It’s been a while since we’ve delved into Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down in which we offer equal helpings of praise and criticism, but only to those who deserve the helpings... let’s do a double dose this week…maybe even a triple dose. Remember, rules call for one thumbs up for every one thumbs down. I've actually censored myself what I consdier the most blatant needs for thumbs down (something about a rep who claims getting spit on could kill you; and another rep who contends we shouldn't even consider privatizing prisons, even if the state could save $20 million in the process, for example. I must be getting soft...or else I don't want to antagonize my own committee chair!).
Thumbs, Up, Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford—The good people of Merrimack have been screwed for decades with those three bonus toll booths at exits to the Everett Pike in their community. It’s never been fair; I’ve always voted for relief of this besieged community, and now Senate President Peter Bragdon has taken up the cause. The tolls were supposed to be to fund exits which long ago have been paid for. Merrimack, which admittedly is in President Bragdon’s district, should not bear the burden disproportionately.
Thumbs Down, Public Works Committee Chair David Campbell, D-Nashua—As if his “the gift that keeps on giving comment” weren’t embarrassing enough, the proponent of nearly doubling the state’s gas tax was at it again Sunday on WMUR’s Close-Up. When Goffstown Rep. John Burt pointed out how people will have decide between a gallon of gas and a gallon of milk, Campbell resorted to the most outrageous hyperbole, noting that if the 15 cent a gallon hike weren’t approved, people wouldn’t be able to get to the store to buy milk. Such insane hyperbole only hurt his cause. Had this mini-debate been a boxing match, referee Josh McElveen would have had to step in and stop the fight before a bloodied Campbell was knocked unconscious.
Thumbs Up, Rep. John Burt, R-Goffstown—He may lack the spit and polish of some media favorites, but John Burt spoke a language people could understand (as he always does) in bringing opposition to the gas tax hike to Channel 9 viewers Sunday. When host John McElveen let Rep. Burt speak, he tore Campbell to shreds.
Thumbs Down, “Put the cat in the basement Raymond” Buckley—New Hampshire’s Democratic Party chair was at his smarmiest, at his absolute snarkiest when quoted by his media buddy John DiStaso in attacking his GOP counterpart last Thursday. Buckley chooses to ignore the fact that neither Jeanne Shaheen nor John Lynch, undoubtedly two of his favorite recent governors, ever tried to fashion a budget on sources (gambling) not yet approved. In trying to make it look like Jennifer Horn does not know basic civics, all Buckley succeeded in doing was proving his own ignorance and remind us once again of just how mean this Chris "Put the cat in the basement Raymond" Spirou acolyte can be. Hey Raybo, neither Finance Chair Mary Jane Wallner nor Ways and Means Chair Susan Almy, both Democrats at last check, plan on using the $80 million in gambling monies in their budgets, so maybe you should lecture them on civics rather than Jennifer Horn.
Thumbs Up, House Finance Chair Mary Jane Wallner, D-Concord—She’s absolutely right in asking her committee to find $80 million of cuts in Governor Hassan’s budget since, Ray Buckley’s follies notwithstanding, no legislature has ever included such a speculative scheme, by no means sure of passing, in its budget.
Thumbs Down, Senate Finance Chair Chuck Morse, R-Salem—In trying to boost his gambling proposal to WMUR’s Josh McElveen Sunday, the senator was simply wrong when he asserted that this is the first time a governor has been behind a gambling plan. Hmmm….it doesn’t take an historian to recall how Jeanne Shaheen was solidly behind expanded gambling throughout her tenure but came up way short of ever getting it approved.
Thumbs Up, House Ways and Means Chair Susan Almy, D-Lebanon—Of course Republicans (at least those who bother showing up for committee work these days) won’t agree, but Chairman Almy’s revenue estimates seem much more responsible than those from Governor Hassan (and of course more realistic than Rep. Almy put forth last time she chaired the all-important committee). Republicans would like the numbers even lower, but if over-stated, they are only slightly overstated.
Thumbs Down—Senator Andrew Hosmer—D-Laconia—As Josh McElveen attempted to steer conversation to the Hassan/D’Allesandro/Morse $80 million casino plan Sunday, Hosmer seemed intent on going back to a just plan silly plan which has already been defeated, “historic racing” machines for Belmont. Hosmer seemed totally out of place, showing just how Republicans would likely have won this seat had they not nominated such a lightning rod to oppose Hosmer. Channel 9 would have better served its viewers by bringing on someone with another gambling plan (perhaps one for six venues with the state in control—any idea who?) than foisting the “historic racing” guru on us.
Thumbs Up—Rep Tim O’Flaherty, D-Manchester—He’s the Transportation Committee Rep who has written minority reports in favor of this week’s bills to increase interstate speed limits. Unlike many of his colleagues, he seems to understand that laws, to be effective, must be based on “consent of the governed”. When 90 percent of us break the 65 mile an hour speed limit every time we set out on the highway, we are in effect saying, “We do NOT consent.” Rep. O’Flaherty gets it!
Thumbs Up—Senator Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford—He gets it as well. A co-sponsor of the bills to raise speed limits, he brought the issue to Concord radio listeners (the Pulse) when he filled in for Ken Cale last Friday afternoon and again on Channel 9 Sunday night.
Thumbs Down—Represenative Donald LeBrun, R-Nashua—No, not because of the comments about euthanasia, certainly taken out of context recently by a media dedicated to distorting what anyone says in order to make a phony story. However, LeBrun merits thumbs down by being one of only two member of the House Health and Human Services Committee to oppose HB316, relative to regulating alkaline hydrolysis for the disposal of human remains (voted 15-2 ought to pass by the committee). Word is—he even plans to fight it on the house floor. It’s bad enough government tries to tell me what to do with my body when I’m alive, but by opposing this bill, Rep. LeBrun would make me Big Brother watch over me even after I’m dead.
Thumbs Down—Representative Bill Nelson, R-Carroll County—He’s the second person who would not allow you to choose the best means to dispose of your own body. “Alkaline hydrolysis is a procedure whereby human remains are reduced to bone fragments by a solution of water and potassium hydroxide.” As the House calendar notes, “Alkaline hydrolysis ensures complete destruction of infection agents and produces sterile mercury emissions.” It’s an eco-friendly alternative to cremation. Sounds good to me (at least to allow an individual such an option) but then, I’m the prime sponsor of the bill Nelson doesn’t seem to like.