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Old 03-17-2007, 09:32 PM
 
11 posts, read 29,612 times
Reputation: 16

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Mike:

Harry really nailed it with his post. Don't know what else I could add except my own personal experiences.

The liberal elite has definitely been having their way in Vermont. Back in the 70s every tie-dye hippie moved here, thinking to make Vermont a eco-paradise. Well, some of them grew up and got real. Some of them became bureaucrats. And others had their trust funds kick in when they turned 30.

When I first came here in the mid '70 and then permanently in 1983, Vermont was still an easy place to get by in. It still can be, but it definitely takes a lot more finesse and ingenuity. These "trustafarians" and the wealthy liberal elitists who have moved here (many of them on a part time basis) don't really need to work regular jobs, and they have a lot of time on their hands. So they've gotten into politics and networking. While the commoners are out working two jobs or the night shift, scrambling for childcare, and milking the cows, the elitists are holding meetings, running for office, emailing each other, and schmoozing politicans. They're not the majority yet (more of a very vocal minority), but because many natives are being forced out of state by high property taxes, environmental regulations, and low paying jobs, the trustafarians and their minions are rapidily becoming a majority.

The balance here between pristine wilderness and earning a living has been tweaked too far to the left. This in itself is not an overwhelming bad thing, if these folks weren't so extremist and hypocritical. A quick example of the latter:

Wind power has been effectively killed in the state of Vermont. And by the very folks who run around with bumper stickers that declare, "Think globally, act locally."

One would think that for a bunch of people who believe the war in Iraq is being fought for oil, and who protest against a proposed 20% power increase by an ageing nuclear power plant in southeastern Vermont, that a clean renewable source of energy like wind power would be very appealing. But it's not. And you know why? Because of aesthetics. Those wind turbines would ruin the scenic ridgeline views these extremists hold so dear.

The really sad thing is, most of these folks will never admit to aesthetics being the cause of their opposition to wind power. That would make them look like the hypocrites they are. So they go around talking about song birds being crushed in turbine rotors. Or that wind power would only provide 15% of Vermont's electrical needs. Or that fat cat CEOs will take the power out of state and rob Vermont of her resources. But ask these hypocrites to give up their double caramel lattes because of all the song birds that lose their habitate when tropical forests are mowed down to grow coffee, and these folks look at you with condescending looks and laugh.

And that's the REAL problem here in Vermont. That not only are these folks extreme in their beliefs, but they're arrogant hypocrites as well. There, I feel better now.

Last edited by tree climber; 03-17-2007 at 09:35 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-26-2007, 04:21 PM
 
12 posts, read 63,718 times
Reputation: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeG67 View Post
I truly enjoy read the many different perspectives written into these threads. Although, they have left me wondering a bit!

Folks refer to the lack of industry as a problem that should be addressed. I understand that a lack of industry can make life much more expensive. Industry is lucrative for communities. It provides us with jobs and tax revenue. I'm sure these things would be helpful for VT. Unfortunately, it comes at a high price tag on the environment and the community in general. The life style folks know and love would probably disappear!

The fight against urban sprawl is also a target of much negative discussion. From my experience, it's very important to combat urban sprawl. The town I grew up in was once a quiet beautiful snow bond community. In the past 20 years (without industry)the population has tripped. Along with that growth has come more traffic, more roads, more trash, more crime, and many more houses. Of course, all this change resulted in fewer farms, fewer rolling hills without houses and an over all huge change in life style. It's very sad! If you love where you live, controlling the growth seems like a good idea to me. Combating Urban sprawl does raise the costs of housing. I get that. But isn't it worth it?

Finally, many of the postings have mentioned the environmentalists in VT as having contributed to their negative experience. This is a mystery to me. VT is one of the most beautiful states in the nation. Shouldn't we go to extremes to preserve it? I think that preservation is something to be proud of. Although, I know it may be inconvenient. Once again, it seems worth the effort to me.

Where are all the people who love VT?
Well, as the earth's population continues to increase, people need places to live. I suppose a state's legislation can keep people away, but that same legislation impacts the people who already live there with the result of many of them having go elsewhere for reasons of affordability, jobs etc. As far as industry, because Vermont is backward in its views, though it considers itself enlightened and progressive, it can not attract any of the clean industry that has come about since its industrial heyday around the time of the Civil War. This clean industry goes to places like Austin, Tx. How many more Vermont families will see their young people graduate from college (Vermont's best and brightest) and move away to distant places affording more opportunity? As has been suggested, there is a need for far more balance in these matters in the state of Vermont.
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Old 03-26-2007, 04:34 PM
 
12 posts, read 63,718 times
Reputation: 19
Default Where have all the Children Gone?

