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Letters to the Editor 

Judge Not

In a world filled with misery, a young man and an older woman find love and happiness together [Poli Psy: “Spanish Inquisition,” June 19]. Their ages and places in society are different. We have a Puritan heritage, and the law says their consensual relationship is a felony. Maybe it’s time to change the law. As Pascal wrote: “The heart has reasons that reason knows not.”

Jack Daggitt

Burlington

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Hackie Hypocrisy

In his [June 12] Hackie column, Jernigan gives the oil-industry flack a good argument about why we should be giving up our fossil-fuel addiction. Meanwhile, the industry lobbies for the status quo while greenwashing us with their support for renewables. Until there is a seismic shift in our transportation and energy systems, we are all (taxi drivers included) continuing to “eat” this deadline diet every time we fill up at the pump.

Michael Levine

Middlesex

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Licensure Not the Answer

I would like to respond to the letter by Cynthea Wight Hausman [Feedback, “Modern-Day Slavery,” June 12] about Ken Picard’s article “Unhappy Endings” [June 5]. As suggested by Ms. Hausman, “another review of criteria” for the licensure of massage would not change a thing. As stated in her letter, “regulation would mean that every therapist would be at least 18, a high school graduate or equivalent, and a graduate of an approved massage school.” These were the only proposed statutes from the organized professional massage associations that sought licensure in the autumn of 2010.

Actually, the conclusion by the secretary of state’s office was that “where someone posing as a massage therapist violates criminal laws, those laws effectively protect the public.” If they are not, then law enforcement is not doing its job.

Do not mistake licensing of professional massage as the answer for dissuading illegal sex services. Those that want therapeutic or healthful relaxation massage will seek the services of qualified practitioners. Those that want sex will seek it out, legal or not. Issues of illegal sex, control, abuse and exploitation have nothing to do with legitimate massage. From where I sit, the people being harmed in this situation are likely not U.S. citizens, and the licensure of massage will not take care of these women.

Faeterri Silver

Marshfield

Silver ran the Vermont School of Professional Massage from 1989 to 2006.

***

Sound of Freedom?

[Re ongoing F-35 coverage, including “Last 7,” June 26]: A common assertion among F-35 proponents is that noise from military aircraft is perceived as “the sound of freedom.” This seems odd. Freedom is complex. But for simplicity, let’s examine a most American summary — that of FDR’s “four freedoms,” a proposal for four fundamental freedoms everyone should enjoy: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

What do our military aircraft, noise aside, have to do with providing them? Do these planes provide freedom of speech? No, the First Amendment gives us that. Freedom of worship? Again, no. Again, the Constitution. Freedom from want? Here, certainly not, and rather the opposite, as the enormous sums to develop, build and support them drain the treasury for domestic needs.

Ah, fear. Surely they make us less afraid of “the enemy” — whoever that might be. But what enemy has the air or missile capability to attack us? None on the horizon. And our overseas attacks to preempt any capability seem to be creating more, not fewer, enemies, enemies whose tools are not targets of such aircraft. Our fear, if anything, should be increased.

To me, freedom comes not from our warplanes but from collaboration with nature and humans trying to be healed. Tell it to the Russians, the Iranians, the Chinese, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban? They, too, don’t hear the roar in the air as the sound of freedom. Nor the buzzing.

Marc Estrin

Burlington

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Water, Water, Everywhere

Thanks for Kathryn Flagg’s article highlighting the stormwater woes of Burlington residents [“As Storms Intensify, Burlington Struggles to Manage the Flow,” June 12]. Nothing gets us paying attention to water quite like weeks of rainfall. The article draws attention to aging Burlington stormwater infrastructure and the properties flooding on Church Street and beyond as a result.

Just as important, but not mentioned in the article, is the effect that all that runoff has on our natural waterways. The streams, rivers and lakes that ultimately accept all that rainfall are stressed with these sudden bursts of water that are loaded with pollutants. The fact is, no matter the extent of any conventional infrastructural improvements to the conveyance system (pipes) that the City of Burlington makes, the volume of water flowing off of impervious surfaces on our developed landscape is too great for our natural systems to handle.

Each of us with a roof, driveway, parking lot or walkway are part of the problem — but we can also contribute to the solution by capturing our own stormwater on-site and reducing the volume that enters the storm pipes. The water that was flowing into Church Street properties was there in part because everybody uphill was counting on the storm pipes to capture all their runoff, too. Practices like green roofs, cisterns, rain gardens and pervious pavement can reduce the volume that ends up in the storm system — significantly, in some cases. Many of the buildings on Church Street have sizable roofs — 10,000 square feet, in some cases. A green roof that size could reduce 100 percent of the runoff in a 1-inch rain event (over 5000 gallons). These steps to “own your water” work best when a majority participate. We are all upstream, and downstream, of someone.

