OKAY WITH THE "K"
I wanted to say that I am delighted that Seven Days is now carrying "The K Chronicles" [see page 38a]. Keith Knight and I are both San Francisco Bay area expats at this point, and I've been following his strip for years.
Happy to be able to read it in my favorite weekly after four years of living in Vermont.
ISRAEL AND HER CRITICS
David Sokol's accusation of a new-anti-Semitism [State of the Arts, July 2] is emblematic of a widespread, misguided tendency to equate any criticism of Israel with bigotry toward Jews.
It's an incredibly narrow perspective designed only to prevent a legitimate discussion of a sovereign nation's policies.
A recent letter from Laura Sibilia, the executive director of the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce, perpetuated a myth that should be debunked [Letters, June 25].
The week prior, Shay Totten referred to "handouts" to ski areas and Ms. Sibilia took offense. She mentioned state tax revenues from tourism and characterized the tourism budget as "grossly underfunded."
There have been numerous reports on the impacts of the tourism industry in Vermont, and we know it is substantial (although on average the jobs are low-wage). However, that is not the issue. The question is whether we can say with assurance what the return on investment (ROI) may be from the state's annual marketing and advertising expenditures (about $5 million per year).
In my view, it is impossible because there is no way to separate state expenditures from the tens of millions spent by the private sector each year for advertising and marketing. That doesn't mean tourism isn't important to the state, only that we have no idea whether the state's annual appropriations make a big difference, a little difference, or none at all. Note that an effort was made several years ago by researchers at UVM to measure ROI, but the report was withdrawn after the legislature's economist found the methodology was unreliable.
It is not surprising that industry advocates support such subsidies. But the burden of proof for cost-effectiveness should be high when we're talking about spending millions of taxpayer dollars. To date, it has not been met. So any claims about "gross underfunding" must be taken with a large grain of salt.
A GRAVE MATTER
This is one of the most disgusting, petty, misguided human stories I have ever read ["Burlington Couple and Temple Sinai Feud Over Daughter's Grave," July 9].
Please leave these grieving parents alone. A mistake was made by the city. A beloved daughter is buried in the earth. What is important, people?
IN THE EYES OF THE LORD
For Pete's sake, leave the family alone! Fighting with the family over a little patch of land that is holding their dead child ["Burlington Couple and Temple Sinai Feud Over Daughter's Grave," July 9]. They should know better than that!
Morally, it is wrong! Maybe they can do it legally, but it doesn't make it right in the eyes of the Lord.
Correction: Our story last week, "Midd Town Hall Theater is Back in Action," implied the Vergennes Opera House is municipally funded. In fact, the nonprofit is supported by private individuals, local businesses and grant foundations. Our apologies for the error.