From: The Office of James D. Kalb

Filed under: City Business,Uncategorized — tkm September 30, 2008 @ 21:0 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

“The City of Portsmouth has cooperated with both the State Fire Marshall’s office and our building officials to find that there are some maintenance issues in opening the building to the public. There were minor upgrades that had to be done and the city has decided that since the building is vacant, spending money to make the necessary upgrades is not fiscally responsible at this time.

If the city center initiative is passed by the voter’s this November, we will have the opportunity to correct all of the maintenance issues at that time. Any monies spent now could possibly be in addition to those that will have to be spent at the time of renovation.

We sincerely hope that the “anonymous” complaint did not come as a direct result of the Portsmouth Area Arts Council being in support of the City Center Pavilion. PAAC as well as Main Street Portsmouth and several other entities and individuals have worked hard to bring events to our city. It would be unfortunate that retaliation may be a factor in the initial call.

The Phantom Art Gallery is still going to happen but is being postponed at this time. Portsmouth Area Arts Council is a non-profit that works very hard to integrate the arts into the lives of young people and their families in the Greater Portsmouth area.

The City of Portsmouth is excited that this is the fifth year for the Tour of Lofts. We urge all citizens try to take advantage of this tour and to support the positive efforts of all individuals involved in making the event happen. I would also ask that citizens stay dedicated and focused in making Portsmouth prosper.”

Citizens for Change in The Fifth

Filed under: City Business,Howard Baughman,Uncategorized — tkm September 29, 2008 @ 11:0 am

…Of the People…By the People…And for the People

MEDIA ADVISORY For More Information Contact:
September 29, 2008 Jane Murray
740.353.5354

Citizens’ Initiative To Change Direction of Local Government

A group of Portsmouth citizens will announce an effort to help ensure city government responds to the needs and interests of the public and acts as a representative and transparent government. A news conference will be held:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
10:30 a.m.
2311 Grandview Avenue
Portsmouth, OH

Many of these citizens have tried for years to get the city to fix its infrastructure so that sewage would not back up into their homes during rain events. Owing to the city’s negligence, it only took 2.5 inches of rain in June of 2008 to once again flood homes with raw sewage and effluent.

The city and the President of Council, Howard Baughman who represents the affected neighborhoods have, instead, been focusing efforts on a 30-year property tax increase to build new city offices. The Citizens for Change in the Fifth are determined to “take their government back” and make it once again Of the People, By the People and For the People.

Non-Profit Participation in Political Issues

Filed under: ELECTION,Guest Writer,Uncategorized — tkm September 27, 2008 @ 22:0 pm

By: Kevin Johnson

For those who enjoy following politics and the political process, this email is for you.

Non-profit participation in political issues

As many may know from news reports, a number of conservative churches will be challenging a 50+ year old IRS statute forbidding churches/pastors who hold a non-profit tax status from endorsing candidates or issues. Churches/pastors who forego their non-profit status may certainly endorse whomever and whatever they want because the American taxpayer isn’t paying for it.

For more, see:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/07/AR2008090702460_pf.html

On a local level listeners of certain radio stations are now hearing representatives of two local non-profits, known as 501(c)(3) entities, encourage voters to vote for the City Center/Justice Center bond initiative on November 4. Many are wondering how this political involvement will affect the tax status of Main Street Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Area Arts Council.

Political Campaign Materials

As with the last Marting’s campaign, many are questioning the legality of certain campaign materials being distributed in the downtown area in support of the City Center/Justice Center initiative without the legally required disclaimer indicating who or what group paid for the material.

At the most recent meeting of City Council on Monday, Mayor Jim Kalb admitted the that City, not a campaign committee, is printing and footing the bill for the large billboard pictures of the proposed City Center / Justice Center – claiming they are “educational.” Actually, they are being distributed by local developer Terry Ockerman ostensibly on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce/Progress Portsmouth group established to pass the bond initiative.

These signs are campaign materials; printed to encourage people to vote for the proposal. The Mayor indicated some 30 sets (of two) have been printed and distributed. At an estimated cost of $25 to $30 (according to local printers), the City is investing some $1,500 to $1,800 of taxpayer dollars into the campaign to persuade voters to approve $12 million in new property taxes. Many are wondering…

Portsmouth Daily Times Clarification

This past Sunday the lead headline and story related as to how “If Portsmouth citizens approve the City Center and Justice Center proposals in November, they might wind up paying very little in additional property taxes to pay the $12 million price tag for both projects together.”

Not quite.

