To The Daily Sun,
Retired veterans got the ultimate insult for their military service by Washington with a cut to their pensions. All other government employees were grandfathered.
This country has a long history of politicians turning their backs on veterans. After 13 years of war, we are cutting force levels by handing out pink slips to people that have been loyally serving their country. These patriotic Americans did everything that was asked of them and are now being thrown into the unemployment line.
The reason military pensions were cut and all others were grandfathered is because of the numbers. Only one percent of Americans choose to serve their country in uniform, and even a smaller percentage stay on to retire. Establishment politicians did the math and they do not need us to win elections, but will call on us to fight their wars.
Regardless of your political affiliation, as veterans, we need to come together and support each other.
Do not allow politicians to push us aside and discount us. We can make our presence known by being politically active at the local level allowing us to meet and challenge national level politicians or candidates. Let's join together and ask our families and friends to apply pressure collectively to question their policies and phony patriotism.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:32
To The Daily Sun,
Ashland's July 4th celebration is recognized as one of the best in New England. The two-day event includes a morning pancake breakfast and Independence Day Parade and ends the next day with a fireworks display. Every year the town's population swells from just over 2,000 residents to more than 6,000. People from throughout the Lakes Region and beyond stake out their spot on the L.W. Packard Ball Field to enjoy not only fireworks, but food, entertainment and the feeling of a hometown celebration.
Many people may not realize taxpayer dollars don't pay for this celebration. Funding comes through donations and the sale of commemorative buttons and T-shirts.
The Ashland Fourth of July Committee is made up of a small group of dedicated volunteers whose mission is to keep this 54-year tradition going. These people meet throughout the year planning all aspects of the two-day event.
Ashland residents will be asked to vote on the election of officers and warrant articles on Tuesday, March 11. Warrant Article 12 asks the town to authorize the Board of Selectmen to accept and expend donations up to a total of $3,500 for the purpose of the Fourth of July Celebration.
Members of the Committee urge all Ashland residents to vote "yes" on this warrant to allow us to help provide for the continuation of our hometown tradition. Again, no taxpayer dollars are used for any part of this event.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:29
To The Daily Sun,
Responding to Niel Young's diatribe of January 17, I would like to point out that in my opinion and as usual Neil is only half right, half of the time. It is certainly correct to point out that, "The GOP is in shambles nation wide." But Neil's assertion that the GOP in N.H. has no identity is just not altogether correct.
The editor interpreted Niel's letter to assert that "ESTABLISHMENT GOP WANTS NOTHING TO DO WITH PRINCIPLED CONSERVATIVES". But with Niel, it is clearly the case of it being the other way around. It is the so tightly principled conservatives that want nothing to do with a GOP that is not fashioned 100 percent to Neil's own dogmatic sensibilities. Niel hates the broader electorate. Niel truly believes that one day the broader electorate will have an epiphany and just swing fully right over to his always "Right" on every right wing-nut piece of ideology. They must do this because he knows he is right! If the establishment hates Christians then only Christians can be allowed to declare themselves as Republican? Clearly the recent primary indicated that more than just the Neil Young club of self appointed litmus-tested conservatives supported the same candidate he supported.
People like Niel Young are contributing to the GOP continuing with no message, identity, and cherry picking only the parts of socialism they want contained.
I thank Niel and his sponsors for putting on his very excellent weekly radio show where even the RINOs he hates are invited at least once to be guests. They come on knowing that they are going to get "O'Reillyed", talked over with a louder voice before they can finish their remarks. Niel gets many call-in hangups on his show each week. Niel is in fact intimidating and most of those hangups are the not pure that would point out a perceived fact or two not supporting Niel's ideology, but then lose their nerve before they are put on the air. Niel also blocks e-mails from many listeners who are also not up to the pureness in ideology he requires. Niel does not come out to Republican functions so he did not get to see Rep. Cormier recently lambast Jennifer Horne at one. Niell dislikes Kelly Ayotte but seems now to be quite enamored with Karen Testerman.
