Thursday December 6, 2012

Vermonters’ needs more important than ideal of free market system

In a Banner column on Nov. 27 ("A way forward for the Vermont GOP"), Rep. Heidi E. Scheuermann of Stowe proposes that the Republican Party needs to reinvent itself. She said, "We need thoughtful, intelligent debate on the proposals put forward by others, yet instead of intelligent opposition, we sound lifeless and uninspiring -- and sometimes idiotic, angry, and petty." She went on to say "It is time that we join together to reinvigorate, reinstitute, and revive the Republican Party in Vermont."

Rep. Scheuermann advocates in generalities (cares about Vermonters and their families; believes in liberty; protects our children’s welfare) of the kind that every single person of good conscience advocates, regardless of party.

This is like being "against crime." The principles only have meaning when you start to apply them to specific circumstances and issues.

When she says that one of the Republican Party’s "traditional values" is "caring for those in need," can she point to specifics?

From what I understand, Ms. Scheuermann voted repeatedly against legislation that would create a universal health care system. Is this really an expression of caring about Vermonters and their families?

These high-sounding generalities are in keeping with the abstract values espoused by Campaign for Vermont, of which she is a founding partner (along with Bruce Lisman). In the case of Campaign for Vermont, these principles appear to translate into the very typical Republican positions of, specifically, no universal health care, and generally, let the wonders of the free market solve all our problems.

Unfortunately, the ideal of the free market system has been valued by the Republican Party much more then the needs of Vermonters. Instead, healthcare needs to be a human right.

CHARLIE MURPHY

Bennington

Does Sunderland know?

The proposed Sunderland town hall building blueprints are finalized and approved. The Selectboard now will work to sell the proposed blueprints to the residents of Sunderland. Public comment on the blueprints has been received. If you didn’t know anything about this, you are not alone. The Town of Sunderland lacks an effective means of alerting and connecting with its residents when issues that directly affect them are in process of being determined by town officials. I’ve asked a number of people are they aware the building blueprints were finalized and in all cases none knew, much less that the time period for public comment on the blueprints existed.

Why is it so hard for town officials to inform the residents when major issues are on the table? I would wager to this day that property owners on Borough Road have no idea their land use rights were changed a few months back. A loud outcry came from property owners affected by the new flood plain regulations because of missed vital time lines. Will they be alerted when the new changed regulations are being voted on? And now we have the town hall building blueprints that seemed to fly through the selectboard.

Residents at town meeting will have to approve the building design but the opportunity to change it before then has gone by. Coming up soon is the determination of the proposed repairs to the Kelley Stand Road. Can the public be alerted sufficiently to this meeting to comment on and influence these repairs? In my opinion, the old way of warning the residents of official town business is not working. Posting a message at the town garage, the school and the town clerk’s office, and having a small posting in the newspaper, just doesn’t seem to get people’s attention. The new way with the town web site and Front Porch Forum seems to do a bit better but these also don’t connect with enough of the residents.

We are a town of around 1,000 people with under half as many voters, why does it seem so hard to communicate so that a majority of the people at least know what town business is at hand? I believe on very important matters a survey sent out with return postage is effective, a letter to the editor in the newspaper, a postcard and constant word of mouth are all able to be used to get the word out to people. I thought the blueprints for the new town hall would have been that important. Do we need one for the Kelley Stand repairs? Do we need information boards located on each end of town large enough to read briefs from your car: Town Hall Blueprints -- Public Comment Needed. Residents, talk to your selectboard members and let them know you’d like to be brought into the discussions about very important decisions about our town.

JOE BOUTIN

Sunderland