, Derry, New Hampshire

September 13, 2012

Letters to the editor

Derry News

---- — Victory for O’Brien means a divided Legislature

To the editor:

In the Sept. 6 issue of the Derry News, Republican candidates for state Legislature were asked two questions: “Would you support the re-election of the House Speaker (Bill O’Brien)?” and “How can Republicans and Democrats better work together in the upcoming session?”

Of the eight candidates who responded, four gave what sounded like a talking point answer to the first question: “I will wait and see ...” Three had the nerve to say a resounding “No” while one answered he would most likely support Speaker O’Brien.

There can be no doubt that if the Republicans have a majority in the New Hampshire House, O’Brien will be the top contender for speaker. He assumed that position in 2011 and has run the Legislature with an iron fist. He has threatened to remove committee chairmen from their chairmanships if they refuse to support his far-right tea-party agenda and removed uncooperative committee members from their assignments. He has held votes in the middle of the night in order to get a majority vote in his favor. He has locked citizens out of the Legislature because he did not want to hear what they had to say.

Anyone who is non-committal on whether they will support O’Brien for House Speaker in the 2013-2014 Legislature is afraid to admit that they will walk the O’Brien line because they either agree with his draconian policies or are afraid to stand up to him.

This brings us to the second question. Although all eight of the candidates indicated a desire to work together with Democrats and show respect for opposing views, the divisive agenda and heavy-handed tactics of O’Brien fly in the face of this supposed desire to work in a respectful manner in the best interests of the people of New Hampshire.

A vote for Republican candidates who will support Bill O’Brien for speaker is a vote for a dysfunctional state Legislature.

Mary Till


Fall demands more attention while driving

To the editor:

It occurred to me this week that summer is over. I’m not sure how it happened, but school buses are out on the roads this week, and they’re selling Halloween candy at Walgreens. I don’t know how it happened, but Derry is going back to school already.

With September comes more traffic hazards, so it is important that people should be very aware when they are driving. I’ve found that the school year — and fall in particular — is one of the most dangerous times to drive a morning commute.

Although kids will be in school and not playing near the streets in the autumn, there are a lot of bus stops in Derry. When I was in high school, my bus stop required us to cross a back road down which cars used to drive way faster than the speed limit. While we all knew better than to stand close to the road, it’s easy for drivers to forget that school buses make frequent stops. Mornings between 6 and 8 a.m. are a time to be very careful, since little kids as well as high schoolers have to board buses. And if you’re driving near a school, it’s important to be doubly careful, as many students walk to school and sometimes it’s easy to drive through a crosswalk without being aware of it.

The weather is another important factor to be considered when commuting. It’s second nature to people from New England to drive more carefully in the winter, but it’s often very foggy on those autumn mornings, and although it’s easy to get used to driving to work when it’s light out, it’s also easy to forget how quickly those mornings get dark while we lose daylight. This makes obstacles and accidents more difficult to foresee, and that can be very scary. It’s more than just apple-picking season; it’s the best time of year to get back into the habit of driving like the roads aren’t going to be cooperative.

Finally, school means more traffic. Both kids and parents are getting up early to go to school, and a lot of parents drive their kids to school, which means commutes can take longer. I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one who hates it when driving to work takes longer than normal. Fall is the time to plan ahead, to wake up earlier, or accept that driving to work is about to get a little bit worse.

I know, it’s easy to say “be careful while driving,” but I feel that it’s also important to say it. You should always be alert when driving, but as those fall routines start up again, it’s tough to let go of the summer, even as driving becomes more dangerous. Between school buses, more traffic, fog, and a lot of sleepy 17-year-olds getting up way too early for their liking, I think we could all benefit from paying a little more attention on the road.

Abby Rugg