To The Daily Sun,
This letter is in response to Warren Hutchins comments in the July 22 Daily Sun about the former St Helena Mission Church in the Weirs Beach Community.
Warren Hutchins claims the neighbors would not have a problem with housing on the property but when we look at his record and that of the Laconia Planning Board, they have a problem with 90 percent of the stuff that goes before them. Just ask some of the car dealerships in town how user friendly they are. And I can list 10 more besides. For example: When PEM constructed the apartments on Washington Street we went to the Planning Board with all the plans and info that met every regulation and requirement necessary to get approval that night but did not get it. Instead, the members of the board made changes to the plans because of personal opinions, not regulations. I spent a total of $2,000 on coping fees (so much for our recycling program) to get this thing approved. I had a project quote of $3,000 to $3,200 from my engineer but I spent $7,200 because of all the changes they made me do to get approvals. My guy who did the engineering told me he works all over the state and the City of Laconia made him jump through more hoops to gets this done than he had seen in years. They made Concord and Manchester look easy and those two cities, he said, are two of the toughest towns to get anything approved.
The reason why Hutchins wants me to building housing on the Weirs site is because then the Planning Board, which he is the chairman of, will have control over what happens at the property, while the Zoning Board has none.
This Monday night the City Counsel votes on whether Hutchins should continue as the chairman of the Planning Board and they need to ALL VOTE NO if this city he going to move forward. We are going down a slippery slope when we have people on these boards who want to tell us how often to mow a lawn.
The funny part about wanting to store a few motorcycles or waverunners inside the former church is that if I build the 20 residential units there, the residents can all use the church building for storage or a community hall, with all of them going in and out, with noise and or a community party — what ever they want. And the neighbors have no say because that's okay.
I try to understand what concerns they have about one company renting the building for storage. You cannot see in the windows, whether the building is empty or full.
So Mr. Hutchins, unless you plan on writing me a check to buy the building, you can have all the opinions you want but for now I am going to take this as far as I need to to get it done. Get your check book out and let's battle because you have pushed me all you are going to. There is not one of my projects in the city that is not better after I bought it — whether it is the Mechanic Street or Washington Street apartments, the single family homes (five of them) or the Party Store on Court Street, for which we have received the Golden Hammer Award just recently.
I took a business with four employees 29 years ago to more than 80 now. My businesses have done a lot for the city, whether that is a donation to LRGH or a clean-up project of the bypass from Belmont all the way to Sawyer's Dairy Bar for the last three years or more than $15,000 donated to the Children's Auction over the years.
So we will see if you're just a big mouth or your going to put your money where your mouth is.
So please people come to the Zoning Board meeting in August for the show because I will be going to that meeting ready to battle. I hope the neighbors from the Pendleton Beach Association like big orange snow fences because we're going to keep all the people and illegal parking out.
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 July 2015 09:19
Disparate impact. It's a legal doctrine that may be coming soon to your suburb (if you're part of the national majority living in suburbs).
Bringing it there will be the Obama Department of Housing and Urban Development's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing program. It has been given a green light to impose the rule from Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion in the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project.
The decision purports to interpret the Fair Housing Act of 1968 as authorizing lawsuits if municipal policies have a "disparate impact" as measured by the racial percentages of those affected — this despite the fact that the words of the Fair Housing Act prohibit only intentional racial discrimination.
HUD's 377-page Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule requires municipal governments to "perform an assessment of land use decisions and zoning to evaluate their possible impact on fair housing choice." An accompanying document says that this includes "land use and zoning laws, such as minimum lot sizes, limits on multi-unit properties, height limits, or bedroom-number limits as well as requirements for special use permits (and) occupancy regulations" that might be "factors contributing to segregated housing patterns."
Note the use of the word "segregated." Historically, segregation was the total exclusion of blacks enforced by state and local law, by deliberate individual or corporate action or by threat of force and violence. Back in the 1960s, when the Fair Housing Act was passed, housing really was effectively segregated in large parts of the country.
If you looked through the 1960 Census of large suburban counties block by block, as I did, you would find the numbers of blacks to be something like: 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 0, 3, 1, 0, 0, 0. In Northern cities where large numbers of blacks migrated in the years from 1940 to 1965, you could find whole square miles that switched from 100 percent white to over 90 percent black within a single year.
That's not how America works today. In every large metropolitan area with a significant black population, you won't find a single census tract with 0 black residents. Blacks sometimes encounter resistance when trying to buy or rent a house that they can afford, which is unjust and infuriating, and a problem for which the Fair Housing Act provides remedies.
But, of course, that has not created an America in which every community has the same percentage as the national average of blacks and whites, Hispanics and Asians, marrieds and singles, gays and straights, Protestants and Catholics and Jews and Muslims. Free choice never shakes out that way. Throughout history, Americans and immigrants have tended to choose to cluster with likeminded people.
In addition, in a free market economy, those with more money inevitably have a wider choice of where to live than those with less. And they too tend to cluster (look up "locations" on luxury store websites to see where). Free choice inevitably produces disparate impact.
