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Vermont Guardian

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posted October 13, 2006

Douglas’ focus remains on growing businesses

Your recent editorial (Homegrown economics, Sept. 22) addressed some of the Douglas administration’s economic development efforts. Unfortunately, you made some statements that are not supported by facts, and I’d like to take an opportunity to correct the record.

First, I did not tell The Boston Globe that Vermont had a “relative lack of red tape”; rather, that was the reporter’s paraphrasing of what I described as relatively easy access to decision-makers in state government owing to the small scale of Vermont, one advantage the state does have over others.

With respect to recruiting businesses, the Department of Economic Developments spends less than 10 percent of its budget on these efforts; more than 90 percent is devoted to working with existing Vermont companies, including such successful former recruits as IBM and Husky.

Two existing companies, Dirigo Paper and Vermont Tubbs Furniture, would likely be out of business if we had not “recruited” out of state firms to purchase their assets and continue production here.

As for the reference to existing biodiesel producers in Vermont, I am unaware of any who have a working business model, capital, and the potential to actually begin production and hire employees in Vermont before Biocardel does. Certainly, none have applied for tax credits to do so.

While our efforts are concentrated on growing new and existing Vermont businesses, we myopically turn away from recruiting new firms to come here at our own peril.
Kevin Dorn
Editors note: Kevin Dorn is secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

Vermont candidates outsource job opportunities

Political candidates from all parties have inundated Vermonters with months of campaign ads. Commercials that are saturating our airwaves feature candidates who boast they support Vermont businesses yet millions of advertising dollars are leaving Vermont and being outsourced to firms outside of our state (Sept. 15).

Although another important topic, debating the substantive value and integrity of some of the advertising will not be discussed.

Republican Gov. Jim Douglas
• Ad production firm: Intrepid Media (the same firm he used in 2004), based in Florida
• Media placement: Smith Consulting based out of Vermont

Democrat Scudder Parker
• Ad production firm: Adelstein Liston, based in Chicago
• Media placement: Hanbrick & Associates, based in Chicago

Republican Rich Tarrant
• Ad production: Strategic Perceptions, based in California
• Media placement: Smart Media Group, based in Virginia

Independent Bernie Sanders
• Ad production: Shrum, Devine & Donilon, based in Washington, DC
• Media placement: Abar Hutton, based in Virginia

Republican Martha Rainville
• Ad production and media placement: Stevens, Reed, Curcio and Potholm, based in Virginia

Democrat Peter Welch
• Ad production and media placement: Laguens Hamburger Kully Klose based in Washington, DC, and Washington state

Candidates are missing an opportunity to bring millions of dollars to Vermont by hiring skilled advertising firms in our own backyard. The occasional gesture of the outside advertising firm subcontracting a few Vermonters to participate on the sidelines is not enough.

“Walking the talk” and infusing the state with their campaign dollars by trusting and hiring Vermont firms to take on the challenge of creating professional, innovative, and informative ads would show their loyalty to our state and acknowledge local talent.

Candidates will win and some will lose but the big economic loser is the state of Vermont where firms could have been hired by the candidates who declare how important it is to support skilled and talented workers in Vermont so they stay here.
Sharon Balaban

Tarrant’s fish story

I heard this old saying the other day: “People never lie so much as after fishing, during a war, and before an election,” Rich Tarrant is definitely living up to it. I have never seen such a negative campaign with so many lies.

Every ad Tarrant has run has been against Bernie Sanders’ record. Tarrant has spent thousands on taking bills out of context and making Sanders sound like he supports child molesters and drug dealers. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Sanders votes for bills that are well written and will make a difference in the United States. He does not vote for bills that are poorly written and unconstitutional. If Tarrant is distorting the bills now, think what he would do if he was elected. Sanders has a strong voice and the experience. What kind of experience does Tarrant have in politics?

And how do we know what his opinions are if all he does is bash Sanders?
Samantha Lednicky

Foley scandal hits home

Rep. Mark Foley, R-FL, is under investigation for possibly criminal behavior for soliciting sex from a page that was under the age of 18. While this is sickening for most folks, we as Vermonters need to look at our in-state professional politicians. I’ve tried to get Vermont’s media to report on and question sponsors of legislation that in my opinion serve to systematically and incrementally allow adults sexual access to children.

H.358 bill proposed reducing the criminal penalty for consensual sex between a person who is 16, 17, or 18 years old and a person who is 14 or 15 years old from a first offense felony to a misdemeanor.

When I asked my representative — Rep. Robert Dostis, D-Waterbury — who asked him to introduce this bill, because all bills are to come from Vermonters, he claimed he lost the letters and couldn’t remember the names of the folks.

