Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When Will the Misinformation about Regional Planning Commissions and Master Plans Stop?

Granite State Future (GSF) has been written about numerous times previously on this blog. A Granite State Future was a 3-year (2012-2014) community-based program starting with a public dialogue about what we want for the future of our communities, our regions, and our state. The output of the project are nine regional plans, one for each of the nine regional planning commissions. Ours is the Lakes Regional Planning Commission. The Lakes Region Plan can be found here.
Earlier today I saw an email promoting  a bogus Granite State Future website, warning readers of the dangers of regional planning and master plans. The email  said in part:
1 - "Granite State Future", the regional plan for NH, was to be a 3-year program. Even if the efforts by NH's 9 regional planning commissions have subsided, the ideas they were promoting live on in your towns' master plans. Only YOU have the power to stop them at the town level at your town/school meetings, planning, and zoning sessions.
Stop what exactly? Progress? Planning for the future? 

GSF was indeed a 3-year program. The plans were developed and written in three years. It is critical to understand (and not omit), that under RSA 36:47 (I), each of the nine regional planning commissions is required to prepare a comprehensive master plan for the development of the region within its jurisdiction. These regional development plans must be renewed and readopted every 5 years.

Right here in Moultonboro, we are in the process of our Master Plan update and three chapters ( Vision, Land Use and Transportation) will be ready for public hearings later this year. The language used in the email above, suggest that Master Plans in general ought to be rejected and stopped. "Only YOU have the power to stop them ." I ask again, stop what exactly? The work of the public that provided input and participated in our Master Plan process over the past three years?  "YOU" have always been a part of the process. Moultonboro residents already have control over their planning process, their master plan and their zoning. It is disturbing that some people and groups just won’t bury this dead horse and keep trying to scare people with information that  is utterly and completely bogus. 
We need to keep NH moving forward, not backward. I urge you to reject those people, candidates  and groups that seek to do the opposite. 

CIPC 2017-2022 Working Documents

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hypocrisy and a Double Standard?

Food for thought....

In 2007, when Congress asked the Bush administration for emails surrounding the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales revealed that many of the emails requested could not be produced because they were sent on a non-government email server.  The officials had used the private domain, a server run by the Republican National Committee. Two years later, it was revealed that 22 million emails were deleted, which was considered by some to be a violation of the Presidential Records Act. The 2007 White House was under investigation and they potentially tampered with evidence and violated the law.

In July of this year, we had Donald Trump, a Presidential candidate of a major party that has five children with three different women which was ignored by the media. Would a woman running for President with five children from three different men have been equally ignored?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Concord Becoming More Diverse.

Another good opinion piece in today's Concord Monitor about the positives of the influx of greater than 2,700 immigrants, nearly 7% of the population into the fabric of Concord.
The Immigrant Integration Initiative  is four of our New Hampshire cities, Concord, Manchester, Laconia and Nashua, working together to create welcoming communities. Instead of fear and angst, Concord has welcomed them. As the article states " Our new neighbors are working, they are running small businesses and buying homes, they are paying taxes, studying in schools and colleges. Some are our doctors. Some are working in New Hampshire’s growing high-tech sector. Many are U.S. citizens.

Our Turn: Welcome Concord’s immigrants

Concord is a much more culturally diverse city than it was just a few short years ago. As Concord has welcomed new neighbors from around the world, we all enjoy a new richness of experience and opportunity right here in the state capital. Today, more than 2,700 immigrants and refugees – or about 7 percent of the city’s population – call Concord home. Nearly 20 organizations and agencies in Concord are working to connect our new neighbors to their community – from providing support as they develop and launch new businesses to helping them navigate the maze of new cultural norms and systems. And local business leaders are hiring newcomers for their skills and dedication. Concord’s mayor and city council recently passed a resolution forming the city’s commitment to welcoming immigrants and integrating them fully into the social and civic fabric of the city’s neighborhoods and community at large. Concord is doing so as part of the national Welcoming America movement, which supports communities in welcoming immigrants and building prosperity and opportunity for all. We commend the mayor and council for this forward-looking vision, and for their efforts that have already made Concord richer – culturally and economically – by integrating our newest neighbors. Welcoming newcomers is not only the neighborly thing to do, it’s an economic imperative. As our population ages and its growth remains flat or declining, immigrants are critical to our state’s economic vitality. Welcoming them makes sense. Our new neighbors are working, they are running small businesses and buying homes, they are paying taxes, studying in schools and colleges. Some are our doctors. Some are working in New Hampshire’s growing high-tech sector. Many are U.S. citizens.
Concord, like so many other New Hampshire communities, grew out of many cultures, and its future prosperity depends on welcoming immigrants and helping them to reach their full potential. Concord is one of four New Hampshire cities (along with Nashua, Manchester and Laconia) participating in the Immigrant Integration Initiative. In each community, city government and community leaders are creating a culture of inclusion, making sure that immigrants and refugees are welcomed and connected. We’d like to thank the Concord city council and Mayor Bouley for their efforts to make Concord a welcoming city. We would encourage everyone in Concord to learn more by visiting Get involved in the great work happening in your community to build a stronger future for all.
 (Eva Costillo is director of Welcoming New Hampshire. Dr. Yvonne Goldsberry is president of the Endowment for Health. Richard Ober is president and CEO of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.)

