To The Daily Sun,
I have known Dave Pollak for more than five years, both as a friend and fellow educator. Dave's style is to listen to other peoples' ideas, learn from those ideas then develop an opinion.
When solving problems, Dave looks for an evidence-based solution, one that is cost-effective. He has an open mind, listens well and seeks to understand others' ideas.
I believe that Dave will use these approaches when he works with the Belknap County Commission to identify, evaluate and solve issues such as the county jail. Dave will work in a civil manner to improve the relationships between the commission and delegation. I know Dave will work to move the two groups toward a more-productive working relationship, one that focuses on what is best for the residents of Belknap County. I urge voters to select Dave Pollak.
Dean Anson II
Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 07:44
To The Daily Sun,
Mr. Pollak, in his letter to The Laconia Daily Sun, suggests that if anyone wishes to challenge the way that the current commissioners are running Belknap County then they should become a candidate for said office. He references my name as an example for this course of action.
I do not know Mr. Pollak but he has missed an important point, viz., that I ran for the office of commissioner precisely because those currently in office were not following the law. The first order of business for anyone who offers their name as a candidate for any office is to pledge to follow the law.
We may not like a particular law, but it is of no moment that we do or do not like it. The statute giving the convention the power of the purse is an important part of the checks and balances on which our system of government is based. To suggest that our system should be based on something as ephemeral as politics strikes me as shallow and irresponsible.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 07:40
To The Daily Sun,
For those who listened to my radio program yesterday here is a brief report. My Ward 5 City Councilor Bob Hamel, a loyal listener, stopped by the WEZS studio to respond to some of my comments. Mayor Engler and city councilors are encouraged to participate when there is something changing at city hall affecting the citizens of Laconia. Following with a another 30 minute discussion in the parking lot, Bob and I were dissecting the City Charter Amendments that will be presented to the voters of Laconia at the November 4 election. I sense that city government threw seven amendments on the table and the council okayed them. Bob says there are some he will not vote for on 11/4. After explaining why my opposition to the most blatant change — where as it has been for decades, that any registered voter can write in a name on a ballot that has only person seeking a seat on the council, school board, and mayor. Once I explained what this council has done, there is a feeling that Bob understands me, especially when it might be Bob — and me!
Taxpayers of Laconia, the city with a voter-approved tax cap, might like to know where our Democrat and Republican State Representatives/candidates stand on the City Council to taking money from schools, fire, road repair to fund what started as a $43 million, then $32 million, and now a $7 MILLION loan to repair/rebuild the county jail, which is too much to keep us within the spending limits. Will the city council asks each candidate that question with an invitation to do this before the election. We are not looking for a campaign speech, just answers, please.
In the meantime, we have one candidate for our county commissioner seat who has worked diligently on following our county government for several years now, that is Dave Devoy. His challenger Mr. Pollack, unknown to me, will not offer an honest answer to what he must know by now!
Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 07:35
To The Daily Sun,
I would like to take this time to thank the District 4 voters for your support in the primary. I will continue to work conscientiously while addressing forthcoming issues as your representative in Concord. Your confidence in me is appreciated.
Rep. Dennis Fields
Last Updated on Friday, 26 September 2014 07:32
We know from the childhood song that Old McDonald had a farm — but e-i-e-i-o — look who's got his farm now!
It's groups like American Farmland and Farmland Partners. These aren't dirt farmers wearing overalls and brogans, but Wall Street hucksters in Armani suits and Gucci loafers. The latest fast-buck fad for high-roller investment trusts, hedge funds and venture capital speculators is "farming." Not that these dude ranch dandies are actually plowing and planting. No, no — these are soft-hands people, buying up farmlands with billions of rich investors' dollars, and then tilling the tax laws and threshing the farmers who do the real cultivation.
For example, American Farmland Company — which owns 16 farms — is a combine of the largest real estate empire in New York City, two Florida sugar barons, a wealth management outfit, and the real estate brokerage arm of insurance giant Prudential. None of these nouveau sodbusters has a speck of dirt under its fingernails, but they've figured out how to work the land without touching it and still harvest a sweet profit. The founder of this scheme says, "It's like gold, but better, because there is this cash flow."
Cash flow? Yes, farmers are charged rent to till the Wall Streeters' land. Then the financiers get a prime cut of any profits from the crops that the farmers produce. Also, the combine is set up as a real estate investment trust, providing an enormous tax break for the Wall Street plowboys. And, of course, there's the mega-pay the moneyed elites will reap when they convert their scheme into securities for sale on the stock exchange.
The rich few get richer, farmers are turned into tenant laborers, and the farms are switched to high-profit crops that require heavy pesticide dosages and soak up scarce water resources. What a deal!
The fact of the matter is that gabillionaires who invest in hedge funds generally have the ethical and aesthetic sensibilities of dirt clods. They don't care whether the fund managers put their money into toxic derivatives or skunk pelt futures — as long as the investment pays a super-fat return. But since Wall Street's 2008 crash revealed that so many of these investment schemes were based on nothing more than financial cobwebs and fairy dust, some of the clods began seeking hedge funds that would put their money into something more tangible and down to earth. And this is how Wall Street discovered dirt. More specifically, farmland.
Such money handlers as BlackRock (the world's largest asset manager) and multi-billionaire money manager George Soros now offer big pieces of America's heartland as an asset that faraway super-rich penthouse dwellers can own and till for mega profits. As a result, ag professors report that their farmbelt conferences on land economics — which have normally drawn an audience of farmers and local farm lenders — are dominated these days by Wall Street speculators. Moreover, seminars on investing in American farmland are being held in such financial centers as Dubai and Singapore.
But this Wall Street land rush is as flimsy as the debt-derivatives fad proved to be, for it's not based on economic realities. While crop prices are at record highs today, the painful historic record is that they will plummet tomorrow, destroying the cash flow that makes the hedge fund investment in land work. Then, of course, the gabillionaires will rush to shed their overalls. But — who will line up to buy the land? Certainly not real farmers, who can't afford the inflated Wall Street price. And especially not young people who want to farm, but find it hard to locate affordable land. America desperately needs this next generation of food producers, yet we're letting Wall Street speculators literally wall the land they need. To learn more, contact the National Young Farmers Coalition: www.youngfarmers.org.
(Jim Hightower has been called American's most popular populist. The radio commentator and former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture is author of seven books, including "There's Nothing In the Middle of Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos" and his new work, "Swim Against the Current: Even Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow".)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00