To The Daily Sun,
While I appreciate The Laconia Daily Sun publishing my previous letter, it is regrettable that they chose to change the title. In doing so, they missed a significant point. Not only were Commissioner Philpot's comments inappropriate, The Sun has been discriminatory in its reporting. Instead of using my title "Crossing the Line on Discrimination", The Sun chose "Why would anyone call an elected official a 'bad' person." The Sun is fueling discrimination against Republicans by the way they have chosen to report on Republicans and Democrats. The Sun is a community newspaper; its focus should be on helping the community, not polarizing it. Issues relative to the jail should be handled as community issues, not as lead-ins to political campaigns.
Recently, I have been disappointed by The Sun's highlighting Democrats while attempting to help divide Republicans. The lead headline "Philpot takes aim at 'bad people' leading GOP Delegation" was the crowning touch. The Laconia Citizen also reported on the same Democrat picnic where Commissioner Philpot made his comments. However, the Citizen article was at the bottom of the first page without a sensational headline. Not only did The Sun exercise poor taste using the quote, they also used poor taste by using "aim" immediately after the Trayvon Martin verdict. The Sun chose to highlight the Democrats with a front page article on Sen. Hosmer, while relegating a subsequent article on Sen. Forrester to the inside of the paper on page 8. The Sun chose to attend and report on the Democrats annual picnic. Yet, they declined an invitation to attend and report on the Belknap County Republicans annual cruise which was attended by over 275 Republicans from all over New Hampshire. Knowing that a reporter might not be able to spend three hours on the Mount Washington, they were invited to come to the pier prior to departure for a story and photos. The Laconia Citizen, also invited, was at the pier and published an article and a photo on the front page just as they did for the Democrats this past week. These are all just more examples of the Sun's demonstrated bias in favor of the Democrats.
On a positive note, I would like to thank The Sun for accomplishing something that often times seems impossible... unifying Republicans covering the broad political spectrum.
I call on The Sun to look closely at the rationale behind their actions. With the Sun's editor running for mayor of Laconia, perhaps there is a reason, but it's not about the community. It's not too late to demonstrate to the community that The Sun puts meeting community needs ahead of gaining political advantage.
Jan Face Glassman
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 09:09
To The Daily Sun,
Kate Miller tries her best to put a decent countenance on the ill-received remarks of Belknap Commissioner Philpot (LDS 7/23) but could not explain how vilifying those with whom you disagree is "everyone just doing their job". Her Republican counterpart, Alan Glassman, would never countenance the cheaply partisan remarks made by Philpot.
What really made Kate's job impossible was Philpot continuing his diatribe in the same edition. As an Alton reader noted, he should just resign and let someone with a different and less poisonous vision take his place.
Rep. Dick Burchell
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 09:48
To The Daily Sun,
I read the article on Friday that reviewed the comments made by Commissioner Philpot at a Thursday event as well as the article in Saturday's Sun with comments from Alan Glassman and the letter from Elena Ball. Based on their comments, it is clear that neither Mr. Glassman nor Ms. Ball have attended any of the Belknap Convention meetings. I have attended a number of the convention meetings this year. If Mr. Glassman was "appalled" by the "bad people" comment made by Commissioner Philpot then he should have been beyond appalled by the comments directed at the commissioners and county employees by Rep. Worsman and other GOP members of the delegation at the convention meetings. She and others have been openly arrogant, condescending and outright unprofessional to the commissioners and the county employees who have been present. Even if he did not attend the convention meetings, many of their comments were reported on. Mr. Glassman refers to the strained nature between the commissioners and the Republican delegation and expresses concern for Commissioner Philpot's understanding of human nature. If Mr. Glassman himself understands human nature and had witnessed the tone, demeanor and accusatory comments that the commissioners received from Rep. Worsman and others then he should not be surprised that Commissioner Philpot feels the way he does regarding some of the GOP Delegation members. I left some meetings wondering how the commissioners sat there and took the very rude open and under the breath comments directed at them. I wonder where Mr. Glassman's condemnation was when abusive remarks were directed towards the three Commissioners, of which two are Republicans, and county staff.
