To The Daily Sun,
Last week, the Selectmen of Meredith decided to put the interests of big business over the citizens of Meredith and let the taxpayer pick up the tab, to the tune of $18,000. Why? Nothing Ann Deli, president of Laconia Harley-Davidson, said to the board, made a lot of sense to me.
Years before Harley-Davidson came to Meredith, motorcyclists were coming up over the hill from The Weirs to our shops and restaurants and enjoying perhaps a bit less confusion for the day. Motorcyclists still spread out to many Lakes Regions towns.
Yet we had no vendors during those decades and no real traffic problems with long lines and long waits to come down the hill into the town center. We probably weren't paying $5,000 to the Motorcycle Week Association either. I have to question what if anything do we get from this worthless use of taxpayers' dollars as it wouldn't stop bikers from visiting Meredith if we didn't join the association.
Nor would we incur $13,000 more in taxpayer expense, if we simply stop allowing vendors into Meredith period. Motorcycle Week(s) is a Weirs event and as far as I am concerned, I welcome the bikers to Meredith, but I think the vendors should stay in The Weirs. I don't think the Meredith taxpayer should get dumped with subsidizing Laconia Harley-Davidson so they can continue to make $145,000 a year off their vendor rents and then listen to them threaten and complain when Meredith tries to collect a perfectly legitimate fee to offset the towns expenses.
I also seriously doubt Laconia Harley-Davidson is donating $220,000 to charitable causes. No doubt that's corporate giving that money. So please, Ms. Deli, don't try to hold that over our heads. And if LH-D is raking in $145,000 from the vendors they rent space on the property, then I am sure since they are already paying LH-D so much, they shouldn't mind paying an additional $45 a day to the town of Meredith to pay for expenses incurred.
If Ms. Deli is really afraid her vendors will go somewhere else, then maybe it would be a sound business investment to take some of that $145,000 and pay the town $18,000 for a tax deductible cost of doing business. I for one am not willing to use my tax dollar to pay LH-D's bill because of a threat that the vendors may move on. I'd just as soon all vendors go back to The Weirs and let Meredith go back to hosting and welcoming bikers the way we did before LH-D came to town. I can't think of any other major event that spills vendors in other surrounding towns, causing traffic jams and thousands of dollars in "taxpayer" expense.
Maybe this question should go on the town warrant and let the people of Meredith vote on whether they want vendors and traffic jams and $5,000 association dues and more expenses added to our taxes. Let the people choose.
So come on selectmen, stand up for the people who voted you to represent them ... the Meredith citizenry, the taxpayers. Do not be bullied by the big businesses. And do not put this off until 2017. I am calling on you to put this back on the table and do your duty and look after the taxpayer. You are charged with a responsibility to us. Please apply the $450 vendor fee for this bill, or put it to the voters ... or do we have an oligarchy in action, in the town of Meredith?
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 August 2015 10:19
To The Daily Sun,
Mother Nature was very kind to us this year for the Leavitt Park Carnival (maybe a little too hot).
At this time we would like to speak for the Leavitt Park volunteers to thank the many people that came out to attend our annual carnival. Also, ensuring a fun and successful time, goes a big thanks to our many bakers for bringing goodies to our food table, our chili and bean cooks, the hot dog cooks and all of the set-up and take-down people for the game stations, the people that stood in the hot sun for three hours so that the children could have fun for an afternoon.
We would also like to thank the businesses that helped supply needed items. They are as follows: Our Place Restaurant and Country Kitchen Bakery.
Also listed are contributors to our raffle tickets and their winners: Boullia-Gorrell Lumber Co., W. Horton; Bank of NH, G. Hodapp; Lacasse Floors, A. Fortier, Northeast Tire Service Inc.; Deloitte Consulting, A. Fortier, Northeast Tire Service Inc.; Leavitt Park, C. Nachbaur; NH Motor Speedway, H. Walker; Gunstock, F. Sorrell; Café Déjà Vu, S. Stebbins; 50/50 Raffle, M. Hodapp
Anthony Felch, President
Alice J. Smith, Board Member
Leavitt Park Association
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 August 2015 10:14
To The Daily Sun,
I read with interest the article concerning the financial and organizational collapse of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association. Having served on the board of that organization for some five years (several as vice president) as the Weirs Action Committee representative I share as does the membership of the Weirs Action Committee the mayor's concern for the future of Laconia Motorcycle Week. We share the concern that the LMWA is running itself into the ground financially while the rally itself diminishes in size and scope.
This year the Sturgis Rally posted records in attendance and retail sales while the Laconia Rally posts a decrease of 25 percent in its traffic count. Clearly for all who wish to see Laconia Motorcycle Week thrive and grow, this is alarming news. Clearly thinking persons would make a serious inquiry into how this came to be so.
The promotion of Laconia Motorcycle Week has been done over the last 20+ years by the group currently going by the name Laconia Motorcycle Week Association. As we watch the downward spiral of attendance and interest in our rally one can reasonably conclude that the efforts of this group, however well intentioned, are failing to produce results.
The article mentions that Laconia H-D, the Weirs Action Committee and the N.H. Motor Speedway have all resigned their memberships in the LMWA. What appears to be outside the scope of the article is how and why this has occurred. The article also fails to mention other members who have chosen not to continue on the board of the LMWA such as the Chamber of Commerce, Gunstock and Larry Baldi.
It is curious that the article seems to imply that those who have left the LMWA board have done so for purely selfish reasons. With this I disagree. Every one of these organizations has an interest in a growing and thriving Laconia Motorcycle Week however every one of these organizations' first responsibility is to their own health and vitality. Each of these organizations concluded that their first responsibility made continued participation in the LMWA no longer possible.
The article refers to the WAC as "reaping significant returns" from operating the Weirs Beach parking lot during the rally and "left the LMWA when the dues were increased from $2,000 to $5,000 a year to address a deficit." The WAC nets approximately $25,000 per year on our parking fundraiser and spends each dollar and more on improving and beautifying Weirs Beach. We would be happy to share with anyone the details of what we do and have done with a few volunteers and some hard work. Other than per diem workers, no one is on any payroll.
The WAC did not leave the LMWA board so much as we were shown the door. At $5,000 these dues would typically represent 20 percent of our funds raised each year. We determined that this was more than we could afford and would create much hardship in successfully pursuing our mission, but in recognition of the substantial financial difficulties of the LMWA we offered to increase our dues to $3,000. We were turned down flat.
As for the dues increase addressing a deficit, I can tell you that even quadrupling the increase in dues wouldn't balance the operational deficit, and would have no impact whatsoever on the substantial long term debt of the LMWA.
Mr. Mayor, the problem is not us.
Joe Driscoll III
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 August 2015 10:08
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.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 August 2015 10:06
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
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 August 2015 09:51