Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I turned 39 (2014)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Suze Orman does not add up

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August 22, 2009

Yesterday (8/21) afternoon, I watched part of Oprah Winfrey's daily talk show featuring Suze Orman giving financial advice to families and significant others. She went on to deny a young man his leisure-filled lifestyle that his young woman wife objected to, then she denied a middle-aged couple's planning to send their school aged daughters to future private colleges, then she denied a young engaged couple their plan to have a nice wedding, while on the other hand, she approved a middle-aged woman's divorce from her live-in, half-estranged ex with their child or children caught in the middle.

I disagreed with the assumptions and premises behind Suze Orman's financial decisions to deny the dreams of families and significant others. The reason why I disagree with Suze Orman is because while she adds and subtracts dollar figures to come to her decision on other peoples' lives, she does not factor into the equation the aggregate economic unit that produces financial returns.

I equate economics and finance to the post-World War 2 movie: "It's a Wonderful Life". The reason why this movie makes sense to me is because the protaganist character George Bailey played by actor James Stewart invested his time, business and faith in the people of his fictional town of Bedford Falls. Bailey believed that his town would prosper by people living in accordance to their dreams. Unlike Suze Orman, Bailey approved mortgages and loans to families and small businesses that families shopped at. (There was no Wal Mart back then to undermine George Bailey and his Buildings and Loans institution). People were the end product in George Bailey's view of the World, while finance was the means to that end. Bedford Falls was a nice community, George Bailey had a loving wife and children, neighbors cared about him during his time of crisis, and the World was a better place because a good man cared about good people.

There are 2 sides to an economic and financial coin. George Bailey represents the tails' side, which is that small business needs customers in order to succeed. Therefore, a small business or community should invest in people and see them as the end product in order to stay in business and grow. Because, without customers, there is no business for the small business or community. Small businesses go out of business and community's wither into ghost towns. Any Mayor or Town Manager worth his salt knows that his or her city residents or town folk are to be invested in with good schools, safe streets, nice homes, and community spirit. The people will then return on the city or town's investment with educated, well adjusted, and happy people who will stay, live and work in and around where they live.

The heads side of the economic and financial coin is represented by the famous former CEO of General Electric (GE) Company Jack Welch. This is someone Suze Orman would approve of. To Jack Welch and Suze Orman, people are seen as an input into an economic and/or financial formula to produce optimal efficiencies and profits for either themselves or their shareholders. To illustrate, the following is a graph of Jack Welch's tenure as CEO at GE:



To break down CEO Jack Welch's economic and financial outcome in the context of Suze Orman's analysis, Jack Welch made a lot of money for both himself and his shareholders! On April 4, 1981, if I invested $10,000 (1981 dollars) in GE, and then cashed out my investment about 2 decades later on September 7, 2001, I would have netted myself approximately +$406,000 pre-tax, nominal (non-inflation adjusted dollars) plus the additional $10,000 I invested.

I came to these numbers by using the envelope financial formula: The rule of 72. To ballpark approximate how much time it takes for one's money to double via the Annual Percentage Yield (APY), one uses the # "72" and divides the long-term average yield -- in this case 19.6%. 72/19.6 = 3.7-years for my money to double. I then take the $10,000 and double it 5.3 times for Jack Welch's 20-year tenure as CEO of GE. Because of compounding interest (or reverse amoritization for debt such as one's mortgage, student loans, car loans, credit car bills, etcetera), I doubled the $10,000 to $20,000 for the first of 5 times. Then, I doubled the $20,000 to $40,000 for the second of 5 times, Then, I doubled the $40,000 to $80,000 for the third of 5 times. Then, I doubled the $80,000 to $160,000 for the fourth of of 5 times. Then, I doubled the $160,000 to $320,000 for the fifth of 5 times. Then I took 30% of $320,000, which is $96,000, for the .3 in 5.3 and added $96,000 to $320,000 to come up with the approximation of +$406,000 net return on my $10,000 investment for a total pay check of +$416,000.

I know that "the envelope rule of 72" does not apply to everyday business practice and is only used a broad gauge in finance. There are many other complex formulas and spreadsheet designs that I am untrained in to give a much more exact and accurate forecase and statement of return.

In heads side of business, economics and finance, people are seen as liabilities to be limited and, if possible, eliminated. The rule goes that over the long term, all fixed costs (or people, i.e. children) become variable costs (or people, i.e. adults) and a good businessman finds ways to reduce and eventually eliminate, if possible, any and all variable costs. When costs are reduced and limited, earnings are optimized, and stock prices are maximized. The focus of a good businessman like Jack Welch is to see people, in this case GE Workers and plants, as costs to be limited and, if possible, eliminated, so that his corporation he is running will report more in earnings, and his corporation's stock prices will sell at a high or maximized p/e ratio. Money, NOT people, makes more money, and GE becomes a financial superpower among its competitors, which GE buys up, building their economy of scale, sells, shedding costs while making a profit, and building more capital for its future business growth.

So there we have the paradoxical economic and financial coin. On the heads' side, people are costs to be reduced and eliminated for economic and financial benefit. On the tails' side, people are to be invested in and products for economic and financial benefit. The mistake people, such as Suze Orman, make is that they only see the heads' side of the financial coin. That is like only looking at the "man on the Moon" side of the moon. One misses the entire beauty of our nearest neighbor in space that keeps Earth's 4 seasons and climate steady, thereby allowing us to harvest food and live bountiful lives.

Suze Orman does not add up because she is myopic when it comes to the dreams of people, their respective partners, children, and communities. What may seem like a "waste", "inefficiency", or "impractical" to someone with Suze Orman's view of life via economics and finance, is really what keeps micro-economic units in place. By spending money on one's significant other instead of planning for what casket one will lie in for eternity decades from now, that person is investing in another person and building a life where they will share resources, finances and a home together. By spending money on a community's public school, a Town is investing in families, especially children, who will want to stay in that community and continue to re-invest there. By spending money on safe street, people will be able to enjoy their community, shop at small businesses (even Wal Mart) that serves family units, and make their Town look attractive with nice homes with gardens, trees, flowers, and art. The tails' side of economics and finance is that it benefits an economic unit such as family, small business, Town, community, and people to invest in each other. That was the economic and financial point of the aforementioned movie: "It's A Wonderful Life"! The people are the foundation or base upon which the top of the coin rests.

In my life, the biggest economic and financial decision that I will ever make is deciding if I will marry a nice woman. That decision is greater than all of the income, assets, wealth, or lack thereof, that I will ever have put together. I estimate the cost of marriage over the entirety of my life to be $2 million. If my future wife and I decide to have children, I would add another $1 million to that figure. If I stay single and along my entire life, I estimate my adult costs to be $1 million dollars. If I was Suze Orman, I would say to myself, by being alone and denying people their dreams, I will save myself $1.5 million - $ 2 million! When I die alone and lie in my cold gold-plated casket, I will be a millionaire. That is a scary thought, and Suze Orman is a scary person!

- Jonathan Melle

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CJ Burton/Corbis

"Say it ain't so, Suze!"
By Charles Wilbanks / CBS News MoneyWatch / January 25, 2013

In Helaine Olen's new book, "Pound Foolish," personal finance luminaries are taken down a few notches. It's a juicy read, but also something more: Olen provides an analysis that should make many people in the financial services industry deeply uncomfortable.

Olen, a former personal finance writer herself, delivers a scathing critique of the gurus who urge personal austerity on the one hand and stock tips on the other to make us the millionaires next door. It's a nice story they sell -- that by skipping the morning visit to Starbucks, finding a smart stock trade or investing in the right piece of real estate, people can catapult themselves into the 1 percent. Or at least arrange a comfortable retirement nest egg.

The trouble is, Olen says, these swamis often don't practice what they preach, their systems don't work as advertised, and they tend to benefit Wall Street more than the Average Joe. Consider for a moment that Orman, who commands $80,000 per speaking engagement and likes to fly in private jets, has had debt problems herself and has flip-flopped from urging people to avoid stocks to forming a partnership with a stock broker that pushed her typically unsophisticated readers into high-risk investments.

"Orman might claim the mantle of anti-poverty crusader, but she puts the onus for our financial security on us and us alone," Olen writes.

There's also Dave Ramsey, a "preacher of the fiscally righteous life," as Olen calls him, who thunders against debt in any form as moral failure. Ramsey, who before he found religion and began railing against the evils of mortgages ran up such a huge tab himself that he sought the refuge of personal bankruptcy, sells people on the notion that if they just work hard enough they can (and should) avoid bankruptcy themselves. Never mind that bankruptcy sometimes can be the least odious solution to a family's financial woes.

Or take best-selling author David Bach's admonition against indulging in the luxuries of life big and small -- foregoing a daily latte is his vivid example of wasteful living. Instead, he urges saving that money and investing in the stock market. Olen points out that Bach, who has been touted by Oprah Winfrey, had a lucrative sponsor for his message: mutual fund company Van Kampen Investments.

Meanwhile, Orman and others who have echoed Bach's theory of frugality tend to wildly overestimate the potential gains that can be had from investing all that latte money. In her book "The Courage to be Rich," Orman took up the coffee cudgel, extrapolating from saving the $2.75 a day for a cup of Starbucks for 20 years "and investing at 10 percent" to calculate that a person could emerge with $57,504.

There's a problem with that, though. In comparison to her ordinary investors, even in the currently surging stock market, few hedge funds have been returning 10 percent.

Olen's basic message is this: The American mythology of flinty self-reliance is largely a corporate-funded scam. The reality is that we are living in a world in which it is increasingly hard for responsible people to make ends meet. Working people face income stagnation, while at the same time they must account for inflation in healthcare, education, housing, food and other necessities. Throw in a job loss, an illness -- any of the unexpected crises that can drain a bank account -- and people can find themselves in a situation that no amount of frugality and saving could have accounted for.

"We do not live in an economic environment that will permit mass personal financial progress, no matter how well meant the guidance or advice," her book says. "As a result, the success stories offered up by the gurus of personal finance were individual victories in a society sliding economically downward."

In a recent interview with CBS MoneyWatch, Olen noted that "50 percent of the population is living paycheck to paycheck. That's a lot of people who are deliberately messing up, or are so stupid they are messing up. It just doesn't make any sense. "

Olen said that at one of Ramsey's tent revival-like seminars, she pulled people in the audience aside and got their stories. "I would ask them where their debt was from and I would hear about a son who had had a car accident, about job losses, about a health care crises. These weren't people who had lived beyond their means and screwed up -- but they thought they had."

Other chapters in the book should also make Wall Street uncomfortable. These include the problems people face planning for retirement, from annuities that are complicated and unwise, to a reliance on the stock market and all its turbulence in retirement accounts. There is the idea propagated that women are particularly unschooled and ill-suited to financial decision-making ("Both sexes are abysmally financially ignorant," Olen said).

But the theme that runs throughout the book is one that is deeply political and rooted in a morality that is a sharp departure from the libertarian ethos drilled into Americans since the Reagan years.

"It's not that we shouldn't live within our means, " she said. "We should. But what I realized writing this book is that we get sold this idea that we can do it ourselves. This tough, tough talk -- 'You're on our own and you can do everything' -- is an attempt to say that we're not responsible for each other. We've forgotten about the quality of mercy."

As she takes down the faith healers of personal finance, Olen provides a small dose of her own advice. But it isn't the sort that promises a clear and easy alternative. She urges people to discuss their money and money problems openly, both individually and as a country. One possible byproduct of such a discourse: political changes that would leave the deck less stacked against the middle class.

"If honesty about our personal prospects helps us as individuals, imagine what such a thing could do for us collectively," Olen writes. "It could empower us to insist on changes that will benefit us all."

helaineolen.com

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

STOP FRANK GUINTA! - frankguinta.blogspot.com

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STOP FRANK GUINTA!

frankguinta.blogspot.com

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Frank Guinta is a BIGOT!

www.topix.com/forum/city/manchester-nh/TBNSOQ7QUAB3JJKNK

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We need better than Frank Guinta, Volume 4. Manchester, New Hampshire.

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"City teachers give up a little more"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, 8/11/2009

MANCHESTER – Teachers and other school district employees would give up a little more pay this year under a revised deal that won the school board's endorsement last night.

The deal would save the district slightly more than $1.1 million in the fiscal year. Workers, meanwhile, would receive a new contract promising $11 million in wage increases over three years.

"What's really important, I think, in this tight budget cycle is the fact that the unions are giving something up ... that can be used for direct student services," Committeeman Donna Soucy said.

The terms of the deal would apply to all five of the unions representing school district employees, including the city's largest union, the Manchester Education Association, which represents the teachers. Union heads will ask their members to approve the deal in the next few weeks.

"This is a package that's good enough to bring back to our members," said MEA President Scott McGilvray.

McGilvray estimated the deal would save enough money to hire, or rehire, 25 full-time district workers. Committeeman Bob O'Sullivan said he hopes to use the savings to bring back teachers laid off this spring.

O'Sullivan was one of several committee members who voted for the deal after opposing an earlier version that did not include as many concessions from the unions. The version that came before the board in May would have saved the district an estimated $852,000.

Superintendent Tom Brennan said he, too, was won over by the additional concessions -- in particular, a provision increasing the employees' contribution to their health insurance plans, by half a percent per year.

"I think it's fair," Brennan said.

Committeeman Dave Gelinas' motion to approve the deal passed by the wide margin of 9 to 3, excluding a vote by Stephen Dolman, who said he wished to "abstain on the teacher part."

"I vote yes for the rest of them," Dolman said.

The three "no" votes were supplied by Mayor Frank Guinta and Committeemen John Avard and Eric Fischer. Vice Chairman Katherine Labanaris took a long pause before voting "yes."

The new contract roughly mirrors the three-year deal that was recently struck between the aldermen and the city labor unions. All of the contracts promise to give workers a 1.5-percent cost-of-living increase in summer 2010, followed by a 2.5 percent increase in 2011 and another 2.5 percent increase in 2012.

There was a difference, however, in the concessions unions are poised to make this year. Under the deal the aldermen approved in May, city workers are seeing their 3-percent cost-of-living increase delayed until mid-year, effectively cutting their COLA in half.

School district employees, on the other hand, stand to see their 2.5-percent COLAs delayed a little longer, effectively cutting their wage increase by 65 percent.

School board members spent more than an hour in non-public session before they cast their votes last night. It was not the first time they discussed the deal behind closed doors.

Negotiations ran up to the last minute. McGilvray said the agreement on the employees' insurance contributions was not reached until 6 p.m. yesterday.

The proposal also includes a host of non-monetary changes to the unions' current contracts. One change would help protect some principals and assistant principals in the event of layoffs.

In addition, the proposal would create a committee to take a look at how employees can best maximize their "professional development" time.

Some school board members said it is misleading to suggest the new three-year contracts would cost the district $11 million, since the unions were going to get a new contract next year, anyway. Typically, Committeeman Mike DeBlasi said, the contracts offer cost-of-living increases of roughly 2 percent per year.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

As a resident of the city and as an educator who teaches out of district, I can tell you that I would never teach in this city. Manchester teachers should not be treated so poorly.

For those who complain about the economy, as a college educated professional, I expect to recieve a raise every year. I need to take classes to continue with my certification, that costs money.
- joe, manchester

Hey Rob,

Eight teachers that work at my school were laid off. Those people are heart- broken. How DARE you claim they haven't had that happen. Who are you?

Did you ever think that those young, professional people have the right to privacy? It is immoral to print their names without permission in the paper. they lost their jobs! I wish I could give you their phone numbers so you could hear it from them, these highly qualified teachers with masters degrees that can't find work.
- Teacher, Manchester

To Scott Brooks:
Evidently a story about the number of teachers STILL not recalled from being pink slip might be in order. Rob from Manchester as well as several people I have talked to do not realize that we have a large number of teachers 50+ that have been laid off and are still unemployed.
- JimC, Ward2 Manchester

Rob from Manchester... you must be an "INFORMED" individual... Contact the Union Leader (Scott Brooks to be specific), Contact WMUR, read the paper, watch tv... contact your school board member... Ummm unless my wife the laid off teacher is a liar..
- J, Manchester

Rob,

If you go to www.mansd.org

you can access the budget reports. It will list the number of teachers lost through retirement, resignation, pink slips etc.
- Sharon, Manchester

I am not sure why I read these comments, because I only get frustrated. How about just saying "thank you, teachers, I am sorry that this comes with your profession."

I took this job knowing that I would not be paid much. I joined a union so I wouldn't lose my job. I NEVER did anything to warrant such blatant hate because I get 8 weeks "off" so you can spend summers with your children. Whatever.

I walk into school every morning with people who have passion. People who spend hundreds of dollars on supplies for your children! People who feed them breakfast, ask about their day, buy books when the school has none, and do a fine job! I see teachers working late into the night. Teachers volunteer to go to dances, watch games, and start clubs in their free time, (not every club advisor is paid) so students can be enriched.

Teachers are awesome! Teachers work hard! My coworkers move me everyday! Keep it up! Enjoy your summer- and don't let these people say anything to shake your confidence in yourself or your teaching! You keep Manchester schools running (even if there isn't enough money to turn the lights on)!
- Mary, Manchester

To J, Manchester,
I have seen not one single report of a layoff of any teachers, not in the paper and not on WMUR. I would like to see a list of those 50 that you cite.
- Rob, Manchester

To everyone who continues to "bash" the fine teachers of our city..............NONE OF US WOULD BE ANYTHING TODAY, AN ALDERMAN, A MAYOR, A LAWYER, A DOCTOR, AN ENGINEER, WITHOUT ALL OF THE FINE TEACHERS WE HAD IN OUR LIVES!! I find it disheartening that we constantly ridicule this profession, like no other, without the inside knowledge of HOW MUCH each teacher actually does for your children.
- CS, Manchester

Jeff in Manchester said:

The attached link to New Hampshire Department of Education reveals that the average salary for a teacher in Manchester is $49,701. Not bad for 180 days of work each year. I would venture to say that this is a significantly higher salary than many of the tax payers working in the private sector.

http://www.ed.state.nh.us/education/data/ReportsandStatistics/Staffing%20and%20Salary/Teacher%20Average%20Salary/Teacher%20Average%20Salary%202008-2009/Teacher%20Average%20Salary%202008-2009.xls

Well, the link below will take you to the actual Manchester teachar salary schedule for the current contract.

http://www.mansd.org/main/pdfs/20072010MEASalary.pdf

For the 2009 - 2010 school year the starting salary is $32,588 and a teacher making $49,701 would have a bachelor's degree and 10 years of experience or a master's degree and 8 years experience. I would venture to say that this is a significantly higher education and experience level than many of the tax payers working in the private sector. Oh - and not to nitpick, but teachers work 183 days a year of which the children attend 180.
- Ricardo, Manch

You do realize this was already in the budget approved by the BMA.
- Abigail, Hooksett

Who do you know who is getting a pay increase this year? I'm not. Guess what, in a bad economy we all suffer. Don't act like your the ONLY people in the world that make life possible.

Oh, and i would LOVE to have summers off too. But i guess being paid the same amount of my full time salary for eight months of work is totally unfair. Boohoo.
- L, Manchester

Rob from Manchester...

YES teachers have been laid off in Manchester---Unless my wife is lying to me.... She was hired in Manchester 2 years ago and is now without a job (HERE in MANCHESTER)--ALONG WITH 50 teachers still without a job. Thats on the average over 2 classroom teachers per building in Manchester.. Again unless she is being dishonest with me..

Rob... please get the facts straight...
- J, Manchester

Here we go again, asking the teachers to bail the city out of a financial mess. As it is the teachers took a lesser pay increase tan every other city union in the last contract and now are being asked to give back more. This is totally unacceptable and a main reason why talented younger teachers don't want to teach in Manchester, and experienced teachers would rather teach elsewhere where they are treated as the professionals that they are.
- Tim, Litchfield

Teacher Bashing: Kind of like throwing rocks at fish in a barrel. All these "taxpayer" who constntly moan and groan about teachers and their salaries my God will you ever give it a rest. Honestly, show me one teacher who is getting rich from their paycheck. Teachers are hard working, blue collar workers who have the dubious task of teaching our children and esucating them so our children can eventually go to college, earn a degree and become employable.

If I was a teacher I would be so sick of the way I was treated by the neanderthals in this city. Every single budget year all we see if cut cut cut the teachers. The two Republican Mayors who don't give a darn about the schools are Wieczorek and now Guinta. Both of these guys dessimated the schools. Enough of the teacher bashing. How about trying to support our teachers so we don't lose them to a distrcit that actually cares about them.
- Mike, Manchester

To Chad, ManchesterChad,
Chad, I am a homeowner and have seen my taxes raised consistently over the past years. I can tell you from experience that continuously raising taxes and throwing more money at the problem is not the solution. With the absence of the Bedford students the schools have seen a dramatic drop in the student population; secondly no teachers have been laid off so their numbers remains the same. So your assertion of kids being crammed into classrooms makes no sense, so I suspect that you have an agenda. You also callously give no consideration for all those who are struggling to pay their mortgages and taxes and cannot afford any more increases. Many have had their hours cut or worse have been laid off and simply cannot afford any more right now. Perhaps when the economy improves we can think about another tax increase but not now. With regards to your reverse seniority theory, just because a teacher is old doesn’t mean they are worn out or not doing their job. They have a vast wealth experience and knowledge they bring to the job and are a valuable resource. Instead of reverse seniority why don’t we do the logical thing and base everything on job performance? If a teacher isn’t performing then we get rid of them. Oh but wait, we can do that? Why? Because they are protected by the union that cares nothing about education but rather cares about dues paying members.
- Rob, Manchester

I do not understand why every time teachers contracts are talked about it becomes a Public vs Private Sector battle. I mean honestly, we all learned growing up that we would have to pay taxes, and those taxes went to things like, oh my gosh, city/town/state employees wages/benefits. I do not understand why all of the people who post here do nothing but bash teachers/cops/firefighters, and so on. I mean lets wait until 2010 when things turn around, and the Private sector gets back to getting the big bucks (like we had before), and teachers salaries are frozen, or status quo. Oh yeah, teachers work more than mon-friday 7-3 like some people would like to believe, they work many nights/weekends, and they also have to pay for supplies for their classrooms out of their own pockets. And before I get bashed for this comment, I am not a teacher, I just believe in what they do for a living!!!
- Eric, Epsom, NH

This contract proposal is a betrayal of Manchester teachers and the members of the Manchester Education Association. MEA leaders never sought and were never given authority by the members to negotiate this deal. I have been a teacher and MEA member for over 20 years and I intend to resign my membership and I urge all other members who care about having a democratically run union to do the same.
- Pat, Manchester

Amy, Jim, and Jeff,
It sounds like you think teaching is great. Why don't you go down to the local school district and apply for a job? Amy, you could do it, you know, for the kids. Oh, yea, you would probably have to be properly educated and take a cut in pay.
- John, Manchester

To Jeff from Manchester,

A friend of mine is a teacher. You are completely wrong about teachers working only 180 days each year. My friend works weekends, nights, vacations (including summer vacation by taking workshops and planning for the next school year), and also spends quite a bit of his OWN money on the students to help them reach their potential. Unless you personally know someone who's a teacher, please don't make inaccurate comments about the amount teachers work per year.
- Steve, Epping

Maybe people in the -PRIVATE SECTOR -should check out what the students and parents are like in the schools today. The "REAL WORLD" is there for you to see. You will be surprised what teachers and admin put up with!!!
- marcia, manchester

I am a product of Manchester education (graduated in 1997) Even back then the teacher unions were always fighting for more benifits and higher pay. I know of no other company in the private sector that get cost of living wages or fully funded health benifits. If you are not making enough money do what the rest of us do GET A SECOND JOB!. If I have to in order to pay your salary you can take find a job for the 90 days you have off and earn more money.
- CJ, Manchester

Perhaps I don't understand new math, but how is a 6.5% increase over 3 years, "giving up" anything. As a member of the "dreaded private sector", I'd love the guarantee of 2% per year. Out here in the real world (you know, the one that doesn't get the summer off every year), we are facing mass layoffs. Those fortunate to dodge reductions in force are subjected to wage freezes or real cuts wage cuts as well as increases in insurance costs.
- Jim, Hampton

The attached link to New Hampshire Department of Education reveals that the average salary for a teacher in Manchester is $49,701. Not bad for 180 days of work each year. I would venture to say that this is a significantly higher salary than many of the tax payers working in the private sector.

http://www.ed.state.nh.us/education/data/ReportsandStatistics/Staffing%20and%20Salary/Teacher%20Average%20Salary/Teacher%20Average%20Salary%202008-2009/Teacher%20Average%20Salary%202008-2009.xls
- Jeff, Manchester

I'm glad they were willing to sacrifice, you know, for the children.
- Amy, Manchester

Ummm... Was the topic of School Board members giving up THEIR insurance "perk" ever brought up???

The topic got front page coverage last week stating they were ready to give it up. I suppose "hockey" was more important..
- JimC, Ward2 Manchester

I initially thought the same as Omar. How enlightened and empathic is the teachers union. I will be sure to remember them when the times get better. Then I read the online response from the rank and file.

What I will now remember now is how little compassion and empathy many public employees had for all the tax payers who have had no pay raised in the last three years, all the tax payers who were laid off and wondering, at the age of 50(age discrimination, you bet!) whether they will ever work again, or the lucky employees who survived the down sizing but took a cut in pay and are working 50 to 60 hours a week to try and all in an effort to keep the company afloat during these tough economic times.

Absolutely education is important and most all public employees are critical to the health and well being of the community. However,it is difficult to relate to the attitude of public employee who whines because their guaranteed three year raise was too small. The "me first" attitude is getting old. Be thankful that you have a job that guarantees three years of raises, great health insurance, the best worker retirement plan I have ever seen and virtual job security.

These tough times. You too have to suck it up and do your job and when you begin to think "poor me, such a small raise" remember that in a few years you will be retired sitting on a beach somewhere and many of those people who paid for your current good life will need to continue to work well into their 70's just to pay their property taxes.
- Tom Keane, Bow

It would seem to me that if the teachers would come out of the stone age and finally accept 'Pay for performance', they'd be in a much better spot.

Until only good teachers can be rewarded and bad ones can be sent packing, pay will continue to be sub-par.

Good teachers should be paid handsomely, absolutely. But, bad teachers should not be allowed to collect a paycheck.
- Danny, Manchester

For those of you who continuously spout off about how people are losing their jobs in the private sector, stand back and take a look at the big picture. This is not about who is losing their jobs or not, it is about how many children are going to be crammed into the classroom with the remaining teachers. I have said it before. Raise taxes and properly fund the school system so that our kids can get a great education. Right now the city schools are putting out "less than adequate" results. I am not a teacher but a parent of Manchester school children.

As a side note, get rid of layoffs by reverse seniority. There are too many older, "experienced" teachers who are burnt out and serve no purpose other than to discourage children. Replace them with lower salaried, more energetic, and more interested teachers. Every involved parent already knows who these bad teachers are just be walking into the schools and listening to the stories around the dinner table.
- Chad, Manchester

hi i am really concerned how is it more important for us to pay for the sporting programs then keeping great quality teachers they already make low pay. as a parent i would gladly pay for a dues for my child to take sports
- roger berry, manchester

What amazes me about municipalities is that their benefit packages are very lucrative and 100% funded by taxpayers. It's high time for the government employers to cut back on their benefit packages, like the private sector has been forced to, in order to save $$$. It is ridiculous to think that we taxpayers have to fully fund a top shelf benefit package for our city/town employees while our own benefits are drastically downsized and/or disappearing. How about changing the school districts health plan to a $5000-$10,000 deductible with HSA component and save the town HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IF NOT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in insurance/pension costs. How about reducing their retirement contributtions and/or increasing their percentage of their benefit costs..
- JRW, Manchester

Sarah,
What makes them so untouchable...What about a Dad who has to work 3 jobs now and cant be home so HE can teach his kids something.He got a pay cut or even laid off. What about the fireman or even garbage collector and plow driver who provides essential services so the kids are safe, clean and can get to school.
You are just one gear in this machine thats failing now and you have to suffer with the rest of us. This country did fine for years without the elite class of professional educator snobs that has sprouted up in the last decade or so. We will continue to do fine if you decide to move on for better pay. Oh yea....my mother was a teacher.
- John, Manchester

Sarah from Lakeland... This is Manchester. We care more about Pizza, Bussing and Hockey.. Who cares that our first graders are in classes of 32 students.
- JimC, Ward2 Manchester

Why should the teachers buy into this contract. The City basically forced them out of the old one, what makes them think the city will hold up their end of the bargain this time around?

11 Million in 3 years? Ya, right.
- Sc00ter, Hillsborough, NH

As a Manchester teacher, I am left wondering why we would accept this. Don't we deserve what the other unions got? And, who is to say that the city will fund those raises next year and not put us in a similar situation. We gave the city an offer and they refused. Now it is crunch time and they want us to give more. They made the decision to raise the city side by near 6% (by raising the overall budget by 3% and giving nothing to the schools). They've done a good job playing hardball and our leaders have been suckered. They've chosen things like pools and manicured ball fields over education. Let them enjoy the byproducts.

As for economiics and job security, the private sector enjoyed money hand over fist during the good times when the teachers were getting 1% and 2% raises. We've been making sacrifices - this is our best contract yet with a 2.5% raise (great in a recession, but paltry in the economic climate we negotiated in). Teaching provides meager wages but stability, the private sector provides opportunity to makes lots of money but you also accept the risk of losing your job. We all make our own decisions. I feel terrible for those who are struggling, but stop being so spiteful now that you know what it feels like to squeek by, too.
- JAS, Manchester, NH

Sarah in FLA - you do not understand "The New Hampshire Way." We had the first in the nation lottery and the money was supposed to be used to fund education. But as long as a city or town could cover it's education budget without touching the lottery money the lottery money could be placed in the general fund. You don't have to be a genius to learn what happens to most of the lottery money.

Our state government also votes against expanded gambling (slots, video gambling, casinos,) but allows our lottery commission to flood the market with many scratch ticket games ($1 to $30 games) and a new $2 Megabucks game to go along with a $2 Weekly Grand Prize game.

The New Hampshire Way . . . "stack 'em deep (students in classrooms) teach 'em cheap."

And nickel and dime 'em with the lottery.
- W, Manchester

Can someone please explain to me why our teachers are getting the cuts in pay? These people are educating OUR future.

Obviously teachers are not in this PROFESSION for the pay, but seriously? Why take more money away from them?

I'm a teacher. And I think a lot of people underestimate what we have to do to make our classroom run smoothly and make sure our students are educated to the standards of No Child Left Behind.

Don't take the money away from our childrens' educators. Take it from somewhere else.
- Sarah, Lakeland, FL

Its always interesting who bails out the city and/or companies. Its always labor that takes the hit. Doesn't matter the reason. Labor is always looked down on especially when there is a union.
We take the hits whether it is pay raise or getting laid off.
- Ron Gebo, Manchester NH

Omar- Don't be impressed, they only sacrificed for a few of the teachers to get jobs back. In return they have settled a contract for the next three years. They sacrificed many workers to remove the hassle of contract negotiations. Shouldn't unions fight for all their members?
- Rodney, Manchester

i'm not a teacher but i'll be surprised if the teachers vote this contract in. as it is now the city side will get half of their 3.0% raise and the school side will only get 1/3 of thei 2.5% raise this year PLUS the school employees have to pay more towards their health insurance. doesn't seem that fair to me.

again-not a teacher(but i am a union member) and to me they are not being treated fairly.
- bill, manchester

Impressed? I'm supposed to be impressed that they did this?!?

They're CITY EMPLOYEES. The option was that or someone was going to have to be let go because there just isn't the money in this economy.

Plenty of people in the private sector have gone with out raises and lost their jobs. I'm supposed to be impressed by their actions and thankful they didn't go on strike?

Think again.
- William Smith, Manchester, NH

This idea impresses me - the teachers could have returned to school in the fall with their scheduled pay increase in the fall but were willing to take a little less to sacrifice for their fellow teachers and students. I'm not a teacher or associated with the city schools but good for them for what they have done.
- Omar Little, Manchester, NH

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"In Manchester, it's sports as usual"
By JOHN HABIB, Staff Sports Writer, 8/11/2009

With the fall high school sports season fast approaching, questions abound over a number of issues involving city athletics, including the status of some teams at Manchester High West.

"Believe me, I'm concerned about a number of topics,'' said Steve Dolman, chairman of the Manchester School District's athletics committee. "We're still waiting for answers and decisions about many issues.''

Dolman addressed many of those topics, including: the current search for a new part-time athletics director; pay-to-play policies; and night games in football, soccer and field hockey.

--Effective June 30, Dave Gosselin retired as full-time athletics director. Dolman said the job has been posted as a part-time position, with two applicants scheduled to be interviewed this week.

"My main concern is that we won't be meeting as a full board again this month,'' said Dolman. "Our football teams begin practicing this week, and the rest of the fall sports begin (practicing) Monday. To me, it's important that we fill the position as soon as possible.''

Until an AD is hired, the three faculty managers at the city's public high schools -- Sarah Dumais of West, Jane Clayton of Central and Jack Quirk of Memorial -- will handle the daily responsibilities at their respective schools.

--Dolman said night games will be held this fall.

"Surcharges were a big problem last year, but Dave (Gosselin) met with various officials connected with Public Service (of New Hampshire), and we were able to resolve many of the issues at Gill Stadium, Memorial and West," he said.

--Pay-to-play is still on the table, but, Dolman said, "It won't affect the fall sports. We've already started practice for the fall sports, and even if we had a plan in place this week, it's too late to collect any money. It's my understanding that we could have a total of $3 million coming to the school side, some of it coming from the aldermen and some from the state building fund. However, the city finance officer (Bill Sanders) has said he won't sign off on it unless we have a supplemental budget showing excess revenue. Right now our revenues are below expectations.''

