Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Vermont resident aims to impeach Bush

Rutland Herald
Resident aims to impeach
By Daniel Barlow

BRATTLEBORO — Kurt Daims is tired of Vermont towns just talking about impeaching President Bush. He wants the Windham County town he lives in to actually begin working on it.

Daims, a retired engineer and local activist, is gathering signatures to place a resolution on Brattleboro's Town Meeting agenda that would put 1 percent of the municipality's budget toward working for Bush's impeachment.

He said the approximately $120,000 of the proposed 2007 Brattleboro budget could be spent on a municipal impeachment staff. That staff would lobby the U.S. Congress to pass impeachment legislation, Daims explained.

"I know 1 percent sounds nominal, but it could have a big impact," he said. "If we can use our tax dollars to go to war, why can't we use them to impeach the president?"

Brattleboro, along with several other Windham County towns, voted to impeach President Bush back in March 2006. The impeachment movement in the state of Vermont was founded behind Dan DeWalt, a Newfane man who gained national attention when he first proposed that his small town tackle the measure.

As many as 40 Vermont towns may be tackling the same question this year while others will face resolutions calling on Bush to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

Daims said he supports that measure, but said he feels there is little actual action behind the gesture. Sometimes residents in Brattleboro have a habit of talking issues through, but not acting on them, he said.

"We need to hire a professional who knows how to get impeachment legislation proposed," Daims said.

Brattleboro Select Board Chairman Steve Steidle said he wouldn't want to speculate what would be cut from the budget to allocate the impeachment funds if such a measure passed. But he thinks it's an odd idea since impeachment of the president is far outside of the town's powers.

"We're working hard to put together a respectable budget," Steidle said. "I don't think people want us to spend money on something that really has no chance of having an impact."

There is some doubt the measure will be posed to Brattleboro voters. Daims said he has gathered about 150 of the 450 signatures needed to get an advisory question before voters and the final deadline is Thursday.

Also, he said, it's not clear if the question will be placed on the town meeting ballot or on the agenda of representative town meeting — a form of government in the town that has 140 elected officials cast votes on town and school budgets.

Town Clerk Annette Cappy said some of the few signatures that have arrived at her office have been discounted because of duplicates and residency issues.

But Daims is increasing his signature gathering drive this week with an appearance Monday morning on Steve West's local talk show on WKVT. And an advertisement promoting the drive will appear in a local newspaper tomorrow, he said.

"I went door-to-door on Sunday," he said. "Out of the houses that were occupied, three out of four people signed on."