Gate City Musings: Scams, consultants, NH Advantage
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.
A "tip of the hat" to the Nashua Police Department for re-instituting the Senior Citizens Academy and to Officer Jane Constant and Capt. Jeff Bukunt for undertaking this most worthwhile endeavor. Too many times the unscrupulous in our society try to take advantage of our seniors with promises of quick riches, fraudulent home repairs, unwanted magazine subscriptions and the like.
Perhaps the most noteworthy of these "senior scams" in our city in recent times was the "your driveway needs to be repaved and we'll do it for practically nothing" scheme. Many homeowners, who were usually in their 70s and 80s and really didn't know what they were agreeing to, accepted the "kind offer" of the driveway pavers only to find the "job" was extremely sloppy and, in most cases, the bill presented was 300 to 400 percent more than quoted.
With the proliferation of "robo calls," many seniors respond to "offers" positively without knowing they are scams. Rule of thumb - never agree to anything unless you see it in writing and always seek advice from a family member or neighbor before committing to anything.
Once again, "Musings" asks where the Board of Education has been during the past 20 or so years. A number of our former teachers and administrators leave the city's employ one day and then become a "consultant" the next. True, "double-dipping" isn't new to Nashua, it happens all over the state. The school board now wants to "study" this. ... Let's hope they will do more than study and put an end to a very questionable practice.
When police, firefighters and city employees retire after 20 to 25 years, retirement calls and, lo and behold, some of them find lucrative government "consulting jobs" that were not advertised. Many times these "consulting" gigs almost double their pensions. Granted there haven't been that many Nashua teachers/administrators who have doubled-dipped, but certainly there should be a policy in effect to prevent abuse.
Guess it's probably too much to ask Mother Mayor and her aldermanic toadies to follow suit and take a long look at this practice and establish a policy to handle such matters at the city level. But then they appear to be more concerned about civility in the aldermanic chambers and raising taxes than whether literally millions of dollars could be saved.
Is the "New Hampshire Advantage" dead as the editorial writer for The Telegraph wrote recently? Musings thinks not!
The "NH Advantage" is far from dead. ... All one has to do is look at Nashua's strong economy, take a walk along Main Street, study our city's low unemployment rate and talk with our business leaders.
What other state in our nation has neither a general sales nor general income tax? What other state in our nation has the quality secondary and higher education (both public and private) systems that we do? What other state has a health care system as progressive as we have?
No other state in our country has a legislative body where each legislator receives a paltry $100 a year in salary and seems to survive each biennium. What other state can boast of a lower crime rate? And we can go on and on. Before we slam our state as not being with it, take a long look at our attributes, Mr. Editorial Writer.
On a lighter note, hats off to our arts community. No other city in our state has as many visual and performing arts and musical organizations as we do.
Take a look at the various venues we have here to enjoy: the largest auditorium in the state (Keefe); a brand, spanking-new auditorium at Nashua Community College; auditoriums at Daniel Webster and Rivier Colleges; and the wonderful auditorium at Nashua North High School.
With the longest and most expensive national political campaign over, there were more than a few surprises here in the Gate City. As expected, President Obama and Smiley Joe Biden cruised to a fairly easy victory, and Annie Kuster sent Charlie Bass back to Peterborough. Former Executive Councilor Deb Pignatelli ousted "I really don't care for Nashua" David Wheeler in spite of the legislature supposedly making his district "more safe" for him.
Alas, the Tea Party and its supporters lost everything here in the Gate City. Both Nashua state Senate seats went over to the Democrats and a most surprising development was that all the Gate City Tea Party Republicans in the New Hampshire House went down to defeat, including Pistol Pete Silva, Speaker Bill O'Brien's chief cook, bottle washer and kowtower. Moderation should have been the key word in this year's election.
Musings sends its congratulations to the winners and a reminder to the losers that the pendulum may very well swing in their direction in two years.
A reminder: If you are offended by any of these"Musings" let me know and, if you agree, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org