LTE

LTE: Address tax issues with third-party rental platforms

carson.jpgBy Rep. Lauren H. Carson
 
Technology development keeps changing everyday life in ways that were unforeseeable only a few years ago. A decade ago, probably few people would have believed that our economy would soon be changed by apps that would let you hail a cab online, or websites that would crowdsource funding for entrepreneurs or charitable causes. Or that in 2018, a significant portion of travelers would sleep in a stranger’s home instead of a hotel.
 
Government at every level has struggled to keep up with the dizzying pace of this development, and the result is that policy has not caught up to technology. Short-term rentals coordinated through third-party hosting platforms is one such wild frontier where an entire economy has sprung up, unregulated, unchecked and very questionably taxed.
 
In my district in Newport, where hospitality is the driver of the economy, the effects of this development are particularly evident. Our tax and health and safety codes were developed with the expectation that residential properties housed residents, not travelers. This new hybrid use — and the use of third-party hosting platforms that complicate the identification of the properties being used — have left Newport, other municipalities and the state at a loss to determine how to ensure that hosts are complying with the measures that are intended to keep guests safe and in compliance with the collection of hotel and sales taxes.
 
An attempt was made in 2015 to collect the hotel tax from the third-party hosting platforms, but the result was the delegation of tax collection to the hosting platform, which submits only one double-sided form once a month with only a grand total of the taxes it says its users owe the state and the fraction that should go to each community. We’re just accepting the money and their word.
 
The tax problems are just the tip of the iceberg. This use may well also be putting a squeeze on our housing stock, as investors have begun buying properties solely to rent out the rooms in this manner.
 
Proponents argue that the model provides homeowners, particularly woman and seniors, with income that helps them afford their homes. But what can it do to protect these vulnerable populations from those who spend the night in their homes? Background checks and analytics cannot detect first-time offenders who recognize this opportunity.
 
I have submitted legislation that will help ensure compliance with our tax laws and building codes. My bill requires third-party hosting platforms to use best practices to ensure the properties they list are complying with all applicable local, state and federal laws regarding their rental and use, and ensure that they are complying with any local registration requirement. Additionally, the bill requires them to provide each property owner with a monthly accounting of the taxes collected for rental on that property. It would be the property owner’s responsibility to remit that accounting to the state along with any taxes they have collected themselves for rentals outside the platform.
 
The use of third-party hosting platforms will only continue to grow, and Rhode Island must adapt. We cannot continue to allow a very significant portion of our hotel taxes to be collected and submitted anonymously, without verification. I urge swift passage of my legislation to rectify this situation.

Rep. Lauren H. Carson, a Democrat, represents District 75 in Newport.

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02871, Localblogging, LTE

LTE: R.I. must build smarter now to adapt to already-rising sea levels

By Rep. Lauren H. Carson

16may16_carson.jpgIn recent years, it has become common to walk out my front door near Newport’s waterfront in the historic Point neighborhood during a storm and see several inches of water surging up the road. For some, the challenges caused by sea rise and flooding still seem hypothetical, but for me and the hundreds of other neighbors and businesses in my district, the issue is on our doorsteps — sometimes over them.

While Rhode Island possesses the research and intellectual capital to tackle sea-level rise, I witnessed a communication divide between those studying the issue, stakeholders affected by it and leaders capable of addressing it. For that reason, one of my first priorities upon my election to the House was to sponsor the creation of a commission to study and bring attention to the economic risks that sea rise and flooding pose to our state.

The commission, whose members hail from real estate, hospitality and tourism, academia, science and public policy, worked for six months, conducting case studies on the Providence Port, the Newport waterfront and the Westerly beachfront, and listening to municipal, state, and regional experts.

What we found was that businesses from beachside restaurants in Westerly to marine shipping corporations in Providence are beginning to understand the threat of sea level rise and conceptualize solutions, but we still have much work to do to ensure the Ocean State adequately adapts. In the end, the state must adopt a philosophical approach to meeting adaptation goals that embrace the broader aim of protecting Rhode Island’s overall economy from flooding and rising waters.