Dolman said it could be until November when the school board finds out how much money it will receive from the city and state.

"If it is November, pay-to-play wouldn't affect the winter sports,'' said Dolman "We'll have to wait and see what happens.''

--A lack of participation could impact the status of varsity field hockey, ice hockey and boys' lacrosse at Manchester West. Practice for field hockey is scheduled to begin Monday at Manchester West.

"Unfortunately, if we can't field a team, there's no other option but to cancel the sport," Dolman said. "I feel bad because every kid should be able to participate in the sport they want to play.''

Patrick Corbin, executive director of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association, confirmed that the sanctioning body prohibits a student-athlete from one public school that doesn't offer a sport, such as field hockey, from competing for a school that does offer the sport.

Dolman said that even if West is unable to field a varsity field hockey team, it may be able to continue at the junior varsity or freshman level.

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"Varsity hockey off the chopping block"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, 8/11/2009

MANCHESTER – Varsity hockey will return to Manchester high schools this winter.

In a surprise move, the school board resolved last night to pull the hockey program back from the brink of elimination, saving the sport for one more year.

Committeeman Eric Fischer's motion to restore the program in the school district's $146.4-million budget passed unanimously, without a word of debate among board members.

The vote brought relief to the two youth hockey officials in the audience but prompted words of caution from Superintendent Tom Brennan.

"We have a limited budget," Brennan said. "I'm just very concerned."

Board members did not say how they would pay for the program. Brennan, who estimated the cost at $100,000, indicated he may have to find other services to cut in its place.

The decision marked the second time in recent weeks that board members have voted to restore services that had been marked for deletion under this year's budget. Last month, the board backed away from a policy change that threatened to block some students from taking a bus to school.

Fischer said he shares the superintendent's concerns about the budget but said he has heard from many people who feared the end of the hockey program. In addition, he said, there is a "major historical factor" in his support for hockey, a sport with deep roots in northern New England.

"It wasn't done to make your situation any more difficult," Fischer told Brennan. "It was done because of the amount of inquiries about it I received."

Board members made no references to wrestling or skiing, two other sports that were placed on the chopping block when the board approved the budget in June.

Two men who help run the non-profit Manchester Regional Youth Hockey Association said they were surprised by the board's vote. Both described themselves as "cautiously optimistic." "I'd like to see it in detail," said Carl Swenson, one of the organization's directors.

"Dr. Brennan made some good points, too," said Mark Putney, the organization's director of player development. "Where is the money coming from?"

Both men said the kids who play in the league were disappointed to hear there might not be a varsity hockey program in the high schools this winter.

"There's been a lot of uncertainty," Swenson said. "'Am I going to be able to play? What am I going to do?'"

Roughly 56 city students play varsity hockey in Manchester, Swenson said.

Committeeman Chris Herbert said he believes many families who care about the program are "more than willing to make an extra effort to try and raise funds for that program, in particular." "By this board's action, they don't have to do that," Brennan responded.

District officials have yet to decide on a proposed "pay-to-participate" policy that would charge students to be involved in a sport or extracurricular activity. Brennan has asked administrators to come back to him with a detailed proposal.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

Peter from Dunbarton...

Any money raised at a "Hockey Tournament", go to the city general fund. How does that help? It does not, nor do any door procedes from games go to the sports. ALL MONEY GOES TO THE CITY GENERAL FUND not the sport, not to the schools...
- JIMC, Ward2 Manchester

Hockey has not been saved, its been given a stay of execution.
With that said now is not the time to sit back and relax, instead its time to take action, raise funds to offset costs and no longer soley rely on the backs of the taxpayer to fund dying programs. Organize a xmas tournament worthy of the city to draw people. That would include Trinity as an equal as the 4th city school. If you don't at some point it won't be saved and as the kids asked, what will I do now?
- Peter, Dunbarton

Anyone who doesn't think that athletics should be a priority is delusional. Sports and other extracurricular activities should always be considered a priority in the lives and well-being of youths in this city. Circumstances being what they are in certain areas, athletics are the one thing that joins kids from different backgrounds together and helps them to stay away from outside activities that would prove to be more detrimental to their lives and others.

Sports are a universal language and I think the city would be doing its youth a disservice if they nixed any athletic programs from the school district. Not to mention the fact that some of these students have a better chance at scoring some financial aid or scholarship money based on their athletic talents.

I have been a lifelong resident of this city and some of its proudest moments surround athletics. Some of the best landmarks in the city are based on sport. I grew up going to public school in Manchester and yeah, we had some classrooms that were a little more crowded than others. But, at the end of the day, the friends I made through those sports teams that I played on in school and the lessons I learned from my coaches (most of whom were volunteers by the way) I will carry with me forever.
- Nicole, Manchester

I would thank SC Member Fischer for his support of Varsity Hockey. He had the courage to do the right thing.

Our town pays tuition to Manchester for it's high schoolers and this includes a capital component. I have 2 students attending Memorial and I have been disappointed over the budget drama that has played out over the last two years. It is a shame to put our students in the middle of a political and economic tinderbox each Spring. I only hope that the Mayor, Alderman, Superintendent and School Committee can work together in the future and settle on reasonable bottom line budget figures early in the process.

The Superintendent is a bright man but he seems to have been unreasonably handcuffed and left in a difficult position by the budget handed down by the Board of Aldermen. Manchester is on record as being out of compliance with some State Standards - classroom sizes (i.e. student to teacher ratio) and insuffient guidance councilor staff are among the reasons. How exactly is it that the Mayor, the Chair of the SC, and the Superintendent are going to make Manchester Schools fully compliant with the budget reductions year after year. With all due respect Mr. Mayor, I wish you well in your Congressional Bid so that Manchester can vote in a Mayor that is able to able to see the future potential in our young people not just the future potential for him/herself.
- Bob Hayes, Auburn, NH

Every time something gets "ADDED" back in to the budget, you can eliminate the possibility of more teaching positions returning! Hooray, we have hockey, but Johnny Jumpstart is in a first grade class with 32 other kids... Whee for hockey.

Just goes to show where our priorities lay.
- JimC, Ward2 Manchester

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"Budget balancing: Cutting savings, not expenses:
The New Hampshire Union Leader, Editorial, August 13, 2009

Like many of its residents, the city of Manchester has dipped into its savings to make ends meet these past two years. And like some residents, its credit rating might be hurt because of overspending.

Manchester happened to gain more in state education funding than it lost in other state aid this last budget cycle (about $2 million more). However, the losses began in last year's city budget, and the gain was all in this year's. The city used some savings to make up for the loss of state aid and drop in tax revenue.

On top of that, aldermen refused to consider deeper cuts to the new budget that might have negated the need to tap savings. Now the city's bond rating could be in jeopardy because of the $3.8 million hit the rainy day fund has taken over the past two years.

In both Manchester and Concord, officials balanced their budgets by making some cuts, but by also raising taxes so they wouldn't have to cut further. Politicians seem to think there are no consequences to doing that. But further hurting the economy is one consequence. If Manchester's bond rating drops, that will be another. Maybe that visible consequence would carry more weight with elected officials than the invisible one of having lots of constituents cut their family budgets so they can afford higher taxes.

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"Fuzzy math: School board needs a calculator"
The New Hampshire Union Leader, Editorial, August 13, 2009

Manchester's school board has foolishly obligated city taxpayers to pay $11 million in increased labor costs for school employees over the next three years. Worse, the board did so while claiming that the vote saved money.

This spring, the board rejected a contract that would have saved about $850,000 this year. Members correctly concluded that the one-time savings, caused by delaying a pay raise for six months, was not enough to justify the $11 million in pay increases the contract would have guaranteed over the next three years.

The new contract is not much different. Instead of saving the district $850,000 this year, it saves an estimated $1.1 million. That's a difference of $250,000. In exchange for that small increase in one-time savings, the board went ahead and approved the $11 million in pay raises over the next three years. This deal obligates the district to spend 10 times more than it saves, and school board members call that a bargain?

Ward 3 board member Mike DeBlasi says the contract doesn't really cost taxpayers any more money because contracts are up for renewal next year, and they usually contain roughly 2 percent raises anyway.

But there's no guarantee the new board (there is an election this fall) would approve raises next year. And if it did, raises might not be as large. This contract requires taxpayers to spend $11 million more over three years than existing contracts would. Given the economy, that's irresponsible.

School board members (save John Avard, Eric Fischer and Mayor Frank Guinta, who voted against the contract) recklessly obligated the city to pay more while revenues are declining. The vote makes a tax increase -- and teacher layoffs -- more likely in the near future.

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"Budget balancing: Cutting savings, not expenses"
The New Hampshire Union Leader, Editorial, Thursday, August 13, 2009

Like many of its residents, the city of Manchester has dipped into its savings to make ends meet these past two years. And like some residents, its credit rating might be hurt because of overspending.

Manchester happened to gain more in state education funding than it lost in other state aid this last budget cycle (about $2 million more). However, the losses began in last year's city budget, and the gain was all in this year's. The city used some savings to make up for the loss of state aid and drop in tax revenue.

On top of that, aldermen refused to consider deeper cuts to the new budget that might have negated the need to tap savings. Now the city's bond rating could be in jeopardy because of the $3.8 million hit the rainy day fund has taken over the past two years.

In both Manchester and Concord, officials balanced their budgets by making some cuts, but by also raising taxes so they wouldn't have to cut further. Politicians seem to think there are no consequences to doing that. But further hurting the economy is one consequence. If Manchester's bond rating drops, that will be another. Maybe that visible consequence would carry more weight with elected officials than the invisible one of having lots of constituents cut their family budgets so they can afford higher taxes.
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READERS' COMMENTS

While I would love to have zero percent tax increases, I know it's just not realistic. The city is not a business, that doesn't mean that it cannot generate revenue by people using the golf course or playing at the ice rink or using the city parks after dark to use lighting.

There's equipement and assets that need to be swapped out, the question is do you fund it over time and plan for the expenditure or do you just suddenly come to the realization when the engine on the fire truck seizes or the transmission falls out of the police car?
Or does the sudden urgency come to fruition when the highway worker and drivers seat falls through the rusted out floorboard of his truck?

Shame on our politicians for not leveraging our dollars and making the targeted purchases necessary to keep our city running. If they knew that the Highway garage was inadequate 30 years ago why didn't the put away x amount of dollars a year? I've saved my money wisely, for a new furnace, a new appliances, new windows in the future and a new roof should I need one.

Last year the city went out and spent about $800,000 on new portable radios for the MPD when all the MPD asked for was to replace 40 for about $160,000 and to stagger replacement over the next few years. There was no price discount and the other 160 or so radios were working adequately.

Now we are in the same predictament at highway, they need at least 5 or 6 trucks because we keep putting off buying 1 or 2 year to phase out the older ones. I've passed by the yard to see our great rusted fleet sitting out there 365 days a year. I've seen the area that the maintain them in and those workers, all highway workers deserve a reward for working in conditions that they are, the mechanics especially.

If they are going to have our equipment they should have a very large garage to keep all the equipment out of the weather and a up to date maintenance facility and offices for the 21st century.

Next up, police and fire. City workers You guys and gals deserve the best, we just need to convince the aldermen and the public that an average slow and steady 2-3 % is healthy for growth
- Jack Alex, Manchester

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"Audit hints volunteer got city pay"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, 8/15/2009

MANCHESTER -- – A city worker who aids and counsels at-risk children was apparently getting paid by the city while volunteering at a summer basketball camp, according to an auditor's report.

The auditor, Kevin Buckley, called the practice inappropriate. At the same time, however, he acknowledged the employees's assertion that his responsibilities at the camp overlapped, to some extent, with his work for the city.

"This individual would take some very at-risk kids who normally would be in the street. He would get them scholarships to this basketball camp and would pick them up and bring them there," Buckley said.

The worker, Jeff Gore, did not respond to requests for comment this week.

Gore is an outreach worker for the Office of Youth Services, a city agency that aims to steer troubled children away from crime and violence. He is also an assistant coach of the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team and, according to the report, works three weeks a year at the basketball camp, which is run by the university. (The report did not identify Gore by name.)

Buckley's finding that the outreach worker "may be counting some volunteer work as city work" was detailed in a 15-page report that faulted the Office of Youth Services for not keeping close tabs on some of its employees. The report said the agency had "inadequate internal controls in place to track the time, activity or performance of the outreach workers," who spend most of their working hours outside the office.

Buckley, the city's "independent" auditor, said OYS has since taken action to minimize the risk of fraud. Among other things, the office is now requiring outreach workers to submit a weekly itinerary and to be more precise when filling out their time cards.

The auditor launched his investigation in February after an allegation surfaced that a full-time OYS worker was not coming in to work.

Ultimately, Buckley said, it was impossible to verify the allegation because of a "lack of documentation."

OYS Director Marty Boldin said the agency responded immediately to address the concerns.

"Our intent," Boldin said, "is that the things we've put in place will essentially make it impossible for any kind of perception of that kind of problem coming up again."

Alderman Jim Roy, responding to the report during an aldermanic committee meeting Tuesday in City Hall, pressed Buckley to explain how an employee could have been charging the city for time spent at a basketball camp.

"At best, I would say this is double dipping," Roy said.

"Well," Buckley said, "it's more complicated than that."

The report said the outreach worker "considers himself as an unpaid volunteer at the camp." It notes, however, that the employee is paid by the university with an "understanding ... that he will work at the camp as part of his employment."

OYS has two outreach workers, each performing different duties. Broadly speaking, their job, according to Buckley's report, is to "monitor" troubled children and refer them to "appropriate services."

Outreach workers are rarely in the OYS offices and often work nights and weekends, the report says.

Until February, the report says, "the outreach workers were basically unaccountable for their time or actions."

Roy also expressed concerns that OYS workers were giving rides to the children they assist, potentially exposing both the workers and the city to lawsuits.

Boldin said the agency protects itself and its staff by seeking out the parents' consent.

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"City Hall: One thing all agree on: It's time to rework city charter"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, 8/16/2009

MANCHESTER'S campaign finance rules -- or lack thereof -- are nothing short of "crazy," former State Sen. Bobby Stephen says.

"If a Colombian drug lord wanted to give $100,000 to someone running for mayor of Manchester, that would be acceptable today," the Democratic mayoral candidate said in a prepared statement last week. "If North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il wanted to send along $50,000, that would be fine under these rules, too."

He goes on.

"If," he said, "a developer wanted to funnel a large amount of money through his 3-year-old nephew in order to influence city decisions, there's nothing stopping that today."

Stephen isn't making this up. Manchester's City Charter, you might be surprised to learn, places no limits on how much money a person or group can give to a candidate. It doesn't place any restrictions on who may donate, either.

"That's been the practice of the city, going back for years and years," City Clerk Matt Normand told us.

Stephen is calling for "basic" remedies. Among them:

-- A $5,000-per-election-cycle donation limit for individuals and groups.

-- Banning contributions from people who are not American citizens or permanent residents.

-- Requiring that donors be at least 16 years old.

-- Online disclosure of campaign finance reports.

"We need to bring basic transparency and accountability to our campaign finance system," Stephen said.

He isn't getting any arguments from his chief rivals in the mayoral race. Alderman Ted Gatsas said he'd like to write some rules into the City Charter. Alderman Mark Roy didn't disagree, but he took a shot at Gatsas all the same.

"It's surprising that someone like Ted, who's out raising and saying he's going to spend as much money as he physically can, is also the one saying he'll go ahead and support a charter change," Roy said. "It's kind of ironic to me."

Regrettably, Kim Jong-il was unavailable for comment.

- - - --

CHARTER CHANGE: Gatsas doesn't just want to tweak the City Charter. He wants a top-to-bottom review of it.

The Ward 2 Republican said he recently called the city solicitor to see about forming a commission to look at the charter. The charter has not had a thorough scrubbing in 12 years.

- - - --

SHUT 'EM DOWN: The moderators at Wednesday's mayoral debate breezed right past it, but Stephen said something interesting when asked about education.

"We don't need to build more schools," he said. "What we need to do, I think, is consolidate."

Does that mean, we asked him later, that he would shut down a city school?

"I would look into that," he said.

- - - --

THE GREGG ENDORSEMENT: Stephen said he recently took a call from U.S. Sen Judd Gregg, in which Gregg, a friend, explained why he had agreed to appear at an Aug. 20 fund-raiser for Gatsas.

"He didn't know I was in this race," Stephen said.

Gatsas said Gregg has not only agreed to speak at the fund-raiser, but he's sent a campaign donation, as well. "I would assume that's an endorsement," Gatsas said. "But I certainly would not put words in his mouth."

So who is Gregg supporting? Here's what the senator had to say: "I have known and worked with both Ted Gatsas and Bobby Stephen over the years and respect their commitment to public service for our state. However, in the race for Mayor of Manchester, I strongly support Ted Gatsas. Ted has a strong record as a fiscal conservative and has done an excellent job representing the citizens of Manchester as both a City Alderman and a State Senator."

- - - --

BUDGET BUSTER: Here's a little fact that may interest the folks at the state Democratic Party: Mayor Frank Guinta overspent his budget last year (if only by a little), according to a newly released financial report.

The Finance Department report -- "unaudited," we should note -- says the Mayor's Office finished the year 1.25 percent over budget. In terms of dollars, the office reportedly missed its mark by about $2,550.

Only two other city agencies, Economic Development and Elderly Services -- missed by larger percentages, the report shows.

Guinta, who is running for Congress, did not respond to requests for comment.

All told, the report says, seven agencies ended the fiscal year with a spending deficit. Fourteen came in under budget.

- - - --

CAP KLATCH: Ward 10 aldermanic candidate Phil Greazzo is taking matters into his own hands, organizing what would be the first "informational session" on the proposed spending cap.

"The aldermen said they were going to have these educational sessions because they need to educate voters, and they haven't done it," Greazzo said. "So if nobody's going to step up and do it, I'll step up and do it."

The session is slated for Sept. 2, 7 p.m., at the West Manchester Library meeting room and will be open to the public. Greazzo, it should be noted, is a big-time supporter of the cap, but he says he hopes to have people on both sides of the issue available to field questions.

- - - --

HIRED: Roy has hired two campaign aides, both veterans of Democratic campaign work: Jeremy Bento and Alexandra Stewart.

His old campaign manager, David Scannell, stepped down a few weeks ago to take a job with the Claremont school district, Roy said. Scannell, he said, is still giving his time to the campaign, now as an adviser.

- - - --

ENDORSED: Ward 12 aldermanic candidate Patrick Arnold continues to tout endorsements from Democratic heavy-hitters. The latest is from the longest-serving alderman in Manchester history, Bill Cashin.

"Patrick is a reasonable person who will work hard to find practical solutions to our city's challenges," Cashin said in a statement.

Arnold faces state Rep. Keith Hirschmann, a Republican, and Gerard Brunelle, a Democrat, in the September primary.

- - - --

OVEN FRESH: For those who must know: Papa John's will retain the title of "hot" pizza supplier for Manchester's schools. The school board approved its bid last Monday.

Surprisingly, given the board's history, there was no arguing. Committeeman Chris Herbert helped see to that.

"Stay away from pizza," he told his colleagues.

Sage advice, for sure.
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Scott Brooks' column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. E-mail him at sbrooks@unionleader.com.
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READERS' COMMENTS

If Dick Anagnost still owns the Papa John's franchise, then Papa John's it will stay, To hell with that silly "lowest bidder" and "saving the taxpayer money" routine.
- Richard, Manchester

I’m anxiously looking forward to the results of Stephen’s "I would look into that," investigation of consolidating schools. If the opportunity exists, which school(s) would he shut down? Maybe West, maybe transfer students to West from the older most costly Central and shut it down. Maybe shut down an elementary school or two. The elementary school in your neighborhood could be first.

This passion for trying to save money by cutting one of the most economical school districts in the state, next year I predict it will once again be the most economical, seems ill founded. We live in a city that has the most or second most economical school district in the state and one of the least economical city services in the state, yet we continue to try to gain saves where we are economical. Anyone truly interested in reducing spending and therefore lowering taxes must look carefully investigate the least economical areas of government first.

This is generally considered common sense, and is standard practice is any half competent organization: business, non-profit, or town seeking to reduce spending.
- Peter Sorrentino, Manchester

Hey Bobby, this is America, it's all about capitalism and greed. How do you think Obama got in, by raising money. I remember he had multiple events worth a $25,000 sitting.

If the kids like the taste of Papa John's thne Papa John's it will stay.

A message to all aldermen, you don't need to "educate" me. If you want to try and inform me, fine, but none of you are qualified to "educate" anything.
- Jack Alex, Manchester

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"City strikes deal on McIntyre Ski Area"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, August 19, 2009

MANCHESTER – The city has struck a tentative deal to lease McIntyre Ski Area to a private company and replace its aging clubhouse with a new $1.3 million lodge.

The agreement would put the McIntyre Ski School in charge of day-to-day operations at the North End fun spot. The school has been providing skiing lessons at McIntyre for the past three decades.

Officials say the deal will give the ski school a fair shot at doing what the city has been unable to do for many years now: take a financially struggling winter-sports venue and turn it into a money-maker.

"It certainly is a gem that's going to shine again," Alderman Ted Gatsas said.

Aldermen last night asked the city solicitor to write up a contract with the ski school and present it to the board Sept. 1.

Ski School Director Ross Boisvert said the new management hopes to remake McIntyre into a year-round attraction. By the summer of 2011, he said, the site could be ready to play host to a day camp and volleyball or basketball leagues. The new lodge, he said, could be used for small weddings and other functions.

The school hopes to begin building the new lodge next spring. Chuck DePrima, the city's interim director of parks, recreation and cemeteries, said he hopes to see the building completed by October 2010, before the start of the 2010-2011 skiing season.

The existing clubhouse is widely described as an eyesore. City Finance Officer Bill Sanders said he believes if nothing is done, the building will no longer be usable two or three years from now.

At one point, officials were talking about merely renovating the lodge. Alderman At-Large Mike Lopez, who was involved in the negotiations with the ski school, said the extra cost to demolish the building and start from scratch has been projected at $300,000.

Sanders called the deal a "good decision for the city of Manchester."

Officials say the deal will have no impact on the local tax rate.

The tentative agreement calls for the city to sell $1.6 million in bonds, with the ski school making debt payments annually for the next 20 years. Most of that tab would go to demolishing and rebuilding the lodge; about $300,000 would be spent on "Ski Area equipment," according to documents distributed to the aldermen.

DePrima said the city would incur some expenses in the first few years of the agreement but that it would be fully reimbursed over time. The early expenses, he said, would be covered by "enterprise" funds, not taxpayer dollars.

In addition, McIntyre Ski School would assume all of the debt the city has already incurred for past improvements to the venue.

McIntyre Ski Area has been bleeding money for years. Records show the venue has lost nearly $600,000 in the past three years alone.

In a letter to the aldermen, DePrima chalked those losses up to "the age and condition of the facility, its existing debt service and the lack of employees with knowledge specific to the ski industry." DePrima said the losses "have begun to have a negative impact on the city's bond rating," potentially threatening the city's ability to borrow money for major purchases and projects.

DePrima said he does not expect the management transfer to result in any layoffs. Boisvert said he expects there to be 200 seasonal jobs at the ski area, plus five full-time jobs. Lopez said the city has had a strong working relationship with the ski school over the years. "They've been great tenants for us. They've done everything we've asked," he said.
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READERS' COMMENTS

William Smith is exactly right... The city does not need to be in the recreation business--we suck at it.

Sell the property and collect TAX revenue on it... hmmmmm thats an idea...
- JimC, Ward2 Manchester

Ski School Director Ross Boisvert said the new management hopes to remake McIntyre into a year-round attraction.

Day camps and basketball leagues... are you kidding me. Why wouldn't you make it into a real "Attraction" Mini golf, batting cages, and go-carts might be a better idea. What does the ski school know about running a ski area? There are completely different skills needed to run and operate a failing business. They should have asked Ross how running the ski shop worked out for him. There must be a reason why the city didn’t get any better offers from other investors. Chances are the ski school fails to make this a profitable operation.
- Michael, Hooksett

How about an Alpine Slide like thing for the summer?

How about water slides?

This is a diamond in the rough and could make a TON of money in the summer if used right.
- Dennis, Manchester

If I read this correctly, and I hope I’m not, the taxpayers of Manchester are building this private (for profit) ski school a lodge, buying them equipment, giving them rights to use the entire site for twenty years, and incurring costs to taxpayers. But over twenty years, if all goes well, the taxpayers will be made whole. That’s a whole lot of wishful thinking. Just who are the owners of this for profit venture?

How are costs incurred by taxpayers? Enterprise funds are used for expenditures that will have to be covered otherwise – probably increased property taxes – this is a similar shell game to the one that was made to ‘show’ that taxpayers would not pay for the Verizon Wireless Arena. In that case the rooms and meals taxes were used. Taxes went up to cover the costs formally covered by the rooms and meals tax.

Its deals like this that keep Manchester taxes high, sidewalks and street in poor condition, the police department from being able to hire more officers, the schools from cutting programs, etc. The positive thing this deal offers is that all the backward thinking, reminiscing, people of the city get to keep their childhood ski area – not that most of them use it anymore, they just want to know it’s there. The city desperately needs forward thinking leaders and a vision of the future, not the past.
- Peter Sorrentino, Manchester, NH

Didn't these same politicians tell us that the Fisher Cats Stadium project would NEVER have an impact on the city tax rate also?
- Joel, Manchester

Candidates for office should raise the appropriate funds and advertise to get their messages across, not use discussion boards as shameless, self promoting campaing plugs.
- DP, Manchester

Look it up...Might MaC is a MONEY MAKER for the city. Why give that up? Charge the ski school TRIPLE, they have nowhere else to go!
- james, manchester

It’s quite simple. McIntyre must focus on having great ski schools and offer low price rentals. It should not be a resort. It should provide affordable (loosely used) ski lessons to families who do not have the means or desire to spend their money at larger resorts. It should run ski and/or snowboard teams that compete with mountains like Croched Mt and Pats Peak. It should also work with schools in the area, and possibly with non-profit organizations. Best of luck!
- DL, Manchester

Robert Tarr,
Derryfield IS already open to ALL. You do not have to be a member to play there, it is a PUBLIC course. Brush up on your "facts".
- John, Manchester

Mr. Tarr, Derryfield Country Club is a public course and anyone can come and play, including out of towners and out of state golfers. And you want to be an Alderman in the City of Manchester. Wow.
- Fred Branscombe, Manchester

I believe golf at Derryfield is open to people other than members at certain times. It's not like you can just let an unlimited amount of people on the course at once.

Calling McIntyre a "resort" when it is nothing close to a resort is idiotic. It will be primarily a ski spot and maybe some sort of summer recreational facility. Maybe they'll get the new lodge up they will be able to rent it out for weddings, etc. which this city desperately needs.
- Ron, Manchester

If they were to charge more for "out of towners" then they would be making no money, as the people would go to Pat's Peak or Gunstock. According to the posters comments the residents do not come as it is, so the taxpayers would be making up more money. Time tomake Manchester more attractive for family activites as it once was.
- Rick B, manchester

When the author says, "Officials say the deal will have no impact on the local tax rate" ...why does he not quote directly by name? Who are these officials?
- Les Silver, Manchester

Lease? How about SELL. The City need not be in the ski business.

I'd also love to know who is going to buy $1.6 million of the city's debt in bonds in this wonderful economy we have right now.
- William Smith, Manchester, NH

I took lessons and skied at McIntyre my entire childhood growing up in Manchester. Most of the kids I met were from out of town. Why doesn't Manchester or this new company running the place charge out of towners more for skiing there. The taxpayers of Manchester are the ones who have to make up the difference if the place doesn't make money.
- IS, Pilly, PA

This is the best decision ever ever made by Parks and Rec. Lets face it we need to capitalize on every venture we are operating and try to get the most out of it that we can. We just don't have the abilitiy or the talents to do it ourselves all the time. This is a win win situation and maybe a professional firm can do something we couldn't and provide an income stream through revenue payments back to the city.
- Jack Alex, Manchester

It's nice to see the McIntyre Ski Area to be leased out. Maybe it could also get a new name like; "McIntyre Ski Resort". Other options to help generate money would be to invite a pro ski shop to rent out a space in the newly built lodge? Other suggestions on the table for future items could be opening up the Derryfield Country Club to everyone (in state and out of state) not just to members. (GASP! from the aldermen) This way, the city could promote it as a great tourist attraction for those who visit here in Manchester on their vacations and such. If Candia can have a waterpark and Hooksett the IMAX theaters, then this a great way to show Manchester as a great place to enjoy. Time to make Manchester the 'HUB' of New Hampshire once again.

Robert M Tarr
Candidate for Ward 5 Alderman
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester

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"City to rehire some pink-slipped teachers"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, 8/20/2009

MANCHESTER – Another batch of Queen City teachers is getting its jobs back, Superintendent Tom Brennan said last night.

Brennan said he planned to rehire some of the 78 teachers who were pink-slipped this spring.

"We plan on bringing some back, and we'll prevent as many (layoffs) as we can,"Brennan said. "But I can't give you a number."

Manchester Education Association President Scott McGilvray, who met with Brennan yesterday, said he was expecting about 12 to 15 teachers would be rehired.

The move comes with less than two weeks to go until the start of the school year. Even with the rehires, district officials expect many schools to start the year with fewer teachers, and many have speculated that class sizes will have to increase.

Brennan was meeting with principals through the evening yesterday, trying to determine which positions he would look to fill. He said he planned to send out e-mails last night to teachers who were being recalled.

The superintendent said he was prepared to spend $1 million to recall teachers. That's a little less than what he hopes to save in a tentative deal the school board recently negotiated with the district's five labor unions.

The deal with the MEA would wipe away a portion of the teachers' pay raises this year while guaranteeing higher wages over the course of a new three-year contract. It has been OK'd by the school board but still awaits approval by union members and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

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"Gatsas, Stephen spar at five-man mayoral debate"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Manchester – Mayoral candidate Ted Gatsas challenged his opponents in a debate Tuesday morning to offer up specifics to back up claims that they would cut taxes.

“Somebody needs to tell me,” said Gatsas, an alderman and Republican state senator, “other than just to say we’re going to increase economic development, because that’s something that doesn’t happen overnight.”

The five-way mayoral debate, much like the one that preceded it by two weeks, pitted Gatsas against a field of hopefuls who knocked the city budgets he co-authored and the tax increases that sprung from them. His most vocal critic, once again, was former state Sen. Bobby

Stephen, who said the nearly 8 percent increase in taxes over the past two years has hurt local businesses and the poor.

Stephen was not specific when pressed by Gatsas to name ways of cutting costs or raising revenue. His response was: “There’s always fat to cut. You have to re-look at your budget.”

Alderman Mark Roy was less aggressive than Stephen, a fellow Democrat, but did take issue with this year’s budget. In particular, he lamented that the city’s schools are set to lose three school resource officers, policemen who protect and counsel students.

Roy said he would lower taxes by coming up with ways to keep employees off workers’ compensation and increasing the city’s recycling rate. He also said he would consider offering employees an early-retirement package.

Each of the other two candidates, state Rep. Richard Komi and public-access TV producer Glenn Ouellette, argued the city has gotten off track in recent years. Komi echoed Stephen’s charge that recent tax increases have been too large. Ouellette, meanwhile, accused the aldermen of routinely wasting taxpayer money.

The one-hour forum, hosted by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and moderated by WGIR-AM personality Angela Anderson, was the second in a series of debates between the five candidates. The top two vote-getters in the Sept. 15 primary will advance to the general election.

In what may have been the most controversial statement of the debate, Stephen suggested – not for the first time – that the city might want to shut down West High School, since its enrollment has plummeted in recent years. “I don’t know,” he said, “but I would look at, ‘Do we need West High School?’ Maybe that would be an area to consolidate.”

Stephen said after the debate he didn’t mean the school should be closed, but rather, that more students should be brought into West from other schools.

Gatsas insisted during the debate that it would be a mistake to shut down a high school “because the high schools right now at Memorial and Central are overloaded.”

“We should be talking to Hooksett to possibly move all their children into West,” Gatsas said.

Ouellette said the city should be preparing for the possibility that Hooksett pulls its students out of Manchester, just as Bedford did a few years ago. His plan would turn the three high schools into specialty schools, with Memorial focusing on business, Central focusing on math and science and West focusing on the arts.

Ouellette said the schools should not “force” children to “go to a higher education which they will not need.” Komi, by contrast, said he wants to see nearly all Manchester students go to college.

Komi said he would “reorganize the school system.” More specifically, he said the district needs to reduce class sizes and assure teachers their jobs are secure.

Roy called education “the foundation of my economic development plan.” He also vowed to listen to local business owners and respond to their concerns, such as parking and the upkeep of Manchester’s streets.

Roy and Gatsas each spoke of the benefits of public-private partnerships. Roy named the proposed Elliot at River’s Edge complex as the city’s top development priority. Ouellette said his top project would be a new highway department building, saying the existing facility “looks like a third-world country.”

Gatsas said the city must not forget about its airport. He also advocated moving ahead with long-delayed plans to develop a business park on Hackett Hill.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

Currently most schools are overcrowed. Beech Street school for example has over 700+ students and four portables. Wilson School has over 450+ students and one portable. They also maybe facing the plan to place kindergarten children in two classrooms originally designed for first grade. This will add to increased student/teacher ratio and not a very productive learning enviroment. We also have students who now want to go to Memorial's JAG program because Central doen't offer it anymore. Time to rethink and redevelop Manchester into the hub of New Hampshire once again. Attract more businesses, repair our aging fleet of vehicles, reduce our overhead/overtime and open the doors to city hall to everyone with a voice. Let us all sit down at the table and hold informative meetings with everyone to get Manchester moving again. Real Solutions, not campaign slogans.
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester

Spot on, Fred, especially in regard to Mayor Guinta. And now the 'Spending Cap' no-minds are pushing that agenda. Such a measure has history, and one only need look at similar proposals that were enacted by voters, then repealed by those same voters, in both Massachusetts and California. Looks good on paper, a spending cap, but so doesn't marxism. Both don't work.

