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Forum, March 1: Vote ‘no’ on school budgets for Hanover and Norwich


Thursday, February 28, 2019
Vote ‘no’ on school budgets for Hanover and Norwich

The Hanover and Norwich schools have many talented and dedicated teachers and we are most appreciative of their efforts to educate our children. Unfortunately, the Dresden, Norwich and Hanover school boards have adopted a “no-response” posture regarding parental concerns and preferences.

For a number of years, when issues regarding the quality of the school system and specific problems that need resolution are presented, parents have received platitudes and zero action.

A few recent examples of problems presented for which there has been no effective action include: the chronic bullying of specific “target” students at the high school (no action, with a resulting escalation of violence leading to at least one family relocating and a lawsuit filed against the school system); the firing of an excellent music instructor at the high school with no cause cited (protested in advance by multiple parents to no effect); the deterioration of bus service in the name of cost savings with the result that many more families drive their children to school at greater overall cost to the community (protested in advance; no response); and the overwhelming and tedious homework loads in honors courses at the high school leading to a lack of time for students to pursue other activities and ultimately student burnout (with no action taken in spite of years of complaints).

I am sure that many parents of children currently and recently enrolled would concur that “the best response is no response” has become the pattern of behavior exhibited by the boards and the administrators. It would seem they have come to view our school system as their private club funded at taxpayers’ expense.

It is high time to deliver a wake-up call. I urge my fellow parents and citizens to make a point of going to the polls on Tuesday and voting “no” on the school budgets.

Our only lever of power is our vote. If we do not use it, we can expect to continue being excluded from the private clubhouse that we pay for but over which we have no influence whatsoever.

JOHN M. WILSON

Hanover

Physicians support Norwich climate articles 36, 37, 36

A broad group of citizens and leaders in Norwich are asking our Town Meeting this year to approve three resolutions seeking actions to address the important problem of climate change.

These resolutions would help decrease the town’s direct consumption of fossil fuels, include considerations of global warming throughout the next town plan, and study improvements to our trail network that would make it safer to ride bicycles to work and school.

As health care professionals, we support this kind of local action to work on climate solutions. One of the most important benefits of climate action is that it protects the public health. As the American Public Health Association and the medical journal Lancet have said, “Climate change threatens Americans’ health now.”

We thank citizens across the Upper Valley for stepping up to the challenge of climate change. It is important for the health of all of us, from the newborn to the elderly.

Norman Levy, Paul D. Manganiello,
Thomas H. Davis, Joseph D. Schwartzman, James C. Strickler and Kim Ornvold

Norwich

The writers are physicians.

Lebanon school articles are more than worth the cost

This letter is to encourage Lebanon residents to vote in favor of Articles 2 and 3 on March 12. I am the parent of two children who attend two Lebanon schools. While I appreciate the potential hardship of even a modest tax increase, I also know that that money has the potential to profoundly affect all of our children’s education.

With the current structure, students at Mount Lebanon School are served cold soup for “hot” lunch because there’s no kitchen at their school; high school students have to awkwardly maneuver themselves onto bleachers and gymnasium floors because the high school doesn’t have an auditorium, and students at Hanover Street School often have late lunch times because they need to accommodate the 600 high school students who share the cafeteria with them.

The cost of warming the soup, building comfortable seats and having reasonable lunchtimes for elementary school students, in addition to countless other improvements, is more than worth the dollar cost for Lebanon’s children education. Please vote on March 12.

EMMA WUNSCH

Lebanon

Taking aim at public-access TV

Ever since David and Goliath, reasonable observers have found a model of justice in the outcome of that pair’s glorious battle. As is well known, the little guy beat the heavily favored giant for all the right reasons.

But Goliath is at it again. In the guise of a giant cable industry, he is taking aim at public-access television stations, the David of the broadcasting world. Grasping for the ultimate weapon, Goliath has besieged the Federal Communications Commission for assistance. The terrifying media giant has beseeched the FCC to let it pay lower fees to local towns for its right to monopolize cable TV in those towns. If the giant succeeds, local towns will lose money they need to fund public-access TV.

This battle matters a great deal to life in the Upper Valley. If Goliath wins, and public-access TV is forced off the field, we will lose a crucial friend in keeping our communities democratic and stimulating. At CATV in White River Junction, for instance, creative people find an exciting avenue for their talents and provide the fruits of their talents to thousands of viewers. CATV also covers vital government meetings that no other medium covers in any detail. In this way, the station informs viewers of decisions that are vital to their lives, and it keeps governments on their toes before the people they serve.

We need TV stations like CATV on our side against the unhealthy clout of media giants. Otherwise, we’ll have to take Goliath Cable’s word that it will use its monopoly powers in the best interests of the land. History has taught us to react skeptically to that promise. After all, the common folk are paying ever higher prices to Goliath for programs diluted with commercials that only make the giant richer and richer.

Let’s hope the FCC listens to rational minds. Contact your congressional representatives to enlist them on the side of broadcasting fairness. Our friend David can’t fight this battle alone.

H. DEAN BROWN

West Lebanon

Column smacked of bias against Green New Deal

If I were a billionaire like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who understood the need to combat climate change but opposed taxes on billionaires, I, too, might have a columnist of my own newspaper, The Washington Post, write an op-ed column designed to diminish the credibility of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and the Green New Deal (“Hard questions that need to be asked,” Feb. 14). I would have my like-minded employee describe the Green New Deal as “pie in the sky” and “extreme” and use all sorts of rhetorical tricks to diminish it. It appears that columnist Jennifer Rubin has done just that.

The Green New Deal, which unapologetically targets billionaires, is a threat to Bezos, so supporting a more middle-of-the-road Democrat like Sen. Sherrod Brown, of Ohio, who won’t take a stance on Medicare for all or the Green New Deal, is a good bet for Bezos. Rubin seeds doubt on the Green New Deal with the same stale arguments used by flat-Earthers and naysayers of NASA’s effort to put a man on the moon.

In her column, Rubin asks: Is this even possible? Is it affordable? Will we even develop the technology?”

To be fair, I agree that it is important to consider the details of any government-funded plan. But the Green New Deal is a blueprint for moving forward, not yet a detailed plan, and as a journalist Rubin should know that.

Casting doubt on all Democratic candidates who support the Green New Deal while at the same time endorsing a single, handpicked moderate Democratic candidate who doesn’t support a billionaire tax that would be detrimental to her billionaire employer smells of a lack of impartiality. It also diminishes people’s trust in a blueprint designed to stabilize climate change at a point in history when this sort of legislation is desperately needed.

AARON OSOFSKY

Hanover