Toward that end, I have introduced legislation requiring continuing training on sea rise and flooding for all local zoning and planning boards, to ensure that those who have the front-line duties of determining whether, where and how we build our communities have the information and tools to ensure new development and redevelopment is built with an eye toward protecting assets from rising sea levels, which also affect inland and riverene municipalities. This is quite possibly one of the most critically important things we can do to protect public and private assets, as well as lives and livelihoods, from flooding. Empowering local planners to recognize future risks and require that future development protect against them will do more than protect their investments; it will also help keep insurance costs for all Rhode Island properties from rising rapidly, since high replacement costs and recurring disasters increase insurers’ costs, and property-holders’ rates. The insurance industry should embrace my efforts to prepare for future risk.

I am also working to design a flood audit program similar to the existing free energy audit program offered by RISE Engineering through National Grid. While this legislation may not be ready in time for passage this session, helping businesses and residential property owners in the flood plain understand and mitigate their own risks was one of the recommendations of our commission.

At the commission’s request, the Department of Business Regulation is also considering regulatory training for real estate agents on sea rise and flooding as part of their continuing education requirements as a means for making improvements to existing properties when they hit the market to ensure their protection from flooding, and helping agents protect Rhode Island buyers from making risky investments.

Our study commission learned many important things about our fragile coast, but mainly we learned that there is a high cost to doing nothing. A do-nothing approach will likely cause insurance premiums to increase and homes and businesses to flood near and far from our 400 miles of coastline.

It is cheaper to act now.

Rhode Island is prepared to do that because of well-defined regulations, strong risk-assessment tools, and effective cooperation between the government, academia and the private sector.
We can project Rhode Island as a leader in the region for taking steps to ensure minimal property damage and business interruption costs and loss of value due to sea rise, sea surge and flooding.

Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) is chairwoman of the Special House Commission to Study Economic Risk Due to Flooding and Sea Level Rise.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, LTE, GA, climate change

LTE: Supporting single payer in Rhode Island

The following is a letter sent to the RI House Finance Committee by Portsmouth physician Mark Ryan, who submitted it for publication here.

Dear Members of the RI House Finance Committee:

We are writing to ask you to support H 7381, legislation proposing a single payer program that could ensure all Rhode Islanders have affordable, comprehensive heath care coverage. This legislation has been introduced by Representatives Regunberg, Amore, Tanzi, Handy and Almeida and will have a hearing before the Finance Committee. See http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText16/HouseText16/H7381.pdf.

The bill is based on a 2015 Rhode Island-focused study by Professor Gerald Friedman, Chair of the UMass Amherst Economics Department. See the attached report, addendum memo and letter in support of the 2015 version of this proposed legislation. The problems Professor Friedman' identifies include the following:

  • Between 1991 and 2014, health care spending in RI per person rose by over 250% – rising much faster than income – greatly reducing disposable income.
  • Health care is “rationed” under our current multi-payer system, despite the fact that Rhode Islanders already pay enough money to have comprehensive and universal health insurance under a single-payer system.
  • The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) cannot control rising premiums, co-pays, deductibles and medical costs, nor prevent private insurance companies from continuing to limit available providers and coverage.
  • Fully implemented, the ACA will still leave 4% of Rhode Islanders without insurance – resulting in as many as 116 Rhode Islanders dying unnecessarily from lack of insurance each year.
  • In the United States, 62% of personal bankruptcies were medical cost related and of these, 78% had health insurance at the time of their bankruptcy.

H. 7381 addresses these problems because it will:

  • Save approximately $4000 per resident per year by 2024 and put more money into the Rhode Island economy.
  • Significantly reduce administrative costs (almost $1 billion in the first year) and shift these dollars to actual provision of health care.
  • Decrease provider administrative burdens and allow them to spend more time providing health care.
  • Establish a funding system that is public and progressive.
  • Eliminate health insurance costs and administrative obligations on Rhode Island businesses and make them more competitive and profitable (e.g., in the first year, payroll contributions to a single payer plan would be over $1.2 billion less than current private health insurance premiums).
  • Contain health care costs (reduce administration and control over monopolistic pricing) and save 23% of current expenditures in the first year with larger savings in subsequent years.
  • Create a significant economic stimulus for the state by attracting businesses to and keeping businesses in Rhode Island because of reduced health insurance costs.

