James Marc Leas | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

James Marc Leas 
Member since Mar 29, 2014


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Re: “Uprooted: Burlington Farmers Market Seeks a New Home

The planned boondoggle City Hall Park redesign does not just interfere with the Farmers Market.

The approved plan for the park lacks common sense. It rips out several of the existing walkways and replaces them with walkways located just a few feet to side of where the walkways are now--aiming at where mature and healthy trees lining that side now stand. Moving the existing walkways to the side requires a dozen beautiful mature and healthy trees to be cut down. All this moving of walkways and cutting trees at $4 million cost to the city! Why? When most of what is needed is ordinary maintenance and to aerate the soil with a machine the city already owns so grass will grow, tree health improve, and rain water will be better retained!

And what is the purpose of paving over more of our sole city center green space? This is a plan that needs to be stopped in its tracks.

The planned park redesign degrades a gem of a City Hall Park that has character and charm. Surely the real purpose of the redesign is to pass $4 million of city money to developers.

Let's keep the existing walkways and pave no more. And save millions of dollars. Yes we can.

14 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by James Marc Leas on 11/04/2018 at 12:48 PM

Re: “F-35 Burlington Ballot Question Spurs Debate, Influx of Ad Spending

Members of the Guard: Join us in requesting safe equipment!

The best way to support the men and women of the Vermont Air National Guard and their mission "to protect the citizens of Vermont" is to vote Yes on Ballot Item 6 to request cancellation of the F-35 and to request equipment for them that is low noise and safe to base in a densely populated city.

The US Air Force says the extreme noise of the F-35 will degrade the health of thousands of families in Burlington, Winooski, Williston and South Burlington. Harming thousands of families would totally and completely violate the Vermont Air Guard's mission "to protect the citizens of Vermont."

According to Burlington's own Board of Health, the World Health Organization, and the US Air Force itself especially harmed will be children and elderly.

You cannot support the members of the Guard and their mission by supporting equipment for them that harms children and elderly: people they are pledged to protect. Supporting such equipment is the opposite of supporting the men and women of the Guard.

Basing dangerous equipment like the F-35 will be incredibly bad for the Vermont Air Guard, no matter what its leadership and developers are saying now.

I call on all members of the Guard to stand up to any leadership or developer who says otherwise. I call on members of the Guard to join with citizens requesting alternative equipment for the Guard. Equipment that does no harm to children and the elderly.

5 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by James Marc Leas on 02/28/2018 at 1:03 PM

Re: “Attorney General Donovan Settles Corren Campaign Finance Lawsuit

Terrific news. Adam Salem is right. Now let's ask our legislature to both strengthen public financing and to pass rules--as permitted in a 2011 case by the US Supreme Court--preventing a member of the legislature or a member of a selectboard from voting on a matter when such an amount of electioneering money was spent on that member's election by a person or corporation that has a pecuniary interest in the matter that a reasonable person would find that the independence of judgment of that member would be impaired. Taking those two steps, strengthening public financing and strengthening conflict of interest rules for elected officials, would finally put a stop to corrupting private election financing. See the article in the Vermont Bar Journal, "How Vermont Can Respond to Citizens United," https://www.vtbar.org/UserFiles/Files/Even…

6 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by James Marc Leas on 11/22/2017 at 3:54 PM

Re: “Zuckerman Apologizes for 2013 Remark About Vermont Air Guard

Dave Zuckerman had nothing to apologize for. His only mistake was to apologize.

Zuckerman's speech was absolutely right. Not just the fact that the F-16 fighters did nothing to stop the 911 attack but also that such fighter/bombers are useless for stopping terrorist attacks generally.

Zuckerman was also right about the points he made in the rest of his remarks to hundreds of Vermonters about the F-35 that were omitted from Nicole Citro's out-of-context clip. You can watch his full remarks starting at 6:33 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-2A36x8lf… which has been posted and available since 2013.

Zuckerman also correctly spoke about the effect of F-35 basing on jobs, noise, health, safety, and freedom, and he concluded that F-35 basing is "just plain wrong."

Basing F-35 jets at the airport in South Burlington surrounded by 124,000 people in 7 towns within 5 miles of the runway, was wrong in July 2013. It is still wrong now.

