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Forum, April 12: Newport board member unwilling to collaborate

Published: 4/11/2021 10:00:03 PM
Modified: 4/11/2021 10:00:02 PM
Newport board member unwilling to collaborate

New Hampshire law allows almost anyone to run for a school board seat. You just need to be a registered voter and not be employed by the district. What makes a good school board member? Great members know how to work as a team. They focus on what’s best for students. They advocate for local, state and national levels of public education and funding. Good members are excellent communicators, with sound judgment, a real interest in public education and a clear district vision — all this while keeping in mind fiscal responsibility.

Before elections in Newport, N.H., candidates are invited to a candidate forum as a part of the School Board meeting. Incumbents often talk about what they have done to improve the district schools. Challengers (even if running unopposed) talk about their vision for the district’s future, how to improve student achievement and how they measure success. This year was the first time I have ever witnessed anyone running for School Board refuse this opportunity, or, once elected, refuse to share views or collaborate as a team. School boards play an important role in keeping local schools on track and setting policies that affect the entire community. The school board sets the vision and goals for the school district and holds the district accountable for results. Effective board members collaborate and work as a team.

I wonder why Bert Spaulding Sr. wanted to become a Newport School Board member. He has shown no interest in being a part of any team. We have hard topics to address and a job to do. Having a member unwilling to collaborate hurts all of us.


Newport, N.H.

The writer is a member and former chair of the Newport School Board.

Vice President Harris is a phony

Recently, Stephen Colbert inadvertently exposed the shallowness of Vice President Kamala Harris when he asked how she could attack Biden’s ethics and morals and call him racist during the debates and then agree to become his running mate. She laughed and gave her now-famous line, “It was a debate!” And this leads us to wonder just what else she said or will say that was insincere and, frankly, phony. Her selection to be Biden’s running mate was just the tip of the iceberg of “identity politics.” I believe she was chosen for no other reason than being a “woman of color.” Certainly her four years as a senator and two terms as California’s attorney general resulted in few achievements of distinction. For that matter, President Joe Biden’s record as a senator wasn’t exactly stellar, either.

Looking ahead to 2024, there are women of color in both parties who could challenge the incumbent president. Tulsi Gabbard and Nikki Haley immediately come to mind. Both possess qualities many would say Harris lacks, such as sincerity, authenticity, integrity and class.

President Biden may appoint a “reality czar” to head up the “thought police” so we all believe and say the same thing, but he has some disconnects to work on. At a recent virtual prayer breakfast he spoke of the importance of his “faith,” but his positions on abortion and LGBTQ+ issues have put him at odds with the Conference of Catholic Bishops. Also, his renewed emphasis on forcing the rest of us to cut our carbon footprint rings hollow when he takes Air Force One from D.C. to Delaware, a distance of less than 100 miles. I understand using Amtrak is out for reasons of security, but c’mon, man, how about Marine One? I’m sure these are just some of many instances of “cognitive dissonance” that lie ahead. Meanwhile, keep your eye on South Dakota, where Gov. Kristi Noem is demonstrating dynamic leadership qualities as well as looking out for the medical, emotional, economic and social needs of the residents she has pledged to protect.



Wages at DHMC compared with $15 an hour

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center wages: You can Google it. Search for: “How much does Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in the United States pay?” According to, the average DHMC salary for a phlebotomist is approximately $28,745 per year, or about $14 per hour.

Ask how much a DHMC pharmacy technician makes: “Average Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Pharmacy Technician yearly pay in the United States is approximately $28,190” — or about $13.55 an hour — “which is 11% below the national average.”

Ask how much a secretary at DHMC makes: “Average Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Secretary hourly pay in the United States is approximately $15.51, which is 12% above the national average.”

The person who takes your blood or fills your prescription earns less per hour than the secretary who checks you in — or the workers making $15 an hour at Hannaford’s or McDonalds! Shame on DHMC.



The pseudo-logic of gun control

Forum contributor Andrew Daubenspeck’s critique (“Array of opinions on gun violence,” April 4) of my previous letter (“The left’s wishful thinking on gun control,” March 31) raised an indisputably valid and highly pertinent point, albeit not the one he intended.

The claim that counter-violence has been proven ineffective as either a response or a deterrent because none of the cited victims chose to avail themselves of it is a sterling example of the specious and self-serving pseudo-logic that sustains the gun control movement. However, it is an admirable illustration of the fact that violence — of every persuasion, and like every other variety of trouble — has a decided tendency to seek out and to visit the direst consequences upon those least prepared for it, which was precisely my point. And that’s a fact no amount of wishful thinking or consolatory legislation has the power to change.



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