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Forum, Sept. 10: I-89 ‘roadblock’ was an exercise in intimidation


Monday, September 09, 2019
I-89 ‘roadblock’ was an exercise in intimidation

Like hundreds of other Upper Valley motorists, my wife and I were inconvenienced by the Border Patrol action that took place on Interstate 89 south on Thursday.

It’s a good thing our visit to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center was not an emergency or my sense of outrage would have risen to something more than just being ticked off.

As it was, the Border Patrol “roadblock,” or inspection, or whatever they want to call it, was a simple exercise in governmental interference with the daily commerce of American citizens. It was an effort to intimidate people, for no good reason, other than the intimidation itself.

The fact that the young men in uniform stopping traffic on the highway seemed to think they were doing something important shows how far we have strayed from our national values. Unless they had some even more nefarious purpose, they were out there just messing with us, the taxpayers.

The good news is that this shows how important it is for Congress to pass the bill co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., that would roll back the limit for such activities to 25 from the border instead of 100 miles. It’s time we in New Hampshire remember our state motto, Live Free or Die, and stand up against the outrageous actions that halted so many of us who were out to do our business on I-89 on Thursday.

PETER HOE BURLING

Cornish

Column slamming CEOs was unfair

I judged David Lazarus’ recent Consumer Confidential column impugning the integrity of corporate CEOs (“Propaganda experts doubt CEOs’ concern,” Sept. 1) to be unfair, referring in particular to the recent assertion by 181 members of the Business Roundtable that they care about customers, employees and society in general, and not just the bottom line.

I co-authored an article published in 1993 reporting the results of my team’s empirical research based on data from much of the 1980s of major U.S. corporations’ reputation for social responsibility, as reported in Fortune’s annual survey of corporate reputations, and its relationship with performance, as measured by accounting and stock market metrics. The results demonstrated consistently higher performance and lower risk for companies rated more versus less responsible, across all the measures. Differences were especially significant for a subgroup of companies in industries noted for social conflict, for example mining and crude oil (think “Exxon Valdez”).

While correlation does not prove causality, the results supported the idea that investors are cognizant of and accord value to corporate social responsibility, which is consistent with much anecdotal evidence at the time.

For instance, The Wall Street Journal reported that an increasing number of large U.S. corporations were appointing senior executives to oversee the formulation and execution of social responsibility policies.

I think it is only a matter of common sense to suppose that executives have, in modern times, recognized the intrinsic and enduring relationships among all aspects of responsible performance and long-term value maximization.

This is not to dismiss ongoing, short-term trade-offs among dimensions of social responsibility, especially when struggling to meet earnings forecasts; corporate life is complex. But the assertion that CEOs’ concern for corporate social responsibility is disingenuous, or a recent phenomenon, is inconsistent with my memory of classroom discussions as a student at Harvard Business School in the early 1960s, and at odds with my decades of experience interacting with executives while teaching at Sloan School of Management and Sawyer Business School.

MORRIS McINNES

Grantham

What we can do to fight climate change

Climate Strike Week, Sept. 20-27, is an urgent wake-up call. We are facing an unprecedented global climate emergency: fires, floods, drought, famine, mass displacement of desperate people, oceans of plastic, polluted air, soil and water, extinction of animal species.

We humans have trashed the planet. What will we do about it?

Conventional approaches of voting, lobbying, petitions and protest have failed at a national level; powerful political and economic interests prevent change. There seems to be more hope for change at the local level.

In Lebanon, with leadership from Clifton Below and the Lebanon Energy Advisory Committee, Tad Montgomery, energy and facilities manager, the City Council, city manager, various city departments, and a forward-thinking Lebanon Master Plan, there has been a huge effort toward renewable energy, efficiency and sustainability.

Efforts include energy audits of municipal buildings followed by insulation and weatherization, solar panels being installed on municipal properties, the Smart Streetlights project, a community solar project, an innovative home battery pilot program, landfill methane-to-electricity plans, a waste-reduction project at the farmers market, greenhouse gas emissions inventory, the “Goats Not Herbicides” pilot project in Lebanon’s city parks, and development of a “pollinator corridor” along the Mascoma River Greenway.

Other Upper Valley energy advisory groups and communities are taking steps, as well.

What can we as individuals do in the face of this emergency?

Upper Valley residents are converting lawns to pesticide-free gardens, composting, weatherizing and solarizing their homes, commuting to work by bike, supporting local agriculture, avoiding single-use plastic and, in general, trying to reduce their individual impact on the climate and the Earth.

We can also join forces with this global Climate Strike movement.

Keep your eyes open for events in the Upper Valley that act on climate change during Climate Strike Week and beyond.

PAT McGOVERN

Lebanon