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Forum, March 6: Anonymous mailing is not persuasive

Published: 3/5/2021 10:00:15 PM
Modified: 3/5/2021 10:00:12 PM
Anonymous mailing is not persuasive

As new residents of the city of Lebanon we have been receiving informational mail in connection the upcoming election on Tuesday. We have worked on political campaigns and for civic causes, which we support, for most of our adult lives, and value receiving voter information and even requests of support.

However, we find it disturbing to have received a hand-addressed postcard urging us to vote in a particular way on Lebanon’s school resource officer position that contains no attribution. We think it is both essential and respectful to let constituents know who is asking for a vote or support on any civic matter. We cannot consider following a request of this type unless we know who or what organization made the request.



Liot Hill brings people together

I wanted to take this opportunity to share with the residents of Lebanon why I support Karen Liot Hill for reelection for an at-large seat on the Lebanon City Council. For all of my time on the council I have served alongside her. I have benefited from her institutional knowledge and understanding of government, as well as observed firsthand her true advocacy on behalf of our residents. She has made it a priority to engage the public in the process of governing and never forgets that, as councilors, we work for the residents of our city.

Lebanon is a special city, a great place to raise your family, work and play. At the same time, we are a complex city serving as the region’s hub. This places unique pressures on city government. Liot Hill understands and has worked to balance the pressures on us as a hub while maintaining our quality of life. She has worked to promote economic vitality in both downtowns, build sustainability into government, change the future of the Westboro Rail Yard, fight climate change and advocate for public safety services. One of her strengths is bringing people together to solve problems and build consensus.

She and I have not only served on the City Council together, we have raised our daughters in this city, and have developed a friendship I treasure. I know I can count on Karen Liot Hill. Trust that you can, as well.


West Lebanon

The writer represents District 5 in the New Hampshire Senate.

Patterson focused on fiscal problems

It is quite likely that never before in Lebanon’s history has an election’s outcome been more crucial, nor had the potential for a disastrous effect on our community should those without fiscal restraint be put into office.

Alan J. Patterson Sr.’s opponents have not drawn anyone’s attention to the 25% increase in residential taxes during the past eight years, the nearly 18% increase in property assessment values in just the past year, nor the 7% increase in water and sewer fees.

One in five residents are senior citizens. More than 10% live in poverty. Yet Patterson alone appears to be the only at-large candidate to be alarmed. He’s had decades of experience serving this community in several capacities and has made a commitment to introduce, support and bring into focus other members’ financial designs without worsening our fiscal predicament. He is a problem-solver.

Although Lebanon’s average family income is only 60% of Hanover’s, Lebanon currently spends 5% more per student to educate our children. Something must be done to find realistic solutions to maintain excellence in our community’s educational system while supporting balance in spending. School Board candidates Renee DePalo, Barbara Patterson and Joshua Flanders state that this is their collective goal.

Our city, state and nation are undergoing unprecedented times and unheard of challenges making headlines every day. Now is not the time to take any unnecessary risks in fiscal management.


West Lebanon

Liot Hill asks the tough questions

Karen Liot Hill’s leadership skills and in-depth knowledge of the issues were evident at the Upper Valley Business Alliance’s candidate forum on March 2; her passion for our city also shone through. I was a firefighter in Lebanon for 19 years, and when I was the union president, it was my job to make sure that city councilors understood the impacts of their decisions on our department. Liot Hill always listened because that’s what she does; she listens to everyone and makes informed decisions.

She knows how heavy our property tax burden is. She has always asked tough questions about how city government can operate more efficiently and do more with less. She has pushed for the school district and city to work together. She routinely testifies to the state Legislature about the impact of state downshifting to cities and towns and the devastating consequences for local property taxpayers.

She also knows that deep cuts like the 20% proposed by a taxpayers group — which translates to approximately $5 million — would have devastating consequences. Demand for public safety services from police, fire and EMS has increased dramatically over the past 15 years, but staffing levels have not kept up. Our public safety departments handle some of the highest call volumes in the entire state. Our library budget is $1.2 million, Recreation and Parks is $850,000, repaving and maintenance is $525,000, funding to Advance Transit is $250,000. A 20% budget cut would be cruel to the most vulnerable people in our community, and it would diminish the quality of life for all of us.

Liot Hill said it best on Tuesday night; this is “dangerous rhetoric.” Lebanon voters should not buy it.

Karen Liot Hill is thoughtful, dedicated and independent. We can trust her to make the best decisions possible for the people of Lebanon and to keep the future of our city in mind. These are qualities that we want in our leaders. I will be voting for her re-election to the City Council on Tuesday, and I hope you will too.



