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Letters to the Editor (3/13/24) 

Published March 13, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. | Updated March 13, 2024 at 10:15 a.m.

Upset Victory

For some strange reason, political pundits have been totally silent on the routing of a longtime Burlington city councilor who was running for mayor ["Emma Mulvaney-Stanak Wins Burlington Mayoral Race," March 5].

Joan Shannon was a household name compared to Emma Mulvaney-Stanak. But the latter not only defeated Shannon, she annihilated her, winning the race by more than 6 percent. No one saw this coming except for Shannon, who in the week before the election emailed her supporters and said: "We're behind."

The winner spent a fraction of the amount of money that the loser spent, to say nothing of all the endorsements that the loser claimed going into Election Day.

The winner's victory is historic not because of her sexual preference, which everyone can't help themselves from talking about. It's historic because she bumped off the de facto incumbent. She can partly thank the young Turks at the University of Vermont who were outraged with Shannon for ignoring pleas for her to condemn Israel's invasion of Gaza.

Mulvaney-Stanak's victory is the biggest election shocker since 1981, when an important Brooklyn socialist named Bernie Sanders knocked off the Democrat mayor.

Ted Cohen

Burlington

Editor's note: Burlington reporter Courtney Lamdin analyzes the mayor's race — and Mulvaney-Stanak's win — in this issue.

Graffiti Solution

In ["Key to the Queen City: In Burlington's Mayoral Contest, Joan Shannon and Emma Mulvaney-Stanak Are Mostly Focused on One Issue: Public Safety," February 20], you state that Emma Mulvaney-Stanak called for "a 'community brigade' of volunteers that would pick up trash and cover graffiti."

I'm all for removing graffiti, but unless it is on a surface that has always been and was meant to be painted, it should never be covered up with more paint. It should always be removed with a product called Elephant Snot and high-pressure water. This is especially important on historic buildings, such as the old YMCA and Memorial Auditorium, and on stone walls, like those on the corner of College and Pine streets or in our parks. Painting over never matches the original surface color and doesn't solve the problem.

Graffiti should also be removed within a few days of when it appears on a building. Otherwise, it attracts more graffiti, layer over layer, which is what has happened at the old YMCA, Memorial Auditorium and other abandoned buildings.

I have asked the Burlington City Council to ban the selling of spray paint in Burlington and also request that Lowe's, Walmart and other stores stop selling it. They can replace spray paint on those shelves with Elephant Snot and pressure washers — at least until we have gained control of this ongoing problem that is most likely the result of anger and frustration.

Jay White

Burlington

More Than Two

Thank you for the piece featuring Nordic skiing ["Nordic Nobility: Two Vermont Teens Take On the Cross-Country Junior National Championships," March 6]. It is a sport that deserves greater attention, so I appreciate you writing about it. Want to let you know that your headline is misleading, as there are far more than two Vermont athletes competing at Junior Nationals. Vermont is becoming a powerhouse in Nordic skiing, and there are many great athletes from our state participating at Lake Placid, N.Y.

Scott McEnaney

Shaftsbury

Nordic in Numbers

What a great article about two of this state's amazing young Nordic skiers ["Nordic Nobility: Two Vermont Teens Take On the Cross-Country Junior National Championships," March 6].

Unfortunately, you failed to mention that over two dozen Vermonters will be participating in Junior Nationals this year as a part of the New England Nordic Ski Association Team. There are 10 athletes competing from the Mansfield Nordic Club, as well as others from clubs like the Green Mountain Valley School, the Stratton Mountain School and the Craftsbury Ski Club.

Let's hear it for all these young Vermont athletes who have worked so hard to represent our state and our region at the 2024 JNs!

Paul Hochanadel

Burlington

Don't Like the Logo

["The University of Vermont to Unveil a New Logo," February 26]: UVM's new logo, if one can even call it that, is essentially soulless. The casual viewer might think it stands for Virginia, Vanderbilt, Vanderpump, Vendetta — maybe even Prince Valiant, given the shield. Nothing in it relates to the University of Vermont. (OK, it's green.) In addition to wondering how much money was spent to achieve this result, I see this stark, single letter as a further symbol of the corporatization of higher education.

Eloise Boyle

Lake Forest Park, WA

Boyle is a 1979 graduate of UVM.

Better Bottle Bill

[Re "Vermont Senate Fails to Override Veto of Bottle Bill Expansion," January 23; Feedback: "Off the Bottle Bill," February 14]: While lobbying heavily against expanding Vermont's bottle bill to cover more beverages, John Casella sits on the board of Vermont's Green Up Day. The irony isn't lost on us.

Over 50 years ago, we were proud of our state when it enacted one of the nation's first bottle bills. The bill and we have aged since then. We are not sure how many more years we will be able to pick up all the beverage containers along Route 116 between the Prayer Rock in Bristol and Rocky Dale that don't fall under the bottle bill but might have if not for Gov. Phil Scott's veto of its proposed expansion.

Sen. Dick Sears wrote to us that his failure to vote to override the veto was based on the complexity of the proposed expansion. He said he supports expanding the bill to cover more beverage containers. So, we invited him to introduce a better bottle bill next session. Perhaps Vermont can look east to Maine, where more beverages are already covered, for a less complicated bill?

