In January 2019, I, along with 30 other residents, was appointed to the Charter Review Committee (CRC) by the Portsmouth Town Council.
Our task for the next eighteen months was to review what was described as the people’s Charter of the Town of Portsmouth. We were to make suggestions to update this document for the entire Portsmouth electorate to vote on in the November 2020 election.
Our chair Richard Norton and vice-chair Frederick Marano did an incredible job of running our monthly meetings even with, on occasion, over twenty members around a large table. Each member spoke their mind in the discussions, more than once if you desired. No vote was taken until everyone in the room had his or her say and knew exactly what the motion stated. I can not praise these two gentlemen enough, as to their fairness and patience.
My initial excitement was soon dimmed when I learned that the recommendations of the CRC would not go directly to the voters of Portsmouth. The Town Council would decide what would or would not go on the November 2020 ballot. The charter review committee members took their task seriously. To have eighteen months of thoughtful consideration turned over to this very partisan council was a disaster and an insult to CRC members.
This council dismissed many of the suggestions by the CRC outright, including, but not limited to the selection process of School Committee and Town Council members by a vacancy and non-partisan election of both the School Committee and the Town Council. This excessively partisan council did not trust the voting electorate of Portsmouth to make the best decision for their town. The Council decided that they alone knew what was best for Portsmouth. Councilor Keith Hamilton stood alone for the right of the residents to make these immensely important decisions on Election Day.
In taking this vote out of the capable hands of the residents of Portsmouth, this partisan council changed the People’s Charter to the Six Democrats’ Charter! These six councilors have denigrated not only CRC members, but all the residents of Portsmouth.
Remember this insult on November 3. Do not cast your vote for any of these six sanctimonious councilors. Please join me, by writing in the names of friends or neighbors, who you believe, could represent Portsmouth with responsibility and integrity. Also, do not forget to fill in the oval next to your write-in.
Nancy Grieb, Portsmouth
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