Seven Days briefly noted the tragic and senseless death of Dr. Kenneth Najarian ["The Last Seven Days," June 24]. But the paper failed to mention Vermont's increasing drunk-driving problem. WalletHub reports that Vermont is the eighth most lenient state for driving under the influence. And Mothers Against Drunk Driving only gives our Green Mountain State two out of five stars for our efforts to combat drunk driving. Is this the Vermont we want to live in? I urge our representatives in the Statehouse next session to expand our interlock law to include all convicted drunk drivers and open debate to create a minimum jail sentence for DUI first offense. We can do more to protect all Vermonters on our roads.
We wish to draw your attention to Lulu Eightball's so-called "cartoon" ["Presents for Princess Charlotte," June 10]. Not only did we consider it an insult to our royal family, but also an insult to us Brits. Before you publish such low-grade humor, you might like to look on your own doorstep first.
Christine and Melvyn Lane
[Re "CEDO: Progressives Fear Bernie Sanders' Creation Has Lost Its Way," July 1]: Alicia Freese's well-reported account of CEDO's recent reorganization — unanimously adopted on June 15 — underscores the important role we've historically played in Burlington. We welcome the challenge to better articulate our newly minted mission: "engaging our community to build a vibrant, healthy and equitable city."
CEDO was born of — and continues to stand for — expanding opportunities to those most in need. Emily Gunn's Burlington Free Press opinion piece on CEDO's restorative justice work is just one example of work we do every day. With all the media focus on development, it is easy to miss CEDO's ongoing work with at-risk youth, affordable housing, the elderly, lead-based hazards, accessibility, race and equity — the list goes on. Far from losing our way, the new CEDO is on a clear path to expand this important work by growing economic vitality and the revenue needed to fund it.
Three years ago, CEDO was in tough shape. Our dedicated staff was under siege from years of declining federal dollars, deficit spending, an outdated structure and a loss of public confidence. With input from new and long-tenured staff alike, we've completed a long-overdue retooling that responds to today's fiscal realities and more effectively delivers key community services. We believe in creating opportunities for all Burlingtonians, the importance of place-making and leveraging partnerships outside of government.
With the city's finances improving and great progress on many fronts, Burlington is thriving. CEDO is proud to play a central role in this exciting, optimistic time.
Owens is the director of Burlington's Community & Economic Development Office
["Together Again," June 10, about Sneakers Jazz Band's reunion] prompted me to dig out my cassette tape and send you a couple of shots of the original. It was titled "Steppin' Out..." with cover art by Joseph Sommerville Jr. and released in 1989 on Sneakers Jazz Records-SJR0001. I believe I got the tape from my brother-in-law, who lived in an apartment at 10 Canal Street in Winooski, over the legendary Sneakers Bar & Grill.
[Re "CEDO: Progressives Fear Bernie Sanders' Creation Has Lost Its Way," July 1]: The recent article regarding the changes in Burlington's CEDO begged a couple of questions. When the reporter writes that CEDO under the Weinberger administration plans to address "the housing needs of middle-income residents," my question is: Isn't this what the private real estate market does? When City Councilor Jane Knodell states that this new "vision" for CEDO can "carry out a positive vision for Burlington," my question is: Isn't that what CEDO has been doing all along? The follow-up question would then be: Is Knodell's vision — and others' who support this refocusing — being blinded by the real estate developers' money, which Mayor Weinberger is already way too cozy with? The first priority of the city should be affordable housing for all, not market-priced housing for those who can afford such units. In other words, CEDO should not become an agency furthering the gentrification of Burlington. Unfortunately, this looks like the direction Weinberger is steering it.
["Color Blind: Outside Vermont, Can Sanders Talk Race, Immigration?" July 1]: Can Sen. Sanders get his message out to the minority community outside of Vermont? Absolutely! First, he has to establish his campaign and get his core message out. Second, Iowa and New Hampshire are predominantly white. He has already established that he has a great chance to win both of these states.
Now that Sanders has established himself as the primary challenger to Hillary Clinton, he can begin to broaden his message. He has an impeccable record on race. As a college student at the age of 20, he organized and protested segregated housing on campus, and in 1963 he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is campaigning with a platform that focuses on issues that are important to and will benefit the minority community a great deal, including increased Social Security, a $15 minimum wage, health care for all and affordable college education.
You cannot expect a campaign that launched five weeks ago to address every problem and be all things to all people. As his campaign continues to grow and the media provides more coverage, you can expect the awareness of his record to increase substantially.
The first rule of good politics is to define the issues. Bernie has done that, and now Hillary Clinton will be forced to respond, and she is not on firm ground. She is fighting on Bernie's turf and will be for the rest of the primary. I'll take Sen. Sanders' record on the issues, whether they are issues specifically targeted to minorities or otherwise.