Ted Siefer's City Hall: Arnold playing campaign funding close to the vest
At the time, Arnold insisted his campaign was doing fine in the fundraising department, and he said his political action committee would release its disclosure report before the primary, as required under the charter.
As it turns out, Arnold, a lawyer by trade, is taking a legalistic approach to the disclosure requirement. While it's described on the city's website as the "10-days-before-primary" report, the City Charter states that the form has to be filed within 10 days immediately preceding the primary.
Gatsas, meanwhile, had submitted his latest report right at the 10-day mark before the primary.
"I go above and beyond what campaigns are supposed to do," Gatsas said. "I would think all candidates would follow the same pattern."
His latest report shows he raised an additional $49,525 since July 1, bringing the total amount raised so far to more than $200,000. If the pace keeps up, he'll exceed his sizable haul in the 2011 election.
Large checks came from auto dealers, real estate and construction companies and Wiggins Airways, which donated $2,500. The individuals who wrote the largest checks - $5,000 each - were Thomas Bullock, president of Amoskeag Beverages, and Fred Tausch, who has been a generous donor to Gatsas' campaigns in the past.
Another large donor was Constantine Scrivanos ($2,500), a longtime supporter of the mayor whose family owns several Dunkin' Donuts franchises.
One of the more notable contributions came from VMD Companies of North Andover, Mass. VMD, which cut a check for $1,000, is the company that wants to build a student housing tower on the site of the Pearl Street parking lot. Hopefully, the president of the company knows that the mayor, as he has said, does not let money sway his political judgment.
Did you know that the school board now has its own code of conduct? One might call it the be-nice policy; or it might be termed the "Beaudry Bill."
At the end of a long, eventful session last Monday, the board voted unanimously for a motion proposed by Ward 4's Roy Shoults. "In order to promote proper and effective human relations," Shoults proposes that every school board member "always display due respect at all times, and in all communications, whether verbal, written or visual, to the Manchester School District's superintendent and administrative assistants, as well as to all school personnel and volunteers."
Mayor Gatsas replied, "I think what he's trying to say is we all show respect to each other in the chamber and outside the chamber."
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As is well-known, Ward 10 Alderman Phil Greazzo is a fiscal conservative, and he also runs a road paving business. So when he encountered crews repaving a stretch of Interstate 293 by the Mall of New Hampshire, he questioned the expense of the project. "Those ramps were in perfect condition," he said.
"There was maybe a little pothole on the westbound ramp," Greazzo said. "So we're spending $1.7 million to fix a pothole. It's a ridiculous process."
You may have noticed that old-school coin-operated parking meters have recently popped up downtown. They're the "spare change" meters the aldermen voted a couple of months ago to have installed. At the time, some aldermen expressed concerns that people might confuse them for real parking meters rather than donation stations to help the needy. There's no risk of that. Local artists teamed up to paint the meters; each has its own colorful theme.
The money goes to the New Horizons soup kitchen and shelter.
Depending on your perspective, the meters have a secondary or primary purpose: to deter panhandling. In this regard, it's perhaps not surprising that the most productive meters are located in the spots most popular with panhandlers, outside City Hall and near Margarita's restaurant.