To The Daily Sun,
It's an unfortunate reality these days that the first casualty in politics is usually the truth. Take this year's special election for Executive Council in District 1. At a recent debate in Meredith, Joe Kenney, the Republican nominee, claimed that he is a forceful opponent of industrial wind power, and that his Democratic opponent, Mike Cryans, isn't. The facts, however, do not support Mr. Kenney's claims.
Mr. Kenney spent 14 years in the state Legislature in Concord, first as a state representative (1994-2002), then as a state senator (2002-2008). His legislative career coincided with the deregulation of the electric industry and a mandate for more renewable energy projects, including industrial wind farms.
Kenney supported each bill to advance these policies, starting with the deregulation of the electric generation industry (Chapter 374-F) in 1996, and in subsequent measures to relax the siting and oversight requirements for large-scale renewable energy projects.
In 1998, for example, Kenney supported bills that exempted wholesale electric generation projects from regulation as public utilities (SB 341) and removed the longstanding prohibition on their exercise of eminent domain (HB 1659). In 2007, Kenney voted in favor of establishing Renewable Energy Portfolios (HB 873) and for streamlining the timelines and procedures to approve wind-energy projects (SB 140).
I do not mean to fault Mr. Kenney for his support of these bills. Most of these measures passed unanimously on voice votes in the House and Senate, demonstrating the bipartisan wave of optimism that surrounded each measure at the time.
But we can't let optimism cloud our common sense. Plainly, Mr. Kenney failed to foresee the negative consequences of his votes, which have now arrived in the form of industrial wind development on our mountaintops and lake shores. The Public Utilities Commission certainly recognized what the Legislature had done in 2007, when it noted in a year-end report:
"In Senate Bill 140, the Legislature took the first step in the process of informed decision making when it identified as a problem the need to upgrade the electric transmission system in northern New Hampshire in order to accommodate the construction of the sizable wind and biomass generating facilities critical to achieving the benefits of HB 873 . . ."
(PUC Background Report to the General Assembly re: Electric Transmission Infrastructure, Dec. 1, 2007, page 44.)
But if Mr. Kenney recognized it, he didn't raise any objection or offer any amendments.
As he campaigns today against "big wind," Mr. Kenney should at least explain to the voters how his votes in the Legislature from 1996-2008 square with his position today, and why he supported, without objection, measures that have led directly and predictably to the situation we now confront.
In contrast, Mike Cryans has never supported wind-generation projects. When it comes to renewable energy, Mike's work as a Grafton County Commissioner has included the opportunity to build a wood-chip energy plant at the Grafton County complex. Unlike industrial wind power, which brings harmful environment and economic impacts, usually at the hands of foreign companies, biomass energy expands economic development at the local level by creating a steady market for local woodsmen and local contractors. The Grafton County biomass plant has produced taxpayer savings in energy costs totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
New Hampshire's energy future will depend on a reliable supply of renewable power. The question is how to produce this power in a manner consistent with our common interests.
Mr. Kenney spent 14 years in Concord rolling back the State's ability to regulate and oversee large industrial energy projects. Mr. Cryans's work in Grafton County has promoted the generation of cost-effective renewable energy in the local economy.
Rather than rhetoric, the candidates should be judged by their records.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 10:25
To The Laconia Sun,
If you were to ask the typical voter in District 1 what offices were being filled during this next election, I am pretty sure that many would be hard-pressed to identify the open position of Executive Counselor as one of them.
Every once in a while the man who has filled the office for many years becomes better known by the public than the office itself. This was the case with Councilor Ray Burton. Everyone knew Ray. The office is now vacant and needs to be filled and it needs to be filled by a person with the same qualities of experience and dedication to the office. Mike Cryans is that person.
Mike has both the time, the experience and energy to dedicate himself to the task of doing the people's business as a member of the Executive Council. The issue here is whether or not anyone can fill the big shoe print left by Ray Burton. Ray's family thinks that Mike Cryans is that person and so do his many supporters.
Mike realizes that the New Hampshire Legislature did not do its job when it adjourned last year and left thousands of New Hampshire residents stranded by their lack of action by refusing to set up a health insurance network that would free of flaws. Instead it gave Anthem a free rein to set up a flawed network that mainly benefits the company.
