The Seabrook CIP Book for 2020 is Posted

I am pleased to present my sixth CIP Book to the Seabrook Planning Board, the Seabrook Board of Selectmen, and the Seabrook Budget Committee. I have also prepared a seven year history of capital spending, as well as a separate book (CIP Supplemental) that looks at how we fund CIP Projects, as well as how we are progressing with our 2019 articles. The additional information is designed to assist policy makers as they determine how to proceed in 2020 and beyond in authorizing, and funding, vital capital projects.

2020 CIP final

Seabrook 2020 CIP Submission Supplemental

Seabrook CIP Spending Seven Year Review 2019

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Seabrook Receives MS4 (Stormwater) Permit from EPA Region 1

The Town of Seabrook has just received its MS4 Permit (General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems in New Hampshire (MS4 General Permit) from the U.S. E.P.A. The Board of Selectmen discussed this at their July meeting, and have been committed to meeting the requirements of the Permit. My thanks to DPW Manager John Starkey and our engineers TEC, who worked diligently to get our NOI (Notice of Intent) in timely. Of course there is much more work to be done to stay current, and our team is working on the next phase currently. The EPA documents are below.



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A Review of “The Second Most Powerful Man in the World: The Life of Admiral William D Leahy”

The Second Most Powerful Man in the World: The Life of Admiral William D. Leahy, Roosevelt's Chief of StaffThe Second Most Powerful Man in the World: The Life of Admiral William D. Leahy, Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff by Phillips Payson O’Brien
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting book on the life and impactful military and political career of Admiral William Lahey. Lahey had an extraordinary naval career, holding a multitude of operational and administrative jobs in the Navy, including all of the top Navy jobs. During his naval career he became friendly with then Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt. This relationship with Roosevelt would be rekindled when FDR became President, with Lahey serving Roosevelt in many roles.

The author repeatedly points to Lahey’s many key roles as the world headed to war, and he is not wrong about Admiral Lahey’s many achievements. as well as his central role in all military matters in the Roosevelt Administration. Admiral Lahey served as Chief of Naval Operations, as FDR’s Governor of Puerto Rico, and as the U.S. Ambassador to Vichy France, where his efforts to keep the Vichy government on a diplomatic path that would limit Nazi Germany’s influence largely failed. Lahey was eventually recalled to Washington, where he served as military Chief of Staff to the President, a job described as the precursor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He essentially “directed the traffic”, so to speak, for FDR on all military matters. Lahey, in fact, was the first naval officer to achieve five-star status, and the most senior of all American five stars, regardless of branch. Lahey was also designated as the senior American to the joint British-American military chiefs after U.S. entry into the war against Germany. Lahey’s central role in WWII cannot be in doubt. After the death of FDR President Truman kept him on, and while his influence was never quite the same Lahey was at the center of all major military decisions, including the use of nuclear weapons on Japan, which he strongly opposed. In his central role Lahey was at most of the major allied conferences during WWII, and he was with Roosevelt at Yalta.

As a biography of Lahey I rate the book as excellent. I do question the author’s insistence on denigrating the contributions of other major American military figures in WWII and attempting to build Lahey up at others expense. The author is very hard on George Marshall, criticizing him throughout the book, and minimizing his influence on FDR. Marshall, without question, knew how to gather positive media, as did Douglas MacArthur, but the author was over the top in this effort. He attempted to make Harry Hopkins and Lahey rivals for influence with FDR, but this effort to minimize Hopkins just did not ring true to me. The author seems upset by the lack of historical footprint for Admiral Lahey, and he may have a point, but the constant ripping down of Marshall and others took something away from this effort for me. The description of Lahey’s position on China was, to me, especially convoluted and did not make sense. I saw another reviewer with the same thought who recommended “China 1945” by Richard Bernstein, and I concur. Lahey appears to be more isolationist post-war, and from my vantage point appears largely incorrect in his policy recommendations to Truman on how to deal with the challenge from Stalin.

