I wanted to write to let you know how much I enjoyed reading [“Ghosts With the Most,” October 30]. I worked at the Shanty on the Shore back in the early 1990s and knew then it was haunted. Along with another server at the time, we researched the building at the Fletcher Free Library to uncover just what Alice Levitt did in her article. It was very entertaining to see our speculations confirmed!
Burlington’s “Itching Fingers”
Paul Heintz’s portrait of Miro Weinberger and his good buddies in the real estate industry [Fair Game, November 20] reminds me of something author Wallace Stegner once wrote: Namely, “that America’s whole history could be read as one continuous real estate transaction.”?Stegner, a defender of wild places, conservation and public lands, autopsied the West’s destruction by alliances of crony politicians and what he called land grabbers, boomers and busters. Later, he turned his attention to Vermont from his second home in Greensboro. He warned that Vermont was not immune and that it, too, could succumb “to abuse and to the quick-profit raid, to disruption and depletion.”?
Were he still living, I suspect Stegner would, on the one hand, nod approvingly about Vermont’s attempts to control development but, on the other, shake his head mournfully over much of what is happening as a de facto real estate syndicate devours our mountaintops and hillsides, neighborhoods and cityscapes. Of course, Stegner is gone, but fortunately his words linger on. We can learn a lot from one memorable phrase he used to color those intent on gobbling up our precious heritage for pecuniary gain. They were men with “itching fingers.” ?Evidently, the mayor and his chums seem to have caught that itch.
The CCA Way?
Judith Levine’s [Poli Psy: “Criminal Acts,” October 9] column should’ve looked closer at elected officials who benefit from Corrections Corporation of America’s influence. Senators Dick Sears, Susan Bartlett and Vincent Illuzzi, former governor Jim Douglas, Gov. Peter Shumlin and former lieutenant governor Brian Dubie are a few who have received contributions from CCA. Think CCA contributed to keep the prison population down?
Look at our judges. The Supreme Court allows criminals to be sent out of state. One need not be a constitutional scholar to realize it violates Vermont’s Constitution. Criminals’ chance to reform comes from friends, family and community and is unavailable out of state. Prisoners get exposed to gangs and necessarily make “friends” that then come here. Maybe that’s one reason the crime rate is skyrocketing?
Nice article for the most part [“After a Lifetime of ‘Cheap Art’ Making, Bread & Puppet’s Founder Installs a Museum Show,” November 20]. My quibble is with these two bits: “barely comprehensible manifestos and jeremiads” and “The uninitiated, however, will be left uninformed.” For me, the whole “Shatterer Chapel & Library” is the perfect expression of the Peter Schumann/B&P aesthetic — at times inscrutable but always engaging, and, like the sourdough bread, something you need to chew on for a while to get the nourishment from.
[Re “Loss of Benefits, Loss of Faith: University Food Workers Consider Union Push,” November 20]: So UVM’s food service contractor, Sodexo, is scheming to deny longtime employees their access to medical insurance. Why is our Vermont government still doing business with these corporate creeps?
There is a great deal of emotion surrounding the budget for the Walden School [“In Walden, a Budget Impasse Leaves a Small-Town School in Limbo,” November 13]. Some believe the best solution is to dissolve the school completely. Some believe we can fund the school with the same budget we had five years ago. Some believe there are no limits and we can continue to increase the budget regardless of the cost to the taxpayer base.
The simple truth is, we have to educate all the children of Walden town from kindergarten through grade 12. We have to spend extra dollars to fund those children who require special-education services. That is the law; there is no refuting it.
The town is facing serious consequences for not having a school budget, some of which will impact every tax-paying citizen whether they have children in the school or not. 1. This is impacting the town budget also, not just the school. 2. We may not be able to file our 2013 taxes. 3. We have already spent more money than anyone had envisioned, and we are now facing legal fees and fines. 4. We probably will have to raise taxes even more next year to pay for what we thought we would gain this year. 5. The State of Vermont may force solutions onto the town that will have serious and unpleasant consequences, including loss of high school choice.
Please, if you have not voted at all, get some information from the school board to make an educated vote. If you have voted no, please be informed as to the consequences if we cannot pass a budget. I believe the board has tried to remove nonessential line items and is trying to pass an informed budget that will adequately educate the children. The simple truth is, we have to spend our tax dollars to educate the children. Let’s not foolishly waste those precious dollars on a fight that, in the end, will cause more harm than good.
Police Need Review
[Re “In Wake of Fatal Burlington Police Shooting, Some Question Use of Deadly Force,” November 13]: Upon reading about the shooting of Wayne Brunette by Burlington police, two questions came to mind. The first was: If the person who killed Brunette were a civilian, wouldn’t he already have been arrested and charged? The second question is: If so, then why is the policeman who killed Brunette still not arrested or charged?
If the police force feels it is OK to kill a man [wielding] a shovel, then it seems that someone needs to remind them that this is not OK. It is time for a civilian police review board for the city of Burlington.
What’s an Officer to Do?
I do not think we take care of our mentally ill as they should be cared for [“In Wake of Fatal Burlington Police Shooting, Some Question Use of Deadly Force,” November 13]. That is the problem police officers have to deal with. They cannot let a person who is bent on harm go so they can harm officers and others, no matter the mental illness. The first thing officers have to do in seconds is provide safety to citizens. It is very, very sad that people are mentally ill and at times not in control of themselves. I was not there, so I cannot judge the officer. He did his job. I am sure the last thing he wanted to do was fire his weapon. So sad for everyone.
Wait for What?
I wonder if anyone will be held accountable for the tragic death of Wayne Brunette [“In Wake of Fatal Burlington Police Shooting, Some Question Use of Deadly Force,” November 13]. I find it interesting that Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling has asked the public to be patient while the facts emerge, yet just after the shooting he was on television explaining how shots to the chest are justified. One cannot help but wonder why a man coming at an officer with a shovel cannot be restrained somehow, or, at the very least, why a shot cannot be fired at a leg or knee. As Chief Schirling asked, I will withhold judgment, but perhaps it is time for this part of police training to be changed. I would suggest that the police also meet with representatives of the mental health community who might be able to offer alternative ways of dealing with people.
Gerald L. Jeffords
Tased and Confused
Mark Davis is to be commended for his balanced analysis of the facts — as they are thus far known — in the recent police-involved fatal shooting in Burlington? [“In Wake of Fatal Burlington Police Shooting, Some Question Use of Deadly Force,” November 13]. The day after the tragic event, one watering hole in the New North End was full of “experts” who all knew what the officers should have done, or what they would have done if faced with a similar situation (“The cops should have Tased him...” “They should have shot him in the arm...” “I would have tackled him...” etc., etc.)? All this Monday-morning quarterbacking ignores the simple fact that only the two officers involved know what their perception was of the threat posed by the now-deceased man.?
Several years ago I was a civilian employee at the Burlington Police Department and was acquainted with Officers Thibault and Navari. They are both highly experienced and mature officers, the last from whom I would have expected hot-headed behavior.? Before people rush to judgment, we ought to let the investigation play out.?Let’s not contribute to what is already a tragedy for the family of the dead man, the officers involved, the Burlington Police Department and the Burlington community as a whole.
Between 2009 and 2011, AT&T invested $50 million in Vermont for its mobile infrastructure. The figure was incorrect in last week’s article titled, “Can You Hear Us Now? Richmond Officials, Residents Have Little Say on Cell Towers.”