A. Smith | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

A. Smith 
Member since Dec 9, 2015


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Re: “'Howe' Now: UVM Drops 'Bailey' From Library Name Over Eugenics Ties

PBS had an educational documentary on recently about the eugenics movement
https://www.pbs.org/video/the-eugenics-cru…
I learned a lot from watching it. It was a mainstream movement supported by, among others, Theodore Roosevelt. It resulted in the United States shutting down immigration for 40 years. Perhaps this is a teachable moment at UVM. Not sure that's how it's being handled, though.

14 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by A. Smith on 10/29/2018 at 12:54 PM

Re: “Drain the Swamp? Scott Wades Into State Wetland Dispute

This article is precious. Where to begin...

Under Shumlin, Markowitz oversaw what Shumlin announced at a press conference about the Lowell wind project, "marching in lock step with GMP" to get the project through. This was after the ANR staff scientists raised alarms, and once Gov. Shumlin and Sec. Markowitz saw what they were doing, all the staff scientists reversed their testimony
https://vermontersforacleanenvironment.wor…

Then there's Jon Groveman (and DEC Commissioner David Mears) who oversaw and permitted the filling of wetlands and hundreds of feet of Class A headwaters above 2500 feet. Here's a presentation by ethical hydrogeologists who detail the problems with the permits that Groveman, as General Counsel of ANR, was responsible for: http://www.vce.org/401_Presentation.pdf and what the results are
https://vermontersforacleanenvironment.wor…
and ANR's response (still under the Shumlin/Markowitz adminisration to VCE's investigation
https://vermontersforacleanenvironment.wor…

Also under Shumlin, Markowitz and Groveman, the administration permitted dozens of solar projects on Class 2 wetlands. VCE filed comments http://vce.org/VCE_BartonSolar_wetlands_co… that were ignored, the project was built, and this was the result: http://vce.org/BartonSolarSpring2015.pdf

And David Deen and his committee in the House heard VCE's investigation into the slate quarry issues that include massive decades-long filling of wetlands which you can see here: https://youtu.be/p4AKea1fBO0
The committee can be heard saying that they would like Sec. Markowitz to come in and explain why what was shown was happening. That never happened. Nothing ever happened.

I'm not playing politics here, just stating the facts. I've been working as an environmental advocate in Vermont for 19 years and have watched political interference in ANR by Governors Dean (here's one example https://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/s…) Douglas, Shumlin, and Scott. Business as usual in the not-so-green Vermont. That's the story, not this one instance but the bigger picture of how Vermont's green image is a sham.

26 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 10/17/2018 at 6:40 PM

Re: “Climate Redaction: Report’s Slow Roll Sparks Skepticism

Interesting spin on the Climate Action Commission's membership, twice claiming that there was only one enviro rep., but VNRC, Energy Action Network, VEIC, VCRD, a solar installer, and others very committed to addressing climate change are on the commission. The full list is here http://anr.vermont.gov/about_us/special-to…. It is not accurate to say the membership is "heavy on business and administration figures." Walters appears to be carrying VNRC's whining water. If anything the commission was heavily populated by climate change activists and not nay-sayers.

As for the content of the group's recommendations (also at the above link is the final report), there are a lot of policy suggestions but not much for the average Vermonter to grab onto. We're all supposed to buy more stuff -- electric vehicles, air source heat pumps, wood pellet stoves. Expensive stuff.

Disclaimer: although I am listed as co-chair of the Technical Advisory Group, an appointment that generated opposition from VNRC, VPIRG and a UVM professor as reported in Seven Days, the TAG had zero role to play, likely due to the fuss from the green groups, and also the choice of the commissioners to focus on policy. I attended one meeting as requested, there was no name tag for me or the other co-chair waiting at the front desk like there was for the commissioners, sat in the uncomfortable bleacher seats, wasn't introduced except near the end in passing, it was pretty insulting.

On the Rutland County Senate race, Walters missed an important recent announcement, awesome farmer Greg Cox is running as an Independent.

21 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 08/08/2018 at 10:31 AM

Re: “Another Vermont Pol Promises Broadband. Could It Work This Time?

VELCO has a fiber optic network, perhaps that could be useful. The way the state has built out broadband is puzzling. On my road, I have the choice of Comcast (Xfinity is what i guess it's called now) that the PUC required to be built out, and I have VTel's incredible high speed fiber optic, and my area is also served by VTel's wireless network. Triple redundancy. Yet other areas of the state have hardly anything. I don't get it.

8 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 07/25/2018 at 12:28 PM

Re: “Welch Takes Campaign Cash From Telecom Regulated by His Wife

When the issue with Comcast was in the news in 2016 I looked at campaign contributions to Rep. Welch and the businesses regulated by the PUC and found something like 10 companies that the PUC regulates that had donated to Rep. Welch's campaign, including David Blittersdorf who was a speaker at one of Rep. Welch's fundraising events and has pursued numerous CPGs from the PUC as well as being the subject of numerous enforcement investigations with fines resulting. I was curious why Margaret Cheney was agreeable to recusing herself from Comcast cases but none of the others. I have no reason to believe that either Welch or Cheney are acting unethically, but I agree that it creates a perception of a conflict of interest that is not okay.

13 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 04/20/2018 at 12:50 PM

Re: “Vermonters Increasingly Turn to Crowdfunding for Health Care Help

Does the person benefitting from the donations have to declare the money as income and pay tax on it?

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 04/04/2018 at 11:21 AM

Re: “Conservative Senator Peg Flory to Hang Up Her Spurs

I can't find any news stories archived, but my recollection is that as chair of the House Judiciary Committee in around 2002, Rep. Flory was persuaded by testimony of Vermonters to move a bill out of committee that led to making medical marijuana available.

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by A. Smith on 03/27/2018 at 7:05 PM

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