Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Mayor back when he worked for a living
I heard Mayor James Kalb recently drove over to Kentucky in a city vehicle to purchase Powerball lottery tickets. His chances of winning the Jackpot were about 1 in 146,000,000. Those are pretty high odds, and they set me thinking about what the odds might be on other unlikely events involving His Honor and other members of the Portsmouth City government.
1. What are the odds that former councilman John Thatcher will not again fleece Ohio taxpayers as he did when he unloaded his Franklin Blvd. house on Shawnee State University at a wildly inflated price?
2. What are the odds that former city council candidate Michael Malone, brother of councilman David Malone, will not forge another check?
3. What are the odds that Ward 1 councilman Timothy Loper will not continue to live outside Ward 1 in violation of the city charter?
4. What are the odds that councilman Timothy Loper will not continue to be played for a dummy by those with more brains than he has?
5. What are the odds that councilman Jerrod Albrecht will not continue to occupy his council seat illegally?
6. What are the odds that councilman Jerrod Albrecht will not doze off during council meetings?
7. What are the odds that city solicitor Kuhn will not further lower the already abysmal ethical level of city government?
8. What are the odds that councilman Rev. David Malone will not commit adultery with another member of his congregation?
9. What are the odds that Rev. David Malone will not preach on the steps of the city hall and call on God to smite all the sinners of Portsmouth (except himself)?
10. What are the odds that city clerk JoAnn Aeh will not obstruct recall candidates?
11. What are the odds that city clerk JoAnn Aeh will not hold a government job?
12. What are the odds that councilman Robert Mollette will not continue to drive his fellow council members crazy by being honest and well prepared?
13. What are the odds that councilman Marty Mohr will not embarrass himself, his family, and the citizens of Portsmouth at every council meeting?
14. What are the odds that councilman Howard Baughman will not be the smarmiest politician in Scioto County?
15. What are the odds that Daily Times reporters will not be camp followers of the city council?
16. What are the odds that police chief Horner will not accuse critics of the city council of being “domestic terrorists”?
17. What are the odds that the city council will not continue to hornswoggle the taxpayers of Portsmouth by burdening them with the Marting building?
18. What are the odds that Mayor Kalb will not come up with another scheme to tax the tenants and landlords of Portsmouth?
19. What are the odds that Mayor Kalb will not continue to try to bring gambling casinos to Portsmouth?
20. What are the odds that Mayor Kalb will not continue to drive to Kentucky in a city vehicle to play the Powerball lottery?
Kalb seeks Jackpot in Kentucky
[For a previous blog on gambling in Portsmouth, click here ]
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Texas (Gambel's) Quail
Quail is both a noun and a verb. The noun refers to a beautiful smaller bird that some people consider sporting to shoot. The slang meanings of quail as a noun are numerous and usually sexual in nature. As early as Elizabethan times, quail was slang for prostitute.
As a verb, quail means acting cowardly, shrinking away, or seeking cover.
Quailing is very much in the news this week. There was an accident in Texas involving quail that was potentially extremely embarrassing to the Bush administration. Not since 1994, when George W. went hunting pigeons, shot a rare bird (charadrius vociferous) by mistake, and paid a $130 fine have Texas Republicans been so chagrined.
The current VP, the secretive Dick “No Tracey” Cheney (halliburtanus pusillanus), engaged in one of his favorite pastimes: shooting quail, perhaps bobtail (colinus v. texanus). Except in this case Cheney by mistake shot Harry Whittington, who is not a rare bird but a familiar species of well-heeled senior Texas Republican (septuagenanus texanus).
