Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I turned 39 (2014)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mayor Frank Guinta & Aldermen raise local taxes AGAIN!

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"A taxing time: City slams residents again"
The New Hampshire Union Leader, Editorials, Friday, 11/14/2008

Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta and the city's aldermen have passed on to taxpayers a burden they can ill afford this year: a nearly 5 percent tax increase. And they don't seem to care.

Every year it is the same. In good times -- tax increases. In bad times -- tax increases. Aldermen always have an excuse. In prosperous years, they say the city has to fund "essential" services. In down years, they say revenues aren't high enough. No matter what, they raise our taxes.

Aldermen act as if the taxpayers are an endless supply of money. They act as if the people who pay the city's bills don't have bills of their own. Even aldermen who know better behave this way.

Republican Mike Garrity explained the declining revenues by pointing out that people aren't buying things like new cars, which they pay the city to register. "Basically, people aren't doing anything," he said. "They're just saving and putting money toward heating and buying groceries. That's what I'm doing at this point."

So when the people are hoarding their money just so they can pay their heating and food bills, the correct response is to . . . raise their taxes?

Garrity knows that people are struggling. All the aldermen know this. His response? "I think it's something beyond our control, on the revenue side."

That's the attitude of the aldermen right there. The budget is simply beyond their control.

Mayor Frank Guinta pushed hard for spending cuts. But advocating isn't enough. At this point, the mayor needs to get better results. Guinta has helped keep the tax hikes lower than they would have been if aldermen were left to budget by themselves. That is to his credit. But the aldermen have learned to work around his scoldings. He needs to hold them accountable for their indifference to taxpayers.

For their part, taxpayers need to hold the aldermen accountable, too. They can start by voting for the tax and spending cap that will be up for a vote sometime within the next year. Without that cap, this abuse of the people will never end.
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READERS' COMMENTS:
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I'm a N.H native, & for as long as I can remember, that's all the Mayors of past, & aldermen have done to taxpayers year after year. I think it's time as one persons comment said, "let's learn to live within our means". In my grandparents words "you can't get blood out of a stone". If you haven't got it don't be spending it. I sure don't have a money tree in my yard, maybe some of the people congratulating the Mayor & others in his employ on a job well done, have but I do not.I say you need to live the way some of the rest of us are living. Trying to fix up a home that's 104 yrs old is tough enough. But to have to pay someone who just sees $$$$$ when May & November come around, I think we need to reasses our voting practices, & get some new blood in there, & someone we KNOW will be HONEST, & not just out for the benefits pkgs. I personally feel it's more GREED for the increases than NEED.
I hope enough taxpayers get ticked off enough to let the city officials know we've had enough of their game of "They're the big winner". I foolishly thought you were running for office because you wanted to HELP the little guy in this city. Boy was I wrong in that line of thought. Let's go Manchester, wake up & stop being afraid to voice the facts we're all tired of extra percentages of our taxes going up every time someone can't afford the country club fees. I'm having trouble affording 3 meals a day, & am tired of politicians using our money to "play" at being a responsible person. I'm really disappointed in the people who claim to care about this city, & it's citizens, & I'm really disappointed more citizens haven't spoken up on this.
Thank you for your time.
- Angel M., Manchester,N.H.

Folks like Tammy Simmons and Keith Murphy from what I have read and heard when I researched the candidates before our last general election do offer solutions. No one wants to hear that the government needs to spend less. This is the problem. Private citizens need to learn to live within their means and the government does as well. The problem is that no one wants to hear it. Is it any surprise that this is one of the reasons our entire country faces the economic mess we now face? We have a systemic problem where practically everyone lives beyond their means. They want everyone else to bail them out, private business included. Let's cap spending and tie it to the inflation rate. I'm actually ashamed of myself for not being more active during the last election for not campaigning for candidates such as Tammy Simmons and Keith Murphy in my ward. If you ask me, the entire aldermanic board should take Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. Maybe then they could actually make informed financial decisions and realize that the city's checkbook and general ledger need to be balanced and that they also need to better save for a rainy day!
- Mike, Manchester

Why am I not surprised that the Board of Mayor and Aldermen that is all of them are putting the screws to us taxpayers again that's their sole goal since they got elected and they are all equally to blame, is it possible that in my lifetime that we will ever have a city government that will put us first and themselves second. I doubt it, we continue to re-elect these self-serving individuals and all they do is repeat from year to year their never ending efforts to soak us for their incompetence and I predict we will send most of them back to do it again in the next election. We did it recently with Congress we sent the majority of those who created the economic crisis back for a repeat perfoirmance so we deserve what we get. Putting it to the taxpayers is the goal of all elected officials of both party's.
- Richard L. Fortin, Manchester

How can this paper point a finger at the Mayor. He needs help on this board. Besides Garrity who stands behind the Mayor on these issues. Certainly not Gatsas. He crafted the tax hike with Lopez.
- Robert Belzil, Manchester

Tammy Simmons lost her bid for the tax cap, lost her bid for the legislature and somehow she keeps beating the same old drum over and over again. While it sounds good to say that the city is spending too much money, none of the people like Simmons has provided a detailed list of where exatly the city is spending too much money. There is a reason why people like Simmons lost their elections and it is because they say the same thing over and over yet offer no solutions.
- Jeff, Manchester

This summer the New Hampshire Advantage Coalition talked to literally thousands of taxpayers in Manchester. We got over 6,000 taxpayers to sign on to a petition to put a spending cap on the ballot during the past election. Eight Aldermen and I will list them again because I think it is important for people to understand who is working against you (Lopez, DeVries, Shea, J. Roy, Smith, O’Neil, Oullette and Mark Roy) voted against putting the Cap on the November 4th ballot. Not only did they vote to keep it off the ballot. They voted 13 times in one evening. Mayor Guinta kept them in the Chamber until midnight when time expired, trying desperately to sway at least one of them into changing their vote. What I don’t think is stressed enough in this editorial is the fact that majority of this board continually resists all attempts to reduce spending and make the tough choices needed to lower our tax burden. Alderman Garrity and Mayor Frank Guinta have been among the lonely voices in the wilderness fighting for the taxpayers of Manchester. Unfortunately this board has shown a willingness to ignore the pleas of both taxpayers and their fellow elected officials. Instead they just keep reaching into our pocket and taking more. It will stop when we the taxpayers make it stop and only then. Our voices need to be loud, consistent and our message clear. Low Taxes are the Result of Low Spending.
- Michael Biundo, Manchester

While I do not live in Manchester this is a state wide problem in many communities.
As we all should know they always find a way to raise the taxes but never can find a way to lower them. I also agree that as voters who have voted for those in power maybe you will start looking at what they represent and their policies instead of what party they belong too or the rhetoric they use to get elected.
When is the last time any of them have taken a serious look at how to increase tax revenues without hitting the property and business owners? Why don't they do as we are having to do right now and cut the budget to reflect the needs versus the nice to haves?
This is a clear example of why a sales or income tax is a waste in this state. Because if it is enacted it will only add to your tax burden and surely is not going to give you any relief at the local level.
Hold on because soon enough the feds will be taking more (unless of course your getting government help then your getting a raise) and let me know how those you have elected are doing in comparison to the things they told you when they ran.
- Bill B., Pelham

Jeff it must be nice that just cutting back one trip to the casino will cover your tax increase. I know many people who will not have that luxury. They will have to make REAL choices and cutbacks.

No Jeff, tax increases are not tied to inflation, but I agree with you that it should be because the tax increase would be less than 2% if it were.

You may not understand the concept, but government needs to control its spending. You comment that the costs have gone up for the city on the things they buy or provide. They have for all of us too. Can we just magically have 5% more income to deal with those increases we deal with? Not hardly. In fact, these days many are lucky to have jobs at all.

Although it may not bother you, the city has no right to raise taxes at this time. Cutting costs should be the order of the day and living within their means.

The sad part to this whole situation is that we reelected the Alderman.
- Bob Hunnefield, Manchester

Lets get it right...Guinta and Garrity have been great in the role of taxpayers' advocates since running for public office. This opinion editorial is teaching us that you can miss the forest for the trees as they say.

Manchester's formula for success:

Tax Cuts + Spending Cap = Fiscal Sanity

Mayor Guinta and Alderman Garrity you have done a great job, keep it up!
- Roger W., Manchester, NH

Mayor Giunta has consistently been a supporter of lower taxes and less spending. He is a strong advocate of the spending cap that will be on the next municipal election ballot. Yes, taxes and spending need to be lower. People are struggling to pay their basic bills. Frank Giunta understands this. He needs more Aldermen who understand this, and who will help him fight increased taxes and spending - not oppose him at every opportunity. That is why this upcoming election will be so crucial to not only Manchester, but other municipalities throughout the state - especially those like Manchester and Concord who have the opportunity to pass a spending cap.
- David, Concord, NH

William Simpson, Concord and Dawn, Manchester are correct. We all spoke via our vote at the Federal, State and local levels. The majority won and the majority was clearly not opposed to increased taxes.

For the past year I have seen signs in hundreds of front yards around New Hampshire and the City of Manchester supporting Candidates who have historically voted tax increases and signs supporting Candidates who made it obvious taxes would be increased. Unarguably, This is what the resident’s of New Hampshire and Manchester wanted.
- Wally, Manchester, NH

Ryan Feltner hit the nail right on the head. This mess is the fault of Mike Lopez and Ted Gatsas and their good old boy budget.

When Gatsas was challenged on his unrealistic revenue assumptions by Peter Sullivan and Mike Garrity, he responded by yelling and making personal attacks. Time has shown that Sullivan and Garrity were right.
- Ben, Manchester

What? I thought we liked taxes. How else do you explain Betsi Devries getting re-elected over Doug Kruse? It amazes me that even after she decided we weren't smart enough to vote on a tax cap, we sent her back to Concord. We like taxes!
- Dawn, Manchester

William, when will you stop blaming Barack Obama for everything? He has nothing to do with the city of Manchester's budget or the financial mess that this country is in. I know you are still hurting from the shock that the majority of this state and the majority of the country wanted someone other than your John "100 years in Iraq" McCain and Sara "Gotcha Moose killer" Palin, but get over it already!

As for the tax increase, yes taxes went up, but they are still inline with inflation, isn't the proposed spending cap tied to inflation somehow? If not it should be. Unless people are growing their own food and making their own electricity and oil I think we all know prices have increased over the past year, well I'm sorry to break the news to you but the city has to also pay more for things this year. I think they showed a tremendous amount of restraint keeping the tax increase to such a low amount. For me personally this tax increase is about $200 this year, that's one less trip down to the Casino... I think I can handle it.
- Jeff Comeau, Manchester

The career politicians in both parties will not stop raising our taxes until we vote them out of office and replace them with leaders who are true fiscal conservatives. They have intentionally created a constituency of voters who are dependent on taxpayer give aways, just so they can keep getting elected.

The GOP in this state and nationally has become a mirror image of the Democrats. Rank and file NH Republicans have even formed a coalition to reform the NH GOP at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nhrvc
- Kevin, Salem

this is an unfair characterization of the issue and is misleading.

Guinta, backed by Garrity, came in with a budget that didn't increase taxes. The school board then refused to lay of teachers and Lopez and gatsas crafted a smoke and mirrors budget that inflated revenue, knowing that the tax hike would be higher. Rumor has it that gatsas begged that this new rate not be released before the election.

To say that Guinta is not doing enough and that Garrity is a problem is disgusting and wrong. The blame is at the feet of Lopez, Gatsas and the other aldermen that veto proofed this budget, not Guinta and Garrity.

The UL editorial page is laughable and this piece is another that shows just how irrelevant this rag is becoming.

The day after the presidential election it lamented in a piece that GOP candidates were not truly conservative and the nothing will change until the people wake up, however, this rag endorsed every one of them from McCain, to Bradley to Sununu. Yes, I said Sununu - he voted for increased budgets, Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind and Medicare prescription drug legislation. He is as "big government" as the rest of them.
- Mike Conway, manchester

Hey Union Leader - take your own advice! Instead of moaning about the tax hike do something about it and take a strong position against the democratic aldermen in the next election. They are the culprits here and in recent elections, you have never written an editorial endorsing good candidates. Your silence has been shameful!

Blaming Guinta when he has no support from this paper is just stupid. He is the only one who has done anything to keep taxes down. Support the Mayor by helping to oust the bums.
- Seth Thompson, Manchester, NH

It's all about spending. We (meaning the government, not you and me individually) simply spend too much.

Before the anti-tax cap crowd jumps to suggest that we'll have to stop snow plowing and fire all the teachers, take a deep breath. There are always ways to reduce spending.

Take the City Clerk's office for example. Since the clerk went on leave many months ago, that office has been functioning efficiently without her. The former clerk continually said she needed more staff - yet they have managed just fine without her. Is it really necessary then to have someone making nearly $100K running that office?

The taxpayer has to do without more and more these days. It's about time that our government do the same thing.
- Tammy Simmons, Manchester

Can anyone tell me how much of our tax dollars went to paying for the arches on the west side? I heard 'most' of the money was privately funded but where did the rest of it come from? I hope our tax dollars did not pay for ANY of it!
- Peggy, Manchester

That Manchester politicians raised taxes should surprise no one.

