Selectboard Meeting Notes – Brattleboro Discusses Big Issues with State Delegation

Repeat Offenders

The Brattleboro Selectboard held an extended conversation with members of the state legislative delegation, handing them a long list of things that Brattleboro would like help with – money, staff, changes to laws, and so on.

Reps said they were working on many items already, but were eager to stay involved and work together to find solutions to housing, justice, addiction, mental health, crime, and other issues plaguing the ‘boro.

Comments | 7

  • Preliminaries

    They are having feedback loop issues (issues, issues, issues, ISSUES!), but then they fix it!

    Chair Ian Goodnow – we did a Melrose site visit and we met to do committee interviews, and we’re back. I have a couple remarks. I want to give a shout out to Cor at BCTV who is retiring after 18 years. An incredible partners. I’ve seen an evolution of how we work with BCTV. I’m grateful for the work she gave to the community. Next, I want to make a big announcement. November 8, the new website will be launched at the end of the business day. Once it is live, there is a video tour to watch. It should be obvious. At the next meeting, Seth will come walk us through the new site and give us a digital tour. I want to congratulate Seth for his BCTV award. Finally, a shout out to an event we were at. The ribbon cutting for the Dewitt building on Flat Street. 15 new renter units. Immense amount of work. Very grateful for the work they put in.

    Town Manager John Potter – no remarks, but the new website is as are all town employee email addresses. Old site and email addresses will redirect.

    No board comments.


    Helena from BCTV – I’m here to invite everyone to the producer awards party tomorrow and celebrate Cor Trowbridge. Please come to Stone Church. It will be live-streamed. Love to see you there.

    Tracey – on behalf of our Maple St neighborhood, thanks to DPW and town for addressing a traffic issue.

  • Consent Agenda

    A. The Collective Lounge & Bar Tobacco License – Approve License

    B. Eli Way – Assign New Street Name

    C. Turkey Trot – Approve Parade Permit

    D. Project Feed the Thousands Proclamation – Approve Proclamation

    E. Medical Plan Renewal – Approve Renewal

    F. WWTP Gas Compressor – Approve $16,238.47 Purchase

    so consented

  • Town Legislative Agenda

    BCTV’s feed cuts out… and, it is back.

    Wendy harrison – I am one of two state senators from Windham.

    Emily Kornheiser – I’m one of three Brattleboro reps. Chair of House Ways and Means committee.

    Nadir Hashim – I’m also in your state delegation.

    Ian – we had a list of issues, and this was narrowed down by Town staff and the Town Manager, and the top priorities are Affordable and Middle-Income Housing, Drug Addiction Treatment, Mental Health Crisis Response, and Repeat Offenders. Not sure how to do this. We can go through each one at a time, hear from John on each, then hear from the board, then the delegation, for all four categories, then the public can speak on any of them. I’m aware of the time… If that’s agreeable.

    Ian – the four are Affordable and Middle-Income Housing, Drug Addiction Treatment, Mental Health Crisis Response, and Repeat Offenders.

    John Potter – these are big issues Brattleboro needs help on and can’t do alone. A dire need for additional support for Affordable and Middle-Income Housing. We’ve reduced zoning barriers, but we need state assistance to move forward. Some potential solutions – exempting housing from Act 250, funding for predevelopment costs, make it easier for roads and utilities, expand tax increment financing for housing projects, authorizing BDCC to finance design of new infrastructure, continuing state funding subsidies, and equitable housing in all communities.

    Ian – I don’t want a motion yet until we go through all three of them. With affordable housing – do you agree that this is a priority and anything you wouldn’t want on this list?

    Liz McLoughlin – last week there was a housing development forum, and VHFA came and it was open to developers. You can build housing without subsidies. It doesn’t work out. We really need state help. Some elements are changing – what funds are available. It’s really important.

    Ian – Tristan has joined us.

