Editor's Note: Gate City Musings, a column on City Hall happenings and other Nashua items, is published every other Monday. It is written by a veteran political observer whose identity is known to the editors but who wishes to remain anonymous, and breathing.
Congratulations are in order to officials of both the Nashua VFW & the Soup Kitchen on their joint announcement that the VFW will sell its home on Quincy Street to the Soup Kitchen. The VFW and the American Legion are the two major players working with and supporting our city's vets.
The Soup Kitchen provides much-needed meals to those in need and the VFW supports our deserving veterans who served abroad defending our freedom. Both VFW Commander Barry Palmer and former Soup Kitchen board president John Fisher and their members worked very hard negotiating the sale and they deserve the thanks of our city for making it possible. Needless to say, it will strengthen both organizations.
It never rains but it pours when it comes to our city's fathers and mothers finding ways to spend our hard-earned tax dollars on questionable projects. Seems our city leaders are now involved (in a six-figure contract, by the way) with a Tennessee consulting firm who will put in place a "new branding initiative and at the same time create a strap line and logo to help market our city" ... whatever that means.
North Star Destination Strategies of Tennessee will tell those of us who are not sure what Nashua has to offer about our city's "affordability, friendly climate and high-tech businesses."
One wonders why the Chamber of Commerce and our city's economic development director and our many community development department officials aren't doing this "work."
One also wonders why our highly regarded colleges and universities located right here in the Gate City weren't "consulted." Rivier University, Daniel Webster College, Granite State College and Nashua Community College all have the professorial and staff expertise and talent to offer these "services" to the city at a reasonable cost. And at the same time this could give their students an opportunity to work in the field and enhance their experience and employment opportunities following graduation.
If, as the "Volunteer State" consultants say, many of us are not clear as to what Nashua has to offer, then what have the Chamber and our highly paid city economic development director been doing all these years?
One also wonders what the rush is to continue to "upgrade" city hall with "technology improvements" to make city officials more appealing to city TV viewers and spending upward of $250 million to purchase a new downtown parking meter system.
Another suggestion, before the Mayor and Board of Aldermen go off half-cocked on these spending measures - maybe they should consider the plight of the taxpayer, considering these projects will cost upward of a half-million dollars. And certainly before our city mothers and fathers go ahead with a new parking meter plan they should take a few minutes and travel to the Queen City to see how our brothers and sisters to the north and their Manchester downtown merchants, as well as the multitude of shoppers, like their new system.
Our local officials should talk to Manchester shoppers, who many times in bad weather first have to find the machines, then deposit the parking fees to obtain a ticket (which tells the local parking constabulary how much time the parkers have) and then race back to their vehicles and affix the ticket to the windshield, regardless of weather conditions.
Musings was also concerned that some city officials, including the mayor, were not cognizant or chose to ignore our state's Right-to-Know law when they met behind closed doors to discuss non-secret city business.
Kudos to At-large Alderman Jim Donchess for chastising his fellow lawmakers, who obviously didn't care they were breaking the law. At least two aldermen-at-large (Donchess and Deane) care about keeping city business public. Of course "Big Mac" McCarthy and "Saucy" Tabacsko, should have known better, but didn't.
Isn't it time for our mayor and aldermen to take another look at the "monopolistic" contract our city has with Comcast and open it up to competition? Comcast's television and Internet monthly charges are among the highest in New England. Competition never hurt anyone and long-term monopoly contracts are not in the best interests of our citizenry.
Perfect weather, lots of good food, great music and entertainment greeted the upward of 10,000 strollers this year at the annual Holiday Stroll. Thanks go to the organizers, financial supporters, entertainers, event locations, our city's Public Works Department and event volunteers, all of whom do so much for our city and its downtown. There isn't a better holiday event in New England.
Also kudos to the Nashua North football team for its Turkey Day" victory. Anyone wonder why Bishop Guertin isn't in the mix? Granted, they are a much smaller high school, student-population wise, but they have a lot of heart and deserve to be given a chance to play. Year after year North and South coaches, administration and supporters along with our illustrious Board of Education have put cold water on this suggestion. Isn't it time to re-think this decision that shuts out one of our local high schools?
Remember ... if you have a subject, complaint or praise about what our city officials are up to, or you have a suggestion for "kudos," email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Musings would love to hear from you.