To The Daily Sun,
You may have been hearing about a Community Rights Based Ordinance — or RBO — being pursued by a number of Newfound towns on their March 2014 ballot. So, what is an RBO? To put it in a nutshell, it is a local Bill of Rights; a binding law, enforceable by the selectmen, and residents.
First and foremost, you have to understand this is not Land Use Zoning, which is regulatory law. A Rights Based Ordinance is based on rights — not "regulating" anything. Rather it establishes our right to preserve the rural character of our town, determine the kinds of energy projects town residents want — not what the state mandates — access to clean, unpolluted water, protect our ecosystems and advocating for nature's right to exist. It established our right to govern by consent -- elevating our rights above "claimed" corporate rights — which allows us to say "no" to industrial wind turbines on our ridgelines.
Citizens of Alexandria Rights Effort
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 February 2014 11:33
To The Daily Sun,
Gilmanton is a small town with a small Fire Department. We need a fire chief who is multi-tasked, a respected manager, a morale builder, and is able to follow directions and have intelligent discussions with his supervisors, the Gilmanton Selectmen.
Because most of our town departments are small it is cost-effective to have the manager multi-task. Our road agent operates equipment and works along with his crew. Our police chief is on call and carries out multiple duties within his department. Our town clerk, along with her other duties, waits on customers.
Our fire chief at this time has two full-timers and six or seven part-timers and he doesn't want to do any firefighter's duties. He wants to sit at the desk and be the administrator. This is not cost effective.
The selectmen gave the chief a directive to work on-call for two 12-hour shifts a week and do administrative tasks for 16 hours a week. He has refused to comply and claims that the selectmen are micro-managing him. He met with the selectmen on Jan. 29 and struck an agreement about hours and staffing. He shook hands with the selectmen and said it's a deal. The very next day he reneged on his deal.
My thinking is that if a man has credibility and integrity, his handshake is as good as a signed contract. He said that when he was called to the selectmen's office for the meeting he had no warning and felt that he was cornered and somewhat blindsided.
It seems that our fire chief only feels comfortable at selectmen's meetings when his mom and dad, neighbors and friends are there to support and direct him. These are the same people who initiated Warrant Article 30, which has no authority whatsoever over the selectmen's decisions.
Fire Department activity has changed very little over the last 10 years, but the budget has more than doubled: Calls in 2003, 395; calls in 2013, 434; budget for 2003, $259,811; budget for 2014, $586,034.
The new work schedule for the fire chief is scheduled to start on March 1. I hope that he cooperates and that he also starts working with the selectmen to make his department more cost-effective.
Please vote no for Article 30 on March 11. Show your Selectman that you support them and appreciate their cost-cutting efforts.
Gilmanton Iron Works
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 February 2014 11:30
To The Daily Sun,
Congressman Henry Waxman of California is stepping down from Congress after 40 years. That is 20 terms. I wish John McCain and Mitch McConnell would step down. They too, have been there far too long.
Here in New Hampshire it is time to see "how things are done" with a new face from another part of the state to be the next District 1 Executive Councilor. In a recent Letter to the Editor, George Maloof said, "Since they don't make Republicans the way they used to." What does he mean? I bet he likes Republicans who want to pass as "moderates."
If I were a candidate for this seat in District 1, I would apologize for some of the councilors and their poor choices for commissioners and department heads in the last 10 years or more. Someone in government should have gone to jail for the part the council and others played in the FRM scandal where some folks covered their eyes to what happened to the trusting people who gave money to FRM believing they were "regulated."
I was a Republican in 1974 when I ran for the Statehouse and I am sure that Ray Burton had already served one term before that time. Whereas, I have very little faith in the Republican "Party" in New Hampshire and nationally, I find that statement intriguing. Is Mr. Maloof suggesting that the Republicans should vote for a Democrat because he is from the North Country? I suggest that perhaps folks in central and eastern New Hampshire might like to have someone who will also include them as part of his constituency, and I am one of them.
Mr. Maloof, I await your answer.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 February 2014 11:26
To The Daily Sun,
There are some in the own of Bristol who would have you believe that the Selectboard is spending money on frivolous things and just want to raise your taxes on whatever whim we are feeling at the moment. They take every opportunity to take a matter of policy or procedure a personal issue and attempt to show the town in a negative light. Bristol has a lot to offer and every attempt should be made to spotlight the positive issues as well.
