To The Daily Sun,
I recently read state Sen. Forrester's newsletter about the upcoming budget cycle. Certainly the last budget was a great improvement over the one before that. Sen. Forrester rightly touts its support for higher education, for example. (Yet she must realize constituents do remember her party was in power when all the cuts were made!) The bi-partisan budget corrected some of the worst effects of the prior one and it will likely close in balance. That is all good.
This spring the Legislature must create a new budget to meet the needs of New Hampshire's citizens and businesses. Sen. Forrester, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, has a big role to play. Over the past 14 years our population has grown by 7 percent while revenues have decreased 5 percent.
But New Hampshire's needs have not decreased. Over a third of our roads are in poor condition, as are our bridges. Waits are longer than ever in the courts and state offices. More and more state costs have been transferred to the town or county level, increasing our property taxes tremendously. The future requires investing now!
Sen. Forrester disagreed with my concern expressed at the Meredith forum last fall that New Hampshire has a structural deficit, that there's not enough revenue to meet New Hampshire's needs. She says no, we have a spending problem. Lately she stated lawmakers should not raid the designated funds, fees collected from citizens and set aside for specific purposes. I agree. She must know, however, that so many past legislatures raided them because otherwise there simply was not enough revenue to balance the budget. So where will Sen. Forrester and the Legislature find the revenue to close the gap this time?
Rep. Ames and Sen. Feltes have proposed that the Legislature close some inadvertent tax loopholes. Businesses are converting from corporations to limited liability companies because LLC profits are not currently taxed. Wealthy citizens are creating trusts whose interest and dividends are not subject to tax.
Closing those two loopholes would bring our revenues up without imposing new taxes.
Senator Forrester, please support this proposal.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 January 2015 11:10
To The Daily Sun,
Poor James Veverka.
"In God We Trust" was put first on the two-cent piece in 1864.
The only coins in the 1950s with "In God We Trust" were commemorative coins.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 January 2015 11:07
To The Daily Sun,
In roundabouts, vehicles travel counterclockwise around a raised center island, with entering traffic yielding the right-of-way to circulating traffic. In urban settings, entering vehicles negotiate a curve sharp enough to slow speeds. The McFarland Johnson presenter at the Meredith Selectboard workshop specified that speed to be 15-18 mph in the Meredith application. Within the roundabout and as vehicles exit, slow speeds are maintained by the deflection of traffic around the center island and the relatively tight radius of the roundabout and exit lanes.
Modern roundabouts are much smaller than older traffic circles or rotaries and require vehicles to negotiate a sharper curve to enter than their older counterparts did. These two differences are what make travel speeds in roundabouts slower than speeds in traffic circles. The lower speeds mean reduced severity of accidents when they occur.
Roundabouts promote safety in several ways. The most common types of intersection crashes are right-angle, left-turn, and head-on collisions. The severity of collisions increases with vehicle speed. These types of crashes are mitigated in roundabouts because vehicles travel in the same direction at speeds less than 20 mph. Replacement of traffic signals with roundabouts can reduce the likelihood of rear-end crashes and their severity by removing the incentive for drivers to speed up as they approach traffic signals and by reducing abrupt stops at red lights. Do we have issues with the number of crashes in downtown or their severity?
Relative to other age groups, senior drivers are over-involved in intersection crashes. Older drivers' intersection crashes often are due to their failure to yield the right-of-way. Traffic flow at roundabouts is both slower and uni-directional, making the consequence for failing to yield is less severe. Particular problems for older drivers at traditional intersections include left turns and entering busy thoroughfares from cross streets. Roundabouts eliminate these situations entirely.
With that said, roundabouts themselves can be confusing. Extra signage and street marking is recommended as part of their use. When multiple roundabouts are placed in close proximity it amplifies driver uncertainty. Uncertainty is not an aid to traffic safety. Making combination two lane- one lane-roundabouts has very limited data available for review. Placing a combination two lane- one lane-roundabout sandwiched between two smaller single-lane roundabouts is likewise a lightly studied application.
To the extent that you agree with lowering the speed limit on Interstate 93 down to 55 mph you probably agree that roundabouts are a safety aid. With that said there is very limited information available on the effect of placing multiple roundabouts in a relatively concentrated area as is being proposed in Meredith. There is a reason why McFarland Johnson and NHDOT do not want to own the recommendation for placing three roundabouts in downtown Meredith. Sometimes balance between safety and other considerations is struck ... that's one reason the speed limit on Interstate 93 is 70 not 55.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 January 2015 11:02
To The Daily Sun,
When ever I see Pat Buchanan's column I move right to the computer and load my google search engines. I know what he says will be a mixture of truth and lies. The lies will mostly be something anti-Democratic. In Friday's column for instance he talks about the riots of the 1960s to infer they were caused by the Democrats and the protests from Ferguson and New York to include and blame Sharpton, Holder and Obama. But some fact checking always helps in cases like this.
