To The Daily Sun,
Last March, the Town of Bristol had a very close race for two positions on the Board of Selectmen. The recount was Rick Alpers 338, Shaun Lagueux 325, Paul Manganiello 322, Andy O'Hara Jr. 277, and 2 write-ins. Obviously, Rick and Shaun were voted in.
On May 22, Joe Denning resigned from the board, creating another opening. One could assume that Paul Manganiello would be appointed (as been done in the past) especially in view of a three-vote difference with Shaun and a 16-vote difference with Rick. Many of us were amazed when the board asked for letters of interest and interviews soon followed.
We are now in mid-September without a new member ... a board of 4 not 5. Did the people not speak in March? Does the board have its own agenda? Are they determined to pick the "chosen one?" How disappointing for Paul and all of us who believed our vote counted.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 11:37
To The Daily Sun,
The caption for the photo on Page 1 of Wednesday's (Sept. 10) Laconia Daily Sun describes the Thomas-Burchell race for County Commissioner as "symbolic of ... the poison relationship between the Belknap County commissioners and the controlling majority of the Belknap County Convention."
The "poison" was created by the Belknap County Commissioners and their special interest supporters in response to the county convention lawfully and constitutionally exercising their duties to control the Belknap County appropriations to meet the needs of the county and to reflect the wishes of the voters of Belknap County who object to continually increasing county spending and an outrageously expensive five-star jail proposal.
The county commissioners frequently shifted money in the approved county budget. They have reportedly overspent by over $200,000 in some areas by shorting funds in other areas. This shift has been contrary to the lawful budget and without the approval (required for shifting funds) of the county convention. The recent court decision indicated that these actions by the county commissioners were illegal.
The impact of the illegal actions and unlawful spending by the county commissioners may cause layoffs of 10 to 30-plus county employees.
The county commissioners' actions don't seem to have been good-faith mistakes. The commissioners were repeatedly told that they were violating the law and the budget. Yet they defiantly and arrogantly continued to illegally spend money, harming the taxpayers of Belknap County.
I don't know why the commissioners illegally spent the money. Did they do it because they felt themselves above the rule of law and the will of the people? Or did the illegal spending benefit the commissioners in some way: Financially, politically, or for some job-related benefit?
Whatever the reason, there is no reason why either the county employees or the taxpayers should have to pay the price for the illegal actions of the county commissioners.
Therefore I reluctantly suggest that Belknap County citizens and the Belknap County Convention consider requiring the Belknap County Commissioners to personally reimburse the county for the money they illegally spent.
Unless there are consequences for their willful, illegal actions, what prevents commissioners from future illegal actions in defiance of the law, the county convention, and the will of the people?
Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 11:34
To The Daily Sun,
At Wednesday's meeting of the Jail Planning Committee, Ken Ricci acknowledged that his conceptual plan was too grand for what we can afford for Belknap County, and he offered several alternatives that we should explore.
1. Build fewer beds but build modularly so we can easily and inexpensively expand if that becomes necessary down the road.
2. Renovate the existing jail and add a Community Corrections Facility.
3. Reduce the size and cost of the original plan as architect Gary Goudreau has already begun to do (you can view his work on my website — davepollak.com).
We should compare these plans side by side and consider them each with the guidance of our professional corrections staff and experts so that we can be sure our needs are met and we solve this problem as soon as possible while interest rates are low and to avoid potential inmate civil rights lawsuits.
Ricci also argued that to reduce our needs for additional jail space in the future, we should be working with law enforcement and the judiciary to reduce the number of jail admissions and the length of stay, as I have already proposed. And, we should be studying programs like drug court in Grafton County and the mental health court in Merrimack County that they are using effectively to keep their jail populations under control. You can find links to these programs on my website.
By the way, I have discovered that I made an error when I said that the release of inmates in pre-trial confinement to work release was strictly a judicial decision. According to Chapter 30-B Section 18 of NH RSA Title II, "Any prisoner confined to a county correctional facility while awaiting trial in the superior court or for any other cause, who is not likely to flee or commit an act of violence, and who wishes to work, may do so voluntarily upon approval of the superintendent, subject to rules and regulations of the correctional facility."
Please let me know what you think. I appreciate your feedback. Contact me through my website.
Candidate for Belknap County Commission
Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 11:31
To The Daily Sun,
Raising the minimum wage makes good economic sense. Eighty-eight percent of those who would benefit from a rise in the minimum wage are over 20 years old, and 55 percent are women. Sixty-four studies have concluded that an increase in the minimum wage would have virtually no effect on employment. Sixty percent of small-business owners support increasing the minimum wage. Fifty-three percent of minimum wage workers are full-time workers — and generally referred to as the working poor. A single person in Carroll County needs to make more than $13 an hour to have a living wage. Higher wages will reduce employee turnover and reduce employee training costs. Giving more money to low-wage workers will be a boost to the economy as they will spend these dollars and that will have a multiplying effect.