    Daniel Quipp – I agree housing is the major issue in Brattleboro today. The lack of affordable housing has a hug impact. The amount we have to invest is miniscule. We invested a half million or so in a $9 million project for 15 units. WE had a housing study says we are short 500 units. We need state investments and expertise, and the attention of the administration on this part of the state. We are a key municipality in the state and need your help. We also need to resolve the motel program in an equitable way – no one is excited to live there. I now that’s something you are working on, but I urge you to work with us on that for good outcomes for all.

    Franz Reichsman – welcome. Great to see you here. It’s important for us to be in close communication with you. The first sentence mentions great strides in state legislation… I’m not familiar with all of them. Subsidies and grants for accessory dwellings could have an impact, but don’t know ho knows about it. People should look at their backyard and thin about what they could put there. I’d like to see some programs that would promote programs already in place. That’s one concern. The other thing is a question about exempting housing from Act 250 – what does that mean or look like?

    John Potter – the idea there is to exempt areas that have existing water and sewer, so they could be developed more quickly. Uncertainty around Act 250 could be set aside from certain areas.

    Franz – so the legislature would designate the process or the places?

    Potter – like the village designation in West B.

    Peter Case – everything here looks good. Let’s keep this condensed and manageable. Faster results that way.

    Ian – the reason we’re doing this is we as a community need to work to gather to resolve these issues. This is an example of an issue impacting the entire state, but Brattleboro especially. I echo my fellow board members. I know you are working on the motel program, and work has been done to alleviate the slow resolution. As the chair, we had 7 motels qualify so it particularly affects the community. So, delegation?

    Emily – we’ll come when invited, so invite us anytime. We do monthly sessions in the community, too. We are talking here – everything here is a national issues, especially rural communities. Have that context. There is zoning, and emergency construction… what we’ve already done first.

    Wendy – S1000 the big housing bill. There were efforts to modify Act 250. We did exempt the level of development that gets referred to Act 250. The state defines what is a development. If it is a development, it is under Act 250. There are now areas in Brattleboro exempt from Act 250. It is valid for 3 years and it will show us the impact of lifting the exemption. You said Brattleboro has made changes – you are ahead of the curve here. ADU, no single family zoning – you did that on your own. Brattleboro embraced inclusive zoning. What’s happening, there are study committees on Act 250 and more work on that in the next session. One possibility is to delegate to towns with good planning the Act 250 process itself. If the town could do it on behalf of the state. One thing – VHIP program should be advertised – $30-50k to renovate units in existing buildings that are under code. I want to make stormwater utilities easier. Interesting to suggest regional development organizations doing bonding. We can look at sate and federal funding – the project today had 30 pieces of funding. Transportation, transit .. also helpful. If people don’t need to buy a car they can afford more for housing.

    Emily – we are diligent about getting state money down here. We are starting with a political reality – most zoning changes in the last session to make housing more possible, made no impact in Brattleboro . Brattleboro had already done everything. Act 250 changes are necessary. It gets blamed for a lot of things, but much is we don’t have the state regulators, or the federal rules have an impact. This last session we put money to VHCB, toward ADU, toward efficient mobile homes and apartment improvements. SEVT Housing Coalition has info about housing. On bonding issues, I’m curious about what the issues really is. What are the problems with bonding? We did much in response to flooding. We have grants for all sorts of things – culverts, sewage, etc. It makes it impossible for staff, and Brattleboro has a great staff. The state needs to blend and braid those funds.

    Nadir – in Judiciary and Education we don’t deal with housing policy, but I hear how important it is throughout the state. We hear about personnel shortages, a lack of attorneys… and many can’t find housing. We hear that about education and school staff. Putney had openings but several hired couldn’t find housing. A person can use the appeals process to delay something for years, for a low cost. It delays others and costs them a fortune. We want to look at that so the appeals process requires more merit to move forward.

    Ian – we don’t have to hear from all of you on everything, but we can.

    Tristan Toleno – I won’t speak on every topic. I have three points. Historically at the state level, there wasn’t significant funding for housing. Lately, investments have changed with help from the Fed. We have a long history of underinvesting and we’re not alone. That’s one thing. We’re aligned about the goals. How do we fund a state contribution? Second, we have a private investment issue. To understand how to unlock investment in the housing market. Even if the state had a great sustainable program, it won’t be enough. The final point – the workforce dynamic we have a dearth of tradespeople. We do well on general education but not workforce development. Need to help the tradespeople staff up and take on more projects.

