As I See It
Friday, June 18, 2010

Pierce invented 'facts' to support his personal preference
Clever wording in Goffstown News skewed the truth

Last week, selectman David Pierce wrote a letter to the Goffstown News outlining the reasons he is not in favor of restricting the Glen Lake beach to residents only.  In his letter, he supports his position with what on the surface appear to be viable 'facts'.  But if we take a close look at Pierce's 'facts', we discover they are nothing of the kind:

  1. Pierce wrote, "...the limited parking spaces "appear" to be filled by out-of-towners. Yes, it is probably true that nonresidents do avail themselves of our town's waterfront; however, it behooves Goffstown to maintain its reputation as an open and inviting town to all who want to avail themselves of our recreational facilities."

    To begin with, no coherent resident of Goffstown thinks the 18 parking spaces at Glen Lake only "appear" to be filled by non-residents.  We all know the majority of them are, in fact, occupied by out-of-town vehicles day after day.  And saying it's "probably true" that it is used by non-residents is a clever attempt to suppress the facts.  It's not "probably" true, it is definitely true.  And he knows it.  So why would he write this?

  2. Pierce also wrote, "...(restricting the waterfront) presents legal and financial complications. State laws and court interpretations provide towns a good degree of immunity from liability from injuries occurring at outdoor recreational sites. If Goffstown should exclude some portion of the general public or charge a parking fee (the equivalent of charging a fee to access the beach), the town would lose its immunity from liability and have greater exposure to lawsuits."

    I emailed the above quote to my attorney.  Minutes later he called and asked me if the quote was really attributable to one of our selectmen.  He was incredulous (and very amused) to find out it was.  The first thing he pointed out is that state law does NOT provide towns with "a good degree of immunity" at recreational areas.  He also pointed out that the Glen Lake beach area is posted as "No lifeguard on duty. Swim at your own risk."  This, he told me, completely absolves the town from liability to any potential lawsuits as speculated by Pierce, regardless of whether the beach is restricted to residents-only or not.   Pierce knows this, too.  So why would he write this?

  3. Lastly, Pierce wrote, " is important to note that even if the town's insurance carrier felt it could provide coverage, there might be an increase cost for this coverage. Also, the town would have an additional financial cost to provide an increased safe environment for the waterfront patrons. This extra financial cost would come from needing two lifeguards on duty during the hours the fees are imposed; docks or ropes defining the guarded areas for small children and adults; the frequent removing of floating and submerged hazards; and documented periodic inspections in case they are needed in court."

    By now my attorney was laughing hysterically.  "You've got to be kidding, right?" he asked me.  He again pointed out that if a  residents-only town beach is posted "No lifeguard on duty. Swim at your own risk," as Glen Lake is, then there is no need for defined swimming areas, docks, ropes, lifeguards or anything else, legal or otherwise.  And he wondered out loud how Pierce could feign concern over the financial costs when a beach area open to anyone necessarily means a higher financial burden to taxpayers. 

Pierce knows full well that what he wrote in his letter is bogus.  So why would he write this?

The answer is simple.

In a sit down conversation with Pierce a few weeks ago, he told me personally what his real reason is: "Guy, it's just my personal preference. I personally prefer to keep it a regional beach."

His "personal preference," he said.  How about the preference of his constituents?  In a poll we conducted a few weeks ago, 75% of respondents said they disagree with Pierce's personal preference.  Why isn't he listening to them?  Why is he putting his own personal preferences ahead of theirs?

When Pierce told me he prefers to keep the Glen Lake waterfront a 'regional" beach, I was dumbfounded.   Hell, why not swing for the fences, Dave, and make it a full-blown national park?  I'm sure Goffstown taxpayers can afford to support that as well, right?

Mr. Pierce apparently doesn't understand that when serving the Goffstown community who elected him to represent their best interests, there's no room for his personal preferences.



Column:  Why the indecision on Glen Lake?
Selectmen uncertain about use of Glen Lake

Guy Caron can be reached via e-mail at:

Past Columns by Guy Caron  >>>


DISCLAIMER:  The opinions expressed by Mr. Caron are not necessarily those of the Goffstown Residents Association or its members.

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