Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting Team Effort

Since August most town representatives, like myself,  started refamiliarising ourselves with the town articles that still needed to be voted on . Due to Covid  19  town meeting ,for the most part, was all put on hold last March.  Zoom was the method of this rescheduled  9/12  meeting, a whole new frontier for many, a true labor of love and team effort .

I want to thank and praise my fellow TM members that managed to keep the quorum for over 13 1/2 hours with all articles voted on , this also included the 3 hour test run on the 5th.

A View From The Undecided Left

Our voting choices this year are many or few depending on who you ask. For those who’ve already decided, there’s really only one choice — their candidate. Some will vote Trump. Some will vote Biden. But for the unlucky few who haven’t sorted out their vote yet, it’s not that simple.

Americans Can Imagine How Non-Nazi Germans Felt As Their Soldiers Murderously Invaded 22 Nations

Germans witnessed their radio and newspapers hail the Nazi invasion and occupation of most of Europe while praising fallen German soldiers for their service to the fatherland; a fatherland representing the world’s most wondrously superior people. Sounds similar to the indiscriminate praise monolithic US corporate media heaps upon exceptionally marvelous and righteous USA and her many proud invasions and occupations.

David Zuckerman and Brenda Siegel

David Zuckerman and Brenda Siegel would make the team Vermont needs to move the state forward with vision, compassion, and commitment.

Most of us know what Zuckerman stands for. He has been a longtime surrogate and worker for Bernie Sanders and represents those ideals – economic and social justice, respect for the environment and the urgency of consequences of climate change.

Brenda Siegel is a less known figure, but is increasingly having an impact on what goes on in Montpelier. She’s been working tirelessly to find compassionate solutions to the opioid crisis, which we are still grappling with; and is firmly on the side of a livable wage, and Medicare for all. She is a passionate voice for the struggling, the marginalized in our society.

Affordable Housing in Brattleboro

It is very revealing that in all the comments of sympathy and advice about one family’s difficulties in finding affordable housing, a post and thread appearing very recently on fbook, not one asks if it is possible for us, as a community, to house ourselves.

The population of Brattleboro has decreased slightly from what it was in 1960. Although there is a relatively small number of new units built every year there is a very large number over that span. As far as I know not one Selectboard in all these years has tried to deal with affordable housing other than approving federally funded projects when one happened to be brought before them. Most of that money dried up long ago. Sixty years have passed and we have more people struggling with housing than ever before.

Support for Brenda Siegel as Our Next Lt Governor

I’m sharing why I am supporting Brenda Siegel to become our next Lieutenant Governor of Vermont: a decision I came to after researching Brenda’s stand on policies and noting that she embraces similar progressive values as my own.  What I believe distinguishes her from other candidates are her valuable insight and wisdom: qualifications gained through her advocacy background, business ownership and life experiences as a single Mom.

During this global health and economic crisis, Vermonters need representatives who possess a strong moral character and the guts to demand action now.  Representatives who:

The Brattleboro Charter Blues

Indeed, Ms Starr, the flaws are built into the documents. The social contracts we are obliged to accept wherever we live. A close look at how they work will show how they are designed to limit power, the ability to act, to a very small number and force the vast majority to simply react to what they do. For instance, the people are told that they are limited to participating at just certain times and places. Those times and places are then placed under tight control of that very small elite. The elites write the agenda, maintain total control of the meeting process, have one sided comment periods that excuses themselves from accountability and almost never share the full range of information and what little there is rarely appears in a timely manner.

Department of Fireworks

The explosive substance we know as gunpowder was originally developed in China. The bright displays to expel evil spirits and bring good luck, we learned, could also be aimed at enemies and used to blow things up.

But what if we had never thought using it as a weapon?

I pondered this as we launched our illegal fireworks last night and listened as explosions from neighboring illegal fireworks shows reverberated off the hills.

What if we only used gunpowder for fireworks displays? 

Not All Americans Celebrate the Birth of a Racist Slave Owning USA Homicidal at Home Genocidal Abroad

Prominently placed statues of famous racists are no longer acceptable, just as policemen shooting African Americans has finally become unacceptable. Why not dispense with the far out illusion of a racist colonial capitalist USA being worth celebrating. Meanwhile left undone is the protecting of non-American Black lives from killer American GIs invading and bombing their beloved countries.