Get ready for state taxes and fees to go up again also. Of course, there is still the slew of federal tax increases promised to us by President-elect Obama.

The people to blame, however, are not the big government addicted politicians. As we are learning (again,) asking the government to be fiscally responsible is like asking your alcoholic relative to watch over your liquor cabinet.

In the end, she will still have the key to cabinet, but you will have a lot less liquor.

This is merely reaping what we have sown.

But if you voted for anyone but fiscally conservative candidates over the last few elections, you have only yourself to blame.
- William Simpson, Concord

Amazing how the citizens get to be the financial guinea pigs to help give financial relief to a bunch of wolves called Aldermen..

Any increase at this point of the game is unfounded. Stop making Manchester citizens pay for the aldermen mistakes.. How about making the Aldermen PAY for their own mistakes....that little 'paycheck' they get for representing us should go back to the City. They dont deserve it.

No wonder the Aldermen-8 didnt want the cap on the ballot... they obviously knew they were going to run into 'opportunities' to make the people pay before they get put in a corner for misbehaving...aka spending cap

No more kindergarten politics please...
- Melanie, Manchester

And is it any wonder why the Manchester Aldermen didn't want the Tax and Spending Cap on the ballot this year?

It's time for these guys to go. We can't afford them any longer.
- William Smith, Manchester, NH

I think we should bring back Baines for a year to remind Manchester how much worse our taxes could be if he were still around. The current mayor can only do so much when the vast amount of aldermen on the board are tax happy liberals. You want true fiscal conservatism in this city? Vote out the tax happy aldermen and give the mayor some aldermen who will support keeping taxes low in Manchester!
- Debra Provencher, Manchester NH

So the UL finds it beneficial to go after one of the only fiscally conservative aldermen in this op'ed? You have got to be kidding me. You use Garrity as an example of aldermen who are out of touch with the concerns of taxpayers in this city and don't mention the names of the Gang of Eight aldermen who voted against the spending cap or refuse to mention the Democrats on the board who have fought to raise our taxes at every turn.

People like Lopez, DeVries, O'Neil, George Smith, and several others are the reason why we don't have a tax cut! It is certainly not the fault of Garrity or Guinta, so why doesn't this op'ed mention the names of the real causes of the problem? A very poorly written editorial that has the right idea, but goes after the totally wrong individuals and leaves out those who are actually responsible.
- Casey Johnes, Manchvegas

Um could you please let me know what else Guinta could do to force these aldermen to respect the taxpayer? He constantly calls them out and even did so in one of his blogs on the mayor's page of the city's website with regards to the spending cap. He fights with them at every meeting and even makes them stay until midnight. The guy has done everything in his power to stand up against the liberal Democrat Machine known as Manchester's Aldermen and I really don't know what else the Union Leader would like him to do.

If it is anyone who needs to take more responsibility of actually going after the tax happy aldermen of this city it is the media itself! An elected official can only do so much, but it is the responsibility of newspapers like the Union Leader to hold them responsible for their actions as well.
- Ben Thomas, Manchester

I am just as upset about the tax increase as anyone, but I find it absurd that this editorial does not call out the names of the two individuals who actually drafted the current budget and are the most responsible for it: Alderman Mike Lopez and Alderman Ted Gatsas.

Guinta drafted a budget that certainly would have meant that department heads would have had to make some cuts, but it was realistic, would have delivered a tax cut to Manchester's working families, and most importantly was based on actual numbers, unlike the one that was passed.

Lopez and Gatsas decided to inflate the amount of money that the city would get this year from the Jac Pac site in order to make it "sound like" we would get a tax cut. However, the mayor and many others called their bluff and told taxpayers the truth even back then: in all reality, the city would not get anywhere near the high amounts that Lopez and Gatsas were projecting that we would receive this year. I believe that even they knew that, but still based their faulty budget on such numbers.

I think that this editorial certainly gets it right, especially towards the end, but I completely disagree with the fact that it ignores those who deserve the most blame: LOPEZ and GATSAS
- Ryan Feltner, Manchester, New Hampshire

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"Bus station costing city up to $10,000 a month"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, 11/18/2008

MANCHESTER – A decision to keep the downtown bus station open costs the city an estimated $9,000 to $10,000 a month, officials say.

Most of the money goes to contractors who are providing security for the Canal Street station and keeping the building tidy. That work began yesterday.

"Our goal is to keep (the station) open and to accommodate the needs of all the Boston Express bus riders," Economic Development Director Jay Minkarah said.

His assessment yesterday was, "So far, so good."

The downtown bus station was at risk of closing after the company that was leasing it, Concord Coach, severed ties with the city and started doing business at the new park-ride lot in Londonderry. Service to Boston is now being provided daily by a sister company, Boston Express.

City officials, including Minkarah and Mayor Frank Guinta, still hope to find an entrepreneur who wants to lease the 23-year-old Canal Street building. But they said they felt it was important to keep the station open in the meantime so Boston-bound commuters wouldn't have to wait in the cold for a bus.

Commuters got their first taste of the new arrangement yesterday. A new bus schedule was in effect, with fewer rides to Boston than there used to be. Tickets were no longer being sold at the counter, so travelers had to buy them elsewhere.

Riders who hadn't heard about the changes were annoyed. One couple with a 9-month-old baby showed up at the station a little after 11:30 a.m., only to discover the next bus to Boston wouldn't be leaving for another two hours and 45 minutes.

"How is this city supposed to grow when you can't get in or out?" said the father, Rafael Morales, 33, who lives in Boston.

With Concord Coach out of the picture, the city has turned to Reliable Security, of Salem, to staff the building. A security guard will be on duty from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends, according to Red Robidas, the city's security manager.

The contract is worth a little more than $5,500 a month, he said.

The city is also paying $598 a week to Aramark for janitorial services. Deputy Public Works Director Tim Clougherty said the company will clean the building twice a day, seven days a week.

Other costs being picked up by the city include utilities and snow removal.

In all, the costing of keeping the station open is expected to fall between $9,000 and $10,000, according to Sean Thomas, an aide to the mayor. Minkarah said the costs will not affect the tax rate because the city plans to cover all expenses with the interest it earns from its one-time economic development fund.

The account is said to contain more than $5 million. Just a few weeks ago, Guinta announced he hopes to drain the entire account to pay for infrastructure improvements to South Elm Street and the area around MerchantsAuto.com Stadium.

The mayor has said it could take a few months to find a company willing to lease the Canal Street station. Officials said the 3,300-square-foot station could double as a coffee shop or convenience store.

Meanwhile, Alderman Ted Gatsas has suggested the city could redirect the intercity buses to the welcome center on Elm Street in front of Veterans Park.

Minkarah said the idea has some merit.

"I can't say whether it'll work or not," he said, "but it's certainly an idea that's worth pursuing."
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READERS' COMMENTS:
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Hire the inmates to work in the bus terminal and clean. See, we have resources available but the city doesn't know how to tap into them. How about folks who are sentenced to community service...put them to work at the bus station. There are ways to do it but the elected leaders of this city need to learn how to think outside the box. Problem is, they are old and stubborn and really don't know how to do that.

This entire situation is a fiasco that could have been avoided if the board knew what was happening. Maybe it is time to elect people who will pay attention to issues such as this.

Aldermen and Mayor: Think outside the box. Come up with solutions.
- Jeff, Manchester

I've got an idea .. at least if we are going to get stuck with the old bus station, why not put up a big sign: "WELCOME TO MANCHESTER, NH .. HOME OF THE GANG OF EIGHT .. STOP HERE IF YOU NEED TO GO" ... or, maybe we can use the location to sell locally made products such as Jams, Jelly, muffins,,, or .. art work , oil paintings of the GANG OF EIGHT .. Yes! That's it ,, Alderman Lopez done in oil, with Dan O'Neil throwing down another bucket of beer just over his shoulder and alderman Roy with a plate of pasta, and DeVries with a shopping cart full of money.. all done in oil .. In fact; we can rename the building "The Gang of Eight Public Toilet and Art Museum"..
- Thom, Manchester, NH

As a members of a new start-up company, my partners and I read this article with great interest. We are exploring the possibility of starting a new company that services the Route 101 Corridor -- east west transportation between Portsmouth/Durham and Manchester/Concord, and the Manchester bus terminal is something of interest to us.

We would also be interested in any feedback from passengers interested in this service. Please e-mail us at
GraniteStateTransit2008@gmail.com.
- Keith Belanger, Raymond, NH

Interesting that Mayor Guinta doesn't want "Boston Bound" commuters waiting in the cold? What about the citizens and school children/seniors/citizens who wait for a bus in the cold? How about our elderly who can't walk around in this City after a snow storm because of the sidewalk conditions? And of course Mr. Thomas "it won't effect the tax rate," $10,000 a month could well be used in this City for much more inportant things. If someone chose to work in Boston isn't it their responsibility to get to work rather than the City, let them get a ride to Londonderry. Guinta/Thomas hoping to move on in the political world ... YIKES! Next up will be a limo service 24/7 oppps, shouldn't put that thought out there.
- Pat, Manchester

I've noticed one thing in common with all the remarks regarding the existing station. It is that no one likes it. The bus companies dislike the location due to poor ingress and egress and the passengers lack a reasonable location at a fair price to park.

To Rob Campbell- You're correct. We need to look at the whole transmodal concept. The existing terminal does not lend itself to it. However take a regional service such as the Manchester Transit Authority and imagine getting on a bus near ones residence or work, not using a car at all, and riding it to the terminal in Londonderry where surrounding towns also feed in. To me the potential for MORE service is easy to envision.
- JSF, Manch

An inter-city bus service is an important component of Manchester's overall transportation system that includes public roads, city bus service, taxis, and the airport, all of which serve different needs and complement one another. But as I noted below, maintaining it will likely require a different approach than the city has taken thus far.
- Rob Campbell, Manchester, NH

$10,000 a month must be about what it was costing in salary/benefits for the (former) City Clerk. Just don't replace her and it's a wash to the overburdened Manchester taxpayers. Of course, that assumes that one of the Alderman doesn't have a relative ideally suited for the job of City Clerk......
- Lou, Bedford

I can't figure out why the tax payers of Manchester should be subsidizing transplanted Massachusetts residents so they can go to Boston to work and pay income taxes to Massachusetts. If you want to make the money they pay in Mass then either move back or drive a whole 9 miles to the Londonderry park and ride.
- Russ, Manchester

Manchesters finest fiscal conservitive's.
Heat and empty building and spend $10,000. a month.
AIG needs some great minds like the Mayor and Alderman.
Vote them all out, "November 09"
Stan Howser
- Stan Howser, Manchester,NH

$9,000 per month could buy:

At least one police officer or
At least one fireman or
sidewalk repairs or
sidewalk curbing or
pothole repairs or
Replacement windows for schools (to save money on heating fuel) or
...

Fortunately, our city does not need any of these and we have money to throw away - so we can blow $10k/month on a bus station that has so little traffic it can't support itself.

Brilliant.
- Peter, Manchester, NH

Any prospective tenent has probably already concluded a basic reality of the existing bus station. It is that an established bus operator (Concord Coach) bailed out of the location post haste. If the particular location, and the downtown Manchester market, was that lucrative then I'd be willing to bet that Concord Coach would've stayed.

Why would anyone want to run a bus station when a bus operator doesn't want to run it???

Why does the city feel that only 97 passengers a day warrant the expense of 10 grand a month? If the city terminal wasn't getting more passangers then that with the recent $4-a-gallon gas prices then when would it?

If this service is so essential to the economic vitality of the city then Why isn't the slumping Manchester Transit Authority jumping at the oportunity to offer service to the beautiful new transportation complex in Londonderry?? To me if the city of Manchester really wants, or needs, service to Boston then this should work. I personally think the powers that be (MTA, Board of Aldermen) know it's a loser and want to stay away.

I think this issue is somewhat egocentric as Manchester, the large city, is losing to Londonderry, the small town. To this I say get over it. In any case Manch still has the airport which is were the real money is.
- JSF, Manch

10 grand to keep that bus station open! Are you crazy? Who's idea was this?
Weren't alternatives considered? How about Flightline driving those few people down to Londonderry's new bus depot?
Unbelievable how the city is able to spend that kind of money on this, while other items lack funding.
I hope my street gets plowed this Winter!
- Fred Norris, Manchester

Why is the City paying $598 a week to Aramark for janitorial services, why can not this work be done by the highway and maintenance department?
$598 a week that is $2392 a month and that adds up to $28,704 a year for janitorial services.
$28,704 a year for janitorial services for a idle bus station and it is ridiculous because this is just a tip of the iceberg of gross wastage and mismanagement in Manchester.
Tax payers have been cutting back our household expenses in response to the current economic crisis in the Country but it is business as usually for the City of Manchester.
The City of Manchester needs to hire independent auditors and accountants to help overhaul the City's budget and help remove all wastage of tax payers money.
by a Fuming tax payer in the "inner City"
- JD Williams, Manchester

Along the lines of what Lisa had to say, how much would it cost to run a city bus or van to Londonderry a couple of times in the AM and then again a couple of times between 7 and 9 PM?

