To The Daily Sun,
As a senior at Inter-Lakes High School considering pursuing international studies in college, I had the opportunity to serve as a Senate page at the Statehouse in Concord last year. The chance to observe politics in process from the very floor of the Senate was a unique opportunity made possible by District 2 state Sen. Jeanie Forrester.
While Sen. Forrester represents 27 towns in District 2, she goes out of her way to remain active in her home community, serving on the Greater Meredith Program and helping to launch the Career Partnership Program at Inter-Lakes that provides mentoring and job shadowing opportunities for students.
I would like to publicly thank her for fostering the Career Partnership Program, for her willingness to work with students and especially for sharing the benefits of public service.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 07:27
To The Daily Sun,
Are we running out of patience with wind development in our community, simply because we do not understand our federal and state laws? Are wind developers are becoming "too big to fight"?
Have we wasted tens of thousands of hours fighting wind developers in our community without right? If you've followed us, you'll know we're fighting with good reason because turbines displease us or hurt us. Watch the Concord testimonies, read abutter lawsuits, and then ask yourself why New Hampshire's Office and Energy and Planning just finalized its energy strategy today, Sept. 2.
We have no demands. We are simple folk. We simply educate the community on how wind farms will affect our community in the early stages, mid-life stage, exit stage and in their aftermath.
We're here to ask questions. We continue to ask questions we all want answers to. Even I've been known to ask a few questions every now and then ... and I've yet to get a response. Does that tell you anything?
Why don't developers talk? Why don't developers hold regular community meetings? Why don't developers share their energy output readings at the Groton Wind Plant? Why don't developers remove their Met towers after exiting a project? Why don't developers hire and train local people? Why don't developers comply with the certificate issued by the SEC in Groton? Why don't developers want to speak to us?
Have we lost our patience? Or have we no patience for anyone who does not deserve our patience? Bottom line, we should be asking how any company could get away with lying/misleading the public and to our state committees.
This community believes the SEC should be held accountable for the Groton Wind Farm situation as much as Groton Wind Developers. Why? Because the SEC was disengaged in the Groton process. The SEC failed to recognize the misplacement of eight turbines, the illegal erection of the operations building, the known illegal road grades, the lack of emergency access and fire codes.
Demand answers — and if you don't get an answer — pound the table until you do.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 07:23
To The Daily Sun,
Voters have a clear choice when voting for the nomination in the Republican Primary for governor. There is the establishment candidate Walt Havenstein, who seems to have come out of nowhere, and the conservative candidate Andrew Hemingway, who has lived here all of his life.
Andrew has built and sold two businesses in our state. Walt has been the CEO of a company who was hired to help implement Obamacare. Walt is endorsed by Gov. Chris Christie who helped get Obama re-elected with his hugs and praise. You can know a candidate by who their friends are.
Andrew is a vibrant young candidate who has clear and well prepared plans to make New Hampshire a business friendly state to attract companies here with jobs. He will attract younger voters to the polls because he knows that education is very important and points out that after students graduate college here they usually leave the state for states that have good job potential. Andrew wants to bring jobs back to New Hampshire with a tax plan that will attract companies. He is also against the federal government taking control of our schools through Common Core.
Walt Havenstein said from day one, that he refused to talk about the social issues. He doesn't seem to realize that for every social issue there is a state bureau to deal with. Will he refuse to talk about those issues as governor? We do know that he is pro-choice and in favor of gay marriage. At a 912er's meeting in Rochester (at which Mr. Havenstein was not present) his campaign manager told me that Walt is a social moderate. We would say he is a social liberal. Andrew is a pro-life social conservative.
Walt Havenstein cannot beat Gov. Hassan in the general election, but Andrew Hemingway will because he has clear ideas and has made them known. Not so Walt Havenstein.
Republicans and Conservatives, if you want to win back the Corner Office in Concord you can do it by nominating Andrew Hemingway in the Primary election.
