O’Connor, Allen, and Schoales Elected To Selectboard

In what some might term a win for the Old Guard, Kate O’Connor, John Allen, and David Schoales were elected to the Brattleboro Selectboard today.  O’Connor easily defeated Spoon Agave for the 3 year seat by a vote of 985 to 664. Allen was the highest vote getter for the 1 year Selectboard seat with 710 votes.  Schoales garnered 580 points, narrowly defeating Ian Kiehle who had 564.  

Kate O’Connor is daughter of former Selectperson Martha O’Connor who left the Selectboard in 2011.  John Allen served with Martha O’Connor during his time on the Selectboard but lost to Daryl Pillsbury and Jesse Corum in 2010.  

David Schoales has the distinction of being on two major town boards, the Selectboard and the Town School Board. Schoales won reelection to the School Board with 1165 votes.

Lawrin Crispe edged Douglas Cox 779-761 for Representative Town Meeting Moderator.

All Town Meeting Representatives on the ballot were elected. Write-in results come later.

Full results coming…

Comments | 34

  • Disheartened to see these

    Disheartened to see these results. Looks like 3 more years of more of the same for this town.

    • good bye yellow brick road....

      It is very disheartening to see a candidate elected who does not even show up to televised Q & A sessions, what does this tell you?

      • Action=Win

        It tells me that more talk is not what gets people elected, or creates change. It is action that organizes the power to win.

  • Brattleboro won't "take a chance on change"

    Liberal, progressive on the outside – conservative, old guard on the inside. Brattleboro really needs people like Ian, Spoon and David Cadran. This is not to say the duly elected are terribly bad choices, it’s just that it indicates that the voters won’t “take a chance on change.”

    • Support Group for depressed "progressives" forming NOW

      “Liberal, progressive on the outside – conservative, old guard on the inside”

      In other words – not progressive.

      Some progressive people, yes. Funky clothes and funny little hats,yes. Snappy bumper stickers and art, yes. Lots of liberal talk, yes. Embracing change and making it happen (the essence of “progressive”), no.

      • Fake Hippies

        There seem to be a lot of “fake hippies” around. They seem to take comfort in keeping the old guard in power. Sad.

    • Still excited

      I came out with babe in tow yesterday to vote for David Cadran and Ian, excited for the idea of some new ideas and looking forward to possibly being a part of shaking things up in Brattleboro. David C and Ian did not win, but even with the small crowds of voters we had, people did vote for them. I see that as a start. I am excited to have their interest in our community, and my goal is to attend more “town business” meetings and events. When I do, I hope to see them there and hear more of their ideas.

  • People who don't vote don't count

    Naturally, people who don’t vote are invisible behind the woodwork. Eligible non-voters simply don’t count and they and their voices really are useless, with no or little impact on elections and whatever follows.

  • Old Guard

    At 66, with a grandson and creaky joints and weird whistling in one ear, I guess I fit the “old” part. My brain, however, is new every morning, as is my commitment to busting my ass to make things better. I hope the disheartened will wait a couple months to see where things are going. It’s too soon to condemn and dismiss people who have the trust and support of a large chunk of our amazingly diverse community.

    • Optimism

      Thank you for your much needed optimism David Schoales.

      • While sadly I'm not sure a

        While sadly I’m not sure a “large chunk” of our community voted, I appreciate and take to heart Mr. Schoales comment. Good luck to everyone who’s brave enough to take on this job.

    • I enthusiastically voted for

      I enthusiastically voted for you, Dave,and I have total confidence you will bring integrity to the table. That said, I am not sure what you might be able to get accomplished by doing so?

      I think I am simply suffering from “sound bite”, copious empty talk, smoke and mirrors, and ram-it-through, fatique.

      Best of luck to you.

    • Let's Hope...

      and continually challenge David Schoales to live up to his best.

      Like David, I am “old” —  68. I am somewhat progressive on the outside and even more so on the inside. I do not think it is about age, creaky joints. It is not even about vigor, ability, or an active brain — it is what you do with your abilities that matters.  Whatever the faults of political figures, national and local, who have done the worst harm, it is not that they were unable to be effective. (If anything, they were too effective in a negative way.)

      I voted for David Cadran and Ian Kiehle, not because they are young and energetic, but because I respect their integrity, dedication, and openness. I seriously considered voting for David Schoales because I found his responses on ibrattleboro to be thoughtful. Schoales seems to be an energetic, enthusiastic person, and not for a minute did I worry that he might not be up the the job.