There are those who will tell you that we don't need to spend as much as we do for police, fire and highway for a town of 3,000 residents. The biggest question that leads to is when was the last time there were only 3,000 people in town? Best guess estimates for even a winter weekend is 5,000 to 6,000 and how many during the summer weeks and weekends? Twelve thousand?
A few vocal resident have made clear their desire to cut the police budget in half, to contract out ambulance service and to return to a volunteer, on-call fire department. They believe we do not need to invest in capital equipment like fire engines and cruisers and would like to sub a good portion of our police coverage to the state and county. Do we really want to wait for a cruiser to come from Woodsville?
Make no mistake, I want to find efficiencies and savings in these budgets and have made efforts to do that as a budget committee member and selectman. I don't wish to pay anymore taxes than needed. However, I think it is the height of irresponsibility to think we can slash these public safety budgets and keep residents and visitors safe and sound.
Please remember to vote March 11 and to come to town meeting on the 15. Hope to see you all.
Shaun Lagueux, Selectman
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 February 2014 11:07
To The Daily Sun,
There has been much discussion in the past few months about local residents in the Newfound Region pursuing a Community Rights Based Ordinance (RBO) for our towns. An RBO is simply a Community Bill of Rights that, once passed, becomes a binding law within the town. The RBO defines the rights that the residents of a town proclaim for the purpose of protecting the town from unwanted corporate harm. The concept is so simple: no expensive, divisive, land use zoning to pit one neighbor against another - just a Bill of Rights that protect the residents from specific "corporate harm."
In the Newfound Region, towns pursuing an RBO are seeking to protect ourselves and our ecosystems from the damaging effects of energy systems that are controlled by state and federal energy policies, rather than community controlled energy policies, such as industrial scale wind power when it is not locally or municipally owned and operated. A Community Bill of Rights takes the argument away from regulating the industrial wind energy project and makes it an argument about our right, as a community, to say, "No, not at all, we don't allow it in our town when it violates our rights as defined in the RBO."
A few Newfound towns have placed a Large Wind Energy System Ordinance (LWES) on their warrant in hopes of preventing industrial wind from invading their towns. Some believe that the LWES ordinance "saved" Temple and New Ipswich from the project planned on their ridgelines, so it will "save" their town too.
You have to understand that the project proposed for Temple and New Ipswich is too small to be decided by the state Site Evaluation Committee, and therefore was subject to local land use ordinances. A strict LWES was designed and implemented for Temple and New Ipswich, and was a major reason it has been difficult for the developer to pursue the project there. Not to mention, there is a major migratory route for raptors on the proposed ridgeline that does not exist to such an extent anywhere else in New England. If a proposed industrial wind project is greater than 30 megawatts total, then the SEC will have the final say over the project. An LWES may deter, or delay a permit issued by the SEC, but it will never give residents the right to say, "No, not at all." Keep in mind that the developer for the project proposed for Temple and New Ipswich has not withdrawn. They are still trying to "strike a deal" and work around, or within, the LWES ordinance.
There are currently seven Community Rights Based Ordinances (RBOs) in New Hampshire protecting residents and ecosystems from various threats such as: industrial wind, water extraction, fracking, and sludge. Not one of the towns that has passed the RBO is fighting a developer. In every town, the developer has walked away, withdrawn — no lawsuit, no "striking a deal," just up and leave.
Developers have and will argue local land use ordinances for years and years to come, but not one developer in the state of New Hampshire has argued against an RBO. They would have to take the town to court and publicly strip the residents of each right defined in the RBO, and that just isn't good public relations. For a corporate developer to publicly proclaim through a court of law that they have more rights to destroy the community we live in, than we do to protect the community we live in, would do a lot to hurt their good neighbor policy. Local land use ordinances are not personal, but a Community Bill of Rights is.
Many believe the passage of a Community Rights Based Ordinance (RBO) in the town of Grafton in March 2013 is the reason why they were dropped from the Wild Meadows Wind Project. Some actually believe the developer — that the wind is not as good in Grafton, and there are too many wetlands. Are you aware that there is only about 6 feet difference in height from the peaks in Grafton versus the peaks in Danbury and Alexandria?
And where is the Newfound watershed? Last I knew, it is located in Alexandria, not Grafton. So you can believe the developers that have already lied to each and every one of us when they said they would not force the Wild Meadows Project upon us? Or you can do a little research and learn their words are just blowing in the wind.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 February 2014 10:56