Guest Blogs

Tuesday
Feb272007

Attention Teen Girls: “SHHHhhhh…Don’t Tell Your Parents”

by Rep. Al Baldasaro

Governor John Lynch promised to sign the repeal of parental notification rights (House Bill184) which House Democrats are trying to fast-track through the legislature. Lynch and his legislative allies claim to support parental rights and argue that they only seek to fix perceived problems; however, instead of fixing any problems, they are seeking to scrap the current parental notification law without offering any alternatives or fixes.

The question remains: Who should be responsible for minor children? The parents? The state? Abortion providers? Or should minor children just decide for themselves?

If minor children should decide for themselves, why is it illegal for them to drink when they are under 18? Why can’t 13 year olds get their ears pierced without parental permission? Why do school nurses require parental permission to hand out an aspirin?

Enacted in 2003, though never put into effect, the parental notification law requires a parent to be notified before a child under the ageof 18 can have an abortion — an invasive, surgical procedure.

In February, immediately following the marathon public hearing on House Bill 184, the spokesman for the governor contented the current law fails to protect the health and safety of all women and concluded by confirming that the governor will sign this if the bill reaches his desk.

But this bill isn’t about all women. It is about girls under the age of 18. Girls who already need a parental permission slip to get an aspirin from a school nurse.

Though claiming to support a health exception, the Governor chose to ignore a proposed amendment that would fix the alleged “problems” in the existing law by adding an exception for a “medical emergency.”

The amendment, drafted by a Republican, would define the emergency as any situation in which immediate abortion would be required to prevent “serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of major bodily function.” The language of the amendment has already been upheld in courts around the country, yet the Governor and other Democrat leaders refuse to even consider it.

Democrats and stalwart abortion advocates Terie Norelli, Speaker of the House and Senate President Sylvia Larsen, are working hard to quickly funnel this bill through the system.

While many less-significant bills are referred to sub-committee for further consideration, HB 184 was not. Instead, it was hurriedly scheduled for an executive session with the Judiciary committee where it was voted “Ought to Pass.” No amendment was considered or added.

Democrat leaders have demonstrated that they do not think a bill repealing a parent’s right to know is deserving of careful application of common sensible thought, never mind judicious scrutiny.

Outraged parents throughout the state have begun contacting their legislators and writing letters to the editor. The question is whether the ground swell of disagreement will reach the ears of Lynch who has taken steps to run for a third term. How many voters can he offend and win again?

Tell the Governor that HB 184 is not a Pro Life or Pro Choice issue, that it is a Parental Rights issue.

Tuesday
Feb272007

Higher Taxes Make the Poor Poorer in Meredith

by Dr. Richard Juve

Last evening three Selectmen voted to give us a general tax increase of over six (6) percent. Miller Lovett and Colette Worseman, bless their hearts and my pocket, voted for a $125, 000 reduction in the budget. They were outvoted by the big spenders who gave little consideration to the consequences of their decision.

Now how many of us have received or given ourselves a six percent wage increase. Not many. With global outsourcing we might be happy to just have a job. From what I’ve been led to believe we are experiencing more retirees moving to Meredith. With average annual medical insurance costs increasing at 10-15% a year they will hard pressed to pay their mortgage and taxes. Big tax increases force some seniors to dig into their savings and turn to credit cards to pay their bills. Seniors are struggling in retirement to pay off loans they took out for a child and grandchild’s college education.

Retirement should be a time to enjoy life, not worry about growing debt, and soaring health care costs. People are living longer and seniors subsist on fixed incomes. A high tax increase is an unexpected expense and seniors have no way to boost their incomes. A fat tax increase increases their overall debt load and puts them at risk. The Seniors in Meredith expect and deserve better.

A six percent tax increase does not bode well for Meredith’s senior financial health. It contributes to unmanageable debt, forces seniors to seek bankruptcy-court protection and may nudge some others back into the work force. It raises rents in the town, discouraging young and older people to live elsewhere or move from the State. A booming stock market does not always boost the wealth of seniors on paper because they have their assets in conservative investments, such as certificates of deposits and bonds.