Ms. Ball feels that Commissioner Philpot went too far by "smearing the good names of people who have been tasked with working towards a balanced budget for the county." Well the commissioners are also elected and have the same responsibility. They, and some county employees, have been consistently smeared in on-going displays of arrogance by Rep. Worsman, Rep. Tilton and other GOP members of the delegation. Based on her response to Commissioner Philpot's comments, if Ms. Ball had heard all the rhetoric at the meetings, she would have considered Rep. Worsman and others as having gone too far months ago.
I agree with Mr. Glassman, as do most residents of Belknap County who are following the convention, in wanting to see the entire convention able to work together on matters critical to the county. While I have only lived in the area for 14 years, I cannot recall other Belknap Conventions being this contentious. Friday's article noted that comments from Sen. Hosmer and Rep. Shurtleff referenced more bipartisan cooperation in Concord as well as some civility being returned to the Statehouse. Commissioner Philpot referred to the radical faction of the GOP Delegation as having a negative impact here in Belknap County. The GOP members of the Belknap Delegation include self avowed Free Staters, libertarians and Tea Party members so there is a faction that is considered radical by many, including many Republicans. The residents of Belknap County deserve to have a delegation that puts the residents and county first rather their individual ideologies. Commissioner Philpot should not be held to a different standard then other convention members. If Mr. Glassman or Ms. Ball never called for apologies from Rep. Worsman or other GOP Delegation members for statements they have made to and about the commissioners and county employees then they are certainly off base calling for one from Commissioner Philpot.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 09:43
To The Daily Sun,
Unfortunately, the recent articles about the Benson incident do not tell the full picture. Although I did nothing wrong, Selectmen Currier and Lavin had a personal agenda to remove me as the chairman of the Planning Board, as they did with Nancy Girard, and were willing to ignore the law and the facts to get it done. Here's what happened.
Benson had violated numerous conditions of his contractor yard permit and failed to remedy the problems after being given many opportunities to do so. Despite the termination of his lease by the owners of the land on which he operated the yard and the revocation of his approval by the Planning Board, he failed to leave the premises. In September 2012, the Planning Board sent a letter to giving him a deadline. The letter warned if he did nothing his personal property would convert to the ownership of the land owners. Its intent was to alert him that he had to act to avoid the consequences. He still did nothing. In January 2013, the land owners made arrangements to remove Benson's property.
Shortly afterward, Benson discovered it was gone and filed a stolen property report with the Gilmanton Police. Sgt. Matt Currier, son of Selectman Currier, investigated the complaint. In the course of his investigation he spoke with the land owners who said they had relied on the board's letter for authority. Sgt. Currier concluded that the September letter was the cause of the problem and that the Planning Board should not have stated that Benson's property would convert to the land owners.
Both Girard and the planning administrator complained that Sgt. Currier did not behave in a professional manner in conducting his investigation. They met with the selectmen and the chief in a nonpublic session to discuss the matter. Because his son was involved, Currier recused himself, but remained to hear the discussions. Subsequently, Girard reported to the Planning Board that she believed that the matter was resolved.
Girard's term as a Planning Board member expired and she was not re-appointed after over 20 years of service. Some members of the Planning Board were concerned that it was connected to the Benson incident. Instead, the selectmen appointed a replacement and an alternate, both relatively new to the town. Together with an appointment last year, Lavin and Currier had three appointments to the board.
I was elected as the new chair of the Planning Board and became aware of a rumor in an e-mail addressed to a number of Gilmanton residents suggesting Girard and the Planning Board acted wrongfully. I sent two e-mails to those persons defending the board's actions. Someone provided them to Chief Collins. Chief Collins was offended in the manner in which I described the incident and complained to the selectmen.
