. . . who’s the dopiest councilman of all?
Nothing would give me more pleasure than never having to write, or even think about a dope like Jim Kalb again, but that is not going to be the case because he will be the front man for the renovated Columbia Theater, which insures there will be problems there, and he is running again, unopposed, for city council to fill the Fourth Ward seat that is being vacated by Jerrold Albrecht.That’s Portsmouth’s version of musical chairs, which two-year terms for city council would help put an end to.
Our recent crop of Portsmouth politicians closely resembles the Seven Dwarfs, with Albrecht as Sleepy (always dozing), Kalb as Dopey (because of all the dope), Basham as boorish Brashful, councilman Greg Bauer as Sneezy (from too much snorting), Chief Horner as Grumpy, and former mayor Frank “Sneakers and Sash” Gerlach as Happy. When Sneezy Bauer defeated Happy Gerlach for mayor, Dopey Kalb became president of council. Then Sneezy Bauer was recalled as mayor after Dopey Kalb conspired with Grumpy Horner to accuse Sneezy of purchasing the Marting Building illegally. When Sneezy was recalled by a two to one margin, Dopey Kalb became mayor, and Sleepy Albrecht was appointed by The Wizard of Ooze to take Dopey’s place on the city council. Are you following me? Then Snow White trounced Dopey Kalb in the last mayoral election forcing him into the shadows. But then Dopey and all the city employees and the bikers ganged up on Snow White, who was recalled, and now Sleepy Albrecht is retiring and Dopey Kalb, probably on the advice of the Wicked Witch, is running unopposed for the Fourth Ward council seat.
Dopey’s being manager of the Columbia spells trouble for that historic landmark, just as Dopey’s being back on city council spells serious trouble for Portsmouth. Far more than any other dwarf, Dopey is responsible for the financial mess the city’s in. When it comes to handling finances, he’s a real dope.
In the tradition of the failed businessmen who end up on city council, the seventh dwarf, Kevin “Doc” Johnson, knows just what the cure for the city is: a more businesslike form of government in the person of a city manager. But we’ve already been through that fiasco, with Prince Harming, Barry Feldman, the infamous city manager of thirty years ago. Feldman’s come and gone, and Portsmouth, having had enough of city managers coming and going like migratory birds, went back to the mayoral form of government. If we go back to the city manager form of government, the dwarfs on the city council will be running the city again.