Bienvenue au MississippiIt's nice to have a role model, but sometimes you have to think about the choice you've made.For instance, the state of New Hampshire's insistent attempts to find value in looking up to the state of Missisippi, which is consistently at or near the bottom of just about every ranking of the 50 states, whether it's per capita income, health, quality of life or education.New Hampshire, fortunately, is at or near the top of most of those lists. Except education.For a variety of reasons (OK, it's not a variety, it's one reason - money), New Hampshire finds itself making decisions about education that rank it right down there with the likes of Mississippi - not exactly the high-tech, smart manufacturing role model you'd think the Granite State would look to for inspiration.The latest ranking involves a list compiled by the National Intitute for Early Education Research, which has found that New Hampshire and its sister state are among only 11 states that don't fund pre-kindergarten classes.Did New Hampshire know it was in a race to the bottom?Should they draw 'em a map? It may not be on the radar screens of a lot of folks at this point, but a growing number of communities are not just staying ticked off at a recent passed House redistricting -- they're lining up to deep-six it.It all started with Manchester and Concord, the two cities with the resources and clout -- and anger -- to get the lawsuit ball rolling.Recently, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen authorized Mayor Ted Gatsas "to initiate a lawsuit regarding the State Redistricting Plan by either joining suit with Concord or filing suit on behalf of the City with the pro bono services of McLane Law Firm." And the Concord City Council has asked the city solicitor to report on the prospects of litigation at its next meeting.A bevy of communities around the state -- 62 of them -- apparently are itching to jump on board.At least on the face of it, the communities have a pretty good argument, considering that the authors of the plan have just about admitted that while drawing it up they chose to ignore the state Constitution, which is supposed to guarantee that a community with a large enough population to have its own state rep, gets a state rep.But a different interpretation of law apparently has never stopped the folks behind the House redistricting plan - Speaker Bill O'Brien, House Counsel Ed Mosca and Rep. Paul Mirski, chair of the redistricing committee -- before.Just to refresh some memories: -- Right before the vote to override Governor Lynch's veto of the plan, O'Brien abruptly called a Republican caucus on the House floor, kicking out the press, the public and House Democrats and passed around a memo drafted by Mosca that reportedly spelled out how the Constitution was being circumvented. -- The very same Constitution calls for vetoed bills to be entered into the House Journal before an override vote, but the redistricting veto wasn't - it was entered immediately before the override vote was held.One other thing worth mentioning: The redistricting backlash in the 62 communities isn't partisan. It's just a bunch of ticked-off people.The Snitch CornerSome recent itemsfrom the penof Mr. Snitch, the mysterious and all-knowing contributor TheLobbyNH.comIt was way too little, way too late t'other day for Exec Councilor Dumpin' Dave Wheeler.As promised, Dumpin' Dave's GPS got him safe and sound to downtown Nashua in order to do some 'splaining to the board of aldermen over his vote against accepting a $3.2 mill grant to study a rail line from Beantown to Concord.It's been on the wish list of Nashua politicos and business types for quite some time now. But Dumpin' Dave would have none of the fed money, even tho it was to fund a study to see if the rail line could and should be built.But why would he want to be confused with facts? Never helped him before. And that's pretty much what he told the aldermen. They listened. And then shook their heads.And Disco Deb Pignatelli is laughing all the way to re-elect. • Senator Chuck Morse is seeing red over the Neverending HHS Computer System, the one ACS has been promising for five years now and just can't seem to get done.The GOPer from Salem and head of the Finance Committee is not only livid over another extension granted, along with $9 mill for ACS to finish the system, he's also starting to raise questions about the managed care deal HHS is supposed to begin implementing later this year. (To cut costs, dontcha know.)Trouble is, Morse and plenty of others are asking if ACS hasn't been able to get its act together on the rest of the computer system - which has been extended three times since the original 2007 deadline - how's it gonna be able to get its act together to figure out the managed care doodad, which wasn't part of the original plans? • GOPers in the Laconia area are scrounging around desperately trying to find folks to primary-run against some of the shall-we-say-embarrassing members of the House delegation from the Lake City.Target Numero Uno is Kernel Bob Kingsbury, the man who's been a laugh-a-minute in his first term as rep, after umpteen times running. And Harry Accornero, one of the leaders of the birther caucus, is Target Numero Dos.F&J tote boardLeslie Ludtke: The former health policy analyst for theNew Hampshire Insurance Department -- fired last May after voicing concern over the agency's decision to change the bidding process for a federal health contract - gets part of the whistleblower portion of her suit against the state thrown out, but is backed on her wrongful termination claim, which would allow her to collect up to $475,000 in damages.Robert Lamb: The former Fleet Bank CFO and resident of Holderness is recruited by Democrats to run against incumbent Jeanie Forrester in Senate District 2.Jason Antosz: The Republican rep from Epping tells a House panel that avoiding the words "defective" and "retarded" to describe fellow human beings is just "PC nonsense," adding, "I'm sick of always having to change my language in order to be politically correct."Tony Soltani: A week after making headlines by charging that Speaker Bill O'Brien is purposely not accommodating his disabilities, the Republican state rep from Eppingis arrested after, he says, he tried to help a police officer stop a fleeing vehicle.Kelly Ayotte: A National Journal article names New Hampshire's junior senator as a contender in the Romney campaign's veep sweepstakes.Craig Benson: The former governor announces his endorsement of GOP gubernatorial hopeful -- and former Benson staffer -- Kevin Smith.It's been making the rounds... • Yes, Majority Leader DJ Bettencourt actually claimed the other day that the reason there's no school-funding constitutional amendment is because the governor can't get enough Democrats to vote with him. That's a 3-1 majority the GOP has, folks. • Coincidence? The same day House Speaker Bill O'Brien announces he's running for re-election, he writes a letter to the editor defending the Koch Bros.-funded ALEC -- and annouces he's joining it. • Is it good or bad for her and Congressman Frank Guinta that Shea-Porter now has clear sailing in the 1st C.D. Dem primary? • What is it about political polling that gets AG Mike Delaney all hot and bothered? • What are the odds that there'll be a Senate Republicans Against O'Brien Committee by November?
This article appears in the April 20 2012 issue of New Hampshire Business Review