Monday, January 30, 2012

Three Bankrupt Mayors

 Three Bankrupt Mayors
and Portsmouth’s Financial Crisis

Here’s our three  bankrupt mayors for all to see.   
The first, our current fiscally clueless mayor,
Believes the way to achieve prosperity
Is not through working but through prayer.

The second, who’s next in line to be mayor,
Is a deadbeat dad who collects vintage cars.
And likes to drive and dress with flair.
He piles up debts till they reach the stars.

The third, the lapdog ex-mayor
Who got Portsmouth into this financial mess,
Is a brainless, bankrupt failure.
He’s like the girl who’s gotta say yes.

What’s worse than getting the finger from Neil Hatcher?
Appointing a bankrupt mayor with rabies dog catcher.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Haunted House from Hell

Haunted House from Hell

At about six-thirty P.M., Monday, January 16th, 2012, the Portsmouth Fire Department responded to a fire at 1914 7th Street, a property previously owned by the bankrupt Shane DeSimone. Police Chief Bill Raison told the Portsmouth Daily Times he believes the fire was deliberately set, possibly by a firebug.

This is the house A.D.—
After DeSimone acquired it,
But before his bankruptcy
And before a firebug fired it.

It’s a fiery hell to a parson—
To a firebug it’s fuel.
Anywhere else it’s arson—
In Portsmouth it’s urban renewal.

Still-standing now, after the fire,
It’s a burned-out, asbestos-shingled shell.
But will it, like Dracula, never expire—
This haunted house from hell?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Just Who is Getting Screwed and Who is Doing the Screwing?

Mayor-unelect Malone, perhaps trying to figure who he can screw next, having 
already screwed his creditors by filing for personal bankruptcy

     Screwing the Sanitation Workers

     Unelected Mayor David Malone is quoted in the Portsmouth Daily Times (7 Jan 2012): “The unions are being protected while their non-union counterparts are, quite honestly, being screwed because of budget cuts.” Quite honestly!” Malone is incapable of honesty. In my view, it is not the non-union city employees, it is the union employees who are being screwed. They are the ones who pay dues and are denounced by much of the public as trouble makers. They are the ones who struggle to improve wages and working conditions. And then whatever gains they make in negotiations are given to non-union members. Non-union employees may be opposed to unions on principle or simply because they don’t want to pay union dues. It is their right to be non-union, but they have no right to expect to be rewarded for not belonging to a union. In financial crises like the current one in Portsmouth, non-union members are being rewarded by the city employers for not belonging to unions. They are, of course, being paid off. If they find themselves, during a fiscal crisis, losing out on their customary payoff, they have no reason to complain. They can’t have it both ways: they do not deserve to have the rewards of being in a union when they are not in a union. If they want union pay and benefits they should join a union, and if a union doesn’t exist, they should try to organize one. Of course, if they succeed in becoming unionized, Malone will screw them too,  like he screws the sanitation workers. But when it comes to the politically powerful police and fire unions, Malone grovels. He contributed $1000 to the Committee in Support of Police and Fire, a political action committee that supported the measure on last November’s ballot that increased the city income tax. Note that the committee was in support of police and fire personnel, not city sanitation workers. The passage of the income tax measure  did not improve the lot of the sanitation workers as Malone’s recent attempts to screw them by ignoring the contract they had negotiated with the city made clear. 

Bankruptee and Mayor-unelect Malone contributed $1000 to campaign to support the police and fire unions 

Screwing the Citizens of Portsmouth 

     Speaking of being screwed. It is the citizens of Portsmouth who are being screwed by having the mathematically and administratively challenged Malone as mayor. He wasn’t elected. He became mayor by default when Jane Murray was recalled. Malone was next in line in the long line of corrupt officials who became mayor when the elected mayor was recalled or left office for other reasons. The reason Malone was next in line was because he had demonstrated his subservience to the rich unelected individuals who decide who should be next in line. Malone is beholden especially to Neal Hatcher. Malone does what Hatcher and others expect of him—which is serve their interests. Granted he had a lot of competition, but there was no one on council who was more willing to sell out the citizens of Portsmouth than Malone. That’s why he is mayor. That’s why he rehired Weghorst and appointed her to a position for which she is not qualified, which is what he did for another unqualified city employee, Rick Duncan. Both Weghorst and Duncan were cogs in the corrupt administration of Mayor Jim Kalb.

The Marting Building Screwing
        Malone will do whatever he can to make the Marting building the place that the city government will move to, in spite of it having been rejected by voters as unworthy of being anything but torn down. The Marting building is another way Malone is trying to screw the tax payers. If the Municipal Building were not sitting on prime real estate, it would not have been neglected, and would have probably been renovated by now, and Malone wouldn’t have created yet another building committee that will attempt to get the city to spend many millions to renovate the worthless Marting building. 

