It’s time to walk the talk
Rest assured, City Council meetings are not episodes of the “Jerry Springer Show” as media reporting may lead you to perceive.If you follow your local government by Nashua Reporter articles, you may be misconstrued regarding the effectiveness of your government. I am here to let you know, meetings are constructive and life is great in Nashua! The time has come to address a few matters where morals and values are being misrepresented by the Reporter.First of all, I do believe it is important to make efforts to prevent underage consumption of alcohol.My quote in the Aug. 11 newspaper was taken widely out of context. The Council was presented with a new city ordinance which could be highly controversial. It was unclear where the ordinance originated or why the document was created; the ordinance was dumped on the Council table with more questions than answers.All of the Council members questioned the need for the ordinance, and the Council was informed that the City Attorney and Police Department have already been involved in the development of the document.Regardless of industry, I believe it is a waste of time to devote considerable resources to a project in which interest from decision makers for the effort is absent or unknown. This ordinance came out of left field, Council was informed that taxpayers have already devoted resources to the effort, and no one on the Council advocated in favor of the project during discussion. There you have the rest of the story regarding my view that the matter is “a waste of everyone’s time”.Additionally, a law which defines a gathering of three or more people for ANY activity at any home, yard, farm, field, land, apartment, condo, hotel room, meeting room, garage, barn, park (and the list continues) or dwelling unit becomes a constraint on people to simply live. Any time more than three people are together this “gathering” would require, by law, the necessity to control access to alcoholic beverages and the quantity of alcoholic beverages.If grandma comes over for supper and dad has a beer fridge in the garage that is not locked, is this illegal as the beverages do not have controlled access?If mom buys six cases of beer before a camping trip, is that an excessive quantity for the three people at home the night before?How about a personal bar of liquor in your home?These are a few examples of many in which the ordinance has the potential to be misinterpreted, excessively applied, or applied with bias. I did not feel that this ordinance would make a real impact on minor’s access to alcohol, but rather an opportunity to ‘throw the book’ at someone after a problem arises. While I fully support our police department, the manner in which this ordinance could be applied or disregarded at the discretion of each officer to my constituents is cause for concern to me.I do not agree with the Reporter’s evaluation that this ordinance “would define it more clearly.” I have more questions and concerns with the change than I do with current laws; I appreciate the intent of whomever is working toward a solution but I could not support this method at this time.Furthermore, I believe numbers speak for themselves and am therefore perplexed at the reporting of the Council venue. The Council hosts meetings at the Welcome Center for a contingency site regularly, and the effectiveness of any meeting is dependent on organization and environment.It was decided to use Facebook as a medium to gauge the community’s support for making the contingency site the regular site after only one trial of a new arrangement. It was not possible to exclude respondents who do not reside within city limits, therefore you can assume the sample pool was larger than Nashua’s population of 1,663. From the response interaction: Four out of 16 were opposed to the change, one provided constructive feedback on a different room arrangement — 11 were in favor of the change, and by default 1,647-plus were indifferent. 11 out of 16 is 69 percent, which is a super majority favoring the Council changing the venue for meetings to the Welcome Center.The Reporter disregarded the facts and stated that “Council Members received a barrage of feedback” and “most residents made themselves loud and clear when they said the meetings should be held at City Hall.” This is far from the truth. While the Council meetings are frequented by less than a handful (fewer than five) of community members who choose to remain a part of the problem and only present issues for someone other than themselves to resolve, the Reporter has an opportunity twice each month to engage the community in whatever manner they choose to report news.As I stated in my candidate profile when running for City Council, I felt “lack of unity” was Nashua’s biggest challenge. In just a few months in office, I have seen barriers come down and volunteers step up by the many to be a part of the solution. We have lots of work to do, work that will never end, but I have genuinely felt that community pride is alive and well and people are willing to help if given the opportunity and respected for their efforts. I would like to see the Reporter utilize their influence on information flow to better the community rather than invent barriers and controversy.Regardless of the feedback, it is ultimately the duty of the Council to create an environment where they can work most effectively. These folks who complain about a change in venue are also some of those who complain that previous council’s “did nothing.” Perhaps these folks can broaden their horizon. Maybe ‘that’s the way it’s always been’ is not by default what is best for the community at large. After all, times change! Perhaps there are opportunities to explore new methods to work together as a Council and interact with the public.Could previous councils have been more effective, in these people’s opinion, if the meeting venue had been different and leaders could see and hear from the people who they are making decisions for? I don’t like being tucked in a corner, unable to see presenters and feeling like I am obstructing the view of my colleagues who have to sit hidden behind me. Every day is a new day, let’s quit sitting on our hands and work to maximize our potential.I believe there are enough good things happening in our community that we can report the news rather than make it up. Perhaps the Nashua Reporter staff can walk the talk when they encouraged us all to “work together for the greater good of the community” in the July 7, 2016 ‘Jen’s Jottings’ article.I believe in Charles Swindoll’s quote “life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it”. How about we report things as they happen, not try to sell papers by making something out of nothing? Let’s give recognition to the people and organizations working on solutions and betterment, not obnoxiously inflate opinions of the tiny handful who choose to only be part of the problem. The Reporter defined less than 1 percent (0.24 percent to be exact) of Nashua’s population as “most residents” while actually ignoring feedback of the true majority. Let’s take time to encourage each other and build a community which future generations will be thankful for, as we all have the same opportunity to make an impact each day.