4 - February 24, 2012 | Salem Community Patriot
The Word Around Town... Letters to our Editor
Bettencourt and Morse Support Ending Medicare,
Children’s Health Insurance Plan Salem representative DJ Bettencourt and State
Senator Chuck Morse are the sole sponsors of HB 1560, which would end Medicare in New Hampshire. Instead of a stable, reliable Medicare plan, seniors would be subjected to a block-grant budget process every two years that could slash benefits and services at the whim of the state legislature. Te legislature also could choose to eliminate the Children’s Health Insurance Program. HB 1560 could endanger the health of New
Hampshire’s senior citizens, disabled and low- income residents by eliminating coverage for proven treatments and disease prevention services. Tink this couldn’t happen? Just last week State Rep. Notter (R-Merrimack) claimed that birth control pills cause prostate cancer. Last year she argued against vaccinations, claiming diseases like Polio and Black Death “declined naturally.” She also stated that cancer patients could run bake sales to cover their expenses! Tis is the current New Hampshire legislature - and this is who would have jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid if HB 1560 ever became law. Beyond the harm this bill would cause, another local publication’s editorial board called the bill “frivolous” and “strange” and argued it violates Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution. How do bills like this protect or serve Salem
residents? How do bills like this create jobs in New Hampshire? I believe all this does is advocate the Tea Party agenda of “every man for himself.”
Larry Disenhof - Salem Hands Off Public Schools In public schools in New Hampshire a teacher has
to have a minimum of a master’s degree in education plus their major field. Many top rated schools in New Hampshire will be failing schools if the Republicans have their way. Tey have a plan and it’s called the Education Tax Credit bill (SB 372 and HB 1607) it is a work around to subvert the NH Constitution which says that the state can’t give money to private schools directly.
Scholarship Organization set up by the state will accept money from businesses for scholarships to private schools; they will be allowed a 75 percent rebate for that denotation from their business profit tax. Te scholarships would be given to any student that is in or would like to go to a private school. Here’s is the kicker, the money to pay for the rebates (up to $15
million) and the administration costs will be taken from the public school budget. Your tax dollars are going to subsidize children in private schools while taking money out of the school your child goes to. Studies show there is no difference in learning between a private education verses a public education. Te Republicans are trying to destroy public education and this bill will help. Teachers who think they are not respected by the legislature in Concord could not be more right. Tey want to destroy you. Tey have already changed the drop out age from 18 to 16. Public schools are the doorway to the future for the children of New Hampshire and we must keep that door open. Every child has the right to go to public school and if they choose to go elsewhere than the public schools should not be penalized.
Rebecca Fee - Salem
Gay Would Like Your Support in March Election
I am running for the two-year term of Supervisor of the Checklist in Salem. It is a time-consuming job with miniscule pay so the reason for running is purely public service. Te responsibility of a NH Supervisor of the Checklist is to guarantee that votes are legal, and counted and reported accurately. Prior to each election the Supervisors send the list of voters they maintain throughout the year to the state. On election days, they answer any sticky questions about eligibility, and they verify that the number of participating voters is the same as the number of ballots cast, no matter how long into the night that takes. And they submit a lot of paperwork to the state on time. Supervisors are charged with maintaining the checklist, adding new voters’ names as they register with the Town Clerk or with the Supervisors, and removing names when voters move or pass away. I hear that Salem and Windham both find using the NH voting database painfully slow, (maintained as required by the Federal HAVA laws, “Help America Vote Act of 2002”). It never hurts to look into possible solutions. Recently some concerned NH voters brought public attention to the problem that deceased voters were still on their town’s checklist. Tat often happens after frail people get moved out of town for care. When they pass away, their death is reported in another city or state. Fortunately there is now a free accessible website that tracks the mention of towns in obituaries. Under NH statutes, the prescribed way for voter
registration is to fill out forms and show proof of “citizenship and domicile” to the Town Clerk during town office hours, up until ten days prior to an election. Supervisors of the Checklist are also charged with
registering new voters for at least the half hour between 11 am and 11:30 am on the Saturday 10 days prior to each election day. For evening town meeting elections, they must also schedule a registration session ten days prior and be open at least from 7 to 7:30 pm that day. If ten days prior falls on a Sunday, they do registrations the next day, Monday. On election days and town meetings, it is legal in NH for an unregistered citizen to register to vote at the polls and vote that same day. (Note: No one can register and immediately attend an SB2 town deliberative meeting because no balloting occurs at deliberative meetings.) If they show up without “proof of citizenship and domicile,” current NH laws require the supervisor to provide them an official NH voter affidavit form signed under penalty of law that they fulfill the NH requirements of citizenship and residency of a legal voter in town. Tey are then allowed to vote because the NH conviction is that “everyone has the right to vote.” Obviously many other voters do not like undocumented newcomers voting without having proved their identity, residency and citizenship. Several states deal with this issue by providing “provisional ballots” for everyone who votes without documentation. Provisional ballots are saved until a specified deadline and counted only after the voter brings accepted documentation. As a Supervisor of the Checklist, it will be my
responsibility to uphold the current NH laws, even if I might like updates to the law. Meanwhile I can keep the citizenry apprised of current laws and pending legislation, and, according to the Secretary of State’s office, I can continue to take part as a citizen in town meetings.
