To The Daily Sun,
Imagine a world where the decisions that affect a community are made by the residents of that community. A place where true democracy exists and the people can vote up or down on an issue that affects their health, safety, property and the environment of their community. It's hard to imagine such a world since any American alive today has never experienced such a thing. Decisions have always been made in this country from the top down, while the people who live in those communities are at the bottom of the decision-making totem pole.
It has a lot to do with innate human hierarchical thinking, which means we, like most other living creatures, naturally defer to a higher authority, even if we complain and occasionally lash out at that oppression. That's why we repeatedly vote to elect politicians. We expect our elected officials to know best and do the moral and ethical things that will protect us and our environment even though we're disappointed over and over again.
There is also the "Normalcy Bias", which is a fantasy world we live in which says the way things are today will be the way they will always be. In other words, why fight city hall — this is the way it works.
This is why unpopular projects such as fracking, gas pipelines, Northern Pass, and inefficient wind turbine ventures get approved and imposed upon unwilling communities. It's because the people simply don't fight back in a productive manner. We fight each project as a single issue and we end up settling for mitigation of damage to the people and the environment. Outright victory is rare, and this leaves us frustrated and disillusioned. The only way for people to take back control of this country is to fight for a systemic change to the process.
Voters in several communities across New Hampshire have decided to fight for this systemic change. In 2006 Barnstead became the very first municipality in the nation to prohibit corporations from privatizing its water. Through an overwhelming Town Meeting vote, they adopted an ordinance banning corporations from massive water extraction projects. This ordinance, known as The Barnstead Water Rights & Local Self-Government Ordinance, is based on constitutional rights, not regulatory law. Why did they do this? Because they saw their neighbors in Nottingham trying to fight a permit the state Department of "Environmental Services" issued to USA Springs, allowing them to extract up to 300,000 gallons of water per day from a local aquifer to bottle and sell. Being a rural farming community, they understood immediately the threat on their lives and the impact that could have. In 2008 Nottingham passed its own Community Bill of Rights Ordinance and has since won their battle against USA Springs. (The permit expired and the company filed for bankruptcy.)
Folks further north in Sugar Hill, Easton and Plymouth have passed similar ordinances that puts their constitutional rights above the "alleged rights" of Eversource (formerly PSNH) and Hydro-Quebec to use them as a resource colony so they can profit from the Northern Pass project. Four towns in the Mt. Cardigan/Newfound Lake region have also adopted ordinances providing a "Right to a Sustainable Energy Future and Community Self-Government" to protect the pristine ridgelines and waters from the subterfuge that is industrial wind projects.
Today the New Hampshire Community Rights Network is looking for sponsors to introduce a bill for a constitutional amendment that would solidify those communities' right to protect their health, safety and welfare. There will soon be a letter addressed to your town select board asking them to place a resolution on the next warrant in support of this amendment as well. We encourage everyone to support this resolution.
Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. To learn how to make real change, go to nhcommunityrights.org.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 August 2015 10:06
To the Daily Sun,
Let's talk budget. The top Republican lawmakers have certainly recognized that the state workers backed up by the state workers' union are the backbone of their re-election bid. The Senate president, House speaker and Senate majority leader have decided to put the $12 million state employee pay raise back into the budget as a compromise to the governor's budget veto. The state workers' union must have caught wind that the "Teflon" Dept. of Fish and Game worked out their own deal with the Senate Finance for the $1.2 million for their own employees pay raises. It is quite obvious that the state taxpayers are working for the state employees.
Our lawmakers have recognized, and have known all along the fact that if they are going to retain their seats in Concord, who is "buttering the bread". Let's use an estimated 20,000 state employees as an example. Twenty-thousand votes, added to their spouse or significant other, equals 40,000 votes. Then add children (two) and you get 80,000 votes. Then add one parent and you're up to 100,000 votes and at least one friend equals 120,000 votes.
Would you say that 120,000 votes could sway who gets elected or not? So much for this conservative majority working for their other taxpayer constituents.
A lot of people in this country think it's big money PACs which determine which elected officials get elected, when in reality it's the elected officials spending our taxpayer money on the government, state and local employees pay and benefits that determines who get elected and who keep their seats. Think about it.
How many 2016 votes were at jeopardy if this 2 percent pay raise was left out of the budget? This must have been a real hard decision for the conservatives to make.
Eric T. Rottenecker
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 August 2015 09:51
To The Daily Sun,
Why raise the minimum wage? Conservatives argue that when we raise the price of a commodity, less of it will be purchased — supply and demand — and jobs will be lost. Economists are conflicted about whether that's true and how large that effect might be, if it is true. An employer might not cut any jobs if, for example, it is already at a minimum staffing level. Many liberals simply argue that it's the right thing to do. However, maybe that shouldn't be the end of the analysis.
Twenty-five years ago, the majority of those earning the minimum wage were teenagers and others supplementing family income. Today, the story is different. According to Ben Casselman, of the website fivethrityeight.com which does such a good job predicting political races and analyzing sports by the numbers, about half of those earning less than President Obama's proposed minimum of $10.10 are struggling to support themselves and their families.
That number has doubled since 1990. Some conservatives suggest that these people have character flaws that lead to their poor financial condition. But that's a large number of people, and they are working. Despite their efforts, they are poor. Living in poverty is not good for children. For example, a report out of Princeton University suggested a strong correlation between low income and low measures of children's health, intelligence, and academic success regardless of parental characteristics.
Maybe we should ask ourselves if raising the minimum wage is a good thing for our society. How many jobs will be lost? Will it hurt small business owners? How much will those struggling low wage workers benefit? Will their children benefit in the long run. Will we pay less for supplemental educational services and crime control? Is this a way to stimulate demand since that money will most likely be spent not saved and help keep the economy growing?
Some have suggested that raising the minimum wage isn't the best way to attack the problem of poverty among the working poor but we also have to do the political calculus. If we decide it's a good idea to help them, what will pass? Raising the minimum wage might be the most politically viable option. While we are thinking about that, let's not have an emotional or superficial debate about raising the minimum wage. Let's look at what is good for society now and in the long run.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 August 2015 09:45
To The Daily Sun,
Many thanks to the nice couple who paid for our breakfast at Nothin' Fancy on Sunday morning. A pleasant outing by three senior ladies was made really special by your random act of kindness. We will pass it along in the near future. Thanks again.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 August 2015 09:38
To The Daily Sun,
A letter was printed in the Saturday, Aug. 15, paper by a gentleman who claimed to correct many errors/reasons about the long-planned ground invasion of Japan before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While Japan was indeed a defeated nation and was no longer a threat in the Pacific, the gentleman appears to have no direct contact with the thousands of troops on the Pacific islands or on ships headed for the ground invasion in Japan.
Even though the nation was defeated, the Japanese people were adamant about fighting to the last person, dead by battle or suicide.
The quarter million, plus or minus thousands, of Japanese killed by the A-bombs saved 2 million or more Allied and Japanese lives that otherwise would have been lost. These are the facts I have learned as a result of serving in the armed forces and living in the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton. The bombings were what we realize were necessary evils to end World War II and save millions of lives.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 August 2015 10:14