High drama yesterday in the Queen City on two major issues, both of which could be this morning’s headline story. We’ll start with the short one, first. In a letter to School Superintendent Debra Livingston, Commissioner of Education Virginia Barry officially spiked the school district’s request for a waiver from the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which will be used for the first time this school year. That has touched off an intense response from Mayor Ted Gatsas who said if the state is going to force communities into that test, then perhaps the legislature should look at terminating the state’s participation in Common Core as other states have. We’ve posted the letter with this archive.
In a related story, Girard at Large has received photos and links to the district’s Parent Resource Guide that reads as follows: Quote “Beginning in spring 2 0 1 5, New Hampshire and 2 1 other states will be utilizing the assessment from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, an online adaptive test that is scheduled to be administered in spring 2 0 1 5. Personally, I’m not sure when that guide was produced, but it had to be before the Commissioner’s letter was received yesterday, which makes one wonder a whole bunch of stuff.
The Committee on Lands and Buildings of the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen met yesterday to continue discussions on the limitations placed on usage of Bronstein Park by Mayor Ted Gatsas.
At the end of the two hour plus meeting, Ward Twelve Alderman Keith Hirschmann moved to reaffirm that Bronstein Park was part of Central High School’s campus and continue with the usage restrictions posted at the mayor’s direction. Ward Nine Alderman Barbara Shaw seconded the motion, which passed with their votes and those of Chairman Patrick Long of Ward three and Ward One Alderman Joyce Craig. Only Ward Six Alderman Garth Corriveau opposed the motion.
The motion came after compelling testimony from School Resource Officer Kim Barbee who not only gave descriptions of sometimes graphic drug and sexual behavior that sometimes involved students at the park, but of how she is constantly being called to the park to deal with that and other behaviors negatively affecting the classes and students that use the park throughout the day. Police Chief David Mara provided statistics on the skyrocketing calls for service at the park, broken down by offense type and time of day, which showed well more than half of the nearly four hundred fifty police visits to the park this calendar year are during school hours.
Fire Chief James Burkush came forward to dispel misinformation disseminated by a certain alderman about the number of overdoses at the park. It’s not the three claimed, he said, but significantly more. Turns out more than thirty overdose calls have been made to the park.
The night wasn’t without it’s controversy though as Assistant Chief Nick Willard revealed that Alderman at-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur had been handing out his aldermanic business card to people in the park yesterday morning while encouraging them to call him if the police came and harassed them, arrested them, ticketed them or otherwise tried to use the new ordinance to force them from the park. Willard said several police officers were told by several people about Levasseur’s conversations as they handed out informational fliers designed to educate them about the new park rules and they knew it was him because the officers were shown his aldermanic business card.
Well after Willard raised the issue, Levasseur admitted he was there handing out his cards, but said it was in his capacity as an alderman conversing with his constituents, not as an attorney. He said he may have mentioned that if anything happened they could get legal representation, but said he didn’t offer himself as an attorney to represent them. We’ve linked to our Live Blog Forum of the meeting, which actually was a really good one.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
“Being a good leader isn’t about your age or how many years of business experience you have. It’s about the kind of experience you have and what you can do with it.” That’s the opening line of an OP ED penned by former Senator and G O P gubernatorial candidate Gordon Humphrey on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway and published by the Concord Monitor. “Republicans have talked about encouraging young people to join with us, to grow our base and help us elect leaders to fight for our conservative ideals. But our words and our actions don’t always match” wrote Humphrey, who chided the Republican establishment for digging up a someone to run against Hemingway, because he was too young and hadn’t earned his party wings, yet. Humphrey reminded folks that he and other party icons like former Governor Hugh Greg were elected to their offices while in their thirties, as is Hemingway. Humphrey praised Hemingway’s activism on behalf of conservative candidates and issues and wondered just what has been done by his opponent to earn the loyalty of the establishment that put him up to oppose Hemingway. We’ve linked to Humphrey’s piece from this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.
The G O P candidates for Congress in the Second District hit the debate stage last night and it was a lively one. As State Rep. Marilinda Garcia and former State Senator Gary Lambert went after each other, former State Rep Jim Lawrence drove home his points and issues, saying their bickering is exactly what’s wrong with Washington politics today.
Despite denials by Garcia, Lambert did not retreat from his charge that Garcia supported amnesty for illegals, citing resolutions she voted for as a member of an Hispanic legislators group which called for illegals to have a path toward legalization. Garcia tried to deflect the charges saying that her mother and Lambert’s, both of whom were legal immigrants, had a path toward legalization and that there was a difference between that and amnesty. She said if her opponents wanted to remain ignorant about that, that was their choice. That snarky remark and her refusal to shake Lambert’s hand after the debate left a bad feeling in the air, which has reverberated throughout the state over night and become a primary topic of discussion. Lambert made an issue of all the Washington money and politicos flooding the state on Garcia’s behalf saying all her attack ads against him were coming from outside the state.
Lawrence, who more than held his own on the stage, legitimatized himself as a candidate and very well may find himself the beneficiary of the brawl between Lambert and Garcia, as he deftly pointed to their squabbles while addressing the issues last night.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!