Phil & Chris Wittmann
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 05:25
To The Daily Sun,
On behalf of the Belknap County Democratic Committee, I'd like to invite all interested residents to attend our Meet the Candidate event to be held Sunday, Sept. 14, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Leavitt Park Clubhouse, 334 Elm St., Laconia.
Most of our candidates for elective office will be there, along with our featured speaker, Mark Fernald. The afternoon is designed to give voters the opportunity to meet their candidates, ask questions of them and hear what they have to say.
Refreshments will be served. We hope to see you there.
Kate Miller, Chair
Belknap County Democrats
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 05:21
To The Daily Sun,
The commissioners of Belknap County have engaged in the type of transparent and inclusive planning process we all demand in a democracy. What the Ricci Greene plan has given us is a template that we can carve into a workable and affordable project.
The process began when the commissioners ordered a facilities review of all county buildings, including the jail. Then they went to school at the National Institute of Corrections at no cost to the county. Subsequently, they commissioned a report from a nationally recognized expert on jail capacity planning, David Bennett, who wrote the book on the subject. There is a link to it on my website, davepollak.com.
Next, they created a criminal justice advisory committee consisting of police, prosecutors, defense lawyers, youth service workers, and the judiciary including state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau. They organized a jail planning committee of elected and hired public officials and they publicly invited any citizen of the county with an interest to participate. They spoke with numerous experts on corrections as well as representatives of the education, mental health, drug treatment, and health care and employment agencies. They toured several new county jails in New Hampshire and spoke with commissioners and superintendents there. They began a now regular tour, called County Conversations, in each town in the county, heard from the mayor and councilors in Laconia and from the select boards and public from all the other towns in the county.
After all this they then issued an RFP and hired a nationally recognized firm to plan a new corrections facility. Every public meeting provides for public input and all the minutes of all those meetings and the reports of the experts are available on the web. There are links on my site. If you haven't been heard on this subject, you haven't tried.
The commissioners could have picked a dollar figure to start with but they chose to study the problem and to then develop a conceptual plan as a starting point with the idea that controlling costs and keeping neighborhoods safe depended on reducing recidivism. That reduction, according to numerous experts, is accomplished by incorporating programs proven to reduce recidivism. The conceptual drawings take that into account.
As we now all know, that plan carries a horrifying cost of $42 million. That number, however, is far from final. Nobody wants to spend that kind of money. As a comparison, Grafton County, which built a $33 million facility, started off with a $60 million concept.
As critics have correctly pointed out, the Ricci Greene drawings contain a lot of excess space. Architect Gary Goudreau, who is a member of the jail planning committee, showed me how he was able to reduce the square footage for one block of cells almost 20 percent simply by moving the recreational area. This eliminated a lot of wasted hallway and dayroom space. He told me that that is what you get when you develop schematic diagrams which are intended for estimating and actual building — unlike the conceptual plans we now have. It is my understanding that Mr. Goudreau's work was provided to the convention, and all state reps should make sure they look at it.
At the same time that we proceed with the schematic plans, I believe that we should continue to investigate ways to reduce the jail population in the future by shortening pre-trial detention or using alternative sentencing, where appropriate, for non-violent offenders who might be safely released to electronic monitoring and home confinement. This is not something commissioners have the power to do. Sentencing is handled by judges. However, I have been talking with local experts about starting a committee to examine that question.
Programs obviously require personnel and the Ricci Greene plan contemplates an increase in the staff. I'm planning on starting another committee that will look into ways we can leverage the services provided by local agencies to provide as much of that programming as possible. We will have to continue to examine the question of what, if any, expansion of in-house programming we will provide.
A commissioner has to provide for the public safety while remaining dedicated to being a well-informed and careful steward of public resources. I hope that everyone with an interest will continue to participate in the process. I don't care where the good ideas come from. When I read of the $10 million Wilkes County Jail that a critic wrote about in this paper, I contacted the architect and put him in touch with our county administrator. This is the same approach I will take if I am elected as County Commissioner on Nov. 4.
You can reach me through my website, davepollak.com
Candidate for Belknap County Commission
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 05:18