A touchy stone wall, missing sound barriers and McIntyre musings: Letters

2 months ago Seacoastonline.com

A touchy stone wall, missing sound barriers and McIntyre musings: Letters

It's OK to 'touch' stone wall if it needs repairs

Jan. 16 — To the Editor:

Great article by Jeff McMenemy covering the preservation of the old stone wall at the Treadwell-Jenness house in Portsmouth. 

Apparently, a proposal by developer Mark McNabb involves temporarily dismantling the wall and subsequently reconstructing it.  The comments made by citizens at the HDC meeting left me totally flabbergasted.  “That wall should never be taken down, it should never be touched,” Peter Whelan said. “It should be preserved. This is why we have a Historic District Commission in Portsmouth. This is your job, to preserve the integrity in the district.”   

My first reaction was  “w-w-h-a-a-t??”  What would Portsmouth be if nothing was ever touched, maintained for safety, or restored?  That is the only way historic things can be preserved.  This thinking is so odd to me.  The wall has been repaired in the past and it will undoubtedly need repair again in the future. “never be touched”  I’m just speechless. 

Cheri Bach


Remember who fought for sound barriers at Portsmouth election polls

Jan. 14 — To the Editor:

As the old saying goes, be careful of what you wish for.  Because you may get it.

And I hope that those Portsmouth residents of the Panaway Manor and New Franklin School neighborhoods who voted for the “Progress Portsmouth 9” in the last City Council election were careful of what they wished for. Because they certainly got it.

You may have noticed that there still has not been so much as a single sound barrier installed in the Interstate 95 corridor running between those two neighborhoods, despite the fact that the “9” have now been in office for over a year and despite their campaign promises to make those sound barriers a reality. The residents of those neighborhoods have been begging for those sound barriers, literally for decades.

By simple inaction, the Progress Portsmouth-endorsed councilors have undone much of the hard work that Rick Becksted, Esther Kennedy, and the rest of the so-called “Becksted 5” did to secure those barriers.  Former mayor Becksted and former councilor Kennedy personally traveled to Concord and met with Gov. Chris Sununu to ask him to use his influence to purchase and install them.  Ms. Kennedy and former city councilor Petra Huda organized on-site meetings in those neighborhoods and arranged for representatives of the Department of Transportation and other state officials to be there, so that the residents could air their grievances directly.  Ms. Kennedy and Ms. Huda also recruited citizen speakers and made sure that a contingent of Portsmouth residents was dispatched to appear at public meetings with the sate’s executive councilors, in order to lobby them to appropriate the needed funds.

Meanwhile, the political action group Progress Portsmouth and its intrepid leader, Gerald Duffy, circulated a fancy campaign mailer in which they falsely claimed credit, on behalf of the candidates whom they had endorsed, for the work that Mr. Becksted, Ms. Kennedy, and the rest of the Becksted 5 had done. 

Predictably, the implementation of the sound barriers has been at a standstill ever since the Becksted 5 were turned out of office and the Progress Portsmouth 9 took over.  As of the time of the last City Council election, Mr. Becksted, Ms. Kennedy, and the others had won preliminary approval and funding for sound barriers on the Panaway Manor side of the corridor, although they had not yet succeeded in securing them for the New Franklin School side.  Were they still on the City Council, they would have followed through with the barriers on the Panaway Manor side, and they would have continued to lobby the State for approval of barriers on the New Franklin School side.  However, you tend to lose quite a bit of your clout when you’re no longer in office, and so there was not much more that they could do.

I hope that the residents of those two neighborhoods will bear these facts in mind when this year’s City Council election rolls around, and I hope that they will hold the Progress Portsmouth 9 accountable for their campaign promises and will vote accordingly.

Duncan J. MacCallum


Some McIntyre development thoughts for the 'Boondoggle 9'

Jan. 16 − To the Editor:

A few thoughts about the McIntyre building redevelopment to the Boondoggle Nine on the current Portsmouth City Council:

∎ Just because it’s ugly doesn’t mean the community doesn’t care.

∎ Generally putting the cart before the horse gets you nowhere.

∎ Counting on a plan before the National Park Service says yes is premature.

∎ Counting your profits before they hatch never good.

∎ Giving away a project you don’t own is frowned upon.

∎ Assuming you’ll get what you want implies you’re used to it.

Or your mother told you, “You’re special” and maybe you are….

∎ The thought of trying to “gaslight” an entire city could get you in trouble.

∎ The cost to purchase McIntyre is $1 or 3.77 pieces of Bazooka bubblegum

- then add in costs to partner and develop….

∎ Hiding behind sealed minutes of others says one of three things: either you may be ignorant; you possibly can’t count; or you need to hide.

∎ We tend to overestimate ourselves and underestimate it.

∎ Smaller isn’t always better. And less is more only when agreed upon by all.

∎ The heart of our downtown deserves your respect.

∎ If the community wants something done, it’s best to have the courage to listen.

∎ Transparency rules.

∎ Good luck.

Paige Trace


NH Senate Republicans provided funding to communities

Jan. 17 — To the Editor:

I'd like to first thank the voters of District 23 for re-electing me, Sen. William (Bill) Gannon, to represent them as their New Hampshire state senator. I’m looking forward to fighting for families in the Granite State once again, but as we look forward to the upcoming session, I'd like to revisit the incredible amount of funding we were able to deliver in 2022.

Last year, New Hampshire Senate Republicans worked diligently to drive more funding back to our local communities. I’m proud to report that across District 23, towns received $3.5 million more from the Rooms and Meals Tax than in the previous budget, a nearly 60% increase. That money goes straight into local budgets, easing pressure on your local property taxes. Each specific town received the following funding allotments: Brentwood ($282,423 increase), Chester ($317,931 increase), Danville ($272,439 increase), East Kingston ($147,745 increase), Epping ($445,066 increase), Fremont ($287,430 increase), Kensington ($126,630 increase), Kingston ($379,280 increase), Newton ($287,374 increase), Sandown ($399,053 increase), Seabrook ($491, 576 increase), South Hampton ($55,788 increase).

If you are curious as to how this funding was specifically used in your community, reach out to your local select board or town budget office. Thank you for entrusting me to serve the families of District 23 for another term, please feel free to email me with your questions, comments, or concerns anytime.

Sen. Bill Gannon

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