Then there was H.132, which “proposes to decriminalize consensual sex with a person under the age of 16 if the other person is within three years of such person’s age.” It was introduced by Rep. Michael Kainen, R-White River Junction, and Rep. Kathy LaVoie, R-Swanton.

Then we have Attorney General William Sorrell who protects patrons of an illegal sex operation but makes the names of the women public. These humans seem to have been trafficked for purpose of use as prostitutes. Sorrell’s actions guarantee Vermont will be a destination for human traffickers.

Sorrell, a Catholic, investigated rather than recused himself, and found no child sexual abuse information about the church. Yet, when a suit was brought against priests, amazingly and due to a brave judge we learn indeed there are documents proving there were children being sexually abused.

Judge Edward Cashman sentences a pedophile who sexually abused a child for many years to 60 days in prison because he wanted the pedophile to get rehabilitated. The Judicial Conduct Board upheld Cashman’s decision. I defy anyone to find a law that says judges can make up laws. Pres. George W. Bush has been told twice in recent court decisions that no one is above the law. In regard to Cashman’s decision, the law read, in part: “For the first offense, imprisoned not less than one year and not more than 15 years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.” That’s the law, period. Yet, the Senate Judiciary Committee failed to take action in spite of the fact that Vermonters overwhelmingly demanded Cashman be fired. Now, he gets to retire and collect a generous retirement check. Cashman’s decision did result in Gov. Jim Douglas getting his wish for imprisonment that can be forever — legislation Vermonters are adamantly against.

So, while we are shocked that the professional politicians seek to have sex with teens, we need to be aware of what’s happening right before the media’s eyes and they fail to inform us.
Laura Brueckner
Waterbury Center

Just say no to nukes

I recently drove to Rutland to hear three friends from the New England Coalition and Citizens Awareness Network speak about “Living in the Shadow of Vermont Yankee.”

Sadly, only five or six people came to hear them. They spoke eloquently of living fearfully in the “sacrifice zone,” a few miles from our nuclear reactor, but in another state where they have no legal voice in the debate over Vermont’s nuclear reactor. They told of the horrors of an “accident,” or a terror attack, on a spent fuel pool that stands an unprotected 70 feet in the air, at a reactor that the National Academy of Scientists considers “the most dangerous reactor and one that is most vulnerable to a terror attack.” They told of the 41 million curies of radioactive waste in this fuel pool, which will double with the 20 percent increase in power output already in place and with the planned recommissioning of the reactor for 20 years beyond 2012, when Yankee is due to close down. This radioactive waste will be a nightmarish legacy for our children and our grandchildren, on and on for more years than humanity has lived on Earth, for nobody knows what to do with it.

So these women from Massachusetts, who were working hard without a great deal of hope, have turned to us in Vermont, with hope, because, a short time ago the Vermont Legislature took back the power to stop the re-licensing of Vermont Yankee.

Nuclear power is neither “clean” nor “safe” nor “cheap.” Radioactive weapons and large amounts of CO2 are produced during the uranium enrichment process and daily radioactive emissions come from the stacks. A small leak in the fuel pool could produce a Chernobyl, making New England uninhabitable. Huge amounts of our tax dollars subsidize nuclear power, and over the next thousands of years, more money than we can imagine will be spent on protecting the world (if there still is one) and its people from the waste.

Renewable energy, if we allow it to, can reliably generate as much energy as conventional fuels without producing carbon dioxide or radioactive waste.

I wear a button that says “Vt.Yankee” on black, with a red slash through it. I have found people all over Vermont who are not even aware that there is a nuclear reactor in their state and, at first glance, think I am a fan of the Red Sox. So please call, write, inform your friends, and just say no to nuclear power!
Jane Newton
So. Londonderry

Don’t let kids sell junk

School fundraisers statewide are asking children as young as five years old to sell junk food door to door to show their “school spirit.”

The main objective is clearly to raise money but these projects should also be about teamwork, thinking globally, and forging local connections.

A fundraiser could be an opportunity for collaboration between schools and any one of Vermont’s small businesses. Instead of asking our students to sell low quality/high environmental impact “stuff,” how might administrators and parents redesign these campaigns to be locally-based and socially and environmentally responsible?

With a (very) little ingenuity and no more expense, something great could happen. Even better, what about a fundraiser that doesn’t sell any “thing” at all? What about service based or community gathering event?

After all, if we are trying to instill civic pride and a sense of responsibility into children, having them hock enormous tubs of cookies or pretzels made in Taiwan may not be the best way.
Linda Pruitt