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Letters to the Editor (5/10/17)

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Criminal Mind?

What could possibly motivate a Republican who is shitty on pretty much every issue to support a progressive cause like criminal justice reform ["Convict-Turned-Lawmaker Pushes Criminal Justice Reform in Vermont," April 19]? Only being a white-collar criminal himself who defrauded investors. Not to say that this cause is bad; it is something that folks should support wholeheartedly. Just don't be dazzled by Rep. Janssen Willhoit (R-St. Johnsbury) and think he's some sort of compassionate conservative. Willhoit and Rep. Adam Greshin (I-Warren) are really competing with each other to see who can be most outwardly self-serving in their legislative priorities.

Adam Salem

Burlington

No-Go Miro

Kevin J. Kelley's celebratory go-go Miro piece ["Better Burg?" April 26] might accurately reflect how many felt on the heels of Miro Weinberger's election in 2012, but that faith faded fast.  

Miro won because, despite Kurt Wright's political talent and popularity, Burlington is not a Republican town, and Progressive fatigue weighed heavily after 30 years capped with the Burlington Telecom heist. It was time for a Democrat in city hall once again.

To subsequent regret, I personally promoted Miro as the authentic Democrat in the caucus. He promoted himself as a developer of affordable housing, claiming that his Packard Lofts project — a project I had voted against in its 4-3 approval by the Development Review Board — was a departure from the sort he commonly pursued.

As it turned out, Weinberger is a developer who happens to be mayor rather than a mayor who happens to have a background in socially responsible development. And Kelley's article — an inadvertent exposé in part — does reveal that Weinberger sees political office as an alternative means of real estate development.

In fact, Miro is a Republican who happens to be a Democrat. His mantra is build, build, build, much as some famous Republicans have intoned drill, drill, drill.

There is no leadership, discernment or moderation when a mayor rewrites the rules to service developers. Appropriate, responsible development, yes — but no-holds-barred development should not be a mayor's first priority.

Michael Long

Burlington

Missing $12 Million

Dr. John Brumsted told the Green Mountain Care Board that the University of Vermont Medical Center "relies on higher reimbursement rates to subsidize its academic program, trauma center and all the specialized services it provides" ["The Doctor Is Out: Lawmakers Seek 'Lifeline' for Independent Physicians," May 3]. Among the latter, but unmentioned, is the $12 million Brumsted spread around to community groups to stimulate their support in his battles to create a Vermont health care monopoly.

John McClaughry

Kirby

'Rebel' History Lesson

[Re "'Rebels' Yell: Protests Build Over South Burlington's Mascot Change," April 19]: This whole "Rebels" thing changes when the Confederate Flag is displayed. It is not the fault of the young generation but of the shameful school systems that have neglected American history.

In Germany today, every youngster knows what the Holocaust, Final Solution and Second World War were all about. Educators had the courage to face up to the past. Had they not, the young Germans of today would think it "kind of cool" to wave the Nazi swastika flag.

Slavery in the South grew from 2 to 4 million from the 1700s to 1860. The Confederate Army, which started the war in 1861, had invaded the southwestern states to expand slavery up to California; it was defeated.

The auctions of people as if they were cattle, the brandings, tongues cut out from escaped slaves, the selling of children and babies to slave masters, and endless atrocities are represented by this rebel flag.

Vermont lost more men in the Civil War than any other state. It outlawed slavery before any other state, in 1777. The Underground Railroad was active here.

To display the Confederate Flag is an insult to all Union soldiers who died trying to save this republic of ours. Many Vermont town commons have statues to honor them. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Decoration Day as a day people decorated the graves of those fallen. Today it is known as Memorial Day to recognize all our fallen soldiers.

Tom Azarian

Burlington

Vegan Visions

During Vermont Restaurant Week, I eagerly opened Seven Days to peruse the offerings, but this plant-based, organic food lover was disappointed again. I know I am in the minority, but the trend toward a plant-based diet is growing, and Burlington and this state are way behind. 

I am sure many restaurants believe they are friendly to plant-based eaters, but most are not. Vegetarians, sure. Vegans? Not so much. Not all vegans are animal-rights fanatics. While respect for all living creatures and our planet is important, many choose a plant-based diet because we believe it's healthier for our bodies. We are not likely to get excited about dishes made with soy or gluten in the form of pasta or seitan, no matter how many veggies are in accompaniment. 

I dream of a sports bar where I can yell and cheer with my friends while noshing on buffalo cauliflower bites, dunking veggies in spicy hummus, and pigging out on smoky sweet-potato-and-white-bean sliders on a wheat-free bun with spicy vegan aioli, while swilling kombucha. I'd love a romantic dinner of plant-based deliciousness, amid fresh flowers and candlelight, which I didn't have to prepare myself at home. 

So I read the food section of Seven Days with longing. I live in downtown Burlington, but we've got a long way to go before I get really excited about venturing out for dinner. This plant-based foodie will keep hoping, dreaming and cooking. 

Lisa Bridge

Burlington


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