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Letters to the Editor 

Knodell’s Switcheroo

There was not one shred of “courage” in Jane Knodell’s vote switch regarding the basing of the F-35 at the Burlington airport [“Fair Game,” October 30]. Her claim of protecting jobs, particularly for her constituency, is ludicrous at best; specious and self-serving would be more accurate. “Saving jobs” is the mantra of those who wish to obscure the real cost of the F-35 to every U.S. citizen. The money the basing will bring to the area pales in comparison to the cost of the entire project. Whether or not her vote would have been symbolic, to change it essentially on the night of the vote, thereby not allowing her constituents a chance to speak to her, is a style of politics she should be ashamed of.

Christopher Hill

Burlington

Pro Solar

Our consumption of fossil fuels has global repercussions, threatening to gravely affect natural goods and services that are essential to human well-being [“Too Much of a Good Thing? Inside Vermont’s Solar Standoff,” October 9]. Certain greenhouse gases persist in the atmosphere for centuries, meaning our emissions today will reverberate for generations to come. If we are to mitigate the negative impacts upon the environment of our energy consumption, we must adjust our actions in a responsible manner.?

Thousands of households and businesses have been doing just that by installing solar panels as a clean and renewable source of energy. Above and beyond its minimal carbon footprint, solar creates jobs in the community and fosters state energy independence.?Net metering has been instrumental in helping Vermonters overcome those steep initial costs of solar. It enables adopters to connect to the electrical grid and be fairly compensated for the renewable, local, emissions-free energy that their panels harness in excess of their personal usage.

The state is now ninth in solar electrical capacity per person, and net metering has been a large part of that continued growth and success.?This is a critical period in human contributions to climate change. Vermonters are embracing renewables and helping lead the nation through changing individual mentalities and behavior. These hesitant electrical utilities should take a long look at their out-of-date business model and consider doing the same.

Robert Gandolfi

Burlington

Living With Hunters

[“Amid Concerns About Gunfire and Growth, Colchester Reviews its Firearm Restrictions,” October 30]: I am not anti-gun and I’m not anti-hunting. I don’t participate in either. But for some, it is a way of life. And sometimes people are hungry. As the rift between the haves and have-nots continues to increase, issues such as this one will become more prevalent.

This is an economic issue as much as anything. It’s much bigger and more complex than “zoning” and the law. The common misconception that construction of more of everything — aka development — is the only thing keeping the economy moving is to some degree the heart of the matter. As developers pave over the landscape for up-market housing and the accompanying schlock-shop commerce that goes with it, for the sake of making a buck, somebody else is losing out. I won’t go into the housing-shortage myth…

If you build your McMansion in the woods and start posting no-hunting signs because you believe you are entitled to do so, conflicts will arise and accidents will happen. One side says, “I’m entitled to walk safely through paradise”; the other side says, “My family and I have been hunting here for a hundred years.” Rifle season for most game is limited to certain seasons that are relatively short, thankfully. I take precautions during hunting season. I either do not walk into the woods at all or, if I do exercise that right, I wear bright orange and make myself obvious. Even that is no guarantee.

Robin Brodsky

Brandon

Prison Wife’s Lament

Thank you to Judith Levine for bringing people’s attention to the inhumane policies of what we call the criminal justice system [Poli Psy, “Criminal Acts,” October 9].?Most of those incarcerated in Vermont and in the private prisons that our state contracts with are our fellow Vermonters [“Reform v. Reality: Prison Crowding Compels Vermont to Keep Shipping Inmates Out of State,” November 6]. They are people with families and friends. The reasons for their incarceration and the events that brought them there are varied.

My husband is a prisoner at Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville, Ky. Previous to that, he was held in Springfield, Vt. The events that led him there were shocking and traumatic to him. Yet the “no contact” rules meant that he did not get a kind touch until 15 months later, when he was moved to Kentucky and I was able to visit him there.?The “no contact” rules are far from trivial. They are inhumane. They deprive people of the affectionate touch of their loved ones at the times that they need it most. The visiting rooms are attended by corrections officers and overseen by cameras, and the inmates are strip-searched upon leaving the room. These measures should suffice to control contraband without adding the cruel practice of denying human contact.

I am in favor of Rep. Suzi Wizowaty’s efforts to reduce the number of incarcerated Vermonters and end contracts with Corrections Corporation of America. But I also believe that Vermont, a sane and humane state in so many ways, can humanize its prisons and treat inmates with the respect that everyone deserves.

Meg McCarthy

Marlboro

CORRECTIONS

In last week’s story, “Lost and Found: Signs Reclaim Burlington’s Historic “Little Italy” Neighborhood,” we incorrectly referred to Burlington Town Center as Burlington Square Mall, which was the name of the Church Street mall until 2000.

*****

Due to a production error, the 10th paragraph in last week’s Poli Psy: “God Is Technological” was printed incorrectly. The paragraph should have run as follows:

“Who are the ‘transhumanists’? Rothblatt is an important one. She is the founder — and prophet — of the ‘trans-religion’ Terasem, whose belief is that we can create ‘joyful immortality’ by uploading all consciousness into ‘mindfiles,’ thus freeing humans from their bulky, fallible ‘fleshware.’”

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