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Silber should be chairing BudCom meetings, not dominating them

To The Daily Sun,

Last week my wife and I attended the Gilford Budget Committee's public hearing on the town, water district and school budgets. To say the least, we were dismayed at what occurred.

It has always been my understanding that a public hearing is an opportunity for the committee to hear from the public and address their concerns.

That, however, is not what took place. Granted, there were some questions and statements from the public and the various department administrators made presentations, but the majority of the two-hour meeting was taken up by the committee itself.

Chairman Norman Silber used the the final 15 minutes to vent his displeasure, and to my ear, contempt, for the Gilford schools, administration and staff. That kind of self-serving rant is inappropriate not only for a public hearing, it is wrong in any setting.

If his intent was to sway public opinion to his way thinking, I believe it had exactly the opposite effect.

As chairman, Mr. Silber should be facilitating meetings, not dominating them.

Jack Landow

Gilford


 

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Full-day K should be way down the list of N.H. educaton priorities

To The Daily Sun,

When we start analyzing politics we must understand that the effects are always felt locally. It doesn't make any difference in a democracy; all levels of political action are affecting each citizen in some way.

As we start the state's business of governance under a totally Republican Legislature and Republican governor as well, the citizens of the state had better pay close attention. The loyal Democratic opposition needs no encouragement to get out the news of the more controversial acts soon to be performed in Concord. Citizens, stay alert!

Let's take a look at the current Republican hot-button issue: Right-to-Work legislation. The issues of wages, working conditions and benefits are going to suffer if this concept comes to New Hampshire. Its only strong point is its attractiveness to the business community. The promise of business expansion may be just a that, a promise. High tech companies usually pay high wages with benefits and good working conditions. Unfortunately, New Hampshire has an economy that relies heavily on tourism. The jobs in that segment of the labor force will have no visible gain from such a law. What will probably happen in their case will be a wage at or near the minimum wage now and into the future.

This week the Legislature has been preoccupied with the full-day kindergarten issue. Let's get real. That should be way down the list of education issues that loom large in New Hampshire. They definitely should address the building aid crisis.

What crisis, you ask? Well, one need only to check on line to find out that the state having trouble funding projects already in process. When we turn to those local districts projects on hold because the lack of state revenues dictates it to be so. Some of the richer districts in the state are finding the money for their maintenance needs locally. Alas, the poorer of the state's districts where most of the substandard buildings are located, have no such option.

Additionally, we are struggling to provide an adequate education in the public schools while the Republicans are trying to convince us that charter schools are the answer. Personally, I have very little respect for the so-called voucher system.

On to another unmet need facing this Legislature: bridges and roads. The bridges and roads in many of our towns are deteriorating and becoming unsafe. A few years ago the state developed a plan to stretch out the obligations of the highway department (spell that DOT). Some roads that were formerly maintained by DOT were handed off to the towns with the promise of some help with matching funds for paving and some help with the winter plowing. Towns took it on the chin because there was a gap between promise and receiving. Bridges, some of them poorly constructed by contractors employed by the state in the first place, are now becoming hazards to those using them. In addition, the state lacks the funds and or motivation to make things right.

During the first two years of the Obama administration, there was an effort to furnish some relief to local "shovel-ready" projects. That was short-lived because the Republicans gained a majority in the House of Representatives and effectively de-funded much of the infrastructure programs planned. Maybe, now that Trump wants to make "America great again," he can dust off some of those plans that died in 2011 and breathe life back into the highway fund before it dies. It could be called "Paving instead of Pork!"

We have the needs and the labor force. The Republican Congress needs to step up and get our economy focused on the answers to the big picture issues. We need more work, not the wall. We need to reform our tax structure, not send out tweets. We need progress not regression. We, most of all, need well thought out ideas backing decisions before taking actions.

Time to put away the smart phones and use the six inches that exist between the ears and behind the eyes. If it sounds good, looks good and stands up to extreme logical analysis then maybe it's a good plan of action.

In closing, I challenge those letter writers to offer ideas that can be translated into constructive action instead of attacking each other's rants.

Bill Dawson

Northfield

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