In a recent op-ed, Kathy Sullivan accused me of making unfounded accusations about the proposed Mark Stebbins Center. You can read her inaccurate statements HERE.
Let’s unpack “unfounded accusations,” shall we?
1. It will NOT be paid for “entirely with charitable donations.” There is federal ARP grant money, which they admitted ON VIDEO at the abridged meeting that they cut short when they realized their unethical approach to “community building”–you know, ripping out an actual existing community garden–was backfiring.
2. “Built on land purchased by the City.” NO RFP was requested or required, which is standard operating procedure. Therefore, this deviated from the norm, therefore, it is “special treatment.” This land was designated “surplus” without any criteria being stated or met. Many boilerplate letters were submitted with NO EVIDENCE; again, because the ACTUAL FACTS ARE the land IS BEING USED BY THE COMMUNITY ALREADY.
3. “When the board of mayor and alderman supported”: 14 residents spoke AGAINST the decision. 8–ALL AFFILIATED with the city or project spoke in “favor” (i.e. they should be “discounted” because they have a conflict of interest). To Sally Stebbins’ credit, she did say the project will not proceed without community support. This is also captured on video, and I hope we can believe her.
4. The community partners listed include health services for juveniles that provide, amongst other things, transgender reassignment services and chemical abortions. (Amoskeag Health, where Maggie Hassan had a little presser yesterday, hum.) The other community partners listed include: Easterseals, Waypoint, Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester & Granite United Way. I encourage people to go look at what the areas around some of these places look like on the East Side, and ask yourself if this is what we want next to a middle school?
5. How do we define “underserved”? Manchester isn’t a big city, and you can WALK from the West to East side in 15 minutes, let alone drive from the proposed building site to the current Boys and Girls club in about 5 minutes (it’s less than 2 miles away!).
6. There are several other sites more suitable than a park hosting a thriving community garden on 5 dead end streets where the speed limit is 10 mph. I guess the reason this was picked is because the City thought they could railroad us?
The next meeting is scheduled for 8/16 at 5PM at Parkside Middle. PLEASE plan to attend.