For the Record
Seven Days stated that "all 12 city councilors" voted for Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo ["Scholar in Chief," July 13]. This is incorrect. There were only 11 votes for del Pozo. The Seven Days article written at the time seems to have gotten it right [Off Message: "Burlington City Councilors Stand by Their Man: Del Pozo Is New Police Chief," July 15, 2015]. The 12th vote was an abstention for reason of conflict of interest by Joan Shannon. The reason Shannon abstained was that she was involved in working on the closing on his house in Burlington!
There's a quote from George Orwell that reads: "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations." Two articles in your last issue come much closer to the second definition.
The first is ["Taking Stock: Did Wall Street Prepare Lisman to Be Governor?" July 13]. As any student of Vermont politics knows, and Terri Hallenbeck's article notes, Bruce Lisman was a top member of the Bear Stearns financial house and a member of the University of Vermont Board of Trustees. Naturally, Lisman and his supporters consider these elements of his résumé to be positives. Seven Days does little to challenge this idea. What is left unsaid is that both of these bodies are autocratic and antidemocratic in their philosophy and operations. This is antithetical to Vermont's tradition of democracy.
The other article is the cover story on Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo ["Scholar in Chief," July 13]. Del Pozo's appointment was one of the least democratic actions taken by the Burlington city government in years. Furthermore, the fact that two civilians have been killed in operations involving Burlington police since his appointment makes me think that his approach to policing is less enlightened than the Seven Days piece leads readers to believe. Just because he uses computers to isolate and arrest (mostly poor) people does not indicate progressiveness. Indeed, it only proves that he sees the role of the police as one of enforcing the will of financiers like Lisman in turning Vermont into a neoliberal playground.
Rooting for It
Does the importance Seven Days reporter Terri Hallenback gave the Gilfeather turnip in "New Rules: 2016 Laws Affect Drivers, Turnips and Estate Taxes" [July 6] mean that she is planning on attending the Gilfeather Turnip Festival in Wardsboro on October 22?
I loved reading Mark Davis' report on the Rainbow Family gathering near Mount Tabor ["Happy Campers," June 29]. Having been to four previous Rainbow gatherings since 1985, the traditional Rainbow greeting — "Welcome home!" — had special meaning for me this year, as it was my first gathering in the state I've called home for 22 years; I still haven't quite come down from the emotional and spiritual high I experienced at the Peace Circle on the Fourth of July.
I'm a 63-year-old African American who came of age during the heyday of the original "flower children" of the late 1960s and early '70s. The hippies I first encountered at New York's Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village as a 17-year-old in the summer of 1970 forever altered the course of my life; I've been a hippie in my heart and soul ever since.
It was at the 1985 Rainbow gathering in Missouri that I met a gay French Canadian Rainbow from Montréal with whom I had a relationship that lasted 21 years until we amicably parted in 2006. At this year's gathering, I reconnected with a friend I had not seen in 20 years.
I've never had children but nonetheless came face-to-face during the Peace Circle with a young man who bore such an uncanny resemblance to my teenage self that I was overwhelmed with the feeling that he could have been my son — or even my grandson, as he was just 18.
There's a reason why it's called the Rainbow Family. And I thank God it's still here after almost half a century.
[Re "Rowing Pains," June 29]: I'm 15, and, like hundreds of other families from across the state, mine comes to train or race at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center year-round on skis, bikes, feet or in boats. This winter, COC received a national award for being one of only a few centers that were open during the season-long warmth.
COC is a mecca for the rowing community worldwide. It is an exceptional place to learn from some of the best coaches in the country.
The idea that Dick Dreissigacker and Judy Geer are just in it for the money is ludicrous [Feedback: "Troubled Waters," July 6]. Likewise the claim that it is "an outright R&D lab of Concept2."
Concept2 makes the most widely used oars and rowing machines in the world, popular because they are fantastically designed. Of course they're not free. But the COC doesn't charge their foremost athletes to live and train there, as most training centers do, choosing their mission over money.
COC uses Concept2 oars, and they offer free tours of the Concept2 factory, but they do not test oars on campers.
Watching Dick and Judy setting up tents in frigid weather, or world-class athletes making furniture for guests, or seeing interns learning how to accommodate senior rowers with some limitations is to witness a culture of care, not greed.
As for respecting hours to be on the lake, rowers come to Craftsbury specifically because at almost any other body of water large enough to row on, they'd get chased off by motorboats and wakes as early as 7 a.m.
[Re "Rowing Pains," June 29]: The scullers originating from the Craftsbury Outdoor Center are never without a motorized boat accompanying them. Added to that are the instructions hollered at the scullers by the coaches aboard the motorized boats. I usually sit at the lake in the early hours — before 8 a.m. — and the groups are there before then. Whenever I have traveled and stayed at a beach area, noise ordinances request that guests observe certain hours of quiet out of respect to others. I would imagine that homeowners on Great Hosmer Pond would appreciate such courtesy.
Good for the Hood
[Re "Truck Stops Here," July 13]: As a small business on Pine Street for 10 years, I welcome any and all creative activity in our neighborhood. The food trucks have been a wonderful addition to this area. They have also been very good neighbors and deserve the support and consideration of this community. Overall foot traffic is up, and tourists as well as locals exploring the city beyond Church Street really appreciate the expanded venue. This historic district needs to be fostered and not stifled. Special thanks to ArtsRiot and the South End Arts and Business Association.
Ender owns Speaking Volumes bookstore on Burlington's Pine Street.