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Letters to the Editor (5/27/15)

Published May 27, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

Pot Problem

I would simply like to note that the long prohibition on marijuana and more recent war on drugs have destroyed many poor and working-class families — particularly black families and young black men. Yet now we lift up a small group of wealthy white people who are admittedly looking to profit from a prohibition reversal ["Entrepreneurial Dream Team Sets Sights on Marijuana," April 15]. Where is the story about what happens to the millions of people incarcerated, fined, declared ineligible for student loans, who have lost job opportunities, etc.? How will these people be made whole, let alone profit, from legalization? Rather than talk about how the same old wealthy few are planning on increasing their power and wealth, why don't we talk about repealing prohibition as an opportunity for justice, to think about structural racism, or as an opportunity to reduce income inequality, not widen the gap?

Matt Mcgrath


New-School Approach

School-district consolidation, advocated by Vermont's two most recent secretaries of education and many legislators, will centralize control of local public schools and their futures ["Readsboro, Writing and 'Rithmetic: Fears Grow Over the Future of Small Schools," May 13]. Vermonters have not discussed our options.

How small should a public school be? Should larger schools grow at the expense of smaller schools? What if medium-size schools grew at the expense of both? Should all costs of special education be paid by state grants funded by all taxpayers?

Larger schools promote curricular and cocurricular opportunities, provided that students are bused there. Now, however, all students have unprecedented online access to the broadest and deepest learning in the global village where they always have lived and will live.

Consolidating Vermont's school districts is a corporate "solution." Instead, we need start-up innovations revolutionizing education as they are revolutionizing our work and leisure. The future is now. Vermont is the place.

Howard Fairman


Setting the Record Straight

It's great to have a vinyl pressing plant in Burlington! My congratulations. But I'd like to clear up a point. The article ["Pressing Matters," May 13] says they'll be using some vinyl reclaimed from ReSTORE, and they must mean the place on Pine Street, which until 2009 used that name before changing it to ReSOURCE. Habitat for Humanity ReStore, on Route 2A in Williston, actually has that name. The names have become confused (for instance, in a recent Seven Days article on local thrift shops). I run the vinyl department at ReStore and haven't heard about this plan, so I'm sure they mean ReSOURCE.

We have a great store out in Williston — it's a shame that many people in Burlington don't even know about it. And we've recently expanded. Hope everything goes well at the new vinyl pressing plant!

Charlie Messing


Editor's note: Indeed, the new business will use reclaimed vinyl from ReSOURCE on Pine Street. Apologies for the confusion.

Not Funny

The cartoon ["Edie Everette," May 13] portrays senior citizens in a stereotypical manner that would be considered totally unacceptable if it depicted any other group. If this comic were directed at people with disabilities, I am sure that your paper would not have published it. So why publish a cartoon that mocks persons who have become disabled because of their advanced age? You should print an apology and reconsider keeping Edie Everette as a cartoonist.

Lee Cattaneo


More Sour Grapes?

[Re "Big Heavy World Director Challenges Burlington City Arts," March 11]: Jim Lockridge's criticism of BCA's governance and allocation of resources could well apply to other Vermont arts organizations. The statement attributed to Ben Bergstein of North End Studios that BCA felt more like a "competitor rather than a collaborator" fits my experience with Vermont Humanities.

In my quest to popularize and share the works of Vermont poet George Albert Leddy (1883-1967), my grandfather, I've had incredible community support. I've performed at festivals like First Night Burlington and South End Art Hop; at coffee houses, bars and resorts like the Balsams; for historical societies, senior centers, retirement homes, campgrounds, libraries and schools. I was interviewed and performed on the WCAX-TV program "Across the Fence" and appeared many times on public access television.

Yet Vermont Humanities has again refused to even give me an audition to be considered for inclusion in their Speakers Bureau Catalogue. They seem to favor academics, many from out of state. It's hard to compete with speakers whose fees they subsidize. I admire Jim Lockridge for all he's done to support and encourage area performing artists, and for his tenacity in confronting the arts establishment.

Chris Abair


Unaffordable Housing

All this talk about "affordable housing" [Off Message: "New High: Burlington Town Center Plan Includes 14-Story Towers," May 6] neglects to mention what is considered affordable. I work 50 hours per week at a decent job, and the average $1,200- to $1,300-per-month rent for a one-bedroom in Chittenden County is almost half my monthly income. This is not affordable!

Add a (used) car payment (CCTA doesn't have bus routes that will get me to and from work), utilities (not including cable) and groceries — and I'm already over budget, and there's no room for any emergencies, let alone savings. I can't even imagine how difficult this is for people with children.

Sure, there are cheaper rents outside of Burlington — too bad Green Mountain Power is right there to charge $200 and more a month for electricity!

Please stop building housing that only caters to rich mommies and daddies from out of state. The middle class lives here, our parents don't pay our bills and we can't find anything affordable about your housing. Please consider all the people looking for housing, not just the people in your income bracket.

Susan MacKenzie


Hurray for the Artist-Tree

[Re Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: "What's Up With the Metal-Wrapped Tree at Fort Ethan Allen?" May 20]: I think most of us who live on Officers' Row in the Fort love the art installations that our neighbor creates every now and then! Remember the monster clothesline, including the outsize laundry with giant clothespins, stretched across the field a few years ago? In my opinion, we are lucky to live in this hood and be treated to such interesting and wonderful creativity! It is sad to see many of the old trees succumb to the chain saw, so dressing up this maple for a while and paying homage makes this resident smile.

Nan Abbott-Hourigan

Essex Junction


In last week's "Taxi Trials: Are Burlington's Standards Lower Than Uber's?" staff writer Alicia Freese incorrectly stated the reason for a Blazer Transportation driver's licence suspension. The license was suspended for driving under the influence of drugs. 

In "Jump In" [May 20] we misstated the distance between the town of Greensboro and Lake Caspian; the town includes the lake. Also, Greensboro's Highland Lodge and Lakeview Inn no longer offer dining to the public.

Last week we interviewed Sumru Tekin about her exhibit "One Day" at the BCA Center. A spotlight in our visual arts newsletter re:View misinterpreted that article. Tekin is Turkish and does not have Armenian roots. Apologies for the error.