Manchester elections: Candidates for alderman in Wards 7, 8, 9, school boardBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
September 18. 2017 11:36AM
MANCHESTER — City voters will head to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in the 2017 municipal primary election. Primaries for school board and aldermen exist in several wards across Manchester, along with the citywide mayoral race.
Polls will be open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Primary races exist for alderman seats in Wards 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12. Races exist for seats on the Board of School Committee in just two wards — 6 and 12.
Four candidates are running for mayor.
The New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News sent three questions to alderman, mayoral and school board candidates to provide a short profile on them. Candidates were asked to limit responses to 50 words or less.
Today’s Sunday News presents the latest installment in a multi-day series showcasing those responses. Answers received are being presented ward by ward and will wrap up with responses from at-large candidates. Responses from mayoral candidates ran on Saturday. All of the responses are available online at UnionLeader.com.
These are the questions :
1. Do you support making Manchester a sanctuary city? Why or why not?
2. Do you support a tax cap override to fund salary increases for city and school district employees?
3. What is the top issue facing the city/schools, and how would you address it?
Today’s responses are from candidates for alderman and school board in Wards 7, 8 and 9.
Brian D. Cole, 45
Owner, JC International Manchester.
1. I do not support making Manchester a sanctuary city for the simple reason it is against federal law. We do not get to choose what laws we do and do not abide by. Additionally, losing federal income by not supporting the law would increase the tax burden on the citizens of the great City of Manchester.
2. I do support a tax cap override in this instance. Education is paramount to our future. City employees who dedicate their careers to the betterment of the city at large deserve to earn a fair and decent wage. That being said, I think the upper management roles in each area of government should not be earning six-figure salaries. Better distribution of payroll funds need to be addressed with regards to the salary tiers.
3. The heroin epidemic is the No. 1 issue facing our city. It is very disconcerting to me that the police department knows where the drug dealer/problem areas are in the city but lack the funds to deal with it. The court system needs to make an immediate adjustment to hear and prosecute these people to get them off our streets. No drugs available equals no overdoses. Education of our youth is also important in this regard and should be a priority of the school system.
William P. Shea (Incumbent)
1. I am not in support of Manchester being a sanctuary city and agree with the Catholic Bishop of the New Hampshire Diocese in this matter because it is a violation of our laws and creates more problems for our police department in trying to provide services to the citizens of Manchester.
2. I do not support a tax cap (override) to fund salary increases for city and school district employees. I believe that all salary increases should be included in the general budget as part of the departmental appropriations while adhering to the tax cap. This was followed in the 2018 budget with our police department salary increases.
3. The top issue facing the city is the opioid crisis. Safe stations, drug court, city, state and federal funding coordinated with the fire, police, health departments and school districts is a necessity. Serenity House and other agencies need our support. The top school issue is resolving the redistricting of students at all grade levels.
Brenda Noiseux, 39
1. A sanctuary city is a welcoming gesture. It’s in line with our tradition as an immigrant city and helps ensure our city resources are utilized for our city’s public safety, rather than a federal agency. It’s a good idea, but residents are more worried about the drug crisis and schools.
2. Since its implementation, the tax cap has been overridden at least twice and voters are frustrated. Salaries, comprising a large part of the budget, are an easy scapegoat. I support a data-based review to see what the tax cap is doing for our city and how to prevent future overrides.
3. Stagnation. We’ve had the same elected officials year after year and it’s time for change. As a city, we’re at a tipping point where City Hall needs to be focused on our potential and our future. I’ll start by bringing fresh enthusiasm, perspective and taking a proactive approach to re-engaging Manchester residents.
John Cataldo, 31
Quality Control Lead at Great North Aleworks in Manchester
1. Manchester should not become a sanctuary city. Giving safe haven to illegal aliens who commit crimes is against federal law, undermines those immigrants who are here legally, and adds unnecessary burden to our justice system.
2. I do not support overriding the tax cap to fund salary increases. Overriding the tax cap outside of reasons of public safety breaks faith with Manchester taxpayers and voters who voted for it. I fully support our school and city employees and believe they deserve raises, but we must do it responsibly.
3. The drug crisis is the top issue facing our city. It ravages individuals and families, affects each and every resident, and holds our city back from advancement. It must be solved immediately because our fellow citizens are suffering and because of the added stress it places on our police, fire, first responders, and health care.
Edward Sapienza, 50
Retired/part-time County Correctional Officer, per-diem Court Security Officer
1. No, I believe in the rule of law. We are a nation of laws, not of men. I will never apologize for advocating for the rule of law. If you want to come here legally, hey, that’s great. Illegally? Different story. We should cooperate fully with all law enforcement agencies.
2. Hell, no! If we can’t afford the pay raises then don’t give them. Call it fiscal prudence, call it fiscal sanity. Call it whatever you want but please let’s stop with things like “fast day” holiday. Come on.
3. The top issue the city faces is Mr. and Mrs. John/Jane Q. Public constantly being shoved aside and overlooked. I would address it by remembering where I came from.
