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Letters to the Editor (10/31/18)

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Wonderful Idea for Library

[Re Off Message: "'Howe' Now: UVM Drops 'Bailey' From Library Name Over Eugenics Ties," October 26; Off Message: "Committee: Remove 'Bailey' From the UVM Library's Name," October 18; "Bye-Bye Bailey? UVM May Drop Library Namesake for Supporting Eugenics," September 5]: As a two-time University of Vermont alum, I support dissociating Guy Bailey from the library. However, removing the name Bailey from signage and stationary will be expensive. And worse, it could be replaced with the name of a large donor or corporate sponsor: Target-Howe Library?

Let's keep the name Bailey but just associate it with a more wonderful person. I nominate George Bailey from the movie It's a Wonderful Life. Sure, he's fictional, but his legacy, unlike Guy's, is rock solid.

William Grass

Burlington

Burlington's Big Hole

Seven Days shouldn't be surprised that things are "'Way Too Quiet'" [Last 7, October 10] at Don Sinex's hole in the ground in downtown Burlington. Last month in U.S. District Court, the developer's lawyer explained that the "project is under a cloud." Sinex didn't even bother attending. It's unlikely much work will occur while court and regulatory barriers remain. 

When Sinex made important recent changes to the project, they should have gone through a formal Design Review Board assessment, complete with all of the necessary public notifications. Instead, Burlington planning and zoning director David White signed off, short-circuiting the DRB process. A routine bulletin board posting got little notice, and the appeal period expired. All of this came as a surprise to the "Group of 50" that holds the state court-sanctioned agreement with Sinex brokered by former mayor Peter Clavelle. 

The group's only choice: seeking a legal remedy for violation of its civil rights of due process of law under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — in federal court. This project remains an out-of-scale bamboozle, but at least Burlington can claim a much larger hole in the ground than the one in Newport!

These shenanigans hardly generate trust between the public and a city government led by Mayor Miro Weinberger, who knew about Sinex's changes to the project and others, including proposed $3,000-a-month apartments and million-dollar condos. Not to worry, the valet parking spaces remain.  

Tony Redington

Burlington

Dame for Senate

[Re "Can Republican Newbie Alex Farrell Win a Senate Seat in Chittenden County?" August 29]: Like many Americans, I am very concerned about the behavior of the Donald Trump administration and the GOP in Washington, D.C., whose "party-before-principle" tribalism is leading our country down a dangerous path.

It is critical that Vermonters continue our long tradition of voting for the person, not the party. Chittenden County has an opportunity to send another independent leader to the state Senate. Paul Dame is running for one of our six seats. He and I have had significant conversations related to Lake Champlain cleanup, and I have found him to be an active and passionate listener. 

While there are some issues on which we don't find 100 percent agreement, Paul makes decisions based on his conscience and what is best for his constituents — never the demands of his party. He has consistently opposed the worst impulses of the establishment in Washington and, as a state representative, voted against his party's leadership 20 percent of the time. Paul is a champion for criminal justice reform, putting him squarely opposed to Washington Republicans like Jeff Sessions. 

Paul understands Chittenden County's diverse communities. He grew up on a dairy farm, lived in Burlington for seven years, started his family in Essex and recently expanded his business, which is now operating in South Burlington.

The best ideas are found when people with different perspectives meet to find common ground. Paul listens to his constituents, works to find a place of agreement and brings a valuable perspective to the legislature. I hope you will join me in voting for Paul Dame.

Seth Jensen

Westford

Reelect Zuckerman

[Re Fair Game: "About Turner," October 24; Off Message: "Walters: National Republican Groups Ramp Up Vermont Spending," October 23; "Up in Smoke: What Turner and Zuckerman's Pot Plan Says About the Lt. Gov. Candidates," September 26]: I urge my fellow Vermonters to reelect Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman.

I have known David for 26 years and have seen him lead on some of the most important issues in Vermont since the beginning of his legislative career some 22 years ago, when he was elected to the House of Representatives at the age of 25.

In the legislature and as our lieutenant governor, David has been a leader on the issues of income inequality, civil rights (including LGBTQA rights), the plight of family farmers, cannabis legalization, environmental justice and universal health care.

And at a time of great incivility by our current president, David conducts himself in a most civil manner, running positive campaigns — without super PAC money — and seeking tri-partisan approaches.

He's up against the Koch brothers, out-of-state super PACs and fossil fuel money. Vote Zuckerman.

Philip Fiermonte

Burlington

Judging Delaney

I'm so glad that Assistant Judge Charles Delaney has secured two major-party nominations for assistant judge after the primary in August [Off Message: "Ballot Justice: Primary Results for Prosecutors, Judges and Sheriffs," August 14], because I'm writing to support his reelection for one of the two Chittenden County assistant judge positions. I knew Judge Delaney for many years before he was elected and found him to have great integrity, be incredibly hardworking, and have a keen sense of justice and empathy for all people, especially the most vulnerable among us. He was the chair of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, and his experience as a Vermont Abenaki gives him insights into the lives of people who are struggling — important insights for a judge. His pre-judge experiences have helped him be a successful assistant judge for eight years.

Since he was elected, Judge Delaney has performed admirably. He has been a careful steward of the taxpayers' money in developing the Chittenden County budget. His service as a family court assistant judge has been undertaken with the same skill, expertise, care and concern that he takes with his stone masonry business. Judge Delaney has done a great job as assistant judge and deserves to be reelected. I hope voters will reelect Charles Delaney as assistant judge.