     To return to the previous point, it is not the non-union members who are being screwed. It is the people of Portsmouth who are being screwed by having as mayor somebody whom the voters have more than once rejected soundly at the polls just as they have soundly rejected the Marting building. Why do you think SOLACE was pressured to leave the Marting building by Malone and the city? It is because Malone is following the wishes of those who have not given up the scheme to have the city government move there once it is renovated, making the site of the Municipal building available for developers, who have long had designs on that property. Getting SOLACE out of the Marting building will make it easier to get city offices in. Solace is just one of the parties being screwed by Malone.
The Prosperity Screwing

Malone  s Prayermobile, with City of 
of Prosperity bumper sticker

    Malone also screwed the public by preaching that prayer could lead to prosperity. Look at how successful prayers were, both for himself and the city of Portsmouth! If he had prayed less and paid his bills more, maybe he wouldnt have had to file for bankruptcy. Prayer doesn’t produce prosperity— hard working people do, and Malone has apparently never been one of those. Wasn’t that the reason he got into politics in the first place? He is the handy tool of the unelected clique that controls the city and it is the clique and Malone who are doing the screwing. With Malone as their unelected mayor, the  poor people of Portsmouth dont have a prayer. 

Rev. Malone, future unelected mayor of Portsmouth, bible in hand,
 preaching on the steps of the Municipal Building (2007)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The BCS Dumb Ox Trophy

The BCS Dumb Ox Trophy

 After its victory last night, Alabama is now ranked number one in football. It is also number one among the fifty states in one other category: alphabetically. It always comes first there. Those are about the only things in which the state is number one. In almost every other respect it ranks low to bottom. On a scale from 1 to 50, with 1 being the highest (good) and 50 the lowest (bad), Alabama ranks as follows:

·         Homelessness                         50th
·         Strokes                                   50th
·         Economic Opportunity             47th
·         Obesity                                   46th
·         Diabetes                                  46th
·         Education                                45th
·         Smoking                                  45th
·         Health Care                              45th
·         Taxes on cigarettes                  42nd
·         Personal income                      40th
·         Crime                                     39th
·         Teen pregnancy                       39th
·         Violent crimes                         23rd

     Is it just coincidental that Alabama is ranked so high in football and so low in these other categories? I don’t think so. In what I will call the Dumb Ox Law, a state is ranked in the other categories in inverse ratio to its ranking—or at least the ranking of its state university—in football. But the Dumb Ox Law is not infallible. Guess which state is ranked lower than Alabama in categories related to health, education, etc? You’re right if you guessed the neighboring state of Louisiana. If the Dumb Ox Law was infallible, Louisiana State University should have defeated Alabama last night in New Orleans, especially since it also had the home field advantage. I could speculate on why LSU lost the game last night—because I have a theory—but the game was boring enough without my making this analysis more complicated and as boring as the battle of college football titans was. Just let me say this. It is the most economically and culturally disadvantaged states that try hardest through football to compensate for their disadvantages, states that will go to extraordinary, even unethical and criminal lengths to achieve number one status.

     Ohio State and Penn State are reminders that it is not just in the historically disadvantaged southern states that football is almost a religious (or at least a bread and circus) diversion from the unpleasant facts and harsh realities of life. The pieties, the religiosity, that both Ohio State and Penn State used to cover up their immorality and criminality have now been exposed for the hypocrisies that they were, though it probably won’t be long before the worshippers, the fans, are once more as fanatical about their teams as they were in the past. That will happen once the ghosts of the once holy Tressel and Parterno are exorcised. Two-time Heisman winner Tim Tebow, who is still playing and praying like a college quarterback at the professional level, may be the avatar of the religious revival underway in football.
     Ohio is not just a northern state, it is also a border state, sharing important characteristics with  the South.  The Midwest, just like the South, is out to prove something to the Northeast, the home  of the pointy headed Ivy League “elites.” Call it the F. Scott Fitzgerald or Great Gatsby Complex. Among the hundred-and-thirty-pound Fitzgerald’s fantasies were being a war hero or a football star. That may be one reason he was such a poor student. It surprised me when I learned how low Ohio is ranked educationally. But I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering how insanely determined Ohio State is to be number one in football. The Dumb Ox Law may not be fool proof, but it proves there are still a lot of fools when it comes to college football.

     Let me close with a question. What do you make of the fact that Mike Mearan is one of the most die-hard Buckeye fans in the state?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Top Ten Postings of 2011

River Vices: Top Ten Postings of 2011

Based on the number of times visited by readers, these are the most popular postings of 2011. Click on the title to retrieve the post.

2. Rich Saddler: Portsmouth Boy 
3. Addicted Kittens: Oxy and  Contin 
10. Jim Tressell: Nearer My God