Should Safe Injection Sites Be Legalized?

Rhode Island and New York City allow people addicted to drugs to inject themselves at safe injection sites without fear of prosecution. The drugs these people use are illegal but they are given a pass if they go to one of these sites. Vermont is about to pass legislation that would allow cities and towns to set up these sites if the local municipal body approves it.

The bill, H. 72, has passed the Vermont House and is now in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee and is expected to be passed into law. Governor Scott has made it clear that he will veto this bill, so the big question is whether or not there will be enough votes to override his veto.

WSESD School Director Re-count Warning

The following Warning is to be posted in all usual Meeting Warning locations:
The Town Clerks and Boards of Civil Authority in the towns of Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford and Putney will convene to re-count votes from the March 5, 2024 School Director Election for two three-year term positions as Brattleboro representatives on the WSESD Board of Directors. 

Vermont Tries Again – H. 156

December of 2014 marked the end of the campaign for single payer health care in Vermont. Governor Peter Shumlin had been onboard with the effort during his tenure in office and he worked hard to support efforts to move in that direction. But in the end, when he had to look at the real cost of the plan, he declared that single payer in Vermont was dead because the cost would have been too much for small businesses.

We now have a new effort in the form of H. 156, a bill that would, “… implement Green Mountain Care, a publicly financed health care program for all Vermont residents, over time, starting with primary care in the first year, adding preventive dental and vision care in the second year, and incorporating additional health care services in later years. It would establish the Universal Health Care Advisory Group at the Green Mountain Care Board to provide recommendations to the General Assembly regarding the sequencing of and financing for the health care services to be added in the third through tenth years of Green Mountain Care’s implementation. The bill would also express legislative intent regarding funding sources for Green Mountain Care and would prohibit health insurance plans and rates from reflecting duplication of the coverage provided by Green Mountain Care.”

Thank You To Voters

Thank you to all of the voters who turned out for the Brattleboro election on March 5. Democracy is alive and well in our town. And thank you to those who voted for me. I hope to represent those who voted for me and those who voted for other candidates. The Brattleboro selectboard is a non-partisan institution and that means that we have a great deal of potential for collaboration and consensus building.

I hope to promote that climate on the selectboard and to be a voice for the people of Brattleboro. I intend to ask a lot of questions and make sure issues important to all voters are discussed openly and in necessary detail.

Richard Davis

Brattleboro Representative Town Meeting Informational Forum To Be Held March 13

The Brattleboro Selectboard is scheduled to host an informational forum on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, at 7 p.m. at the Academy School, with doors opening at 6 p.m. Academy School is located at 860 Western Ave, Brattleboro, VT 05301.

The informational forum will cover Representative Town Meeting articles, including the budget and Bond Vote articles.

Prior to the informational meeting, starting at 6:30 p.m., Town Meeting members from each district will be available to meet with constituents, providing an opportunity for residents to share their views and discuss articles slated for vote at Representative Town Meeting.

Brattleboro’s Unofficial Presidential Primary, Town Meeting Day, and WSESD Election Results

Please see attached for Brattleboro’s Unofficial Presidential Primary, Town Meeting Day, and WSESD election results. These are the results from the ballot tallies, not including write-in votes, and not including other towns’ results for the Presidential Primary and WSESD races.

Thanks to the amazing poll workers and the American Legion who made today possible! We had a lot of voters coming through the doors, and the day was smooth and safe!

Once More for Oscar Heller

The Brattleboro Selectboard made important decisions over the last year

–Proposing to Representative Town Meeting an increase in staff salaries by 13.1%, which will result in salaries and benefits constituting 61.2% of the Town budget, up from 58.3%

–Replacing emergency medical services (EMS) previously provided by Resue (and in the last two years by Golden Cross) with EMS services embedded in the Brattleboro Fire Department, all despite sustained public opposition

Richard Davis Candidate for One Year Selectboard Seat

I am Richard Davis, a 74 year old semi-retired nurse, writer and political activist running for a one year seat on the Brattleboro selectboard. A Boston area native, I have lived in Windham County for the past 45 years, 41 of those years in Guilford and for the past 2 ½ years in Brattleboro with my wife Roberta Levy.

I feel that the current board would benefit from new blood to provide a different perspective on issues important to the people of Brattleboro. Many people have been frustrated at the appearance of a lack of transparency that has surrounded the actions of the current board, especially in relation to the decision to end a long-standing relationship with Rescue Inc.

Selectboard Oversight & Transparency

This is my fourth year on the RTM Finance Committee. Many people have asked me what the committee’s job is, and now that we’ve finished our report (link), I can give a specific answer.

Our job is to provide citizen oversight of the Selectboard and the town’s budget. This report represents the culmination six months of research, analysis, and hard work by David Levenbach, Millicent Cooley, Mike Hutcheson, Paula Melton, and myself. We watched and rewatched Selectboard meetings, interviewed Town staff, and performed independent research.

Some notable sections:

What Does Being Too Old Really Mean?

There has been a lot of talk about electing someone to the office of President of the United States, perhaps the most demanding job in the world, who is in his eighties. Joe Biden was born in 1942 making him the oldest person to sit in the oval office. People express misgivings about voting for him because of his age, but there is very little discussion of what exactly they fear about his age.

It is time to unpack the issues relating to an octogenarian president to see if they will really make it difficult for Biden to continue in office. The worst case scenario is that he dies in office. Males at 80 years old have a seven year life expectancy. That is based on averages, but when it comes to Biden, he is not your average 81 year old. He remains mostly physically fit and his father died at 86 and his mother at 92, so he has some genetic longevity working for him. He had a physical a few days ago and was declared physically fit to perform the duties of President. His doctor felt no need for cognitive testing.

