BenEastwood 
Member since Jan 28, 2014


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Re: “Vermont Lawmakers Pick New Statehouse Sergeant-at-Arms

I misread the numbers, and realized that the new sgt. is actually making 5,000 less in he new job. I apologize for that error. I still find it troubling that she feels entitled to a raise to do the same job that Francis has been faithfully performing for years.

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by BenEastwood on 02/20/2015 at 5:21 PM

Re: “Vermont Lawmakers Pick New Statehouse Sergeant-at-Arms

It is a sad day for our state when Fear and Fascism win out over Civility and Open Democracy. It is especially telling that, in these challenging economic times, the incoming Sargeant at Arms does not feel her $59,000 pay increase is adequate, and plans on negotiating for a raise! For shame!
Francis has always had my respect as a fair and dignified steward of our Capitol Building. Good luck Mr. Brooks, and thank you for your dedicated service.

8 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by BenEastwood on 02/20/2015 at 5:04 PM

Re: “Capital Fireworks: Incumbent, Ousted Employee Spar in Montpelier Mayor's Race

Reams of documentation from both sides? What documentation has the city shown? NONE. Despite claims made by the city and supporters of the mayor, the charges made against Gwen Hallsmith have been entirely unsubstantiated by evidence, and the city has refused to let the public see the proceedings, despite repeated requests from Gwen. This has been a fight of rumors versus facts.
The city has denied her due process, and the sham hearing was worthy of any kangaroo court. Her appeal to the city was heard by the assistant to the person that fired her. She was not allowed to cross examine witnesses, and the assistant manager was allowed to take hearsay evidence from her boss, and ignore any evidence she chose. Still, even with the deck stacked against her, the city was not able to substantiate all of their charges.
We'll have to see what happens when real courts actually hear the case, with a real judge, and the city is required to meet a burden of proof subject to questioning.
In the mean time, even if everything alleged against her is true, she still makes a better choice than our current mayor. He works against the common good of Montpelier residents, and indeed all Vermonters when he goes to work in the statehouse. He was Vermont Yankee's lobbyist back in 2005 and 2006 when it was leaking radioactive waste, and entergy was hiding it. He currently represents transcanada, the folks who want to build keystone xl, and vermont gas, the folks trying to build a fracking pipeline through the champlian valley.
But his works hit home, directly. For years, early childhood educators have been struggling to gain the right to collectively bargain, to have a voice in their wages, and working conditions, and improve services to their charges. The mayor proudly brags about defeating this in the statehouse. Each and every childcare worker in town is effected by that.
He also lobbied and defeated a bill that would help insure workers get their full earned workers comp coverage, potecting corporations from their obligations to their employees. If you get hurt at work, and your benefits get cut, and you have a hard time collecting, thank the mayor.
These are both from his lobbyist website. When you look at the secretary of state website, you can not only see every one of his current and past clients, which reads as a who's who of corporate special interests: big banks, tarsands, fracking, big pharma, insurance, the beverage industry, vt yankee, credit card industry... you also see the bills he has lobbied on, and you get a sense of the man.
Which is why it comes as no surprise that he lobbied to decrease income sensitivity for low and fixed income residents. Income sensitivity is the program which insures that poor folks don't lose their houses due to high property taxes by insuring their tax burden doesn't take up too much of their income . Even with income sensitivity, lower income folks pay a higher portion of their income in taxes than the the upper crust, yet the mayor wants those eligible for income sensitivity to have "more skin in the game."
Isn't there already an obscene amount of skin showing?
As part of the 99%, if I vote for the mayor, I vote against my own best interests, both as a citizen of montpelier, but also as a Vermonter, and an American.
That is why, as a montpelier resident, a Vermonter, and an American, I proudly support Gwen Hallsmith in her campaign, and will vote for her this town meeting. It's getting on time for spring cleaning, and we need to sweep city hall.

