Some Thoughts On Being In The Spotlight

It surprised many that Town Manager Yoshi Manale resigned after just a few months. But it isn’t that surprising.

Brattleboro is unusual. For a small town, there is a tremendous amount of media. Two newspapers, three radio stations, citizen journalists, and others pay close attention to what goes on in town government. Add in social media, discussions in offices, and conversations on the street and you end up with a rather active core population that follow the details of town government.

There are big cities with less coverage of their municipal governments and fewer news outlets. And big city news is often dominated by crimes, fires, and other distractions, making municipal news a smaller piece of the overall newscast or front page headlines.


Brenda Siegel of Newfane Files for 2022 Gubernatorial Race

Montpelier, VT – This morning, Brenda Siegel of Newfane filed her petitions with the Secretary of State to become the first candidate from any party to officially be in the race for Governor of Vermont. Siegel, a Democrat, is running on a platform committed to some of Vermont’s biggest issues: housing, the overdose crisis, education, and climate change. 

Said Siegel upon filing: “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to run in this race. I’ve been fighting for working Vermonters my entire life, and now, more than ever, our communities are struggling and they need us to do more. Vermont needs leaders who prioritize taking bold climate action, building a bottom-up economy, putting real resources into healing the overdose crisis, and supporting and strengthening our education system. These are not new issues and we need a Governor that is ready to lead. I’m confident that I can – and will – be that Governor.”


Wendy Harrison of Brattleboro Announces Candidacy for Windham County Senate Seat

Wendy Harrison of Brattleboro has announced that she is a candidate for one of the two soon-to-be-vacant Windham County State Senator seats. She is running as a Democrat in the August 9 primary.

Harrison has 30+ years of local government experience and a passion for working together with everyone in the community to address challenges and seize opportunities.

“We can solve our problems from the ground up, as long as the process is inclusive,” Harrison said. “I am committed to identifying barriers and developing solutions that empower individuals. This benefits us all.”


Brattleboro Doubles Down on Representative Town Meeting – Representatives to Elect Representatives

district 2 voting

In a close vote Tuesday, Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting representatives have decided to add a new layer to town government in what will surely represent a new era in governing the municipality.

“We felt that Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting is the best form of town meeting in the state of Vermont,” said one member. “If representatives are good for the general public, we thought we should use the system ourselves within Representative Town Meeting.”


Cris Ericson Running as Independent for U.S. Senator 2022: New Platform

(1) FUNDING FOR HEALTH CARE

We pay our taxes to the federal government, the I.R.S., and then the U.S. Congress votes to give billions of our tax dollars to the N.I.H., the National Institute of Health, and then they give out our tax dollars for medical research to create new vaccines and prescription drugs and medical devices, BUT since the Bayh-Dole Act was passed we have been cheated because the lead researcher is allowed, under this federal law, to own the Patents, which are the ownership rights to the new inventions


It’s The End Of The World As We Know It

Hiroshima 1945

There’s a funny skit on the Don’t Crush That Dwarf album by Firesign Theatre in which two tv news anchors banter about the apocalypse.  “Last year, Patty, you and the viewers will be interested in noting that the world ended.”  To which his partner replies, “As we know it, Hugh!”

This is kind of what’s happened to us.  The world, as we knew it, has ended and now we’re in a new world, feeling less than brave, and facing all four Horseman of the Apocalypse at the same time.  For people who’ve been living in the virtual world for most of the last two decades, waking up and discovering that the real world that we were counting on is going, going, gone, the whole flaming mess we’re in must seem like a bridge too far.  How could we have gotten to this?


Did Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting Make A Mistake Raising Selectboard Stipends?

For many years it was assumed that the pool of selectboard candidates could be increased by increasing the compensation for the position. The idea was that maybe people who are single parents or working multiple jobs would run if only there was enough compensation to make it worthwhile. A corollary was that perhaps the board has been dominated by only people well-off enough to have the free time to serve.

Representatives at Brattleboro’s Representative Town Meeting would have this discussion at each RTM when the compensation article would come up. Eventually the arguments prevailed and the stipends went up. A board member now gets $8000 plus money to pay for child or other care during meetings. The chair gets more.


What Time Is It?

How do you stop a deranged dictator from creating his own image of the world while he kills people and terrorizes an entire planet? I don’t have the answer to that question and it looks like world leaders are having a hard time slowing the juggernaut of death and destruction that Putin is causing.

Sensible and humane people see war as an option only after all other methods of diplomacy have failed. In Putin’s world, diplomacy is a tool for weak nations. He knows that he can use bombs and bullets whenever he wants because he has no regard for human life. When a leader is of that mindset, diplomacy and the gentler methods of compromise and conciliation will never succeed.


VT Town Meeting Day – America’s Last Bastion Of Direct Participatory Democracy – Defending Our Rural Tradition

3/1/2022, Cabot Vermont – Today is Town Meeting Day here in our Vermont. While a community may have many Town Meetings throughout the year, the first Tuesday in March is, for the most part, when all our communities come together to make important decisions for the coming year. From Town budgets to School budgets, from local ordinances to expressing views on a range of topics, Town Meeting is where Vermonters debate and decide on the issues of the day.

And traditionally it is at such Town Meetings that ALL the citizens of a community act as the legislative branch of local government, with the power to publicly debate, make motions, propose amendments, and ultimately vote from the floor on those issues set before them.


Brattleboro Town & School Unofficial Election Results

Please see attached for the “unofficial results” for Brattleboro Town Meeting. The attached is formatted to show the unofficial winners for each race in bold. These are the results from the ballot tallies, not including write-in votes.

