Thursday January 26, 2012

Voice your opinion on the Citizens United decision

On Town Meeting Day (March 6), voters in Woodstock and dozens of other Vermont towns will have a chance to vote to encourage all our elected representatives to do whatever they can to put people back in control of our elections. The influence of big money on national, state, and even local elections has been growing for a long time, and just two years ago the U.S. Supreme Court gave big money a shot of steroids.

The court’s Citizens United decision in January 2010 reversed precedents and gave big money free rein to buy whatever candidates and elections it could afford. That’s why you see so many more Super PACs throwing so many millions of dollars around already.

A billionaire may have only one vote, but the billionaire’s unlimited spending probably dwarfs whatever influence you have on the electoral process. That’s because the Supreme Court says the billionaire’s money is "speech" and you both get to speak to your heart’s content -- if not your wallet’s.

The Woodstock Town Meeting warning will include this item: "Whereas corporations are NOT people, and whereas money is NOT human speech, SHALL the Town of WOODSTOCK urge that all our elected representatives, take all possible actions to restore elections to the people, including an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that affirms that under our Constitution, money is not speech and corporations are not persons; and further, that upon approval of this resolution at the annual Town Meeting SHALL the town send its resolution to Vermont State and Federal representatives within thirty days of passage of this measure?"

The select board is to be commended for accepting this question, as it affects every member of our community.

WILLIAM BOARDMAN

Woodstock

Yes, rename the Bypass

I really agree with the letter by Bruce Putnam about renaming the "Bypass."

A town our size can surely come up with a great name that invokes a sense of liveliness and interest. Maybe even a contest would add extra motivation? If we have a window of opportunity we don’t want to lose it and then regret it.

It could be fun for all ages to put a name in the hat. Bennington Connector? Southshire Connector? Something catchy like our great Blue Benn Diner ... Blue Benn Highway? (LOL).

Bennington Trading Postal Highway ... OK, I am getting carried away.

GWEN WINSEMAN

Bennington