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Worrying about what jail the county can afford is not good governing

To The Daily Sun,

Another article on what jail can the county afford. The real question is: What jail does the county need to protect the county?

Studies have already shown that more space is needed for programming to reduce recidivism, which will reduce costs and make the county safer. Studies have already shown that better space is needed to make the inmates and guards safer.

Articles and letters addressing what the county can afford is not good governing. One of the secrets of lobbying to kill any bill is to bring up the issue of money. To ask whether the county can afford one type of jail or another, only makes the issue a matter of money and not governance.

Good governance is identifying what in necessary for the safety and welfare of the county and its people and planning and executing the plan. When the county loses its ability to tax and spend, then money will become important. Until then, it is the political will to do what is necessary that is lacking.

Leonard Campbell

Center Harbor

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 April 2014 09:36

Hits: 71

Commission continues to give away store on contractual obligations

To The Daily Sun,

I thank Niel Young for naming those on the Belknap County Convention who have tried to thwart the democratic process and the clear mood of the voters in the administration of the county budgeting processes. Now their tactics have descended into a cost factor to the voters and taxpayers that in the long term will harm the special interest constituency they are attempting to reward.

I am of the opinion that to achieve a partial offset of these costs to the taxpayers, that the County Convention should reject completely the collective bargaining agreement with the county workers on the grounds that the members of the County Commission who negotiated it did not negotiate in good faith as against the clear intent of the majority of the County Convention. A new agreement needs crafting that recognizes true costs and especially legacy costs contained in these collective bargaining contracts.

Using the most sanguine projections we can contemplate, the New Hampshire Retirement System pension trust which had recovered $400 million in their last report (June 2013), against the nadir of near $4.5 billion in underfunding might just barely get to a $3.8 billion in underfunding status by this June. But as of this June the near 11 percent average annual increased standard contributions plus special contributions against over time and other accruing liabilities will see the 11 percent base increases ending.

We still face undefined legacy costs for our county employees retirements even if this June we could reach a 62 percent funding ratio at NHRS. Another 4 percent decrease in the unfunded liability this year seems dubious. As these conditions continue to allow for the highest compensated to collect against the contributions of the lower benefit accruing of the state's public education industry, by way of the assets under-performing the NHRS AARR required to support the current levels of distributions, we would expect the state reps to be lobbying for their core constituencies it is presumed the educators, not inflating legacy costs to NHRS.

While COLA and merit pay raises in the proposed county contract are in some sense valid, they are made invalid by not capping the same. Any such raises should be capped to the mean salary metrics in the contract. That is, the taxpayers should be most concerned with the real inflation the government is unable to measure, in health care, fuel, insurance premiums, food and water and sewer rates, etc., impacting those most in need of COLA and merit pay raises.

Without doing so, we will continue down the road to paying outrageous increases in total cost per employee sums, to the highest paid employees. With a cap structure they too would get these raises on the portions of their salaries that qualified, but the majority of the total cost would flow to the lowest paid with the most difficulty in bearing the increased costs for their health care and true inflation. To fail doing such caps ensures more robbing of the lower-paid base employees to provide raises that quantitatively could be twice that of the lowest-paid employees for those at the top of the pay scales. This would be fair to any of those not advocating for plutocracy, save the taxpayers some of the costs of these legal fees lately generated by sore losers, and by restructuring these issues address their legacy costs which will still be increasing.

The dissident commissioners must recognize that there have been unwarranted costs incorporated into the many previous county contracts and that it is time to address infrastructure issues at the county jail. It has nothing to do about fairness. It is about the will of the voters to fund new infrastructure while continuing to give away some of the store on contractual obligations. The voters of Belknap County have already revolted against the agenda of these dissident commissioners members, and certainly they cannot all be expecting to be returned to office. Let us hope that this Gang of Three continues to have their names appear prominently on the pages of The Sun until November. Let the taxpaying voters yet again determine who has the evil intentions.

