Distance between ignorance & impunity in N.H. is about 36"

To The Daily Sun,

New Hampshire RSA 664:14 "Political Advertising" (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/LXIII/664/664-14.htm) requires that all mail, signs, broadcasts, etc. contain both the names and the physical addresses of the candidates, parties or other entities distributing or posting material or messages. The law intends to make candidates and other advertisers identifiable, accountable and accessible to the electorate.

New Hampshire's Office of Attorney General in the Department of Justice has a procedure for receiving and acting on citizen complaints. My contact there has been Paul Brodeur (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), an investigative attorney who took action earlier this year per http://www.laconiadailysun.com/index.php/newsx/local-news/77369-sanborton-election-monitored-by-ag-s-office to enforce the state's election laws.

With one exception this season, all mail received to date from candidates, parties and advocates have clearly printed names and physical addresses, i.e. street, number, city, state, zip code. The exception is Sam Cataldo (State Senate District 6 — Alton, Barnstead, Farmington, Gilmanton, New Durham and Rochester) who recently mass-mailed what I considered venomous attack advertising against his opponent, Richard Leonard. The senator's name was on it in miniscule letters, but without a return address. Why? It was not for lack of space. I wonder what motivates or entitles a state senator to skirt election laws? On this, the Attorney General should not have to wait for a citizen's complaint.

New Hampshire's RSA 664:14 also applies to signage. Last week, I photographed the signage of many candidates in this district. With one exception — Peter Bolster, candidate for Belknap District 8 state representative (Alton, Barnstead, Gilmanton) — none of them, from state to national office, has an identifying address. Again, why? Even when the law permits the substitution of a website, provided name and address appears "immediately and prominently," none of them do so. Not to my eyes.

Republicans and Democrats alike, big ones and small ones, are avoiding accountability and access. I think the penalty should be 10 percent of their advertising budgets.

But voters should also hold the Secretary of State and the Attorney General accountable for enforcement. First, on filing to run, all candidates should immediately receive a boldfaced copy of New Hampshire's election laws. This takes care of the ignorance factor.

Second, before every campaign season, the state should send similar copies for posting in all town and city halls, libraries and post offices.

Third, similar copies should be sent to every major printer and audio-visual production house, radio and television station and mailing company. These vendors, who together make millions during campaign season, should be on notice that no material goes out the door or on the air without the full required identification.

Fourth, the state should require all candidates to file a sample or accurate image of every advertising item with the Attorney General's office. Fifth, election investigators should spot-check signage, mailings and broadcasts across the state and throughout the campaign season. If candidate Bolster is elected, I'll expect him to introduce these five measures as soon as possible.

Democracy is not served by governing New Hampshire on a complaint basis, nor should its officials be paid to sit around and wait for complaints. I think the violations are so obvious and widespread they are laughable.

Where New Hampshire's election laws are concerned, the difference between ignorance and impunity seems to be about 36 inches, the width of a plastic yard sign. I welcome and will consider voting for all candidates who abide by the laws, and I respect all officials who proactively implement and monitor their compliance.

Stuart Leiderman
Center Barnstead

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Look no further than unions that have run education for decades

To The Daily Sun,

Ed Allard of Laconia writes glowingly of his support for Tom Dawson running for state representative. If, as Ed suggests, "experience" equates to best qualifications for office, why are Democrats tripping over themselves trying to remove highly experienced Republicans from their elected positions who have been there for years.

If Ed is suggesting he knows the difference between "good experience" and bad then he does Houdini a one-up. If anyone looks honestly and objectively about what the underlying issues are in education that cause costs to continually rise and quality to stagnate or decline one needs to look no further than teachers' unions that have been in control of education for decades. Teachers' unions sit at the pinnacle of educations slow death spiral in cost and quality.

Look first to the mission statement of any teachers' union. It is not what you find there that is of most concern, it is what is not found there. There is no written commitment by the teachers' union to the highest level of academic achievement above all else. There is no written commitment where teachers are committed and dedicated to cost containment and productivity improvements. There is no written commitment they seek to be held accountable for the quality of their work. In fact teachers and their unions have obstructed anything and everything that improves educations quality while mitigating costs. Unions everywhere oppose productivity improvements because improving work output reduces teacher head count. The only issues unions are focused on is increased wages/benefits and stone-walling. Any activity that might cause their job to be at risk while reducing costs to taxpayers and students is rebelled against.

Dozens of teachers have been caught numerous times — including in Atlanta — in major cheating scandals, changing students test scores in order to maintain wage increases. Many have been charged and hauled into court and convicted. Teachers unions are for one thing and only one thing: That is teachers' best interests.

So if Ed Allard's genuine concerns are about the best interest of the kids he would not be supporting a big, liberal, tax-and-spend guy like Tom Dawson. In fact if the kids were his first and only concern, Ed would be screaming to tear down teachers' unions that underpin educations basic failure every where. He would even be doing his best to remove tenure which keeps tens of thousands of lousy teachers in front of students for a lifetime as the California Supreme Court recently agreed.

