It has become fairly well known that President Obama's administration has the fewest advisors with business experience of any president in memory. Currently, only 8 percent of his advisors have a background in business, as compared to around 50 percent for most of his predecessors; Democrat or Republican. Why is this important? To explain why, we need to distinguish between running a business and running a government program.
In business, the job of the entire management staff, from the president of the company right on down to the first level of supervision, is to "prevent things from happening that you don't want to happen". For example, when a business, or a department within a business, develops its business plan, it will identify the aim or goal of each project. The manager will define what will be considered a success. The manager and his or her staff then set forth a number of assumptions, things they believe will happen if their efforts are successful. However, they don't stop there. They then put a value on each of those assumptions and assess the impact if one or many or all fail to take effect as planned. In this process, the group usually is able to prioritize the achievability of each assumption. They can generally tell which are certain to complete successfully, which have at least a 50 percent chance of being on target, and which ones have lower odds of success and will require that extra effort to achieve.
As the staff develops the assumptions, it also identifies what the benefit from each will mean to the overall plan. For example, a sales plan might well include how much new revenue will result if that assumption comes to pass. A manufacturing benefit might be an increase in productivity, getting the same or more product output with less resources. The result of the planning process is that management can assess the resource and other costs necessary to achieve the "best case", "worst case", and "most likely" scenarios. Is the benefit to be achieved worth the cost necessary for that achievement.
The rigor in the planning process allows the staff to develop three looks at what might happen. The "best case" of those looks is that all assumptions will be met and the highest level of achievement will be attained. The "worst case" will result if many of the assumptions, especially the most critical ones, are not met. And, the third is the "most likely" plan, the one that has weighed the assumptions most likely to come to fruition and the benefits to be derived. Management may view the plan and see that the cost of achieving the best case scenarios is unacceptable because the difference/margin between what is achieved and what it cost for that achievement is simply too small to take the risk.
Why go through that rigorous effort and then not take on that project? Because management is charged with preventing things from happening that you don't want to happen and the first thing a business does not want to happen is to not make a profit. And that's the difference between business and government.
There are a number of government departments, bureaucracies, that have never achieved the goals for which they were established. If they were a business, they would have been shown to not have reached their primary goal, that is, to spend less to achieve the results than the benefits derived from what they achieved.
What we find in government is that failure to achieve often means a department getting even more funds, but the people who provided those funds still not getting the achievement or benefits that were to be expected. What is of even more concern is that the departments, such as Energy and Education have never achieved their goals but have ever increasingly been rewarded with a greater level of taxpayer funding with which they have built an even larger bureaucracy. And we've all seen television reports of those underachieving departments spending enormous sums of money on "team building" niceties; learning line dancing, making a "Patton" movie spoof, and so on.
The latest case of government failure has been the attempt at implementation of the Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare". The results are inexcusable. No businesses would have so heavily advertised for people to contact them in order to sell them a product, without having had the call center and computer systems pre-tested for volume and content many times as the system development progressed. Prior to cut-over, management would have been assured that every aspect worked properly. Businesses don't want to spend huge sums of money to get customers to contact them, and then not be prepared to professionally process the customer request. Companies that have failed to meet that test, are probably no longer in business.
In the case of the Affordable Care Act cut-over, it appears that there was some last minute system testing, and the systems failed miserably. That didn't stop the President or HHS from going forward as, it appears, the customer's (you and me) inconvenience or anxiety doesn't matter . . . just send more tax dollars so they can continue to make the bureaucracy bigger.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
Last Updated on Monday, 11 November 2013 09:34
To The Daily Sun,
And to the Anti-Lakemont Cooperative Group at Briarcrest Estates:
As a resident of Briarcrest Estates and a Lakemont Co-op member, I am responding to the Anti-Lakemont Cooperative Group at Briarcrest Estates sheet on, "Why they think Hometown America should buy Briarcrest" that was handed out at their informational meeting for residents on October 24. I am not speaking for the Lakemont Cooperative Board and/or other members. I will try to answer your 10 points of interest point-by-point.
What we all have to remember is that Maple Holding and Redevelopment, LLC (a Florida Limited Liability Company), is the business entity that is offering the purchase and sales A=agreement to Mr. Mooney, not Hometown America, although Maple Holding and Redevelopment, LLC, is a company owned by Hometown America. In a letter dated September 26, 2013, HA says they "will be the primary owner as well as manager of the property". So who exactly is going to own and run Briarcrest? Please note the name of the company on the purchase and sales A=agreement: Maple HOLDING and REDEVELOPMENT, a LIMITED LIABILITY Company. If this doesn't give you some clue to what their planning to do with Briarcrest Estates, I don't know what else to say, except read on....