Rising property taxes is crushing to those on fixed incomes. I know couples that must live on social Security payments of $1,800a month. Another couple live on $1,100 a month from pension and Social Security. These constitute limited incomes. Seniors and the very young are vulnerable to inflation and property tax increases. Some are refinancing their homes and cashing out their home equity. Others are taking out home equity loans and borrowing to create an income stream. Rising property taxes poses a serious threat to seniors’ financial well-being.

Unexpected high tax increases are a core problem in our town. In Meredith we are contributing to a financial crisis and a diminishing quality of life. We hear too much bravado from our Chairman of the board about the 23 hours he spent on developing a municipal budget and too little concern for the senior citizen. The key to a good budget is setting budget priorities, stopping unnecessary or wasteful spending and generate greater revenues.

 

My congratulations to Mrs. Worsman and Dr. Lovett for their strong back bone and efforts in safeguarding our tax dollars. I’m optimistic that with another 23 hours of concerted work the Chairman can cut another $100,000 out of the budget. Please do not sacrifice the future of our seniors. After all, the seniors in this robust community are entitled to some tax relief.

Monday
Feb262007

An Open Letter to the Epping School District Superintendent SAU #14

by Tom Sutliffe

Dear Ms. Munsey:

Two weeks have elapsed since I presented your office with our letter of February 12th requesting a date by which to provide you with our opposing content to be included in the 2006 School District Annual Report. We requested to have our viewpoint included, only if the school board has planned to open a forum by only presenting selectively biased information concerning the school warrant articles. As publication of this report is rapidly approaching, if you chose to open such a forum, our viewpoint must be taken into consideration. As you know this publication is paid for with taxpayers’ dollars and as such, should include all consequences good and bad of the article coming before the electorate, not only the “benefits” of the school warrant articles.

We do recognize your right to inform the public with a fair presentation of the facts to aid them in reaching an informed decision on the school warrant articles, but there are constitutional constraints connected to your right to inform the public when using taxpayers’ monies and resources. P resently, in our federal c ase (06-CV-00474-SM) which illustrates very similar concerns, we are relying on our present Constitutional protections.

We presume, as you have chosen not to respond to our request that you have also chosen not to open a forum in the 2006 School District Annual Report, but might prefer to exercise your right to inform the public fairly, without advocating, when using taxpayers’ monies and resources, thus not necessitating our participation.

Please be forewarned however, if you choose to go forward and open a forum utilizing the 2006 School District Annual Report to advocate by promulgating selectively biased information, without our opposing view represented in the same forum, we shall earnestly pursue legal remedies.

Sincerely,

 

Thomas A. Sutliffe, Chairman

 

On behalf of the Epping Residents for Principled Government, Inc.

 

Sunday
Feb252007

FAITH LOST IN THE SCHOOL BOARD DUE TO BIG BUSING CONTRACT

by Dr. Richard G. and Ruth B. Juve

Connoisseurs attend George’s diner. Rabble-rousers do not eat at George’s, and scandals do not occur in Meredith. The supply of political news is unprecedented and spread at the speed of light in my favorite eating house. The diner has old 50's charm. Squeeze in and join me for the gossip.

These are taxing times. The public has an appetite for news. I thought of myself as a peaceful reformer. The Sunshine Law RSA 91-A attempted to keep the public in the know. Our school board is a virtuous one and definitely not involved in facilitation payments. There are no allegations of bribery in connection with the biggest-ever bus contract. No one is piously going about denouncing sleaze and promising to tackle corruption "wherever we find it." No one is challenging the board on conniving behind closed doors or over the internet or the phone to ratify a secret school bus contract that was not competitively bid. Our School Board members are public officials. No one is alleging that they are engaging in doggy business practices. No one wants to harm relations between the School Board and the public.

Still suspicions linger about the motive to avoid competitive bidding and the embarrassing deletion of emails, lack of detailed minutes or failure to publish an agenda or advertisement on the transportation bus contract. When you fail to advertise an agenda item you are engaging in wrongdoing. And when a person knowingly destroys an email or any information with the purpose to prevent it from being inspected or disclosed that person is guilty of a misdemeanor (91-A:9)

The Board may face a tougher reception at the annual District Meeting. The Chairman may attempt to lecture the public on his efforts but Assistant Superintendent Temperino (she costs $101,000), Supt McCormack and the School Board have engaged in a practice that undermines the rule of good business. Their actions have jarred the public’s nerves. They have perpetrated a frivolous act which makes it harder to trust them. For what we pay Temporino and Mc Cormack, we would expect a much higher level of competency in long range planning and thorough contract investigation and negotiating, not simply rolling over like couple of whipped dogs to accept whatever the bus company is pleased to offer the town--if they can't perform to a higher level, the town should consider replacing them or cutting back their lucrative salaries to adjust to their lower level of competency.

