Kurt Daims

Emergency housing in RVs: a good, simple plan

Brattleboro Common Sense has a broad and practical agenda to address the housing crisis, including emergency housing in RVs. Rights and Democracy (RAD) and BCS are working out a joint proposal not for eviction alone, but also for rent control. We hope it will be a model for the state campaign.

Since BCS started negotiating with the Selectboard on the Fair Evictions and Rents Law (FERL) in 2020, we have consulted with many allies and are ready and eager to proceed with a petition drive. RAD is not endorsing the BCS emergency housing plan.

BCS believes Vermont must enact fair evictions and rent controls together for housing retention, but these acts would offer no protection for the people moving into the local economy or people who are most vulnerable in our society — the many people or who are already homeless.

BCS is developing policy for emergency housing in RVs so that people can rent out space for RVs on land in town. Property owners can donate space or get extra income.

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Abortion-rights resolution must go further to be effective

We are angry and disgusted with the Supreme Court's recent decision on abortion rights. But how can we harness action to anger? The Brattleboro Selectboard will soon consider a resolution supporting the right to abortion. This is not enough. A resolution (or protest demonstration) can be effective if it...

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Hands-on involvement in government — for those who know how

In Brattleboro, Representative Town Meeting is underused and underestimated. Members don’t know the charter, and they don’t know Robert’s Rules. If people study these things, they will see how to be responsible active members.

Sometimes people ask the wrong things from the Selectboard - things that should be brought to Representative Town Meeting (RTM). This happens because they don't know the town charter, which is the operator's manual for town government. At a recent Selectboard candidate forum, there was a show of hands...

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'An undemocratic thing to do'

Facing an angry public and the threat of a budget referendum after the murder of George Floyd, the Selectboard formed the Community Safety Committee. This was to be a civilian committee composed entirely of residents, especially people at risk, and explicitly excluding police, modeling civilian authority over police. The committee produced a report with 41 recommendations. Brattleboro Common Sense's SAFE policing plan is recommended in its entirety as number 38, and specifically for disarming police for community tasks (such as...

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Brattleboro Selectboard gets unlimited time; Town Meeting members get scraps

At last Wednesday's Representative Town Meeting (RTM) information session, the Selectboard members were constantly visible and audible while everyone else was muted and with video turned off. The technical bugs had already been worked out during the district caucuses - District 2 was allowed 14 minutes, with no time even to welcome new members. By contrast, when the Selectboard was ready to speak, democracy was intact. Board members' time was unlimited. Selectboard gets unlimited time; RTM members get scraps. This...

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We must address new Iran emergency with forceful action

A proposal was announced on Jan. 2 for a way to interrupt the chain of command for illegal orders to start a war against Iran. It was widely predicted that Donald Trump would start a new war in order to distract people from his impeachment trial. Now, two days later, he has started the war by assassinating a general in Iran. This is a flagrant act of war and a violation of international law and U.S. law. Though not in...

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A discussion about police and guns

Brattleboro Common Sense (BCS) and the Brattleboro Police Department have discussed the pros and cons of patrols without sidearms. BCS first proposed the practice to Chief Michael Fitzpatrick in 2017. In a meeting Oct. 8, consulting economist Adam Marchesseault and I presented research findings that support the safety of weaponless patrols, and the chief consented to our group interviewing officers and the department's use-of-force instructors to hear their thoughts and concerns. In some places, officers rely on backup from sharpshooters...

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‘Too busy saving the world to care for himself’

I was in Brattleboro Memorial Hospital for an extended stay last December. I had complications from the surgery, but I didn't care. I was in good company. Conversation was lively the whole time. The nurses took wonderful care of me. I had no obligations. I was hooked up with tubes: so, I didn't even have to get out of bed to go to the bathroom in the morning. It felt like a vacation, except that I didn't once even open...

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