In candidate Kalb’s order of his top six concerns/issues:
1. “Large number of dilapidated houses within in the city:”
• Interestingly, candidate Kalb only recently focused on this issue after his six years as mayor and another seven or so on City Council.
• Numerous residents have shown me houses in their neighborhoods that were condemned for more than 10 years yet the city required no action on the part of their owners nor took steps to tear the houses down and/or sell the property.
• I am on record in 2008 and again in early 2009 requesting that the administration and the Council take action on the declining state of our housing stock and neighborhoods. I urged them to request grant and specifically stimulus funding for such urgent community needs. They came back with a top priority for stimulus funding for a city building at the old Marting’s site.
• My goals are to involve the neighborhood residents and property owners as we develop revitalization plans and parks and leisure time opportunities in the neighborhoods. We will apply for tens of millions of dollars in public and private funding for such projects.
2. “Infrastructure repairs to our roads and street surfaces and our water and sewer systems:”
• The public is fully aware of the deplorable condition of our sewer and water systems and our streets.
• What the public may not know is that this administration, the city auditor, and the members of Council who passed the 2008 and the four who passed the 2009 budgets knowingly misspent revenue from “restricted fund” accounts in violation of state law and/or public trust.
• Kalb raised sewer and water rates every year he has been mayor except for this year (five out of six years).
• Kalb proposed and Council adopted a 5 percent cost increase in garbage collection in the spring of this year.
• Part of state fuel taxes and vehicle license fees comes back to the city. According to city audits: “Expenditures may only be for street construction and maintenance.” In 2008, the city received $1,006,708.74 in such funds, yet only one street was resurfaced.
• Candidate Kalb says, “I also plan to make a major investment in paving our streets that are riddled with potholes and cracks.” What happened to the $1M received in 2008 and the monies received in 2009?
3. “Creating new recreational opportunities and continuing with improvements to our parks, stadiums and riverfront:”
• The neighborhoods lost many of their recreational opportunities when the old schools were torn down for the consolidated schools. The city never developed plans for parks, pools or other needed facilities.
• I want to establish a Parks & Leisure Time Commission made up of people from every neighborhood so that we can plan for the type of facilities and programming we need.
4. “Dealing with the crime rate and drug problem in the Portsmouth area:”
• In my opinion, candidate Kalb’s comments are of negligible consequence.
• My approach will include working with federal, state, local and regional enforcement agencies to clean up the crime in Portsmouth.
• Drugs will not be tolerated in public or HUD approved housing.
• Rental property owners will be required to maintain their properties to code or will be forced out of business.
5. “Cleaning up our streets and alleys:”
• This is a routine function of government.
• When people and property owners don’t clean up the streets, alleys, and properties, under my administration code enforcement officers will enforce existing and any newly developed codes.
6. “Job creation and retention:”
• For a city such as Portsmouth, the key to economic growth is the entrepreneur. The history of business in the United States clearly shows that the entrepreneur is the mainstay of our economy. We have to look at how the city government can collaborate in efforts to support our entrepreneurs and existing businesses.
• We need to establish a long term approach to developing a new economy for our region…one that is focused on education, technology (broad band) and new energy technologies and approaches, among others.
• Candidate Kalb says, “The city continues to work with tools such as our business revolving loan fund…”; however, a review of the city audits during Kalb’s tenure as mayor, states that no loans were issued in any of those years.
• My question is if the audits state this, how does candidate Kalb’s administration account for “the gross amount of loans outstanding under this program” in each audit report: 02 - $205,907; 03 - $177,320; 04 - $339,744; 05 - $325,913; 06 – $411,600; 07 - $382,636; 08 - $158,023?
• Perhaps Candidate Kalb could explain these discrepancies.
• As far as the second and third parts of candidate Kalb’s comments in last week’s PDT:
• The Portsmouth municipal building was approved and designed before the “Great Crash” of 1929. The building was finished in 1934. President Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933 and initiated The Works Project Administration May 6, 1935, a year after the municipal building was completed.
• Extremely successful retrofitting of historic buildings to accommodate current technological requirements are in evidence across the world, the country, the state and even Portsmouth; i.e., the Portsmouth Public Library.
• The city building has not been well maintained over the past 10 years. The goals and objectives of this mayor and some members of council have forthrightly been to NOT use the building as a city building.
• Please visit my Web site to learn more of my ideas for creating a new future for Portsmouth.