Controversy rocked the Hampstead School District over the weekend as Superintendent Earl F. Metzler, II issued yet another “no trespass” order against an elected official. This time, it was against Hampstead Budget Committee Chairman, and persistent Metzler critic, Jorge Mesa-Tejada. In a press release sent round the world, (except to us), by Metzler and Hampstead School Board Chair Jason Cipriano, whose wife is a teacher in Timberlane, Mesa-Tejada was condemned for launching a tirade against Hampstead’s children and scoffing at the school board’s concerns over an active shooter situation that could target children in a portable classroom, which was a key factor in their recommending a four point six million dollar expansion and renovation project to eliminate portables at the Hampstead Central School.
The pair said they quote
“take seriously these offensive and disgusting statements made by Mr. Mesa-Tejada and wholeheartedly denounce his behavior and blatant display of disregard for our children and their safety. Additionally we call into question his fitness to serve in any town official capacity.”
So, what was it that Mesa-Tejada said that got himself banned from stepping foot on any Hampstead School District property, which will prevent him from participating in the deliberative session where the four point six million dollar bond issue is discussed? He dared to challenge the student safety rationale for spending millions of dollars to expand the school.
Said Mesa-Tejada at the Budget Committee meeting on January 14th, quote
“the issue of safety for the students going from the portable to the main building was emphasized that based on today’s situation we can have snipers anywhere shooting people and all that, they might be shot. Well, that’s true, it could happen, but based on my Marine Corps training, if I wanted to really do harm, I wouldn’t do it while they’re going from the portables to the main building. I would wait until recess. I would hide in the woods behind them and I’d have a field day.”
Whatever one might think of those comments, they don’t contain any threat by the seventy nine year old Mesa-Tejada against any school children and hardly constitute a tirade against them that should have him, a former long time school board member, banned from school facilities.
On Sunday, Mesa-Tejada issued an apology for using quote “excessively graphic language” and explained that his intention was not to upset people, but to quote
“highlight the fact that the children are more at risk on the playground than when moving between the trailers and the main building, should someone want to harm them.”
He said what was clear to anybody who watched the meeting, that he quote
“made this observation in response to the safety emphasis pushed by the School Board in the Infomercial shown during the Public Hearing in support of the Central School $4.5 million Bond article.”
Girard at Large has published a detailed account of the events that lead to Mesa-Tejada’s statement, which include a move by Metzler to strip the Hampstead Budget Committee of its ability to provide recommendations on the school district budget and warrant articles that will be decided by voters; a moved that caused Mesa-Tejada to publicly chide Metzler for quote “being hell bent on simply making everything a dictatorship.”
There’s a whole lot more to this story and we’ll be discussing it this morning to be sure.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Senate Bill 3 6 9-FN, the bill that would have forced local school districts to start educating kids about drugs and alcohol each and every year of their schooling starting in Kindergarten didn’t fare too well in the House Education Committee last Thursday. An amendment passed the committee which stripped the mandate sought by the senate. Now the bill reads that public schools should provide the curriculum, not shall. Parent and education advocates cried foul over the proposed mandate, questioning what so called “age appropriate” drug and alcohol education looked like for five year olds and why parental notification and consent provisions were absent from the bill. Girard at Large has learned the vote in committee went largely along party lines with Democrat Barbara Shaw of Manchester’s Ward Nine, a retired teacher who taught elementary school in Manchester for forty five years, breaking ranks with her party to vote in favor of amending the bill.
After over a year of controversy regarding his job performance as the state’s drug czar, Jack Wozmak announced his resignation, effective February 1st, on Friday. Wozmak was heavily criticized, mainly due to his lack of outreach and collaboration with law enforcement officials. After releasing a multi-point plan to combat the crisis, police chiefs in Manchester, Nashua, Concord and other communities complained that nobody had involved them in the discussion. Concord’s chief went so far as to say he didn’t even know the state had a drug czar. Several state leaders, including District Nine State Senator Andy Sanborn, Republican from Bedford, called on Governor Margaret Wood Hassan to fire Wozmack if he wouldn’t resign. Hassan is expected to fill the position quickly.
Attorney General Joseph A. Foster announced on Friday that low life, dirt bag vote thief Derek T. Castonguay of Manchester plead guilty to the charge of voter fraud under R S A 6 5 9 :3 4, I (a). An investigation by the A G’s Office revealed that Castonguay intentionally lied about his qualifications to vote in Salem. The evidence showed that, during the state’s General Election on November 4th, 2 0 1 4, Castonguay registered to vote in Salem, claiming his address as 11 Alfred Drive. While Castonguay had once resided-at this address, at the time of the election he was domiciled in Manchester, which means he lived in the Queen City, not in Salem. Castonguay received a 12 month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay a one thousand dollar fine plus a twenty-four percent penalty assessment. He loses his right to vote under the New Hampshire Constitution, Part I, Article 11 for been convicted of a willful violation of a state election law.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!