To The Daily Sun,
I visited the Belknap County Jail on Sept. 5. The jail was designed to hold 87 inmates, but only had 80 individuals housed that day. I toured the jail with the maintenance director and the deputy superintendent. The purpose of my visit was to see what improvements have been made since my last visit. I also wanted to see the designated location for expansion.
A former, well respected, county commissioner informed me that the current jail was designed to have an addition built if the designated capacity of 87 was no longer sufficient. The jail has a gym that was built in the late 19th century, around the same time as the current Superior Courthouse. The jail has a wing from the 1950s. The current commissioners' office and a portion of the nursing home were all built at the same time. The rest of the jail was built in the late 1970s and added to in the late 1980s.
Why is there not a movement to tear down the current courthouse, nursing home or commissioners' office? The answer is politics. The commissioners made the decision to update and maintain those other departments or buildings, but with the jail, they chose to ignore it. They practiced demolition by neglect to justify a new jail. Everything I saw can be replaced or updated, if funds were allocated.
Sullivan County had a similar dilemma. Ricci Greene had proposed a new $45 million jail, but their commissioners decided to respect the taxpayer and wisely utilize resources. Sullivan County updated their existing jail, added an expansion and utilized alternative programs. Rejecting the Ricci Greene proposal saved almost $38 million and reduced recidivism from 88 to 18 percent. The current county commissioners and my opponent, David Pollak, refuse to consider this as an option.
David Pollak is not the "sharp pencil fiscal conservative" he is trying to portray. He wrote a letter to the editor during the 2012 election for Commissioner Ed Philpot, calling him a fiscal conservative. Commissioner Philpot has been the driving force behind the new beautiful jail and it is evident he not a fiscal politician.
David Pollak has yet to take a definitive stance on the jail debate. He seems to dance around the issue. The voters deserve to know exactly where he stands. I am inclined to believe his intention is to support a new jail, if elected. Keeping his cards close to his chest, does not help the City of Laconia or the county.
I have proposed a plan that would update/expand the current jail and add programs. Doing this would reduce the inmate population and respect Laconia's tax cap. Please visit my website at www.davedevoy.com for details on my "Smart Jail Plan." There you will see that I have a definitive, thought-out plan. You will know exactly where I stand on the jail issue. I do not try to appeal to all voters, just the taxpayers who are fed up with carrying the burden of poor decisions made by out-of-touch politicians.
Please vote for me if you want a commissioner that will work for you, stay out of court, and get Belknap County moving forward again.
Candidate for Belknap County Commissioner
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 09:23
To The Daily Sun,
I am writing to all the voters of both the towns of Sanbornton and Tilton to express my sincere appreciation for their strong support at the voting polls on Tuesday Sept. 9, in my candidacy for state representative.
Thank you all for the strong support. Your vote of confidence is very encouraging. Over the next eight weeks I look forward to continue to reach out to you, the voters, for consideration of your vote in the General Election on Nov. 4. The opportunity to represent you in Concord as a State Representative for District 4 comprising Sanbornton and Tilton is a very important responsibility.
Brian S. Gallagher
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 09:20
To The Daily Sun,
To the voters of Tilton, Belmont, Barnstead and Gilmanton, thank you for your support in the District 2 County Commissioner
I intend to work diligently on, and to consider fairly, the issues which face Belknap County.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 11:40
To The Daily Sun,
Last March, the Town of Bristol had a very close race for two positions on the Board of Selectmen. The recount was Rick Alpers 338, Shaun Lagueux 325, Paul Manganiello 322, Andy O'Hara Jr. 277, and 2 write-ins. Obviously, Rick and Shaun were voted in.
On May 22, Joe Denning resigned from the board, creating another opening. One could assume that Paul Manganiello would be appointed (as been done in the past) especially in view of a three-vote difference with Shaun and a 16-vote difference with Rick. Many of us were amazed when the board asked for letters of interest and interviews soon followed.
We are now in mid-September without a new member ... a board of 4 not 5. Did the people not speak in March? Does the board have its own agenda? Are they determined to pick the "chosen one?" How disappointing for Paul and all of us who believed our vote counted.
Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 11:37
To The Daily Sun,
The caption for the photo on Page 1 of Wednesday's (Sept. 10) Laconia Daily Sun describes the Thomas-Burchell race for County Commissioner as "symbolic of ... the poison relationship between the Belknap County commissioners and the controlling majority of the Belknap County Convention."
The "poison" was created by the Belknap County Commissioners and their special interest supporters in response to the county convention lawfully and constitutionally exercising their duties to control the Belknap County appropriations to meet the needs of the county and to reflect the wishes of the voters of Belknap County who object to continually increasing county spending and an outrageously expensive five-star jail proposal.
The county commissioners frequently shifted money in the approved county budget. They have reportedly overspent by over $200,000 in some areas by shorting funds in other areas. This shift has been contrary to the lawful budget and without the approval (required for shifting funds) of the county convention. The recent court decision indicated that these actions by the county commissioners were illegal.
The impact of the illegal actions and unlawful spending by the county commissioners may cause layoffs of 10 to 30-plus county employees.
The county commissioners' actions don't seem to have been good-faith mistakes. The commissioners were repeatedly told that they were violating the law and the budget. Yet they defiantly and arrogantly continued to illegally spend money, harming the taxpayers of Belknap County.
I don't know why the commissioners illegally spent the money. Did they do it because they felt themselves above the rule of law and the will of the people? Or did the illegal spending benefit the commissioners in some way: Financially, politically, or for some job-related benefit?
Whatever the reason, there is no reason why either the county employees or the taxpayers should have to pay the price for the illegal actions of the county commissioners.
Therefore I reluctantly suggest that Belknap County citizens and the Belknap County Convention consider requiring the Belknap County Commissioners to personally reimburse the county for the money they illegally spent.
Unless there are consequences for their willful, illegal actions, what prevents commissioners from future illegal actions in defiance of the law, the county convention, and the will of the people?
Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 11:34