The high and increasing costs of health insurance puts an enormous burden on Rhode Island working families and businesses. In every other industrialized nation in the world, a universal comprehensive single payer health insurance solution exists. Although it would be preferable to have a national program and there is significant public support (e.g., HR 676), gridlock in Washington, DC, dictates that action at the state level must also be taken. You should note that the Canadian national single payer system began as a regional program in Saskatchewan.

Given your concern for the financial and health care needs of Rhode Islanders, we urge you to support this bill.

Please let us know by replying to this email (pnhp.ri@gmail.com) if you have any questions, comments or criticisms. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns prior to the hearing. We would also be happy to meet with individuals or groups interested in learning more about single payer. For more information, including significant peer-reviewed research, go to: www.pnhp.org.

Thank you for your time and attention to H 7381.

Yours truly,

J. Mark Ryan, MD, FACP
Chair, Rhode Island Chapter - Physicians for a National Health Program

Howard Rotblat-Walker, PhD
Chair, Rhode Island Chapter - HealthCare-Now

Attachments:
RI Healthcare reform
Effect of RI State Funded Health Plan on Disposable Income
Friedman Testimony, May 26 2015

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, LTE

OpEd: Rep. Carson urges GA support for RI Tourism

By Rep. Lauren H. Carson

The beauty of our state is unbounded — from the sparking beaches of Newport and Aquidneck Island to the rugged shoreline of Beavertail; from the historic landmarks that dot the capital city and Blackstone Valley to the fields, streams and woodlands of the western part of the state. We have arguably the best restaurants in the region if not the nation, history at every turn and a diversity of traditions and cultures that adds to the richness of the state.

With all this to offer, it is unfortunate we don’t do a better job of promoting the entire state of Rhode Island. We need to reorganize and re-energize our efforts to make Rhode Island — not just a city here or a beach there — a destination for tourists and the money they bring with them. This will be good for business.

Rhode Island invests just under $7 million annually in tourism. But our neighboring states have much more aggressive marketing budgets. Connecticut revitalized its tourism budget in 2012 by committing $24 million, and Massachusetts spent $16 million in Fiscal Year 2014. On average, states spend nearly $3 per capita to promote tourism. In Rhode Island, it’s less than a half dollar. Clearly, Rhode Island is not keeping pace in the region and our lack of investment is affecting our tourism bottom line.

As the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation reported in a comprehensive tourism marketing and branding investment plan issued in December, the lack of an effective, overarching state brand and marketing initiative has resulted in a loss in market share nationally and resulted in more tourism dollars going to nearby states instead. The report proposed that a $4 million investment in a state branding campaign could result in massive growth of tourism and tourist dollars in the state. That level of funding and marketing could be expected to attract between 500,000 and 670,000 new visitors to Rhode Island. Those visitors could be expected to spend between $210 million and $280 million in the state, generating between $9 million and $12 million in state sales and occupancy taxes. For these reasons, I have introduced legislation (2015-H 5914) that would appropriate $4 million to the Tourism Division for promoting the whole state as a brand.

Tourism is a thriving sector of the Rhode Island economy. The Volvo Ocean Race, a prestigious around-the-world race held every three years, chose Newport as the only North American port for this global event. Over 12 days last month, 135,000 people visited the Volvo Village at Fort Adams State Park, with a direct economic impact to the state expected to be between $40 million and $100 million. One hotel search site recently named Newport one of the country’s Top 50 cities to visit and one of America’s most sought-after vacation spots. Now that’s economic development.

