Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Wednesday
May162012

Guest Response To Mead Mileage Scandal

Following the posting of my story on MileageGate/Mead/Moore/Bettencourt/Jasper/O'Brien, I received this response. 
The Concord Monitor deserves great credit for breaking this story. 
The Attorney General needs to be called in to investigate this, espcecially in lieu of Majority Leader Bettencourt's comments in today's paper that rumors are rife but he will refuse to answer any.  Such obfuscation seems to bolster the need for the A.G. to be brought in.  As I understand the law, the
A.G. can get answers under penalty of perjury.  To have confidence in our government and the budget, we need answers on this scandal.
 
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Salt, and more salt

To all,

    Wow...  I feel cheated.  To think we gave up our mileage last summer in the name of fiscal austerity.  And now this...

    I work three jobs to be able to come here and do what we do.  Last summer really hurt me.  Every lost day at my jobs last summer cost the same as my yearly legislator's stipend.  Each day!  And to this we stopped our mileage, hurting those from the far corners of the state than those living near Concord. The lost mileage, small compared to lost wages, hurt still.  Like salt rubbed in a wound.

   And now this news.  More salt.

   Couldn't they use their cell phones and computers for this recruitment?  Or network with local party people over this?  This really burns me.

Hon. Steven W Lindsey
state rep
Keene, NH
Tuesday
May152012

Moore--Not Bob Mead--Should Be Fired Over MileageGate

Update--Word around the State House today is that Republican staffer Bob Mead has either been fired or allowed to leave as a result of the kerfuffle of him being paid with taxpayer dollars for traveling around the state to recruite GOP House candidates.  As you will note in this piece, I believe a fish rots from the head down, and it should be Chief of Staff Greg Moore, not only Mead, who is given the heave ho!  Imagine the outrage Republicans would be expressing if Democrats had been caught with their hand in the cookie jar like this.  As an equal opportunity outrager, I say, IT'S TIME TO FIRE MOORE.

 

 A tried and true method of police investigations, both in real life and on true crime dramas, is to separate the suspects, to interview them in separate rooms so they cannot get their stories synchronized.

As in crime drama, so in politics as well.  Concord Monitor reporters proved that this past week with their expose of Mileagegate for House Republican staffer (and former Chief of Staff) Bob Mead.

Talk about being caught with your pants down!  Majority leader D.J. Bettencourt's Deputy Shawn Jasper apparently didn't even know Mead was working for him!

Certainly if Republican leaders had been in the same room at the same time, they could have handled damage control, but they totally failed in this episode.

There is no excuse for paying Bob Mead, or any functionary from either party, out of taxpayer funds for doing partisan work.

That should go without saying, no questions asked, no room for spin.

The amount of money involved is so small that one can only shake one's head in wonderment about just how stupid these Republican leaders can be.

Another black eye for the party of O'Brien, for sure.

And for what reason?  Certainly party coffers could have provided the money had Mead needed it that desperately.

The black eye is hardly worth the amount to be gained.

Talk about a risk-reward comparison, this is absurd.

I suppose Mead should not be blamed for trying to shake a few quid free from taxpayer coffers.  The real culprit is new Chief of Staff Greg Moore who approved this outrageous travel expense. 

GREG MOORE SHOULD BE FIRED IMMEDIATELY.

 What irony that a Speaker who wants to impose fiscal restraint on state spending.

What hypocrisy!

What gall!

What chutzpah!

This is a classic case of "do as I say, not as I do."

Everybody should trim spending except Bill O'Brien's hacks.

No, you just can't make this stuff up!

Here are five pieces of advice:

1)  Give the money back, Mr. Mead.

2)  Fire Greg Moore, Mr. Speaker.  That's the only thing that will save your honor and the honor of the institution you have trod upon.  Actually, the position should not even be filled once the House adjourns in June; we can save $50,000 or so by making the position shut down when the House does!

3)  Be quiet Mike Ball (Manchester City Republican Chair and Ward 2 Rep)--Your excuse in the Monitor that Democrat candidates would have been equally as welcome in the Meadian quest is laughable, pure and simple.  If Mead is paid to recruit for the GOP, wouldn't it be fair to pay Democratic staffers to do the same for that party?  Of course not.  Let's put a stop to abuse (there is no evidence that Democrats have ever considered such a tactic).

4)  Why the silence, Union Leader?  Don't let left wing media like the Monitor monopolize coverage of a right wing scandal.  For their own honor (if nothing else), other papers need to inform their readers of this outrage!  No comment would have been a better Ballian response.  One looks stupid when one tries to defend the indefensible, an all to common occurence around the O'Brien House these days.

