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My attemps at civic engagement fail at every turn; I'm shut down

To The Daily Sun,

It is with the deepest emotion, for which I am unable to find words; I find myself numb, bewildered, disappointed and terrified. We are failing as a race. The level of corruption and malice with which we govern could only be matched by the apathy and ignorance that have fed the beast.
We are diseased, sick, and dying. Our mothers are no longer fertile, and the blessed unborn are cursed from the start. They grow in cancerous tombs and are born into filth. I cry for our children, I cry for our ignorance, I cry for humanity.
It would be impossible to share the journey which led to this awakening as I don't understand it myself. I am compelled by an unfamiliar force to see, to care, to scream, to fight. As I clumsily attempt to find my role, I trip over chaos and destruction with each step.
My attempts at civic engagement fail at every turn. Each instance, where I believe I will be able to make a tiny difference, I am shut down. Truths are untold, denied or destroyed. I selfishly enjoyed a small moment of hope when I picked up the paper last week and read of recent proposed bills meant to add prudence to the protection of our water with a mention of the need to protect the children and other vulnerable populations.
It is not only the head line that lacks transparency, but the bills themselves that are deceptive and misrepresentative of the truth. Greed, fear, self-preservation are forgivable. To use the lives of children to shield your incompetence is unforgivable. Relative to abolishing the fluoride in the water, and tallying dollars associated with this win to add to the Medicaid budget, I see no mention that the fluorides under consideration are the molten salt baths meant to cool the nuclear fusion that we so desperately need. I also noticed that the EPA recently added chromium hexavalent as a naturally occurring element in the state. I believe that means we do not consider it when we report on safe water if I understand your creative zoning legalese. As if the lengthy list of power plants contaminating our environment to send power out of the state were not enough, the natural gas line and fracking is certain to eliminate all hope. The lack of actual cleanup at superfund sites and the deliberate misinformation around soil, water and air contamination is willful deception and malfeasance. We have changed exposure limits, tracked carcinogens for years, minimize risk and cancer clusters and plan secret committees to contemplate contemplating. We have overcharged residents for sewer water, literally, and deferred revenue illegally. We bury funding for rainy days and have endorsed the adoption of double bookkeeping. Even the auditors have adopted a new verbiage and set of opinions based on what has become acceptable rather than offering an independent opinion on generally accepted accounting principles. I will never understand at what cost the destruction of your bloodline, the ecosystem, humanity, is it worth.

"The wheels of government are clogged, and . . . we are descending into the vale of confusion and darkness. No day was ever more clouded than the present . . . We are fast verging to anarchy and confusion . . . How melancholy is the reflection . . . What stronger evidence can be given of the want of energy in our government than these disorders? . . . A liberal and energetic constitution, well guarded and closely watched to prevent encroachments, might restore us."
— George Washington

Tracie Fitzpatrick


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A broad-based Belmont Mill study committee will be proposed

To The Daily Sun,

The Town of Belmont is hosting a Deliberative Session on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m. at the High School. I encourage Belmont residents to attend.

The town February newsletter includes items to be discussed in preparation for the March Town Meeting. You can find the information at: http://www.belmontnh.org/docs/newsletter/NewsletterFeb17.pdf

As a Belmont taxpayer, I am disappointed and concerned that the selectmen and town staff have not presented a logical approach for residents to make choices about the best use and long-term strategy for town-owned buildings. Taking a piecemeal approach (in this case a vote to keep, tear down or sell the Belmont Mill) with incomplete and biased information is the wrong approach.

The Town of Belmont owns a Town Hall, a former bank building, the Belmont Mill, the Corner Meeting House, a Police Station, a Fire Station, a Public Works Building and other facilities. If the major question is what's the best way to house our town staff in the future and what will it cost, then we need a basic facility assessment of the bank building and Town Hall that can be compared with $1 million in repairs and modernization assessment on the Belmont Mill.

The $3.2 million tab for the mill taken to the voters in 2015 included inflated space needs for staff and additional construction at the mill, while other buildings like the bank building weren't considered for basic things like storage. After the town voted the proposal down a well-attended meeting was held to discuss the mill and next steps. There was no action taken afterward to share the meeting notes or follow up with those attending, many of whom showed strong interest in the Belmont Mill.

Clearly, Belmont voters were scratching their heads about why the town staff and small Senior Center needed a bigger building than Laconia's City Hall. Before we throw out what may be one of our best long-term options for town offices and other community needs (the historic Belmont Mill), let's consider the full picture.

At the Deliberative Session, I will propose that a broad-based citizen committee, including engineering, design, office planning, real estate and economic development experience be created to address this issue in a comprehensive fashion. There have been numerous past efforts like the PlanNH Charette in 2010, study committees and the mill architectural assessment that we can build from. With a basic engineering/building estimate of all these buildings for repair and reconstruction long-term and a sound estimate of office space needs based on accepted engineering standards, we can present a clear and well thought out range of choices for taxpayers.

Donna Hepp


  • Category: Letters
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