Life after Douglas
What’s wrong with Vermont Life [“Vermont Life’s ‘Advisors’ Worry Its Troubles Could be Terminal,” October 7]? One question, one answer: Jim Douglas! Everything he and his little sycophant Neale Lunderville touch ends up a disaster: Vermont Life, Fairpoint, the DOC with its disturbing rise in questionable deaths, the whole gamut. His penchant for hiring people and making decisions based purely on political expediency and how the RNC will view him is ruining Vermont. Thank God he is stepping down. I have a piece of advice for Governor Doesless: Jim, when your term is over, retire from politics, get the hell out of Vermont, go back to Massachusetts and become the used car salesman you were destined to be, as you sure have sold Vermont a lot of lemons.
Hear Today, Gone Tomorrow
I moved to Vermont in January 2009 and found the absolute best radio station ever — WCLX [“Nothing But Static: Longtime Album Station Goes Silent,” September 30]. My daily travels are not the same without Musicheads Radio. It is too bad the listeners were not asked to help support the station. The decision to pull the plug is definitely not in the highest good for all. I hope a solution is found soon.
The rights invoked by Ghosts of Pasha [“Know Your (Copy) Rights,” September 23] are those of the composer, not the publisher. The composer has sole possession of the right of attribution and to pursue payment of mechanical royalties on cover versions of their compositions recorded by a third party under the compulsory mechanical licensing scheme provided by the copyright law. That is, so long as they have not assigned these and other rights to a record label or some other third party. If so, it is the third party who may pursue enforcement of the rights mentioned above. One does not have the right to bar another from recording a cover version of a composition under his/her control, so long as that cover remains somewhat true to the original composition. Some changes in arrangement are permitted under the law. A publisher has the right to collect hard copy publishing royalties, as well as public performance royalties, among others. The publishers’ rights do not encompass the ability to bar others from covering their compositions in a public forum, so long as such use is not associated with another usage beyond simple performance and the third party has a license as provided by, in this case, ASCAP.
A former Burlington nightclub owner, Wygmans is now a music and entertainment lawyer.
I recently had my first dinner at the wonderful new restaurant in New Haven: Tourterelle [“Taste Test,” September 16]. The menu is excellent; there are so many interesting options to choose from that we all had to take time to decide on what to order. You can order a crêpe and salad and spend very little, or order a full-blown French dinner, and even then the prices are fair. Each of us at the table ordered different dishes, and we were all delighted with the food and the presentation. The atmosphere at the restaurant is warm and inviting. I can’t wait to go back.
Making His Mark
Ah, yes, those were the good days [“A Vermont Paintball Company Helps U.S. Soldiers Prepare for Battle,” September 30]. Engler has a great Browning we used at the West Point games. He is a fine craftsman, and pays particular attention to the finer details that make the marker look like the authentic article.
I wanted to write a quick note in response to the much appreciated and informative article on gleaning [“Getting By,” September 30]. Gleaning is an age-old practice being reintroduced to the forefront of Vermont’s food system, and this is a great thing for all of us.
I wanted to correct the author on one point, though. Cooking for Life, the Nutrition Education Program mentioned because of its work in educating limited-resource Vermonters with regard to nutrition, food preparation and food safety, is a collaboration between the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger and UVM Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.
Davidson is EFNEP Coordinator at UVM.
