To The Daily Sun,
In repose to a recent letter in The Sun by Ms. Comtois criticizing me and statements I made in my letter about Mrs. Colette Worsman ruling the Belknap County Convention with an iron fist and that Mrs. Worsman has little respect for those on the other side of issues, I would like to state that I took all the facts of the meetings right out of The Daily Sun.
The county budget was approved on Feb. 12 with a vote of seven "for" and six "against." Mrs. Worsman then allowed an absent member, Mr. Comtois, to vote over the phone and declared the vote was 6-6 and that the motion was defeated. She then tried to explain her action by saying a discussion to allow Mr. Comtois to vote over the phone was held with members of the convention. But that discussion happened before there was a quorum. Next, Mrs. Worsman tried to amend the minutes of Feb. 12. That vote was defeated 5-4, four of her loyal supporters abstained.
At the end of my letter I mentioned the meetings in Concord. The first one was held last week, and after the work was done Mrs. Worsman refused to answer questions and stated the the meeting was adjourned.
Ms Comtois, before you start lecturing me about my letter, read the papers and tell me what I am saying is wrong. You can also explain to me why I shouldn't think that Mrs. Worsman acts like a dictator, has no respect for our county commissioners and convention members who do not agree with her.
As far as the title of your letter, the only strength and compassion I could read in your letter was by Mr. Thomas when he told her to "go to hell." If this is true, I have to respect him for holding back.
Perhaps you remember in 2012 when the Red Sox had lacked leadership and players were drinking beer and eating chicken in the clubhouse during games; they finished dead last. But in 2013 under new leadership they went from worst to first and won the World Series. That's what we need to do in regards to our County Convention. We should select a new chairman and get us back to a county we can be proud of. That's what it was when we had County Commissioners like Mark Thurston and Christopher Boothby, whom I am lucky to call my friends.
I will finish with a question Ms. Comtois asked in her letter and it was, if I had gone to the same meeting that she went to. The answer is, no, I didn't go to that meeting. Mr. Comtois was also absent, didn't hear any of the discussion was but allowed to vote anyway over the phone. I hope to see you at future meetings.
L. Michael Hatch
Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 08:47
To The Daily Sun,
The recent Special Election race to fill the remaining nine months of Ray Burton's term for Executive Council (District 1) was a wonderful life experience for me.
I knew that running in this vast district (the northern two-thirds of the state) would be extremely demanding, but I was both overwhelmed and energized by the hundreds of supporters who volunteered for my campaign in so many ways: making financial contributions, placing (and holding) signs, writing letters to newspapers, making phone calls on my behalf, and hosting numerous events all over the state. For this I say thank you. It is hard to express the gratitude I feel.
I would like to wish Joe Kenney the very best as he completes the term of my good friend, Ray Burton.
Thank you again to all of my loyal supporters, and to everyone who voted for me.
Michael J. Cryans
Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 08:41
To The Daily Sun,
A public forum is scheduled for Wednesday, April 9, at 7 p.m. in the first floor conference room of the Town Hall in Gilford. The Gilford Selectboard has offered this forum in order to give the public an opportunity to discuss the impending demolition of Kimball's Castle in Gilford.
The selectboard's choice to allow the demolition of the castle and have the Kimball property turned into one that allows only a single-family residence came from the fact that the castle is in a state of decay. It has been deemed unsafe to the public by the building inspector in Gilford even though it sits on private property. The property does not belong to the town of Gilford. However, the Gilford Selectboard is named as a trustee of the property and has control of the numerous easements that have been placed on the entire property. This gives the selectboard power to direct the fate of the property.
The Kimball Wildlife Forest Committee has been extensively exploring the available options that include the acquisition of the property and its addition to the wildlife forest. None of these options includes the use of taxpayer money to achieve the goal of obtaining the entire property.
Sandy McGonagle, chair of the committee, has been working with the members of her group in order to make an in-depth presentation on these options during the public forum. The group has been working closely with Maggie Stier of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance. The Kimball property has become a priority for Maggie and a focus for her ever since Kimball's Castle was placed on the alliance's Seven to Save list last fall.
It is imperative that the public, especially the residents of Gilford, come forward and voice their opinions about the demolition of the castle. The topic has been widely discussed by many, including a large number of individuals on Facebook. However, the only way for the fate of the castle and its surrounding acreage to change is through an old-fashioned, face-to-face public forum that requires the residents of Gilford to show up and speak up.
Remember, if the decision of the selectboard is allowed to stand, Kimball's Castle will be forever removed from the landscape, the property will become home to a single residence, and a memorial marker will be constructed as a reminder of what once stood there.
