Feeling guilty about all the money you’ll be spending at big box retailers Friday? American Express has a solution for you — Small Business Saturday. It’s a creation of a large corporation, but it’s a good reminder — as is this issue of the Hippo — that your local stores also offer great gifts. No one expects you to stop shopping Best Buy or Amazon, but it would be nice if you reserved some money for local merchants. And of course you do. As you can see in these pages and the many stores lining many streets in New Hampshire, the local business scene is alive and well. However, local businesses do face serious challenges.
Franchises and chains tend to pose a threat to locally created businesses. From the consumer side, we should, when we can, make an effort to put money back into those small businesses. That money tends to stay in the community. From the small independent side, we should treat our businesses as businesses and not expect anyone to give us anything. Too many times, I see local business owners with a sense of entitlement. First and foremost, we as businesses owners do not deserve business. We must earn it every time someone walks through the door, calls, emails or visits our social media and websites.
The New Hampshire Executive Council again rejected the nomination of long-time public defender Dorothy Graham to be a superior court judge on a partisan vote, three Republicans against and two Democrats for. The vote upset many, including the New Hampshire Bar Association, which takes a central role in selection of judges.
Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen created a Judicial Selection Commission made up of members of the NH Bar and some non-lawyers. This tradition, though not required by law, was continued by governors John Lynch and Maggie Hassan. The idea was to make the selection nonpartisan and make sure the candidates are qualified. Of course, the selection still must be approved by the Executive Council (an elected body), which by nature can be partisan. And it was this time. An outside group — looking no doubt to accuse Hassan, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Kelly Ayotte, of nominating a defense attorney who defended child molesters (as she was required to do) — raised the issue with councilors.
Obviously the council is as much within its rights to say no as it is to say yes. That misses the point. The council and governor had unofficially agreed to make the selection process as nonpartisan as possible. Messing with the process doesn’t undo the deal, but it does leave the door open for payback. And the only loser in that scenario is we the people.