To The Daily Sun,
In a recent well-written and thoughtful letter to the editor from a fellow Moultonboro Planning Board member, the writer correctly stated that "there was no corruption or fraud" on the part of the two Moultonboro Planning Board members accused of malfeasance and neglect of duty. I concur.
What did occur were procedural errors — mistakes in process.
None of what happened on July 10th 2013 rose anywhere near the level where anyone should be removed from elected office. Many different votes were taken that night and ultimately, the Bears Nest LLC tower Conditional Use Permit was approved. I need to point out to readers that if the issue was indeed the final decision that evening, five members of the Planning Board all voted to approve it, with myself and the acting chair the two dissenters. One of the members who approved it was the selectmen's representative. The real cause(s) then for the removal effort of two members was unrelated to the final outcome of that hearing.
I agree with the writers opinion that the selectmen are legally correct in calling for the public hearings, but strongly disagree that they are duty bound to do so. There is no legal obligation to call for the hearings nor was there any legal obligation to offer the "resign or suffer the indignity of a public hearing" plea bargain. That was simply the sad way we do business here in town of late.
I also do not share the letter writer's embarrassment for the Planning Board actions of that evening. I was disappointed that I could not convince most fellow board members to vote "no", regardless of the consequences. No one should be embarrassed, however. The major mistake we made was unavoidable: we were told to think of this already built structure as being not built and that this request for a conditional use permit was the same as if the nearly one acre of woods was never clear cut. The concern easily seen among the majority of the board was that the damage had already been done and tearing it down would cause more harm to the environment. See where I am going with this? Pretend the structure doesn't exist, but we don't want to tear it down. If it didn't exist there would be nothing to tear down, right? It was an impossible situation that perhaps could have been resolved if King Solomon were a member of the Moultonboro Planning Board.
There is an old saying that if the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. The selectmen have a number of tools in their tool box, but chose to use the biggest and most extreme one. Much like using dynamite to plant tulip bulbs. The result is the same, but it leaves an awful mess and people could get hurt.
I wholeheartedly agree that we need to fix our process problems and work diligently on better coordination and cooperation between boards. There is more to be fixed though. We need to stop the favoritism, nepotism, good-ol' boy-network and inner circle manner of getting things done. That applies to all boards.
Most critical, though, are the Board of Selectmen. This same board — where some do not know who the accusers are; some not even sure if there even are any; where some have seen a petition, but others claim they did not or that one even exists — has flagrantly violated the Right-to Know-law and will now act as "grand jury and judge". All this under the guidance of our town counsel and prosecuted by the town administrator. Considering that this Board of Selectmen has never done this before and in fact this has rarely happened anywhere in New Hampshire, the September 9 public hearings have all the makings of an epic disaster movie. The spotlight will be shining brightly on our little town that day. Be sure to not stand in front of any moving fans, because the you know what will be flying through the blades. Doesn't all this make you feel confident that a fair an unbiased hearing will occur? I sure don't.
We need real leadership on the Board of Selectmen that will properly challenge assumptions, vigorously obey the Right-to-Know law, do their homework and go back to directing the town staff as opposed to being led by them. Real leadership from the Board of Selectmen would have the courage to call for a time out and take a step back from these public hearings.
The root cause of these problems can start to be addressed come the second Tuesday of March 2014.
Paul Thomas Punturieri
Last Updated on Sunday, 01 September 2013 09:58
To The Daily Sun,
I want to send a big thank you to the man who returned to me my stolen wallet that he fished out of Alton Bay. I'm sorry that I wasn't home to meet you. I really appreciated your honesty and the fact that you went out of your way to return my wallet.
Last Updated on Sunday, 01 September 2013 09:53
To The Daily Sun,
While we are in an election mode and concentrating on who we want to represent us, I don't want to forget the end of May Seymour's two terms as mayor of Laconia.
Mayor Seymour inserted himself into the city's business long before he was elected as he wanted to come into the job, if he won, with knowledge of what the city was doing and what problems they were facing and generally how it operated from within.
He has truly been a hands on mayor and has made it a point to get out into the community and learn firsthand what the problems were and how he could possibly help to find solutions, and he did.
I recently asked him how many hours and events he had to cover each week to accomplish this aside from doing his own job. I was astounded to learn that he put in approximately 20 hours a week as mayor and that his duties were many more than I thought.
1. Conduct City Council meetings twice a month and as many budget meetings as necessary.
2. Bi-weekly meeting with the City Manager.
3. Mayor serves as Laconia Airport Authority chairman.
4. Serves as chair of Lakes Business Park Commission.
5. Serves on Laconia Human Relations Committee.
6. Attends various city commissions and board meetings.
7. Attends public functions like Annual Belknap EDC, LRGHealthcare, United Way, Lakes Region Planning, BIBA, Main Street Initiative, Ribbon cuttings.
8. School functions as necessary, i.e. graduations, etc.
9. Participates in local efforts to improve Laconia i.e. Salvation Army Turkey Plunge, Got Lunch, Multicultural day, etc.
