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Need constitutional amendment to solidify our community rights

To The Daily Sun,

Imagine a world where the decisions that affect a community are made by the residents of that community. A place where true democracy exists and the people can vote up or down on an issue that affects their health, safety, property and the environment of their community. It's hard to imagine such a world since any American alive today has never experienced such a thing. Decisions have always been made in this country from the top down, while the people who live in those communities are at the bottom of the decision-making totem pole.

It has a lot to do with innate human hierarchical thinking, which means we, like most other living creatures, naturally defer to a higher authority, even if we complain and occasionally lash out at that oppression. That's why we repeatedly vote to elect politicians. We expect our elected officials to know best and do the moral and ethical things that will protect us and our environment even though we're disappointed over and over again.

There is also the "Normalcy Bias", which is a fantasy world we live in which says the way things are today will be the way they will always be. In other words, why fight city hall — this is the way it works.

This is why unpopular projects such as fracking, gas pipelines, Northern Pass, and inefficient wind turbine ventures get approved and imposed upon unwilling communities. It's because the people simply don't fight back in a productive manner. We fight each project as a single issue and we end up settling for mitigation of damage to the people and the environment. Outright victory is rare, and this leaves us frustrated and disillusioned. The only way for people to take back control of this country is to fight for a systemic change to the process.

Voters in several communities across New Hampshire have decided to fight for this systemic change. In 2006 Barnstead became the very first municipality in the nation to prohibit corporations from privatizing its water. Through an overwhelming Town Meeting vote, they adopted an ordinance banning corporations from massive water extraction projects. This ordinance, known as The Barnstead Water Rights & Local Self-Government Ordinance, is based on constitutional rights, not regulatory law. Why did they do this? Because they saw their neighbors in Nottingham trying to fight a permit the state Department of "Environmental Services" issued to USA Springs, allowing them to extract up to 300,000 gallons of water per day from a local aquifer to bottle and sell. Being a rural farming community, they understood immediately the threat on their lives and the impact that could have. In 2008 Nottingham passed its own Community Bill of Rights Ordinance and has since won their battle against USA Springs. (The permit expired and the company filed for bankruptcy.)

Folks further north in Sugar Hill, Easton and Plymouth have passed similar ordinances that puts their constitutional rights above the "alleged rights" of Eversource (formerly PSNH) and Hydro-Quebec to use them as a resource colony so they can profit from the Northern Pass project. Four towns in the Mt. Cardigan/Newfound Lake region have also adopted ordinances providing a "Right to a Sustainable Energy Future and Community Self-Government" to protect the pristine ridgelines and waters from the subterfuge that is industrial wind projects.

Today the New Hampshire Community Rights Network is looking for sponsors to introduce a bill for a constitutional amendment that would solidify those communities' right to protect their health, safety and welfare. There will soon be a letter addressed to your town select board asking them to place a resolution on the next warrant in support of this amendment as well. We encourage everyone to support this resolution.

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. To learn how to make real change, go to nhcommunityrights.org.

Cindy Kudlik

Grafton

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Lawmakers know they need to 'butter the bread' of state employees

To the Daily Sun,

Let's talk budget. The top Republican lawmakers have certainly recognized that the state workers backed up by the state workers' union are the backbone of their re-election bid. The Senate president, House speaker and Senate majority leader have decided to put the $12 million state employee pay raise back into the budget as a compromise to the governor's budget veto. The state workers' union must have caught wind that the "Teflon" Dept. of Fish and Game worked out their own deal with the Senate Finance for the $1.2 million for their own employees pay raises. It is quite obvious that the state taxpayers are working for the state employees.

Our lawmakers have recognized, and have known all along the fact that if they are going to retain their seats in Concord, who is "buttering the bread". Let's use an estimated 20,000 state employees as an example. Twenty-thousand votes, added to their spouse or significant other, equals 40,000 votes. Then add children (two) and you get 80,000 votes. Then add one parent and you're up to 100,000 votes and at least one friend equals 120,000 votes.

Would you say that 120,000 votes could sway who gets elected or not? So much for this conservative majority working for their other taxpayer constituents.

A lot of people in this country think it's big money PACs which determine which elected officials get elected, when in reality it's the elected officials spending our taxpayer money on the government, state and local employees pay and benefits that determines who get elected and who keep their seats. Think about it.

How many 2016 votes were at jeopardy if this 2 percent pay raise was left out of the budget? This must have been a real hard decision for the conservatives to make.

Eric T. Rottenecker
Bristol

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