Gov. Sununu spending NH tax dollars for political stunt at Mexican border: Letters

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Gov. Sununu spending NH tax dollars for his political stunt

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, seated center, listens as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a news conference along the Rio Grande to discuss Operation Lone Star and border concerns, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. Gov. Chris Sununu (third from left) was among the other Republican governors who joined the press conference, all of whom have cheered on his extraordinary showdown with the Biden administration over immigration enforcement.

Feb. 22 — To the Editor:

You’ve got to be kidding me! Gov. Chris Sununu plans to spend almost a million taxpayer dollars to rip a dozen New Hampshire National Guard members away from their families and jobs, uprooting their lives completely, and send them to the southern border in Texas? To do what? Hang around with the Texas National Guard and watch migrants flounder in the Rio Grande? Have a beer with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott while he thumbs his nose at the Supreme Court? It’s ridiculous. To top it off, Sununu is wasting our money on this political stunt.

I see what’s happening here. Sununu endorsed the wrong candidate in the Republican primary (Nikki Haley), so now he has to somehow salvage his MAGA-credentials, and he's decided this desperate ploy is the way to do it. He's using our money to bolster his political future. And he calls himself a fiscal conservative!

This isn’t conservatism; it's fiscal malfeasance, and it’s pathetic.

Jim Mastro


Inflation matters in reporting Portsmouth salaries

Feb. 18 — To the Editor:

The Portsmouth Herald has been publishing the number of employees for the city of Portsmouth who made at least $100,000 for as long as I have been a subscriber. The problem is it does not take into account inflation. According to the government’s inflation data $100,000 today would have been worth $54,798 in 2000. The Herald did not think a salary of $55,000 was newsworthy in 2000 so why would its equivalent be newsworthy today? In 2000, the median family income in New Hampshire was $50,930, according to the Census Bureau. $100,000 was nearly twice as large as that.

By 2023 the median income in New Hampshire was $83,877.  $100,000 is less than 20% more than that. Being 20% above the middle income in a state is not newsworthy in my opinion. If the Herald is going to continue reporting on the salaries of the city’s employees, it should take inflation into account.

Walter Hamilton


Tom King for Rye Select Board

Feb. 19 — To the Editor:

As a Rye School Board member, I am excited and grateful that Tom King is running to extend his 20-plus years of public service to Rye by serving a second term on our Select Board. Tom has brought industry, intelligence and integrity to his work as selectman.

Tom does the work. He invests his time and diligence researching the issues and addressing constituents that come before the Select Board, issues such as drinking water safety, ensuring that his vote and influence will work on behalf of all of all citizens. From my seat on the School Board, I have seen how he invests his efforts to fully understand all aspects of school keeping, ensuring that our town remains relevant, safe, and inviting for our school children, all residents, and future generations.

Years of public service provide Tom with the wisdom to weigh complex issues with fairness and attention to detail.  He is unwaveringly honest and forthcoming in researching and in explaining issues to help Rye citizens comprehend the short and long-term impacts of all decisions. For example, Tom championed an initiative to streamline the process by which Rye contributes to regional non-profit agencies. He led the Regional Association Review Committee and the Select Board in establishing a just and transparent process for investing taxpayer funds in a fiscally prudent and ethically sound fashion.

Tom, and his wife, Sally, have served Rye with diligence and devotion on their respective committees for years.  Always honest and thorough in independently researching and deliberating town matters, Tom has led our community with the utmost integrity as a member of the budget committee, the CIP, the historic district commission, the beach and the town center committees, along with the Select Board. So many forms of public service have given him the wisdom to consider all issues with the fairness and attention to detail that ensure sound leadership.

A vote for Tom King for Rye selectman is a vote for Rye's health and humanity.

Susan Cole Ross

Teacher, Secretary, Rye School Board and vice chair, Rye Regional Association Committee

Library is the vital center of Rye: re-elect Hodgdon and Ross

Feb. 21 — To the Editor:

The Rye community is exceedingly fortunate to have two individuals willing to continue their service as library trustees — JoAnne Hodgdon and Jeff Ross. The library is, in fact, the vital center of the town of Rye. The scope of its activities and its remarkable responsiveness to the varied needs of the community make it a dynamic gathering place for our relatively small town.

JoAnne Hodgdon and Jeff Ross have worked tirelessly over the past three years to integrate input from the Friends of Rye Library, an Advisory Group and the dedicated library staff into a distinctive plan for augmenting the library's current capacity. The passage of Warrant Article 9 and the re-election of Ross and Hodgdon in the town election on March 12 will dramatically enhance the role the library plays with the community at-large.

