Not Good Enough?
So, once again, we are making exceptions for Dr. Yaw Obeng ["Burlington School Super's South Burlington Digs Trigger Residency Debate," April 6]. Not living in Burlington? Are we not good enough for you?
The answer is: Apparently not. You see, our schools are not good enough for his kids to attend; they go to school in South Burlington.
We waited and waited and spent a fairly good chunk of change to finally get Obeng here. Now he and his family don't want to live in our city or have their children attend our schools. Just the type of superintendent we need.
Hardly a 'Hardship'
[Re "Burlington School Super's South Burlington Digs Trigger Residency Debate," April 6]: Dr. Obeng bought a house in South Burlington for the very same reason that others do: He wants his kids to go to South Burlington High School, the best in the state. He doesn't want them to be subjected to the cuts in school programs and personnel he intends to impose on Burlington kids.
Surely Obeng could have found a proper dwelling in the Queen City for the $440,000 he spent on his South Burlington home. That figure adds insult to injury. The Burlington City Council should absolutely deny Dr. Obeng's "hardship extension" from the legal-voter requirement. There doesn't seem to be much of a hardship here at all.
Further, school board chair Mark Porter says that Dr. Obeng intends "to work assiduously on securing his work visa and citizenship." And the city council has granted a "hardship extension" until 2018 or until he becomes a U.S. citizen — whichever comes first. Obviously, Obeng is not going to get his U.S. citizenship anytime soon if it means that he would then have to move to Burlington and send his kids to Burlington High School.
His explanation — that it would be hard on his kids — is bogus. Plenty of kids go to school where their parents work. My uncle was superintendent of the school system I attended, and my mother and father were both teachers there. I rarely saw any of them at school, and it was neither "hard" nor awkward.
Three cheers to Burlington City Councilor Jane Knodell for bringing Obeng's residency status to light and for questioning the validity of his "hardship extension." This is especially important since Porter's school board intends to request a further extension, one that should be categorically denied.
Stephen M. Carey
Puzzled by Policy
This is neither a letter of high praise nor of deep-seated criticism — just a simple request: Is there any way that you could print the answer key to the crossword puzzle upside down? In my weekly initial browse of your fine publication (hey, there's the high praise), I often mentally solve the first couple of crossword clues I see when I encounter the puzzle. Not knowing if I am really correct, I usually — even when I know it's coming — see an answer or two on the puzzle key a few pages later. It's a bummer (yes, that could count as criticism). Having it printed upside down in the same space that it is in now would reduce the chances of inadvertently seeing the answers. Perhaps there are some others out there who feel the same? Just a suggestion.
Editor's note: Done. See page C-8.
[WTF: "What Are Those Signs Trying to Bring Back?" March 16]: I'm extremely frustrated that the University of Vermont has been so resistant to reinstating Division 1 baseball and softball. Requiring a $15 million endowment is ludicrous. No other sport at UVM is required to have an endowment. Furthermore, when baseball was eliminated at UVM in 2009, it was the third- cheapest sport. It's a shame that our state university cannot support our national pastime. I urge readers to visit the Friends of UVM Baseball site. Sign the petition, donate to the cause and consider placing a sign on your lawn. It will be a great day when the UVM baseball and softball programs regain their rightful place as perennial contenders in the America East Conference.
Gave Me Shelter
[Re "No Room at the Motel for Those on the 'Do Not House' List," March 23]: I am a former resident of Burlington and have been homeless various times. I have stayed at the Committee on Temporary Shelter way station and day station and at the Burlington Emergency Shelter. I am very grateful for the assistance that said organizations have given me. I can understand that the rules set up in these shelters are to protect not only someone needing a place to stay, but also those who either work or volunteer at these places.
Preserve the Past
[Re "New Pressure on Old Buildings in the Queen City," March 2]: I was there in 1974 when Lyndon State College tore down Vail Manor, the onetime home of T.N. Vail, founder of AT&T, to make room for a "modern" college building. Its destruction ripped all historical context from the campus and left it with a hulking monstrosity that is a blight on the campus to this day. I would hope Burlington doesn't make the same mistake. Let some of the past stand, even if there is a small inconvenience. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.
