[Re Off Message: "After 20 Years, Hardware Store to Open in Downtown Burlington," November 19]: I'm happy that we will soon have a hardware store downtown, but reporter Katie Jickling was wrong when reporting that the nearest hardware store is on North Avenue when Curtis Lumber is located on Pine Street. Granted, it does sell a lot of lumber, but Curtis also sells hardware items, and I don't understand how she overlooked this store when it is so close to your offices.
A friend of mine says I hate dogs. Not so, any more than I hate skunks, raccoons, squirrels or foxes. But neither do I care to be accosted or "loved" by dogs — with their paw prints on my clothes, threads pulled from pant legs and drool deposited into the crotch of my jeans.
Dogs aren't the problem. It's dog owners — people who apparently think that because they like being groped, slimed and molested by their yapping, soggy, mouth-breathing, mud-puddle-rolling fleabag, so should I.
So when a woman wrote to Scarlett a couple of months ago [Scarlett Letters, September 5] about her new boyfriend not displaying appropriate enthusiasm for her sweet little Cha-chi, naturally I sided with the guy.
Scarlett begins her answer with, "Cha-chi is family, and you two are a package deal." Not true. People turn pets over to shelters all the time because life changes make it no longer practical to continue owning a pet. "Owning a pet" — an interesting concept. But I digress.
Let's get it straight. A child is a package deal. A pet is not. It's fine if Miss "Doggy Style" values her Cha-chi more than her new man and decides that it's the man who has to go. It's fine if the man decides he can warm up to Cha-chi.
It is not fine for an "impartial" love counselor to take sides and decide — or imply — who is right.
'Moderates' Aren't So...
I was very disappointed in ["Cutting Out the Middle Man: Moderates Ousted From Vermont Statehouse," November 14]. These are not moderate politicians; they are conservatives all. You insult Vermonters by saying they wanted to rebuke President Donald Trump. Vermonters understand that these men have nothing to do with Trump.
Under Trump, the Republican Party's abuse of democracy might have gotten Vermonters to the polls, but our votes are about changing the Vermont government. We want a more progressive government — one that will embrace a living wage and at least bring to the floor the notion of a public bank and a carbon tax. None of these men would support anything like that. They needed to step out of the way. If the Democrats, with a veto-proof majority, won't do that, then we'll vote them out, too.
[Re "Cutting Out the Middle Man: Moderates Ousted From Vermont Statehouse," November 14]: Elections do have consequences and, sometimes, collateral damage to the public's interest. Vermonters lost a bipartisan legislator on a mission to ease the energy burden of low-income families.
Addison-4 voters defeated Rep. Fred Baser and squandered an opportunity to have the General Assembly address a humanitarian need to provide grants to low-income families desperate to weatherize their homes with no means to borrow thousands of dollars.
Baser, a two-term Republican, was noted for his ability to work with Democrats on similar and other bills. Using his good relationship with Gov. Phil Scott, he authored an enacted $10 million bond to provide loans to credit-worthy low-income families. He vowed, if reelected, to win support for the grant program for our less-fortunate neighbors. Again, the good loses to the perfect; in this case, two progressive Democrats with no connection to the governor and no experience ushering a bill through the legislature.
Baser was a model of a moderate legislator with good ideas shared with Democrats. That is what bipartisanship is all about.
In 2019, a Republican representative or senator could pick up Baser's grant proposal and start negotiating with the governor and sympathetic Democrats to get the grant program enacted.
Winter came early and hard. Too many seniors and parents will spend more than they can afford to warm their homes, and no child should be tucked into a cold bed.
The Last Yankee Republican
[Re "Cutting Out the Middle Man: Moderates Ousted From Vermont Statehouse," November 14]: Your description of Jim Jeffords as a "Yankee Republican" is spot-on. Jim agonized over his decision to leave the Republican Party: He truly was a "New England" or "Northeast" Republican — a moderate then, as he would likely be now.
His choice to become an independent, however, reflected his true self, in my humble estimation. Being an independent in those days meant being wedded to the facts and the solutions rather than the party or an ideology. Yankees have always thought that way.
I'll never forget the day I went to Jim to complain about the ignorance and arrogance of the Democratic staff of the House Agriculture Committee. They knew nothing and cared less about the dairy crisis that was pummeling the country's small dairy farms. Jim looked up from his desk, smiled wanly and said, "Well, remember this. We're in the minority ... If we have to let others think that our good ideas are theirs ... or if we have to let them take credit publicly in order to get them to listen to us ... then that's what we have to do. Always keep your eye on the ball. Our Vermont farms are counting on us to do what's best for them — not for us."
That's how Yankees think.
Most Vermonters likely don't understand that there were once smart, decent, moderate and open-minded Yankee Republicans, so it was gratifying to hear one of the politicians you interviewed acknowledge that different opinions, thoughtfully crafted and respectfully heard, are critical to getting the best answers. That last Vermont Yankee Republican, Jim Jeffords from conservative Rutland County, might just be smiling.
No doubt he would also be saddened and frustrated by the seeming fact that there's no place for moderates of any stripe — Yankee or otherwise.
Stephen R. Kerr
Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Kerr worked for the Agriculture Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982 to 1986.