A petition is being circulated to recall Portsmouth Mayor and 4th Ward Councilman Jim Kalb.
Local businessman Zack Sims took to social media earlier this week to reach out to citizens of the 4th Ward and to express his disappointment in Kalb’s actions. “This is something I’ve done with a heavy heart and to no gain of my own. If I fail at reaching the numbers, I can be proud that I lacked no integrity in my attempt,” Sims wrote Friday in a Facebook post.
“Petitions were taken out by Zack Sims for the 4th Ward Councilman and Mayor James D. Kalb,” Portsmouth City Clerk Diana Ratliff confirmed Monday.
Despite the ongoing dispute between City Manager Derek Allen and city council, Sims told The Daily Times the recall is not based on Kalb’s actions during the conflict with the city manager, but rather a series of questionable behavior shown over time.
“I’m not doing this because of the Derek Allen issue,” Sims said. “I’m doing this because I’ve seen a large amount of unethical and illegal behavior, very questionable, very disrespectful. A man elected to represent my city is behaving in a way that is very iconic of what we’re trying to overcome as citizens of the city. We want to move into a better tomorrow, and I’m not seeing that in any way, shape, or form from this man.
“I would say this is something I have seen over the years. I’ve never seen any specific actions that were worth a recall. I would say that, through these issues with Derek Allen, and because it’s being broadcast to a much larger audience, and because a lot more people came out to actually see the events, it’s almost like putting a magnifier on a problem. It shows very specific instances for warranting the petitions,” Sims said.
When asked about other members of council that may find themselves facing similar recalls, Sims said he’s heard other citizens talking about filing petitions against 2nd Ward councilwoman JoAnn Aeh, along with 5th Ward Councilman Gene Meadows.
“I know that Thomas Lowe already has his petition out, and I think that people are equally upset about the other two. I don’t know how many people in the 2nd Ward are going to be active, I’ve heard bubbling up that people are interesting in seeing it happen, but no one is willing to step up. In terms of the 5th Ward, yes. According to the [City] Charter, you aren’t able to recall a person until six months after they’ve been elected in. I’ve heard quite a few people say that as soon as that six months is up, it’s happening.”
Sims believes that by recalling Kalb, it opens the position for someone with a fresh outlook, who can brush aside the negativity and help Portsmouth move forward.
“I’ve heard of a few people that have an interest in running for the 4th Ward, people who are younger, people who see a brighter future for tomorrow, not stuck in any of the old ways. I think by [Kalb] getting recalled, number one moves an immediate negative force out of a position of power, and I think it opens the opportunity for some of the more future-minded people to be able to step in. I think our local government is highly legislative driven, I don’t think the executive branch, I don’t think there are as much checks and balances in terms of what the citizens are capable of. I think by removing a negative force from within the legislative branch, you instantly have opportunities for the city to grow,” Sims said.
According to Sims, he doesn’t know Kalb personally, and all issues he has with him are strictly political.
“I live here, I work here, I want to see good things here,” Sims said.
According to the City Charter Section 151, “A recall petition to be effective must be returned and filed with the City Clerk within 30 days after the filing of the affidavit, as provided in the next preceding section, and to be sufficient must bear the signatures of qualified electors of the city equal in number to at least 25 percent of the electors who voted at the last preceding regular municipal election, if seeking the removal of an officer elected from the city at large, and if for the removal of an officer elected from a ward, by the signatures of qualified electors of the particular ward equal in number to at least 25 percent of the electors who voted at the last preceding regular municipal election in said ward. A recall petition, if insufficient as originally filed, may be amended as provided in this Charter.”
Reach Ivy Potter at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932