To The Daily Sun,
New Hampshire Constitution Part II, Article 71 details the responsibilities and powers of county level officials such as a sheriff's department for rural law enforcement, a jail, county attorneys, county treasurers, registrars of probate, and registrars of deeds and may have a nursing home, but is not required to do so. Furthermore, a taxpayer-funded nursing home clearly may not provide rehabilitation service as a source of revenue, competing with the private sector.
Counties have the ability to establish a charter but none has done so. Appropriation laws contain provisions regarding county budget estimates; the commission shall propose annually a county budget to the county convention. A county whose fiscal year is a calendar year January 1st to December 31st, mandates that the commissioners shall deliver or mail to the chairperson of the board of selectmen in each town and the mayor of each city within the county, each member of the county convention and to the secretary of state prior to December 1 annually. The only exception is for counties which are on an optional fiscal year basis, July 1 to June 30 of the following year, which allow the commissioners shall deliver or mail to the chairperson of the board of selectmen in each town and the mayor of each city within the county, each member of the county convention and to the secretary of state prior to June 1.
No county convention shall vote appropriations for the ensuing budget period until 28 days shall have elapsed from the mailing of such recommendations. Appropriations for the first year of each biennium may not be voted until after the first meeting of the county convention.
However, conflicting laws have been established, regarding the counties of Rockingham, Strafford and Hillsborough County? These laws are not applicable to any other county. The laws are exception to December 1, the final date the county commission has to deliver or mail the proposed budget. The exception is prior to January 15. Subsequently, the law governing the annual budget "shall adopt within 90 days delivery" was amended to the beginning of the county's fiscal year if the county operates on a calendar year basis. If the county operates on an optional fiscal year basis pursuant to RSA 31:94-a, then the county convention shall adopt the annual budget not later than September 1, applicable to all 10 counties without exception?
Are the two counties exempted from the new statutory requirement that all county commissions shall deliverer the proposed budget by December 1? Or have the two county commissions lost their 46 day grace period? Moreover, biannually, county commissions have newly elected officers sworn in on Wednesday, January 2, 2013. Two commissions have up to January 15th to have the proposed budget delivered. Therefore, biannually, an outgoing commission need not take any action regarding the budget leaving the responsibility of the newly sworn commission to propose the annual budget for the ensuing fiscal year. Such discretion is not an option to eight commissions regarding the March 31 deadline budget vote or default. The counties still are unable to vote prior to February 12th but are bound by the 90 day deadline. Hillsborough County (RSA 24:13-c) reads like a county charter but is simply law.
The 2014 Legislature has three proposed bills assigned to the Municipal and County Government Committee professed as only applicable to Belknap County. The first question that should be asked is how can the Legislature control what another county's local form of government will be that is not optional for all counties? Why would a county with only 18 votes ever put its county's destiny in the hands of 424 N.H. representatives who have a vested interest in laws which cannot be discriminatory in the constitutional application of a bill of rights? What if one of these counties has a TAX CAP which they want imposed on another or all counties? Can any one of the county convention impose a tax C\cap which must be complied with by the commission regarding a proposed budget? The super majority can amend such proposed legislation so that one or more amendments regarding the "intent/application of all laws involved such as but not limited to any subsection of RSA 24 and 28.
— House Bill 1120 - Amend RSA 24 by inserting 24:13-d. This bill establishes a procedure for appropriations voted by the county convention and transfers of appropriations in the budget for Belknap County.
— House Bill 1370 - This bill requires the executive committee of a county convention to contain a member of a minority party and allows the convention of any county to hire a delegation coordinator. The bill also prescribes the format of the county budget for the purpose of appropriations and transfers.
— House Bill 1373 - This bill establishes requirements for the transfer of appropriations made by the Belknap county budget as adopted by the county convention. The bill also clarifies the obligation to pay the legal expenses of the county convention and county officer and employees acting within the scope of official duty.
County government is not a one man one vote form of government such as town meeting, majority rule. Counties have no specific legal options regarding forms of local government when adopting a county charter. The ex-officio representatives, who form a county convention, are uncontrolled sub-committees of the state Legislature that lack any rules of order or interpretation of a handful of laws.
County charters are governed by RSA 28-A:1- Charter Commission; Petition; Establishment. The commission is governed by RSA 28:1 – 7. A charter commission does not involve the entire 424 members Legislature or Senate approval. A county charter is voted by the residence of a county who shall have the final say, one man one vote. Accordingly, any amendments also fall upon county residence.
What is problematic is that NO COUNTY LOCAL OPTIONS are available to a Charter Commission. Clearly, spot legislation is prohibited similar to spot zoning. The current laws used by three or four counties must be deleted and new law regarding local county options as to the form of government shall be established.
