Letters to the Editor (6/12/24) | Seven Days Vermont

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Letters to the Editor (6/12/24) 

Published June 12, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.

Lesson Learned?

[Re "Burlington Police Terrified High School Students With Mock Shooting," June 6, online]: I am writing to express my support for Burlington High School teachers and their collaboration with the Burlington Police Department in creating an innovative and memorable curriculum regarding the ultra-serious, horrific and literally triggering topic of gun violence.

In a world ravaged by global and local problems, I was shocked that this story made national news. This is concerning given the magnitude of mortality and morbidity that can be seen blocks away from the high school. Profound post-pandemic depression, poverty and suffering — where were the stories about the violence, racism, social injustice just outside school walls? The irony of a high school in a shopping mall ill-suited for the danger nearby seems to have been missed in this bizarre nonstory.

As someone who has been mandated to sit through anemic, counterproductive, forgettable trainings on a variety of issues, including shooter drills, I applaud any creativity and innovation in the presentation. Hopefully this small classroom of students will use this information in a transformative way. I pray they will not have to use it in an actual survival situation.

George Romero's Dawn of the Dead, which also took place in a shopping mall, showed how those on the fringe survived.

Wayne Warnken


School Choice for All

[Re "Saunders Warns of State Intervention if Struggling School District Doesn't Shape Up," May 29, online]: I read with interest Alison Novak's article concerning Agency of Education interim Secretary Zoie Saunders' efforts to call to account Windham Southwest Supervisory Union, as well as the educational establishment's response, voiced as a concern about her "ability to effectively advocate for and lead Vermont's public education system."

As an attorney who has worked on educational choice issues on behalf of parents and kids for the past seven years, I have heard horror stories about the problems kids confront in public schools. I have been struck by the educational establishment's lack of concern for these kids. The educational establishment advocates for schools, voters, administrators and even, on occasion, taxpayers. It never advocates for the kids. Here, Windham is failing its kids, and the establishment is concerned about the "public education system." Holding the system to account is precisely what public education needs. But the article reveals the political pressure on the Agency of Education not to enforce its standards, so accountability in Vermont is held hostage by powerful political and bureaucratic forces.

The solution: pro-choice for all Vermont parents of Vermont schoolchildren. Vermont's school choice system — the oldest in the country — has worked well for kids in mostly rural, poorer sections of Vermont. If all parents were given the power of choice, then the public school system would be strengthened by an accountability that at least some members of the educational establishment, according to this article, fear and oppose.

Deborah Bucknam


Go, 'Girl Bosses'

Kudos to Seven Days for the captivating article about Lawson's Finest Liquids' first hired CEO, Adeline Druart ["Ray of Sunshine," May 29]. Her courage, focus and tenacity in forging her path from France to America and then achieving not one but two outstanding pinnacles in tough, usually male-led industries, are reasons enough for young people of any gender to take note.

Her proud declaration that she "didn't go to CEO school" made me like her even more, because her authenticity as a collaborative leader is innate. When I was earning my MBA at New York University 15 years ago, case histories lauding dictatorial male CEOs were still the norm. Newly minted MBAs who became the "girl bosses" of the aughts gladly emulated them, but when their companies' bottom lines plummeted, their investors replaced them with more collaborative leaders.

That Druart nailed her interview with the Lawsons by preparing a meticulous presentation that was all about the Lawson family's legacy, the company's values and its future, rather than focusing on her own accomplishments, should be a lesson for every leader. Moreover, her diligence in engaging every employee one-on-one for their personal story, as well as their advice for her, is evidence of her astuteness in leading a beloved family company still poised for growth.

Here's looking forward to more good news about Druart and her success in continuing the Lawson's Finest Liquids legacy. MBA programs, take note!

Liz DiMarco Weinmann


Override H.289

[Re "Scott Vetoes Renewable Energy Bill," May 23, online]: Gov. Phil Scott says he vetoed H.289, the Renewable Energy Standard, because of the cost — as though we can afford not to invest heavily in new local and regional renewable energy.

H.289 is the result of a historic agreement between Vermont's utilities, who have long resisted significant steps toward renewables, and climate and environmental groups, representing all of us who understand just how critical this moment is and how steep the future cost will be for today's children and their children if we let shortsightedness keep us from acting now.

There's no need for Vermont ratepayers to shoulder unaffordable costs, either — the legislature has instructed the Public Utility Commission to assess the need for a statewide ratepayer protection program to ensure that everyone can afford their electricity bills. There's also more federal money available now than ever to support our transition to renewable energy. And Vermont's new Climate Superfund Act aims to get restitution from those most responsible for this crisis: the fossil fuel companies who have reaped vast profits from destabilizing the climate.

Scott's alternate plan might pretend to be cheaper, but it takes us further from the clean, resilient energy grid we need. Fortunately, we still have a chance to pass H.289 with a legislative veto override on June 17. I hope our legislators realize that a vote against the Renewable Energy Standard is a vote against a safe and affordable future, while a vote for the standard is a historic win that will safeguard Vermonters for generations to come.

Marisa Keller


Fix 'Irresponsible' Veto

The Vermont state legislature should override Gov. Phil Scott's veto of H.289, the Renewable Energy Standard ["Scott Vetoes Renewable Energy Bill," May 23, online.] We need to act now to make sure Vermont's electricity is clean, reliable and affordable.

Investing in local renewable energy makes sense for our state economy and for generations of future Vermonters.

The effects of climate change are already costing our state millions of dollars — for example, in flood cleanup. It is irresponsible not to do what we can to reduce air pollution and ecosystem damage from our power supply.

We can't afford to delay this important action.

Matthew LeFluer


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