    Emily – homelessness – folks don’t have housing because there isn’t enough housing and wages aren’t high enough. Many were marginally housed before the pandemic. During the pandemic, everyone had a bed to sleep in. That was a step forward. What we did not see when we used federal dollars for that program, was a corresponding plan when that ended. No new plans for shelters, or a plan to build that out over years. Even if we had funding, it takes a while to build the units. Since there still was no plan last spring, we put in Act 81, that people could stay in motels while we created a plan with the administration. The process is not going how it was intended. A big part was keeping people in the motels. Millions were set aside for human services to deliver grants to municipalities to build out shelter capacity and emergency housing for communities – meeting your own specific needs and conditions. Money would be available, but the administration didn’t do the technical planning. The money is sitting there. Millions for Brattleboro to build out shelter capacity. I want to get those funds. Also, I want to move toward a plan. The numbers Brattleboro has for housing needs are numbers we have not had statewide. Unbelievable that we don’t have that data. There is no silver bullet. We need to build housing. Zoning changes, public investment, utilities and transportation, and flexibility in funding. We need to do all of those things while building out shelter capacity. It is happening, so we need to keep talking about it here.

    Daniel Quipp – I was encouraged – I know you are working really hard up in Montpelier, and I’m hearing there are opportunities sitting there. What do you need for us to move that forward?

    Emily – The Dewitt block – the power of the municipality is the planning power and convening and collaborating. There is just a missed connection somewhere. WE have folks working regionally, and in Brattleboro we think abbots Brattleboro. Making land available… know there isn’t one solution to this.

    Ian – the second of the four priorities …

    Potter the second big issue is Drug Addiction Treatment and timely treatment. That’s compounded by not having good accountability Solutions could be – anyone who wants help can get it, a substance use docket in Windham county bus resources to make it work. Finally – change expectations about durations of treatment. People aren’t given enough time to resolve their situation. And, more state resources for post treatment.

    Daniel – I agree that access to treatment is challenging and there are barriers. I’d like whatever starts help to reduce those barriers. The path to treatment is a long and challenging one. Not all wish to enter or are ready to enter rehab. We need to invest in harm reduction as well. The AIDS Project has some programs. My experience of recovery in this community – this is a town that has a pretty robust recovery community. They really help one another. We need to be a recovery friendly town. the path to getting away from addiction is about connection, and reducing shame. It’s not something you can legislate, but it is a cultural issue we could exercise some leadership in. I agree with what is here, but the path is long and shame hampers that recover.

    Ian – there is work going into a windham county substance docket. I urge that the work continue. It should be in the criminal court, not the family court. I would encourage you to put the court in Brattleboro. First thing about the White River DWI court – how do you get there without a car? If they have to go far away, they won’t access it and it will be less effective. Try to get it in Brattleboro.

    Liz – I agree. I’d like to hear more.

    Emily – lets divide this – harm reduction, treatment, and judiciary.

    Nadir – the drug docket – there are three pathways – there are different silos in our courts – criminal, civil, family, juvenile, environmental dockets. The drug docket gets charges reduced if you complete the 14 month program. Not easy. There are five phases – supervision, curfews, drug tests… then job training, educational programming, parenting support. That’s the drug docket…

    Franz – it is a separate court or judge? No – just a different pathway?

    Nadir – it would happen in the courtroom, wherever the judge is sitting. No new buildings. Our state attorney wants a drug docket in the family division. North of us is a DUI docket and maybe a drug docket sooner than you. Windham County resident can participate in Windsor County. The this option is the statewide docket, which would not require anyone to go elsewhere. There would be an additional judge to oversee the drug docket. It takes a certain set of skills. You’d see a budget going around the state. Every other week they’d come down here… I’d support that. I have been working on this for a while. I’m more confident that we’ll eventually get one. You also mentioned on demand treatment and harm reduction . I support those things. And reducing stigma.