JR, Manchester ~ not right that jobs are re-located overseas, and I shake my head in disgust thinking about. Thought a heavy tax was to be applied to American businessess that moved outside the US!?! You mention Lawrence, MA. Interesting. I often see posts here lamenting how Manchester is fast becoming like many former mill towns, particularly along the NH/MA border. If that 'Spending Cap' mentioned above should ever be enacted here, indeed, we will soon look much like those same towns. A pity, really.
- Jack, Manchester

So why press for all kids to go to college? It's a waste of time and money. I have a masters and 10 yrs experiance in software implementation. And I have been out of work for over a year.

Their are no jobs around here, I have lost 2 since 2005 to India.
- JR, manchester

With that kind of attitude you wont be getting a job very soon. There's plenty of work out there...........your just not going to get paid for doing nothing anymore. Your lazy and it shows in your comments.
- Jake, Manchester

So why press for all kids to go to college? It's a waste of time and money. I have a masters and 10 yrs experiance in software implementation. And I have been out of work for over a year.

Their are no jobs around here, I have lost 2 since 2005 to India.
- JR, manchester

The last thing Manchester needs is another mayor who is obsessed with cutting taxes. Exactly how many conservative politicians need to watch their "cut taxes at all costs" mantra fail before people stop voting for these people??!!

Guinta's insane spending cuts and freezes, especially to the disgracefully underfunded school district, have Manchester looking more and more like Lawrence every day.
- Fred, Amherst

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The economic impact study says the airport accounts for 3,820 jobs with an annual payroll of $153 million. (DAVID LANE)
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"Director: Airport's economic engine is strong"
By GARRY RAYNO, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, August 27, 2009

MANCHESTER – Despite fewer airline passengers and a troubled economy, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport's economic impact continues to grow, according to a study released yesterday.

At a press conference, Airport Director Mark Brewer said the airport's $1.24 billion impact in 2008 is nearly double what it was five years ago when the last study was done.

"This convenient, safe, well-structured facility -- in a way -- has become the region's own economic stimulus package," Brewer said.

According to the economic impact study done by the Jacobs Consultancy for the city's Department of Aviation, the airport accounts for 3,820 jobs with an annual payroll of $153 million.

Direct spending by on-airport businesses and organizations totals $242 million and $377.6 million is spent by "air visitors," for total direct spending of $620 million.

Direct and indirect spending by off-site businesses supplying services, material or machinery to the companies and organizations at the airport totals $483 million, according to the study, while direct and indirect spending related to air visitors is estimated to be $753 million for the $1.24 billion total.

The report notes the airport's growing number of air visitors from outside the facility's core market of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont. Visitors spend an average of $459 per person on lodging, meals and beverages, retail purchases, transportation and entertainment.

Passengers from outside the core area have grown from 33 percent in 2006 to 44 percent in 2008. The percentage of passengers from Massachusetts, particularly the northeastern section, has also grown, but the percentage from New Hampshire has decreased from 60 percent in 1998 to 26 percent in 2008.

The majority of the airport's 3.7 million passengers today are leisure travelers instead of business travelers, growing from 48 percent in 1998 to 52 percent in 2008.

However, the number of passengers has declined an average of 5 percent between 2005 and 2008. Brewer attributes the decrease directly to the troubled economy. "As soon as the economy rebounds, we will see passengers go up," he said.

"The biggest threat to us is we don't have the seats to sell," Brewer said, noting the airlines moved to smaller planes when the price of jet fuel skyrocketed, hoping to fill all the seats and raise prices.

The number of passengers using the airport in June was down 16 percent, which mirrors the 15.9 percent fewer seats available, he said. "If you don't have the product to sell, you can't sell it," Brewer said.

Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta said while the economic report is good news, he called it only the beginning, noting in the next 10 to 20 years he expects the economic impact to be $2 billion to $4 billion.

"We need to ensure during the next 10 years we focus on the proper expansion of this airport. While the focus is on domestic flights, this airport needs to look to flights to Europe and the rest of the world," Guinta said.

Manchester Airport Authority Chairman Gary O'Neil touted the opportunities in the state for business expansion, including 1,000 acres in Londonderry when the $175 million airport access road is complete.

"The future of the airport can be summed up in three simple words," O'Neil said, "economic impact engine."

Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner George Bald said the airport has a direct influence on the state's tourism industry, the second largest industry in the state producing $4.4 billion in direct spending. He said the airport is also very important to the state's business climate.

"While it may be the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, it really is New Hampshire's airport and all of our citizens benefit from it," Bald said.

Robin Comstock, president of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said, "We are just darn fortunate to have this economic hub in our own backyard."

The most recent economic impact study done on 2003 activity at the airport indicated the total was $715 million, while a 1994 study showed a total of $170 million.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

I'm a frequent business traveler on the seacoast. I prefer MHT to BOS due to a more pleasant drive to get there, quicker to park and get to your gate. (There are certain TSA people at MHT that really need some social skills though).
I willing to spend about $100 more per trip to use MHT, but I find that BOS offers cheaper flights and more direct flights than MHT. So I tend to use BOS more than I'd like.
I hope the MHT people are reading these comments and work with the airlines to adjust schedules/pricing to meet the needs of frequent NH travelers.
- Mike, Portsmouth

Being a frequent flyer, I have to say that Manchester-Boston is at a disadvantage pricing wise. Always preferring to fly out of Manchester, it's the first thing I check when pricing flights and have only been able to fly out of this airport once in the past 5 years because the cost was lower for that flight.

For whatever reason, Manchester-Boston flights for the most part tend to be about 40% more expensive than Bostons-Logan. As long as that trend remains, Manchester-Bostons growth will eventually stagnate.
- Scotto, Salen NH

To those of you wanting to fly out of Boston, all I can say is good luck with the traffic.
I flew out of BOS to ATL a couple months ago. Sure, I got a better selection of flights, and I did save $100 on the airfare. However, I spent an extra 2 hours in the car round trip. I spent an extra $10 in gas. Not to mention the parking rates are a lot higher.

I didn't learn my lesson. A month ago I did the same thing, BOS to ATL. I was lured in by the lower airfare. Traffic was much worse, spent an extra 4 hours round trip. That was in the middle of the day. Yes, I did save another $100 on the airfare.

All in all, for many of us it is worth spending the extra cash to fly out of MHT. Unlike Dunkin Donuts, Logan Airport is not worth the trip. I won't be making that trip again anytime soon.
- Chip, Bow

Great news - too bad the rest of NH is either underemployed or unemployed.
- Mark, Manchester

It's still cheaper to fly out of Logan making it worht the trip.
- Dave G., Goffstown

Delta has a stranglehold on the Atlanta market to NH. It costs me $300. less to fly in/out of Boston. Delta costs are obscene-you need to offer more competition to get them to drop prices and to increase toe # of flights.
- Mary Giles, Peachtree City Ga

Southwest in boston now.... watch the numbers decline further. Southwest owns MHT currently and as the numbers decline, fewer flights will take place. I now can go to one airport and choose Jetblue, Airtran, and Southwest for the cheapo flights.... Convienence is nice, Savings hundreds is nicer.
- steve, manchester

Whether you love it or hate it, this Airport is a significant contributor to the local economy - we should do all we can to encourrage its' growth.
- DP, Manchester

It's a shame a NH airport has to have the name BOS-MHT. Has it made such a difference to be affiliated? Doesn't seem like it to me. Let's change it back!!
- Ron Tanner, Okeechobee,FL

Let's not forget that studies such as this are paid for by the interested party (in this case the Airport) and are expected to 'prove' the result that the party desires. Take the economic impact and the jobs data with a VERY large measure of skepticism.
- pgb, Bedford

I fly out in 2 weeks. I would save $10 on my round trips by going to Boston. Manchester has twice as many flight options than Boston does for the same airline.
- Billy, Manchester

The noise of aircraft, especially cargo aircraft, needs to be studied for the communities surrounding Manchester Airport. Manchester and Londonderry got noise abatement but what about everyone else?
- Mike, Goffstown

But at what cost to the surrounding communities? Noise, pollution and traffic are all up thanks to an airport that cares little about its neighbors. Fat salaried managers who seem arrogant and unaccountable to the residents they serve tell us how great it is to have a big airport in our backyard but does it really benefit the people who have to live with the middle of the night noise? Airport officials are now so arrogant that they have only a recording answer complaints.
- James Covart, Bedford

Bob -

Did you calculate your costs for driving and parking in Boston into your total costs? I'm happy to pay slightly higher prices for the convenience of walking in my front door 15 minutes after my flight lands.

This is all besides the point because I often find flights that cost the same or less than Logan.

What does it say about society when a good news story like this comes out and all people like Bob and Chip can do is complain and whine. Go be miserable somewhere else.
- Mike, Manchester

In two weeks I will drive to Boston for flights that are 580 dollars less.

Wake up Manchester.
- Bob, Weare

Headline:
Director: Airport's economic engine is strong
Subheading: New bus service seen as greatest threat
- Chip, Wilton

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"City Hall: Schools face tough decisions in the coming days"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009

YOU WOULDN'T EXPECT to see a smile on superintendent Tom Brennan's face last week, but then, there it was.

Just about everything, it seemed, was a little bit funny. Kindergarten enrollment, Brennan had just been told, was through the roof at Hallsville Elementary. The school might need to hire another teacher. Brennan just laughed.

Maybe he was losing his mind.

"I hope not," he said. There was that smile again.

He was, it's fair to say, under some stress. School starts Tuesday, and even now, many major decisions have yet to be made. Like, how many more teachers can the district hire? Which extra-curricular activities will have to be eliminated? And will there be sports after the fall season is over?

Brennan doesn't have all the answers, but he can safely say this about the new school year: "Things will not be the same."

With all the talk about layoffs and class sizes, one of the most jarring changes has gotten overshadowed this summer. That would be the reduction in extra-curricular activities -- including, potentially, intramural sports, school plays and literary magazines.

For one thing, Brennan said, there's a fair chance the schools will stop paying stipends for advisers to the FIRST robotics teams. That would seem to leave two possibilities: Either someone else -- corporate sponsors, most likely -- will foot the bill, or the teams will be dissolved.

In a recent meeting, Brennan asked the school principals to pick three or four extra-curricular activities they'd like to save.

"The question that was posed to us was, What are the ones that you have to have?'" said Memorial High School Principal Arthur Adamakos. The principals were only asked for recommendations; Brennan himself gets the final say.

Broadly speaking, the high school principals have said they'd like to keep the music programs, student councils, yearbook clubs, school newspapers and National Honor Society, plus the advisers to the junior and senior classes. Middle School at Parkside Principal Dawn Pirog said the consensus among the middle school principals was they'd like to preserve music and student leadership, their equivalent of student council.

"It was terrible," Pirog said of having to choose. "I just tried to do it based on the number of participants. But it was tough."

There is some hope for programs that don't make the cut. The advisers could work for free. Many of them, according to Adamakos, have already been doing that.

As for sports, the fall teams are safe. So is varsity hockey, thanks to a recent school board vote. But Brennan and Assistant Superintendent Karen Burkush said they don't yet know whether the district will have money for all the other winter and spring sports.

There are other sacrifices to go with all the penny-pinching. Custodial staffing, as we've previously reported, has been cut. The textbook budget also took a hit, so there won't be as many new books to go around.

Some classrooms will be a little more crowded. Some won't.

And what of the students? "They will have a teacher in front of them," Brennan said. "Education will go on. It will be good, if not better than good."

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SEE ME AFTER CLASS: One after-school activity that's said to be on the chopping block might not be missed: Detention.

Pirog said the middle school principals have suggested they could scale back detention from five days a week to four.

"It would save us money but still keep kids accountable to the consequences of bad behavior," she said.

You can almost hear the shouts from the boys' bathrooms: "Keep those budget cuts coming! "

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KEEP IT CLEAN: School board member Art Beaudry is none too happy about the cutback in custodial staffing.

"We've spent millions of dollars on getting our schools renovated," he said. "If we don't keep them maintained, they're just going to go to waste."

Beaudry said he plans to ask the board to restore $205,000 to put the day porters back to work. He'll also press for money to bring back the school resource officers who patrol the schools and interact with kids.

It wouldn't be the first time the school board added something back into the budget. Of course, for everything they add, something else has to be cut.

- - - - - - -

NEVER TOO EARLY: Brennan hasn't even closed the lid on this year's budget, but he's already thinking ahead to fiscal 2011.

The superintendent said he wants to talk numbers with the aldermen very soon. He plans to speak with the mayoral candidates, too.

What he wants is for all of them to see the district's budget as he does -- which is to say, one that's been artificially sweetened with $2.2 million in federal stimulus funds and $1 million in one-time union givebacks.

"I'm going to stress the fact that without that $3 million, we would be at least 55 teachers (short of) where we are now," he said.

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DON'T ASK ME: Alderman Bill Shea isn't taking a position on the proposed spending cap. Rather, he's letting Ward 7 voters take it for him.

"I'm a constituent alderman, and I want to do whatever my constituency wants me to do," Shea said. "If my constituents want a spending cap, I'm for it. If they don't, I'm against it."

Shea said he is conducting a survey to glean the voters' will. We were conducting a survey, too, which is why we asked him for his stance. He declined to give it, saying, "I don't want to influence their thinking."

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SPACE FOR SPARKY: And now, we bring you another chapter in the epic, 12-part saga of a city and its unceasing quest for a dog park.

After months of "exhaustive research," Interim Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Director Chuck DePrima is ready to present the aldermen with a list of places where dogs could do what they do -- mainly, romp and urinate. They are, in no particular order, as follows:

-- Next to the abandoned landfill on Dunbarton Road.

-- On a vacant lot next to the West Side Ice Arena.

-- On a flat spot near the Weston Observatory.

-- At the intersection of Brown Avenue and Crescent Road, on a part of the Pine Grove Cemetery.

"They're all viable sites, in my opinion," DePrima said. He's been on the case since last December, when aldermen asked him to look into the matter. Manchester does not have a dog park at the moment.

"It's just been difficult selecting a site," DePrima said. "It needs to be a site that's sort of remote, and there's not a lot of flat, vacant land out there."

Officials were also concerned about the risk of lawsuits if, say, someone gets bitten. DePrima's solution? Have the Manchester Dog Park Association, an organization that's about as self-descriptive as they come, provide insurance.

Phil Greazzo, the association's chairman, said he'll agree to that if he has to, though he finds the demand "ridiculous."

"My argument is you don't even need the insurance ... The town is liable, regardless," he said. "But they want to have it, fine. We'll get it."
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Read Scott Brooks' coverage of Manchester City Hall during the week in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email him at sbrooks@unionleader.com.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

Sorry, Peter but the different topics covered in this column under the umbrella of City Hall make a lot of sense to me as I realize that the Manchester School District and the Parks, Recreation and Cemetary Department have nothing to do with each other except that Parks and Rec. does seem to maintain some of the fields that school students play on.

I would certainly hope that a director of the Parks and Rec. Department wouldn't be making educational administrative decisions as he is not trained to do so. However it does make perfect sense to me that he would be looking for park space that can be used by a new type of park user group that wants to be able to legally do recreational activities with their dogs off leash with out bothering other park users.

Over 40,000 Manchester residents have a one or more dogs in their household. Why shouldn't they have park space made available to them to use.

Besides, the fact that I want to be able to use a dog park in Manchester that will be provided free of charge to the city, in no way takes away city tax money from Education. I am pro educatioin also but I also happen to be a dog park advocate as well. Supporting one does not have to take away from the other especially if the goal is for no or minimal city tax dollars to be used on the dog park.
For example is it that unreasonable to have the city remove the trash from the park just like they already do in other parks and will already be going by there anyway?
- Dave Bigelow, Manchester

Karen, Manchester:
Of course the kids are not paid to participate in Student Council. But their faculty advisors get a small stipend for their time, as do all of the coaches and faculty advisors of other extracurricular groups. For those of you who don't think that extracurriculars are important enough to pay for, please consider that college entrance boards put a high value on extracurricular activities. Colleges are becoming more and more competitive, and a top scholar may very well be turned down in favor of another student whose extracurricular activities show he is more well-rounded, has good time management skills, and is able to work well in a team environment. Those are the student qualities sought after by colleges, and those are the very qualities learned in extracurricular activities.
- Kathy, Manchester

I am currently the grounds manager at a local little league field. We maintain the fields ourselves due to the complete lack of suppprt from the city. But that's another story. I have people from all over our end of the city bring their dogs down to the field to run them. Along with that they allow their dogs to crap all over the fields that they kids have to play on. The problem with this is that it is posted as plain as day, "NO DOGS ALLOWED ON FIELD: FIELDS PRIVATELY MAINTAINED." The dog owners have to actually walk by the sign to bring their dogs onto the field. On one instance I had gotten into a verbal argument with a lady and two of her friends about letting thier 3 dogs run on the field. Apparently between the 3 of them they could not read the sign. That was not the only argument that I had to get into about it. I think that perhaps a dog park would be a good idea to prevent this sort of attitude. And allow the illiterate dog owners to take their dogs somewhere else to let their dogs crap on other peoples property.
- Lyle, Manchester

A dog park at the dump? That is the worst possible location. Why would I want to take my dog to the dump? And I can't even walk there because there are no sidewalks and that road is so busy. Dumb location idea.

The Ice Arena or Pine Island Park sound like much better places to put a dog park. Glad to see that Phil Greazzo has been able to nudge the city along with this process.
- Sam, Manchester

Jack Alex

Thats the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. No Pets outside?
Get a grip. While we may not NEED a dog park- you definitely need a reality check.
- SRT, Manchester

I have 3 dogs and personally could care less about a dog park. I prefer to let my dogs go on Jack Alex's property where I dont have to pick it up.
- Jake, Manchester

Hey Jack Alex,

I hate it when a few irresponsible dog owners let their dog poop on my lawn next to the sidewalk too and I am a dog owner! But that doesn't mean most other dog owners aren't responsible.
Besides, wheither they own a dog or not rude people do rude things, like throw trash on my lawn as they are driving or walking by as well. But closing down the sidewalks or roadways because of a few irresponsible idiots won't work either.

As a responsible dog owner when ever I take my dog anywhere off my property I also bring poop bags with me, even for a hike in the woods.

But in relationship to dog parks or off leash recreational areas you've missed the boat. If a dog is getting exercise at a dog park instead of walking by your lawn it can't poop on it.

Also most of the people who bring their dogs to dog parks are responsible dog owners and wouldn't put up with that type of behavior either from the rude people. So why should the responsible owner's be punished for something they aren't doing.

At the same time those dog owners who are dedicated enough to see that the first dog park does get built in Manchester don't want any money from the city to build it or maintain it. We will be providing it free to the city so no one will be giving us any city dollars raised through taxes for the park.

38% of the people in Manchester have one or more dogs in their household. Should they be denied an off leash recreational area they can enjoy with their dogs and other dog owners and their dogs due to a few irresponsible dog owners.

Over 40,000 residents of Manchester who have dogs as part of their families shouldn't be punished for the irresponsible acts of a few rude people who just happen to own dogs.
- Dave Bigelow, Manchester

Perhaps parents can step up and volunteer time each week or donate old musical instruments, art supplies, money or whatever to help the schools during these difficult times.

But would the District welcome volunteers?
- AB, Manchester

This column provides clear insight into the values in Manchester...

While the school district is struggling to figure out how to provide kindergarten to the growing number of enrolled students, how to manage larger class sizes, how to keep FIRST Robotics programs, how to keep school plays, how to keep spring sports, etc, the parks and recreation department’s high priority (it has spent months conducting exhaustive research) is finding where it might locate a dog park.

Does this make sense to anyone? What is the message? Move to Manchester: bring your pets, but not your children. Unless of course you don’t mind a poorly performing school district, which is implementing further cuts in services.

Just how can Brennan justify “It [education] will be good, if not better than good." By all objective measures and any independent academic reviewers (www.psk12.com, www.greatschools.net, www.schooldatadirect.org, www.neighborhoodscout.com,...), Manchester schools provide a less than “good” education. How, in this coming year, will the education become good? Particularly given the distractions mentioned in this article. Is ‘how much it spends’ the only measure of the school district that anyone cares about?

It seems that many people and elected officials of this city have completely lost sight of priorities and values.
- Peter Sorrentino, Manchester

Jerry Moriart ..Claremont...
The teachers are going to be paying more of their monthly premiums this year for insurance.
- Jim, Manchester

Jack Alex's post speaks to the very issue of irresponsible dog owners. While not all dog owners are as callous as Jack would imply, the one or two negative incidents that Jack has had serve to tar and feather the rest of us.
- Rick Olson, Manchester

There needs to be some fact checking done on Dog parks. There are a number of communities in NH that have them and they seem to be a successful Quality of Life Enhancer.

First, people like Lopez and his ilk cry about the liability. Well, whatever happened to the doctrine of Municipal Immunity? It seems that a dog park would be the instance where such a principle would be set in place.

Second, there are some who think a dog park should be purchased and funded from outside interests. I find that to be somewhat hypocritical when the city is willing to fund snow tubing hills, ski slopes and skate parks all under the umbrella of Quality of life.

Third, this city owns acre upon acre upon acre of undeveloped land. Yet, the powers that be are too damn stingey to part with an acre or two.

I own two hunting dogs. I have no need for a dog park because I am a member of an 83-Acre Sporting club where I can regularly run them. Moreover, I have a yard where the dogs have free run.

Pet ownership...speaking specifically to dog ownership is a quality of life issue. The city revenues reflected in dog registrations should speak to that.

They can cry and whine about the vicious dogs maintained; the unregistered dogs...the ones who's owners never take the animal into the vet for so much as a rabies shot..much of what is manifested by a handful of our center city residents. But as with anything else in life, there will always be those few who think the rules don't apply to them.

Its time to stop making excuses and put togeither an effort to create a dog park.
- Rick Olson, Manchester

The projected number of students in classes is incredibly high, no supplies, and less staff. Not good.
- joco, manchester, NH

I am currently a student at Memorial High School. I am having a hard time understanding why they cut, of all things, teachers. Kids can sit in a classroom with nothing but a book and a teacher, and learn. Key words were BOOKS and TEACHERS. Save these first, then worry about the rest of the items. Do I want to see sports disappear along with extra circulars? No, I myself am a member of several of each. However, I'd rather have a teacher in front of me and a textbook in my hand, rather than a practice after school or a rival game against Central.
Why is the District NOW addressing these huge issues? When we begin school in 2 days? We knew we were in trouble last September when there weren't enough books for the classes. Punish the students, for adults lack of planning and action. Thanks, Manchester.
- Anastasia, Manchester

Jerry, just so you know, teachers in Manchester currently pay about $200/month for healthcare, which amounts to about 7% of our net pay. I'm not complaining, I just don't want people to think the city covers the entire premium.
- Fred, Amherst

As a tax paying citizen of Manchester and a high school teacher in another town, I am grateful that my husband (also a high school teacher) and I have budgeted our finances to allow both of our children to attend Catholic schools. Now that our oldest is beginning high school, we are able to bring him with us AND continue to pay school tuition for him because we took on extra work. He's now entering a "public" high school for his freshman year and has a strong educational and moral background needed to be successful in our multi-faceted society.

When it's important to you, you do what is necessary. Some teachers take the summers "off", others like myself do not. We've placed our children's education at the top of the priority list. It's not that difficult to do but it will take discipline and commitment.

If Manchester parents are happy with the "status quo" of the educational system then let them be happy. Many of the teachers in Manchester are shining examples of what is good about the system. However what sours the pot is when the instability comes from the top down (administration and unions.) That is truly unfortunate. That is when children are no longer the priority.

If parents are not happy, then they can do something about it. No whining, no fussing, no complaining. Just do it. There are always ways to accomplish your goals. Sometimes you just need to be creative and tighten the belt.

We did not like the way the Manchester educational system was being run 9 years ago and we haven't changed our opinion about it. But instead of whining and complaining about it we made choices. So no brand new cars, no spa manicures, no fancy meals out. Just good, clean, simple living with a focus on our children's futures. Get back to basics.

We're happy we made the choices we did. And in 3 short years when our oldest can vote, you will be too.
- Christine, Manchester, NH

Jack Alex - I can see you're a real cheery, upbeat, friendly person. What a ridiculous suggestion, keeping all pets inside. How about we do away with lawns instead. Think of the water that would save not to mention the pollution caused by fertilizers, pesticides and mowing.
- Brian, Faqrmington

Jerry,

I believe the teacher's union recently made concessions regarding health coverage.

What if the city gave the money earmarked for education to (gasp) education?
- Abby, Hooksett

Jerry from Claremont, the changes proposed to the teachers contract already includes higher copays for health insurance. I cannot understand why the teachers have been asked (expected) to give back much more than the other city workers. And no, I am not a teacher. I work in the public sector, a tax-paying citizen wishing that the citizens and leadership of Manchester would put a higher value on the education of its youth.

Thank you, Mr. Brooks, for finally giving us some sort of a glimpse at what will be sacrificed to fit the ridiculous budget the aldermen handed down. I know the final decisions and cuts aren't made yet, but could you please give us an idea of the changes in numbers of students & staff this year? How many more/less students, teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, custodians, etc. is Superintendent Brennan juggling?
- Kathy, Manchester

City union give backs mean Payoffs for 3 years. Everybody has cuts, furloughs but City workers. A tax cap will protect us from backroom deals.
- Alisa, Manchester

In the article they talk about "saving" student council. Since when does student council cost money? I didn't know the kids who were elected were PAID officials (ha ha). Can someone please explain to me why student council costs money?
- Karen, Manchester

In the article they talk about "saving" student council. Since when does student council cost money? I didn't know the kids who were elected were PAID officials (ha ha). Can someone please explain to me why student council costs money?
- Karen, Manchester

How about a higher deductible for the teachers health insurance? The teachers union has lost sight of their true purpose.Pensions and health care are not it.
- Jerry Moriarty, Claremont

Director DePrima could also include some land that is undeveloped here in Ward 5. A small parcel that has sat for years unchanged. This reader is sure the current owners could be found and the land bought for a small fee. Besides it is out of the way of heavy traffic areas and sits next to the rail trail that goes through Ward 5 to Ward 6. So how about it? Sounds like a great place for sparky don't you think?
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester

Don't bother wasting money on a dog park. Dog owners are so rude they let their dog go on my lawn, 10 feet in on one of those retractable leashes all the way from the city street. We need a law on the books no pets outside.
- Jack Alex, Manchester

ok to the Machester School District I have been volunter in Manchester Schools since my son attended Parkside. I do a program which would be benifical if the school district required participation....boxtops and capmbells labels. One program gives the schools cash and the other can supply school related supplies at a discounted rate. I was told on Friday after 4 yrs of doing this program... they wanted someone else to to it. Guess what this is bigger than me I need to be there for the children of Manchester. I want to let the district know I am not leaving!!!!
I want to be a support even though my son no longer attends the school 4 years should count for something on my time.
To all parents please help the schools its important all schools do *except for high schools* Boxtops and Campbells labels.

Betsy
concerned parent Manchester NH
- Betsy, Manchester NH

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"School raises: Where's the money?"
NH Union Leader, Editorial, September 3, 2009

On Tuesday night, Manchester aldermen unanimously approved a contract for school district employees that will raise the district's labor costs by $11 million over the next three years. Not a single alderman thought this idea worth opposing. Aren't two of these guys running for mayor?

The excuse for supporting this deal is that it is expected to save the city $1.3 million this year. Employees waived 65 percent of this year's cost-of-living raise. That is being portrayed as a significant sacrifice. But in exchange, they got guaranteed raises for the next three years.

Where will the city find the money to pay for that $11 million? Nobody knows.

We asked City Finance Officer Bill Sanders yesterday if he expected any large increase in revenues this year. "No, no, no, no, no,"was his exact answer.

Aldermen Ted Gatsas and Mark Roy, both candidates for mayor, voted for the contract. Gatsas has been saying in the recent mayoral debates that there is no fat to cut from the budget. Roy, no fan of spending cuts, says the city needs to increase spending on education.

Both of these men need to explain where the city will get the extra $11 million to pay for the higher labor costs they voted for. They've voted to saddle the city with this. Surely they can say where they expect to get the money.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

I am a Manchester taxpayer and I am a Manchester teacher. I did not agree with this plan. I pay taxes too because I am a home owner. It is NOT a raise, but COST OF LIVING, which I could use given my student loan bill. Let's see, I pay $600 a month for that and have to work three jobs! Stop bashing us.

Fred in Amherst, Thank you for pointing out the obvious. You are bright person. :-)
- JT, Manchester

The 11 million is not for raises, it's for cost of living increases. Teachers don't get raises. Over the last 15 years the teachers have averaged 2.1% annually in cola's. This new deal averages out to a little less than 2.0% over the next 4 years. The actual inflation rate over the last 20 years is just about 3.0%. Can you haters do the math here?

Teachers salaries in Manchester, adjusted for inflation, are LESS than they were 20 years ago. Yet somehow, miraculously, the UL is trying to portray this as some kind of greedy union money grab. UNBELIEVABLE.

Anyone interested in the facts can go to the NHDOE website and see that Manchester currently is dead last in per pupil spending at the highschool level in the state of NH. DEAD. LAST. Now tell me again how greedy the teachers in Manchester are.

To all you tax cap fools who want to limit tax increases to the inflation rate: How about we tie teacher cola's to the inflation rate too? I'd be making about ten grand a year more if the city had been giving us actual cola's over the last 20 years.
- Fred, Amherst

The same deal was done with other city employees! Why is it only outrageous when it comes to the school district? One person is expected to teach 30 children in class! But, it takes 3 city workers to dig a hole! Hey why don't you pick on another part of the city for once UL!
- AJ, Manchester

Are the raises over the next few years as "guaranteed" as the ones that the teachers gave up in the face of more layoffs? The fact is, if the city can't afford the raises in the extension they just gave in exchange for the short term savings, they will come back in a few years and request that the teachers open up the contract, agree to concessions to the agreement they just made or face layoffs. The question will be, at what point will the teachers stop giving in and the true downfall of the school system begin when the city's bluff is called and they need to make heavy layoffs?
- Steve, Laconia

Sounds like the Kansas City Shuffle to me (misdirection). Softball questions mixed with sound bite answers. Kathy said it best...."attract more taxpayers" not more liabilities to the system. Why are all the private and charter schools doing well? Maybe because they have no unions? Gatsas sounds polished but any guy that helps raise my taxes multiple times is sure to do it again. But the alternative is that the others talk higher taxes when discussing education. Union Puppets. What is the % of public workers that live in manchester? Why are there voices louder than the residents?
Who is willing to represent the city of Manchester and not just their constituents?
- Hughan, Manchester

Barbara,
The teacher's in Manchester rank 39th in the state in average salary. You can look it up on the state web site. Where are you getting your "facts"? Revolt if you want, but revolt for the right reason. As far as living in Manchester is concerned, I believe that our country allows people to choose where they live. This includes police, fire, and teacher's. These three groups also go above and beyond for the citizens of Manchester. You obviously have no idea how much extra the teacher's of this city do for their students beyond the school day.
Put your money where your mouth is and become a teacher.
- John, Manchester

Kathy Staub- how does lavisging raises to teachers when the rest of us are suffering lead to better education. Our teachers are paid better than most, but our scores are low. They blame parents. Look at scores in worse cities. Our city workers (especially teachers, police and fire) are selfish. Most don't live in the city and don't have to pay for their raises. It's time the taxpayers revolted. Tax cap.
- Barbara, Manchester

They can find $7.5 mil that the State gave the city FOR THE SCHOOLS that the CITY EMBEZZLED for the city-side of the budget.
- Bob, Lake Ave

Where was the outcry when the other city unions took their extension? We only bash the teacher's, right! Check out all the city salaries then put the complaints where they belong. Search at the top of this page under "city salaries" and you might be surprised to find who makes what in our city.
- John, Manchester

How about asking all 14 aldermen where the money will come from? We are voting for all of them this election. Hold them accountable. I've heard Gatsas talk about private-public partnerships and making smarter decisions for the city. He gave a lot of examples. Roy comes across really well, but I don't get the feeling that there's anything to back up the words. He's nice, friendly and wants to make everyone happy - but that's not a qualification for running a city. Bobby - well, let's just let him speak for himself (if he can put to coherent words together someday).
- Mark Rindle, Manchester, NH

They could always take away the non-department benefits which was created in 2008. The 11 million dollar non department benefits didn't exist in 2007. Just take a look at the city budget http://www.manchesternh.gov/website/Departments/Finance/BudgetInfo/tabid/296/Default.aspx
- James C Webb Jr, Manchester

On page three of today's paper you have and article by Scott Brooks on the Manchester Teachers Union backing Alderman Mark Roy for mayor and he commented that the endorsement was very special to him.

Why didn't Mr. Brooks ask him right then where the money was going to come from?

Mr. Roy said the endorsement "validates about a decade's worth of work being pro-education" but it seems to me that this wasn't about education but was all about more money for union members. From what I have seen Mr. Roy has never seen a union proposal he didn't like.

I think Scott McGilvray summed it up best with his comment "Now we have 127 less employees. That budget is adversely affecting our workforce. We can't endorse someone like that. (Ted Gatsas, one of Roy’s mayoral opponents)

Is that code for less money in the union coffers is intolerable Scott?

Why is it that unionized government employees deserve their job for life? Those of us in the public sector have to take pay cuts or layoffs but they should never have to deal with that?

I am all for better text books, curriculum, sports, etc.

Only a bunch of complete fools make a deal like that one.
- Randal S. Ripley, Manchester, NH

From two simple words, The Taxpayers.
- Jack Alex, Manchester

We do need to increase revenues, not by increasing the tax burden on each of us, but by attracting many more tax-paying businesses & residents. That can only be done with excellent city services, including schools!

