Letters to the Editor (6/1/22) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published June 1, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated June 10, 2022 at 12:47 p.m.

'Coeds,' Really?

Last week's "Gowntown Development" article was excellent. But "coeds"? Really? That term was offensive when coined and remains so. Just say "students."

Eloise Boyle

Lake Forest Park, WA

Good for Gray

I read with interest Sasha Goldstein's piece regarding campaign finance in Vermont's hotly contested election for the open seat in the U.S. House ["In Vermont's U.S. House Race, D.C. Insiders, Lobbyists Sign Up for Team Molly Gray," May 18]. It seems to me that, while the focus was on fundraising by the Molly Gray campaign, the most important fact in the story is that all three leading candidates have nearly the same percentage of donations from out of state.

While the report included lesser mention of money donated to the campaigns of state Sens. Becca Balint and Kesha Ram Hinsdale, it could have been more balanced by paying similar attention to contributions to those two candidates. To me, the fact that Gray has drawn support from the camps of Sen. Patrick Leahy and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch is a plus for her; each has a long legacy of effective service to Vermont.

Bridget Conry


Editor's note: Last Friday, Ram Hinsdale dropped out of the race for U.S. Congress and endorsed Balint, her colleague in the Vermont Senate.

A Comment on Comments

While it is unfortunate that you no longer host reader comments online, it is also completely understandable. Over the past several years, I have had works published in the Wall Street Journal, Market Watch, Forbes, the Charlotte Observer, EdSurge and Education Week. I write to advocate for those with diagnosed learning differences and to support better understanding of these conditions — in order to lessen the unfortunate, baseless stigma associated with such diagnoses. 

I have learned to expect hateful, mannerless commentary by the internet trolls, who seemingly enjoy being boorish and unlearned, flaunting their incivility and ignorance. 

It is my observation that these trolls have proliferated during the pandemic. Perhaps they've been encouraged to be aggressive and nasty by the divisiveness that has arisen and been tolerated in what I once believed was a civil republic, a democracy that admired courteous, intelligent debate. 

I guess I'm just feeling churlish myself and needed to vent while supporting your commendable editorial stance. 

Brent Bétit


After a Long Flight

I doubt God would have created potatoes

and pronouns, if They didn't want me

standing in line at Al's French Frys

in Burlington, Vermont. Close to the airport,

my first stop when I fly home to

my Green Mountain State.

Where I doubt many tourists know

in the back room they keep a can

of Fancy Grade A syrup.

You can ask for. To pour over your

fries. If you can show them your license,

even if you're not a native Vermonter.

Someone who was born a doubter.

Who could swear God poured gold

out of those leaf-painted trees.

When, in March, the temperature rises

and falls overnight creating the best

sap run. A sweet maple water to boil off

into clouds of Christ. I doubt

you'll believe me when I tell you

one cloud looked so much like Him,

like They, I wanted to call a priest

to verify this. To believe what I was seeing.

Even though I wouldn't say, too,

I see God in everything thing I can.

After a long flight. In every pronoun.

In the potato the ground carved into

the face of God. The pleasure I feel

standing in Al's long line. At home

at last. Smothering my fries in my state's

kingdom of dripping gold.

No matter what the doctors nearby

at the Medical Center tell me is good

for me or not.

No matter how much doubt

there is in the world.

Gary Margolis


We Need Real Clean Heat

While I deplore Gov. Phil Scott's overall lack of meaningful action on climate issues and don't agree with his reasons for vetoing, I had other concerns about the Clean Heat Standard bill ["House Fails to Override Governor's Veto of Clean Heat Measure," May 10, online] — primarily, that it includes biofuels and gas as "clean" alternatives to fossil fuels.

In reality, biofuel production often is carbon-intensive, harms essential ecosystems and diverts resources from food production. Similarly, any proposal that includes "renewable" natural gas supports an industry of pipelines, pollution, human health impacts and Indigenous rights infringement.

Testimony to the Vermont Senate last month by local Indigenous leaders and other experts spoke powerfully to many of these issues, and an amendment to the CHS bill introduced by Sens. Kesha Ram Hinsdale and Anthony Pollina would have capped biofuels at 10 percent of alternative energy sources, but that amendment was defeated.

