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Letters to the Editor 

June 25, 2008

THAT'S MISTER BAND CAMP TO YOU

I'd like to share some imagined excerpts from future local album reviews by Jarrett "Band Camp" Berman that we might look forward to:

"You could blame it on the bluegrass, but it's the really the banjo that capsizes Stone's earnest effort;"

"Three minutes into his blistering solo, Tournet really starts to stretch, but hesitates - afraid of crowding the vocals? - in a salient example of Potter's hegemony;"

"Our girl Gracie's got chops, but the female voice is simply too monochromatic to sustain nine tracks;"

"Masefield's prowess is unquestionable, but the surfeit of plinky mandolin is sure to test anyone's tolerance for fretted strings."

Please, Seven Days, I understand you may be short-staffed after your head music writer's tragic Ornette-induced brain hemorrhage. But could you screen your freelancers a little better and try to avoid mistakes like tossing a CD, put out by a flute player, to a film and restaurant critic who apparently has a big problem with. . . flutes!

John Thompson

BURLINGTON

THROWING STONES

As a taxpayer in the town of Bristol, I think we should all have a say about things that will have significant effects on our town. Why shouldn't we all get a say about the creation of a gravel pit ["Open Vein," June 11]?

I take offense at Jim Lathrop's comment about trust-fund flatlanders. Prejudice and judgment will only solidify those who oppose your development. The creation of four jobs will likely not offset the cost of road improvement and maintenance caused by this gravel pit, let alone the noise and air and water pollution it will produce.

I think we need a better reason for allowing this gravel pit than to help create another generation of Bristol trust-funders.

Dave Mueller

BRISTOL

ASKED AND ANSWERED

Having come out publicly against the effort to censor Al Jazeera English, I trust I will not be lumped in with the repressive set when I point out that there is a difference between defending a news organization's right to be heard and going into the tank for it ["Al Jazeera Reporter Addresses Critics," June 11].

In this Googled age it is hard to believe that the usually reliable Ken Picard did not know that the highly regarded newsman Dave Marash had quit Al Jazeera English because he was convinced that political interference from the home office in Doha, Qatar, was undermining the network's credibility. Marash's April 4 interview with the Columbia Journalism Review is easy to find online.

But in interviewing Al Jazeera English's John Rushing, Picard acted as though Marash had never existed, much less been the network's Washington anchor. It matters not whether Picard acted out of ignorance or dishonesty. Either way, it was irresponsible.

When writing about another news organization, ignoring obvious questions about its journalistic integrity raises questions about your own.

Jon Margolis

BARTON

Editor's Note: Picard and Rushing did talk about Dave Marash, but that portion of the interview was cut for space considerations. But, as Rushing told Picard, Marash has since retracted his comments about Al Jazeera being anti-American. And while Marash had valid criticisms of the network, he never said the government in Doha was meddling in the editorial content. For more on that, see Marash's interview with Baltimore City Paper at http://www.citypaper.com/news/story.asp?id=15691

WEATHERIZATION REPORT

At a recent press conference, Gov. Douglas announced his intention to release an additional $1 million into the "traditional weatherization program" ["Fair Game," June 18].

Excellent news! What the governor did not mention, however, was that this very same $1 million increase in weatherization had already been appropriated by the legislature weeks ago as part of the FY2009 budget bill.

Gov. Douglas' original '09 budget proposal had no increase for weatherization. The legislature saw the need for expanded services and provided for a $500,000 expansion of weatherization services in the '09 budget, and then they added another $500,000 to the program as part of their economic recovery revisions to Douglas' stimulus package.

As part of the energy bill, S.209, the legislature also increased weatherization eligibility to include households at or below 60% of area median income and revised weatherization policies to improve service to multifamily rental properties and low-income Vermonters who struggle to pay higher and higher heating bills.

These, and other policy changes passed by the legislature this year, allow Vermont's Weatherization Program to provide better service to more Vermonters who are in need. With heating oil nearing $5 a gallon, we can thank our legislative leadership for pushing through important changes that bring our services to more Vermonters who need them.

Elizabeth Chant

COLCHESTER

Chant is director of weatherization for the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity

DOWNHILL ECONOMICS

I question Shay Totten's comment regarding "handouts" to the ski areas ["Fair Game," June 18]. It portrays a grossly inaccurate picture of the relationship between the ski resort areas, the tax revenue they directly and indirectly cause to be generated and sent to Montpelier, and the perennial problem of the grossly under-funded marketing budget for tourism in Vermont.

It's comments like these that directly feed into the disconnect too many of our Vermont policymakers have about how money flows into and around the state, and the greater failure to prioritize the protection and growth of state revenue streams.

Laura Sibilia

DOVER

Sibilia is executive director of Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce.

BUS DISSERVICE

Malletts Bay? How about Route 7? Shaw's, Friendly's, Yankee Lanes, Costco? I bet they would love bus service ["Funding Process Flawed Say Transit Officials," June 18]. Have you ever tried walking from Winooski High, where the bus ends, across the ramps and under the interstate to get there? No sidewalks, no street lights. Maybe the "Milton Bus" will go through.

Carly Kissane

BURLINGTON

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