    Emily – on treatment – Shumlin created the hub and spoke system. It worked here for a period. A lot has changed since then. There are more private equity firms who aren’t collaborating but are accessing the money. We need to reinvent the hub and spoke system. People should be able to access help at emergency rooms, but long term access is hard. Insurance coverage can kick in… but lots of changes are needed. The technical parts aren’t sexy, so we need your help saying this is important. On harm reduction, folks who are using deserve dignity and we want to reduce harm to them and to others in the community. The AIDS project has good testing facilities, we are expanding needle exchanged, wound care, and making it easier to hire people in recovery. There is more to do.

    Wendy – I understand there is a community project for treatment in Johnson that has amazing results. Very much community based. No limit on how long to be there. Most are there 6 months. Might look at that.

    Ian – I’d like to add into number 2 “reinvent hub and spoke” and add “harm reduction strategy investment”. This is a back and forth, to present ideas to you but incorporate what you tell us.

    Peter case – I heard stigma and harm reduction…

    Ian – harm reduction is people using and overdosing and they deserve to not die so we need to do the work.

    Peter – so that’s about access…

    Emily – keep them alive because someone loves them, and it is a huge drain on services to overdose. Challenging wounds are difficult for emergency services. Stigma keeps us from being comfortable with harm reduction.

    Peter – I agree, and the harm reduction makes sense. The stigma comes from a personal feeling someone projects. I can’t tell someone else how to feel. I’d want to get someone help, and making it very easy for them. The minute you enter these systems, you get into roadblocks, and it stops, and it is easy to revert. Access to help and the ease to getting that help. If we just need to drive someone. Don’t know how we control the stigma piece.

    Ian – this is a list ion issues we don’t have solutions for

    Peter – ease of access… the stigma kicks in if it is difficult. Would I know about addiction? I don’t know? I haven’t walked that path.

    Franz – I need to inject some things – points I don’t understand and don’t have answers to. At some point we need to talk about personal accountability. People make decisions. The decision to inject narcotics is a bad decision. Is that stigma? It is judgement. I don’t want to make it more difficult to get treatment. But where do we fall on the broad set of different continua about not using drugs, or not stigmatizing. I think law enforcement approach to managing this is a complete failure. prohibition is a failure. But we need to tell people to not start down this path. I don’t know what to do about it. Not comfortable saying ‘do whatever, when you are ready…” and not asking for anything in return. That’s a mess but it is where I’m at.

    Daniel – the message is that all community members deserve to be a dignified life. You see the tip of the iceberg. There are users in the community and their use has no impact on you. Everyone deserves to live a dignified life. Some need to get into treatment. Others don’t need to, but you’d like to… we have no role. When I wanted to stop drinking it took years and needed a lot of supports, and a community that didn’t judge or shame me. I understand the personal accountability angle, but it isn’t helpful. Everyone using a substance has the possibility – when I was a drinker I wouldn’t have been elected to the selectboard. My addiction didn’t look like anything where I was from. heavy drug use looks different. But not all use looks like that. Be more honest with ourselves and curious about ourselves. Don’t paint things with too simple a brush.

    Liz – A couple more questions – the docket and supervision. How would that work with long term residential treatment. What I understand is that it is better to take people out of their day to day and have residential treatment. Is that what we are planning for?

    Nadir – no. I hear what you are saying, but don’t think that is something everyone can perform. Some still have family obligations, or a job, and are trying to maintain them. So, no, not residential.

    Liz – is it effective?

    Nadir – yes. I can send you the numbers from other drug dockets in VT.

    Liz – I assume the state would fund it?

    Nadir – currently funded through a federal grant, and there are federal rules that create some challenges. In federal program, you can’t use cannabis. But in VT it is okay. If someone can avoid opioids and there is commercial cannabis, I’m fine with them using it if they are otherwise avoiding opioids in the program.

