Letters to the Editor (4/2/09)

April 2, 2009

Obama’s morals

Last week, President Obama lost any remnants of my support. To be honest, I was never a supporter of his policies, but until last Thursday night, I believed he was a decent man. All that changed when he mocked and ridiculed disabled children with his disparaging comments about the Special Olympics. Decent people don’t make such reprehensible comments. President Obama laughs at them.

When Don Imus made his infamous comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team, the public outrage was justifiably indefatigable. Even though he is a shock-jock, paid to make outlandish comments, people rightly argued that his comments could never be forgiven as they provided insight into his core beliefs about black women. As a result, he was fired.

In Obama’s rare, off-teleprompter moment, he gave us a view into his core belief system, which, to me, is repugnant. If he didn’t see the disabled as inferior people, he never would have uttered his disgusting words. His advisors were quick with damage control and encouraged him to apologize. Unfortunately, no apology can ever erase his “joke” and the unfiltered glimpse it provided into his morally bankrupt soul.

I will continue to support the Special Olympics and individuals with special needs despite the fact that our president feels they can be the butt of a joke. However, I will never again support the hollow man who now holds the office of president.

Andrew Guernsey


Valuing social media

Tom Kearney does not get it, and his column proves that point.

In his March 26 Guest Column, Kearney shares his thoughts about social media, the umbrella name given to sites and applications which are referenced in his column. What concerned me is that Tom skips over the real value and will further confuse people who read his column. This is especially disappointing given that we are in the throes of what is likely the largest economic crisis of our generation. At a time when community support, job search and social cause (not to mention surviving a Vermont winter) take on an increased level of importance, illustrating the value of the medium would have been a much better approach.

The LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com) position stated was regrettable. LinkedIn is about making business connections; especially valuable if you are out of work. I have personally witnessed three independent connections “link” within as many weeks in support of a job opportunity. I have put people in touch; one in need and one with a need. It is far from “crass” — it is very professional and all about the day job.

Twitter is definitely the new kid on the block, but Kearney gets it wrong here, too. Twitter is an amazing social tool. Twitter allows me to watch and participate in conversations far beyond my personal network or geography. Few people “follow (people) to the ends of the earth,” the minority that makes the news. We have not been doing it for years. It is different — no long e-mails, it is 140 characters or less — in other words, what is the most important thing you want to say?

I use Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin; each has valuable qualities, each is different. If you do not participate, the value is lost, and you will not understand.

Mitch Lieberman


A roundabout in Williston village?

Come on Williston, money could be spent in a better way rather than building a roundabout which would involve taking additional property.

Your article (“Roundabout selected for village intersection,” March 26) mentioned that this would help the people who wish to cross the street. Well, I travel from Taft Corners to South Road every day and for the past two weeks, I have not seen a person waiting to cross the street.

Your article said that for the past five years there were 25 accidents. Question: How many since the four-way stop signs were installed?  

Just because you have the grant money for this roundabout doesn’t mean you have to spend it. Give it back so some other village in Vermont could use it for a more practical use.

Don J. Brousseau


‘Reprehensible’ decision

For multiple reasons, the Selectboard decision in favor of a roundabout at the Route 2/Oak Hill Road intersection is reprehensible:

•    Anyone who has seen a high-traffic roundabout in operation knows that pedestrians cannot safely cross unless stoplights are also provided, as Boston and many other cities have discovered.

•    Out-of-date accident data were used as justification. Ginger Morton reported at the Feb. 23 hearing that there have been no accidents since the flashing light was added to one of the stop signs.

•    Dairy farmers and all others whose trucks use the intersection will be significantly inconvenienced.

•    The price tag of $960,000 is completely out of proportion to the severity of the traffic problem, and to the more effective and significantly less expensive alternatives available. In this time of fiscal crisis the roundabout would be an unpardonable waste of taxpayers’ money.

Regarding Mr. Fehrs’ consideration of what the Observer called “the wishes of other residents who didn’t attend the meeting,” I would like to know who they are. This debate has been going on for decades. In none of the meetings I’ve attended have I heard significant support for the roundabout from anyone other than the consultants who are trying to sell it to us. We have definitely achieved government of the people and by the people, but government for the people appears to have escaped us.

I have always expected — and continue to expect — much better from the Williston Selectboard.

Richard C. Owens Jr.


Problems with a roundabout

My name is Summer Bishop, I am 10 years old, and I currently go to Williston Central School. I have some problems with the approval of the roundabout at Oak Hill and Williston Road.

For one thing, how would buses and trucks go around without driving over something? It would have to be a very wide circle for them to fit, and if the circle was too wide, you would have to cut down that beautiful big tree on the corner of the road. How will it affect the Korner Kwik Stop, the Federated Church and the yards around it?

Have you seen the roundabout at the Maple Tree Place? No one knows how to use it. I mean, who is going to hand out instruction manuals on how to use it? If drivers don’t know how to use it, cars will back up even farther than they do now.

The most important issue is about bicycles and pedestrian safety. My family likes to ride to school, and that would be a problem for us. How will we cross the street, and how will the cars stop, and where?

I think the roundabout is a bad idea because it will create more problems than we have now. Thank you for listening to my concerns. It seems there would be a better solution.

Summer Bishop


Powering Vermont

Congratulations to the town of Williston for winning a $12,000 Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) grant to insulate, weatherize and replace lighting and sensor controls (“State grant to fund Town Hall energy upgrades,” March 26). This local project will cut 14 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, Gov. James Douglas announced in the awards ceremony at the Statehouse Friday, March 20.

The RGGI will earn about $3 million this year, which comes from out-of-state utilities that emit greenhouse gases, and will be used for Vermont energy efficiency programs. Vermonters pay virtually nothing into the RGGI because our two largest power producers, Vermont Yankee and Hydro-Québec, are virtually emissions free.

Unfortunately, the power contracts for Vermont Yankee and Hydro-Québec expire within the next six years. Without these producers, our electricity bills would likely dramatically increase because renewable energy, such as wind, solar and biomass, cannot at present replace the power produced by Hydro-Québec and Vermont Yankee. We would need to purchase a good deal of electricity from fossil-fuel power plants.

To learn more about the economic and environmental benefit of Vermont’s low-carbon power generation and what you can do to help, go to www.vtep.org.

Guy Page, Communications director

Vermont Energy Partnership