I completely support the principle of a framework to regulate fuel dealers and direct the crucial transition away from fossil fuels. But I don't see us attaining resilience and sustainability by simply replacing our dependence on out-of-state fossil fuels with a dependence on out-of-state biofuels.

I want to see a Clean Heat Standard that would prioritize weatherization, heat pumps and other energy conservation measures, along with incentives for in-state sources of energy like community solar. Doing so would reduce our consumption, keep our energy dollars in Vermont and strengthen our communities for the climate challenges ahead.

Marisa Keller


Wasted Opportunity

In ["Compost Conundrum," May 10], Melissa Pasanen asks a fundamental question about the complexities of finding environmentally friendly foodware: "So, what should restaurants do? And what should customers lobby for?"

Unfortunately, the article devotes only passing mention to the real problem: our dependence on single-use products. Reduce and reuse come before recycling and composting for a reason. The goal must be using and incentivizing durable, reusable alternatives to wasteful, resource-intensive, single-use packaging and products of all kinds.

This is already happening at cafés and coffee shops that use durable plates, utensils, cups and mugs. We recently highlighted Pingala Café's initiative of offering durable, returnable plastic smoothie cups, and there's the University of Vermont's EcoWare and Champlain College's OZZI returnable takeout initiatives. Portland, Ore.'s GO Box and Okapi Reusables and Durham, N.C.'s GreenToGo apply this model to restaurant takeout.

We can all help reduce overconsumption of single-use products by bringing our reusable coffee cup and containers for leftovers and to-go purchases from restaurants and markets.

The burden of finding solutions to our disposables addiction shouldn't fall on businesses trying to make ends meet. That's why Chittenden Solid Waste District offers business and school outreach assistance and grant funding for pilot projects, and why we support legislation such as H.142 and S.236, which require producers of single-use products and packaging to be part of the solution.

Navigating the changing waste landscape can be challenging even for the most committed. CSWD's professionals are here to help our community find the best way to meet its goals.

Michele Morris


Morris is director of marketing and communications for Chittenden Solid Waste District.

Ad Policy Violation?

I was deeply disturbed to find an advertisement for VT Grassroots on page 21 of the May 11 issue. Behind the nondescript title is a thinly veiled race-baiting message that deserves no place in Vermont or Seven Days.

Your advertising policy claims that you won't run ads that "make fraudulent claims or spread misinformation." This ad, and the event it supports, does exactly that. It states that: "Critical Race Theory ... removes freedoms from students beginning in kindergarten." The article makes similarly baseless claims about the harms caused by using preferred pronouns for transgender people. It describes the event's intention as one to "empower" parents and teachers. In reality, recent legislation in Florida and Texas has done literally the opposite by creating a chilling effect upon the teaching of actual reality; LGBT folks exist and deserve a voice, and racism is real and impacts every part of our society.

This ad is in direct violation of Seven Days' advertising policy. It's also harmful and contributes to violence against marginalized people. Would Seven Days also run an ad for a KKK event if paid enough? Your readers deserve an apology. Do better.

Eddie Poff


Editor's note: Seven Days welcomes a diversity of viewpoints. We believe those promoted in the VT Grassroots ad fall within the realm of free speech.

'Keeping Lois Afloat'

[Re "Berth to Death," April 27; Feedback: "Save Our Ship," May 11]: Ever since the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum made the decision to retire the Lois McClure, I've wrestled with that decision. I was one of the cofounders of the Buffalo Maritime Center, now a vibrant organization that, almost from the beginning, has had boats in the water. Now I volunteer at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

I've known about the museum almost from the beginning, and what set it apart was its focus on building and operating historic replicas of boats that were key to the history of this region. Hands-on! Interactive!

If the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's plans were carried out, the Lois McClure would be taken apart, and sections would become a static exhibit. There would be no replica boats on the water or on the ways. It's building and campaigning historic replica boats that created the museum and is part of its DNA.

The 200-year anniversary of the opening of the Erie Canal could be a great programmatic opportunity for the Lois McClure to continue educating, even if only floating at the dock. Can't the museum use this time to build support for the next project while keeping Lois afloat?

Maybe the boat has to be retired at some point, but does that have to be the end of large boatbuilding at the museum? What lurks at the bottom of the lake that needs to be re-created and brought to life while bringing new life to the museum and connecting more visitors to our history?

Richard Butz