Cook On Concord
Writing a column is interesting business. Often, people comment that they have read it, bringing to mind that early advice I was given when this started: “Be careful what you say, someone might be reading it!”
After writing my last column, I was both gratified and puzzled by an e-mail I received almost immediately on a Friday morning. Knowing that the print version of New Hampshire Business Review does not arrive in mailboxes until the weekend or early in the week, I was gratified that the writer had read the publication online and, moreover, this column. However, he was taking me and the editor to task for a comment I made while “grading” various politicians.
It seems I marked Governor Lynch down for his rigidity on the Sunapee matter and the writer was criticizing me because he claimed I had a direct monetary interest in that issue, the law firm for which I work representing the lessees of the Mt. Sunapee Ski Area.
The issue this brings to the fore is whether it should be brought to light every time there is a possible monetary interest or other connection between what is written and the writer’s other connections. I pointed out in a response to the writer — an opponent of the proposed Sunapee expansion who agrees with the position Governor Lynch has taken on the matter — that it is possible to be paid to advocate a position and believe in it as well, and that I had been a supporter of the expansion before I ever knew our law firm represented the lessees.
Also, in a state as small as New Hampshire, if every connection is disclosed, the disclosures will be longer than the comments!
But in the interest of full disclosure, I would also like to disclose that I gave money to Lynch, helped him with his inauguration, support him on some issues and oppose him on others, and in fact know most of the other politicians who I graded — having given some money and some not. I have never received a nickel from any of them.
The beauty of New Hampshire politics was demonstrated on July 11 with a totally delightful late summer afternoon wine and hors d’oeuvre reception on the lawn of Jack’s of New London, a classy restaurant that has gone from being a morning coffee shop to a full service restaurant, catering business and civic meeting place, run by Jack and Jody Diemar, a young couple with a great deal of creativity and spark.
The event was an invitation-only party hosted by Arnie Arnesen, a noted radio and television personality and her primary radio station, 107.7-FM in Concord, now known as “The Pulse.” Arnesen invited a number of political observers, participants and listeners to chat about politics, New Hampshire and to exchange views.
Under the hot New London sky, she was joined by Jay Rosenfield of New London, a former state representative, and his wife, town and city officials and lobbyists and political observers. Broadcast executive Clark Smidt, former owner and founder of WNNH in Concord who currently consults for 107.7-FM was there, and everyone present had a good time.
What was fascinating was how pleasant the exchange among people who otherwise do not know each other could be when they were invited and dedicated to a common interest — namely the public life of their state. For anyone who has not visited Jack’s, it is worth the visit and, of course, listening to the pithy comments of Arnie Arnesen has become standard political fare for New Hampshire political junkies — of whatever stripe — who alternately are encouraged or enraged by her decidedly straightforward views.
(Disclosures: we represent 107.7-FM and Smidt, not Diemar, Arnesen or Rosenfield.)
One of the encouraging themes at the Arnesen/Jack’s of New London reception was how many people present had been to Manchester to sample its nightlife and renewed downtown with the restaurants, clubs, sports teams and other activities.
To have that a topic of conversation at such an event was a meaningful comment on the good things that are happening in Manchester.
(Disclosure: I live and pay taxes in Manchester.)
Finally, in late June and early July, we had the opportunity to go to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, for the graduation from basic training of one of our sons, who is a member of the Air National Guard Band of the Northeast, but who, like all other newly enlisted airmen, has to go to basic training.
To think of the varied backgrounds of these young people as well as the varied assignments they will be receiving shortly was sobering. The results of six weeks of basic training were impressive, and the country should be proud of what it is producing and careful about where it sends them.
(Disclosure: proud father and U.S. taxpayer.)
Brad Cook is a partner in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green and heads its government relations and estate planning groups.