In My Opinion...In My Opinion...
by Amy Sousa
My Least Favorite Holiday Tradition
by Amy Sousa
This time of year is ﬁlled with so many things that I love: family, friends, eating – and overeating, lights, decorations, and just plain fun. There are a few minor inconveniences that I could do without, like increased trafﬁc and incessant e-mail advertisements for gifts that no one would want. But, my least favorite holiday tradition is Hudson’s annual game of Town Employee Piñata.From late November through early January, the budget committee is tasked with reviewing the department budgets and discerning whether they are ﬁscally responsible. In theory, this is an incredible opportunity to ensure that our tax dollars are being put to good use protecting both our resources and our values. Unfortunately in practice, the exercise involves stringing up our hardworking town employees and taking whacks at them in the futile attempt to get them to spit out candy.This year, as in every year before, the superintendent of schools, ﬁre chief and police chief took turns explaining why they cannot control the national healthcare crisis, why school children need computers, why it’s important that paramedics have medical training, and why patrol ofﬁcers are critical to crime prevention. Of course, the questions often veer off from constitutional necessity into personal inquiry and humiliation. This year, even the recreation director took his turn taking hits below the belt. In a spirited game of Town Employee Piñata, why shouldn’t the chief-executive-ofﬁcer-of-fun take it where it hurts? As we sit back and watch (or ignore) the ugliness of this holiday tradition, people who walk through ﬁre and stop bullets can’t protect their own staffs from political folly. They can’t provide much more than the wage of an average Walmart greeter despite the huge personal risks they take daily. Those who commit to teaching the next generation of town leaders can’t get a word in edgewise because they are accused of being at the center of a Marxist plot to teach ﬁfth graders to read. In the spirit of holiday giving, maybe, just maybe, we could use the budget process as a collaborative community effort to deﬁne our values and our vision for our town’s future. Instead of thinking about how we can cut every dollar and demean town employees in the process, we could take our limited resources and invest them in what we hope to continue and what we aspire to become. Now, that would be a great holiday tradition!
Explaining the Tea Party Movement
e Tea Party is not an organized political party, but it is a way of viewing today’s governmental and ﬁnancial problems. e origin of this movement is in our American history. e ﬁrst Tea Party was on December 16, 1773, in Boston harbor. All the colonies were rebelling against the British control over the pricing and taxing of goods. Tea was one of these goods. Samuel Adams and a group of protesters, dressed as Indians, boarded a British vessel and dumped boxes of tea into the harbor. Sixteen months later, the ﬁrst shots of the American Revolution were heard around the world. Today we face governmental controls, taxes and regulations that make King George look like an amateur. Carefully read the
Declaration of Independence
and compare their list of grievances to the ones we have today. People, who claim to be Tea Party members, are not in any particular political party. ey are concerned citizens, fearful of the future of our great country. Unlike our early patriots, armed with tomahawks and muskets, today’s Tea Party is armed with the
United States Constitution
. ey plan to revive the principles of our founding fathers at the ballot box. For those who choose not to get involved, read the following quote by Pericles (430 BC). “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you!”
Representative Rick LeVasseur, District 37, Hudson
If my ﬁrst semester of college in New York City has taught me anything, it’s that an entire world exists outside of our small town of Hudson, NH. I can’t even begin to describe the types of people I’ve met in the city because of how diﬀerent they are from me and from each other, not only in race and ethnicity, but also in personality, beliefs and lifestyle. Being exposed to this kind of variety was a strange culture shock for me at ﬁrst. Growing up in the relatively homogenized community of Hudson for most of my life, I was deﬁnitely not accustomed to a place where international students spoke freely in their native languages, where I passed by three homeless people on average on my walk to class, where activists approached me on the street on a daily basis to discuss issues they were passionate about. But perhaps a shock was just what I needed to open my mind and gain a new perspective on the people who surround me every day.I could not be more grateful for the education I have received over the past few months in what I now know as my second home. Music theory? Educational philosophy? Clarinet pedagogy? All are important topics that I’ve learned from college in preparation for my future career. But accepting others, no matter how diﬀerent they may be from me? Respecting the choices of my fellow human beings, even if I do not agree with them or wish to emulate them? Making a conscious eﬀort to understand and learn from others in order to better myself as a person? I can write with full conﬁdence that these lessons possess more value for me than anything else I’ve learned in college. As we reﬂect on this past Christmas, its spirit of generosity and togetherness should serve as an even more pressing reminder of the responsibility we have as fellow human beings to respect, love, and take care of each other. We are all ﬁghting our own battles; there is no need to make life harder for those who are already struggling through perpetuating a culture of oppression and hatred. Treat others with kindness and attempt to see the world according to their perspective. I promise you’ll be much happier for it.“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela.
