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. True North Archives 08/07/06

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Featured Articles

Like everybody else, the "wilderness" needs to get a job. 
By James Ehlers
"….There used to be a time when we had working forests and working Vermonters. Now we have "wilderness" and overworked Vermonters. Oh, we have jobs. Lots of them. Statistics tell us our unemployment figures are exceptionally low, the retired aside. The only problem is who wants to be a cabin boy or girl for the folks coming to see the 'wilderness'?".... James Ehlers is Publisher Emeritus of Elk Publishing, Inc

Universal Preschool study committee packed with ringers.
By Rob Roper
"…. There is a lot at stake in this debate. The cost for taxpayers could be enormous. Several hundred small businesses are threatened. And the implications for some very vulnerable citizens, 3 & 4 year olds, are tremendous. Vermonters deserve an honest look at this policy. But this committee, as it has been constructed, is not likely to give them one without significant attention and pressure from voters." Rob Roper is State Director for FreedomWorks-Vermont, and Editor of the Vermont Education Report

The Facts about Universal Preschool
The following letter first appeared in Burlington’s The Other Paper. It was signed by residents, Joe Cousino, Allen Roberts, George Bowers, Frank Mazur, Lisa Yankowksi, and Sheldon Katz
"In her June 25th legislative report, Rep. Michele Kupersmith purports to clear up the confusion about her and her legislative colleagues’ proposal to institute government-sponsored universal preschool. To the extent Rep. Kupersmith cleared up any confusion, she has, with all due respect, replaced it with misinformation….."

What does it take to be an "expert" on global warming?
By Kevin Ryan
"...First of all, The Goddard Institute, which Hansen directs, is far, far from "NASA’s top institute". Rather, it is a small adjunct laboratory to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, which employs over 10,000 scientists studying all aspects of the Earth, the Sun and space. Meanwhile, the Institute in New York shares its building with the restaurant from Seinfeld. I’m not kidding…" Kevin Ryan lives in Burlington

Vermont Week in Review

Twenty-two percent of Vermont’s public schools fail to meet No Child Left Behind standards
By Molly Walsh, Free Press Staff Writer,August 4, 2006
"…. Twenty-two percent of the state's public schools failed to meet adequate yearly progress goals this year, compared with only 3 percent in 2005. More comprehensive testing pushed the number of schools missing yearly progress goals to 61, including 47 that failed to make the target for the first time…"

Related: For full results, visit the Vermont Education Department at and click on the "What's New" link.

Don't Be Fooled - We Are On A Slippery Slope
Caledonian Record Editorial, August 4, 2006
"The announcement this week that St. Johnsbury's school tax rate is going up 7-cents-a-hundred seemed innocuous enough….Connect the dots. If the residential school tax rate goes up by 7 cents to $1.60 per hundred dollars of assessed value and the appraisal goes up 50 percent for what is now a $100,000 house in St. Johnsbury, the tax bill will not be increased by $70, but by $800. It will go from $1,600 on a $100,000 house to $2,400 for the same house reappraised at $150,000…."

Appraisal appeals net $95 million
By Sky Barsch, Free Press Staff Writer, August 3, 2006
"SOUTH BURLINGTON -- The company conducting the South Burlington citywide reappraisal overestimated property values by $95 million -- or about 3.7 percent -- and 71 property owners are still pursuing a third phase of the appeal process…."

PSB approves budget increase for efficiency utility
By Ross Sneyd, Associated Press Writer, August 2, 2006
"Efficiency Vermont's budget will increase roughly 75 percent over the next few years, more than the Douglas administration said was warranted for the state's energy efficiency initiatives but not quite as much as advocates said it should…. Energy advocates were thrilled with the decision, even though they called for a tripling of Efficiency Vermont's existing $17.5 million budget….Business groups asked the board not to increase the budget at all or, if it did, to keep the increases to the rate of inflation…. The Public Service Board said its decision would result in an increase this year of less than 0.2 percent, 0.5 percent next year and 1.2 percent in 2008…"

Reader’s Rebuttal: I am writing to express our strongest possible opposition to increasing the energy efficiency charge on the bills of Vermont electric ratepayers.