Oh, and come to think of it, public arts will also help to attract businesses & residents, but that topic was maligned in yesterday's Union (Mis)Leader editorial.
- Kathy, Manchester

The only place they will get the money is from the taxpayers themselves. As we have seen in the past and history has always shown us, when the unions wanted their raises, the taxpayers saw an increase on their property taxes, water and sewer as well as increased fees for parking downtown. The 11 million will be put on the backs of the tax payers for the next several years if the people of this city don't stop the apathy. We need leaders who are willing to look to see if the contracts can be re-open if the Board of Mayor and Aldermen changes by 2/3. Then decide if the city is able to afford those raises. If, according to Mr. Sanders revenues are going to very small over the next few years, then the city government should step up and ask for a recount. There are ways to save money and build revenues, our elected officials must be willing to serve the people as they are told to do by the people, not ignore them and listen only to a choosen few. Time to get out the vote and speak up for ourselves, otherwise it will business as usual as it was in 2008 and 2009 with higher taxes and fees.
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester

"Both of these men need to explain where the city will get the extra $11 million to pay for the higher labor costs they voted for."

They should just do what Obama and his band of Congressional clowns do when people ask them the evil question that liberals hate so much... "who will pay for it all?" ....deflect criticism back onto the questioner by accusing them of being a racist, hater (patriot, gun owner, Christian, military, pro-Constitution, etc), or old fashioned.

Maybe the fine aldermen of Manchester feel that since the halfwits running the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal Government don't have to answer those tough questions, why should the aldermen have to? After all, it's "for the children" and by that I mean the future tax bills.
- Mike, Temple

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"Bob Baines: Manchester's next mayor faces serious challenges"
The New Hampshire Union Leader (Online), Op-Ed, By BOB BAINES, 9/4/2009

The race for mayor of Manchester is under way, and our citizens should feel confident that two highly qualified candidates will emerge following the primary on Sept. 15. I also predict that the two final candidates will present a clear choice for the future direction of our great city.

Returning to traditions of the past, my crystal ball tells me that the candidates will have experienced a long history in our city and are seeking office for all the right reasons. The two final candidates will espouse a deep love of our city, know and respect generations of people who made our city strong and have clear convictions on the critical decisions that need to be made to ensure that the best years of our city lie ahead.

The new mayor will take office in January facing the most serious economic challenges in the modern-day history of Manchester. Some of these challenges have been self-inflicted, and others are the result of the economic turmoil facing our country that has trickled down to states and local communities.

Among the challenges are a stagnant tax base, depleted rainy-day and one-time revenue funds and an unprecedented two consecutive years of budget deficits fueled by unrealistic revenue projections and underfunded budgets.

Add the recently negotiated union contracts to the mix, and the reality is that the next two years promise to be worse than the last two. Some of the decisions made by our leaders may come back to haunt the city when the bonding agencies re-evaluate our bond rating.

One of the lessons that the new mayor will learn as a result of this financial chaos is that budgets should not have built-in deficits. Budget appropriations must be realistic and protect vital city services; revenue projections should be realistic and conservative; and leadership should be void of the mayor vs. the aldermen "blame game" that has eroded the credibility of our elected officials and damaged the reputation of our city as a good place to live, work and raise a family.

It has also sent a negative message to those interested in investing in our city and those wishing to call Manchester their home. The new mayor should also know that you cannot have a great city without a great public school system. The uncertainty facing our school district because of budgets that do not meet our responsibilities to our children and grandchildren is short-sighted and will have severe consequences.

All of us must fulfill our responsibilities as citizens by committing to participate in the election process and voting on the primary and general election. Elections are important and have consequences. If you stay home on Election Day, you may have more impact on the election than those who vote.

Historically, elections in Manchester have been very close when there are strongly contested races. This promises to be one of those races. Invest in the future of our city by voting, and we shall get the leadership we deserve.

I am convinced that the new mayor, with our support, can face all the challenges that lie ahead. He must because the future of our city hangs in the balance.
-
Bob Baines was mayor of Manchester from 2000 to 2006.
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READERS' COMMENTS

Bill (Bedford) . . You are correct about the editorial being a "self serving piece" as the author was all about "self serving" when he was the West High School principal.

However, you are not correct about the Manchester high schools having excess capacity. Central and Memorial are still very crowded while West can now handle the enrollment that it was designed to hold.
- W, Manchester

I don't think I could ever support a Democrat after this administration continues to erode personal freedom, implements damaging economic policies and in my opinion understands the only use of the US Constitution as rough toilet paper.

I did not support Bob Baines in his race for Mayor and I went door to door on a daily basis to help Frank Guinta win in 03 and 05. It was not personal just that I could ill afford another double digit tax increase. That being said (or written) I do know Bob Baines very well and while we certainly do not see eye to eye on just about every political issue he is a good man.

While you can question the motives of this OP-ED I will give him the benefit of the doubt. The reason for this is that I have watched how he conducts himself for all of my life. As much as I have disliked his policies I would never classify him as self serving, especially by politician standards. On the contrary I have known him to be a true statesman in his selflessness and service to our city as both Principle of Manchester West High School and as Mayor, both very tough jobs.

I think he does try to find common ground when he does not have to sacrifice his core principles. I also know that while he can rub people the wrong way he does care very deeply for people. These are traits needed more in today’s public office holders.

The tone of this OP-ED is positive and I would like to hear more unifying comments like the following from our elected officials.

"I am convinced that the new mayor, with our support, can face all the challenges that lie ahead. He must because the future of our city hangs in the balance."

Mr. Baines thank you for your service and for striking a positive tone with this OP-ED.

If I ever did have to vote Democrat I would hope you would be one of my options.
- David, Manchester

I thought that an Opposition Editorial (OP-ED) is supposed to be in opposition to something or someone, or in favor of something or someone.

I did not need to read 526 words that boil down to this: “With the support of the residents, Manchester’s next mayor will be able to weather the coming financial challenges that face the city.”

My time is too valuable. Thank you, Bob, for wasting it.
- David R, Manchester

What about violent crime rise. Schools is all he care about. All Ginta do is talk. We need crime fighters not watch party.
- Jinna, Manchester

Bill,
Just FYI, there is no excess capacity in the Manchester High Schools. Yes, West has 1,300 students, but Memorial and Central are bursting at the seams with about 2,100 each.
- John, Manchester

This is an interesting and self-serving piece. Baines does not accept responsibility for rushing through the development deal surrounding baseball in Manchester, and though the Fisher Cats are successful, the economic development that Baines "sold" everyone has not materialized. That has caused economic burdens not only on the current administration but future ones as well.

He also failed to see that our students would not continue to go to Manchester schools forever, and instead of simply making needed improvements to Manchester's schools, he pushed through expansion plans assuming that Bedford would never have its own high school. Now, Manchester has excess capacity at the high school level (no surprise) and the cash flow from Bedford has dried up. The result is that this administration and school department have to absorb this into their budgets and this will not change going forward.

Perhaps, Mr. Baines, you ought to look long and hard at these two examples and examine the negative consequences that have resulted in terms of overspending without sufficient revenues to sustain either one.

He wanted a legacy and he got one alright.

Nice!
- bill, Bedford NH

Mr. Baines,

Your challenges were easily dealt with because you just opened up the taxpayers' checkbook. Our city could face any challenge when your tax rate was $32.00 per thousand. Great words of wisdom Baines.
- Brian, Manchester

Until we stop elected the same good old boy Aldermen year after year, nothing will change in city government politics.
- Matt, Manchester

The reason why we are in this situation is the economy. No one could have predicted this hitting and the budget in terms of revenue projections is just that, a projection. This city needs a good swift kick in the arse and we need a mayor that can give it a good hot foot instead of sitting around wringing our hands muttering "woe is me, woe is me".
- Jack Alex, Manchester

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Gold Street resident Ron Robert displays the sign he and neighbors distributed just days before Wal-Mart appears before the Manchester Planning Board. (MARK HAYWARD)
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"Area residents knock Alderman Garrity on Walmart"
By MARK HAYWARD, New Hampshire Union Leader, September 9, 2009

MANCHESTER – Just days before Wal-Mart is scheduled to bring plans for a Supercenter before city regulators, signs have popped up in south Manchester criticizing the alderman who pushed through the rezoning for the controversial project.

Homeowners on South Beech Street and upper portions of Gold Street have planted yellow lawn signs that read: "Another Homeowner Sold Out by Alderman Garrity."

Those streets are expected to suffer significant increases in traffic if Walmart builds a 183,000-square-foot Supercenter at 725 Gold St.

"It's not what the people wanted. It's what (Alderman Mike) Garrity wanted, or what he settled for," said Ron Robert, of 350 Gold St.

Garrity said the Walmart traffic plan won't make everyone happy, and the city planning board can still change it. The planning board will hold a public hearing on the proposal at 6 p.m. tomorrow at City Hall.

"I'm not going to sell out the residents of Gold Street because I am a resident of Gold Street," he said. "I know how bad the situation is."

Garrity said Gold Street traffic will improve with the new plan. It calls for creating a bypass that would funnel traffic off about half of a critical residential section of Gold Street. It also would dead end the parallel Sewall Street and President Road.

But Robert said the upper half of Gold Street will shoulder more traffic, as will South Beech Street.

Robert said he's not against Walmart. He thinks the bypass should not be built, and all the short-cut streets between South Beech and South Willow should be dead-ended, including Gold Street.

Doing so would block access to Wal-Mart and South Willow Street for motorists on South Beech Street. That plan is advanced in a petition being circulated by Rene Fortin. It also has the support of state Rep. Barbara Shaw, who is running against Garrity for alderman in Ward 9.

"It would keep the serenity and the dignity of the neighborhood," Shaw said. Shaw said she would have opposed the rezoning of the Walmart property.

Garrity said most of his constituents don't want dead-ends on every street leading to South Willow Street.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

Dan from Nashua,
Sure my house in Manchester is not the most lavish. But it is far from cheap.

I expected some amount of traffic, but not for it to explode like it is going to once this Wal-Mart Super Center goes in.

As far as noise from the air planes, I have no complaints even though I am in a flight path. Though perhaps this is due to the FAA putting in all new windows, doors and Air Conditioning for me. In return for those upgrades I signed documents basically promising never to complain or file any law suits over the noise from these planes.

As you see Dan, with the agreement with the FAA there was a trade off.


There is no upside for me or my neighbors in having a Wal Mart put in this location.

Perhaps Dan you should stick with shopping at the Wal Mart in Nashua. Oh wait, there isn't one. Perhaps you would feel a bit different if they were going to build one in you neighborhood.
- TMA, Manchester

The few inconvenienced people need to understand that elected officials such as Garrity must first do what is best for the City of Manchester and THEN what is requested by the constituents.

Expanding the business tax base in Manchester is what is needed to increase services and lower household tax rates.
- Thomas, Manchester

To Dan in Nashua, my house was not cheap pal! I knew the risks of the busy road when I bought it, but I also have the right to protest something that will make my busy a road a TOO busy road road.

I'm sure that if this was going in your backyard, you would be the biggest blowhard in the group opposing it.
- Justin, Manchester

Eric Kezer,

People on Gold/Beech St. weren't in a commercial zoned area until Alderman Garrity and others voted to change the zoning laws - specifically to allow Wal-Mart into a residential area - a couple months ago. That's half the problem here.
- Dan, Manchester

Eric, your comment about the zoning is the whole issue. It was not zoned as commercial and it was pushed through as such. We do not live in a commercially zoned area, it's residential. The issue is the traffic through our area to the site.
Jack, if you look along S. Beech along the entire route to where the Gold St Extention would be built, most yards have the yellow "sold Out" signs.
- Joe, Manchester

All of the people who don't want Walmart there must like paying high property taxes. Golds Street is commercial. The proposed location is now a run down dump owned by Joseph's . Open Gold Street up for left turns on to South Willow and build the bypass and no one on upper Gold Street will be bothered. Its a differant kind of traffic. Its not like a factory where everyone leaves at the same time. Keep on running business's away and remember it next time your taxes go up.
- Dave, Manchester

You people kill me. You buy the cheep houses, next to areas that you should expect traffic and noise and the like, then complain when you get, it. Next thing you know you'll be complaining about the noise from airplanes from the airport. Oh wait.....Never mind.
- Dan, Nashua

South Willow Street needs to be improved FIRST. If you think Gold Street and adjacents are going to be crippled. Every day will be like the Christmas rush chaos at the mall in that whole region!
- Joe, Manchester

There is an old saying, "If you built it, they will come". In this city the mantra goes, "If you try to build it, we will protest". Not in my back yard, right folks...
- Dale A., Manchester

I also like how Alderman Garrity states that he is a resident of Gold St. This does not paint a full picture. As shown on the City of Manchesters web site he lives on Kendall Ave off of Gold St.

Please keep in mind though this is the part of Gold street that runs between S. Beach and Calef Rd (not the part of Gold St. that runs from the S. Beach intersection to the proposed Wal-Mart site).

He has the ability to not get on S. Beach Street if he wants to get to 293 (or even to the down town Elm St. area).

If and when the Wal Mart get built in this location (being realistic its already a done deal) I hope that the traffic will back up onto his part of Gold Street making it difficult to get onto Kendall Ave due to the new four-way stop light they will be putting in. Somehow I suspect though that traffic on his part of Gold will not see an increase in cars.

I also have been wondering if the traffic studies that were done (by Wal Mart) if they figured out how much traffic will increase on all of those side streets that go between S. Beach and Calef? I can imagine all the residents will be using them to avoid the intersection of Gold and S. Beach.
- TMAN, Manchester

ALK....I've navigated from Gold St to Ross Ave numerous times and vice-versa, without a problem. I've crossed to get onto the walking path on foot without ever a problem, in fact, I've done it twice in the last 3 days. I've navigated every last instance of your comment without ever an issue. I've traveled rush hours, down times, weekends, the whole 9 yards. Those who fear change will find ANY reason to try and defeat it. Face it all of you Gold Street residents...you live near businesses, you live near So. Willow Street, deal with the area and the development or move to a country area stuck in your precious 70s.
- Bill, Manchester

Jack Alex from Manchester,
The "Support" for Wal-Mart signs are only on the lawns of those people who would be after the by-pass on the part of Gold St. So less traffic would be going by their houses.
It is the other houses that would see the increase in traffic in front of theirs that have the "Sold Out" signs.
- TMAN, Manchester

I grew up in the South End, and I feel bad for the families who remain there. That whole area is very different from what it was in the 1970s. My friends and I used to walk through mostly wooded land to play ball at South Little League. I understand the importance of a strong commerical tax base, but the homeowners in that area have consistently taken a back seat, whether it be the unending sprawl or the development of the airport, despite the soundproofing. When will the interests of the residents of those neighborhoods be taken into consideration?
- Mike, Manchester

Obama brought the Harvard professor and Cambridge policeman to the White House for "dialogue and a brew."

Maybe Garrity can schedule "dialogue and a brew" at the Fish & Game.
- William, Manchester

I thought it was interesting that the signs stopped on Gold St after the point where the proposed bypass would be built. Garrity sold all of us in the area out. I agree with Scott, it would be interesting to see donors on Garrity's campaign. Especially since he was so opposed to the plan at the start. I don't shop at Wal-Mart because I don't support thier business practices but I understand it's a free market. Just find a more suitable location or a better traffic plan than what is being presented.
- Joe, Manchester

I challenge the Alderman and Mayor to a simple test. Attempt to navigate off Ross Ave onto Gold Street any early morning or late afternoon. Take a chance on your well being as cars fly down Gold Street. Watch walkers as they daringly try to cross the street to the entrance to the trailway.. Attempt to take a left onto John Devine Drive against the traffic! Battle the four way intersection at March ave and Manchester Volkswagon. Sit in the parking lot known as South Willow Street.
Insanity! Why would an Alderman push a plan to bring more traffic? Residents of South Manchester should revolt at another burden against their quality of life.
ALK
- ALK, South Manchester

Ok I can't figure this out, this guy in the photo feels sold out, but I saw at least 6 properties with little wal-mart signs in the front yards saying "I support Wal-Mart"

Well I live in the southend too, sure I don't live on Gold St, but I'm going to have the same problem too dealing with the nightmare and just try getting to and from the market or even if I need to go to the mall. Dead ending streets, putting up gates, and tossing down asphalt speed bumps are not the solution. If I was a planner I'd look at connecting a road straight from spring gardent St throught he back of shaws along the railbed by the backside of nutts pond and connecting to bradley drive. Better than building some bypass road thats going to be slippery in the winter and a disaster for the rest of the neighbors.
- Jack Alex, Manchester

What about emergency traffic going through Gold St. Fire trucks, ambulances and police will all have to find alternate routes responding from southwest of South Beech St. to any emergency east of John Devine Drive increasing response times if Gold Street is blocked.
You would need some type of bypass to keep these times down.
Food for thought.
- Nick, Bedford

You know what, you own a home in a commercial zoned area.
Walmart is coming. Nothing you can do about it.
Mr Garrity may not get reelected but walmart will prevail.
- Eric Kezer, Manchester, N.H.

Is there a new bypass from Gold St. to the Fish and Game club in the works also.

South Willow is a mess already.

I'm glad the Hooksett Wal Mart has jumped to the other side of the river.

I feel for the landowners who years ago purchased their homes and now couldn't sell their property to anyone unless the buyer's last name was Walton.

It would be interesting to see the list of donors to Garrity's campaign.
- Scott, Manchester

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"Super traffic jams: Walmart's ill-conceived plan"
The NH Union Leader, Editorial, September 10, 2009

During rush hours and lunch hour, traffic exiting from I-293 onto South Willow Street in Manchester can back up all the way down the ramp. And that's on a good day. Some Saturdays the line of vehicles can extend into the high-speed road's breakdown lane, especially if a tractor trailer (or three) is caught at the light.

Near the highway, shoppers on South Willow Street often wait through several light cycles only to get stuck in intersections when the lights change.

Given the absolute mess this road becomes on a daily basis, it is surprising that Walmart has proposed a new supercenter that would add nearly 3,500 vehicles a day onto South Willow, South Beech and Gold streets and Brown Avenue. About half of those cars would be added to South Willow. The supercenter would add 4,325 cars to those roads on Saturdays.

Walmart has proposed road upgrades it says would improve traffic flow on and around Gold Street, where the 183,000-square-foot store is to be located. But that doesn't address the added traffic on the already overloaded South Willow, Manchester's main retail thoroughfare.

The new Walmart Supercenter that opened last month on Route 3A in Hooksett, just over the Manchester line, is a nice store. It would be great to have one in Manchester. But the city shouldn't even consider placing one where it would increase South Willow Street traffic as much as Walmart's own study shows the Gold Street site would. That would detract from, rather than enhance, the quality of life in the immediate area.

The city ought to be working to direct retail development away from South Willow and toward other areas that can better handle the traffic. South Elm Street would be a good example. (Next year the Rockwell site will be available.)

Unless the city and Walmart are able to come up with an arrangement that improves traffic flow on South Willow Street, they should work to find another location.
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READERS COMMENTS'

@Bob in Bedford

>It's a waste of time to try to answer >your question as you can't even >differentiate East/West from >North/South. Here's a tip-when getting >into a discussion of geography, look at >a map first. That way you won't look >like a complete fool.

I think my point is clear without looking at a map. This is much ado about nothing, and if anything, it makes traffic heading towards the Mall lighter by splitting away the WalMart crowd in the other direction where there's no draw since the movie theater is a ghost town.

Those that choose to live in the second-most commercial district in Manchester have to deal with the unfortunate fact that they live in the second-most commercial district in Manchester.
- James Bolt, Bedford

Walmart moving and creating more traffic is really only part of a much larger issue. Walmart is partnered with the Chinese, the 30 cents an hour for their employees Chinese. Every day more and more wage earners lose their jobs because of the influx of cheap junk shipped from China to your Walmart. Soon we will be unable to repay what we owe China.We all are partly to blame as we all are blinded by bargains
- Tim Tsantoulis, Hooksett

I find it rather humorous that many of those commenting seem to think they are more business savvy than the execs at Walmart. Given Walmart's success, I think they know what they're doing when they decide not to enlarge or renovate an existing store, when they pick a store location, etc. And remember folks - Walmart doesn't build a store in any location unless the store and the location are both given the green light by local officials.
- Brian, Farmington

@James Bolt,

It's a waste of time to try to answer your question as you can't even differentiate East/West from North/South. Here's a tip-when getting into a discussion of geography, look at a map first. That way you won't look like a complete fool.
- Bob, Bedford

I guess the only people paying any research for the road upgrades is Walmart, so it of course it must favor their interest, not the other retailers in that area, the other people who have to travel on South Willow Street not going to Walmart, or the poor the people that do all ready live neighborhoods off of really anywhere on South Willow, Gold Street, or Beech Street. This is a giant retailer who builds these massive stores to be open 24 hours a day trying to move in to a thickly settled neighborhood, and not a neighborhood moving next to a giant retailer like Walmart. These people who own the homes in this area property values have suffered greatly all ready because of the airport expansion, with the added noise and the traffic which it brought. Now Mr. Garrity is asking his neighbors to surrender more of their property values because of adding Walmart to the neighborhood by adding more noise and traffic. I wonder just how long Mr. Garitty will live in this area if this mess should pass through City Hall. Gee, you have to wonder what might be in it for Mr. Garrity seeing he is the real driving force behind this mess. Face it, would any one of you posting on this matter go buy a house anywhere near Gold Street if Walmart relocated to this area, I truly doubt it, in fact I know I wouldn’t.

Yesterday, I posted the city should be offering the site on Elm Street where Allen Bradley is in the process of moving out. Hum, but make too much sense for City Hall, but maybe a store Walmart might not good enough to be in their vision as City Hall keeps trying to rebuild Elm Street area. Heck, at least it would be a good idea for City Hall to justify the bridge, and all the ramp upgrades they did to the Granite Street area.
- tom, Manchester

Yes, incoming business is good BUT please City of Manchester sit down and think of future impact this will have...traffic, jobs, businesses shutting down, environmental impact...

We all want NH to be business friendly but don't have to give away the farm or be un-friendly to those who already have businesses in the City.

Meet them halfway. Protect the interests of the current business owners and residents in Manchester because in reality Walmart has no interest in this city besides how they can make money.
- Sue, Bedford

Downtown needs a grocery store. There is another viable option. Superwalmart in Downtown Manchester accessable to either Queen City Ave or Granite St off ramps.

Greg Barrett
Kas-Bar Realty
- Greg Barrett, Manchester

There is one question I have not heard anyone raise.

What will the store hours be for Wal-Mart in this new location?

Currently the Keller St. Store is open 8:00am to 10:00pm.

Alot of Walmart stores are open 24 hours. This is espically true during the holiday season (I believe they all open at midnight after Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday shopping season).

We need to consider not just the increase in traffic from customers during the times they are open, but also traffic from the workers (and delivery trucks) when they are closed. They have many people who work the overnight shifts cleaning, restocking, etc. after the last customer leaves.
- TMAN, Manchester

The WalMart to the west of the Mall is moving to the east of the Mall. So what is the big deal at that exit? Instead of 100% of the Mall/WalMart traffic heading in that direction its going to be split in two directions. Makes the traffic flow better, not worse.
- James Bolt, Bedford

Joe B. in Manchester,

You are correct that Wal-Mart wants to move from the current location on Keller St. to Gold St. The reason for this move is so they can expand from a regular Wal-Mart to a Super Wal-Mart (that will include a super market).

Currently the lot they are on the can't expand the store and parking without leveling the building and perhaps adding a second floor (hey that sounds like the perfect solution).

So to clarify for you and everyone else, Wal-Mart is looking to MOVE AND EXPAND SPACE.

I also want to point out that backups onto 293 occur not just at exit 1 (S. Willow St.) but they also already occur at Exit 2 (Brown Ave/Calef Rd/S. Beach intersection).

The difference is that Exit 1 has more turning lanes off the exit towards the current Wal-Mart Locations (two from the North and two from the south).

Exit Two 2 has two lanes (one from the North and One from the South) that would lead you up to S. Beach/Gold St.

I don't recall the exact number from a previous article but I believe it is expected that this exit is basically going to get thousands of extra cars a day if Wal-Mart moves.

Now back to Exit 1. Moving Wal-Mart to Gold St. Might relieve some traffic heading down S. Willow towards Londonderry. But in the current location once you got past the mall there never was really a problem anyways, even during the holiday months.

Plus from S. Willow you could get to the current Wal-Mart location from three different ways;
1. S. Willow St. > Kay St. > Keller Rd.
2. S. Willow St. > Auto Center Rd. > Keller Rd.
3. S. Willow St. > Goff Falls Rd. > Auto Center Rd. > Keller Rd.

Notice that none of those three ways go through a neighborhood (regardless of how it is zoned).

The big problem is now you will be shifting that traffic (and likely increasing the amount since it will be a bigger store) down S. Willow towards all the other stores. This is the part of S. Willow that already takes 10-15 minutes to get down on a regular busy Saturday afternoon.

Now you are going to increase the busiest part of S. Willow by thousands of cars?

Also if moved to Gold St. all the people that don't take the highway and come from the Litchfield area(and parts of Manchester & Londonderry) that usually come up Brown Ave onto Goff Falls Rd. the will now be forced to either add to the traffic on on S. Willow or S. Beach & Gold St.

This whole plan just doesn't make sense!
- TMAN, Manchester

I don't get Wal-Mart. They want to jam a building like that in such a tight hard to get to location. All the road improvements in the world won't help that site. They went a built a nice center in Hooksett with great access. But in Derry they are reinventing the well in an already too small building like the one in Manchester. Why don't they find some land in the middle of Derry and Manchester along the route 28/S.Willow St. area with better access from I-93? There is plenty of undeveloped land there. Sometime I wonder what makes a company think. Unless the city is giving some great incentives to Wal-Mart that they can't refuse???????
- John, Auburn

Bill, just to educate you, that area was not zoned as commercial to begin with. It was industrial. That was and is the whole reason for this debate, the zoning was voted on and changed by the city. The whole issue is that Alderman Garrity who resides in the effected area misrepresented the other residents by not only voting for the change by was the driving force behind it. I think our whining is justified.
- Joe, Manchester

Bottom line is this, when this boils down to it this will end up as a "not in my backyard" mentallity. Quite frankly, we have enough stores to go around in the city. If you want some groceries here's a solution to the problem: Have Swans deliver your food to you and buy everything else online. Thus saving wear and tear on your vehicle and save gas as well.

In the words of Judy Judy "If you don't
like what's going on in your community, MOVE"
- Bob, Manchester

I have read lots of posts on this matter, what I haven't yet seen anyone discuss yet is this:

Walmart is currently on keller st. they are planning on moving that store (not adding) to the opposite side of the highway. can anyone tell us how MOVING a Walmart is going to add traffic on a street (South Willow) that is already carrying that same traffic to Walmart?

This article talks about how horrendous the back-up is onto 293, how would moving a store that thousands of people visit everyday to the other side of the same exit add additional traffic to the same (albeit) new store?

I can't imagine that new people will trek all the way down the highway to visit the new Walmart just because there is a food store inside. With gas prices being what they are I would venture to guess that it's not economical to pass 3-5 food stores to go to a food store.

I understand the concerns on other streets in the neighborhood, but this article wants to discuss the highway and South Willow, it just seems like an ill-conceived editorial argument to me.
- Joe B, Manchester

The Rockwell site is a great idea.

Even better would be leaving the wal-mart where it is and expanding. What are they going to do with the super big store they abandon?
- Maria, Manchester, NH

I have one word for avoiding South Willow Street.

Amazon.com

I shop from the comfort of my computer, no lines, no traffic, no rude drivers and store clerks.
- Peter S, Manchester

Maybe I'm spoiled from past use of the Amherst WalMart Supercenter, but when we went shopping at the Hooksett one the other day, the selection in the grocery area was bad (in terms of what was supposed to be on the shelves and not sold out, which was another problem), and the prices weren't good enough and the customer service not nearly good enough to make me change from Market Basket.

If Dick A wants to put a supermarket where Rockwell is, put a Market Basket there, like the one in Salem on 28. Good prices, great selection and service. Manchester needs something besides pricey Hannafords, Stop & Shop, and Shaws.

And I agree with the others, if Walmart MUST build a Supercenter, why not 1/4 mile away from the Gold St. site on the other side of 293 where they already HAVE a building? It's absurd.
- Mike, Bedford, NH

Wah, wah, wah....continue to whine! If you don't like the city life and the development in COMMERCIAL areas that are ZONED for COMMERCE...move to the country side and quit whining.
- Bill, Manchester

On weekends, during inclement weather and holidays, what do your eyes tell you? Everyone knows that South Willow is the worst place to navigate, and actually scares people away to other retail centers. With all the other real estate available I can't believe city planners are still wasting time on such a ludicrous idea. The argument for more jobs, and street upgrades is delusional and insulting to the residents of the Gold Street neighborhood. There are more important needs in our lives right now. Another BIGGER Walmart within miles of existing ones is not one of them.
- tframer, Deerfield

Nice editorial.

I think it is a bad idea for Wal-Mart to move to the proposed location.

Wal-Mart could build an addition to its current store or tear down its current store and build a new store.

Wal-Mart could also keep its current store and build a store on Elm Street in the future. Elm Street would benefit from a supermarket.
- Ken Stremsky, Manchester, NH

I propose that the city consider having no left-hand turns on S. Willow, and adding a few more turn-abouts. This concept would change completely the congestion caused by intersecting traffic.
- Jack, Manchester

What we are seeing here is a total lack of planning by our planning department.
Why do you think downtown Manchester was laid it like it was, you have Elm St then Maple, So Beech, Union etc. They all run parallel to each other. Then you have streets that run East to West and West to East creating blocks.

Then they built So. Willow Street. What happened no parallel roads, no intersecting roads. No foresight in this city at all.
- Jack Alex, Manchester

I guess I am a little confused. Why exactly can't Walmart convert its current location to a Super Walmart? Derry is turning its current location to one, so it can be done and the stores seem to be very similar in size. Make Walmart use the land/building it already has and put an end to this mess. Reduce, reuse, recyle!
- Shelly, Manchester

can someone please tell me why the Manchester area needs other Wal Mart?There's one off South Willow, the new one in Hookset, the one in Bedford,Concord, Derry, etc. crazy
- Paul, Nashua

Do you mthiunk Walmart cares` about anything but making money. ASt least when Sam Wal was alive they tried to promote "Buy American" in the stores that campaign has long faded a n now Communist China is the big supplier. They build wereever they please even on the site if a najor civil war battlefield in Virginia in Concord , NH on the nesting ground of a rare buttlerfly. As long as money can be made the bold railroad robber baron's remark " The public be dammed rules."and seems to be company policy.
- albert, northwood

A walmart supercenter at the current Rockwell facility is a great idea.
I remember when when we had an Alexanders{Hannafords) at the current verizon arena and how well it served the inner city. Someone give Dick Aganost walmarts phone number and lets get this ides rolling.
- Eric Kezer, Manchester

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"Waiting for Fido: City dogs still sitting, staying"
The NH Union Leader, Editorial, September 10, 2009

Maybe Manchester dog owners can just move to Hooksett or Derry or another town that has had the foresight to create a public dog park. It wouldn't surprise us if some were contemplating this.

Derry has had a successful dog park for years. It is frequented by Manchester residents. Now Hooksett has voted to create its own dog park. Bedford, which just passed a leash law, is contemplating one, too.

Manchester finally got around to developing a list of sites for a possible dog park. But in true Manchester fashion, the list has already been divisive. The city's preferred site is on the former dump. What a great place to put a few thousand animals that love to dig.

The city needs a dog park. Sooner, rather than years later, would be nice. It's time for city officials to speed up the effort. It shouldn't be out of the question to open a dog park by next summer. Dog owners and their energetic companions have waited long enough.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

Oh, Molly, how could we have been so blind. I was not aware that the dog group was going to purchase the land. I thought they were just trying to confiscate public land for dog use. And I also did not realize that there would be some sort of doggie-trust to maintain the upkeep of the pooper-scooping for eternity.
I have a smallish buffalo that could use some socializing. Where's the public buffalo park?
- Patricia, Raymond

I think the only way you are going to make everyone happy on this issue is to have 2 smaller dog parks (on either side of the river) rather than 1 big one.

I wouldn't mind using taxpayers funds for any contruction not covered by donations, as long as it is recouped over time by increased dog tag fees.

