Live Blog from the Keene City Council Meeting
The full Keene City Council is meeting tonight to vote on whether to reconsider the previous vote to accept the federal grant for a LENCO Bearcat.
6:55 The room is filling up with people, signs and news crews. WMUR channel 9 out of Manchester is here as well as several radio and newspaper outlets.
6:56 Singing has broken out. Thanks but no tanks is sung by some. It seems reasonably well received.
7:00 The meeting begins with standing room only in the gallery. The city councilors appeared well dressed, likely a result of such a high profile event. It is a shame there can’t be this kind of scrutiny for all the other items that the city council discusses and decides.
7:01 Roll call is conducted and only June M Donegan is not present. The pledge of alligence to the flag is conducted and most stand and participate.
First item involves 2012-2018 capital improvement program.
7:05 The capital improvement project is discussed. The Keene “Master Plan” is mentioned. This is how the city workers see themselves, as Masters.
7:10 Airport projects and funding are discussed. Some repairs are being done with Federal grant money. The city is hooked on that federal cash.
7:12 Fire department projects include a new ambulance for 200K and a new fire Pumper for 410K.
7:14 Funding and expenditures for city IT improvements. Mr. Sutherland speaks about cloud computing for city networking needs.
7:16 Police department wants 6 portable radar signs. Mr. Freeman speaks and asked for the department to be defunded until they stop hurting peaceful people. Some members of the gallery clap in applause.
7:20 Mr. Ian Freeman asked for no granite curbs and then is backed up by Mr. Bob Sutherland speaking to the fact that the curbs add as much as 10% to the costs of street upgrades.
7:24 Frank Mazolla representing Keene State College speaks to the street and sidewalk considerations for student and pedestrian foot traffic.
7:27 Frank Murphy speaks against curbs as a danger for icey conditions.
7:30 Parking infrastructure is discussed. Politicians seem to be very smooth when they talk about spending other people’s money.
7:35 Mr. Sutherland asks about where the new parking garage is going to go.
7:36 Solid waste facility improvements discussed. Next the sewer fund is the largest single expenditure for the city this year.
7:41 The short story is that a lot of money is needed to maintain the waste water treatment plant. Mr. Craig Rice speaks about treating human waste and how the current waste treatment is unsustainable.
7:45 Now discussing the Water Fund, Dam repairs and valve replacements around the city.
7:50 Pete Eyre speaks that the councilors think about how the free market could provide peaceful solutions to the same items taken care of by the city.
7:52 Moving on to other matters. No Bearcat yet.
7:58 Licenses for sidewalk cafes to sell alcohol on the sidewalk. Votes are conducted and licenses are granted to all requests save for Railroad Tavern which was placed on more time.
8:05 more streetlights will be installed near the former YMCA and on Marlboro Street near Main Street.
8:11 Bearcat aquistion now being discussed.
8:12 Councilor Mitch Greenwald speaks about the overall scenario.
8:15 Terry Clark speaks about the overwhelming outcry against the bearcat.
Terry Clark moves to amend the committee report to reject the bearcat.
Mr. Clark mentions a comment made by the LENCO sales Rep. Mayor Lane takes an issue something he says and the audience wanted asked to let him talk.
He mentions how the LENCO Rep says that opposition to the bearcat means you do not support the safety of the police. He mentiones how people who have no arguement use fear and shame tactics.
Mr. Clark mentions the LENCO ad that seems like a Hollywood blockbuster. Saying no to the bearcat will be saying no to war.
8:25 Mr. Clark wraps up talking about how this vehicle may turn Keene into the regional police. He mentions dispatch protocols. He says think about how you feel about it.
8:26 Councilor Bettina Chadbourne speaks about getting 80 calls about the bearcat and only ten percent of the calls were for the bearcat. She mentions how the media has spun the idea of opponents begin “free staters ” or anti-government when in-fact many callers just wanted to call to say they were not.
8:30 Mrs. Chadbourne asked the city councilors to vote to reconsider.
Councilor Janis Manwaring speaks to the council about having faith in the police and fire department. She mentioned that there is a lot of fear out there and how if the money could go to food or shelter she would prefer it. She will vote against reconsideration.
8:35 Councilor Carl Jacobs will vote for reconsideration. He can’t support hypothetical needs when there are so many real needs to be met.
8:37 Councilor Kris Roberts will vote against reconsideration.
He mentions that some communities have bought a Bearcat with drug confiscation moneys.
8:40 Councilor Dale Pregent speaks about a folder he has that contains news clippings that support the need for a bearcat as well as some letters against the vehicle.
Councilor Greenwald agrees with everything that everyone has said. He feels the bearcat is right for Keene.
He mentions 9/11 and the gallery disagrees.
The vote is taken as 4 votes for reconsideration and 9 opposed. The bearcat will be coming to Keene.
8:49 Councilor James Duffy asks that a report is made about the usage of the vehicle every six months. Mayor Lane asks for a yearly report, Mr. Duffy says that the majority of the city is against and transparency is necessary.
The gallery is upset with the results.
8:55 Councilor James Duffy speaks to people being afraid of the vehicle, cops and modern policing.Want to discuss rather than just commenting here? Visit the Shire Society Forum.