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Forum, Sept. 9: Police presence at Hartford meeting was intimidating


Sunday, September 08, 2019
Police presence at Hartford meeting was intimidating

One glaring omission from the Valley News coverage of the latest Hartford Selectboard meeting on the “Welcoming Hartford Ordinance” (“Policing issue going to voters: Immigration policy debate has roiled town for months,” Sept. 4) was the massive, disproportionate police presence.

I’m probably not the only person who felt anxious having to pass through a gauntlet of cops to enter the building, especially in light at the fact that the very point of these proceedings is that many rightly feel they cannot trust the police. In light of the Selectboard’s persistent cowardice in dealing with anti-immigrant bigots who have openly harassed people at these meetings and publicly used racial slurs, one can only conclude that the purpose was to intimidate people who support preventing local officials from collaborating with federal immigration authorities.

The Selectboard should explain at whose behest the police were present and apologize on behalf of the town for engaging in these thuggish tactics. Further, it is an open secret that factions within the town government and the police force are threatening not to comply with the ordinance or a strengthened Fair and Impartial Policing policy if implemented, and that this has been a significant cause of the Selectboard’s reluctance to move forward. One cannot help but wonder whether this played a role in the outsized police presence at the last meeting. The Selectboard should name names so that Upper Valley residents can know who in positions of authority are planning to work against the community.

KEVIN WAGNER

Bradford, Vt.

Bill would ban asbestos use

Nearly 40,000 Americans die from diseases caused by asbestos each year. Many of these diseases and deaths are related to work and are not uncommon among family members exposed by the dust brought home on the clothing of those exposed in the workplace. Medical treatment costs hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Health hazards from asbestos have been known since the early 20th century. However, the use of asbestos has never been banned. Regulations and court awards from litigation have been the driving forces for ever-decreasing use. Legislation in 2016 required EPA to conduct safety reviews, within 180 days, of 10 hazardous substances including asbestos. Depending on the results, a review might result in a ban of usage. This review is still stalled three years later.

The Trump administration released new rules for asbestos in June 2019. These rules permit continued and possibly expanded use of asbestos in the U.S. It allows proposals for new uses for asbestos. These actions are consistent with this administration’s wholesale undermining of the environmental and health regulations that serve to protect the American public from diseases and disabilities. Profits before protections seems to be the objective.

These new rules are yet another attack on science-based policy and an attack on the health and well-being of the American public. The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019 was introduced in the House and the Senate in June. This bill would prevent the import, manufacture, processing and distribution of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials into the U.S. From what we know of asbestos, this will prevent the inevitable diseases and human suffering caused by its continued use.

I ask that you urge your senators and representative to support passage of this bill.

PAUL ETKIND

Grantham

Maybe they were Quonset huts

The “A Look Back” article about the 1960 ceremony for a new runway at Lebanon Regional Airport (“Airport Plans Take Off,” Sept. 2) and other photographs from that year was really interesting. I was intrigued by the caption under the top picture on page A4 that described the tearing down of the “wigwam” buildings on the Dartmouth College campus. We didn’t move to the Upper Valley until 1962, so we missed that event.

The college from which we moved (Michigan State College — now Michigan State University) had a lot of Quonset huts on campus to help house the GIs who were enrolling in record numbers. Is it possible that the buildings described as “wigwams” (which are dome shaped) might have been Quonset huts? Quonset huts were widely used at that time for housing and other purposes.

Just curious.

FRAN HAUGEN

East Thetford

We shouldn’t burn dinosaur poop

Unless I have missed it, I suggest that there has been a hole in the discussion to date about Dartmouth College’s proposed biomass project. It has to do with carbon in the atmosphere.

Biomass carbon is recycled on a scale of perhaps 50-60 years, and there are plenty of trees in the north country. Fossil fuel carbon is first inserted into the atmosphere when burned, and that carbon is virgin, never before put into in the atmosphere by humanity. It last saw the light of day 100 million years ago (give or take maybe 50 million).

Friends, fossil fuel carbon is basically dinosaur poop. Not good for our climate.

S.A. MORSE

Bath, N.H.

The writer is research professor in geosciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.