Letters to the Editor (7/22/20) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (7/22/20)


Published July 22, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated October 13, 2020 at 8:02 p.m.


Composting Isn't Funny

I am writing in response to Tim Newcomb's editorial cartoon in the July 8 issue, which inaccurately buys into the misconception that composting is inconvenient and hard to do. There are many options for animal-proof composting — one need do just a little research — and keeping food waste out of landfills will help with the long-term goal of decreasing the overall landfill waste stream.

Newcomb's editorial is a narrow-minded reaction to an environmental call to action. These kinds of views only promote inaction on various timely and critical climate and environmental issues. We all need to become active in helping the planet to a more stable future. Come on, Tim, learn how to compost properly and tackle something helpful in your next cartoon. Don't give people another reason to avoid doing the things that will help our environment in the near term.

John Crosthwait


Gray Has 'Broad Experience'

[Re Off Message: "Gray, Ashe Take Heat During Democratic Lieutenant Governor Debate," July 16; "Shumlin Endorses Molly Gray for Lieutenant Governor," June 25]: Fifteen years ago, Molly Gray was an outstanding student in my University of Vermont class on "Women and Politics." Today she is running for the democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. I happily endorse her candidacy. 

Molly grew up on her family's farm, an experience that leaves her with a deep love for and commitment to Vermont. Today she is an assistant attorney general in Montpelier. She has broad experience, including working for U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) in Washington, D.C., and working for human rights abroad with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

I believe that she will be an effective and dedicated lieutenant governor for Vermont.

Madeleine M. Kunin 


Kunin is a former governor of Vermont.

Too Much Zuckerman

The July 1 news article "In-Person Pols" featured David Zuckerman's campaign car rally. It quoted Chittenden County candidates as well as Rebecca Holcombe and John Klar. 

In the July 8 edition, the news article "Progjam" also featured Zuckerman. It mentioned that some Democrats question "fusion" candidates seeking the Democratic nomination, while others see that as a strategy to avoid splitting the vote.

I think Seven Days missed an opportunity to interview the Democratic candidates Zuckerman is contesting for the nomination for governor. When you prominently feature one candidate like this, it starts to look to me like free campaign advertising.

Johanna Nichols


Ingram Is a True Public Servant

[Re Off Message: "Gray, Ashe Take Heat During Democratic Lieutenant Governor Debate," July 16; "Debbie Ingram Kicks Off Bid for Lieutenant Governor," June 26]: Debbie Ingram, candidate for lieutenant governor, has a lifelong commitment to public service. She values each individual as a person of worth. As Vermont deals with a widening income gap, Debbie has addressed that concern by working for affordable housing, quality health care for children and adults, criminal justice reform, and racial justice. As a public official, she has struggled with the harsh realities of COVID-19 budgetary constraints and the urgent needs of those who face food insecurity.

For the past four years, Debbie has served with distinction as one of only 30 state senators. Her service on committees that focus on human needs (Health and Welfare, Education) provided opportunities for her to advocate passionately for paid family/medical leave and a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

At an economic dignity town hall on July 4, Debbie's remarks reflected the values she'd bring to her role as lieutenant governor: "When a person does not have economic dignity, they cannot be truly independent." She then proceeded to outline why many Vermonters cannot be "truly independent" without significant changes.

I have known Debbie for 15 years. I have observed her dedication on the Williston Selectboard, her statewide community organizing skills as director of Vermont Interfaith Action and her superb leadership in the Vermont Senate. I appreciate her endorsement by the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance and the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

Vote Debbie Ingram for lieutenant governor on August 11!

Carole Carlson


Memorabilia Belongs in Museum

[Re "Not Buying It," July 8]: The selling of Nazi memorabilia is morally wrong, and we at Vermont Holocaust Memorial strongly condemn the monetization of such artifacts. It's shameful and naïve to believe they will not fall into the hands of Nazi sympathizers. These items glorify the darkest chapter in human history. Let them be curated in museums that tell the truth of how hatred, prejudice and bigotry can destroy mankind. Let them not be put into private hands for the exploitation of the truth.

Miriam Rosenbloom

Hyde Park

Rosenbloom is vice president of the Vermont Holocaust Memorial.

Siegel Cares About the Vulnerable

Vermonters, please join me in supporting Brenda Siegel for lieutenant governor [Off Message: "Gray, Ashe Take Heat During Democratic Lieutenant Governor Debate," July 16; "Progjam," July 8].

Brenda is the one candidate fighting for fundamental change to uplift all Vermonters. Long before the coronavirus crisis, Brenda was working toward a "bottom-up" economy in which even the most vulnerable Vermonters become true stakeholders in our economy.

As a candidate for governor in 2018, she ran a comprehensive anti-poverty campaign, winning 21 percent of the Democratic primary vote after joining the race only three months prior. Not only has she consistently fought for a $15-per-hour minimum wage and paid family leave, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to economic equity and inclusion by ensuring that the historically marginalized communities have seats at the table.

I encourage voters to attend her regular internet/telephone community conversations and issue-centric events, and take notice of the breadth of perspectives covered. She truly "passes the mic," amplifying voices that historically have not been heard. To shape policy, she asks the people directly impacted by a given issue what they need, instead of presuming to tell them, as many politicians do.