Tara Hardy, Hudson
The Budget ‘WARS’ Continue, Police Ofcer Versus Half-Mile Roadway Paving
by Len Lathrop
After shots were ﬁred across each other’s bow, the sit-down began on Monday night in the Buxton room at Hudson Town Hall and heard across the airwave on HCTV. Where did this battle begin? On Monday December 2, after many nights of asking town department heads questions about their expenses and plans for FY15, there was a motion to reduce the budget that the selectmen presented by $629,803, which is one dollar lower than this year’s FY14 default budget. In the meeting on Tuesday, December 3, there was a selectman outcry of how hard everyone had worked and that there was not any wasteful spending in the budget that had passed. One selectman even declared “war.” He stated that after several years of zero increase budgets and the current default budget many things were getting worn out. Fast forward to this Monday. After public input from Brian Martin (former budget committee member) and Selectmen Roger Coutu, who both pointed out the error in the budget committee’s prior actions and votes, Coutu explained that this was “not the way to do it.” He pointed out that three selectmen and all town department heads were there, if there were questions that needed answers. Twenty minutes into the meeting, the operating budget was taken off the table and a motion to reconsider was made. The review began with committee member John Drabinowicz asking about the need for the ﬁber loop, if it was needed. IT department head Lisa Nute explained that this expense was for another section of the ﬁber information loop from the police station to the Robinson Road Fire Station which is scheduled to be open 24/7 this spring. No budget reduction action was taken relative to the ﬁber optics loop. The next motion made by Drabinowicz was to reduce the cemetery budget from $1,200 to $600, which was then based on prior spending history. It was reduced to $400, which passed 8-3. On a 7-4 vote, $50 was removed from cemetery trustees’ mileage reimbursement account. Drabinowicz kept reinforcing his motion with the statement “couple of hundred here and couple of hundred there, adds up to real money.” Budget Vice Chairman Michael Buczynski asked about roadway paving and its cost. Selectman Chair Richard Maddox asked Hudson Road Agent Kevin Burns to answer Buczynski’s questions. Burns explained that while we do not have three bidders on paving, our current provider has held their price for the past ﬁve years. Burns advised that Hudson pays $2 less than any town in this area, with some paying $13 more. This pricing relates to the amount of supportive work that our highway department does in preparation of the roads. Most members had raised eyebrows when Burns explained that two feet of roadway in a 24-foot wide road takes one ton of material for a 3-inch thickness. Hudson used 10,000 tons in the current 30-year road replacement plan. In simple numbers, $90,000 reclaims and paves a one half-mile of roadway. Discussion ensued about how the voters had approved a warrant article and the voters want Hudson roads to be maintained and refurbished. No action was taken on this part of the budget.Police manpower was questioned by Buczynski to which Chief Jason Lavoie explained, by citing an example, that the Hudson Police Department handles 1,800 calls per ofﬁcer while on average most New Hampshire departments address 1,400. He pointed out how this affects burnout of ofﬁcers. The vote failed 0-11, but Buczynski pointed out that three-fourths mile of paving was equal to one ofﬁcer. The night continued in similar fashion. The list shows the actions and their effects. A big “thank you” to Finance Director Kathy Carpentier for sharing.When the meeting ended, the budget had been reduced by $137,901. Please note that $120,000 was taken out by the selectmen, which had been previously earmarked for the start-up fund for senior trips. The start-up fund for senior trips was to be a revolving fund with no taxpayer effect and was to be a way to schedule trips. As people signed up and paid for the trips, the money would be returned to that fund.As the last shot was ﬁred on Monday night, the budget committee managed to reduce the general fund budget to $23,821,547 – far short of the $690,000 that they had voted for when they last visited this budget. The process will be continued as the committee started to review the school district requests Tuesday night.