Letters to the Editor (6/26/24) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (6/26/24) 

Published June 26, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.

Utilities Invest in Renewables

Many Vermonters agree that climate change and its impacts are a critical challenge. We need to have accurate information on initiatives to address this situation. Unfortunately, Seven Days readers may have been confused or misled by an erroneous allegation in a June 12 letter [Feedback: "Override H.289"] claiming that "Vermont's utilities ... have long resisted significant steps toward renewables."

Burlington Electric Department, Washington Electric Co-op and Swanton Electric have maintained 100 percent renewable power supply status for a number of years. Just how does this constitute long resistance to significant steps toward renewables?

It's worth noting that, with the exception of Green Mountain Power, all of Vermont's electric utilities are not-for-profit, publicly controlled entities: two consumer-owned and democratically governed cooperatives and 14 disparate municipally owned departments.

Generically demonizing "the utilities" as somehow being aligned in lockstep against the public interest ignores this fact and works to discourage stakeholder commitment to collaborate on effective solutions.

Barry Bernstein

East Calais

Roger Fox


Bernstein and Fox are both retired member-elected directors of Washington Electric Co-op.

No Explanation?

[Re "Lawmaker Apologizes to House for 'Wet-Bagging' Incidents," June 17; "Lawmaker Offers an Apology, but No Explanation, for Soaking a Rival's Stuff," June 12; "Lawmaker Releases Spy Cam Video of a Rival Dumping Water in His Bag," June 11; "A Lawmaker's Bag Was Repeatedly Drenched, and Now a Colleague Faces a Probe," June 7]: To say that I'm appalled at Rep. Mary Morrissey's behavior would be putting it mildly.

Lurking, stalking — whatever you want to call her repeated watching and waiting for Rep. Jim Carroll to arrive and hang his canvas bag outside his committee room just to pour water into it — is at a minimum bizarre, if not a sign of something more serious. To apologize yet go on to say that she doesn't have an explanation is a huge red flag. Even the more high-profile politicians who are perpetrating the decline of basic decency in this country know to blame someone or something, no matter how misguided. I think we can all agree that Vermont is no place for a 5-year-old's antics, especially in our Statehouse.

Jennifer Smith

South Burlington

Bad Citizen!

[Re "Lawmaker Apologizes to House for 'Wet-Bagging' Incidents," June 19]: Curious: Did you intentionally place an ad for the Good Citizen Challenge on the same page as your story of Rep. Mary Morrissey's apology to Rep. Jim Carroll for "wet-bagging"?

Lizbeth Ryan


More Apologies

We live in a world of adolescent adult behavior, much of it blatant and without apology ["Lawmaker Offers an Apology, but No Explanation, for Soaking a Rival's Stuff," June 12].

Harold Maio

Fort Myers, FL

A Time for Statesmanship

What a shock to read that two members of the Vermont legislature were entangled in this way ["Lawmaker Apologizes to House for 'Wet-Bagging' Incidents," June 17; "Lawmaker Offers an Apology, but No Explanation, for Soaking a Rival's Stuff," June 12; "Lawmaker Releases Spy Cam Video of a Rival Dumping Water in His Bag," June 11; "A Lawmaker's Bag Was Repeatedly Drenched, and Now a Colleague Faces a Probe," June 7]! Where are the leadership skills in communication and the standards of integrity in our body of elected officials?

How can we remedy this failure of leadership and educate our elected officials to rise to the necessary political statesmanship required to function effectively for the common good of all?

Dianne Pierson


'Please Come Back'

One would never know to look at Dakota Burr, featured in the cover article ["'We're Leaving': Winooski's Bargain Real Estate Attracted a Diverse Group of Residents for Years. Now They're Being Squeezed Out," May 1], that he is more vested in Vermont than most people reading Seven Days.

Sixty years ago, when I moved to Vermont, I met his mother, her four sisters in 'fros and caftans, and an amazing entourage of artists and musicians from New York City, at a time when the best communication was on a wired phone multiparty line.

