Don’t Forget Sarducci’s
So much ado about the new trendiness in Montpelier [“Capital Fare,” February 2]. Why is it never mentioned that the stalwart of Montpelier dining — Sarducci’s — is just that, the stalwart? The food is amazing. The prices fit both the Applebee’s and the Hen of the Wood budgets. Gastro joints come and go, as do trendy chefs, but a classic place, where the food is always deliciously consistent, needs to be appreciated, too. There is a reason why Seven Daysie awards fill the tabernacle of the church that is the “’Ducc.”
Bigger Bottle Bill
I was shocked when I read [“Is Vermont’s Bottle Bill Ready for Recycling?” January 26] by Ken Picard about the effort under way to eliminate the “bottle bill.” I have always been proud of the fact that Vermont was one of the first states to adopt this extremely successful recycling program. More than 80 percent of containers that have the 5¢ deposit are recycled here in the state. This program works. When something works this well, you don’t try to fix it. You build on it.
Replacing the bottle bill is a bad idea. It will take away the incentive for people to redeem their containers, and more will end up on the sides of roads and in our lakes or sit in landfills. Here in Vermont we take pride in preserving our environment. We are one of the only states to ban billboards, we protect our natural places from overdevelopment, and the bottle bill has been an enormous success in preventing our landscape that we hold dear to us from being literally trashed.
Repealing the bottle bill will only take us backward. Instead, we should work to build on this program’s huge success. Updating the bottle bill to include other beverage containers, like bottled water or sports drinks, will help reduce the impact we have on our environment. I hope our state leaders realize the importance of the bottle bill and ensure its continued success.
No Need for Lockheed
This is a comprehensive, exceedingly well-crafted and -written article — a great rarity in these days of corporate, cut-and-paste journalism [“Up in Arms,” February 9]. So many citizens have put forth such an incredible effort to make this happen — a story in itself. I am so pleased to see everyone’s efforts honored with accurate reporting. Thank you.
Ross is a field organizer for Veterans for Peace.
[Re: “Feedback,” January 19, and “Up in Arms,” February 9]: When Mayor Kiss approached Lockheed Martin to advise Burlington on sustainability, it may have been man-on-the-moon logic that misled him. Man-on-the-moon logic bases a desired result on an irrelevant achievement, for example: “If the United States can put a man on the moon, then surely we can __.” You fill in the blank with “find a cure for AIDS,” “eliminate homelessness” or some other socially beneficial goal.
In the case of the mayor’s sustainability agreement, man on the moon takes the following form: “If the engineers at Lockheed Martin can design delivery systems for nuclear weapons, then surely they can help Burlington to become sustainable.” Problem is, the conclusion does not follow from the hypothesis. Problem is, the hypothesis itself should have been questioned, given the company’s miserable record on developing the F-35 aircraft.
Man on the moon is only pretend logic, and the mayor’s agreement is only superficially about the environment. It is really about greenwashing — giving the world’s largest military contractor a way to tart up its image by flouting collaboration with a small, charming and progressive Vermont municipality.
The solution is for the city of Burlington to scrap the agreement with Lockheed Martin and to partner with local organizations and companies on projects that will strengthen our sustainability quotient.
Lewis M. Holmes
Give Bernie the Benefit
As a supporter of Bernie Sanders, I received the original email that Shay Totten and VPR, among others, have criticized for its supposed poor tone and timing [“Fair Game,” January 19]. Not one thing about this email caught my attention as inappropriate. This message was congruent in tone and content with a series of emails the senator has sent to supporters since his filibuster of the tax-cut bill in December. In each of these messages, Sanders has addressed the current state of our political climate and the need for appropriate action.
The notion that Bernie Sanders was trying to raise money off the tragedy in Arizona is preposterous. Let’s not embrace this Fox News style of journalism where we dredge the depths of every statement searching for the worst possible spin. We know Bernie better than this. We are fortunate to have a senator who is passionately dedicated to serving the needs of the many instead of the money of the few. His track record should afford him, at least in Vermont, the benefit of any lingering doubt in this case.
I think the meter system in Burlington- area taxis would be a great idea [“Burlington Cabbies Up in Arms About Proposed Meters,” February 2]. The zones are a very complicated system. I know; I drove a cab for a few months, and one of the reasons I chose to stop driving is that it was a complicated and stressful system. Add to that long hours and a general feeling by Burlington residents that cabbies are out to cheat them. The latter, thanks to Seven Days — which ran a difficult but necessary story that raised the issue to consumers and started a real conversation to change the system drastically.
With the difficulty of the old system, I soon had enough of it — though I certainly can’t blame Charlie Herrick and the rest of the crew at Green Cab VT for that. They were fair players in a system caught up in complication, rhetoric, regulation and “oversight.” What it meant for cabbies and riders was that it was often difficult to know for sure what rate should be charged. To drive between two zones, you could take the quick way through a different zone or the cheaper and longer way. Crossing lines means a change in price. So, do you charge it and have an unhappy passenger, or waive the additional fee and make less?
With an efficient and effective system — like meters in cabs — it would put an end to confusion. Drivers would be out of the line of fire and able to focus on what they’re meant to: the road. Meters might convince me to put myself back in the driver’s seat.
The difficult thing to swallow in the discussion about meters is that, along with these conversations, the committee is talking about increasing the costs per driver with routine exams, higher relicensing fees and more. Combining all these makes for a system that will, ultimately, be too expensive for both cab riders and companies.
