Letters to the Editor (8/30/23) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (8/30/23) 

Published August 30, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.

Weinberger Is No Racist

During his tenure as Burlington mayor, Miro Weinberger may have made some mistakes — just like any other human being — but not one that rises to the level of being a racist.

The mayor has worked on many consequential issues, such as making the Racial, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Office what it is today. He made the city workforce more diverse and skillfully handled the protest that took place after the untimely and unjust death of George Floyd. He managed the COVID-19 city emergency with grace and grit. Through it all, the mayor has been kind and caring to all.

At a recent city council meeting, I was appalled to see the unfounded racist accusations hurled at Weinberger and the disregard for decorum exhibited during the public forum ["After Audit, Activists Rally in Burlington to Support Former Diversity Director," August 15]. Democracy is messy, but it is not a ticket to vulgarity. Children and families watch city council meetings.

Supporters of former REIB director Tyeastia Green are entitled to redress the city government of the day, just as the city is entitled to address any and all mishandling of city taxpayer funds by current and former city staff, regardless of rank.

Accusations of racism against Mayor Weinberger are not only unfounded and unhelpful but also unjust. He has consistently advocated for inclusivity, diversity and social justice. His administration's policies have reflected his commitment to building a city that values and respects every individual, regardless of their background.

Romeo Hermann


What About Cows?

I appreciated reading the various animal-related articles you all published in the Animal Issue [August 9]. One notable exception to your coverage was the hundreds of thousands of dairy cows who live and suffer in Vermont. While your exposé on the horny goat was funny ["Bang for the Buck: This Stud Has Just One Job, and He's the GOAT"], there are much more serious topics that could be covered. No mother wants to have her baby taken from her, and that is the basis of the conventional dairy industry. May we strive to do better in the future. Coverage of these important topics would help.

Courtney Dillard


Editor's note: On May 31, we published an entire issue of stories about Vermont's dairy farming industry. One of them, "Herd Mentality: The Life and Times of Cow No. 74," touched on this topic.

Repurposing Lesson

Thanks for highlighting the woes and hopes of Vermont State University ["Pass or Fail?" August 16]. What I'm not seeing in the article or in VTSU's goal statements are creative proposals for addressing urgent societal needs — proposals that could reverse the enrollment trend.

While entire dorms sit empty, Vermont prisons are full. An opioid epidemic and a growing overall culture of addiction constitute a modern plague. Vermont's recovery community and restorative justice community stand ready to help. But state and federal investment in treatment services, restorative justice and prevention education is minimal. Politicians pay lip service to shifting resources from punitive and minimalist to restorative and preventive.

Who is advocating for retrofitting both empty dorms at VTSU's Johnson campus (which already has courses in restorative justice and addiction counseling) for substance-free recovery communities? Instead of jailing people with addiction and mental health issues, offer an accountability-proof option of living in a community with other offenders and live-in treatment practitioners and student trainees. VTSU gains. And Vermont shows the world how compassionate individual treatment relates to the health of the wider society.

Michael Caldwell

North Wolcott

More on That Moose

There's much more that needs telling or research behind the demise of the moose on Main Street that got hit by a car in July ["Wrong Turn: How Did a Moose End Up Lost and Afraid in Burlington?" August 9]. Your story describes cops' indecisiveness on what firepower was needed to kill the injured moose and whose jurisdiction had control of the scene, as gawkers multiplied.

Had it been a person instead of a moose, would there have been such indecision about what to do? Aren't law enforcement agencies trained in such emergencies supposed to not only have adequate firepower to shoot what needs to be shot but also be trained in protection of crowds from possibly wayward bullets?

Why did the moose suddenly lay outside the jurisdiction of University of Vermont cops, forcing them to call Burlington cops? Isn't the corner of Main and Summit streets in the heart of the UVM campus? Why was there a jurisdictional issue? Don't emergencies transcend jurisdictional boundaries? The moose apparently never changed jurisdiction once it was hit by the car, so once UVM cops began their investigation, why suddenly did they decide that city cops needed to be called?

