Community Members

Supreme Court decision sets women’s rights back 50 years

To the Editor:

The anti-abortion majority Supreme Court’s Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health decision overturning Roe v. Wade today sets women’s right to make their own reproductive decisions back 50 years. Vermont established that right in 2019 and must continue to do so. Vermonters will have the opportunity to ratify Proposition 5 and guarantee that right in November.

The wrong direction taken by this court is further demonstrated by its decision to strike down New York’s gun permit law which will put thousands of New York residents at a higher risk of gun violence. It is states’ responsibility to stand up for the rights and safety of their citizens now being denied by the Supreme Court of the U.S.

Mike Yantachka

Time for a woman to represent Charlotte

To the Editor:

I’m sitting here at my desk on this beautiful sunny day with tears in my eyes and a sick feeling in my heart. Roe v. Wade was overturned today, and just like that, women across this country are in danger.

I’m running as a Democrat for the House of Representatives seat in Chittenden-5, which covers Charlotte and part of Hinesburg. I’m running because the incumbent, 12 years into his stint as our Representative, decided to pull a bait-and-switch and change his vote on Prop 5, which guarantees in the Vermont Constitution a person’s right to reproductive freedom.

If you’re an elected official, your job is to stand up for the people who chose you, in good faith, to represent them. I guarantee you that the majority of voters around here aren’t OK with my opponent’s vote against a woman’s right to choose, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t check with any of them before he switched his vote to a no.

This election isn’t just about Prop 5, although that’s important. It’s about choosing someone who understands how even a seemingly innocuous “protest” vote against an important issue contributes to the erosion of our rights. It’s time for a woman to represent Charlotte and Hinesburg in Montpelier. I’m willing to stand up for families, for women, for diversity in all its forms, for affordable housing, for farmers, for everyone who needs a little help being heard.

I’m happy to talk any time to anyone with questions or concerns, and I respectfully request your vote in this important election. Primary Election Day is Aug. 9, but you can vote early right now or get an absentee ballot by calling your town clerk.

Chea Waters Evans

Support for Becca Balint for U.S. House

To the Editor:

In politics, there are two types of candidates: those who run to win and those who run to work.

Over the last 16 years, Vermonters have been lucky to have a representative in the U.S. House who knows the real goal of running isn’t winning but working every day on behalf of Vermonters. If we want that to continue, the clear choice for the U.S. House in 2022 is Becca Balint.

Balint’s record in the Vermont Senate makes it clear that she understands her constituents and — equally importantly — her constituents understand her. They know she is honest and that she will keep her word. They know that even when they might disagree, they can trust her decisions are always on the side of making life better for Vermonters — not advancing her own career.  And that is precisely what all Vermonters deserve to see in our lone U.S. House member. None of us are going to agree with our representative on every single issue or every single vote. But we can elect someone who is clear about what they stand for, what drives them and how they will represent us.

Vermonters also deserve a representative who understands that their work in Washington is just half of the job. Just as important as the votes she casts, hearings she attends, meetings she takes or donations she accepts will be the work she does across Vermont.

I have spent over a decade and a half working for Vermont’s congressional delegation, with more than half of those years spent here in Vermont. I know that a good member puts time and resources into their state offices. They hire staff who work hard each and every day on behalf of Vermonters. They prioritize going out into communities to listen to what people need and find ways to help; carefully recording callers’ opinions on policy issues and helping them navigate complicated federal programs and bureaucracy; and highlighting stories of Vermonters doing good in their communities, spreading hope in challenging times.

I know firsthand that “Not me. Us.” is what being a member of Vermont’s congressional delegation is really all about. And in this race, I am confident that Becca isn’t running for Becca. She is running for us.

Kathryn Becker Van Haste

Thanks for Mt. Philo people-power rescue

To the Editor:

I am so thankful for the rescue teams from Charlotte, Shelburne and Ferrisburgh and the Mt. Philo Park ranger for getting me safely off Devil’s Chair Trail on Mt. Philo after injuring my ankle June 13.

The responders were very professional but also sensitive, and from the moment they arrived I had extreme confidence in their assessment and management of the situation. We are very lucky to have such dedicated and skilled rescue personnel in our towns.

I do want to make one correction to the article in reference to “mutual aid manpower;” make that “mutual aid man and women power.” Two of the 18 rescuers were women!

Francine Cohen

The term ‘NIMBY’ is inaccurate and pejorative

To the Editor:

I’m writing to you in response to Peter Joslin’s recent piece about balancing “NIMBY-ism” with the greater good.

I have now read a handful of pieces on NIMBY-ism just in the past few weeks — in the New York Times, the Atlantic, as well as Front Porch Forum and now The Charlotte News. It might be trendy, but all of them misuse the term NIMBY, which does not refer to the protest of development in general, but in protest of something perceived to be unpleasant or having a negative impact on property values — e.g. a garbage dump, a drug clinic, a shelter for the unhoused.

What is happening in Charlotte is something else entirely. Not only is it inaccurate to call our local kind of resistance “NIMBY,” it is pejorative. If we want to have a real discussion in town about development and the future, it will help if we don’t toss around insults, intended or not, and it will also help if we say what we mean.

Peter writes that what is occurring in our town is tension between NIMBYism and the greater good. But projects that are to the “greater good” are public. In the year and bit that I’ve been privileged to sit on the planning commission, the projects that have come before us have by and large been houses for upper middle-class homeowners and private businesses. But those things alone do not impact the greater good; to think that they do is to indulge in 80s-style trickle-down thinking, which has been debunked.

If the health center (which, full disclosure, I voted for) had been a genuine walk-in clinic (and not a private doctor’s office) that might have been to the greater good. If the athletic fields on Spear Street (approved, by the way) were intended for use by the whole town and not by the attendees of a private school, that might have been to the greater good. If any of the housing projects proposed in my year of sitting on the planning commission were affordable, or even work-force housing, that also might have been to the greater good because it would mean that, for example, teachers or farm workers could actually live where they work. But zero projects geared towards affordable housing have appeared on our docket (nor arts organizations, nor public facilities of any kind, beyond researching a pool so expensive it would have had to have been paid for by membership fees).

If we collectively are going to steer Charlotte into a future where we acknowledge that dairy farming is no longer the center of the economy that it once was, if we want our kids to stay here when they grow up, we need to make it thrive for more folks than just the ones with money. Building endless houses, building yet another unspecific American suburb, is not the same as building a community where young people can stay and thrive.

In any case, NIMBY is a bad descriptor, because we can see that developers don’t build in their own actual backyards: it is always in someone else’s. Developers also don’t want to live next door to a parking lot, or a garbage dumpster, or a new pig farm, or a wastewater treatment center (these are all hypothetical examples). Or a housing development, for that matter. So, it’s a bit rich for the rest of us to have to absorb the term NIMBY. I can think of one notable recent exception, on Lake Road, where the developer was an abutter — but since that development of lots for decidedly not-affordable houses was going in the middle of everyone’s public viewshed, that brings up another question about the public good.

Really what it is, is that no one wants to be told that something is for the greater good when a developer stands to turn a profit. This is America, profit is what people do, but let’s at least speak plainly to one another. The rest of us know when something is for profit and when it’s for the general good of the public. Like a garage.

Meanwhile, perhaps if developers built things for the actual public good (and maybe they need incentives), they’d encounter less resistance. People would trust them more. Building goodwill is part of building.

Kyra Wegman