Guest Blogs

Monday
Mar262007

AN OPEN LETTER TO FERGUS CULLEN

By Ed Mosca

You’re not “taking a position for or against the Lynch proposal at this time”? You have got to be kidding! If the New Hampshire GOP would actually consider supporting a constitutional amendment that writes the misbegotten Claremont decisions into the state constitution, that destroys local control of schools, and that greases the skids for an income tax, then there’s no point in having a State GOP. Let’s just fold it into the New Hampshire Democrat Party and save the time and money we put into elections.

Apparently your biggest concern is the amendment’s requirement that state taxes pay 50 percent of the cost of an adequate education. You’ve offered as a talking-point the question: “50 percent of what?” The question is ultimately irrelevant. Even if Lynch gives you a number that doesn’t require a broad-based tax, there is nothing stopping a future Legislature from doubling or tripling or quadrupling the cost. The amendment is grotesque and the State GOP should be trying to kill it, not trying to forge meaningless compromises.

You also frame the choices as either the Lynch amendment or “risk taking our chances with a potential court-ordered plan.” This type of narrow, defeatist thinking is why the State GOP has become the minority party. For a decade, the State GOP has been an enabler of judicial activism. Its refrain of “only an amendment” can save us, which you appear to have adopted, reflects a profound misunderstanding of how our system of government works. Unelected judges don’t have the constitutional authority to write education policy.

Now is not the time for fence-straddling and more same-but-less Republicanism. It’s time for an unequivocal statement of principle. I suggest the following: The New Hampshire Republican Party opposes any constitutional amendment that writes any aspect of the Claremont decisions into the Constitution.

But what if the Court then says that we have to raise $2.5 billion, or whatever the Democrats in the Legislature say adequacy costs, with state taxes, you ask. Bring it on, I say. Let’s make the 2008 elections about whether unelected judges, or the voters, should decide how much, and how, we tax ourselves.

 

Friday
Mar232007

Peterborough TM and Peterson Weirdness

by John Clark

A few thoughts on the 2007 Peterborough Town Meeting.

Throughout both the Official Ballot and the Open Session, the conservative voter was soundly defeated.

Seems as though things have swung around so far that the "traditional" parties are now representing the opposite constituents from those of fifty or so years ago.

At "The Last" pure Traditional Town Meeting of the Town of Peterborough, it was almost surreal for me, as a moderate right wing Republican, to feel in an absolute minority trying to speak on behalf of lower income taxpayers.

Although the change in fiscal year for our Town has been deemed to require a lump sum "catch-up" tax payment of  $600.00,( based upon a home valued at $200,000 ) due in November, several of the articles offered in the Meeting Warrant called for money to be either spent or set-aside as reserves for items which could well have been postponed until next year. A comment was made that "that was not a lot of money", and the impact was slight.

The eye of the beholder is very relative; $600.00 can be regarded in different ways, as 200 "dinners at home" for one group, or 200 "lattes" for the other group.

The feeling got really weird when the regular proceedings were suspended for a ceremony to present an Award to Walter Peterson and his family, ( a just reward for a lifetime of very hard work in State Politics ) , Congressman Hodes, Governor Lynch, Executive Councilor Deborah Pignatelli, were all present or represented. It was most significant that not a single Republican appeared at the podium!!  Could a "Jim Jeffords" style announcement be imminent from the Peterson family?

"Climate Change", the  PC term for Global Warming, and the "Pledge" got a full measure of  support from the "totally informed" voters before being approved. Even though the rebuttals to both of these Petitioned Articles were extremely well presented, the overwhelming "democrat" presence showed in the 'paddle' vote when only five paddles rose as nayes. ( the signatures on both petitions were all democrat activists. )

Incidentally, an initial 260 voters ( out of 4900 eligible voters ) attended Town Meeting after a snow storm which caused almost all adjacent Town Meetings to be postponed.

