PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Mayor Jim Kalb doubled down on his remarks about former Portsmouth Mayor Jane Murray at Monday night’s Portsmouth City Council meeting.
Kalb was reacting to a story in the Daily Times, quoting from an email he sent out in which he referred to Murray as the “B” word – “I know that most of you don’t even want to acknowledge her with a reply, but the bitch lies…”
On Monday night, Kalb continued his remarks, this time before an open City Council meeting. Kalb began by saying he would like to speak about that email.
“I’m going to take this opportunity to speak about my recent email that made the top spot on the front page of this past Saturday’s newspaper,” Kalb began. “First I want to apologize to anyone that I may have offended other than the person that I referred to as a female dog, or as the headlines read – the “B” word.’”
Kalb then said he did not know what qualified the email to be referenced in a front page story.
“Was it the fact that the mayor used the “B” word, which can be heard anytime on the History Channel, AH Channel, Discovery Channel or just about any other broadcast station on TV?,” Kalb said. “Or was it the fact the mayor called an ex-mayor any unflattering name? This is the same ex-mayor that called everyone sitting at these tables crooked, incompetent, stupid, uncaring and selfish individuals. The same ex-mayor that, when I went shake her hand at the courthouse for garnering the most votes in a primary election, she jerked her hand back and asked me how that second place was working for me.”
Kalb then referred to Murray as, “The same ex-mayor that sends correspondence to Portsmouth City Council about official business, but purposely neglects to include the President of Council, and also asks the other recipients not to copy the correspondences to him.”
Then Kalb re-iterated his original quote in a somewhat more subdued manner.
“What else could you call a person like that?” Kalb said. “In my limited vocabulary, that was the only one word that seemed to best describe her and I used it.”
Kalb re-stated that Murray’s major concern from the original email was that the city utilized out of town services, instead of using a local firm that employs local people and pays local property taxes. The reference was to the city spending money with Strand Engineering out of Cincinnati instead of Howerton Engineering located in Portsmouth.
It was at that point in Kalb’s remarks that First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson spoke up.
“I must interrupt,” Johnson said. “We ask the people that address us to avoid personal reference and do so with dignity, and you are just on the edge – you have passed over it just a little bit.”
“The rest of it has to do with the email and the contents of the email,” Kalb responded.
He then made one more statement.
“Let me, in closing, in no reference to anyone, there are no consequence to sharing this email,” Kalb said. “I have accepted the responsibility for this black eye on the city by supplying someone with the ammunition. Is there anyone here man enough to stand up and say they’re the ones that shared the email? I sent it to 10 people.”
When no one responded, Kalb ended with, “Very good. That concludes my report.”
Later during individual ward reports, Fifth Ward Councilman Gene Meadows weighed in on the remarks.
“I work down at the courthouse. I’m in there all the time. I had a lot of comments about the email, about the article in the paper,” Meadows said. “The comment people were saying is that it’s reflective of all of Council. I think we all need to be careful about the comments we make. I think we all need to be careful and remember that we’re representing all of us and we’re representing the city and the comments I heard at the courthouse were not flattering.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.