Lastly, the failure of the cops to have the proper guns to kill the injured moose would be comical, if not so obviously tragic and negligent.

Dan Cohen


On the Wake

Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources is in its final review of the new proposed rule to manage wake boat activity on Vermont's inland lakes and ponds ["New Proposed Wake Boat Rules Edge Toward a Compromise," June 20].

More than 90 verbal comments and 750 written comments came in, and the public is clamoring for a stronger rule. Comments overwhelmingly support strong regulation of wake boats operating at least 1,000 feet from shore. The Department of Environmental Conservation's weakened 500-foot rule is not adequate.

Currently, only 73 lakes in Vermont allow motorboats operating over 5 miles per hour. Many are small, shallow ponds obviously inappropriate for — and rarely, if ever, visited by — wake boats. Adding DEC's proposed rule, at a distance from shore of 500 feet, does not significantly change the situation.

In this way, the state manages to create the illusion of a solution without the reality of significant change.

The state's weakened 500-foot rule allows wake sports to dominate, claiming the deepest areas in the center of the lake. It includes no margin of error to accommodate future growth. Water quality will decline, along with the health and enjoyment of Vermont's lakes.

Nationally, Vermont enjoys a glowing reputation for good environmental practices. Here at home, we trust the state to safeguard our clean air, clean water and open land for future generations.

The people of Vermont insist upon true protection, not just symbolic protection without substance. Now is the time for Secretary Julie Moore and the Agency of Natural Resources to respond by restoring the distance from shore back to 1,000 feet, as originally proposed.

Meg Handler


Pop. Up

Having endured a very informative two-hour YouTube podcast on green energy just days before Gordon Spencer's excellent letter to the editor [Feedback: "Wind Power Is Dead," July 26], I feel compelled to respond. His statement that "Vermont [is the] toilet for solar developers" is exactly right. The panels are an ugly blight on the landscape. As a small state, we are often the victims of greedy investors and those who seek to politically exploit us.

My interest isn't energy; it's corrupt partnerships between corporations and governments. Taxpayers are being hoodwinked by their propaganda and robbed by both, via trillions in energy subsidies. The either-or narrative — dirty fossil fuels or green energy — is a false dichotomy. Other countries, including Canada, are turning to nuclear energy.

As an ex-member of Vermonters for a Sustainable Population, now Better (Not Bigger) Vermont, I'm inclined to trust Vermont's leading environmentalist, Bill McKibben. In his book, Maybe One, he noted, "The earth is becoming dangerously overcrowded." It's a very unpopular topic, and he took quite a shellacking for it. He rarely, if ever, mentions it these days.

Years ago, VSP commissioned a study of Burlington. Conclusion: Burlington is populated far beyond resource capacity. Since then, the population has increased by 2,000! The city's nonsensical solution: more growth. It's suffocating.

For something closer to the truth about energy options, I highly recommend enduring the Jordan Peterson video with Robert Bryce, author of A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations.

Marianne Ward


Tasty 'Treasure'

Just reading ["The Godfather of All Sandwiches: In Waitsfield, Mehuron's Makes Deli Offerings You Can't Refuse," August 15]. You couldn't have made a better choice! Mehuron's Supermarket is a treasure. Thank you!

June Anderson


Location, Location

[Re Last 7: "Scythe Season," August 16]: You got it right; the Addison County Fair & Field Days is the quintessential county fair and offers a lot of special features such as the hand-mowing competition. However, you got the location wrong. The fair is located in the town of New Haven, not Vergennes, which is two towns away.

Vermonters are generally proud of their towns and appreciate the recognition whenever their town is in the news. Seven Days has usually identified the correct municipality in its reporting, but I can't always say the same for some of our local TV stations, which frequently mistakenly identify the location of their on-site reporting.

With the technology so easily available today, there should be no excuse for incorrectly identifying one's location. And, of course, there are always those old reliable hard-copy maps that show municipal boundaries. A tip: Don't use zip codes as a location identifier. That can really screw you up. Keep up the reporting about those special Vermont events.

Hubie Norton


Editor's note: This error was corrected and documented soon after publication.

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