To The Daily Sun,
This letter comes at a sad time in our state's history. New Hampshire Republicans seem to have become the personification of Ebenezer Scrooge. At this time of the year we all recall the story "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens which takes place in Victorian England.
We remember that Ebenezer was a miser and determined to keep all the money he made — with no conscience and no concern for his community's poor who desperately struggled to provide their family with life's basic needs such as food, clothing or adequate shelter .
Of course, we also know that at that time there was no such thing as health insurance or for that matter good medical care. We get to know Bob Cratchit and his needy family; including their very endearing son Tiny Tim. We find out that Tiny Tim is a cripple with major health issues and that without proper care he doesn't have much chance of surviving past his childhood.
Cratchit works for Scrooge, putting in long hours for little pay and no bennies. This story is set in the Christmas season.
And by a convenient coincidence, we too find ourselves in the season of Christmas. Can we draw any parallels between what happens in Dickens' work of fiction with our present day?
Well... let's see. There are many people in New Hampshire who are need of food, clothing, shelter and expanded Medicaid. We have some members of our Legislature who don't feel that it is their duty to expand health care benefits for these struggling people. Why?
Could it be that they want to control where the budget is spent while they turn a blind eye to the desperate needs of our citizens who we classify as the working poor and to our neighbors who suffer from physical or mental disabilities?
This time of year is a season for dreams. Could a miracle take place in this season of peace and joy? Could we see our legislators perform that miracle? Could we?
We can only hope that our Republican state legislators don't have to be visited by "ghosts" of Christmas past, present and future in order to get the message in their hearts and minds that they need to do the right thing, which is also the good and the smart thing.
Come on, our elected officials, show us that you have the will power to do the right thing for those in our state, who at the very least deserve expanded Medicaid now. You (and you know who you are) don't want to be known as the clones of Ebenezer Scrooge —or do you?
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 09:36
To The Daily Sun,
The end justifies the means, really?
In response to George Maloof's letter on Friday 11/29:
Professor Maloof stated; "most health policies were crappy and downright criminal". Since I assume professor Maloof receives his health care courtesy of the taxpayers, I doubt he actually studied the cost and benefits of the various health insurance policies available to the non-taxpayer supported worker. I don't consider my health insurance policy to be crappy. It provides me and my wife with adequate affordable coverage (without taking money from other taxpayers). The only thing criminal about it is now my premium will go from $700 to $1,400 per month, but this is not the fault of the insurance company. It's because people like George think someone else besides himself should pay or subsidize the insurance premiums for 40 million other people.
I find it troubling that he acknowledges; "the current administration knowingly deceived the citizens" and then justifies the "slight of hand" by stating that these lies didn't cause us to go to war (maybe not with another country, but what about the class war started by this administration?) I find it frightening that someone who has had our children in his classroom believes that our government should deceive the citizens to achieve its goals. I wonder how many young minds were shaped by this professor's warped school of thought? By the looks of it, some of his past students are already in Washington D.C..
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 09:34
To The Daily Sun,
What do we want our downtown to be?
There will be a special meeting (Monday night, December 9th) of the City Council and the Laconia Downtown TIF Advisory Board for a discussion of proposed Downtown TIF projects.
Four question: First, should I care what is being proposed to do with downtown?
Second, there is a lot of money involved, and should I say how it is spent?
Third, can this TIF money be spent better?
Four, what is TIF money?
I think in order to understand the other three, an explanation of TIF money in its simplest terms is needed.
Basically, TIF money is the result of businesses making improvements or building new buildings in an area designated as a TIF district. In this case, it involves a certain area in and around downtown. When these improvements or new structures are done, the value of that property goes up and so do the taxes on that property. The city, instead of taking all of the increase, takes only half of the increased amount and puts the other half into the TIF fund. These monies will be used for whatever structural improvements may be needed in that area as well as other improvements to that area. Over the past few years over $300,000 has accumulated and each year, the city will continue to collect amounts that represent a half of their increased assessments. This year we will realize $173,000 to be added to this account in July.
This, potentially, could mean bonding for a large amount of money to carry out some major improvements or acquisitions to do something with downtown. The bond notes would be paid by the TIF monies that will continue to flow into the city until projects are completed.
Ultimately, it is the City Council that will decide what and how much will be spent, but there is an Advisory Board for the TIF which has been working hard for a few years now on plans for downtown. Presently, they would like approximately 1.8 million dollars for Main Street Gateway improvements, benches, trees, statutory and some infrastructure at a cost of $486,032, continuing the Riverwalk segments in three areas for a total of $600,000, a pocket park at Water Street and Pleasant for $290,000, and the WOW trail expansion, Main St. to Fair Street for $400,000.
A matter this important and expensive must be one that is fully discussed and thought out, by the public as well as the Advisory Board and the Council.
