Reflecting on former RFPL director’s dismissal
Editor of the Reformer:
In a recent letter to the Reformer ("Dumbing down at RFPL," April 27), a former trustee asks why the four "Trustees You can Trust" who were elected at the Rockingham town election last month have not refuted the charges she and four other trustees made as their pretext for dismissing the former library director, Celine Houlne.
All these charges were the subject of thorough discussion at two public hearings lasting over six hours on the former library director’s appeal against the majority decision to dismiss her. All the accusations were totally refuted at the public hearings by the library director’s Attorney and by Ms. Houlne’s own public statement. After the public hearings the slim five-four majority of the Library Board of Trustees voted to sustain the dismissal, despite the clear evidence that the charges against her lacked any credibility. As Mr. Rhodes, one former library director at the Rockingham Library, said of the public hearings: "Some of the trustees appeared to be vindictive, angry, silly, immature and illogical regarding their statements about their reasons for the firing."
The matter of the former library director’s unjustified dismissal was a major issue in the election campaign. The election results speak for themselves: the four Trustees You Can Trust: Doreen Aldrich 837; Carol Blackwood 685; David Gould 793; Ray Massucco 557. Then there was the letter writer, at 143. So much for her credibility.
Saxtons River, April 29
What Brattleboro’s budget cuts mean to you
Editor of the Reformer:
And so it begins. As predictable as the sun rising in the east, the spate of letters to the Reformer decrying the possible budget cuts has begun. These letters, I might add, seem to be coming from the very folks who pushed for a cut in the budget in the first place.
I sat on the Selectboard and I can assure you that the budgets have been bare-boned for many years. By that I mean there can be virtually no decrease in the budget without a decrease in services.
From where will these cuts come? For one thing, capital improvements have been slashed to the point where a serious breakdown in equipment is almost inevitable. Road repair budgets have been significantly cut, which means that roads will eventually become impossible to repair and will require much more costly reconstruction down the line.
So what’s left? Cut personnel from the police, fire, and public works departments? Think of what that would mean. What’s left then are the so-called nonessential services, i.e. library, recreation, parks, sidewalk plowing, and human services. Let me state clearly, I do not want cuts made in these departments. But, as stated before, there is no fat in the budget, so any decrease will inevitably result in said cuts.
Furthermore, I would remind everyone who has proposed his or her own line items they would like cut; neither the Town Meeting Reps nor the town voters have any say in where the monies are to be spent. That is entirely up to the members of the Selectboard. All the reps and citizens can do is to pass on the entire budget amount, period.
It is becoming quite clear that the people of this town want no change in services, they just don’t want to pay for them.
Brattleboro, April 29
Gun control - some context
Editor of the Reformer:
I found a recent letter pertaining to the need for gun control in Vermont ("Support gun control," April 24) rather perplexing as to how the writer claimed it would work to prevent massacres in Vermont. There has only been one massacre in Vermont and that was in the 1700s when a group of unarmed Westminster residents confronted a group of armed Tory sheriffs from New York who opened fire, killing a number of the residents.
Well, enough of the history lesson. Now here are some truths about gun control. In Los Angeles, which has highly restrictive gun control laws, there are 100,000 heavily armed gang members carrying full auto weapons; did gun control work there? Yes. It tied the hands of honest, law-abiding citizens who are the only ones obviously obeying the laws leaving them as unarmed prey, the same as in Chicago and Detroit, both of which have highly restrictive gun control laws and, you guessed it, a huge heavily armed criminal element. Has gun control worked there? And yet Vermont hasn’t any gun control laws and our state was deemed one of the safest states to live in and raise a family.
So figure that -- the letter writer claimed this could happen and that could happen without gun control. Well, Chicken Little ran around saying the sky was falling, also. We Vermonters have a saying -- if it doesn’t need fixing you do not fix it. We do not need gun control in Vermont tying the hands of honest people behind their backs and leaving us wide open for violent predators.
Saxtons River, April 28