The Dunbarton Road site does not have adequate pedestrian access. Who want to drive their dog to the park?
- Jim, Manchester

Hey voters, remember when Jane Beealieu wanted the state to spend $1.4 million for a flower garden on Bass Island instead of a FREE dog park?
- Scott, Manchester

Molly in Manchester, the first incident where a child or person is attackd by a dog, the taxpayers will be the ones who foot the bill because it is the city that will be sued.
A dog is a luxury and the city should not be in the business of providing you and your animal a safe place to play because you are not responsible enough to have a yard before you get a dog.
- Jeff, Manchester

I don't understand what you anti-Dog Park people are against? You aren't being asked to contribute one thin dime. The Manchester Dog Park Association simply wants the City of Manchester to pick a spot where the park can operate. The association has the money for fencing and insurance - there is no other cost! If you don't understand the issue, STAY OUT OF IT!!!!
- Molly W, Manchester

Maybe those who are considering getting a dog need to re think thier plans. Part of being a responsible pet owner is making sure YOU have the proper enviroment for your pet.
If you live in an apartment, which can be transient living at best, you may not want a dog.
It's not any cities responsiblity to provide space for YOUR pet to "socialize" with other pets. It's YOUR responsiblity as a responsible pet owner.
Before bringing a pet home, remember that most pets are a long term commitment with many living at least 10 years, some even more. That means providing a stable liviing enviroment for the chosen type of pet.
Also consider your life style. DO you like to travel? What are you going to do with your pet when you do take that trip? Boarding a pet can be very stressfull for your pet.
And lastly, remember that everyone does NOT love YOUR pet! While your pet may be a part of YOUR "family" to others it's just an animal.
- Dan, Francestown

Yes, with so many social ills, a dog park seems like small potatoes (they recently failed to pass one in Exeter, although they put waste receptacles on the streets, which is nice). However, for ZIZZY and others who think you need an ideal lifestyle to own a dog, try telling that to the THOUSANDS of dogs in kill shelters in the south (one shelter killed 5800 dogs in one year alone). I think any one of those dogs would have been better off in an apartment, don't you??!!
- Natalie, Epping

This "idea" has been in the works for years, but it never seems to get any further than it is at this moment. Dunbarton Road has always been a good idea, but the "park people" wanted the shelter there to do all the work, keep it maintained etc. They want a park, but want someone else to do the work, fundraise etc. Its a waste of newspaper space to keep rehashing this.
- MEANDMY3MUTTS, NH

If a person runing for alderman wants to focus their time and energy on a dog park then I question that persons ability to lead in a time when the city is in a money crunch. Any candidate who prioritizes a dog park over teachers and other major functions should simply not run for office. They are out of touch with reality. Want a dog park, build one yourself.
- Jeff, Manchester

A lot of you are barking up the wrong tree :)
- John, Manchester

Hmmmm. Dog Park venue or working on how to craft a budget next year that won't increase taxes. I'll take the latter. If someone wants a dog park bad enough, buy the property, set up some fencing, pay for the insurance and get on with it already.
Creating a Dog Park is not a government function. If you own a dog, you do so at your own expense and at your own leisure. If you can't handle owning a dog, don't get one. How is it that in a day and age when teachers are getting laid off people are trying to force the city to build them a dog park? Priorities in this small town are out of whack.
Exercise your own dog. Socialize your own dog. Step in dog poo on your own lawn. Just stop trying to fore the city to do it all for you. What is next? An alligator park? Elephant park? How about a Skunk park? They are animals too who need love and attention just like Fido.
- Jeff, Manchester

There is undeveloped land across the street of 796 Grove Street here in Manchester? It is located near retail outlets that sell dog food and toys, next to a proposed rail trail and has low traffic in the area, how about there?. How much land are we talking to have a dog park anyways? Maybe a little more information would help create a solution everyone is happy with?
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester

I demand that the city create a public cat
park, I mean, we can not discriminate against cat owners in this age of tolerance....

Newsflash- Dogs do not belong in apartments for the well being of the dog.
If people would not put their own selfish needs above the best interest of the animals, we wouldn't have the need for a dog park, now would we?
- Zizzy, Manchester

The Dog Park Assoc. has been willing for fund the fencing, the liability insurance that the City of Manchester is requiring, and the responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the dog park.

THERE IS NO ADDED COST TO THE TAXPAYERS.

The only thing the Dog Park Assoc. is asking the city for is a workable piece of unused city property to put the dog park on. They proposed a handful of sites that won't need parking lots built or trees cleared that would be perfect for a dog park. Every one of them has got shot down by those who seem to prefer things just percualte in committee after committee for month after month, year after year.

Dogs that are more socialized are less aggressive. A dog park would allow for that and likelky reduce the number of barking dogs and dog bItes going forward. And it improves quality of life for the owners of the 40,000 dogs in Manchester and their neighbors.

WITH NO ADDITIONAL COST TO THE TAXPAYERS.
- Susan, Manchester

Beth from Concord,
Why don't you invite other people's dogs over to your two acres to have play dates in order to socialize--maybe even have a doggy tea party.

The comparison to paying for education is ridiculous since we are comparing dogs to human children. You people need to get a grip. I am certainly glad you are not procreating.
- Patricia, Raymond

I completely agree with rick. Building a dog park is a small cost compared to other useless projects the city has taken on.

Patricia I have a house and a Dog and we would love a place to go and socialize with other people and dogs. This is a city people live in apartments and condos (imagine that people own condos that cost more than your house). Maybe you should go over to your sink get a big glass on water and really think about the comment you made.
- Michael, Manchester

I concur with Rich from Derry. Concord has a wonderful dog park. It's about time Manchester gets on the ball and creates one too. Patricia, I own a house on 2+ acres of land, fenced in yard and own a dog and have no kids. My taxes help pay for the schools. And I'm not complaining about that.
- Beth, Concord

The dog park issue in Manchester has become too contentious, so now, it seems, no one wants to touch it. It is like stirring a hornet’s nest, and I blame the folks leading the dog park group for their inflammatory approach. Every article written involves finger pointing and a swing at Jane Bealieu for not giving up her stake in Bass Island. Enough already. These folks who are trying to bully the city into a dog park need to stop. The tactic isn’t working; all it is doing is pissing people off and garnering no results.
- Christine C., West Manchester

So, Rich from Derry,
I guess that your dog, when he grows up and gets a job , will help to pay back his debt of the dog park by paying his taxes--like I am doing for my public school education and my kids will do in return for their education. Makes total sense.

Reread your comment and see how ridiculous you sound! Again, your poor dog.
- Patricia, Raymond

Deb & Patricia,
"That way those who don’t want to pay for one with their taxes won’t have too. Why are peoples dogs the cities problem?"

I have a dog and agree. That's why there needs to be a 501c3 non-profit. They can accept donations legally. No cost to the non-involved.


Phil,
If you had a 501c3 license, you could accept land to build the park donated by a doner.
- fl, Manchester

OK let me get this straight. Manchester in it's infinite wisdom thinks it needs to fund a dog park for pet owners with no yard of their own? I don't have a garage for my car in the winter can we get the city to build all of us who don't have garages for our cars too? This is just stupid. Isn't one of the questions you should ask yourself before you buy or adopt a pet is what kind of quality of life can I give this animal? I would think so. What kind of life is it to sit in a cage for 8-10 hours a day while everyone is at work? Do the pets a favor and let someone else who has a place for them buy and or adopt them. If Manchester did build a dog park I give it a month before it is covered in dog poo. Thats why dogs are banned from using baseball fields not everyone picks up after their dogs and it became a problem for the kids playing on them. Lets put the money do better use. Let the manch ppl continue to use neighboring towns just like they use the manch pools in the summer.
- Eric, Manchester,

Patricia of Raymond, I have a house and a back yard a dog and no kids. Does that mean I shouldn't pay taxes to run the schools. Dog parks are there for responsible pet owners who want to exercise and socialize thier dogs. Theres not alot of overhead with starting a dog park. Its a great idea and would benefit Manchester. Your kids should be embarrased of you!
- Rich, Derry

How about save up and get a house with a yard? Why should public dollars be spent on providing a place for your dog?? This is insane to even ask for, but to expect it? Talk about a society waiting for hand-outs. Your dog must be ashamed of you!
- Patricia, Raymond

What a sad commentary on Manchester's government!!

They can't even choose a site after nearly a year. While, in a matter of weeks, the town of Hooksett has approved one of their own and will most likely have it build just as quick.

I would hazard to guess "liability" isn't a concern there, just as it's not a concern at ANY of the dog parks anywhere else in this state.

What is wrong with Manchester???

Its government!!!

Phil Greazzo
Manchester Dog Park Assoc.
- Phil Greazzo, West Manchester

Maybe some smart entrepreneur could build one and charge a small fee. That way those who don’t want to pay for one with their taxes won’t have too. Why are peoples dogs the cities problem?

What next government doggy health care?
- Deb, Derry

Manchester needs a 501c3 group to put this into action. Aside from location, the city should not be involved.
- fl, Manchester

I agree. A dog park in Manchester is way over due.
- Jim H, Manchester

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"Planners to Walmart: Improve South Willow Street"
By MARK HAYWARD, New Hampshire Union Leader, September 11, 2009

MANCHESTER – If Walmart is to spend millions to improve roads in south Manchester, city regulators appear to be interested in having the money spent on South Willow Street.

During a public hearing last night, several members of the Manchester Planning Board indicated that Walmart could best spend its money by improving the intersection at South Willow Street and John E. Devine Drive.

Walmart has proposed a $3.5 million bypass of a portion of Gold Street and another approximately $1.5 million for off-site improvements. Those improvements include the re-timing of traffic lights, and gates that would dead-end several residential streets leading to its proposed 183,000-square-foot Supercenter.

South Willow Street is very congested, and improvements at Devine Drive are essential, said Mike Landry, chairman of the planning board.

"To the extent we can make traffic flow on South Willow Street smoothly, it will keep traffic off Gold Street," Landry said.

Walmart seemed accommodating. Lawyer Susan Duprey said Walmart brought the Gold Street bypass to the planning board at the request of Alderman Mike Garrity.

But she did not say the bypass is essential. Rather, the Planning Board will decide what to do about traffic patterns, she said.

"You ultimately get to be the deciders of what it is we do," Duprey said.

Landry and Duprey spoke at the end of a 4 1/2-hour public hearing about the massive project.

During the hearing, Walmart's traffic expert acknowledged an incorrect assumption and added another 500 cars to the 1,000 that he estimated the Supercenter would add to residential portions of Gold Street.

Also, a Hannaford representative faulted portions of Walmart's traffic analysis, noting no consideration was given to effects on the Interstate 293 ramps and traffic signals on the overpass.

And residents west of the site differed over whether Walmart and its proposed changes would help or hurt them.

"I'm for Walmart," said President Road resident Clair Robertson. "There's no reason not to be, as long as they block off my road."

She was one of six people to speak in favor of Walmart. Walmart proposes to close her road and Sewall Street to cut-through traffic. Doing so will funnel all traffic from South Beech Street and Calef Road neighborhoods down Gold Street.

Opponents said Gold Street is too busy already and too narrow to be a connector road for Walmart.

"Why are we trying to force it to be what it never was intended to be?" asked South Beech Street resident Michael Hammer.

Two hundred residents signed a petition that called for closing off all streets that would connect south Manchester to the Walmart.

"It will bring our residential neighborhood back together again," said Gold Street resident Ron St. Cyr.

Walmart had proposed three options for the Gold Street area. The first would be to widen Gold Street and use curb bump outs and on-street parking to discourage cut through traffic. The second would to be make President Road one way eastbound and Gold Street one way westbound, creating a loop for cut-through traffic.

The bypass plan keeps the bump-outs and on-street parking of the first option in order to discourage cut-through traffic.

One resident praised Walmart for its business and employment practices, while another criticized the retail giant's business and employment record.

Two speakers even differed on whether the new location would be safe because of its proximity to airport flight paths.

Alderman Garrity did not attend the hearing in order to be with a gravely ill family member, he said.

In a telephone call, he said the Gold Street bypass was the general consensus of the neighborhood.

"It (the bypass) wasn't strictly at my request," he said. "I was representing my constituents."

Walmart is expected to return to the planning board Oct. 8 to further discuss its proposal.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

This city has the worst layout I have ever seen. we have a planning board and I wouldn't let them plan a wedding or a funeral.

I have a suggestion.

1. Wal-Mart buys the old cinema property, the bingo joint, and swaps Hannafords property for property.

2. Walmart gets enough property to build its mega store right next to their warehouse Sams Club.

3. Hannafords can move to where Wal-Marts on Goffes Falls Rd is fitting nicely with the area and providing us with a quality grocery that actually has things stocked on their shelves by mid-day.

4. Then We can then dead end John Devine Dr. and put in a huge park and swimming pool for the residents of Ward 9 and Ward 8 since we don't have a park. Then we can put up a big ferris wheel, a tilt-o-whirl, and bumper cars and we can have a Big John's french fry and Blinky's Fried dough stand.

Oh la-la it is nice to dream, they can even name it Big Jack's Amusement park and I'd be happy to manage it for an earthly rate.
- Jack Alex, Manchester

Wal mart " You lie" OOps sorry i could not control myself . Wal wants it and wal mart will get it & the city leaders smell tax Dollars Oh ya your going to get your wal mart super center its all about the $.
- Doug St Pierre, Boscawen

I suggest the abutters all take time now to work with Walmart on this and let them bring much needed jobs to NH. Also, If you bought a house that abuts a large commercial area in a city, what did you expect, pretty capes? As Heraldo would say, 'Gimme a Break!!"
- Gary, Stratham, NH

Wal-Mart has a history of mistreating both its employees and vendors. The small retailer in America is history. Manchester does not need another retailer that gains bottom line profit on the sweat of its vendors and manufacturers. Wal-Mart is the largest user of sweatshop labor on the planet and has profits that rival Exxon-Mobil - all this while many of its employees qualify for the federal food stamp program. Nice job Wal-Mart. Keep it in Bentonville, AK.
- Ed, Manchester (Ward 9)

Has anyone thought about the Beech Hill area filled with young children? As it stands now it is sometimes used as a short cut. What are the proposed plans to stop traffic from using bradley st (an entrance to Beech Hill) ? Bradley st should be a Dead End if this goes thru, just because alderman garrity's kid doesn't live in Beech Hill it's ok to send traffic thru it?
- craig, manchester

Use the bicycle path that starts behind Shaws on South Beech St. It has a 100' right-of-way and can go all the way to the airport. In stead of the graffiti and vandalized property that it is now it would alleviate traffic on Willow and Beech and all the side streets.
- Russ, mANCHESTER

It was interesting to watch the Planning Board in action. Pam Gaucher from the Planning Dept appears to have been pretty much tasked to aggregate all the issues, keep Walmart informed about any new issues that arise, have members of the staff meet with Walmart to develop answers and propose solutions to citizen concerns etc. Who is she working for? Walmart? Try representing the citizens who pay your salary first. Where would you be on this issue if you lived on Gold Street Pam?
Bottom line: residents who have lived in these south end neighborhoods long before Sam Walton made his first billion are getting shafted. The lawyers representing Walmart are acting cavalier and pitting neighbors against other neighbor concerns. As Atty Susan Dupre said toward these end of the hearing, we're trying to respond but not everyone is going to be happy. Well Susan, if just one homeowner's property is affected, then you either make them whole, fix it, or lose your bid to occupy the land. This is not like an eminent domain proceeding where the overall public good takes priority over a single dwellers concerns. This is a private, money making corporate machine hiring expensive lawyers at Devine Millimet to exploit a property at the expense of its abbuters. Planning Board: don't be manipulated by these folks. References to Walmart reaching into its bottomless purse to "donate" money for developing a nearby section of rail-train or paying for contruction a half a mile away is tantamount to taking receiving an illegal gift or bribe. Don't you see what they're trying to do. They're putting the burden on the Planning Board to decide on a plan to make it happen. It is NOT the Planning Board's responsibility to "carry the applicant's water".
- Charlie B., Manchester

I also wonder what kind of bypass 3.5 million bucks is going to buy. As totally new road construction goes, that isn't a whole lot of money... especially if you're trying to stretch if from the old AG site, to Brown Ave, or even South Willow..
- Marc L., Manchester

Yeah, because South Willow Street traffic in general, doesn't suck enough....As it is, try getting to the Mall on a Saturday afternoon..... Now Wal-Mart gets virtually total control over re-structuring our neighborhoods? This is bad idea...really bad.
Clair Robertson is ok with the store, as long as they block off her road? Well Clair, guess what? Your problems won't end with a dead end....believe me. Now you'll have cars going by 24/7 twice...once down, then once after they've turned around,(maybe in your driveway) because people generally don't pay attention to street signs that say "Dead End". Be careful what you wish for people...You are dealing with a corporate giant, who will roll right over you, and not think twice....once it's started, it can't be turned off.. especially with a city that let's them in the front door, and an Alderman who puts nice fuzzy slippers on their feet and serves them dinner.....
- Marc L., Manchester

South Willow Street could be greatly improved by removing most of the turn throughs and associated lights. They should instead install a few direction reversal turns like there is at Dunkin Donuts and at Wendy's. Just imagine having only 3 stop lights on South Willow. Traffic flow would improve greatly.
- Dan, Manchester

There are a number of places in southern Manchester where Wal-Mart could put a Supercenter (including the site a mile away on Keller St. where there's ALREADY A WAL-MART!). But it is becoming increasingly obvious that the proposed Gold St. location is very bad, for a number of reasons.

And Alderman Garrity's statement that the Gold St. bypass was "the general consensus of the neighorhood" is laughable. Take a drive down S. Beech or Gold St. Nearly every house has a "Sold Out by Alderman Garrity" sign except the ones on Gold St. that are specifically protected by the bypass road.
- Dan, Manchester

Richard L Fortin you're a jerk. You're worried about "the kind people who shop at Wal-mart"? That is the most ignorant thing I've read all day. Many upstanding citizens shop at Wal-mart. I can't even believe you would use this article to take a dig at the mayors safety issues.
- Lisa, Manchester, NH

This is just nuts. South Willow is ALREADY a mess and adding a Super Wal-Mart is not going to help. Can you just imagine that during the holidays??? They can build all the bypasses they want. Closing off streets is just going to cause people ti use resident's driveways to turn around. They should have bought the Circuit City and Hummer lots....
- Julie, Manchester

Last week the Supreme Court (of NH) affirmed a lower court ruling which upheld Salem's Planning Board decision to disallow a commercial boarding kennel in a residential neighborhood. Despite the appilcant's belief they met the zoning and site plan criteria, the board cited a provision that allowed them to deny the plan because it was just plain bad for the area. There is a provision in Salem's site plan regs that gave them this ability. Most of the opposition came from the residents of the street in question. Now that this has been thru the system, maybe the neighbors here should do a little bit of research and use the same tactic. It works!
- Blaine, Salem

The only way you can ever fix the traffic backups on South Willow street is to eliminate all and I mean ALL of the left had turn lanes and all of the cross over traffic. You need to find a location where a Jersey Jug Handle Left turn lane can be put in. That way all the traffic will flow smoothly. The only way out of every location would be a right hand turn. You also need a parallel service road to get traffic in and out. Any other fix that Wal-mart proposes will only get traffic in and out of their lot quickly but back up everyone else as they wait a long time. Maybe it is time to make Gold Street a "residents only street" and force the traffic that usually cuts through there to use an alternate route.
- Don Armstrong, Henniker

If this goes through it looks like alot of folks on Gold St are going to get royally screwed!

Looking at the plans for the 3.5 million dollar bypass it appears that 2 (maybe more) families are going to lose their homes while everyone else is going to have to worry about cars in their front and backyards. And widening Gold ST? Folks say goodbye to your front lawns and driveways and be prepared for cars and trucks zipping by you as you walk out your front door!

Garritty says it was the consensus of most residents of Gold ST about the bypass plans. Were the ACTUAL plans shown? Or some quick thrown together plans that looked "good" and would get people to vote for Walmart. I know if I had to vote for those plans I would have given a big fat NO!

I don't think the planning board has thought about any of this. I think they're just seeing dollar signs and bringing more revenue into the city. What about these neighbors that this is going to effect? Im pretty sure South Beech St and most of Gold St and President (where this is all going to take place) are considered RESIDENTIAL. But again was this thought about when this was being planned out? Probably not.

Why not work w/ the Walmart that is already there? Oh I forgot this one doesn't have a grocery store! I forgot that the city of Manchester doesn't have ANY grocery stores and this is why they need to go through w/ this ridiculous plan!

And yes I am an involved neighbor of this so called bright idea! Not once did I receive anything against this plan. Everything I received was looking for my support. Well Im sorry to say but you don't have my support! This is just another reason not to shop at Walmart!
- Sarah, Manchester

The only thing that really concerns me about all of this is a possible rise in the types of people that frequent this establishment. Safe city? I don't think so, Mayor Guinta!
- Richard L. Fortin, Manchester

It's too much traffic? It's too much hassle? It's too much trouble? So, let's keep paying the unemployment for those who may find jobs at this new facility. There is a lot of empty space one block to the West of Brown Ave behind the Holiday Inn and UPS. Perhaps it's time to get rid of the, "no-growth" or "not in my backyard (NIMB)," mentalities. If we don't permit the growth and commercial development of this area, we are bound to founder. When you purchase a home in a neighborhood adjacent to a retail corridor, you would be naive to think you wouldn't experience the difficulties of growth. Much like those who purchase homes in a transition zone are exposed to the risks of wildfire, you are subjected to the risks associated with urban development. It's a tough lesson, but a necessary one.
- Lazarus, Manchester

Just what we need more speed bumps, I guess the wal-mart they built 5 years ago was good enough. Thank you THE MAN.

AX
- Arnold Xavier, Manchester, NH

Are they really serious abouth this proposed bypass?

This Southern based Company really has no idea about trudging up and down that hill on Gold street during the winter with kids, groceries, and whatever else just to get to your home within the "gated zone" from the proposed off street parking area.
- Scott, Manchester

Why should it take Wal Mart to improve the traffic on South Willow? The city could do it tomorrow if they synchronized the lights. There is nothing more frustrating than making it through one light just in time for the next one to turn red.
- Matt, Wilton

Good to realize that you are voting for China Incorporated. I

suppose all your neighbors who used to have and work in "little

stores" are gone now so you don't have to feel guilty. You're next.

Waldemort takes no prisoners just your money. The part time worker thing has made it unnecessary to offer benefits

to the chattel.
- Robert, Deerfield

They already closed off the streets once it was a major pain to get to and from anywhere. Hannafords should be the biggest opponent since that would make Shaws the easiest store to get to and from costing them an entire neighborhood of business.
- John M, Manch

The only thing that doesn't make sense is putting in a speed bump on a steep hill, I mean are they afraid someone is going to be flying down the hill so they can't take a left or end up crashing into a gate. I couldn't care less good luck to the folks down on President Rd when they will no longer be able to go the back way they will have to struggle up S Beech street in the snow and ice when they dead end their street.
- Jack Alex, Manchester

That would cut off a lot of time on the south end but that bottle neck at the north end right next to the highway would make it worse, unless you make kenberma, thomas and townhouse road without speed bumps and locals only use it
- Joe B, San Diego, CA

Michael Hammer raised an excellent point last night. Gold Street was never intended to be the primary artery to the world's largest retail store.

AG cannot be the only location in all of Manchester available to Wal-Mart. It certainly is not the best location. The proximity to the neighborhood is undesirable at best. And unless an exit ramp is opened up off of 293, specifically designed to handle the Wal-Mart traffic, the already difficult tasks of backing out of a driveway on the upper end of Gold Street, getting up South Beech Street in the snow and making a left out of Sewall and Gold Streets is going to become even more challenging; with or without a stoplight. I don't believe the timing of the signals, as the traffic engineer discussed, will clear the road(s) long enough to accomodate any of these tasks. Instead, with the increased Wal-Mart traffic exiting at Brown Ave. to avoid Willow Street, cars will back up on South Beech and the local, neighborhood drivers will learn that they only have a few seconds to make that left out of Sewall or President or back out of their Gold St. or So. Beech driveway before the traffic backs up again.
Timed signals doesn't mean the light will remain green as a car heads up South Beech in a snowstorm. A driver heading up South Beech from Brown Ave. in the snow or ice is going to have their eyes focused at the top of the hill, on the stoplight at Gold St., so they can time their approach to a green light so they don't lose traction by slowing down to a yellow or red.

These are just a couple of traffic-related situations that will be problematic with the proposed location of Wal-Mart.

The fact that the largest retailer in the world would like to build a 24-hour supercenter so close to a neighborhood is reason enough to label it a bad idea.
The safety of the children in the neighborhood should be of great concern. A store that draws 24-hour traffic routed through a neighborhood is not smart, safe or responsible planning.

Wal-Mart needs to let go of this proposed location. It is just not the right place for a 24-hour supercenter.
- Kristi, Manchester

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"Primaries tomorrow to pare key races"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader, September 14, 2009

MANCHESTER – Second place will be good enough tomorrow when candidates for many of the top offices in Manchester pin their hopes on city voters.

Weeks, if not months, of campaigning have been leading up to this moment, and if the goal is not necessarily to win, it is certainly to stay alive, collecting just enough votes to roll on to the general election.

The ballots in tomorrow's primaries will differ in each of Manchester's 12 wards, though in every ward, the top race will be the same: a five-way contest for mayor. By the end of the night, three of the five candidates will be eliminated. So, too, will many candidates for alderman, school board and some less prominent posts, such as ward clerk and selectman.

Regarding voter turnout, one city Republican who has closely tracked such statistics through the years, state Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, has predicted there will be 13,000 ballots cast, a 12 percent increase over the last mayoral primary, in 2007.

Officially, the races are non-partisan. There will be no D's or R's next to the candidates' names. Of course, that doesn't mean party leaders are twiddling their thumbs.

Michael Brunelle, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said Democrats in every race are "running against the last four years in City Hall and how under (Mayor) Frank Guinta we've had nothing but failed promises and failed results."

Democrats do, however, control the board of aldermen, and have for many years. Republicans are harping on that fact, blaming incumbents for spending increases in recent city budgets. Many are also accusing Democrats of stymieing efforts to cap city spending, a proposal some GOP activists are fighting to keep on the November ballot.

"I think people are concerned about what's going on," said Bryan Bernier, first vice chairman of the Manchester Republican Committee. "They want to make sure the right people are in place to make decisions."

To a large extent, the mayoral race has been shaded by two key issues: taxes and education.

Alderman Mark Roy, a Democrat, talks some about the former and a lot about the latter. A small-business owner and three-term alderman, Roy has repeatedly said the city must spend more money on its schools. Recently, he won the endorsement of the city teachers union.

Roy and other Democrats have been fiercely critical of the Republican in the race, Alderman and state Sen. Ted Gatsas, who helped conceive the city budget that effectively level-funded the school district this year. Gatsas' message on education includes a call for a non-partisan commission to propose a redistricting plan for Manchester's schools. He also says city officials should do more to engage parents.

Gatsas is a former president of the state Senate and has leaned on his extensive business and political connections to raise vast sums of campaign money. If elected, he says, he would promote the city's airport, consolidate some city departments and encourage "green" initiatives.

Former state Sen. Bobby Stephen, the most conservative of the three Democrats in the race, has aggressively condemned Gatsas for co-authoring budgets that resulted in tax increases. Stephen is a former restaurateur attempting a political comeback after years on the sidelines.

The race is rounded out by state Rep. Richard Komi and public-access TV producer Glenn Ouellette. Komi, a first-term Democratic legislator, is a Nigerian refugee who says Manchester has lost its way over the past decade. Ouellette, an independent, says recent administrations have failed to curb wasteful spending.

The top two vote-getters in the primary will advance to the Nov. 3 election. The same is also true of races for alderman and school board.

Nine wards will have aldermanic primaries. They are: Wards 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12.

Four wards will have primaries for school board seats. They are: Wards 1, 4, 5 and 7.

The list of primaries includes several open seats, many of which are expected to be very competitive. In Ward 2, four candidates are sparring for the chance to succeed Gatsas as alderman. Four others are competing to succeed Alderman Real Pinard in Ward 6.

The aldermanic seats in Wards 1 and 12 are also open.

One the school board side, there's a five-way race to succeed Joyce Craig in Ward 1, though one of those candidates, Gary Hunter, is asking his supporters to back another candidate, Debi Rapson.

There is also a five-way race for outgoing Vice Chairman Katherine Labanaris' seat in Ward 5. Similarly, though, one of those candidates, Adam Mackler, said he will not serve because he is moving out of the ward.

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"City school board restores all sports funds"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader, September 15, 2009

MANCHESTER – The fields will not be quiet. The courts will not be empty.

Sports -- all sports -- will go on in Manchester's schools this year, the school board decided last night, quelling fears that have been simmering for months.

The restoration of winter and spring sports programs comes with a price tag of approximately $250,000. Board members did outline some cuts the district could make, though several of those proposals will take some time to firm up.

The vote came at the tail end of a jam-packed meeting in the aldermanic chambers, one that also saw discussion about a proposal to strip away health benefits for school board members. Members who favor the benefit cut could not muster the votes to get it done last night, but the proposal is not dead. The board is expected to take it up again next month.

District officials will also consider the possibility of eliminating night games from the athletics schedule. Committeeman Art Beaudry said lighting for those games costs $20,000.

It was Committeeman Steve Dolman who offered the motion to preserve the sports teams. Dolman is chairman of the Athletics Committee, which approved a similar motion earlier this month after dozens of parents complained about the presumed elimination of varsity wrestling.

"We heard from the people out there. They want their programs back," Dolman said.

Board members did not take up the matter of preserving other extra-curricular activities, such as music and honor societies, a measure Dolman says he supports. Mayor Frank Guinta said he expects the board will consider ways to restore those programs at its next meeting in October.

Parents last night repeated their pleas to keep the district's sports programs alive. Addressing the board last night, several parents extolled the benefits of school sports programs, saying they improve students' grades, improve attendance rates and keep some kids from dropping out.

"We sit here as a failed district, a district in need of improvement. This is not the time for cutting back," said Lena Vitagliano, a parent of a Hillside Middle School student.

Dolman's plan would cut the budget for team uniforms by more than half. It also would wipe away $1,000 for administrative travel -- for instance, when the athletic director attendance conferences outside the city.

Meanwhile, school board members continue to hope the aldermen will waive "ice time" fees for the school hockey teams, which would save the district $73,000 this year. Guinta said he expects the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to consider that proposal next month.

Dolman is also hoping to raise $50,000 through deals with local companies. A local marketing executive, Dave Long, has been exploring that possibility since May but has not reported back to the board.

Superintendent Tom Brennan cautioned against relying on savings that have yet to be realized.

Only one committeeman, John Avard, opposed Dolman's motion. Avard said he is concerned about a wave of decisions by the board that have forced the superintendent to scrounge for money.

"We're coming very close to functioning at a deficit, and it is illegal for us to function at a deficit," Avard said.

Committeeman Bob O'Sullivan kicked off the debate over sports and extra-curricular activities earlier in the evening, when he urged the board to consider eliminating its own health benefits. His proposal would suspend members' health insurance from January 2010, when a new board takes office, until the end of the fiscal year in June 2010.

Committeeman Mike DeBlasi suggested the six-month suspension would save the district about $30,000.

"We need to find a way to make this happen," O'Sullivan said.

The discussion soon stalled, however, amid a dispute over board rules. Some board members argued O'Sullivan could not bring the proposal forward, since he voted in the minority the last time the board considered the idea, in February. A few also said his proposal ought to have been phrased as a "reconsideration," not a new motion.

Guinta, who favors the benefit cut, said he would accept O'Sullivan's motion, regardless. The effort was stymied, however, when members voted, 10 to 3, to table the measure.

The three members who voted to keep discussion alive were O'Sullivan, Guinta and Debra Gagnon Langton.

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"The biggest issue: Remaking city government"
The New Hampshire Union Leader (Online), Editorial, September 16, 2009

Now that the city primaries are over and we know who our final candidates for mayor, aldermen and school board are, it's time to focus on the most pressing issue Manchester will face for the next two years.

No, it's neither crime nor taxes. It's bigger than both.

If we want to reduce crime and taxes, improve schools and roads and draw new business activity, Manchester's next elected officials have to stop thinking about each of these activities separately and start thinking of how city government operates as a whole.

The biggest problem isn't any single problem, but how the machine of government functions. That affects how much money we need to pave roads, fund the parks system, pay teachers, firefighters and police officers, etc.

It's not a simple matter of cutting spending or raising taxes. It's a matter of reviewing everything the city does to see if it can be done better at a lower cost, or must be done at all.

When the city can't raise the summer tarp in Victory Park because only one guy in the entire state knows how to do it, and he retired, we have a serious problem. When graffiti stays on playground equipment for months, we have a serious problem. When huge city buses cart two people across town, we have a serious problem.

The city needs leaders who will rethink how city government works. How to do that is what we need to discuss. And that discussion needs to start right now.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

For the bus routes with only a couple of people they should use smaller buses that consume less gas. There are a couple of thing that should be at the bus stops, the first thing is benches with covers so the riders can sit down and not have to worry about rain, and snow. Another thing they should post is the schedule for what time the bus should arrive at that stop. I know they have a schedule online if you want to look it up but what good is it if I don't have internet access, if its at the bus stop I will more likely use the bus.

As far as crime goes its not going to go down until the economy gets better or we get more jobs in Manchester. What we need to bring to Manchester is manufacturing jobs. All these retail jobs may look great on paper but its doing a disservice to the city of Manchester, when most retailers only hire at $7.50 hour.

In order to lower taxes we need to run the city more efficient we need to hire on part timers instead of full timers. If an employee is a part time worker we don't have to pay for benefits. we also need to train the city workers better so they can multi task, multi tasking is key because it will eliminate the need for more workers.
- James C Webb Jr, Ex Candidate for Ward 8 Alderman

Ken Stremsky, Manchester, NH: The first fix of the transit bus system? Get the MTA out of the school bus business. Manchester Transit should be totally separate from school transportation. Look to Nashua, as a comparison. The combination of school transport, and municipal transit is unheard of. Separate the two operations, and let's get one garage location to fix "all" the city vehicles. We don't need five repair/maintenance centers for city cars and trucks. Consolidate. Follow up with routes that folks will ride, get the young crowd riding the bus, make the bus a cool thing to do. Buses with internet? Why not.
- tom, manchester,nh

The Victory Park tarp thing is a joke right....
No way should a situation like that be allowed to exist. Somebody get a clue...
- John, Manchester

Great editorial.

A successful city government, actually any organization, will periodically evaluated what it shouldn’t and should do, and how best to do the things it does. Two large stumbling blocks exist: Thinking differently, so people can ‘see’ a different/better future. And the second stumbling block comes after you determine a better way or that you will not do something any longer: garnering the support to “change”. Often it means capitol equipment costs and a reduction in work force be made. The former is difficult. For Manchester, the latter appears to be impossible.

Strong leadership in the mayor’s office and an open minded board of aldermen can make this happen.
- Peter Sorrentino, Manchester

Ken, you stated the problem with your idea in your own writing: you use the word MAY.

