Well, after running into Tim Carter at the Meredith (NH) Senior Center for the latest NHListens versioning of what our “collective future” is supposed to be with respect to the Granite State Future collectivist Utopia (after all, once taxes are used to socially engineer our behavior in our living conditions, our living standards, the modes of transportation that are allowed, we are no longer free but live solely at the mercy of others planning our lives – like that has worked out so well in other countries?). Well, after I got done interviewing Tim, I went on inside.
Anyways, back to describing how this “listening” session would work:
The Senior Center is the old fashioned railroad station and once going inside, I saw that the event was being held to the right in what probably was the old waiting room where they hold events (like here at the Pemi-Baker Republicans’ Lincoln Day Dinner, when I interviewed Herman Cain for GraniteGrok but also got picked up by C-SPAN). A large wide and long room, it also has a barrel ceiling – not conducive to quiet group talk. Throw in the old wooden floor that creaked worse than any in a horror movie and I have to apologize in advance for the resulting poor audio quality. Anyways, I walked in, went passed the NHListens sign-in table, found a corner, and started to set up my first camera near one of the circles so I could observe it (I had no intention of participating – I only wanted to watch). A lady in green came over with a name sticker with Molly on it (Molly Donovan, a Community Organizer, late of NHListens and now a UNH state employee being paid to organize us) and started to ask why I was setting up a camera, did I sign in, and whether or not I was there as Press as a Blogger, and whether I knew about their journalism / press / media standards and requests? Well, I really was there as a private citizen and my intention was not to originally blog it (no wifi). She really did want me to sign in, but I refused, stating that this was a taxpayer supported facility, that NHListens is, in part, funded by taxpayer money and that Granite State Future is also taxpayer supported (even as she started in on a tack of “this is a function of the Regional Planning Commissions and there are different rules”). We’ll come back to Molly several times – mostly because she kept inserting herself into the videos.
I also refused her request to not record, again, by repeating the previous points. I did accede to one point, however: she also demanded that I had to get permission to record anyone’s faces – a point that will later be returned to. Thus during most of the night of the primary circle I was observing, you’ll see that I did try to honor that (because I said I would try not to) even as in a public spot, there is no guarantee of privacy. But I digress.
Here is the Intro:
As you listen, a couple of things.
- North Country Council is one of the 9 Regional Planning Commissions state-wide.
- He is right – they have no regulatory authority of their own but serve as advisors to the local Town. Which means, pretty much, that what is “advised” is pretty much adopted. After all, they control the money that “gets stuff done”.
- If you go to their site, ask yourself – what DON’T they seem to be experts on everything to advise on
- They always emphasis the “voluntary” part of their job. But remember, Plans must almost always be implemented.
- Granite State Future – a state wide plan, yes – paid for by the Feds. What are they concentrating on? Zoning, land use, and money (e.g., the Cooperative Federalism that is the Feds using monies taken from the States but returned to the States – less the Feds “overhead” costs and if the States behave according to the strings attached. Or in this case, the local Towns that have little expertise to maneuver the reams of paperwork and the legalese buried within (re: see “experts”, above)
- So, we have the Feds pumping in money downward to these RPCs, who do the drill down to “move” what the Feds ‘voluntarily suggest’ on topics to the locals, bring their guided agendas back up the regions, that boost them back up as a State wide “bottoms up solution” back up to the Feds via the Nashua RPC that actually hold the Federal $$$$ given to the other RPCs.
- And then back up to where this all started – The Feds
Millions of dollars – sweet work if you can get it. Always, always, always; follow the money.
- Six meetings – and remember that number 10!
- Also this; “reach out to people we don’t ordinarily hear from. For those of you who normally come to these kinds of meetings, planning board meetings, Board of Selectmen meetings, you probably notice that most of us see each other in a lot of meetings, so they wanted us to reach out beyond the normal people we hear from and try to find out what the disenfranchised sector of society, what they have to say. That includes rural areas which we all do, people of color, low income people, elderly people…and to that end, we have gone to Food Pantries, schools, and try to find out their opinion is”
- NHListens will hold 3 listening sessions (this was the first – and remember that number 10!) in the North Country, of which this is the first (this was the third NHListens session: Dover (same size as here), Claremont (about 70) 9 more to go through June.
- Littleton is next Thursday night, Berlin in early April.
Heh! John says that this is his very first one and excited to be involved. Now, his circle was the only one I didn’t watch, but I do kinda remember him being the facilitator.
And as described by Molly, this is how the groups would work:
- A strictly controlled meeting agenda of questions and issues
- A division of the prospective audience / attendees into “circles” consisting of about 10 people (remember that number)
- Paid “facilitators” and “scribes that are to guide the “conversations” and to “take notes” – in this case, paper easels
But it seems that, in the NHListens methodology, these aren’t the only guidelines for the groups.
Crap, I really keep wishing that the Koch Brothers would send that check…..
NOTE: I have edited this post since it initially was published simply because I “got ahead of myself” and have moved a few things around as well as to subsequent posts. It’s all there….just in different spots….