Letters to the Editor (3/25/10)

March 25, 2010


Cap and trade

In his letter last week, Shelley Palmer attacked a “Lieberman-Warner bill.” Mr. Palmer was presumably referring to the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008, the most recent Lieberman-Warner collaboration, which contained several items referred to in his letter (greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system, carbon exchange center in Chicago).

However, this bill is dead. The last action on it was on June 6, 2008. The Republican minority leader, Mitch McConnell, used tactics like demanding that the entire bill be read out on the Senate floor (it took eight hours) to halt the bill’s progress, and it was eventually cleared from the books at the end of the 110th Congress. Later, a memo from Sen. McConnell’s office was leaked, stating in part, “The goal is for a theme (e.g. climate bill = higher gas prices), and the focus is much more on making political points than in amending the bill … or affecting policy” (Time.com, June 9, 2008).

Perhaps Mr. Palmer was thinking of a recent proposal for a similar bill, written by Sens. Kerry, Lieberman and Graham. This more tepid proposal would impose a cap-and-trade system first on utilities only, then eventually manufacturers. The framework includes nothing about an exchange center in Chicago.

The framework released says the bill will include provisions for increasing domestic oil production, incentives for nuclear power and subsidies to make sure the low and middle classes don’t pay any more for energy — things Mr. Palmer has supported in previous letters. Far from having “no detectable effect,” the bill would eventually keep over 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere.

Given these inaccuracies, I wonder if Mr. Palmer (or his sources) regards Sen. McConnell’s “focus on political points” as more important than actual facts.

Zeke Benshirim, Williston


Our medical future

The federal government is by far the nation’s largest “insurer,” far exceeding all others combined when it comes to the underfunding or denial of essential medical coverage.

In an effort to expand this tradition of limited services paid for by bankrupt entities such as Medicare, Medicaid and the VA, our president who is a smoker but is awful concerned about the health of everybody else is proposing to cut hundreds of billions of dollars in federal services while mandating everybody, including the tens of millions of illegal aliens who now are enjoying decent health care, be covered only by the government.

I must admit that exempting the president, his family and the Congress from such an ambitious plan was indeed a smart choice. How might such a monumental task be attempted? Start with a committee chairman who says he doesn’t understand the legislation. Throw in a speaker of the House who believes that we the people will only be able to understand the legislation after it is passed, toss in one obese surgeon general who hails from a city the name of which the president can’t pronounce on or off his teleprompters, fund it on the back of a broke country overseen by a treasury chief who claims to be too dumb to figure out how TurboTax works.

What could possibly go wrong?

Shelley Palmer, Williston


NordicStyle thanks

As publicity chair of this year’s American Cancer Society Relay For Life NordicStyle®, I would like to thank residents of Williston, Stowe, Morrisville and throughout Vermont for their generosity and support. Forty-four teams participated in this year’s event and raised more than $98,000 to help the Society’s fight for every birthday, threatened by every cancer, here and throughout the world.

This outstanding show of support proves that the people of Vermont stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the American Cancer Society to achieve its mission of saving lives by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures and fighting back.

We were honored to be joined by 60 survivors who walked the opening Survivors Lap, officially kicking off this year’s event. These survivors are the reason we continue the fight. Their participation inspires hope in those currently battling cancer.

A special thanks to the many Relay For Life NordicStyle volunteers who worked to make this event a success — celebrating the lives of those who have battled cancer, remembering loved ones lost and pledging to fight back against the disease. The Relay For Life NordicStyle committee did an outstanding job of putting the event together. Committee members are Ali Fredette, Jane Weaver, Suszan Letwenski, Diane McCarthy, Michele Powell, Brian Fredette, Stephany Kittell, Suzy Klinefelter, Charlie Yerrick, Adam Messier, Rachel Lakey Laundon, Ed Cinque, Paul Thabault and Susan Russo.

We also appreciate the generosity of this year’s corporate sponsors. Relay For Life NordicStyle would not be possible without them. You may get involved with Relay For Life at any time. Check out RelayForLife.org or call 1-800-227-2345 for more information.

Susan Russo, 2010 Relay For Life NordicStyle Publicity


CVU Board says thanks

The Champlain Valley Union High School Board of Directors wishes to express our sincere gratitude to the voters of Williston who supported the proposed 2010-2011 school year operating budget.

It was a difficult year in which to develop a budget and the CVU Board worked to maintain the high quality programs offered at the high school while striving to keep the tax impact to a minimum. We faced a number of uncertainties as we deliberated on this budget.

The CSSU district is currently in the midst of contract negotiations with our teachers, so faculty salaries and benefit costs are unknown. The costs associated with providing special education services were based on estimates which can change significantly after the budget is approved. In addition, the Vermont state property tax rate will not be set until after the vote, so education property tax rates are estimates. Each of these uncertainties made it very difficult when decisions about what and how much to cut program expenses were made by the board.

We recognize that not every voter was able to support the budget and we welcome feedback on how to balance our obligation to provide an outstanding education to our children while striving to maintain affordability for community taxpayers. Many of you shared feedback via the CVU survey available at town meetings and polling places. We look forward to discussing those results with you in the near future.

We want to thank Meg Hart-Smith for the eight years of School Board service to the Williston and CVU communities and welcome Polly Malik to the board. Our thanks also to the dedicated faculty, staff and leadership team at CVU, the “budget buddies” who devoted hours of their time to budget meetings and to the many members of the community who continue to support the Champlain Valley Union High School.

Jeanne Jensen, Jonathan Milne, David Rath, Williston representatives, CVU High School Board