An expanded outdoor space would allow performances by junior high theatre arts classes and invited musical and dance artists.  Study nooks would modernize the library's facilities for teen and adult users.  Much careful planning, consulting and visioning have gone into creating a fiscally moderate plan for bringing our town library into the 21st century with attentiveness to what Rye residents have repeatedly voiced as a felt need for an iconic, central place for Rye towns folk — families, teens, children and seniors — to come together.

Re-elect Ross and Hodgdon as library trustees who have done the hard work the community elected them to do.  Pleased vote on March 12 and support Rye's wonderful library.

Ronna F. Werner


Wright is best choice for Rye

Feb. 21 — To the Editor:

The town of Rye election will be taking place on March 12 at Rye Elementary School from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Campaigning is currently underway, and voters will soon choose the best candidate for the various open seats.

We are facing many challenges daily and I would like to share my views as I pledge support for Select Board candidate Rob Wright.  He has been a resident in this town for 33 years, longer than most running for office. He is committed to identifying and resolving issues currently facing our community by working in unison with each layer of town government.  Our town will benefit from responsible decision-making in all areas, especially financial.  Rob has proven during his time serving the town that he is willing to listen, fosters good communication, and would be an asset to all citizens.

Rob and his wife Lori raised their two children in Rye, both of whom attended Rye Schools from kindergarten to eighth grade, and who remain in New Hampshire. They have blessed Rob and Lori with three grandchildren who they adore. Being an avid outdoorsman, Rob is deeply concerned with maintaining our natural resources and beautiful seacoast and will fight to keep Rye’s water clean.

My support comes from being a lifelong resident having previously served Rye for over 50 years. I am also a proud Vietnam veteran who for the past 54 years has paid tribute to veterans in town by placing American flags on their gravesites and WWI monument for every Memorial Day.

Please vote Rob Wright for Select Board on March 12. He is the leader our town needs.

John Moynahan


Dog owners need to clean up mess on rail trail in Portsmouth

Feb. 22 — To the Editor:

We are so thankful to the state of New Hampshire for the rail-to-trail path currently being developed off Islington Street in Portsmouth. We walk that trail daily and it is a perfect walking, biking, jogging trail for the city.  However, we are concerned that it is being abused by some people.  Yesterday we counted more than 40 piles of dog waste along the trail from the old WBBX road to Barberry Lane, and many plastic bags of dog waste were also deposited along the trail.  We ask pet owners to please, please clean up after your dogs and leave the trail in good condition for others to enjoy. 

Linda and Ralph DiBernardo


$100,000 salary no longer indicates wealth

Feb. 21 — To the Editor:

I would like to add some additional context in response to Jeff McMenemy’s article “192 Portsmouth employees paid $100,000-plus in 2023.”  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ CPI Inflation Calculator, $100,000 in early 2024 is the equivalent of approximately $76,000 in early 2014.  Earning a “six figure income” is no longer indicative of significant wealth. Had multiple city employees’ earnings edged above $76,000 10 years ago, it’s unlikely the story would have been headline-grabbing.

Patrick Ganz


Thuggery by the MAGA right

Feb. 18 — To the Editor:

Last week I ran across a news item that brought me up short: Nikki Haley, campaigning in South Carolina, had requested FBI Secret Service protection because of numerous threats she had received. In case you miss the significance of this, she is a Republican, campaigning in a Republican primary, in a Republican state, receiving threats that are almost certainly from Trump supporters. That same week, the special counsel in the Trump Mar-a-Lago documents case had to request that witnesses’ identities in the case not be revealed because of fear of harassment. This while planning is in progress to install 8-foot metal barricades around the federal courthouse in D.C. in preparation for the Jan. 6 insurrection hearings. This is just a short listing of recent events of a type that have become so commonplace that we seem to consider them normal.

What has happened to our country? Can we no longer have free expression of ideas, hold traditional election contests, or conduct constitutionally protected legal proceedings without fear of harassment or even physical harm? This isn’t politics as usual; this is thuggery.

In this environment what normal person would ever want to run for public office, serve on a jury or appear as a witness in a politically involved court case? I hope our sitting politicians who with their silence and servility realize where this is heading.  And if they don’t, we as voters had better set them straight this November before it’s too late: vote the MAGA sympathizers out, so we can return to some normalcy in our politics; bring back the old GOP.