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing is intended to shake this up. HUD Secretary Julian Castro, mentioned as a vice presidential candidate despite having previously been just a part-time municipal mayor, wants to use the disparate impact doctrine to overturn local zoning laws and place low-income housing in suburbs across the nation. Such social engineering is likely to be widely unpopular.
How did disparate impact come into the law? In a 1971 Supreme Court case, Griggs v. Duke Power Co., the court, acting when memory was still fresh of Southern resistance to desegregation, ruled that the company's aptitude test amounted to discrimination because whites passed at higher rates than blacks. But that's true of most aptitude tests — which as a result aren't used much in hiring any more.
An approach more appropriate for a society where there is no significant forcible resistance to desegregation was advanced by Justice Clarence Thomas in his dissent. "We should not automatically presume that any institution with a neutral practice that happens to produce a racial disparity is guilty of discrimination until proven innocent," he wrote. "The absence of racial disparities in multi-ethnic societies has been the exception, not the rule."
Disparate impact jurisprudence has not been politically challenged: corporate defendants don't want to be attacked as racists. Perhaps disparate impact policymaking will be challenged if HUD starts installing low-income housing in suburbs across the land.
(Syndicated columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00
To The Daily Sun,
On Monday, July 20, Sen. Kelly Ayotte put on a telephone Town Hall meeting. I listened to about as much of it as I could stomach. The senator has some very strong records on the issues involving veterans' affairs. But even in that as she asserts being a strong advocate for the veterans, the recent VA scandal has occurred on her watch, albeit not with her party owning the White House.
Republican Party neocons such as John McCain, however, do definitely own a lot of the VA scandal for refusing to recognize and fund their current "Mission Accomplished!" legacy costs from 10-11 years ago.
Most of us remember Sen. Bob Smith having a very strong record on the environment. With Kelly we are not too sure, but can see where she is very willing to empathize with the NIMBYs opposing improved environmental initiative issues and still follow the ideology of Keystone XL which will "NbeIMBY," while U.S. crude over-capacities continue to build, smaller oil companies are failing along with their debt, and WTI drops once again below $50. The U.S. gluts of domestic crude production are also pressuring the banking, real estate, and steel industries of the U.S. oil-producing regions.
The U.S. is already facing a decline in jobs in the oil and gas and ancillary industries and the senator is still gung-ho for Keystone XL ideology. To her credit Kelly has supported the DOT funding, U.S. land and water conservation funding and low-income fuel assistance, all of which help the Granite State.
On a few other issues Kelly has clearly gone rogue. One caller to the audio Town Hall meeting asked specifically about "controlling the U.S. borders." Kelly quickly deflected that question and went on to speak to the last immigration bill she supported and was passed by Congress that has failed abysmally in controlling the U.S. borders. She used words like "undocumented", and "pathway" in response to explaining her support for serial amnesty for illegal immigrants, or more correctly, criminal aliens, while getting as far away from the pointed question as possible. She did not want to answer that question about securing the border.
Another question came in on the New Hampshire heroin epidemic. In her responses as to how much money she would push into New Hampshire for amelioration of that, she made not one remark about gaining control of the borders to dramatically curtail the supplies of heroin flooding into the country. Kelly just does not get "securing the border ... first." Instead, she has sold out on the issue to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
A NIMBY from the Monadnock region called in asking about her efforts to stop the Kinder-Morgan pipeline. She had some long responses as to how she was laying down barriers of red tape and writing letters to the Inspector General at FERC to ensure there will be "adequate hearings" on the views of the public, and how the project could possibly be stonewalled by questioning the process of its approval and quality of its state-of-the-art construction materials, safety systems, and metering and flow technologies to be employed in its construction. Kelly sounded very much like the pontificating anti-business governor in Concord rather than a pro-business pro economic development advocate for the majority of the Granite State which will be increasingly sourcing the natural gas from this resource connected to U.S. domestic gas production from Ohio.
For more than 20 years and from the time before Energy North was first bought out, New Hampshire has relied on natural gas supplies either imported as LNG, and more dominantly in times of normal demand, on the offshore gas fields of Sable Island, Canada. The Kinder Morgan pipeline will deliver gas to the Beverly, Mass., hub where Energy North/Liberty Utilities sources their supplies to service the Merrimack Valley gas supply main reaching all the way into the Lakes Region. Because of the age and depletion of the Sable Island gas fields, and prohibitive cost of further offshore drilling in the proven lesser places of gas around Sable Island vs. near all-time low adjusted for inflation natural gas prices, Atlantic Canada is running short of natural gas. So, a great deal of this Kinder Morgan Gas will be shipped to Canada via the SEMPRA pipline that brings that gas "down" from Canada now, when it has its flow reversed.
