Just got a note from a friend who tells me that the district heating system is taking on new customers. My bad. Still w controls in flooded basements, any infrastructure will needs to get cleaned/fixed before it goes back online.

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Aug 23Liked by Phayvanh Luekhamhan

Yes. Thank you. I read that article got all cringy reading yet another piece on Montpelier exceptionalism.

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Aug 23Liked by Phayvanh Luekhamhan

Thank You for this refreshing reflection, Phayvanh. I feel such a sense of relief and release after reading this POV.

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Aug 24Liked by Phayvanh Luekhamhan

Good on you.

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Aug 26Liked by Phayvanh Luekhamhan

Excellent essay, Phayvanh--thank you! There were many sections that jumped out at me of high value:

First, the diversity data: I've been in the area long enough to see some improvement, and your data indicates that it's not nearly enough.

Next, while my comments when I shared Kevin's essay were less scathing, I offered a few similar critiques (definitely not as extensive). Total agreement here: "(T)heir leadership on the fund should not automatically qualify them to be on a panel of experts on what a rebuilt Montpelier should look like." I have full faith and confidence in Paul Costello; whose work reflecting a statewide democratic process is reflected in the effectiveness on the Working Lands Initiative; and Katie Trautz, whose leadership in the aftermath of flooding was outstanding, and whose history of integrity stands strong throughout her lifetime as a born and raised Vermonter.

"There are a number of Vermonters doing excellent community work, like Jess Laporte of Community Resilience Organizations, Shaina Kasper of Montpelier’s SEJAC, Melissa Bounty of CVEDC, to name a few. They may have nominees from their networks for this committee. ... we should look beyond the usual players if we want unusual, extraordinary results."

Yes and, from my perspective, some of the necessary people on a committee that reflects the citizens of Greater Montpelier must include those with practical experience in slowing the water down on upriver parcels of land. Yes to a commitment to diversity; And this is about flood resilience: Let's please keep both in mind.

"To create a new committee to do new work without consulting the previous work is redundant administrative overkill." I totally agree with this statement. In listening to the video recordings of most of the committees, I heard reference to the study Post-Irene that, apparently, received little or no follow-up or -through. And Irene was somewhat different than 6-9 inches of rain being dumped on already-saturated soil from previous months of rains. And while I appreciate the process and catalyst behind the Montpelier design contest, I felt that the results had large gaps in assuring whole systems resilience. I've often wished that the contest project catalyzed a start to a wider process of public discussion, rather than some conclusion.

And, agreeing with Dan Jones, I felt like there was a lot to be gained by the process, and by Kevin's essay. Democracy is a messy and ongoing process of which, I observe that, Paul Costello is a masterful facilitator.

To be most effective we all need to hone our skills in appreciating the earnest efforts of all of us who seek solutions, and then add to those efforts without succumbing to the very Western tendency to criticize and tear down. I definitely include myself in the "all" of us. It takes an honoring of all of us to be effectively all-inclusive in every way, which is the very premise (idealistic as it may be) behind the concept of democracy.

Finally, you wrote: "I write this newsletter to examine myself and the world around me. This will often include critiquing the media that we consume and the opinion pieces they publish. (Yes!) Because like it or not, that informs our judgment and worldviews. (Absolutely) If we want to create a better future than the one we inherited, we will need to be discerning in our conversations." Agreed: "Discerning" and care-full. My "add," from a Critical Media Literacy perspective, is that we also need to be asking ourselves what, and who, are being omitted from the conversation, either by design (who generates the narrative and how) or tendencies of conventions.

Many thanks for your perspective and clear expression of heartfelt views--and to the Substack platform that allows for a democratic dialoguing process ...

(which was discontinued by Vermont online media by "the pandemic"; based on some "conventional" narrative construct that We the People need information to be filtered by "wiser" entities aka "authorities of information" [i.e. the media] and cannot do so on our own; a convention with which I heartily disagree: Censorship in any form for any reason [other than inciting violence or personal harm to others] is anathema to democracy.)

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