June 29, 2012
Jeff Feingold is Editor of NH Business Review's print and
on-line editions. He has been a business journalist for more than 25 years, and recognized
by the Small Business Administration as National Small Business Journalist of the Year.
Goose for the gander
There is a certain sweet irony - perhaps absurdity would be a better choice of word - in the recent commotion over the town of Sugar Hill, just north of the Notches.
The whole ruckus, to remind you, started when the 563 good citizens of Sugar Hill found out, to their shock and chagrin, that their local post office had essentially shut down. Not technically closed, however, since the postmistress announced (in a not particularly delicate or PR-savvy way) that the office would be open 30 minutes a day.
In other words, not exactly convenient.
While the town didn't stamp its feet over the whole affair, its indignancy reached national proportions, with coverage on national TV, radio, newspapers - and of course the Internet. And all took pity on the good citizens of Sugar Hill.
In fact, the publicity - for a small town, at least - became a certified cause-de-celebre, attracting the attention of New Hampshire's two U.S. senators, Mmes. Ayotte and Shaheen. While they didn't go postal over the whole thing, they did send a letter (nice!) to officials telling them how "concerned" they are about the situation.
That's where things stand now.
Now for irony/absurdity.
First, hasn't every politician in the last 40 years put aside time to talk about the waste/abuse at the Postal Service, how it needs to streamline, cut costs, etc.? Not to mention the bloated federal budget in general. All in the name of cutting taxes, of course.
But when rhetoric like that is put into action - such as cutting back service in a post office that serves 563 people - well it's an essential requirement of government to provide.
Second, it might surprise you that the scenic town of Sugar Hill is only just this year celebrating its 40th anniversary as an independent municipality. That's because until 1962 it had been part of the town of Lisbon. But the good people of Sugar Hill - fewer than 563 at the time - wanted out from Lisbon.
Why? They essentially were tired of paying taxes to support schools that they didn't need - either their school-age children went elsewhere or they didn't have any to begin with.
But they sure need that post office.
That was quite the response to President Obama's recent visit to Durham. And I'm not talking about the crowd.
The biggest problem involved the donation of $20,000-plus by an unnamed person to cover the security costs Durham's police department was saddled with during the president's visit.
Well such public spirit was viewed as insidious - or potentially so - by none other than the New Hampshire chapter of the Americans for Prosperity, WMUR and the Associated press, all of which said it was the public's right to know who donated the money, and how much it was.
No argument there ... donations involving public matters shouldn't be secret.
That's kind of like the names of people who donate to tax-exempt nonprofits that run those "issue ads" that basically hammer one or the other political candidate.
Which is kind of like Americans for Prosperity, which doesn't have to reveal the names of the donors that fund its "issue ads."
Snitcherinos, some thoughts for a heat wave:
Here's a quick shorthand guide to the upcoming Dem primary: Maggie No Labels, the Emily's Lister, has got the dough, Jackie's got the soul. Of the party that is.
So who has the edge?
Money talks, as we know. And you-know-what walks.
In the end, making all the members of his leadership subgroup engage in all kinds of Hunger Games may have backfired on Coriolanus Snow, aka Speaker Bully-0.
He might just have gotten Mileage Man Bob Mead all riled up, what with demoting BM and cutting his pay a few thou and then letting him hang out to dry over the reimbursements, etc., BM just might have said "no mas."
Since Bully already recruited John Quinlan to run on his Hillsborough District 5 tag team ticket, it looks kind of revenge-ful for BM to join in too, don't it Snitcherinos?
BM, in fact, is gonna be making Bully's life a little bit less satisfying through primary night, now that he's entered the GOP race in the Hillsborough District 5 race.
It's just like one of Bully-Snow's Hunger Games: a fight to the political death, with only two of the three candies surviving.
Get your tickets now, Snitcherinos.
Snitch's Words to the Wise: Among the famous traitors of history don't forget to include the weather.
It's been making the rounds ...
- Say what you will about him, but Governor Lynch stepped up to the plate when
it came to veto time this session. Fifteen - count' em, 15 - this year alone.
- That was a really cute maneuver by Jerry Gappens over at N.H. Motor Speedway, leaving tickets at the "will call" window for the president who, he said, is "one of the few recent, acting presidents never to attend a NASCAR race in person." Whatever that means.
- Wouldn't you have loved to see the look on House Speaker Bill O'Brien's face when he found out that former rep and O'Brien aide Bob Mead is the candidate forcing a primary in O'Brien's Hillsborough County House district?
- Does it mean something when you've seen more Smith for Governor signs than those for Lamontagne?
- It definitely means something that Ovide Lamontagne raised almost $1 million in the first part of the year.
Mark Bodi: The state liquor commissioner - who survived a public hearing two years ago to kick him out of his post - reads the handwriting on the wall and calls it quits before his term expires in July.
Bill Binnie: The millionaire businessman/budding media mogul resigns as finance chairman of the state Republican Party after announcing he's backing Ovide Lamontagne for governor.
Jeff Woodburn: The Dalton resident and former writer for New Hampshire Business Review, wins the endorsement of Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier in the District 2 Senate race.
Tony Soltani: After saying he wouldn't run for another term, the GOP state rep from Epsom decides he can't leave the House, after receiving what he said were "nearly 200 calls and emails, along with at least two dozen personal visits."
Todd Selig: The Durham town administrator finds himself in the hot seat after the group Americans for Prosperity, WMUR-TV and the AP demand to know the identity of the person who paid Durham's tab for the cost of security during President Obama's recent campaign stop in the town.