[I am reposting "Porksmouth," slightly edited, from March 2006 as background for a new article on Portsmouth Murals, Inc., which I will post soon.]
I’ve heard Republicans blame the unions for
In Resolution #13, the Portsmouth City Council granted PACIC an extraordinarily broad mandate. The mandate of this private corporation, consisting mainly of businessmen, bankers, and lawyers, was no less than “To promote the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the inhabitants of the community . . .” In the following year, 1965, the Ohio state legislature passed a law allowing municipalities to designate community improvement corporations, such as PACIC, as their agent. As if PACIC hadn’t already been granted extraordinary power in Resolution #13, for the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the people of the Portsmouth area, the Portsmouth City Council passed another resolution, #30, designating PACIC as the city’s official agent, or legal representative.
The previous, pre-war, heavily industrialized but now depressed post-war city of
As far as
Incidentally, when it provides relief, the
With the creation of PACIC, in 1964, important functions of the
In this economic twilight zone of “enterprise zones” and “enterprise communities,” the only real competition is among those vying for government assistance. It is a rare “entrepreneur” in the “enterprise community” of greater
The politically conservative HAADA gives annual awards, nicknamed “Horatio’s,” to those who have allegedly pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. Enron CEO and President Bush buddy Ken Lay was one of those awarded a “Horatio” by the HAADA. Since then Enron has collapsed and Lay has been indicted. Did the entrepreneurial “Kenny-boy” ever benefit from government favors? Did Portsmouth real estate developer Neal Hatcher ever get an abatement from the SOGP or a sweetheart dormitory deal from the local state university?
Taps for Private Piggy
Jesse Stuart, the Kentucky author (shown left in a misleading floodwall mural), became the region's anti-pork prophet. Pork drove him to distraction and arrested his artistic development. It was downhill after his second novel, Taps for Private Tussie, a neglected classic of American literature. Hatred of pork drove Stuart further and further to the right politically until in the end he was reduced to a reactionary polemicist, extolling the land and denouncing the federal government, the satanic purveyor of
Jesse Stuart, the Kentucky author (shown left in a misleading floodwall mural), became the region's anti-pork prophet. Pork drove him to distraction and arrested his artistic development. It was downhill after his second novel, Taps for Private Tussie, a neglected classic of American literature. Hatred of pork drove Stuart further and further to the right politically until in the end he was reduced to a reactionary polemicist,romanticizing Kentucky and excoriating Ohio,
extolling the land and denouncing the federal government, the satanic purveyor ofpork and dependency.
What Taps for Private Tussie revealed is that, in addition to fierce independence, there is a strand of dependency in Appalachian culture that is vulnerable to governmental paternalism. "The fault lies not in our government but in ourselves," is one of the unpopular ideas subtly dramatized in Stuart's novel.
Maybe the SOGP and its acronymic cousins are necessary evils. The city government may not have been up to the challenge of getting and managing all the pork the city has become dependent on, especially since some of
Speaking of murals, I will close with the most recent example of a SOGP murals-related pork project. The 2003 Executive Report of the Greater Portsmouth Enterprise Community (GPEC) included the following statement: “SOGP is . . . the lead agency in development of the new
From start to finish, the
“I want to thank my friend Rob Portman, Congressman Rob Portman,” Bush told the faithful at the
Like many of Bush’s unscripted elliptical-cryptical moments, this needs translating. What Bush meant is that Portman had told him not to forget to mention the
The president did say that Portman, modest (wink-wink) public servant that he is (“Here’s typical Portman”), should really be given the credit for this particular pork project. In an attempt to exorcise the hint of the school-marmish unmanliness that haunts his father's political persona, and the cheerleading draft-dodging one that haunts his own, Bush resorts to macho posturing, to walking and talking and governing in a real hombre way. [See Oliver Stone's 2008 film about Bush, W?] That's probably why Bush in referring to his buddy Portman's role in regard to the Welcome Center resorted to a masculine metaphor: “You did all the hard lifting.” If sneaking pork projects into bills is a form of weightlifting, most congressmen are Arnold Schwartzenegers.
"Lifting" has another meaning, stealing, that is appropriate in this case, because that is what the
The floodwall murals had been promoted as a way of attracting tourist dollars to
What an architect could do in the way of attractiveness and functionality was severely limited by the grocery-department store provenance of the Kenrick building. You can't make a Taj Mahal out of an outhouse. The Welcome Center should help the city council understand why the Marting building cannot be made into a suitable home for the city government. We have a new attractive state-of-the-art county jail, built from scratch. Don't visitors to Portsmouth deserve as much as the inmates of the county jail? They do, but unfortunately they are prisoners of the SOGP and Portsmouth's pork-ridden politics.
Since its opening, the