This book covers some of the most momentous times in U.S. history, and brings a figure largely forgotten by history back to life. Admiral William Lahey led a very dedicated life of service, and I agree that his major contributions to the U.S. war effort have been overlooked. This time in our history had so many gigantic personalities, egos, and talents that it is not a mystery that a behind the scenes operator like Lahey might be lost in the shuffle, but he deserves better. I just wish the author had not made that rehabilitation a zero sum game.

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The NRC Denies C-10 Petition on Seabrook Station

C-10, in light of the successful license amendment and license renewal of Seabrook Station, filed an “emergency petition” with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, seeking review of those decisions by the Commission.

C-10 Research and Education Foundation filed a petition related to concrete degradation caused by alkali-silica reaction (ASR) at Seabrook Station, Unit. C-10 asks us to exercise our inherent supervisory authority to direct the NRC Staff to address the safety risk posed by ASR in the Seabrook containment building before the Staff acts on the ASR license amendment request (LAR) or license renewal application filed by NextEra Energy Seabrook.

The NRC has issued its decision on this matter, which is attached below. The C-10 request was denied in full.

2019 07 25 Commission – CLI-19-07 (Denying C-10 Emergency Petition

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Seabrook Unveils a New Personnel Policy

The Town of Seabrook has developed a new personnel policy, which has been incorporated into a new employee handbook, distributed to all employees, and provided to any new hires. My thanks to Deputy Town Manager Kelly O’Connor and Municipal Resources, Inc. for all of their hard work on this project, the first revision since 1994. The new policy is below.

Personnel Policy Revised 2019

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Coffee With a Cop June Edition

Our thanks to the Seabrook Beach Village District for hosting the June 2019 Coffee With a Cop at the Beach District Building. Thanks to Chief Walker and Deputy Gelineau for all of their work in putting this event together. Coffee With a Cop gives citizens an opportunity to talk to members of the Police Department in a social setting. There are always lots of good questions and some great discussion. The Seabrook Board of Selectmen have been big supporters of this program, and they all were on hand for this event. Thank you to the Board!!!

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A Look at “Camelot’s End: Kennedy vs Carter and the Fight that Broke the Democratic Party” by Jon Ward

Camelot's End: Kennedy vs. Carter and the Fight that Broke the Democratic PartyCamelot’s End: Kennedy vs. Carter and the Fight that Broke the Democratic Party by Jon Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Jimmy Carter/Teddy Kennedy race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1980 was an epic fight and Jon Ward brings us back to it with this terrific book. The Carter/Kennedy fight had both a short term and long term impact on the Democratic Party, with the contest weakening incumbent President Carter, and most certainly helping GOP nominee Ronald Reagan to victory that year. The contest, without question, impacted Democratic politics in ways still felt today.

The author brings us mini-biographies of each man to start the book, with looks that are not always flattering to either. We see Carter’s development as a politician in the deep south, and despite his reputation as a new southern Democrat we see that he was willing to at least blur his positions on race in order to advance politically. He is contrasted with Kennedy in terms of his poorer upbringing, and how hard he had to fight to get ahead. That obviously was not the case with Ted Kennedy, and the author does not shy away from making that contrast with Carter an unflattering one for Kennedy.

Carter’s race to the Presidency is covered, with the Georgia operatives he brought with him to Washington not exactly fitting in with the political class. The run-up to the Carter/Kennedy confrontation is looked at, with the political separation that led to Kennedy entering the race given a good look. Carter’s political operation was hamstrung in several important ways, many of which are covered in some recently read books. (“The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency” by Chris Whipple and “Tip O’Neill and the Democratic Century” by John Farrell.) Carter’s political failings, and his inability to get along with Democratic grandees like Ted Kennedy and Tip O’Neill, directly led to the Kennedy challenge. Knowing that Kennedy (and many other Dems) were not happy with the direction of the Carter Administration the President dug in and refused to make the political accommodations that might have prevented the Kennedy challenge. Carter’s rebuffing of Kennedy on health care, while not the only factor bringing Kennedy into the race, most certainly played an outsized role. Carter’s failures, in a political sense, are covered extensively in the Farrell book where we find that Ted Kennedy is not the only major Democratic officeholder to have problems with the Carter political operation. Whipple shows us Carter adopting the “spokes of the wheel” staff system, with no Chief of Staff. Everyone, including Carter, now sees that as a problem, and it had to be a factor in the sub-par performance of the Carter political operation, and a factor in the breakdown with Kennedy. My own view is that there was also some “grievance” in Carter about Kennedy, reflective of some jealousy over Kennedy’s standing in the Democratic Party, and in the nation. This grievance, in my view, led to some desire in Carter to show Teddy exactly who the boss was. In 1979 Kennedy, in national polling, was seen as an easy victor over Carter. Carter did his part to fuel the rivalry by answering a question about Kennedy’s possible entrance into the race:

“Carter remained publicly defiant about his political future, despite his tanking popularity. One day after the June numbers appeared, he hosted several dozen congressmen at the White House for a briefing on the Panama Canal treaty, which was struggling to gain support. The House members were seated at round tables, in groups of ten or so. Carter went from table to table. While he spoke to one group, he was asked by Representative Toby Moffett of Connecticut how he felt about the 1980 election. Carter claims that Moffett asked him if he was even going to run for reelection, “which was kind of an insult to an incumbent president.” “Of course I am,” Carter told Moffett. Moffett persisted. “What about Ted Kennedy?” he asked. “I’m going to whip his ass,” Carter said. Representative William Brodhead, a Michigan Democrat, was taken aback. “Excuse me, what did you say?” he said. Moffett cut him off. “I don’t think the president wants to repeat what he said,” he told Brodhead. Carter corrected him. “Yes I do,” he said. “I’m going to whip his ass.”

Ward, Jon. Camelot’s End . Grand Central Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Author Jon Ward brings us the actual primary fight in a measured way, not inundating us with detail but covering the campaign high and low points. In this area the author does not spare Kennedy, who he paints as over-confident, with a political operation covered in rust. Kennedy’s indecision, his disastrous interview with Roger Mudd, and his failure to come up with a cogent message that resonated with primary voters, are covered. (The End of Camelot.) Kennedy had some political misfortune, as the Iran hostage crisis initially created some patriotic support for President Carter, and allowed Carter to avoid the campaign trail and debates. As Kennedy took early defeat after defeat, many of them by wide margins, many urged him to get out of the race. Kennedy’s refusal to do so, and his decision to take the fight all the way to the convention, have been widely discussed, and in some quarters heavily criticized. It is true that Kennedy performed substantially better on the campaign trail once the race was effectively over, deciding to just let it rip. He had a couple of big wins over Carter, including in the New York primary, but it simply was too little, too late. Going into the Convention Carter’s delegate lead was insurmountable.

The book gives us a good look at that Convention, and the very bad blood that existed between the Carter and Kennedy camps. This is another aspect of the Kennedy operation that has come in for heavy criticism. Kennedy’s attempt to “open” the Convention by releasing delegates from their candidate commitments accrued through the caucuses and primaries is covered, as well as the Kennedy operation platform fights and general disruption of the proceedings. (Harold Ickes gets an important cameo in this section) Of course we get the great Kennedy speech at the Convention (“the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die”) as well as the refusal of Kennedy to give Carter a full embrace on the stage at the end of the Convention. This episode is now legend, and Jon Ward gives us much detail on it, including the fact that Kennedy did indeed shake Carter’s hand. Despite the handshake there was no raising of the clasped hands indicating unity between the camps, and Kennedy studiously avoided Carter on that stage. With Kennedy’s speech having worked the party faithful up in a way that Carter could not the Kennedy support was vital to Carter. Ward shows us Carter essentially being humiliated on that stage as the opening of the general election campaign he was destined to lose to Ronald Reagan. Kennedy deserves some criticism for that performance, but the hostility, by that point, was simply baked into the cake.

A very good and interesting book by Ward. Ted Kennedy only ran for President once, and this book gives you a good and fair look at that race, and how it impacted the Democratic Party, and one term Democratic President Jimmy Carter, and helped to usher in eight years of Ronald Reagan.

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