“Redemption” in Multiple Forms
[Re: “Is Vermont’s Bottle Bill Ready for Recycling?” January 26]: Vermont’s Beverage Container Law of 1972 imposes a 5 or 15 cent (15 cents for liquor) redeemable deposit on consumers and an “extended producer responsibility” or “EPR” on manufacturers. In Vermont, manufacturers must pick up the beverage containers that were redeemed, or pay the redemption centers or retailers for handling containers.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see any mention of the fact that the redemption dollars usually end up in the hands of youngsters, the dispossessed and people who generally have a hard time of it. I interviewed one young man who told me that, after his father’s passing, he collected and redeemed empties so that he could continue to hunt to help feed his family.
The existing bill seems to place responsibility for recycling where it belongs: with the consumer and the manufacturer. In addition, it, at minimum, zeros out cost to the consumer and provides a small but valued stipend to people who need it. If anybody is complaining, it appears to be the manufacturers.
If the 1972 law can be improved, so be it, but the replacement plan should carry forward all the worthwhile components of the existing plan and build on them. Recycling is an important factor in the Vermont environmental culture and should not be allowed to become a political football.
I was very pleased and grateful to see my artwork and show at Christine Price Gallery featured in the calendar listing [Art Listings, February 2] in Seven Days.
However, I found the copy accompanying the image confusing and also misleading. The many naked ladies (and a few naked guys) I’ve produced over the years, since the late 1990s, I’ve always referred to as “nudes” or “figures”— never as “portraits.” I have never intentionally incorporated landscape shapes in my figurative work. If the viewer chooses to see landscape shapes in a piece, that’s OK by me, but that is not what I’m doing per se.
Further confusing the description of my work and the show is that there are, indeed, portraits and landscapes in the exhibition at Christine Price. Among the 41 works on display are 12 portraits and 11 landscapes, all done from life, along with 18 nudes. The new directions I’m taking in my work are not to incorporate landscapes into so-called “portraits” but to actually do landscapes and portraits.
Nevertheless, I thank Seven Days for the beautiful reproduction of my work and for the publicity.
In Praise of Biomass
Josh Schlossberg’s letter [“Feedback,” January 19] purporting to correct inaccuracies in Andy Bromage’s [“Biomass Busted? Why Wood-Fired Power Is Catching Heat in Vermont,” December 22] is an example of sophistry at its finest: “a plausible but misleading or fallacious argument.”
Josh names carbon dioxide as the byproduct most in need of elimination from combustion processes to save our planet — he may well be right. But he forgets, or ignores, one important fact in his zeal to “bust” biomass: A tree burned or a tree left to rot on the forest floor emits exactly the same amount of carbon dioxide. Coal represents carbon that has been sequestered for eons, so burning it introduces “new” carbon dioxide (among other things) to the atmosphere.
Forest biomass represents an essentially closed cycle wherein trees sequester carbon as they grow and emit that same carbon as they deteriorate — either slowly through decomposition or quickly through burning. (Frankly, that’s also one flaw I can’t overcome in the argument of those who see forest management as a long-term carbon sequestration solution. Sound forest management has its own set of societal and environmental benefits, but it’s hardly a panacea for offsetting remote emission sources.)
It seems reasonable, even imperative, to ensure that any biomass-to-electricity facility in Vermont answer hard questions about emissions, transportation and proper management of source forests, but forests are among the most resilient and renewable of resources we have. Josh does that review process (and himself) a real disservice by raising specious arguments against moving ahead with Vermont’s most abundant, locally produced fuel source.
Hannan was commissioner of The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation under Gov. Madeleine Kunin.
I’m glad the mayor cares about climate change [“Feedback,” January 19, and “Up in Arms,” February 9]. His critics do not question the emergency of climate chaos. That is, in fact, the reason to oppose Lockheed Martin. The biggest Pentagon contractor, Lockheed is a major purveyor of atmospheric carbon. Business as usual is Kiss bringing them here.
The very idea of a Carbon War Room shows the boybrains have not learned how to think about environmental problems. War and techno fixes are part of the problem. Thinking ecologically means working with nature and cooperating. Lockheed favors geo-engineering solutions made for war contractors that involve costly aircraft and technology. The real solutions lie on Earth but do not attract venture capitalists.
Lockheed’s business is selling killing aircraft that pollute at rates of 6000 to 8000 gallons per hour. The unspoken part of the mayor’s letter is that Lockheed will provide money in exchange for greenwashing its image.
I sympathize with the mayor. Our country, in thrall to the military-industrial-energy complex, has no resources for lesser matters such as life on Earth or cutting carbon. But a Faustian bargain with the devil dealing out the carbon is not the way to go. Nor is Bernie going to Sandia — another division of Lockheed Martin — or Gov. Shumlin and Sen. Leahy bringing more war industry to Vermont. The best Lockheed Martin can do for climate stability is to dissolve itself.
In last week’s cover story, “Up in Arms,” writer Ken Picard mischaracterized the charitable work done by IBM during South Africa’s apartheid era. The company donated about $2 million worth of computer equipment a year to black schools and enterprises in South Africa, not the United States. Seven Days regrets the error.
There was also an error in Kevin J. Kelley’s “Airport Envy: Can PBG Compete with BTV?” Laurentian Aerospace is planning to build a $175 million, 273,000-square-foot maintenance and repair facility at PBG in Plattsburgh, not at South Burlington’s BTV.