Next year could be even tougher. The newly accepted Town Charter not only splits Town Meeting into three parts, but also changes the date to May. So the first Open Session will be in March, the Official Ballot in April and the Final Open Session in May. Plus of course, the School Deliberative Session in February, the School Ballot in March, AND the Federal Election in November !! 

Is this getting clearer to anyone ? 

Friday
Mar232007

A DOG, AND A DOG WITH DIFFERENT FLEAS

by Ed Mosca

Governor Lynch’s proposed constitutional amendment is, to quote Gordon Gekko, a dog. What it doesn’t do is bad enough; what it does do is even worse.

The Lynch amendment does nothing to get the courts out of education policy and funding. Unless the Governor is planning on handing out blank checks to the school districts, count on the lawsuits continuing. His amendment allows anyone so inclined to sue the State on the grounds it hasn’t properly defined an adequate education, determined the cost, created appropriate standards of accountability, or all three. Then some unelected judges who know next to nothing about public education will have the final say. Why bother to hold elections anymore? Let’s just ask the Supreme School Board –oops I meant the Supreme Court– to appoint a lawyer to run every school.

What’s even worse is that the Lynch amendment writes the Claremont decisions into the Constitution. So forget about a future Supreme Court made up of judges that respect the difference between adjudicating and legislating overruling Claremont. And forget about a future Legislature that understands the separation of powers standing up to the Supreme Court’s brazen power grab. New Hampshire henceforth will be government of the lawyers, by the lawyers and for the lawyers.

Lynch claims that we need to keep the courts involved because otherwise the State would “walk away from its duty to provide an adequate education to all children.” This is a stunningly vacuous argument. I’m sure there are those who believe that State is this very moment walking away from its duty to protect the environment, care for the elderly, maintain and build roads, pick up the trash, and protect us from criminals and fires, to name just a handful of things that government does. Under Lynch’s reasoning, all these things, everything else that government does, and for that matter anything else that anyone thinks government should be doing, should be fodder for a lawsuit.

If the Lynch amendment passes, kiss local control goodbye. Instead, we will all have to kowtow to the education mandarins in Concord. If a school district doesn’t want to allow Planned Parenthood to teach health class or if it can provide an excellent education for less money than the educrats say adequacy costs? Well, that’s just too bad. The Constitution says that the provincials are going to teach and spend what the royalty in Concord tells them to teach and spend.

Lynch’s amendment also adds the requirement that the State pay for fifty percent of the cost of an adequate education. Why fifty percent? It’s probably a compromise between Lynch’s handlers, who wanted a number low enough to avoid an income tax, and Senate and House Democrats, who wanted just the opposite. But whatever the explanation, it is stupid policy. It is incredibly arrogant to believe that we know exactly what percentage of State spending on education will be appropriate 10 years or even ten months from now. Spending is something that should be set through elections, not written into the Constitution.

If you’re thinking that Lynch’s amendment was written to please the far-left, you are absolutely right. With the Legislature chock full of moon-bats because of the voters’ anti-Iraq war temper tantrum, Lynch had to write an amendment that appealed to Democrats, rather than Republicans. So how is he going to get this stinker past the voters? Think stick, not carrot.

While Lynch won’t say so, his definition of an adequate education costs around $2.5 billion dollars. The pitch to the voters will be that the only alternative to his amendment is to pass an income tax. Then we will only have to raise $1.25 billion in state taxes.

There is a potential tax fly in Lynch’s amendment ointment, however. What if the Democrats decide not to support the Lynch amendment because, if it loses the State would then have to pay for the entire $2.5 billion cost of an adequate education, which means income tax? All the Democrats would need to do is to convince one-third of the voters to oppose the amendment and they would achieve tax nirvana.

Once the Lynch amendment is rejected, someone would sue to force the State to pay for the entire $2.5 billion cost of an adequate education. The Court, of course, would agree and set a deadline for the Legislature and Governor to put a new funding system in place. And, to again quote Mr. Gekko, that’s a dog with different fleas.