    Ian – one of the things about the program up north is that they focus on women and domestic abuse. There are a lot of overlapping issues.

    Emily – we need many options available. No single solution.

    Wendy – don’t count out anything that works.

    Potter – Mental Health Crisis Response. The Town lacks ability to respond, and community isn’t trained to de-escalate harm. WE could fill mental health response gaps, help with all not just insured. Allow for more police social worker liaisons, for 24-7 coverage. Streamline mental health process to speed up treatment. Increase treatment beds available.

    Ian – board?

    Franz – our police department had some good outcomes. Decriminalizing mental illness is useful. We can use as much help as possible with that.

    Liz -the author of the article is here

    Wendy – we were at an open house by the court system…

    Nadir – what we learned is the dept of mental health is implementing a mobile response unit to help with treatment. Not screening. It’s a first stop for treatment.Also for de-escalation. Peer support certification has changed so people with lived experience can go along.

    Emily – it starts in January

    Wendy – include youth beds when asking for beds.

    Emily – HCRS will do it. People call the police because they have to respond. It would be best if police are never showing up, unless there is a crime. Services need funding, and we’ve underfunded them for so long. Accountability needs to be built in.

    Ian – when a resident in Brattleboro has an issue, they call 911, so the police will respond.

    Liz – a lot of time the police are called and will want mental health reposnders, but they don’t always feels safe, so the police help them. But there is a need to keep people safe. let’s not divorce from the police too much because they protect all of us.

    Emily – we passed a therapist and psychologist interstate compacts. We recognize licenses from other states. 28 states for therapists and over 40 for psychologists. There are forensic beds being created in central Vermont, at the psychiatric hospital there – for severe mental health issues and involved in criminal justice and are violent. We also broadened who could do competency evaluations. To see if someone can understand the facts of their case and if they can communicate with their attorney.

    Emily – we’ll do interstate compacts for mental health workers this year

    Liz – several instances I’m aware of where the reporting is severely lacking. Is that part of this solution?

    Emily – it is tightening responsibilities. Everyone has a different view of reality, and that’s not good for policy making.

    Potter – Repeat Offenders – calls , contacts and crimes with repeat offenders are increasing and tools are inadequate. Maybe develop funding sources or pending cases, resolve the backlog, increase the speed of the system, provide state funding to add judiciary positions…

    Liz – the salient fact is in the footnote – 10 individuals – 328 total contacts with 10 people. The backlog has caused no consequence for these individuals. We want to show we do have a criminal justice system.

    Ian – there is a lot of overlap…

    Nadir – I find the backlog to be one of the top priorities. There are a lot of factors. For example, we have 37 positions for judges and 7 vacancies. We’ve sent several names. We expect an announcement soon. I’ve talked to the Chief Superior judge and he says “more judges!” will solve it. Cases lingering 5-6 years… in limbo without sentencing or rehab orders or jail time or innocence… when you leave people in limbo there are greater chances they will reoffend. More judges should help. Attorneys and staff – there are many vacancies in every sector of law. It has to do with why do Vermont law student go elsewhere, and how do we attract attorneys to the state? Part of it is pay, and private practice. We have the lifestyle and the privilege to live in VT. The judiciary branch will request more this session and I plan to support their requests.

    Emily – we want to fund the judiciary, too, this year. If someone is in limbo for 6 years, should they be incarcerated or in the community. That’s a long time in a country that presumes innocence.

    Nadir – one more point about funding. S.4 had community safety grants, managed by the Department of Health.

    Liz – understanding all the problems, how does that relate to a new drug docket? How will existing problems with e judiciary enable us to establish this whole new division.

    Nadir – if the resources are available and they can fill positions, then I presume they can work through the backlog and address the cases.

    Franz – you have a clear vision of the problems. But how clear are solutions? If vacancies get filled, the idea that we’ll slowly work at the backlog… it seems alarming. We should work more quickly. A temporary increase in judges or to attract people to the state. If we really keep people six years before they go to court.

