To The Daily Sun,
Coercion is more often than not counter productive in interpersonal relationships. The executive branch of Belknap County government has not used an open approach to planning for a new or improved county jail, but rather has tried to coerce the county delegation into being a rubber stamp for their pet project which is familiarly known as the Ricci Greene proposal. The project was tagged by its creators with a price tag of $42.6 million. When that figure was met with an icy response, the chair of the jail planning committee was then quoted as saying that he did not know the origin of that figure.
On May 1, this same head of the jail planning committee, Commissioner Philpot, stated that the delegation was not prepared to have a rational discussion of the issue. The New Hampshire architect, who previously had been unwilling to contemplate a reduction in size of the colossus which was Ricci Greene, then found it expedient to reduce the size about 11 percent. For reasons unknown, this individual then speculated that the cost of the new jail could be reduced by almost three times what a strict arithmetic extension would indicate. One is met with such dissemblance at every turn, whether it be the county sheriff positing that the disproportionate jail sentences we experience are due to judges being familiar with the inadequacies of our jail or the jail superintendent falsely claiming that the comprehensive assessment of the county criminal justice which was called for in the Bennett report has been done when, in fact, it has not been done.
For those unfamiliar with Bennett, his first comment on the path forward was that a study of county resources be done and his second, whose importance was underscored, was that the justice system be studied in its entirety. Of course, Mr. Bennett may have been wrong about the growth path of Belknap County's population but nowhere is there an acknowledgement of that.
The next ploy was for the county delegation to be presented with an all-or-nothing approach to appropriating funds for a temporary building which the county would not own, a new HVAC system which was described as reusable in some undetermined measure, and a schematic design for the Ricci Greene proposal. Rep. Frank Tilton pointed out that state law forbids the use of bonding for temporary improvements, which comment was not answered with specificity. It was further pointed out that the county would be bonding for 10 years a rental property which would be vacated in three years.
The Laconia City Council has stated that this project should not be built and The Laconia Daily Sun has printed a masterful article suggesting that Belknap County does not have an assessment base which could accommodate such a large project.
Nothing deters the commissioners, their executive branch and the planning committee from their intent to saddle the county with this project. Subsequent to the June 16 meeting, the planning committee has met and stated that they will stay "loyal" to Ricci Greene.
Does this defiance of community opinion and the votes of the towns' elected representatives make sense if the commissioners do not feel that they have a hole card? A rather well known Belknap defense attorney made his way to the June 16 meeting and suggested that if the delegation did not vote favorably on the bond request then the county should be sued. Never mind that the delegation is prepared to act on a more reasonable proposal, the message delivered was easy to understand: Give us what we want or suffer the consequences when a suit is filed on behalf of our jail population.
Of course, bullies are craven when confronted with resolve and I would suggest that such a suit will be adjudicated over a prolonged period of time, a period of time in which more reasonable people will be given the opportunity to address all of the county's problems including the travesty which is the county jail.
Rep. Richard B. Burchell
Belknap County, District 5
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 June 2014 10:39
To The Daily Sun,
Responding to Dale Channing Eddy's elaboration on my earlier letter regarding a reason for unreasonable rise in college tuition ... after I wrote my letter I came across this number in my Progressive Populist of that week: "... numbers of university administrators have grown by 369 percent since 1976."
The blossoming of opportunities offered by PSU, since I first worked at PSC in 1971, is an incredible blossoming. I don't deny that. But President Harold Hyde ran a tight ship in his era, with no extras, and the administration fit into Ellen Reed House, which now houses offices for members of the English Department members. That "... 369 percent since 1976" really must raise some eyebrows, or maybe ghosts!
Lynn Rudmin Chong
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:40
To The Daily Sun,
The Belmont Revitalization Committee and the Charles Kilborn American Legion Post in Belmont want to publicly express their appreciation for the work accomplished by volunteers from the Belmont High School Senior Class and some juniors as well on Monday, 9 June. This wasn't something they had to do. Rather, they freely volunteered to help out and worked hard on a hot, muggy and buggy afternoon.
The Revitalization Committee is proceeding with the construction of a pavilion next to the Belmont Mill. The long-term objective is to develop a public facility for recreation and town events. This entails the pavilion, a trail and bridge across the Tioga and a recreational trail along the old railroad bed all the way out to South Road. As a key part of this project, the entire slope along the river bank needs to be brushed out and cleaned up to open the view to the Tioga River.