The Vermont Air National Guard has a duty to defend Vermont citizens. The Air Guard should not be permitted to take action that puts the health and safety of our Vermont citizens at peril. As Dave Zuckerman correctly pointed out, in its Environmental Impact Statement, the Air Force detailed tremendous negative effects on health and safety for thousands of Vermont families. The Air Force says the F-35 is more than 4 times louder than the F-16, and this noise causes serious health effects. Those negative effects include cognitive impairment of children.

Citizens are right to call on the Air Guard to meet its responsibility to protect Vermonters and not put our families and our children at risk. We want to elect political leaders who will require the Guard to meet that responsibility.

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by James Marc Leas on 10/27/2016 at 9:46 AM

Re: “A Tough Night for Sanders as Clinton Expands Her Lead

The 30% of the black vote Bernie got last week in Michigan was a great improvement compared to the 10% or so of the black vote he got in southern states. The improvement explained his narrow victory in Michigan.

But Bernie did not further improve this week: he got just 28% of the black vote in Ohio, 29% in Missouri and Illinois, and 20% in Florida.

The title of the article today in the Washington Post that lays out these numbers says it all: "Bernie Sanders is doing better with black voters — but it’s still not good enough." https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fi…

Ideas to end impunity for killer cops and actually keep the promise of equal justice under law might be useful: "Black Lives Matter: How Bernie Can Win Way More Black Voters" http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/15/bla…

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by James Marc Leas on 03/16/2016 at 4:23 PM

Re: “Why Did Black South Carolinians Snub Bernie Sanders?

Bernie has great ideas on several important issues but is light on proposals regarding Black Lives Matter. While Bernie frequently mentions Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland and many others killed by police or who are victims of police misconduct, he has not yet come forth with clear proposals to put a stop to police impunity.

Here are three ideas Bernie could consider advocating and submitting as legislation in the senate:

1) If a police officer killed someone, require appointment of an independent and impartial special prosecutor if a reasonable person would question the independence of judgment of the usual prosecutor because of race or because of day-to-day association with, relationship with, or dependence on the police, or for any other reason;

2) Establish in the US Department of Justice a special prosecutor branch to supervise investigation and prosecution of alleged police misconduct under state criminal law; and

3) Recognizing that jeopardy does not attach in grand jury proceedings, require reopening cases against the cops who allegedly murdered Eric Garner and Michael Brown and others that had been closed by local prosecutors who had a conflict of interest. As the US Supreme Court said, "The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment does not bar a grand jury from returning an indictment when a prior grand jury has refused to do so" (United States v. John H. Williams, Jr., (1992)). There is no bar to reopening these case under an independent and impartial special prosecutor.

Equal justice under law can put a stop to police impunity: Police misconduct must be prosecuted with the same zeal as black defendants are prosecuted.

5 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by James Marc Leas on 02/29/2016 at 7:45 PM

Re: “CCTA Negotiations Crumble, Bus Strike Headed for Week Three

To his credit, Mark Davis mentions the issues in this strike: the length of the drivers split shifts, how complaints are handled, cameras on buses, compensation, and allowing part time workers. So far so good.

But what are the facts about the split shifts? How many hours do drivers serve under the present split shift arrangement? How many additional hours of split shift is management demanding under a new contract? Why are drivers resisting adding more hours to their split shifts? Why are they willing to go on strike to oppose an increase in the number of hours of split shift?

Is the union willing to settle for the current split shift arrangement? Is management willing to continue with the current split shift hours? Or is management refusing to back off on its demand for an increase in the number of split shift hours?

Is there a reason the article omitted mention of these facts?

Do Vermonters support the 8 hour day? Is this CCTA management attempting to foist a much longer total day on drivers? Isn't the current 12.5 hour split shift day long enough? Shouldn't our drivers enjoy the same rights to an 8 hour day as other Vermonters?

Do Vermonters support a management that is attempting to undercut not just the principle of an 8 hour day but even extend it beyond 12.5 hours? Do Vermonters support increasing the number of hours in the already onerous split shift to 13.5 demanded by management?

What about safety? Does anyone argue that increasing the number of hours in the split shift will improve safety? Should Vermonters be concerned that adding yet another hour to the already onerous 12.5 hour split shift will put passengers--and everyone else on the road--at increased risk?

Is there a reason the article did not present the fact that management is seeking to increase the number of hours in the split shift?

3 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by James Marc Leas on 03/30/2014 at 12:21 PM

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