A Jew's View
[Re "Right in Rutland," June 8]: I'm a refugee. In 1937, when I was 3 years old, my family was forced to flee Nazi Germany's pogrom. We had cousins who had been born in the U.S. and were successful merchants. We got into the U.S. only because they vouched for us. Otherwise, my parents, brother and I would have perished in the gas chambers like so many we knew and heard about over the next eight years.
There was a cruise ship by the name of St. Louis that took hundreds of escaping Jews and political refugees to the U.S., but it was denied entry. It went on to Cuba and South America before it returned, still fully loaded, to Germany, where nearly all the refugees were later killed.
Now the world is facing another refugee crisis: Millions trying to escape death are in refugee camps. Germany (yes, that Germany) has taken in more than 400,000 refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern conflict areas. For Christ's sake, Rutland, cut out this nationalistic cowardly crap and take in 100 suffering people. Act like Americans.
Clarifying Agenda 21
Your excellent story about Syrian refugees coming to Rutland mentions the United Nations' Agenda 21 ["Right in Rutland," June 8]. You say, "A key part of the [United Nation's] plan is allowing refugees from Syria and other Middle East countries to infiltrate America, confiscate land and set up fundamentalist Islamic control." I assume writer Mark Davis intended us to understand that this is the plan according to anti-UN conspiracy theorists, but that isn't clear in the article. Agenda 21 was a silly UN exercise (I was present at its creation) that never had any merit, coherence or enforcement power. At its silliest, though, it never so much as hinted at infiltrating, confiscating land and settling up Islamic control in Rutland or anywhere else; nor would it have had the power to do so.
Editor's note: In case anyone else missed it, Davis wrote: "Agenda 21, as defined by the United Nations, is a strategy for sustainable development. As interpreted by Simpson and the segment of the populace that insists President Barack Obama is a Muslim, it's a conspiracy between the UN and liberals to create one world government. A key part of the plan..."
Round and Round
["Winooski Development Projects Face Parking Squeeze," May 25]: So am I the only one watching as the Winooski traffic circle gets "improved" yet again? From the beginning, this has been a mess: too many signs put up and taken down, traffic signals in the middle, poor lighting, an unused middle area and problematic crossings. Plus, it is dangerous to drive through — unless you have quick reactions and a spinning head.
Now it is being redone yet again! Just wondering what the total dollar figures are from the beginning of construction until now. With bare-bones budgets all around, how is this a priority? It seems to be like so many other ideas — "seemed like a good one at the time." Such a waste. Shame on the Winooski planners and the state transportation agency.
Back to the Future
[Re "Up Against the Mall," May 25]: As a longtime resident of Burlington circa Bernie Sanders as mayor and Ben and Jerry making ice cream in an abandoned gas station on Cherry Street, I see this as a return visitor: Hotel, retail and university growth has created an impossibly gridlocked transportation network in your "green" city. It was bad three decades ago; it's out of control now. I yearn for the days when city planning focused on downtown and pedestrian traffic.
Weldon Spring, MO
Bad Drugs, Maximum Sentence
The sale of a drug tainted with other dangerous chemicals that leads to any death should carry stiffer penalties than a distribution charge [Off Message: "Police Say Fentanyl Caused Recent Overdoses," June 8; "The Prosecution Never Rests," March 9]. Dealers all over the country are beginning to taint their drugs to make them more potent, and one way to attempt to stop it is to punish dealers with heavier charges in order to prevent the flow of narcotics. It also sends a message to other dealers that there will be serious consequences to those who violate the law.
Some people believe that drug-related cases in Bennington would be better handled in drug court, as opposed to regular court, because it would send people to get help rather than punish them, hopefully reducing the drug problem.
However, tainting drugs is giving someone a chemical that they don't know they are getting, which is sociopathic behavior.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic that is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Tainting drugs is infinitely more deadly, and anyone who does this lacks a conscience and should be taken away from the general public. Anyone who commits a crime should be punished to the full extent of the law. If a dealer sells bad drugs, they should be charged with any related deaths.
Tim Newcomb's despicable cartoon "Lisman Campaign Goes Negative" [Feedback, June 8] has no basis in reality.
First, Bruce Lisman has the most comprehensive, issues-oriented website of any candidate, offering thoroughly researched and thoughtful public policy solutions. Bruce has met with thousands of Vermonters, traveled throughout the state and participated in every possible gubernatorial forum. He will continue to do so, looking Vermonters in the eye and asking for their support.
Presumably your attack stems from a series of widely circulated campaign mailers that have made Bruce's opponent, Phil Scott, apoplectic. While your publication and the Scott campaign find them negative, Vermonters do not. In fact, we at the campaign have received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the mailers for several weeks.
The provocative and informative mailers raise important issues that Phil Scott would rather not talk about and which the media has largely failed to probe. These include Phil Scott's close working relationship with Gov. Shumlin, who has burdened Vermonters with nearly $700 million in new taxes, wreaked havoc on our health care system, and further limited local control and threatened school choice. Phil Scott has largely stood by silently as these troubling policies were enacted.
With an accomplished business background and extensive community service record, Bruce Lisman is without a doubt the best candidate to revive Vermont's economy and spirit and to lead Vermont to a future we can all be proud of.
Shouldice is Bruce Lisman's campaign manager.