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March 23, 2008

Comments

jonathanedwards

Government is self serving and always growing larger not smaller. In government it never seems to matter what makes sense if it is at the expense of government jobs. To suggest that the government regionalize itself because of the size of the area and the economic benefits it would create is a great idea, and yet the idea is in direct combat to unions designed to be self serving. For example, the very study of what you propose, Rocky, would produce teams of jobs for government employees just to study the topic you're talking about if the government had anything to do with the subject.

Government would actually need to think of its citizens first which would be a huge change from the way history has worked. A community of Coos approach is needed, but who is going to decide that regionalism is to take place in all these realms of local government, if the local government bodies themselves show no attempts to combine forces and there is no incentive for them to do so. I know the story.... our elected officials are supposed to represent "we the people", but in reality that is usually after they tune into their favorite radio station, WIIFW(what's in it for me.)

In my mind, in order for something like regionalism of local government to work, you may need to get Berlin to become a town and get the people's voice back that seems to significantly be missing these days and then get a county wide referendum going to change the local government that is segregated by town into a Coos regionalized government district.

Rocky

Gee Jon, you're even more cynical than me! I'm not suggesting that we create a new County Government or for that matter that I expect our present Coos County Goverment take-on the task. It's up to us the people and the various organizations from local governments to private organization such as Chambers that need to change our shortsighted ways. For example, the City and towns of Gorham and Milan could sit down and investigate the wisdom of sharing Manager, school etc. It's not rocket science and the numbers would speak for themselves. It would take credible leadership which is something else that's in short supply.

jonathanedwards

Though its not rocket science to look at combining schools, managers, police, fire, etc. it is made out to be rocket science by those who benefit by keeping it large at no matter what expense. Let's face it, Rocky, government jobs are where it's at these days and those who have the jobs will do everything to protect them and the medical insurance and pensions that go with them. It has nothing to do with common sense, and ideas presented to government officials and government employees oftentimes fall on deaf ears. Case is point; we have a beautiful high school that is too large for Berlin. We have the Gorham high school in jeopardy of losing its accreditation. Why is Gorham still looking at Gorham and not Berlin. Self serving union jobs that would be lost is a big reason. Lack of regional commonality is another. I'm better than you attitude is a third. All three reasons are pathetic and a main reason this area continues to be stuck in the great depression while our neighbors successfully moved into the 21st century.

Rocky

I'm not sure I fully understand your "government job" idea/opinion/view and I'm not sure unions are influencing our behavior and attitude here in Coos County to a significant degree. I do agree with your opinion that there is a "better than thou" attitude influencing our behavior and I believe that it would be interesting to study and determine why that's so. I've had conversations with people outside of Berlin that believe there's nothing of value in Berlin. They would rather die than come to AVH or send their kids to our schools. There's a perception that Berlin is second rate and I believe that it goes back to the "mill days" and to a certain degree, to the "mill" mentality/lifestyle in Berlin. I don't believe that there's any credible evidence that the people, the institutions or the quality of goods and services is of a lower value in Berlin than any other community in Coos County. I would further speculate that the majority of people outside of Berlin and who have no direct connection to Berlin believe that Berlin is inferior to their own community. I have friends who have moved to Gorham because they told me "Gorham has more class" and I saw the anger in the Groveton mill worker who was told to go look in Berlin for a job. These dynamics are complex and have developed over a long period of time. Thre's no question in my mind that Berlin has an "image problem" and it needs to be recognized and addressed.

jonathanedwards

I don't believe in recent memory that our current government unions ever have needed to project an uproar in Coos County because rarely do systems in place get challenged enough. By writing this in a blog seeing 200 hits per day, I would expect a few of these government employees would be seeing this and perhaps have a different perspective to set me straight. Mandating government cutting through regionalization would send the unions in all walks of life, out of their closets, in my opinion.

As to the "better than thou" mentality, Claremont to a lessor degree than Berlin, has always had an inferior image problem that has slowly been lifted over the years through improvements to its appearance and through a greater demand for housing and development desire as a result of sister town growth as well as its own growth. It seems that a move away from heavy industry has been improving the city's appearance and perception.

As you mention, Rocky, it is truly possible that Berlin is considered second rate due at least in part to its mill town image. Can you imagine, then, how much easier it would be for Berlin to overcome this image once the boiler and stack in the middle of its city were demolished? It would certainly help, but we still have a very visible Cascade plant, that may deserve, with its survival, a buffer of trees along the Berlin/Gorham road, to fool perception into thinking its entirely gone while still having it functioning and providing jobs. At least, in the Cascade location, you can effectively buffer heavy industry far better than you can in the city's center as it is lying significantly lower at street level where primarily its roof shows from the Berlin/Gorham road.

Tom Christoffel

A link to this post will be in the March 26, 2008 issue of Regional Community Development News. It will be on-line March 27 at http://regional-communities.blogspot.com/ Please visit, check the tools and consider a link. Tom

Allen Walters

Jon.
Goverment self serving? What do you mean, are you talking about city employees creating/lobbying for tax breaks and then applying to be the first and only person to use that tax incentive? The Downtown tax incentive? Are you talking about the previous mayor that oversaw the taxs on single family homes quadruple under his watch now whining to keep his taxs down? I just don't understand your last post, I think you are making things up.

Allen Walters

Oh you must be talking about the Senator who was the realtor and lobbyist for all the land comprising the Jericho lake park. The same individual, who was one of the four people, who designed and chose the land for the park. The Dillons, The Senator and realtor for the Dillons and St Laurent Heirs, Gamanche and Bob. I know those discussions, where the land was chosen for the park and what lands were chosen for developement, were held in private because they are not part of the public record. The conversation where the lands were chosen is a part of the public record that has never been made public, should be part of the public record, but is not and will not because thses individuals have a lot of money at stake and need to continue to work the system and residents for their own financial gain. Then that same Realtor/Senator convinces the state and city to repave the access road to the "park" that he is the exclusive realtor for all the commercial land along that road? the truth is you could not make these things up.

Allen Walters

Good to be back in Berlin.

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