Legislators and the Drinking Age Bill

Yesterday, at the NYRA-Vermont executive board meeting we discussed some of the letters our organization has received from legislators regarding the drinking age bill we are lobbying for. 

Interestingly, a good portion, including Governor Jim Douglas, do actually support lowering the drinking age to 18 in theory, but are not willing to part with the $9.8 million bribe in federal highway funds. The only condition is that we must violate the rights of our youth by not allowing them to consume alcohol and punish adults that wish to introduce alcohol to their children in the safety of their homes or restaurant setting.

We have argued that this loss is only 1/4 of 1% of Vermont’s entire budget, which is a small cost to end age discrimination of citizens that have reached the age of majority, which means they can enter contracts, vote, drive, own businesses, but just can have a little beer. We also support removing penalties on parents, so they can teach their teens responsible and moderate drinking behavior in restaurants, pubs, and in their homes, like in Europe. The government has stated that 18 is the age majority… this means they are adults with every right an adult is supposed to have.  To say they cannot have a beer just seems hypocritical.  Besides, the money most likely would not be an issue as we could easily make up the funds by the increased revenue from alcohol taxes.

Another argument we’ve heard lately are studies show alcohol hurts brain development in youth. These studies being quoted are based on children binge drinking.  Not occasional drinking with a meal or social drinking.  The FDA has stated that people 12 and up can consume adult dosages of most drugs/medications. This would suggest that anyone 12 and older is capable of handling alcohol at correct dosages, whether you are 18 or 25 or 75 years old.  Just check the instructions of a bottle of aspirin or Pepsid and see for yourself.

Again, it appears that many reps are unsure on how to vote. Therefore, your comments would make a difference. If you support the drinking age bill, please contact your representatives right now. We at NYRA have put together a system to do just this, quickly and easily. Click here to email your reps right now.

Disclosure: Jeremy Ryan serves at Treasurer and Webmaster for NYRA-Vermont.

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2006 City Budget

Mayor Peter Clavelle introduced the 2006 City Budget proposal at the last City Council meeting.  Having followed the finance committee meetings, I am aware of the problems and issues they faced and I understand that it was a difficult process for everyone involved.  However, I noticed a couple problems regarding the budgeting process that disturb me. 

1.  Board of Finance members are not willing to cut programs that they personally care about and members feel they must fight for more for themselves and constituents at any cost.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s something the city should be doing or not… or even if it something that the majority of citizens need or use.  Therefore, the budget will always increase and more programs will stay and increase whether they are needed or not.

For example, the city wanted to add an extra ambulance so that one could sit as a backup unit at a total cost of $150,000.  While it was discussed that we could use UVM’s ambulance service as a backup or even a nearby town should the situation come up, but in the end these ideas were dismissed.  It could have at least been explored more.

2.  The Board of Finance is too accepting of department recommendations.  The city asked for cuts from each department.  Some departments did exactly as they were asked and cut their budget by becoming more efficient without losing any services to the city.  Whereas, other departments claimed the only way was to cut out whole programs that they knew board members would object to. So, they got away without lesser cuts than other departments.  This seems highly unfair to me.  The city needs to have independent audits of each department performed to see where efficiencies could have been created to cut costs of every department.  Therefore, the better performing departments would have been able to keep their budget and the under-performing ones would have been cut and they would be forced to do better or bringing in private contractors to do the job should be considered, which is already the case in regards to managing the city employees payroll. This should be a common practice as any non-government entity of this size would be definitely required to have regular external audits.

Click here to view the entire City Council meeting minutes for the May 9th meeting.

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Burlington Libertarians Elected to Ward 7 Steering Committee.

BURLINGTON, VERMONT – March 16th, 2005

Jeremy and Heavenly Ryan of Burlington have been elected to the NPA’s Ward 4 & 7 Steering Committee.  Jeremy Ryan currently serves as Chair of the Burlington Libertarian Party and owns and operates Advantage Creations, a web design and marketing firm located in Burlington.  Heavenly Ryan serves as Vice-Chair of the Burlington Libertarian Party and works with Jeremy at Advantage Creations. 

Jeremy and Heavenly will work to help increase representation of Ward 7 at future NPA meetings and discussions.

Contact:

Jeremy & Heavenly Ryan
53 Avenue C
Burlington, Vermont 05401
Phone: 802/865-0111
Fax: 309/406-3143
Web: http://www.burlingtonlp.org
Jeremy’s Email: [email protected]
Heavenly’s Email: [email protected]


For the unofficial NPA meeting minutes, please click the following link: http://www.burlingtonlp.org/news/events02.asp?ProdCode=5150121132005

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Feb 17, 2005 – Letter to the Editor

Below is the text from a Letter to the Editor from Jeremy Ryan, Chair of Burlington Libertarian Town Committee

(Note: When the letter was written, the City council nearly passed the ban unanimously on Feb. 7th)

Regarding the smoking-ban extension to private clubs: Several of us
citizens at the last council meeting were shocked at the speedy
decision to ban smoking in private clubs. The smoking ban is an
offensive intrusion of property rights — it’s un-American, it’s
unconstitutional. A private club is just that, “private.” When
members are OK with smoking, can’t it be their choice? Can’t the
smokers have some bars? No. After the decision, we informed one of
the private clubs affected. They were disgusted to hear that the
council would decide their fate without inviting them to discuss it
and voice their opinion. Some members even didn’t believe the city
could do this to them.

Whether you’re a smoker or not, a member of a private club or not,
we as citizens of this great country must ensure that everyone’s
rights are protected to ensure that our own will be protected. Some
councilors and the mayor will argue it’s a matter of “public health.”
They are trying to create a “nanny state,” which protects us from
ourselves. We are increasingly prisoners of a hospital-like state.
There are a million things you can do to save more lives. We can
outlaw Big Macs if you want. Maybe that’s next. Lawyers have already
sued McDonald’s for “causing” obesity.

I urge the private clubs to fight it any way they can and I suggest
the City Council do the “honorable” thing and reverse this
unconstitutional ban that destroys the very essence of our freedoms.
Leave these choices to the property owners, business owners and
patrons.

JEREMY RYAN
Burlington
The writer is Burlington Libertarian Party chairman.

~*~ Vice Chair’s Side Note:
For more information about the ban, please visit:
http://www.burlingtonlp.org/news/events02.asp?ProdCode=3726211222005

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Feb 4, 2005 – Letter to the Editor

Feb 4, 2005 – Letter to the Editor – Burlington Free Press

Below is the text from a Letter to the Editor from Heavenly Ryan, Vice Chair of Burlington Libertarian Town Committee

(Note: When the letter was written, the YMCA’s main arguement was they needed the Moran plant facility because they’re overcrowded at the College St. facility)

In response to the “Zero tolerance” letter to the editor, I support reviewing the

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The Burlington Libertarian Party has formed!

BURLINGTON, VERMONT – December 4, 2004

We are proud to announce the formation of Burlington Libertarian Party! Local Burlington issues were discussed and elections were held. The state executive committee held their meeting after the Burlington meeting.

Contact:

Jeremy Ryan, Chair
Burlington Libertarian Party
53 Avenue C
Burlington, Vermont
Phone: 802/865-0111
Fax: 309/406-3143
Web: http://www.burlingtonlp.org
Email: [email protected]

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