This year, Belmont's American Legion Post and the Belmont High School volunteers offered to clean up a large section of the slope along the river bank, continuing the work done by BHS Senior Class Community Service Days in past years. This was a concept initiated by then-Vice Principal Dan Clary and continued now that he is principal, giving BHS students a sense of ownership in their community and helping to develop their understanding of the responsibilities — and rewards — of citizenship.
We join town officials in expressing our appreciation for Dan's initiative and the hard work of his student volunteers and of several members of the high school staff who joined us later in the afternoon. Dan was right out there working with his chainsaw, leading by example, and the students followed his lead. It was a real pleasure for us "old guys" and my wife to work with them all.
We are extremely pleased with what Dan and his crew got done and how good it looks. The area is clean, with a couple of green shrubs and some pines strategically remaining, and no slash or trash left. We can now see the Tioga River from the top of the bank and the old stone tailrace is visible for its entire length. This fits right in with the historical theme we want to present and the river view is actually quite scenic.
Several of the students said they wanted to give something back to their community — and they certainly did. This reflects the effectiveness of the program at Belmont High and the citizenship instilled in its graduates. Bottom line, Dan, you and your students have done our town a distinct service and have aided the Belmont revitalization program in reaching its goals. We thank you all very much.
Woodbury P. Fogg, Adjutant,
American Legion Post 58, and
Revitalization Committee member
Christine Fogg, Committee member
Ken Knowlton, Committee member
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:36
To The Daily Sun,
OMG, Bernadette Loesche is back again and once again tells Russ Wiles to research his subjects.
For her information, Mr. Wiles is a respected professional with a degree who does and has researched everything he writes, unlike Mrs. Loesche, who states her unresearched opinions as though they were facts. Time and time again her ludicrous assertions have been exploded by me and many others. Where she gets her ideas and opinions is anyone's guess but she really needs to get some other source.
In this most recent submission to this paper she uses as her source, a brief casual conversation with a cashier who had to (heavens to Betsy) work on a sunny day. From this she extrapolates that McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, Burger King, et. al. are just rolling in money and the poor workers are working slave-like for below subsistence wages (my description).
Now let me just guess that she did not talk to a manager, let alone the owner or financial officer of any of these establishments to learn what there profit margins are. Now I could be wrong, but from everything I've ever read, heard or been told these businesses operate on low profit margins and depend on volume sales to exist. They employ, often part-time people at entry-level wages to staff these businesses because, let's face it, it does not take a rocket scientist to flip burgers or fry donuts. If these workers expect to get $20, $30, $50 an hour they should have a marketable skill or profession.
Most of these folks are kids still in school, just out of school, or seniors looking to supplement their Social Security. McDonald's is not a career position, it is a first step for unskilled workers. Therefore and in that context Russ Wiles letter is a reasoned, rational projection of the most likely consequence of raising the minimum wage while the economy is depressed, sluggish and has the lowest worker participation rate since 1978.
Now just why should we leave Obama out of this as Bernadette commands. It was he who promised to fix all these things back six years ago and has not. In fact he has made things worse from my perspective. Everything he has touched has failed to live up to his promises, has hurt the poor and working families. The middle class is shrinking, struggling and bound to continue to do so under this administrations failed agendas. Unemployment among the young is around 16 percent in black and minority communities higher, and 50,000 illegal young aliens have flooded across the Texas boarder with Mexico with the promise of stealing what few available entry-level jobs our own poor citizens compete for now — all with Obama's and the left's blessing. So, thank you very much, but I will not leave Obama out of it.
Bernadette's sole excuse for these failures is to blame Republicans all the while Obama is skirting the laws and Constitution with his executive orders while golfing and keeping company with millionaires, billionaires, and trillionaires. Man of the people? No way.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:12
To The Daily Sun,
President Obama gets the blame for the failures and deaths at the VA because President Obama is the head of the Executive Branch of our federal government. (Bush got the blame before, Obama gets it now.) The Executive Branch is the only branch with the constitutional authority to execute our laws, i.e., to manage our government. President Obama's blame is increased because he complained about the VA when he ran for office and promised to fix it. And, the widespread use of unofficial waiting lists so that employees could claim undeserved bonuses for responsiveness seems, but may not be, new with President Obama.
