Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Save the Shipyard

Here's some info on the effort to save the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, courtesy of my friend and legislative colleague, Jim Splaine:

Plan to attend the July 6th, 2005 BRAC Regional Hearing at the Massachusetts Convention and Exhibition Center,

415 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210

Maine and New Hampshire are tentatively scheduled to present their case from 1-5pm.

- Anyone who would like to attend this hearing is welcome to ride on one of the Save Our Shipyard Buses. There is NO COST to ride a Save Our Shipyard Bus, attend, and participate.

- The buses will transport everyone from specific areas in Maine and New Hampshire to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.



1. Visit www.saveourshipyard.org and click on “Sign up here”, or create your own email to rsvp@saveourshipyard.org. Anyone without access to the Internet may send a post card or note to Seacoast Shipyard Association, PO Box 1123 Portsmouth, NH 03802-1123 to sign up.

2. Type “bus” in web site box, or on your post card indicate how many will be traveling on a Save Our Shipyard Bus and if you plan to catch bus at ME or NH location.

3. The BRAC Commission has not yet provided specific details for the hearing schedule, however tentative specifics are as follows:

- Plan to be gone the entire day – Buses will load at 9:00 am for a 10:00 am departure to Boston and arrive back at their original departure site at approximately 6:30 pm.

- Busses will have two primary boarding locations; the corner of Walker Street & US Route 1 (old Sparkle Spot lot) in Kittery Maine, and Airport Terminal, Exeter Street, Pease International Trade Port in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

- Wear your Save Our Shipyard T-shirt if you have one. (If you don’t, we will provide one). DO NOT bring signs or banners, our T-shirts will provide all of our visibility.

- Bring a lunch; there are no food services available at the convention center.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

But it's all about the children, right?

The Franklin School Board strikes again.

In their infinite wisdom, they have decided to exclude a group of kids from the annual Class Day Parade, an annual tradition where Franklin's public school students parade through the center of town.

What foul act of malfeasance did these young hooligans committ? Were they truants? Had they tagged the school grounds with grafitti? Pour sugar into the gym teacher's gas tank? Display pictures of the principal in a compromising position with livestock?

No. Far worse.

They attend Franklin Career Academy, the beleagured public charter school.

So there you have it. The local school board punishing students from a PUBLIC school in order to make a political statement. The next time an opponent of public charter schools tries to cast me as some sort of ogre who hates children, this story will be sure to come up...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Creativity in Chicago; Foolishness in Franklin

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to visit the Namaste Charter School in Chicago. Namaste is a new venture, an independently-run public school serving kindergarteners and first graders in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood. The students are a mix of Mexican-Americans and Eastern European -Americans.

What makes Namaste interesting is its innovative approach to the curriculum. The Namaste approach includes a strong emphasis on total wellness, including extensive physical education time as well as basic nutrition education. In addition, the school has a bilingual track that has the potential to break down many of the cultural barriers that have bedevilled the south side community.

Chicago gets it. By encouraging innovative ventures such as the Namaste School, Chicago officials are encouraging creativity, accountability, and parental participation in public education. When this happens, the community as a whole is strengthened.

Meanwhile, here in New Hampshire, we have to endure the idiocy of the Franklin School Board and its sleazy attempts to financially strangle the one public charter school in our state. It's increasingly clear that the Franklin officials are less concerned about supporting the aspirations of the children of their community than they are with perpetuationg a failed, stagnant educational-industrial complex. Sorry, guys, but whats good for the teacher's union and the school board isn't always what's best for the kids. Knock off the nonsense, do the right thing, and let the Franklin Career Academy stand or fall on its own merits.

The Sorry Spectacle

When small-town Republican drones start invoking Adam Clayton Powell as their defense, it's time to wonder which side of the looking glass we're on...

Because of a previous committment (and a non-refundable airline ticket), I was unable to make the Chandler expulsion vote last Wednesday. Let me go on record as saying that I supported the effort to remove Chandler from office.

Gene Chandler clearly and unequivocally violated the public trust. The unreported "corn roast" funds he accepted from lobbyists and trade associations are tantamount to bribes, nothing more and nothing less. When a public official puts the welfare of connected interests ahead of the public good, it's bad enough; when he does so in an effort to enrich himself financially, it's even worse.

Frankly, I don't care how nice a guy Chandler is; I don't care how long he has "served" the people of Carroll County; I do care about the integrity of our legislative process. Allowing Chandler to remain in office shows that the NH House is a fundamenally silly and unserious body that lacks an appropriate respect for public integrity and the rule of law.

Oh, and that standing ovation? Pathetic. That's the sort of out-of-touch idiocy that should cost the apologists for corruption at the ballot box next year.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Disturbing Google Search of the Week

Apparently, someone was referred to this humble blog by a Google search for "photo of Rep. Bob Clegg".

To which the question beckons:


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Justice for Crime Victims

This morning, the New Hampshire state senate passed HB 329, establishing the Crime Victim Employment Leave Act.

This legislation will allow victims of crime to take unpaid leave from their job in order to attend court proceedings and meet with police and prosecutors. Under current law, there is nothing to prevent an unscrupulous employer from firing an employee because he or she missed work to attend to the after-effects of crime.

When crime victims are unable to attend court proceedings, it becomes impossible to punish the criminals. When this happens, they are free to commit new crimes against new victims. By protecting victims and their families, we can make sure that justice is done. That's an important step for both the individuals involved and the community as a whole.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Video Piracy

This morning, those of us on the Criminal Justice Committee heard testimony on legislation tightening existing laws against video piracy. The new law would allow police to arrest individuals who bring a recording device into a theater for the purpose of recording a movie, presumably to make copies for resale on DVD or via internet download.

If anyone has had any experience with this sort of activity, please let me know your thoughts. I'd especially welcome input from members of the arts community.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Slots strike out!

The state senate has killed a bill that would have brought slot machines to New Hampshire's race tracks, transforming them from tracks to casinos.

The senate is to be commended. This was a bad idea from the start.

The last thing NH needs is casino-style gambling. It's a nasty business. Communities that have legalized slot machines have seen dramatic increases in personal bankruptcies, divorces, business failures and crime. Any potential incease in state revenue is more than offset by the social costs.

And corruption? Let's just say that when the gambling industry moved into New Orleans a decade ago, the corruption was so rampant that it shocked even the usually unflappable New Orleanians. Enough said.