Betsi DeVries, 62
1. Manchester should not give sanctuary to hardened criminals and the federal government should pay for undocumented criminals when jailed in N.H. This should not be an excuse to reign terror upon long-standing, law-abiding, but undocumented individuals who add value, with many owning homes and paying taxes.
2. With sound budgeting practices, an override of the tax cap just to support salary increases would not be necessary. It is time for elected officials to look long and hard at all budgets and identify items that are no longer justified.
3. Drug use and related crime activities have permeated all of our wards. I cannot claim to know the cure for drug use, but I will push for increased community policing to help residents feel safer in their neighborhoods.
James Burkush, 58
Retired Manchester Fire Chief/ Current Hooksett Fire Chief
1. We do not need to become a “sanctuary city.” Manchester welcomed my grandparents from Lebanon and we should continue to welcome legal immigrants. They add culture and diversity to our city, work very hard, and many are our neighbors in Ward 9.
2. There are limited fiscal resources and we must always work hard for the taxpayers with that in mind. We need to balance the need to keep taxes low, maintain all essential services and treat all employees fairly and with respect. In order to maintain the essential services that we provide, I would vote to override the cap.
3. The overwhelming issue we face today is the crisis of addiction. It is directly affecting the cost to provide public safety services and threatens a generation of our residents. Educating our youth about the dangers associated should be our priority. Secondly, we face a fiscal crisis which we need to address together as a city. As I walk and discuss issues throughout Ward 9, residents expressed their disapproval with the current attitude at City Hall. The decorum at City Hall needs to change; taxpayers expect public servants to solve problems. I am willing to use my experience and proven leadership ability to work hard for the residents of Ward 9.
Michael Ricker, 38
Owner, insurance agency in Manchester
1. I do not support Manchester being a sanctuary city. I believe we need to focus on the issues we have at hand, not create additional issues and financial obligations.
2. I do not support a tax cap override. I feel salaries need to be kept under control, and that is not what is currently happening. The citizens of Manchester voted in a tax cap. We should not be going against what the voters want or else they have no voice.
3. Our top issue is a lack of vision for our city and how to go forward from here. We have many issues that need to be addressed, and I plan to take a fresh look at all of them individually.
Barbara Shaw (Incumbent)
1. No. Making Manchester a sanctuary city would allow harboring of criminals and defy the law. Congressional plans should be developed to allow law-abiding illegals, contributing to the community, to become citizens.
2. No. We need progress and change by looking outside the box for new ideas and methods; competitive salaries, excellent services but not at the increased expense of the taxpayers. Taxes may increase slightly but only to the extent of the cap.
3. Partisanship and lack of a uniform vision. Cooperation and compromise have always been key, in my mind, for success. Educate, employ, deliver services, protect the taxpayer, foster change and improvement, have a vision. Go Manchester.
Ross Terrio, 51
1. No, I do not support making Manchester a sanctuary city. Sanctuary cities violate federal law and create chaos by ignoring the “Rule of Law” that our country relies on to keep order and prevent crime.
2. I support the tax cap. There should only be an override for extreme circumstances. That being said, our school system is chronically underfunded based on per-pupil spending.
3. School funding. Manchester is the poorest community in a wealthy state and doesn’t have the money. I believe Keno will help with funding, but the state has a duty to help Manchester because of our poverty level. Finally, we should consider legalizing marijuana and taxing it to fund our schools.
Ethan Moorhouse, 19
Sales Associate at Old Navy at the Mall of New Hampshire
1. I support Manchester becoming a sanctuary city. Our nation was built by immigrants, and now more than ever, we need to ensure that our immigrant population is not in fear. Immigrants help make Manchester the great city that it is, and we need to ensure that they are kept safe.
2. In order to ensure that all public employees are receiving adequate and competitive wages, the school board and aldermen need to sit down together to work out a plan that won’t ask more from taxpayers, but rather reallocate funds to ensure our public workers are receiving adequate pay.
3. The top issue in our schools is lack of funding. The school district needs to start saving money by moving the SAU offices and adult education over to West High School. With this move, we can invest in new technology, books, and our teachers.
1. As a school board member this is not an issue we would take a vote on, but to answer the question I do not support Manchester becoming a sanctuary city.
2. I do not support a tax cap override to fund salary increases.
3. The obvious are redistricting or the opioid crisis, but an issue facing every citizen in the city and the state in general is the lack of vocational training at the junior high and high school level. With 1.5 million job opportunities currently unfilled in the trades, skilled labor is highly respected and sought after. We need to prepare our students for life after high school whether that includes higher education or not.
Erika Connors, 38
1. Our job as a school district is to educate the youth in our city and to provide them with a safe and healthy learning environment. It is my hope that our federal legislators can come together to develop common sense immigration laws that will help families, schools, and cities across the nation.
2. There is a significant relationship between a city’s educational system and property values. If Manchester properly funds its schools, it will become a desirable city for families and businesses. As a result, our tax base will increase, and we will have no need to override the tax cap.
3. Education and class size. We need to develop a budget that properly funds our city schools and to create a plan to secure that funding. With proper educational funding, from all sources, we can reduce class sizes, attract young families and businesses, and increase both our home values and tax base.