Arlo Gambell


Nikki Haley is only good choice

Feb. 23 — To the Editor:

Our country is seriously divided with an election looming in the near future. Neither of the leading candidates offers any hope of healing this divide. Our current president is directing “crushing sanctions” on Russia as a result of the death of an opposition leader. Why weren’t these sanctions initiated years ago to crush Russia’s ability to wage war in Ukraine?

The president also is considering “executive action” to deal with the immigration crisis on the border, just weeks after saying there was nothing he could do until our dysfunctional Congress passed legislation. Again, why weren’t these executive actions taken years ago to aid in dealing with mass immigration? I’ll tell you why. The president’s actions are driven by his political pundits reacting to his declining poll numbers. His policy proposals and the timing of all of his actions are in response to his latest polls, with the focus of those actions on the next election. He doesn’t care about the overall impact of his decisions on the country, but how he can pander to his most vocal and active supporters. Even his green initiatives will be harmful to the economy, and of limited value to the environment because of the narrowness of his focus. He’s an expert at pandering.

This president is entirely focused on the next election, as he’s always been.

The other side of the coin can be even worse. The former president is a megalomaniac who surrounds himself with sycophants who fill feed his ego. His action as chairman, president, and presidential candidate are entirely driven by what is best for him and/or the Trump empire. He did some good things for the country as president, but only because it was advantageous to his financial holding. He’s not afraid to spend taxpayer money to finance his personal agenda. He borders on being an irrational actor (like his buddy in North Korea) on the international stage, and shows total disdain for the expertise and experience of his military advisors.

He reminds me of another historical figure who took control of his country through violence, also dismissed the advice of his military advisors, and pandered to his fanatical core of supporters by blaming all their troubles on outside influencers. They called him the “Bavarian Corporal." It didn’t end well for him or his country. I would hope we never travel down that road, but I’m concerned. Both leading candidates are free-spenders further endangering the long-term prospects for our economy, and both have little understanding of military issues and capabilities.

The Democrats have not put up an alternative to Joe Biden, so I’m out of luck there. Nikki Haley has vowed to continue the fight, and has the ability and desire to bring back the art of politics through collaboration and negotiation. I hope she can pull it off. She has my vote. As one of your contributors includes his rank thinking that may have bearing on credibility, I’ll include mine.

“Dutch” Dunkelberger

Kittery, Maine (retired colonel)

Gold sneakers and the year of the dragon

Feb. 18 — To the Editor:

As soon as the former president’s costly verdicts started being decided, the question became, how can someone pay over a half a billion dollars in fines, judgements and interest without breaking the law again? There is plenty of money out there, but how can someone legally accept money or cryptocurrency from Russia, China or Saudi Arabia without raising alarms? A dubious GoFundMe page type tax on the poor just doesn’t seem to be enough to cover everything. It got me to thinking. In Chinese culture, the colors red and gold have meanings. Red is associated with good fortune. “Gold is thought to represent good luck, wealth, prosperity and good fortune.” It would appear that gold sneakers and red hats could be a stealthy shout out to China. If you are charging $399 for a pair of sneakers that can be made for a few dollars a piece, you could pay off your legal debts if you could sell a couple of million pairs in China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. We’ll just have to see how much of the money/cryptocurrency is transferred, and from where, before the first pairs are even sold. The continual grift is getting old for this voter. As far as running the United States like a business goes, it is no wonder that our national debt went up about $2 trillion dollars a year while the former president was in office, based on his now-proven fraudulent business practices, poor human resources behaviors and multiple bankruptcies.

Don Cavallaro


Trump rated last among all presidents

Feb. 20 — To the Editor:

A recent poll of social science experts in presidential politics ranked Joe Biden 14th among 45 American presidents, while Donald Trump was rated dead last.

"The 2024 Presidential Greatness Project Expert Survey was conducted online via Qualtrics from November 15th to December 31st, 2023. Respondents included current and recent members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Sciences Association, which is the foremost organization of social science experts in presidential politics . . . as well as scholars who had recently published peer-reviewed academic research in key related scholarly journals." (Rottinghaus & Vaughn, 2024.)

The top five presidents were Abraham Lincoln , Franklin Delano Roosevelt , George Washington , Teddy Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson . The bottom five presidents in descending order were William Henry Harrison, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, and Donald Trump.

I would be remiss if I did not say hello to my friends in New Hampshire, who my wife Lenore and I met during our 23 years residence in the Granite State. After Lenore passed away, I moved to my present location to be closer to my daughter's family.

Gary Patton

Princeton, New Jersey

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Sununu spending NH tax dollars for political stunt at border: Letters