DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

February 6, 2014

Letters to the editor


Derry News

---- — Council does a tough job well

To the editor:

I want to share a few thoughts in response to your editorial of Jan. 16:

There is the perception that the Town Council is dysfunctional; I have seen something different. I have seen the council come together in instances that really mattered, that an elected official would not normally expect to ever see. We all came together when we learned that our town administrator had been arrested. This unfortunate incident took up several months before we had a chance to get somewhat back on track. Another matter resulted in a call on a Friday afternoon at 1:30 that had me and five other councilors at a special meeting three hours later. The meeting lasted five minutes with a unanimous vote.

As for lack of accomplishments I disagree with that, too. We level-funded the budget last year and I hope to do the same this year. That in combination with a cut in the school budget should mean lower taxes this year. We stopped the process of using taxpayer money to fund properties in the downtown. The town had paid $900,000 for properties in the Abbott Court area and was about to spend another $475,000 before the council voted no. We approved a new sign ordinance and voted to continue water and sewerage south on Route 28.

I have to agree with you concerning the search for a new administrator. I am also frustrated that very little has been done. I was hoping to start much earlier and then the subject of goals came up and it was delayed while we worked on the goals. We need to start the process now.

If you look at the votes over the year you’ll probably find that around 90 percent of the votes are 7 to 0 and 6 to 1. That is not a council that is sharply divided.

There has been a big change in the council this year. Two incumbents were replaced with two people who are more conservative with spending. The chairman and pro tem were replaced and we endured three months of distraction resulting in the dismissal of our town administrator. Given the changes and distraction the council has endured, I think we’ve done OK.

Thomas Cardon

Town Councilor

Derry

Apathy wins in Derry elections

To the editor:

The 2014 town election results are in a little early this year but they’re very similar to other years -- apathy wins in a landslide!

What’s that? You say town elections aren’t until March? Well no matter, because unless you live in District 3, all the people that control over $120 million of your tax dollars have already been decided without a single vote being cast. I trust everyone will be happy with the results but if not, don’t forget to take a long look in the mirror before voicing your complaints.

Of course, Derry went through this last year as well. In 2013, with six combined seats on the School Board and Town Council up for grabs and two incumbents walking away, only three races were contested. It’s almost beyond belief that in a community with one of the highest tax rates in the state, the elected positions that control that tax rate are simply handed to whoever takes the three minutes required to sign up. And then we wonder why our town elections register a participation percentage in the single digits.

And let’s not forget our sparsely attended annual Deliberative Session, slated this year for Feb. 8. Last year, as most of us learned after the fact, with 83 people in attendance, a small but dedicated majority (read 42 or more) decided to add an extra $800,000 to our tax burden. And yes, that’s $800,000 more than the School Board and administration even asked for! Just because!

The cruel if somewhat fitting irony of all of this is that the people in this town, the taxpayers, the people who complain about taxes, the people who complain at meetings and the ones that sit at home yelling at the TV have no one but themselves to blame for this fiasco. They’re often quick to point out everything that’s wrong yet somehow reluctant to step forward and offer solutions.

This is not meant to disparage any of the folks who have taken the initiative to run for office. It can be a difficult and sometimes thankless job and kudos should go to anyone willing to jump into the public spotlight. And there are in fact several contested races for library trustees and trustees of trust funds.

But the fact remains that three people who have more control over what we pay for taxes than virtually any elected position at the state or federal level, will simply stroll into their positions this year without discussion, debate or more importantly, choice.

The only good news is for those in District 3, who have the only real choice in this election. With only two candidates to focus on, let’s hope they do their due diligence and choose someone who can bring some semblance of reason to the Town Council. For everyone else, there’s always next year!

Neil Wetherbee

Derry

Restaurant owner’s kindness appreciated

To the editor:

Back in October, my husband passed away at the same time my niece was wheeled out of recovery with a brain tumor. I called the Derry News and wanted to get them to do a story on Crystal Boulanger. She has a very very rare cancer that they don’t know anything about it. We have a fundraiser on gofundme.com. We had a bake sale at the Marion Gerrish center, and are selling purple bracelets.

Crystal has had seven weeks of radiation five times a week plus chemotherapy pills every day. The point of my story is that Crystal finished her radiation on Friday, Jan. 24, never ever to have radiation again.

We went to Londonderry Dana Farber to all congratulate her on her fight. We then took her to Rigatoni’s for pizza. We called Lisa at Rigatoni’s to explain that whoever makes the pizza has to wear gloves the whole time, to protect Crystal from infection. There were about 12 of us. Lisa had her crew set up enough chairs for us. When we went to pay Lisa wouldn’t hear of it. “It’s my store I can do what I want,” she said.

We just want Lisa to know that the family of Crystal Boulanger wants to give her a big thank you. We appreciate it very much. Also the pizza was great!

Angela Fickett

Derry