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$42M jail number is far from final; no one wants to spend that much

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

Dave Pollak

Candidate for Belknap County Commission


Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 05:18

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Rare to find a candidate with Brian Gallagher's qualifications

To The Daily Sun,

I would like to ask those residing in House District 4 (Sanbornton and Tilton) to vote for Brian Gallagher in the Primary election on Sept. 9. Upon winning the primary he will be one of the candidates on Election Day (Nov. 4) to become one of our new representative to the N.H. House of Representative.

It's rare that we find a candidate with Brian's qualifications willing to serve our community. Brian has an excellent business background as a past manager and business administrator for two N.H SAUs. He holds an MBA degree in management, and has also served in the N.H. Budget Office and N.H. Office of Courts in the past.

I know that his business experiences will help in representing all the 3,200-plus residents of Sanbornton and Tilton in House District 4.

Please make it your business to vote on Primary Day Sept. 9.

Bill Whalen

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 05:12

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Richard Burchell will help get Belknap County moving again

To The Daily Sun,

My choice for District 2 - Belknap County Commissioner is small-business owner Richard Burchell. The district includes the towns of Barnstead, Belmont, Gilmanton, and Tilton.

He understands the economic pressures on the people throughout the county. Richard also understands that in order to develop positive working relationships you must first build trust by listening and respecting others. We need to elect County Commissioners who will promote good will with the County Delegation to get Belknap County moving forward again.

Please vote for Richard Burchell for County Commissioner on the Sept. 9 Republican primary ballot.

David DeVoy


Candidate for Belknap County Commissioner District 1


Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 05:09

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Israel is an oasis of reason, humanity, decency and justice

To The Daily Sun,

Oh how I marveled at an illuminating article on the most recent Israeli/Palestinian war written by professor George Maloof. His intensive research apparently uncovered another example of the beastly nature of the Israeli people. He found a post and video entitled, "Sderot cinema" which shows people who live in that region of Israel chomping on popcorn and cheering the bombs bursting in Gaza. This seems to be further proof that "Israel has become a right-wing, Zionist, fascist state," according to the professor.

Well, you know the professor is right about one thing. That video does appear to exist. However, the professor's interpretation of the video and pictures is just a tad one-sided. Well yes, the N.Y. Times did report that this is another example of war where civilians and fighters dehumanize the enemy. Apparently, there were a handful of Jewish people who commented "death to the Arabs," and that is wrong. On the other hand George, is it possible that if your academic community had been under intermittent rocket fire for a decade, some in your community might be a little miffed at the author of those attacks? Is it just possible that the folks sitting up on the hill overlooking the rockets landing in Gaza were cheering the possibility that this Israeli response to the Hamas onslaught of rockets might actually signal a victory over these terrorists? And that they might actually get a chance to live a normal life without continually running into bomb shelters after the shrill sirens have once again commanded them to run for cover?

I know George, that doesn't fit the narrative of one of your likely heroes, Noam Chomsky, who would have us all believe that the Jewish people are nothing more than blood-thirsty monsters. Chomsky has of course been a favorite political activist of the progressive left. Also, the lover of "Occupy Wall Street" and hater of capitalism and United States engagements in wars. In the opinion of many from the right, Chomsky is the idol and mentor of the intellectual wasteland that has infected much of academia and our mainstream media. As Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post notes, "the U.S. media led by the NY Times have systematically ignored, obfuscated and downplayed Hamas's war crimes while swallowing whole its bogus statistics and accusations against Israel."

Apparently, Professor Maloof has consumed that same balderdash, viewed a video and now proclaims in a matter of words, "see I told you so." Without offering one scintilla of proof, the professor asserts that it is all a myth that "Hamas started the war crimes; Hamas, not Israel, is responsible for civilian casualties; Hamas uses human shields; Hamas and Israel are equally to blame."

Well yes, it is a myth that the blame is equal. The blame belongs to the Jihadi terrorists known in this case as Hamas, who believe that Jews are the descendants of apes and pigs and want to kill them all and have absolutely no desire to ever agree to a two state solution. Caroline Glick is absolutely correct when she reminds us that "the moral and ideological divide between Israel and Hamas is so self-evident, that the only way to ignore it is by embracing and cultivating ignorance."

In my opinion, that is exactly what professor Maloof is doing by his disgraceful and deceitful attack on Israel which is an oasis of reason, human decency and justice surrounded by a desert of ideological barbarism.

Steven Plaut's article in the Daily Mailer, Frontpage, believes that "those who claim anti-Zionism is different and distinct from anti-Semitism tend, on close inspection, to be anti-semites themselves." Please George, tells us that claim does not apply to you since that is what you assert in your letter. Academic elitism is one thing. Hypocritical bigotry steeped in moral relativism and outright lies is quite another.

