In [Feedback, August 15] there was a letter from Jane Brown of Cabot thanking Seven Days for its write-up on Butters Restaurant [Side Dishes, June 6]. However, the owner-cook’s name was printed as Mike. Our sole owner and cook is Stanley Linkovich of Lyndonville. We thank you for a wonderful write-up introducing our restaurant.
Alyssa Bernadino and Staff at Butters
Sanders Is Not a Socialist
When Paul Heintz describes Bernie Sanders as a socialist [Fair Game, August 22], one has to wonder what knowledge base is needed to be a Seven Days columnist. Sanders folded like a lawn chair when Obama bought out his support for the “public option” with some chump change for rural clinics. After that, one would have thought his self-proclaimed “socialist” moniker would be buried forever. Certainly following his immoral backing of the unnecessary F-35 — whose sole purpose is to perpetuate the racist and imperialist agenda of the 1 percent — even a UVM freshman would’ve known how incongruent Sanders’ actions were with his fraudulent self-description.
More liberal than most of our brain-dead Senate? Absolutely. Socialist? Please! Come on, Paul. How about, at least, a Poli Sci 101 class in your free time?
All Boys in Bethel?
Reading the article about the political divisions in Bethel [“Bridge Over Troubled Water,” August 22], I have to wonder about a peculiar phrase: “Town fathers” is used repeatedly, both inside and outside quoted comments. Each use has a pejorative connotation, as if Bethel had a graybeard “Town Fathers” council — a cast of curmudgeons with bad judgment. It sounds like Bethel has its share of female leaders. What’s behind the odd word choice here?
[Re “When Irene Came,” August 22]: What Hilary Mullins shared was poetic and had a Vermont-like resonance. I got a feel for “small town.”
Too Straight and Dopey
I was outraged by the way Cecil Adams addressed transsexuality in his “Straight Dope” column [August 15]. My specific concerns with the way he belittles, stigmatizes and distorts the experiences of trans people are more appropriately addressed to Mr. Adams; however, I am also disturbed by the publication of the article and the accompanying cartoon in Seven Days. Mr. Adams’ choice of words plays upon longstanding and deeply damaging tropes that paint trans people as crazy and misguided. This stigma is a great burden to trans people, making it harder for many to come out, get the medical treatment they desire and be respected in their communities.
Mr. Adams rightly recognizes that many of the negative outcomes experienced by LGB people are the result of societal prejudice. He is also correct that, tragically, trans people face threats to their lives and livelihoods at far higher rates than other groups. However, Mr. Adams fails to connect these two statements. Trans people face incredible prejudice before, during and after transition, and the negative outcomes many trans people experience are directly attributable to a biased and cruel culture that mocks, fires and murders trans people at an incredibly high rate.
One of my pet peeves is seeing French words slipped into articles [“Are Burlington Restaurants Discriminating Against Québécois Customers?” August 15; Last 7, August 22]. Just because Vermont is near Canada (and the “Queeb tax” article is about Canadians) doesn’t mean that readers know French. Some of us took Spanish in high school and don’t exactly speak it every day. Most Spanish can be deciphered enough to get the gist, but not French. If an article contains French words or phrases such as “Mon Dieu” (my gosh?) or “Zut alors” (who knew?), it would be helpful to have a translation.
Editor’s note: Close, but not quite: “Mon Dieu” means “My God”; “Zut alors” roughly translates as “Damn.”
STRONG>Bad for Business
I read this article with disbelief [“Are Burlington Restaurants Discriminating Against Québécois Customers?” August 15]. The idea that a subset of customers would be charged extra on their food bills because they might not tip — or might not tip enough — is incredible. In my opinion, a tip represents the quality of service I receive at an establishment and not — as has obviously become the norm — a means to subsidize the substandard pay of a restaurant’s employees. If a restaurant can’t afford to pay the minimum wage, it shouldn’t be in business.