Timothy Sullivan
Gilford

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 April 2014 09:06

Hits: 67

Democrats should have known better than to file this bogus lawsuit

To The Daily Sun,

Belknap County Democrat Representatives Arsenault, Raymond, DiMartino, Huot and Gulick staged a "lawfare" stunt against Republican State Representatives Jane Cormier and Colette Worsman over a bogus RSA 91-A charge so obviously a gimmick that even Judge O'Neil in Belknap County Superior Court dinged them on all their "allegations."

Silly Democrats. A simple reading of RSA 91-A would have schooled them. Certainly, former judge and attorney Rep. Huot (Laconia) should have known better. As should have former attorney Representative Gulick of New Hampton who filed the suit.

But this was not about justice, in my opinion, just childish and petty retaliation for losing a budget battle using "lawfare" as their weapon of choice. Belknap County taxpayers and voters should ask their Democrat elected officials if they believe this little "stunt" was worth further picking the pockets of the people they were elected to serve

Susan Olsen
Warner

Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 10:52

Hits: 200

Let's send the bill for Aunt Zeituni's stay in the U.S. to Pres. Obama

To The Daily Sun,

We should send the bill to Obama.

I was reading the column by Michelle Malkin, "Aunt Zeituni's Legacy", about President Obama's aunt, who came to the United States on a 2-year visa. She wound-up having a 14 year overstay, on welfare, bilking the government out of the $51,000, plus government housing. Twice she was ordered to leave, but finally got asylum. then on April 12, 2014 ABC Nightly News reported about a new law that was passed that can hold relatives accountable for their parent's tax debt with the IRS. This case involved a women who had over $4,000 in tax returns confiscated over an overpayment of Social Security benefits her mother received in the late 70s. This woman was 10 years old at the time.

Aunt Zeituni died last week of cancer, but I'm sure her debt lives on.

Steven Belcher

Belmont

Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 10:49

Hits: 71

Poll found 85% favored expanded purchse background checks

To The Daily Sun,

Apparently to Ms. Vazquez-Vanasse any kind of common-sense legislation, including checks to reduce the chances that the dangerously mentally ill or violent felons get their hands on guns that they will turn on others, is lumped in under the vague catch-all (and loaded) term of "gun control." I would also ask her what specific policy was asked about in the Pew poll she references. If the term Pew used was the overly-broad "gun control", which can cover anything, then the numbers, as any statistician can tell you, are not especially meaningful.

The numbers and direct quotes I used in my letter were taken from the Reuters News Service website (January 17, 2013) and The Huffington Post website (January, 2013 updated in 2014). The massacre in Newtown, CT occurred on December 14, 2012. Below are a few paragraphs from these polls and articles.
"In the U.S. House of Representatives, a gun-control bill by Mike Thompson, a California Democrat and the chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, has gained 186 co-signers but has been stalled for months."

"The bill by House Rep. Thompson, a gun owner and Second Amendment backer, would expand background checks but also would have features designed to attract support from gun-rights advocates such as banning gun ownership lists."

"When the federal government failed to act, the states stepped in to fill the void" on gun-control legislation, Thompson said."
"But major changes came in five northeastern states — New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey — with passage of legislative packages that featured restrictions on military-style weapons like those used in Aurora and Newtown."

"The number of new strong state laws is, at least since I've been involved in the movement, unprecedented," said Lindsay Nichols, attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco."
"The poll (Reuters/Ipsos), mostly taken before Obama released his recommendations, found 74 percent of Americans favor a ban on assault weapons, with 26 percent opposed. A ban on high-capacity ammunition clips was backed by 74 percent, and 26 percent were opposed."
"The poll also found 86 percent favor expanded background checks of all gun buyers, including sales at gun shows and between private parties, with 14 percent opposed."

Bernadette Loesch

Laconia

Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 10:41

Hits: 110

 
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