Gatsas and Craig: Town Hall #5 at Green Acres

Gatsas and Craig: Town Hall #5 at Green Acres

Friday night saw the fifth town hall forum with Manchester’s mayoral candidates as Mayor Ted Gatsas and Alderman Joyce Craig squared off at Green Acres School.

The exchange of the night came over a question posed about the candidates’ position on legalizing marijuana for recreational use.  Craig said she hadn’t given much thought to it because it hadn’t come up from a city perspective.  She then went on to talk about the heroin epidemic.  Gatsas said he was absolutely opposed to legalizing marijuana.  He said it was wrong and that people around the city who deal with drug addiction say it’s a gateway drug.  He also said it sent mixed messages to kids.  On the one hand we’re going to tell them not to smoke, but on the other we’re going to say it’s okay to use marijuana.  He said it made no sense to make more drugs more available to more people given what we’re dealing with today.

Craig: Not sure about recreational marijuana.

Craig: Not sure about recreational marijuana.

Turns out, by the way, that Craig had been asked that question in a radio interview the day before it was asked in the forum.  She essentially gave the same answer.  We’ve linked to it, of course.

Both candidates used the other’s response to the marijuana question in their closing remarks.  Gatsas said it was an example of how he shares his opinions and directly answers questions asked by voters.  Craig derisively said it was great that the mayor answered one question that night, saying he tended not to have answered them in previous forums and she applauded him for that, quite literally as she awkwardly clapped at him.  Let’s take a listen…(clip in audio archive below.)

Girard: Why not ask in a forum what wont be answered in an interview?

Girard: Why not ask in a forum what won’t be answered in an interview?

I, your Humble Host, as a parent, taxpayer and potential school board member, finally decided to ask a question about how either of them, as mayor, would reduce class sizes and increase class offerings in light of the cost of the recently passed teachers contract.  I also said I had the financial analysis provided by the city finance officer and school district business administrator with me in case they or any of the members of the audience wanted to review the numbers I shared.

Gatsas pointed to his proposal to audit usage of the city and school district health and dental plans to find savings to offset the cost as an example of the kind of thing that is necessary to avoid the deficits projected by the professional finance staff.  Craig, frankly, ducked the question, saying it was a fiscally responsible bi-partisan contract whose impact on the tax cap could not be known because nobody could predict the future.

Gatsas: Blasts Craig on recreational marijuana, teachers contract math

Gatsas: Blasts Craig on recreational marijuana, teachers contract math

The two also addressed a question over what changes the would like to see in the city’s charter.  Craig hadn’t given that much thought either and pointed to the pending amendment to make the city’s elected welfare commissioner an appointed position, saying she supported it.  Gatsas said there were several, but singled out changing the campaign finance reporting requirements to make filings more timely and transparent.  He also said that contributions over a certain amount should be required to be reported within twenty four hours.

Gatsas took aim at Craig’s repeated criticisms of his job performance, saying she’s sat alongside him for six years and hasn’t offered much, if anything, different than what he’s proposed.  He also harped the Social Security Administration’s recent announcement that senior citizens would receive no cost of living increase this year because inflation is essentially at zero.  Gatsas said Craig’s support of higher salaries, more personnel, and more spending, without saying how it’s all going to be paid for, threatens those on a fixed income who can’t afford big tax increases.  For her part, Craig stuck with her familiar “are you better off than you were six years ago” theme.

The two square off a final time this Wednesday, in Ward Nine, at the Ceaders of Lebanon Church, the former St. Theresa’s Parish, at the corner of Calef Road and Mitchell Street.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Open House announced

Open House announced

The board of Robie’s Country Store Historic Preservation Corporation continues to field inquiries from potential operators for the historic Robie’s Country Store in Hooksett.  The group will host another open house to raise funds for the preservation efforts and to keep Robie’s available to visitors, at the store on Saturday, November fourteenth from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Volunteers will be serving up Robie’s favorites, such as Egg McRobies and French Toast.  For lunch, they’ll be serving homemade lasagna and chicken broccoli Alfredo.  Of course, it wouldn’t be Robie’s without a steamed hot dogs.  The’ll also have tempting desserts throughout the day along with a cheese wheel from which you can take your favorites home.  Everyone gets a free bag of popcorn for munching.
Lots of early Christmas shopping opportunities!

Lots of early Christmas shopping opportunities!

Featured at this month’s open house is an art show by members of the Hooksett Library Art Class, led by local artist Laurie Lafleur.  And, as part of the Hooksett Town Council’s public outreach program, District Four Councilor Marc Miville will be at the store from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.  Feel free to stop by and give him a piece of what’s left of your mind!

The open house will also provide a good opportunity to do some early, local holiday shopping.  In addition to the works of art, preservation group merchandise will be available as will items from the Hooksett Heritage Commission, including Hooksett ornaments, afghans, matted prints, mugs, sketches, t-shirts and tote bags.  Unique consignment items will also be available.
Snack Shack: Ransacked!

Snack Shack: Ransacked!

The Bedford Little League’s Snack Shack was ransacked over the weekend.  The league posted pictures of the mess to their Facebook page yesterday afternoon.  League officials are asking anyone with any information about the vandalism to the facility and graffiti to the premises to call Bedford P D at 4 7 2 5 1 1 3.  A press release issued by Manchester mayoral candidate Joyce Craig, said the crime was all Mayor Ted Gatsas‘ fault.

That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next