The riots of Watts started from a DUI and both Newark and Detroit were based on poverty and basic living conditions. The Newark riot was because, well, what do you expect from Jersey. The Detroit riot started at an after-hours bar while a group of people were celebrating the return of two GIs home from Vietnam. The governor of Michigan was Romney's father, so he should shoulder some of the blame. The riots after the assassination of MLK were the last of them and were terrible as I remember them. Buchanan refers to the election of LBJ before these riots occurred. So, I assume that because LBJ was a Democrat he was to blame.
Regarding the protest marches in NYC, Buchanan goes out on a limb saying the marchers were associating the police with the KKK while they were calling for "dead cops". Again, it never happened. The dead cop comment was something FOX News spliced together from previous broadcasts. Just ask Clayton Morris. But Buchanan only wants to divide and incite. The social revolution of the 1960s brought a lot of changes and made our country better.
Since then the GOP has done nothing outside of trying to bring us back to the 1950s. That we can't let happen but in order to stop it you have to vote and hope it's not too late. This column by Buchanan who, did win the New Hampshire GOP primary back in 1996 but has been a consistent loser ever since, I give little credence to.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 January 2015 10:57
To The Daily Sun,
Regarding the one-sided article by Michael Kitch in The Laconia Daily Sun on Jan. 7 titled, "City says Tardif doesn't realize Right-to Know was re-written in 1991": I've read Thomas Tardif's Petition for Declaratory Judgment and the City of Laconia's answer to the petition, represented by the Walter Mitchell of the Mitchell Municipal Group. The city starts its answer with the title of "background", giving some past history of the Belknap Mill. Then some of present runnings of the mill, "The mill is owned by a non-profit association, which runs and maintains the building as a museum, public gathering and function space, and some office rental space to help support the Mill Society's purposes."
Tardif tried to point out that the Mitchel Group is one of the tenants of the mill. Mitchell objected, and the judge stated that he would ignore the statement. This had nothing to do with the petition but the city raised the question. Does the Mitchel Group have a conflict of interest in who buys the mill?
Mitchell goes on with the history of what happened in non-public session. Some of which isn't reflected by the minutes of the meetings in question. Then explains why some things were done but they were just "oversights." One of the oversights was that the council did not properly preform the roll calls before going into non-public session.
The Right to Know 91-A:3 (b) "The vote on any such motion shall be by Roll Call, and shall require the affirmative vote of the majority of members present." Per 91-A, council rules and Roberts Rules, requires the City Clerk to ask for a Roll Call of Council who answer yes or no, their vote with their name is recorded in the minutes of each meeting. This did not happen and does not happen before any of the council's non-public meetings. The city explains, "by oversight when the minutes of the public portions of those two meetings were prepared many days later, the preparer of the minutes neglected to recite the unanimous votes. The staff person who volunteered to prepare the minutes in the absence of the City Clerk, missed the required recitation of the roll call votes." The staff person did the Roll Call the same way as the City Clerk Mary Reynolds has always done the roll call for all non-public session. Which is not according to RSA 91-A:3 (b).
The city can't defend itself so it makes condescending remarks, "The allegations in paragraph 8 of the petition are both confused and confusing, and are therefore generally denied." The city continues with a statement that is not supported by the City Council minutes. Must be an oversight. "At the non-public session concerning the mill on October 14th, the council decided to hold a continued non-public discussion on the subject, with Mill Society trustees at 6:15 p.m., October 27th, before the start of its normal meeting..." Then goes on to say that, "a special notice was properly posted in two public places." The city did not enter a copy of the notice into the court record. Another oversight.
Were the trustees at the Oct. 14 non-public meeting? In The Laconia Daily Sun an article about the Belknap Mill on Nov. 12 by Michael Kitch: "In October, the council and trustees twice met privately." The city claims they only met once.
The Mitchell Group is a tenant of the Belknap Mill and represents Laconia in most legal matters. The Laconia City Charter Section 4.07. Appointive Officers. "There shall be appointed by the manager, three assessors, a City Clerk, Treasurer, Fire Chief, City Solicitor," "Per RSA 49-C:20, Amended by Referendum 11/2/2010." In the Laconia City Charter, Administration of Government, Article V, Code of Ethics 5-84, Conflict of Interest. "No official or employee shall participate, in any procurement, decision or action when the person knows that: A. The person or any member of the person's immediate family has a personal or financial interest pertaining to the procurement, decision or action; B. A party whose financial interest will be affected by the procurement, decision or action is a business in which the person or any member of the person's immediate family has a present or prospective personal or financial interest, including employment; or C. A party whose financial interest will be affected by the procurement, decision or action is an organization in which the person of any member of the person's immediate family is a member."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 January 2015 10:53