Valley News Forum for Sept. 17, 2023: How to truly address homelessness in the Upper Valley

Published: 09-17-2023 6:06 AM

How to truly address homelessness in the Upper Valley

Lack of affordable housing is the elephant in the room in this discussion of the emergency shelter for the homeless in a Lebanon neighborhood. It has been the elephant in the room for quite some time — and now Lebanon officials say they are facing a very expensive emergency.

How many of our elected officials or community leaders, citywide and statewide, are members of the National Coalition for the Homeless, or the National Alliance to End Homelessness? How many are talking about partnering with corporations or foundations committed to helping build affordable housing in our New Hampshire cities? This problem has been building over decades, and it will take some time to correct, but it can only be solved by these partnerships and connections.

I recommend that those concerned by our homeless issues in the Upper Valley look at the example of the Pine Street Inn in Boston. Of course it's a big city with big resources, but surely we could do something on a smaller scale here? This is where we should be putting our time and energy rather than throwing tens of thousands of dollars at temporary fixes.

Anne Donaghy


Hanover finds a way to spend

I had wondered what the annual Hanover summer make-work project would be. Then I went to the Howe Library and saw that the streets around there were to repaved, not that a crack was to be seen. So it’s good to know that even with a new town manager nothing has changed. Tax and spend, independent of need.

Dick Mackay


The disheartening language of EPA can-kicking

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

The Los Angeles Times editorial decrying the EPA’s delay to institute updated, evidence-based ozone and smog regulations (“Biden’s EPA is needlessly delaying smog standards,”) in the Sept. 1 Valley News is an unfortunate boost to the current embrace of science-denial.

The editorial explained this was a political decision. The administration didn’t want to upset business interests with expensive ozone reduction and cleanup demands before the 2024 elections. However, EPA Administrator Michael Reagan tried to hide this by rationalizing a need for an entire new data review because, as the editorial states, the latest science was not included in its prior assessments and that a new review will be more thorough and unassailable.

“The latest science” reflects both the glory and the current vulnerability of science and the scientific process. Science does not stand still. Never-ending data collection creates newer understandings and new questions, which spurs the need for yet more investigations and data collection and analyses. This constant feedback loop, and changes in responses it may generate, has been seized upon by science deniers as a reason “not to trust the science.” Changing responses as our understanding changes, is what science does. It is not a sign of incompetence.

By the time the EPA completes and publishes its latest smog and ozone analyses, these too will be outdated to some degree. However, we do have trend data in ozone and smog levels as well as correlated disease levels. We also have enough to know what the right thing to do is, and enough to know that two more years of data will likely not change our overall conclusions regarding the general direction we need to go with our updated regulations. For one of our premier science-based environmental health agencies to cloak its inaction in science-denial terms is extraordinarily disheartening.

Paul Etkind


Political cartoon not so comical

The Valley News’ selection of political cartoons represents an admirable effort to present all sides of issues, but I believe some rebalancing is in order. Full disclosure: The writer is to be found somewhere left of center along the political spectrum. I take issue with what seems to me a disproportionate use of Lisa Benson cartoons. She is clever and especially talented as an artist, and doubtless her cartoons are very effective. So, though I almost never agree with the message they convey, I grant that they deserve a place in the VN. But it should be a less prominent one.

The particular cartoon that finally induced me to write appeared on the opinion page in the Sept. 9 issue, a large and lone cartoon unrelated to the other matters addressed there. It attacked the Biden administration’s decision to rescind some leases for drilling in the Arctic. In 2023, as our greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and we continue to abundantly subsidize the fossil fuel industry, anyone who is truly paying attention is aware that reducing our dependence on those fuels as quickly as possible is critically important for the future of our children and theirs. I regard that cartoon as terribly counterproductive.

David M. Lemal