Letters to the Editor



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Amusement ride rule needed To the editor: I would like to ask your readers to let me know about their experiences with amusement rides and amusement ride parks. As way of background, I sponsored the state’s first law requiring annual inspections of carnival amusement rides. Providing a level of safety and oversight of the powerful machines that many people and their children ride on. For a total of 14 summers off-and-on since the 1960s, my own work life has included operating amusement rides of various types, heights, speeds and conditions. I know first-hand the inherent dangers of those rides. When they are not maintained or operated properly, or when an operator is not trained in safety standards, injury can easily result. Sometimes a serious accident or death is just waiting to happen. I am introducing a bill into the New Hampshire Legislature in January that pulls together some of the better standards of some other states. The new law would require regular inspections of amusement rides, proper reporting of accidents so that improvements in rider safety can be made, and expanded levels of safety for riders, such as clear instructions and lighting when the rides are used at night. It also provides better training of the often inexperienced, seasonal employees hired at near-minimum wage who operate amusement rides. We expect levels of competence and training for bus drivers of our kids, but some amusement rides are as dangerous as driving a bus yet employees often have little training. The safety of the riding public and the employees, who operate what is often very powerful and under-maintained equipment, is important. With that in mind, I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has experienced or observed an accident on an amusement ride, here or elsewhere, or any employee who has worked at an amusement park who has been concerned about his or her safety or that of those who ride. I can be reached in Portsmouth at 436-0718, or by e-mail at JimSplaine@aol.com. N.H. Rep. Jim Splaine Portsmouth ‘Bully’ attacks Rep. Soltani To the editor: Perhaps we all can remember the playground scene from our school days: The bully is making his rounds, and while we are glad we are not the one being thrashed, we know that we should do something and not just stand there and watch. Some of us did something and others of us grew up, and as adults, said to ourselves, “When the choice again presents itself, I will do the right thing.” This past week, in various newspapers and other media across the state, we watched bullies making their rounds. Same-sex marriage advocates, such as the sometimes Republican, sometimes Democrat, and at all times acerbic Rep. Steve Vallaincourt, and Democrat party leader Ray Buckley have not been content to merely express their disagreement, or even their disappointment, over the report of the majority of the Same Sex Study Commission rejecting their radical agenda. Instead, they have taken to attacking the character of the commission’s majority in general, and its chair, Rep. Tony Soltani, in particular. Those of us in the House of Representatives who know Representative Soltani also know these attacks to be untrue, and those of in the House who perhaps only know Representative Vallaincourt likewise would know these attacks could not be true. Outside of the State House, we may hear such words being spoken by persons who call themselves, “State Representative” or “Party Vice Chair” and think there must be some truth behind the words, or those persons would not have spoken them. Sadly, that is not a standard we can apply. Their insults are the instruments of bullies and those of us who know of their ways should not just stand there and say nothing in response. No person who has earned the honor and respect that Representative Soltani has among his colleagues in the House deserves the abuse of being called homophobic and bigoted, or being analogized to Klansmen, racists or fascists, while in volunteer service to the people of New Hampshire. In the confines of the Legislature, we know of these attacks and perhaps too easily dismiss them without censure when these bullies come into our committees or appear on the House floor. When these tactics are used outside of the Legislature, however, each of us needs to do the right thing and say, “Don’t be fooled. You are listening to the words of a bully, and if you refuse to believe him, he has lost this fight.” State Rep. William L. O’Brien Mont Vernon

 

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