October 17, 2005, 6:15 P.M.
If the headline of Mondayís Laconia Daily Sun, "South Down Debate Marks Start of Slugfest," is any indication, it looks like we are in for another installment of the sideshow that is Laconia politics. Despite the almost constant calls from letter writers, politicians, columnists, and others for a civil discourse, we always seem to devolve into a pattern of attack politics, record distortion and name-calling.
Some candidates have pledged to remain above the fray this year, I hope that they do, and I hope that whether or not they do will be a factor in your decision about who to vote for. I also hope that the last two years in city politics have motivated residents to consider and vote on issues, and to make decisions based on facts, not misrepresentations or distortions common in Laconia political campaigns.
I live in Ward 3 and I am fortunate to have Henry Lipman as a neighbor and candidate for election to the City Council from my ward. Whatever Henryís views on issues are, I expect that he will be considerate of his constituents, will be measured in his approach to the operation of government, and that he will, most importantly, keep an open mind when reviewing issues presented to the Council.
This has not, in my observation, been the approach taken by several sitting councilors. Armand Bolduc and Judy Krahulec have been divisive in their actions in the Council and have, as far as I can see, not been considerate of their constituents in the actions that they have taken. Their actions with regard to the City Manager were clearly vindictive and unfounded. The public access television broadcasts of the meeting in which Ms. Krahulec openly mocked our City Manager is truly a nadir in Laconia city politics. The participation of Mr. Bolduc and Ms. Krahulec in the lawsuit against the City was, especially in hindsight, disingenuous.
I say that their actions were disingenuous in hindsight based on their recent reconsideration of the placement of a tax cap on the ballot for this Novemberís election after being informed by their own counsel and the Attorney Generalís office that, not only was the content of the tax cap questionable, but that the procedure was as well. They accomplished this by using a procedure that deprived their constituents, and the rest of us, the opportunity to voice our opinions, or express our concerns. You will recall that the lawsuit, which Mr. Bolduc and Ms. Krahulec, as well as soon-to-be former Councilor Cowan, lost was about procedure. It seems that procedure is only important when it suits Mr. Bolduc and Ms. Krahulec.
There are numerous examples of behavior on the part of Ms. Krahulec and Mr. Bolduc that suggests that Laconia can do better. Councilor Jim Cowan was defeated in the primary election. Mr. Cowan was the only one of the three councilors who participated in the infamous walk-out and who participated in the lawsuit against the City who will not be on the ballot this fall. Mr. Cowan is not on the ballot because he lost a three-way primary election. Brenda Baer has done excellent work in several campaigns against Mr. Cowan and I believe she will be an excellent choice for City Council. Although I canít vote in her ward, I wish her the best of luck, as I do Brad Fitzgerald in his bid to unseat Ms. Krahulec.
Joe Cormier brings a strong background in City government, experience with the Laconia School Board, and a record and history of fiscal responsibility in his bid to unseat Councilor Bolduc. based on Bolducís behavior over the last two years, his time to move on has come. His antics in supporting some signs, and removing others, are but one example of the type of government we canít afford.
Whoever is elected this November, I hope that we can steer a course back towards dialogue and towards the ability to respectfully disagree. While disagreement is a fundamental tenet of our system of government, we live in a small town. I hope that we can keep our disagreements respectful and fact-based. Those candidates willing to stay above the fray, to stay away from personal attacks and to run based on their ideas, their records, and their commitment to moving the City of Laconia in a forward and positive direction deserve our vote.
Whatever your political opinion or persuasion, you must recognize that this is an important time for our City and that every vote counts.