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How did 5 intelligent board members make such insane decisions?

To The Daily Sun,

The authority of selectmen is derived from state law and the vote of the people through our Town Meeting process. Selectmen are empowered to manage the day-to-day and prudential affairs of the town with their yearly directive given to them explicitly from the results of the vote on the town warrant. The people can vote for commissioners to manage the day-to-day operation of any specific department. No expenditures can be made without the authorization of the people through the town meeting process.

So, when the Ashland Electric Department asked the selectmen to accept a "gift" from the Electric Department to the town, of a flag pole, costing thousands, to be installed in the ball field, the selectmen should have said: "Sorry."

First of all, it's not a "gift" if you are paying for this with the people's money from electric receivables. Second, you have no authority to spend funds for anything other than the day-to-day operation of the Electric Department without first getting specific approval from the vote of the people through Town Meeting, therefore, being there is no authorized appropriation and not in the budget, the answer is absolutely NO.

Furthermore, the selectmen have no authority to approve anything not first authorized by the vote of the people. If you want to pursue this further you must create a warrant article asking the people for their approval.

So what did our selectmen actually say? "Thank you for the gift!." Insane!

Only in Ashland could you take something as symbolic as the American flag, the symbol of our democracy and totally undermine our democratic process to get it. We are certainly not opposed to the flagpole, but it is something that all the people should have had their say in and not through an unauthorized expenditure.

So, along comes the Electric Department again. This time they ask the selectmen for approval to build a building on town property. The selectmen should have said: "Sorry." First of all, you have no authority to spend funds for anything other than the day-to-day operation of the Electric Department without getting specific approval from the vote of the people through Town Meeting, therefore, being there is no authorized appropriation and not in the budget, the answer is absolutely NO. "Furthermore, the selectmen have no authority to approve anything not first authorized by the vote of the people. If you want to pursue this further you must create a warrant article asking the people to vote to approve such a project.

This is when the selectmen should have also said: Back about 13 years ago, the Electric Department got approval to spend a maximum of $1.7 million on the first phase of the North Ashland Road project, of which they spent over $2 million. They promised the people that the second phase of the project, moving all cables and transformers from the old to the new poles, would take about five years to complete and would not cost the people any more than what is budgeted through the normal departments maintenance budget process. This five-year phase is now about 13 years old and far from complete! Perhaps the people would be better served if the Electric Department focused on finishing the project it started rather than on a building project of which its necessity and location are highly questionable.

So what was the selectmen's decision? "Approved," unanimously! Insane!

How do five intelligent selectboard members make such insane decisions? Good question.

As a courtesy, this letter was submitted to the selectboard before construction of the building. Their response: "we are authorized to do what we did."

Tom Peters

Former Selectmen

Current Town Trustee, Ashland

Rick Pare
Town Trustee, Ashland

Mark Ober

Town Trustee, Ashland

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Let's take these last weeks to weed out the fictional images

To The Daily Sun,

Years ago we were humorously introduced to the story of Chauncey Gardiner, later to be played by Peter Sellers in the movie "Being There." In the story, Chance the gardener, with limited mental capacities, must depart from the sheltered life provided by his newly deceased patron. By way of being injured in a car accident, Chance ends up in the home of a media icon whose influence runs from Wall Street to the White House. The icon's wife mistakes his name as being Chauncey Gardiner, a name she assumes reflects the upper class.

Since Chauncey is living in the home of one of the country's power figures, he is questioned about high finance and politics which he responds to with a gardener's wisdom. In answering a TV questioner about the economic slowdown, he responds, "In a garden things grow... but first they must wither. Trees have to lose their leaves in order to put forth new leaves..."

This earthy wisdom stuns Wall Street, the United Nations, and the White House, which cannot gain any information about Chauncey because his incapacity has left him without any trace of a license, employment, or education. Next he is proposed to be the best candidate for the presidency, "Gardiner has no background, and so he's not, and cannot be, objectionable to anyone. He's personable, well spoken, and he comes across well on TV... Gardiner is our one chance."

The story revels in all the phoniness in American culture. We are treated to the foolishness of trying to make sense out of nonsense and the alchemy of pretending that gold can be made from lesser metals.

Today we suffer not from fiction, but the reality of mistaken identities. A political campaign filled with false posturing as fact, and a desire to avoid acknowledging the hard disciplines of political leadership. Garden wisdom will not suffice.

It is certain that Mr. Trump really believes "I am the only one who can solve these problems." Thinking back over nearly a dozen presidents whose egos were not small, I have nothing but dismay at such arrogance. He has grossly mistaken his identity. Further still, he invites folk to join a movement which rests completely upon his emotional immaturity.

Let's use the last few weeks to weed out the false or fictional images, honor fact-finding, and recognize the wisdom required for the most demanding job in the world.

Sid Lovett

Holderness

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