Marina for Whom?
["Burlington Harbor Marina Gets Council Approval," June 28] is hardly a win for city residents and taxpayers. First, the lease terms are minimal — about $2,200 a month during the first year month and barely twice that for years two through 40. Yes, the city will take a cut of the gate — whether gross or net isn't clear in the agreement — but the first $565,000 is exempt in year one, and, as reporter Alicia Freese writes, the first $1.13 million is exempt thereafter. And BHM will have the free use of 23 parking spaces in season. Had Burlington Parks & Recreation been allowed to build it, we could have done much better financially.
What else is not to like? Consultants estimate that $125,000 may be needed to shore up the footings on the south wall of city's water treatment facility. Then there's the $800,000 in direct TIF subsidy to the developers whose repayment from tax increments on leased public property seems a contradiction in terms. Third, maps of the project indicate boat launching facilities but virtually no boat storage. That was a puzzle until one notices an 11-foot road from the launching ramp to the Urban Reserve. This project will operate as a marine storage facility for much of the year, but its constrained footprint will require the use of Urban Reserve for boat maintenance and storage. What profit-oriented marina wouldn't sell repair services and storage?
All parties to this agreement should spell out their plans for the Urban Reserve or erase that dotted line that indicates a road running from the marina to the heart of our northern public park area.
["Rowing Pains," June 29] missed the crux of this story. The online headline, "Water Rights: Scullers vs. Motorboats in Craftsbury," is dumbed down and incendiary. Scullers and motorboats are not the issue. Craftsbury Outdoor Center, the commercial operation that brings scullers to Great Hosmer Pond in numbers far greater than is practical, is. Since Judy Geer and Dick Dreissigacker purchased it in 2008, COC has consistently pushed the lake's capacity. Many public users of the lake are put off by COC's attitude that its use of the lake is somehow more prestigious and thus more worthy.
Great Hosmer is legally defined as a Vermont public body of water. While one can cocoon COC as a nonprofit inside a foundation, in reality, it's a commercial operation, if not an outright R&D arm of Concept2. There is significant disparity between what COC claims to be and what in practice it really is. While COC offers "perks" to the community, these are well-placed public relations maneuvers designed to placate the locals and help grease the, uh, oar locks. Don't think for a minute this isn't about the money.
Past generations have made peaceful and coexisting use of the lake. The presence of COC has changed the chemistry and created chaos at Great Hosmer. Is there another public body of water in Vermont where the public needs to set up an appointment in order to use a lake?
In Paul Heintz's June 29 Fair Game column ["Truant Story"], he notes that gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lisman hasn't yet figured out whether he will support Donald Trump.
At this stage, with all of the publicly available information, if Lisman isn't smart enough to know whether he supports Trump or not, then he's obviously not smart enough to be governor.
No Place for Guns
I want to sincerely thank Paul Heintz for [Fair Game: "The Gun," June 15]. I hope that this story will shock the state out of its general smugness about its gun laws. That he could purchase something so lethal without at least getting carded — like the people buying beer later on in his piece — is something to contemplate with awe.
Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said of Heintz's purchase: "We're beginning to see some of the consequences of access to these types of weapons." I survived a drive-by shooting. About 20 years after that, I lost a female friend to semiautomatic fire — over a town zoning issue. The shooter, a responsible gun owner up until then, had purchased a weapon similar to Heintz's and in nearly as casual a manner. I knew the man, too. It is evident that few in our status quo really care about those who pay the consequences. Orlando will change nothing. Neither will the next one.
Vermont has been extremely lucky that it has not endured its own Aurora, Newtown or Tucson. This could change at any second. Maybe the next individual who buys an AR-15 in a parking lot will not be so altruistic as Heintz.
I would like to comment on the gun purchase by your bonehead investigative reporter wannabe [Fair Game: "The Gun," June 15]. As the pro-gun people say: "If you take away our guns, only criminals will have them."
Any law-abiding gun owner would have seen that the type of deal Heintz pulled borders on the illegal if not immoral. I will bet you anything that the gun in question was stolen. Would he have bought a TV or CD player under those conditions?
Then to top it off, Brain Dead leaves the gun in his backseat of his car in downtown Burlington. I guess they should expand the questions on the federal form to include: Are you now or have you ever been a member of the press? An affirmative is an automatic rejection!
In Defense of Raftapalooza
I'm at a loss for words with regard to the flat-out negativity toward Raftapalooza [Off Message: "Planned Raftapalooza Makes Waves in Colchester," June 30]. It's one event, one day that celebrates those who like to take to the water and enjoy life, people, relaxation, friends. What gives? Most people have docks from which they travel or use the Malletts Bay access. The cars and trash are from beachgoers, and that is constant throughout the year. Every event has its limiting factors. I dislike the Colchester marathon. It creates traffic havoc; people are everywhere. I'm trapped at home for hours unless I leave town early and return late. What about the Fourth of July celebration? Parades and concert series? I'm disappointed in the chief's opinion, ill wishes and statements. Can't we learn to enjoy what makes us human? Or we could cancel every public event and sit home and watch TV. P.S. Thanks, Jeremy Dewyea and crew, for all you have done!