CIPC Wraps up WIth Public Hearing Thursday

The CIPC 2017-2022 program recommendations to the BoS and public hearing will be this Thursday at 7pm at Town Hall.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Turn: While Zika threat rises, Ayotte is playing political games

My Turn: While Zika threat rises,Ayotte is playing political games

By CYNTHIA K. STANTON For the Monitor Sunday, August 21, 2016

The spread of the Zika virus presents a major public health crisis that has devastating consequences for pregnant women and their infants around the world and here in New Hampshire. In 2014, federal lawmakers spent months focused on the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa even though it never directly threatened the United States. Meanwhile, today, Zika virus is spreading through sexual contact across the nation and our junior U.S. senator, Kelly Ayotte, has gone on summer recess without allocating money to protect women’s health. What’s wrong with this picture? This spring, New Hampshire saw its first case of Zika and more cases have been reported since. Although the mosquito carrying Zika is not yet present in New Hampshire, women are also exposed to the virus through their sexual partners. Given how this virus is spread, it is prudent and necessary that access to birth control, condoms and other forms of contraception remain accessible. So, why isn’t Kelly Ayotte responding to the urgent need to protect pregnant women and their babies from Zika? Sadly, because it’s an election year, and she’s home campaigning for re-election. I’ve spent my entire professional life working on global pregnancy-related health issues. Zika poses a credible threat to New Hampshire families. Zika may feel far from New Hampshire borders, but physical proximity is irrelevant when sexual transmission is possible and wide-ranging travel is common. I know firsthand that access to preventative care and family planning resources are imperative to communities all over the world. Zika is an insidious virus that causes microcephaly – an irreversible genetic condition linked to brain damage, impaired fetal growth, hearing loss in infants and other complications for pregnant women, including miscarriage.
Women can carry their pregnancies to term and not know their infant has been exposed. It is a heartbreaking and preventable scenario that should not be politicized. Since February, the head of the Centers for Disease Control has repeatedly called on Congress to dedicate more funding to Zika prevention citing the perils of ignoring the spread of Zika in our communities. Kelly Ayotte has ignored our nation’s top authority on public health and aligned herself with a far-right faction of Congress that would rather eliminate reproductive health care access than serve the essential health needs of constituents. In June, Ayotte and her fellow Republican senators refused to pass a clean bill for Zika prevention funding. Instead, they tried to push through a bill that falls $800 million short of the president’s request, strips funds from the affordable Care Act, fails to provide dedicated funding for family planning and maternal health services, and uses a funding mechanism that limits the types of providers that can provide critical services during a public health emergency. The legislation also excludes qualiᨈed providers, such as ProFamilias in Puerto Rico, simply because of their affiliation with the International Planned Parenthood Federation. This is politics at its worst and shows a callous disregard for the health risks that may face pregnant women and infants who need access to birth control and sexual health services. And it doesn’t stop there. As senator, Kelly Ayotte has voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood and block thousands of Granite Staters from access to birth control and other contraception. Zika must be addressed immediately. Yet, Kelly Ayotte continues to mock this public health crisis. In stark contrast, our senior senator, Jeanne Shaheen, has called on her colleagues across the aisle to immediately return to work and allocate funding for Zika virus prevention. Shaheen has raised awareness of how Zika is spread and advocated for greater access to family planning services for those at risk, including at Planned Parenthood health centers. Sen. Shaheen knows dangerous diseases don’t stop at state or national borders. Bug spray and contraception are the best defense against the harmful effects of Zika. Cutting funds to family planning is not part of the solution. Right now, we need action. We cannot afford more lives to be altered by Zika – especially when a solution is right in front of us. We need action that will empower women and allow us to confront Zika in a real and meaningful way. I urge Kelly Ayotte to stand up to the national Republican political agenda and put the health of American women and families at the center of our Zika response rather than partisan political games.

(Cynthia K. Stanton of Moultonboro is a retired associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Her work has focused on maternal and perinatal mortality measurement and evaluation of pregnancy-related health interventions in low-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.)

"What the Hell Do They Have to Lose?"