— "Hometown America only buys and manages top tier manufactured home parks." Maybe yes, but what happened to those parks that didn't measure up? They may be sold again and again and again, each time probably having their rents go upward and the maintenance go downward. What if Briarcrest Estates doesn't fit into their "business strategy"? At any time, MH&R or any owner can sell the park with sixty days notice (NH RSA 205A).
_ "They currently own over 41 communities in 11 states." The number of communities you own doesn't make you better. It is the quality that is important.
— "Owning and managing manufactured communities on an experienced and professional level is what HA does." Here in Briarcrest, we have people with experience in banking, owning/running a business, financial matters (CPAs, city councilwoman, etc.), and just about any other category of business we would need.
— "They (HA) have deep pockets and will be able to invest more into our communities and add amenities." Again, I would refer you to the pro forma/spreadsheet that has been prepared to show you that within just a few years we would have the necessary monies to invest in the community and add amenities (this is in addition to the "rainy day" fund). Although I don't know what more you could ask for here in Briarcrest Estates — a pool? tennis courts?
— "All of HA's communities have lawn mowing and plowing done by management." Did you know that Mr. Mooney has said that he charges Briarcrest Estates approximately $60,000 per year for snow plowing AND $60,000 per year for lawn mowing? The Co-op Interim Board has already sought out and received quotes from local companies for these services at lower prices. As a group/community we have a lot of buying power! Maybe we could even lower our heating costs if we bargained as a group.
— "Positive feedback on HA management practices." Co-op members have also heard directly from people at other MH&R and/or HA communities that MH&R and/or HA does NOT do a good job managing their communities. Guess it depends on who you talk to.
— "Hometown America will NOT make the community a no-dog park." As far as I know, Lakemont Co-op has no plans to forbid dogs in the park. Under Mark Mooney's Briarcrest Estates Park Rules and Regulations that are in effect now: "V. Pets: Pets are permitted only at the discretion of the park owner. Pet owners must observe the following guidelines: 1. The pet is a house type pet and will be kept indoors at all times, except during walking periods. 2. When outdoors, the pet will be kept on a leash and in the presence of its custodian. 3. Pets may not be kept outside. Pets must be attended at all times. 4. Pet owners are required to clean up after their pet and keep the pet quiet and unobtrusive to their neighbors. 5. Dogs larger than lap size are not permitted." This is the only mention I can find in the Rules & Regulations about dogs and the Co-op has said it will follow the Rules & Regulations already in place unless it is brought up before the Co-op Board and membership for a majority (51 percent) vote.
— "Hometown America will be honoring our leases and therefore only raising the rent once a year based on the same parameters stated in our leases." The Co-op has also said they would honor all 241 leases in their Purchase and Sales agreement that Mr. Mooney refuses to accept, the same as MH&R and/or HA. Actually, HA has stated that "all existing leases and terms outlined in those leases will be recognized by Hometown." What is the difference between "honor" and "recognized"? Semantics? NH RSA 205A permits increases in lot rents with a 60-day notice, so effectively, your lot rent could change every two months if an owner so desires.
— "They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau." I assume "They" means Hometown America. That is the BBB rating for the sum total of communities they own, as the HA corporation headquartered in Chicago. But is it for each individual park/community in the city/town, county, and state where they are located under the many different limited liability companies that are under the umbrella of HA? No.
— Complaints lodged against HA: Several of the complaints were lodged by about five different people who were hired as a manager of a HA park. They said they were given no training, no backup, just dropped into place with nothing to go by — sink or swim. Other complaints were from residents/tenants of HA parks/communities mostly about not being able to sell their homes because HA had not kept up the grounds and/or there were too many rental units* in the park. And those were not the only complaints we could find on the Internet! How many homeowners in their parks want to say something but are afraid to because of retribution? How many homeowners are in fear of retribution in your organization? Quite a few from what I heard at the meeting.
(* "Rental Units" meaning that the homeowners had to rent because they could not sell their homes due to the reputation of their park.)
Please people, look at this as taking control of your future! Don't let someone in Chicago determine the future of Briarcrest Estates! Keep everything local — from the Co-op Board members to the Co-op members to the local services we hire. If you want to sit back and do nothing that's your option, but let us help keep everything local, financially and otherwise. Nobody in Briarcrest is going to get rich if the Co-op buys and runs the park, but other people will make money if you allow Maple Holding and Redevelopment, LLC and/or Hometown America to buy OUR park. If the Lakemont Cooperative is allowed to purchase Briarcrest Estates, ALL the money will stay here (locally) and we can all make Briarcrest an even better place to live!