Brattleboro’s WSESD unofficial results are at the bottom of the spreadsheet. These are not the final results, as the school district needs to tally the votes from all 4 towns.


iBrattleboro Selectboard Candidate Interview – Jessica Gelter

Jessica Gelter is an incumbent running for a one year seat.

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Tell us a bit about yourself and why you are running for a one year seat…

I’m a nonprofit business leader, a townie, an artist, and a mom. I’m running again because the work that fired me up and inspired me to run last year is still underway, and I would like to be accountable and follow through on some of the decisions I helped make last year, like hiring new town manager Yoshi Manale.

What did you think of your first budget season?  Enjoy the overview of Town Operations?

I keep saying, it felt like a love fest! It was really surprising. Peter and the staff handed us a budget that was really easy to understand and say yes to, with some minor tweaks and alterations to make sure the tax rate didn’t jump up significantly again. I certainly learned a lot about the various functions of the Town departments, and all the equipment we own!


iBrattleboro Selectboard Candidate Interview – Tim Wessel

Tim Wessel

Tim Wessel is an incumbent running for a one year seat.

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Is there anything special you are still trying to accomplish? Why keep doing this?

As you know I’ve been on the board for five years, and I do feel I’ve been on the board long enough and have accomplished much in that time. I’ve decided to continue for another year for two reasons: 1. I saw no one who I thought was capable stepping up as a candidate, and 2. I think it will be good for Brattleboro to have some consistency as our new Town Manager Yoshi Manale gets settled into his role with consistent board leadership. I’m also interested in continuing efforts around housing in Brattleboro and have an influence in the ARPA funds conversation going forward.

RTM increased compensation to make it easier for more people to serve, yet you are running unopposed. Did RTM make a mistake? Increasing compensation did not increase candidates…

I think RTM did make a mistake, and I said so at the time. More money does not equal a better Selectboard. Of course, one year does not close the debate on this, but one does have to wonder what impact effectively doubling the compensation has had. It is appreciated by the sitting board of course, and did influence my decision to continue this year. 


iBrattleboro Selectboard Candidate Interview – Daniel Quipp

Daniel Quipp is an incumbent running for a three year seat.

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you are running for a three year seat…

Hello iBrattleboro! I’ve been on the board for the last three years and have decided to take the plunge for the 3-year seat. I’m proud of the work we have done in the last three years and am up for the challenge of the next three. Hopefully we’ll finally move out of the pandemic and into a period of recovery for all people. There are many opportunities ahead and with a new town manager at the helm, I’m excited to see what we can accomplish for the good of the town.

RTM increased compensation to make it easier for more people to serve, yet you are running unopposed. Did RTM make a mistake? Increasing compensation did not increase candidates…

Running unopposed certainly feels quite strange. In my previous three elections I think the smallest field was four candidates vying for two seats. Whether the lack of candidates is related to compensation, I cannot say. The $8000 stipend did not really figure in my decision to run again. I think the work of being on the board for the last two years might not have looked super appealing and with all of the incumbents choosing to run again perhaps potential candidates decided to wait until next year? 


2022 Brattleboro Election Information

We sent out interviews to all the Selectboard candidates, as we always do, almost a month ago. None have returned them yet. (Why bother when there is no competition, eh?)

We sent out interview questions to candidates for Representative Town Meeting Moderator.  David Gartenstein returned his and you can find it here. (Update:) Kurt Daims’ answers are here.


Brattleboro Election Information for March 1 Voting

Below is information that might be helpful to know for March 1st local elections. The Windham Southeast School District vote will be held in addition to the Annual Town Meeting Day elections.

The polling places for all three districts in Brattleboro is the American Legion, 32 Linden St., from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm.

Due to COVID-19, CDC approved masks will be required (and provided if needed) to enter the American Legion for voting, and hand sanitizer or gloves will also be provided. If you are unable to wear a mask and did not vote absentee, there will be a space outdoors for you to vote. Due to social distancing and reduced capacity indoors, please be prepared for potential wait times.


Super Bowl USA Murders Afghani Children Stealing Their Food Money After 20 Year Defeat by Taliban Gov.

Before kick off at the Super Bowl, a moment of silence for the Afghani children that have been starved to death by the American government impounding their food money would have been appropriate. It would have shown that Americans care and wish their government would unfreeze the more than 9 $billion so Afghani children can be fed and go on living. Some US Congressmen and women spoken out.


Brattleboro Absentee Ballots Available for Town & School Elections

Absentee ballots for the Brattleboro Annual Town Meeting and Windham Southeast School District vote to be held March 1, are now available. Due to the pandemic, voters are encouraged to vote absentee.  Absentee ballots for these two elections must be requested. Anyone wishing to vote absentee may apply for an absentee ballot until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 28, although we recommend doing so as soon as possible for mail time purposes.

Absentee ballots may be mailed to the voter by the Clerk’s office, picked up by the voter, or if a voter is in need can be delivered outside of the voter’s location by two Justices of the Peace.  All voted ballots must be received by the Clerk before the polls close on election day in order to be counted.  For more information or to request an absentee ballot call 251-8157.


Finding Common Ground

My father was always conservative. Although never a registered Republican — he preferred to see himself as an Independent — his views were decidedly to the right. For my part, I too saw myself as independent but took the opposite road politically, becoming what he would call “a liberal.” Consequently, we rarely saw eye to eye about political matters, although it never came to blows.

But somewhere in the early 21st century, my dad retired from his job and began to have more time on his hands. Having moved to rural Rhode Island and having no friends in the area or work to keep him occupied, he acquired the unfortunate habit of listening to talk radio. Rush Limbaugh was his favorite show. As a frequent visitor to the new family homestead, I became the target of his right-wing ire. After all, it’s no fun being angry if you have no one to attack over it.