To The Daily Sun,
In a letter published in the Oct. 21 Laconia Daily Sun, our Belknap County Commissioners say that my charge that they manufactured the recent budget crisis was based on "half-truths" and "fabrications." The falsity of the commissioners' claimed crisis is revealed by the following 12 facts. Decide for yourself whether it is fair to conclude that the commissioners conjured up an illusion of crisis for their own political purposes:
1. The commissioners directed their attorneys to file a motion for emergency relief in the Belknap County Superior Court, which was heard on Sept. 23, 2014.
2. Paragraph 2 of the motion filed on behalf of the commissioners declared: "The county now finds itself in an emergency situation, wherein several county departments are over-expended without the ability to provide vital county services."
3. Paragraph 7 of the motion stated: "If the Executive Committee is unable to meet within the next forty-eight hours, inmates at the jail will have to be transferred to other facilities."
4. Paragraph 10 of the emergency motion summed up the commissioners' position: "Counsel for the convention has informed the county that the Executive Committee could tentatively schedule a meeting for Monday, September 29, 2014. This proposal is unworkable; in the week that it will take to convene the Executive Committee by their proposed schedule, elderly patients will need to be transferred from the nursing home, inmates will need to be transferred from the jail, and law enforcement personnel will be subject to danger due to insufficient communication."
5. Initially, in oral argument on the commissioners' motion, their attorney represented to the court that the transfer amount needed to sustain county operations was $617,872.20.
6. Judge O'Neill specifically inquired as to the exact dollar amount needed to sustain county operations until the scheduled Executive Committee meeting on Sept. 29.
7. Following a recess, during which time the commissioners conferred with their attorney, the attorney represented to the court that a transfer of $455,500 was needed to sustain county operations until the Sept. 29 meeting of the Executive Committee.
8. The court denied the motion for emergency relief, but urged the Executive Committee to meet on the issue of essential transfer requests that required action before the scheduled Sept. 29 meeting.
9. On Sept. 25, a special meeting of the executive committee of the convention was held to address emergencies that could not wait until the regularly scheduled Sept. 29 meeting.
10. At the Sept. 25 special emergency meeting only one transfer request was presented; the request was for transfer of $10,000 to ensure jail inmates necessary medications through the weekend until the regularly scheduled Sept. 29 meeting of the Executive Committee.
11. On Sept. 29, at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Executive Committee, over $600,000 in line-item transfer requests were approved by the Executive Committee to maintain Belknap County operations.
12. Between Sept. 23, when the commissioners' emergency motion was heard and Sept. 29, when the Executive Committee held its regularly scheduled meeting, not one nursing home patient had to be transferred to another facility and not one jail inmate had to be moved to another jail.
Based on all the available information, I do not believe any of the 12 factual points set out above can truthfully be denied. That said, I stand by my previous accusation that the "crisis" that led to the emergency motion was fabricated and the theatrics surrounding it were purely for show. In this regard, the facts speak for themselves. When the Executive Committee gave the commissioners the special pre-Sept. 29 meeting that the commissioners had argued to be essential to the continued operation of vital county services, all the commissioners could think to ask for was $10,000 for medical supplies to get jail inmates through the weekend. Assuming 100 inmates at the time, the requested transfer number would represent $100 per inmate for medications. One could reasonably be suspicious of that number.
Regardless, $10,000 is a far cry from the $455,500 that the commissioners represented to the court through their attorney as being essential for county operations until the Sept. 29 meeting of the Executive Committee.
Any reasonable person looking at the facts is forced to conclude that the "crisis" was non-existent. One can only speculate as to the reason for the misrepresentation: Was it an effort to embarrass the court by showing that its decision created an unworkable problem for county operations? Was it an effort to embarrass the convention and to try to influence the election of representatives who would rubber-stamp commissioner requests? Was it an effort to embarrass (Executive Committee Chairman) Rep. Tilton by portraying him as insensitive to the nursing home residents and jail inmates who were going to be uprooted and thereby force him to schedule a meeting without ample time to review the transfer requests in advance? Was it simply spiteful behavior by three men who could no longer have their way with the budget? Or was it some combination of these?
Whatever the motive, the attempt to create the appearance of a crisis was not from a mistaken lapse in judgment, but was the product of a purposeful design. The pawns in the game were the nursing home residents, the jail inmates and the county employees, and their peace of mind was the price that the commissioners were willing to pay to create the illusion of "crisis."
We should be able to expect truthfulness from our commissioners, and so should the court and the convention. Ask yourself, in light of the pattern of intentional misrepresentations running through their recent budget crisis story, how much credibility should be given to any statement made by the commissioners?
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 09:56
To The Daily Sun,
This last July, the mandated SB-245 (establishing the SEC ), was signed into law by Gov. Hassan and this is what we ended up with.
There is hereby established a committee to be known as the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee consisting of nine members, as follows: (a) The commissioners of the Public Utilities Commission, the chairperson of which shall be the chairperson of the committee; (b) The commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services, who shall be the vice-chairperson of the committee; (c) The commissioner of the Department of Resources and Economic Development;(d) The commissioner of the Department of Transportation; (e) The commissioner of the Department of Cultural Resources or the director of the Division of Historical Resources as designee (all of these commissioners are governor appointees); and (f) Two members of the public, appointed by the governor, with the consent of the council, at least one of whom shall be a member in good standing of the New Hampshire Bar Association, and both of whom shall be residents of the state of New Hampshire with expertise or experience in one or more of the following areas: public deliberative or adjudicative proceedings, business management, environmental protection, natural resource protection, energy facility design, construction, operation, or management, or community and regional planning or economic development.