      My concern about David Schoales was about whether he would actively try to change the insular nature of the Selectboard… or if he would even notice it.

      By “insular,” I mean a tendency pre-judge and block out input which disagrees with predetermined decisions. Brattleboro selectboards over the years have approached major items as predetermined decisions, making little pretense that these decisions actually emerged from public deliberations.

      As I read David’s interview, I began to seriously consider voting for him. But 2 things he said near the end worried me. Both were items which, on the surface sound reasonable. But a reasonable statement can sometimes be worrisome, not for what it says, but because of what it leaves out.

      The first item was David’s expressed hope to be part of a “collaborative” board, but no mention of the need for the board which is collaborative with the rest of us. That alone would not have dissuaded me, because there is no contradiction between a board being collaborative with one another, and collaborative with the public as well.

      But David’s response to the next question gave me reason to question whether he is aware of and sensitive to the need to heal damage done over the past few years by selectboard chairman who has been acted with open contempt toward members the public, to an extent as to have been intimidating:

      What’s the best way for citizens to express their thoughts to the Selectboard?


      In person.


      Yes, of course anyone coming before a public body should conduct his or her self respectfully. But to say that without further elaboration, in the context of recent Brattleboro Selectboard history, just leaves out too much… at least for my comfort.

      What context am I referring to?

      At one of the last meetings of the Brattleboro Selectboard that I attended, there was a room full of people wanting to comment at public participation. Before opening up the discussion, the chairman lectured us that he will not tolerate misbehavior, that we must be respectful, that our comments cannot exceed 2 minutes, and that if anyone tries to speak for more than 2 minutes, he will shut down public participation, and other people waiting will not be permitted to speak

      I am certain that the median age of those waiting to speak was somewhere between mid 50s to low 60s. How demeaning it felt to be admonished as though we were a crowd of unruly adolescents. (To be clear, I think children and adolescents deserve respect too.)

      And to threaten to close down public participation for everyone if a single person speaks too long? Is “outrageous” a strong enough adjective to describe that? And the other 4 Brattleboro Selectboard members sitting there — collaborators by silence — saying nothing to take exception to the chairman’s offensive behavior.

      The board re-elected this individual as chair unanimously, even after he had amply demonstrated his character.

      I recall a meeting at which the chairman spoke in an unbelievably rude manner to Andrea Livermore. Everyone deserves respect, but when we see that even a person with notable standing in the community risks an unpleasant encounter before the Brattleboro Selectboard, it has a particularly chilling effect: It is a warning to the rest of us.

      It is in the context of this recent, unpleasant history, that I worry about David Schoales’ three-word prescription for how the rest of us should approach the board: “Respectfully, In person.”

      “In person,” is worrisome, because a person with a serious concern, and something important to contribute, might not be able to attend a meeting. I remember an incident when the chairman would not allow someone to take part in public participation by having their letter read out loud.

      “Respectfully,” I find particularly concerning in the context of the demeaning and gratuitous lecture to the public to be “respectful,” with no reciprocating admonition to the Selectboard and it’s chair.

      My concern about David Schoales is that there are strong indications that he might very likely be one more well-meaning individual, who just becomes incapable of noticing or empathizing with how the dais looks from the other side.

      My concern with David Schoales is that he might very likely be one more selectboard member whose collegiality inadvertently becomes collaboration through silence, at times when healthy dissension is needed. If a chairman gets out of bounds, will David Schoales have, not only the diplomatic skills to deal with it properly, but more important, from the perspective of the dais, will he have the consciousness to see that there is a problem which needs his attention?

      Recently, the town manager chided citizens for “apathy.” Apparently it never occurred to her to ask people who used to participate at meetings, and who used to volunteer for town committees, why they have stopped. Will David Schoales actively reach out to individuals in a way which values their views, and invites participation; or will there be one more nice, but clueless, town official wondering why there is “apathy?”

      I have hope and cautious optimism, that David Schoales might prove not to be one more Brattleboro Selectboard member who goes along to get along. His “creaky joints and weird whistling in one ear” will not be a problem if his mind is resilient and open. His “creaky joints and weird whistling in one ear” will not be a problem if his heart is empathic.

      Everyone who runs for office seems to say that they want to “make a difference.” But how can you make a difference unless you act different in significant ways that matter? My best hope for David Schoales’ tenure on the Board is that he will listen — really listen — and think hard about what each individual tells him, whether they are “important” people, or not.

      I know for certain that one person who is capable of and willing to act with extraordinary integrity can make a difference. We have seen David Gartenstein take courageous and principled positions at times, and then seem to sink back into the morass of routine collaboration.