If we get less, we should pay less! We want good governance and not controversial and frivolous acts. We ponder and discourage frivolity. The cynics say that it is business as usual. New Englanders and especially good citizens of Meredith are penny-pinching freedom loving people. They tighten their belts so that they can provide a superior education to their children. The wealthy may be able to go along with the secret deals but suspicion has been aroused. Faith has been broken. Doubts have been raised. We wonder if decisions were made above board. We don’t know if financial inducements were explicitly traded in return for an honor.

The public just sees that the contract was a flagrant sale of our faith in the administration. The episode will not go away, and the scrubbing and omissions of the Board minutes, along with deletions of emails only suggest that there is a murky world of board financing and deal making regarding a nearly one million dollar bus contract and an 18 million dollar school budget.

Non-Default Contract

The Superintendent of schools (he costs us $133,000 per year) can not locate the Non-Default Certificate. This certificate must be provided by the British Contractor as a good business practice and is a part of the School Board’s discharge of its fiduciary duties. It is an exercise of due diligence by the Board in checking the vendor’s track record. It is a required part of standard practice in bidding all forms of contracts in both the public and private arenas. It substantiates one portion of the vendor’s qualifications to meet the standards necessary to be awarded a contract for the safe transportation of school district’s children.

Furthermore it substantiates whether or not other school districts have been satisfied with the vendor’s performance. Finally, if the vendor is unable to certify its non-default, the school district t can investigate reasons for the vendor’s inability to provide it. It is one element of disclosure by the vendor. This non-default statement is national in nature and not just for the state of NH. At the last School Board meeting, Ms Temperano, said she would have it. The Superintendent cannot locate it. Certainly our high priced administrators can do better than this.

Tuesday
Feb202007

A CONFUSED CONGRESSWOMAN

By Ed Mosca

In her remarks during the recent U.S. House debate on a non-binding resolution against President Bush’s plan to send reinforcements to Iraq, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter drew a sharp contrast between Afghanistan and Iraq: “Our nation was attacked by evil people who trained in Afghanistan. We have a right to go into Afghanistan to remove the terrorist training camps. As a matter of fact, we should be working even harder there to make sure our Afghanistan mission does not fail. We must not allow the Taliban and other terrorist groups to control Afghanistan again.”

I am glad that Shea-Porter believes that we must prevent terrorists from using Afghanistan as a base to attack America. It is troubling that the Congresswoman doesn’t seem to understand that the terrorists are also in Iraq and that it is even more vital to prevent terrorists from using Iraq as a base.

Iraq is located in the strategically vital Middle East, a region much more important to our national interests, and Iraq is rich with oil that could be used to finance terrorism against America. If it is in our national interest to have a terrorist-free Afghanistan, as Shea-Porter contends, then it is at least as much in our national interest to have a terrorist-free Iraq. The Congresswoman, however, doesn’t seem to even be aware that Al Qaeda is in Iraq. Her remarks lay the blame for all of the death, destruction and violence that have occurred in Iraq on America.

The most famous aspect of Shea Porter’s remarks has been her reference to Davy Crockett: “What is this talk I have heard tonight about freedom and liberty? This talk of glory that I heard on the floor. This romanticized language, this talk about Davy Crockett. There is no Davy Crockett in Iraq. Our troops need clear-eyed leaders, not this romantic rabble that we have been hearing.”

I’m all for clear-eyed leadership, but a non-binding resolution is hardly that. Congress’ constitutional role is not to provide commentary on the President’s effectuation of the war. If Shea-Porter and her Democrat Party believe their own words, then they are obligated to end the funding.

And as for Davy Crockett, I get the sneaking suspicion that Shea-Porter’s sympathies would have been with Santa-Anna.