Or what about a contract with Flightline for those runs?

Can't believe it would be 10K for either.

Too bad the Executive Council approved the sweetheart deal with Boston Express without requiring them to maintain service in Manchester. The largest city in the state left without full service to the largest city in New England? When Concord, Portsmouth and Nashua all have it?

Great job folks! Where was the Wiz on this? Maybe he voted against it?
- Hank, Amherst, NH

You're loving this aren't you Lisa?
- Martin, Manchester

I've only heard about the search for a new tenant in the Union Leader articles that have discussed it. I've always been confused whether the city is asking potential tenants to run a business inside a bus station or to run a bus station. So I found the Request for Proposal on the city website (the only page or document that references the topic). I've included the link to the document at the end of this post.

Based on this RFP, the only people I can imagine being interested in leasing the building would be another bus company. That would be ideal, but it seems unlikely, since the city is looking for a tenant to replace one that just left.

The city suggests the space might be suitable for a coffee shop or a convenience store. But starting a business under any market conditions is risky. Throw in the current environment and the risk of maintaining and growing a bus station business - which virtually no one will have experience with - and you must ask why would anyone bother? Why not just lease an empty restaurant store front on Elm St?

Another transportation company is the ideal fit, but the city needs to be creative and proactive in identifying and approaching candidates; they will not come to you. Why not promote the site to the taxi companies in the city or to companies interested in expanding into the city? Or Flight Line? Or a UPS store, who would have some expertise in and could add value to the courier express service? Why not a courier service, for that matter?

The city should also consider different arrrangements, such as continuing to maintain the station itself while leasing space inside to a business to defray the cost. That eliminates the risk not associate with running the business itself. Then it becomes a very attractive opportunity for potential tenants (high foot traffic, security, etc), which would likely increase the rent the city could charge.

Even its current vision - finding an entrepreneur to take up residence and run the operation - may be viable if the city does more to reduce the unknowns and risks involved. It should run the numbers for various types of business, including the costs and revenues from the bus station side, which few business people will be able to do on their own. This could be done in conjunction with SNHU, the Amoskeag Business Incubator, or UNH Manchester. Students could develop their own business plans to spur innovative solutions.

Without such actions, the most likely long term option for the bus station is to lie dormant and deteriorate. Or for the city to give up on having a bus station downtown.

http://manchesternh.gov/website/Portals/2/Departments/purchasing/FY09-050-29%20Bus%20Terminal%20Bid.pdf
- Rob Campbell, Manchester, NH

I vote we let the gang of eight take care of the place... oopss.. did I write VOTE?
- tom, manchester,nh

It's nice to see that the Quees City is flush with money. I am certain that the Mayor will not be complaining about revenue "shortfalls' in the coming moths. How's the snow removal budget Mr. Mayor? All set?
- gr chase, exeter

In a public forum, I expressed leasing out the station to a city cab company as a taxi stand. I also mentioned that the MTA could sell it's own monthly passes at that location instead of using the bus drivers or having to hike over to the office at Gas St. I also mentioned of a shuttle service using a 'step saver' bus from the canal street loction to the Londonderry during upto 3 trips early in the morning and a few trips in the evening for a start. These round trips would cost about as much, thus provide some serivce to those needing it. It was just one solution I offered, I am sure others have a few too. Maybe next election we can get some real problem solvers on the aldermanic board?
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester

For ten grand a month I'll sit down there with a 44 caliber pistol, a night stick and a swab, night and day.
- John Krats, Manchester, NH

10Gs a month. It would be cheaper for the city to provide cab fare to the Londonderry facilities for the few riders that are left to get them on the bus there. Think outside the box people.
- Lisa, Londonderry

I'm surprised they put the bus station there to begin with. They should have left well enough alone and kept it up on Chestnut St where it was next to the cadillac motel. It's way to small and I doubt wether any business would survive there given that the only times it would get used would be early morning or later in the day and even then most people would be going home for supper not to eat or shop for a few sundries and it would be a ghost town during the day. Given the fact that there's only a few parking spaces half of which would be gone with employee parking it sounds like a nightmare on canal st.

there's a reason why concord coach moved out, reasonably direct quick access to I-93. theres no easy answer for manchester's ills other than poor management and lack of vision.
its just citizen unfriendly and its been like that for almost 3 decades.
it doesn't look like the 4th will be much better.
- Jack Alex, Manchester

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"The bus station to nowhere"
The NH Union Leader, Editorial, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008

Manchester taxpayers irate over their brand new 4.7 percent property tax increase have another reason to be upset. The city is throwing away $10,000 a month -- on purpose. Which might help explain why taxes just went up nearly 5 percent.

Concord Coach stopped serving Manchester's downtown bus station this month. Boston Express, a Concord Coach affiliate, now offers six trips a day from the station. Travelers cannot even buy tickets inside the station because there are no sales clerks. They have to get tickets in advance. The building is just a hollowed out shell providing shelter for the few remaining travelers.

But instead of closing it, the geniuses at City Hall decided to keep it open at a cost of $10,000 a month. Mayor Frank Guinta and Economic Development Director Jay Minkarah say the station should stay open so Boston Express customers don't have to wait for the bus in the cold. You know, like everyone who waits at all the open-air city bus stops does.

That's an enormous expense for a station that handles only six trips a day. Don't think people should have to stand outside for the bus like every child who rides the bus to school does? Fine. Alderman Ted Gatsas suggested closing the bus terminal and moving the stop one block up the road to the city's welcome center on Elm Street. Commuters could wait inside the welcome center at no extra cost to the city.

But no, city leaders decided it would make more sense to spend $10,000 a month to keep the old bus terminal open instead of sending commuters to the already open and paid for building one block away.

With this kind of decision-making at City Hall, it's no wonder the taxpayers get walloped year after year after year.
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READERS' COMMENTS:
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Go figure, Joe Kelley loving an editorial that goes against Guinta, lol...this man serious needs to drop his grudge against the mayor and every city leader HE thinks is wrong; its getting a little childish. Lets put it this way, after catching bits and pieces of his "talk show" week after week, I highly doubt that he could develop any better ways to take care of any situation at city hall. But hey, I guess every kingdom needs its jester and Manchester is no different, so keep on complaining Joe..keep on complaining...
- Chris King, Manchester, New Hampshire

I think this is one of the best written editorials I have read. This editorial isn't about Gatsas, its about wasting ten grand a month. I agree with Mr. Sorrentino, 10,000 per month? How about shoveling some of that to the soup kitchen or city welfare? The economy is getting bad and we are going to have to save money and spend it keeping families off the streets. Good job to the writer of this editorial, right on the money with this one. Just more dumb ideas coming out of City Hall, no real leaders and just plain foolishness week after week.
- joekelly, manchester

It's amazes me that the largest city in the state of NH doesn't have a sucessfully operated city bus terminal. With that said, I think it's a viable idea to get the terminal staffed by volunteer elderly. That terminal is necessity during the cold months of the year for traveler's who may have 2 to 3 hours for the next bus as opposed to the half to three quarter hours wait for regular city bus routes. It's too bad the city couldn't lease or rent the terminal to a cab company that could also act as a ticket agent for the bus companies to sell tickets for the bus companies.
- Rob, Manchester

With this group of city leaders having brought up a "tax cap" in the past, I hope it will not be brought up again.

With this wasteful spending taking place, I would assume they not dare take money away from the city employees, such as police, fire and teachers, that work so hard everyday to keep this city running smoothly.
- Shauna, Manchester

Given the sterling performance of the bureaucratic bunglers regarding this transportation "crisis", I look forward to the three-ring production that is sure to result in their "handling" of nationalized healthcare.

(Cue circus music.....Now, send in the clowns!)
- Mike P., Manchester

This rag should stop embarrassing itself. First it praised Gatsas when he used one time funds and over estimated budgets to craft a budget that doesn't effectively cut taxes. Now it praises him although he voted to keep the station open.
- mike conway, manchvegas

Union Leader Editorial Gets the Facts Wrong...Again.

Hey Drew or whoever wrote this editorial...check the board meeting minutes. Gatsas voted to keep the station open in November while the Mayor supported the staff recommendation to close the station and keep the site as bus staging area only.

Waste of money, yes. Blame Guinta and Minkarah, no.

Pretty shoddy reporting if you ask me.
- Seth Connors, Manchester, NH

What aren't we doing because we're doing this?...

$9,000 per month could buy:

At least one police officer or
At least one fireman or
sidewalk repairs or
sidewalk curbing or
pothole repairs or
Replacement windows for schools (to save money on heating fuel) or
...

Fortunately, our city doesn't need any of these and has money to burn - so we can blow $10k/month on a bus station that has so little traffic it can't support itself.

Brilliant.
- Peter Sorrentino, Manchester

Have any of you been in that station lately? $10,000 a month to maintain it and keep it open. What a waste of money. Think outside the box here. It would be cheaper to to provide cab fare to those who need a ride to Londonderry to catch the bus to Boston than to keep the station open.
- Jen, Manchester

The one problem facing the idea Alderman Gatas has is this. Many times I have gone there while using the MTA and the place is closed. Not only that, locked up tight so no one can even use the restrooms if needed? The reason for this is that a group of senior volunteers staff the place during the daylight hours. Sometimes there isn't enough seniors to staff the place it and it is left empty. Spending $10,000 is just as foolish. The MTA could have provided staff already on payroll to man the canal street station, it only takes two. They could help sell monthly passes to those who need them as well as using it for a place out of the cold for the handicap who need to catch the MTA buses in their wheelchairs. Another example I mentioned in a past public forum was to lease it out to a taxi company as a taxi stand. The buses both MTA and Coach could still use the station. The taxi company could have paid a reduced lease which would have covered the maintance on the building. Poor choices and poor planning needs to go, not the services to the citizens of this city. If the aldermen take out their ear plugs they might just hear the citizens offering up ideas that just might work. Start the emails flowing...it costs nothing to send.
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester

"smooooch"- The sound of the Union Leader removing its lips from Alderman Gatsas' derier!
- James Price, Manchester NH

Ok, I'm all about fiscal conservation, but perhaps there is a little more to the situation than the Union Leader is recognizing. Knowing our mayor who has done everything in his power to keep taxes down and not to waste money, I am sure that if it was possible, he would have that empty station shut down rather than wasting money.

However, lets look at it this way. The city has to get a tenant for the space and in order to do that, they need to keep the station rentable, so you need to keep people from breaking in, breaking the glass windows, vandalizing, extra, so regardless if people were waiting at the station or not, the city would have to pay for security until the could get a tenant. They also would be still having to pay to have the heat at some sort of level to keep the pipes from freezing as well as other regular upkeep. I'm sure that this alone is where a lot of money is going towards and regardless if people were going to be using it as a bus stop or not, this cost would still be necessary.

Like i said, I hate wasting money, but I'm sure there is more of an explanation than trying to make it sound like the city is just trying to waste money. Just flipping out and writing an editorial making it sound like our mayor and other city leaders aren't smart enough to figure something out is irresponsible reporting at its best.
- Ben Thomas, Manchester, New Hampshire

Why does the Union Leader suck up to Gatsas, whi screwed up and constructed a faulty budget with Lopez and constantly slam Guinta on stupid stuff? I really don't get it.
- Chris King, Manchester

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"Bus stop blues: A round trip editorial"
The NH Union Leader, Editorial, 11/20/2008

A Wednesday editorial on Manchester's downtown bus station gave an incomplete picture of the decision to keep the station open at a cost of $10,000 a month.

Mayor Frank Guinta was an early advocate of closing the bus station once Concord Coach's lease expired. He tried to get aldermen to vote that way. On Oct. 21, they voted 10-4 to approve Guinta's request and close the station. But then Alderman Ted Gatsas asked his colleagues to reconsider the vote, which they did. They voted 9-5 to keep the station open. They then voted 9-5 to use economic development funds to pay for the operation of the station.

So although Alderman Gatsas has since suggested a cheaper alternative, he was the alderman most responsible for keeping the station open, and it was his motion to use one-time economic development money to pay for it.

