Let IRS Decide
It is really not that hard to determine if you are an employee ["Are You My Employer? Labor Dispute Divides Vermont," September 2]. Refer to the IRS form SS-8 and look to the questions that let the IRS make a determination. It really does make sense and is beneficial to the employee because the employer is responsible for a good portion of taxes that would otherwise be paid by a subcontractor.
Sanders is Listening
Judith Levine's column seems to have missed something [Poli Psy: "Listen Up, Bernie," August 12]. While I deeply appreciate the points she raises, I think it's important to see what is happening as being as full of potential as it is exasperating. The fact that the Black Lives Matter movement is demanding that racial issues be addressed is powerful, and in the last several election years our country had all the same issues but no movement to hold our politicians accountable to address those issues. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders does seem to be genuinely listening, which is more than I can say for anyone else seeking the presidential nomination in the major parties.
We are often divided on the left, as Levine describes — by levels of privilege and differences of opinion about the underlying problems of our broken society and how to best address them. Seeing Sanders stop to reexamine the issues raised by Black Lives Matter and develop a platform is something I'm very glad to see. It seems to me that he is wholly willing to move beyond a purely class-based analysis — awkwardly, but genuinely.
The criticisms Levine raises are real and deserve our attention. The American political establishment needs to be held accountable. It is also a moment of opportunity, when real change and transformation can take place. I think we are seeing that happen with Bernie Sanders.
It may come as a surprise to some, but the opposition to placing buoys in the bay has nothing to do with navigation or boating; it all has to do with who makes the rules ["Who Decides? New Buoys in Lake Champlain Roil Colchester Board," July 22]. Over the last decade, our town has increased its zealousness in telling us how we should lead our lives. Just try to get a permit from the zoning office. It should be obvious to an astute observer that selectboard member Marc Landry wants to protect what he believes is perceived authority that he does not have.
It should be noted that the hidden agenda here is to protect a certain few who have the perceived right to profit from the use of the bay, and that placement of these buoys is a signal of potential future encroachment on that "exclusive" privilege. It is not the responsibility of the selectboard to protect special interests. It may be a disappointment to Landry, but the "privilege" of telling us how to lead our lives is shared by both the state and federal governments and in this case the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
It further puzzles me that Landry, who spearheaded the proliferation of bike paths in the name of public safety, would be so vehemently opposed to an improvement to public safety in that area of the bay. The property owner and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should be applauded, not vilified, for their responsible action.
A Dad's View
I read with intrigue and empathy the article entitled "Discomfort Zone: What to Do If You're 'Sexiled'" [August 26] because my daughter experienced this exact scenario last fall while attending the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her roommate had a boyfriend attending UMASS and living in the same dorm. At the start of the semester, a written agreement was drafted up, limiting the time the boyfriend would spend in the room. Then the boyfriend starting spending every night there, directly violating residential life policy.
Eventually my daughter asked the roommate to reduce the nightly visits, and that is when the roommate became hostile, physically intimidated her, cyber bullied her and destroyed her personal possessions. My daughter was so concerned for her safety, she slept on the floor of a friend's room, and so distraught that my wife and I drove down there and relocated her to a different dorm. She lodged a complaint citing the numerous breaches of dorm policy, and we personally met with the residential life staff to voice our concern as her academic work was suffering.
We were informed the matter would be handled at a higher level due to the serious nature of the violations but never heard any more about the issue. In a twist of cruel mockery, her "former" roommate stayed on campus and got a room to herself the next semester. While angry and disappointed with the inaction taken by the college, we have learned from this experience. First off, obtain a copy of the dormitory rules, know your school's room swap policy and, finally, have a back-up plan in case things take a turn for the worst.
Right on Restos
I just wanted to say that Alice Levitt's was the most accurate and well-written article about the restaurant business I have read in a long time — maybe ever ["Table for None," September 2]. My husband and I are eight years into owning the Black Trumpet in Portsmouth, N.H., and I feel like I could relate to every paragraph in her article. Thank you for so graciously showing the difficult side of the business.
We have two kids, 12 and 15, and every day we are aware of our shrinking time with them. But there is always a push to do more and be better at the restaurant. Portsmouth has a ton of new, sparkling, well-funded restaurants that is confusing the scene even more. I guess there is no easy answer. Anyway, thanks again for your honest article.