Tuesday October 30, 2012

What if ...

Editor of the Reformer:

Less than two weeks to Election Day 2012 and we all are weary of the tsunami of political advertising and mud-slinging hurled at us by politicians of every stripe -- on the radio, in the newspaper, through the mails, by recorded phone calls at all hours of the day and night and, most of all, every 10 minutes on television commercial breaks. Less than two weeks to go, after nearly two years of electioneering, through primaries when the candidates proved with their own words and infighting that none was worthy of the great office of President. Through conventions and debates, with charge and counter-charge, misrepresentation, even outright lies, becoming a bewildering cacophony of fact checkers, commentators, and talking heads analyzing trends and forecasting the outcome from a myriad of sponsored, often contradictory, voter polls.

All very American of course. That’s what we do Baby: elect a President for a four year term, then spend the four years blocking and undermining his ability to carry out the program on which he was elected. "Our sole purpose is to ensure he has no second term, no matter the consequences to the country" or words to that effect uttered by the leader of the Senate.

A constitution designed by brilliant men is now subjected to interpretation that sometimes results in laws like ‘Citizen’s United’ ensuring that government "for and by the people" is frustrated. A valuable filibuster system is used in a way that prevents legislating with a simple majority. Many incumbents of both parties resist change lest they be deprived of their power and perks. Many others -- indeed the majority -- are devoted public servants dedicated to serving their constituents and their country, but these are too often outmaneuvered by those who serve self-interest and the interests of their wealthy backers, lobbyists like the old K-Street Gang, and the unelected Mr. Tax Pledge himself, Grover Norquist.

So let’s dream a little. What if Š.

What if the President was elected to a one-term six-year presidency? What if that one term was his limit in the White House so that he does not need to spend time seeking re-election?

What if the President could count on the support of congress to attend to the matters of state for those six years, still requiring advise and consent from congress but with genuine bi-partisan debate?

What if electioneering for the Presidency was limited to the six months before the general election, including primaries and conventions?

What if lobbying became subject to stricter rules requiring public disclosure of the details of the quid pro quo involved. ("Vote yes on this bill in exchange for Š.").

What if ‘Citizens United’ was overturned and ‘superpacs’ banned, with full disclosure of contributions to candidates, limited to, say, $10,000 by individuals only - no exceptions or loopholes?

As Eliza Dolittle said "Wouldn’t that be luverly"

Pie In The Sky, of course. Maybe on Mars one day.

Don Broad,

Westminster, Oct. 23

Wright running for JOP

Editor of the Reformer:

Dear Local Voters,

This letter is to inform you that I am running for Justice of the Peace here in Windham County, and to request the privilege of your vote when you cast your ballot this November.

I am known by some of you as the co-founder of Green Mountain Traffic Control, a growing, local employer doing work on jobsites all across the state for the past 10 years, and as a charter member of the Vermont Work Zone Advisory Council, which seeks to improve on-road safety for workers and for the traveling public; many others would recognize me as the crossing guard who protects our younger children daily at the intersection of School& Atkinson streets. Socially, I’m your neighbor at 75 Westminster Street, tucked in between the Riverview and the Readmore here in B. F., and a fraternal member of King Solomon’s Temple Lodge #45; I’m a husband, father & granddad, and enjoy wearing my Scottish kilt on the weekends.

I am a man who aspires to be long on civic pride and short on rhetoric, but more importantly, I am eager to go to work for the citizens of my community, and to defend & support an improving quality of life for all Vermonters.

If you will trust me with your vote on Nov 6, I promise to begin doing exactly that.

Cass Wright,

Bellows Falls, Oct. 16

Support for Pearce

Editor of the Reformer:

When Treasurer Spaulding resigned, Governor Shumlin appointed Beth Pearce who was then the Assistant Treasurer. David Coates from Burlington, retired KPMG (one of the Big Four auditors internationally) managing partner, put it this way: "When Treasurer Spaulding resigned there were many vying for the appointment, including political insiders. ... The treasurer’s office shouldn’t be about politics -- it should be about competence and she (Beth) brings an extraordinary amount of competence to that office. She’s so darn good financially and understands all of the aspects of what it takes to be treasurer."

The main functions for the role of the treasurer are:

1) Invest state funds (Beth’s investing knowledge has served us well and even in the downtime we have seen good returns);

2) Issue bonds (Beth just handled the sale of $93.2M in general obligation bonds in record time at low interest -- she did this because she has managed to see to it that Vermont has the highest general obligation bond rating of any New England state);

3) Manage cash balances (during the height of the Federal financial crisis she handled our cash in a way that would have allowed us to survive federal cuts and allowed the state to advance $155M to towns dealing with Irene recovery);

4) Administer three retirement plans -- State Employees, Teachers and Municipal Employees (She has handled these with great care and as a result they are in very good shape -- any underfunding is due to the legislative budget process and Beth has a well defined plan to address this).

Recently voters received mailings telling us to vote for Wendy Wilton. One of these was paid for by Vermonters First, a right wing PAC financed by one person with strong ties to Tea Party causes. (Wilton claims that the $100,000 plus Vermonters First has spent promoting her shows a lot of support -- but Vermonters First donations include $682,500 from one person and a total of $950 from three other people. This doesn’t seem like broad support).

Both of these mailings claim that Democrats have control of everything in Vermont (Dems do not have a veto proof majority in the House, but then what’s one little fib?). They say it is time to "restore balance" by electing Wilton.

Wilton’s ads make it clear that she thinks this is a partisan office and that the main reason she should serve is to "restore balance in Montpelier." I served with Wilton during her single term in the Senate and she plays the partisan game more than most.

Beth Pearce is not a political/partisan being -- she is just a very good treasure who is very serious about her responsibilities.

I hope you will join me in voting for Beth Pearce for Vermont Treasurer. Don’t be fooled by misleading advertisements, get the real facts. Let’s choose competence over politics or ideology. We need a treasurer who is, as David Coates put it "darn good financially."

Jeanette White,

Putney, Oct. 25