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Forum, April 20: Column’s criticism does not square with reality

Published: 4/19/2021 10:00:04 PM
Modified: 4/19/2021 10:00:02 PM
Column’s criticism does not square with reality

In his column on Sunday, Jim Kenyon strongly criticizes Northern Stage, whose board I chair, for its treatment of existing tenants in buildings recently acquired by the theater (“Exeunt tenants,” April 18). I appreciate his being, in his words to me, “a voice for the voiceless.” This is an impulse the arts embrace as well and powerfully pursue.

But the picture he paints of an unfeeling management at Northern Stage does not square with reality.

Northern Stage has not and never would evict a tenant during a state-recognized pandemic. The board and staff knew before the pandemic disrupted all our lives that the most delicate and painful part of our long-term vision of housing staff and artists in our own buildings adjacent to the theater would be asking existing tenants to move. Our goal was to go about the process of serving notice with generosity and sensitivity when the time came.

That’s why Managing Director Irene Green added to the customary legalese in our letter to tenants the words, “Please let me know if this notice provides an undue hardship to you,” and, “I am willing to be in conversation as needed to do our best to accommodate your needs through this transition.” That’s why she and other staff have extended discounted leases for short periods for two tenants and done research on available apartments for another. The woman profiled at length by Kenyon was served notice by the previous owner. We accommodated the requests he made on her behalf. We knew nothing of her distress and wish we had known in time to address it.

We take any critique of our actions as valuable feedback, and our reaction to Kenyon’s column was to ask “What could we have done differently?” We have already reached out to our remaining tenants to ask again what they need from us. The board has full faith in our exceptional staff leaders to take lessons learned and carry them forward as we pursue our mission to play a multi-faceted positive role in the Upper Valley as a whole and in White River Junction in particular.

DAVID GRANT

Strafford

The writer is chair of the Northern Stage board of directors. This letter was written on behalf of the board.

‘Right-to-work’ is right for New Hampshire

“Right-to-work” legislation is again before the New Hampshire Legislature. If Republicans stick together, I believe SB 61 will pass. On Feb. 11, the Senate passed this important piece of legislation, 13-11. The House Labor Committee has given it a positive recommendation. If passed, it will be signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu.

Simply put, the bill would allow hard-working people who work for a private business that has a union the same rights that our public sector workers have. The 2018 Supreme Court decision Janus v. AFSCME gave public sector employees the right to decide if they want to belong to a public union and pay the dues or not. SB 61 will give private sector workers the same rights, protections and freedom.

I would encourage you to visit the website for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (www.mackinac.org) and look up the work of F. Vincent Vernuccio. You will quickly see the advantages and benefits for workers in states that have passed right-to-work legislation: States with right-to-work legislation have higher income growth, higher private sector job growth and lower unemployment, to name a few.

I encourage New Hampshire workers who want more employment opportunities, higher wages and the same freedoms public employees have to go to NHWorkerFreedom.com and to call, email or send a letter to your state representatives and tell them you want them to support SB 61.

If passed, New Hampshire will be the only state in the Northeast with a right-to-work law. The state will be a magnet for businesses and workers and we will be the envy of the entire Northeast. Couple this with our state’s accomplishments: being fiscally responsible, no sales or income tax, and being named the most economically free state in North America.

If right-to-work legislation passes, we can engrave the “New Hampshire advantage” into our rock-solid granite forever, and our hard-working men and women will be the beneficiaries.

TOM THOMSON

Orford

The mysterious end of mask mandate in NH

As we approached the end of the mask mandate by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, I was very relieved to see that most of the people shopping in stores and walking around Claremont were still wearing masks. Why our governor would suddenly dismiss the need for mask-wearing in public when the number of cases of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization is again rising is mysterious. That, coupled with the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to report the spread of more contagious variants of the virus, is not rational thinking.

Perhaps following the science is being trumped by following the dictates of the New Hampshire Senate Republicans.

What an embarrassment for the entire state of New Hampshire.

KARIN “MAGGIE” MAY

Claremont

Impact of ‘red-vs.-blue divide’ on shots

With regard to the Associated Press article “Red-vs.-Blue divide extends to COVID-19 shots too” (April 15): Perhaps instead of herd immunity we are moving toward a culling of the herd.

TUESDAY SCHULTZ

White River Junction

A last Earth Day without climate legislation?

Fifty-one years ago, we celebrated the first Earth Day. Shortly thereafter, Congress passed the Clean Water Act. More than 30 years ago, oil industry scientists told their executives that the more carbon in the atmosphere, the warmer the planet would get. Shell Oil even made a film about it and painted a stark picture of the future — our present! (Google: “Shell Oil Climate of Concern.”)

We’ve known the science for decades. Now gardeners, farmers and outdoor enthusiasts are living it: The climate is changing, and not for the better. Across the U.S., we see more floods, longer droughts, bigger fires, stronger hurricanes. Here in New England, the weird weather means shorter, less profitable winters. The result? Less tourism, fewer jobs, shuttered businesses.

We know fossil fuel use is the cause, so why aren’t we doing something about it? The answer is simple: Many of us believe the Big Myth that reducing our use of coal, gas and oil will be bad for the economy, and bad for our pocketbooks. The Big Myth is not true.

HR 2307, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, would cut carbon pollution without hurting individual households or the overall economy. If enacted, the bill would cut carbon pollution by 30% in the first five years and get us to net zero emissions by 2050. Just as important, 95% of lower and middle wealth households would break even or receive more in a monthly carbon cash back check than their increased energy costs. A carbon dividend is supported by the nonpartisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby and thousands of economists, businesses, and nonprofits.

You can learn more at: https://energyinnovationact.org.

We’ve known about the dangers of CO2 pollution for many, many Earth Days. Let’s have something big to celebrate on Earth Day 2022: Let’s pass meaningful climate legislation that gives us and our grandchildren a sustainable economy and a healthier environment. Let’s not waste another year. Tell your representatives you support the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

ROBERT CIERNIA

Wilder




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