This is a business decision: Invest in the wonders of Rhode Island and continue to enjoy the economic returns that our tourism economy has been delivering. Business acumen tells me to fund the parts of the system that are producing economic returns, design a coordinated statewide organizational strategy that will support local economic expansion and make increases in overall statewide investments to support and to compete with our neighboring states.

I also propose that any new statewide marketing campaign report regularly to the General Assembly. I would like to see an executive summary on our new statewide marketing programs, to include measurements on the return on our investments, trends and data so that the Assembly may better understand the results of our market strategies.

I urge the leadership of the General Assembly to take heed of the Commerce RI report and commit the funds necessary to create a state brand to better sell Rhode Island as a tourist destination, while continuing to support the good work being done on the local tourism level. We have so much to offer, but we need to do a much better job of convincing others to visit Rhode Island and see it all for themselves.


Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), currently serving her first term, is a member of the House Committee on Small Business and the House Committee on Oversight.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, LTE

Anti-Stenhouse global warming LTE in today's ProJo

13aug30_lte.jpg
From the dead tree edition.

Today's ProJo featured a tiny little letter to the editor (cut for length and, in my opinion, editorial slant) responding to a global warming hit piece by Mike Stenhouse. Here's a scanned pdf, or you can see the edited version online (including a back-and-forth in the comments with some climate deniers, including The Stenhouse himself).

Or, you can read it the way I originally wrote it:

To the editor:

In August 22 Providence Journal commentary ("Climate alarms deny the reality in R.I."), Mike Stenhouse, CEO of the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity, attacks "global warming alarmists" who "deny reality" and spread "fear-mongering propaganda." He singles out a recent Providence event in which two youths with asthma were -- in his words -- used as "props" to show the impact of climate change.

One would think Mr. Stenhouse might be a tad circumspect about calling children props, given his Center's use of student essays to push "school choice" just a month ago: http://www.rifreedom.org/2013/07/school-choice-essay-contest-winners. But that's beside the point.

What brings me to respond -- in addition to the body of evidence in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports -- is a fact that should be obvious to a Harvard-educated economist like Mr. Stenhouse. Do you know who believes in global warming? Insurance companies. See this NY Times story from May: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/business/insurers-stray-from-the-conservative-line-on-climate-change.html

This is not abstract. For the second year in a row, I have paid more for home insurance than property taxes. I live in Portsmouth's Island Park, in a 900-square-foot cottage that my grandfather bought in 1920, and we are 15 feet above mean high tide. Even the cheapest rate, with RI Joint Re, still makes home and flood insurance nearly twice my property taxes.

Greed? No. Grim actuarial statistics. As we continue to pump gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere every year, we face an increased risk of weather extremes exacerbated by global warming. And that risk is quantifiable. Those of us who live near the water see it in our premiums.

If Mr. Stenhouse truly cared about the "prosperity" of everyday Rhode Islanders, he would be working to fight both this enormous economic drain and the long-term impacts global warming will have on the well being of all the Ocean State's citizens.

Who's denying reality now?

John G. McDaid

What I really love about Rhode Island is that it's such a small state that someone from the West Bay called me up tonight to chat about what I wrote and commiserate about the head-in-the-sand denialists. How cool is that? (waves)

Since I wrote this, there was a frightening piece on insurance in the Warwick Beacon, an explainer on flood maps in the EcoRI News, and a long piece on new models for estimating risk in this weekend's NY Times Magazine.

Also, how much more helpful would it be if folks like the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity, the RI Current, and the Rhode Island Shoreline Coalition fought things like this that cost middle class families thousands of dollars a year, instead of picking fights over trivialities just to rile up their base?

Tags: 
02871, localbloggging, LTE, climate change

Letter to the editor: The Facts About the Portsmouth Wind Turbine

The following is a letter to the editor received from Doug Smith, who was a member of the Portsmouth Economic Development Committee involved with the wind turbine process.

