To The Daily Sun,
Gail Ober's front page article of Aug. 3 was so full of missing pieces that it was, in fact, a bit difficult to read. The article itself, on the removal of Michael Jean as Gilmanton's selectboard chairman, seemed, in the end, to be less about his removal, and more, just another opportunity for Selectman Marshall Bishop, who initiated the vote against Jean, to shine the spotlight on Brenda and Brett Currier's initiatives against him, while attempting to come out from under the spotlight himself. Well, it hasn't worked: the light is on. He's turned it toward himself ... so let's take a look.
The truth is that Brett and Brenda Currier have not so much harassed Mr. Bishop, as he claims. They have simply exposed him. Public documents, uncovered by the Curriers and others, have shown that Mr. Bishop's restaurant endeavors have no history of a signed-off permit from the Planning Board. Additionally, it would seem, according to zoning regulations, Mr. Bishop's restaurant initiatives are not even allowed or subject to exception in his zone. These are not opinions or fabrications of the Curriers. They are documented and undisputed facts. And there are many others.
But now it would seem that Mr. Bishop, understandably angered and embittered by this exposure, has developed the misguided notion that if he can silence the Curriers, embarrass and discredit them, it will somehow make him appear less guilty of his neglect. Well, it doesn't. In fact, the harder he tries to quiet the Curriers, the more he has drawn attention to himself and what he has allowed to happen at his restaurant and winery.
He has even gone so far as to write the Attorney General a letter that was, through an email blunder, released to the public. In the letter, he asks the Attorney General if he could suggest a way to get Mr. and Mrs. Currier off his back. Really? I mean, I'm sure the AG's office is throwing all their resources into that one. But remarkably, in the letter, Mr. Bishop admits to using town resources, such as town counsel and the town administrator, to gain advice and guidance on what is solely a personal matter. That's taxpayers money.
But that's not all. One member of the community, who received that letter, used the Right To Know Law to gather information, which not only proves town counsel being contacted, but an unprecedented involvement by Town Administrator Paul Branscombe in proofreading, editing, critiquing and even correcting spelling errors in Mr. Bishop's letter. I mean, am I really paying my town administrator to correct the spelling in Mr. Bishop's personal correspondences?
All of this, of course, puts the town of Gilmanton also in the spotlight. On the one hand, you have a restaurant business, which may, for the town, be worth the effort to save. But then, on the other hand, you have cases such as the Corner Slice, the soon-to-be-great small eatery in Gilmanton, whose owners have suffered countless frustrations and lost many months of business revenue, because they were forced to jump through and over all the hoops and hurdles it takes to be in compliance.
So, does the town bend and even break the rules for Selectman Bishop? And if they do, how do they explain to the owners of the Corner Slice and everyone else in the town of Gilmanton, or for that matter, any town in New Hampshire, who has ever struggled and will struggle with complying with town ordinances, that the rules they're forced to follow ... do not apply to everyone.