City Council, LISTEN TO KEENE: Say NO to Tanks!

I know there has been much hoopla regarding the Lenco BearCat, but since I am unable to attend this Thursday’s meeting, I wrote city council a quick letter:

I would first like to take a moment and say thank you to Terry Clark, for his quiet attempts in educating the city of the Lenco BEARCAT and opposing its being in Keene.  I feel I made the right choice in voting for him, as he truly listens and cares what people in this city want. I hope the rest of the city council takes note of him and follows suit.

With that said, I am flabbergasted as to why there is even consideration for this war-like machine for Cheshire County. Keene is the biggest town/city in the county, and we certainly don’t need it! Thermal cameras so whoever is in the BEARCAT can see what’s going on in the ‘privacy’ of homes? Gun stands? We, in NH are able to boast that we live in one of the safest places in the country. Now you want to make it a military state? People feeling threatened and nervous by the sheer SIGHT of this monstrous ‘truck’?

I have personally done a bit of research on these machines, and have found that this would not be beneficial in the least to our area. When it needs to be serviced or a part replaced, we need to take it to MA (there are only 4 places in the country that service them). I understand the government (thanks a lot, Bush and Obama) will give Keene a grant of about $285,000  to purchase the BEARCAT, but will the grant also cover the cost of repairs and upkeep? I do believe that will be coming from taxpayers such as myself. No thank you! What about the money/resources to effectively train people to use it? I do not want to see many of the KPD have such a powerful tool as they already abuse the ones they have. You, as city council, have done some great maneuvering and compromising with certain situations in the past, but you have NOT been good with taxpayers’ money. You have continued to blow it on ridiculous things that we don’t NEED and many people don’t WANT. I strongly urge you to think VERY carefully about this piece of equipment.

As cited from the MSNBC website, “Other criminal justice experts have questioned whether police need minitanks, saying they’re often used for mundane tasks such as serving warrants, and create a sense of police as military soldiers rather than neighbors. They also contend that BearCats and other SWAT machinery do little to prevent violent crimes, which have fallen steadily in the past decade.”  The crime rate in the US is the lowest it has been since 2002, despite the population being at its highest since then.

Its bullet-proof armor sounds great, but really, how often do we have shoot outs in Cheshire County? Here’s a fact for you: Roughly 50 officers die per year in the US while on duty. That is in the entire COUNTRY. Not much!  One other thing to consider: The only people this ‘tank’ will protect are the 2-10 people inside it.  Please don’t hide behind the guise of this being an all-terrain vehicle that will assist in the once in a great while rescues that occur. BEARCAT stands for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck. Again, utter nonsense!

I know that MANY people in Keene feel the same way I do about this machine. Please take another look at the petition that has been going around town. You will see that not only “the free keeners” don’t want this image for our quaint and beautiful town, but business owners, city workers, political figures, teachers, parents, and people that voted for YOU are also saying THANKS BUT NO TANKS!

Free Keene Fest This Weekend!

Hello FK readers, it’s that time of year again…A time for foliage,                              cider, pumpkins, and of course, FREE KEENE FEST! This Sunday from 12-4pm on Railroad Square there will be festivities aplenty! Vendors of unique variety, live music, and a food drive to benefit the local shelters/food pantries. If you would like to sell something, please bring a table and join us. Or just come on downtown to listen to some great music and see agorism at it’s best! Hope to see you all there!

This festival has been happening for several years, with minimal interference. I sincerely hope to see it become yet another success. I also strongly urge everyone to bring over a non-perishable food item, such as a canned good or anything that does not go bad quickly. There will be a table with boxes labeled for this specifically. Thank you in advance!

What To Do About Central Square

I attended the unofficial city gathering this evening at City Hall to listen to what people had to say about the use of Central Square. In a nutshell, what it came down to is people needing to be respectful of others and take responsibility for their actions. Yes, it’s a public area, but that only means to me that EVERYONE should feel comfortable being there. Many townspeople aren’t happy with the swearing, the aggressive acts (fighting, yelling, etc) they witness, people getting screamed at and even threatened for sitting on park benches and observing what is taking place at the park. I happen to also not be happy with my community treating others in this way.

The atmosphere has changed drastically in the past year. Last summer I loved hanging out there and I felt that despite some civil disobedience (I even proudly partook in much of it), it was non-threatening and peaceful. Now, I don’t enjoy being there or even walking through the park. And I certainly don’t walk through it at night if I’m alone. This isn’t ok with me.

Unfortunately at the meeting it seemed that the room became divided: they weren’t members of the community so much as ‘freestaters’ and ‘juggalos’ and angry townspeople and business owners.  So, instead of blaming a ‘group’ or ‘gang’ or ‘those people,’ what can we, as an entire community, do to make this popular hangout spot an area for people of all ages?

Some ideas I have heard through the grapevine to make the park more comfortable for all were curfews and surveillance cameras. I personally don’t like either of these options.  On October 26th there will be an official City Council meeting to talk about what to do, and if anyone has some positive/constructive ideas I sincerely hope that you will take a few minutes to attend this meeting, or even submit a letter to City Council.

100 Nights 2nd Annual Tent Drive

It’s that time of year again…The Hundred Nights Shelter is having a tent drive Saturday, July 9th from 1-6pm. Not only are they collecting things such as tents, sleeping bags, paper towels, duct tape, flashlights, BOTTLED WATER, foot powder, and toilet paper, but throughout the day there will also be many activities. Activities for all ages like face painting; followed by an open mic evening!

I do hope to see our readers down there next Saturday donating to a very worthy cause. This non-government-run shelter relies on donations and fundraisers alone to operate. Even the director and CEO are volunteer positions. Let’s all lend a hand to the hundreds of homeless people, families and children in Keene!

City Council Doesn’t Care In Manchester

I went to the Manchester City Council meeting this evening, along with about 35 others in support of Manchester activists speaking out about the unjust arrests and stolen properties from Saturday evening. There were several differences in the way their meetings were held as opposed to Keene (such as the mayor didn’t say a word to anyone addressing him), and I must say I found their attitudes and overall demeanor disgusting and unprofessional.

At the meeting, anyone was allowed to speak about any topic of their choice for 3 minutes, but one had to sign up before the meeting began.  An alderman/woman (aka city council member) then called people up one by one to speak. Not one alderman looked directly at the speaker, and in fact often rolled their eyes, ruffled through papers, or chatted amongst themselves. The mayor himself appeared tired and unwilling to listen to the citizens of Manchester voicing their concerns.

On the other hand, the people that spoke about Saturday’s arrests did a splendid job. They raised a lot of great points about how far is too far, police accountability, and using tax payers’ money to arrest people chalking and not showing identification (neither which are illegal). Many people that had their cameras or phones confiscated for “evidence” (why is beyond me as they have their own surveillance) spoke out and kindly asked the city council to tell the officers to return their property. The speakers were professional, eloquent, and I personally was very impressed! (more…)