The Facts About the Portsmouth Wind Turbine
by Doug Smith

As a member of the Subcommittee that was involved in the Wind Turbine project, I have refrained from responding to the unwarranted implication at the 24 September Town Council meeting, that there were some “mistakes” made by the Portsmouth Economic Development Committee (PEDC) in the planning leading up to the construction of the Wind Turbine in Portsmouth. To do so would lend this politically-motivated accusation credibility. That a subsequent proposal to have the PEDC investigate the decision-making process for “mistakes” was approved by all of our Town Councilors (two of whom are liaison members of the PEDC) was very disturbing. I have resigned from the PEDC because I feel that by accepting this proposal, the Town Council majority is trying to make use of the PEDC for their political gain. I refuse to be a party such manipulation. It seems time to set the record straight.

I believe that no “mistakes” were made by the PEDC during the development process. The fact is that all the steps in the PEDC process were open to the public and all major decisions were brought to the Town Council for their vote. Any major decisions therefore, were made by the Town Council after due discussion and public comments, which included those of the PCC. The process included analyses by respected wind energy consultants who noted no fatal flaws in the process and decisions. The entire process was freely open to public scrutiny and lasted well over two years. In a Town-wide referendum in November 2007, over 60% of Portsmouth voters approved of purchasing the Wind Turbine. A complete description of the process and its timelines, as well as the detailed feasibility study that was completed in 2004, is (and has always been) available on the PEDC website at http://www.portsmouthrienergy.com/windpower.htm

Since it became operational in March 2009, the Wind Turbine has netted over $400,000 in profits to the town after all expenses and loan payments were made. We would not have recommended this project if we didn’t expect to generate a constant flow of positive revenues for the town. Even with major repairs expected, positive revenues to the town are still anticipated in the future. Hindsight is always 20/20 and going back and reevaluating a process that started over 6 years ago is a waste of time. The Town Council and the PCC know this, but the PCC, with their constant flow of negativity about Portsmouth, is trying desperately to score political points prior to the November elections.

It is time that the Town leadership stop posturing for their political base and get on with either repairing or replacing the Wind Turbine gearbox or partnering with a private wind energy developer who might consider taking over its management. While I realize that this is a complex decision and that we need to get it right going forward, the Wind Turbine has sat idle for too long. A primary job of the Town Council is to make decisions, one for which this council has proven to be especially inept. Looking backward serves no purpose other than delaying a decision, something this council has done all too frequently in the past.

Full disclosure: I have been a long-time supporter of alternative energy in general and the Portsmouth WTG in particular and I serve with Doug on the Portsmouth 375 anniversary committee.

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Localblogging, 02871, LTE, WTG

LTE: Scouts pave way for Bristol Ferry marker

09oct23_BristolFerry_100_2682.jpg
Boy Scouts at work on Bristol Ferry Common. Photo courtesy Alex Cournoyer, Sr.

Received this letter from Doug Smith of the Bristol Ferry Town Common Committee

To the Editor,
On behalf of Portsmouth's Bristol Ferry Town Common Committee, I'd like to thank Boy Scout Alex Cournoyer and his fellow Troop 1 Portsmouth volunteers for constructing a landscaped base for the informational sign that we hope to put up on the Common next spring. In preparation for this community service project, one of the requirements for Eagle Scouts, Alex spent 3 months raising funds from civic organizations and solicited donations from businesses in the community for materials.

The local businesses that contributed with discounts, donations and deliveries services included Aquidneck Stone and Materials, Cawely Construction, Little Landscaping, and Shaw's Market. Monetary donations for the Eagle Scout project were received from the Portsmouth Lions Club and GTECH Corporation. It took over one-half ton of paving stones, 2.5 tons of stone dust, 3 yards of loam and 2 yards of mulch to complete the project over the space of two weekends. Their efforts and those who contributed to this project in support of this historic Town property are deeply appreciated.

The Bristol Ferry Town Common is located at the northern end of Bristol Ferry Road and was founded in 1713.

Doug Smith
Chairman, Bristol Ferry Town Common Committee

Tags: 
Localblogging, 02871, LTE

LTE: Portsmouth TC member urges support for Q2

Len Katzman (D) is an incumbent candidate for Town Council

I would like to provide some facts for Rhode Island voters regarding question 2.

