Seabrook Board of Selectmen Sign Two Collective Bargaining Agreements

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen this week signed two collective bargaining contracts, with the Seabrook Employees Association and the Seabrook Police Association. Both units are represented by Teamsters Local 633. These contracts were approved by the Board of Selectmen and passed by the voters in March. It places all four collective bargaining units in Seabrook under contract. The Board expressed their appreciation for all of the good work done for Seabrook residents by members of both units.

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A Look at “On the House: A Washington Memoir” by John Boehner

On the House: A Washington Memoir by John Boehner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

How could I resist a book by former Speaker John Boehner after seeing all of the great blurbs about Ted Cruz? Well, I could not. Boehner gives us a breezy, easy to read book that has some interesting observations, about himself, the Republican Conference he led, and some of the interesting people he interacted with in a long legislative career. What Boehner has said, in his publicity for the book, is that if you are looking for a book on public policy this is not the book for you. He was and is correct on that score.

Speaker Boehner starts the book with a nod to Speaker Pelosi, giving us a view of her political skills by highlighting her political unraveling of Democratic Congressman, and Dean of the House, John Dingell. Boehner wants to show us how power is exercised in Washington, and in so doing expresses a grudging respect for Speaker Pelosi. Boehner moves through the book without a lot of attention to sequencing, but makes the points he is looking to get across.

Boehner was actually a comeback kid, having achieved leadership with the ascent of Newt Gingrich, but he was deposed from his spot as Chair of the Republican Conference by JC Watts. He gave us the story about his work in exposing some of the check-kiting shenanigans involved in the House Bank scandal, and speculates that his loss to Watts was partially attributable to his work in exposing some key Republican power brokers involved in that scandal. (There were more than a few Democrats involved as well.)

Boehner gives us a pretty straight forward view of the GOP conference that he came to lead as Speaker, and it is not a pretty sight. John Boehner became Speaker at a time when the political ground was shifting, and old assumptions about the motivations of members were no longer safe to make. He brings us to the 2013 political fight over raising the national debt ceiling, which turned into a debacle for Boehner and the GOP. This political fight, in Boehner’s view, was a foreseeable disaster. The House GOP conference, in the majority, took the position that they would not vote to raise the debt ceiling or fund the government unless President Obama agreed to the elimination of Obama Care. It really was quite clear to any thinking person that this gambit would not only fail but leave the GOP with the political blame for the government shutdown. I think this shutdown and the political fall out for the GOP crystalized Boehner’s complaint with the “crazy caucus” that he was the leader of. Even though he was a Senator Ted Cruz played a large role in influencing the so-called crazies of the GOP House Conference, and Boehner gets his licks in here.

“There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen meet Senator Ted Cruz.” On the House, Boehner, John pg. 168

Boehner did advise against this foolhardy move, but when the will of the caucus was expressed he led the fight, as he felt it was his obligation to do. There was never any chance of getting President Obama to agree to that bargain, and sure enough, after a government shutdown of 17 days the GOP Conference, and Speaker Boehner, were forced to capitulate without defunding Obama Care.

Speaker Boehner gives us several examples of poor political judgement by the “crazy caucus” but they are all similar to the 2013 shutdown. He came to recognize the new power of Fox News, and he counted that outlet as contributing to the power of the “crazy caucus.” The crazier the actions, the more time you got on Fox, according to Boehner. He came to recognize that this newly empowered “infrastructure” was not only a source of power but provided a way to raise barrels of money for many folks in his caucus. The Speaker of the House simply did not have the type of power that Speakers had in the past. There was a new center of gravity for conservatives.

Speaker Boehner gives us a view of his family life, and how he worked in the family business, a tavern that served a working-class constituency in Ohio. Some nice stories on President Gerald Ford and former Notre Dame football coach Gerry Faust, who Boehner played for in high school. Boehner gives us some great tidbits on John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Mark Meadows, and Fox news head honcho Roger Ailes. As mentioned, the book is breezy, and I think entertaining. (The feelings expressed on Cruz are shared by many in the GOP) Boehner gives us his views without getting into the weeds, which was never his style anyway. He definitely pulled no punches and evened a couple of scores, but in these times it is to be expected. I enjoyed it, and do believe it would make for a pretty good summer read.

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Senator Maggie Hassan Visits Seabrook

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen, Senator Tom Sherman, and the Yankee Fishing Cooperative welcomed Senator Maggie Hassan to Seabrook last week. Senator Hassan heard some of the issues facing the Cooperative first hand, and pledged to work with Senator Sherman and the State of New Hampshire to help. She also took the time to tour the Town project right next door at the Pier, where we hope to be replacing the sheet pilings supporting the structure, with a U.S. Commerce Department EDA grant of $695,000 helping to finance that project. Thanks to Senator Hassan, and Senator Sherman, for all of their time and support.

