Respect Our Home
As the resident communication committee for Decker Towers, we are writing to address an article that describes our home as "looming, drab Decker Towers on St. Paul Street" ["Burlington Housing Authority Mum on Leadership Shuffle," December 21, 2016]. This comment precipitates a stigma around the issues of illness, disabilities and low incomes. Disabilities and poverty are traumatic issues. Many of us had careers and are still employed and productive.
Decker Towers is a multigenerational, diverse community where we can find strength in sharing our experiences. There are workshops for people to learn coping skills and train for employment, and social activities that promote mental, spiritual and physical wellness. Our lives are evolving as we work to overcome substantial adversities and try to avoid further social divide.
Our environment provides safety and support. There is an on-site manager who is attentive to the needs of the building and the people in it. We have a wellness center that offers a variety of supports for our residents. Residents maintain flower and vegetable gardens.
We wish to be seen as individuals first, not our circumstances. We wish to have our home reflected in a positive light.
David Foss, Susan Miller, Sandy Lawrence, Debra Pratt
BTV Ignite had to go "across the pond" to hire a new executive director [Off Message: "BTV Ignite Hires New Executive Director," April 12]? Sorry, but I can't believe there isn't local talent that would more than qualify for the position.
There are a couple of questions in ["'Rebels' Yell: Protests Build Over South Burlington's Mascot Change," April 19] that deserve more investigation: Author Howard Coffin theorizes that schools in Vermont in the 1950s and '60s adopted Confederate mascots out of ignorance about the Civil War, but are we to believe that they were as ignorant of the southern struggle over racist segregation in the same time period? We know that Vermont used to have a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan that was thousands strong in the 1920s.
There is clearly a deep, latent culture of white supremacy in Vermont and a clear reason why "Rebel" was chosen as a mascot rather than, say, Pirates or Patriots or Lake Monsters. Symbols are potent, and they matter. Symbols of the Confederacy in the 1800s, 1900s and today stand for a heritage of racial segregation, un-freedom and white supremacist violence, period. Let's not reinforce the myth that there is no racism in Vermont. We cannot solve problems until we can admit they exist.
Remember Civil Rights?
[Re "'Rebels' Yell: Protests Build Over South Burlington's Mascot Change," April 19]: I am old enough to remember the civil rights movement, and, in 1961 — when South Burlington adopted the Confederate iconography — the civil rights movement was, like President Donald Trump now, about all there was on the news. People here in Vermont watched the "CBS Evening News" on WCAX-TV religiously. They most certainly knew what was going on nationally. They saw the dogs and the water cannons and the burned churches and murdered teenage girls. Throughout all of it, they waved the Confederate flag and sang "Dixie." Today, the Rebel Alliance members have taken up the cause of their ancestors in this new populist world spawned by Trump. They are outspoken in their support of majority rule over the civil and human rights of the minority. "Rebel now, rebel forever" in 2017 is no different than "Segregation now, segregation forever" in 1961.
Bravo to Jean Murray ["Credit Cruncher: Vermont Lawyer Takes on the Debt Collection Industry," April 5]. If there were more like her standing up for the little guy, there would eventually be no more little guys in America. Shame on those who benefit from other people's misfortunes.
I see Mayor Miro Weinberger is still not addressing the issue of low-income housing, which we need desperately in Burlington rather than the illegals [Off Message: "Weinberger Discusses Refugees and Plans in State of the City Address," April 3]. It appears he is more interested in getting money from the feds to house them than he is for the citizens of Burlington! It's time to vote him out!
For years we have listened to our "esteemed" Sen. Bernie Sanders spew his one lame message over and over, pitting the wealthy against the poor hardworking and nonworking people who should be entitled to what they don't earn [Off Message: "Bernie Sanders Brings His Message to Ben & Jerry's St. Albans Plant," April 14].
This guy has not amounted to much as a member of the U.S. Senate — other than becoming wealthy by working for the taxpayers. That's the problem: This guy gets elected and rails about the rich. Hopefully he won't be reelected due to an illness; the voters he has hoodwinked for years will get "sick" of his foolish act.
[Re Off Message: "Vermont Senate Votes 21-9 for Marijuana Legalization," April 21; "Senators Plan Renewed Push for Marijuana Legalization," April 19; "Vermont Senate Leaders Dubious of Marijuana Legalization Plan," April 11; "Caution Urged as Vermont House Panel Weighs Pot Legalization," April 5; "Vermont Marijuana Legalization Bill Could Be Revived," March 31; "Vermont Legalization in Limbo After House Democrats Pull Pot Bill," March 28; "Legal Pot Bill Clears Key Committee in Vermont House," March 22; "Marijuana Legalization Bill Is Still Alive but Lacks Strong Support," March 17; "New Vermont House Bill Would Legalize, Tax Marijuana Sales," February 21; "Scott Administration Opposes Vermont Marijuana Legalization Bill," February 9; "New Pot Plan: Legalization Lite," February 8]: One would think that those with reservations involving children and pot should be more concerned over the cigarettes hanging out of their mouths and beers, both of which are far worse!