Forum, Aug. 9: Remember the Orchestra; Change in Vermont; Thanks, Kathy Hoyt
Don’t Overlook the Orchestra
To the Editor:
In reading Nicola Smith’s narratives of each of Opera North productions this summer, including a “back stage account,” I noticed that the 27 orchestral musicians and their work were never mentioned in any capacity. This is scary to me because it is my business. We’ve been effectively written out of the narrative by the hand of Nicola Smith and I don’t accept it. We work incredibly hard to accompany the musicians on stage and supply the sonic backdrop, and we do a great job. It’s my opinion that Smith takes live performance for granted. In regards to Opera North’s Traviata, the leads sound fantastic. You won’t hear better, and this is coming from a trained ear.
Hornist, Opera North
Proctor Library Needs Expansion
To the Editor:
I am writing as a homeowner and voter in Weathersfield in support of the proposed expansion of the Weathersfield Proctor Library, which will be on the ballot on Aug. 26.
Contrary to the trend in some sectors, the digital age has not left public libraries as dusty relics or casualties of progress. In fact, the Weathersfield Proctor Library has experienced a 16 percent increase in items checked out this year over last year, and a 20 percent increase in cardholders. That is, 555 cardholders visited the library a total of 4,108 times, and collectively took out 9,349 items, or almost 17 items each.
Although the largest number of the items in the collection, at 7,275, are books printed on paper, there are also 644 DVDs, 487 audiobooks, a Kindle, two Nooks and a Wattmeter. There is also Internet access. Through inter-library loan, it is possible to access nearly any book in any public library in Vermont, and pick it up at the Weathersfield Proctor Library. And, through Listen Up Vermont, it is possible to download books onto your personal e-reader or into your portable audio device.
What this all adds up to is a vibrant, growing library that is providing 21st century services to its community, but from the confines of a building constructed in 1901. Other than an indoor toilet installed in 1977, the library building is essentially as it was when built. It is not unreasonable to invest in our public buildings every hundred years or so, and the expansion of the Weathersfield Proctor Library is being proposed with an eye toward another hundred years of service to the taxpayers of Weathersfield. I urge you to come out on Aug. 26 to vote in support of the library.
Vermont Policies I Insist Upon
To the Editor:
I will be looking for any candidate that runs for governor of Vermont to promise three things in the first 100 days:
∎ Set term limits for the Supreme Court justices, no more than five years. They have overstepped their powers and are totally ignorant of the constitution and laws of our state.
∎ Set property valuations for tax purposes at the price paid for real estate at the time of the last sale. In instances where someone pays 50 percent of the value to settle a divorce, etc., the property shall be valued at 100 percent at that time. It is time folks paid on real dollars, not pipe dreams. If every person in the state had to go to the bank and borrow the money that their properties are taxed at, clearly 80 percent would not qualify, therefore property is not worth what the listers have it valued at.
∎ Eliminate the current use program entirely for three years. Tax all properties at the values stated above, and at the end of three years, re-evaluate where we are at, but never go back to the corrupt system we have in place today. It has outlived its purpose.
I realize some folks and some of my good friends will be affected by these changes, but under the current system, the working-class families are paying three-fourths of all taxes in our state. They are subsidizing the rich and supporting the less fortunate. This has got to change, and I will not support any person that will not commit to these three changes. Our system has failed; the Democrats have systemically destroyed our state, and we need change.
Kathy Hoyt Served Us Well
To the Editor:
Recent announcements about ongoing problems with Vermont Health Connect, Vermont’s web-based health care exchange, point to the necessity of keeping the best minds hard at work until we get it right. Unfortunately, technical problems with the exchange have clouded the merits of building a health care system that provides universal coverage for all Vermonters at affordable rates.
Outrage at the dysfunction and alarm about the costs of repair are entirely justified. But we should all remember that the sophisticated software that is supposed to make the system work is essentially the mechanical implementation of an earlier policy decision that was as sound as it was visionary. Providing universal health care that is comprehensive and frees employers from the annoying burden of health care administration will be a boon to individuals and businesses alike.
It is for that reason that the retirement of Rep. Kathy Hoyt will leave a big hole in the House Health Care Committee. The committee is responsible for policy decisions that will shape the next critical steps along the way. Even though Kathy served for only one session, her vast experience, dedication to task and care for Vermonters made her a valuable part of any discussion. She will be missed.
The Vermont House of Representatives functions as a team, with each member contributing different skills and expertise. I serve on the Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for developing the funding system that is the counterpart to the policy decisions that come from the Health Care Committee. Should I be re-elected, I expect to continue in that role. To continue our progress, it will be critically important to fill the shoes that Kathy Hoyt leaves behind. Finding the right combination of experience, analytical skills and energy to take her place will be quite a challenge.
Rep. Jim Masland