Mayor Guinta and Economic Development Director Jay Minkarah wanted the station closed from the start. Aldermen gave Guinta two options: keep the station open without Manchester Transit Authority staff or with them. Guinta chose the cheapest option available -- keeping the station open without staff. Had his advice been heeded, the city wouldn't be throwing away $10,000 a month to keep open a bus station for six trips a day.
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Readers' COMMENTS:
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Close the bus station and use the money to benefit the majority of the Manchester citizens rather than just a few. Manchester's Board of Mayor and Aldermen (notice I included the Mayor) colectively have no more of an idea of how to properly run our city government than the Union Leader knows about correctly reporting events and neither can handle criticism, I am very surprised that the daily has allowed the comments on this story, usually they find some excuse to censor any negative comments about some of their off the wall opinions. Manchester is being hosed by it's leaders because they are more interested in next year's election results than the well being of us voters. I also find interesting watching Ted Gatsas flip flopping from one stand to another and yet his Senate district just sent him back to do more of it.
- Richard L. Fortin, Manchester

Pat, you're confusing two issues. If kids have to walk 1.1 miles to school, that's a good thing. Just look at the child obesity rate in this country. Walking will do them good.
- Bob, Manchester

Spending $10,000 is still wrong, it would be nice if some of that $10,000 went to transporting those school children at the apartment complex on silver St. 1.1 miles to walk to school when is below zero weather is plain wrong. This is low income housing and while I am sure the kids have winter jackets, will they be of the LL Bean quality that they need on those cold days? When you don't have money to spare you have to skimp everywhere. Where is the equity in this City? Talk about sending a message that those families have no value... not a nice message to send. If this City can foot 120,000 a year for commuters to Boston, it should be able to come up with the $26,000 to bus those children.
- Pat, Manchester, nh

To Les in Manchester:

The Derryfield Country Club is an excellent example of why we don't want the city running the restaurant. The private operator of the restaurant/nightclub is running a fine business there with a portion of the profits going to the city.

On the other hand the city is running the golf operations at Derryfield CC. As a golfer I can tell you that the golf course is one of the worst, if not the worst, maintained in the Manchester area. The course is a real dump and overpriced at that. Furthermore there doesn't seem to be any plan in place to fix the course.

But for some reason golfers keep teeing off there. I bet in no small part because of the outstanding operations of the privately run restaurant and lounge.
- JSF, Manch

Now the UL might try revisiting its Fairpoint takeover editorial. Remember...this phone company was going to be great for NH with really, really 'fast" copper line speeds? Well, it appears on the brink of bankruptcy now and Comcast has taken a chunk of its market share, as predicted. I scratch my head at some of the editorials I see here...the facts are all around to be researched on a variety of subjects and yet it appears someone just whips something together on deadline and calls it an "editorial."
- Cathy, Derry

Hmmm. Is this a correction or an editorial? It looks like a correction, but it's listed under editorials.

Maybe it’s an editorial on the fact that the Union Leader’s reporting has diminished to the extent that the editors are so uninformed that they can’t write a knowledgeable editorial.

Maybe it’s time to get back to reporting 101, which, just in case the editors don’t know, is different from propagandizing 101.

The city's behavior is pathetic, this Union Leader 'editorial' is beyond pathetic.
- Peter Sorrentino, Manchester, NH

Huh?...who the heck wrote this? I don't like the idea of spending money on a bus station either, but get real people...has it really come to this. If we want to put the whole thing under a microscope, start with the Derryfield golf course. Whose palms are getting greased on the restaurant/nightclub lease at that place. If the city took over the operations at Derryfield, we could probably fund all bus services and all parks/recreation. But that would be thinking out of the box and would also probably violate some "good ole boy" agreement.
- Les, Manchester

See, this is what I thought the situation was, so that's why I really didn't understand why the previous editorial in yesterday's paper made it sound like Guinta was in favor of wasting money on keeping the station open. Throughout his entire tenure as mayor, Guinta has taken any avenue possible to save the taxpayers money, so the Union Leader should have realized this and done a little more research before printing an editorial saying otherwise. I hope this is a lesson learned. However, at least they posted a retraction in today's paper.
- Ben Thomas, Manchester

Its nice to see that the UL has the courage to swallow its pride, recognize when it was wrong, and print the truth. Congrats Union Leader for having the courage to reprint the true story.
- Chris King, Manchester, New Hampshire

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"Wishful thinking: How the city budget is made"
NH Union Leader, Editorial, 1/15/2009

Manchester's budget has a nearly $2 million deficit, according to the city finance officer. How did it get that way? Let's just say that the folks in charge of creating the budget failed to let reality have much of an effect on their revenue projections last year.

For starters, the budget aldermen approved last year included a proposed downtown parking plan that did not yet exist. Aldermen budgeted revenue from Parking Manager Brandy Stanley's plan -- before they approved the plan. The final parking plan wound up different from the proposal, and it produced less money than aldermen had budgeted.

Then there was the issue of automobile registrations. This is an issue every year. Aldermen come up with a goal and ask the tax collector if reaching it is possible. City Tax Collector Joan Porter said that she always says yes unless the proposed figure is "way out of the realm of possibility." That means auto registration revenue numbers are usually inflated, sometimes by a ridiculous amount.

In this fiscal year, auto registrations are down significantly. The mayor had projected an increase of $235,000 in auto registration revenue, and the aldermen raised that figure another $200,000, based on nothing but wishful thinking. That stunt alone might have caused $1.4 million of the $1.9 million deficit.

In the business world, there are consequences for producing grossly unrealistic budgets. In Manchester government, the only consequence seems to be re-election. With a $1.9 million deficit and a people fed up with tax increases, maybe that will finally change in this election year.

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READERS' COMMENTS:

sam, what are you talking about? Who is driving around in "elaborate vehicles"???? I must be missing something.
- bob, manchester, NH

what is going on with the city dollars. With have high paid City Officials employeses driving around in elaborate vehicles. These are used personally to go shopping, out to dinner, play golf and visit family. Who pays for the gas. Start cutting the fat cow
- sam, nh

Are there any non partisan grassroots efforts to communicate to the citizens of Manchester the real record of these Aldermen? Frankly I am tired of seeing taxes increase while spending is not controlled. My family is making cuts across the board - who is helping me out? Why is it the ones that pay the majority of taxes (property) are the only ones told to sacrafice more?
Let me know of any grassroots movements to give these fiscally irrepsonsible Aldermen their walking papers.
- HB, Manchester

These wishful thinking alderman need to go! I understand that nobody has a crystal ball and cannot see what the future holds. I also understand that estimations are a part of the formula when budgeting. But this budget deficit would be very small if they would not have been irresponsible by using unrealistically inflated auto registration revenue projections, used revenue projections for non-existent parking plans, or overestimated revenue projections from building permit fees like from the Jac Pac plans when nothing was set in stone! Mayor Guinta’s projections were more in line with reality yet he was criticized and demonized by the liberal tax and spenders who proposed this very budget that has produced this deficit! When will they realize especially in this economy, that the taxpayers’ pockets have limits and some have either reached or surpassed those limits!
- Rob, Manchester

I agree with John II, I am not for higher taxes at all but people who sit here and act like the aldermen are doing this for their own benefit are crazy. My question to the people who say cut cut cut is, are you going to be whining even more when you want a simple city service that you believe is owed to you and you can't get it because it was cut from the budget???
- Eric, Manchester, NH

To Greg of Manchester who wrote; "Anyone who thinks this state can keep taxes low and services high to moderate is out of touch with reality." We are facing a 1.9 million deficit in Manchester even though taxes have risen since the last reevaluation. With the last one of 4.7% increase, what services have you seen maintained or improved with it? There has to be a balance of services while maintaining a tax rate that is also kept in check. Our Mayor showed a budget with no tax increase, yet city services were maintained not decreased. Again the aldermen vetoed his budget to have their own. Not best way to represent the people in their wards, in this readers opinion of course. So in closing, yes it can be done within reality.
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester

The majority of blame for budget deficits - on all levels of government, is owed directly to the majority of people in America who believe that things they want should be paid for by other people.

No one can get elected if they don't give the majority of people what they want - regardless of whether there is money for it or not.
- John II, Manchester

The Mayor needs to look at his spending
- Sam, Manchester, NH

Keeping service levels at a "good level" and keeping the tax rate "Low" is an oxymoron. Anyone who thinks this state can keep taxes low and services high to moderate is out of touch with reality.
- Greg, Manchester

None of this is news to the tax payers. None of this is news to the people who whatch the BMA meetings and listen to their ridiculous rationalizations. The economic forecast was just as clear as it is now, during last budget season. Yet they continued to gouge us. Many of us were already cutting back and watching our spending as our aldermen raised taxes.
- Mark L, Manchester

With the economy where it is, do you honestly think we can afford another two years of aldermen who will spend us out of house and home? The people of Manchester are smart enough to vote in a mayor who cares about the taxpayer, but for some reason they are stupid enough to constantly vote in aldermen who would tax us to death. WHY!?!?
- Shannon Lee, Manchester, New Hampshire

Would it seriously kill the Union Leader to name the names of those aldermen who are responsible? Some readers who read this editorial and don't follow Manchester politics that much will think that the blame falls at the hands of Mayor Guinta or some of the few fiscally conservative aldermen, which is as far from the truth as possible.

The Union Leader loves to complain about fiscal irresponsibility in Manchester, but they never actually direct that blame towards those whom are responsible by calling them out by name. I do notice that the writer of this editorial says "aldermen" and not "mayor and aldermen," so they are correctly placing the blame on the aldermen and not the mayor, however it would be a heck of a lot more helpful if they would call out Lopez, O'Neil, or some of the other spend happy aldermen rather than just directing it towards the entire board. Then the Union Leader might actually do some good by helping to inform voters of exactly who not to vote for this November!
- Greg Ballard, Manchester

See, here is the problem. Lopez and Gatsas' budget (which was the one that was passed) was produced by some good ol' fuzzy math. It might have looked great in theory, but even then everyone said that it was insane to expect the amount of money from the Jac Pac deal that Lopez and Gatsas had based their budget around.

This budget's failure can be solely blamed on these two individuals. I agree with Mr. Tarr, we seriously need to clean house with regards to a majority of the sitting aldermen in order give the mayor a hand. Lopez, Smith, Devris, O'Neil, and Roy all need to go.
- Ben Thomas, Manchester, New Hampshire

This recession by economist experts said it started in October of 2007. As according to the Manchester Express question in their newspaper on 11/01/07 asking; "What is the most important job of a Ward Alderman". One alderman running for re-election wrote; "To keep our children well educated, our seniors safe as well as 'keeping our tax' and crime 'rate down' to make Manchester a better place to live along with my wards infrastructure. Then after the election during the last budget cycle, the alderman (who was re-elected) was quoted in the Union Leader saying; "I can live with a 4-5% tax increase." This reader asks; "How is that keeping the taxes down??" Guess it's time to rethink re-electing those who said one thing and did another. Time for a new team to help our Mayor and Manchester move forward when so much is on the table, don't you think?
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester

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The Manchester Express, January 26 - February 1, 2009, Volume 4, No. 5, OPINION Page

"The revenue buck stops at City hall"

To the Editor,

The editorial in the Thursday, Jan. 15, New Hampshire Union Leader chastising the aldermen for inflated revenue projections was short on facts. Under our City Charter, it is the mayor who is responsible for revenue projections. At the end of the budget process, there are only two people in city government who certify revenue numbers to the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) that this department uses to set the tax rate – the mayor and finance officer. The aldermen have NO role in this process. When the budget process is turned over to the aldermen, they have no authority to substitute revenue projections without the mayor’s approval. While there is enough blame to go around on this issue, the buck stops ultimately only in one place at City Hall. That is the lesson anyone who serves as mayor of this city should learn very quickly.

Bob Baines
Manchester, N.H.
The writer served as Mayor of Manchester from 2000 to 2006.

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"A $2.4 billion wish list"
By MICHAEL COUSINEAU, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, 2/8/2009

~In Part~

Greater Manchester, NH

Manchester initially drew up a list of $195.5 million in projects, from new lockers at McDonough School to new artificial turf at Manchester High School West. That list was pared to about $153 million for projects that would be shovel-ready in the next 12 to 24 months, according to Sean Thomas, senior policy adviser for Mayor Frank Guinta. The city estimates more than 1,300 jobs would be created, not counting the school projects.

The Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, which had $12.5 million in projects in the city's list, also could receive stimulus funds from the Federal Aviation Administration, Thomas said.

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"City tax rate up 2.9%"
The New Hampshire Union Leader (Online), Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MANCHESTER – Homeowners in Manchester will see a tax increase this year, but at least it won't be a surprise.

The state Department of Revenue Administration set the city's tax rate at $17.85 per $1,000 of home valuation.

The rate means taxpayers will see a 2.9 percent tax increase -- exactly as aldermen predicted when they approved this year's city budget in May.

Consequently, the owner of a $225,000 home will have to pay an extra $112 in property taxes this year.

The rate could have been higher than it was, according to information provided by City Finance Officer Bill Sanders. The state determined the aldermen's revenue projections were too high. Revenues are now projected to come in $1.7 million below the board's expectations.

Those losses, however, were offset by several factors, including a drop in county property taxes and a $28-million increase in the city's assessed property values.
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READERS' COMMENTS

It is just fuzzy math. If they lowered the assessed values then they would have to increase the tax percentage to make up for the difference. As a tax payer it will never end unless everyone votes down for all these extras that everyone wants the government to provide you.
- Joel, New Boston

James Keane, Manchester, NH, I think you missed math class.

If your property dropped in value it's likely everyone elses property did too. So, if the city still needs to collect the same amount of money you don't pay less in taxes. The NH advantage makes sure the money comes from property owners.

