It’s Election Day in the Queen City and voters will determine the fate of candidates running for mayor, welfare commissioner, alderman and school board. They’ll also decide whether or not they eliminate the welfare commissioner as an elected official in favor of making it one that belongs to the bureaucracy.
Incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas is in a tough reelection battle with Ward One Alderman Joyce Craig. Craig, who has received gobs of cash from labor unions, including virtually all of the city’s employee unions, abortion rights groups and money from Democratic pols, groups and heavy hitters both from within and outside the state, has launched a relentless barrage of criticism against Gatsas, blaming him for everything from the heroin epidemic that’s gripped the city, state and nation, to the associated crime, to failing schools and crumbling infrastructure.
Gatsas has battled back, praising the progress the city’s made as it experiences a mini construction boom with a surge of new retailers and grocers taking over vacant spaces and building new ones, praising the police department’s efforts to battle the heroin epidemic and the associated crime while praising the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for funding twenty new police officers, citing the public private partnerships that have enabled the creation of the STEAM and FIRST Jr. STEAM Ahead programs and the expansion of City Year. He has also pointed to the creation of a four year high school at the Manchester School of Technology as proof that things have been changing. Gatsas frequently cited Manchester’s standing in multiple national publications as a business friendly city and a top ten place for technology start ups, among others.
Gatsas’ veto of the teachers union contract and Craig’s refusal to say whether or not she supports the city’s tax cap have become central issues as the election has worn on. While Craig says she respects the tax cap and will submit a budget that falls within it as mayor, she’s also said that she didn’t vote for it when it was on the ballot and voted in favor the two thousand thirteen question that would have altered it. Gatsas has pounded Craig for her failure to say how she was going to pay for all of the spending she’s proposed without overriding the tax cap.
Other races to watch across the city include the at-Large seats for alderman, where Ward 6 Alderman Garth Corriveau and former Alderman at-Large Mike Lopez are challenging incumbents Dan O’Neil and Joe Kelly Levasseur and the school board where I, your Humble Host Rich Girard, and Ward One State Rep. Joe Lachance are up against incumbents Nancy Tessier and Kathy Staub. The aldermanic races in wards Two, Four, Six, Eight, Ten and Eleven are being closely watched as are they school board races in wards Four, Six, Seven, Eight, and Twelve.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Bedford Police Chief John Bryfonski announced the Bedford Police Department will hold a Substance Abuse Summit next week. The summit comes amidst a national substance abuse epidemic. Said Bryfonski in the media advisory sent yesterday, quote
“No community is immune from the threat of this opioid epidemic including our own. I would strongly encourage Bedford residents to attend this forum so we can begin a discussion on how we can combat this crisis in our community and provide appropriate resources to those who need them.”
Bryfonski went on to say that Bedford has not been immune from the heroin and prescription drug abuse that has reached quote “epidemic proportions in the state” and that the town needed to be aware of what was being done and what still needs to be done to effectively address the crisis.
It will be held on the evening of Tuesday, November tenth at the Manchester Christian Church on Old Bedford Road. Starting at seven, Bryfonski will co-moderate a panel with Superintendent Chip McGee. The panelists expected are Tym Rourke, Director of NH Charitable Foundation, Jayson Pratt, Representative from Phoenix House, Mary Forsythe-Taber, CPS, Executive Director, Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator, Laurie Warnock, Representative from Drug Free N H dot org, members of the clergy and Bedford Fire Chief Scott Wiggin.
Upon hearing of the event, Manchester mayoral candidate Joyce Craig said if she’s elected mayor, Bedford’s heroin problem will go away because it’s all the fault of incumbent Ted Gatsas.
Twenty three thousand three hundred thirty nine dollars. That’s how much money Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard, who now resembles Papa Smurf, announced was raised by the department’s “Beards for Bucks” fund raising effort during the month of October. Officers of the department who paid a fee or otherwise raised funds to support the Child Advocacy Center, were allowed to let their facial hair grow for the month. They were all shaved down yesterday. One-hundred and twenty-five officers, including members of the command staff, participated to not just raise funds for, but awareness of this group that provides coordinated services to children who are the victim of crime or witness to it. They also facilitate programs for the victim’s families.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!