      Dare I hope that the second David on the Board might actually bring to critical mass the impetus to excel and bring sunshine and fresh air to town governance in Brattleboro?

      • Hope is a good thing.

        I’m certainly most excited to work with this new Board. I know firsthand how it can be rough to be on the receiving end of one of your critiques within a few hours of being elected, so I look forward to doing what I can do support others in what can (but doesn’t have to) be a rough transition.


        • "receiving end...

          of one or your critiques within a few hours of being elected.”

          Not sure that Ken “gets it,” but I hope that David does.

          What I wrote was challenging, and I wrote it because I feel that David Schoales quite likely has the character to accept it as it was intended.

          The times that I have been in leadership positions, I have felt troubled when everyone either agreed with everything I said and did, or was silent. It was always a relief when someone spoke out critically (even when they were “rough”) because:

          1. I knew that they cared passionately, and;

          2. I felt that listening to what they had to say gave me insight into what others might be feeling.

          I do not think that I was “rough” on David. My guess is that he has “broad shoulders” and the maturity to understand that one characteristic of a friend is that they are someone who will tell you honestly what others will not say.

          • There were so many pieces of

            There were so many pieces of this that made me chuckle.

            But, yes, it usually gets to the heart of the matter so much more quickly when people are able to speak their minds (respectfully). Again, most excited to work with this new group.

        • Ken, I sincerely hope that

          Ken, I sincerely hope that your support during the transition of the new board will also include supporting those town residents who,justifiably in my mind, feel they have not had their concerns, suggestions or comments heard by some members of the previous Selectboard. This can be a new start of mutual respect,openness and dialog between community and those who have been elected to help move our town forward. I hope we can all work together on the many issues that affect our quality of life in Brattleboro.

          • That has ever been my goal...

            That has ever been my goal…

          • The D's need of improvement to watch........

            Dismissive Demeanor Deterrent Discourage Degrade Depreciate Disingenuous Distract Disposition Disconnect Dialogue Diplomacy Determination Decadence Divested Disentangle Disclosure Deals Deserving, Detached Disenfranchise and as much as I hate the meaningless over use of this word Diligence(of Open Process), on the behalf of all (not a select few) concerned citizens you represent. There is no room at the table for concave complacency. LM

          • Agreed!


          • continued

            Thanks Ken, forgot Departure and Deprivation of Green Spaces

          • So noted!

            So noted!

          • more continued....

            Denial Defoliation

            If we are to learn anything by today’s election results then it must be that……

            we must get some harder Math problems when logging in to ibrattleboro!

          • You Mean

            What you really mean KEN is; that has “never” been my goal, and I would agree with that concerning a skatepark at Crowell Park especially after your comments at tonight’s schoolboard meeting proved this without a doubt and were anything but impartial instead representing 100% suppport for BASIC without question.

            I would even go as far to say disrespectful to others speaking in oppostion who were there requesting proof a public site evaluation process had ever taken place at Crowell Park which it hadn’t, but you took this opportunity to attempt to undermine RESITE’s own points that were, because there was a lack of process it did not address a majority of concerns for the Crowell Park site as unsuitible for those also affected and why should other sites suggested be ruled out automatically.
            It is too bad we didn’t round up all the other kids, not including Spencer, who love the park and trees the way it is to woe the crowd.

            What little hope I had for resolution has completely evaporated and my faith in you as a town leader who can weigh both sides of an issue objectively free from delegating preferential treatment and influence has completely fizzled away fried, I hope it was worth the hugs and pats on the backs from BASIC, Tiesman beaming as well.

            You come to our group a day before elections and request a list of unresolved issues (by e-mail no less) that we have been presenting for over 2 years running on countless occasions (yes, 1000’s of hours amd millions of words) and now, all of a sudden you expect a bulleted list and want it before the schoolboard meeting as if you have tried to work with us repetitively outside the selectboard capacity on a human level. I never denied you that, said we would have to prepare not knowing the sudden purpose intent, in what context, for what reason, and who you were representing exactly you did not happen to mention (forgive me for being suspicious), but you gave a completely different impression tonight to make it out like you have exhausted every possible effort to communicate (wbbs) with our group, I can more than guess now that list was for BASIC “colleagues” to prepare their case, you have fooled no one but yourself. Last word—-Disastrous

          • It almost feels as if we were

            It almost feels as if we were at two different meetings tonight, but that’s ok.