Gene Bergman

Burlington

Helping New York 21

I feel fortunate to live in Vermont, where we have a solid Washington, D.C., delegation that supports the values I believe in. And it is good to see Seven Days highlighting the work of Vermonters helping to elect candidates in other states ["Making Blue Waves: Vermonters Labor for Out-of-State Campaigns," October 24; Fair Game: "Beyond the Border," July 25].

I am part of a group of Vermonters working to help get Tedra Cobb elected to Congress in New York District 21. We are interested in helping our neighbors across the lake flip Congress and have held a successful fundraiser here and routinely go door-to-door canvassing there.

When Seven Days covered this issue last year ["Will North Country Voters Repeal and Replace Congresswoman Elise Stefanik?" July 26, 2017], the NY-21 was considered a "safe" district by the Cook Political Report. Since then, polls and the Cook report show a drastic closing of the gap. Tedra's opponent Elise Stefanik has huge funding from outside of the district, including the Koch brothers, and has had Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan stumping for her. However, Tedra's 1,600-plus grassroots volunteers are making the difference. She recently broke the record for the biggest fundraising quarter in the history of NY-21. She did this without accepting corporate PAC money.

Tedra is an excellent candidate in the right place and at the right time.

MJ Reale

South Burlington

Hallquist Supports Education

[Re Off Message: "Scott, Zuckerman and Fellow Incumbents Dominate Vermont Public Media Poll," October 22; Off Message: "Walters: Scott, Hallquist Draw Clear Contrasts in Second Debate," October 10]: I am currently attending Brown University, but I have benefited so much from growing up in Vermont and care deeply about keeping it an amazing place to live.

I am proud to support Christine Hallquist for governor this year, because she is a champion for our public schools. She has seen her three children through the Lamoille Valley public school system, and she served on the Hyde Park School Board for two terms. Vermont needs a leader who understands that our state's public education system is not the place for penny-pinching or partisan politics. A study by the National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that every $1 invested in early education results in an $8 total return!

In the name of our schools, join me in supporting Christine. The future of Vermont depends on it!

John Graves

Middletown Springs

Peyton's Place

[Re Fair Game: "Where's the Money?" October 10]: If we want to get money out of politics, we are misunderstanding what money is. Money is politics. Politics is all about what to allocate money for. The problem is who decides for what and how much. The people? Or the people who raise the most money from the special interests and do their bidding?

Why isn’t there enough money to pay for all the things we agree would be good? Is the money valuable? Or is it the goods and services that are valuable? Why isn’t there enough money to pay for a nurturing economy, one based on hemp, sun, wind and waterpower? Why isn’t there enough money to pay for all the health care we need, including the alternative modalities such as homeopathy and acupuncture, massage and healing touch? What if the people gathered together in their neighborhoods and talked about what they value, with the power to issue the money to pay for it?

Em Peyton will increase the money supply to do what we know in our hearts is possible and necessary. She is not accepting donations of any kind, from anybody.

John G. Root Jr.

Putney

Editor's note: Emily Peyton is a Liberty Union candidate for governor of Vermont.

Better Than the Incumbent

Thank you for beginning to crack open the mystery that is Christine Hallquist ["How Electrifying? A Closer Look at Hallquist's Record as the CEO of Vermont Electric Coop," October 24]. The bit about poor relations with employees rings familiar.

I was employed at Digital Equipment Corporation in Burlington when Hallquist was part of DEC's management team. Wage freezes? Yup, but DEC's management did something even more draconian: wage clawbacks.

Management repeatedly ignored reports from workers that, despite having been removed from off-shift duty, we were still receiving off-shift pay premiums. After several attempts at honesty, who wouldn't eventually just shut up and cash their paychecks?

At the end, when DEC was sinking like Enron, we were all panicking to find new jobs, and the money was all spent. That's when DEC's management blamed workers for the oversight and forced workers to refund the premiums. Smooth.

Nevertheless, with nose tightly pinched, I'm voting for Christine. Why? Look at the alternative. What has the incumbent done for climate change? Sustainable energy? Cleaner lakes and streams? Livable wages? Keeping corporate power in check? Vermont's internet infrastructure?

Christine stands between us and two, four or more additional years of incumbent obstructionism that defends opposition to progress in the name of no tax increases. I want a governor with some imagination, creativity and at least a modicum of fire in the belly to take risks and try to make Vermont a better place. A vote for Christine is a vote for a better Vermont.

Steven Farnham

Plainfield

Christine on Cannabis

Too many lives have been wrecked by unjust policies related to cannabis prohibition [Off Message: "Scott, Hallquist Clash During Gubernatorial Debate," October 24]. Yet in a decision motivated by fear, Gov. Phil Scott rejected a tax-and-regulate system to legalize it. Progress has been made, and cannabis can now be legally owned; however, this is not enough. Consumers should have market choice and access to regulated cannabis that meets health standards. Christine Hallquist will ensure that a safe and transparent system is built in Vermont. She has always spoken out against unjust drug laws, as well as over-incarceration. While Scott continues to make excuses, I'd like to see Christine make history and finish Vermont's legalization process.

James LaFountaine

Burlington

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