"The need for buses MAY increase"
"other businesses MAY want to locate"
"MAY lead to lower property taxes"
the arena and stadium "MAY have more customers"
"More people MAY eat"

I understand your idea but before we start spending more money on the bus system, someone needs to find out exactly who rides the bus, where they go to and from and if they would use the bus at 10pm or on Sundays. How do people get around on Sundays now if there is no bus service? Do they just stay home?

There are too many "mays" and "ifs" to be experimenting right now.
- Domenic, Manchester

I agree, or the fisher cat stadium too, maybe we could get that paid off.
- Alan C, Manchester,nh

Manchester Transit Authority website is http://www.mtabus.org

click on its facebook page, then Discussions, and then

MTA Vehicle Capacity Discussion - it discusses the cost of different types of buses over time

I have been riding Manchester Transit Authority buses for more than 16 years.

Many of the routes have more than 10 people at a time. Some routes may have 2 people or less at a time. Those same routes may have more than 10 people at a different time. On some routes, the buses may be close to full at sometimes.

The numbers of people on a route depends on the route, time of a day, and time of year.

Many senior citizens are not able to drive cars.

Many people are not safe drivers.

Buses are an essential service. Buses are an economic development tool. The need for buses may increase if the economy gets worse.

If Manchester Transit Authority has evening hours to at least 10 pm and Sunday bus service, more green businesses and other businesses may want to locate in Manchester helping to build the business tax base which may lead to lower property taxes in Manchester. If people have an easier time getting to jobs and from jobs, New Hampshire may be able to spend less on food stamps and Medicaid. Manchester is spending more than $4 million a year on Verizon Wireless Arena. Verizon Wireless Arena and MerchantsAuto.com Stadium may have more customers on Sundays and may have more customers during the week. Downtown businesses may have more customers encouraging more businesses to be downtown helping to build the business tax base. I hope the business community will contribute more money to Manchester Transit Authority.

Manchester is paying for Verizon Wireless Arena via rooms and meals tax revenues. More people may eat at Manchester's restaurants if Manchester has more evening hours and Sunday bus service.
- Ken Stremsky, Manchester, NH

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"Assault charge against ex-alderman is dropped"
By PAT GROSSMITH, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, September 21, 2009

Manchester – A simple assault charge against a former alderman was dropped this morning because the alleged victim did not want to proceed, according to a city prosecutor.

Kelleigh Murphy, 31, was to be tried in Manchester District Court for causing "unprivileged physical contact" to Jocelyn Richard, a bartender at Murphy's Taproom on Elm Street.

Murphy co-owns the bar with her husband, Keith Murphy.

Richard "did not want to proceed with the matter," said city prosecutor Gregory T. Muller, who dismissed the charge. "She did not appear and did not want to proceed."

Murphy’s attorney, David Ruoff, commented for his client. He said they were surprised to learn of the development, having arrived at court ready to defend against the charge.

“We were prepared — we were ready to go full-bore,” Ruoff said. “Kelleigh was quite confident that once she had her day in court that she would be vindicated.”

Richard had accused Murphy of grabbing her by the back of the neck and spinning her around in the direction of customers. The incident, which occurred Dec. 27, 2008, was reported March 6.

When Murphy was charged, her attorney said Richard had a vendetta against his client and that prior to being fired, Richard had vowed to report Murphy to police for allegedly touching her.

Both women were working as bartenders on Dec. 27, with Richard covering one area of the bar and Murphy, the other. Murphy told police she constantly had to remind Richard to pay attention and help customers.

According to court documents, Murphy admitted to touching Richard. She told a detective that Richard wasn't helping one of the customers, so she walked behind Richard and placed her left hand on her shoulder. With her right hand, Murphy grabbed Richard's right arm and then physically pointed her in the direction of the waiting customer.

Murphy, who practices law in Portsmouth, resigned as Ward 12 alderman in June, after announcing two months earlier that she and her husband were moving to Bedford "to start a family."
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READERS' COMMENTS:

Can you say counter-suit here? I can.
Bet Murphy takes the high road and lets it drop but agree that the accuser - whose claims led Murphy to turn herself in and get photographed and fingerprinted - should pay court and legal costs.

Certainly sounds like she had no case to stand up with in trial and opted out.
- RG, ManchVegas

YAY KELLEIGH!!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!!

And Greg, I 100% agree!!!
- Nicole Beaulieu, Manchester, NH

Bittersweet victory. The judge should make the Jocelyn pay all of Murphy's legal fees and fork over restitution for libel.
- Greg Salts, Manchester

Lyle is right, when do cases involving assaults/violence not get prosecuted. It's all the DA has to do is subpeona to the victim/witness.

Will Tommy English's case be tossed because Pat of Mike Garrity wish to not proceed?
- Scott, Manchester

Good for Mrs Murphy... I hate when bartenders don't pay attention and I have to wait for them to finish doing nothing to get a drink.
- Domenic, Manchester

The victim "didn't want to proceed"? Since when is that enough to drop a case? Spend a day in Manchester District Court and you'll see that what the victims want is rarely what interests the State.
- Lyle, Manchester

Dropped cause she obviously didn't have a case against Kelleigh.
- Al Pyne, Manchester

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"City's schools see jump in size of classes"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader, September 28, 2009

MANCHESTER – A teacher drags a desk down the hallway and shoe-horns it into a classroom.

The desks are constantly being lugged from one classroom to the next at Central High School, props in a game of musical chairs that some of the English teachers have been playing all this month. Their classes are jam-packed, sometimes with as many as 30 students, and faculty members say the department doesn't have enough desks to go around.

"We want our students to come to school," the department head, Selma Naccach-Hoff, said, "but when students are absent, that makes it a little bit easier, logistically."

The crowding of Manchester's classrooms has been a growing concern this year, a consequence of budget constraints that have wiped out roughly 76 teaching jobs since the end of the 2008-2009 school year.

In the elementary schools, the average class has increased by nearly three students since last year, an analysis of district data shows. One center-city school, Beech Street Elementary, saw its class sizes jump by an average of six students per class.

The impact has been felt at higher grade levels, too. District enrollment reports show there have been as many as 37 students in a pair of Central High School Spanish classes and 36 students in a Memorial High School algebra class, despite state standards that limit most high school classes to 30 students.

One Central High department head, Kathleen Mirabile, said that when the school year began Sept. 1, enrollments in a few classes cracked the mid-40s. In some social-studies rooms, she said, "Kids were sitting on the floor with their backs to the wall because there weren't enough desks."

The classes have shrunk since then, she said, mainly because school administrators encouraged some students to change their schedules, pushing off certain electives a semester or two. But without extra teachers, she said, "The problem hasn't been solved. It's been postponed."

Administrators, hoping to reduce the crowding, have continued to hire teachers throughout the past month, even if it means shuttling students into new classrooms several weeks into the school year. Some of those hires are being paid for with federal stimulus dollars. In other cases, the district has cut back on textbooks and school supplies.

Even now, Assistant Superintendent Karen Burkush said, "If we can hire teachers, we'll do that."

Attendance snapshots
Manchester's classrooms were already a tad more crowded than others throughout New Hampshire, before this year's school budget was set at $146.4 million. Statewide, the average first- and second-grade class last year had 17.5 students in it, according to the state Department of Education. In Manchester, the average was 18.

Among third- and fourth-grade classes, the state average last year was 18.9 students, compared to 19.7 in Manchester.

Since then, attendance reports provided by the district suggest class sizes have increased across the board in the city's elementary schools, despite a slight dip in enrollment. The largest classes on the September 2009 reports were at Green Acres, which averaged more than 25 students per class. All four of the school's first-grade classes had exactly 25 students, the maximum allowed under state policy.

Three schools -- Jewett Street, Weston and Wilson -- had second-grade classes that exceed that cap, according to the Sept. 14 report.

The attendance reports offer nothing more than a snapshot of class sizes in the district, according to Superintendent Tom Brennan. They indicate how many students showed up for class on a certain day, but

they don't say how many were supposed to be there. Brennan said that information is currently unavailable, as are enrollment numbers for middle school classes.

Burkush said she does not know what the repercussions could be if the district's class sizes exceed the state standards. The state does not review local enrollment figures until Thursday.

Some school board members have questioned whether the larger classes could hurt test scores, and by extension, further entrench the district's standing as a "district in need of improvement."

"For me, class size is the most important component in achievement," the board's vice chairman, Katherine Labanaris, said.

Sheila Brisson, an administrator who has helped write up a plan to improve the district's test scores, said larger class sizes are not necessarily problematic. What's more important, she said, is the quality of the teaching staff.

"The vast amount of research points to the fact that class size plays a less dominant role in student success than other factors," Brisson told the school board last week.

Shouldering the load
Many faculty members, meanwhile, say they are witnessing the effects of classroom crowding. Maxine Mosley, a guidance counselor at McLaughlin Middle School, said students are coming to her with a variety of complaints. "Somebody bumped into them. Somebody's in their space," she recounted. "Those kinds of difficulties. As well as the frustration of kids not getting all the attention they need."

The teachers are similarly frustrated. In the Central High English department, Naccach-Hoff said some of the newer teachers seem overwhelmed trying to reach every student.

"One teacher was telling me, 'They're raising their hand, and I just can't in one period get to 32 kids. I just can't,'" she said.

School board members said they spent years trying to reduce class sizes in the city's schools. Their efforts were aided by a steady drop in enrollment, particularly as Bedford withdrew its students from Manchester schools.

Board members say they regret to see the trend toward smaller classes reversed. They are, however, quick to praise the teachers who are shouldering the load.

Recently, Labanaris sat in on a Spanish class at Central High. There were 37 students in the room, all well-behaved. The teacher, Cassandra Soulios, was busying them with row-by-row exercises.

"We had the chance to talk after class," Labanaris said. "She said, 'I'm doing the best I can, and it's OK. It's OK.'"
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READERS' COMMENTS:

Kathy,

It's interesting to me, how when class sizes go up, there is always a cry for more teachers. Yet when class sizes shrink (such as my former high school), there is no call to reduce the amount of teachers. (And spare me the "we can never have enough teachers" line.)

It should work both ways.
- John, Dover

Steve, Raymond: I have no idea where you went to school with 42 kids in a class, but I'm sure it was uphill, both ways, and you walked there barefoot in a snowstorm. Congratulations on surviving that. Nowadays, the 30 students in a classroom will include several with emotional and/or behavioral problems, several with learning disabilities, and even a few gifted individuals who will be bored to indifference because the teacher is unable to give them the personal attention they need and deserve. Nor do they have a 2-parent loving home for support after 2:30pm. You cannot compare educational conditions now to conditions a generation ago.
- Kathy, Manchester

Jack Alex, It is not a matter of outdated furniture. Anyway, there is no money to purchase new furniture or to hire an expert. The problem is not having ENOUGH to go around. The article clearly said that kids have been sitting on the floor.
- JT, Manchester

Is this a press release of the School Teachers Union.
- tom, manchester,nh

There is an enormous amount of money spent on special ed programs and IEP's. There is also the immigration issue and the english as a second language vs. english immersion that costs us untold amounts of money. It seems odd that when I was a child, we didn't have these IEP's and the Canadian children on the West Side were expected to immerse themselves in our language. If they weren't proficient enough in english to do the course material, they were, gasp!, held back to repeat the grade. Despite this, the children were better educated as a whole than the current students.
It's time to stop spending money coddling children and get back to educating them on the core subjects.
- Ron, Manchester

Phew...at least we still have hockey though.
- Sue, Manchester

Jack Alex,
The computer equipment is so old--This district hasn't made an investment (spent money) in technology in a LONG time-- It uses donated equipment. You cant get rid of the equipment anyway--its mandated by the DOE!
- Jim, Manchester

It would be interesting to look at how many of the additional students are the result of immigrants, refugees, asylees, etc. Its wonderful to provide opportunity to the less fortunate and suffering, but are parents willing to do that at the expense of jeopardizing their own children's quality of education? Numbers should be looked at to see what the school systems can afford in increased populations before adding more to the student population.
- Joyce, Londonderry

@Jack Alex: Auditoriums have been used for giant study halls for years. But you're right, they should look into bunk-desks to make use of that underutilized vertical space.

@Robert Tarr: You were sitting in an empty classroom because there weren't any teachers available to teach in it. Teachers can only appear in one classroom at a time.

The more fundamentally problematic ratio is student-to-teacher, not student-to-classroom.
- Steve, Manchester

Jam packed, "sometimes with as many as 30 students" ? Try 42 students to a class when I went to school. And thanks to Discipline, they all got educated too!
- Steve, Raymond

Jack Alex, the problem is not with the size of the furniture. The problem is that there are not enough teachers, due to the ludicrous budget handed down to the schools. (Even if they did need new furniture, who would pay?!) And you want to advance the kids into the 21st century, yet you want to get rid of the computer equipment? Mr. Alex, I suggest you try to catch yourself up to the 21st century before posting on timely issues.
- Kathy, Manchester

We had a recent IEP meeting at McLaughlin Middle school to discuss our child's education plan. During our meeting there was my wife, myself, the IEP team leader, Mrs. Mosley and Mr. Kranz. We sat in a classroom devoid of a teacher and students. However other classrooms were filled to the limit. Oddly enough this classroom like many years sat empty, why? Wilson School for example has seen it's kindergarten children now reside at the main school and not Easter Seals, yes a savings in dollars however it also has created crowded classrooms for students who will learn better with smaller sizes. Questions need to be asked to our soon to be elected and re-elected officials both for the city and upcoming state elections. How are we going to address this issue before other towns decide to break away from Manchester? How is this going to affect our taxes for the next two years? And are we going to elect state officials who will work to ensure Manchester recieves it's share of revenues from the state? The time is NOW to get out and ask questions before it gets much worse.
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester

Sounds like it's time to have some furniture upgrades. I bet they are still using those old desks from circa 1980's, the one's you have to slide into the seat from the side. Time to bring in an efficiency expert on how to make the best use of space and materials. Time to advance the kids from the 20th century to the 21st century.

One suggestion I have, is to turn their assembly area/auditorium into a big giant study hall area if they haven't done that already, free up the space of tying up classrooms. Get rid of the computer equipment and get the kids some books instead.
- Jack Alex, Manchester

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"Hooksett lashes out at Manchester over schools"
By DAN O'BRIEN, Union Leader Correspondent, October 7, 2009

HOOKSETT – Fed up with a lack of communication and funding issues with Manchester public schools, the school board has sent a scathing letter to the mayor of Manchester and is talking about building a new high school here.

Hooksett has a 20-year tuition agreement to send its public high school students to Manchester and has had such an agreement for generations. On Oct. 20 at the Cawley Middle School, members of the Hooksett School Board and volunteers on a study committee will hold a forum to take ideas from the public on the high school issue.

The letter, which represents the consensus of the board and was signed by Chairman Paul Cournoyer, says Hooksett will "use all legitimate tools available to launch a forceful protest" against Manchester's lack of school funding.

Among several allegations, Hooksett says Manchester used $10.6 million paid by the town of Bedford to offset the city's tax rate when the money was supposed to be used for schools. Bedford paid the money to relinquish its contract with Manchester after Bedford built its own high school.

The letter also criticizes Manchester for not using money from school impact fees in the school budget, raises concerns about pay-to-play sports programs, says Central High School has continually not been brought up to state maintenance codes, and raises concerns about a low student population at West High School as a result of Bedford's pullout.

The letter was dated Sept. 8, but several school board members said they have not gotten a response from Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta, who also serves as the city's school board chairman, and said Manchester School Board members were not made aware of it.

When reached late yesterday afternoon, Guinta's public affairs adviser, Mark Laliberte, said the mayor plans to discuss the letter at the next school board meeting.

"This letter will be addressed at the school board meeting on Monday," Laliberte said. "We'll put it on the agenda."

At last night's Hooksett School Board meeting, members of a voluntary high school study committee discussed building a new high school in Hooksett. The committee, which includes Bedford High School Assistant Principal Gary Dempsey, cited several studies showing student populations between 500 and 800 are optimal. Hooksett had 588 high school students last year.

Board members stressed that building a high school in town is not Hooksett's only option. There could be a restructuring in Manchester or talks with other communities.

"I don't think the public knows what we've done as a school board about our dissatisfaction with Manchester," school board member Todd Dumont said. "We sent a letter and haven't received a response."

"We've had umpteen conversations with the superintendent of Manchester," Dana Argo, vice chairman, said.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

I hope Hooksett does build a new high school. I have a son in Cawley Middle School and would love to be able to keep him here in Hooksett. Keep him away from Manchester.
- Stacy, Hooksett

Baines made major strides to improve Manchester schools and things looked promising for a while (major renovations, campus like setting at Central, energy efficiency improvements, etc). That momentum carried over to the surrounding community. Guinta has negated all that progress and then some. If things don't turn around for Manchester it is going to be a slum. Looks at the parents in south Manchester who fear for the safety of their children. The sooner Hooksett builds a High School the better. Don't let Manchester take Hooksett with it.
- Jim M, Hooksett, NH

Yea Hooksett. I hope you make the change. Push hard for your own H.S. Manchester, the people, the mayor and the arrogant BOA don't car about sending towns. They care about themselves. I just wish we made it with ours back a few years ago. Nobody in the city council cares about the kids. It is all about what have I done for you lately egos. I am glad kids and parents in our town are taking matters into their own hands and taking their kids to better schools like Trinity and Pinkerton. I wish Pinkerton would open up and return us to a sending school!
- Betty T., Auburn

I'm sure that Hooksett can operate it's own high school for less money than we already pay Manchester in tuition. In addition, we would have complete control of the school and provide a much better educational environment for our kids. Manchester is not going to get better; it's time for Hooksett to move on.
- Paul, Hooksett

GO FOR IT HOOKSETT!!! The Mayor, the BOA are so into their own egos the system in Manchester is pathetic. I wish we would have had enough votes to build our own when we had our chance. Now look what happening here...more and ore kids opt out of Manchester for Pinkerton. GO HOOKSETT!
- John M., Auburn

This is long over due. It's time to build a highschool. With 750 new homes going in, it's time to take the bull by the horns. Hopefully the town will see this through. Make us proud.
- John, Hooksett

There needs to be a change. Hooksett needs to build their own highschool. the kids and parents can have a since of security and start building a better community. I do not want my son going to any of the manchseter schools. Central is in the middle of one of the worst parts of manchester without any land to lounge around onWest is a dump and a horrible school system. (Thats why Bedford was built!!) I don't know anything about memorial but why do these kids have to be split up from their friends and be thrown all over manchseter. If hooksett's taxes do go up,, SOOOOO WHAT!!! Its paying for a better education for you CHILDREN! Safer environment and closer to home! My town had their own highschool built when I was a sophmore and it was the best thing ever, less fighting fewer children in the classroom so more one on one with teachers. The taxes aren't that high here so stop whining and lets do whats best for our children. Plus with all the new stores being built in hooksett it should help our taxes as well.
- Tiah, hooksett

Too many people commenting here don;t understand the numbers. If we lose the Hooksett kids sent into the district and the related tuition revenue, then our taxes WILL go up. Just as happened when the Bedford kids left. We make money on the kids sent into our district.
- Frank, Manchester

Due to threats of cuts in services and a flat budget, last year and the year before, in attendance at the school budget hearings held at Memorial High School were attorneys representing each of the Bedford and Hooksett school districts. Like previous years, I attended this year’s meeting and was surprised that Hooksett had no attorneys and fewer people attend than previous years. Lot’s of Hockey Mom’s did attend. Bedford had no interest due to having no children in the district for the 2009-2010 school year.

I’m not suggesting legal threats should be required, but it seems that they have an effect on the Manchester School District’s behavior. Once again, we have a situation that demonstrates the de facto priority scheme, as I have witnessed it, of the Manchester School District: First and foremost, ensure we are not sued, Second (and related), spend as little as possible, and somewhere below both, improve the education of our youth. These three things must be held in balance, not, as Manchester does, as a strict priority scheme.

By the way, hockey was funded, but some schools are out of paper. Out of paper for the second time this year. School has been in session for just over a month. Maybe next time Hooksett’s the letter should be sent from an attorney.
- Peter Sorrentino, Manchester

Kathy, is that the official teachers uniion position on this issue or did you finally strike out on your own to post an opinion. How is it that Manchester cannot afford to lose another leaching sending town? Let Hooksett incur their own capital costs as well as the cost of day to day operations. They will find out that they had a pretty good deal with Manchester.

Mellisa, Manchester doesn't have 4 high schools. Trinity is a private school. Hooksetts children shouls have been transfered to West. This would have alleviated overcrowding at Central while bringing West back to near capacity.

Matt, Frank Guinta is hardly responsible for the mess the school board and the teachers unions have made of our schools. Seems to me someone from Rochester wouldn't know much about the inner workings of Manchesters school district, but that didn't stop you from taking an ill informed partisan shot at Mayor Guinta.
- Ron, Manchester

Hooksett residents have voted against building a high school for years because they know what would happen to our already outrageous property tax.
However the school board keeps creating new study committees year after year to look into this option. This is just another way to get what they want.
This is not much different than when residents voted to keep Tri Town as Hooksett's ambulance service. the town council decided that they didnt like the outcome of that vote and took it upon themselves to terminate the contract next year anyways and purchase a new ambulance.
- Marie, Hooksett

Manchester citizens needs to pay closer attention to their schools. They are falling apart, morale in the schools is diminishing quickly and class sizes are rising fast. Before you know it, Manchester High Schools will be notorious for being the worst in the country - something that Mayor Guinta will be blamed.

To Manchester taxpayers:
Beware of encouraging Hooksett to leave -- Taxes will go up even more. If you tempt them, they will leave and it will only shoot you in the foot.
- Matt, Rochester

Go for it, Hooksett! Manchester can't affford 4 high schools, but refuses to close a 1/2-full West. Without you, they'd be forced to and then finally give their kids a good edcuation.
- Melissa, Bedford

I would love to see how the Central athletic programs do without Hooksett students attending their schools. When I went to Central, from Hooksett, the Hooksett kids were the ones holding up the athletic programs that are so important to Central. If Hooksett's contributions to the Manchester high school system are not appreciated, then it's time for Hooksett to build its own high school. I believe that Hooksett students would be well-served to not have to attend high school in an inner-city environment like Central. The fact that the Mayor and the Manchester School Board have not even addressed the concerns of Hooksett residents is plain old insulting.
- RCT, Hooksett

We built our own high school with Alton several years ago. Although it is expensive, It is ours and so far it has a much better reputation than ANY Manchester school. Our kids used to be bussed to many different schools and had trouble competing in sports because of the long drives, now we have won many championships as well
- Tom, Barnstead

Hello Everyone!!! The more attention we give them... the more it encourages them to continue.

I do not smoke or use drugs of any kind. However, I do believe that pot should be legalize and regulated. Just like alcohol. If that were the case... They would not be smoking in a public place and possibly exposing my child to pot smoke.
- Christina, Weare

Lisa, wake up!! Manchester is not the only city that has a problem in middle schools. All cities and towns have some type of problem. If you don't want to send your kids to Manchester high schools then move. The majority of kids at the high schools are good kids.
- Lynda, Manchester

Good, take another town's kids and bring them to a school in their town. We need to place more focus on Manchester kids first.
- Bill, Manchester

Yes Hooksett, it's time to go our own way.

Manchester long ago decided not to respect our rights regardless of how much we subsidized their schools. They've done an even poorer job since Bedford left.

There is no reason to believe that we'll see any improvements in the schools or in budgetary circus every year.
- CJ, Hooksett

I grew up in Hooksett and I'm in my early 30s now and went to Manchester for high school and could not have had a better experience meeting new people with different cultural backgrounds that I never would have seen outside of the Hooksett bubble. I have seen my middle class neighborhood vacated as those that have kids out of high school could no longer afford the property taxes because this new generation of parents wants 16-18 kids in a classroom plus an aide....then a new school etc. Why should the city of Manchester spend more money WHEN THEY NOW HAVE LESS STUDENTS?

The town is a joke, run by total buffoons who do nothing but rile each other up over "Where's my cut?" while getting ripped off in tax revenue by every new box store that set up shop. They have become the laughing stock of the state for their police department and national published shenanigans.
- Jim Wilson, Manchester

Obviously the mayor filed Hooksett's letter in his circular file since he's got so much more important things to do. Like pitching his remarkable record of failure to voters in the congressional district.

How much longer until he's gone?
- Bob V, Manchester

I pulled my daughter out of Hillside Middle School. It was not a good atmosphere for learining. I think Hoolsett should do whatever it takes to get their own high school. It is in the best interest of their children.
- Mara, Manchester

OK, so Hooksett is complaining about pay to play. Guess what, Manchester would have to pay as well! They complain about funding yet I don't hear about any specifics. High school students in Manchester have programs and curriculums that are leaps and bounds above the ones just one generation before them. Having said that, I agree that Hooksett does deserve a response, however, both sides need to understand all of the circumstances.
- Mark L, Manchester

Bye Hooksett, please go soon!
- Mike Bodruk, Manchester

Bravo for Hooksett. What surprises me, is that neither Hooksett or Bedford has never sued the City of Manchester for breach of contract.
- Ed, Manchester

The Hooksett voters have repeatedly said NO to a high school, yet the power-hungry, ego-driven few in Hooksett keep pushing. This is just more posturing to try can get the new high school built. Look at the facts! The population of NH is aging - the number of students entering high school is shrinking. Hooksett doesn't need it's own high school, but that little fact won't stop these people.
- Ron, Hooksett

Can Hooksett really afford a high school? Can we afford to pay for good teachers and sports programs? Maybe Hooksett should join with Candia and Auburn to build a regional high school.
- Brenda, Hooksett

Now is the time for Hooksett to build it's own high school and kept our money in the town of Hooksett, everyone in Hooksett need to wake up and smell the coffee.
- Bradley Morris, Hooksett

I agree that Hooksett has enough students to have their own high school! This battle has been going on for years! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!! We pay higher in taxes then other small towns who have less students and they have a high school.
- S.M, Hooksett,NH

Good for you Hooksett! Go after the smaller towns to go in on your own High School. I am sure the little feeder towns are fed up also.

Considering all the recent contoversy with the middle school students who end up in the High Schools, I would not want my kids going to Manchester either if I had a choice.
- Lisa, Manchester

Hooksett build your own high school and keep your money. We don't want you here!
- Gary Maxwell, Manchester, NH

I cannot believe the contempt that our Mayor and his staff are showing this issue. There is absolutely no way that Guinta can lay any kind of campaign claim that he's improved the schools in Manchester. When are people going to wake up and realize that we need to educate our kids properly and that funding our schools is one of the most important things we can do? Guinta has been an absolute failure when it comes to the management of this city.
- J. Lyman, Manchester

I agree with Hooksett, they have enough students for a high school let them do what Bedford did, build their own, they should have their own identity and this will free up some space at Central
- Jack Alex, Manchester

Bravo, Hooksett! Thank you for using your legal and financial voices to (attempt to) wake up the city's leadership to their responsibility.

You have hit the nail on the head: it is high time the Mayor and BOA are held responsible for the mess they have made of our schools. However, I fear they are so arrogant that they will not even take your threat to pull out seriously. The fact that it has been nearly a month before the Mayor's people even bother to bring this to the school board speaks volumes of how much concern he has for Hooksett's legal agreement or for our schools. And for anyone who thinks the Manchester school budget will be viable without Hooksett tuition, please take off the blinders and deal with financial reality.
- Kathy, Manchester

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Parent Ed Gawrys questions Superintendent Tom Brennan about the saftey of his children at a meeting at Southside Middle School last night. (DAVID LANE)
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"Southside parents express ire as official insists school is safe"
By MARK HAYWARD, New Hampshire Union Leader, October 7, 2009

MANCHESTER – School Superintendent Tom Brennan maintained last night that Southside Middle School was safe, despite student fights, some unruly students and teachers who lock their classroom doors.

Brennan spoke at the school to an emotional crowd. One special needs student and several parents defended the students in the controversial G-14 class. Other parents complained about a lack of school discipline in general and children who come home with news of fights or injuries.

"My son's afraid to go to school. What are you going to do about that?" asked Ed Gawrys, in one of the testiest exchanges of the night.

"You need to talk to your son about understanding this is a safe place," Brennan shot back.

The Southside Parent Support Group called the meeting last night to air concerns about the G-14 students. The 19 students have severe emotional and behavioral disorders that have been causing disruption at the school.

Brennan stressed that teachers have been treated at the emergency room after restraining the students, but none have been hospitalized.

He said the program was not properly planned this year, and administrators have improved it over the past two weeks. They have added new staff -- a teacher and two paraprofessionals. IEP and Behavioral Intervention Plans are being written. And the students have been moved from the basement to a room close to the office.

"What's happened two weeks ago, I'm not very proud of," Brennan said. "Two weeks ago is completely different from what's happening today."

One teacher, Karen Cyr, said her classroom is across from the new location. She hears obscenities regularly, and recently she feared a student would attack her as she ate lunch.

"How do I hold it together for 151 students?" she asked.

But a woman who gave her name as Lisa said her eighth-grade son is not what people make him out to be. "He's a human being. He's not a monster," Lisa said.

To others, discipline was lacking in the school.

"It's not about coded or uncoded children. There's a major discipline problem in this school," said a frustrated Michael Whitehead. "There's no discipline. There's nothing to fear for these kids."

Brennan maintained several times that the school is safe, noting no teachers have been seriously hurt.

"Kids are kids; there are students who act out at this age," he said when describing shoving, swearing and running in the hallways.

He initially said it was wrong for teachers to lock doors. But several teachers and Parent Support Group President Kim Riley-Akhtar said they supported the locked doors, which allow exit but no entrance.

Meanwhile, the school will resume the Positive Behavior Intervention Support system, which seeks to improve behavior in the school. It will also develop benchmarks, such as the number of disciplinary slips issued in a week, to monitor the school environment.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

Dr. Brennan states that the Southside is safe, tell your kids that. It is untrue. There are still fights everyday and the same kids running around yelling, swearing and doing whatever they want. I am tired of the lies. Fix the problem, don't just move students around the building and think that solves everything. That is all that has been done. Fix it, don't just bandage it until the story goes away, because hopefully it won't go away until it is fixed!
- CC, Manchester

I am a former employee of the city of Manchester and worked at Southside Middle School for five years. I will tell you the major issues for this school is the general culture for this building is that the kids are NEVER held accountable for bad behaviors, assaults, verbal abuse of staff and peers. It is ALWAYS the Staff's, the full moon, the leap year's fault but never the student, IEP or not. Having said this, I can attest that the majority, not all, but the majority, of parents are 95% of the problem. They feel entitled, they themselves abuse the front office and staff, blaming every single solitary being in that building but their child for the bad behavior. Restoring even a facade of RESPECT for adults by all children in the building should be a priority and swift, consistent discipline should be handed down with each offense. EVERY child should receive the SAME consequence for these offenses, not dismissing those with IEPs blaming their 'disabilities.' For the life me, I don't understand how all of us made it back in the day when everyone was treated the same....respect should be expected, not rewarded. Dr. Brennan, God help the City of Manchester if my child is even 'not seriously injured' at a Manchester Public School.
- MT, Manchester, Manchester

Gross misbehavior has been endemic in Manchester public schools for years; it's simply gone from bad to worse.
Re: The comment made by Danny M. of Manchester: "...incidents never see the light of day." is frighteningly true.
"Knowledge is power"; yet if teachers, parents, and the general public are kept in the dark regarding the daily transgressions which occur in schools, what incentive is there for them to band together for change?
What is equally frightening, is that professionals who are either victims of, or have witnessed heinous misbehavior, are Strongly discouraged from discussing it, much less reporting it, to individuals outside of the school district administration.
It would be a step in the right direction, if truths be aired. Blame creates hostility, not change. Insight is needed for change to occur, so why not out the reality?
- mmh, londonderry

On an almost daily basis I am asked to write notes and letters excusing/exempting people from the consequences of their alcoholism, drug addiction, obesity, you fill-in-the-blank with your "behavior problem" of choice. I once was asked to provide a medical diagnosis in defense of a man facing criminal charges of pedophilia! ( I most certainly did not provide one.) If you haven't already guessed, I am a physician. We have turned into a society that feels lack of discipline, personal problems and downright criminal behavior can all be excused with medical and/or psychiatric diagnoses. Using foul language? Being disruptive to others? Smoking in the bathroom? Beat a classmate up? Minor stab wound to the teacher that didn't require an inpatient hospital admission? No problem, just get a doctor's note and all will be forgiven. The real problems here are a mother who feels that society is responsible to provide an education for a child who is disruptive and violent to others, and a society that protects the individual's rights at unmeasurable cost to the rest of its citizens.
- Ann, Bedford

I am sorry, but to the women in the article "Lisa" where does it say that I have to keep taking away from my family in more taxes to help pay for the extra cost of special ed. teachers for "these" kids. How is it the schools responsibility to fix things for the problems your child creates. The school system should provide a good school system, and if your child cannot be taken care of by that system because of reasons beyond the normal control, then it becomes the parents responsibility! Get off the DEMOCRATIC pulpit of "the help for my child is owed to me". The school system should take these kids out of the system and send them back to the parents. Have the parents be the responsible person to fix things. Step up to the plate Lisa. If you can't parent, then you should have never had a child!
- Paul T., Manchester

"No teachers have been seriously hurt"...yet.
- Rachel, exter

Get rid of the pricipal he is incapable of making tough decisions.

