In his article about a proposed wind development ["Irasburg Howls Over Wind Turbine Plan," December 9], Seven Days reporter Mark Davis did not challenge the implication of David Blittersdorf's desire to "force Irasburg to 'do its part' to combat global warming." Davis and all Vermonters should know that even the head of the Public Service Department is now saying what those who oppose these developments have been saying all along: Industrial wind does not reduce our carbon emissions.
Most Vermonters refuse to be "forced" to trade away the natural world they live in for false, feel-good monuments to greenness that greedy developers are selling to us as solutions. As long as we allow developers to disguise themselves as "green-avengers," we will be aiding and abetting business-as-usual exploitation and blocking real solutions from being pursued.
Three weeks ago, yet another mass shooting on American soil left 14 dead in San Bernardino, Calif. A subsequent Seven Days web article discussed the gun-control debate that will undoubtedly be an integral part of the 2016 campaign season in Vermont. [Off Message: "Gun Groups Expect Vigorous Debate in Vermont Elections," December 4] provided a well-balanced examination of a nationwide debate that is becoming increasingly relevant here at home. Vermont has a long history of supporting gun rights. We are a liberal state and believe heavily in the Second Amendment right to bear arms. However, we must also believe in continuing our 220-year history of being one of the nation's safest and most peaceful places to live.
The United States finds itself in an epidemic of mass gun violence in 2015. According to an article by the BBC, more than 12,000 Americans have been killed this year by firearms, and 353 mass shootings have taken place. While arguments for gun rights are made, citing firearms as a way to solve gun violence and preserve personal safety, statistics have shown that the risks and consequences of gun use far outweigh the benefits.
Despite our largely pro-gun population, Vermont must be among the nation's leaders in creating legislation that will increase background checks for legal gun purchasers, increase limitations on obtaining high-capacity ammunition and semiautomatic weapons, and promote safe gun use. We do not have to get rid of guns, but we must be willing to obtain them legally and possess them in the safest way possible.
[Re Fair Game: "Suspended Animation," December 9]: As a young woman from Franklin County, a former state senate candidate and, most importantly, a constituent, I am distressed that Sen. Norm McAllister (R-Franklin) has not yet resigned from office. He is absolutely entitled to the presumption of innocence until he is proven guilty. He is not entitled to a seat in the Vermont Senate.
In addition to the criminal charges he faces, Sen. McAllister has admitted to having a sexual relationship with a minor. While not technically illegal, most reasonable people would conclude that a 60-plus-year-old man engaging in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl is, at best, extremely inappropriate. His accuser worked as his campaign intern and as a legislative aide for him while the Senate was in session. For this reason alone, McAllister should resign.
As a former legislative page and Statehouse intern, I am appalled that McAllister could be permitted to be in contact with these young people. I can guarantee that if this situation had occurred when I was in the building, there is no way my parents would have allowed me to work there. It's a disservice to the many young people who work, intern and volunteer in our Statehouse for McAllister to continue serving as a state senator.
McAllister should do the right thing: let his constituents be represented by someone who is capable of fulfilling the role of state senator. Resignation would not be an admission of guilt, but rather an admission that he cannot fulfill his obligation to his constituents at this time.
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott should not be elected governor in 2016 [Off Message: "At Robust Rally, Phil Scott Calls for 'Focus on Fundamentals,'" December 1]. His policies would take Vermont in a far-right direction. Scott, for example, opposes paid sick days for workers in our state. Almost everyone at one point in time gets sick and needs time off from work. A lot of people in Vermont can't afford to lose pay during the time they miss while they're sick. Scott's position on this issue would make you lose out on the pay you deserve. It basically punishes a person for getting sick. Phil Scott also opposes raising our minimum wage. The living wage in Vermont is currently $13. That is not near our current minimum wage of $9.15. Scott needs to realize that people can't live on our current minimum wage and shouldn't be forced to.
Phil Scott changed his opinion on the Syrian refugee issue in a week's time. He originally said we should put a halt to Syrian refugees coming to Vermont. He later said that he supports the program that brings them in. Syrian refugees fleeing from the horrible civil war in their country deserve to know if they are welcomed to our state. Scott does them a great disservice by flip-flopping on the issue. These are just a few reasons why Phil Scott shouldn't be elected governor of Vermont. The state doesn't need someone as governor who takes far-right positions and flip-flops on important issues.