Letter: Protect Vermont's aesthetic values
Editor of the Reformer:Re: Dollar General Store in Townshend: I am not fond of Dollar General Stores; in fact call them "The Chinese Store" due to the fact that most of the products sold there come from a country where there are no pollution controls, notorious human rights abuse, super tankers burning illegal high sulfur fuels oils carry these products to our shores, trade imbalance; not to mention that we have lost US employment opportunities due to these greedy, toxic trade practices. I dub gas stations "Addiction Stations" due to the fact that addictive substances are primarily what they sell. In terms of rupturing the fabric of a community, Walmart now pales in comparison to Amazon.That said, Dollar General stores are cropping up everywhere for a reason. Personally, I can afford to boycott them as I have the financial means to shop where I choose a higher value that reflects my ethics. But not everybody can afford that higher value; they are struggling just to get food on the table for their families. There is nothing wrong with holding to high standards, but the inequities that exist in our local populations need to be acknowledged in order to truly be inclusive for all who live here. This urge for equity is similar to that reflected in the suggestion to move town meeting to an evening with childcare provided in an effort to realistically include all who need to be heard from. I'd add that supper be offered, as well. Equity is what concerns me here.In regard to the invasion of the Dollar Generals, it's my understanding that citizens of Chester failed in their attempt to keep such a store out of town. If it looks like a Dollar General is bound for Townshend and can't be stopped, I'd urge raising the issue of aesthetic appearance while there is still some bargaining capital to be used. The unspoiled landscapes of Vermont attracts travelers to our state; the appearance of Dollar General stores makes us look like the "geography of nowhere" syndrome that folks are trying to leave behind when they come here.I would say that at the least, it is in the State of Vermont's economic interests to develop some kind of policy to protect the aesthetic values associated with the very necessary tourist industry that brings in a lot of money to our region. Especially in cases like this in Townshend where there is no such zoning protection in place.
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