The current trend is for memorial markers to be placed at or near the site of a demolished historical structure. However, in the Lakes Region we are losing our historic buildings at an alarming rate. If a marker is placed at the location of each structure we have demolished, then the local landscape will quickly become dotted with them. No longer will they remind of us of the history we lost. Instead, they might just become painful reminders of the fact that we didn't care enough to or didn't possess the ability to accomplish the job of preservation.
Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 08:39
To The Daily Sun,
Calling all budding politicians, political junkies, folks who want to make a difference or those just interested in learning more about the political process.
This is no April Fools joke. The filing deadline to run for state political office is just over two months away: June 4-13.
From county commissioner to state senator to state representative, and more, there are opportunities to serve in public office waiting to be filled.
The experience of running for office is simply great. The opportunity to meet people and learn their stories is truly unforgettable. Serving those people, once elected, is another life-changing experience, especially in New Hampshire's unique system.
If you have ever thought about running for office but want to know more, please get in touch with me. If you want to make a positive contribution to your state, please call me. If you have concerns about the direction our state is heading, it's time to get involved, so let me hear from you.
Kate Miller, Chair
Belknap County Democrats
Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 08:35
To The Daily Sun,Ever wonder why some of our best and brightest don’t go into teaching? Perhaps it’s because no matter how well you perform or how in demand your specialty, you will be compensated the same as a person with lesser skills in an oversupplied field. This dysfunctional compensation plan does three things no white collar business could abide: Requires us to pay too much for certain employees; reduces the pool of potential candidates for the most in-demand jobs; and puts us at a disadvantage when competing to fill key positions.Instead of helping the Winnisquam Regional School District's position, the school board missed a number of opportunities and maintained business as usual at the annual meeting, even dredging up the dreaded “averages” slide to show how our salary structure is below average. Unfortunately, except in Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, someone has to be below average. Key to competing for resources is how one defines terms, presents strengths, and prioritizes.The board and the union (who are supposed to be sitting on opposite sides of the table) want us to think “salary” when they make comparisons unfavorable to Winnisquam. Appropriate for assembly line workers 40 years ago, perhaps, but not for professionals today.Teachers are considered white collar professionals except when it’s time to negotiate. Then their unions represent teachers in calcified classifications where skills, subject matter expertise, and marketability can’t factor into salary. No wonder our public schools produce so many economic functional illiterates: The organization’s foundation is built on economic principles that run counter to our everyday experiences.In the real world we recognize differentiation and willingly pay more for certain goods and services. Imagine if generic brands and name-brands were priced the same. You’d either be paying too much for one or not enough for the other. Eventually name brands would disappear. It’s similar with teachers. With salaries based primarily on degree earned and years of service, we’re offering too much to some and not enough to others, putting us at a competitive disadvantage.The salary focus also ignores a big driver of workplace satisfaction, important for hiring and retention: The work environment. Our district claims to make “data-driven” decisions but downplays the poor and mistrustful working environment revealed by the district’s own teacher survey data.Instead of data we had the spectacle of the budget committee chairwoman using the terms “data driven” and “return on investment,” yet minutes later looking dazed and confused when asked to explain how returns on our investments are calculated. If you’re going to employ business terms, you’d better be able to explain them.Next, a board member tried to excuse a same-old/same-old teacher contract by hinting at a merit or assessment-based contract in the future. Do that and you’ll be up for Nobel Prizes in both economics and peace. I don’t know what’s worse: The board member believing his own words or the board thinking they were pulling the wool over the eyes of anyone remotely knowledgeable of school board/teacher union symbiosis.But the big draw this year was America’s favorite pastime. No, not baseball, or even football (though football was at the heart of the discussion). This was all about our real pastime: getting what we want by spending other people’s money. So a program founded on a lie was finally brought into the budget (as we all knew it would). Sports may teach life lessons, but the lasting lesson for students attending the annual meeting was that working hard to earn something you want is for suckers. It’s easier to simply assemble a working majority (just 170 in this case) and vote to spend other people's money. Never mind that the board hadn’t even bothered to project 10 year costs for the program they recommended. No one really cares about data when spending somebody else’s money.
Predictions: under current leadership, in five years district spending will have risen faster than inflation despite stable or declining student enrollment. We’ll still own one of the worst-performing elementary schools in the state. Our test scores will be in the bottom quartile. A teacher survey would reveal the same dis-satisfactions as the previous survey. There will still be no effective plan to manage costs and improve performance. But as long as the same working majority attends the one meeting that counts, no one will be held to account.
Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 08:29