After reading “Continuing Ed” [May 20], something did not sit right with me. I paced the house trying to parse out why my stomach felt unsettled. I am in favor of accountability for public officials and, conceptually, the topic of the performance of a state senator is fair game. However, the approach of the article did not feel fair to me toward Ed Flanagan the man.
Fundamentally, it is not fair to create an argument by exposing what amounts to selecting parts and pieces of one’s complicated and deeply personal health battle and some apparently representative workplace anecdotes for all to judge in limited column inches. The story, while interesting, lacked what I would have expected in terms of being driven by a strong thesis, backed up by numerous connected and well- researched facts. Rather, the article seemed to try to tie together a string of unusual activities on the part of Mr. Flanagan, combined with some evidence by some who basically posited that “he is not the same.” I don’t see how this approach merits going to press.
I know many smart people who talk to themselves, mumble, stretch their bodies in funny ways, selectively focus, and are forced to lie down due to back pain brought on by hours of deadly sitting. Perhaps Ed is different. Perhaps he is not performing as some expect. How is this different from any other senator? Your article should have been withheld until you had something more definitive to enlighten us with.
ADMIRATION FROM AFAR
I don’t know much about your publication, but this story is just great [“Fair Game,” April 15]. Gets to the nitty gritty. Keep up the good work!!
Shay Totten makes some fair points about brinksmanship in his most recent column [“Fair Game: If at First You Don’t Succeed...” May 20]. But the biggest problem with the governor’s budget proposal isn’t political; it is policy.
Governor Douglas’ proposed budget is out of touch with reality and the needs of Vermonters. He proposes a massive shift from the general fund to the education fund. And, he would do away with property tax income sensitivity for almost 8000 middle-class Vermont families. If you think property taxes are bad now, just wait until the governor is through with you. We cannot afford Jim Douglas’ secret property tax hike. He’ll never talk about this out loud, but it’s all right there in his budget.
Add in massive job layoffs that he wants, cuts to unemployment benefits, and cuts to essential services to low-income families with kids and seniors, and you have a recipe for economic disaster. The governor’s proposed budget would add insult to injury for newly laid-off workers who struggle with daily expenses on greatly reduced income.
By contrast, the legislature came up with a compromise budget after much testimony from the public and experts on the issues. They made some cuts and, yes, raised some revenue, but overall it is a balanced plan. Call your legislators and tell them we can’t afford Jim Douglas’ secret property tax increase and his assault on the safety net for folks in need. Tell them to vote to override the governor’s veto on the budget.
Christopher J. Curtis
CORRECTION: Last week’s cover story about Senator Ed Flanagan contained an error in the subheadline. Flanagan’s car accident occurred three and a half years ago, not four and a half, as stated. We’ll use a calculator next time.