Though a progressive thinker, I had never heard of Seven Days. It was only recently, while on a lovely weekend visit to Randolph, that I came upon it. This is a wonderful paper for the people — similar to, but much better than, our local Connecticut Advocate.
Truthfully, however, it was the glorious 2016 memorial New Year's cover [December 28, 2016] that brought me to my knees. A beautiful montage, rendered with spirited sensitivity. One honestly feels transported with all of these phenomenal icons to that better place. It's amazing to see how many left the Earth this past year.
I thank you humbly for this fantastic tribute, a wake-up call for the rest of us down here to be kinder, stronger, more thoughtful members of the human race. Our challenges are greater than ever before, but I still believe that we have it in us.
Nothing Funny About the F-35
[Re "The Parmelee Post: Chittenden County to Become Sanctuary for F-35s," January 14]: This "humor" piece is sophomoric, poorly written and, in this day and age, fails to even meet the most basic standards of satire. It trivializes the idea of sanctuary cities and, in doing so, mocks the whole idea and those who truly need and seek sanctuary by treating the F-35 as some sort of "victim." The F-35 is not a victim; it is part of the causational need for sanctuary cities. Bryan Parmelee, stick to your day job.
The logistics of Vermont seceding would not be simple ["If at First You Don't Secede: Trump Could Revitalize Vermont Movement," January 11]. My farm in Vermont has one of its hay fields partially in New York. We often hay with our neighbor who lives on the New York side of the line.
If Vermont were independent, would I need a passport to hay my field? Would someone check my tedder in and out every time it crossed the border? Would my neighbor need a passport to bring his equipment through the break in the hedgerow into my fields? I am not the only landowner in this situation.
Jane Griswold Radocchia
Snark for Service?
In Fair Game ["The Usual Suspects," January 18], John Walters sharply criticized Gov. Phil Scott by suggesting that his inaugural celebration was an invitation to purchase influence. Walters goes so far as to suggest the event might have been an opportunity for corporate interests to "curry favor" with the governor. He proceeds to rattle off a list of organizations that contributed to the gala.
However, Walters fails to mention a key fact: All those contributions, plus all proceeds from the event, are being donated to the military and their families. A quote from a December 27 press release by the inaugural committee states: "All proceeds from the governor-elect's inaugural event will benefit charities supporting those who have served and continue to serve."
Walters spent 500-plus words on who wrote the checks but failed to include even a single sentence on who benefited from them: those who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. The only mention of the military was that the event was held at the headquarters of the Vermont Air National Guard in South Burlington.
In the future, hopefully Walters will include facts, which in this case were publicly and easily available, along with his speculations. It would be refreshing to see more facts and political balance in his articles. Reporters who achieve that balance keep me reading Seven Days.
The article ["Village Embraces Rail in Bid to 'Put the Junction back in the Junction," January 18] about Amtrak's Vermonter mentions the possible extension north to Montréal but fails to elaborate on the existing service to New York City and Washington, D.C.
Two years ago, the Vermonter was changed to a more direct route south of Brattleboro through Greenfield and Northampton, Mass. The reduction in travel time to NYC was more than half an hour. Now the line between Springfield, Mass., and New Haven, Conn., is being double tracked and will result in increased speeds and further reduction in travel time when the project is completed. Eventually, this section of the Vermonter's route will be electrified.
Vermont's congressional delegation deserves many thanks for these improvements. However, Amtrak is a federal program, and, with a new administration, there is much uncertainty.
The advantage of taking the train to NYC is a comfortable, stress-free ride and the convenience of being delivered to New York's Penn Station in the heart of the action. Anyone traveling between the Burlington area and NYC would do well to consider the Vermonter. Incidentally, as of May 1, 2016, bicycles are now being carried on the Vermonter for a small supplemental fee.
Recently, Mayor Miro Weinberger addressed the Burlington Democratic Caucus and attacked the Progressive Party [Off Message: "'Reactionary Fringe' Pushes Back Against Mayor's 'Trash Talk,'" January 17]. He both praised current Progressive councilors and labeled Progressives as "reactionary" and "fringe." The mayor also declared Progressives as anti-environment and anti-worker. He went on to claim credit for recent pro-environment and pro-worker efforts in the city yet neglected to note that Progressives started virtually all of these efforts: Progressives initiated Burlington's move toward 100 percent renewable energy by positioning the Burlington Electric Department to purchase the Winooski hydro plant and by creating the McNeil plant; Progressives pushed pro-worker efforts such as supporting Howard Center workers and maintaining livable wage standards at the airport. Weinberger opposed both measures. His effort to give Democrats credit for Burlington's successes ignores 30 years of Progressive leadership.
Labeling Progressives "fringe" based on council endorsements represents the mayor's poor knowledge of our candidates. Progressive candidates include: council President Jane Knodell, a champion of the recent development projects and many neighborhood revitalization projects; Charles Winkleman, an early educator and activist looking to address affordability issues in Burlington; and Charles Simpson, a champion of public transportation and strengthening neighborhood communities.
There are various opinions on the development project within the Vermont Progressive Party. While Winkleman and Simpson disagreed with aspects of the mall project, they are running on more than one issue and should not be labeled reactionary by our mayor. Elected leaders should expect to be challenged in a healthy democracy. It's the job of leaders to go high in these moments. The mayor went low.
Mulvaney-Stanak is state chair of the Vermont Progressive Party and a former Burlington city councilor.