Maya Hasegawa: Oscar Heller for Selectboard

I received this letter and permission to post it from Maya Hasegawa. I worked with Maya on the Finance Committee, and her name is well known to anyone involved in town politics. In addition to town meeting, she currently serves on the Charter Revision Commission, the Design Review Committee, and the Development Review Board – three serious commitments. I’m grateful for her support, and hope you’ll consider voting for me on March 5th.

Her letter follows. Thank you again, Maya!


One hears a great deal of talk these days about aging Vermont and how important it is for our future to attract and keep younger people. Brattleboro is fortunate to have such a person running for Selectboard.

After Watching the BCTV Candidates’ Forum, I Am Leaning Toward Oscar Heller

My initial visceral feeling was to dislike Heller, and like Case better. Case seemed more people-oriented. Although Heller said he listens to other people, his focus seems to be on spread-sheets, and I felt his outlook is reductionistic. I figured he probably does listen to other people, but what he probably listens to is their dollar-and-cents, reductionistic, insights.

But then came the question of safe injection sites, Case dismissed that immediately on the grounds that safe-injection sites would create more of an ambiance of Brattleboro as an addiction town. It appeared that his rejection of that idea was based on an emotional, shoot-from-the-hip reaction, apparently made with a complete lack of knowledge and information.

Brattleboro Presidential Primary, Town Meeting Day and WSESD Early and Absentee Ballots Available

Early and absentee ballots for the Presidential Primary, Brattleboro Annual Town Meeting and Windham Southeast School District School Board vote to be held March 5 are now available by request. Absentee ballots for this election must be requested.

Anyone wishing to vote early and in-person may now do so at the Brattleboro Town Clerk’s Office. This option is available through March 4, 5:00pm.

The Most Qualified Person Running for Selectboard This Year

Talk about laboring in obscurity!

Last week, I found myself discussing a $3.4 million gift that Brattleboro had received. When should we spend it? What should we spend it on? And who should decide?

That’s when we got hung up for a good 20 minutes on the finer points of jurisdiction within Town government. Also the finer points of pickleball.

Oscar Heller for Selectboard

I have served on the Representative Town Meeting Finance Committee with Oscar Heller for three years, during one of which he served as chair, and I can enthusiastically recommend his candidacy for a three-year seat on the Brattleboro Selectboard.

Heller is a flatlander who came to Vermont as a camper and then counselor at Camp W in West Brattleboro. Those summer experiences made him commit to Brattleboro as a place where he wanted to make his life and his work (which is in web design and marketing).

Brattleboro’s budget provides for the services residents receive, is the foundation for addressing problems facing the community, and determines the taxes we pay. Because of Heller’s dedicated work on the Finance Committee, Oscar has deep knowledge of the budget, and he can work the numbers.

Brattleboro Presidential Primary, Town Meeting Day and WSESD Absentee Ballots Available

Absentee ballots for the Presidential Primary, Brattleboro Annual Town Meeting and Windham Southeast School District School Board vote to be held March 5 are now available by request. Absentee ballots for this election must be requested.

Anyone wishing to vote absentee may apply for an absentee ballot until 5 p.m. on Monday, March 4, although we recommend doing so as soon as possible to account for mail delivery time. All voted ballots must be received by the Clerk before the polls close on Election Day, March 5, to be counted.

Press Release: Oscar Heller for Selectboard

My name is Oscar Heller, and I’m running for Selectboard. I believe I have the temperament and skills to do a great job on your behalf. I value thoughtfulness, hard work, and public engagement. I’m not afraid to admit when I don’t understand something, or to ask hard questions on behalf of the public. And I’m not afraid to stand alone or take a hard vote if I disagree.

I found Brattleboro through Camp Waubanong, and moved here permanently ten years ago. Since then I’ve started two small businesses, bought a building and become a landlord on Elliot St, and gotten involved in local politics. I first joined the Energy Committee, and am currently a town meeting representative and a member of the Finance Committee. I’m 35 years old, and I want to be a part of building our future.

WSESD Candidates Welcome at Guilford Pre-Town Meeting

Guilford’s Pre-Town Meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 27, at 6:30 pm at Broad Brook Community Center. This is also the one opportunity for Guilford voters to meet and hear from candidates for local offices that will be voted on Town Meeting Day the following week. In addition to town offices, such as selectboard, the Australian ballot on Town Meeting Day will include elections for board members of the Windham Southeast School District. This year, in addition to filling one seat on the board with a representative from Guilford, a seat from Putney and two from Brattleboro will be elected by voters in the four towns. Therefore, those running for the Brattleboro and Putney seats will also appear on the Guilford ballot. Guilford voters present at Pre-Town Meeting will thus be pleased to have in attendance any candidates running for these positions, to have them make a statement, answer questions, and, after the meeting, meet and chat.

Guilford Pre-Town Meeting, co-sponsored by Broad Brook Grange and the Guilford Selectboard, is an officially-warned public information meeting presenting the articles which will be voted on at town meeting, ranging from budgets to special articles and elections of town officials. The evening will also include an informal update on WSESD and Guilford School happenings. Refreshments will be served.

Time Bomb

As I entered the cafe a cat, completely camouflaged crossed my path, calico of course. Speechless, I went inside, got in line where it was impossible to not overhear a conversation well underway. “…it’s a campaign of grievance driven by brainwashing and sleepwalking… how is it not mass psychosis, Nazi Germany in the thirties?”  

I couldn’t tell if the two were a couple or some configuration less tested, but the man spoke with a heft of tone that said, “I know I’ve beaten this drum before.” His partner was sort of drifting off too, looking at me for rescue or corroboration, I couldn’t tell which.