Regarding the cyclist deaths last year ["Road Wars: Will New Rules Help Cyclists and Motorists Coexist?" April 6], it is not completely accurate to say that "cars hit and killed four cyclists." A more appropriate way to report it would be: "Drivers hit and killed four cyclists." It may sound like a trivial difference, but language matters. Cars do not drive themselves, and we need to recognize the enormous responsibility we have when we get behind the wheel of a multiton vehicle.
It is also interesting to hear Rep. Curt McCormack pushing for a registration fee for bicyclists. As a member of the House Transportation Committee, he must know that our local roads and sidewalks are funded with property taxes, not fuel or motor vehicle taxes. That means that everyone — including pedestrians, bicyclists, bus riders, skateboarders and wheelchair riders — is already paying for our roads either directly through property taxes or indirectly through rent. McCormack and others like to perpetuate the myth of the responsible motorist so that their mono-modal lifestyles can be subsidized by their neighbors who can't afford cars.
Our streets are public spaces. Let's make them safe, inclusive spaces.
I'm a Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter [Fair Game: "Bernie, Bro!" March 30]. I voted for him on Super Tuesday and would again if he's nominated in November. However, there's a phenomenon that has me worried. We've all had this conversation with the die-hard Bernie fanatic: "Would you vote for a paraplegic muskrat over Donald Trump?" "Heck yes, I'd vote for that muskrat! Trump's a fascist mannequin made of chewed saltwater taffy covered in yellow lint!"
"Will you vote for Hillary Clinton if Bernie loses the primary?" "Never! Even if Trump becomes the Republican nominee, I won't vote!" Bernie Bros, that's weird. Clinton, a human, would make a better president than a paraplegic muskrat, and you know it.
I realize Bernie makes us all a bit flushed. But not so much that we'd allow Donald Trump, the man entertaining endorsements from former Ku Klux Klan members, to be president? This is what's wrong with Washington, D.C.: a total unwillingness to accept alternatives, even when it's detrimental.
We can't rally against Congress for not doing their jobs if we throw adult hissy fits, refuse to vote and so decline our jobs. Democracies, like relationships, need compromise to be healthy and happy. Don't be that guy who, when his date wants to see Zootopia instead of Deadpool, refuses to go to the movies. That guy's a dick. Vote.
Where Is the 'Trump Beat'?
Seven Days' coverage of the 2016 presidential race is completely biased, misinformed and lacking in many ways. The only candidate covered has been Sen. Bernie Sanders, and there is even a web page called Bernie Beat that is nonstop coverage of Sanders. If Seven Days wants to call itself a legitimate news organization, it would cover the other viable candidates, especially Republicans.
Sanders did win Vermont and is very popular with Vermonters. However, Donald Trump is also very popular within the state, drawing more than 2,000 people to his rally, and he won the Republican primary for the state. Where is the "Trump Beat"?
The uninformative and irresponsible "news" coverage of the presidential race has downgraded Seven Days to nothing more than a fan page. There is absolutely no coverage of the Republican race or how Sanders is actually losing by 11 points in the Democratic race. If Seven Days wants to regain legitimacy in the vast array of news organizations in Vermont, it would stop fantasizing over an unlikely dream of a Vermont senator becoming president and cover the other candidates to keep this great state well-informed.
Editor's note: Seven Days is a local media organization. We're only covering the U.S. presidential race because Sen. Bernie Sanders is in it. Plenty of his supporters say we've been too critical of the candidate. And there was no ignoring Donald Trump when he came to Vermont — he was on the cover, remember? We wrote about his primary win, too.
I am grateful to see a balanced article on the subject of wildlife ["A Wildlife Social Unites the Pack in Norwich," April 6]. With the tsunami of compassion arising in response to all the horror everywhere, the tropes of the hunting-and-trapping world are lagging far behind. The deaths of the lions Cecil and Mohawk have awakened a global outrage at killing for pleasure, yet local hunters and trappers cling to the ever-more-ephemeral belief that what they do not only provides a service, but is actually a sport. Leghold and drowning traps, in particular, are grotesque examples of a practice that has largely outlived its usefulness, except to those few who still trade in pelts and only feel it necessary to be there for the final dispatch, should it still be needed after the requisite 72 hours.
Also much appreciated in the article is the concept that predator species actually improve the ecosystems in which they live, something that is generally conveniently ignored and really needs to be much more front and center in the conversation. The fact is, any species we deem a "nuisance" was created by our invasion of their habitat. Things were just fine until we came along and decided we owned it all.