Large companies now counsel their low-wage employees on how to apply for food stamps. This represents a large savings if the minimum wage is increased. To equal the buying power of the minimum wage of the late 1960s, the minimum wage would need to be nearly $11. The majority of Americans support increasing the minimum wage, but not our representative in Concord. He voted to repeal the minimum wage and feels the marketplace should set it. He pointed to North Dakota where fast food workers are paid $15 an hour. Since their economy is driven by oil, it is a false comparison.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 11:24
To The Daily Sun,
It's interesting that Mr. Meade admonishes Ms. Rudman Chong for never letting "facts get in the way of her opinion."
With Meade, he deliberately withholds facts to deceive the reader and promote his political views. In his letter addressing Ms. Rudman Chong, he fails to disclose that the video he references was produced and paid for by the hardly an unbiased source of facts. Most of the statements made by Democrats in this video were made prior to Operation Desert Fox, which included air and missile strikes against Iraq's chemical and biological projects that proved far more effective than many thought possible; this was five years before the Bush administration launched their ground offensive against Saddam Hussein.
This deceptive political ad, while presenting out-of-date quotes, shortens the original statements and doesn't provide any context for what was said. Several of the quotes were offered in the course of statements that clearly indicated the speaker was decidedly against unilateral military intervention in Iraq.
The question I ask of Mr. Meade is — when does deception become a lie?
The Bush administration devised a carefully constructed mechanism to lead the U.S. to war with Iraq. First they manufactured a problem, declaring that Iraq was a grave danger to the United States. They argued that Iraq was a threat to America and to the peace of the world, through its alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and growing danger from Iraq, thus there was an urgency to act. Cultivating widespread anxiety by propagating fear stories about enemies seeking to do the American people great harm? Demonizing Hussein as someone so evil and irrational that there was a moral imperative for action.
They next had to dismiss other policy options that could have avoided war. Arguing that containment, an effective strategy during the Cold War, couldn't work. They continued by attacking the efficacy of the U.N. weapons inspectors (which, ironically, had successfully disarmed Iraq from 1991 to 1998). Ultimately declaring that there would be no negotiations or discussions with Iraq.
Finally, the administration stated "we have no choice." The U.S. did not want war but was being forced to act. It was Saddam's choice to go to war. The administration argued that Hussein must disarm. If he did not comply by turning over his weapons of mass destruction, he was choosing war and if the U.N. refused to act, then the U.S. would have to act. The Bush administration argued that was is our last option, even though the U.S. actively blocked every other viable policy. In this way, the administration made war the only option. Subjected to this sustained campaign, Congress and a majority of Americans came to support this war of deception orchestrated by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & Co.
As early as 2002, while in the office of Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, then President Bush stated, "(expletive) Saddam, we're taking him out." A year later he commented, "Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly ... all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes."
The evidence is conclusive that the Bush administration fabricated evidence and ignored repeated warnings that what was being reported were false. Governments of coalition forces had to buy into these lies in order to justify sending troops from their respective countries. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted that he would have invaded Iraq even if he knew from the start that it didn't have weapons of mass destruction.
Our Senate Intelligence Committee released a 200-page report on how Bush and his officials deliberately misrepresented secret intelligence to make a case to invade Iraq. The report is a direct rebuke of the Bush administration's continued claims that it was the intelligence that was faulty and that Bush and company were simply presenting what the CIA had given them. The report doesn't use the word, but we all know what it's called when someone presents something as fact that's directly contradicted by the evidence: a lie. Not a mistake. A lie.
Further U.S. Senate reports revealed that the Bush administration could not find links it claimed existed between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. It tried, in best Soviet style, to torture its captives to admit that such a link did in fact exist. That, of course, would have been much better excuse for invading Iraq than the lies about weapons of mass destruction pointed at America.
Conservatives maligned the United Nations because this organization is not an arm of the United States and told the truth about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. U.N. reports submitted to the Security Council before the was by Hans Blix, former chief U.N. Arms Inspector, and largely validated by U.S. weapons teams, found that Iraq's nuclear weapons program was dormant. No evidence was found to suggest Iraq possessed chemical or biological weapons.
While we would all agree that Hussein would never be voted Man of the Year, if we were to follow Bush's logic, our next pre-emptive strike to protect the U.S. from attack and "evil dictators" should be on North Korea, Cuba, Ethiopia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Burma and ... the list goes on.
Why is it that Mr. Earle and other conservatives are quick to hold Obama accountable for all the ills of the United States, but fail to recognize possibly the greatest fraud perpetrated on the American people? Apparently they only believe and repeat what they hear on their "fair and balanced" network.
I'm certainly not opposed to defending our country and way of life, but I am opposed to dumb, rash wars based on passion and politics.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 11:16