5)  It could be even worse than a political black eye.  If taxpayer money has been improperly used, does it constitute theft?  And should criminal charges not be filed, Mr. Attorney General?

As I had previously reported here, Mead, while on the taxpayer dollar, was soliciting Republicans to run for office.  His time is probably costing tax payers more than the mileage money, so it's more than ironic that it took Moore's approval of unwarranted travel expenditures to bring this to public attention.

Keep in mind that this is the same Greg Moore who replaced Mead as Chief of Staff late in 2011; apparently a demotion for Mead who was sent over to the Republican office (D. J. Bettencourt’s staff) at the same time one of the most honest and hard working people at the State House (Jim Rivers) was sent packing.  In other words, O’Brien and Company conspired to get a political hack in a paid position where party work could be done at taxpayer expense.

There is something rotten in more than Denmark these days!

Now we’ll see if O’Brien has leaned the Nixonian lesson—it’s not the wrongdoing—it’s the cover-up that will destroy you!

Monday
May142012

Where Do Nice Guys Finish In Politics?

Front Cover
             For my reading material, I’ve dubbed this “The Summer of Baseball”, but that doesn’t mean that political implications are not rampant….or rephrased without the double negative…political implications are in fact very much rampant as I read dozens of baseball books which I somehow managed to miss in my first 60 years on the planet.

            I began with “The Last Boy”, the new biography of Mickey Mantle, a story of sin and redemption and living with pain as much as it is about baseball.  I quickly go to Jim Boutin’s classic “Ball Four” which I never read back in the late 60s.  My only reaction today is--what was all the fuss about?  Boutin was ostracized for this?  It’s pretty tame stuff, an indication of just how much our society has changed in 40 years.

            This weekend I delved into the past again and thoroughly enjoyed Leo Durocher’s (de-ro-shay for Francophiles) lengthy autobiography written in 1975, “Nice Guys Finish Last”.

            How could I have missed such a treasure trove of books all my life?

            The Durocher book is fantastic, and again not just the baseballs sections.  Turn to any page, and you’re likely to learn a lesson about life.

            The thing I remember most about Leo The Lip—silly me—was a guest appearance on The Munsters when he tried to get Herman to pitch for whatever team he was managing at the time.

            It was probably the Dodgers because as I recall, The Munsters was in the early 60s, and by that time, Leo had left the Brooklyn Dodgers (1941 pennant) and New York Giants (1951 pennant, 1954 World Series) and was coaching for Walter Alston’s LA Dodgers (Leo would go on to manage the Cubs, including 1969 when they caved and the Mets won it all, and Houston).

            What a life!

            What a book!

            As I taped my TV show this afternoon, the thought came to me that baseball (and sports in general) is the ultimate anti-liberal pursuit, a great exercise in social Darwinism which I have long endorsed.  We judge people purely on their abilities; we don’t try to pamper the less able and make everybody equal.

            In our democracy, all men are created with equal opportunities, but if you think we’re all equal in abilities, just think how good you would have been at connecting with a Bob Feller fastball.  Probably not very good—not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Is there?  In baseball, there sure is!

             Durocher acknowledged his uncanny ability to take a troublesome situation and make it far more troublesome.  In fact, he made a career and a life out of it.

            Does that remind you of anyone on the political scene today, other than me perhaps?

            The summer of baseball is going to be a great summer.

            For another take on Durocher’s suspension for the 1947 season, thanks to former Kentucky Senator and hack Commissioner Happy Chandler, Red Barber’s “1947—When All Hell Broke Loose In Baseball” is equally outstanding.  It was not only the year Chandler banned Leo, but the year Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier...not to mention perhaps the greatest World Series ever...the Al Gionfrido catch (which I've often listened to Mel Barber call on an old LP...no, I'm not that old to remember it...maybe you do?).             

            Both Durocher and Barber write with a conversational style that really draws you in.  At least, they drew me in, maybe even more than The Munsters.  I seem to also remember Leo trying to recruit Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies.  Or is my mind playing tricks on me in my old age?

1947: When All Hell Broke Loose In Baseball (Da Capo Paperback)
 
Friday
May112012

The Reading Room--Mitch Rapp Returns

Kill Shot (Mitch Rapp)

 

The Reading Room, in which we review books, is a semi-regular feature of this blog and on “The Liberty Express” which airs on MancheterTV23 Mondays at 10 p.m., Thursdays at 9 p.m., and Sundays at 9 a.m. and noon (always available at vimeo.com/channels/libertyx).  Fear not, while we haven’t been in the reading room for a while here, it’s not because I haven’t been reading.  In fact, I’ve declared this to be “The Summer of Baseball” and I’ve devoured more than a dozen wonderful books on the national pasttime (including looks at specific years from 1908 to 1975' 1967 of course!).  We’ll get to them later rather than sooner (maybe all at one) but today; it’s time for some escapist fiction at its finest.