Organization, appropriation and administration governance is not a one model fits all. However, all options shall be available to all 10 counties. The voters of a county may or may not desire to pay for a county commission and a county administrator, all of whom must report to the Executive Committee. Should final county budget be left to the ex-officio legislators or should it be a referendum vote of all the district's voters.
From my research, Hillsborough County law (RSA 24:13-c) is an excellent example of a first step as to what could be A LOCAL COUNTY GOVERNMENT OPTION: Article I - Appropriations; Following budget adoption by the convention, the head of any department, with the approval of the administrator or the commission, but not both, may transfer any line item balance or any portion thereof from one unencumbered line item balance or any portion thereof within his department; The administrator or the commission, but not both, with the approval of the Executive Committee may transfer any unencumbered department's appropriation balance or any portion thereof to from one department to another. (Examples RSA 49-B, 49-C and 48-D)
Thomas A. Tardif
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 10:58
To The Daily Sun,
L.J. Siden asserts, in his response to my letter on racism, "to believe that reverse racism is a bigger problem than racism — that is racism". Perhaps L.J. has not heard of affirmative action, quotas, workplace discrimination laws, etc. Perhaps L.J. is not aware of the current situation in which most blacks are harmed by other blacks. Perhaps L.J. does not realize that white on black crime is so rare that the race hustlers have to invent new names such as "white Hispanics" to perpetuate the cause of victimhood. And for heaven sake, just to bring up the issue of where race is in today's reality, is considered racist by Mr. Siden, who apparently believes this is still the 1950s and 1960s. How are those Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan records holding up for you? Okay, full disclosure, I like those folks too, though my view on their politics has changed over the years.
Since I offered lots of references in my last letter to back up my opinions, Siden belatedly offers some "real proof" of "racism" in his letter. Which in Siden's view apparently, can only be white on black. Are you ready? He cites far right-wing racist comments from right-wing sites as clear evidence. I've seen some of them and flag them as offensive to help out the editors of those sites because they do not represent the conservative view in any way. I encourage others to do the same too as they hurt the true conservative cause.
He then mentions the KKK, Neo-Nazi skinheads, Christian Identity, Black Separatists and Neo-Confederates. Yes L.J., I have also checked out the hate map sponsored by the very biased and controversial, Southern Poverty Law Center. Those groups are so on the fringe that one has to spend hours google searching to find any white on black crimes coming from those marginalized groups that have been condemned by all of civil society in a very bipartisan manner. They also do not represent the conservative view. People who belong to groups like those are emotionally unstable, paranoid loons of the type that can be found on both political extremes.
Siden mentions some very racist comments which appeared in Ron Paul's newsletters over two decades ago. Very bad indeed, but have you heard any comments or seen any video of Ron Paul making racist comments? I don't believe so. He is no more racist than Paula Deen is today. If he were, conservatives would have discredited him. Something liberals refused to do with their favorite West Virginia KKK Kleagle buddy, Democrat Robert Byrd. Overuse of the race card has diminished it's power somewhat though using it, however irresponsibly, was still influential enough to devastate Paula Deen.
He then mentions a comment made by Rick Santorum, "I don't make black people any better by giving them other people's money." Apparently, in the world in which Mr Siden lives, asserting that you are against redistribution of wealth is akin to racism. Rick is agreeing with so many black conservatives who are imploring young black people to eschew the liberal, progressive mantra. That being, if you are a poor black person, you just can't make it in this white man's world without the government supporting you cradle to grave. That is the patronizing, self-worth sucking, progressive, liberal twist on traditional racism. Star Parker, Clarence Thomas, Deneen Borelli, Ron Christie, C.L. Bryant, Lloyd Marcus, Erik Rush, Angela McGlowan, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Bill Cosby, Crystal Wright, Ken Blackwell, Charles Payne, Jason Riley, Mychal Massie, Jesse Lee Peterson, Mia Love, Larry Elder, Shelby Steele, Allen West, Tim Scott, Condoleezza Rice, Herman Cain and of course the brilliant Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell all would say that you are dead wrong, in my opinion. They would assert that it is the progressive, elitist, central planning mentality that has created a modern day plantation which has given the gold seal of approval for blacks and to some extent Hispanics, to accept that their lot in life is as victims of a white racist society and they should feel entitled to other people's money. Now to me, that sounds elitist, condescending and racist.
Okay Siden, one more time slowly, so you can grasp the Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey success stories. Yes, lots and lots of whites voted for Obama, twice. Yes, lots and lots of white folks tuned in to Oprah's show because they adored her. What that is meant to imply in 21st century America is that the vast majority of white people admire other folks for the content of their character and not the color of their skin (sorry, another MLK reference that L.J. thinks I am not allowed to use). Good grief L.J. Siden, that does not mean they are only successful because white folks "allowed" them to be. Man, you gotta shed some of that white guilt because it really seems to have clouded your thinking.
