Editorial: Some of our wishes for 2012 really did come true!
Each year at this time we publish a long list of wishes for the year ahead. We’ll do so again later this week, but first a look at how well we did on last year’s wishes.
Our first wish from December 2011 was a bit of a bomb. We wished for Jon Huntsman to win the state’s Republican presidential primary in January 2012. We liked his old-fashioned New Hampshire campaign and found him smart and serious. We said he would give his party a strong challenger to President Obama. A year later, how many voters even remember his name?
Our second wish? Also not granted. We hoped for a bona fide winter with scads of snow to help the ski areas. Instead, it was largely dry – more North Carolina than North Pole.
We had more luck with some wishes inspired by local politics.
As we hoped, lawmakers rejected a proposal to repeal New Hampshire’s landmark gay marriage law. And, as we hoped, Gov. John Lynch’s promise to veto casino gambling quieted that debate – at least temporarily.
We hoped legislators would fail in their ceaseless quest to amend the state Constitution to shrink their commitment to public education – and they did.
We wished they would do better by the state’s school building aid program – and they didn’t.
We wished that the state would recommit itself to financially supporting the state university and community college system. That didn’t happen in 2012 – but consider that one a dream deferred. There are encouraging signs for 2013.
We hoped – fruitlessly – that the House redistricting plan wouldn’t result in Concord and Hopkinton sharing a state representative. The tradition of keeping city wards intact was a sound one. That said, we have little doubt that the team of Mel Myler and Gary Richardson of Hopkinton and Mary Jane Wallner of Concord will do right by their constituents in both communities.
This time last year we hoped that the state and the Local Government Center would somehow bring their protracted fight to a swift conclusion. After all, we said, the legal costs on both sides can’t possibly be good for the state. A year later, alas, the fight seems more bitter still.
In December 2011 we hoped state investigators would crack the long, sad mystery of the death of Celina Cass, the 11-year-old West Stewartstown girl last seen alive that summer. That wish, too, remained unfulfilled.
We hoped that the state’s new laws allowing guns in the State House complex and expanding the allowable use of deadly force in self-defense wouldn’t lead to tragedy in 2012. And we hoped that lawmakers would come to their senses and reject legislation requiring state college campuses to open themselves to firearms. So far, so good.
We hoped that the state would stop fighting with Washington over the status of its mental health system, acknowledge that the system is in need of fixing and commit itself to restoring the sterling reputation it had a couple decades ago. On this score there are finally some small glimmers of hope. Just this month Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas announced plans to ameliorate the long waits for beds at the state psychiatric hospital and to request more funding from the Legislature.
We hoped that Concord’s new police chief, John Duval, would become an inspiration to chiefs across the state as he pursued extra training for his officers in dealing with residents in mental health crises. This, of course, is an ongoing effort – one whose urgency has never been more clear.
We hoped the Concord School District would find some good uses for the old elementary school buildings – and it has. Who could have imagined turning the Walker School into the hub of a TV and radio empire this time last year – but why not?
We hoped that the candidate to replace Gov. John Lynch would take a lesson from his remarkable success at the polls over four elections. New Hampshire voters appreciate a governor who works in a diligent, low-key, nonpartisan fashion. As it turns out, the candidate pledging to be most like Lynch – Maggie Hassan – is the one who won in November.
Finally, we hoped that voters would think hard before returning to the State House the crowd of House members who had so embarrassed New Hampshire in 2011. We cited their bullying tactics, over-the-top rhetoric and extreme legislation. What we got was another full year of such antics – and then, mercifully, a change of the guard after the November election.
As usual, our wish list was long and our win-loss record mixed. Here’s to better luck in 2013.