             Vince Flynn, friend of Glen Beck (not that there’s anything wrong with that), is probably never going to win a Pulitzer Prize for literature, but I discovered him long before Glen Beck ever did, and I’ve enjoyed all 13 of his action-packed thrillers featuring CIA tough guy and anti-terrorism expert Mitch Rapp.

            Flynn seems to knock a new book out every nine months or so, and this latest is much better than recent entries, among his finest efforts ever.

            “Kill Shot” is probably best described as a sequel to a prequel.  Allow me to explain.  Flynn introduced Mitch Rapp several years ago ("Term, Limits" as I recall), but in his last book, Flynn took us back to the very beginning of Rapp’s career, thus a prequel.  “Kill Shot” is a great follow-up to that book which I considered the weakest in the series.

            To say that Flynn’s characters are either pure evil or pure good, with very little shading of gray, might fail to do him justice.  There’s always pure evil without a doubt; what else would you call terrorists who are out to kill thousands of innocent people?  However, none of Flynn’s characters—not even the good guys like super killing machine Mitch Rapp--are totally without flaws.  And this time, the bad guy (Victor) is not a terrorist at all but one of ours, an intriguing twist.

            Midway through this book, I realized that it was so good precisely because even the good guys were often conflicted.  This book is better than recent ones because he focuses more on the good guys than on the terrorists.  Of course, some of the supposed good guys turn out to be really, really bad guys.

            Flynn is at his best when he mixes macho action with political intrigue.  There’s plenty of that in this book, and unlike some of his recent books in which we journey to some of the world’s true hell holes, we spend much of this book in the City of Lights.  Mais oui, Paris.

            The plot is convoluted, but it comes together nicely about three-quarters of the way through the book (386 pages).  Although we’re left to wonder whatever becomes of the Secretary of State (good or bad?), all the other threads come together nicely.

            There’s even the pre-requisite love scene (not overly graphic) between Rapp and a Swiss Miss who is essential to the plot as she is to the sexual undertones.

            It’s that kind of book, no Pulitzer Prize for sure, but truth be told, I never miss a Vince Flynn book.  Sadly like other confections, they don’t last long.

            Don’t think you need to go back and read the other dozen books first; this stands up just fine on its own.

            Author Flynn, I believe I heard, was ill; hopefully he’s better because I can hardly wait nine more months to see Rapp in action again.  Undoubtedly, the Secretary of State will resurface.

            Here’s a rather typical paragraph from the book (page 360--Stansfield in the CIA director of operations).

            “Stansfield turned his eyes back to Rapp and Greta.  It was not lost on him that Greta had reached out and was holding Rapp’s arm.  They were a couple.  More than that, they were in love.  One of his best friends, one of the most powerful, civilized men he knew, was going to have to be told that his precious granddaughter was dating one of the most dangerous men on the planet.  A man Stansfield had helped create.  A man Stansfield had brought into the Ohlmeyer home.  The news was not going to be well received.”

            Good stuff; get well Vince Flynn.

            Mitch Rapp needs you.

Friday
May112012

Hillsborough County Budget Trimming Begins

            As the Hillsborough County budget hearings got underway today with a review of the corrections’ department request, news from County Commissioners was good on two fronts.

            Since last week’s public hearing, Commissioners have restored $55,000 for Meals on Wheels (it was $64,350 last year), and even with that, rather than ask for a two percent increase in property taxes, Commissioners have cut it back to one percent ($441,094), up from $44,109,421 to $44,550,515.

            The proposed budget still uses $4,898,710 from the county surplus, about twice the amount legislators earlier recommended.

            However, there were some indications that further savings could come in the form of new contracts which will hopefully be presented to the executive committee later in the month.

            Only $125,000 was cut from the nearly $15 million corrections budget ($100,000 in the overtime line and $25,000 in gas heating; both motions were mine and passed 7-2 and 8-1 with Manchester Democrat Pat Garrity in opposition both times; he actually wanted to increase the salary line!).

            When department hearings continue next week (the Sheriff's Department Monday at 9 a.m. in Goffstown), expect further cuts to be made from an already pared back request from commissioners.

            Significant increases could also be in the offing on the revenue side.  Corrections Superintendent David Dionne expressed confidence in an ability to take in up to 50 female prisoners from outside the county, at a rate of $57.50 a day (approx. $21,000 per year).

            Any city or town officials planning their budgets can be relatively confident that the county budget will come in with no increase in property tax assessment, knock wood.