Muckraking Award Goes to...
I hereby award reporter Courtney Lamdin my personal Lincoln Steffens Award for brilliant muckraking with regard to her exhaustive reporting on official obscurantism ["Redacted," March 4]. This bureaucratic refusal to recognize a citizen's right to know has become as endemic in our supposed democracy as the coronavirus threatens to be. The award comes with a bronze statuette showing the mayor of Burlington sinking up to his neck in a dairy farm manure pit as he spews out his mangled version of the truth. To my mind, this is one of the most important articles ever to appear in Seven Days.
Regarding the move of the Burlington Free Press to New Hampshire [Off Message: "The Burlington Free Press Will Be Printed in Coastal New Hampshire," February 27]: It seems like the paper should be renamed the Portsmouth Free Press, and it's by no means free.
On the Wall
Ken Picard's "Elder Statesman" [February 26] was an interesting read. It was particularly enjoyable to learn about Chief Don Stevens' very admirable efforts toward peacemaking. Bravo that he rejects the portrayal of his tribe by Albert Petrarca and his Off the Wall Coalition evangelicals — Progressive councilors included. Seems to me Chief Stevens is a wise leader and does not need any help from phony saviors who proselytize victimhood.
I do not see racism in the "Everyone Loves a Parade!" mural. I see a mural, however flawed, that was created by Pierre Hardy — who, by the way, is devastated by the slandering of his work — to stir joy in our hearts and create laughter. Shame on all who have targeted it to flaunt their do-gooderism — in other words, to prove how not racist they are.
Petrarca also calls the mural sexist. There are more women than men in Burlington and Vermont. There are more than twice as many men than women on the mural. Does that make it sexist? The answer is: only if you have something to gain from seeing sexism in it.
It is absurd to equate the mural, as Off the Wall does, with Civil War monuments. So, before you call your councilor to demand that the mural be removed now, as Petrarca suggests you do [Feedback: "Chief Concern," March 4] — claiming that it "shamelessly bolsters the virulent and growing nationalism under the Trump regime" — I have to ask, how is the authoritarian Off the Wall Coalition, which would deny Hardy's constitutionally protected speech, not like the Trump regime?
[Re "Disarmed — and Dangerous?," March 4]: The alarming conduct of Sean Wilson and Chris Matott shows that Vermont and its law enforcement departments must have regulations that don't allow violent, immoral officers to carry guns and be paid by taxpayers. When you look for 20 guns and find only 11 guns, I would say that's a red flag. Police are supposed to protect and serve, not threaten, strangle and shoot. Vermont has got to show that Vermont cares for women by passing a strict law now.
[Re "Progressives Knock Off Incumbents, Take Majority on Burlington City Council," March 3]: If the Progressives want now to impress the electorate — and show their real mettle — they will start gutting the city budget to reduce taxpayer spending, aka taxes.
The reason rents are so high in Burlington is because the landlords can't keep up with the burgeoning property taxes. So they pass that expense on to the tenants. If the Progs want "rent control," a reduction of taxpayer spending is the way to do it. Such a move would be historic and politically disarming — and cement the political futures of those councilors for years to come. I doubt it will happen, though — too practical.
Feeling Her Pain
[Re "Taking on Titans," February 5]: Besides just placing blame on the software, there's the issue of the patient not advocating for herself by not having the requested test done, the doctor and his staff for not following through with the patient, the imaging company that was supposed to schedule a time slot, etc. These are all steps through which this death could possibly have been avoided. As someone with chronic migraines and chronic pain-related health issues because of a car accident, I have to jump through hoops as if I am a drug-seeking criminal to obtain med dosage that just barely controls my pain. I advocate and push for my care and educate myself. I'm truly sorry for this loss, but there are many sides to the issue.
Slow Down Pot Passage
[Re Off Message: "Vermont House Approves Retail Cannabis Bill," February 26]: Am I the only person who, when driving around Vermont, has come upon a vehicle traveling well below the speed limit — the peculiar driving habits of someone stoned out of their mind who thinks they are driving too fast, exhibiting paranoid behavior? It's especially a danger on the highway when — again, for no apparent reason — a vehicle is traveling 45 miles per hour, impeding the flow of traffic and causing others to compensate. You pull up next to them, and they ignore you, as if you don't see them, I guess thinking their actions are normal. It's fine to free up our liberties, but when you don't take full consideration of the outcome, you are endangering others. I'm not a big fan of the direction in which full legalization of pot is going...