Letters to the Editor10/02/08


Election letters policy

State and national elections will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Please note the Observer will not run any Letters to the Editor pertaining to the elections on Oct. 30, the week prior to the election.

All Letters to the Editor written in regards to the Nov. 4 election must be received by noon on Monday, Oct. 20. Please be aware that normal guidelines will apply, including a 300-word limit for all letters.

Letters to the Editor

Oct. 2, 2008

Update on the Conceptual Frameworks Committee II

The Williston School Board Conceptual Frameworks Committee II has been working hard the last two months identifying what they believe to be working and not working in the district regarding the three issues for which they have been charged to develop recommendations: configuration, equity and communication.

The charts you see when you click on the “Configuration: What’s working and not working” link on its Web site (accessible at wsdvt.org) was developed through committee brainstorming. There was no attempt to gain agreement on any of their ideas. There was also no attempt to back up their perceptions with any facts or research; it was simply a recording of committee members’ viewpoints and we hope representative of community viewpoints. Attempts were made to review the survey comments to ensure that those ideas were also reflected in the charts.

The committee then organized their ideas into categories and named what they agreed was the central theme behind all of the categorized ideas. These themes are the names you see on the top of the columns. For example, under “What’s Working” with configuration, one of the themes they named was “Close Connected Community Relationships.” Under that theme you will see all of the ideas they generated organized into that one category.

The committee is currently working on developing recommendations for the School Board on improving communication. They expect that work to be completed by Oct. 2 and their focus to then shift to configuration. Once the committee begins to discuss research articles regarding configuration, those will be posted on the Web site.

Thank you for your interest in this very important work. If you have any questions, please direct them to the board from the Web site link.

Mary Jane Shelley, Conceptual Frameworks Committee II Facilitator

Darlene Worth, School Board chairwoman, Williston School District

Electoral math

Steve Mount made a common error in his “Liberally Speaking” column on Sept. 25.

He states that to win an election in the electoral college, “You need half plus one to win outright, or 270.” According to Amendment 12 of the U.S. Constitution, a majority of the electors appointed is needed to be elected. A majority is not half plus one, but simply more than half. The easiest example is to use the number three. A majority from three is two, more than half. Half plus one is 2.5, or, rounded, 3.

Because there is an even number of electors, it appears that the requirement might be half plus one, but it is not; only a simple majority is required to elect a president.

Charlie Magill


Choosing the right words

Mr. Greg Elias misquoted me in the article on the status of the dock at Lake Iroquois (“Eagle Scout project still tied up in court,” Sept. 25, 2008). Regarding Jeff Dumas, I said, “I feel sorry for Jeff. I fully support his or any young man’s quest for Eagle Scout. It’s just unfortunate he chose this project.” Regarding the Environmental Court, I said, “There have been submissions to the court by both sides since the original appeal was submitted. I haven’t heard anything from the court since the last submission in early August.” Mr. Elias, in response, stated to me that courts are often like that, that sometimes it takes years. Neither of us used the language that was published in the article.

Roger Crouse, president of Lake Iroquois Association

Vote Macaig

I write to encourage my fellow Williston voters to choose Terry Macaig for one of their two representatives to the Legislature in November.

There are three reasons why I’m strongly supporting Terry.

First, he knows Williston. He and his family have strong roots in our town. He is active in the community.

Second, Terry is a leader with a leadership style that combines the ability to quietly listen and confidently get things done.

Third, Terry has a great common sense. As chairman of the Selectboard, Terry has guided our town through a number of difficult times that pitted town priorities with the need to keep property taxes in check. Terry’s leadership has been instrumental.

Terry will serve us well in Montpelier.

Ted Kenney


Fiscal responsibility

The population in Vermont is rapidly aging. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, those over 65 years of age now make up 13 percent of Vermont’s population. This number is projected to rise to 24 percent before the year 2030. This increase in the number of elderly will cause a massive increase in the tax revenues needed to fund state subsidized healthcare and social services like Medicaid.

At the same time, the number of working age Vermonters is expected to decrease. These are the working folks who carry most of the tax burden. The shortfall in Medicaid funding for fiscal year 2008 is supposed to be more than $11 million. This shortfall in revenue is projected to increase to $279 million by fiscal 2011 (roughly $500 for every Vermont man, woman and child). Increasing tax rates in an attempt to cover these accumulating obligations will further slow the economy and decrease tax revenue, which, by the way, for last month was 11 percent below projected levels.

It does not matter if it is the Democrats voting in pre-K education or Republicans beating the drum for locking up sexual predators for a quarter of a century, the fiscal future of our state can be broken by insisting on taking on more financial obligations than we can provide. Fannie May and Freddie Mac stimulated the economy for a decade and a half by loaning out trillions of dollars to low and moderate income home buyers. Defaults from this philanthropy are now causing the destruction of the nation’s banking system.

Arguing about why the ship hit an iceberg after the fact is really not very productive. Real fiscal responsibility is in order here, and the sooner the better. We don’t have very long to get this one right.

Shelley Palmer


Bob Lake announces candidacy

My name is Bob Lake and I’m running as a candidate to serve the St. George district of Chittenden 5-2 in the Vermont House of Representatives.

I am a Vermont native, born and raised by a working class family from whom I learned at an early age that a good work ethic pays off. Today I am the president of a “from the ground up” corporation that employs a number of Vermonters. I am also the father of a student currently enrolled at CVU.

But it is because of my business background and the disappointment that I have had over my representation in the Vermont House in District 5-2 (and the Vermont Legislature as a whole) that has spurred me on to run for public office. For I know that I can do better if for no other reason than that I understand, firsthand, what it’s like to do business in the state of Vermont.

Taxes, education costs, energy and healthcare issues all need to be re-examined. Cost effective alternatives that make sense for working Vermonters need to be carefully thought through with bipartisanship for answers that will help our state deal with the issues we face today and will face tomorrow.

We are in dire need of leadership from our representatives — the status quo cannot remain — and I know that I possess the qualities that can make a difference.

In the following weeks I’ll be knocking on doors to introduce myself. If there are pressing issues that you would like to talk about, please give me a call at 985-8054 or e-mail me at voteboblake@verizon.com.

I’m going to need your support in November. Let’s talk!

Bob Lake