The writer represented Lebanon in the New Hampshire House.

Let’s get teachers vaccinated now

I have wondered from the beginning of vaccine availability why teachers weren’t higher on the receiving list. Much has been written about this past year’s devastating impact on schoolchildren of all ages.

Kenya, early on, determined that its schools would close for the duration of the pandemic, and that, when opened, all students would begin the year again where they left off.

In our country, states’ rights and local control have resulted in a disastrous year for many students and enormous difficulties for working parents. And now, with mandates for reopening schools growing, teachers in New Hampshire are only now about to be allowed to get in line for the vaccine.

There’s now enough vaccine. According to The New York Times, inoculating all 6.5 million K-12 employees in the U.S. would set the rest of us (my almost-octogenarian-self included) back by only a few days. Let’s do this!



Reduce threat of nuclear weapons

Now that the U.S. is returning to the nuclear deal with Iran, shouldn’t we simultaneously move to reduce the ominous threat from countries that already possess nuclear weapons?

Unfettered global teams of inspectors, financed by funds not spent on upgrading and maintaining nuclear warfare capabilities, could provide “mutually assured compliance” backed by severe economic sanctions on any country that falls out of compliance. Not taking urgent action to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons is “mutually assured destruction,” or MAD.



Grocery workers on the front line

I am saddened that, being a cashier, I can’t get the vaccine. I think people working in grocery stores are frontline workers.

Everyone has to eat, and when people are told to quarantine, they need groceries. Out-of-staters coming to our state have to eat, so they stop at grocery stores, too.

I emailed New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, but got no response. A lot of politicians got their vaccine and barely come into contact with people. I, on the other hand, come into contact with hundreds and hundreds of shoppers but am at the bottom of the list.

The lowest-paid people are the first to be forgotten.


Grafton, N.H.

Struggling through an epic trauma

So we are now past 520,000 COVID-19 deaths.

That staggering fact deserves its own paragraph, but there’s also a much larger number to consider. Twenty years ago, when I helped facilitate the UV Survivors of Suicide Loss support group, we learned that an average of 12 people are deeply affected by a sudden and unexpected death: spouses, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, closest friends, aunts and uncles, classmates, work colleagues.

There are parallels to what people suffer through after each COVID-19 death, which have also been sudden and unexpected deaths. It’s called “complicated grief,” and it’s very different from the grief that follows a more normal death, such as from old age, and it lasts a lot longer.

Multiplying the 520,000 COVID-19 deaths by 12 indicates that there are already more than 6 million Americans struggling through an epic emotional trauma, in addition to their social and economic woes. So our country is going through truly widespread struggling.

It’s hard for us to comprehend these huge numbers, even more so because a huge number of COVID-19 deaths wouldn’t have occurred if the last administration had responded effectively as soon as the pandemic was identified, instead of denying the seriousness of the disease and never mounting an appropriate national public health response.

Even worse than denial at the top was the refusal of Republicans in Washington to stand up and act to protect the American people. Instead, they first silently approved our ex-president’s lies while Americans sickened and died by the hundreds of thousands, and then they refused to condemn him for what amounts to criminal negligence by voting against conviction.

I hope voters will remember that the majority of Republicans in Congress acted against the health and interests of Americans in 2020, and that they should be voted out in 2022.



Those responsible for Jan. 6 must be held to account

Fueled by lies peddled by Donald Trump and some Republicans desperate to overturn the will of the voters, on Jan. 6, insurrectionists attacked our country and the seat of our democracy. Congress failed to hold Trump accountable for inciting this insurrection. That failure makes it all the more urgent for all Americans to demand that our leaders — national, state and local — reflect the best of America and stand up for truth and justice.

Sadly, many are not doing that. They are either repeating or failing to repudiate the lies that fostered the insurrection. But for America to heal, to prevent future violence and to protect our democracy, those lies must be rejected and all those who supported Trump in trying to overthrow our democratic process must be held accountable.

Citizens must demand their leaders reject the seditious lies and violent acts perpetrated by Trump and his supporters. We must unite in holding those who are responsible to account — prosecuting the violent insurrectionists, removing and barring from office the leaders who spread lies, stoked anger and incited this violence, and defeating at the ballot box those who fail to defend our democracy.

Donald Trump used the presidency to energize hate groups and white supremacists. He normalized chaos, violence and injustice. He fostered distrust in our democratic institutions. This brought terrible division and violence upon our nation. It’s time for every elected leader to reject his legacy and show absolute allegiance to upholding our rights and freedoms. That includes rejecting all efforts to delegitimize our free and fair elections.


West Newbury

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