Some enterprising voters contacted Senator George Voinovich’s office. Below you will find 1) the emailed response from Nan Cahall of Senator Voinovich’s office, 2) the Portsmouth Daily Times article and 3) a “clarification” buried at the bottom of page two in yesterday’s paper.

After reading all three documents I’m sure you will be as “clear” on this issue as I am…

—– Original Message —–
From: Cahall, Nan (Voinovich)
To: Constituent
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 3:54 PM
Subject: Senator Voinovich will support the Portsmouth Community

Mr. Mitchell:

Thanks very much for contacting me regarding the your concern for the misleading headline and mailer distributed regarding Senator Voinovich and the City Center plan.

Senator Voinovich is not actively seeking funds for the City Center and Justice Center proposals. He appreciated that the Chamber of Commerce, Union leaders, Mayor, City Auditor and others shared information about the project with his office.

The community will have an opportunity in November to provide direction for its elected officials. Senator Voinovich is awaiting the community’s vote on the project.

Under a separate cover I would like to share with you another press release regarding some work Senator Voinovich is doing to help communities with aging infrastructure since some of your concerns were in reference to the aging sewer/water system.

I hope this is helpful.

Sincerely,

Nan Cahall
Nan Kohnen Cahall
District Director
Senator George Voinovich
36 East Seventh Street, Room 2615
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
513-684-3265 (office)
513-684-3269 (fax)
nan_cahall@voinovich.senate.gov
Sign up for Sen. Voinovich’s newsletter HERE.

THE DEVIL WITH DETAILS

Filed under: ELECTION,Guest Writer,Uncategorized — tkm September 21, 2008 @ 16:0 pm

By: Kevin Johnson

When I first went to work for a true fiscally conservative Republican in the United States Senate way back in the early 1970’s, one of the first pieces of (albeit crude) advice I received concerning the evaluation of legislation was: “If it (the legislation) comes out of a secret meeting, with no written report or documentation and a promise that it won’t cost the taxpayer anything more – protect yourself at all cost because you’re about to get screwed.” For those of you who know anything about Congress and how it works, this is how much legislation is initiated.

So I find myself opposing the Portsmouth Daily Times, Main Street Portsmouth, Portsmouth Area Arts Council, I.B.E.W., Shawnee Labor Council, Mayor Jim Kalb, City Auditor Trent Williams, City Solicitor Mike Jones, the Chamber of Commerce’s new “Progress Portsmouth,” Congressional candidate Victoria Wulsin, U.S. Senator George Voinovich and a host of other leaders and worthies… many of whom are responsible for what Portsmouth is today.

And this is difficult. For one, I truly like and consider myself friends with a number of those who support the “City Center / Justice Center” ballot initiative. To be not in their corner on this proposal is, quite honestly, a personal anguish. For another, I am generally known as one who, for the six plus years I have lived here, has always and consistently pushed and worked hard for progress. That I am now viewed by some as being “against” progress is, as well, a personal anguish. But I am not running in a popularity contest, I am not trying to join the local “good old boy” network and I am not attempting to seek personal gain or advantage. What I am trying to do, based upon my experience and knowledge, is make sense of our City Government and its actions. And I am failing miserably.

The fact remains that Mayor Jim Kalb did not like the recommendation of a publicly appointed City Building Committee that had conducted public meetings for six months, evaluated numerous sites, encouraged public input and participation and presented a detailed plan in December of 2006. Instead, he appointed his own committee comprised of elected City officials and other unknown persons who met in private, allowed no public input, kept no minutes and finally presented no report or documentation concerning their verbal recommendation to Council that the citizens of Portsmouth acquiesce to the Mayor’s obsession with getting $1.4 million from the Richard D. Marting Foundation.

The fact remains that, because there is not a plan, they are continuing to make it up as they go. Where now is the “business incubator” recently touted by the Portsmouth Daily Times? Where now is the public admission that the Machiavellian fire truck property tax increase was deviously and quickly passed in May so that the Chamber of Commerce/Progress Portsmouth could now claim that the $12 million “City Center / Justice Center” would not increase our taxes?

The fact remains that the recent State of Ohio audit of City finances would most probably have resulted in the firing of a private company’s chief financial officer. The fact remains that the City’s spending priorities are questionable. Witness the secret allocation of over $50,000 in May to repair the Marting’s Annex roof and the consequent inability of the City to find $50,000 to open McKinley Pool for the children of Portsmouth this past summer.