 

Monday
Mar192007

The gay marriage issue

by Peter Bearse

The basic issue of gay marriage is not civil rights. It’s public vs. private values. Gay “rights” advocates can’t tell their public parts from their private parts.

Most people don’t give a damn what gay people do in their bedrooms. They care deeply, however, when homosexuals use politics to promote their private behavior as if it had some redeeming public value, and insist that it be honored as such in the schools, courts and other public arenas.

Heterosexuals care even more deeply when gays diminish the value of an institution, marriage, that has been ordained for tens of thousands of years by forces far more powerful than a church, the forces of nature. If natural evolution did not ordain marriage, it wouldn’t have invented sex. It’s incredible that politicians who support gay “marriage” have the gall to think that present political pressures from a private interest group should be allowed to overturn something as fundamental as human sexuality embodied in marriage and expressed in the formation of families via the union of a man and a woman. This is the public value of sex, fundamentally different from the private values of recreational or homosexual sex.

The private (non-public) interest of the gay community is also revealed by how narrowly they view the issue of “rights.” One would think that if they were really concerned with the civil rights of cohabiting couples vis a vis the truly married, then they’d be making common cause with unmarried heterosexuals but, apparently, they don’t. Fortunately, Bob Clegg’s legislation does this by treating the two groups as having equally legitimate claims for fair treatment under law.

The narrowness of homosexuals’ private interest is further exhibited by their self-seeking narcissism. The coming together of a man and a woman in a marital relationship is far more than just sexual. It is the gradual realization that there is a whole other side of life. It is the beginning of an understanding of the value of diversity – of what it takes to live with a fundamentally different other. Ironically, liberals and gays who say they love “diversity” prefer sameness.

As one of the leading advocates of gay marriage put it “Civil unions are nice…but they are not marriage.” Indeed, Mrs. Janeway, they are not, nor have they ever been, nor should they be.

Finally, it’s too bad that politics is played in the present tense and is so swayed by media and private interests. If politics starts to change for the better as we approach ’08 [and it will because most people are fed up with politics as usual], and if the majority anti-gay marriage forces finally get their act together by redefining the nature of the marriage debate, then the minority gay-marriage movement will not gain support within the majority of the American political community. Rather, it will continue to lose support, state-by state, and go cold even as the world warms.

Thursday
Mar152007

Congresswoman Shea-Porter Pays Back Unions for their Support

by Peter Bearse

In Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s vote “YES” to approve the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act," we’ve just seen another example of how the voters in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District have simply exchanged one rubber-stamping political Party-crat for another. We saw this first in her slavish follower-ship of Nancy Pelosi during the Democrat’s “First 100 hours” of posturing to voters. Now we see it in her vote for a bill that simply amounts to a payoff to a special interest group – labor unions – that were among her major sources of campaign support.

The bill was intended to make it easier for plants to be unionized. Thus, it is adverse to the ability of NH manufacturers to compete in world markets. Even more troubling is the fact that it would end the right of employers to request secret-ballot elections!

Even though Big Labor has been in steady decline ever since Pres. Ronald Reagan stood up to the air-traffic controllers, it still provides a stream of big money and numerous campaign “volunteers” to candidates for Congress. Passage of the bill was high on their priority list. It represents the “biggest change in labor law in decades” according to the Wall St. Journal, yet there was “but a single hearing” on the bill. And labor lobbyists worked hard and smart to “get to this year’s Democratic freshmen early..”

Perhaps they didn’t have to work very hard to “get to” Rep. Shea-Porter, after all. Two-thirds of the “Endorsements” cited on her own website are labor unions. The likelihood of “payoff” here? -- You, the voters, be the judge. Better yet, call her to ask what were the quid-pro’s or union promises for her vote. Whatever: It shows that Shea-Porter is a rubber-stamp for a Democratic Party that is dependent upon left-wing interest groups.