Make no mistake about it. A lot of that gas coming from our own domestic U.S. jobs-creating Marcellus and Utica gas fields is going to be servicing business and the too few retail consumers in New Hampshire that have natural gas service. Maybe more than 50 percent of it will be exported to Atlantic Canada as well, but only because the New Hampshire supplies of natural gas from there are running out. Kinder Morgan is an environmental improvement over the very pernicious green house intensive Canadian Oilsands productions planned for shipment via Keystone XL that are to be exported as crude from U.S. Gulf ports with no value added U.S. jobs in refineries that will not be built in the U.S. to avoid high U.S. value-added labor costs.
Clearly Sen. Ayotte has left the rails of fiscal conservatism when she continues to rail against the "wasteful" spending when she was in the last campaign talking about more than a 0.75 percent cut in the U.S. $4 trillion annual budgets. Eliminating 100 percent of that "wasteful" spending of $30 billion still leaves the actual real spending and that spending problem intact. But the senator from a sugar-producing state has a different version of what constitutes "wasteful" spending vs. what a senator from a state like Virginia thinks about "waste" in defense spending.
Kelly is running for re-election it is supposed, unopposed in the Republican Primary. I guess she can just go rogue on the issues New Hampshire Republicans really care about. Unfortunately the senator seems more intent on pandering to special interests and the voters for more spending free lunch to continue to build her political ambitions for a vice presidential nod than to continue working hard on the issues that the conservative voters of New Hampshire sent her to Congress to accomplish five years ago.
She is promoting more spending, more emergency appropriations, as that which "preserves retirement programs and does not raise taxes.", as an "opportunity" "to balance the budget in 10 years...."
Who in Congress is not against enhanced revenues to pay for a single emergency shadow banking, spending resolution appropriation? There is no chance we are going to see her advocate for real actual spending increases to be limited to 50 percent of the percentage growth in the U.S. GDP to allow the Laffer curve to eventually work. Ten years. Isn't that a little after the Vice President Ayotte announces for the presidency? The time when the national debt is approaching $35 trillion? Sen. John E. Sununu was being groomed for an eventual presidential bid but something Greenspan, Bernanke, and his party leaders did to him side-tracked those best-laid schemes.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 10:10
To The Daily Sun,
What is it going to take for this country to wake up? It seems the door is open to the criminal illegals to come to sanctuary cities and kill innocent Americans. This is a sad mistake. This is only one of many of Obama changes in our country.
Anne Coulter was right when she wrote her book, "Adios America." Since Obama has taken over we have gone down hill. Meanwhile, our veterans are homeless. What is wrong with this picture?
Then you have the Muslims. I wrote to The Laconia Sun 10 years ago, predicting this was going to happen. Why are we bowing down to them? They do not believe in God. They are Obama's people. I have never seen or heard a good Muslim come forward and say we are not like those other Muslims. Where are they? Why are so many here in our country if they do not believe our way of life? The world is going to hell in a hand basket with all the garbage that is going on.
Let's pray to God to heal our nation and take our country back. Only buy made-in-America products. They are out there if you look for it. Maybe under a no-known brand. But, they are out there. You just might save someone's job. We need to bring all the jobs back to America that are making the other countries rich while we go down. Does that not make sense?
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 10:05
To The Daily Sun,
I am proud to call Laconia my home. This is the place I want to be and where many of the people I love and respect live. I am saddened by the horrific toll substance misuse and addiction is taking on our community and will take on future generations.
I am encouraged by the work being done by Stand Up Laconia to make improvements in our community toward creating a vibrant and healthy future for our city and citizens.
As an obstetrical registered nurse for many years I saw an ever-increasing number of infants going into withdrawal following birth due to their mother's issues with addiction. This is a problem that has impacts far beyond the immediate issue of treating the withdrawing infant. Fetal exposure to teratogens, in this case, drugs and alcohol, cause changes in brain structure and function that can impact the exposed individual's entire life. These changes can lead to learning deficits, emotional difficulties, and inability to think critically and to make good and reasonable decisions, among other issues.
The cost of prenatal substance exposure isn't just to the individual who did nothing to cause it and can do nothing to avoid it, or to the parent/s. The costs impact all of us. We pay with increased dollars going to special education, with increased health care costs, as well as the costs of law enforcement, incarceration, and mental health services.
Addiction is a brain disease and as such must be treated, not shamed, hidden, and scorned. Those that prey upon the individuals suffering this disease are the ones that should be shamed, scorned, and shunned.
Stand Up Laconia believes that we can, as a community, turn the tide of local substance misuse by coming together, collaborating with other individuals and groups, thinking and acting creatively to create a strong and vibrant society that benefits everyone. We are a committed group of individuals from varied backgrounds, interests and ages that are working toward making Laconia the city that every citizen is proud to say, "Laconia is my home."
If you believe that Laconia is a great place to live, is the place you call home, and is worth the effort to make even better, then please join us as we move forward. We meet at Memorial Middle School on the fourth Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m.
For more information please see our website: http://www.standuplaconia.com/
Ruth R. O'Hara, RN
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 10:02