I'm Len Katzman and I serve on the Town Council in Portsmouth. Portsmouth is a town like many in RI that (1) values open space preservation but (2) has little money to purchase development rights.

When an open space acquisition matter first came before me on the council, as a responsible decision maker I thought the fiscally responsible thing to do was to shrug, and say, "Too bad. We can't afford it."

But then I saw the actual dollars and cents numbers. You see, many studies have been done on the financial consequences of open space preservation. In Portsmouth, we charged our Economic Development Committee, along with the town planner, to develop empirical data on this.

Here's the "executive summary" of findings: For a growing town like Portsmouth, open space that is not preserved is likely to be developed into residential housing subdivisions. Our professionals looked at all the costs in town services that such development entails such as kids in school, road paving maintenance, snow plowing, incremental police and fire and so on. Then, we looked at the increase in tax revenue the town would gain because a developed property is worth more than an open field.

The result of our study in Portsmouth was that it COSTS the town MORE in services than we receive back in taxes from residential property subdivision development. Open fields, while yielding less actual revenue, demand virtually no town services at all so it is a net GAIN in revenue for the town.

The bottom line is that Portsmouth SAVES MONEY by investing in open space acquisitions. Moreover, we typically make our investment money go further by partnering with private funding sources like the Aquidneck Land Trust.

I know this seems counter-intuitive. The initial gut reaction is to look at the bleak financial landscape and assume we can't afford open space commitments. That was my first assumption too. But empirical data proves otherwise and not just in Portsmouth. Similar studies around the nation reveal the same calculus.

So, you may remember that the Town Council presented to the voters a bond question in Portsmouth in 2007 for open space acquisition. When all the facts were presented, the voters approved it overwhelmingly.

Not everyone has had the opportunity that I have had to see professional financial management types crunch through the numbers relating to open space preservation. I wanted to share what I know with the voters and I thank HardDeadlines for the opportunity.

Best regards,
Len Katzman

Tags: 
Localblogging, 02871, Elections, LTE

LTE: Portsmouth Dem chair debunks sewer attacks

Chair of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee and Town Council incumbent Len Katzman sent this letter to the editor this afternoon:

Mr. McDaid:
I saw your blog post on the despicable attack piece being circulated by the "Republican State Central Committee" on behalf of Ottiano.

Well, you don't have to go to the "Republican State Central Committee" to see lies being told in a fear and smear campaign. Many people have been leafleted at their homes with last minute false charges scaring people about a "town wide" sewer and charging that there is some "secret" agenda to force sewers on Portsmouth. Those are completely false (a nice politic way to say "lies").

I've prepared my own leaflet to try to set the record straight. I hope the truth prevails.

I've attached the leaflet and I respectfully request that you publish it on your blog as a Letter to the Editor.

Very truly yours,
Len Katzman

PORTSMOUTH DEMOCRATS
~ FAQ ~

What's all this I hear about sewers?
Many of our opponents want to scare you into voting for them by saying Democrats will force a town wide sewer system on you. That's false. The truth is that Democrats say that the majority of the town has no need for sewers and won't force any solution on you, either sewers or a wastewater management district. We promise to let the people vote.

So, sewers aren't the biggest issue?
No. Portsmouth is in the process of finishing the wastewater studies required by DEM. When that's done and all the facts are in, Democrats will push for comprehensive public hearings for all citizens. Until the facts are in, there's really no way to intelligently talk about the issue.

If not sewers, is there one "biggest issue" in Portsmouth?
No, but the budget looms large. Our big challenge is to keep Portsmouth affordable and seek smart ways to leverage our resources. Democrats have done that by, for example, leading the push for wind power that will return at least $300,000 to our bottom line this year, and implementing creative zoning to foster marine/resort development that raises revenue without much drain on public services. Democrats will continue our push for innovative ways to expand positive initiatives to keep the budget manageable.