Any kid, whether spec. needs, IEP or not, who consistantly interrupts the learning process or who threatens teachers or students should be removed from the school.
- Joseph, Weare, NH

Tom Brennan earns $155,000 per year. Anyone think he is worth it right now?
- C, Manchester, NH

When a parent mentioned Columbine at last night's meeting, Dr. Brennan adamently denied any similarities. Yet we keep hearing about the signs to look for to PREVENT this level of violence. It seems to me we have a perfect opportunity to prevent rather than react. I, for one, don't want to read National Headlines about Manchester, NH unless it is to brag about how great the schools are here!!
- KC, MANCHESTER NH

Attended this meeting last night and have to say I did not walk away feeling like anyone has a clear plan to fix the problem of behavior issues at SS.Although the G14 children have a lot to do with the problems being highlighted in the paper recently... ,they are not the whole problem at the school Dr Brennen acted like he was unaware of the bullying happening throughout the school .The only place our kids are safe is under lock and key in the classrooms the hallways are where most of this terrible behavior happens .The teachers and adminastration staff need to be a constant force in the hallways in between classes .I know first had most of the hitting ,kicking ,shoving and verbale abuse students are subject to in these hallways goes unreported. Something truely needs to change over there .And we all need to not let this issue be forgotten about .
- Albertine, Manchester

As a graduate of Manchester's public schools, specifically Central. I remember the concerns of safety back in the 80's. While the concerns have remained, it is true that the means of violence have escalated. Over the years, I have tried to be an active part of this system. I have witnessed first hand the concern of administrators; the retiring teachers tired and frustrated by the lack of respect and support in the classroom; and the students who strive to do what is best with the tools provided. I am running for Alderman for Ward 8 for these reasons. I would be interested to talk to any parents from Southside that would like to discuss how we can come toegether as a community to solve these issues. This isn't something that can be solved with a simple answer; but instead of waiting another 4 years dealing with it, lets start the dialogue now.
- Christine Telge, Manchester

What do you people expect the district to do? It is a law that all students need to be educated, so you cannot just remove them from school. If the District were to place a child in some sort of special needs school, do you understand the cost of this, all of which would be put on the taxpayers? You can hire more or better qualified teachers, but again, at what price? Not too long ago, many people wanted teachers to be laid off. Now you want more? And what teacher would want to come to this district now with the problems that are there? You can get more or "better" teachers, but you better look to raise the salaries. And holding the parent accountable? How do you suggest this to happen when many parents are just as bad as the kid. Try disciplining a kid with a saturday detention, and better yet have his parents serve it with him. See how many you get. Everyone wants the district to "do something" yet I had not seen one valid solution from a poster yet.
- Frank, Gilford

I pick my child up at Jewett St. School every day. Dr. Brennan should go over there and see how these wonderful middle schoolers act. They bad mouth and swear at the parents and teacher's all the time. These aren't IEP kids either. They are gang-banger want-to-be's. Sometimes the parents are worse than the kids. A parent had a drink thrown on them last year by one of the parents of these wonderful children. Then try to get the police to respond.
- John, Manchester

I am a Parent who was watchful enough after school to get involved, and stop, 7 Southside students from pushing 2 younger students to the ground, and stopping the "group" before they could hurt anyone else. Nothing was done by the school, " it was not on school grounds" forcing one the younger student to transfer schools. This was on the corner of Seames dr & Jewett St. Less than 3 weeks ago.
- Kevin, Manchester NH

Hey Southside Parents: You think this is bad? Wait until your son or daughter experiences Memorial H.S. Unbelieivable daily violence...ethnic gangs jumping kids for no good reason. Real violent acts. And Principal Adamakos and his assistant Principals make absolutely sure that these incidents never see the light of day with the press, the school board or parent groups. Ask ANY teacher there. It's not just the middle schools folks.
- Danny M., Manchester

I was having a conversation the other day with my 94 year old grandfather. We discussed discipline in schools. He remembers that even in his time there were always a couple kids who seemed to get into trouble more than the other kids, but he also recalled those boys being brought out of class and switched (hit) for their disruption.

I asked him, "Grandpa, did you ever need to be disciplined?" "Oh yes" he replied. "Once, and I was far more afraid to go home and tell my mother what had happened than I was of the teacher." "Why?" I asked. He replied, "Because if my mother knew that I had done something that was deserving of discipline at school, she would have disciplined me far more than the teacher had."

Fear, is the piece of the equation missing in my opinion.
Kids need to again know fear in school.

I'm not advocating the beating of every child for every offense. I am advocating children have something to fear. We live in a time of super duper spare the rod and spoil the child, and really, have a great look at where that has gotten us. (Please see the current top state story)

My first 2 years of public school, 1st and 2nd grade, were the last 2 years corporal punishment was allowed. I can tell you with certainty, even as a hyperactive kid, I FEARED messing around in school. It worked.

You essentially have 3 types of children who go to public school.

1. Kids who want to be there and are eager to learn.
2. Kids who are there because they have to be there and decide to at least make the best of it.
3. Kids who have to be there, don’t want to be there, and are willing to act out at every opportunity.

Corporal punishment would almost never need to be used on 1&2. 3 would get the picture, and they would get the picture quick, I promise you.

I have some serious personal concerns regarding the ideology and political makeup of many of the teachers in Manchester schools, but I will say this, no teacher should ever have to fear going to work. That thought is a travesty, and one that needs a very real solution, not lip service
- Craig, Manchester

I have read enough of the insults toward the parents of kids with special needs. To somehow point the finger at the parents is disgusting. There are children who are special needs and they have been diagnosed by a doctor. It is shameful that adults will somehow lash out at the parents because the parent has a child with special needs.
Maybe if the city of manchester was more concerned about providing the actual services necessary to adequately teach children with special needs this situation would not be what it is.
I question the background of the teachers the school district is hiring. What is the life experience of some of these teachers? Are some teachers simply thrown into these classrooms with no adequate training? I question the school district and I question any adult who would somehow blame special needs children on bad parenting.
- Mike, Manchester

1st parents should not think of children as monsters. Children may classify a classmate by a name, that is unacceptable to that classmate. Just like adults, children lash out for a reason. It sounds like this school needs police presence there, to restore the peace that may have once been there. Any student spec ed or regular, that acts out, should be brought to the police station, where the parents have to go to pick that child up. The police should keep a log of any child that has a constant record going with the police department. The parents of a problem child should be enforced to bring that child to private counseling.
- Kathy, Manchester

I'm sorry but the Superintendent is full of dung. It was like that back in my middle school when I was in the Manchester school system. He just doesn't want to deal with it. Unless parents really step up and do something about it, nothing will change.
- Amanda, Manchester, NH

As a former Southside student, I can safely say I never once heard of a teacher going to the ER. In a rare time I will defend our city teachers because I don't think they regularly deserve any defense, but in their defense, teachers don't go to combat training along with getting their certifications to be a teacher, they are taught to teach. If Southside or any school in this city for that matter, can't come up with a reasonable way to maintain control, then these special needs children need to be in a special needs school. Plain and simple.
- Bill, Manchester

They changed the classroom yesterday, the day of the meeting! It certainly looks like they did that move just to say they did something! And if Mr.Brennan thinks Southside is so safe maybe he should have his office in the building. I had to call him and speak to him personally last year when my daughter was assaulted for the third time. What did the school administration tell me- they would handle it, then I was told I should call the police which I did as they had to meet me at the Emergency Department to get the report filed. I was then told by the school that the violent offender had been moved to a new school. I tried to get parental info on the child as I felt they should be responsible for the ER bill. Apparently the offender has a right to privacy so the school couldn't give me parental info and said the parents were nothing but a problem as well. I understand privacy rights but I don't believe they outweigh the right for students to be safe, I don't believe they were put in place to hide behind. And, No Mr. Brennan, Southside is not a safe environment. Hang around inside or outside after school hours and see what we see! Maybe the children in the "G14" class should be bussed over to the school administration building for a few weeks.
- Dee, Manchester

If a special ed student has issues the sped dept should be there to help the student learn to cope with their issues, not make everyone excuse/put up with their behavior. These kids have advocates and legal protections that are allowing them to terrorize everyone; it's time parents of the average student push for their kids right to a safe learning environment.
- J Paige, Manchester

I went to Southside in the early 80s. It did not feel safe even then, and I can honestly say it was the worst two years of my entire life. Brennan sounds like a lunatic. It's ok if teachers go to the ER because, after all, they don't require hospitalization? It is never ok to send your child to a place he or she does not feel is safe. Teachers cannot be expected to work in a place they feel is unsafe. What about creating an atmosphere of respect? The bar here is WAY TOO LOW. And I think the murder in Mont Vernon shows that the whole "kids will be kids" line can have dire, irreversible consequences down the road. Union Leader, please stay on top of this story---bringing it into the headlines until a change is made may well be these children's only hope.
- Natalie, Epping

"Brennan stressed that teachers have been treated at the emergency room after restraining the students, but none have been hospitalized."

Thats like saying to someone, so what if you've been shot with a gun, at least it didn't kill you. Cya Dr. Smug, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.
- Dale A., Manchester

Lisa is saying her kid is not a monster but he is the one beating up other children, hurting teachers so they need to seek treatment in the emergency room and causing chaos in the building. Yet SHE sits there on the news and says it's the schools responsibility to hire better trained staff to deal with HER child.

How much you want to bet she doesn't even own property here and expects the actual homeowners to buy her all the extra help she needs in controlling her child
- tracy, manchester

This meeting was a joke as they are going to do what is in their plans regardless of how us parents feel. When you allow any child to misbehave over and over again without any consequence they become worse. This is about safety, my daughter does not feel safe, nor do many of her classmates. We parents have to get together and come up with a plan, possibly all get the same lawyer and take this to court. After reading the headlines of what some teens are capable of maybe I am bit more paranoid, but my belief is that they will do nothing until one of our children is hurt. Rather than preventing it they are turning a blind eye. Our kids can't learn when their afraid, distracted, chased down the halls, slammed into lockers, ect.. This is unacceptable period. And the superintendent needs to go because he is not solving the problems only lying to placate us. How can he say 100% our kids are safe? Do we the Manchester police stationed at the school? No, it is still going on, nothing has changed. To parents of IEP or Special Ed children that are not violent I am not directing this at you. Your kids are probably more at risk being in the same classroom. This is meant for violent behaving children, they do not belong in the mainstream schools.
- Stacey, Manchester

All these "good" parents that complain about the violence in the school and worry about their own children attending this school, should stop sending their children into the war zone. How good of a parent are you, when you know that this is going on, and yet you still send your kid to this school? Do you really think that they are getting the education that they deserve? Do you really think that these good kids are not going to come out a little worse when they are subjected to this environment? What is wrong with you so called "good" parents that complain, then send your kid off?
- k, hillsboro

How can the superintendent keep saying no one was seriously hurt? What is his definition of seriously hurt, beat half to death and on life support?? I would say that if someone has to go to the emergency room, staff or student, that is pretty serious. Staff and students are getting hurt and are scared. I would like to repeat this, EH teacher in Texas (former corrections officer) was stabbed to death in his classroom three weeks ago Dr. Brennan, is that serious???
- J, Goffstown

I couldn't agree more. Teachers are there to educate and enrich the lives of students, not to compensate for the parents obvious short falls.
- William, Hampstead

It's sad that Brennan feels only "minor" injuries that do not result in hospitalization are not that concerning. I am in the private sector, and any violence in either the public or private sector is unacceptable.
- Dave L, Manchester

Ask any teacher at Southside if they feel safe in the school right now. Nothing has changed in the last two weeks except the location of the G-14 classroom. P.B.I.S. is one of the main reasons that this school is in this mess. This was a grand failed experiment by Mr. Willis and Ms. Burkush. I'm sure that having the students stay to the right in the halls will solve everything. Innapproriate language and behavior deserves clear and deserved consequences. Otherwise, Southside will be a training ground for more Mt. Vernon type young adults.
- JK, Manchester

No Matter what kind of student you are attending school, when you become a threat to others, act out in violent behavior, and seriously distract other students on a daily basis you need to be removed from the school. Lets go back to the "old school way" Discipline and holding the parent responsible.........
- MH, Manchester

I think the idea of adding the teacher aids is a big help to the teachers. They can't do it on their own. Every parent has different views about the locked classroom. My opinion I feel safer that my 8th grader is being protected. I don't think it's fair that the the teachers (students?)are getting hurt, let alone in an environment they love which is working with kids.
- DJ, Manchester

Superintendent Brennan needs to understand that there is a serious lack of consistent discipline across the board at several of the middle schools he's responsible for. It's a district-wide problem. Something needs to be done to make students accountable for the actions. Someone wrote that it's not the school's responsibility to clean up after bad parenting. How about making parents responsible for their children's lack of discipline and respect; make them a part of any behavior plan or whatever consequence is put in place for a student who chooses to misbehave.
- Misty, Manchester

Didn't a previous article say a teacher had to have surgery? He's saying no teacher was seriously hurt but if you have to have surgery for an injury, I'd consider that seriously hurt. It seems like the teacher who is now across from the new classroom doesn't feel she is safe either. We've all just seen in the past few days what "kids" are capable of. What will it take before they realize something needs to be done?
- Michele, Derry

teachers aren't paid enough to clean up the mess left from bad parenting. period.
- brandon, nashua

I think the mom, Lisa, has it wrong. People do not think of the kids as monsters, we DO think of them as human beings. That is why people expect them to behave like human beings, and have consequences if they misbehave like all the other human beings in and out of school. If we believed they were any less than human, we would accept less than civil behavior. We do not/ cannot accept unsafe, disruptive behavior in school. That is the point.
- Kathy, Manchester

"What's happened two weeks ago, I'm not very proud of," Brennan said. "Two weeks ago is completely different from what's happening today."

I've read in previous feedback from former students that attended Southside that there were problems long ago, not by the same students, but similar problems. What makes me believe what Superintendent Brennan says has any merit. I realize he has to defend the educational system, I think we need to hear it from the horses mouth first that's the teachers and professionals and administrator on site. There needs to be changes if this group of 19 is out of control.
- Jack Alex, Manchester

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"Mayor on arena: NH to blame"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, November 10, 2009

MANCHESTER – The city likely won't have the money to cover the bill for the Verizon Wireless Arena in years to come because the state is withholding some much-needed dollars, financial analysts say.

The analysts at Moody's Investors Service have responded to the apparent shakiness of the arena's financing by downgrading the bonds that made it possible to build the 11,000-seat arena. The bonds are now considered "non-investment grade" -- also known as junk.

Mayor Frank Guinta has described the downgrade as a cause for concern. A failure to pay off the debt on the stadium would, at some point, lead to a default, an event that could have unwanted consequences for both the city and, according to Guinta, the state.

Guinta warned Gov. John Lynch about some of those consequences in a letter last Friday, suggesting the situation could hurt the state's credit rating. In addition, he wrote, bondholders could sue the state for not dealing with them "in good faith" this spring when it froze Manchester's share of rooms-and-meals tax dollars, which the city uses to pay for the arena.

Mike Brunelle, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said Guinta, a Republican candidate for Congress, is "just trying to stir the pot to try and score some cheap political points."

"He can't blame the Legislature for this," Brunelle said. "During an economic recession, he knew rooms-and-meals was going to be level-funded, and he failed to plan for it."

The city itself is not on the hook for the projected shortfalls on the arena's bond payments, nor is the Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Authority, which issued the bonds in 2000.

"The city is well-protected," said Ken Edwards, assistant executive director of the MHRA. "The original deal assured that the housing authority and the city would not be liable."

However, a default would create some uncertainty for the arena. City officials have warned before that a default could put the arena at the mercy of the bondholders' trustee, Bank of New York Mellon, which could opt to sell the building or put it under new management.

Joe Ailinger, a spokesman for Bank of New York Mellon, said he could not comment on the situation yesterday. "It would be a matter of client confidentiality," he said.

Moody's announced last week it downgraded the arena bonds from Baa3, a rating that already suggested some riskiness, to a less healthy Ba2. The agency said it was concerned the state's decision to cap the amount of rooms-and-meals tax money it shared with cities and towns would lead to a $66,000 shortfall on the arena bonds next July, to be followed by additional shortfalls over the life of the 30-year bonds.

There are still $43.1 million in bonds outstanding, out of an initial $50 million.

The city's decision to build the arena rested on expectations that the state would continue sending rooms-and-meals tax money to Manchester. Traditionally, the city has used its share of the rooms-and-meals money to pay off the bonds and kept about $455,000 for itself.

City officials sounded the alarm last spring when Lynch called on the Legislature to withhold all of the rooms-and-meals tax money. Ultimately, the Legislature raised the tax from 8 percent to 9 percent and froze each community's share at last year's levels.

Manchester's share is slightly more than $4.8 million. Moody's warns that won't be enough to cover the $4.4 million in bond payments due this fiscal year, assuming the city holds onto $455,000, as it always has.

Colin Manning, a spokesman for the governor, said the freeze had no impact on Manchester this year because rooms-and-meals tax revenues were down.

What that means, he said, is that under state law, "There wouldn't have been an increase in meals-and-rooms distribution this year, regardless."

Manning suggested the city could cover the shortfall if it gave up some of the $455,000 it was planning to retain. Guinta was unavailable for comment.

The bondholders are protected by an insurance policy. Officials have previously speculated that the policy might be worthless because the insurer, ACA Financial Guaranty Corp., saw its own ratings slip after getting caught up in the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

The company's rating has since been upgraded, and Edwards said he believes the policy is good.
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READERS' COMMENTS:

Jack Alex, thanks for writing.

How much do you think we would have to increase the tax rate by to pay off the bonds and own Verizon Wireless Arena in 1 year? How about 2 years? How about 3 years? How about 5 years? How about 10 years? Has any person tried to figure out the answers to the previous questions?

"There are still $43.1 million in bonds outstanding, out of an initial $50 million." Manchester is supposed to pay $4.4 million in bond payments this fiscal year. How much of the $4.4 million is principal? How much of the $4.4 million is interest?

The sooner we own Verizon Wireless Arena the sooner we may use rooms and meals tax revenues to reduce property taxes and improve city services.

If we own Verizon Wireless Arena, I think Manchester would be able to have the ticket surcharge and not have to ask Verizon Wireless Arena to think about doing it. I believe Manchester signed a contract that said it could not place a ticket surcharge on tickets. If Manchester pays off all the bonds, I believe it then could do what it wants to recoup its investment.
- Ken Stremsky, Manchester, NH

I'm one of the key voices that got the civic center project through and also the baseball stadium. Both projects were of great economic interests to our city. If it wasn't for my arm twisting we wouldn't have the Monarchs and all the shows we had nor the Fisher Cats.

I have a plan if anyone is willing to listen that would put us in control of our destiny in one full swoop. Since roughly every 12 cents on the tax rate equals a million bucks we could fund the final payment next year and own the verizon outright thereby being in control of our destiny.

Sounds like a great plan. Lets do it!
- Jack Alex, Manchester

Want to make suer I am clear....the city projected the meals tax to go up in a recession and the state is saying that the reality is that the meals tax has gone down.....and this is the fault of the democrats? Sounds like its a failure by teh city to properly project revenue....
- Scott, Manchester

Before people got to vote on Verizon Wireless Arena, I believe they were promised there was going to be a ticket surcharge placed on tickets.

I hope Verizon Wireless Arena will agree to have a ticket surcharge of a $1 or more on tickets and donate 50 percent of the money to the police department and 50 percent of the money to the schools. I hope MerchantsAuto.com Stadium will do similar.

People should have been allowed to vote on MerchantsAuto.com Stadium before it was built.
- Ken Stremsky, Manchester, NH

This is a typical Frank Guinta shenanigan blame the problem on someone else this time the State. If I recall correctly, when Guinta was an Alderman he voted for the tax wasting Verizon arena, what a hypocrite. and he wants to go to Congress and do the same there. The only difference with Carol Shea-Porter is that he is a nominal Republican and male.
Voting for this tax waster is a wasted one.
- Richard L. Fortin, Manchester

Just another example of Guinta trying to shift blame and duck responsibilty. If Guinta would roll up his sleeves and try to solve problems, rather than playing politics, Manchester could realize its full potential.

At least with Guinta gone, we will have a fulltime, working mayor.
- Jim, Manchester

Heh, Tom from Manchester: You've never been to the Verizon Arena or Fishercat Stadium? You need to get out more buddy. Do you live under a rock? What a boring life you lead!!
- Tom, Auburn

Is anything your fault, Mayor Guinta?

No no... Of course not.
- Richard L. Fortin, Manchester

Before voters got to vote on Verizon Wireless Arena, I believe they were promised that there was going to be a ticket surcharge placed on tickets to help pay for it.

Page 5 of January 5-11, 2009 Manchester Express has dealing with Verizon Wireless Arena the following:

"This amount will increase to about $5.2 million per year during the next 20 years, at which point the loan will be paid off, Sanders said." Bill Sanders is the city finance officer.

I hope Verizon Wireless Arena will agree to have a $1 or more ticket surcharge on tickets sold at Verizon Wireless Arena and donate the money to Manchester. I hope Verizon Wireless Arena will also agree to have a 2 percent tax on tickets sales, merchandise sales, and other sales and donate the money to Manchester. I hope MerchantsAuto.com Stadium will do similar. I hope the people who manage Verizon Wireless Arena and MerchantsAuto.com Stadium will agree to help reduce the burden of them on Manchester's taxpayers.

People should have been allowed to vote on MerchantsAuto.com Stadium before it was built.

Verizon Wireless Arena might want to try to have more UNH hockey games and other college games at it.

MerchantsAuto.com Stadium might want to try to have more concerts and college games. If MerchantsAuto.com Stadium is able to have college football games and college soccer games, it might want to. The games might have to be exhibition games instead of regular season games if the field is not regulation size.
- Ken Stremsky, Manchester, NH

I just went to ACA's website, the insurance company that insured the bonds. I read the auditor report which did not sound optimistic about the bond insurance company. It stated they are no longer writing bond insurance and have made payments in the hundreds of millions. But the language is quite opaque and difficult to understand. If the City defaults and if the Housing Authority defaults and if the insurance company is essentially bankrupt, of course the bond ratings of all entitites will suffer. And maybe that's a good thing....then we simply pay as we go and don't borrow what we cannot afford.
- Jeff Kassel, Manchester, NH

Why has Bob Baines been exempt from blame in all the criticism? He was at the helm of this disaster! Oh wait, he isn't running against Carol Shea-Guevarra in the 1CD next year.
- Joe, Manchester

What most people never understood is the civic center was costing taxpayers 4 to 5 million every year. The city shouldn't be in the entertainment business. You don't see Concord building statdiums or Portsmouth. A lot of Aldermen voted for this huge debt including many on the board now. Guinta supported both the civic center and the baseball statium. As a taxpayer I opposed it and warned people this day was coming. Every taxpayer pays for mediocre hockey and Monster Trucks whether you want it or not.
- Jeff Kassel, Manchester

Yet another fine example of what happens when someone’s political aspirations get in the way of them actually doing their job and keeping their commitment to the constituents. Go ahead and blame the State Guinta, but you’re equally to blame for the shortfall. All this political stone throwing proves is that you lack the polish and substance to get my vote for your future political endeavors.
- Hugh, Manchester

Why is government run heath care insane ? Read this aticle and see how they point fingers at each other over a $50 million failure. Lets give these people trillions and hope for the best -god help us. The idea is novel but reality is the feds will destroy everything health related in two years flat.
- brian, weare

The ugly secret Guinta won't tell you is that city employees are getting raises in January and again in July...great savings Guinta. Ooops, I guess he forgot to tell the taxpayers. I believe the total is in the neighbohood of 5-7% between the raises in January and July. Not a bad increase in a down economy.
- Mike, Manchester

The Arena (and the Ballpark) add to the quality of life in New Hampshire. The discussion of out-of-state license plates is an important one (for the sake of meals tax revenue) but one should remember that each New Hampshire license plate on cars parked at these venues means that we didn't have to drive into Boston to enjoy sports, concerts, and other entertainment. Downtown Manchester also has many new restaurants, thanks largely to the presence of these destinations.
- Pat, Nashua

Sounds to me like they're blaming each other for this?? I'm not a politician by any means and I wouldn't want to be with what's going on in the city as well as the shaky state budget. I don't know what the solution is but I wish there was one available.
- Maureen, Goffstown

Let them sell the darn place...what do we care. Lack of planning on their part does not constitute emergency on our part.
- tracy, manchester

The real problem is that the Arena does not draw in enough people. The Monarchs can't fill the place up. The food service is another problem. They are a total rip off. The food and drink prices are not very family friendly. Guinta is just letting loose hot air.
- Ted, Manchester

The arena may have created a few local jobs. And it may bring in a few bucks from out of state patrons. But what good is that if the value created is less than the cost?
- Brian, Farmington

This is a great lesson in finance; but is anyone willing to learn?

The government is just that; an entity to govern the people. The government does not create wealth, it "gets" money by taking it from people and the businesses people own.

The Verizon Arena is a great example of "providerment", not government. The providerment spent the people's money and assumed they could continue to take money from the people to pay for this nice, but unneccesary expense. When the people experienced a hardship, as in economic and employment hardships, the providerment's model failed. They have already squeezed all the money they can out of the people. Now, with no where to turn for more money, the finger pointing begins.

If the city and state governments entered a contract, then they must be held accountable for their end of that contract. If it means New York Mellon Bank takes over the arena or sells it, let that be a good lesson. Spend money wisely and anticipate how to survive economic hardships.

One solution is for the city to sell the Arena. Pay back the bondholders and let a private company run the Arena. It will still be here for all to enjoy, but not at taxpayer expense.
- Michael Layon, Derry

@MJ from Hooksett:

Amen to everything you've said! Nothing else need be added!

Brent in Manch.
- Brent, manchester, Nh

Wasn't it his job to advertise the space? Why didn't he try to use it for more trade shows, job fairs, larger events to benefit the community? It's always someone else's fault.
- Maria, Manchester, NH

Guinta is blaming Lynch for being fiscally conservative when city workers got raises? 52 days until Manchester is rid of him.
- Alyssa, Manchester

This is what happens when you have a bunch of politicians playing God with our tax money; The building of stadiums on the assumption of increased property taxes on yet to be built condos, toll money used to support everything but roads, Impact fees used to build dog parks. It is very easy to says it's not going to cost the taxpayer any taxpayers dollars. IT IS OUR MONEY! I'm sure the rooms and meals money (taxpayers money) would be better spent helping us struggling property tax owners. This funny accounting game they play with our money is no different then the Wallstreet fiasco or Madoff's ponzi scheme!
- MJ, Hooksett

Another Arena that loses money. When did one of them make money? So now I get to subsidize an arena I've never been to, don't care about, and have no interest in. Just like the baseball park I've also never visited. Thank god Manchester will have a mayor soon who has "owned" his own business. Like or dislike Ted Gatsas, he has met a payroll, run a business.
- tommy, manchester,nh

Remember this the next time a big-spending bond comes up for vote!

1) Borrowed money isn't "free" - you have to pay it back some day.

2) Politicians get re-elected for spending money, not for sound financial analysis, so be wary of any numbers they give you!
- Alec Muller, Manchester, NH

The Arena has been a huge success for Manchester and the region as a whole. Look at the jobs that come with it and the economic spinoffs as well. The area around it has been redeveloped which had also increased tax revenues to the city. The various restaurants in the area have added to meals and rooms revenues.

Go to any of the concerts and you see plenty of MA and ME license plates; undoubtedly many of those people are contributing to the economy as well by eating here beforehand, paying for parking, etc.

Scott, you obviously don't go there and that is your choice. Perhaps you ought to stop reading your "talking points" and get a grip. Perhaps you have a solution for the state to balance its budget other than trying to steal insurance money that is not theirs, and doing the same to rooms and meals taxes. What's next; taking all of the local property tax revenues too?
- Bill, Bedford NH

The plan was fiscally sound at the outset. This is just another example of how Governor Lynch expanded government services without the means to pay for them, and sticks the communities with the bill. Brunelle is only a couple of steps out of childhood. And is a political opportunist that puppet master Buckley wants him to be. You cannot take him seriously. This project had widespread support and backing from people of all political persuasions. I personally think Gov. Lynch does not give one hoot about Manchester or its key role in this state.
- Rick Olson, Manchester

How could such a success not being paying for itself?

The arena was built on deception. Too bad the proponents could not have figured out how to finance it on deception. Sadly, it has been largely paid for by tax dollars.
- Peter Sorrentino, Manchester

If blame needs to be given, we can blame the Democrat Majority and Manchester's Democrat Delegation that agreed to helping Manchester receive it's share of the meals and rooms tax the state collects and then decided in 2009-2010 session to say; "Sorry, you can't have that". We also can make a note that meals and rooms tax revenue was down due to a recession, how is raising such a tax going to increase revenue during such difficult economic times? Blame can also be placed at the feet of the democrat majority in Concord for passing other taxes and fees onto cities and towns thus driving away even more revenue, all the while giving state money to a private bus company to do business in this state. It's time to elect new representatives and senators in Concord to see that we fix all the issues created since the Democrat majority took over the state's capital in 2006. Otherwise we will only have ourselves to blame if we just sit home and not cast a vote when the State Elections come around in 2010.
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester

Depending on the State paying something annually with intent to put it towards the Arena was not very sound policy unless what was written was in law or contract.The Arena is a nice venue for indoor sports and concerts (okay, concert sound management can make a hugh difference, some groups can't grasp that and the sound often sucks because the group thinks Loud or Louder is the only way to go. ) It is unfortunate that there aren't more events there. I talk to a lot of folks who prefer coming here rather than going to the over price parking and difficult to access venues in Boston.
- Jeff, Goffstown

They don't seem to be that worried about the state not funding the education bill! Hmmm....maybe it's because in past years that money isn't used for education anyway.
- Ed, Manchester

Why would you even bother to quote a political party spokesperson/executive for this? Maybe that's why the electorate is getting sick of politicians: every issue now needs to become a partisan issue and we have to go to the parties for spin. "cheap political points..." - what are you doing then, Mr. Brunelle? In the end, I don't care what party you are a member of, just fix the problem with paying off the bonds so that the state's credit rating doesn't suffer!
- Peter, Jaffrey

The ones who should be paying for this fiasco are the morons who rammed it through in the first place: the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. With those idiots at the helm, I guess we're lucky we didn't wind up with a monorail.
- Scott, Manchester

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"Guinta wants city to take over business park development"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, November 11, 2009

MANCHESTER – Mayor Frank Guinta says he wants to put the city in charge of the proposed development of a business park on Hackett Hill after years of relying on a non-profit agency to oversee the project.

"I think it's taken far too long, four and a half years, to get the necessary permits and approvals," Guinta said last night. "It's time we move to the next phase with different leadership." The aldermanic Lands and Buildings Committee approved Guinta's request yesterday to terminate the city's 2005 agreement with the Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Association, the independent non-profit that acquired the sprawling property a decade ago.

Responsibility for administering and marketing the property would fall to the city's Economic Development Office. The MHRA would retain the title to the property, located on the West Side.

Ken Edwards, assistant director of the MHRA, did not comment on the mayor's request while under questioning by aldermen yesterday. He did, however, say the permitting required to "move forward with the development" is in place.

Guinta said he believes the transfer of responsibility will expedite the project. When the work would get under way, however, is still unclear. City aldermen, who control the purse strings, have been reluctant to pump any more money into the property.

If nothing else, though, the mayor's recommendation would purportedly save the city some money in the short term, since the city would no longer have to pay the MHRA to administer the property. Jay Minkarah, the city's economic development director, estimated those costs at $40,000 a year if there is no construction, and $75,000 a year if construction begins.

Plans to turn the parcel into a business and light-manufacturing park have dragged on for years, and still the site remains empty.

The project has cost millions of dollars, though Minkarah said it's proven difficult to determine exactly how much the city has spent to date. "It was a very complicated series of transactions," he said.

Alderman and Mayor-Elect Ted Gatsas suggested the city could wind up losing money on the project. After some rough calculations, he said it appeared the city would be investing $5 million in the development, only to end up $1.7 million in the red.

"I think we've got to start looking at a different line of attack," Gatsas said. "Maybe we can find a developer to take it off our hands."

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Garth Corriveau: "Time to deliver better government for Manchester"
The NH Union Leader (Online), Op-Ed, November 13, 2009

Manchester is a vibrant city, full of hard-working people from all backgrounds, races and faiths. In recent years, we have faced enormous challenges, and unfortunately, City Hall has not risen to the occasion. Our schools have been neglected, crime is on the rise, and home values have fallen.

History has shown that change never comes from City Hall until change comes to City Hall. On Nov. 3, the voters spoke, and soon Manchester will have a new mayor, six new aldermen and the opportunity to write a new chapter in the history of our city.

I'm honored that the people of Ward 6 decided to trust me to help write this new chapter. As one of the six newly elected aldermen, I pledge to help turn the page on the failed policies of the past and chart a course that truly reflects Manchester's values.

I believe it starts by working together, not against each other. The people of Manchester chose to elect a Republican mayor and 13 out of 14 Democrats to the board of aldermen. But a government divided in this way does not have to mean a divisive government.

In fact, it's essential that we cooperate to bring about the change the people of Manchester demand. I look forward to working collaboratively with Mayor-elect Gatsas to implement the sweeping reform our great city needs.

We face unique, urban challenges, and the people of Manchester deserve new policies to meet them -- innovative, pragmatic policies that promote job growth and economic development. For our city to realize its great potential and to create and attract new jobs, I believe we must begin with safe streets and strong schools.

Education is the cornerstone of any successful community. Our previous mayor has said he didn't have time to address the challenges our schools face. As a result, we have rising class sizes, crumbling infrastructure and annual threats of teacher layoffs. We can no longer afford to wait -- we must make the time to fix our schools. I believe a new direction begins with the mayor-elect, board of aldermen and the school board coming together to develop a comprehensive approach for moving our education system forward.

Just as important as revitalizing Manchester schools is ensuring that the people of our city feel safe. Crime is on the rise, and we need to develop creative solutions to address this serious problem. This means expanding community policing initiatives, cracking down on drugs in our neighborhoods and giving law enforcement the tools needed to be successful.