Finally, I am sorry (not really so much) if my calling your opinions "juvenile amateur psychoanalysis" offends you. That is my polite opinion, which is based on your spouting the "twisted logic" of a 1960's Al Sharpton thought process. Al keeps that mindset because he still makes lots of money with it, though it does nothing to help blacks today the way it did decades ago. What's your excuse Mr. Siden? Oh and by the way, I believe "we are having a genuine debate" on this issue of racism. By offering my opinion, I am attempting to discredit yours. You are correct about that. That is what letters to the editor sometimes do. Sorry if you think I am being too harsh or "crass". I think you can handle it and perhaps we should let the readers decide who's opinion has more validity. Whadaya say L.J.?
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 10:36
To The Daily Sun,
Now that it is 2014, here are a few thoughts/questions on Obamacare:
— How many people have paid the premium?
— Who is buying Obamacare? (e.g. old, young, etc?)
— What is the cost of the healthcare.gov website, including repairs?
— When will the website work, front and back?
— In 2009-10, Rep. Shea-Porter and Senator Shaheen told us "we could keep our insurance". Why haven't they apologized for lying to us?
— Senator Mary Landrieu (LA) stated "she was misled when she voted for Obamacare". Were Rep. Shea-Porter and Senator Shaheen misled?
— Rep. Shea-Porter told us that "Obamacare will reduce the deficit". Please explain how?
— Why are Dems running for the hills because of Obamacare?
— Will Reps. Shea-Porter, Kuster and Senator Shaheen run on Obamacare?
— Why was the D.C. insurance commissioner fired for criticizing Obamacare?
— Why did Sen. Shaheen want to delay the Medical Device Tax until after the 2014 election?
— Why is Senator Shaheen joining other Democrats to delay Obamacare?
— Why does Obamacare allow for children to stay on their parent's policy until the age of 26 and military (our veterans) to age 21? Rep. Shea-Porter and Senator Shaheen knew this when they voted for Obamacare.
— Why does the media, newspapers, politicians say that the tax for not having Obamacare is $95? This is not true.
There are other questions but I do not expect Reps. Shea-Porter, Kuster and Senator Shaheen to answer any of them.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 10:21
To The Daily Sun,
I was on my way to work Sunday, driving near the Rte. 106/107 intersection, when my Subaru skidded off the icy road into a snowbank. "No problem," I thought, "The Subaru should be able to get out of this easily." But the ice underneath the snow cover made it impossible to get any traction.
I got out and stood by the car and, not moments later, two Good Samaritan ladies stopped and offered to help. Within five minutes, four or five other people stopped with the same intentions. A few tried to push the SUV back onto the road and, when that didn't work, one man said he'd go to his home on Sleeper Hill and come back with a tow rope. "That would be faster than waiting for AAA," someone said.
When I left, I began to consider other ways to get the vehicle free. Again, in the next 10 minutes, three or four drivers offered assistance. Finally, one strong man saw what I was trying to do and, with his help, I was able to get back on the pavement. A few moments later, the man with the tow rope arrived and I was able to thank him for his helpful spirit.
The weather may be cold but the hearts of some folks in the Lakes Region are quite warm. My thanks to all my neighbors.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 10:18
To The Daily Sun,
We all celebrate the news that the New Hampshire economy is gradually improving, resulting in a fiscal year-end surplus. Some have suggested that the entire surplus be put into the state's Rainy Day Fund and that that suggestion is itself uncontroversial and non-partisan. I beg to differ.
Putting the entire surplus into the Rainy Day Fund might seem, at first blush, to be benign and maybe even smart. It would, in actuality, serve to validate the draconian cuts that were made when conservative Republicans held sway in the Statehouse. It would not give the governor and Legislature any leeway to restore funding of what Democrats consider essential services.
Yes, we all know that the New Hampshire Constitution requires that the budget be balanced. But some of the bad choices made by the Republican majority at the time resulted in actually decreasing revenue. Not finding other solutions harmed us all, particularly the most vulnerable among us: the poor, disabled and physically or mentally ill. We all pay extra because of poor roads and bridges, minimal funding of higher education, low reimbursement to hospitals, deferred maintenance, decreased staffing or closing of state facilities and the unraveling of the safety net.
So yes, let's celebrate the improvement in the N.H. economy. But let's not forget that this wealthy state has many poor people too. And let's debate, civilly and respectfully, the amount that should be put aside, without tying the hands of our governor and Legislature in their efforts to improve the lives of all
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 10:15