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Carla from Porcupine Real Estate and Brittany of Ledgeview Commercial take a closer look at a few of the properties in our investment newsletter this week, including a multi-family property in low-tax Croydon and a potential short-term rental that is off-grid on 5 acres. Sign up for the list to see all our investment property picks HERE.
On Thursday, October 19th, the Nackey S. Loeb School, in partnership with the NH Institute of Politics at St. Anslem, celebrated the First Amendment.
This year’s recipient is Laurie Ortolano, who served as president of Right-to-Know NH for a while. I have featured her on my show over the years, and deeply admire her relentless pursuit of open government.
Appearing above with attorney Gregory Sullivan and President and Chairman Joseph W. McQuaid, Laurie’s success story against the City of Nashua makes her the perfect recipient. Read about her story HERE.
We chat about the DNC’s weird and wonderful strategy of refusing to acknowledge NH’s First in the Nation status, resulting in Biden not even appearing on the primary ballot here. And other things.
Last night, my husband Louis Calitz and I attended the kick-off of Lily Tang Williams’ CD2 Congressional Senate campaign at Fulchinos Vineyard in Hollis. Lily, an immigrant like me, and escapee from Communist China, just as I escaped apartheid South Africa, has run for office in both Colorado and now in New Hampshire. She garnered a decent 25% in a heavily contested primary in 2022, the top three candidates, including Lily, within points of each other. Read more about her background and consider supporting her race!
Today’s Sunday Union Leader features my op-ed about the current landscape of Right-to-Know in the Free State. Improvements are happening, but they are also devising new and sneakier ways to hide from us. Privacy for US, not them!
For people who cannot access behind the paywall:
TRANSPARENCY in government must start at the top. For several years now, Right-to-Know NH (RTKNH), a statewide nonpartisan open government advocacy group, has been requesting the Attorney General’s office update its outdated 138-page Right-to-Know memorandum from 2015.
Over the past 8 years, many positive Right-to-Know developments have taken place. The public deserves to understand how their rights have been expanded.
For example, a Constitutional Amendment was passed in 2018 that states: “[Art.] 2-b. [Right of Privacy.] An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.”
Sounds good, right? But Article 2-b was recently cited by Manchester City Solicitor Emily Rice to deny the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, as a matter of law, copies of “daily logs” at a homeless shelter. Rice’s interpretation seems counter to the spirit of openness and good governance, highlighting the need for more clarity from the attorney general.
Several recent state Supreme Court decisions have also strengthened our Right-to-Know.
Thanks to the dedication of the Union Leader and other local papers, the Fenniman decision was rightfully overturned after almost 30 years. This win significantly narrows the application of an exemption to disclosure of governmental records under the law. Instead of a “blanket ban” applying to all government personnel records, now, a balancing act between privacy interests and public’s Right-to-Know must be considered.
Due to the relentless efforts of Laurie Ortolano, former RTKNH president, there is even more good news, not least of which is that she will be honored at the Nackey Loeb First Amendment Awards this Thursday. Tickets are available at loebschool.org.
Ortolano’s transparency battle with the City of Nashua reached historic proportions. Requests for tax assessments and finances were met with denials and court battles. They even arrested her for criminal trespassing at City Hall (later annulled).
But Ortolano didn’t give up. She was finally awarded $63,400 in attorneys’ fees, generally unheard of, for the City of Nashua’s non-compliant behavior, and officials were ordered to undergo remedial RTK training to avoid future violations.
The city appealed to the state Supreme Court and in August Ortolano’s victory was upheld. In their decision, the justices quoted the state’s Right-to-Know law: “The purpose of the Right-to-Know law is to ensure both the greatest possible public access to the actions, discussions, and records of all public bodies, and their accountability to the people.”
On top of these developments, a new Right-to-Know Ombudsman office (RKO), attached to the Secretary of State, has opened. The intent is to provide the public with a simpler, cheaper, and quicker way to resolve Right-to-Know complaints. Anyone can file a written complaint and pay the $25 filing fee. The ombudsman is tasked with determining if any Right-to-Know violations have occurred, and issues a ruling.
If you don’t like the RKO ruling, you may still appeal to the superior court within 30 days. If the ombudsman’s final ruling is not appealed, it may be registered in Merrimack County Superior Court as an enforceable judgment.
Based on the above, it’s clear the public and municipalities need better guidance on the current landscape of our Right-to-Know laws. The old, outdated memo from almost a decade ago simply isn’t cutting it.
We respectfully request that the attorney general update the Right-to-Know Memo by the end of the year. After all, Granite Staters have the right-to-know what’s up with their Right-to-Know, because without transparency, there is no accountability.
A former Republican candidate for state Senate, Carla Gericke is an outspoken open-government advocate and serves on Right-to-Know NH. She lives in Manchester.
In 2020, I gave a talk on the main stage at Anarchapulco in Mexico. I didn’t know the video came out until I was looking for this essay, and randomly ran across it (the talk is based on the essay). I don’t typically like re-watching my talks, but I knuckled down and watched it yesterday, and something remarkable transpired… I didn’t hate it. I didn’t cringe. I didn’t get a minor panic attack, especially at the part at the start where my slides weren’t working correctly. I watched my talk and thought, Good job.
Me thinking ‘Good job’ about anything related to public speaking is… massive progress! This is only possible because, for the past five years, I have chosen to stick to the incremental improvements I’ve introduced into my life, while slowly adding more.
When you take care of yourself, through lifestyle changes like nourishing yourself with whole foods cooked in high good fats, getting enough sleep, hydrating, and socializing with people who fill your cup, you feel better… and when you feel better… you do better!
What are you working on in your life to make those small changes that add up? Are you journaling regularly? Are you making sure you’re drinking plenty–and I mean PLENTY–of water? Are you aware when you’re doom scrolling on your phone, and can you put it down?
As I say in the talk… how you spend your time equals you life. Spend it wisely!
Lifestyle choices make a difference!
Which means YOU are in control!
These pics are 7 years apart, and I am healthier and happier at 51, than I was in 2016.
1. I now prioritize myself. This means saying NO a lot more.
2. NO to things like alcohol, carbs, sugar, and toxic people who steal your time.
3. I dealt with my childhood abandonment issues, resetting my mindworms and freeing myself from negative self-talk, which allowed me to accept and love my authentic self: wild, honest, brilliant.
4. Actively monitoring sleep, hydration, and meditation.
5. Practicing mindfulness through yoga, breathing techniques, and forest-bathing.
6. I take a goddamn cold shower every day.
7. I practice gratitude through daily journaling, capturing how thankful I am for my husband, my family, my friends, my community, my dog, my environment, even every single mushroom I spot… I am very grateful for my beautiful life!
We only have NOW!
If YOU want to become BETTER as you age, follow me for inspiration.
Live free and thrive!
Brittany Ping of Ledgeview Commercial and I take a closer look at a few of the properties in our investment newsletter this week, including a multi-family property in Laconia and a potential short-term rental that was once a lumberjack boarding house and can sleep 16 people. Sign up for the list to see all our investment property picks HERE.