With Vermont facing a high unemployment rate, as well as the rise of hate groups, we need a lieutenant governor who has not stopped and will not stop fighting for a more inclusive and equitable economy and a Vermont that values everyone.

Jennifer Carpenter

South Burlington

'Asylum Is a Human Right'

Thank you for your piece on the death of Durvi Martinez [Off Message: "Farmworker Activist Dies of COVID-19 Following Deportation," July 8]. It is important that the life and death of this beautiful young person and the circumstances be noted. 

I met Durvi when my husband and I transported them to a Migrant Justice meeting a few years ago, and I was aware of a deeply sensitive and beautiful person who was in danger even here in northern Vermont due to their sexuality and undocumented status, and aware of the danger if they were deported to Mexico. A trans person, Durvi was working at a farm in northern Vermont where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol are particularly active.

I am both angered and deeply saddened by this young person's needless death from COVID-19 in Mexico, due in large part to ICE's refusal to release them in Vermont from a crowded prison as they were pursuing a claim for asylum. Asylum is a human right, according to the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Our country signed this declaration and is obligated to observe its principles. In addition, the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (also signed by the U.S.) expands the scope of human rights envisioned in the Refugee Convention of 1951 to any refugees. Durvi was a refugee from violence.

The violence of racism, incarceration, deportation and cruelty undermine the moral authority of this country. Will our next president honor international conventions to protect the dignity of all human beings?

Sylvia Knight


Ashe Is a Proven Leader

[Re Off Message: "Gray, Ashe Take Heat During Democratic Lieutenant Governor Debate," July 16; "Ashe Kicks Off Campaign for Lieutenant Governor," May 28]: I'm supporting Tim Ashe for lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary because, in times like these, experience and proven leadership matter more than ever. During the four years that Tim has led the Senate, he's shown the qualities that will make him a great LG.

COVID-19 put Tim's leadership skills to the test. He was a key partner with the governor and the House speaker in guiding Vermont through unprecedented times. Despite his heavy legislative workload, Tim provided daily video updates to inform Vermonters on actions being taken to address the many needs created by the pandemic. These were absolutely essential to many Vermonters.

I've been impressed with Tim's ability to identify emerging issues that need to be addressed long in advance of others who simply react to them when they occur. He has initiated legislation to address privacy concerns, data retention policies, racial bias in law enforcement, energy conservation — the list goes on. He is one of those legislators who stands out for his ability to see the entire forest, not just the trees.

A good example of this is providing a hazard pay grant to nearly 16,000 Vermonters on the front lines against COVID. Tim was outspoken on the need to recognize these workers' sacrifice in service to our communities and never let the issue go, despite every barrier thrown in the way. In the end, we got it done. Tim's leadership was key.

I know he'll bring the same passion and skill to the LG's office.

Jane Kitchel


Kitchel is a Democratic Caledonia County senator.

'Toon Deaf?

Wow, "Mr. Brunelle Explains It All" has some passionate fans! We're grateful to have had the opportunity to publish the comic strip, but as stated in response to a letter last week, we have discontinued it, along with "Red Meat," and added "The K Chronicles" to help us meet two goals: to lower the expenses of the "funny pages" and to add a Black voice to the selection of comics that focus on national politics. Fans of local artist Robert Waldo Brunelle Jr. can still find his weekly strip on his Facebook page and at mrbrunelle.com, where he also sells his original art. The tagline: "Genius You Can Afford!" 

I realize many factors go into determining the content of publications, but I am writing to express disappointment at the removal of "Mr. Brunelle Explains It All" from Seven Days. Robert Brunelle consistently displayed a deft touch and a humane sense of humor to his insightful commentary on our difficult times. Although I like Jen Sorensen's strip and feel that "This Modern World" is the best political satire of our day, "Mr. Brunelle Explains It All" brought a unique and enjoyable sensibility to the Fun Stuff pages. I'm certainly not the only reader who will miss it. 

L.J. Kopf


Just wanted to say it's always nice to see Robert Brunelle's comic available in Seven Days! It always touches on topics of concern to all. Finding the humor and truth in print is always important.

I hope you'll reconsider dropping his cartoon. I will miss it.

Rochelle Wallace

St. Albans

I am very disappointed that you are dropping Robert Waldo Brunelle's comic strip. This popular comic will be sorely missed by many.

Susan Miyamoto


It is unfortunate that Robert Brunelle's comic strip is being dropped from your paper. We need more, not less, locally sourced adult humor that deals with all the scary things in our world right now. Well-drawn comic characters, current topics and tongue-in-cheek droll humor! Don't take it away!

Elise Junker


I am very sad that you will no longer be carrying Robert Waldo Brunelle's cartoon. It has been the first thing I look at when I pick up the paper.

Fred Cheyette


I am writing to echo Margo Howland's letter to the editor [Feedback: "Don't Lose Brunelle," July 15] and encourage Seven Days to reconsider your comics decisions: I enjoy "Mr. Brunelle Explains It All." I would suggest that if you are trimming the funny pages, cut instead "Futon Life," which is not funny at all.

Frances Cannon


Your decision to no longer support the cartoon "Mr. Brunelle Explains It All" is extremely disheartening. We need his kind of observation — both political and societal. His vision helps make others' clearer. His humor brightens our day. I would ask you to please reconsider your decision and put Brunelle's wonderful cartoons back in front of the eyes and minds of your readers.

Lance Jones

Montréal, Québec