That was Donald Trump's question to African Americans a few days ago seeking their vote. He specifically mentioned Detroit so the President of the Detroit NAACP responded with a very strong statement ( the full version can be found here).
Here are a few excerpts:

  • We have the potential to lose the gains we have made in voting rights, civil rights, and human rights, if we go back to the time, whenever that was, according to Mr. Trump, when America was Great Again. 
  • We have the possibility of losing the opportunity to gain new seats on the US Supreme Court, which can finally come to a balanced and more equitable system of justice for all Americans. 
  • We have the potential to lose our international standing among the world of nations, when it comes to cooperating with and standing next to an American President that can speak with one voice on crises of the world. 
  • We have the potential to lose health care, that has now been provided for millions of whites and black who before Obama Care had no access to health care. 
  • We have the potential to lose higher wages and income equality, based on Mr. Trumps own acknowledgement that he does not support a livable wage for people in our nation. 
  • We have the potential to lose the gains made by a US auto industry that was saved and given another chance at life, by a President who understood the need for a hand up, not a hand out to prevent the collapse of this industry. 
The letter also refers to numerous racist statements attributed to Donald Trump in his casino days and  possible discrimination in his and his fathers real estate matters.  The statement is well worth the read, because it speaks to the character of Donald Trump who has never demonstrated that he has the moral fiber to be the leader of the free world.
And yet, there are  people that would rather vote for him as they could never vote for Hillary Clinton. They continually overlook his many short comings and character flaws as well as his total lack of experience because they believe that we would be better off with P.T. Barnum as President. 

We need to move back to some middle ground in this country with leaders willing to compromise and solve problems and not govern solely by ideology. We can't afford four more years of obstructionism and political gamesmanship.

Friday, August 19, 2016

No Don, It was not sarcasm. It was lies.

Don Ewing, a local Tea Party spokesperson and frequent letter writer, has yet another letter in the local papers, attempting to explain Donald Trump's repeated comments that President Obama was the founder of ISIS as mere "sarcasm."  His opinion is that any " rational" person could see that. I like to think that I am a rational person. I couldn't. I did not hear what he said as sarcasm. I heard revisionist history based upon continued lies in an attempt to ramp up his ongoing campaign of fear and hatred.
Ewing attempts to explain away Trump's words as " sarcasm" and then continues along with the same lies that Trump is spewing by saying "President Obama and Hillary Clinton founded ISIS in the sense that their policies, neglect, and assistance enabled ISIS to become a well-armed, well-trained, wealthy, and effective fighting force." His rationale for this statement was because "President Obama pulled American forces out of a stable Iraq.  We know Iraq was stable because President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and other leaders told us so."
The facts, so often elusive to our Tea Party friends, are not as presented by Trump or Ewing, who not so coincidentally also find facts to be a bit troublesome.
President George W. Bush signed an agreement, known as the Status of Forces Agreement, in 2008 that said: “All the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than December 31, 2011."  Repeat after me Don: the decision to leave Iraq by that date was not actually taken by President Obama. It was taken by President George W. Bush, and by the Iraqi government. 
President George W. Bush invaded Iraq way back in 2003, based upon still un-found " weapons of mass destruction" and without any thought whatsoever as to an exit strategy or how to replace Saddam Hussein and the region spiraled downhill from there.  

So no Don, President Obama and Hillary Clinton  did not " essentially" found the current version of ISIS. But then, I guess maybe you were being sarcastic? 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

"After 2 years of coverage expansion in Kentucky and Arkansas, compared with Texas's nonexpansion, there were major improvements in access to primary care and medications, affordability of care, utilization of preventative services, care for chronic conditions, and self-reported quality of care and health." JAMA

Slam dunk according to Journal of the American Medical Association. This post by Dr. Thomas Sherman, MD who is also a NH House Rep.(D) for Rockingham District 24 refers to this study by JAMA: 
"In a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine just last week, two states that accepted Medicaid Expansion have over the first two years of their programs demonstrated significant health benefits across virtually all metrics. Unfortunately, for those states that rejected Medicaid Expansion, the health outcome discrepancies are stark."

Carroll County Enrollment Stats: Why We Must Make Medicaid Expansion Permanent

NH Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, who is running for the Democratic party nomination for Governor, compiled statistics in this article  on how NH expanded Medicaid has benefited Carroll County NH Hampshire residents. He drilled it right down to the level of each town by NH House district .

  •  49,660 New Hampshire residents now have coverage, achieved with no new state taxes.
  • Carroll County: 2,457 Enrolled

HOUSE DISTRICT 4: 303 Enrolled
  • Moultonborough – 158
  • Sandwich – 55
  • Tuftonboro – 90

In addition as the article states:

  • Hospitals reported 27% fewer uninsured Emergency Room visits in New Hampshire last year
  • Over $600 million in health care coverage has returned to NH as a result of the program
  • New benefit has already been used by thousands for drug addiction & treatment services
Wilton Rep. Frank Edelblut (R)  says he would not reauthorize Medicaid expansion if elected governor. Republican Sen. Jeanie Forrester after announcing her gubernatorial bid ,voted against the Medicaid expansion bill. In July 2014, Executive Councilor Sununu(R) was one of two councilors to vote against a $292 million contract that would allow Medicaid expansion, to begin Sept. 1.

Locally, Rep. Cordelli(R)  voted against Medicaid Expansion keeping in line with the Koch brothers Americans for Prosperity who granted him a 100% on their 2016 score card.  Medicaid expansion was ultimately approved by the NH House 216-145 in a rare bipartisan effort. Rep.'s Crawford (R) and Wright (R) voted in favor.