    Nadir – I raised that same question and the Judiciary branch – why not ask for more? – the issue is the balance when it comes to other staff. our clerks, security, attorneys,etc. Judges play a major role, but you can’t tip the balance too far – too many judges without staff to do the work.

    Franz – so it is worse that I thought…

    Nadir – if we go at the proper rate, we can address the backlog. It took years to get here, it will take a while to get out.

    Ian – state of Vermont has a program to not do law school debt and work on site. I’m an example. Second point, if the influx of new judges are matched with defunding case relief public defenders paid by ARPA… if it goes bad to public defenders. I worry the pipe will get too tight again, in a different part.

    Peter – you would add how many judges?

    Nadir – the request will be for 1-2 judges.

    Peter – as a layman in the street, 1-2 judges doesn’t sound like it will move much of anything. I agree with Franz – we should add 30 judges to get through this. As someone on the street. I don’t know how you address that. That’s our biggest job – conveying how processes work, and that people won’t accept your answer.

    Emily – two in addition tot he 8 openings, so that would be 10 total new judges. How many cases could they work through?

    Peter – thanks for clarifying. I thought we should have 7 or 8 and we asked for 2.

    Nadir – we św one judge do four cases in one hour. If you have 37 assigned judges, with 7 vacancies and then you add two. You don’t want to just create positions without proper support.

    Peter – not arguing. I see it. How do you share this info with others and make people understand.

    Nadir – having info like this where we share info. We send out newsletters, too. We hold forums. We get information out.

    Wendy – invite someone from the court to answer questions.

    Ian – let’s get a motion, then public comments, then ..

    Potter – also – allow Brattleboro to opt out of seletboard school board consultations, and expand Amtrak options to Brattleboro. Reform state trespass laws about vehicles. Tools to go after vacant properties. Better training for police//fire, and to meet regularly with the legislative delegation.

    Ian – these came up and didn’t fit in the big four issues, but also wanted to put them out there. Board, if you don’t want to include them it is fine.

    Liz – we should include them.

    Peter – I agree.

    (they review the amendments)

    Tristan – to state the obvious, we are three branches of government. The first act to build a new budget is at the governor’s office, then the public will see the proposed budget. Often you have a different position that the Governor, so the political dimensions aren’t that you just share with us, the Governor gets to weigh in. That is the landscape in which we will work.

    Ian – public ? (8:21 pm) keep it to 3 minutes

    Justin – I feel a little unrepresented here. Brattleboro is currently unsafe. I check the park for needles before my kids can play. My car is being broken into. I get a ticket for parking by ACE to support a local business. The tolerance for addiction is impacting my safety and it is disturbing.

    Steve – I also have two young children. I participate in the conversations about housing. If you could create 2k beds on Main street with a magic wand, would that be a good idea? What if we quadruple WWHT budget? I can’t think of another town that does more for a struggling demographic. We have the retreat, groundworks, pathways… the town does so much, but we should also think about the plethora of services and the struggling demographic, we are helping to keep it all here. I think we should exercise some humility – will we save the world, or will be work with what we have and have some balance. You can’t arrest your way out of this, but you can’t give everyone a free house and a doctor. I called the police because someone is sleeping on a commercial property. It’s been going on for a year. Police tell them they can stay. For a town to function, commerce has to take place. That’s the basis of the tax base. if my commercial tenants don;t want to step over someone at the door. Vacancies are a big deal. The appraisals are the engine of revenue. The police get their guidance from the selectboard. Personal accountability – you can stigmatize crime but not addiction.

    Daniel – police work for Town manager using Vermont laws…

    Ian – we are not doing a back and forth!

    Emily – thanks for all of the great discussion. I hear and feel the frustration on all levels to face the reality of what we are facing. I think that the frustrations are valid on all levels. We haven’t talked about community based solutions. That’s not just police and state legislators, but is it possible to be legislatively and locally to face these issues on a relational face to face level at the community level. The person sleeping in a doorway is a good example. Criminal justice can’t solve that problem. We can support community members and neighbors. We can help people get to know one another better, so that issues don’t have to escalate to the level of calling police. It might sound pie in the sky, but if we are trying to prevent intervention, then recognizing and facing that departmental responses haven’t worked.

