Nutfield News • March 10, 2011 Let the Sun Shine In Editorial Get Involved Open and transparent government -
sounds like the battle cry of community newspapers. It’s what the public should expect
from officials at the local, state and national level. And providing informa- tion about the operation of government at the local level is a job this newspaper takes seriously.
March 13 through 19 is Sunshine
Week, a reminder that government busi- ness conducted in the open is at the heart of a democracy. If we don’t know what our officials are doing, we have no way to hold them accountable. And the more information we all have, the better. Knowledge, as the saying goes, is
power. And that power is not something to be held close to the chest by politi- cians; it belongs to each of us and is available to everyone who votes politi- cians into office and depends on them for services, fair budgeting and just plain lis- tening to the will of the people. Sunshine Week is a national effort spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors. Though the week was cre- ated by journalists, it is not about news- papers, it’s about the public’s right - emphasize that word - to know what its government is doing, and why. The key, of course, is access to meet- ings and records. And open government means newspapers, if they’re doing their
job, must act as watchdogs, asking the uncomfortable questions, getting the information, and providing it to their readers. Then it’s up to every constituent to exercise his or her right to demand an accounting by those in office. And if documents are not readily made avail- able, the state’s Right to Know process is ready for anyone to use. The motto of Sunshine Week is
“Your Right to Know.” That’s the heart of what government is all about. As a cit- izen in a democracy, you have the right to know how your government operates, and your elected officials have the obli- gation, except in carefully spelled out specific situations, to conduct their busi- ness in the open, even when it gets uncomfortable for them. Sure, it’s easier for officials to dis- cuss public business in private, where strategies can be aired without anyone listening. But that’s not the way things are supposed to work.
Discussion is to be public. In a quo- rum. On the record.
Making it hard for the public to find
out what’s going on is playing loose with open government. That’s why we report what we do. Then it’s up to all citizens to make their voices heard.
So in the midst of what could be a
rainy season, we’re here to let the sun shine in.
To the editor: Thank you for providing a forum to express ideas and opinions that is open to all. I have been a resident of Derry for 10 years and have observed the growth and evolution of Derry. Derry has a lot of potential for suc- cess moving through the 21st century, as long as it can do this as a community united. Those running for public office and already elected to office have the obligation to serve all of Derry’s citizens, not just the ones in a certain income level whining about a tax
rate they can more than afford.
Derry is a community of not just single-family homes on one-plus-acre estates. Derry is home to apart- ments, condos, mobile home parks, and multi-family homes. You are registered voters. You matter. Families of all income levels live here and are a part of the Derry community. Tough fiscal decisions will need to made with all of the residents needs in mind.
Bringing public kinder-
garten to town was a major step in moving Derry for- ward. The foundation for any town is providing edu-
cation for all of the children in the community. It was an absolute disgrace to have Derry as one of a handful of towns in New Hampshire with no public kindergarten. In the current economic
climate, Derry has a tough road ahead. What can a resi- dent do? Get involved! Everyone can contribute to the decision-making process by registering to vote, con- tacting the elected officials in your district, attending town meetings and forums, etc. To be informed is to be empowered at the voting booth. Your vote matters! Elizabeth Gagnon Derry
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Ballot clerk Anne Anderson hands District 1 voter
Cindy Wrocklage her ballot on election day, Tuesday, at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School. See voters results at www.nutpub.net
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