I'm surprised that the chair of Municipal and County Government, wasn't somehow added to this list.
The appointments of the two members of the public was suppose to happen before the mandated, Oct. 1 deadline. The two so-called "public members" the governor had chosen were Sen. Bob O'Dell (R) who chairs the Ways and Means committee, vice chair of Energy and Natural Resources and member of Finance, and Rep. Amanda Merrill (D) who sits on Science Technology & Energy. Both of these nominees are pro-wind farm, anyone want to guess where this is going? Talk about stacking the deck.
Three out of five of the Executive Council had voted down these appointments, Gov. Hassan tabled the two appointments until after the November election in hopes of getting the votes from said council. This is a sad irresponsible way of running a government. Call Gov. Hassan, tell her to throw her two appointments out. Tell her to read the bill over again, look beyond Concord and choose two members of the public that do not have Concord moon-dust on their shoulders prior to the Dec. 1 deadline when the Site Evaluation Committee needs to submit a permanent funding plan.
The site evaluation committee needs time to consider potential funding sources, including but not limited to the imposition of reasonable application fees and the use of general funds. The site evaluation committee shall consider whether a dedicated fund is necessary as part of a permanent funding plan. The plan shall describe the costs of the ongoing administration of the site evaluation committee's duties, including state agency expenses associated with processing an application under this chapter. The plan shall make recommendations for funding sources to meet those needs, except that such funding sources shall not include annual operating fees imposed on energy facilities or further use of the renewable energy fund.
This is a tall order to wait until after the election. And what ever happened to the Oct. 1 deadline. After all, it's only been three months since the bill was signed. The SEC is the final word in placement of the so-called renewable energy franchises that are popping up all around the state. Without a full committee, is it going to be rubber-stamp operations as usual?
As a write-in candidate for the House, I can't endorse the choice of Sen. O'Dell and Rep. Merrill who Gov. Hassan has chosen to appoint, just as I can't support the conflict of interest the PUC Commissioners will bring to the table.
Eric T. Rottenecker
Grafton Dist 9
Alexandra, Ashland, Bridgewater, Bristol, Grafton.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 09:55
To The Daily Sun,
As the current and former mayors of Franklin, we wish to encourage the voters of Senate District 7 to support Kathy Rago in her bid to become our next state senator. We have observed Kathy as a member of our Zoning Board, our School Board, and ultimately as a state representative.
Rep. Rago has always acted in the very best interests of the working families of New Hampshire, and particularly for our children. She is the mother of a special needs child, and we highly honor her commitment to, and sacrifices for, all New Hampshire children in need. Kathy Rago's work on behalf of education opportunities for needy students is to be commended, and must continue in the New Hampshire State Senate.
Protect your family's future and finances by sending Kathy Rago to the State Senate.
Mayor Ken Merrifield
Mayor David Palfrey
Mayor Tony Giunta
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 09:51
To The Daily Sun,
My name is Sofia Spanos, and I am writing today to urge all eligible voters to vote on Nov. 4 for my dad, Peter J. Spanos. I realize that it is virtually impossible to objectively support my father for office so I just want to tell you what I think qualifies him to be your state representative.
First off, he is uncanny when it comes to looking at both sides of an issue and determining the best solution going forward. With this said, his decisions are unfailingly sensible, reasoned, and most importantly, fair. As a state legislator, you may count on him to make the difficult decisions that will certainly arise while always keeping an eye on how these decisions will benefit the present and future.
My dad is not particularly concerned with who gets the credit when working on solutions with others. He is primarily concerned with achieving successful results. When it comes to small business my dad feels Concord should be far more of a help than a hindrance in promoting their present and future success. I do not believe there is a stronger choice for a Laconia-based state representative than Peter J. Spanos.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 09:33
To The Daily Sun,
Deliberate untruths have been circulated by those who do not want Dave DeVoy, a strong candidate, to be elected county commissioner in Belknap District 1.
Dave has always agreed with fully-funding employee health care premiums in accordance with contract provisions.
Dave is for capping the cost of renovations or construction of the county jail and has pledged to stay within the Laconia tax cap. He is fully committed to the jail meeting all essential mandates.
Dave will bring an end to needless lawsuits. He will follow the provisions of state law.
Dave is courteous and committed to fair play. He would never agree to a meeting at the County Nursing Home and then simply ignore that commitment. For anyone to arrange such a meeting, fail to inform Dave of its occurrence and then suggest that he is uncaring because he did not appear is most unprofessional.
Dave has been consistent, committed to fair play and brings reason and a clear vision to the problems which plague Belknap County.
We have all been subjected to political campaigns which intentionally distort the truth. The fact is that Dave is not only successful in his business ventures and in his Army career but is also a deeply caring and compassionate man.
Please vote on Nov. 4.
State Rep., Belknap District 5
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 09:28