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Seabrook Police Swear in New Officer

The Seabrook Police, along with the Board of Selectmen, swore in new Seabrook Patrol Officer Alison Couch at a ceremony at Town Hall. Congratulations to Officer Couch and best wishes for a safe and long career with the Seabrook Police Department.

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Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo in Seabrook

The Seacoast welcomed Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Monday, and it was wonderful to have her in Seabrook visiting Aero Dynamics to tour that manufacturing facility. Secretary Raimondo was in Hampton before her visit to Seabrook, listening to a cross section of business and community leaders on the very serious challenges our region has faced through the pandemic, and how we are recovering. Secretary Raimondo is the former Governor of Rhode Island, and that experience gave her a real understanding of some of the major issues our region faces.

This visit was made possible through the efforts and office of Senator Jeanne Shaheen. My thanks for another strong effort by Chamber of Commerce President John Nyhan, who worked very hard to help organize the visit.

With Secretary Raimondo at Aero Dynamics in Seabrook.
Secretary Raimondo and Senator Shaheen in Hampton.
With Portsmouth City Manager Karen Conrad and Hampton Town Manager Jamie Sullivan.
At Aero Dynamics in Seabrook
Touring Seabrook Manufacturer Aero Dynamics.

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Seabrook Police Building Gets Major Renovation

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen did an inspection of the newly renovated police locker room on a recent visit to the Police Building. This renovation replaced the original locker and shower area, and was funded with Seabrook’s share of the State of New Hampshire surplus budget money returned to localities.

The Board of Selectmen advocated for, and approved, this improvement, utilizing state funds rather than local property tax dollars. Thanks to the Board, as well as Chief Walker and Deputy Gelineau for their hard work on this project.

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Seabrook Vaccine Clinic Date Set for May 2

Rite Aid and The Brook are partnering to offer a COVID vaccine clinic on May 2, 2021. This clinic will be held on the site of The Brook, at:

The Brook

319 New Zealand Rd.

Seabrook, NH 03874

The Pfizer vaccine will be offered this day.  There is no cost for the vaccine regardless of insurance status, however we do ask that you bring a copy of your ID and any existing insurance. 

The clinic will accept ages 16 and above.

People are encouraged to make a password so that if they need to change or cancel they can do so.  Rite Aid also strongly encourages patients to use their email when entering information in the event we need to reach them regarding the clinics. 

They only need to sign up for the May 2 appointment.  They will be handed a reminder card for their second appointment on May 23.

Please note that when entering the zip code it should be the Seabrook, NH zip code of 03874. 

The link for making appointments is:

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Seabrook Restarts Curbside Recycling

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen, at their meeting of April 19, 2021, have approved restarting the curbside recycling program, which had been suspended during the pandemic. That program will begin starting on Monday May 3.

The Board also ordered the full reopening of the Transfer Station, which will, effective immediately, be open six days a week.
The hours will be:
Monday-Thursday 8:00 am-3:00 p.m.
Friday 8:00 am-12:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 am-11:00 a.m.
Sunday closed.
The Rocks Road gate will be closed. Please access the station from the North entrance.
The swap shop will remain closed.

Thank you to DPW Manager John Starkey and all of the employees of the DPW, who have worked very hard to keep our services to Seabrook residents during this pandemic.

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Seabrook Water Tanks Get Key Maintenance

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen joined Water-Sewer Superintendent Curtis Slayton and Water Chief Operator George Eaton on a tour of the Route 286 Water Tank, which has had work on it restarted. This project, approved by the Board and the voters through Article 5 in 2019, provided finance to fully sandblast and recoat the interior and exteriors of the Route 107 and Route 286 water tanks. The Route 107 tank was completed last year, and we are on schedule to complete the 286 tank by mid-May. This project is part of the deep commitment of the Board of Selectmen to protecting our water infrastructure and bringing new sources of water online. Thanks to Curtis Slayton and George Eaton, who have done such a wonderful job of managing this project while keeping our water flowing. This project was budgeted at $2,039,000 and we have brought it in at $1.3 million.

Route 286 Water Tank
Visiting the Route 286 Water Tank.
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A look at the Barack Obama Memoir “A Promised Land”

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Promised Land

Volume 1 of the Presidential memoirs of Barack Obama has arrived and weighs in at 700 pages. There are some that prefer to deal with independent historical narratives as opposed to memoirs; my view is that memoirs offer valuable insight, despite Presidents looking to put the best spin on their actions. In this case I do believe Obama’s insights are indeed valuable, and reflect some authentic pressures he felt, with an honest amount of self-doubt expressed throughout.