But no one should be surprised by President Obama's failure to fix the VA. He has demonstrated no management skills. In fact he doesn't appear to be managing anything except fund-raising. He rarely meets with his cabinet, he only met a few times with Secretary Sebelius, who was in charge of his most important program, Obamacare. He often skips his presidential daily briefings and he seems to only know what happens in his own administration when he reads about it in the newspapers.
Nevertheless, as Bruce Van Derven of Bristol points out in his June 7 letter, Congress certainly failed its responsibility to see that the programs it creates and funds are run appropriately. Of course, our senators and congressmen are very busy renaming post offices, investigating drug use in professional sports, worrying about the names of sport teams, dispensing favors to buy campaign, fund-raising, and trying to protect incumbent office holders from criticism or challengers by restricting people's speech and assembly rights.
One would have thought that our senators and congressmen would hear about VA problems at town hall or other constituent meetings. Oh, that's right, our senators and congressmen mostly skip those pesky events. Apparently, they don't care what most Americans want anyway. For example, they forced Obamacare on us against the clearly expressed wishes of a vast majority of the American people, they refuse to defund and repeal it despite their promises, its harm to people, and its continued unpopularity. They still force ethanol on us, raising prices for no purpose other than to pay off supporters. And, Congress seems determined to pass a fraudulently described and disastrous immigration reform bill despite the clear opposition of the American people to the amnesty that this bill gives to illegal aliens.
There are two lessons that the American people should learn from the VA problems. First, the VA is the "single payer medical care" that progressives, like President Obama, want for every American. Once Obamacare completely fails, they will say the free market (which Obamacare isn't) failed and try to replace it with a VA-like, single-payer medical care system. Then the rest of can enjoy waiting a year and a half for a physical, like Bruce Van Derven, and/or go on secret waiting lists so employees can claim bonuses for responsiveness.
Second, the VA problems are not unique, big government doesn't work. What government department or agency actually works? The Department of Justice illegally runs guns to drug gangs in Mexico, selectively enforces laws based on race, and in a time of so much claimed concern about guns, prosecution of Federal gun crimes are way down. The IRS targets people for their political beliefs, even demanding to know what people read and the prayers they make. The EPA makes arbitrary decisions that really hurt people, e.g., the order to remove fill from depressions that create puddles during rain storms or be fined $75,000 per day. The administration refuses to protect our borders allowing, more accurately enticing, millions of illegal aliens to flood our country taking jobs, lowering wages, increasing welfare costs, and harming our citizens by criminal and accidental actions.
As if we are idiots, government limits almost every choice we make. It controls our toilets, light bulbs, cars, travel, energy, food, etc. Obamacare is a debacle that hurts more people than it helps. Government-run schools repeatedly fail and aren't fixed. Welfare and job training programs don't get people off welfare. Government departments are obstacles to job creation and impose unnecessarily costly regulations that increase our living costs. Government admits to losing over 5 percent of our spending of people's tax dollars to waste and fraud and no one in Washington cares.
Congress won't balance the budget in good times or bad. They spend the money of future generations to buy votes today. Even programs that many people like, e.g., Social Security, are badly managed. They are running out of money and face big cuts in benefits to citizens. Congress expects to be exempted from the laws they make. Courts make decisions based on politics rather than the clear intent of the framers of the Constitution which is the agreement with the people about the constraints on government.
The biggest divide in Washington is not over which party will provide more freedom and prosperity for the American people, it is whether Democrats or Republicans will control our excessively large, corrupt, and oppressive government and be able to direct big governments' favors (money, favorable legislation, power, prestige, etc.) to the special interest groups that keep it in power. Not only doesn't big government work, it is a threat to our liberties and prosperity.
This growth of government, its widespread corruption and restrictions on our liberties and opportunities, has accelerated in the last 50 years. If we want future generations to have any chance for freedom and prosperity, then we must cut the size, power, and spending authority of our federal government way back to its constitutional limits.
The biggest political gap is between those in Washington and the rest of us, no matter what political party we support. They want their power, riches and glory and they get it by taking away our freedoms, prosperity, and opportunities. It is time to fire our senator and representatives and replace them with true representatives of the people.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 10:55