As the earth's population continues to increase, people need places to live. I suppose a state's legislation can keep people away, but that same legislation impacts the people who already live there with the result of many of them having go elsewhere for reasons of affordability, jobs etc. As far as industry, because Vermont is backward in its views, though it considers itself enlightened and progressive, it can not attract any of the clean industry that has come about since its industrial heyday around the time of the Civil War. This clean industry goes to places like Austin, Tx. How many more Vermont families will see their young people graduate from college (Vermont's best and brightest) and move away to distant places affording more opportunity? As has been suggested, there is a need for far more balance in these matters in the state of Vermont.
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Old 03-26-2007, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Burlington VT
1,405 posts, read 4,374,754 times
Reputation: 544
Quote:
Originally Posted by tree climber View Post
Mike:

Harry really nailed it with his post. Don't know what else I could add except my own personal experiences.

The liberal elite has definitely been having their way in Vermont. Back in the 70s every tie-dye hippie moved here, thinking to make Vermont a eco-paradise. Well, some of them grew up and got real. Some of them became bureaucrats. And others had their trust funds kick in when they turned 30.

When I first came here in the mid '70 and then permanently in 1983, Vermont was still an easy place to get by in. It still can be, but it definitely takes a lot more finesse and ingenuity. These "trustafarians" and the wealthy liberal elitists who have moved here (many of them on a part time basis) don't really need to work regular jobs, and they have a lot of time on their hands. So they've gotten into politics and networking. While the commoners are out working two jobs or the night shift, scrambling for childcare, and milking the cows, the elitists are holding meetings, running for office, emailing each other, and schmoozing politicans. They're not the majority yet (more of a very vocal minority), but because many natives are being forced out of state by high property taxes, environmental regulations, and low paying jobs, the trustafarians and their minions are rapidily becoming a majority.

The balance here between pristine wilderness and earning a living has been tweaked too far to the left. This in itself is not an overwhelming bad thing, if these folks weren't so extremist and hypocritical. A quick example of the latter:

Wind power has been effectively killed in the state of Vermont. And by the very folks who run around with bumper stickers that declare, "Think globally, act locally."

One would think that for a bunch of people who believe the war in Iraq is being fought for oil, and who protest against a proposed 20% power increase by an ageing nuclear power plant in southeastern Vermont, that a clean renewable source of energy like wind power would be very appealing. But it's not. And you know why? Because of aesthetics. Those wind turbines would ruin the scenic ridgeline views these extremists hold so dear.

The really sad thing is, most of these folks will never admit to aesthetics being the cause of their opposition to wind power. That would make them look like the hypocrites they are. So they go around talking about song birds being crushed in turbine rotors. Or that wind power would only provide 15% of Vermont's electrical needs. Or that fat cat CEOs will take the power out of state and rob Vermont of her resources. But ask these hypocrites to give up their double caramel lattes because of all the song birds that lose their habitate when tropical forests are mowed down to grow coffee, and these folks look at you with condescending looks and laugh.

And that's the REAL problem here in Vermont. That not only are these folks extreme in their beliefs, but they're arrogant hypocrites as well. There, I feel better now.
Count (Republican) governor Jim Douglas among those who don't favor large scale wind turbines on ridges. And I believe he cites aethetics, partly on the grounds that Tourism is such a major component of our economy here in VT.
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Old 05-20-2007, 07:08 PM
 
1,267 posts, read 3,032,202 times
Reputation: 191
to harry chickpea's comments...

you make some very good points; i agree that extremism is something to watch with a critical eye, and that there is some need to consider those populations that would be happy to see our overall society overrun (though, i suppose that our "industry" might act, to some extent, as a bit of a stimulus for that akin to an arms race). i think it's worth noting that what you might consider "theoretical" can actually be quite practical, i'd suspect - to your allusion of changes of land use and their affects, there is plenty of evidence that points to very real related ecological, economic, and individual issues that can all be quite immediate and visible. and yes, bears have s--t in the woods for centuries. what is the population of bears and their relative capacity to not only shape the environs, but to completely undo them to their own demise? maybe it goes without saying that you and i have that capacity arguably to a degree that this planets' lifeforms have not known prior to now. i'm not sure bears are in the same position to take a step back and evaluate where they've been, where they are, and where they could be based on the platter of decisions that, on this side of that thinking, we the people can make here and now. those decisions will have good and bad repercussions regardless of which decisions shape policy, but it seems that evaluation of the possible and even likely "good" and "bad" of these kinds of things might merit some of the consideration - even activism - that seems to rouse your cynicism, doesn't it?