The typical first reaction to bad news by the Bush administration is to try to cover it up, which the VP and his party may have been foolish enough initially to think they could do. No such luck, because the buck-shotted Whittington, even if buck naked, will for the rest of his life be unable to pass through a metal detector without setting off the alarm. No, the cover-our ass tactic didn’t work, but Carl Rove (odious toxicanus) was involved and when Rove is the name, blaming others is the game. Rove kicked the well-heeled Whittington in the ass. Rove swift-booted him. “The geezer is at fault. The geezer is practically senile. The geezer didn’t know what the hell he was doing. The geezer blindsided the innocent VP.” The Mercury News reported that “The White House blamed the 78-year-old man whom Vice President Dick Cheney shot during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas for the incident, as officials struggled Monday to explain why they waited nearly 24 hours before making the news public.” Loyal Texas Republican that he is, Whittington took the fall, like a dying quail. He even suffered a “minor” heart attack when one of the pellets migrated to his heart.
Quails and Chicken Hawks
Why was the quail story such bad news for the administration? Because Cheney, who is very unpopular with the electorate, had avoided serving in the military, and shooting off anything in defense of his country except his mouth was never one of his priorities. Unfair or not, the impression is out there that the tough-out-of-the-side-of-his-mouth-talking Cheney is a craven coward. He was gung-ho for invading Iraq even while he was hiding, or quailing, in bunkers. The Texas quail story was potentially very bad because a hunting accident in which he was driven to his quail by a rich host lobbyist and then allowed to carelessly shoot his hunting partner would only call attention to Cheney’s, and the president's, quail- accomplished Chicken Hawk image.
There is also the possibility that the administration tried to kill the story because alcohol was involved. If not during the hunting, then possibly before; either the VP or Whittington, or both, might have been drinking, not necessarily very much but enough to impair somebody’s judgment or reflexes. It is only a possibility, but that possibility would have been eliminated if the accident had been promptly reported and Cheney, perhaps playing hopscotch, had not avoided the media. The sheriff later reported no alcohol was involved, but since officers were initially turned away from the Armstrong ranch, what kind of investigation did he conduct? You can bet the VP will be sober as a Judge Scalia when he does face the public and the media.
Humulus Lupulus: Wolf Among Sheep
John Nichols, author of a book on Cheney’s controversial career, points out in a posting in The Nation that, as an undergraduate at Yale, Cheney hit the bottle harder than he hit the books, which was one of the reasons he flunked out. GW drank heavily, too, but he later swore off the stuff. Cheney did not. He earned two DUI's in his 20s. Nichols also points out that Katharine Armstrong, the quail hunt hostess, has admitted that some drinking took place on the day of the hunt, but she said, vaguely, it wasn’t much, “a beer or two.” Will we ever learn who quaffed how many hops at the quail hunt? And was the delay part of the attempt to cover up how much the VP consumed? Incidentally, the scientific name for hops (humulus lupulus), shown above, means wolf among sheep, because the potent hops used to grow, or prowl, among willows.Since a lobbyist was the host of the Texas quail hunt, that also did not look good, not now that Jack Abramoff, beginning to sing like a canary, is causing the administration so much acid reflux. Abramoff donated to an organization of Israel sharpshooters when what was really needed was a practice range for Republican quail hunters. In a New Yorker piece, Jane Mayer dubbed quail hunting Cheney’s “contract sport.” She reported that in 1998, Cheney negotiated a $7.7 billion contract for Halliburton during a weekend of quail hunting. No wonder the VP has such an enormous nest egg.
Most state laws are very liberal where hunters are concerned because legislators at all levels quail before the NRA. In a hunting accident, only a fatality requires the hunters to notify authorities. Imagine if that were the case in automobile accidents. GW had been arrested for driving under the influence, and now Trigger Finger Dick ran the risk of being arrested for shooting a septuagenanus texicanus under the influence and without a license. Not having the right stamp to hunt was also, of course, somebody else’s fault, not the VP's.
The next best thing to covering up the accident completely was to put a spin on it by releasing the story to a subservient local newspaper, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, so that the story could start being spun in the administration’s favor. Kathryn Garcia, a reporter for the Caller-Times said on MSNBC's Countdown that the relationship between the paper and the Armstrong family had been very friendly for a long time. We in Portsmouth know about the cozy relationship between the local newspaper and local over-privileged.
