Grunter shoots from the hip again

I thought I’d just stick with the obvious facts in my most recent letter to the Editor (Management by Crisis Oct 31).  It’s hard to imagine that the Editor spent any time at all trying to verify anything before launching into one of his now famous  “Editorial” rebuttals. Let’s quickly go through the list:

“Certainly no one is claiming it is urgent now. In other words, labeling it “urgent” was an oversight, not a misrepresentation”

From the minutes of the Sept 24, 2012 CIP meeting: “Town Hall – Rep/Rep: change priority to urgent keeping in 2014 for $4 million”.

“What we don’t agree with Lemaire about is his characterization …. that “The CIP committee is well seeded with both the President and Treasurer of the Friends, as well as other notable supporters.”

According to a Sept 19 Grunter article, Joyce Davis is the Board Chair of the Friends and Kathy Barnard is the treasurer.  The town website lists Joyce on the CIP and Kathy Barnard as the chairman.  Is the editor saying that he thinks someone else holds those positions or that he just doesn’t agree that the Friends have well seeded representation on the  CIP?  How would you characterize it?

By continuing to claim that voters have twice rejected a complete renovation, Lemaire himself is misrepresenting those votes.

If you read my letter, the claim is that voters rejected restoration twice.  The Editor attempts to raise the standard to complete restoration.  He then goes on to try to redefine rejection as majority approval.  New Hampshire state law is pretty specific about the definition of acceptance and rejection.  Those two votes were rejected.  It is the Editor who is misrepresenting both my claim and the results of those votes.

In other words, since plans were not finalized and costed at the time the CIP was being completed, the $4 million is a working estimate, to be replaced by the actual cost proposed.

The board of Selectmen, at their Oct 17, 2012 meeting, approved a plan including costing estimates.  In the year since then, there has been absolutely no discussion of any further planning effort by the Selectmen. I’d say that’s pretty final.  If the Editor knows of any effort by the town to do more on that plan, he should share it with us. At this eleventh hour, it’s not clear whether the BOS is going to try to put this on the ballot or if the Friends are going to do it by petition.

The whole thing is being run by the Friends of Town Hall who seem to believe that the citizens and taxpayers of Wolfeboro have no right to visibility and participation in planning to spend millions of tax dollars on a public building.  It’s just outrageous, and I believe the voters are going to say so in March.

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3 Responses to Grunter shoots from the hip again

  1. Bob Tougher says:

    It is you who shoots from the hip, rather than the Grunter, by insulting 2 very fine people in Joyce Davis and Kathy Barnard. Joyce and Kathy have stepped up to the plate to raise $1 million toward the renovation of Town Hall, in accordance with the wishes of the majority of voters in a poll you submitted as a warrant article in 2012. The suggestion that Kathy and Joyce influenced the CIP Committee to recommend the Town Hall renovation warrant is the furthest thing from the truth. Your bogus claim that the CIP Committee classified the project as “urgent” to push it through quickly is also false. When I think of town office space that does not have a functioning central heating system, yeah, I think the renovation is urgent!

    I commend Joyce Davis and Kathy Barnard for their fine dedication to our town, and in particular, the renovation of our historic Town Hall!

    Bob Tougher
    CIP Committee

  2. wolfeblog says:

    Calm down there. I’ve got the facts and figures, references to the meeting minutes and newspaper articles. You can attack me for disagreeing with you, but if you want to say I’m shooting from the hip, you have to present some factual arguments.

    I’m not insulting these people. I’m saying they have a conflict of interest in this matter. I think that’s a legitimate topic for discourse. Some folks who are officers of organizations that have interests in public committees recuse themselves, or at least qualify their positions by offering full disclosure of their interest. These folks “stepped up” to raise $1 million for their pet project in the upstairs hall. They want to tie that to the taxpayers spending $3 million elsewhere. Maybe, just maybe, there are citizens who would like a voice in that arrangement.

    Once again, there is an official definition of what qualifies for the “urgent” categorization in the CIP process. You should know that. It doesn’t have anything to do with central heating.

    It has been established that a majority (52%) of voters in that poll said no to restoration – period. The subsequent question – submitted by you folks, not me – asks about public/private funding and got 51% approval with 87 fewer people answering the question. Many people didn’t bother to say no to public/private funding when they had already said no to the whole idea. In any event, it’s a long way from the 60% required to commit a town to millions in debt.

    There are a lot of practical people in town who see the town office issue as something that can be resolved nicely over a few years by renovating the individual suites using annual appropriations rather than debt. You may disagree, but what’s at issue here isn’t whether that’s the way to go, it’s whether a select few inbred committees and boards can exclude the public from the process of developing those choices.

  3. Bob Tougher says:

    The amendment to your warrant was submitted by Mimi Dye, not “us” people, and you agreed with it. The results of section D-3 had a majority of voters supporting a private-public partnership to do the renovation of Town Hall, and now you refuse to accept the results of your own warrant article. That’s very interesting! Don’t worry, you won’t be hearing from me anymore.

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