            That said, in keeping with this thread, congratulations to my three new colleagues. This thread certainly gives you a sense of how different viewpoints don’t always come together easily. Or, sometimes, at all. Doesn’t mean you should stop trying though…

            (although stopping the posting on this site is a great step as it only serves to fuel the discontent and rarely, if ever, to clarify)

          • Survivor

            This whole skatepark ordeal reminds me of the reality show Survivor, where inside alliances are formed and galvanized, strategies plotted, and immunity from public process and scrutiny is granted, then granted again for privileged access to the spoils of a valued green space splender and once spacious neighborhood playground haven it will permanently occupy as it’s reward. At this point everyone else cast out and displaced scrambles around to try and find secure ground( maybe even overlapping ground) and find some leverage point to regain stable footing to stand firm, but are continually driven off, excommunicated, treated as some intrusive annoyance in their own neighborhood.

            As it applies to us neighbors, this coveted, long time, and familiar place a distinct part of our lives will then be converted and compacted as an attraction, overwheling draw and landing pad for skateboarders from all around who make no noise close to houses even when combined with funneled in users from both rt 30 and rt 9 dangerous cut through traffic serving as a pit stop with no restrooms, all of which the increased comotion does not generate noise from an unsupervised concrete area open until evening hours. The concrete skatepark plan has now miraculously arrived here at it’s apparent hand selected but unsuitable resting place having been forced into a win/ lose situation with one dominate/yet select group prevailing the entire way with boosted and boasted preference and favoritism handed/gifted the leading and parting edge to make their gains and claim these grounds, everybody else doesn’t respect our youth.

            The problem is, this scenario belongs on a deserted island with no way out with limited resources where bully tactic enventually take the rule and isolate others with less power and lastly needs to be contained and remain on TV as fiction. However our reality is hopefully very far removed from that island as we are a community with choices, many intellegent, well thought out choices at our disposal. Just as I would not preference one of my kids needs over the other when making a decision, neither should one group affected the most in our community be excluded by the town over the another, like the very people who live nearby have, but it clearly this has been allowed to happpened, make no mistake.

            The reference of there not being a specific “Vermont” site selection process is neither here nor there and represents another lame argument to distract off point. We could of handled this as a community allowing for a more unified and respectful decision making process evaluating criteria and fresh ideas for all proposed sites we could support when the time was of the essence, in the now when awareness peaked and requested attention, not out of date five years ago. There was plenty of opportunity to do so, no insurmountable harm would have resulted in an effort to reach out for unified resolution at this critical juncture to fiind the best possible solution.

            But now we envision and foresee BASIC’s expansive (?), expendable tree(?) lined skatepark diminishing the park’s long winter use as well as other park uses presenting other complications the complete affects of which are undetermined. It’s kind of a permanent concrete structure that replaces something else, the simpler things we take for granted until there gone for good and that we tend to value such as shade on a hot summer day, some natural space conveniently close by for small children w/ parents who it seems have just been demoted as second class citizens. We all will live with it’s impacts for a long long time, some more than others. Doesn’t the Crowell Park site demand so many emerging and future alterations, hidden costs and complications to make it work and accommodate the skatepark to the point it’s created an unsafe environment and worth a second look at other possible sites? Les Montgomery

  • Open Minds

    Perhaps allowing the selectboard to meet and begin their business would be positive start to the new term?

  • What Old Guard Really Means, etc

    There are only two comments referencing old guard at the top and I’m certain neither of us meant it in the context of someone being “old.” It is a workable ploy to garner some sympathy though, so good try David.

    One does not have to be old to be “old guard.” Neither is it a challenge to one’s brain-power. Neither does identifying an old guard stems from condemning and dismissing the duly elected.

    Usage of term was in fact used to identify people who have been in place or levels of power for a long time. It suggests that those people are entrenched and often used to mean the same old, same old.

    Typically, the old guard is resistant to change where new and different ideas are seen as a threat or as the wrong approach. Old guard is often related to the conservative elements in a power structure.

    Whether this new board really has the “trust and support of a large chunk of our amazingly diverse community” is based only on the people who voted, who unfortunately do not represent the a “large chunk” of our community, diverse or otherwise.

    Naturally, with a new board in place, doing “better” is expected and Bratts can hope that “better” means what they would like to see.
    I should add that this quote following is said with XX’s usual narrow-mindedness: “narrow slice of Brattleboro, a narrow, grumpy slice. Cheer up, smart, practical people all over town are not here, but taking action, getting involved.” Trying to define who comprises iBrattleboro participants is an exercise in futility. This is one of the best community sites anywhere in this state. Aside from providing a good “chuckle” sometimes it offers very diverse viewpoints, where one is not necessarily better than the other….all valued equally but often different

    • Seriously Vidda?

