More information needed on attacks on 'Becksted 5': Letters

More information needed on attacks on 'Becksted 5'

Nov. 28 — To the Editor:

It is now clear that former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand (a Democrat, who no longer lives in the city) attempted to manipulate and influence the 2021 municipal elections in Portsmouth. This information is contained in an Oct. 6, 2022 report issued by the New Hampshire attorney general’s office. The report seems to indicate that their investigation has not been completed in its entirety. What is not clear so far from this report is who are the other four unnamed individuals involved and who was Mr. Marchand’s client that provided the funding for this effort against five city councilors.

The report also confirms that neither the Portsmouth Democrats nor the New Hampshire Democratic Party were involved in this effort (as I had stated publicly at a City Council session).  A joint media statement on Dec. 30, 2021 signed by Ray Buckley (New Hampshire Democratic Party chair) and Shanika Amarakoon (chair Portsmouth Democrats) stated: “ We condemn the Becksted 5 attacks. The attacks go against the character of our community. We cannot let our local elections be undermined by national political style tactics. The City Councilors who were attacked, after all, are our neighbors.  While we may not agree with all of their decisions, they did not deserve this attack, and we do not stand for it.”

Many in Portsmouth, have always suspected that the attacks on the five former city councilors known as the Becksted 5 had more to do with financial interests than political affiliation. They were considered to be not development-friendly enough. The attacks, using social media, flyers and robo-calls stated that the Portsmouth City Council was being run by Trump Republicans.  The truth, however, is that the political registration of the five councilors in question was one Democrat, one Republican and three independents.

Mr. Marchand was acting as a political consultant.  The AG’s report refers to four other individuals who worked with or collaborated with Mr. Marchand. Those individuals need to be identified, since they could also have been involved in the misinformation campaign in order to promote more development-friendly candidates.

More:AG warns Marchand for spoof Portsmouth campaign website. Becksted: 'Election was stolen'

Transparency requires that political discourse also involve identifying who is responsible for an ad or a campaign flyer. Knowing the source of funding for various candidates and campaigns, helps our community identify possible conflicts of interest and corruption.

I urge both the attorney general and the Portsmouth City Council members to support all efforts to provide additional relevant information to the public in this matter.

State Rep. Peter Somssich


Portsmouth Mayor Rick Becksted, left, City Councilors Peter Whelan, Paige Trace, Petra Huda and Esther Kennedy.
Portsmouth Mayor Rick Becksted, left, City Councilors Peter Whelan, Paige Trace, Petra Huda and Esther Kennedy.

COP 27 not a real win

Nov. 29 — To the Editor:

I need to respond to Wes Tator's letter to the editor: COP 27 was a win - Nov 29. Mr. Tator believes that the recent international climate summit, and I assume many or all of the previous ones, was a success. It may have been a public relations success, but it did nothing to address the real issues of emissions of greenhouse gases.

Successful public relations efforts have convinced people that the United States is the major bad actor with regard to carbon emissions. Those behind this myth fail to explain that, while the United States has been successful in reducing carbon emissions, China emits almost 3 times as much greenhouse gas as the United States and has no plans to stop anytime soon. In fact, in 2021, China began building 33 gigawatts of coal-based power generation. That's the most new coal-fired power capacity China has undertaken since 2016 and three times more than the rest of the world combined.

In August 2021, reported that China is planning to build 43 new coal-fired power plants and 18 new blast furnaces — equivalent to ADDING about 1.5% to its current annual emissions.

Sure, China has "pledged" to stop growing its carbon emissions by 2060; by then their baseline emissions will be gigantic, and do you really trust China to keep its word?

China isn't alone in increasing its carbon emissions.  India produces more than half as much carbon emissions as the U.S. and, while U.S. carbon emissions are falling, India's is growing rapidly. India gets roughly 70% of its electricity from coal, and the Modi government recently ordered the reopening of more than 100 closed mines to meet rapidly growing demand made even greater by the country’s crushing heat wave.

Recent events in Europe have also caused some of those countries to re-open their coal-fired power plants.

So, while so-called climate activists may praise these glitzy climate showcases, other than first world countries pledging billions in guilt money to developing nations, no real progress has come from them.

Frank Ferraro

North Hampton

China, not US, is top emitter of carbon dioxide

Nov. 29 — To the Editor:

A recent letter claimed that the United States is "the largest emitter of CO2 on the planet." A few seconds of Googling shows that honor instead goes to China. It's not even close.

Paul A. Sand


Republicans focused on investigations, not solving Americans' problems

Nov. 29 — To The Editor:

During the midterm election, the Republicans ran against inflation, crime and border security, issues that affect all Americans. The voters took that as a promise of action that would make a difference in their lives, and rewarded the party with control of the House of Representatives.

As the new House leaders prepare to take charge of influential House committees in January they are busy laying out plans to ... deconstruct Hunter Biden’s laptop? Impeach President Biden over his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan? Investigate the Justice Department? Wait ... is that what the voters are worried about?

Apparently, Republican leaders are stuck in the past and in an attack mode with a toddler mentality, unable to move forward with ideas and plans for legislation that addresses the realities of our daily lives.  They have obviously confused the responsibility of governing with the power to disrupt and destroy.

It’s time we started electing grownups who care about the people who vote for them.

Cynthia Muse


Support Sen. Levesque for SOS on Dec. 7

On Dec. 7, legislators from all over New Hampshire will gather at the State House to elect a new secretary of state. I am writing to ask New Hampshire voters to contact your legislators, and ask them to vote for a new scretary of state who will actively work to protect and modernize our New Hampshire election procedures. The current acting SOS has been part of the office as deputy secretary since 2002, and he has supported laws that make it harder and more complicated for voters in New Hampshire to vote. His office also supports an election procedure, which makes it difficult for overseas military members to vote in time during the next general election.

It is time for a change and for fresh voices to work to modernize the office of SOS. The election of a new SOS should not be a partisan vote. Ask your legislators to support former Sen. Melanie Levesque for this position. She is a small business owner and her past position as chair of the Senate Election Law Committee puts her in a unique position to update the technical online services of the SOS office to better serve the needs of all New Hampshire voters. She is committed to expanding voting rights for every New Hampshire voter, ensuring that our elections are safe and secure, protecting our first-in-the-nation primary, and streamlining processes for New Hampshire businesses and organizations.

Link to e-mail legislators in all NH counties

Support Sen. Levesque for SOS on Dec. 7!

Corinne Dodge


This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: More information needed on attacks on Portsmouth's Becksted 5: Letters