Betty Gay - Salem
Phase 2 Opponents’ Statements Misleading
In a recent editorial, a claim was made that
proponents of Phase 2 avoid the facts. I would like to clarify some of the inaccuracies made by this Phase 2 opponent that could mislead the public. First, while I agree that asbestos is only harmful when it is disturbed, the reality is that there are many asbestos floor tiles in Phase 2 elementary schools that crack and chip regularly, requiring special treatment so that the asbestos does not remain exposed and pose a danger to our children. Asbestos is no longer allowed in construction, and its presence does not conform to safety code. Tat being said, it’s important to recognize that asbestos removal is not the primary reason these schools are being renovated, but rather it is
a requirement of the renovation process. Second, the accusation that the school
“administration has been deferring maintenance and capital improvement projects for years” is unfounded. Tis is not based on any evidence and seems to be a deliberate distraction to the real need for renovations. Te schools have been maintained as well as can be expected. Te purpose of the renovations is to add Kindergarten space (and eliminate the indefinite lease costs of portable classrooms); create adequate small group instruction space for special needs, reading, occupational therapy, and speech therapy; upgrade security; and provide sufficient space for the nurse, guidance, and front office spaces as well as adequate storage. Furthermore, the combination gym and cafeteria space is insufficient and unsafe for physical education and recreational use – separate gyms are needed. All of these needs are not the result of maintenance issues – they are upgrades that meet the needs of modern education and cannot be put off any longer. Tird, the tax impact of the bond is $30 in year one,
$87 in year two and about $137 in year three (for a home assessed at $300,000), which is the highest year of the bond, decreasing every year thereafter. Te cost is not $137 every year for 20 years as opponents would have you believe. Costs for Phase 3 and 4 (Salem High School and Woodbury School) are unknown – estimates for these will be forthcoming as plans are investigated by facilities committees. But the fact is, all of our facilities need to be renovated. Te plan in front of us is a good one, and one that is a good use of tax dollars. Phase 1 is concrete proof of that plan, and Phase 2 is the same plan for the remaining three elementary schools. Finally, the claim that a new family researches two
items “online,” the first being the tax rate, is certainly not accurate for everyone. Realtors attest that a large majority of families investigate schools first before buying a home, and school facilities are a key factor. Property values rise with school improvements. Salem’s test scores have been compared with those of Windham and Derry, yet both of those towns have upgraded facilities and given their teachers raises at least once since the last time our teachers received raises. Facilities do contribute to higher student (and teacher) performance. Tere is no doubt that our schools need to be
renovated. Nothing has contributed to that need more than time, changing educational needs and requirements, and the recent implementation of Kindergarten. Please vote “yes” on School Article 2, March 13 to ensure that the progress of our school facilities continues, in accordance with the Facility Master Plan.
Joe Hatch - Salem
IF WE HAVEN’T CONVINCED YOU ALREADY, HERE’S ONE MORE GOOD REASON TO VOTE NO ON CURBSIDE PICKUP…
**We haven’t even voted yet and they’re already asking for more money!!**
Every week we find something new to write about, something new our elected officials have misrepresented or just flat out lied to us about. This week is no excep- tion… The Salem Budget Committee failed to give a recommendation regarding Article 28, the proposed Curbside Pickup, this past Thursday after Selectmen addressed a discrepancy in the numbers they provided for the cost increase of the Curbside con- tract which turns out to be $445,000 more than the transfer station (instead of the previously calculated $345,000). If the aver- age person made a budgeting error between mortgage, car payments, school payments, and all their many bills it might be under- standable but when our elected officials make a $100,000+ error in our Town budget it’s simply unacceptable. Years ago those who committed such crimes against the Town would have been rounded up and tarred and feathered in its Center. Too bad times have changed… At the very least, perhaps resignations are in order.
And even with this exorbitant error, the Waste Committee is still publishing ads and putting signs around town encouraging us to vote their way… a move that will inevitably result in you digging into your pockets (even deeper) and turning over your hard earned money for a service we didn’t ask for and, in these hard economic times, don’t really need.
To add insult to injury, those who serve in an official capacity have continued to comment on things they should, but clearly don’t, know anything about. For example, Pat Hargraeves continues to make false statements about the Transfer Station. He’s consis- tently claimed that our current recycling rate is only 12%. However, he was called out during the public hearing by Cheryl Coletti- Blake, a rep from Casella Waste Systems (which currently operates the Transfer Station). Cheryl let the truth be known: (1) EVERY- THING that you deliver to the transfer station gets recycled, and (2) The current rate for recycling at the Transfer station by resi- dents is actually 18.6%. In fact, over the past 3 years the rate climbed from 14.3% (2009) to 17% (2010) to 18.6% (2011), illustrating an encouraging rise in recycling by Townspeople that occurred without any help from the Waste Committee.
This week Committee Member Paul Huard added to the scatological diatribe by claiming that some of the practices, like burning plastic material for heat, may not be environmentally sound. In reality $20 million scrubbers are used to cleanse and purify the air before it’s recirculated to ensure it IS an environmentally friendly practice. The amount of inaccurate information being spewed by Town officials in an effort to push this initiative on us is unbelievable.
Kudos to Committee Member Everett McBride who pointed out that since the town is actually recycling everything that gets hauled from the transfer station, a tax increase shouldn’t be needed.
Once again, I encourage you all to VOTE NO! to CURBSIDE COLLECTION on MARCH 13 and ATTEND the 2ND DELIBERATIVE SESSION on MARCH 17 at
9:00AM at SALEM HIGH SCHOOL to ensure your vote stands!! For more information, visit Vote NoCurbside on Facebook
Approved by United States Constitution, under First Amendment Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression Paid for by FJ Leccese, 31 Cove Rd, Salem, NH
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16