Similarly, when reevaluation increases property values the tax rate drops and you pay the same in taxes factoring out for any tax increase voted in.
- Mike, Manchester

Ted from Manchester, you hit the nail on the head with your comment. The problem of businesses leaving is not limited to Manchester; rather it is a statewide problem. When businesses look at the NH tax structure they often choose an alternate location. It disgusts me that the socialist commonwealth of MA has a more business friendly environment than we do. NH could be a leader in Biotechnology, Clean Energy and other high tech high paying sectors.

Wouldn't you rather NH lead the economic recovery with new high paying jobs? It is only a pipedream until the State, cities and towns like Manchester realize attracting business should be one of the top priorities.
- Michael Layon, Derry

RIDICULOUS!!!!!! Why do our taxes keep going up when our property values have gone down drastically? I have lost $50k in value of my home due to the current economic crises and you tell me my taxes are going up AGAIN?!?! For the third year in a row!!!!! Get it together Mayor, something is NOT right in happy valley!
- James Keane, Manchester, NH

It is funny that we are having a 2.9% increase when the schools budget decreased this year. It really is a good thing that you all voted in a tax cap to keep spending in control. Where is the increased funds going? Can't wait to see how next year's budget goes with all the wonderful thing that you my neighbors keep voting for?!
- Katherine, Manchester

If it wasn't for the massive CUTS that the schools took-this would be higher! Six million dollars cut on the school side was slid over to give to the city side!
- JimC, Ward2 Manchester

This is what happens when businesses are leaving Manchester. The homeowners face increase tax burdens. You can alll rant and rave about over paid city workers, school buget, alderman, democrats, republicans and Guinta but the fact is until Manchester becomes more business friendly its going to get worse. Manchester's commercial tax base in dwindling. Businesses are not coming to Manchester. The word is out how bad the city is to deal with if you are a business owner. The planning department will drag their feet until you go away and if they do anything it will cost you a small fourtune. They are the most difficult bunch of slugs you could ever want to deal with. Then once you are in business then the selective harrassment starts. Manchester needs commercial tax base and nobody at City Hall wants to make it right. Thats why I am moving my business and 35 employees to Derry.
- Ted, Manchester

Well isn't that nice. So what do I get for that extra $112 a year besides a house that is worth $60,000 under the assessment?
- Adam, Manchester

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Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas delivers his budget address at City Hall in Manchester last night. (DAVID LANE)
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"Gatsas calls for 0.39 percent tax rise"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, March 30, 2010

MANCHESTER – Taxes would rise a fraction of a percent this year under a $300-million city budget proposal that bears the stamp of approval of both the mayor and the city aldermen.

The proposal calls for a .39 percent increase in property taxes. For most homeowners, the difference would amount to less than $20 come tax time.

"I want every taxpayer to know I don't make this recommendation lightly," Gatsas said during last night's budget address, his first as mayor. "But I stand here before you this evening and I tell you we have left no stone unturned."

Gatsas vowed to keep trying to chip away at the tax rate, projected at $17.92 per $1,000 of valuation, over the coming weeks. The proposal will have a public hearing April 7 in City Hall, and Gatsas said he hopes to see the aldermen approve it the following week.

Aldermen, by and large, have already embraced the proposal, citing assurances from city department heads that it provides the resources needed to maintain city services.

Officials said they anticipate no layoffs or furloughs, though several department heads have said they would be forced to keep a few positions vacant over the course of the year.

The Fire Department, for instance, would maintain seven vacancies, Chief James Burkush said. Still, the department would continue to keep 50 firefighters on duty at all times, "which is the optimal that I want," Burkush said.

One department head who confessed to feeling some uncertainty was the library director, Denise van Zanten. The proposal cuts the library's budget $31,000, while at the same time, the department is slated to absorb $85,000 in salary increases.

Van Zanten said she hopes no one will be laid off, but she couldn't rule it out.

The school district, meanwhile, would see its budget grow 1.6 percent, to $148.7 million. The increase allows the district to add 12 new teachers to its current roster of approximately 1,100, and to hire an additional assistant superintendent to work alongside the district's two top administrators.

"It's not only a workable budget, it's a responsible budget for the school district," Alderman At-Large Dan O'Neil said.

O'Neil said the mayor and aldermen did "absolutely everything we could do" to keep the tax rate from going up. Under the proposal, the median homeowner in Manchester, with a property valued at $237,500, would pay about $17 more in property taxes than he or she did last year.

"In order to maintain the high level of services for the people of the city, that's what's needed," O'Neil said.

Gatsas said the city would need to find another $700,000 in savings, give or take, to keep taxes flat.

"I think it can be done," he said in his speech. "I'm not willing to say it can't."

Gatsas had promised the document unveiled last night would be not just a mayor's proposal, but a "city" budget proposal, representing months of collaboration between himself, the aldermen and department heads. Aldermen took turns presenting portions of the proposal last night, with speaking roles going to 10 out of the 14.

The proposal weaves together a patchwork of cost cuts and revenue boosters. It benefits from hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings from new agreements with contractors, as well as millions of federal stimulus dollars.

It also strips funding from a number of area non-profits, a fact that was causing some anxiety for at least one alderman.

"It's hard to believe they'll be able to fill (that) void," Alderman Betsi DeVries said.

Gatsas cast his proposal in light of the difficulties facing other U.S. cities, many of which are "talking about layoffs and tax hikes that reach far beyond the Consumer Price Index," he said. He said the projected .39 percent tax increase is "significantly less than the rate of inflation," which he pegged at 2.1 percent.

Gatsas said the city is running a surplus this year and will be able to funnel $500,000 into its "rainy day" fund, "which is unheard of in today's economy," he said.
-
READERS' COMMENTS:

Lets all quit our jobs and go on welfare.. I see alot of that going on, why be a productive member of society when they screw us in taxes. Oh by the way who ever voted for Gatsas are morons
- John K., Manchester

Well, it could be worse and we all know that.
Death and Taxes, no way out.
Mayor Gatsas, you did a good job for Manchester.
- Betty, Manchester

$20 increase? Oh well, one less thirty-pack for me over the course of the year.

Guess I'll have to make due.
- Ed, Manchester

JaKe, Manchester:

Dems don't lie? Blah ha ha ha ha! Oh...and you can pay my taxes too!
- Uncle Salty, Londonderry

I would have prefered taxes to go DOWN $20, but I'll trust that Ted did his best to look for cuts and savings. Better than raiding rainy day funds to balance the budget on an illegitimate basis, like he and his fellow Democrat Aldermen did in previous years.
- James T., Manchester

I'm amazed by the amount of negative responses surrounding a $20 average tax increase. While Manchester is not perfect, the city looks better than it did in the past.

Based on Mike Johnson's response that the city needs to "re-access" property values; and Heather's response describing city "vehicals", it's painfully obvious that any tax increase should be directed toward education!

Also, for Steven in Bedford, stay put and enjoy your skyrocketing taxes for schools that fail to meet the NCLB standards. You elitist Bedford residents can't buy your way to any better educational system despite your best funding efforts!
- Mike, Manchester

Our taxes just went up last year 2.2 %. Even though the mayor is asking for a .39 % increase $20.00 is alot in this kind of economy. If they want to save money the city should look at parking some of the city vechicals.
- Heather, Manchester

I would love to see my tax bill go up $20 every year. In thirty years that's only $600.
- Bob, Manchester

Uh, Christina, you don't have to be a resident of the City of Manchester to be an Employee of the City of Manchester. We pay the salary and benefits of non-resident employees too. I think it's that sense of entitlement of the municipal (and federal employees for that matter) that needs to be changed. In this economy, EVERYONE needs to cut back.
- Betsy, Manchester

How about this, why don't you just re access the value of all of our houses. I'm pretty sure the average property value has lost 20% in value, if not more - I don't even want to know.

That wont happen because the Cities will be bankrupt.

I love it! I live in the North End and we flip the tax bill for most of the city of Manchester, and down-town Bosnia has better roads then we do. Go down to the hood and their area gets squared away before any Neighborhood in the City.

I guess it pays to milk-out the system and be on Welfare.

TOTAL SCAM!!!
- MIke johnson, manchester nh

Do I like any tax increase...no

Do I prefer Ted's realistic, smokeless, transparent budget over that of any other budgets we have seen in 20 plus years...yes

Do I think that Ted is laying a foundation of responsible fiscal management that will lead to a 0% tax increase next year or a tax cut... YES

Give the man some time... geez
- Andrew, Mancheseter

To Ray in Manchester,

To answer your post, obviously I read the paper, hence the reason I posted here. Ray, you want nothing more than a Socialist governement, so move to the former USSR where it worked so well. You want to spread the wealth, well I disagree. You used my lame comment of why does Johnny get a cupcake when no one else can, well my man, its what happens in the USA, and if you work hard good things happen. But I am sure you just EXPECT good things to happen to you, by just reading your post. Pensions did not ruin the budget or the economy, it was the pure and simple GREEDY people who brought down the Housing market. So go ahead and blame the public workers for this mess, because you probably wouldn't want to take the blame anyways. Do I read the paper? What a silly comment, considering we are both posting on the UL comment board.
- Eric, Manchester

My dearest pkd from ward 7,

manchester's crime, homeless population, refugee population and general appearence (run down building, graffiti, ect) keeps young, well educated professional people from buying homes, paying taxes and living in manch vegas. You people get exactly what you pay for. Maybe your mayor and aldermen can get you people another federally funded halfway house for career criminals and sex offenders. It sounds so wonderful to live in the big city.
- steven, bedford

To steven, bedford
Fortunately I know many Bedford residents so I am aware that most are not the pretentious snob your post proves you to be.
Please stay away from our "dump."
- PKD, Ward 7

Hey Ted, NICE job. Now if we could only get the local high school bands to play in the Manchester parades. 1 step at a time I guess. It is embarrassing.
- Mike, Auburn

"Christina: you list impt city services (highway, schools, water, EPD), but not police. No wonder, crime is up!!! And the MPD chief and MOST MPD cops do NOT live in the city. Do your research." Ray, Manchester

Take a look at the MPD parking lot. Check out how many Mass plates there are. Oh, but wait, officers are officers because they want to protect "their" community. Yeah Right. They don't live here so how is it their community.
- Jeff, Manchester

Didn't take long for Gatsas to be a RINO
- Fuzzy Dunlop, Manchester

Mr Mayor one way to save money would be to stop doing 7 day a week trash pickup for downtown businesses. Make these establishments recycle as well. Most surrounding cities require these businesses get there own dumpster for trash, why should we be any different. Reduce costs don't increase our debt.
- Dan, Manchester

Is it just me or does he look very mobster like in this picture?
- Ben, Former Manchester Resident

Waaaa Waaaa - $20 is too much money to keep my city from going further down the toilet. Waaaa Waaaa.
- Art, Ex-Manchester

Well Mr. Mayor I see that you are once again increasing the school budget. Can we, the tax payers on the West Side, hope that our taxes will be going down since our high school (better known as the ghetto) is an absolute nut house? No decent child in that school wants to go to school, nor do they want to participate in school sports or activities. I certainly should not be paying the same taxes as the Central and Memorial districts.
- Bill, Manchester

Hey JR in Manchester.......maybe you need to freshen up on your math skills, get a clue!!

"I don't know who thinks that a .39 % raise in taxes is less than a $3.40 per $1,000 of evaluation, so let's spell it out. The average tax bill in Manchester is less than $4500. At .39%, the increase, on average is less than $20 (.0039 x 4500) If the average house in Goffstown is assessed at $200,000, the rise in cost would be $680 ($3.40 x 200). Don't like my evaluation guesstimate, then cut it in half and an increase of $340 is still 17 times higher"
Jill Manchester
- STeve, Goffstown

This is good news relative to the past few years of tax hikes. However, why not just make some small cuts so that Gatsas and the Aldermen can campaign on a tax cut? I can't imagine it would have been that hard to do.
- Glen, Manchester, NH

to ray from manchester.....why would any city employees want to live in manchester, its a dump. People can live where ever they want.....this is the usa not china.
- steven, bedford

Eric and Christina, do you read the paper?

Christina: you list impt city services (highway, schools, water, EPD), but not police. No wonder, crime is up!!! And the MPD chief and MOST MPD cops do NOT live in the city. Do your research.

Eric: padded pensions have been huge for years. Lynch is trying to save our tax dollars by insisting that cities and towns pay for the benefits they shower on their workers. (Knowing they'll put the brakes on, which will save us local tax dollars too). Why should anybody else in NH pay for the raises that Danny O'Neil gave Manchester unions? Using your lame comment, why does Johnny get a chocolate cupcake when no one else can.
- Ray, Manchester

June 2009: "As I visit families across the city they tell me they are concerned about their taxes and the cost of living."

We still are Teddy. This isn't helping.
- Floyd, Manchester

JR:

Steve in Goffstown's math is right:

$3.40 per $1000 valuation increase on a home worth $237,500=$807.50 tax increase per year.