In late April, I was asked to attend a public meeting with the selectmen. Chief Collins said that I had undermined the reputation of his department and Sgt. Currier in my e-mail descriptions of the investigation and wanted the Planning Board to admit its letter to Benson was wrong. Clearly there was a dispute in Sgt. Currier's account and Girard's and the administrator's accounts of their interactions. In an effort to put the matter behind us, I offered to write an apology to the extent I misstated the facts in my e-mails and explained the legal basis for the board's letter to Benson. I also called the chief to set things right. He further complained to the selectmen by letter dated April 29 — calling for my removal as chairman. As promised, I sent a letter to the chief on May 6 and copied the selectmen among other persons.
On May 15, the selectmen approved a letter asking me to resign. Their letter adopted the chief's version of the facts and claim that the Planning Board had acted wrongfully and never referred to my letter which addressed all of those issues — the law and the facts were irrelevant. Currier fully participated despite his conflict of interest and his public statements that he would not have appointed me to the Planning Board. Lavin and Currier saw the controversy as a pretext to get rid of me.
On May 16, in a nonpublic session the planning board thoroughly reviewed the Benson matter and concluded nothing further needed to be done. In that discussion, the selectmen's representative, Guarino, withheld the selectmen's letter because he believe the matter was resolved and the letter was unnecessary. Guarino reported back to Currier and Lavin who were furious. Guarino said he no longer believed the letter was needed and asked to be removed. He was told he could not. Currier and Lavin decided to take matters into their own hands.
The June meeting agenda of the Planning Board listed as a last item a letter from Board of Selectmen. Contrary to the normal practice, the letter was not included in the board materials that were e-mailed to the members in advance so that they can prepare for the meeting nor was it in the packet at the meeting. I asked the administrator for a copy prior to the meeting, but did not get an answer. Just before the meeting, however, Guarino called me to let me know that he would not be attending, Lavin would be filling in for him and alerted me that the letter was asking for my resignation. He said he was against it, considered the matter resolved, but that Currier and Lavin had insisted that it be brought forward.
Regular member Laurie Sanborn was also not present due to a conflict and the alternate was appointed to serve in her place. At the end of the meeting, the letter was presented. I advised the board that I would not resign. Contrary to Guarino's statement, Lavin represented all selectmen were in favor of the letter. Lavin made a motion that I be removed and one of his appointees seconded it. I asked that it be deferred until all of the regular board members could be present. His appointees immediately objected and stated the present board had a right to vote. I explained that I would resign from the board if it was adopted because I didn't want to be associated with a board that acted in this manner. It became clear that all of the Lavin's appointees were in favor. In fact, one said his approval was because the selectmen wanted it. The other long standing members of the board were opposed. I then resigned.
It is clear that some or all of Lavin's appointees knew about the letter in advance and were prepared to act. The other board members were in the dark. Sanborn said if she had known about the letter she would have attended and voted against it. She resigned in protest. Guarino has said he was not in favor. So the motion would have failed had the regular members been in attendance. Ironically it would have also failed at the earlier May meeting if Guarino had presented the letter. Lavin stated publicly at the next selectmen's meeting that his job was to remove me and he got it done. He said that the letter wasn't distributed because he didn't want my friends to attend the meeting.
The Planning Board is intended to be an independent, nonpolitical board which administers the town's planning laws and regulations. Currier and Lavin saw the Benson incident as an opportunity to remove me and used the chief and their appointees to carry out their plan. What's next?
W. John Funk
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 09:40
To The Daily Sun,
I have heard enough about the race card. Blacks were dancing in the streets all over the country the day O.J. was found not guilty. His ex and her friend, BOTH WHITE were brutally murdered. I did not hear the out cry from our black leaders back then as I do now. I guess two white crackers, butchered by a black man FOUND NOT GUILTY does't fall under a RACIST CRIME. Obama, Sharpton and our attorney general are a disgrace to the legacy of Martin, John and Bobby — three true pioneers, who did not politicize civil rights for all.
It won't be long before whites are the minority in the USA, it's only a matter of time. Look at the bright side, it won't be long till the white man can open casinos in Conn. and if we're lucky, Obana will give us a loan. Think of it, solar powerd slot machines.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 09:32