Steven J Connolly

Thursday
Oct042012

Question The Bryce Nomination. 

I'll state my bias up front. I'm glad George Bald is leaving as Commissioner of DRED. I've been hoping that when the new administration takes over in January there would be a nominee brought forth that would move this important state agency into an alignment with the 21st century and be more focused on where the focus needs to be: creating jobs lots of them.

It isn't to be the case.

Governor Lynch has stated he plans to nominate who looks like the hand picked heir apparent to George Bald. And this is former state forester Phil Bryce. A nominee that I don't think has any verifiable experience in areas like economic development or job creation which is supposed to be the central role of DRED.

Does this type of insider politics in Concord ever end?

DRED doesn't need a politically connected 'interim commissioner.' Just like it doesn't need anymore George Bald plutocracy. DRED needs new leadership, new ideas, new directions and a commissioner that has the ability to advance regional based iniatives with surrounding states like Maine and Vermont while understanding that to move anything forward is going to require a very precise and sophisticated understanding of the international economic structure and financial landscape. Starting with China.

I don't think Phil Bryce is this candidate.

So I'd ask you, as I have, to contact your Executive Councilor and request that they vote NO on the nomination of Phil Bryce to be Interim Commissioner of DRED.

 

 

Sunday
Sep302012

5% PSNH Is Wrong. 

It's Easier for PSNH to raise the rates than shop around for power sources.

Published news reports are stating that Public Service Co. of New Hampshire will be pursuing a 5% rate increase before the NH Public Utilities Commission.

I hope that the PUC denies this in it's entirety.

Because it is wrong.

I'd go into an indepth discussion about generation capacity, load factors and the poor economy to demonstrate just how wrong this 5% increase is. But I won't. PSNH and it's parent company have the resources to literally shop the market and find the cheapest power for their consumers. Examples include: hydro, natural gas, coal, wind and limited availability of nuclear.

Demand for electricity is also down.  Making this process all that much easier.

But if you notice PSNH doesn't do this instead their direction is a hell bent winner take all proposal to build hulking Northern Pass transmission towers from Canada to the sea in some attempt to expand their capital base for their most important customers: preferred shareholders, bondholders and the institutional portfolios that own most of their stock and options on these stocks.

I think NH electric ratepayers deserve to be more than collateral against the actions of one greedy, aggressive company.

I hope that the regulator will see it this way as well.

 

 

Friday
Sep282012

Where Is Woodburn? 

 

Like some residents of northern NH I'm following the upcoming race for Senate District 1.

Candidates Deborah Warner from Littleton against Jeff Woodburn from Carroll.

If I were to call this race from the grassroots, local level then it will be a Warner win. Not by a huge margin but over the 50%. I'll do 51.37% for Warner and 48.63% for Woodburn. The wild card here is the Hanover-Dartmouth area (southern Grafton Co.) and what kind of turnout and for which candidate. The surprise here will be Berlin. Once a democratic mainstay, not anymore. I see Warner getting 42% in the wards in Berlin to 58% for Woodburn, significant here because a few short years ago it would have been an 70 to 30 percent split. This situation in Conway will be similar, those that actually vote in Conway this whole area is now more of a bedroom community to Massachusetts than a place in New Hampshire. I'll also predict this with this new photo ID voting requirement voter turnout will trend lower ;why would a young person want to take time out from XBOX 360 Live to go out and vote. This state should allow online voting.

Difference in the candidates.

Warner is working and asking for the votes, while Woodburn is strategizing and fundraising for the votes. This is why I think Warner can prevail in this race.

Recently an article appears in the liberal Littleton Courier newspaper about the Northern Pass and issues surrounding it including campaign contributions. Woodburn thinks they should be returned. The Northern Pass proposal and the skeleton like steel towers is an issue but it still doesn't decide a state senate race. I don't think it even builds name recognition.

Meanwhile I'm up in Berlin and seeing signs for Warner some of them actually hand drawn. This is effort, this is votes and this is how elections are won. There is a month to go before the election alot can and will happen in the next 30 days but if the inertia holds on the present paths of both of these candidates I see a Republican win in November for Senate District 1.

Whether anything gets done in the next two years is a question for another day.

Friday
Sep282012

Tar & Feathered. 

Tar Sands coming to New Hampshire.

Last spring the Canadian ministry that oversees pipeline regulations approved the reversal of flow of the pipelines from Alberta east to Montreal.

This is significant because of not only the content but how this will impact New Hampshire.

As I understand it the proposal, which may have already been approved is to transport Canadian Tar Sands through the pipeline grid from Alberta to Montreal; and then southeast through Vermont and then across coos county New Hampshire enroute to ships waiting in Portland, Maine.

The concern here and my concern is the caustic nature of tar sands and what happens to the environment when and if there is a pipeline failure. The devastation to the environment never recovers. I'm not a scientist but as I understand it the compounds and acid bases in these tar sands literally destroy not only the ecosystem but ultimately leech into underground aquifers in addition to any windsteams that carry the toxins throughout the air.

This is also unlike the Valdez, Alaska oil spill where the content can be dispersed using things as basic as dish detergent and over time will be reduced and eventually integrated back into the natural environment. There is no disbursement of Tar Sands this is a substance that destroys everything in it's path.

And it's coming to New Hampshire if it isn't already here.

Friday
Sep142012

Shut Up Donnalee

A deepened Panama Canal will be a game changer. Maine, Vermont will take decisive advantage of this. What will New Hampshire Do?

When the Executive Council voted by 3-2 to not spend $3.85 million dollars on a consultant fed passenger rail study they not only saved taxpayer money but prevented the implementation of very bad transportation policy.

 

 Unfortunately, despite this majority vote this issue isn't going away.

Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau continues to push forward with yet more expensive taxpayer financed rail ideas for southern NH including: consultants, hierarchy, land acquisitions and capital spending in the millions of dollars. And not once has Lozeau ever stated how New Hampshire benefits from all this spending other than a few hundred people from Manchester and Nashua getting a subsidized ride to Boston on a train.

New Hampshire needs to stop listening to ambitious politicians like Donnalee Lozeau. Instead New Hampshire should be following and supporting what Vermont and Maine are doing to advance passenger rail: build a profitable rail system around the movement of freight. A freight system that can not only support passenger trains like Amtrak but also creates local taxbase and jobs at the same time. The development of this rail freight system also isn't going to require the massive taxpayer involvement like what is being pushed and shoved in New Hampshire by politicians like Lozeau and her supporters on the NH Rail Transit Authority.