Much has been made by the Portsmouth Daily Times, Senator Voinovich’s staff and by the Chamber of Commerce/Progress Portsmouth about the “wide community support” this proposal has going for it. One incident tells me everything I need to know about this supposed support.

Last month a fundraiser was held for Congressional candidate Victoria Wulsin by supporters of the “City Center / Justice Center” initiative at The Lofts owned by Florida resident Terry Ockerman. Only those who supported the initiative were invited. A grand total of 15 people showed up; the most poorly attended fundraiser Dr. Wulsin has ever had in Scioto County.

Bottom line: If you trust our City Government by all means vote to increase your property taxes. As for me, I’ll continue to heed the advice I received long ago.

ODDz and ENDz

BUY A LOTTERY TICKET?

Twice now the Portsmouth Daily Times has run basically the same front-page article about the supposed financial support that Senator George Voinovich will somehow find for Portsmouth should we vote in November to increase our City property taxes by $12 million. Not only were there no specifics (even an example would have been of value) but it ignores the fact that our federal government is facing a major financial crisis as it increases our national debt by $1 TRILLION in order to bail out a deregulated, greedy and corrupt mortgage banking and securities system. In Ohio, Governor Strickland has ordered his departments to come up with two budgets: one with a 5% cut in spending, the other with a 10% cut. Why? Because our economy is in serious trouble. So where will Senator Voinovich find what Senator John McCain calls – and promises to end – pork barrel spending?

Perhaps Senator Voinovich does have a plan. At the March 20 meeting of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission in Columbus, the Senator stated: “We’re going to have to raise more money in this country. Did you hear me? We’re going to have to increase taxes in order to do the job,” Senator Voinovich said. “Anyone that tells you that’s not the case isn’t being truthful with you. They’re not being intellectually honest with you.”

And then the Portsmouth Daily Times announced that Senator Voinovich is sponsoring a $1.8 billion sewer system bill. How convenient, seeing that we have a major problem here in Portsmouth. It sounds nice and the timing is exquisite but how does it stack up to the problem?

Portsmouth is but one of 86 communities in Ohio and 772 communities in the nation with CSO (Combined Sewer Overflow) issues. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates it will cost $6.3 billion to address Ohio CSO problems alone. From a national perspective, the EPA estimated (in 2000) that it would cost $50.6 billion to capture 85% of CSO by volume and another $88.8 billion over the next 20 years.

How does the Senator’s $1.8 billion sewer system bill stack up? It represents 28.6% of what Ohio needs and just 1.29% of what the nation needs now and in the future. Portsmouth represents 1.2% of Ohio’s CSO needs and 0.13% of the nation’s. So, what do you think the odds are that Portsmouth will see a dime from this sewer system bill… if it passes muster?

I’ll buy a lottery ticket.

PROBLEM SOLVED?

Has the City of Portsmouth hit upon a way to eliminate the vandalism of trees along the sidewalks of our City? Perhaps it has.

New developments along Seventh Street are following a similar pattern: eliminate the grassy borders and trees. You’ll note, in the following pictures, that grass and two old and beautiful trees (pic at left) have been eliminated. Why should this matter? These green spaces capture runoff water — a major contributor to our CSO (Combined Sewer Overflow) problems. So, not only are esthetically pleasing aspects being eliminated by this new approach but our CSO problems are being exacerbated and the new buildings lose shade, thus contributing to their air conditioning costs and carbon footprint.


This final picture is at the side of Desco… where the trees were eliminated and the spaces filled with concrete.

A NEW LOFT APARTMENT

Now this is a great development that should be considered in more downtown Portsmouth buildings. The space above Pampered Princess (613 Chillicothe Street) is being converted into a loft apartment. Shown here is the new deck and access. Let us hope we’ll see more of this space utilization in the future.

CITIZENS GUARANTEED RIGHTS

Filed under: City Business,Uncategorized — tkm September 19, 2008 @ 9:0 am

Teresa Mollette v The City of Portsmouth, Ohio; Portsmouth, Ohio City Council; and Howard Baughman, Council President (In his individual capacity and as President of Council).

COUNT ONE – Violations of the United States Constitution 1st and 14th Amendments; The Ohio Constitution, Article 1, Sections 1.02, 1.03, 1.05, 1.11 and Article 18, Section 03, 07; Codified Ordinance of The City of Portsmouth, Part One, Section 101.07; and The City Charter, Section 4.

COUNT TWO – etc.

READ MORE:

CLICK:  http://portsmouthcitizens.info/blog/?page_id=412

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