Vermont has high energy prices. High energy prices stimulate efficiency and conservation. The energy savings from increased efficiency and conservation ought to pay back a ratepayer’s wise investment in efficiency and conservation technology.

I have followed this issue for some years, and have discussed the workings of the Energy Efficiency Utility with its Contractor. I have never been able to ascertain any coherent rationale for taxing all ratepayers to provide services to some ratepayers, when the cost-saving results of those services ought to justify the ratepayer’s own investment.

Distributing information to educate ratepayers on the advantages of efficiency and conservation is properly within the scope of the Department of Public Service. The present Efficiency Utility program is not. Increasing the tax on ratepayers to from $18.4 million a year to the $52.5 million requested by CLF and VPIRG is clearly an unwise and unjustifiable confiscation of peoples’ resources to benefit other people who have no valid claim to public subsidies, and should be paying their own way.

-- John McClaughry, President, Ethan Allen Institute.

Campaign ‘06

New poll shows Sanders, Douglas leading; House race tied
By Ross Sneyd, AP Political Writer, July 31, 2006
"MONTPELIER, Vt. --A new poll shows Rep. Bernie Sanders with a big lead in his race for the U.S. Senate and Gov. James Douglas with a comfortable lead as he aims for re-election. But the poll suggested the contest for the U.S. House was a dead heat at the moment. Several campaigns questioned the details of the poll…." 

Related: The ARI poll

Doctor says he would address waste in health care system
By Lisa Rathke, Associated Press Writer, August 1, 2006
"A central Vermont doctor announced Tuesday that he was running for lieutenant governor as a Progressive to push for broader health care reform. Dr. Marvin Malek, 53, said he would use the office to map out how the state could create a universal health care system, paying for it with broad-based taxes while reducing waste in the health care industry…."

Welch says Social Security needs study, not privatization
By Ross Sneyd, AP Political Writer, August 3, 2006
"Social Security needs the scrutiny of an independent, bipartisan commission that could recommend ways to guarantee its long-term future… candidate Peter Welch said Thursday…. Martha Rainville, one of his GOP opponents, agrees privatization is a bad idea…. State Sen. Mark Shepard,…said… that giving retirees the option of taking a small portion of their Social Security savings and investing it in the private market would save the federal government money and earn a better return for beneficiaries…."

Get the Facts on the Social Security Issue: Social Security Reform, by Max Papas, Policy Director, FreedomWorks


Adequate education? Charter school does it for less
NH Union Leader Editorial, August 4th, 2006
"….Seacoast Charter, founded two years ago, is a public elementary school that provides a rigorous curriculum and emphasizes the arts. It even teaches Shakespeare…. Seacoast Charter provided its highly sought product for an average cost of $6,500 per pupil this past academic year. The average per pupil cost for a New Hampshire public school is $11,200."

Time Running Out for Video Choice Bill
(A exclusive in VT)
By Brendan Steinhauser
"….the Senate still has enough time to pass legislation that would resonate with voters by saving them $10.6 billion a year on their cable bills and adding $167 billion in gross domestic product while creating 212,000 jobs nationwide over the next five years. Passing meaningful telecom reform that opens the market for video programming to real competition would be a win for consumers while providing new opportunities for innovation and investment…."

Campaign-Finance Reform Has Been a Bust
By Ryan Sager
"….The bad news for McCain, though, is that the very existence of this proposal -- with or without his support this time around -- highlights an inconvenient truth: The core of his domestic-policy portfolio, campaign-finance regulation, has been a bust. Politics is no less corrupt than before McCain-Feingold was passed in 2002. And, in the minds of many Americans, things have actually gotten worse…."

An interview with Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel Must Finish the Job
by Kenneth R. Timmerman, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2006 
"NewsMax senior correspondent and Middle East expert Kenneth R. Timmerman is in Israel reporting on the conflict there. Timmerman reports from Kiryat Shemona in this exclusive interview with former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu…."







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