Brattleboro approves advisory article on radio station

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(Host) In Brattleboro, voters flexed their collective muscle on several advisory articles, including support for the town’s unlicensed radio station.

VPR’s Susan Keese has that story.

(Keese) The article asked if citizens would grant Radio Free Brattleboro authority to broadcast until a low power community station is licensed legally. The Federal Communications Commissions has repeatedly tried to shut down the all-volunteer station.

But by a two to one margin on Tuesday, townspeople supported the station’s plea for access to the airwaves.

(Voter) “I don’t listen to it much, but I think they should certainly have their right to broadcast. I don’t see any problem there.
(Voter) “That’s about the way I feel about it.”

(Keese) These two Brattleboro retirees typified comments by voters outside the polls. Stan Charkey, a college professor who also voted for the article, said he wasn’t bothered by the station’s actions:

(Charkey) “Sometimes laws are not good laws and they need to be questioned.”

(Keese) Supporters of the station, which can only be heard in and around Brattleboro, hope the town’s support will be helpful in their legal battle with the FCC.

Brattleboro voters were also in favor of establishing a civilian police review board. The article was opposed by Brattleboro Police Chief John Martin. He said he believe the proposal might have come from a wish to punish police for the 2001 shooting of Robert Woodward in a Brattleboro church. But Martin said he would honor voters’ wishes.

(Martin) “And if the community wants us to have a citizen review board, then that’s what we’ll have.”

(Keese) Voters also approved an article asking the town to begin preparing for the closing of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear power plant. The article asked the town to develop re-employment strategies and replacement energy before the plant’s license expires in 2112.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Susan Keese in Brattleboro.

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