It goes without saying that every President faces monumental decisions, some of which are choices between bad and worse. Obama is a reflective man, and that reflection brings forward some admission that choices he made were disappointing to some, especially those who voted for him and were expecting change to come faster and bigger. Our system, like it or not, is built for incremental change, and President Obama understood that, but also understood that his election brought some outsized expectations that could not always be met.

The book gives us some biographical background, and takes us on a brief tour of the Obama political career in Illinois, as he climbs the political ladder while experiencing some defeats. Obama gives us, throughout the book, the challenges inherent in maintaining a marriage and family while trying to build a political career. Michele Obama, while supportive, had some doubts about some of the political decisions that were made. He was pretty honest about those disagreements (doubts) that Michele had.

One of the truly bad decisions highlighted was Obama’s entry into a congressional race against Bobby Rush, the incumbent. Obama saw Rush as easy pickings (my words) but he soon discovered his error. He got crushed in that race, losing by 30%. He realized that he had overreached, building a campaign on false assumptions. He made up for that mistake by winning an open U.S. Senate seat after getting drubbed in a Congressional race. After losing the Congressional race Obama related a story about traveling to the Democratic National Convention and not having the proper credentials to actually get on the convention floor. He points out something that served him well. “It speaks, I tell my audience, to the unpredictable nature of politics, and the necessity for resilience.” Page37

Obama’s Senate win changed the dynamic, and he immediately became a celebrity Senator. We get a look at his now famous speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, which helped to give him a national profile. The campaign for President, and the interaction with Hillary Clinton, is covered, and in a surprisingly candid way. Obama spreads some praise onto Clinton, but the book reveals some tensions. Obama used the accusations of “dog whistles” in describing a Bill Clinton campaign speech, comparing it to tactics deployed by Lee Atwater. That is pretty tough.

After winning the Presidency Obama was generous in his praise of President George W. Bush and the transition he ran, but like the Clinton praise it is mixed in with some (diplomatic) hard shots on President Bush on policy. The disaster that was left behind for Obama to deal with is covered, and we get to see some of the folks that became mainstays of the Administration. (Rahm, Plouffe, Axelrod)

The book does a good job of covering the major issues of his first term, including some of the dynamics of group meetings with Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner. (We will take a look at
the new Boehner book for some additional detail there.) As Obama moved to try to win bipartisan support for the American Recovery Act he ran into a stone wall of GOP opposition, giving us the seeds of the political polarization that has become so difficult to navigate. We see that in the withdrawal of NH Senator Judd Gregg from consideration as Obama Commerce Secretary, and the Obama hug that ended Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s career as a Republican.

There were many monumental decisions taken to deal with the inherited economic mess, including the actions taken to save the auto industry, the continued issues in the financial sector, and a host of foreign policy issues. Obama still has some sharp elbows for some in the banking and business sectors who resented his “rhetoric” on the medicine necessary to accompany the massive financial bailouts afforded to that sector. Obama’s obvious resentments here are not restricted to the business community, but are spread over to those who felt that he should have taken the opportunity to impose harsher medicine, possibly breaking up some large financial institutions and sending some bankers to jail. Yes, Obama took much flak from the left on that score. He addresses those concerns, and while sympathetic to the reasons for such criticism he believes that on balance his administration did the best they could without causing further disruptions to the economy.

As you might expect we get some interesting takes on foreign leaders, including Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, and Nicholas Sarkozy, as well as his take on then Russian President Medvedev, keeping the seat warm for Vladimir Putin.

His take on the passage of Obama Care, and how a Massachusetts Senate race between Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Martha Coakley impacted the legislative process, was a key part of the book. (He was not too kind to the Coakley campaign)

Obama had disagreements with the military, and a complicated relationship with Bob Gates, who he kept on as Defense Secretary. (The Gates memoir, although I have not read it yet, nicks up Obama a bit) Obama, like his successors, had no easy answer to the problems and contradictions involved in our policy and presence in Afghanistan.

I have only managed to highlight a few pieces of this first memoir, which I think contributes to the historical understanding of the events of Obama’s first term. I understand that President’s put their own spin on the actions and policies they undertook in their memoirs but I believe they all contain some important information, even if it is given through a sympathetic view. Obama’s first term was most certainly impactful, and we continue to wrestle with some of the same issues today. I highly recommend this first installment of the Obama memoir.

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