On July 21, 2016

Rutland First is pro-democracy, pro-transparency

Dear Editor,

I am a Rutland City resident, registered voter and taxpayer. Kudos to Rutland First for standing up for everyday citizens like me, and to the Board of Aldermen for asserting their authority as our representatives by sending the letter.

Rutland First is concerned that public discussion on the refugee matter and authority for the agreement has been denied by the secretive actions of Mayor Louras and VRRP. Rutland First is not anti-refugee, but is pro-democracy and pro-transparency. There are valid concerns about this program, which have not been satisfactorily addressed by the mayor or VRRP—both of whom are self-interested parties.

Vocal members of Rutland Welcomes, the mayor’s cheerleading squad, are intolerant of an opposing view. This was on full display at the July 5 Board of Aldermen meeting. Rutland Welcomes leaders chastised the Board of Aldermen for standing up for their legal authority. Others who claimed to have moved to Rutland voluntarily described our community as small-minded and uncaring, which is untrue. On social media they have called citizens like me bigots and racists because we are demanding facts. The mayor also called opponents by those names. I am disheartened by these behaviors.

More upsetting to me than the name calling is the fact that Rutland Welcomes is a group made up of mostly out-of-towners—only 15 percent of the 1,200 members are Rutland City registered voters. Rutland City will be most impacted by this program. The petition was signed by 1,200 people of whom 67 percent are Rutland City registered voters. The mayor’s closest advisors, Steve Costello and Joe Kraus, live outside of the City. It makes me wonder if Rutland Welcomes is a front for those who have a financial stake in the refugee transaction.

Sandie Loseby, Rutland City

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