Last Updated on Saturday, 09 November 2013 12:01
To The Daily Sun,
At a recent meeting, the town administrator advised the Sanbornton Selectobard that $245,498 dollars from the unreserved fund was available to offset the 2013 town tax rate. Selectmen Ober made a motion to do so. The motion passed unanimously.
It's nice to see that those funds were not used for some other, new town project.
Thanks Selectmen Ober!
Last Updated on Friday, 08 November 2013 11:51
To The Daily Sun,
"Do as I say, not as I do". This is one of life's many contradictory commands. Another very popular adage: "If the shoe fits, wear it". Meaning: if a description applies to you, then admit it and accept it. In my opinion, these two phrases could apply to some narrow-minded people who write letters to the editor submitted to The Laconia Daily Sun.
Because we have a free will, we are able to make choices about the interactions we have with one another. Those choices are affected by whether we come to a decision with an open or narrow mindset. Open-mindedness is not a disease or a "condition" to be feared. It actually allows one to have a more clear and unbiased understanding of the world around us. It enables us to learn from our experiences and to correct our prejudices and narrow our blind spots.
Whether you deal with me on a personal level or in other ways (as on the opinion pages of this newspaper), please know that I strive to live my life each day in an open minded way. This would be a more understanding and just world if we all lived by this simple principal. I said, "strive", since none will ever "succeed" 100 percent.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 November 2013 11:48
To The Daily Sun,
During the last 12 months, many people have shared their concerns about the Groton industrial-scale wind farm and future wind farm proposals destined for their communities. They include residents, vacationers, realtors, farmers, conservationists, AMC members, field naturalists, lake lovers and others. Most of the people upset by inappropriate, industrial-scale wind farm developments are not climate change skeptics. That shouldn't come as a surprise.
They've learned that wind turbines are not a neutral technology. Large-scale wind farms can and do cause a range of serious problems. They also know many politicians are not representing them on their legitimate concerns.
Are politicians misleading their constituents? Is Governor Maggie Hassan embracing the the wind industry? Are they taking the stance that wind farms are intrinsically good in all situations? Is their decision making becoming distorted? Have they stopped seeing and hearing the facts? Whole communities of people and wildlife are now being stranded by their processes.
A striking example of this is the highly controversial and totally inappropriate development called the Wild Meadows Wind Farm. This proposal is well under way — yet the community is not seeing representation from their elected officials. The site for the erection of 23 large wind turbines, each 500 feet tall — that is, 100 feet taller than the Groton Wind Farm — is right in the middle of a significant wetlands/watershed area. The site basically abuts the Cardigan Mountain State Park.
After decades of continuous efforts by local people and organizations to protect this high value conservation watershed area, home to numerous species of birds, the message from today's politicians is: Nothing, absolutely nothing!
We now stand beside a long list of objectors to the Wild Meadows Development (WMD), running into many thousands of individuals, as well as many organizations. At this stage insufficient information and vague answers is the name of the game.
This is approaching the threshold beyond which it cannot be used for effective, rationally based public decision making. It needs to go to the courts. Regardless, if approved, the WMD proposal will be challenged in court - like it's sister facility, the Groton Wind Farm, is now seeing in its aftermath.
Maybe then the state will then hear our community concerns or at least enjoy a good public kicking. Because, right now, anybody who gets in the way is stomped on and belittled.
We understand that New Hampshire aims to maintain a well-balanced energy resource portfolio. And to enhance its trading and marketing activities while establishing a stable supply system to meet growing energy demand inside and outside of our state.
But remember in the end... a wind farm in Groton, at Wild Meadows, at Spruce Ridge and at Alpine Ridge will not reduce New Hampshire's carbon footprint. This is all about southern states reducing their carbon footprints at our expense.
There's no guarantee that building a wind farm will bring down power prices or carbon footprints. It certainly hasn't to date. Soon it will be seen as a factor as to why New Hampshire may take first, second or third place in this country's electricity prices race. Currently we are in 5th place.
Apologists try to blame sharply rising power charges on the need to replace aging poles and wires, but upgrades and new infrastructure costs do not account for all of those increases - wind farms are the core problem.
What's your average monthly electrical bill? Watch it... closely.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 November 2013 11:45