It is hard to believe that Mike's opponent in this race for Executive Counselor would support the extreme right wing agenda by putting the already-stifling cost of medical care on the backs of those who can least afford it.
Mike's reasonable approach to problem solving is right on track with those of former Counselor Ray Burton. His experience of 16 years as a Grafton County Commissioner and his knowledge of the North Country will continue to benefit District 1's residents.
When you are in that voting booth deliberating on who will do the best job for District 1, please, give your consideration and your vote to Mike Cryans.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 February 2014 10:18
To The Daily Sun,
As you attempt to balance your household budget, Bristol is proposing burdening you with more taxes to add to your already overworked checkbook.
Consider all the costs that we must account for: Gas for your car, fuel and utilities, food, rent or mortgage, insurances etc., etc. These are costs that we have little control over. But as a Bristol voter you do have a say about your tax bill. You can vote. By voting you have a voice to determine what direction Bristol should be focused on. Your vote will be between adding more taxes or stemming the rise in the budget.
In us asking to "we need to control budget spending," is somehow being equated to returning to some yesteryear, or it will result in us cutting our police and fire departments in half, is completely false. Also, in a recent letter someone did some sort of averaging to justify our present budget. That would be nice if we all could average our yearly income. But the truth is the underlying result of the past several years, is that taxes have gone up without regard to who's paying the bill. Don't you think we taxpayers could use a break?
As an example, there are ways we can provide some relief to constantly raising taxes and at the same time allow for new equipment. This all can be done within the framework of the budget and there is no need to raise taxes.
Recently at our Budget Committee meeting a request was made to cut $50,000 from the police budget, a police budget totaling $1 million. This was narrowly rejected. This budget reduction from this department if passed, could possibly be used to support other departmental requests for necessary equipment replacement.
Somehow by asking for this reduction is tantamount to slashing a police department in half. By taking this prudent approach, the town could vote to utilize funds to purchase that new dump truck being asked for, and in the two years, be able to support a new fire department pumper truck lease agreement. This is but one example of working within our town budget that would help in relief for our taxpayers. Only with the right people on the Selectboard making these decisions can this be accomplished.
We need leaders that will make the tough decisions that may or may not be popular, but are necessary in order to make Bristol a more affordable and attractive place to live.
We need to address our budget sensibly and not have candidates putting out misleading information to the public, such as wanting to cut the fire and police departments to some bygone era. We need to vote in selectmen who will work together and do what is right for the good of all Bristol's citizens.
This is why I am supporting Paul Manganiello and Andy O'Hara to do the job prudently and have the experience to manage our town. Remember to vote on March 11 (Election Day) and March 15 (Town Meeting).
Last Updated on Monday, 24 February 2014 10:15
To The Daily Sun,
Regarding the upcoming March 11 Governor's Council race, George Maloof is urging Daily Sun readers to cast their vote based on the candidate's residency which prompts this question: If Mike Cryans moved to Sunapee tomorrow and Joe Kenney to Ashland would Maloof throw his full support to Joe Kenney?
If Maloof's answer is yes, he should be praised for embracing his principle that people are better served by electing someone nearest to where they live. If Maloof's answer is no, shouldn't Sun readers be wondering why Maloof is attempting to influence our vote in a way he himself wouldn't vote? Yes, I really would like to know.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 February 2014 10:10
To The Daily Sun,
What are the actual tax impacts of projects like the proposed industrial wind installations in the Newfound Region? Not what the developer says. Not what the opposition says. But what does New Hampshire state law say?
The Alexandria Select Board invites all area residents to a presentation on "Pilot Agreements, Property Appraisals, and Related Topics." The presenters are Commissioner John Beardmore of the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration, and Steve Hamilton, the New Hampshire Director of Property Appraisal. The presentation will be at the Bristol (Newfound) Middle School Gym, this Thursday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m.
Whether you are for, against, or undecided about the proposed installations, this presentation will get down to the nuts and bolts of the impact these types of projects have.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 February 2014 10:07