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Democrats deeply committed to helping poor, homeless & unemployed

To The Daily Sun,

I have just finished reading Mr. Boutin's latest submission to The Sun. In it he states that Democrats' No 1 priority are minorities and that (to paraphrase) this has caused millions of middle-class individuals to sink into poverty.

It is true that Democrats focus on social issues. We are deeply committed to helping the poor, the homeless, the unemployed and the underemployed. We sponsor school breakfast programs, mental illness education and clinics, drug education and clinics. We support universal health care, marriage equality and women's issues. We support veterans. We support raising the minimum wage. We consider these "minority" issues — unlike Mr. Boutin, who defines "minority" as "ethnic".

What Mr. Boutin fails to mention is that, during the Obama administration the Dow has risen over 10,000 points, a failing auto industry was rescued (at a profit), unemployment is down and — oh yeah — our benevolent 1 percenters have experience astronomical corporate profits.

Now, these folks really love their money and have managed to hold on to most of it. These record profits have not trickled down to the middle and lower classes. They haven't created the full-time, benefit-paying positions that have buoyed both individuals and the economy.

Because I was fortunate to have wonderful parents who valued higher education, I was able to earn my degree. I also worked throughout my college years. As a retail manager, I have been able to take advantage of full-time employment with health care, sick time and investment opportunities. This is now almost unavailable to my co-workers. Most have to juggle several jobs and family responsibilities. To offer social services to these hard-working individuals is hardly a handout.

On one of our sub-zero days this week, I saw a young family of four coming out of a supermarket. None of these individuals — two adults and two small children were wearing coats — only thin hoodies. This is never acceptable.

I encourage other individuals to start contributing letters to this forum. I can recognize a bald-faced liar when I see one. I bet a lot of other folks can too. The arena can be a bit tough, but nobody respects a bully.

June M. Huot


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Belmont needs thorough investigation of first mill reconstruction

To The Daily Sun,

An open letter to the Belmont Town Fathers, the Budget Committee and the taxpayers of Belmont,

The Town of Belmont will again be bringing a bond issue to the town taxpayers this year to decide on whether or not to spend around $3.7 million to reconstruct the Belmont Mill and refurbish it for use as the Town Hall.

A great amount of federal grant money and taxpayer dollars was spent on this mill some years ago and we are now discovering that the improvements made at that time were inadequate. The local newspapers have been reporting that the fourth floor of this building is falling apart, the outside bricks are allowing water to get inside the building and there is all sorts of deterioration to this building.

Before deciding whether or not to spend millions of dollars more, an investigation should be done on the first reconstruction. Among others, the following questions should be asked and answered:

• What exactly was done to the mill previously?

• What was not done that should have been?

• How did the costs break down for the last reconstruction?

• Was the contracted work properly supervised by a party looking out for the interests of the town?

• Was there a qualified professional in charge of the construction?

• Are there plans and specifications available to review from the last construction?

• Are there "As Built," that is, after-­the-fact plans available to review?

• Were there any design or construction changes made during the last construction that shouldn't have been made?

The purpose of this investigation should be to find the mistakes that were made the last time so that we can be sure they won't be made again.

Until this investigation is complete, we are liable to make the same mistakes all over again.

This investigation should be open and transparent and should be conducted by a citizen's committee of townspeople who have no personal or financial interest in whether or not the $3.7 million bond will pass, but instead are interested in what is best for the town taxpayers. Town employees should be available to assist this committee by retrieving relevant records such as the above-mentioned plans, minutes of meetings where decisions and updates were mentioned and decided upon, and whatever other records may be needed. This committee should be headed by an individual with some knowledge of engineering and construction or, if not possible, such an individual should be available to the committee for consultation.

This town has been convinced, in the past, to vote to purchase buildings before a definite use has been assigned to them and before a proper investigation was conducted. Let's be smart this time and call for this investigation before spending any more money.

Please attend the following meetings and voice your opinion:

• Tues., Jan. 13, 6:30 p.m., Budget Committee Hearing at Corner Meeting House.

• Tues., Jan. 20, 6:30 p.m., Bond Hearing at Corner Meeting House.

• Sat., Jan. 31, Town Deliberative Session.

George & Susan Condodemetraky


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