Following the shooting, the VP immediately ran for cover, where he will probably remain until such time as Rove can arrange a press conference in which Cheney and his victim, preferably out of his hospital bed, can exchange wisecracks, and repeat the spin Rove had already begun for the story: It wasn’t the Vice President’s fault; it wasn’t a serious injury; it was only a minor heart attack; it wasn’t a big deal.
Cowards Shoot “Quail” near Kroger's
Before Cheney went quail hunting in Texas, somebody was hunting quail, i.e., prostitutes, in Portsmouth. The Shawnee Sentinel is an alternative on-line newspaper that prints all the news that the Portsmouth Daily Times (PDT) considers unfit to print, all the news that reflects poorly on the over-privileged who control Portsmouth economically and politically. In a story dated Feb. 10, a writer reported, “The Sentinel has learned there is a new so-called ‘sport’ in town called ‘painting hoes.’ Cowardly men are practicing drive-by shootings [using paint-filled projectiles] of prostitutes in Portsmouth. A recent shooting that Sentinel reporters are aware of took place right across the street from Kroger's in broad daylight.”
It is fitting that the cowardly quail hunters of Portsmouth are doing their shooting in the neighborhood of Kroger’s because that is where the current Portsmouth mayor, James Kalb, was previously employed. Though a Democrat, Kalb likes to serve the needs of Portsmouth’s rich over-privileged Republicans. Birds of a feather flock and hunt quail together. Kalb's platform is to tax the middle and lower classes and abate and abet and abase himself before the over-privileged. He is doing all he can, figuratively and literally, to tear down the Municipal Building so that some developer can acquire the land on which it rests. As a council member and now as mayor, he has been an architect of the scam by which a local lawyer is palming off a hundred-year-old empty department store as the future home of the city government.
A duck allegedly trapped in storm drain was a front-page story in the PDT, but the shooting of prostitutes around Kroger’s is not the kind of news they want to investigate. And not all the prostitutes in Portsmouth work the streets and not all of them are women. Just as street prostitutes serve the sexual needs of their clients, the prostituted PDT reporters serve the political needs of their clients – the politicians and over-privileged of Portsmouth. The quailing reporters of the PDT duck the news, like the anthrax hoax at Shawnee State, and decline to publish anything that might reflect unfavorably on their clients. A letter-to-the-editor from a seventy-seven-year-old Portsmouth woman, a subscriber to the newspaper for a half century, was withheld from publication because she dared to criticize the mayor's craving for secrecy and his closed door policy in regard to public documents. The similarity between what is happening in the Municipal Building and what is happening at the White House is uncanny.
We are all sitting ducks and pigeons for those running the government, in Washington and Portsmouth, and we will continue to be so until we stop quailing.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Portsmouth Police chief Charles Horner has accused local websites of “crucifying” him and his family. What did this crucifixion consist of? John Welton had revealed that David Horner, the chief’s son, had a history of drug abuse, and that he had been arrested for selling drugs. The website’s publicizing of David Horner’s drug-dealing apparently felt to the chief like a crucifixion.
