Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Miracle on 2nd Street

318 2nd St. before . . .
and after . . .

Before you read further, look at  the webpage on  Facebook for 318 2nd St. Street (click here). What has happened architecturally at 318 2nd St. is not just a renovatation, it is a remarkable transformation, if not a miracle, especially in the interior. Going against the American grain, in which appearance is everything, the exterior of the new 318 is simple and unprepossessing. Contrast it in that respect with the Marting building, which is really three old buildings with a phony, pretentious soulless fa├žade hiding a dark, dank interior.

The owners, Gary and Tim,  have turned the the former crack house into a state-of-the-art student residence that makes the dormitories in Hatcherville look like Hoovervilles, and they have done it, if what they told me is accurate, without the kind of public assistance, tax breaks, and  financial guarantees that Neal Hatcher squeezes out of local public officials, who are his political puppets. 

The history of  the building at  318 2nd St. reflects the history of Portsmouth in the last half century when hundreds of  buildings fell into disrepair, and ended up like orphans after a plague, the plague of drugs. For a while, the way a pimp might corral  desperate down-and-out dollar prostitutes, Shane DeSimone had bought 318 2nd St. from a Kentucky bank along with a number of  other abandoned Portsmouth buildings.  For a previous post on DeSimone, click here. But DeSimone could not keep up with the payments on the buildings, declared bankruptcy, and the city was stuck with his buildings, including 318 2nd St., which had been a crack house where drug deals went down at the back door day and night.The neighbors complained and the city condemned the building, which meant it was destined to be torn down. But like a prisoner on death row, it had to wait its turn before it could be demolished, and there were lots of others in line ahead of it. That’s when Gary and Tim bought the building for a couple of thousand dollars with the aim of raising it, like Lazarus, from the dead.

It would take many more thousands of dollars and a lot of work, but in  an incredible display of entrepreneurial  daring they took the risk. Some people thought they were loco,   but they displayed just the kind of entrepreneurial, competitive spirit that Portsmouth needs.  They hope that the members of one of SSU’s athletic teams might be tenants, say the women’s basketball team, because the building is ideal for a group of students who have bonded together, as athletic teams tend to do.   In the deal Hatcher has with SSU, he cannot lose, there is no risk, because the university guarantees that if the occupancy rate in Hatcherville residence halls falls below a certain percent, he will be reimbursed by the university. (For more on Hatcherville, click here.) Corruption and non-competitive sweetheart deals are the norm when it comes to buying and selling property in Portsmouth, as it was in the notorious sale of the Marting building.  Gary and Tim have no such sweetheart deal. But they have heart and imagination. They have a dream, a beautiful dream, and it looks like the dream is becoming a reality.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Snuffy's Take on Jim Kalb's Open Letter

Jim Kalb composing his open letter to Kevin W. Johnson

Iffen you red Drek Aillen’s Cock-n-Bull Opin Litter, now reed Jim Kalb’s  to the failed antic deeler Kevin W. Johnson. Summite suspeck Ol’ Jim din’t rite the litter cuz it lax the redneck shit-and-piss retrick that made Jim  the most famus Appleashen in the whirl fur 48 ours a few yeers back. Sumuthers mite suspeck Jim didn’t rite it cuz it haz finnishin’ skool wurds like “therefore,” “ultimately,” and “abide” wen all he haz iz a vacational edjication. Weather itz by Jim or his bitter haff wif the govinment krazy chek. Iffen you aint red Jim’s Appleashen masterpiss, just klick here.

Jims open litter iz not so much a litter az a chronicul of govinment cunfusion, cullusion, and dilusion in witch Jim cumplanes Kevin always kept him, that iz Jim, out of the loop privyusly but iz trying’ to suck up to him now that Kevin iz on the sity man’gers shitlist.

Bee that az it may, Jims litter to Kevin W. begins,

             "Hello Vice President Kevin W.”

