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Letters to the Editor 

Published October 27, 2010 at 4:11 a.m.

On Shumlin’s Side

A big thank-you to Sen. Richard Mazza for speaking out against Brian Dubie’s smear campaign and character assassination of Peter Shumlin [“Fair Game,” October 20]. The Peter Shumlin I know is a confident, articulate, vigorous politician but would never attempt to destroy an opponent’s character.

Peter has been working hard to keep to the issues and let the voters know who he is and what he stands for. Meanwhile, his opponent Brian Dubie and his buddies at the Republican Governors Association are playing cesspool politics and — simply put — lying about Shumlin’s proposal and his record.

Peter has built a successful business while at the same time getting many good things done for Vermont, like balancing the budgets and fighting for the rights of all Vermonters.

I trust Peter Shumlin to create good jobs, bring health care to all and improve access to early education. He has the legislative experience, leadership skills and integrity I want in our next governor.

Please join me in voting for Peter Shumlin for governor.

Pat Cram


Unsubstantiated Cartoon

I usually enjoy Tim Newcomb, but was offended by his Dubie-Shumlin cartoon on October 20.

Brian Dubie is anti-abortion. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s a publicly stated position.

But Peter Shumlin is “said to be a greasy womanizer”? Who “says”? Is a rumor Mr. Newcomb heard somewhere journalism? (And, yes, political cartoons are — or should be — journalism.)

And “greasy”? Is that a comment on Mr. Shumlin’s hygiene? Or his ethnicity? Either way, it’s uncalled for.

If, for the sake of argument, the comment about Mr. Shumlin were true (I have no reason to believe it is), it’s still a shot at his personal life, whereas a politician’s stand on abortion is a matter of policy. Policy is what elections should be about.

If Tim Newcomb wants to make an allegation about Mr. Shumlin, he should make it directly, with evidence to back it up, not with “someone said” innuendo. Failing that, find another cartoon to draw.

Between Seven Days’ ethically challenged “poll” results and gutter cartoons, maybe it’s time the staff took a remedial course in civics.

Mark Floegel


Go, Vermont 3.0

All of us — employers, employees, job seekers [and] government — should thank everyone involved in putting on the Vermont 3.0 Tech Jam [October 15 and 16 at the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center]. It is typical of Vermont, and unusual everywhere else, for so many people and so many organizations to get together to make it successful.

I do not know all of them, but a few of the organizations that are responsible for [Vermont 3.0’s] success are Seven Days, the Vermont Software Developers’ Alliance (vtSDA), the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce [LCRCC], the Vermont Department of Labor and Main Street Landing. Some of the people who worked very hard to make Vermont 3.0 successful were John Young, Cathy Resmer, Cari Kelley, Tom Jaros, Paula Routly, Don Eggert and a host of others.

Vermont 3.0 brought job seekers, students, and companies and organizations offering products and services and looking for employees all together in one place. Vermont 3.0 really covered innovation in Vermont and computer and bioscience innovation. It was so popular the exhibit space sold out, and there was a waiting list. Lots of interest in possible employees, possible deals, possible partnerships, etc., happened at Vermont 3.0. Just ask anyone who attended.

If you missed it, there will probably be another one next year. If you went to Vermont 3.0, you know what I mean about it being successful, so start thanking everyone who made it happen.

Michael Rooney


Rooney is co-owner of Burlington’s Spring Above Marketing and RingMaster Software. His company exhibited at the recent Vermont 3.0 Tech Jam, which was organized by Seven Days, vtSDA, LCRCC and the Vermont Department of Labor. The event was underwritten by Dealer.com with additional financial support from BioTek, Champlain College, the Vermont Technology Council, Burlington Telecom, Citizens Bank, Competitive Computing and the Fleischer Jacobs Group.

Congo Correction

Re: [“From Colchester to Congo: St. Mike’s Launches a National Dear Hillary Campaign,” October 20]: In his otherwise excellent article on the Dear Hillary Campaign for the Congo, Kevin Kelley failed to mention that the project was conceived at a meeting of the Vermont Global Health Coalition, an organization that includes St. Michael’s students, but other members of the community, as well. The other Congo-related events he mentioned, including the academic conference that was held at St. Michael’s College last February, were also coordinated under the aegis of VGHC. We always emphasize that Dear Hillary is a student-led movement but is not restricted to students, and that membership in its founding organization is open to everyone who is interested in political advocacy for global health.

Laurie Gagne


Gagne is director of St. Michael’s Edmundite Center for Peace and Justice.

Preservation Isn’t Personal

I would like to add my voice to those in recent weeks expressing disappointment in your cover story “The Preservation Police” [September 22]. Unfortunately this article does a disservice to the subject of historic preservation, hardworking city employees and the public.

City policies and regulations are legitimate matters for discussion and debate. However, personal attacks targeting individual city staff have no place in journalism. Mary O’Neil is a hardworking and dedicated public servant, who executes her responsibilities under Burlington’s ordinances with grace and professionalism. If there is a story to be told, it is about Burlington’s enviable collection of architectural resources that contribute so much to our economy and quality of life, and the challenges we face in conserving this character through sustainable and responsible stewardship.

The article also misrepresents the difficulty of obtaining a zoning permit. Burlington’s planning department reviewed 851 applications last year, while only 3 percent of these requests were denied. A 97 percent approval rate should be encouraging to any prospective applicant. In the same vein, only 1 percent of the 762 applications acted upon by the planning staff were appealed to the City’s Development Review Board. A 99 percent satisfaction rate is a positive indicator on the work of the planning staff.

This is not intended to discount legitimate concerns and public discussion related to Burlington’s permitting process. However, I encourage Seven Days to become part of the solution instead of singling out individual staff for doing their job: Educate the community about the real issues and foster a thoughtful discussion about Burlington’s past and its future.

David E. White


White is director of Burlington’s Department of Planning and Zoning.

Tase First, Talk Later

[Re: “Poli Psy: Don’t Talk, Tase,” September 29]: Question: How could Copley records affirm that “Robert” was “shocked several times” by a weapon that leaves no visible trace?

Answer: It doesn’t matter. Beyond brutality and more akin to black-ops torture, even one Tase is too many.

Having recently received a third prosthetic implant, I would surely be knocked for a loop on the charged end of a nondiscretionary Tase at the hands of an overzealous, undereducated, self-policing peace officer. Gone are the days of chaining myself to barrels. (My lady friend comes with a defibrillator, so it wouldn’t be right asking her to protest for me.) Gone is the right to peacefully assemble. Imagine … attending a public rally decrying the use of stun guns, when … let’s not.

I see Plato in Hardwick, kickin’ it in his summer toga, tapping his thong — the foot kind, not the ass one — saying, “Chief, it’s you boys who want those Tasers so bad, you’re the ones who probably shouldn’t have them.” He taps his other thong.

This Tase first, talk later policy is ironically illustrated in Chief LaPorte’s irritated reaction to Ms. Levine’s questioning: “I don’t want to talk about it.” One wonders if pressing the issue might well end with a shocking situation.

Lastly, regarding “Robert” losing the Camels (the same as his anonymity), I bet patches and gum would present a less threatening alternative.

Eric Beauregard

St. Albans

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