Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes, We Can!

When I woke up this morning, January 20, 2009, Presidential Inauguration Day, with all the hopes and dreams it embodies, writing anything about it was the furthest thing from my mind. Because Washington seemed so far from Portsmouth, and so different. There is so much hope in Washington, so much faith in change, and so little in Portsmouth. The contrast between Washington and Portsmouth was too much to think about, never mind write about.

No, We Can’t

The feeling in Obama’s Washington today is “Yes, we can!” The feeling in Portsmouth is “No, we can’t!” No, we can’t stop our chief executive officer, Mayor Kalb, from doing anything, and I mean anything, that isn’t half-assed, like his aborted firing of our Captain Queeg police chief, Charles Horner. No, we can’t clean up the incompetence and the corruption in city government. No, we can’t stop Kalb and his cronies from being the lapdogs that they are, or stop them from continuing to try take the worthless Marting and Adelphia properties off the hands of the Marting Foundation and the absentee landlord Dr. Singer. No, we can’t stop our devious City Auditor from enabling the sailors-on-shore-leave spending of Kalb and council members Malone, Albrecht, and Mearan. No, we can’t stop City Solicitor Mike Jones from paying more attention to political conniving than he does to the City Charter. No, we can’t stop Second Ward councilman David Malone from acting as if the election of Barack Obama means Malone is going to be our next mayor. (As if most of us don’t know the mathematically and ethically challenged David Malone is definitely no Barack Obama.) No, we can’t stop the delusional Mike Mearan, who was appointed not elected to the city council – we can’t stop him from trying to convince not only the voters of the First Ward but also apparently himself that he is a philanthropic Good Samaritan and not, as I have heard for years, a drug-dealing pimp. No, we can’t stop the Portsmouth Daily Times from cravenly serving the interests of the crooked lawyers and developers who control the city politically and economically, and we can’t stop the Daily Times from firing reporters who make the mistake of thinking that they can mention anything in a story, and I mean anything, such as where someone arrested for drug dealing happened to be employed, that might embarrass in the least the businessmen without whose advertising dollars the Daily Times could not survive.

Yes, We Can!

But then, after I heard on the radio and read the accounts from Washington about the beginning of Inauguration Day, and then President Obama's speech and the hope it was inspiring, I thought, wait a second. Yes, we can, too! Yes, we can, even here in Portsmouth. Don’t forget the blogosphere! It helped elect Obama and it has made a tremendous difference in Portsmouth. The media no long monopolize the news. Just last November 4 the attempt to foist the Marting building and the Adelphia property off on the citizens of Portsmouth was defeated decisively, as had happened in a previous elections, in 2006, in spite of the deceptively named Progress Portsmouth Committee and other proponents of the ballot measure spending lots of money and resorting to the usual dirty tricks to get the measure passed. The Marting/Adelphia ballot measure was defeated decisively in spite of the support of the Daily Times and its supine, since-departed unctuous Managing Editor Arthur Kuhn. And even before that recent November 4, 2009, election victory, two honest candidates, Bob Mollette and Rich Noel, had been elected (not appointed!) to city council and there is a good possibility that the next elected mayor will be someone who is not a lapdog of the rich white trash. One line of President Obama’s Inaugural speech can be applied, I believe, to Portsmouth: “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history . . .”

And, yes, we can, and will, find someone in the First Ward to run against Mike Mearan, because even a yellow dog could defeat him, and if we don’t find someone I will run against him myself and let me tell you, as this post and others I have written might indicate, I will wage one hell of a campaign. Yes, I will.