Testerman the fiscal conservative by her declarations that on defense spending, the 20 percent increases annually proposed by Romney in her mind are woefully short of what the nation needs to spend on that allocation. Ayotte of "The Establishment" going to the VFW to pander for the COLA increases to second career military pensioners that are to be restored anyway when they reach normal retirement age. COLAs just eliminated when the "conservative" Republicans bargained away entitlement cuts for eliminating cuts on what else... DEFENSE SPENDING. This completely destroying the SEQUESTER spending cuts and insuring the national debt in 15 years will be closer to $100 Trillion. The last NH legislature under Bill O'Brien eliminated COLAs in NHRS pensions as unsustainable against pernicious "COLA CREEP" and gross underfunding of liabilities. But Neil is not mad at Kelly for that advocacy of free spending. Kelly wants to print more money to keep those COLAs going for the 20 to +25 yr service military retirees with good paying management jobs at J&J and Raytheon. No Neil is not mad with Kelly on that one, as Karen Testerman also supports such free spending.
So Niel is just not willing to embrace any strategy either for broadening the appeal of the GOP brand or to actually win any elections. And that is how it has to be if the electorate mostly rejects the 100 percent ideology of Niel Young, and would only like a couple slices. We in the GOP must not be allowed to contemplate winning any elections until the broader electorate is made to believe what he believes!
How sad that based on the earful Jennifer Horne got the last time she was in Belknap County that Neil could not see that the establishment, principled conservatives of Belknap County feel essentially the same way he does about Frank Guinta. We are just disgusted that Horne, the GOP CCC, and SCC are not finding the alternative YOUNG candidates to the political hacks that they keep sponsoring because like Romney it is reasoned "they can" beat a Democratic rival.
Neil is half right. If Republicans do not convince Generation WTFers that $100 trillion in national debt in 15 more years is not in their best interest and the establishment Republicans do not stop voting the pocket books of their largest contributors then the nation wide shambles the GOP is in will just worsen. Frank is not going to win in November. He went to Washington and voted for debt ceiling increases WITHOUT spending cuts. He is now pandering for more socialism campaigning AGAINST shared sacrifice on entitlements. Shaheen and Kuster could be defeated but where is the money to come from and the support in the broad electorate to elect a couple of old saw folks like Testerman and Lambert? Ron Paul proved that the Generation WTFers are a natural GOP constituency, but not if the GOP has to be 100 percent Neil Young's vision and for sale to the highest bidders.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:25
To The Daily Sun,
In a recent letter to the editor, Russ Cumbee from Franconia sought to influence your/our vote by providing misinformation about the county budget process and Executive Council candidate Mike Cryans, and suggested impropriety.
To set the record straight, here is how the county budget is set and approved.
First, the department heads develop a requested budget, which then goes to the county commissioners. The commissioners meet with the department heads, go over the budget line-by-line and come up with their joint final budget recommendation. The commissioners present their recommendations to the county Executive Committee — nine Grafton County Representatives, usually three per district.
The Executive Committee then meets with the department heads and the budget is again gone over line-by-line. The final step of the process comes when the full County Delegation — every State Rep. from Grafton County; this term there were 27 — votes on the budget.
The bottom line is, the county commissioners (of which Mike Cryans is one) do not approve the budget — they only make recommendations. The County Delegation, after review and analysis by the Executive Committee, has final approval.
The April 23, 2012, vote referenced by Mr. Cumbee was not a vote to approve a budget line. It was a vote to recommend a budget line to the Executive Committee and the state reps who actually control and approve the final budget. To suggest that Mr. Cryans needs to recuse himself from participating in a recommendation process in the context of the myriad checks and balances involved smacks of innuendo and uncalled for speculation.
Mike Cryans, as one of the county commissioners, participates in making recommendations. Our state representatives have final approval of the budget.
As a point of information, contrary to Mr. Cumbee's assertion, Mr Cryans is no longer executive Director of headrest. He resigned effective, Jan. 1, 2014, in order to be able to give more time to his constituents.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 11:17
To The Daily Sun,
I believe that most everyone knows me or my reputation. There is no one in the last 10 years who has recommended more cuts to the Alton and Prospect Mountain High School Budget than me. I question every line and every penny. I have been a local pain in the butt to both the selectmen and the School Board. I am not afraid to say what I believe and let the chips fall. I do not have a political agenda. I have an Alton agenda.
Most important, I did not drink the "Kool Aid."
What I am about to tell you is that what my heart says is important, and that what we need is your vote and support to take care of our kids at the Alton Central School.
Last year Alton voters sent us a message which we heard loud and clear.
That message was: We will not spend $18 million because we cannot afford it. We have not spent all your money authorized in the capital expendable trusts. We do not need a new gym. We do not need a geothermal heating system. Our enrollment is no longer increasing, so we do not need to expand. We do not want a new building but we want to fix the one we have. We want some relief from the PMHS bond maturing. We need to get rid of the four modular classrooms. We need a fire suppression system that we have already expendable trusts have mostly paid for.