He leaves  off  hiz last name witch iz suposed too bee sarkastick  like you wood begin a litter to the president, “Hello President B’rack Husane,” leavin’ off hiz last name Obummer.  Summite say iffen he rit the litter hisself he cud cum up with sumthin’ better like, “Hello Vice President Kevin W. who  I woodn’t piss on if you waz shit on fire.”  But la-dee-da Jim sez insted, "I copied this correspondence to all concerned because, well, that’s just the proper way to do things (in my opinion)." Wat Jims  reely doin' ritin’ fancee-dancee like this iz makin' fun of kweers who rite like that. Then Jim  sez supersillyous,I don’t know if you have ever read the Charter, you don’t understand the language in the Charter or you just flat out refuse to abide by the Charter and other laws/rules governing Council.” Jim leckturing Kevin W. on vilelating the chatter iz ironick cuz Jim iz the biggist vilelator of the chatter in the anals of Porchmuth like he did on the Martin’ bilding and the Kiwanis Playground. Hell, there aint nobuddy who vilelates the chatter more’n Jim.

Jim also ‘cuses Kevin of subvertin’ the Design and Review Bored. Speekin’ of bored, don't we have more than enuff bored fellas in sity govinment and nobuddy more so than Jim, as shone in the  classick schnapshot of him  ketchin’ twenty winks during a counsil meatin'.

As fur Kevin’s dilutions of grander, Jim in hiz litter quotes an emale in witch Kevin rote, “As you know, Derek is called by our fire or police Chief whenever there is a fire, homicide, robbery or a bear in the city. I have asked to be called as well; as the Mayor (or Acting Mayor, in my case, effective July 1) I should be aware of such activity.” In uther wurds, Kevin W. wants to be in the loop as much az he wants to keep Jim out of the loop. If theres a bear or a bare-ass stewdent running up Chillyclothy street, Kevin W. wants to be woked up and tolled about it.

Then in a kleer warnin’ to Kevin W.,  Jim kwotes the city chatter like it’s the Bibull, the furst commandmint being you better follow the chatter or you cud end up convickted: “Any violation of the provisions of this section by a member of the Council shall be a misdemeanor, conviction of which shall immediately forfeit the office of the member so convicted.” Of coarse our currant sity man’ger wuz prevously convicted of lying under oath about givin’ a buddy of his a no-bid contrack for gravil or sumthin’ butt he waz hired anyway. In fakt, I think one of the kwalifications fur the job waz you gut to have  a please record or at least to have been a bankcorrupt.

Jim allso cumplains in his litter ‘bout Kevin tellin’ Drek to take a vacation. Kevin tellin’ Drek to take a brake iz like Hitler rekomending that Muscleenie becuz he’s virgin on a nervuss brakedown shood take a long vakation and leeve Itally to the Nasties. Not your call Kevin,”  Jim sez in his opin litter. “The City Manager is perfectly capable of scheduling a vacation for himself when he feels the need.”

Here’s the hippocritical enden of Jims opin litter to Kevin W. “Since you took a seat on City Council I’ve witnessed a loss of confidence that Portsmouth residents have in their city government. I’ve seen nothing from you but hidden agendas and a failure to follow the laws and rules governing the city. I’ve watched you speak for City Council as a whole without being asked. You thrive on controversy and you constantly share information with the media before it is ever discussed by Council. Now allow me to ask a question of you: Do you plan to continue your actions on City Council as you have to this point? If you have no intentions of changing, would you consider making it easier on everybody and cheaper on the City and just resign your seat on Portsmouth City Council?”

Jims  crittersizin’ Kevin W. Johnson on vilelating the city chatter iz ironick cuz like he did on the Martin’ bilding and the Kiwanis Playground, Jim iz the biggest  vilelator of the city chatter in the hisorry  of Porchmuth. Hell, there aint nobuddy who haz ever vilelated the chatter more’n Jim.

Iz this what sity managemint govinment in Porchmuth haz cum too? The bankruptured, incompitent Kroaker clerk a-lying with the convickted sity man’ger aginst the Connivin’ Actin’ Mayor affective July 1? Guvnor Kasick haz got it rong. It aint the devil whose in controll in Porchmuth, itz the lawyers and develuppers that pulls the strings of the underhanded, bankruptured and incompetint politishins of witch the out-to-lunch Jim Kalb is the epitymee. 

Political Puppets of Portsmouth