Since I posted my last blog, I have learned from several sources that one of the places David Horner did his drug dealing was at Damon’s Restaurant, which is located in the Ramada Inn, directly across the street from the Portsmouth Police Station. Drug-related activities have reportedly been going on at the Ramada and at the restaurant, now operating as Damon’s, for a long time. That the Ramada is a reputed drug hangout triggered memories and prompted the following reflections:
When I came to
I had grown up and gone to school in New England and had taught in California, but I had never been anywhere in the United States that was like Portsmouth, and I had never stayed at a hotel that was anything like the Portsmouth Ramada Inn, except in a Third World Country. The “best” hotel in a poor town attracts the worst, because it represents a degree of luxury or least an escape from poverty and depression. Pimps, prostitutes, drug-dealers – these are some of the unsavory characters who are attracted to the best hotel in a poor town, whether the hotel is in
If you try to learn about the Ramada by surfing the Internet, what you get is the folksy description that the
“The Ramada Inn chain has recently fallen on hard times; nowadays their properties are restricted to dilapidating high-rises near city centers, buildings that just can't quite match the glitz of the newer chain motels out by the interstate. Well,
Sometimes people who have not lived outside of southern
In my first few years in
The Ramada Inn was not doing so hot either. I’ve been told it has been on the verge of bankruptcy for much of its existence. The expansion of the university, a publicly funded enterprise, provided financial relief, not only by sending visitors to the university there but also in providing students to live in rooms that would otherwise remain unoccupied.
Queen of Rust Belt: Drug deals across from police station?
I was president of the union at Shawnee State U. during some politically tense times. The university was helping keep Ramda from going under financially, and they were grateful. I recall trying to contact members of an accrediting team who were visiting
Here’s a curious thing. Mayor Kalb has said publicly that somebody is interested in the land on which the
Propinquity means nearness in terms of blood relations and nearness in terms of place and time. Iniquity means a wicked act or thing, like drug-dealing. When it comes to the Queen of the Rustbelt, the propinquity of the iniquity is too much, even for
The relocation of the police station to the building formerly occupied by a cable company, and of the city government to the Marting building, will have at least this advantage: The police station and the city offices will no longer be located directly across the street from a favorite haunt of drug-dealers, and the addicted relatives of the police chief, the politicians, and the over-privileged of Portsmouth will be able to breathe, or snort, a little easier.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Police Chief Charles Horner
The Dispatch report on Marting’s was one of the reasons Mayor Bauer and two members of the Portsmouth City Council were recalled from office by irate voters. The Portsmouth Daily Times (PDT) could not have done this kind of investigative reporting because it operates under the thumb of the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Ohio Growth Partnership. The Dispatch reported on the pressure that had been put on the PDT to follow the chamber of commerce’s political line. The Dispatch explained: “Some traditional advertisers did not buy ads in the special issue on development after the chamber [of commerce] called for a boycott of the edition, said Rick Greene, the newspaper’s managing editor.” Unlike the PDT, The Dispatch is not under the thumb of the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce. The publication of The Dispatch story on the Marting deal helped publicize the scandal, and Bob Mollette and his wife Teresa, as irate as any
Judge Marshall invalidated the Marting sale to the city because of the secret meetings in which that sale was hatched. Undeterred and brazen, city officials had tried to conduct city government in secret, as had been the case in the past. Through the courts and Judge Marshall's ruling, the Mollettes prevented them from doing so.
Fast forward two years. Now the Portsmouth City Council is up to its same dirty tricks, trying to foist the Marting building off on the city by means of a follow-up Rube Goldberg scam they have worked out with Clayton Johnson. But they have not succeeded yet. A referendum in May will put the fate of the Marting building up to the voters. The publication in 2004 of the Dispatch report on the Marting scandal awakened many Portsmouth voters, and the results of the May referendum should show whether or not those voters have gone back to sleep.
Portsmouth: Drug Pipeline
The Dispatch story has already had immediate political consequences. Who was damaged politically by it? The whole city government has been put on the defensive, but nobody has more to explain than the
Horner in a Corner
Because Horner has been police chief for the last four years, he has some explaining to do about why
But Horner insists
What stats is he talking about? The stats that put Portsmouth high on the FBI's Crime Index? The stats that make
There is a sign on the river side of the flood wall boasting of
If Horner as a long-time drug cop and now police chief does not bear responsibility for
Why did Mayor Bauer (shown at left) prevent the chief from cracking down on narco-criminals? In his Jan. 23 remarks to the city council, Horner did not offer an explanation. However, it was rumored that Mayor Bauer abused drugs. Lee Scott told me in an interview in my 2004 DVD Recall of Mayor Bauer (available at the Portsmouth Public and SSU Clark Library) that Bauer’s drug use was “very well known in the city.” Although Horner had five criminal investigations of Mayor Bauer going at one time, he apparently did not investigate Bauer's drug activities, perhaps because it is unwise for those who live in glass houses to throw stones.