WSESD Public Ballot Information Meeting on Boycotting the Budget

My understanding of President of the WSESD Board David Shoales response at the Public Ballot Information Meeting about boycotting passing the budget was that recovering from COVID was his exclusive priority, separate from and against this opportunity to motion with prison abolition, labor union empowerment, and enslavement reparations.

Where Are We Going? Does It Matter?

Spoon Agave: There are no obvious signs of leadership in Brattleboro so I can only conclude that the collective vision in the Municipal building is that the pandemic will end someday and everything will be OK. If anyone reading this has seen something different please share what it is. At the moment it feels like the town is simply marking time (just filling potholes) until whatever happens happens and we’ll deal with it then. That is one strategy, anyway.

Dot Lenhart: Do you have any suggestions?

Reparations of People Enslaved in Prisons and the Military

Earlier this month I released a public statement addressed to People in government organizing slavery reparation movements’ legislation to recognize that People incarcerated and People employed in the military have both been and are currently treated as property denied both constitutional and life protections of freedoms, rights, and liberties. We can and will change such insanely brutal conditions with prison abolition and labor union empowerment. The newspapers have not published my letters and I have not been allowed access to participate at official reparations meetings which say no one is denied entry.

Re: George Floyd

Recently, the Chief of Police wrote a letter to the people of Brattleboro, referencing the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

He mentioned that the police have a professional duty to protect and serve everyone in the community with dignity and respect. He also related that “We have made de-escalation tactics a priority in use of force trainings. Once the resistance stops or the situation is under control, the tactics need to evolve with the situation.”

Sounds good,

It was not always that way here in Brattleboro.

Surveillance Cameras

The attached image illustrates surveillance cameras installed in a street in Communist China. Fortunately we live in a free country where such things don’t exist (except on Main Street in Brattleboro).

“The Stand At Paxton County”

I always thought very highly about Humane Societies and animal rights people in general. It’s not always the case.

In the film “The Stand At Paxton County”, I got an entirely different view of the whole situation. (It’s currently available on Netflix)

Though the film is fiction, it’s based on reality.

Where There’s a Will…

Homelessness has been stopped in its tracks in Brattleboro. As I write this, there is not a single person that I am aware of that does not currently have shelter. This is an incredible achievement. What’s more incredible is that it was accomplished within the last 30 days. 

As we saw COVID-19 advance toward Vermont, we at Groundworks Collaborative worked closely with our State partners to establish and enact guidance that eventually led to everyone that was without housing, or who was precariously housed, being able to access local motel rooms. It is quite remarkable that a vision Groundworks has held for our community—that everyone has their basic needs met with dignity—has become a reality during this crisis.  This need not be an anomaly.

Groundworks’s staff have answered the call when needed most and I have to share my deep appreciation for their work—especially as they put themselves and their families at risk to come to work each day. Without them, we would not be able to be so effectively meeting our community’s basic needs.

Heat Fund Thank You

On behalf of some of Windham County’s more vulnerable citizens the Windham County Heat Fund would like to thank all of the generous people who donated to the heat fund this year. We raised $27,020 and gave out $28,770. We carried over a small surplus from the previous year.

The fund received $8690 in local corporate and church donations from the Brattleboro Elks, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, the Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary, Clear Solutions, Broad Brook Grange, American Postal Workers Union 3535, First United Methodist Church and the Insight Center. They are all perennial supporters of the heat fund, as is iBrattleboro who provides free advertising during the heating season. We could not do our work without them.

There’s Something Very Unifying About A Global Crisis

Cruise Ship

There’s something very unifying about a global crisis — a great inescapable event that affects us all at the same time.  Such crises seem rare but in modern times, they happen often.  We have world economic crises, a global climate crisis, and a crisis of faith in our leaders that’s led to widespread social uprisings around the world.  These sorts of crises affect everyone to some extent, but the effects are hard to gauge.  Some people are affected disproportionately, others not at all.

How Are You Holding Up?

Strange times, eh? And such a quick, sudden shift for just about everything. Aside from whiplash, how are you holding up?

I find myself going back and forth between trying to continue some semblance of business as usual, and being in shock at how this is not business as usual at all.