Op/Eds

As a conservative, I’m not quick to invoke the term “market failure” as a justification for government intervention. But that’s exactly what the decline of local journalism requires. Local newspapers, the first line of democratic accountability for local government, are in free fall. The Youngstown Vindicator, the latest victim (a daily serving a population of 550,000), just announced that it is closing, after 150 years of continuous operation in the Mahoning Valley of Ohio. As the Pew Research Center recently reported, the number of newsroom employees at newspapers in the United States...
Rep. Robin Scheu (D-Middlebury) wrote an excellent commentary, “Paid-leave bill good for Vermont” (June 27, 2019), on the savage injustice of some having the benefit of paid leave while others do not. As Rep. Scheu reported in her piece, “Many workers — especially lower income workers — currently do not have access to adequate paid leave to deal with their own serious illness. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide, about three in five private sector workers do not have access to TDI [paid family leave] through their employers, leaving them vulnerable when they need to take...
As chair of the Mount Abraham Unified School District (MAUSD) School Board Community Engagement committee, I appreciated the opportunity to speak with Addison Independent reporter Christopher Ross about the surveys we recently conducted with 5 Town Residents, which included an online version as well as more in depth, individual conversations between 35 volunteers and 135 community members. However, I was disappointed that Mr. Ross included other school board business in this article without adequately providing context to these matters. For example, it is inaccurate to call the Board’s use of...
As Vermont Democrats regain their footing in the upcoming session and promise to pass legislation addressing a livable minimum wage and affordable family leave policies, they could benefit from studying what the Massachusetts Legislature passed in 2018.  In a measure dubbed the “grand bargain,” the legislature there passed a $15 minimum wage bill that would be phased in over five years, similar to what was proposed in Vermont, but there were also concessions made to the business community. A one-day permanent tax holiday was created, and the bill would eliminate time-and-a-half pay for hourly...
The goldfinch hung on my window screen, its bold yellow back with black stripe shone in the light as it held on casually, confidently, pecking every few seconds on something I could not see. Bugs? Seeds blown from the trees to lodge in the grating of the screen? No matter. I hear birds every day though I’m not good at telling one call from another. In the early morning hours, lovely songs push through my dreams, season my daily routines, and linger well past dark. The goldfinch hanging on my window screen felt special because I might have missed it if I hadn’t happened to look up. I’m...
The moderators of the next Democratic presidential debates, to be broadcast by CNN on July 30 and 31, should ask the candidates the following question: “If you were elected president next year, and the Democrats maintained control of the House and won a small majority in the Senate, would you support a change in Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster?” The Senate now consists of 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats, the latter number including two independents, Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who caucus with the Democrats.  To win control of the Senate, Democrats would need to...
Physicians and physician assistants from the Vermont Medical Society (VMS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter (AAPVT) strongly oppose onerous federal restrictions placed on Title X monies that went into effect last Thursday. These changes have resulted in the inability of 12 health centers across the state of Vermont, including Planned Parenthood clinics, to accept federal Title X funding.  While VMS and AAPVT applaud the announcement by Planned Parenthood centers in Vermont that this will not disrupt health care services at this current time, losing this funding may limit...
On July 10, 2019 Fitch, a major credit agency, reduced Vermont’s bond rating. This was expected, after Moody’s, another large credit agency reduced Vermont’s bond rating in October 2018. Both rating agencies have the same concerns about Vermont and it’s economy.  As a result, future state and municipal borrowings costs will increase. Why is this happening?  Because Vermont faces daunting “economic and demographic headwinds.” We have heard these concerns for years. Vermont’s population and its workforce is flat or declining, our economic growth is slow and our citizens are old.  And our state’...
Editor’s note: This is the 26th in a series of essays on the history and meaning of the American political tradition. Between the years 1783 until 1848 the United States realized its greatest territorial expansion. The Treaty of Paris (1783) formally ended the war for independence. It determined that the territory of The United States of America extended westward to the Mississippi River. In 1803, during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, this boundary was moved westward by the Louisiana Purchase. In 1819, Spain ceded Florida to the United States. In 1846, The Oregon Territory was acquired...
On Monday morning, July 8, at about 9:30 a.m., I was following a delivery truck heading up Main Street and turning left on Seymour Street. As it turned, it hit a white pickup truck that was parked in the last parking spot on the park side. The truck did not stop, so I followed it to Agway and spoke with the driver who denied hitting it. I called the Middlebury Police Department and reported it. When they arrived, I gave them my info and a description of what happened. They sent an officer to look at the truck but it had left the spot. If you own a white pickup truck that was parked there on...

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Addison County Independent