Nutfield News • April 15, 2010
Nothing to Hide
When people volunteer for public
service, whether it’s to run for elected office or to seek appointment to town boards and commissions, they’ve sig- naled their commitment to do what’s best for the greater good - the entire commu- nity.
And just as we all have personal rea-
sons for making such a decision, we also have biases that we bring to those posts, along with our experience and expertise. With that said, the only way to con- duct the public’s business in as bias-free a manner as possible is to be as transpar- ent as possible. That means business must take place in public session. There’s no way to force residents to
pay attention to public meetings, even with the ease of watching them on public access TV in the privacy of their homes. But whether or not anyone is watching, elected and appointed officials have to conduct their business in the public eye. We’re not talking about decisions - those are made in public session. But the background leading to those decisions, the conversations and debates, the ques- tions and the arguments, are rarely part of what the public gets to see. And that’s how rumors start, rumors
that can take on a life of their own, espe- cially when the bloggers get involved. That’s why folks in Chester dispute the budget committee’s decision to turn
off the TV cameras during portions of their meetings. That’s why Derry resi- dents have questioned - for years - the town’s responsibility to pay $5 million for Exit 4A. That’s why Londonderry residents question a council decision to change the method of trash collection in town. Is property up for sale or recently sold to a developer? Is a councilor or other official or two seen in discussion with a landowner? Our towns are too small for anyone to expect such meetings to go unnoticed. Are they legal? Sure. But is that the only point we need to worry about? Ethics is defined as a system of moral
principles and rules of conduct. Meeting in small groups so as not to invoke a quo- rum may technically not violate the law, but it smells of circumventing the law. So is that ethical? In public life, appearances count.
When residents don’t know what their representatives are up to, they listen to rumors and conspiracy theories and finally end up distrusting the decision makers. We’re all adults here. The public’s
business should be conducted in public. Keep us informed of what you’re doing, every step of the weay. We shouldn’t have to worry that our officials have something to hide.
Manchester Solar Project
To the editor: Recently, the State Senate passed SB 334, facilitating a partnership between the State, City of Manchester and Public Service of New Hampshire to construct and operate a pilot solar project on a capped landfill. The bill allows the state to leverage a portion of NH’s RPS (Re- newable Portfolio Standards) funds with PSNH’s capital investment and Manchester’s real estate resources to jump start this 1 megawatt solar project to help achieve NH’s goal of generating 25 percent of our power from renewable resources by 2025 and create jobs.
Whether you support
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renewable energy for environ- mental benefits or for greater domestic energy production, the reality is that to achieve this ambitious goal of “25 by 25,” we cannot turn away projects, pit one type against another, or take an “either-or” approach. We need to encour- age all types of projects, inno- vation, and effective use of these funds. SB 334 sets us on this vital path. For many years, I have been concerned about our state’s future electric stability and ability to meet renewable energy goals. In 2007, I spon- sored legislation that would have allowed utilities to immediately begin building renewable generation, but the bill was killed by Democratic legislators who determined it was unnecessary. In the meantime, there has been a lot of talk about creating renew- able energy, countless cam- paign promises made, and laws passed, like RPS, that place fees on our electric cus- tomers, but little has been
done to ensure that cus- tomers’ money goes into cre- ation of greater renewable generation. Every resident, business, and municipality in the state pays into the RPS Fund through their electric bill - and they deserve assurance the Fund’s benefits are dispersed widely, equitably, and without delay. Just 270 homeowners with the financial means to purchase solar or wind gener- ation equipment have been given access to these funds through a rebate program. If you don’t have the $10,000 or more to invest in solar or wind, you are paying this fee with no opportunity to bene- fit.
With the exception of the residential solar/wind rebate - and the PUC diverting $740,000 in RPS funds to its own budget - little progress has been made in the equi- table execution of this pro- gram to benefit those who pay into it. There is no application or RFP process for business- es, municipalities, utilities or private developers - the enti- ties that could build renew- able power facilities - for par- ticipation. These parties are denied this opportunity. Two years after being enacted, the PUC just opened a docket to determine the process and how this money should be allocated.
SB 334 provides an important roadmap for municipalities and companies on how to maximize the potential of brownfields and landfills to benefit local tax- payers in places like Derry, Nashua, and Berlin, who pay to maintain old landfills. The RPS law was estimat-
ed to cost between $5 and $6 million through 2011. We should encourage opportuni-
ties to offset these costs to tax- payers. Given our struggling economy, the worst approach would be to keep taking money from electric cus- tomers and taxpayers, only to see it sit idle in state accounts - or go to fund state agency budgets instead of job-creat- ing projects.
By supporting this pro-
posal, State Senators and Governor John Lynch recog- nized the state has a duty to ensure the money in the RPS Fund is dispersed equitably throughout our economy to create domestic energy gener- ation, lead us toward our renewable energy goals and create jobs as quickly as pos- sible.
Sen. Bob Letourneau District 19 - Derry, Hampstead and Windham
Pledge of Civility Needed
To the editor:
The political partisanship continues to obstruct and dis- rupt our democratic process. This was evident at Rep- resentative Carol Shea- Porter’s Town Meeting in Londonderry on April 8. As the Representative entered the hall, she walked through a gauntlet of boos. Once the meeting began, she needed to stop several times for the unruly audience to quiet down, in order to contin- ue responding to questions. A member of the audience accused her of not being patri- otic since she was a Democrat.
The misinformation and
disinformation of the issues dispersed by some of the media sources was shown by the question, why would she
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