A 0.39 % increase in Manchester's $17.92 per $1,000= .0039x17.92= 7 cents/$1000 valuation extra, which come to about the $17 per year bump the article cites for a home worth $237, 500!
- Kevin, Londonderry

I totally agree with chris from manchester. I am a ward 5 resident and I voted for bob tarr in november. Bob is all about the people who live in ward 5. Osborne is totally useless and he is all about himself and his close friends. When I asked him to fix sidewalks on wilson street he didn't. Instead he put in new sidewalks, along with curbing, in front of his house on cedar street. People like Osborne need to be voted out of office.....wake up people!
- santos gallo, manchester

JR, Maybe you should freshen up your math skills. Manchester's taxes will go up approx .07 per thousand next year. Steve from Bedford was saying his went up just this year by $3.40. It states right in the article that on a $237,500 assessed value that taxes would go up $17.
- Chris, Manchester

Send the bill reflecting the $20 tax increase to Mike Lopez seeing that he doesn't have a problem with such a minimal increase. If it is so minimal, maybe Mr. Lopez can foot the bill for everybody. this is the problem with people getting elected repeatedly. They tend to forget that at times when the economy is bad that people don't have the extra $20 kicking around. Then again, I guess people could forgo their cup of coffee at dunkin donuts for a couple of weeks for the same price.

Either way, an increase is an increase is an increase. They can couch it as "only" .039% increase but it is an increase none the less. You can dress up a pig, put lipstick on a pig but in the end, it is still a pig.
- Jeff, Manchester

LOL!!! 20 here 20 there. While I have no problem with the tax personally ( I like putting money into my home city). Wheres all the Republican windbags now? Tax increase? Vote Dem in November! At least they dont lie and tell you they dont want your money. Where is the outrage over this tax INCREASE now? Great Job Mayor Gatsas!! Nothing I wasnt expecting.
- JaKe, Manchester

Eric in Manchester hit the nail on the head.....if you want a pension, get a public job. BECAUSE only in the public sector do you get those cushy retirement benefits. I have been saving for retirement for decades. My pension is that when my money is gone, it's gone. I do not get a pension for life. AND, I had tried a few times to get a public job. I went through extensive interview processes only to find the jobs were given to someone's nephew or someone's wife. If you don't know someone who can get you in, it's almost impossible to get one of those jobs.
- Shirley, Manchester

The usual suspects are whining again. The mayor brings in a reasonable and realistic budget with no smoke and mirrors and people still cry foul out of ignorance.

Thomas decries the city employee and wants them treated like the private sector, but has no clue about how far these employees are behind in pay when times are good. Teachers who have masters degrees in math and science could do much better in the private sector when the economy is good than being in the education field. When the economy is booming Thomas will tell us that city employees have no right to complain because they should have chosen another profession, but when the economy cycles downward he cries rape. Really, do you think Tommy wants municipal employees getting raises that keep pace with private sector standards when jobs are plentiful? I don't think his ilk really want everyone treated the same.

For those of you who think that aldermen are "part time" employees, you too have no grasp on the hours of work that are spent on city business and the odd hours that are kept. their pay is minimal and health insurance is a good idea as compensation.

I don't know who thinks that a .39 % raise in taxes is less than a $3.40 per $1,000 of evaluation, so let's spell it out. The average tax bill in Manchester is less than $4500. At .39%, the increase, on average is less than $20 (.0039 x 4500) If the average house in Goffstown is assessed at $200,000, the rise in cost would be $680 ($3.40 x 200). Don't like my evaluation guesstimate, then cut it in half and an increase of $340 is still 17 times higher.

That's what's wrong with this forum. It's full of people who react before thinking. People cry about an average rise in taxes of a measly forty cents a week. Even after our increases of the past several years, Manchester is still one of the most responsibly run municipalities in the country. We enjoy one of the best tax situations in the state and rank well nationally and yet the Chicken Littles of the world still can't see the big picture.

Grow up you masses of the uninformed. Good job on the budget Mr Mayor.
- Jill, Manchester

The next priority I hope will be finding imaginative new ways to INCREASE the tax base and raise revenue from other sources besides the taxpayers. Manchester should look to models such as Providence where an expanded downtown core was key. Potential Manchester projects such as the AMAZING "Gaslight District" and areas north of Bridge St could be expanded for construction of an urban market and movie theatres. Let's also look at the disposal of city properties that are not needed which can raise funds and eliminate monies spent on their upkeep. THERE ARE WAYS and thankfully the mayor has already shown us he will entertain creative approaches.
- Greg Barrett, Manchester

Christina of Manchester wrote "Thomas, I would love to know where you think the municipal employees of Manchester live"

I'm not sure where all of them live, but the police chief lives in Bedford. I'm sure many other employees live in surrounding towns, and cities, as well. Paying for city services is one thing, over-paying for the service is another. Manchester is way out of balance with its spending, as the municipal side gets more money than it should. The employees are over-benefited, under worked, over paid, and the pension system is a crime. While the taxpayers of the community suffer, the public employees are having a party. It is time, time to stop the nonsense. November.. this November .. the Tea Party folks, the hard working stiffs of NH will rise up, elect sound, sensible reps who will start the process of returning NH to a state that is fiscally responsible.
- Thomas, Manchester, NH

There goes the theory that Republicans don't raise taxes...
- Dan, Manchester

how about cutting out health insurance for all the aldermen? Now that would be a big savings. part time employees should get no benefits...period! the only reason ed osborn is an alderman is to get the health insurance. he does nothing for the people of his ward. If you are not buying a hair transplant,weave or wig from Ed he won't even return your calls.
- chris, manchester

To all those crying about the "greedy city employees" ask this question. Didn't the city approach the unions about a contract extention? The city, our elected representatives, who we just re-elected, came up with this not the unions. Last year I paid about $11,000 in taxes on my two properties. I'm thankful my taxes have remained pretty close to that. The cost of all services has gone up more than the .39% this budget will go up. Thank you Mayor Gatsas and the aldermen for a very good budget this year. Thanks for looking out for the majority not the vocal minority who complain about everything.
- John, Manchester

Steve in Goffstown,

May I suggest you freshen up on your basic math skills? You say that Goffstown has it much worse and we should consider ourselves lucky? What you apparently do not realize is that $3.40 per $1000 is less than the new Manchester tax increase.
- JR, Manchester

The fact that taxes aren't dropping significantly after the ridiculous hikes in recent years has me left no longer feeling any support for Gatsas. I will not vote for him again in a primary, ever. We are in a recession, cannot pay our bills, and he is raising taxes - priority #1 should have been to do the opposite, and he could have. The fact that the alderman support his plan is proof enough.

Who is next in line for the GOP?
- JR, Manchester

Remember when we had a Mayor that never came in with a tax hike? Same Mayor who vetoed the last Gatsas Lopes tax hike of what 3%?
- Robert Belize, Manchester

I can't believe you guys are crying about a 0.39 percent tax increase??? What a bunch of babies!!! Lucky you don't live in Goffstown, our taxes went up by $3.40 per $1,000 try living with that! It is a very responsible budget with minimal increase, you are lucky now stop your crying!
- Steve, Goffstown

There should be a zero % tax increase, thats why I voted for Teddy Gatsas. Teddy should hold back on giving all those greedy city employees their cost of living pay increases and give us, the taxpayers, a zero % tax increase!
- walter, northend of manchester

Thomas, I would love to know where you think the municiple employees of Manchester live, pay taxes & retire? Let's get real here, you don't want to pay for city services, then leave the city. You like plowed streets, your pot holes filled, some one to pick up your trash, some one with an education to teach the cherubs (hah) you send to school, some one to make sure you have water, and some one to make sure your waste water gets disposed of. If you don't want to pay for all your cushy services, THEN MOVE. Municiple employees have mortgages and bills too.
- Christina, Manchester

OK So this whole "pensions need to go" thing is so stupid. No one gave two hoots about the public pensions when the economy was good, and when the public workers were making peanuts compared to everyone else. In 5 years it will be right back to status quo, but all you jealous people who are not fortunate enough to have a pension want to take that away. Why? Because of pure jealously. If you want a pension get a public job. Dont whine that its not fair because you dont get one, it makes it sound like you are back in the 3rd grade and little Johnny got a chocolate milk and you didn't.
- Eric, Manchester

The municipal employee wages/benefits/ and especially pensions needs to reduced dramatically. While the taxpayers of getting killed in the real economy, with lost jobs/health insurance increases/lost savings.. the municipal employees have been fat and happy. They work for "us". And they should not be treated in differently than the taxpayers who pay their salaries. Let's get real here... cut the waste, cut the wages, cut the pension ..
- Thomas, Manchester, NH

Good luck from the mememe, local 25....
- Dale A., Manchester

So I guess that I won't have the twenty dollars to start my "rainy day fund" again this year..maybe Mr. Lopez can start one for my family!
- Nancy, Manchester

Hey Ted, here's an idea: Cut your spending!

And I'm not talking about proposing a 10% increase, giving only 7% then saying you cut the budget by 3% (a common tactic in state and federal government, btw), I am talking about looking at what was spent last year and cutting THAT amount by a specific percentage.

But politicians have no guts.
- Jim D, Hillsboro

The municipal employee wages/benefits/ and especially pensions needs to reduced dramatically. While the taxpayers of getting killed in the real economy, with lost jobs/health insurance increases/lost savings.. the municipal employees have been fat and happy. They work for "us". And they should not be treated in differently than the taxpayers who pay their salaries. Let's get real here... cut the waste, cut the wages, cut the pension ..
- Thomas, Manchester, NH

Question for Scott or the Editor:

Before the $500,000 increase expected this year, how much money was already in the rainy day fund? It would be interesting to know the percentage by which the fund grew.
- Joseph, Manchester

Hey James, add your last name so I know its you that I WILL vote for. This city grabs enough money time to allow business growth in manch!
- Brent, manchester

Hey James, add your last name to the blog. If you run, I want to make sure I know its you Im not voting for.
The budget is extremely lean, in fact concerning to several departments, who will have to make every effort to meet it without cutting services.
I wonder James, do you even own a home?
- Frank, Manchester

Tax and spend Demo....er, Republicans!!!
- Billy The Kid, Manchester

If I was elected as alderman I would not have approved this increase. I would of wanted to see a 2 percent decrease in taxes.
- James, Manchester

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I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com

50th Anniversary - 2009

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John McCain and Barack Obama appeared together at ground zero in New York City - September 11, 2008.

John McCain...

John McCain...
...has all but abandoned the positions on taxes, torture and immigration. (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman. September 2008).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
The deregulated chickens come home to roost... in all our pocketbooks. September 2008.

Sarah Palin's phobia

Sarah Palin's phobia
A scripted candidate! (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
Family FInances - September, 2008.

Mark E. Roy

Mark E. Roy
Ward 1 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas
Ward 2 Alderman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Peter M. Sullivan

Peter M. Sullivan
Ward 3 (downtown) Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Jim Roy

Jim Roy
Ward 4 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Ed Osborne

Ed Osborne
Ward 5 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Real R. Pinard

Real R. Pinard
Ward 6 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

William P. Shea

William P. Shea
Ward 7 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Betsi DeVries

Betsi DeVries
Ward 8 Alder-woman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Michael Garrity

Michael Garrity
Ward 9 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

George Smith

George Smith
Ward 10 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Russ Ouellette

Russ Ouellette
Ward 11 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy
Ward 12 Alder-woman for Manchester, NH (2008).

“Mike” Lopez

“Mike” Lopez
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH. (2008).

Daniel P. O’Neil

Daniel P. O’Neil
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Sarah Palin for Vice President.

Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Republican John McCain made the surprise pick of Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today, August 29, 2008.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.
Congressman Olver said the country has spent well over a half-trillion dollars on the war in Iraq while the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. 8/25/08.

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!
John Kerry's 9/2008 challenger in the Democratic Primary.

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion
In a tax revolt, Massachusetts farmers fought back during Shays' Rebellion in the mid-1780s after The American Revolutionary War.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore
Actress. "The Big Lebowski" is one of my favorite movies. I also like "The Fugitive", too.

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"
Go to: http://www.berkshirefatherhood.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=699&cntnt01returnid=69

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
The gap between rich and poor has widened substantially in Massachusetts over the past two decades. (8/15/2008).

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley
"The Bosley Amendment": To create tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporate interests in Massachusetts!

John Edwards and...

John Edwards and...
...Rielle Hunter. WHO CARES?!

Rep. Edward J. Markey

Rep. Edward J. Markey
He wants online-privacy legislation. Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan
She gained fame with her antiwar vigil outside the Bush ranch.

Olympics kick off in Beijing

Olympics kick off in Beijing
Go USA!

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall
In this May 1, 2008, file photo, a customer pumps gas at an Exxon station in Middleton, Mass. Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, July 31, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares fell as markets opened. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File) 7/31/2008.

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'
Some kind of monster on Onota Lake. Five-year-old Tyler Smith rides a 'sea serpent' on Onota Lake in Pittsfield, Mass. The 'monster,' fashioned by Smith's grandfather, first appeared over July 4 weekend. (Photo courtesy of Ron Smith). 7/30/2008.

Al Gore, Jr.