    Ian – wrap it up. Thank you.

    Tracey – Regarding affordable and middle housing – what is the oversight regarding the funding. Like, the Quality Inn.. so many peopler in there and the place is a PIT! It is disgusting. can’t believe people are allowed to live there. Can VHIP money be used to turn that building into housing for Brattleboro? Also, you had mentioned the trespass laws – thank you. Thanks, police chief. The empty vehicle has been very helpful. The people who are held accountable are law abiding. If I don’t make a payment, my car gets towed. People are stealing vehicles and get caught with conditions for release on the seat next to them.

    Emily – Human Services has used hotels for many years – fewer people and less money. They could supervise. Dept of Public Safety could look not it. When it expanded with federal money, it was harder for the state to enforce. Now they will look into more oversight, looking into price-fixing and other issues. VHIP is for small scale programs. There have been many hotels converted to housing. Now, state dollars are being used so the owners price gouge and they don’t want o currently sell. It’s not best practice for affordable housing… we have socioeconomic diversity now, and motel don’t always offer that, but we are in an emergency.

    Dick Degray – thanks for coming. I invited you and asked the state’s attorney to come here. John mentioned habitual offenders. We had someone in court with close to 100 charges… it’s a mockery of our system. Talk about bail reform. We need to look at bail reform. Too many people walking around that shouldn’t be walking around. A restraining order is laughable. We had a 14 year old boy shoot someone in Burlington. No place for him to go. Last issue – how do we get rid of bad tenants without costing landlords lots of time and money. Landlords are just trying to make their buildings safer.

    Ian – so we have a motion…


    Ian – thanks to the delegation. This is a good first step. I look forward to our next conversation. We’ll take a 5 minute break.

    Emily – second Saturday forums at the Library!

    It’s late, and the time-change has thrown me off – so, tell me what happens!

  • A few thoughts

    Buried in this is this comment by Emilie K: There are more private equity firms who aren’t collaborating but are accessing the money. ”
    I assume she means public money (Medicaid & Medicare dollars or state funds?). We are constantly told that there is a scarcity of financial resources, so forking money over to unaccountable firms that are in it to make money seems to me a poor use of our precious resources.

    Later she mentions the motel owners price gouging. Those are also public monies that have been allocated to keep people sheltered. Not only are they price gouging at the public trough, but at least at the Quality Inn they are housing people in totally substandard conditions.

    Finally, I appreciate Daniel’s response to Franz’s comments about personal accountability, and his (Daniel’s) willingness to share his own experience with addiction.

    • Yup.

      Emilie was talking about the public funds being scooped up by unaccountable firms.

      (And, as always, apologies for any spelling errors. I go fast and auto-correct changes things on me… )

      • Private Equity

        Private equity is investing in more and more of our healthcare delivery–basically anywhere they think they can make money by skimping on staff and provision of care, or separate the property from the provision of care and sell off the property. Nursing homes, autism treatment, substance use disorder treatment, dental care, emergency departments, prison health “care” and more are all vulnerable to this particular form of investment.

        I’m glad that Emilie and hopefully others in the legislature are aware of this problem. It seems that the state should be able to hold them accountable since these are public monies–i.e. taxpayer dollars. Same with the motels.

  • When I was a kid in the 1950s, Dr. Greene would come to

    When I was a kid in the 1950s, Dr. Greene would come to your house if you were sick, and your mom would pay him $5. For a time in the mid 1970s, I was living in a NYC 21 story building (Cooperative apartments, Masaryk Towers One day an old fashioned doctor carrying a black bag appeared in a hallway, and asked me for directions to find a particular apartment.

    I was astounded, totally impressed, and would have done anything to assist this “artifact” of a bygone era. He seemed surprised when, instead of giving him directions, went in the elevator with him and when we reached the correct floor, I lead him to the door of his patient. I wonder how much he was charging for house visits – surely not $5 🙂 When did medical care become astronomically prices, and why?

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