Newfane's voters asked whether to impeach Bush
By DANIEL BARLOW Southern Vermont Bureau | March 02,2006
NEWFANE — After sounding off on local budgets and electing library trustees, voters will be asked Tuesday if President Bush should be impeached for launching the war in Iraq.
The final article to be discussed at Newfane's town meeting next week urges the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach Bush for a number of alleged misdeeds, including using "falsehoods to lead our nation into war."
Dan DeWalt, a member of the Newfane Select Board and one of the organizers of the petition drive, said he and others are frustrated with the "illegal and immoral" decisions that Bush has made.
"There was a feeling that we needed to do something to let people know that he does not represent us," DeWalt said. "The crimes that he has committed were not done in our names."
Newfane is no stranger to political questions at town meeting.
Last year, the town overwhelmingly supported a resolution questioning the use of the Vermont National Guard in Iraq.
On March 7, residents will also decide the fate of the proposed $1.6 million school budget and $980,000 town budget, along with a handful of smaller spending allocations, during all-day voting at the polls.
The proposed $1,582,195 budget for the Newfane elementary school system is a decrease of about $184,000 from the current budget, although school officials have warned that changes in the state's education funding law makes year-to-year comparisons difficult.
The largest addition to the proposed budget is a $90,000 line item for a new school roof.
Officials estimate that approval of the school spending plan will mean a school tax rate $2.04 per $100 of assessed value.
The proposed $980,658 budget for town and highway expenses is an increase of about $58,000 from the current budget. Four separate articles ask for a total of $484,000 in additional spending for capital fund projects and a townwide reappraisal.
In a race for a three-year seat on the Select Board, Gary Katz, a four-year board veteran, is facing competition from political newcomer Joseph Mandell.
Katz, who moved to Newfane in 2000, said he would like to continue work on the inventory and repair of town bridges and brainstorm ways to reduce speeding through the two villages. Fiscal responsibility is also a priority, he said, as the cost of goods outpaces local wages.
"I take it as a serious responsibility to ensure that every penny the town spends was absolutely necessary," Katz said.
Mandell has lived in Newfane for more than 50 years and has volunteered for many town committees and projects.
He said he likes the current board and even praised his opponent, but added that he believes his experience can make the board even better.
"I'll come to it with no agenda," he said. "I vow to do my research and treat everyone who comes before the board fair and equally."
In a race for a pair of one-year seats on the Select Board, two incumbents are facing a challenge from a former board member.
Selectman Hendrik W. "Piet" Van Loon, the chairman, is seeking his fourth year on the board in his latest stretch. He'd also served for seven years in the 1980s.
He said he wants to continue writing the town plan, rewriting local zoning laws and maintaining the town's roads.
"There's a dearth of issues to be worked on in the town," Van loon said. "I just want to do my part."
Christopher Williams, a former selectman who was born and raised in Newfane, said he wants to keep an eye on road conditions and other transportation issues.
Williams, who once served as road foreman, said he is worried the town is putting off road reconstruction for too many years.
"If you skip paving one year, the next year you will be two years behind," he said. "You can't keep on cutting the money out and putting the work off for another year."
Incumbent Patricia Halloran could not be reached for comment.
Voters will also elect five people for two School Boards, although none of the races are contested. Incumbent James Urbaska is seeking a three-year seat on the Newfane School Board and newcomers Kim Friedman and Cynthia Nordmeyer are running unopposed for two one-year seats.
Incumbent Emily Long is running alone for a three-year seat on the Leland & Gray School Board and Grant Warner is seeking re-election a one-year seat on the same body.
Ballot voting for local officials will take place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 7 at the Union Hall in Newfane. Town meeting will also begin that morning at 9 a.m. at the same location.
Contact Daniel Barlow at email@example.com.