10. Various Parades: Memorial Day, July 4th, Veteran's Day, Christmas
11. Receives many invites to several events to say a few words. Is typically out of the house at least three nights per week for city-related functions.
I had no idea nor do many others. It is something to think about. First, to give Mayor Seymour a huge vote of thanks for his service these past four years and his always pleasant and affable way of handling all matters. His input to matters before the council has been valuable and has made an impact. Second, we must be sure to have a new mayor who can devote this time and has the ability to make contributions to the matters that the come before the council. He must have the ability to represent the city as its best ambassador.
Mayor Michael Seymour will truly be missed, but he has left a model for those who come after him to follow.
There is one candidate running for mayor who has a leg up on what is required. Ed Engler covered City Council meetings for his paper for many years, knows all the players and the structure of the council and how it works. He serves on many of the city's boards. For instance, the Belknap Economic Development Council and the Rotary Club. He is deeply involved in the restoration of downtown Laconia and attends many of the Downtown Association meetings in an effort to help find the solutions to bringing new businesses downtown and kickstarting its economy which is essential to the whole city.
Experience and knowledge of the city and its challenges is uppermost.
Councilor Brenda Baer
Ward 4 - Laconia
Last Updated on Sunday, 01 September 2013 09:40
To The Daily Sun,
"Before repealing Obamacare, don't we need an alternative?" If you are having a heart attack, do you want treatment first or a demand that you lose weight and adopt an exercise program first? Democrat Senator Max Baucus, an Obamacare author, calls Obamacare a "train wreck". You, all of us, are on that imminent train wreck. Should we stop the train wreck or debate alternatives while the train crashes?
Americans were better off before Obamacare. Seventeen of every 20 Americans had health insurance and 100 percent could go to a hospital for good and continually improving treatments. The primary problem was the high cost (although it is hard to imagine something more worth our money than improving longevity and quality of life).
Before Obamacare, different states experimented with different approaches to reducing costs while maintaining quality care and encouraging investments and innovations that improve people's lives. Examples: The Indiana Health Savings Account program was wildly popular and successful. Texas efforts, including tort reform, successfully reduced costs and enticed doctors to Texas.
While Obamacare was being considered in Congress, Republicans proposed these successful approaches and others to make health care more affordable, e.g., allowing people to fully deduct (from income taxes) health insurance premiums and/or buy insurance from states offering different insurance options and lower premiums. But Democrats had enough votes in Congress to reject Republican proposals and force government controlled health care, Obamacare, on the American people.
Obamacare creates another huge and expensive government bureaucracy which will control doctors, hospitals, health insurance companies, and whether we can receive the treatments, e.g., hip replacements or expensive cancer drugs, needed to improve our lives. Obamacare will be funded with money immorally borrowed (without their consent) from subsequent generations.
Obamacare costs and regulations are disastrous for middle income Americans, causing job losses, stifling job creation, and turning millions of good full time jobs into part-time jobs. Health insurance premiums are skyrocketing, some good insurance plans are no longer available and many people are losing their coverage.
Doctors are considering early retirement, and becoming a doctor is less enticing to our most talented students.
Obamacare only covers one more person (18 instead of 17) out of every 20 while it harms those previously insured, reduces the availability of quality medical care, and damages our economy
We can learn from Obamacare's harmful effects and from the successful approaches in Indiana, Texas, and elsewhere to improve America's great health care system. The way to start is to stop spending money on Obamacare.
Sign the petition at DONTFUNDIT.COM. Call, write, or e-mail your Congressmen and Senators and demand that they stop funding Obamacare.
Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 11:29
To The Daily Sun,
WOW Fest '13 is coming up quickly on Saturday, September 14th, bringing a fun and exciting event to our community. You are invited to come out and join us and participate in one of the five events. Presented by Bank of New Hampshire, WOW Fest has something for everyone and all proceeds go to help continue the expansion of the WOW Trail.
Events at WOW Fest include a 3-mile walk out on the WOW Trail, a scenic 5K and 10K road race along Lake Opechee and a 15 mile (Paugus Bay) and a 67 mile (Lake Winnipesaukee) bicycle challenge all starting and ending at the Laconia Athletic & Swim Club. Following the events there is a festival with great food, live music and lots of fun activities for the whole family. Register by September 1st and receive a limited edition WOW Fest '13 event tech shirt.
Businesses and organizations are invited to participate with our team contests for most participants (Tilton Veterinary Hospital 2012 winner), most money raised (Patrick's Pub & Eatery 2012 winner) and best dressed and best times in the road races (Awakenings Chiropractic 2012 winners). Let's see some new challengers this year!
Registration and complete event information is available at www.wowtrail.org.
Celebrate outdoor recreation and the continued expansion of the WOW Trail by participating in this year's WOW Fest on Saturday, September 14th. Show your support... and get out and enjoy a walk, a run or a bicycle ride.
We hope to see you there!
Allan Beetle & the
WOW Trail Board of Directors
Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 11:24