Rebecca Tharp

Williston

Tharp is coordinator of the Let It Rain stormwater program.

***

More on Magnets

Thanks for your great article on Burlington’s magnet schools [“Grading the Magnet Schools,” June 5]! I’ve been following the magnet school development with great interest and have heard some anecdotal comments from parents, but really lacked a more universal view of how they’re doing. Yet again, the best reporting on the school district comes from Seven Days! I really value the attention your paper pays to local issues and the broad-based and unbiased reporting. Keep it up! I look forward to more articles about the school district in the coming year.

Jeanne Harris

Burlington

***

Mission Necessity?

As the F-35 discussions come to a climax, I am writing to express my opposition to basing this aircraft in Burlington [“Last 7,” June 26 and other F-35 coverage]. Proponents of the aircraft argue it is necessary for our economy. Our political leaders express their admiration for the Air National Guard. I understand the economic argument. I don’t understand politicians advocating for the aircraft as a reward for the Air Guard’s excellent performance. In the military, performance is acknowledged with unit citations and individual medals.?Opponents of the F-35 focus on noise, environmental factors and real estate values. The latter is a very serious matter that affects the financial stability of many families. Our political leaders are apparently deaf to this concern.

One subject conspicuously absent from the discussions is mission necessity. With the Air Force considering several locations for the F-35, what makes Burlington a primary prospect? What mission will the F-35 perform that requires it to be based in Burlington? Burlington International Airport is an ideal location for accepting many types of military aircraft. We regularly see KC-130 aircraft performing “touch and goes” at Burlington.

Over the past three years I have contacted the Air Force and our Congressional delegation recommending the Vermont Air National Guard be assigned a new mission, one that would meet the needs of the service, protect jobs, bolster the economy and bring aircraft that are compatible with the Burlington area. This is the perfect time to consider changing the Air Guard’s mission. To date, the assignment of a new and more appropriate mission has not entered the discussion. It should.

Lt. Col. USMC Robert Walsh (Ret.)

South Burlington

***

Man Oh Man

A letter to the editor last week from Evzen Holas [Feedback, “Burlington or Topeka?” June 26] generated its own flurry of feedback. Holas made a case for either legalizing or ignoring prostitution based on the assumption that “Even a fairly sane man can become dangerous if he does not find an outlet for his sexual tensions.”

Oh, Evzen. You have missed the point. This story was more about human trafficking than prostitution, which is still illegal. How can you make so many misogynistic comments when you “have two little girls?” Your letter made me nauseous. Just wait until your daughters are teenagers — maybe even by age 8 or 10. I have a feeling you will be changing your tune.

Allison Dowling

Burlington

This man’s attitude toward prostitution and the exploitation of women is simply disgusting. Don’t men have brains in their heads to help them moderate the influence of their raging hormones?

Amanda Conley

Burlington

Evzen Holas has a pretty low opinion of his fellow men. Apparently men whose sexual tensions have no (female) outlet are all potentially dangerous rapists. (What happened to masturbation as an “outlet”?) Just think: All those “pretty, half-naked young women strutting the streets and young men full of hormones.” Those young men have so little self-control that they will fall upon unprotected, virtuous women like so many ravenous wolves if an “outlet” is not available. He also thinks prostitution is better than working for $7 an hour at the supermarket. Maybe so, if the prostitute is not an exploited sex worker who speaks little English and who spends upwards of 13 hours a day as a virtual captive — and how much per hour does she get? If it’s as much as $7, I am the Queen of Romania. What Ken Picard reported is slavery for sexual purposes — that’s all. Prostitution is not a safety valve that exists to protect “nice” women. An “illegal blow job” is not the sole, desirable alternative to murder and rape. And if I were a man, I’d be insulted that Mr. Holas seems to think so.

Gina Logan

Braintree

***

CORRECTIONS

In last week’s article “Diaper Duty,” the website My Pet Chicken was incorrectly identified as a source of mass-produced chicken diapers. MPC’s diapers are custom made.

In “Local Ad Campaign Seeks to Soften Pit Bulls’ Dangerous Image,” Sarah Westbrook should have been identified as Miss Vermont USA, not Miss Vermont.

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