Letters to the paper are not fact-checked and do not necessarily represent the views of The Bridge.
Complete Streets Committee Working to Make City Safer
Readers of The Bridge might like to know:
* Citizen volunteers are working to make Montpelier a friendlier, safer city for pedestrians and bicyclists.
* Some of these volunteers serve on the Complete Streets Committee, which meets in City Hall on the third Wednesday of the month from 5:30 to 6:30 pm.
* All are welcome to the meetings.
* The Committee has six members and room for three more. If you’re interested in joining, please contact me for more information.
*Many Montpelier businesses are offering discounts to pedestrians and bicyclists who are spotted using reflectors and lights at night. Be seen and you could win!
Nancy Schulz, SaddleShoes2@gmail.com
McCullough Fits Our Needs
I had intended to let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak. However, I have now listened to the full recording of the City Council’s Special Meeting on April 5–6, held to appoint a District 2 representative for Mayor Watson’s vacant seat. I did not find the public participation as vitriolic as others have described, although the tension and attitudes in the room were concerning. I apologize to all three candidates for my comments on Front Porch Forum without having been present and before having listened to the testimony.
I am a District 2 registered voter. There are 2,518 residents in the district who were eligible to vote at this year’s Town Meeting. Our district spoke loudly, but not overwhelmingly, in supporting Conor Casey to win the March election. Alex Geller did not win, nor did he or Casey come close to a majority of the district’s voters. I disagree that Geller was entitled to be appointed because he came in second in the polls. Even the total votes cast for both Casey and Geller do not add up to the voice of our district when barely a third of our voters cast ballots. What we need to work on is “getting out the vote” so that our district is truly heard.
I agree with the City Council that the appointment merited an independent look at the credentials of the applicants and what each brought in skill and experience in order to match the appointee with the needs of the Council. Jack McCullough’s expertise and experience fills the gap. The fact that he did not run in the March election is a non-issue. Perhaps he supported Casey or Geller or Lalitha Mailwaganam, perhaps Casey supporters would not have supported Geller or vice versa, perhaps Geller stacked the March vote just as it appeared the Special Meeting of the City Council was stacked. As one candidate said, we will never know how the election would have gone if Watson had not become mayor, or if Casey had not run, or had all of our District 2 registered voters cast a ballot.
In my view the City Council did not substitute their judgment for that of the District 2 voters, they looked at the merits. Not all District 2 voters were heard. No one looked at the political bent of the applicants in deciding that each one of them would have been qualified. It turns out that the best fit for the needs of this city right now is Jack McCullough, who has dedicated a lifetime to the work of housing and what is good for this community. So what if he did not launch a masterful campaign, sit in peoples’ living rooms, and spend significant time and money meeting us one on one? Jack is a known entity. We should embrace his willingness to take on this assignment and not expect him to wait two years to run in an election when he can do so much for us now. The means in this case, our City Charter, did justify the end.
Dot Helling, Montpelier
Protect Moose, Don’t Hunt Them
The population of moose has drastically declined in Vermont as a result of winter ticks, brainworms, lungworms, loss of habitat, and hunting. Yet the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife still supports a 2018 moose hunt. For too long the Department of Fish and Wildlife and its board (solely made up of hunters and trappers with vested self-interests) have catered to hunters and trappers at the expense of wildlife, homeowners, and non-hunting Vermonters.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board’s rationale (and that of many moose hunters and hunting guides) is that if the moose hunt is suspended, it will be hard to reinstate it. This is how wildlife policy is made—by pandering to “sport” hunters and irrational, self-serving thinking.
In the 1800s, the moose population was nearly wiped out because of hunting. Now the moose again are suffering. Moose that are injured and not recovered do not even count toward a hunter’s “bag limit.” Why is it that the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Board cater to a few when the majority of Vermonters want to see ethical and responsible management?
The fact that the non-hunting public and homeowners have so little say in the way wildlife is managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife is undemocratic and irresponsible. Animals can be trapped without having to be reported. Traps can be set nearly anywhere, including on public land near walking and hiking trails. Vermont allows killing “contests” and “open” seasons on a number of animals. The way wildlife is managed—or mismanaged—by Vermont’s Department of Fish and Wildlife needs to change.
There are many Vermonters who enjoy viewing wildlife. Viewing wildlife provides peace, beauty, and tranquility to hectic lives. Wildlife watching, including viewing moose, contributes to the economy. In many states, it contributes far more than hunting does. Those who like to view or photograph wildlife, hike, and participate in non-consumptive outdoor recreation need to have a say in how policy is made and how wildlife is managed in Vermont.
Alana Stevenson, Charlotte
What Do You Think?
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Deadline for the next issue is April 27.