Ben Eastwood, Montpelier, Vt


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Disclaimer, I am an alternate on the montpelier conservation commission and the views expressed here are my own, and not those of the city, and should not be construed to represent the comission.

5 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by BenEastwood on 02/28/2014 at 1:09 PM

Re: “Lisman's Group Accuses House Democrat of Solar Conflict

Should this apply in committees too? Should legislators on comittees recuse themselves from voting on bills that they have an interest in? I mean, Norm Mcalllister is a farmer, who grows GMO crops, and he voted against the honest labeling bill when it came before his committee in 2012, and now as senator, is set to vote against it again, despite the overwhelming public support for honest labels... or, do we accept that we do have amcitizen legislature, and that we do have a need for folks with direct knowledge and expertese in those fields to weigh in? Either way, it needs to be consistent. If Mcarthy is wrong, so is mccallister, if McAllister is ok, so is McCarthy...
And how about on local levels, like in Montpelier, where our mayor, John Hollar, is a lobbyist for the big banking industry... every day the city conducts business with those banks. As mayor, he makes three thousand dollars a year... 30 Benjamins. A good lobbyist with big clients can make that in a day. Where do his loyalties lie?

DISCLOSURE:I AM A MEMBER OF THE MONTPELIER CONSERVATION COMMISSION. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED HERE ARE MINE AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN, AND SHOULD NOT BE INTERPERETED TO REPRESENT THE OPINIONS OF THE CITY OF MONTPELIER, NOR THE CONSERVATION COMMISSION.

Posted by BenEastwood on 02/01/2014 at 8:54 AM

Re: “Fired Planning Chief Considering Challenge to Montpelier Mayor

No, actually you did change it, here is what you originally wrote.
"You can sit here and continue to write overly verbose posts on events from several years ago that have nothing to do with blog post if you wish, but you may as well tell me how Dubya orechestrated 9/11 and why we never really landed on the moon..."
You have since corrected it. Again, thank you for showing greater journalistic integrity than the author. Cheers.
DISCLOSURE. I AM A MEMBER OF THE MONTPELIER CONSERVATION COMMISSION, MY OPINIONS EXPRESSED HERE ARE MY OWN AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED TO REPRESENT THE CITY OF MONTPELIER OR THE CONSERVATION COMMISSION.

Posted by BenEastwood on 01/30/2014 at 8:54 AM

Re: “Fired Planning Chief Considering Challenge to Montpelier Mayor

When I wrote the post it still contained the words years ago.Thank you for correcting your error. If Paul Heintz and John Good simply did as you have done it would have remedied the entire issue. You have shown a higher level of integrity in correcting your comment then they have.
Swearing still has no place in a debate, and the word used clearly is not appropriate for a discussion that children may see.
Cheers, Ben
DISCLAIMER, I SIT ON THE MONTPELIER CONSERVATION COMMISSION, AND THE COMMENTS ARE MY OWN AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED TO REPRESENT THE CITY OF MONTPELIER NOR THE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

Posted by BenEastwood on 01/29/2014 at 12:55 PM

Re: “Fired Planning Chief Considering Challenge to Montpelier Mayor

Jcarter, first of all, I'm not the one who is all worked up and swearing. Second of all, you did talk about events that happened several years ago in the post I replied to, maybe you should read what you write.
Perhaps you werent referring to events here, but to my example of how a narrative can be rewritten if the news is reported without salient facts... by using a hypothetical example of how the ows stories would be spun differently if they only included the protest, and not the collapse of thebanks leading up to it. The background information is important, and as much as you may disagree, the facts matter, and reputation matters.
You, in taking responsibilty for your innacurate statements have shown greater integrity than the reporter or the paper.
Cheers.
DISCLAIMER: I SIT ON THE MONTPELIER CONSERVATION COMMISSION, AND MY OPINIONS HERE ARE MY OWN AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED TO REPRESENT THOSE OF THE CITY OR CONSERVATION COMMISION OF MONTPELIER

Posted by BenEastwood on 01/29/2014 at 12:06 PM

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