Also, the fact that some businesses leave the decision to add the extra charge up to the server is ridiculous. Whose business is it? If you have a policy, state it on the menu and don’t take the chicken way out.
A Kick in the Ribs
In [“Meat Here,” August 15], food writer Alice Levitt is right about almost everything — except for the super-sweet glaze on the ribs. In the rib-eating South, ribs are served with all of the sauces on the side or mopped with a savory mixture. (I learned BBQ from the famous Chris Schlesinger.) Why do chefs in Vermont pander to what they think everybody wants, instead of doing dishes the proper way? Also, I think the sauces they do serve on the side in squeeze bottles are borderline flavorless! We will go back again and see if we can get our ribs done without that glopitty mess that ruins perfectly good ribs. Just one good foodie’s opinion.
Burlington Parks and Rec director Mari Steinbach has forestalled Segway tours in downtown Burlington for three years now because the city “has no obligation to allow commercial operations on the bike path” [“Waterfront Warrior Rick Sharp Wants One More Thing for the Bike Path He Blazed: Segways,” August 1].
Local Motion runs a bicycle rental operation and gift shop right next to the bike path downtown. Charlie’s Boathouse at the mouth of the Winooski River is another commercial operation that wouldn’t exist without the bike path. What about the marathon and the triathlon? I support all these so-called “commercial uses” of the path. They all add to the bike-path experience. I think there should be more uses of the bike path, and I have proposed Segway tours.
Segway tours are currently available in over 200 American cities — 300 cities worldwide. Segway tours would allow visitors to Burlington to see much more of our beautiful waterfront park and bike path, the downtown shopping district and UVM. And Segways are particularly helpful to, and will help attract, aging tourists — the ones with money to spend shopping and dining downtown.
Instead of automatically rejecting new personal transportation technology without even testing it, out of a prejudice against commercial use of the bike path, the city should be embracing new technology and small commercial businesses connected to the bike path. Since when has private enterprise become a dirty word?
Welcome to the 21st-century, Burlington.
Another Mystery Sculpture
Your [Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, August 1] about the sculptor Clyde du Vernet Hunt (1861-1941) put a terrible twist on a lovely sculpture. Maybe you’d like to connect with another, less controversial sculptor and her work. I am a bit prejudiced, as Anna Hyatt Huntington, who was also born in the late 1800s, was my great-aunt. Her work is world renowned and we have two of her sculptures at Burlington City Hall: the deer and the bear with cub. They have been there for 70 years and, to my knowledge, there’s never been a plaque to commemorate her work. Our mayor thought the sculptures were brought there on the occasion of a recent renovation. City Hall seems to have no information about its much-viewed sculptures, but did say they would contact parks and recreation about a plaque. I am a retired sculptor and potter myself, just blowing off steam. I love Seven Days.
Re [“Are Burlington Restaurants Discriminating Against Québécois Customers?” August 15]: Outrageous! This is how we treat visitors? Do they realize that it is easier for most Québeckers to go to Plattsburgh?
It All Adds Up
After two weeks of discussion, this whole issue still seems to be framed largely as a matter of cheap tippers. Buried in the original article [“Are Burlington Restaurants Discriminating Against Québécois Customers?” August 15] was the revealing information that “Vermont restaurants pay servers as little as $4.10 an hour,” with the rest of a server’s minimum wage being made up by tips. (Canadian restaurants, by contrast, pay more than twice that as a minimum.) In [Feedback, “Tipping Points,” August 22] Alex Nief tells us this is “not true,” but doesn’t identify which part of it is untrue.
If, in fact, Vermont restaurants pay so little and expect their customers to pay half or more of their servers’ minimum wage, then this seems scandalous to me. (But then I’m a Canadian, transplanted here 12 years ago.)
I love my Burlington restaurants, and I wouldn’t want them to go out of business because they can’t afford to hire waitstaff. But when I go out, I don’t want to feel like my waitress’s employer. I just want to have a meal. Isn’t there something illegal about below-minimum-wage jobs?