The irony is, the far left, union-hugging beliefs of people like Ed Allard and Tom Dawson are exactly the reasons education is in the failed state it is today. Ed and Tom will be the first people to back wage increases and benefit hikes for teachers/professors. Then shout as Ed does, "Kids have too much debt."

It is hypocrisy by no other name. What these people really want is tax subsidies and handouts from the state where the true cost and inefficiency of education is obfuscated. Where one person gets a service at a price far less than its real value because some taxpayer is saddled with the bill. Let's be clear. Ed can't be for higher wages and huge benefit increases for teachers, then scream kids have record debt. Let the public understand, Ed and Tom put that record debt on them with their union hugging, never saw a wage increase they couldn't love, liberal beliefs.

I call it Swiss cheese logic. Obama designed it, in fact he put all the holes in it.

Tony Boutin


  • Category: Letters
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Scott Brown whining about negative ads is pot calling kettle black

To The Daily Sun,

Most of us shop around, for the best buy on a car, a TV, and other big purchases. Scott Brown shopped around for a state. He packed his carpetbag, drove to New Hampshire, and is trying to buy a U.S. Senate seat. He's doing this by relying on at least $8 million from outside interests and by dishonestly pretending to be someone he isn't.

His record shows that Scott Brown is an empty-headed kept boy who does the bidding of whoever is paying him. First were Wall Street banks, on whose behalf he helped water down new bank regulations and held a bill hostage until he was able to give them a $19 billion exemption. After its passage he continued to try to weaken the law's consumer protections. In return, Brown received more campaign contributions from financial institutions than any other candidate in 2012.

He is also an errand boy for the oil industry, supporting loopholes and $24 billion in tax subsidies for corporations that are already among the most profitable in the world. In 2012 he said with a straight face that "oil companies don't get subsidies... I'm positive," even though they do and he voted to protect them.

After the voters of Massachusetts turned him out of office he received over $1 million in stock for joining the board of directors and lending his name to a shady firm that was attempting to attract investors. This business was a beauty supply company that claimed to be an arms manufacturer. In reality it had no factories, no products, no trademarks, no revenue and was run by executives who had been sued for securities fraud. It wasn't even listed in the building that it claimed as its address. After this came to light, Brown was forced to resign from the board.

Now, as a candidate in New Hampshire. he is giving us a compost pile worth of cliché's, double talk, and claims contradicted by his own actions and votes.

Running in New Hampshire he opposes "magnets" for illegal immigrants "like in-state tuition for illegals," despite having voted for in-state tuition for undocumented students when he was in the Massachusetts Senate.

He suddenly imagines himself to be an expert on national security, but he's only grandstanding. First he misrepresents his military experience. Now Brown is emphasizing border security, apparently thinking we are about to be overrun by Ebola-infected terrorists from Mexico. Yet when he was in the U.S. Senate he skipped all of his committee and subcommittee hearings on border security. He also opposed a bipartisan immigration reform bill supported by Sen. Ayotte as well as Sen. Shaheen which included increased border security.

He wants us to believe he will protect women's health care. The evidence says the opposite. The facts are that he co-sponsored a Senate amendment to give employers the right to deny birth-control coverage — as well as any kind of healthcare coverage — to women. He also co-sponsored and voted for legislation in Massachusetts to create roadblocks for a woman's right to choose — a bill supported by anti-choice groups, who also endorsed Brown when he ran for re-election. Quite simply, those organizations do not endorse someone who is pro-choice.

He claims he favors more jobs, with "decent pay" and "annual raises." But he voted for tax breaks for companies to send jobs overseas, He received over $250,000 to serve on the board of directors of a company that sends jobs abroad, then tried to claim that he didn't know that the firm was doing this, despite the fact that he signed legal documents for the SEC endorsing its outsourcing strategy. Brown also voted multiple times against extending unemployment benefits, opposes raising the minimum wage and has voted against equal pay for women.

In Massachusetts he said that climate change was real and partly man-made. In New Hampshire he said that man-made climate change isn't proven. Then a few days ago, he said it is. Whiplash and flip-flop. And for someone who claims to support education he voted to cut Pell Grants to college students and to cut Head Start for pre-schoolers.

Now he is whining that Sen. Shaheen runs negative ads. This is Scott Pot calling the kettle black. Has anyone seen any ads of his that aren't purely attacks on Jeanne Shaheen? Bonus points if you've seen any Brown ad that presents specific policies or programs that he will support. He said only that he would save the government money by going after "waste, fraud, and abuse," which is the lazy cliché used for years by candidates who have no idea what to do.

Brown knows little about, and cares little about, New Hampshire The only thing Scott Brown cares about is Scott Brown. His history shows that he is motivated by two things: His own career advancement, and his bank balance. He will say anything to try to get himself elected. His campaign has consisted of distortions, convenient memory lapses, and hypocrisies. At best he's confused, at worst dishonest. Scott Brown can be summed up in one phrase: "Empty Head, Empty Suit."

Ed Allard


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If you insist on putting a label on me, I prefer Granite Stater

To The Daily Sun,

As a candidate for state representative, I expect to have people debate and discuss the issues, even when we disagree. It's quite unfortunate that people who don't even know me would try to disparage me through the use of meaningless labels and fear-mongering. But if you must use a label, I prefer Granite Stater.