      How long have you lived in Brattleboro? Your good freind Daryl Pilsbury might be considered “old guard” since he was in office for a number of years. Dora Bubolis. She’s been in office a couple of times. There’s been a number of “progressives” in office over the years with plenty of opportunity to make change and didn’t do so in a way the voters wanted. So we’ll try again.

      • Long enough

        My point was that old guard does not mean “old,” as David S was trying to imply, nor an attack on the old. Old Guard is not relegated to age or political background. So, yes, Daryl and Dora are old guard. Entrenchment, in fact, isn’t necessarily bad either. One entrenched politician is Peter Shumlin, who I think is good for Vermont. Having said that, I do think there is something to be said for new blood which is why I generally favor term limitations. My favorite term limitations is the George Washington and Andrew Polk kind. Both used self-imposed term limits for their time of service in office.

  • Propose Re-Naming the Selectboard ...

    … and calling them the SkateBoard instead, for their ability to ‘skate’ through important issues, leaping over the points that might make them uncomfortable, narrow-casting their responsibilities, and doing 180’s whenever it suits them.

    Their motto might be ‘The buck stops over there.’

    An example might be that recently, when I raised to them the failings of the Development Review Board in 2011, where that board voted that the skatepark at Crowell Park would be a “minor” change to an existing facility, then *FAILED* to record any minutes about that decision, PLUS warned only the immediate abutters of Crowell Park, PLUS failed to warn the moving of the playground or the “major-minor” pending decision, Mr. DeGray’s retort was, “If you have a problem with the DRB, take it up with them.”

    They followed with this rationale: “We aren’t responsible for what the DRB does … we only appoint them.” Well, if the DRB isn’t responsible to the officials who appoint them, then who ARE they responsible to?

    The approval of the SkatePark at Crowell Park is thus an apparent breach of due community process. Though I would probably favor the site after a proper process was gone through, I must, for the moment, stand with those who object. This is not a NIMBY stance, you will understand. It is a GOOD GOVERNMENT stance.

    • Propose Re-Naming Brattleboro, Whinneyboro

      I have been pretty vocal about how I don’t see enough organized push back on issues in Brattleboro, which seems to often refer to itself as a “progressive” community (which I equate with action toward change and justice, and less polite permission seeking to be heard or recognized). Given what has pretty much been established as an embarrassing injustice to the people of Brattleboro, and a travesty in public process stemming from a bold arrogance of power (my opinion, based on records and longwinded dialogue) and an apparent unwavering, incomprehensible respect for process in town (not matter what) I want to share this article from The Nation ( ww.thenation.com/article/172266/rebel-towns# ), for anyone interested. Its title is “Rebel Towns” and, based on the my confusion at why there has not been more bold outcry followed by resistance action, and less willingness to continue to engage in fruitless discussions with an abusive and arrogant power structure in town in recent years, I found it rather delicious reading.

      Here are a few quotes: “You’re shocked to find out you have no say … Even your whole town. Even at town meeting. Even your Select Board. You have no power. …we want to stand up for ourselves.’ So they did.” Discussing the victory citizens achieved when the Nestle corporation’s Poland Spring subsidiary abandoned their plan to extract water from community bedrock wells in Shapleigh, Maine, for bottled water sales, the article notes, “Nestle’s withdrawal felt particularly sweet because Shapleigh’s citizens had defied both the company and their own elected officials. When the board of Selectmen refused to put the rights-based ordinance to a public vote, calling it unconstitutional, bottling opponents convened their own town meeting and passed it 114-66.” Referring to the town’s Select Board, one citizen said, “No one is covering our asses out here … When the people up high do’t do their jobs, then we’ve got to get out in the streets and do it ourselves.”

      Nuff said. Hope someone enjoys the article as much as KM and I did.

      • correcting the link

        Thanks, Zippy, for your comment and for recommending the Nation article. The correct link is:


        Every time I hear someone at public participation thank the Selectboard for the opportunity to speak, I wince. It is the Vermont Constitution and the Vermont Open Meeting Law (not the Selectboard) which gives us the opportunity to speak.

        It might be appropriate to thank the Selectboard for their listening (if you feel that they have) or for their dedication or for their work, but never for “permitting” you to speak.

        • Thank you for the correct

          Thank you for the correct link! It’s an inspiring read. I’ve also had a keen respect for lawyers with values. I would love to take the revealing course on democracy that the article discusses.

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