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Letters to the Editor 

Published August 21, 2013 at 4:02 a.m.

System Failure

Congress is not going to restore funding to Section 8 or stop larger cuts in the future [“Gimme Shelter: In Vermont, Sequestion Leads to Homelessness,” August 14]. The election of more Tea Party Republicans in 2014 and 2016 will be the final nail in the coffin for this entitlement program — at least in its current form. This program was never supposed to be a lifelong freebie for the poor. Unfortunately, many have abused the system, including voucher holders and corrupt employees within local housing authorities. That is the reality, and those in the system need to make a plan because, unless you’re a senior, disabled or a vet, your days of voucher living are numbered.

Jeff Barnes

Oakland Park, Fla.

Apartment Is Health Hazard

I read the article by Kevin J. Kelley about landlords not keeping their buildings up to code, and I would like to inform you that Rick Bove has another building in even worse condition than the ones described [“Burlington Holds Liquor Licenses Hostage to Get Compliance on Code Violations and Taxes,” July 10]. The three basement apartments at 8 North Williams Street are in such bad condition that one, my apartment, has been deemed inhabitable for humans, and I was told it looks as though it has been this way for a while. My boyfriend and I have told my landlord and shown him numerous times the problems in the apartment. He has only ever told us to fix it or ignored us. Having had three liver transplants, mold growing anywhere is a serious health hazard for me.

Emily Hagen


Editor’s note: Kelley follows up on the story referenced above in this week’s Seven Days.

Drawn-Out Stories

After reading the Drawn and Paneled feature on yo-yos [August 7] I found myself once again thinking I wish you’d do more stories as cartoons. It was an interesting story told in an interesting way. The recent cartoon issue [July 3] was great and showed that cartoons can convey real news in a powerful way. I hope you felt the same and will do issues like that more often.

John Taylor


Who’s Bankrolling VHCF?

In his July 31 Fair Game column, Paul Heintz pointed out that Darcie Johnston, founder of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, “bitterly opposes Obama’s and Gov. Peter Shumlin’s health care overhauls.” She’s complaining about the cost of the state’s $9.5 million advertising campaign for its Vermont Health Connect health-insurance exchange, which will go into effect on October 1.

Johnston has the nerve to complain about the state “using federal taxpayer dollars as if they’re free.” What about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that VHCF has spent on its own blitz of radio and TV ads denouncing the state’s health care reform plan? Where did the money that bankrolled VHCF’s antireform ad campaign come from?

I think a Seven Days investigation of who’s bankrolling VHCF is called for. I have my suspicions (particularly a pair of out-of-state conservative billionaire brothers who shall, for now, remain nameless). But I’m sure I’m not the only Vermonter who wants to know where the antireform VHCF gets its money.

Skeeter Sanders


Siegel Strong on Gun Control

I’m thrilled to have Rachel Siegel on the Burlington City Council [“Leftist, Militant and Queer: Rachel Siegel Is Shaking Up the Burlington City Council,” July 31]. Although I support many of the platforms she’s advocated, I am most grateful that she is working toward the adoption of gun-safety measures and a ban on assault rifles. Sure beats Sen. Philip Baruth — or is it “Phil?” — who squandered my vote when he abandoned gun legislation on the statewide level to protect his own political backside. I’ll not let him do that again.

Patricia Ferreira


True 802

I am surprised that the recent article on the origin of the 802 phenomenon [“Dialed In,” July 31] didn’t mention the rap song and music video “802” made by a couple of Montpelier teenagers a few years back. This song was the first instance I can recall that popularized the notion of using “802” to represent the unique character of Vermont. Somehow, I doubt that the two guys who wrote and recorded the song are profiting from the recent use of 802 as a marketing slogan, however.

Heidi Champney


The Problem with Siegel

[Re “Leftist, Militant and Queer: Rachel Siegel is Shaking Up the Burlington City Council,” July 31]: Physically attractive, schoolgirl-bright Rachel Siegel is the epitome of the nothingness that has seized the body politic not only in Burlington but nationwide. Her biography is filled with males of weak character, including a “partner” who is gay, or bisexual, or anything but a normal male. There are biological differences between men and women, and the emotional makeup of the genders is different because of genetics, which dictate different hormones. I first met the “Siegel” type in 1960s Ann Arbor — haters of men, particularly white men. Her family had money, so she could always run to that to solve her problems, rather than choose a real life.

Now she is part of the brainwashing brigade that is destroying the social fabric of society. We must root out anyone who thinks that progressive toleration of male-female marriages is an endorsement and teaches all children that the families they are raised in with a daddy who works and a mommy who stays at home are mentally and morally defective!

With her lesbianism and her “partner’s” homosexuality, is she or he HIV+?   If so, have their children been infected with the AIDS virus? The death rate from AIDS greatly exceeds the death rate from gunshot wounds, especially in Vermont. How does she plan to keep infected persons from spreading their illness? If firearms should be banned, then shouldn’t homosexuals be prevented from spreading their diseases by quarantining them?

Ron Ruloff


Editor’s note: According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , HIV caused seven deaths in Vermont in 2010, while firearm-related deaths totalled 70 that same year.


We failed to identify the Black River Produce meat cutters in the photo on last week’s cover. They are, from left to right: Terence Bernatchy, Jeff Snide, Aaron McAllister, Dominic Barone, Briton Laslow and Kelly Ireland.

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