Tuesday February 26, 2013

Whose best interests? Editor of the Reformer:

I attended the Feb. 16 meeting on wind energy in Grafton. Speakers were divided into two panels -- those in favor of rapid build out of industrial wind in Vermont, and those with reservations about this activity. In the ensuing debate, it emerged that the two sides were also divided on a core question: Should we always trust those with political and economic power to make the best decisions for us all?

First, the panel of wind developers and their proponents voiced robust support for their own decisions and those of the Public Service Board. Their manner was jolly, forceful, indeed, almost manic. We were relieved and delighted to hear that they are really great people, and that all their decisions are for our own good. Their efforts bring about nearly perfect protection of everything that needs protecting when wind turbines come to our town. I, for one, was relieved to learn that our dear world is in such righteous hands.

Then, a panel whose expertise lay in physics, government, and community organization expressed reservations. Certain themes emerged: We need to question the assertions of the wind developers and their political backers, especially given the enormous profits at stake; we must find in ourselves the competence to research their claims, look at data, draw our own conclusions; and we can understand complicated stuff.


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"Question Authority" they seemed to say, echoing distant, more hopeful, times.

So now I’m torn. It is really hard to understand stuff and make my own decisions. And wouldn’t it be so much nicer to believe in those dear, enthusiastic developers, even if most of the stuff they said didn’t make any sense?

So let me exhort the people of this great state to be joyful in the knowledge that our true protectors, Green Mountain Power, Iberdrola, Peter Shumlin, David Blittersdorf, and the Illuminati of the Public Service Board, are in full command of our future. They have only our best interests at heart. And I know because they tell me so.

Nancy Tips,

Windham, Feb. 19

Where’s my law dictionary?

Editor of the Reformer:

I find it very difficult to understand what has happened with the renovation project of the Rockingham Free Public Library and the lawsuit the sub-contractors have initiated to recover what is owed them. I am afraid the article by Domenic Poli in the Feb. 20 issue does very little to clarify the situation.

The following sentence, for example, makes no sense at all to the ordinary reader: "The town also is accused of unjust enrichment/restitution, promissory estoppel/detrimental reliance, perfection of contractor’s lien and negligence/negligent misrepresentation."

Wouldn’t it be better to describe the situation in simple, easily understood language, and leave the technical ramifications to those who have to deal with them?

Robert Deacon,

Bellows Falls, Feb. 20

Vote for Spoon

Editor of the Reformer:

If elected to the Brattleboro Selectboard, Ben Spoon Agave will bring positive energy and an intelligent perspective to the governing body of our town.

Spoon started on the Traffic Safety Committee fifteen years ago, and has continued serving, as a Representative Town Meeting Member for 12 years; on the Development Review Board for six years; the Planning Commission for six years, including as chair; as member and chair of the Charter Revision Committee for three-and-a-half years; and a year on the Board of Civil Authority. For the past four years, Spoon Agave has been on the Town Finance Committee. Spoon is also a former Selectboard member.

Although it is good practice for a new candidate to start with a one-year term, past history has shown that an untried candidate winning a three-year seat can be a mistake that we get stuck with, regardless of their connections or good-sounding campaign promises.

Ben Spoon Agave’s extensive experience with town government makes him an especially knowledgeable candidate. He is accessible: easy to talk to. What I really like about Spoon is that he is a straight talker. Spoon Agave is not someone who will sit quietly accepting nonsense just because it is easy to go along. He has the diplomatic skills to speak truthfully without hurting someone’s feelings.

I feel confident that, if elected, Ben Spoon Agave will bring a good balance of thought, insight, and the ability to listen collaboratively to others which will benefit our town in both the short run and for the future.

Steven K-Brooks,

Brattleboro, Feb. 19

You have a right to know

Editor of the Reformer:

There are several schools of thought regarding genetically engineered foods (also referred to as GMOs or GE foods). But regardless of your position on the matter, the facts remain that even as far back as 10 years ago, 90 percent of Vermonters who were polled by UVM’s Center for Rural Studies supported labeling products that include genetically engineered foods.

Take heart. There is a bill (H. 122) in this current Vermont legislative session, proposed by 50 legislators, including several of our own local representatives, that would provide consumers with information about whether or nor the foods they buy and feed to their families have been produced using genetic engineering technologies. In this bill, GE raw agricultural commodities would be labeled "genetically engineered" on the packaging or on the bin or shelf where it is sold. Processed foods would be labeled "partially produced with genetic engineering" on the package.

Vermont alone may not have the political clout to make this change across the nation, but leadership can certainly come from our little state. To learn more, please attend the free VT Right to Know Citizen Forum at the Marlboro Grad Center today at 6:30 p.m., one of five forums statewide. This forum is co-sponsored by the Brattleboro Food Co-op, the Putney Food Co-op, and Post-Oil Solutions.

Sabine Rhyne,

Brattleboro Food Co-op, Feb. 19

Former road foreman wants your vote

Editor of the Reformer:

I am a candidate for the open seat on the select board in the town of Londonderry.

I have lived my whole life in the Weston-Londonderry area and currently own, along with my sons, Wayne’s Auto and Lawn Care in Londonderry. The redemption center and a field mowing business is located there as well.

For those of you who do not know me (I could not make it to candidate night as I was on a wrecker call and was stuck in Middlebury), perhaps we met on the town road somewhere as I worked for the town road crew for several years and was road foreman the last few years, stepping down last fall to help the boys with our family business which has grown to a point where I was needed there.

I feel that I am especially qualified for the position because when you are road foreman you get involved in a lot of different aspects of the town. Budgets, town equipment, town building and all the infrastructures of different divisions of the town. I have also spent time at the recycling center and transfer station as the road crew helps maintain some of their equipment. As road foreman I have attended many board meetings, with the weeks report on salt use, sand use, issues with vehicles, fuel use for the trucks plus all the town buildings and transfer station.

I would appreciate your support on Town Meeting Day.

You can always stop by the garage (redemption center) or call me at 802 824 4430 with any questions.

Wayne Blanchard,

Londonderry, Feb. 22