Watch the Videos

Tom Beeler, the editor of the Granite State News, agrees with me that the Tuftonboro selectmen are making it difficult for residents to attend their meetings, but he’s ideologically opposed to me so he’s reduced to quibbling over the definition of “hectoring,” all while patting himself on the back for “asking questions to clarify information for our readers.”

Did the Granite State News ask the selectmen if they were legally authorized to conduct an auction of town-owned properties that was scheduled for October 15? The answer is no, the Granite State News did not. I did. And the answer again was no, the selectmen had not received the legally required authorization from Town Meeting to sell the properties. The auction has been cancelled. No thanks to the Granite State News, Tuftonboro is not at risk for costly law suits as the result of an illegal auction.

Tom suggested readers “watch the video.” I agree. I have made videos of meetings available at tuftonboro.net. You can watch the videos of public comment for June 6, September 26, and October 3. Bob McWhirter, Sue Weeks, and I repeatedly asked questions of the selectmen about the property auction. The selectmen stonewalled and refused to answer. Tom criticized my tone of voice.

Watch the October 3 video and listen to Carolyn Sundquist’s tone of voice. When Elissa Paquette asks a question, Carolyn is all answers. When anyone else asks a question, Carolyn shuffles papers distractedly and refuses to engage; she shows irritation and appears impatient and even contemptuous. Compare this to the exchange between selectman Lloyd Wood and me on October 3. Rather than glare at me mutely as Carolyn and selectman Bill Marcussen did, Lloyd actually engaged me in conversation, and we had a pleasant, amicable exchange.

Tom in particular may want to watch the video of October 3. Lloyd confirmed that, contrary to Tom’s assertion two weeks ago, it is unconstitutional to allow one person to speak but not allow others. Tom was wrong when he dismissed the question of constitutionality as “fashionable.” If his reporter, Elissa, had stayed for the whole public-comment portion on October 3, rather than leaving after she asked her own question, she could have quoted Lloyd, who said, “It’s a first amendment issue.” Once more, no thanks to the Granite State News, Tuftonboro is not at risk of costly lawsuits as a result of the selectmen’s actions.

In scheduling the meetings in the day, the selectmen seem to have their own convenience as a priority. And their attitude at meetings gives the impression that they’d rather town residents did not attend or get involved. But while stonewalling and shutting down legitimate questions, they have repeatedly (albeit unintentionally I’m sure) put the town at risk for costly law suits. They illegally usurped the cemetery trustees power, they engaged in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, and they almost conducted an illegal property auction.

If you think that transparency and accountability is a good thing for our town, please let me know in the comments below. I’m collecting signatures for a warrant article for Town Meeting that would require the selectmen to have their meetings at 6:30 PM when more people could attend.

Note: This post was submitted to othe Granite State News and should appear as a letter in the October 13 edition.

Published in Town Government
Max Ledoux

Author: Max Ledoux

I've lived in Tuftonboro since 2014. I grew up in Lisbon Falls, Maine (the Moxie capital of the world). I run tuftonboro.net.

5 thoughts on “Watch the Videos”

  1. I really appreciate your Hectoring pestering and writing keep it up. I haven’t heard anything from you regarding the Sue Weeks claim that the town should keep some properties and not others. This seems to me as outrageous a position as any the selectmen have advocated. I would like to hear from you on this issue.
    Skip

      1. I guess that’s a new business for towns. I don’t think Town’s should own property unless they have a specific use for it. There are plenty of rules governing property use and development to allow independent ownership. I live on a class 6 rd. Willand rd. Sue doesn’t think people should be allowed to build on them (Class 6) for the reasons outlined. You should drive up sometime and try to understand why such a horrible thing should be stopped. I will sign your petition.
        Thanks, Skip

  2. Max…thanks for your hard work to bring us this information. As to your question about participation in the retirement system……the town is required to participate if a person is full time. Not sure what the full time definition is. The town could save quite a bit of money by classifying several of the full time positions to part time positions. Just look at the expense of having a full time fire chief and fire captain and full time librarians…..full time transfer station personnel and on and on we go!!! I would think the only full time people we might need to make sure we can retain personnel would be in the PD and admin staff.

  3. Thanks, Skip. I’ll swing by some time!

    Bob: Yeah, I misheard Carolyn at the time and thought she said “it’s voluntary.” It wasn’t until a few days later watching the video that I realized she said “it’s not voluntary.”

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