Steven J Connolly

Entries in NH Tourism (8)


Cut & Paste Journalism 

I'm a frequent reader of the Caledonian Record newspaper, it's more or less my local newspaper. I've been reading it a long time like most newspapers it's changed alot. It still covers alot of local based news like the growing list of heroin overdoses, but unfortunately some of the news content, especially politics has become "cut and paste." Basically, the reporter pulls items and quotes off the press release and this becomes the story.

A case in point and a phone call that I had to make to a reporter, Robert Blechl is about the coverage of the Balsam's. So I called him.I still have some real concerns about the Balsam's Bailout. But I'm confident that the Caledonian Record will do a better job with it's coverage in the future.

Basically, I asked him why the coverage had to be so "one sided"and why perspectives against this project aren't even mentioned. He responded to me by explaining the project and the legislative votes on the bill (SB 30), in "support of this."I asked him if he had attended any of the legislative hearings on SB 30 and he stated that "he hadn't." I think it's hard to report on a piece of legislation without attending any of the hearing(s) at the statehouse. But let's move on.

I'm opposed to this whole idea due to the substantial risk that is involved. But when I was talking to the Caledonian Record reporter I tried to stay objective. I started by suggesting the history of the Mount Washington Hotel at Bretton Woods in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Including the bankruptcies and foreclosures of a major developer Satter Companies. It's quite a history as well, the bank that owned the main hotel failed and had to be taken over by the FDIC and they later auctioned off the property. I was employed there during this time and had a front row seat to what was happening. And lots of things were happening!

Let's go back to the reporter.

So I kept talking I tried to suggest the: "opposition that exists" to this whole project including the testimony I've heard at the legislative hearing(s), (I didn't attend either); I suggested Granite Grok and Kimberly Morin and that I do this blog and have reported on this very issue.

He did agree with me on some of my points about the risk of this project and that's good. But I'm still of the impression that he believes that since SB 30 passed by such a large margin this translates into: "support for this project." How many pieces of legislation have been passed against the will of the people in New Hampshire?

Anyways I closed it out with what I still think was the better direction to move in. And this was the study committee to investigate the feasibility of the "state loan guarantee"before the project moved forward. They wanted a year to do this. The developer, Les Otten stated the "hotel couldn't wait a year."

Is this project going to start in a year?  What are they talking, late summer, if it starts this year?

They should have done the study committee.



Let It Sell Very Well. 

So I'm reading the front page article in the St. Johnsbury, Vermont based Caledonian Record newspaper, it's about guess what the Balsam's Redevelopment aka Balsam's Bailout.Dissenters Be Quiet.

Are you sick of hearing about this yet?..... I'm sick of it too so many issues out there and it looks to me that regardless of the circumstances or even reality, this whole project is moving forward. Back to the Caledonian Record newspaper, a public relations company would be pleased as to how well this is written. Objective journalism, not once have I seen a single dissenter to the very idea of this whole project. But let's move on...

The article was saying that 120 people have already given deposits for "to be built condos." and that the "development team" has had inquiries for employment.

The power of demand. The power of effective public relations.


More Bad Bailout. 

Note: It's my understanding that that the Municipal and County Government has withdrawn from Senate Bill 30 and it's now been moved and amended to House Finance Committee with a hearing set for next Tuesday at 1:00pm in Reps. Hall.

It's a do-nothing amendment too. From statements I'm reading that the "state will only be held liable for $20 million" instead of $28 million.

What's a few million among some serious flaws?

This is a letter to the Editor that I'm working on (DRAFT).

To The Editor:

Legislation is moving forward that could prove disastrous to the future of New Hampshire.

Senate Bill 30 is a state sponsored bailout of the Balsam's Resort in Dixville Notch. Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Woodburn, this allows a state loan guarantee of $28 million dollars to be used to finance a project that is completely surrounded by speculation, risk and unanswered questions.

