The mouse that roared
At the end of the March 7 Town Meeting, Charlotte voters adopted my proposal to call on the U.S. Congress to investigate whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump for violations of the two Emoluments Clauses of the U.S. Constitution:

The Foreign Emoluments Clause, which provides that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States] shall, without the Consent of Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or Foreign State.”

The Domestic Emoluments Clause, which provides that, besides the fixed salary for his four-year term, the President “shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”

A multitude of such violations has been spelled out in a lawsuit by the Committee for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). But at the Town Meeting, a “call the question” request came immediately from the floor, and I had no need to spell out the sleazy details.

I think that, like me, many Charlotters have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution—all teachers take this oath, so do all officials in Civil Service positions, all members of the U.S. armed forces and the National Guard, all governors, all members of Congress, and, of course, all U.S. Presidents. Strict allegiance to the Constitution is what distinguishes the United States from a great many Banana Republics throughout the world that have copied our Constitution but allow their leaders to violate it at will.

Charlotte became one of three municipalities in the nation to pass this resolution, following Richmond, California, and a few hours ahead of Alameda, California. I have been gratified by the warm response around town and even in Shelburne, where my bank teller said, “Now Trump knows where Vermont is.”

My only disappointment is the silence of the media. The resolution wasn’t adopted on tweets, gossip, alternative news, obnoxious personality, or the Ivanka clothing line. It was adopted on facts: Trump’s disrespect and violation of the Constitution.

Yes, let’s make America great again.

And above all, let’s make the Constitution great again.

Susan Ohanian, Charlotte

Support the trails on April 11
Please support the Trails Committee with your vote to approve adding $40,000 to the Trails Reserve Fund. Trails do not just appear, and they are never free. In some parts of the world, common usage in a totally different society may have created trails, but without the consent and support (financial and otherwise) of each landowner, those trails cease to exist. Trails cut on private property in Charlotte provide no guarantees for public use. If residents want a system both usable and accessible, it will take investment.

We and dozens of volunteers have worked on the trails in the Charlotte Park & Wildlife Refuge, spreading wood chips on paths, rebuilding and replacing bog bridges, cutting brush, and know we could not have established the original trails. A trail network requires planning, special equipment, trail construction materials and a sizeable number of hours by trained individuals to bring it to fruition. Once constructed, the average volunteer brings knowledge, expertise and muscle to help maintain it.

New trails with modest terrain would be beneficial to people who shy away from climbing Pease Mountain or trying to navigate the hills and swales of the Refuge. A gravel trail would make it practical for strollers or even wheel chairs for a wider range of folks to enjoy. Dog owners need a place where dogs are welcome, and they can stroll in a safer environment than on our roads.

Those who no longer have children in school—and those who have never had children—support our schools understanding the benefits of education, supporting our neighbors who have students. Voters approve fire/rescue equipment hoping they never need it but also knowing that it can help their neighbors in a crisis. We support recreation even if we don’t participate, knowing our neighbors do. We do so because we are a community.

Every medical professional in the world will advise that a good walk is excellent exercise for enhancing physical, spiritual and mental health for all ages. No, a trail will not resolve the problems of the world. But right here in Charlotte, a path can be a place of stress-relieving solitude; we can be surrounded by birdsong, see a doe and fawn watching us warily across a field, or buzzards soaring on thermals, wild and free, and realize, “You know, this is a special place,” and be renewed.

Jenny & Dan Cole, Charlotte

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