To The Daily Sun,
An open letter to the citizens of Laconia:
Today is election day and I hope to encourage all to fulfill their obligation as participants in a free society, by informing themselves of the issues and candidates' positions and to then cast their ballot for those they believe to be most qualified. As it pertains to the office of Mayor of Laconia, I will cast my ballot for Mr. Ed Engler.
In explaining why, I would first like to thank Mr. Kaileif Mitchell for running against Mr. Engler for Mayor. In another election, at some other time, and under different circumstances, I would consider Mr. Mitchell's leadership abilities and experience seriously. Given the questions and opportunities of today however, most would agree that Mr. Engler is the clear choice.
Here are five observations and opinions that I have made, which I believe vignette the prudence of electing Mr. Engler.
Mr. Engler has been a member of the Laconia Rotary Club since his arrival in Laconia. The motto of Rotary is "Service Above Self". Mr. Engler has embodied that motto, whether he was acting as a member of the board of directors, as the treasurer, or as a volunteer at many, many raffle ticket-selling obligations both locally and out of state. For more than a decade Mr. Engler has taken shifts at the Rotary booth in the Weirs selling tickets in June from sun-up to nearly midnight with scarcely a break for sustenance — all for the benefit of others in our community. Though Rotary is forbidden from making a political endorsements or taking a position on proposed policies or proposed legislation, locally, nationally, or otherwise, it is my personal observation that Mr. Engler is well-liked by his contemporaries and very well respected by all.
Mr. Engler is president of a newspaper business, which immediately conjures images of literacy in language, but please do not sell him short. I have found Mr. Engler to be comfortable and thoroughly literate with mathematics as well. It has frankly been encouraging to witness his thought process in playing out "what if" scenarios and teasing out trends that might not be obvious to the casual observer. In fact I would argue that his ability to write headlines — an art that is harder than one might think to do well — is really about boiling equations down to their lowest common denominators. Mr. Engler excels at getting to the heart of the matter in the fewest number of words.
While holding back criticism of others, I applaud Mr. Engler's approach to seeing and learning first-hand from problems and solutions in other municipalities. Whereas almost all stakeholders remained in Laconia, rather than avail themselves of a visit to Keene last November, Mr. Engler took it upon himself recently as a candidate to get on his motorcycle and ride there, to see the almost mythical economic growth happening there for himself. Just think of what he was able to see and deduce for himself that others were not. How full are the parking lots? How many people are circulating on sidewalks and crosswalks? What is the real vacancy/occupancy rate? Are the lessees truly the highest and best uses for the projects? What is the scale of the projects? How well do they integrate with each other? What were the unspoken and unintended consequences? I applaud Mr. Engler's diligence as a candidate and quietly note that this is a terrific standard to set for others.
Mr. Engler has been following city politics for years. He has watched and reported on the happenings of the City Council, the Planning Board, the Zoning Board, the Trustees of Trust Funds, the Parks Commission, the School Board, the Library Board of Trustees, the Water Commission, the County Delegation, The County Commission, the State Delegation, and more. Topics have covered capital expenditures, tax cap, crime fighting, union negotiations, educational programs litigation and more than can be covered in the scope of this letter. The comment frequently made by residents that, "if Ed doesn't know what is going on nobody does", runs much deeper than knowing what is going on with the City Council; Ed knows what is going on in our community.
Lastly on my short list of attributes, is that Mr. Engler looks at each question armed with the history behind it, but with fresh eyes and an open mind. Take, for example, his own business model. In a world that was seeing plummeting periodical circulation numbers, growing periodical failures and closures, and a general belief that "newspapers are dead", Mr. Engler observed human activity on college campuses and in break rooms everywhere he could. He applied what he observed with his own eyes to his own business model and succeeded in doing what everybody else said couldn't be done. He launched an upstart publication that has grown by a factor of eight-fold in just over 10 years, and which still sees substantial annual growth every year. If you are reading this article in today's edition of The Laconia Daily Sun, then you know exactly what I mean. This endeavor had to have been risky; I am certain that even Mr. Engler himself must have held his breath when he signed the first contracts for commodities of paper and ink, etc. My guess is that hiring writers, reporters, photographers, graphic artists, sales people, before hiring a printer, buying miles of paper and tubs of ink is a much larger scale project than most of us appreciate. It also seems to me to have been substantially more than luck that fueled The Daily Sun's success. No, it took due diligence, hard work, and an open mind to pave the way for his business success today.
I ask my fellow Laconians to not only vote for Mr. Engler, but to work with him, if elected, as he tries to lead Laconia forward. Laconia is legendary around northern New Hampshire as a difficult place to accomplish new ideas. I ask that you trust in Mr. Engler's process as fair, quantitative, methodical and deliberate. With his leadership and our cooperation Laconia will reach its phenomenal potential.