We are doing what you asked us to do. Instead of creating a wish list, adding in all the accessories we would like to have in a perfect world and then borrow the money whatever the amount, and ultimately hope you will unconditionally pay for it, we wanted to do it the right way this time.
Like any good business board of directors, like any fiscally responsible adult, we first asked, "What can we afford?" Just like you, we asked each other how much house or school can we afford to buy? What is our budget? What size school can we buy and keep to our budget?
We learned a few lessons from the last deliberative meeting. Spending $18 million for a new school is way over the top. That is the same as being able to afford a $400,000 house but instead applying for a $2 million mortgage.
My recommendation of a $7 million compromise, might have passed, but was zeroed out by Mrs. Tilly (75-49), from the floor. The vote was close, but still a ways from the 3/5 majority needed for a bond to pass. One of our most fiscally conservative citizens, Ray Howard, amended the $18 million to be reduced to $4 million which was also brought to a vote and lost by another narrow margin.
The bottom line of all this is the kids lost and were sentenced to spend at least another two years in old modular classrooms in need of replacement themselves.
That is how we came up with $4 million. You told us that $4 million might be doable if we can make a significant difference, have a plan that makes fiscal and economic sense, take care of all the critical problems in the school that we all agree on, and make sure our most financially vulnerable citizens can afford it.
We may not be the smartest pups in the litter, but we (the School Board) believe that we understand your charge and have made every possible effort to do what you want us to do: Keep our children safe.
First, get rid of the modular classrooms. We have used every penny we have to get rid of the two modular classrooms in the front of the building and move the kids inside. Unless you are willing to increase the average class size from 19 to 30 there is no more room at the inn. If you want your kids learning about health in the boys' locker room, watch them fall going to and from the modular classrooms during the winter, and have them remain the target of choice for some crazy person with an assault rifle, just raise your hands. If not vote yes for the renovation.
We have to upgrade the boys and girls bathroom in the 1956 wing, literally. It is an embarrassment, because it is the main public bathroom in the school, and because it is the bathroom closest to the nurse's office. This bathroom needs to be the most sanitized place for the public and most important for our sickest children. If anyone here does believe that fixing this bathrooms should not be a top priority I would like you to visit them and see for yourselves.
We need to spend the money in the fire suppression fund ($221,000), that you the voters authorized, instead of letting it sit there for another five years drawing 1 percent interest. New Hampshire fire code law states that if you have a fire suppression system (Anyone willing to raise his hand and vote against a fire suppression system in an elementary school, after mostly paying for it already?) you must have a fire alarm system. If you have a fire suppression system you must have a fire alarm system. It's the law. Does anyone here think the fire department need not be notified about a fire in an elementary school raise your hand? Seeing none ...
Next, as long as we have to rip out the ceiling for the fire suppression and alarm system it makes sense to replace the ceiling and lighting. It will never be cheaper and we can save almost 20 percent of the total cost instead of doing it piecemeal. You want us to save money and be fiscally prudent, then that is exactly what we are doing. We are putting in environmentally safe lighting and taking out the old inefficient florescent bulbs. We will get rid of all the unsafe exposed wiring on the walls and along the floors, add outlets, and essentially do what we want Northern Pass to do, "bury the power lines." If anyone does not think exposed wiring is a safety priority for our kids then raise your hands.
We need the administrative offices in one place centrally located instead spreading them a football field apart. Anyone who has worked in a business or been part of a management team knows that management is best centralized due to communication issues, response issues, leadership issues, and just plain common sense.
Here is how the bottom line numbers work out. The currently available interest rates to borrow $4 million range between 3.5-4 percent depending upon maturity and the loan provider which would be either a local bank or the N.H. Municipal Bond Bank.
The estimated tax rate impact should be between 32 cents and 59 cents per $1,000. As an example, for a $250,000 home the additional property tax will be about $80 to $147.50 a year.
Whether or not you think money will be cheaper next year, or the economy will be all our kids need to be in the same warm protected building today. Quality education begins with eliminating basic wants such as shelter and security. A protected, safe, secure, and toasty environment is the very least we should do for them.
We need your help in March to make this all happen. Please vote yes to renovating our Alton Central School — not for me — not for you — but for our kids.
Member, Alton School Board
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 11:13