Last edited by hello-world; 05-20-2007 at 07:24 PM..
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Old 05-20-2007, 07:36 PM
 
1,267 posts, read 3,032,202 times
Reputation: 191
Quote:
Originally Posted by puckaroo View Post
As the earth's population continues to increase, people need places to live. I suppose a state's legislation can keep people away, but that same legislation impacts the people who already live there with the result of many of them having go elsewhere for reasons of affordability, jobs etc. As far as industry, because Vermont is backward in its views, though it considers itself enlightened and progressive, it can not attract any of the clean industry that has come about since its industrial heyday around the time of the Civil War. This clean industry goes to places like Austin, Tx. How many more Vermont families will see their young people graduate from college (Vermont's best and brightest) and move away to distant places affording more opportunity? As has been suggested, there is a need for far more balance in these matters in the state of Vermont.
a thought that comes to mind here is, is it possible that the overall emphasis on and thus impetus towards material "needs" (who "needs" to make $100,000/year, and who "needs" a plasma multimedia monitor...that's probably designed and built in Austin?) in this country (and, i know, other countries as well - to some extent one of our "exports") that drives at least SOME of the growth/sprawl elsewhere and some of the trouble you describe in Vermont? So, by that logic, maybe what can more easily burgeon in Vermont might not be such a bad thing in the long run. Don't know. Just curious about your thoughts on that kind of thing.
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Old 05-20-2007, 07:51 PM
 
110 posts, read 439,539 times
Reputation: 48
Harry...again, another very well written and insightful look at the "real" Vermont.

As with so many issues in this state, and country for that matter, we could solve many problems if we could cull out the extreme viewpoints on each end of the spectrum. Moderation and common sense can do wonders if given a chance.
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Old 05-20-2007, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Vermont
89 posts, read 289,778 times
Reputation: 35
I sometimes get frustrated by those who look at wind and solar power as answers to our energy problem. Don't get me wrong they have their place, but both require very large amounts of landmass to equal the efficiency of any other type of power plant in output. In addition both of these sources require storage batteries to operate with any efficiency at all. Two things about the storage batteries they are pollutants in themselves and require replacement about every ten years or so. The battery banks for a large operation are substantial.

There are a lot of people that don't like nuclear power for whatever the reason. And before you ask the question, would I live next door to a Nuclear power plant the answer is yes. However nuclear plants are the most efficient and viable alternative that we have right now. Do I think that we should continue to develop other energy sources, yes indeed I do. Unfortunately that will take time. People look at electric cars and hybrids as examples of ways to go. Hybrids are not bad to a degree but in 10 years those that bought them for the long term are going to get a big surprise when the batteries start to fail. Between disposal costs and the cost of the batteries they may get a shock.

As for the electric cars, yep you have to plug them in...and in the US how is the majority of our power generated. Yep by fossil fuel of some sort. Suppose we could buy carbon offsets. In addition electric vehicles have limited range before recharge and then there is the wait for recharge.

Bottom line we do need to develop new energy sources for the future, but we are running a thin line on our power grid right now and cannot afford to wait for new sources to be viable.

My 1 cent worth!!!
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Old 05-20-2007, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Burlington VT
1,405 posts, read 4,374,754 times
Reputation: 544
harry -

Your post is very eloquent and expresses widely held and well founded views, yet my point of view is still somewhat different.

I believe we in VT can have a vibrant economy as well as a place which is unique. I think we can have roofs on our hardware stores AND an unimpaired lake and watershed. I think box stores and chain restaurants are just dandy, (well, for the purpose of discussion, let's pretend...) but the problem is - once VT resembles anywhere USA, it'll never (ever) revert to itself again. And there you have it. "Growth" is fine. But once you pave something, it had better be something humanly useful - because it's not going to be farmland or a town with people walking through it again - ever.

That's why I favor careful development and high density. Call it "mixed use", call it "New Urbanism", call it environmental stewardship. But don't call it sprawl. I like it when you can tell the city from the suburbs, ...from the country. I don't want our development to make walking impossible and destroy the sort of community that's possible in actual Towns.