It's essential that our policies reflect our values -- safe streets, strong schools and efficient government services. Manchester deserves a government as good as its people. It's now up to us, the next generation of aldermen, school board members and Mayor-elect Gatsas, to deliver.
-
Garth Corriveau, a Manchester attorney and president of the New Hampshire Young Democrats, is alderman-elect for Ward 6.
-
READERS' COMMENTS:

Wow, talk about a whole lot of words, but nothing really said. The only thing missing is the use of the word 'synergy' when speaking about city government. How about spending the print space proposing actual plans rather than talking in high-minded unattainable ideals and blaming the current administration. You do realize that there are currently 11 democratic aldermen, right? Don't they shoulder some, if not all of the blame you seem ready to throw about? I live in the next ward over from ward 6 and didn't see any of your signs until quite late in the process, never saw you on MCAM, never read anything about you, but I saw/heard your opponent fairly frequently. Now that you're in office, I suggest making your bones first rather than grandstanding and trying to appear holier-than-thou.
- Tom, Manchester

Garth you hit the nail on the head. The truth is right in the headline.

To govern means to control. The men and women that do business as The City of Manchester are going to do a better job of controlling the lives of people that live in the geographical region known as Manchester, as if we're not capable of controlling our own lives.

We will be forced to comply with your solutions, whether we agree with them or not. Nothing fair about that. Nothing peaceful either.

Again the short-sightedness of this approach manifests in the comments here. Are one group of controllers better than the other? But people like you count on people like me to think that way. If we didn't, we surely wouldn't need you.

A good lesson to learn is that as long as we continue to use the political process to force our opinions on others, things will never get better no matter how often we attempt to change the controllers. Ask any long time resident if things are better or worse now than they were 30 years ago.

If any of your solutions were that great Garth, you wouldn't need to use violence to force me to contribute to them. Because make no mistake, yours is a way of violence.

It comes through your extorting more money from people, stealing their homes if they decide not to fund your solutions and ultimately killing them if they decide to protect their property. This is not a good way to do business. This is not being a good neighbor.

Why not give people the option of voluntarily funding the solutions you and the other men and woman that do business as The City of Manchester think will work, and allow me to decide for myself? How good can a solution be if you force others to go along with it?

And before you tell yourself this could never work, ask yourself Garth, what happened the last time we tried?
- Mike Tiner, Manchester

When you talk about schools, please don't forget libraries. Libraries are how an *entire* community gets educated, not just children. They are both absolutely essential in a prosperous city.

By the way, I have lived in Manchester two years, have a steady job, and am expecting my first baby- just the type of young citizen a successful city wants. Unless this type of change comes to Manchester, though, I will leave before my child enters school. It *does* take money to improve life for all citizens and to allow crummy schools is to leave the city to the criminals and the curmudgeons.
- Ellen, Manchester

Wow, the knives are out already! The new alderman hasn't even been sworn in and all your problems are being blamed on him.

Guess he'll be looking forward to working with
you kind, gentle and compassionate people. NOT!

As Pogo once said: "we have met the enemy and he is us!"
- Bob in Manchester, Manchester

Nice sentiment, but in this city it'll never happen. Since the voters in Manchester refuse to demand accountability from our elected officials - we've become a stagnant, second rate backwater where partisanship rules. Seriously - hold this man accountable next year for delivering on these promises, or show him the door!
- DP, Manchester

I keep reading this piece and all I keep getting out of it is that we, (the alderman) are going to need more money (and you know where that comes from).
- Dale A., Manchester

Earth to Garth,

Another partisan lawyer talking the good talk. All sounds good but wait til the Teachers Union, City Employees Union, the Trial Lawyers Assoc and the NH Democratic party cast their mighty influence over the new democratic alderman!
- Mike, Manchester, NH

I guess "safe streets, strong schools and efficient government services" are not values Eric in Manchester thinks make a good city.
- Not Eric, Manchester

12 to 2? What this means Aldermen Corriveau, is that you and your 11 Dems will do what you do best, throw money at the problem. And because, unlike your freinds in DC, you can't print your own, the question becomes, where are you going to get it. I know, "Open your wallets Mr. and Mrs. Homeowners." Our answer, "They're empty!"
- Chris K, Manchester

And furthermore my fellow citizens .. KACHING .. we need to work together .. KACHING .. to educate our .. KACHING ..
Blah, Blah, Blah,Blah, .. Blah, Blah, Blah,Blah, .. Blah, Blah, Blah,Blah, .. KACHING .. Dear Garth, we have heard this spiel before, over and over. The teachers union, or the SEIU or Trial Lawyers Asso., .. how about telling us how we will pay our taxes with no jobs, more and more fees, wasteful government spending, and special interest groups such as Acorn who are stealing our tax money. Save your empty blather for your bathroom mirror.
- tommy, manchester,nh

Even if Your right the major problem being is the Democratic party pulled the wool over the cities eyes. Taxes are going up. The tax cap is now a joke do to more than majority is democrat. And the Mayor is nothing more than a deciding Vote when it comes to taxes. All the mayor does is Break a tie. The Democrates controled the City Goverment before the election than blames the republicans for all the screw ups. But eben before the election the democrates Had the majority. The Republican party was just too incompatant to get the word out. Now they have Ted there who does nothing but look out for himself. If you can't do anything for him he will have nothing to do with you. Just lucky for the Taxacrats that The people in Manchester think the Mayor is the controlling party. If they new better they would never of given the Taxacrats the majority again. You fools screwed the schools and the like. Just played politics and passed the buck. Lucky for you the MRC was to busy kissing Teds Butt and not combatant enough to run a good Campaign for 90% of its alderman. Maybe in 2 years when Taxes are out or control like when Baines and his Board ran things the people will wake up. But unless the MRC does and recruits young and energetic I don't see it. I myself am Moving from the New NH Liberal strong hold. Portsmouth was Bad Manchester Is horrible. You Dems Ruined this city. And passed the buck.
- John, Manchester

Are you serious? You didn't write this op-ed. Ray Buckley did.
- Eric, Manchester

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"Dump Hackett Hill: It's a public money pit"
The New Hampshire Union Leader, Editorial, November 14, 2009

Upset that the Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Authority has not readied Hackett Hill for development in the nearly five years it has had to do so, Mayor Frank Guinta wants the city to boot the authority and do the work itself.

Some history first: In March of 1999, Manchester agreed to buy 830 acres on Hackett Hill from the University of New Hampshire for $7.2 million. Five and a half years later, on Dec. 7, 2004, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen finally approved a master plan for Hackett Hill. What makes Guinta think the city will move any faster than the MHRA?

In that December 2004 meeting, on the recommendation of the MHRA, aldermen voted to sell French Hall, the main building in what was to be the new business park, to the low bidder. That's right, the low bidder. The MHRA said Brooks Properties would bring in more tax revenue than catalog company Herrington Corp. would. We'll never know what might have happened. But we do know that this dual aldermanic/MHRA scheme left taxpayers holding a "business park" where no more businesses want to park.

Mayor Guinta is right to be frustrated with the pace of Hackett Hill's development. But his suggested remedy is misguided. The solution isn't city management. It's private management. The city never should've become involved in this speculative venture in the first place.

Mayor-elect Ted Gatsas has the right idea. Dump it. The city is better off cutting its losses than sinking any more time and money into a development scheme no private developer will touch. Release the property and let the market, not city planners, determine its best use.

Alas, that could take a while. Last year, aldermen gave developers two months to bid on the so-called "Northwest Business Park." There were no bids. The city might have to wait out the recession before a bidder comes along. But that beats squandering any more money on the pipe dreams of previous aldermanic boards and the MHRA.
-
READERS' COMMENTS:

Marvelous. There's a glut of commercial property as there is, only way up to Hacket hill is a little two lane road called Front St, and the entire area is already overdeveloped with apartment and condo villages to begin with.

No businesses are beating down our doors yet with this recession and the trend is the sucking sound of jobs going overseas is still continuing as I write.

Lets wait for this market to comeback before we sell ourselves short and see where things are going before we try to sequeeze a few pennies on the dollar from this.
- Jack Alex, Manchester

Who would build there anyway? Why would they want to build an empty parking lot to break up over winters, unless they want to pay to keep it up every year?

Everyone knows Manchester is hostile to business, nobody in their right mind would lease on that property.
- Mike R., Bedford

Isn't it amazing the development that has grown in this same area on the Hooksett side of the line. New businesses coming in all the time, Walmart, Market Basket, Target, Kohl's BJ's, a new hotel coming etc. Manchester in the very same area has a nice piece of property that it can't sell. Maybe the BMA should look at the way the town of Hooksett imports businesses and follow their lead.
- Joanne, Manchester

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"Manchester, NH, mayor’s e-mail account breached"
By HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press Writer, November 27, 2009

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) —- Someone hacked into Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta’s city e-mail account and used it to send about 650,000 messages, the mayor said Friday.

Guinta said the breach was discovered Thursday and that the e-mail messages were sent over 12 to 24 hours. Police are investigating and hope to have more information early next week, Guinta said. He said Friday he had not seen the messages but was given a brief description by the city’s information systems manager.

“They’re going through them now. It appears to be mostly spam that they sent out,” he said.

Guinta said he was shocked because the city has a good firewall protection system to prevent such unauthorized access.

“It appears as though someone somehow accessed my e-mail and password. It has not been established how someone was able to access that information,” he said. “I was shocked and obviously angry that somebody would use my e-mail and send out 650,000 e-mails.

Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying suspects. The crime of unauthorized access to a computer or computer network is a felony.

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"Board votes to bring all city school extra-curricular activities back"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, December 15, 2009

MANCHESTER – First, they brought back the high school hockey teams. Eventually, they brought back all of the other sports teams, plus one literary magazine.

Last night, the members of the Manchester school board finished the job, resolving to restore all of the remaining extra-curricular activities that were axed as a result of this year's school budget.

Superintendent Tom Brennan said the decision will cost the district an estimated $80,000. When asked, he said he supposed the district could pay for the activities, as it paid for other late-breaking expenses, by cutting back on textbooks and other supplies.

Also last night, the school board rejected a proposal that would have forced members of the board to pick up a greater share of their own health insurance costs.

Committeeman Art Beaudry called the proposal a "compromise." The board has repeatedly brushed back efforts to eliminate members' health benefits entirely.

"I hope the voters out there are looking at who's voting and who's receiving the benefit," Beaudry said after his measure was defeated.

Beaudry was also the author of the night's other major proposal, the restoration of extra-curricular activities. Initially, he asked the board to reinstate all sports programs, in addition to extra-curricular activities. Another board member, Steve Dolman, pointed out that the board had already done that.

Manchester schools began the year with only a few of their usual after-school offerings because there was no money set aside to pay the advisers who oversee each club.

School yearbooks, newspapers and student councils were preserved, but many other activities were not. Ben Dick, vice president of the city teachers' union, said last night he expects the list of groups that will now be restored includes drama clubs, literary magazines and business marketing clubs.

Brennan said it would have cost $160,000 to reinstate all extra-curricular activities at the start of the school year. It will cost half that much now that the school year is half over.

Committeeman Dave Gelinas, one of five members opposing the measure, said he suspects the superintendent would have sought approval to restore the activities if he thought it was advisable.

"I know we've said so many times we shouldn't micromanage the budget. We should let the superintendent do his job," Gelinas said.

Beaudry pointed to comments the aldermen made in May, when they approved the $146.4-million school budget. At the time, Alderman Ted Gatsas, now the mayor-elect, said the district would not need to lay off teachers or cut programs.

Mayor Frank Guinta called Beaudry's comment "all well and good," but added, "I'd remind the board that you cannot deficit spend.

"I would urge caution in expecting that the appropriation doesn't have any impact," Guinta said.

The vote to reinstate extra-curricular activities passed, 9 to 5. Members who voted for the proposal were Guinta, Vice Chairman Katherine Labanaris, Bob O'Sullivan, Mike DeBlasi, Tom Katsiantonis, Beaudry, Dolman, Eric Fischer and Debra Gagnon Langton.

Members who voted against it were Joyce Craig, Chris Herbert, Dave Gelinas, John Avard and Kathleen Kelley.

Beaudry's earlier motion called for a "50 percent co-pay" for school board members. At one point, after the vote, Beaudry said the cost of a family plan is a little more than $20,000. Board members also receive a $2,000 annual stipend.

"So school board members, as far as I'm concerned, for a part-time position are getting benefits and salary well over $22,000," he said. "We don't treat our employees that way, but yet we treat ourselves that way."

DeBlasi said he does not believe many members of the board take advantage of the health benefits they're offered. This year, he said, the district's share of the board's health and dental plans has been pegged at $61,826.

Members who voted for the proposed "compromise" included O'Sullivan, Beaudry, Fischer, Gagnon Langton and Guinta. Members opposing it included Craig, DeBlasi, Herbert, Labanaris, Gelinas, Katsiantonis, Dolman and Kelley.
-
READERS' COMMENTS:

Do the alderpersons also get medical and dental? It makes sense in the case of the mayor, which is, at least theoretically, a full time job. Who wouldn't love a job where benefits are times the salary.
In regard to activities, I attended a performance of "Dracula" at West High School recently. It was, I was told, entirely privately funded. It is too bad that other school activities are not valued as highly as drama at West is.
- John, Manchester

i am very supprise with all of this. but what about how clean are school are.
with the swine flu problem and the colds and flu season going around. how clean is our school. i have heard that the cleaning budget has been cut too. how is our kid. go to a clean school if they cut back on people to clean the school. i know all of these think are need in the schools for education. but if they dont have there health they cant get there education or have the extra curriclar activities. i wish the school board luck with all of this. know buddy think about how clean and sanitize the school are.
- sue,, manchester

Naturally, they "found" the money in the budget. This is more proof that they cry wolf every budget season but still manage to find the money in the long run...
- Rich, Manchester

Let me make sure I understand this...extra curricular activities are going to be paid for by cutting back on supplies and textbooks that are used for actual educational purposes AND the school board getting health and dental benefits that would almost pay for the extra curricular programs without skimping on supplies and textbooks? Don't get me wrong, extra curricular activities are important, they add to the educational experience. But to fund them at the expense of the educational experience is insane and irresponsible.
- Liz, Manchester, NH

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"School priorities: Backwards in Manchester"
The NH Union Leader, Editorial, December 16, 2009

Manchester's school board has a serious problem setting priorities.

On Tuesday night, the board voted 9-5 to restore funding to extracurricular programs cut from the school budget earlier in the year. Those would include projects such as drama clubs and literary magazines.

Superintendent Tom Brennan told the board that restoring these programs would cost the district $80,000. To come up with the money, he said he could cut funds set aside for textbooks and other supplies.

That means that nine members of the city school board (including Mayor Frank Guinta) would rather fund extracurriculars (drama club, etc.) than curriculars (textbooks). Textbooks are used in the actual instruction that goes on in the classroom. They are an essential component of the school district's core mission: to teach students. Extracurriculars are, by definition, extra -- that is, not essential.

To add insult to injury, the board voted 8-5 against a proposal that would have them pay for 50 percent of their health benefits. So they chose to cut textbook funding, but fully fund their own health benefits, even though they are not full-time employees of the district.

Every parent of a public-school student in Manchester ought to be outraged at these votes. With priorities like these, it's no wonder the city schools are struggling.
-
READERS' COMMENTS:

Sit on a board that is responsible for a failing school system and then keep living off the taxpayers by voting to maintain your own gravy train.
Great work if you can get it!
ALK
- ALK, South Manchester

Let me be clear...Para-professionals are NOT babysitters. If you think they are then you should do their job for a week or two. I will bet you will feel differently afterward.
- Dawn Gagnon, Manchester

Let’s see how much they care about the children or the taxpayers? They vote against funding for curriculum textbooks but at the same time vote to keep the taxpayers on the hook for the full cost for the board’s own health insurance, yet they don’t even work full time! How can this be? Many people are out of work, and of those fortunate enough to have a (full time job) have to pay for half of the cost for their own health insurance plus the ever rising tax rate increases. People who can only find part time work due to the lack of jobs don’t even get health insurance benefits at all! Why are we taxpayers funding the full cost of health care insurance for part-time employees when we as tax payers don’t even get that kind of benefit? The board members are asking the taxpayers to bite the bullet and make sacrifices yet they aren’t even willing to do it themselves. These clowns have so got to go!
- Rob, Manchester

We have a spending problem in this city/state/nation. The school board's action in regard to extracurricular activities shows all the fiscal responsibility of a child in kindergarten. Why do they even have a budget, if they're not going to adhere to it. Sure, things change, but this is revisiting decisions already taken without any compelling reason for the new expenditure. It's a nice sandbox the board has there, too bad everyone else has to pay for the sand.
- John, Manchester

What a hoax that they do this during the "non-budget" season when tax payers are paying much less attention. Shameful.
- Mark L, Manchester

Sports are great!!!

Every high school sport my son has played has had a fund raiser, so sports are not free.

Stop being so cheap Manchester!!

Fund the schools adequately and stop letting your city get run down.
- Mike, manchester

Ron,
$250,000 for rent.
3 administrators make 6 figures. Check out the Police salaries.
Middle schools each have 2 administrators.
Para's make about $60 a day(about $10 per hour).
- John, Manchester

How much is the school dept paying for rent to house the SAU? How many administrators does the city pay 6 figure salaies to? How many asst. principles does a midle school need? How much money is spent on para-professionals(babysitters) in our schools?
- Ron, Manchester

It's ridiculous that the board would rather pay for it's own benefits than to pay for textbooks and supplies for the students. Plain and simply, it's robbing from the kids and that is SHAMEFUL.
- Bob V, Manchester

Why do we provide the School Board with Health Insurance when most members work and can receive health insurance from their employers? They would rather the children not have textbooks? I feel they have their priorities a bit mixed up. Have you watched the school board meetings on television? Some of those school board members should be ashamed of themselves. They are elected to serve on the school board to advocate for the education system and our children.....not to get health insurance for themselves, how does this benefit our children and schools?

Stephanie
- Stephanie, Manchester

The Manchester School District is a DINI (District in Need of Improvement) due to the fact that few really care to support schools, much less understand what is needed to offer the chance of schools to perform effectively.

Ever since the NCLB Act was enacted, schools' performances have suffered. While more (unrealistic and unsupported) expectations are placed upon Administrators, Teachers, Support Staff, and Students, all aspects of the educational experience has been compromised. Schools don't even have paper.
- mmh, londonderry

It is easy to spend other people's money.

First, every town, every city needs to decide 1) what is the purpose of eduction. Why go to school. Then 2) what it will cost and 3) how to pay for it.

The problem is that there is no definition of what school is for so there is all of this abuse.

Take for instance, busing. Children have a right ot an adequate education. However, I do not think that they have a right to get a ride to school. This is a major expense that should be eliminated. Make parents responsible for some part of the education system. Make them vested in it. Otherwise the entitlement feeling grows.

As for the board, make them send their kids to Manchester schools, make them responsible for their decisions. Make them have skin in the game. Otherewise, they will cut textbooks and give themselves full benefits.

No one should be able to vote themselves any benefits.
- Chris, Manchester

Well at least they can find donations for computers. Imagine what the cost would be if we had to upgrade all those computers with Windows 2000 and Office '97! Computers that don't even have the hard drive space to install upgrades for Windows 2000 and can't even display webpages properly because of Internet Explorer 5.
- Bob, Lake Ave

More and more schools around NH are getting away from textbooks anyway and using more computer/Internet resources. I know my son has to spend a few hours a week online looking up information for his homework assignments. The schools identify specific websites such as the World Book Encyclopedia website.
- JL, Pembroke

Well.. The people of Manchester spoke at the last election and obviously they don't care as long as the School District has "free sports" for that small percentage of students that participate in these activities instead of providing an ACCEPTABLE education to the entire student body.

My children know that if I have to make the decision between sports and education. If I have to pay for them to play in the band and be amember of the track team, then I will pay..

Maybe the School District should accept that $5-6 million in grants with the agreement to fire teachers/principals and close schools.

This way they can have the textbooks, free sports, and full time benefits for part-time politicians!
- Scott, Manchester

While i agree these votes are asinine, they wouldn't be a problem if only the district was funded correctly in the first place. If anyone wants to find out how well-funded out schools are take a tour of any one. Check the technology, the books, ask department heads how much money they have to buy resources and material, ask around, ask any question. You'll get the same answers everywhere.
I'm proud that our district can run our schools on a lean budget, as well it should, but a few surplus years here and there to get the district up-to-date wouldn't hurt, methinks.
- Hogan, Manchester

As it stands now, 72% of the Manchester School budget goes to salaries, benefits and other administrative cost. According to the chart produced by the MANSD, only 1% is used for textbooks and supplies. The remaining portions are also below 10% for other services. The new school board should opt to drop the health care benefits for those elected and work towards reducing administrative cost so that students can have what they need to learn. At McLaughlin Middle School my daughter came home with a textbook that had the corner sawed off, yes sawed off because it was a free set of books given to the MANSD for use in the schools. Take a look at Central High and the other High Schools and you will find books with a 10 to 15 year copyright date. Where is the logic in that, that information isn't as current as it could be. The students deserve the best in education and materials to help them, of course as the article suggest, MANSD has it backwards.
- Robert M Tarr, Manchester

I hope Manchester's schools will soon have a non profit that people and businesses may make tax deductible donations. Many businesses might want to match employee donations up to a maximum limit they set.

Many companies are the official __ for the Boston Red Sox.

I hope many companies will be official ___ for drama clubs, sports teams, school departments, etc.

Some restaurants and retail stores may want to have fundraising weeks to buy better textbooks and internet education for Manchester's schools. The businesses could donate a percentage of sales.

Have Manchester's schools asked local colleges to develop better textbooks and internet education materials for many k-12 classes than they have now?

Do Manchester's schools get grants from non profits involved with education?
- Ken Stremsky, Manchester, NH

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"Frank Guinta: Thanks to all who make Manchester a great city"
By FRANK GUINTA, NH Union Leader, Editorial, January 14, 2010

My wife, Morgan, and I have thought a lot about Manchester and how fortunate we feel to be part of it. We bought our first home, became parents and advanced our careers here. Becoming mayor was a dream come true for me.

I grew up loving current events, tailored my education to focus on political science, served two terms as a state representative, two terms as a Manchester alderman and two terms as mayor in what's become one of the most affordable cities in America and certainly one of the most interesting political states in the country.

As I transition from my role as mayor, it's important to me that I thank those I've worked with to make our city so great.

City employees: Our city has 1,000 loyal and hard-working employees, many of whom have worked for Manchester for more than 20 years. You serve our city in so many ways -- seen and unseen -- and I thank you.

Educators: I owe my gratitude to the 1,500 teachers and administrators who inspire and shape our more than 16,000 students. You have improved annual yearly progress, implemented essential initiatives and used the Student Information System that helps us collect important educational data. Manchester will soon welcome Job Corps, and I have no doubt our strong colleges will continue to exceed expectations.

First responders: Lives are saved because of these brave men and women, and our city is safer. I am proud to have had a part in our police department's achievements over the last few years. By increasing our police presence, we have cut prostitution arrests in half, closed dangerous night clubs, executed big drug busts and increased neighborhood and store watch groups. We've also added a new substation, a new and successful chief and even a new look to our patrol cars. I've been with these guys to observe the scene, and let me tell you, crime is losing the fight.

Community: I'd like to thank the active and vocal citizens I have met at our various ward meetings and resident forums. Pure and simple, your input and feedback have helped me do a better job. I've also enjoyed the support and cooperation that has led to our saving three historic buildings, redeveloping the Rimmon Heights neighborhood, opening the Hands Across the Merrimack Bridge, starting the increasingly popular Manchester City Marathon and adopting a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness. The work may at times feel unnoticed, but I assure you that your voices were heard, your petitions were valued and your ideas earned my willing endorsement.

Our community has a lot to celebrate, but I must reflect on the times during my tenure that have been most difficult. Together we have endured three major floods, a devastating ice storm and the sad loss of a Manchester police officer. While it could never compare to the grief and experience of those closest to these tragedies, your support during times of crisis has tightened our community and given me strength. Thank you for your generosity.

City Officials: Putting your name on a ballot is commendable, as is dedicating personal time to represent others. Our elected officials work hard, and I am grateful for the experience of working together. I wish you all well.

I have consistently challenged myself and others to find more ways to be fiscally responsible. I advocated on behalf of the taxpayer, proposing tax relief while fostering a strong economic development plan. I'm proud of our tax cuts, expenditure surplus, reduction in maturing debt and ability to run the city as a smart and promising business. I am especially proud of our recently adopted spending cap. We are now thinking like taxpayers and families, saving and investing money to increase value and responsibly planning for the future.

I am indebted to those who worked hard to shepherd my ideas and those of our constituents. Have I had a hand in these examples of progress? Sure. But without these teams and their support of my vision, we wouldn't have moved as far forward. For their contributions, I am grateful.

While I will no longer serve as mayor, I will continue to serve in other positions. I look forward to seeing and hearing from you. Until then, my thanks and admiration and a hearty wish to all for a very happy new year.
-
Frank Guinta, the former mayor of Manchester, is a Republican candidate for Congress in New Hampshire's 1st District.
-
READERS' COMMENTS:

Thank you Mayor Guinta for standing up for us taxpayers for the last four years. Your fight for the Tax Cap and constant battle to cut city spending despide the fact that you only had 2 1/2 allies on the aldermanic board did not go unnoticed. You were a great mayor and will make an even better Congressman!
- Jeff, Manchester

How is crime "losing the fight" and how is Guinta's political appointee, Chief David Mara "successful", when violent crime is skyrocketing? More stabbings, more shootings, more beatings, more armed robberies. The only change that Guinta-Mara gave us is lazy cops hanging out at substations and watch groups instead of fighting crime.
- Amelia, Manchester

mrs guinta

i thank you for everay thing ,

evangeline manchester
- evangeline, manchester

mrs guinta

i thank you for everay thing ,

evangeline manchester
- evangeline, manchester

16,000 students? Annual yearly progress? For 4 budget seasons you said the school district was cooking the books and had closer to 15,000 students. And you NEVER praised their annual yearly progress. In fact, you advocated minimally, if at all, for our schools. Now in retrospect, or laying the grounds for your next political run, you were a champion of education? And now YOUR numbers are different? Beware N.H.!
- T.Morrow, Manchester

Frank Guinta has always been a class act, I don't care what side of the spectrum you are on. Its a tall order to be Mayor of NH's largest city.

Many of us well know that Benjamin Franklin once quipped in part, "but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.." However, had Franklin lived during this era, he might have said, but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, Richard Fortin's vile comments and taxes.

And since I am quoting folks, let me quote Jerry Thibodeau from three years ago, "Hey Richard, why don't you crawl back into that filthy sewer you crawled out of..."
- Rick Olson, Manchester

Frank,

You forgot to thank all of your friends at the Fish and Game and Ukrainian Clubs! We'll support your run to the top! Good luck and thanks for all of your business!
- J.Therrien, Manchester

Frankie,
A resume cloaked by a thank you letter is not genuine.
- Dave, Manchester

As mayor, you were a breath of fresh air, as our future congressman, you will be a sigh of relief. I've always appreciated your willingness to speak to reporters, go on public access TV, hold open town forums and consistently making your self available to constituents. Good luck to you and yours.
- Greg Salts, Manchester

While I appreciate the Mayor thanking all the good folks who soak up our tax dollars, I wish he had taken an opportunity to thank all the people who pay the bills for the massively bloated City Government we have in Manchester.

Well, Mr. Mayor, thank you for stepping aside. I don't know if I could afford any more of the tax hikes I was getting under your tenure. I don't know if Mayor Gatsas will be any better, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now, because he can't be much worse.

In all seriousness, my taxes didn't go up during Guinta's time as much as they did during the "Baines error", but at least he told us he was going to raise our taxes.
- Glen, Manchester, NH

Bye Bye Frank, now you can work full time at backstabbing your friends to claw your way to the Congressional nomination which I hope you will not get. If by some tragic circumstances you do get nominated you can rest assured that neither you or CSP will get my vote, I will either write in someone or leave it blank. Your supporters had better wear armored vests for protection from your knife thrusts to the back, you are certainly good at it.
- Richard L. Fortin, Manchester

Frank & Morgan,

You rock!

I remember meeting you as my neighbors, before Frank was an alderman & before life took off for you. You were and are the nicest people.

I loved watching you climb the ladder of success. I hope this success streak continues for you...

Frank, your dad, my neighbor, is an awesome man! I love chatting with him. He is full of wisdom. Your mom is sweet & kind. Their dog, as well as your dog, is also a winner. What a great family you have!!!

I wish you the best in life.

Denise & pets..here at Brookchester Row
- Denise, Manchester

----------

About Me

My photo
Amherst, NH, United States
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

50th Anniversary - 2009
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Columbus Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety
Paul Capitanio, left, speaks during Monday night's Ward 3 City Council debate with fellow candidate Melissa Mazzeo at Pittsfield Community Television's studio. The special election (3/31/2009) will be held a week from today (3/24/2009). The local issues ranged from economic development and cleaning up blighted areas in Ward 3 to public education and the continued remediation of PCB's.

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

Outrage swells in Congress!

Outrage swells in Congress!
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., listen during a hearing on modernizing insurance regulations, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). - http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090318/pl_politico/30833

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!
Photo Gallery: www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/15/St_Patricks_Day_Boston/

The path away from Wall Street ...

The path away from Wall Street ...
...Employers in the finance sector - traditionally a prime landing spot for college seniors, particularly in the Northeast - expect to have 71 percent fewer jobs to offer this year's (2009) graduates.

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/14/economic_collapse_puts_graduates_on_unforeseen_paths/

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis
Should he be fired? As Bank of America's Stock Plummets, CEO Resists Some Calls That He Step Down.

Hookers for Jesus

Hookers for Jesus
Annie Lobert is the founder of "Hookers for Jesus" - www.hookersforjesus.net/home.cfm - Saving Sin City: Las Vegas, Nevada?

Forever personalized stamped envelope

Forever personalized stamped envelope
The Forever stamp will continue to cover the price of a first-class letter. The USPS will also introduce Forever personalized, stamped envelopes. The envelopes will be preprinted with a Forever stamp, the sender's name and return address, and an optional personal message.

Purple Heart

Purple Heart
First issued in 2003, the Purple heart stamp will continue to honor the men and women wounded while serving in the US military. The Purple Heart stamp covers the cost of 44 cents for first-class, one-ounce mail.

Dolphin

Dolphin
The bottlenose is just one of the new animals set to appear on the price-change stamps. It will serve as a 64-cent stamp for odd shaped envelopes.

2009 price-change stamps

2009 price-change stamps
www.boston.com/business/gallery/2009pircechangestamps/ -&- www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/27/new_stamps_set_for_rate_increase_in_may/

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
AP photo v Shepard Fairey

Rush Limbaugh lackeys

Rush Limbaugh lackeys
Posted by Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe on March 3, 2009.

Honest Abe

Honest Abe
A 2007 US Penny

Dog race

Dog race
Sledding for dogs

The Capital of the Constitution State

The Capital of the Constitution State
Hartford, once the wealthiest city in the United States but now the poorest in Connecticut, is facing an uphill battle.

Brady, Bundchen married

Brady, Bundchen married
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen wed Feb. 26, 2009 in a Catholic ceremony in Los Angeles. www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/gallery/tom_gisele/

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto
Tanked Pittsfield's local economy while helping his fellow insider political hacks and business campaign contributors!

Journalist Andrew Manuse

Journalist Andrew Manuse
www.manuse.com

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire_Supreme_Court

Economic State of the Union

Economic State of the Union
A look at some of the economic conditions the Obama administration faces and what resources have already been pledged to help. 2/24/2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
The president addresses the nation's governors during a dinner in the State Dinning Room, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari).

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.
Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles teamed up for a musical medley during the show.

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009
Hugh Jackman pulled actress Anne Hathaway on stage to accompany him during his opening musical number.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow
A Progressive News Commentator

$500,000 per year

$500,000 per year
That is chump change for the corporate elite!

THE CORPORATE ELITE...

THE CORPORATE ELITE...
Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric

The Presidents' Club

The Presidents' Club
Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton & Carter.

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!
White House Event: January 7, 2009.

Bank Bailout!

Bank Bailout!
v taxpayer

Actress Elizabeth Banks

Actress Elizabeth Banks
She will present an award to her hometown (Pittsfield) at the Massachusetts State House next month (1/2009). She recently starred in "W" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and just signed a $1 million annual contract to be a spokesmodel for Paris.

Joanna Lipper

Joanna Lipper
Her award-winning 1999 documentary, "Growing Up Fast," about teenaged mothers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays...
...from "Star Wars"

Massachusetts "poor" economy

Massachusetts "poor" economy
Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states, but it is also very inequitable. For example, it boasts the nation's most lucrative lottery, which is just a system of regressive taxation so that the corporate elite get to pay less in taxes!

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
Hollywood Actress

Peter G. Arlos.

Peter G. Arlos.
Arlos is shown in his Pittsfield office in early 2000.

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes
Big Dig - East-west commuters take hit; Fees at tunnels would double. 11/15/2008.

The Pink Panther 2

The Pink Panther 2
Starring Steve Martin

Police ABUSE

Police ABUSE
I was a victim of Manchester Police Officer John Cunningham's ILLEGAL USES of FORCE! John Cunningham was reprimanded by the Chief of Police for disrespecting me. John Cunningham yelled at a witness: "I don't care if he (Jonathan Melle) is disabled!"

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
The 44th US President!

Vote

Vote
Elections

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check
A political cartoon by Dan Wasserman

A rainbow over Boston

A rainbow over Boston
"Rainbows galore" 10/2/2008

Our nation's leaders!

Our nation's leaders!
President Bush with both John McCain & Barack Obama - 9/25/2008.

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).
$5 rise at tunnels is one possibility $1 jump posed for elsewhere.

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My FAVORITE Journalist EVER!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!
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.