Al Gore, Jr.
Al Gore issues challenge on energy

The Norman Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's financially wasteful pork barrel project!

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's pork barrel public works project cost 50 times more than the original price!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer
Note: Photo from Mary E Carey's Blog.

Tanglewood

Tanglewood
Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine.

Google

Google
Chagall

Jimmy Ruberto

Jimmy Ruberto
Faces multiple persecutions under the Massachusetts "Ethics" conflict of interest laws.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Obama vows $500m in faith-based aid.

John McCain

John McCain
He is with his wife, Cindy, who were both met by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (right) upon arriving in Cartagena.

Daniel Duquette

Daniel Duquette
Sold Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield two tickets to the 2004 World Series at face value.

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008
Clinton tells Obama, crowd in Unity, N.H.: 'We are one party'

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Wanna-be Prez?

WALL-E

WALL-E
"out of this World"

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/popup?id=5057139&contentIndex=1&page=1&start=false - http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=5234555&page=1

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
NH's Democratic returning candidate for U.S. Senate

"Wall-E"

"Wall-E"
a cool robot

Ed O'Reilly

Ed O'Reilly
www.edoreilly.com

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
World Champions - 2008

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
J.D. Drew gets the same welcome whenever he visits the City of Brotherly Love: "Booooooo!"; Drew has been vilified in Philadelphia since refusing to sign with the Phillies after they drafted him in 1997...

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs
www.2joes.org

NH Union Leader

NH Union Leader
Editorial Cartoon

Celtics - World Champions!

Celtics - World Champions!
www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_18_08_front_pages/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_finals_game_6/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_celebration/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_15_08_celtics_championships/

"The Nation"

"The Nation"
A "Liberal" weekly political news magazine. Katrina vanden Heuvel.

TV - PBS: NOW

TV - PBS: NOW
http://www.pbs.org/now

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone
List of Twilight Zone episodes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Twilight_Zone_episodes

Equality for ALL Marriages

Equality for ALL Marriages
I, Jonathan Melle, am a supporter of same sex marriages.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.
L.A. Lakers holds on for the win to force Game 6 at Boston

Mohawk Trail

Mohawk Trail
The 'Hail to the Sunrise' statue in Charlemont is a well-known and easily recognized landmark on the Mohawk Trail. The trail once boasted several souvenir shops, some with motels and restaurants. Now only four remain. (Caroline Bonnivier / Berkshire Eagle Staff).

NASA - June 14, 2008

NASA - June 14, 2008
Space Shuttle Discovery returns to Earth.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Boston took a 20-second timeout, and the Celtics ran off four more points (including this incredible Erving-esque layup from Ray Allen) to build the lead to five points with just 2:10 remaining. Reeling, the Lakers took a full timeout to try to regain their momentum.

Sal DiMasi

Sal DiMasi
Speaker of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire
http://doj.nh.gov/

John Kerry

John Kerry
He does not like grassroots democracy & being challenged in the 2008 Massachusetts Democratic Party Primary for re-election.

Tim Murray

Tim Murray
Corrupt Lt. Gov. of Massachusetts, 2007 - 2013.

North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams, Massachusetts
downtown

Howie Carr

Howie Carr
Political Satirist on Massachusetts Corruption/Politics

Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Global Warming

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren & http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/WarrenAuthor.html

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Consumer Crusader

Leon Powe

Leon Powe
Celtics forward Leon Powe finished a fast break with a dunk.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett reacted during the game.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo finished a first half fast break with a dunk.

Teamwork

Teamwork
Los Angeles Lakers teammates help Pau Gasol (16) from the floor in the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant took a shot in the first half of Game 2.

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins (right) backed down Lamar Odom (left) during first half action.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed the national anthem prior to Game 2.

K.G.!

K.G.!
Garnett reacted to a hard dunk in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce reacted after hitting a three upon his return to the game since leaving with an injury.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Kobe Bryant (left) and Paul Pierce (right) squared off in the second half of the game.

James Taylor

James Taylor
Sings National Anthem at Celtics Game.

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick
Attended Celtics Game.

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!
Attend Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis
The actor (left) and his date were in the crowd before the Celtics game.

John Kerry

John Kerry
Golddigger attends Celtics game

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Ends her 2008 bid for Democratic Party nomination

Nonnie Burnes

Nonnie Burnes
Massachusetts Insurance Commish & former Judge

Jones Library

Jones Library
Amherst, Massachusetts

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton
2008 Democratic Primary

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"
U.S. Senator John Sununu took more than $220,000 from big oil.

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
4- U.S. Senate - 2008

William Pignatelli

William Pignatelli
Hack Rep. "Smitty" with Lynne Blake

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman

Gazettenet.com

Gazettenet.com
www.gazettenet.com/beta/

Boys' & Girls' Club

Boys' & Girls' Club
Melville Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

The Berkshire Eagle

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
Williams College - May 2008

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
www.boston.com/lifestyle/gallery/when_the_celtics_were_cool/

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries
New Massachusetts state lottery game hits $600 million in sales!

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

John Barrett III

John Barrett III
Long-time Mayor of North Adams Massachusetts

Shine On

Shine On

Elmo

Elmo
cool!

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce kissed the Eastern Conference trophy. 5/30/2008. AP Photo.

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton
Kevin Garnett (left) talked to Pistons guard Richard Hamilton (right) after the Celtics' victory in Game 6. 5/30/2008. Reuters Photo.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce showed his team colors as the Celtics closed out the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. 5/30/2008. Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis.

Joseph Kelly Levasseur

Joseph Kelly Levasseur
One of my favorite politicians!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
In the Big Apple: NYC! She is the coolest!

Guyer & Kerry

Guyer & Kerry
My 2nd least favorite picture EVER!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

Nuciforo & Ruberto

Nuciforo & Ruberto
My least favorite picture EVER!

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senate - 2008

NH Fisher Cats

NH Fisher Cats
AA Baseball - Toronto Blue Jays affiliate

Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH
Police Patch

Michael Briggs

Michael Briggs
#83 - We will never forget

Michael "Stix" Addison

Michael "Stix" Addison
http://unionleader.com/channel.aspx/News?channel=2af17ff4-f73b-4c44-9f51-092e828e1131

Charlie Gibson

Charlie Gibson
ABC News anchor

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/scott_mcclellan/index.html?inline=nyt-per

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise Idaho

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Legislative Hearing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, BCC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
My favorite classical U.S. President!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Higher Taxes, Higher Tolls

Paul Hodes

Paul Hodes
My favorite Congressman!

Portland Sea Dogs

Portland Sea Dogs
AA Red Sox

New York

New York
Magnet

Massachusetts

Massachusetts
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Button

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
"Luciforo" tried to send me to Carmen's Jail during the Spring & Summer of 1998.

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/174

Luciforo

Luciforo
Andrea F Nuciforo II

B-Eagle

B-Eagle
Pittsfield's monopoly/only daily newspaper

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!
A Red Sox No Hitter on 5/19/2008!

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Dustin Pedroia & Manny Ramirez

U.S. Flag

U.S. Flag
God Bless America!

Jonathan Melle's Blog

Jonathan Melle's Blog
Hello, Everyone!

Molly Bish

Molly Bish
We will never forget!

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo listens to some advice from Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in the first half.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace embrace at the end of the game.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon calls for the ball as he charges toward first base. Papelbon made the out en route to picking up his 14th save of the season.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka throws to Royals David DeJesus during the first inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch to Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek during the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew is welcomed to home plate by teammates Mike Lowell (left), Kevin Youkilis (2nd left) and Manny Ramirez after he hit a grand slam in the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell crosses the plate after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning. Teammates Manny Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury scored on the play. The Red Sox went on to win 11-8 to complete a four-game sweep and perfect homestand.

JD Drew - Go Red Sox

JD Drew - Go Red Sox
www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/05_22_08_sox_royals/

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!
Master Sgt. Kara B. Stackpole, of Westfield, holds her daughter, Samantha, upon her return today to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. She is one of the 38 members of the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron who returned after a 4-month deployment in Iraq. Photo by Dave Roback / The Republican.

Kathi-Anne Reinstein

Kathi-Anne Reinstein
www.openmass.org/members/show/175

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
Tragic diagnosis: Get well Senator!

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search
http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=jonathan+melle+blogurl:http://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/&ie=UTF-8

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Billionaire U.S. Senator gives address to MCLA graduates in North Adams, Massachusetts in mid-May 2008

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France
Go Red Sox!

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Interviewed on local TV

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
Luciforo!

John Adams

John Adams
#2 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood under a tree on the afternoon of May 9, 2008, on the foregrounds of the NH State House - www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/nhinsider/vpost?id=2967773

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Inside the front lobby of the NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Bill Clinton campaign memorabilia

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Liberty Bell & NH State House

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Franklin Pierce Statue #14 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Stop the War NOW!

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
"Mr. Melle, tear down this Blog!"

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood next to a JFK photo

Jonathan Levine, Publisher

Jonathan Levine, Publisher
The Pittsfield Gazette Online

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made rabbit ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made antenna ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I impersonated Howard Dean

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
mock-voting

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
pretty ladies -/- Go to: http://www.wgir.com/cc-common/cc_photopop20.html?eventID=28541&pagecontent=&pagenum=4 - Go to: http://current.com/items/88807921_veterans_should_come_first_not_last# - http://www.mcam23.com/cgi-bin/cutter.cgi?c_function=STREAM?c_feature=EDIT?dir_catagory=10MorningRadio?dir_folder=2JoesClips?dir_file=JonathanMelle-090308? -

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Go Red Sox! Me at Fenway Park

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
My favorite journalist! Her voice sings for the Voiceless. -/- Go to: http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com/search?q=melle -/- Go to: http://ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com/search?q=melle

Velvet Jesus

Velvet Jesus
Mary Carey blogs about my political writings. This is a picture of Jesus from her childhood home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. -//- "How Can I Keep From Singing" : My life goes on in endless song / Above Earth's lamentations, / I hear the real, though far-off hymn / That hails a new creation. / / Through all the tumult and the strife / I hear its music ringing, / It sounds an echo in my soul. / How can I keep from singing? / / Whey tyrants tremble in their fear / And hear their death knell ringing, / When friends rejoice both far and near / How can I keep from singing? / / In prison cell and dungeon vile / Our thoughts to them are winging / When friends by shame are undefiled / How can I keep from singing?

www.truthdig.com

www.truthdig.com
www.truthdig.com

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Concord NH

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=loc&newest=1&addr=&zip=01201&search=Search

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
smiles & beer

Jonathan Lothrop

Jonathan Lothrop
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Michael L. Ward

Michael L. Ward
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large
Pete always sides with the wealthy's political interests.

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez
Gerald Lee told me that I am a Social Problem; Lee executes a top-down system of governance.

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large
Kerwood poured coffee drinks for Jane Swift

Louis Costi

Louis Costi
Pittsfield City Councilor

Lewis Markham

Lewis Markham
Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor
Sherman ran for Southern Berkshire State Rep against Smitty Pignatelli; Sherman is a good guy.

Anthony Maffuccio

Anthony Maffuccio
Pittsfield City Councilor

Linda Tyer

Linda Tyer
Pittsfield City Councilor

Daniel Bianchi

Daniel Bianchi
A Pittsfield City Councilor

The Democratic Donkey

The Democratic Donkey
Democratic Party Symbol

Paramount

Paramount
What is Paramount to you?

NH's Congresswoman

NH's Congresswoman
Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat

Sam Adams Beer

Sam Adams Beer
Boston Lager

Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Disney Animation

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008
"Luciforo" swears in Mayor Ruberto. Pittsfield Politics at its very worst: 2 INSIDER POWERBROKERS! Where is Carmen Massimiano? He must be off to the side.

Abe

Abe
Lincoln

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
Leader of the Autobots

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
1984 Autobot Transformer Leader

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/cleanupagreement.html

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/thesite/opca-reports.html

US EPA - Contact - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

US EPA - Contact -  Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/contactinfo.html

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/index.html

Commonwealth Connector

Commonwealth Connector
Commonwealth Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

www.network-health.org

www.network-health.org
Massachusetts Health Reform

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

BMC HealthNet Plan

BMC HealthNet Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform
Eligibility Chart: 2007

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Massachusetts Health Reform

Business Peaks

Business Peaks
Voodoo Economics

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite
Reagonomics: Supply Side

Corporate Elite Propaganda

Corporate Elite Propaganda
Mock Liberal Democratic Socialism Thinking

Real Estate Blues

Real Estate Blues
www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/2008/0316/

PEACE

PEACE
End ALL Wars!

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell's World War II artwork depicting America's values

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
A young Abe Lincoln

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN
www.openmass.org/members/show/218 - www.rachelkaprielian.com

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/164 - www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/04/legislator_describes_threat_as_unnerving/

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!
My #1 Political Belief!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

A young woman Hillary supporter

A young woman Hillary supporter
This excellent picture captures a youth's excitement

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman
My favorite Actress!

