Editorial: Some of our wishes for 2013 really did come true
Each year in late December, the Monitor uses this space to make some wishes for the year ahead. We’ll do so again in the coming days. But first, a look back at our list for 2013. How’d we do? Well . . .
Our top wish for the year certainly did come true. We hoped for a Legislature that wouldn’t embarrass New Hampshire with mean-spirited nonsense, bizarre causes and unruly behavior. As you might recall, for a brief period there, the State House had started to feel like a circus tent. In large measure, after a dramatic change-of-the-guard election, we got what we hoped for: civility, bipartisan cooperation and much less rancor than in 2011-12. The Democratic House and the Republican Senate certainly didn’t agree on everything – Medicaid expansion being the most dramatic example – but a year in which New Hampshire politicians didn’t regularly make cameo appearances on the cable TV gabfests can’t be all bad.
As we hoped, Red River Theatres got the money it needed to convert to a digital projection system. The Concord-Merrimack County SPCA got the cash necessary to build a proper new animal shelter. And Gov. Maggie Hassan and the Legislature made an important start toward reversing the state’s terrible stinginess toward its mental health system and toward public higher education.
We also hoped the Legislature would resist the easy lure of casino money as a way to patch the state budget, and this year it did. As for 2014? We wouldn’t take that bet.
Of course, we didn’t get everything we wanted. State lawmakers did not repeal New Hampshire’s stand-your-ground gun law, a measure that made the state more unsafe for no good reason. Concord Steam’s long-planned South End plant won’t be built. So far, no one has volunteered to adopt the neglected John Frisbie Memorial Park next to Grappone Park and bring it back to life.
And even after more than 20 years of status quo, legislators rejected a modest increase in the state gas tax, passing up revenue that might have helped to finance the Interstate 93 expansion and rebuild other infrastructure improvements across the state.
Finally, some of our wishes turned out to be dreams deferred. We hoped, for instance, that Hassan and state lawmakers would repeal the New Hampshire death penalty. That debate will take place in the months ahead.
We hoped the Catholic diocese would find some creative uses for the Concord churches it plans to shut down.
We imagined a Main Street rehabilitation that made everyone happy, disrupted nothing and drew visitors eager to peruse the city’s provocative new public art, quickly creating a business boom. And we hoped plans for the former Penacook tannery would help spark a village revitalization. Stay tuned!
We hoped that retiring Concord Hospital CEO Michael Green would stay involved in the ongoing debate about how best to provide and pay for adequate medical care to all. And we hoped the state and its private hospitals would 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.
As usual, our wish list was long and our win-loss record mixed. Here’s to better luck in 2014.