Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Goon and the Good Samaritan

The Goon

Last night’s City Council meeting was one for the books. A resident of the Sixth Ward reportedly told councilman Marty Mohr afterwards that he was an embarrassment to the ward. Mohr is not only an embarrassment to the Sixth Ward, he is an embarrassment to the city. He is not only an embarrassment to the Sixth Ward and the city, he is an embarrassment, or should be, to his family. He is not only an embarrassment to the Sixth Ward, to the city, and to his family, he is an embarrassment to our species. He is downright pre-hominid. He is a goon. The primary meaning of goon is “a stupid person.” But it is the secondary meaning of goon that particularly applies: “a man hired to terrorize or intimidate opponents.” That is Mohr’s role on the city council: to intimidate opponents by accusing them of being terrorists, to snarl and sneer at them, to call them crap. At the close of last night’s meeting, he tried his best to insult, intimidate, and humiliate Bob Mollette, who represents a higher form of hominid, a civilized, respectful male who doesn’t need to prove his manhood by snarling and gnashing his teeth or having sex with some woman other than his wife. In terms of evolution, Mollette is about 250,000 years beyond Mohr. When the minutes of last night’s meeting are printed, Mollette’s report to the council – informed, respectful, and conciliatory – should be compared with Mohr’s attempt to provoke Mollette and the citizens in attendance into getting down to his grunt level and exchanging insults and provoking physical violence. He might have succeeded in inciting the audience, which was furious at his provocative performance, but fortunately Mollette set an example of civilized behavior. Had Mollette blown his top, I think some citizens might have too. And then chief Horner would have been like a pig in shit, dealing with these “domestic terrorists.” He would like nothing better than throw some of them in the hoosegow.

Up until Mohr’s failed effort to start a riot, the meeting had been unusually peaceful and collegial. It seemed people were determined to avoid the animosity of the previous meeting. Compliments and sweetness flowed like sugar at John Simon’s Sorghum Festival. The most touching moment was when an elderly gentleman addressed the council and said that in the forty-six years he and his wife had lived in the Third Ward he had never known a councilman as helpful, decent, and considerate as Bob Mollette. But it was not only Bob Mollette who was praised. Praise was heaped by others on Kevin Johnson, on the Portsmouth Daily Times, and especially on First Ward councilman Mike Mearan, who has earned a reputation as Portsmouth’s Good Samaritan. When there are some underprivileged kids in need of the price of admission or some attractive young ladies needing a sub-compact to visit their sick mothers, know that Mike is there to lend a helping hand. A rumor is circulating about Mearan being pulled over by police in Knoxville, who found drugs in his car. Mike handled that rumor well at the meeting by pointing out, if I heard him correctly, without his ever mentioning drugs, that he had not been in Tennessee since the state fair last year. Instead of wrapping himself in the flag, as those cornered politicians in Washington are doing, Mike wore a bright red Ohio State tee shirt to the meeting. Go Bucks!


Mike Mearan: Good Samaritan

Unfortunately for Mearan, Marty Mohr came to his defense in his tirade at the end of the meeting, and if anybody in the council chamber or listening on the radio hadn’t known that it was Mearan who was the councilman rumored to have been found with drugs in Tennessee, then they sure did after Mohr got through defending him. By publicly defending, or fingering, Mearan as the councilman who is subject of the drug rumors, Mohr was raising the stakes. Prove it! That was Mohr’s sneering challenge to those who are spreading the rumor about Mearan being stopped for drugs. Now there are those who may take up Mohr’s challenge and prove Mearan was found in possession of drugs, all because Mohr had publicized the rumor. But to revise Claude Raines’ famous line in the movie Casablanca, “I am shocked, shocked to hear Mike Mearan’s name associated with drugs!” Recall that this is the same Mike Mearan who hired Heather Hren to be the stenographer for the Building Committee, the same Mike Mearan who rented a subcompact in which Heather Wren was arrested for transporting Oxycontin from Columbus to Portsmouth, the same Mike Mearan who said he was sure Heather Wren did not take drugs after she had been busted for possession of drugs, the same Mike Mearan who was photographed with Heather Wren at their outing to the Fair in Lucasville after she had been busted, the same Mike Mearan who acted shocked shocked after Heather Hren was arrested for purse snatching and admitted that she was a drug addict. To hear the Good Samaritan Mearan’s side of the story, Heather Hren was just another one of the many young women he has helped out over the years, but one who proved unworthy of his trust and kindness.

The Goon and the Good Samaritan are just two of the cast of characters who make up our incredibly colorful city government. If only we had a Damon Runyon or Meredith Wilson to create a Portsmouth version of Guys and Dolls or The Music Man, if only someone would write a play or musical featuring our Keystone Cop, our Doofus Mayor, our Smarmy Council President, our Sleazy City Solicitor, our Ku Klux City Clerk. The only other city that could possibly compete with us for crooked and incompetent politicians is Washington D.C. How is the Bush Administration ever going to make it through another year and a half? Hell, how is the City Council going to make it through to next November? If somebody doesn’t muzzle the goon, or put a damper on the Good Samaritan, there’s going to be a lot more trouble in our drug-ridden River City.


"I am shocked, shocked to hear Mearans name associated with drugs."