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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Support ideas with ingenuity

By Marie Leotta

For those of you who know me as the person who stood up at the Waitsfield Town Meeting to challenge Article 11 and save the town $300 measly dollars, please read the rest of this letter. It has taken me three years to "get" how our Town Meetings work: the process of how and what is voted on and why the people of Waitsfield are afraid to stand up for their beliefs. It was my first time ever speaking in a public forum, and I have to tell you, it was intimidating.
Most people who oppose what is being proposed are afraid to speak because they don't want to rock the proverbial "boat." They find it difficult to have their voices heard after hearing the resounding yeas to almost all issues, with little if any nays. By my husband and me expressing our opposition to certain proposals, we actually found out how articles get on the Town Meeting agenda and with that knowledge we could defeat Article 11.  
But this letter is really about Article 14. When I stood up and confronted the Carbon Shredder Article 14, I wanted to know who will monitor us and how much this program will eventually cost us. The reply: "No one and nothing." I could hear the discontent of the crowded room behind me as I questioned the article because, according to some, we should have these watch dog groups in our towns for we cannot be trusted to monitor ourselves as we are too ill-informed. This article passed.
Well people, read the front page of the March 6 Valley Reporter and you will see that this very same group was lobbying hard in Warren and had three of their articles on the Warren budget. Their second article had mandatory language about what the town had to do but was amended by Carbon Shredders to eliminate the mandatory language before discussion. In their third article, which asked for money, the town voted this group $600. Wasn't that nice of them?  

And that money is not just for this year, because it is now in the Warren budget from here on. The Waitsfield Select Board agreed to put only the first Carbon Shredders article on our agenda. What are the chances the Carbon Shredders will be back next year with articles two and three? Article 1 was just the foot in the door. Are we going to allow them in?
If you want to continue this trend of giving until you bleed, then that is your privilege. I, for one, say: Have a bake sale. Support your ideas and groups with your own ingenuity, but do not make this another addition to our already overburdened tax base.
Color me a concerned citizen who does not believe I should have to give to groups I don't want to support and willing to give to those I do. I believe in thinking for myself and being responsible for my own actions. What say you?
Marie Leotta lives in Waitsfield.

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