Pubdate: Sun, 27 Jun 2010
Source: Portsmouth Herald (NH)
Copyright: 2010 Seacoast Newspapers
Authors: Mark Brighton, and Ramona Charland


A miracle from Heaven is about to become the answer to a Portsmouth 
politician's prayers. Eliot, Maine, is soon to open a medical marijuana clinic.

It is accepted that marijuana provides relief for pain and nausea. 
And there have certainly been enough of both in the current budget season.

Councilor Ken Smith has to be in excruciating pain from all the 
contortions he has gone through trying to slide out from under the 
promise he made to bring in a budget decrease. Yes, councilor, that 
would be a budget that is actually smaller than the prior year's. We 
have to admit that it was painful to hear him try to shift 
responsibility for the city budget to the state Legislature. After 
listening to him, we may find it necessary to slip across the river 
ourselves. No, wait, we have no idea what to do with a joint, or if 
it's even still called that.

Councilor Smith was brought back to earth with a painful thud when 
Councilor Spear reminded him that perhaps some of the fault does lie 
with the Legislature, but the responsibility for the final budget 
number lies squarely within the City Council's purview. That must 
have hurt. Don't worry, councilor, we'll get you a taxi to make it to 
Eliot. We believe a designated driver is appropriate here.

Mistah Mayor must be suffering from painful whiplash. His neck had to 
have snapped from starting with talk of a 4-percent decrease to 
supporting a 3.5-percent increase. We're getting dizzy just thinking 
about it. He may require several visits to the clinic along side 
visits to the chiropractor.

Councilor Clayburgh's temples have to be throbbing. At least she had 
the good sense to keep quiet after breaking her promise. Said promise 
did seem too good to be true, even when given. Her connection with 
the school system is just too deep, and no meaningful cut is possible 
without major surgery on the school budget. But relief is at hand.

The politician obviously suffering the most at the moment is 
Councilor Dwyer. We can only infer from her complaint about having 
been "bullied" that she feels victimized by those including the 
Association of Portsmouth Taxpayers. We are truly crushed to find an 
elected official pulling out the "you can't hit a girl" card in 
political debate.

We hope that School Board Chair Mitch Schulman will be able to take a 
long rest and retreat over the river. Near the end he was in a truly 
agitated state. Eliot is an idyllic spot, and they even have their 
own Irving station.

City Manager Bohenko will definitely need some relief. Trying to keep 
his fingers in every single facet of this circus has got to hurt. We 
are still puzzled as to why he is intent on breaking every joint in 
his body to keep from releasing files in a form that might actually 
be useful. He may have to carefully consider the wisdom of a trip to 
the clinic, as in our younger days we did witness mild paranoia in 
some pot users. He doesn't seem to need any more as it appears he 
believes that the citizens that he serves are out to get him. Loosen 
up your suspenders a little, Mr. City Manager. Set those files free. 
Then ease yourself over to Eliot. You'll feel better.

There are five councilors who should not be suffering and are surely 
sleeping soundly. Bob Lister did exactly as he said he would. He 
stood his ground. We may not like his position, but we have to 
respect it. Councilors Spear, Kennedy, Coviello and Hejtmanek fought 
the good fight. Relief in Eliot should not be necessary.

Chuck Doleac and his "People of the Pool" should be feeling no pain. 
They probably haven't stopped partying. Well played, folks. It's time 
to get moving, though. Eighteen months isn't much time in which to 
turn that sow's ear into a silk purse.

The WAVE people are truly lost souls. They actually think that the 
school budget was decreased. They bled emotion all over the place, 
and were consistently undeterred by factual information. The most 
irresponsible prostituted their children's public tears. Perhaps 
instead of going to Eliot these folks just need to breathe into a 
paper bag. And take Parenting 101: Always protect your children from 
the fallout of adult issues.

The people who lost the most in this whole ordeal are the Portsmouth 
taxpayers. What no one, including this august newspaper, has pointed 
out is that the increase is twice that of inflation.

The taxpayers are not going to be able to slip over the river to ease 
the pain or the nausea. They will be too damn busy shoveling against 
the tide to pay for what this city cannot afford.

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Mark Brighton and Ramona Charland are residents of Portsmouth
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