The Burlington waterfront is a pretty good example of the sort of growth I favor: a mixture of residences (of all incomes), offices, retail and public accomodation. It could have been otherwise: It was once weeds and unused railroad tracks, and I'm glad it's been developed. But developed right! It also could have been an enclave exclusively for the wealthy - but it's not. I love the fact that the wealthy can find a fabulous spot and help with the tax base, but I also love seeing the families strolling the boardwalk, the kids at the skate park, the people fishing at the pier and the many many public events and public facilities. The ECHO center, the enormous park, the "north 40" the dog park with it's nearby beach and the wonderful bike path connecting it all.

If the waterfront had been done as a result of a master plan (as it very nearly was) instead of as a public/private /non-profit /commercial collaboration which put protection of the enviroment and the natural beauty first...if it was done to accomodate the chain restaurants to the exclusion of the other interests - where would we be now?

Contrast that with the "new" part of Williston. Which seems to have been designed with cars in mind - even when the concerns of traffic flow make walking - even across the parking lot - almost impossible. All this development could have been done so something resembling a town resulted. But it wasn't. This was made clear when (even though a sort of town green was planted) one of the big box stores violated it's permit (and stated plans!) - and put it's front door on the wrong side of the building.

Actually, I think it's a good thing to have all these conveniences in one place and so easily accessible by car. But I wonder what we've lost by allowing the design to be dictated so carefully to the needs of the automobile, at the expense of the pedestrian, by the developers who didn't even seem to understand what could have been done to make thew whole thing more human in scale and more compatible with real community.

It seems to me we can have our cell towers, AND our real functioning communities. We can combat sprawl, and the tendency toward homogeneity and have our broadband too.

...or so it seems to me

David
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Old 05-20-2007, 11:21 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
17,753 posts, read 53,902,796 times
Reputation: 30017
You'll pardon my rambling short here, and being less than erudite, but I just drove over 1800 miles in 3 days moving some of our stuff from Florida to north Alabama, which just flipped the on switch to Brown's Ferry nuke plant #1. I've no problem living near a nuke, and will enjoy the cheap power.

I agree that high density development in Vt makes sense (keeping the countryside clear). I recollect Montreal, which built underground in the 1960s and think how Burlington missed out on a concept that was floated in the 1970s of a bucky fuller type of dome over the Church Street area, starting the route to a different type of urban concept (ever read the sci-fi trilogy called "Cities-in-flight"?) I'm not saying that Burlington would blast off into space, but that with such an exciting feature, it would be a natural draw for all the creative folks in the U.S., be able to function in the -20 degree weather that sometimes happens, and make life more pleasant in cold seasonal drizzles.

As for power... wind power is interesting, but not any more of an answer than solar in Vt. What Vermont does have are lakes and mountains that experience extremes in temperature. I remember the natural refrigerator in the notch in Stowe, and the frozen fountain in the town that still had ice until July. At some point, those temperature differentials will be considered energy sources. Stored August and September heat may be contrasted against the cold of winter in a sterling-cycle system. Ice and snow may be stacked in some protected valleys for use in summer. I wouldn't expect miracles, but the hot-cold cycle can be leveraged, once the technology is in place.

The Williston mall area is an abomination. I used to live in Williston, and when I visited I was stunned how the land use there was nutso. It appears that Williston catered to every big box and medium box store and allowed them their own plots of land. Back in the 80s, I had anticipated that the development at Tafts Corner would be more along the lines of the big malls in Albany and other cities. Instead, I got to enjoy the thrill of driving 500 yards from store to store and freezing my a.. off. Sooth move, Williston (NOT!).

Bears. My first personal experience with a bear was with one in Yellowstone Park. My brother and I were doing a tour of the U.S. in an MGB, and he happened to leave some groceries in the car while we slept in a pup tent. The tonneau cover was ripped to shreds by the bear. My thought at the time was that I was sure glad the food wasn't in the tent. My thought after a number of years is that bears and people don't mix well, any more than norway rats and people. If I have a norway rat or roof rat, I don't think twice about trapping or killing it. Rats are very smart and can be adorable, as people who have them as pets will attest. Is a bear any more sacrosanct than a rat, or possum, or raccoon? If so, please state your reasoning, leaving out the "endangered species" argument, since they obviously are no longer so.
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