For those of us who felt culturally starved, their house was full of intrigue and wonder. Some of their children went to the two-room public school where I went for eighth grade. The children of Art Blakey of the Jazz Messengers — Dakota's cousins — were there, too. Blakey's son is a performance artist and scat singer and lives in Vermont.

In the 1980s, Dakota's father teamed up as a singer with the stellar jazz trio Sklar, Grippo & Salisbury to become Pure Pressure. They were always a blast and in huge demand.

I feel for Dakota because his parents died young from disease and he doesn't have them. My words may not help, but I want to say that 60 years ago, the young people who were from here moved away because there were no jobs. They left, made money and came back.

Kids, if you have to leave, please come back!

Mimi Clark


Love Animals, Don't Eat Them

I recently read your piece on Rock Point in Burlington and felt compelled to respond ["Urban Oasis: Once Off-Limits, Burlington's Rock Point Is Gradually Welcoming the Public," May 22]. The article beautifully describes the idyllic scene of fuzzy sheep grazing under the watchful eye of a kind shepherd, emphasizing how these animals replace gas mowers. This pastoral image is shattered when the article mentions that the lambs will be slaughtered for a feast.

At a time when we face a climate emergency fueled significantly by animal agriculture and are increasingly aware of the health risks of eating meat and the sentience of animals, it seems contradictory to celebrate the nurturing of these sheep only to condone their killing. Children, who naturally empathize with animals, are understandably distressed by the notion that these cared-for sheep will be killed. This disconnect between the affection shown to the animals and their eventual slaughter is a harsh lesson potentially undermining our efforts to foster compassion in younger generations.

If we aim to cultivate empathy and compassion in our children, we must align our actions with these values, creating a direct and honest connection between the food on our plates and the lives affected by our choices. To be a more compassionate society, we must also change how we treat the animals in our care. It is time we reconsider the ethics of raising animals only to end their lives prematurely.

While it is "normal" to elicit warm feelings about our farm animals only to later eat them, the crises we face suggest we should start creating a new normal.

Susan Buchanan


WTF, Jazz Fest?

[Re "The Shape of Jazz to Come," "Keeping Time," "Life Stories: Joseph "Joe" Moore Jr.," "Seven Can't-Miss Shows at Burlington Discover Jazz Festival," June 5]: I read — and reread — the recent coverage of Burlington Discover Jazz Festival with mixed emotions. Not the least of those feelings was bemusement at the paucity — downright absence?! — of such coverage when the event was at its arguable peak, from roughly 2002 through 2019.

And I must confess I bristled at a couple of points, too: Cécile McLorin Salvant's observation about the preeminence of the visual over the aural in musical interactions sounded like a thinly disguised criticism of musicians who rely on the innate drama of their instrumental action(s) instead of engaging in overt theatrics.

Then there was the barely camouflaged ageism in reference to artists of older vintage, such as the late Wayne Shorter; the son of an icon himself, Joshua Redman, headlined the Flynn Main Stage in 2023. Meanwhile, there's a plethora of brilliant creative minds (decidedly younger than this septuagenarian writer), including Brad Mehldau, Tania Giannouli, Julian Lage and Fred Hersch, who, were they on the bill alongside, say Robert Glasper and this year's curator, Adi Oasis, would effectively complement their presence and more fully depict the expanse of the jazz universe.

Watching the (d)evolution of what once was a glorious 10-day run called Burlington Discover Jazz, I can only theorize it's either lack of funds or knowledge that has handicapped the enterprise in the past three years (even apart from its lack of local jazz artistry). Knowing full well how the art form reinvents itself, I still hope the festival will ascend to new heights by its 50th anniversary.

Doug Collette

South Burlington

Great Review

I confess: I think I just read my first Seven Days Music + Nightlife review and thoroughly enjoyed it! ["State of the Jazz Union: Reflections on Burlington Discover Jazz Festival," June 12] by Chris Farnsworth painted a great picture of no doubt one of Burlington's greatest music nights for entertainment with Big Freedia and Adi Oasis. Credit Chris for finding the low notes but slowly raising the reader up in an enthusiastic review and seeing Burlington rise with the music, like a phoenix, as host to some blistering music!

Robert "Bob" Devost


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