Liberal columnist, Susan Estrich has a comment which just might clear your clouded thought process George. "Israel is not the 'occupier' of Gaza. Israel did not build tunnels into Gaza". If there is one truth in all this, Ari Lieberman of frontpagemag.com nails it. "Hamas will continue to divert humanitarian goods for war making and the Imams will continue to preach hate and anti-Semitism."

The cognitive dissonance exemplified by the blindness of Western academics and the European media is distilled in the shameless Aug. 19 letter to the editor by George Maloof.

Speaking of distilled, I need a drink to lift my spirits after digesting the putrid poppycock of one "nutty professor," to quote Steve Earle.

Russ Wiles


Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 05:03

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President Obama has let me down on any number of fronts

To The Daily Sun

My motives for promoting Jim Rubens for U.S. Senate were questioned by a letters in the August 29 and 30 issues.

I am an Independent by registration. I was in the last presidential primary, too, when I wrote letters for Ron Paul and took a Republican ballot in the primary to vote for him. He really would have ended the wars. I went to four of his events and liked his audience, as well as the candidate himself, each time. I especially liked his primary night gathering in Manchester, and found Ron Paul an honest and endearing candidate, when he reported to us that he'd called up Mitt Romney and told him, "You won, but we're nipping at your heels!" Paul came in second in New Hampshire and expressed delight.

Judge Napolitano invited me onto his show, for my Ron Paul support. I don't have any interest in Rand Paul, however.

Yes, from 2006 to 2010 I was Belknap County Dems' Chair. I met wonderful people. I worked hard to have monthly meetings around the county, in the 11 towns. I chafed at the bit that Laconia would not organize itself as a city with wards, but self-relegates to having the same number of officers as a town. I met Barack Obama when he was at Belknap Mill, on the lawn, July 2, maybe in 2006.

But President Obama has let me down. On the issue of health care, he gave up single-payer without a whimper. It would have made portable life insurance, as Medicare is portable for us (now I head for 70 next year). It would have lopped out the profit-makers.

Then, too, he's signed free-trade agreements and has a massive one in the works now for Asia. Free-trade agreements favor corporations over the environment, over labor. Fair trade is understood by many of us a long time now, as we buy fair-trade chocolate and coffee in our specialty stores, health food stores. Fair trade honors labor and the environment as important. I wanted to believe that our "change" president would know about and promote fair trade.

He messed with habeas corpus, voiding it, essentially. Antiwar.com elaborates on this in June 2012, and other coverage is earlier in his first term. He never closed Gitmo. He spoke of proper treatment of whistleblowers while on the campaign trail, but Bradley Manning is imprisoned, not recognized as a whistleblower. Edward Snowden knows he needs to stay away, though President Obama himself has said, "We need this discussion about NSA spying on citizens," and that wouldn't have happened without Snowden's bravery as a whistleblower.

President Obama has escalated wars in other countries, not ended them, and I find especially repugnant the use of drones that slam out of the sky and bomb, often, either the wrong people or ordinary civilians who were near a target alleged (not proven, law set aside) guilty of something.

Israel's militarism enjoys the same U.S. support and funding it had under Bush-Cheney. The energy industry sees little or no change under President Obama. Too much, President Obama gives us terms three and four of Bush-Cheney.

What really appalls me, now, is his opening the Atlantic seacoast from Florida to Delaware to oil exploration, including sonic booms (deep water) that will damage and kill marine life, including whales. Look what the oil industry already did to the Gulf of Mexico, and years earlier in Alaska. He shuffles about really deciding on the Keystone XL pipeline, and probably does the same safe, holding off, with our Northern Pass powerline dilemma. Nice, that today's news includes Sen. Ayotte as among those who want that line buried and not besmirching our northern vistas. Thank you, Sen. Ayotte.

So, I am sure I've left out something. I wanted to reply. Jim Rubens is the best choice for New Hampshire's Republicans and especially Independent voters. We may have a Republican win. I'd be remiss as a caring citizen not to participate with my free speech and voting option at this juncture.

Scott Brown is not from here. He doesn't demonstrate other than concern for his own personal gain. I have met quite a few Independents, and one in Lebanon stands out, for saying that the Tea Party insurgence drove him from registering as a Republican and instead, now, to being an Independent.

He said, "Pro-choice policies are important, very important, and the Tea Party takes us backwards on that family issue, as well as on other issues." Jim Rubens is pro-choice. He's also cognizant that global climate change is real. The science is right on that. Mankind needs to take care of the planet better. And had better. Jim Rubens is anti-war. He's for campaign finance reform, and earns Mayday Pac's support for that.

Independents can make a huge difference on Sept. 9, choosing Jim Rubens who will do fine airing issues with Jeanne Shaheen who was governor when Jim Rubens was a New Hampshire district senator. New Hampshire doesn't need a Massachusetts candidate, especially one with Wall Street money attached.

Lynn Rudmin Chong


Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 04:57

Hits: 150

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