SB 30 is bad politics of the worst sort. New Hampshire faces a budget deficit of $250 million dollars, essential programs like bridge maintenance and human services are being cut and eliminated. Yet Sen. Woodburn wants to finance an upscale luxury resort or in his own unsubstantiated words, "revitalize this historic landmark and the economy of Coos County."

Senator Woodburn needs to get sent to the rail.




Desperation Never Works. 

This will be a point, click, write and shoot blog. I'm just going to write my thoughts and see where it lands. Right now I don't have alot of time for in-depth editing. This blog might also be a bit derogatory, but this is also politics so that is just the way that it goes...

It's really sad and unfortunate to see experienced politicians like Senate President Morse and Sen. Lou Dellassandro(sic) try in desperation and vein to get the expanded casino legislation passed. Actually, it's basically pathetic to watch these two individuals beg. It's one thing to pan handle for some food and drink and it's yet another for an elected official to be groveling to attempt to shape policy for the future.

In both case(s) desperation can never work.

I've made the statement and yes, I'm making the statement again. Expanded casino gaming in any state can be a positive force in a number of areas. Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maine have done it and now have the financial statements, employment and tax base to demonstrate that it can be successful. And it could be successful too in New Hampshire, but it won't with the current politics and small minded stupidity that exists in the statehouse starting with the two above mentioned and the cadre of lobbyists that can't see the forests through the trees.

New Hampshire should back off the casino legislation just dump the issue, it isn't going anywhere except to waste time now. No more filing legislation, no more press conferences and no more begging!!! Penn National Racetrack. New Hampshire Should Withdraw From Expanded Casino Gaming Legislation.  

New Hampshire should do what Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maine did. Convince a large well established casino developer/operator of the long term benefits of being in New Hampshire. I'm talking a major player that has enough capital to go the distance and then let run the show, literally.

I'd encourage you to look at the Penn National Racetrack as an example: use this as a model and follow this as a model, and keep the local politicians like Sen. Morse and Sen. Dellasando (sic) out of the mix. But this won't happen in New Hampshire. This is the problem when "insiders" get so far entrenched with seniority and establishment they can't be objective anymore and take action(s) that benefits what the NH Statehouse is for: to Serve New Hampshire.  

I'm sure some of you think I'm wrong and these outside casino operators will come in an take advantage of New Hampshire. Why is it that it is working in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maine and it can't work here? I'll tell you why --politics and business as usual.

Some might believe how effective these same legislators in New Hampshire are. This is an argument, I don't believe it for a second. Please feel free to take a few minutes and respond to this blog with exactly what has been accomplished during this current legislative session?

I'll look forward to what you have to say. So far I haven't found anything.




Bad Balsam's. 

Update: Yesterday, I had a very good e-mail conversation with one of the state representatives that serves my district. We talked about the legislation itself, (SB 30) and I responded to his concerns about economic conditions and employment in Coos County. Which has been affected greatly by economic factors.

In any case, I'm confident that I at least advanced the idea that SB 30 should be found: inexpedient to legislate.

This is a draft of a letter to Editor that I'm working on:

Legislation is advancing in the statehouse that could have some very bad consequences for the future of New Hampshire. The Balsam's Hotel is in bad condition. The NH Treasury Should Not be A Bank That Grants Loans.

Senator Jeff Woodburn has introduced Senate Bill 30, which if passed will enable the Business Finance Authority to create a $28 million dollar state loan guarantee for the closed, dilapidated and rotting Balsam's Hotel in Dixville Notch. This is quite a concept. This means that the NH treasury and it's taxpayers will be used as collateral for a loan to private business.

Senate Bill 30 is bad legislation. Nowhere in the NH State Constitution does it state that the treasury can be used for a loan of this size, for any reason. And even if this loan were worthwhile, which this one isn't. The Balsams Hotel is in bad condition, its been closed since 2010 and my research revealed that it hasn't shown a profit since 1974. If Senate Bill 30 passes, and this project fails New Hampshire taxpayers will be left holding a $28 million dollar bag of debt, plus interest, payable to a private bank.

Please contact your local state representative, as I have, and ask that they review Senate Bill 30 and make a vote of: inexpedient to legislate.