Monday, March 10, 2008

Marting's: They-re B-a-a-a-ck!

125-Year-Old Marting Maid

They are at it again, in spite of having a mayor and two council members recalled from office; in spite of the lawsuit by the Mollettes that led to the invalidation of the sale of the Marting building by the city in violation of state Sunshine laws; in spite of a 2006 referendum in which voters overwhelming rejected converting Marting’s into a city municipal building. In spite of repeated public resistance to the Marting scam, the mendacious Mayor Kalb, with the assistance of the salacious Mike Mearan, a criminal lawyer who has been appointed, not elected, to public office, the City Council is once again trying to revive the Marting’s Scam. On the City Council’s agenda tonight (March 10, 2008) item 4 of the Conference Session reads, “City Council is requested to authorize the preparation of legislation to authorize the Mayor to proceed with the recommendation of the Advisory Committee to construct/refurbish buildings to house various Portsmouth City Government Offices.” Marting’s is one of the buildings Kalb & Co. plan to refurbish, as they have made clear in recent weeks. Slipping Marting’s in with other “various” buildings is their most recent attempt to flim-flam the public and revive the scam.

Marting's: Portsmouth's Bad Dream

Prime Real Estate

Any history and analysis of the Marting Building scam has to start with this fact: for at least a decade a developer has coveted the land on which the Municipal Building sits. I have heard Mayor Kalb and City Councilman Mike Mearan characterize that land as “prime real estate.” What they mean is that that land is too valuable to waste on a public building. It reflects the contempt they have for local government and for democracy that they think using it as seat of government is a waste of money. They believe the land should be sold to a private developer. Who the private developer is who covets this land has never been made public. If the undercover developer is either Neal Hatcher or Elmer Mullins, it is understandable why their names have not been made public, because they are both crooks whose names alone would alert citizens that our local politicians are once again trying to pull a fast one.

To assist the developer acquire the land, the city government has neglected the upkeep of the Municipal Building, which has been deliberately allowed to deteriorate, as Neal Hatcher notoriously allowed property to deteriorate to hasten the day it would be torn down so that he could pursue schemes for a mall development.

Sue the Bastards!

The Municipal Building was built at the same time and of the same materials and in the same architectural style as the Portsmouth U.S. Post Office. There has never been any talk about tearing the Post Office down because the federal government is not in cahoots with local developers and the federal government has not allowed the Post Office building to deteriorate. Jeff Barron reported in the Portsmouth Daily Times (June 5, 2007) that Marting Foundation Attorney John Berry “said any attempt to renovate the former Marting's building for use as a city building probably would result in a lawsuit against the city.” Berry was right.

The Concerned Citizens Group, of which I am president, will bring a lawsuit against the city of Portsmouth if the City Council passes another ordinance to renovate Marting's for city offices. The voters of Portsmouth in May 2006 passed by a wide majority a referendum rejecting the city's plans to renovate the former Marting department store for city offices. That has not stopped Mayor Kalb, the corrupt City Council, and the criminal lawyer Mike Mearan, who has been appointed to City Council and appointed to chair the Building Committee.

Flim-Flam Man

Mearan & stenographer at work

Marting’s is not one building; it is three very old buildings, which are now more than 125 years old. The façade around the Marting building hides the aged asbestos-laden, roof-leaking structures behind it, just like the ceremonies that precede the City Council meetings – the prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance – is a façade behind which a crew of immoral, unpatriotic individuals serve as a rubber stamp for the overprivileged lawyers and developers of Portsmouth. Just as Mearan attempted to pass off his protégé, an addicted, drug-dealing, purse-snatching 23-year-old woman, as the Building Committee stenographer, he is trying to pass off the 125-year-old Old Maid Marting building as the sexy “new” site for city offices.