Most folks around here consider themselves to be independent-minded politically. In New Hampshire, more people are registered to vote as independent/unaffiliated than either Republican or Democrat. So readers of this newspaper do not respond well to name-calling and scare tactics. Labels such as "tea party" and "right wing" have all but lost any significance for most people.

For my part, I prefer to speak about guiding principles, such as a preference for government that protects people's rights. Or one that lives within its means, by reducing spending on unnecessary bureaucracy. Or a state Legislature that honors constituents and taxpayers by adhering to the Constitution and promoting private charity, property rights, and the concept of personal responsibility.

My wife, Marie, and I, along with our two Labs, Lola and Raven, moved to New Hampshire from New Jersey (can you blame me?) after visiting and exploring the state for a number of years to make sure we were making the right decision. Our state is a destination for people who appreciate and understand the benefits of freedom. More than 60 percent of New Hampshire residents were born outside the state. Twenty-five percent moved here from Massachusetts. Unlike those who want to change it by passing ever-more restrictions on our freedoms, I simply want to help protect the "Live Free or Die" tradition and keep New Hampshire awesome.

As a member of the Central New Hampshire Amateur Radio Club I've enjoyed meeting many of our neighbors while volunteering at public service and charity events like the Laconia Sled Dog Derby, Meredith Book-It! Road Race and the upcoming Meredith Bay Trick or Trot 5K, and by organizing regular litter pick-up outings along Route 3 in Belmont from the Mosquito Bridge to the Laconia town line.

Leadership should be by example, not by trying to knock down those with whom you disagree politically. If elected to the state House, I'll do my best to follow the above principles and to represent your interests in Concord. Thank you in advance for your vote on Nov. 4.

Glen Aldrich


Candidate for State Representative – Gilford and Meredith

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Lisa DiMartino has all the qualities I look for in a public servant

To The Daily Sun,

The most basic character qualities I look for in candidates for public office are honesty, integrity, and the ability to treat all people with respect and dignity, including those with whom they have differences of opinion. The absence of any of the three is a sign that the quality will be absent in public life, and will not get my support.

Following closely on my search for these qualities in elected officials are two other requirements: the demonstrated ability to think critically and to interact with political opponents in a manner that finds solutions to public problems.

A person who thinks critically starts with an open mind by genuinely listening to all views that constituents want to have considered. Listening and open-mindedness are lifelong skills most people must work to develop and perfect. Those lacking the skill are busy thinking what to say when they get the chance, then are engaged in pouring their own biases on the other person.

Critical thinking involves more than just listening. It centers on engaging in the evaluation of alternative points of view, doing true research, and working out conclusions about solving a problem. Many people bypass this step and substitute a process of arriving at a conclusion by drawing only on their own biases. This results in largely discarding research and the views of others. Often they also eliminate the listening step. So many letters to the editor do exactly this, with an air of being authentic. Wow!

Solutions, to the contrary, requires finding common ground in an environment of the pet views of those in the conversation, and doing true research to find what has happened in the past and suggested for the future. I do not want candidates who only support my views because I know there are even better solutions available to those who listen, do their homework, and find common ground. The very essence of democracy requires elected officials to listen, find better answers, and not to be blinded by their own biases or bought by high bidders. And today our democracy is being beaten to death by those  professing to love her.

Further, I want my elected officials, after engaging in critical thinking and allowing common ground to emerge, to vote their own unbiased position and to allow the solution to be tried in real life. All solutions will not be proven good in real time and can be improved in the future. Even then, I will honor a candidate who is a critical thinker but can admit s/he would not vote that way again. That is proof of critical thinking and does not deserve punishment.

It is apparent, in our county, state and nation that many elected officials do not know how to govern.

If in our families we are wedded to unproven biases and we keep poking each other in the nose, the family will break down. Our political system majors in fielding unproven philosophies and in poking the opposition in the nose or worse. The truth is that both sides have caring and intelligent people who deserve respect from each other — and energies focused on finding the common ground and acting out solutions that can be changed in the future if not successful.

These, then, are the qualities I look for in elected officials. I am a registered independent voter and look to both parties for this kind of candidate: Honest, with integrity, and respect for all people, including those in opposition parties. I honor critical thinking and the focus on finding common ground, and not punishing nor demonizing those who hold different views than my own.

For this reason, I will vote for Lisa DiMartino. She demonstrates all the qualities I seek, and has proven herself in a very unfortunate political battle in Belknap County. She is intelligent, does her homework, and wants to find alternate solutions to community problems. She wants to engage in respectful dialogue with fellow officials to find even better solutions than she started with. She offers herself for re-election genuinely dedicated to public service. What a prize!

We need dozens more elected officials with the qualities Lisa lives out. Thus I am scanning the other candidates in our district to decide who else to vote for. And finally, I urge all voters in Belknap County to elect the candidates with these qualities who can solve our county's very severe problems. This requires all of us to reach beyond our own political biases and party loyalties. I cannot possibly vote a straight-party ticket because I find candidates best qualified on both sides. Please think critically and please vote.

Miller C. Lovett


  • Category: Letters
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