Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas offered the town of Hooksett an olive branch during an interview on Girard at Large yesterday. Now that voters have rejected the contract negotiated with Pinkerton Academy, Gatsas said he’d be willing to sit with the newly elected school board to revise the terms of the agreement with the city. Currently, the two communities are governed by a legal settlement negotiated after the Manchester School District sued the Hookset School Board for breach of contract. He said the new board elected on Tuesday, there are five new members on what is now a seven member board, provided an opportunity for the two communities. It doesn’t appear as if all Hooksett school officials have gotten the voters message, by the way. In an interview we found on WMUR’s Web site, Hooksett Superintendent Charles Littlefield said in wake of the vote, the school board needed to work to come up with a plan so that the current seventh grade class knew where it was going to go to high school . Apparently, Chucky the Super, who was forced by this show’s reporting to retract false statements alleging Manchester would not take incoming freshmen after this school year, wants people to believe that if the school board doesn’t quote unquote “do something,” Hooksett’s school 7th graders will have no where to go without another agreement with some other school. We can only hope the new school board will give this guy a dose of truth serum and assert itself as the policy maker, not the rubber stamp. We’ll be talking about this and more with newly elected school board member Jim Sullivan in the eight o’clock hour this morning.
Voters in the town of Deerfield dope slapped their Board of Selectmen and School Board. Both bodies ordered questions to the ballot that would have removed their citizens’ right to vote on budget and other questions by secret ballot. Deerfield is a so called S B 2 town where, instead of voting in an open town meeting on questions pending before the town, they get to go to the polls and cast secret ballots. Apparently, that was cramping the style of the two boards who just happened to coincidentally put those questions forward to voters on both the town and school district ballots. Well, those voting in the town elections crushed the question, opposing it on a vote of eight hundred eighty to two twenty seven. Those voting on the school ballot splattered it as well, defeating it on a vote of eight hundred ten to three hundred ten. Hm, guess folks in Deerfield think there’s value to secret balloting. They did, however, reelect those who voted to take their secret ballot away. Go figure.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has waded into the debate on expanded gambling, announcing its opposition to House Bill sixteen thirty three, the current attempt in the legislature to expand gambling. In a statement issued to the press on Monday, interim Executive Director Michael Whitney said that after months of hosting forums and entertaining presentations to investigate the issue, they became concerned that a casino in Salem would drain discretionary dollars from the local economy. “It is our belief that a nearby casino would negatively impact the local business community,” said Whitney. The announcement came none too soon for some and too late for others as the bill goes to the House Floor for a vote today.
Legislators in the State House made life interesting again yesterday. The House voted one seventy three to one eighteen to hike the state’s minimum wage by nearly twenty five percent and double it for restaurant and other hospitality workers who work for tips, despite information from the Congressional Budget Office estimating an increase would eliminate over two thousand jobs in the state. In a statement released yesterday, House Republican Leader Gene Chandler of Bartlett said quote “Republicans aren’t against higher wages. We are proponents of creating the economic conditions for businesses to thrive to ensure everyone has the opportunity to earn a decent wage. Government mandates do exactly the opposite.” End quote. Clearly, he’s too rational to be a legislator.
The House also voted to reduce the penalties for marijuana possession. House Bill sixteen twenty five passed by a wide margin of two hundred fifteen to ninety two. The bill would impose civil fines for marijuana possession instead of criminal penalties, like jail time, if it becomes law. State Rep. Keith Murphy, Republican of Bedford, co-sponsored the bill. He said eighty nine percent of the state’s marijuana arrests are for simple possession and it didn’t make sense to put those folks in jail. The state should concern itself with crimes like murder, rape and theft, instead. He chided Governor Margaret Wood Hassan for her opposition to the bill, demanding she explain why someone should be jailed for weed possession. Of course, Hassan has admitted to toking up on occasion. There is, however, no proof she was working on the state budget when she last inhaled, her proposal notwithstanding.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ starts right now!