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Letters to the Editor (9/2/15) 

Published September 2, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. | Updated September 7, 2015 at 11:20 a.m.

Sanders Staffer Says...

[Re Fair Game: "Anger Management," August 26]: This article does a poor job of being balanced. The headline is a cheap swipe. Using multiple unnamed sources to make irreverent accusations against the senator (like he's "an asshole") is textbook yellow journalism and tells us nothing substantive.

As a former Bernie staffer, I never saw evidence of an "anger management" problem. What Bernie does have is a low tolerance for BS. I can confirm that Bernie isn't an easy person to work for: He has exacting standards; he doesn't like mistakes; he expects staff to work as hard as he does. But I never once felt abused as a worker or like my rights were violated. On the contrary, I always felt valued and appreciated. I was paid well. I took sick days when I needed to. I even took a week off during the height of the campaign to get married and have a short honeymoon!

Campaigns are high-stakes environments not suited to everybody. If you want to work for Bernie, he sets the bar pretty high. But, frankly, shouldn't he? Bernie is serious about trying to make our state and country better for working families. He wants serious people working for him.

Trying to say Bernie doesn't "practice what he preaches" in terms of workers' rights is ridiculous and unsubstantiated editorializing on the part of Mr. Heintz. And if he's going to try and claim that Bernie mistreats his workers, he should have some real facts to point to and should talk to more former Bernie employees.

Kelly Mangan


Mangan was a field director during Bernie Sanders' 2012 Senate campaign and is executive director of the Vermont Progressive Party.

Poor Portrayal

I couldn't disagree more with the most recent Fair Game column ["Anger Management," August 26]. It would make Peter Freyne blush.

I worked for Sen. Bernie Sanders in both his House and Senate office as an outreach representative. Bernie and I spent nearly every weekend and many weeknights together, driving to various events around Vermont. Bernie was a great boss to work for, and I learned so much from my time with him. Was he tough? Yes. Did he demand excellence? Yes. But what boss isn't? Do we all have to like our boss all the time?

What is missing from the story is the more personal side of Bernie. He is a caring and compassionate person, even if he may not wear it on his sleeve. I can't tell you the number of meals we shared or the times he made sure I got home safely after a long night. Even though I was a very junior staffer, Bernie always checked in and offered helpful suggestions. I am grateful and proud of my time as a Bernie staffer.

As for the anonymous staffers, shame on you. You didn't use your name because you were afraid your words would hurt you professionally. But I bet each and every one of you lists your time with Bernie on your résumé, and I am sure you have used it to get a job at some point. Next time you want to criticize, you should be willing to use your name.

JP Isabelle

Barre Town

Isabelle worked for Sanders between 2005 and 2007.

Good Boss

[Re Fair Game: "Anger Management," August 26]: I worked for Bernie Sanders for 18 years — seven years in city hall and 11 years in his congressional office. As a boss, Bernie expected dedication, hard work and loyalty — and he gave dedication, hard work and loyalty in return. He reprimanded me a couple of times, but he never once yelled at me. I considered him a good, and inspiring, boss.

Jim Rader


Rader was the Burlington city clerk from 1982 to 1993.

Oui, Plattsburgh

Plattsburgh International Airport's marketing strategy may be "nothing subtle" ["Taking Off: Plattsburgh Airport Is Drawing More Flights, Travelers," August 26], but it surely exploits their great asset — proximity to Montréal. This is one of Burlington's great assets, too, yet we fail to make the best use of it. It is four years since our city council unanimously endorsed French-friendliness as smart policy and a surefire development strategy, yet the administration has failed to act. Our airport does intend some day to hang more bilingual signage, and its magazine's content has been bilingual for several years. But by contrast, our annual Experience Burlington tourist publication doesn't bother to translate its articles, and our Department of Public Works has consciously passed up the chance to give us a bilingually welcoming streetscape. DPW's still-awaited "wayfinding" street-signage revamp uses almost no French. Plattsburgh has attractive bilingual street signs.

There are more native French speakers than native English speakers within two hours of here. Someone should be working on that.

The Burlington School District has a new superintendent, Yaw Obeng of Ontario, who has worked in French-English bilingual school districts for his whole career. As the city council put it back in 2011: "The Burlington Public Schools ... should ... ensure that all area youth acquire basic familiarity with the French language..." Perhaps the new school superintendent can get the 2011 city council's very sensible idea to move forward, since the mayor hasn't.

Steve Norman


True to SoBu

Thanks so much for the clear and timely article by Molly Walsh about politics in South Burlington ["Suburban Spat: Rivalries Flare Around South Burlington Ag Group," July 22]. Because South Burlington is both suburban and rural — there's a large dairy farm in the city as well as many housing developments — we're also on the cusp of 21st- century environmental and economic conflicts. Please, residents, if you don't have time to volunteer in city politics, then let us, who do participate, know your desires and needs. We want to hear from you.

Sophie Quest

South Burlington

Quest is a member of the South Burlington Planning Commission and the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Subcommittee of the city council.

Vessel Virtues

I read Ken Picard's article, "Bliss in a Box" [August 19] about the Life Vessel, with great interest, as I have been using this technology for the last year and a half for purposes of relaxation and healing. I agree with the description of how meditative it is to go into the Life Vessel. It has helped me to go to deeper levels with my meditation practice. Some folks use it to enhance their athletic performance, and it has been helpful to me in increasing energy and resetting my system for more restful sleep. Wendy Halley, of Lucid Path Wellness, is interested in researching the technology. I am excited about the prospects of using the Life Vessel to help with trauma recovery. We are very lucky to have a Life Vessel in Vermont, and I hope more people will take the chance to find out what this health care innovation might do for them.

Jennifer Decker

South Burlington

Rebel With a Cause

[Re Off Message: "Man Takes Aim at South Burlington High School's 'Rebels' Name," August 20; "'Rebels' Moniker Debated in South Burlington," August 3]: The SBHS community made a mistake in choosing colors and a mascot associated with a confederacy. If you take away the colors, mascot and music, is the word "rebel" still offensive? We have allowed this word to connect with only one of history's many rebels. Our world, country and city have been influenced by rebels; a rebel being a person or group of people that are in opposition to the status quo because they believe their cause is right and justified for the greater good. From freedom fighters and civil rights activists to the modern day Black Lives Matter movement: You are all rebels. The women who fought for equal rights: You are all rebels. The people who fought for LGBT equal rights: You are all rebels. The greatest scientific minds and their discoveries: They were all rebels. The inventors and entrepreneurs that have changed our lives: You are all rebels.

If the school colors were red, white and blue, with a creed that said "Rebels, fighting for a better tomorrow" and a mascot of a person pulling the world over a hill, would this be offensive? There is more than one kind of rebel — not all are bad. Instead of changing the SBHS school name, can we retain the name "Rebels" and empower this word correctly in the spirit of those that brought us the amazing city of South Burlington and made it one of the best places to live in the country?

Paul Frail

Cherry Hill, N.J.

Frail grew up in South Burlington.

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