQ. Size does matter.

Good sport that he is, Jeter also appeared in drag as a player’s wife in a sketch when he hosted Saturday Night Live in 2001. 

Did Jeter discuss drag bunting on Saturday Night Live?

If it should turn out that Jeter is one of those who used some form of PED to achieve his longevity as a baseball player, and if it should turn out that he is not quite as heterosexual as all his gorgeous scantily clad white girlfriends would suggest, and if it is publicized that he voted for that devil Obama for president, his deification might grind to a halt. It might, in other words, be a whole new ballgame.

(For an earlier post on the subject of Viagra and baseball click here.)