Missing the Point
Can Seven Days amend [Off Message: "Walters: Ex-Freeps Editor Finds a Friend on Fox News," January 11] to include an explanation of a journalist's code of ethics? That is at the core of the Burlington Free Press editor's dismissal. Journalists are required to remain neutral and report without bias. Regardless of the content of Finley's tweets, to comment publicly like he did places a shadow over the fair and balanced reporting of his newsroom. In this era of fake news, that is not something that can be taken lightly, and the public could benefit from understanding this pillar of journalism.
McManamy is a former Burlington Free Press photojournalist.
[Re Off Message: "Media Note: Top Burlington Free Press Editor Fired After Controversial Tweets," January 8]: In 1970, when I was Free Press capitol bureau chief, I was married to a staffer for Phil Hoff's Senate campaign. One day my editor, Gordon Mills, called me into the office to say he had received complaints that I was driving to events with a Hoff sticker on my car. But, I pointed out, it was my wife's car, so of course she had a Hoff sticker on it, and if I were paid more, I could buy my own car without a sticker. Not surprisingly, I lost the argument. The Freeps, regardless of any other strengths or weaknesses, has always had a strict policy separating personal and editorial opinions, and I, for one, am glad to see it is still enforced, at least in this case!
Illogical Idling Law
I'm the Burlington-born trucker who was quoted in last week's anti-idling-law story [802Much: "Warming Up," January 10]. If I got it right, John King, who is Burlington's parking enforcer, decided that he would look the other way at scofflaws of the local anti-idling law, due to the recent extended arctic-cold blast. Bless his heart. The logic — or illogic! — of King once again shows Burlington to be a big joke of a little city with ridiculous, silly-ass regulations. Logically, the prime time to enforce an anti-idling law would be when it's bitter cold and engines are left idling. If, in other words, this anti-idling law is to be effective, tickets would be written when drivers are most likely to be idling their engines: in cold weather.
Furthermore, the fact that King's staff has written only six idling tickets in 53 weeks demonstrates that this anti-idling law is just another way for King and Burlington to show that they write tickets totally arbitrarily and simply like pissing off motorists.
Idling violations — at $12 — cost less than the $15 assessed for meter violations, which clearly demonstrates that idling is close to a zero problem in Burlington.
Daniel G. Cohen
I was interested to read the article about the expression "had the radish" [WTF, December 20, 2017]. Let me tell you what the origin has always been for this Vermonter, an origin I've retold as if it were gospel. The next time you have a nice garden salad in a wooden bowl with an oil-based dressing, just before you're finished eating it, look at the bottom of the bowl. What will you see? Only the thin slices of radish, which are more elusive to spear with a fork than onions, lettuce, tomatoes or other ingredients! Thus, when you have "had the radish," you are truly done with the salad. And with that comes the meaning, "You've come to the end"; you are now finished with a task, simply exhausted or otherwise.
We went to see Ethan Hubbard's didactic collection of photographs of Vermont country folk and farmers of the early/mid last century because of a descriptive article in Seven Days ["Picturing Vermont," December 6, 2017]. Thank you! It was one of the highlights of 2017 for us. Hubbard's photos, black and white in large format, are exquisite, but equally astounding are his short texts, which accompany each photo. In fewer than 200 words, Hubbard captures the essence of what he found so arresting about the people of then-backcountry Vermont in each photograph. He is as much a master of words as he is of pictured life. We now look forward to March, when the Vermont Folklife Center will feature the works of another of these three photographic artists: Richard W. Brown.
Bob and Sonja Ullrich
The DCF Conundrum
[Re Off Message: "Library Board Pushes to Rename Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award," January 11]: Molly Walsh's posting about the state library board's recommendation to rename the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award could only capture highlights of the board's months-long tussle with Vermont's surprisingly little-known eugenics and sterilization movement and the association with it, to varying degrees, of prominent Vermonters such as Fisher, then a popular author and passionate publicist for the state.
While eugenics played a prominent role in this overall discussion, the board also received recommendations to rename the award to reflect a more contemporary association and to avoid confusion between Fisher's initials — DCF — and today's Vermont Department for Children and Families, also DCF. Ultimately, given the board's primary objective of promoting reading among Vermont school-age children and children's literature, it voted to urge State Librarian Scott Murphy to change the name and update the program. Simultaneously, members stated their appreciation for Fisher's contributions over time.
While I felt duty bound to recommend that the board call upon the State of Vermont and University of Vermont to investigate their sorry promotion of eugenics and sterilization in the 1920s and 1930s, my colleagues raised legitimate points that this was not within our jurisdiction. As an individual, though, I remain convinced that the state and university have an obligation to history to expose our eugenics past and honor the memories of those governor Stanley Wilson and the legislature chillingly labeled "idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded or insane persons." Other states have done so; why not Vermont?
Bruce S. Post
Post is chair of the State of Vermont Board of Libraries.
Editor's note: Walsh's original story, "Surrender Dorothy?" [June 21, 2017], fully explains the controversy.