Winner Takes All
Our legislature should not consider the appeals of any politician asking to overturn the results of an election [Off Message: "Calling Shumlin Victory 'Premature,' Milne Considers Contesting Result," November 6]. In a democracy, the candidate who receives the most votes should win. That's how it's worked in Vermont's history, and how it should continue.
This is about keeping our democracy legitimate. When voters went to the polls on Election Day, more voted for Shumlin. It was a close election, but the results were clear: Two thousand more Vermonters voted for Peter Shumlin than Scott Milne. That makes Shumlin the winner.
To hear people argue that the legislature should overturn the will of the Vermont voters is scary. Doing so would go against Vermont values, tradition and common sense. It would delegitimize the democratic process.
In 2000, we saw with George Bush how efforts to undermine democracy can have terrible consequences for our country. On the national level, we're still trying to recover from the distrust and illegitimacy that situation created. We can't let the same thing happen to Vermont. Let's respect democracy.
For Whom the Bells Toll
I read "Bells Over Burlington: A Church's Chimes Get Mixed Reviews" [November 5], and much of it rang true to my experience living near the church on North Avenue in Burlington's New North End. This location also plays those low-fidelity prerecorded bell tracks and prolonged hymns — at a volume far, far beyond what any other local business establishment is allowed. I have seen Burlington police quiet down a restaurant hosting a Saturday night jazz band with lower outside sound levels than what the church seems to be entitled to blast out on a daily basis.
Additionally, these are not bells. They are cheap, soulless, sonic imposters of bells — a mere snapshot compared to the real deal and lacking all the harmonic over- and undertones that make real bells a cross-cultural fascination, joy and passion. Because of these special qualities, most people tend to accept them regardless of the sponsor. But, to repeat, these are not real bells.
For many of the same reasons buskers aren't allowed to make money on Church Street with a boom box instead of a real cello, this is wrong on a number of levels. The systems these churches are installing are not designed for maximum sound quality and clarity but rather optimized for maximum penetration. As these appliances are indeed marketed as a "set it and forget it" solution, one can rightfully question any religious or sacramental intentions.
The Other Sound of Freedom
[Re "Bells Over Burlington: A Church's Chimes Get Mixed Reviews," November 5]: Question: If some neighbors of Christ the King object to these bells, what about the bells from other Catholic and non-Catholic churches? If one wanders around the various neighborhoods, other bells from churches can be heard. It brings joy and community into the picture. A church, regardless of denomination, is a vital part of every neighborhood community. Be glad that we live in a country that allows churches at all. Rejoice each and every one of us for the right and freedom to believe as we choose.
Diana St. Louis
Thanks for your very informative article ["Who Will Get the Land Around Burlington College?" November 5]. It is helpful to a parent trying to figure out what the future will bring.
One thing I noticed: The image you published showing the outline of the land that Burlington College would keep seems a little disproportionate. I think the seven acres retained by the school would be smaller in size compared to the 25 acres in the rest of the green area.
Your article also made me wonder why the archdiocese would consider forgiving debt for a developer who is going to make large amounts of money from developing the land, instead of forgiving debt for a small but very valuable college struggling for its survival.
New York, N.Y.
Editor's note: Carlo is referring to a document obtained by Seven Days that appears to outline a proposed transaction in which the diocese would forgive $2.1 million of Burlington College's debt and convert the $1.5 million balance to an ownership stake in the development project. The developer declined to speak, and the diocese did not respond, so the terms are not confirmed.
A Real Homeless Story
The 100,000 Homes Campaign could have been an opportunity for Seven Days to take an in-depth view of the grave problem of homelessness in Burlington, but [7Dispatch: "Probing Questions Assess Burlington's Homeless Population," October 22] was decidedly lazy. I have a better perspective on the problem of homeless encampments simply from walking my dog: No need to even venture off the well-worn paths to ascertain that each and every acre of wooded land in and around this city is a site of desperate, cyclical poverty.
On the subject of dog walking: I do so in the area described by the article, thus I saw Wayne Latulippe almost every day for many months. The author did not protect the confidentiality of the encampment location; if you know anything about the parks and wooded areas in and around Burlington, the article laid a clear roadmap to it. Immediately after publication, the encampment was dismantled by the authorities and its occupant dispossessed. Coincidence?
I saw this lakeside cave encampment before Latulippe moved into it (although he claimed in the article to have created it himself). It was all the more depressing because of the scenic beauty it looks out upon. An earthen bench, or bed, was carved into this grotto; a bed of dirt so compressed it is clear that it had been worn in night after night, for who knows how long. This encampment, like the problem of homelessness in this town, is far older and more entrenched than Seven Days reports. Now the dirt bed is all that's left.
Editor's note: In describing the location of the encampment, Seven Days followed guidelines established by Latulippe and organizers of the 100,000 Homes Campaign.
Regulators Are Out of Touch
Thank you for the wonderfully written article on the challenges facing today's farmers in dealing with persons sitting behind desks in Washington, D.C. ["Farmers Run Afoul of Labor Laws — and Pay for It," October 15]. Many have never grown a pot of petunias to hang on their porch, let alone farmed hundreds of acres.
Prior to the 1900s, farming was left to those who owned the land and the rules — if there were any — came from local governments. This changed when the world wars began. The opportunity to gain money from farming became a high priority. Rules were paramount to sustain the money flow. The environment, and those who farmed, took a backseat to sustaining the money flow. Rules and regulations were written by politicians and government workers sitting at desks, hundreds or thousands of miles from those they were and are regulating. Regulations have a nasty habit of multiplying. I was not surprised to learn that Jack Lazor is feeling smothered by them.
I am delighted that the Lazors' neighbors came to their aid. In the early days, that was always the case. What is needed now is to dump the D.C. rules and regulations and return to loving the land, as the Lazors have done for their entire lives.