JohnGreenberg | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Member since Dec 28, 2012


Recent Comments

Re: “Vergennes Farmer Wins Right to Argue in Court for Asylum

Citizen claims that "67% of illegal immigrants are on some kind of federal assistance" He provides no documentation for his claim, which is clearly false.

"In September 2015, the Center for Immigration Studies published a landmark study of immigration and welfare use, showing that 51 percent of immigrant-headed households used at least one federal welfare program..." Note that the total figure is considerably lower than "citizen"'s number AND it includes ALL immigrant-headed households, not just illegal ones.…

Moreover, following the footnote on that statement leads to another report which adds: " it is clear that the overwhelming majority of immigrant households using welfare are headed by legal immigrants." And also: "Most new legal immigrants are barred from welfare programs when they first arrive, and illegal immigrants are barred as well. But the ban applies to only some programs; most legal immigrants have been in the country long enough to qualify for at least some programs and the bar often does not apply to children; states often provide welfare to new immigrants on their own; naturalizing makes immigrants eligible for all programs; and, most important, immigrants (including illegal immigrants) can receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children who are awarded U.S. citizenship at birth."…

Facts matter.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 07/10/2017 at 10:21 AM
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 07/08/2017 at 10:29 AM

Re: “Walters: Panel Ices Wind Rules Until October

Chris S repeats his alternate history as though it will suddenly become accurate the second time around.

Section 248 is decades old and was NOT written (or re-written) for the special benefit of wind or solar developers. Since he now brings up VY, its worth noting that it too is regulated by the very same process. These projects are all exempt from Act 250 because they are regulated by a separate provision of the law. Why not say that every non-utility development is exempt from the provisions of section 248, which require, as Act 250 does not, that the project demonstrates that its completion is in the public good?

The argument about legislative control is equally inane. Governors, not legislatures, appoint the members of DPS and the PSB (Some appointments require senate confirmation). Jim Douglas was governor when Sheffield and Lowell got most of the needed permits, and he appointed all of the members of the PSB who made the ultimate decisions during the early months of the Shumlin administration. The Shumlin PSB consisted entirely of members appointed (or re-appointed) by Jim Douglas until 2013, when Shumlin appointed Margaret Cheney.

Finally, yes I was (and am) an anti-nuclear activist. As someone quite involved with the issue beginning before Peter Shumlin was elected to the legislature, I can assure Chris S that hes quite mistaken in stating: No one fought more against the nuclear plant than Windham County based Peter Shumlin (then a state senator not well known in the rest of the state). Actually, Peter Shumlin never opposed continuing operations at VY until 2012 and in his early senate terms actually impeded various efforts to shut it down earlier. He opposed extending the life of the plant AFTER 2012, first in his last terms as state senator, then as governor.

3 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 06/24/2017 at 10:56 AM

Re: “Walters: Panel Ices Wind Rules Until October

Chris S's statement about exemptions from Act 250 is an oft-repeated misrepresentation. Like all utility development, wind projects are regulated by the Public Service Board under section 248. Im not an historian, but I suspect that this bi-furcated scheme dates from roughly the same era as Act 250 itself. The criteria the Board uses to consider these projects are identical to those used under Act 250. In the decades in question, Vermont has had both Republican and Democratic governors making appointments to the PSB. In some cases, a candidate has been appointed by a governor of one party and re-appointed by a governor of the other.

There used to be bipartisan support for protecting the ridge lines. Lasted for over 40 years until the Democrats had one-party control & began to sell out the mountains to the highest bidders . Nonsense. Two highly controversial projects Lowell and Sheffield were begun under a Republican governor, who appointed not only the DPS team that participated in PSB hearings, but all of the members of the PSB who eventually permitted the project. The projects came online in the fall following the inauguration of a Democratic governor, but by then, almost all the decisions had been made.

Finally, the assumption behind all of Chris comments is misguided. LCARs function is not to make political decisions about rules, but only to decide whether or not proposed rules comply with the intent of the legislature in the underlying legislation. Maybe Im just not cynical enough, but I think the assumption that all of the LCAR members ignore their job and vote their politics demeans the members of the committee without any factual basis.

4 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 06/23/2017 at 7:45 PM

Re: “Walters: Panel Ices Wind Rules Until October

Chris Ss comment refers repeatedly to the message from this past election.

Heres the message I hear. Virtually every senator or representative who supported utility-scale wind development in Vermont was re-elected. There may be a handful of exceptions I dont know about. Total = 180 races.

In the primary race for the open governors seat, the Democratic candidate who supported wind development prevailed over her two opponents who did not. In that race, there were only a small number of issues distinguishing the candidates: there is no question that wind was an important issue for primary voters.

The winning Democrat then lost to the now-sitting governor in a race which divided them on MANY issues, not just wind development. But even assuming that wind development was the issue most voters decided on (which is difficult in the face of the previously mentioned fact), thats one race out of over 150. Vermonters also elected a LT governor who does support wind over a Republican candidate who does not.

Given the facts Ive just articulated and the additional fact that virtually every statewide poll of Vermonters shows large majorities SUPPORTING wind development, I find Chriss statement hard to fathom.

4 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 06/23/2017 at 7:44 PM

Re: “Vermont Considers Dumping Dorothy Canfield Fisher Over Ties to Eugenics Movement

Most of the evidence presented in this article purporting to show Canfield's eugenicism actually portray the racism of some of her characters.

With all due respect, such instances prove nothing at all. If an author portrays an overt bigot in a work of fiction, readers cannot infer that the character's views are those of the author. Were it otherwise, in any play or story which pits characters in conflict, we would have assume that the author's personality is split between the conflicting sides.

Works of fiction often include nasty characters saying (and doing) awful things, precisely because the author wants to show the reader how wrong/foolish such words/behavior really are.

Thus, there is NO reasonable comparison between Jefferson, who really DID own slaves and Canfield Fisher, who puts racist sentiments in the mouth of some of her characters.

As Sean Patrick, Burke's comment and the article both point out, reviewing historical characters by modern standards raises its own very real set of contentious issues. But if we decide to go down that path, let's do so on the basis of actual facts, rather than motives imputed from voices in works of fiction other than the author's.

29 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 06/22/2017 at 11:05 AM

Re: “Climate Commitment? The Governor and the Paris Accord

The disagreement between the new paper to which Ms. Smith links and Mr. Jacobsons work concerns two points: first, whether wind, solar and hydro alone constitute the optimal way to achieve decarbonization economically; and second, the degree to which, they can achieve the last 20% of the job by themselves.

The first sentences of the link make this fully apparent: A number of studies have concluded that an 80% decarbonization of the US electric grid could be achieved at reasonable cost. There seems to be some consensus that substantial amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions could be avoided with widespread deployment of solar and wind electric generation technologies along with supporting infrastructure. Furthermore, it is not in question that it would be theoretically possible to build a reliable energy system excluding all bioenergy, nuclear energy, and fossil fuel sources.

In Vermont, we are a VERY long way from confronting either controversy, especially given that Vermonts 90% (not 100% as in Jacobsons work) goal is more than 3 decades off. So even if we were to accept Ms. Smiths incredibly flawed reasoning (see previous comment), it would provide no substantial assistance to our policy-making discussion.

Instead of discarding the views of those with whom she disagrees, Ms. Smith should offer her own roadmap to achieving Vermonts goals without the large-scale solar and wind projects she rejects. Shes been repeatedly asked and thus far has steadfastly refused to offer any realistic proposals.

2 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by JohnGreenberg on 06/21/2017 at 1:25 PM

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