Editorial: A handful of wishes for 2013
In a long tradition at the Monitor, we have used this space in late December to make some wishes – grand and small – for the year ahead. As always, our list is long.
For starters, we hope for a Legislature that doesn’t embarrass New Hampshire with mean-spirited nonsense, extreme causes and uncivil behavior. The change of guard after the November election makes this particular wish considerably less far-fetched than it might have seemed a year ago.
We also wish for a repeal of the stand-your-ground gun law, a measure that made the state more unsafe for no good reason.
We hope the new Legislature and Gov.-elect Hassan will commit to a repeal of the death penalty, a costly and cruel punishment that has no place in a civilized society. New Hampshire has not executed an inmate in more than 70 years. It’s time to wipe the option from the books once and for all.
We hope 2013 is the year when Concord Steam’s new plant opens and heats the streets and sidewalks downtown.
And speaking of downtown, we hope for a Main Street redesign that makes everyone happy, disrupts nothing, draws visitors eager to peruse the city’s provocative new public art and quickly creates a business boom. (Hey, we’re wishing here!)
We hope the Catholic Church finds some creative uses for the Concord churches it plans to shut down – and that it includes the broader community in its planning.
We wish that a local group of volunteers would adopt the neglected John Frisbie Memorial Park next to Grappone Park and bring it back to life.
We hope Red River Theatres’ fundraising campaign to convert its traditional projector system to an updated, digitalized system by midyear is successful. For film fans in the Concord area, this project is critical.
Similarly, we hope the Concord-Merrimack County SPCA raises the money it needs for its new home. Visit the facility in Penacook, crammed with cats and dogs, and the need for the new space becomes clear.
And speaking of Penacook, we hope plans for the former tannery site, particularly the new library, help spark a village revitalization.
We hope this week’s snow is just a taste of a truly wintry winter in the weeks ahead. This is a repeat of last year’s wish, which, alas, never came true.
If state government finds itself in need of revenue in 2013 – and when isn’t it? – we hope lawmakers will look beyond the easy lure of casino gambling.
And speaking of revenue, after more than 20 years, we hope lawmakers will approve a modest increase in the gas tax. It could help finance the Interstate 93 expansion and rebuild other infrastructure improvements across the state.
Amid the state’s many competing budgetary needs, we hope legislators will recommit themselves to supporting the state university system and community college system. Stinginess in this arena is no virtue.
Similarly, we hope the state rebuilds its once exemplary system of mental health care. This was urgent even before mass shootings drew renewed attention to untreated illness.
And we hope the state and its private hospitals find a way to settle their financial differences and commit to a renewed partnership in treating sick people of limited means with efficiency and compassion.
Speaking of health care, when CEO Michael Green retires from Concord Hospital this year after shepherding the institution through 20 years of growth, we hope he will stay involved in the ongoing debate about how best to provide and pay for adequate medical care to all.
And speaking of retirees, we hope Gov. John Lynch finds a satisfying new role that involves some of the things he loves best: Solving the NHL hockey dispute? Teaching fourth grade? Running the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in times of floods and tornadoes?
We’ll stop here. Whatever your own wishes for your family, your town, your state in 2013, we wish you a happy New Year.