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Letters to the Editor (11/8/17)


Published November 8, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated November 9, 2017 at 10:29 a.m.

Some Switcheroo

[Re Off Message: "City Councilor Quits Job to Vote on Burlington Telecom Sale," November 2]: Are there no ethical standards in Burlington politics?

Sam Conant


Fully Nelson

[Re "Fifty Years, 13,450 Students and 5,000 Interviews: UVM's Garrison Nelson Calls It a Career," October 18]: Garrison Nelson was one of the best professors, even at the outset of his career in the '70s. I'm a 1975 psych grad, but he was as responsible as anyone for my trajectory into law and the political sphere, showing the fascinating intersections between psychology and politics. I am just one of the 13,450 and nothing special among his students, but I do hope that others, unlike me, have taken time to thank Nelson for helping many of us develop a curiosity about the way things work.

Michael Macleod-Ball

Wallingford and Arundel, ME

Democracy 101

Here's a clue for the University of Vermont moonbats intent on stifling all free speech on campus ["Overheard Call Spawns a Court Case — and a Campus Free Speech Test," November 1]: Back off, why don't you?

Strange as it may seem to pimply-faced hordes of do-gooder pubescents, my heroes as a kid were Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali; my favorite teacher was black, as was my boss after school; and musicians like Jimi Hendrix blew our minds. I distinctly remember MLK saying that even though we are commanded to "love one another, we need not like one another," and saying something stupid like "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" (U.S. general Phil Sheridan) means you are a bigot but doesn't mean you have committed a crime! It doesn't mean you are going to kill "Indians" or that you intend to harm any, either, and saying you disdain other races or detest diversity or inclusion doesn't constitute a hate crime — a stupid statute, as any real violent crime is, in itself, an act of hate. Isn't it? 

Whatever happened to the old saw "I may disagree with everything you say but would defend to the death your right to say it"? True free speech means allowing the ignorant, the bigoted and the truly detestable the right to speak their minds and allows one to identify them for who they are as "ye shall know the tree by the fruit it bears." Get over it. The world is full of a diversity of views, and it has no "safe spaces" to hide one's mind like you're trying to do on campuses everywhere. Anything less is a descent into Orwellian mind control.

Steve Merrill

North Troy

Musical Matthew

Thank you for shining a spotlight on one of the special souls of Burlington: Matthew Minor ["Creature of Habit," November 1]. We are one of the many families with whom Matthew has worked. He helped care for our daughter from when she was 3 months old until she started kindergarten, and we feel so lucky to have had Matthew as part of our family. From his strolls around town with our baby in a sling to making Radio Bean a neighborhood café for people of all ages, Matthew made our first few years of parenting more fun and musical, as he would often arrive playing one of his many mentioned instruments.

Christina Erickson & John Marius


Carbon Charge

Gov. Scott's Vermont Climate Action Commission has just one month remaining for its three climate recommendations ["Vermont Climate Panel Has Three Months to Land Three Ideas," August 16]. I'm writing in strong support of carbon pricing, so that those businesses that profit from fossil fuels also bear some of the burden represented by the use of fossil fuels. 

Regarding an affordable and healthy Vermont, the fact is that a clean environment was once something that everyone could take for granted — for "free." But it is no longer free. A clean environment is expensive, unfortunately. It does not make sense for the costs to fall to residents who live near pollution caused by outmoded technology and outdated sources of energy. Fossil fuels involve a large cost to the environment and to our health. Addressing the effects of releasing the carbon from fossil fuels is increasingly expensive.

Someone will pay for the effects of carbon pollution. Allowing the gas and oil industries to continue operating without taking responsibility for the effects of carbon from their products equals an investment in those companies, as the costs then fall to others while the profits stay with the polluters.

Many of us in Vermont want to use affordable, clean energy. Technologies and businesses that support this direction are the ones that need and deserve investment. They answer the growing market demands of the future. Please support clean, affordable energy that reduces our use of carbon. Support the health of the people and of the economy of our state. Support a price on carbon!

Beverly Keim

South Burlington

Flanagan Deserves Better

Shame on you, Seven Days, for minimizing a life of extraordinary public service to a single incident related to a chronic condition known as traumatic brain injury [Off Message: "Former Vermont State Senator Ed Flanagan Dies," November 3]. Why did you feel it necessary to mention this? Read the Valley News for an example of how it should be done.

Maria Senftleber


Editor's note: We carefully considered what to include in this brief blog post announcing the death of Ed Flanagan, which led with a short summary of his political legacy. Flanagan was a sitting state senator and thus a public figure at the time of the YMCA incident mentioned. Media coverage of it influenced state politics and essentially ended Flanagan's political career. We deemed that relevant in a breaking-news post that was not intended to be a fully reported obituary.