Letters to the Editor (6/15/22) | Seven Days Vermont

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Letters to the Editor (6/15/22) 

Published June 15, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

Liquor versus Beer

I was disappointed that while "Vermont Legislature Expands Market for Ready-to-Drink Spirits Beverages" [June 7] made reference to the beer industry's opposition to H.730, it failed to include the industry's statement on the legislation.

Liquor-based RTDs belong in liquor stores — not on grocery shelves with Vermont brewers. While Vermont legislators recognized that liquor is different from beer, H.730 was a massive handout to the liquor industry at the expense of Vermont taxpayers and brewers.

Relinquishing distribution rights and moving liquor-based RTDs out of Vermont's state-run 802 liquor stores will drastically reduce state revenue and undermine the responsible drinking message that the beer industry has long supported. Vermont has a thriving local beer industry that was hit hard by the pandemic, and as local brewers recover, legislation like this puts the local industry at a disadvantage by giving a tax cut to out-of-state liquor companies.

Alex Davidson

Washington, D.C.

Davidson is director of public affairs for the Beer Institute, which represents the beer industry in the United States.

Misdemeanor Is Not Enough

[Re "Former St. Albans Cop Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Handcuffed Woman," May 18]: It is disgusting and a total shame to hear that a former officer of St. Albans, Jason Lawton, was charged with a measly misdemeanor after assaulting a woman multiple times who had been handcuffed and doing what? Kicking a door. Maybe prompts were given to stop, but there was and is no need to get physical for a behavior that is minuscule.

I am a professional in the human services field. On a daily basis, I am confronted with aggression, both physical and verbal, as well as many other types of behavior that puts me and my colleagues in unsafe situations. What do I have in my tool belt to de-escalate a situation? My words and the rapport I have with the client. If I were to respond to someone who was in my custody the way that Lawton responded, I would be charged with way more than a misdemeanor.

I'm appalled at the Vermont Attorney General's Office. This is just playing into the unjust system that corrupt law enforcement officers get to take advantage of when they fail to do their duty: protect and serve. This system is failing. Assistant attorney general Paul Barkus, his team and the state are failing us.

Andrea Dimedio


Wrong Word

[Re From the Publisher: "Cover to Cover," June 8]: Your use of the word "schizophrenic" as a skill is both inaccurate and insensitive and shows a serious ignorance of the serious mental illness afflicting approximately 1 percent of the population of the entire world. I have several family members who suffer from this mental illness, and it is not a skill.

Please consider assigning a reporter to research this illness and report accurately on it.

Phyllis Tarbell, RN BSN

Crown Point, N.Y.

Editor's note: We got a number of emails and Facebook comments last week questioning this word choice. Merriam-Webster dictionary offers two definitions of schizophrenia: The first, medical definition details the mental illness; the second, lay definition is "contradictory or antagonistic qualities or attitudes" — precisely the meaning the writer sought to express. We appreciate the feedback and will be more thoughtful about language related to mental illness in the future.

Gray Area

["In Vermont's U.S. House Race, D.C. Insiders, Lobbyists Sign Up for Team Molly Gray," May 18] states that Molly Gray is "the establishment pick" for Vermont's lone congressional seat and that she's raised "tens of thousands of dollars from federal lobbyists."

The "establishment" knows something the article omitted: Gray's website touts her work "with the U.S. government" in Iraq "to launch the International Code of Conduct Association; the first global initiative mandated to oversee compliance of private security contractors with human rights." 

That organization was so far on the wrong side of human rights that it was the subject of a 20-page report, "Mercenaries Unleashed," by War on Want, a UK human rights organization, which wrote: "The [International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers and the International Code of Conduct Association] act as fig leaves for the [private military and security company] industry to legitimise its actions."

Two scholarly articles amplify that point. One reports that the "human rights" organization and the so-called "code of conduct" Gray worked for were created for mere "rebranding" and "self-regulation" of the U.S. mercenaries: Their purposes were merely "to counter the negative perceptions" about the mercenary industry. 

The other goes further, stating that the "self-regulation" enabled by the so-called code of conduct "lets states off the hook in terms of ensuring that private security companies abide by their obligations, but in doing so this allows states to evade their own obligations to protect human rights."

That Gray touts her record whitewashing mercenaries says much about her and the establishment supporting her.

James Leas

South Burlington

Advice for the Flynn

[Re "The Next Stage," June 1]: I've seen countless shows at the Flynn over the past 20-plus years. I've been hit up to donate or become a member about as many times, and I decline every time. Right here in one of the best live-music towns, the Flynn makes little effort to tap into that market or accommodate fans between the ages of 18 and 50, who would happily pay more money to dance and drink.

A reasonable bar program would make money and do wonders for the experience. Adults don't like to wait 30 minutes in line and drink beer and wine out of sippy cups! The service model of pouring cans into plastic is outrageously inefficient and creates so much waste. The cleaning cost of the occasional spill on the precious upholstery is worth it. Selling cans of beer and wine (rather than taking the time to pour them in plastic that costs money and turns into waste) is such an obvious step to take — one the Flynn leadership could overhear from fans at every show if they listened.

Now, I know I'm getting a little footloose here, but they could even allow dancing — gasp! — and develop a flexible seating situation that allows removable chairs or standing room only for some shows. Right now, it seems to this live-music fan that the Flynn's board still thinks rock and roll is the devil's music and drinking is sinful.

Jonny Adler


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