Letters to the Editor (11/8/23) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (11/8/23) 

Published November 8, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

Credit Socialists

[Re "UVM Students Protest Cancellation of Palestinian Writer's Appearance," October 24, online]: A small correction about the reaction to the University of Vermont's cancellation of Mohammed El-Kurd: The reporter says the Will Miller Social Justice Lecture Series "organized an online letter-writing campaign" in protest, but actually, the letter-writing campaign was organized independently by the Champlain Valley Democratic Socialists of America. I'm a member of the latter, and you can see our name and logo at the bottom of our Action Network page, to which the article links. Thanks for covering this issue.

Brett Yates


Real Science News

[Re "On Thin Ice," October 11]: I was a journalist in a previous life, and I think I'm reasonably well read. But your piece on the floriculture beneath the Greenland ice shelf is something I have not come across before. Anywhere. Ever. Not in recent history. It is reportage on seminal work and deserving of wider distribution, if you can manage it.

Stories like this are shining examples of the important role that Seven Days plays in Vermont journalism. Keep up the good work!

Jim Jarvis


Greenland Ho

Ken Picard's piece on University of Vermont professor Paul Bierman and his science crew was a welcomed read in your pages ["On Thin Ice," October 11]. And a sad pleasure to read, as are many honest, thoughtful, science-based reports on climate change. I wish Bierman a broad readership with his book next year. His quote to Picard — "We're setting up our climate to be warm for the next 10,000 to 20,000 years" — may be slightly exaggerated. I suggest he cap the warming likely in 1,000 years, when Homo sapiens may find ourselves small in number and Greenland still one of the more inhabitable places on the planet. That is, if the extraction industry doesn't wreck it.

Joe Sherman



[Re Crossword: "Six Below," October 18]: As someone who regularly looks forward to completing the crossword every week, I was miffed to find that the answer to 29-DOWN, whose clue was "streaming music service," was not Spotify, which would fit all seven letters and is currently relevant, or even Pandora, which is slightly more outdated, but hey, it fits and my dad still uses it, but Napster, which ceased operations in 2001 and bears about as much relevance today as Myspace or AOL. I know this isn't the New York Times crossword, but come on, guys, seriously?

Amanda Bailey


Not on My Lawn

[Re "Bird Watching: A 'Dockless' Bike-Share Program Has Landed in the Burlington Area," October 18]: I've had to move these machines from my lawn and walkways to work on my house. Wheels lock once parked, making them difficult to move. I called the number on the bikes, and someone picked them up — hours later.

I support public transportation, especially bikes. I cannot support having to work around the bikes abandoned on my property. The article quotes Bird spokesperson Lauren Scribi as saying, "This is a public service, and we want everybody to utilize it." Also, "Please respect the vehicles as you would respect your own." The bus is a public service I have never had to move to mow my lawn. Would she "respect" my vehicle by not having it towed if I left it in her driveway for days?

Anyone finding a bike should report it using the Bird app — a simple thing but another responsibility I should not have to take on to ensure the safety of its equipment. Installing an app to report its junk on my property? No. What about respecting the people who own the property where these vehicles are abandoned?

Profiting from the bikes and expecting homeowners and businesses to "respect" the vehicles that have been abandoned on their doorsteps is an unrealistic expectation. Bird should be required to install docking stations in areas where the bikes are used.

Installing docking stations will increase the cost of business for Bird, but that is how it goes. I am for public transportation, but not when maintaining it becomes my responsibility.

Gregory Pajala


Bird in the Hand

[Re "Bird Watching: A 'Dockless' Bike-Share Program Has Landed in the Burlington Area," October 18]: The 23,000-plus miles ridden on Bird e-bikes since July 1 indicate that bike share is an essential option for people traveling around the cities of Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski.

I sincerely apologize to differently abled individuals who have found their path blocked. This is not an experience I want for anyone. The Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association pledges to continue working with Bird on mitigating this with continued education.

Some positive highlights of our bike share:

• When the previous bike share ceased operations in July 2022, CATMA received overwhelming feedback asking that bike share be reinstated. We listened, and bike share is back.

• Birds provide hardworking, financially stretched folks with another option to get to work, appointments and grocery stores, and to visit family.

• A dockless system enables one to ride Bird and park at their destination. It allows people to get to work when buses are not running. It is a reliable option for students and for people who take the train or fly.

For those who see the bike share as "absolute chaos," consider what an essential option it is for someone without access to 24-7 transportation or a vehicle. I understand this dockless system is a new model, but it is our responsibility to ensure that everyone has mobility options.

Incorrectly parked Birds can be reported by emailing [email protected] or in the Bird app. FAQs can be found at catmavt.org/bikeshare.

We are dealing with climate catastrophes of historic proportions. A larger task for all of us is to focus on supporting sustainable options and lessening single-occupant vehicles.

Sandy Thibault


Thibault is executive director of the Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association.

Follow Up, Please

I have many questions ["Burlington Teen Charged in Shooting Death of Fellow 14-Year-Old," October 31, online]. Why is he charged with murder, since it was an accident? Who brought the gun to the car? Who stole the gun? Being underage, why is he not mandated to his parents? This young man must be so scared.

Please keep reporting on this very sad story.

Rosanne Gray


Funny Money

I commend Seven Days for your reporting on the Sam Bankman-Fried trial, in which conclusive evidence has been presented concerning last year's tainted election of Becca Balint ["Texts Reveal Why Crypto Exec Backed Balint Over Gray in U.S. House Race," October 18, online]. Sasha Goldstein and Derek Brouwer report that "the Balint campaign has denied any role in coordinating with the Bankman-Fried brothers or the LGBTQ Victory Fund," but this claim appears false.

Newly revealed texts confirm that Molly Gray walked away from the Bankman-Fried largesse while Balint appears to have embraced it. Gray was then rewarded for her integrity by being defamed by Balint's campaign manager as probably opposing "a gay agenda." The homophobic label stuck.

This is a pattern of wrongdoing that cannot be remedied with an apology. I wish someone less morally compromised would challenge Balint for the Democratic congressional nomination in 2024. Surely Vermont can do better.

William Nowlan


For the Love of Grace

"The Loss of Grace" [October 25] is too important a story for anyone not to read. I feel grateful for those few people who tried to speak up against the disturbing cruelties at Woodside, for Joe Sexton who investigated and wrote about it, for all the other people who helped investigate everything necessary for the story, and for Seven Days, who supported it and published it.

When I heard the interview on Vermont Public with Sexton, he stated that a big goal of his was to humanize Grace Welch as a someone who had dreams, interests, talents and loves — and was part of a family who loved her deeply. He succeeded!

I hope this story brought those who loved Grace some comfort. It inspired me to donate money to Seven Days in memory of Grace. Keep these important stories coming!

Heather Webster


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