Alan Chartock

Alan Chartock
WAMC public radio in Albany, NY; Political columnist who writes about Berkshire County area politics; Strong supporter for Human Rights for ALL Peoples

OpenCongress.Org

OpenCongress.Org
This web-site uses some of my Blog postings

OpenMass.org

OpenMass.org
This web-site uses some of my blog postings!

Shannon O'Brien

Shannon O'Brien
One of my favorite politicians! She stands for the People first!

The Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House
"The Almighty Golden Dome" - www.masslegislature.tv -

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Former Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
A corrupt Pol who tried to put me in Jail

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
Another view of Pittsfield's inbred, multigenerational political prince. Luciforo!

Luciforo

Luciforo
Nuciforo's nickname

"Andy" Nuciforo

"Andy" Nuciforo
Luciforo!

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)
Nuciforo's henchman! Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail

Andrea Nuciforo Jr

Andrea Nuciforo Jr
Shhh! Luciforo's other job is working as a private attorney defending wealthy Boston-area corporate insurance companies

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.
Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail! Carmen sits with the Congressman, John Olver

Congressman John Olver

Congressman John Olver
Nuciforo's envy

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol
Our Beacon of American Democracy

Nuciforo's architect

Nuciforo's architect
Mary O'Brien in red with scarf

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)
Former-Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Nuciforo intimidated her, along with another woman, from running in a democratic state election in the Spring of 2006!

Andrea F. Nuciforo II

Andrea F. Nuciforo II
Pittsfield Politics

Berkshire County Republican Association

Berkshire County Republican Association
Go to: www.fcgop.blogspot.com

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer
U.S. Senator & State Representative

John Kerry

John Kerry
Endorses Barack Obama for Prez then visits Berkshire County

Dan Bosley

Dan Bosley
A Bureaucrat impostering as a Legislator!

Ben Downing

Ben Downing
Berkshire State Senator

Christopher N Speranzo

Christopher N Speranzo
Pittsfield's ANOINTED State Representative

Peter J. Larkin

Peter J. Larkin
Corrupt Lobbyist

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!
GE's FRAUDULENT Consent Decree with Pittsfield, Massachusetts, will end up KILLING many innocent school children & other local residents!

GE's CEO Jack Welch

GE's CEO Jack Welch
The Corporate System's Corporate Elite's King

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand
Equilibrium

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts
In 2007, GE sold its Plastics Division to a Saudi company. Now all that is left over by GE are its toxic PCB pollutants that cause cancer in many Pittsfield residents.

Mayor James M Ruberto

Mayor James M Ruberto
A small-time pol chooses to serve the corporate elite & other elites over the people.

Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick
Deval shakes hands with Mayors in Berkshire County

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick
Governor of Massachusetts

Pittsfield High School

Pittsfield High School
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Pittsfield's former Mayor

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Pittsfield Attorney focusing on Father's Rights Probate Court Legal Issues, & Local Politician and Political Observer

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Very Intelligent Political Activists in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Rinaldo Del Gallo, III, Esq. is the spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. He has been practicing family law and has been a member of the Massachusetts bar since 1996.

Mayor Ed Reilly

Mayor Ed Reilly
He supports Mayor Ruberto & works as a municipal Attorney. As Mayor, he backed Bill Weld for Governor in 1994, despite being a Democrat. He was joined by Carmen Massimiano & John Barrett III, the long-standing Mayor of North Adams.

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta
Cuts Dental Care for Public School Children-in-Need

Manchester, NH City Hall

Manchester, NH City Hall
My new hometown - view from Hanover St. intersection with Elm St.

Manchester NH City Democrats

Manchester NH City Democrats
Go Dems!

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards

NH State House Dome

NH State House Dome
Concord, NH

Donna Walto

Donna Walto
Pittsfield Politician -- She strongly opposes Mayor Jim Ruberto's elitist tenure.

Elmo

Elmo
Who doesn't LOVE Elmo?

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!
Hillary is for Children. She is my choice in 2008.

The White House in 1800

The White House in 1800
Home of our Presidents of the United States

John Adams

John Adams
2nd President of the USA

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden
Hillary is my choice for U.S. President!

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Radisson in Manchester NH 11/16/2007

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
U.S. Senator & Candidate for President

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004
Linda Tyer, Pam Malumphy, Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
My friend Brian Merzbach reviews baseball parks around the nation.

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy
The Elites double their $ every 6 to 8 years, while the "have-nots" double their $ every generation (or 24 years). Good bye Middle Class!

George Will

George Will
The human satellite voice for the Corporate Elite

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
The Anti-George Will; Harvard Law School Professor; The Corporate Elite's Worst Nightmare

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

State Senator Stan Rosenberg

State Senator Stan Rosenberg
Democratic State Senator from Amherst, Massachusetts -/- Anti-Stan Rosenberg Blog: rosenbergwatch.blogspot.com

Ellen Story

Ellen Story
Amherst Massachusetts' State Representative

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.
Books are being written on Pittsfield's high teen pregancy rates! What some intellectuals do NOT understand about the issue is that TEEN PREGNANCIES in Pittsfield double the statewide average by design - Perverse Incentives!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Supports $30 Scratch Tickets and other forms of regressive taxation. Another Pol that only serves his Corporate Elite Masters instead of the People!

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter
The first woman whom the People of New Hampshire have voted in to serve in U.S. Congress

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes
A good man who wants to bring progressive changes to Capitol Hill!

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress
New Hampshire's finest!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader
Star Wars

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush
The Gruesome Two-some! Stop the Neo-Cons' fascism! End the Iraq War NOW!

WAROPOLY

WAROPOLY
The Inequity of Globalism

Bushopoly!

Bushopoly!
The Corporate Elite have redesigned "The System" to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, masses, have-nots, poor & middle-class families

George W. Bush with Karl Rove

George W. Bush with Karl Rove
Rove was a political strategist with extraordinary influence within the Bush II White House

2008's Republican Prez-field

2008's Republican Prez-field
John McCain, Alan Keyes, Rudy Guiliani, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, WILLARD Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul

Fall in New England

Fall in New England
Autumn is my favorite season

Picturing America

Picturing America
picturingamerica.neh.gov

Winter Weather Map

Winter Weather Map
3:45PM EST 3-Dec-07

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Depiction of American Values in mid-20th Century America

Larry Bird #33

Larry Bird #33
My favorite basketball player of my childhood

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008
Kevin Garnett hugs James Posey

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
All heart! Awesome basketball star for The Boston Celtics.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Go Patriots!

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
Owner of Fox News - CORPORATE ELITE!

George Stephanopolous

George Stephanopolous
A Corporate Elite Political News Analyst

Robert Redford

Robert Redford
Starred in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
Plays a jaded journalist with integrity in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise plays the Neo-Con D.C. Pol purely indoctrinated by the Corporate Elite's political agenda in the Middle East

CHARLIZE THERON

CHARLIZE THERON
"I want to say I've never been surrounded by so many fake breasts, but I went to the Academy Awards."

Amherst Town Library

Amherst Town Library
Amherst, NH - www.amherstlibrary.org

Manchester NH Library

Manchester NH Library
I use the library's automated timed 1-hour-per-day Internet computers to post on my Blog - www.manchester.lib.nh.us

Manchester NH's Palace Theater

Manchester NH's Palace Theater
Manchester NH decided to restore its Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater
Pittsfield tore down this landmark on North Street in favor of a parking lot

Pleasant Street Theater

Pleasant Street Theater
Amherst, Massachusetts

William "Shitty" Pignatelli

William "Shitty" Pignatelli
A top down & banal State House Pol from Lenox Massachusetts -- A GOOD MAN!

The CIA & Mind Control

The CIA & Mind Control
Did the CIA murder people by proxy assassins?

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones
Yale's Elite

ImpeachBush.org

ImpeachBush.org
I believe President Bush should be IMPEACHED because he is waging an illegal and immoral war against Iraq!

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008
www.blog.bobfeuer.us

Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln
The 16th President of the USA

Power

Power
Peace

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer
A member of Green Peace activist sets up a giant thermometer as a symbol of global warming during their campaign in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. World leaders launch marathon negotiations Monday on how to fight global warming, which left unchecked could cause devastating sea level rises, send millions further into poverty and lead to the mass extinction of plants and animals.

combat global warming...

combat global warming...
...or risk economic and environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org
P.O. Box 125, South Lee, MA 01260, (413) 243-5665, tstokes@kyotoandbeyond.org, www.kyotoandbeyond.org

3 Democratic presidentional candidates

3 Democratic presidentional candidates
Democratic presidential candidates former senator John Edwards (from right) and Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd before the National Public Radio debate yesterday (12/4/2007).

The UN Seal

The UN Seal
An archaic & bureaucratic post WW2 top-down, non-democratic institution that also stands for some good governance values

Superman

Superman
One of my favorite childhood heroes and movies

Web-Site on toxic toys

Web-Site on toxic toys
www.healthytoys.org

Batman

Batman
One of my favorite super-heroes

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer
Massachusetts' Governor stands with Dalton's State Rep. Denis E. Guyer.

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer
TV Star Bill Cosby stands with Denis E. Guyer

Denis Guyer with his supporters

Denis Guyer with his supporters
Dalton State Representative

Denis Guyer goes to college

Denis Guyer goes to college
Dalton State Representative

Peter Marchetti

Peter Marchetti
He is my second cousin. Pete Marchetti favors MONEY, not fairness!

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple
Matt Barron plays DIRTY politics against his opponents!

Nat Karns

Nat Karns
Top-Down Executive Director of the ELITIST Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Human Rights for All Peoples & people

Human Rights for All Peoples & people
Stop Anti-Semitism

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill
State House, Room 227, Boston, MA 02133, 617-367-6900, www.mass.gov/treasury/

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley
1350 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103, 413-784-1240 / McCormick Building, One Asburton Place, Boston, MA 02108, 617-727-4765 / marthacoakley.com / www.ago.state.ma.us

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...
www.takebackthecourt.org - A political billboard near my downtown apartment in Manchester, NH

Marc Murgo

Marc Murgo
An old friend of mine from Pittsfield

Downtown Manchester, NH

Downtown Manchester, NH
www.newhampshire.com/nh-towns/manchester.aspx

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei
Movie Actress

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)
www.masschc.org/issue.php

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler
Mike Firestone works in Manchester NH for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign

James Pindell

James Pindell
Covers NH Primary Politcs for The Boston Globe

U.S. History - Declaration

U.S. History - Declaration
A 19th century engraving shows Benjamin Franklin, left, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman at work on the Declaration of Independence.

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/
Sybregje Palenstijn (left), who plays Sarah Godbertson at Plimouth Plantation, taught visitors how to roast a turkey on a spit. The plantation often sees a large influx of visitors during the holiday season.

Chris Hodgkins

Chris Hodgkins
Another special interest Berkshire Pol who could not hold his "WATER" on Beacon Hill's State House!

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.
Most of Boston's Big Dig highway remains closed, after a woman was crushed when 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto her car. (ABC News)

Jane Swift

Jane Swift
Former Acting Governor of Massachusetts & Berkshire State Senator

Paul Cellucci

Paul Cellucci
Former Massachusetts Governor

William Floyd Weld

William Floyd Weld
$80 Million Trust Fund Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mike Dukakis

Mike Dukakis
Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
Amherst, Massachusetts, Journalist and Blogger

Caveman

Caveman
www.ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com

Peter G. Arlos

Peter G. Arlos
"The biggest challenge Pittsfield faces is putting its fiscal house in order. The problem is that doing so requires structural changes in local government, many of which I have advocated for years, but which officials do not have the will to implement. Fiscal responsibility requires more than shifting funds from one department to another. Raising taxes and fees and cutting services are not the answer. Structural changes in the way services are delivered and greater productivity are the answer, and without these changes the city's fiscal crisis will not be solved."

James M. Ruberto

James M. Ruberto
"Pittsfield's biggest challenge is to find common ground for a better future. The city is at a crossroads. On one hand, our quality of life is challenged. On the other hand, some important building blocks are in place that could be a strong foundation for our community. Pittsfield needs to unite for the good of its future. The city needs an experienced businessman and a consensus builder who will invite the people to hold him accountable."

Matt Kerwood

Matt Kerwood
Pittsfield's Councilor-At-Large. Go to: extras.berkshireeagle.com/NeBe/profiles/12.htm

Gerald M. Lee

Gerald M. Lee
Pittsfield's City Council Prez. Top-down governance of the first order!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
Mary with student

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon celebrates with Jason Varitek

Free Bernard Baran!

Free Bernard Baran!
www.freebaran.org

Political Intelligence

Political Intelligence
Capitol Hill

Sherwood Guernsey II

Sherwood Guernsey II
Wealthy Williamstown Political Activist & Pittsfield Attorney

Mary Carey 2

Mary Carey 2
California Pol & porn star

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!
Andy "Luciforo" swears in Jimmy Ruberto for the returning Mayor's 3rd term

Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown
www.berkshiregrown.org

Rambo

Rambo

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.
The Mount, the historic home in Lenox of famed American novelist Edith Wharton, is facing foreclosure.