Dave Rosen and Carol Clauss

Bristol

Don't Prosecute Children

[Re "No Room in the System: A 14-Year-Old's Murder Arrest Draws Attention to Vermont's Lack of a Juvenile Facility," November 8]: In the state of Vermont, children as young as 14 must be prosecuted in criminal court if they are accused of committing one of 12 egregious offenses known as "the Big 12."

Violent crimes cause devastating grief and warrant serious consequences. However, punitive interpretations of justice give me pause, especially when they impact minors.

We do not allow children to smoke, drink, vote or drive without restrictions because of their well-recognized lack of judgment. So why are we treating them like adults in our courtrooms? We are conditioned to act with a sense of urgency when the stakes are high. Social issues are bearing down on our state, and serious crimes are being committed. We fear a society bereft of accountability.

We don't have to prosecute children as adults to hold them accountable. The family division of the superior court ought to maintain exclusive jurisdiction over delinquency proceedings involving individuals who have not yet reached the age of 18. This would afford juvenile offenders private proceedings and a better chance at rehabilitation. It would not excuse them from consequences.

I don't believe our state will be safer if we continue to try children in adult criminal courts. Furthermore, I feel morally obligated to suggest that continuing this practice will disproportionately harm some of the most disenfranchised, vulnerable members of our population.

Cara Gallagher

Hinesburg

'An Example to All'

[Re "'Mr. Helpful': Catching Up With David Corey, the 'Angel' of Burlington's City Hardware," February 21]: As a regular customer at City Hardware on College Street, I've had many interactions with David. His genuine, friendly nature is hard to forget.

Visiting on a Saturday for the first time in months, I looked for David. We both smiled, then he said, "I saved something for you." He'd saved socks in the back for months, knowing I need them every day! So very, very touched — but not surprised — that he remembered.

His genuine nature, gestures and smile have been consistent for years. Glad this exceptional and kind person has been recognized as an example to all.

Sherry Brown

Burlington

Representing Whom?

[Re "Wild Bill: Long at Odds With Vermont's Fish and Wildlife Board, Activists Would Like to Strip Its Powers," February 28]: As a hunter and a fisher, I find that some of the most powerful arguments in support of hunting and fishing are that they can be among the most ethical ways to feed one's family, especially compared to industrially farmed food. Humans are a part of the land and ecosystems — if we eat fish from Lake Champlain, we become a part of that ecosystem, which can deepen our responsibilities to it.

What seems missing in the debate about changes to Vermont's Fish and Wildlife Board are honest conversations about how we want to relate to the other species we share Vermont with — questions that are ethical and moral in nature — not legal or scientific. Arguments that we should do something because it is "legal" or "traditional" avoid engagement with these questions and deny Vermonters the chance to hear some of the other reasons people value hunting and fishing.

Not all hunters and fishers support all currently legal forms of hunting. Is chasing coyotes through the woods with a pack of dogs (who are fed on factory-farmed meat) really how we want to relate to coyotes? Should we restore a flood-prone cornfield to wetland to provide an opportunity for beaver trapping and duck hunting, in addition to flood resilience? Everyone in Vermont is relating to wildlife every day, through living, driving and eating in this state. It seems like having a wide representation on the Fish and Wildlife Board would make it better equipped to answer these questions.

Kristian Brevik

South Burlington

Say No to S.258

In my opinion, Sen. Chris Bray has failed to demonstrate why the current board composition at the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department needs modifications ["Wild Bill: Long at Odds With Vermont's Fish and Wildlife Board, Activists Would Like to Strip Its Powers," February 28]. He argues that he is representing a portion of society that's not represented but has no names or lists to share with the public. One group, I would say, is Vermont's Protect Our Wildlife. These groups he represents are upset because trapping is not 50 feet off the trail and coyote hunting with dogs has continued. One could argue that the board he wants to replace failed to do what he thought should have happened last year with regard to legislation. Is S.258 an emotional response? What biologists are we listening to?

These groups lobby for their cause using manipulation and disregard for the voices of state biologists and the Fish and Wildlife Board, who understand the ecological balance better than anyone else. There have been many updated versions of S.258. I can't even find 3.1 or 3.2. Most of the time in the hearings, the argument has seemed to focus on trapping and coyote hunting with hardly any discussion of changing the structure of the board.

Can we please be honest? S.258 is an attempt to gain momentum on ending certain forms of hunting that certain small-interest groups desire. Let's protect our traditions, ecosystems and the right to sustainable harvest from decisions made without comprehensive dialogue or understanding.

Jeremy Ayotte

Fletcher

Woods for All

Wildlife advocates are not anti-hunting ["Wild Bill: Long at Odds With Vermont's Fish and Wildlife Board, Activists Would Like to Strip Its Powers," February 28]. We like to be in the woods, enjoying wildlife, hearing coyotes sing at night, being comfortable in the woods. We are against cruelty to animals.

Sending four healthy hounds with a very strong prey drive out to chase down bears and coyotes is inherently cruel and inhumane. We need to change how the Fish and Wildlife Board is set up to include Vermonters who enjoy wildlife but don't hunt or trap them.

Maureen Dwyer

Barre Town

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