Letters to the Editor (2/5/20) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (2/5/20) 

Published February 5, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. | Updated February 18, 2020 at 5:32 p.m.

Climate Correction

It was great to see your recent article on our inaugural Climate Action Film Festival ["Action Movies," January 29]. Thank you for helping us spread the word about solutions to the climate crisis. The article was spot-on, and very well written, with one exception. I am the curator of the festival, not my father, who is Duane Peterson II, copresident of SunCommon.

Duane Peterson III

Santa Cruz, CA

Del Pozo Has Paid

The latest reporting on Brandon del Pozo's activities seems like so much piling on [Off Message: "Despite Mayor's Instruction, del Pozo Kept Working While on Leave," January 24]. Despite a headline that promises cheap thrills, the body of the article reveals that the ex-chief sent out a whopping total of 19 emails in an approximately three-day period. Not boasting, but I often send that many in an hour. As the reporter herself concluded, the majority of those emails were "inconsequential." Del Pozo has already paid a heavy price. Why castigate him further for tying up loose ends before taking his leave? There is literally nothing to be seen here.

Brian Sullivan

South Burlington

Free Speech for All

It is telling that Peggy Luhrs — Burlington resident, longtime lesbian activist and founder of Gender Critical Vermont — was led to cancel a public discussion at the Fletcher Free Library [Off Message: "Amid Backlash, Group Cancels Burlington Talk on Transgender 'Agenda,'" January 27]. Apparently there can be no discussion regarding "the unforeseen consequences of the transgender agenda." How can there be a reasoned discourse of differing opinions if discussion isn't allowed? 

Opponents say a discussion on this topic would promote hate speech and violence. If any opposing view is considered hate speech, there is absolutely no room for sharing individual beliefs or concerns. One view is the only permitted view, with everyone else shut out. 

Is there truly a risk of violence from people desiring a legitimate discussion, or is the threat of violence more likely from the people fearing the discussion?

One group should not prevent another from exercising its First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and conduct a discussion. I do hope Gender Critical Vermont will find a venue to host its event.

Donna Otto

West Burke

TERF Battle

[Re Off Message: "Amid Backlash, Group Cancels Burlington Talk on Transgender 'Agenda,'" January 27]: Trans-exclusionary radical feminists: That describes Peggy Luhrs and her buddies. TERFs don't believe there is any such thing as transgender and consider female-to-male transsexuals as betraying women and male-to-female transsexuals as not women inside a man's body. They believe they are men no matter what. And TERFs think that male-to-female women are trying to take over women's lives.

This reminds me of the white supremacist belief that Jews will replace them and that black and brown people are going to rise up and take over. I'm sure Luhrs never thought she would be linked to such hate and discrimination, but here she is: hateful and transphobic. There is no "trans agenda." People are trying to be true to themselves and find a way toward comfort and a life they need. It's got nothing to do with you, Peggy. 

You should think about oppression and how you have been oppressed in your life. We don't need it from you or your fellow TERFs.

Christian Herrick

South Burlington

Bad Bet

[Re "Betting Man: Gov. Scott's Gambling Proposals Face Tough Odds in the Legislature," January 29]: After proposing a $3 million expansion of childcare subsidies in his 2020 budget address, Gov. Phil Scott urged that it be paid for by legalizing online sports betting and online keno gambling, to raise an estimated $4 million.

Has the governor looked into the extent to which this proposed expansion of the lottery would suck money from mothers and fathers — the very same Vermonters who need childcare assistance? As such, it's an ill-conceived scheme that is cruel and cynical.

Rather than Scott's approach of relying on a regressive tax to fund worthy programs such as additional childcare subsidies, there are many revenue sources that are not regressive and not dependent on the same folks who need those subsidies. Suggestions? How about getting those revenues from a small increase in the levy on discretionary expenditures, like golfing greens fees, auto-racing admissions, boat-mooring fees, premium gasoline sales, and sales of luxury and low-mileage vehicles? 

Hugo Liepmann


Thoughts on 'Mental'

[Re Off Message: "No Retreat? Brattleboro Mental Hospital's Future Is Uncertain," January 22]: We are learning that the illnesses we for so long pretended were "mental" have cause in the physical brain. Slowly, inexorably slowly, we are beginning to recognize that the modifier "mental" is wholly without basis.

Perhaps, when that language is fully abandoned, we will put the same effort — and funding — into researching mental illnesses as we have into cancers and heart diseases. Perhaps then we will see similar progress. 

Harold A. Maio

Fort Myers, FL

Who Does McCallum Work For?

Kevin McCallum's reporting on climate issues before the legislature reads like it was prepared in the press office of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group ["The Hot Seat: Critics Are Cool to Gov. Scott's Climate Policies," January 29].

McCallum: "Transportation & Climate Initiative, which would require wholesale fuel dealers to make payments that participating states would invest in greener transportation." Actually: TCI is a multistate scheme designed to drive up motor fuel prices paid by every Vermont motorist, and to use what dribbles back from a regional organization mainly to subsidize upscale electric vehicles that pay no motor fuel taxes to maintain the highways.

Even worse: McCallum wrote, "the Global Warming Solutions Act, which would allow private citizens to sue the state if it misses its emissions reductions goals." Actually: The GWSA, which would set up a legislatively controlled super-government that would direct bureaucrats to promulgate rules mandating anything and everything thought essential to achieving carbon emissions reduction requirements without any legislator ever having to vote on them, and would authorize anyone to sue state government if he or she believed the bureaucrats failed to go far enough fast enough — and pocket legal fees if they substantially prevail.

John McClaughry


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