So, I ask that members of the public attend this public meeting and voice your opinions. If you cannot attend, contact your councilors and let them know how you want your money spent.
Do we want our money spent on ornamental adornments or do we want investments that will encourage downtown investors that will increase our tax revenues, provide places for the visitors to our area to go and spend their money, and to give local people places to spend their money locally?
These are serious matters and we should not rush into spending large amounts of money without deciding what path is the best one for Laconia. The meeting of the TIF portion will be at 6 p.m., before the regular 7 p.m. meeting.
Councilor Brenda Baer
Ward 4 - Laconia
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 09:28
To The Daily Sun,
As I recall all the delicious food I ate over this Thanksgiving weekend and wonder how we will finish all the leftovers, I think of all those families who live in poverty and perhaps do not have enough food to eat every day. The federal poverty guideline for 2013 is $23,550 for a family of four. This figure is used for eligibility purposes for public programs such as Medicaid, Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, to name a few. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, the guidelines for establishing the poverty rates were originally developed in the 1960s. At that time, 1/3 of a family's income was spent on food; today only 1/7 of a family's income is spent on food. The guidelines are a national standard, which does not reflect changes from state to state or between urban and rural areas. Nor have they been adjusted for increases in housing, childcare, health care, and transportation. In order to meet the basic needs for a family of four the $23,550 would have to be doubled. Additionally, the National Center for Children in Poverty reports, in 2011 43 percent of children in N.H. lived in a home where the parents do not have a high school diploma.
Poverty leads to food insecurity or hunger. There are astonishing rates of poverty in the Lakes Region. This is easily identified by reviewing those children eligible for free and reduced school lunch in our communities. According to Kids Count, a program of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the 2011-2012 figures are overwhelming. In Laconia, 55 percent of children were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. In Shaker Regional, which includes Belmont and Canterbury, 34 percent of children were eligible and Winnisquam Regional, which includes Tilton, Sanbornton and Northfield, had 35 percent of eligible children. In Laconia, the numbers of eligible children increased by 15 percent since the 2007-2008 figures were released.
There have been many studies and programs to address poverty in N.H.We need to find ways to help kids stay in school, in the long run, they will perform better in the job market and financially. The Children's Alliance of N.H., a statewide program has been addressing food insecurity through a program called N.H. Hunger Solutions. They have created a N.H. Roadmap to End Childhood Hunger. Their goal is to ensure "every child has three nutritious meals a day". Please consider helping out in your community and you can read more at www.childrennh.org. The children are the future and we need to ensure they grow into healthy adults.
Last Updated on Monday, 02 December 2013 11:58
To the editor,
In politics, we are all aware of deception, lies, spinning the truth, etc., but Mr. Earle, in his most recent letter, distorts the truth by taking a statement made by then Secretary Clinton out of context, or as Mr. Meade refers to it, "paraphrasing." By using these techniques, you don't have to report an accurate account of what was said — you only have to narrate whatever information serves your political interests, no matter how blatantly misleading.
The events that took place in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 were an American tragedy, ending in the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean smith, and Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
No one could have imagined, by the end of the evening, how quickly the Republican right would politicize the murder of four Americans. Or how the most basic facts would be twisted and even invented out of the air to manufacture false charges — first to suggest that President Obama was disengaged, or even sympathetic to terror, and then, when that faltered, to begin tarnishing the reputation of Hillary Clinton as she mulled a 2016 presidential bid.
Mr. Earle, in his inimitable way, fails to give us all the facts of Secretary of State Clinton's response to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He conveniently paraphrased her comments to read, "What does it really matter." Her actual response to the question, as to what provoked the attack on the consulate was, "But with all due respect, the fact is that we had four dead Americans. What difference, AT THIS POINT, does it make (referring to the cause of the attack)? IT IS OUR JOB TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPENED AND DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING AGAIN." These points made by Clinton, were left out of Earle's letter.
I'm still trying to figure out what Clinton, Obama, Rice, and the State Department were supposed to have hidden or covered-up and why. That they didn't immediately know ahead of time if it was a planned or spontaneous attack? That they didn't know ahead of time there was going to be an attack? That they issued a preliminary report that eventually proved wrong? After all the terrorist attacks on our embassies and the resulting deaths and injuries from them over the last 20 years, the Republicans suddenly decide the current administration is responsible in some way for the deaths in Benghazi. They were perfectly happy to deny requests for increased funding for the State Department and never questioned "security failures" during Republican administrations, but now, especially after losing elections, these "statesmen" need to pin something, anything, on the Obama administration.
Ambassador Stevens was not "butchered", "raped", or "tortured" by members of the mob as claimed by Earle and others, but was alive when brought to a hospital. He bore no external injuries, and died of smoke inhalation from the fire started in the attack on the consulate. Does this diminish his death — certainly not! But exaggerating circumstances of his death for political gain is unconscionable.
Last Updated on Monday, 02 December 2013 11:53