I keep hearing about a "fund balance." Is that the issue?
Again, it's not the biggest issue. The fund balance can be thought of as Portsmouth's savings account. Through many mechanisms money goes in. Sometimes the council votes to take money out like to preserve Open Space. Money was being spent out of the fund balance since long before the Democrats were on the council. Not long ago, our Finance Director indicated that funds were getting lower than best practices suggest, so your Democratic council implemented a formal plan to build up the fund. The plan called to increase the fund by 10% a year, which this year would have meant about $120,000. Us Democrats, through some good management are happy to report that we are increasing the fund by over $800,000, over a 65% increase. Portsmouth Democrats will continue to follow our professional Finance Director's advice that has preserved our stellar A1 bond rating. About that A1 rating: Moody's Investors Service affirmed our A1 rating just last April saying it reflects "a low debt burden." Citizens should trust the assessment of Moody's Investors Service instead of our opponents.

So be blunt with me. What is the biggest issue facing Portsmouth?
Let me explain with a brief tale: In 2006 no one said keeping out Big Box stores was the big issue. Why? Because Target had not yet decided to come to Portsmouth. But by the summer of 2007, Target was THE biggest issue. Town Council members had to read and understand volumes of data on the legalities and procedures available to protect Portsmouth from Big Box development. Democrats engaged in careful analysis and public discussions and we performed well -- in the end putting in place strong enforceable laws to keep Big Box development out! The lesson to glean from this tale? The biggest issue facing Portsmouth over the next two years is probably unknown, just like Big Box stores were 2 years ago. The voters can best prepare for the unknown by electing intelligent, level-headed people who will bring a measured thoughtful approach, can handle quick analysis of large amounts of complex data, engage the public in civil discussion and make well-reasoned decisions.

You say THE big issue is electing good decision makers?
Yes. Putting into office the people best qualified to handle what ever may come is far and away the most important task of voters. We are in very tough times and we face difficult circumstances. We may not know what the future brings. But whether the issue is zoning or school budgets or regionalizing safety services or just filling potholes, Portsmouth needs council members most capable to engage in calm and balanced decision-making. Democrats have proven their leadership as thoughtful consensus builders who listen to the public and make rational decisions based on facts not fictions or hysteria.

I am Len Katzman and I ask for your vote.
I ask you to vote for the entire endorsed Democratic Town Council Slate:
Dennis M. Canario
David Croston
Al Honnen
Leonard B. Katzman
Mark J. Katzman
James A. Seveney
William E. West

Vote Democrat
Portsmouth Town Council
QUESTIONS? CALL LEN AT 683-5000.

Tags: 
Localblogging, 02871, Elections, LTE

LTE: Croston urges support for Canario

Received this letter to the editor from David Croston, one of the founders of Save Our Schools (SOS) and a candidate for Town Council, addressing the same issue mentioned in a post earlier this afternoon.

Dear fellow SCHOOL SUPPORTERS:

In light of the SOS endorsements, I have asked that this e-mail be sent to members of the SOS listserv. I want to respectfully disagree with one element of the endorsement and ask you to vote for Dennis Canario for Town Council. As President of the Town Council, Dennis has served our town and schools with honor. As President, Dennis is held to a higher standard and must weigh the precedence and the legality of Council decisions. Portsmouth legally had to take the course it did relative to the Caruolo suit; if we had not, I believe the Council vote would have been repealed by another court. We can’t avoid the fact that the Tent Meeting was binding upon Portsmouth, and that the Superior Court action (Caruolo) was the only way to have a clear resolution. Dennis voted in the best interest of the town at-large.

I believe Dennis has guided our town with an even hand, and he deserves your support! Dennis is an advocate for our schools, but balances his beliefs evenly. Dennis and I do not agree on everything, but Dennis is a friend of education and he is the friend I want on the Town Council. Please join me in voting for Dennis Canario on Tuesday!

David Croston
Founder, SAVE OUR SCHOOLS

Tags: 
Localblogging, 02871, Elections, LTE

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