Archive - Oct 30, 2008
By JOHN FLOWERS
ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County voters are expected to turn out in droves at the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 4, to cast ballots for the candidates they want to represent them in venues ranging from the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier to the White House in Washington, D.C.
Locally, there will be contests in four of Addison County’s six Vermont House districts. Officials in some towns will also take advantage of Election Day turnout to decide a school bond (Bridport), a fire equipment purchase (Vergennes) and a possible expansion of the local selectboard (Bridport).
Also at stake on Tuesday will be races for Vermont governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor of accounts and treasurer.
And Green Mountain State voters will also make an impact on politics in the nation’s capital, as they decide the next president of the United States and who will represent them in the U.S. House.
Vermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz said around 64 percent of eligible voters have tended to cast ballots in a presidential election year. She is expecting an even bigger turnout this year.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see it at 69 percent,” Markowitz said on Tuesday.
She noted town clerks have been seeing a heavy turnout of early voters.
“Some towns have already seen a quarter of their checklist turn out,” Markowitz said. “And there is a national trend out there for voting early.”
As of Monday, around 1,000 of Middlebury’s 4,492 registered voters had voted early or absentee, according to Town Clerk Ann Webster. That’s already a big jump from the total 732 voters who cast ballots early during the presidential election of 2004.
By KATHRYN FLAGG
MIDDLEBURY — Matthew Dickinson, a professor of political science at Middlebury College, isn’t your typical blogger.
He’s every inch the bespectacled, professorial type, a Bay Stater who came to Middlebury in 1992 by way of Harvard. And his Web site, “Presidential Power,” reflects that same academic slant. Absent are the flashy ads, graphics, and daily polls — but present in large doses is crisp, thoughtful political analysis.
While that staid approach to election commentary seems to be in the minority among Web sites and blogs tracking the election in its last few days, Dickinson’s blog is growing in popularity among a small cohort of dedicated readers — and first and foremost, among his students.
That, Dickinson said, is his audience. The blog has its roots in a series of e-mails that Dickinson began sending to his students over a year ago. Every fall, the political scientist teaches a class at the college on the American presidency, and he noticed last year that his students had taken a strong interest in the upcoming election. He also noticed, though, that “they weren’t getting the full story.”
“The media coverage, the stuff that they talked about when they came into class, was — inaccurate is too strong a word, but it was misleading,” Dickinson said. That semester, he began e-mailing his students almost every night, commenting on a story in the day’s news that he felt deserved a second look.
Soon, his students were forwarding Dickinson’s e-mails on to parents, friends and other relatives. Before Dickinson knew what had happened, his political e-mails were going out to a diverse and vast list of readers. From there, the leap to blogging — a medium that he said has played en even larger role in this election than in the 2004 race — was a logical choice.
By ANDY KIRKALDY
VERGENNES — On Tuesday, Vergennes aldermen inched closer to possibly supporting the developers of a proposed 25,000-square-foot, $5.8-million elderly housing complex off Monkton Road that would provide a community center and services as well 25 living units.
Aldermen clearly favor the elderly housing, the first phase of a proposed larger project near American Legion Post 14 that would also include a childcare center and 24 affordable, single-family condominiums.
But at the same time they oppose a state law that allows affordable and elderly housing projects to be taxed based on their cash flow, not on their cost to build.
That approach, because most renters pay less than market value, produces a lower assessment and less taxes to host communities. In October 2007 aldermen passed a resolution saying that they would not endorse any block grant applications for affordable or elderly housing units that can be taxed at a lower rate that privately owned property.
The project developers, including Addison Count Community Trust (ACCT) and Housing Vermont Inc., would like to include a $325,000 block grant as part of their funding package, ACCT Director Terry McKnight has been discussing with aldermen a binding document that would obligate the project owners to pay taxes at a rate acceptable to the city.
On Tuesday, the council agreed unanimously a motion proposed by Alderman David Austin that he, interim city manager Mel Hawley — also a city lister — and McKnight meet and work out details.
“What might work now is for Terry, myself and Mel to sit down and see what the potential impacts are,” Austin said.
“I certainly would accept going forward with that condition,” he said.
Aldermen emphasized their support for the project, and their focus on taxpayers.