All in the Family
Because drug dealers are so pervasive, especially in
So not only did we have a mayor reputed to be abusing drugs, we have the son of the police chief apparently selling them as well. But if it weren’t for the investigations by bloggers like Welton and Teresa Mollette, who would know? An online search of public records now will turn up nothing on David Horner, because on
A police chief who has a son dealing drugs has a potential conflict of interest – a conflict as a public law enforcer and as a father.
It was rumored that Mayor Bauer was about to fire Horner, but before Bauer could fire him, Horner made charges against the mayor that led eventually to the mayor’s recall by the voters. Russell Cooper, claimed he was targeted by Horner because he attempted to recall councilman David Malone. The New Boston police officer who was investigating Horner's son claimed he was being set up by Horner. Lee Scott, who was a central leader of the recall of Mayor Bauer, has recently made a similar charge against Horner in a Jan. 21 letter, which he posted on Moe’s Forum.
Lee Scott Accuses Horner
Attention - Horner, Donnini, DEA & others.
Please stop sending drug dealers to me.... I am not a dealer and am not interested in buying the two pounds offered yesterday. It is just as illegal for you to try to sell drugs as it is for me to buy them. I am not interested in going back to prison and the next person you send (friend of mine or not), I will deal with them like I would any other piece of crap that is trying to harm me or mine and then-----IT IS YOUR TURN.
PLEASE - try and concentrate on the real problems (some are your very own) and leave me out of your setups with busted snitches----
Thank You----- LEE
Molletttes in Horner's Crosshairs
Bob and Teresa Mollette, active in the reform movement, also appear to be in Horner’s crosshairs. If Horner showed half as much determination to crack down on drug-dealers as he has on blogging citizens identified with the reform movement, then maybe the city’s reputation for crime and corruption would not be quite as bad as it is. Chief Horner and Mayor Kalb are determined to stifle the political reform movement in
The mayor and the chief of police are doing everything they can to frustrate the Mollettes from bringing transparency and honesty to city government, and they are coordinating a public relations effort, with the complicity of the Portsmouth Daily Times, to discredit the Mollettes, the two citizens who are currently doing the most to reform our corrupt city government.
The Portsmouth City Council is now trying to change the city charter to make it more difficult for voters to recall elected officials. This puts Horner and the current mayor in a very awkward position, because they would probably not be chief and mayor if Bauer had not been recalled. “I have seen the best of recalls and I have seen the worst of recalls,” Horner told the city council. The recall of Bauer, which saved Horner’s job and put Kalb in the mayor’s chair, was good, but the more recent attempts to recall other city officials are bad. Or so he implies.
Up to his eyeballs in city politics, in which he may one day drown, Horner has become the cheerleader as well as the tool of the current city administration because his continuing as chief of police, in the face of Portsmouth’s notoriety as a drug hotbed, depends upon the support of the city council and the mayor. If they will protect him and his job, he will protect theirs from recall. In an extraordinary statement to the city council, on Jan. 23, Horner claimed that those who have recently attempted to recall public officials are “domestic terrorists.”
In nothing has Horner and the police department been as diligent and thorough as in investigating what Horner characterized as an alleged “series of improprieties” in the recall petitions of reform candidate Russell Cooper a native America who was trying to mount a challenge to David Malone, the rubber-stamp councilman of Ward 2. Cooper’s purported improprieties received the kind of high priority, all court police press that in other cities might be used in the war against drug dealers. But in
We have the example of the Bush administration playing the terrorist card to cover up its own corruption and incredible incompetence, so it should not come as a surprise to see the chief law officer of