The Hypocrite Governor
Kudos and praise to Shay Totten and Seven Days for correcting Governor Douglas’ false claims [“Fair Game,” September 30] presented in the Sunday Times Argus/Rutland Herald op-ed, “Public servants must lead by example.” Once again Seven Days proves its leadership in political reporting through the weekly column “Fair Game.” Unlike editors at the Argus and Herald, Totten researches and reports the facts in light of the governor’s twisted accounting of state employee salaries. “Fair Game” correctly states the average Vermont State Employee Association member earns $45,000, some $25,000 lower than Jim Douglas’ skewed claim of $70,000. Totten reveals a wide chasm between the governor’s gross untruths and real-life data available to the general public. It is worth repeating that Governor Douglas’ handpicked, nonunion state employees, most of whom earn between $70,000 and $129,000, are among the highest paid in his administration. For example, there is a special hypocrisy in Douglas’ appointment of political right-hand man Neale Lunderville to the very powerful Secretary of Administration position. Ironically, Lunderville is the primary negotiator between the Douglas administration and VSEA, yet he is perhaps one of the least qualified state employees in Vermont, having neither educational background nor experience in public administration prior to his first appointment. Instead, he has served the governor politically as campaign manager in 2002 and 2004, cofounded a failed business, and brought little more than cute program names and talking points to government policy and decision making.
Unlike career employees, Lunderville has started at the top with nothing more than an ability to smooth-talk his way through an otherwise intelligent policy-making process. Compared to the average VSEA employee, Lunderville is hardly worth his nonunion salary of $122,000.
In reading his op-ed screed against state employees, it is especially interesting to note that Jim Douglas ends his decades-long career as a lifetime beneficiary of taxpayer support. Ironically, as he retires in 2010, one of his final acts will be to cut vital services through his unwillingness to compromise with VSEA’s multiple proposals to save money. Based on this sad episode of gubernatorial decision making, Jim Douglas will be remembered as a man with crossed fingers behind his back.
All Grown Up
I already twittered you, but I feel you grew up! Another phase to shake things up is great … Congratulations, you all work hard!
Who’s the Spoiler?
I’m a big fan of Tim Newcomb’s cartoons, especially those that depict the aging, decrepit Vermont Yankee nuclear plant (and speaking of “aging,” how about those four brave elderly women who easily exposed the serious security breaches at the plant a couple of weeks ago?) [September 23]. However, this week’s cartoon, about Progressives being “spoilers” in Vermont elections [October 7], seems way off base to me. Take the last gubernatorial election, for instance. First, Anthony Pollina declared his candidacy way before the Democrats even put up Symington, a reluctant campaigner at best, as their candidate. Next, Pollina actually ended up gaining more votes than Symington did, making the Democrat the true spoiler. Finally, if Vermont were to adopt instant runoff voting for its statewide elections, this simple and eminently more representative system would allow people to vote their hopes rather than their fears by allowing them to rank candidates in order of choice. Hence, all talk of “spoilers” would disappear, and maybe true political change could then occur. (And speaking of “change,” I don’t wish to flame your new format, as I would stick with Seven Days if it were printed the size of a matchbox, but to my eyes the smaller print is harder to read and the whole paper somehow feels more cramped. If you haven’t yet nuked the possibility, I vote for a return to your prior layout. But maybe I’m the one who’s getting old and crotchety now. So, regardless, keep up the good work, as there is no match for your paper anywhere in our state!)
Seven Days’ New Deal
I really, really, really like the new paper.
Hate the New Format
Just wanted to let you know how much I dislike the new format. Everything is too small — particularly the print. It looks condensed and confused, and the images lose a lot. Have you forgotten those of us over 50 usually can’t read such small print very well? Plus, it won’t make good kindling any more. Please go back to the old format!
Why New Hampshire?
I love your paper! I’ve been a longtime fan and reader. I just watched online the video clip promoting your new style of the paper. It is all very exciting and I’m sure will be a big hit! I have one question, from what I heard, why use a printing press in N.H.? Is there anything local? You have always supported local businesses, and I’m just curious on why you leave the state to print the paper. This actually disappoints me and makes me respect what you do a little less. I may not have the full story and there might be a very good reason. Love to know!
Publisher’s Note: There is a good reason we’re printing at Upper Valley Press in New Hampshire, which, incidentally, used to be located across the river in Bradford, Vt. We printed Seven Days there when we started in 1995. Currently, no local printer can produce Seven Days according to our specifications — except possibly the Burlington Free Press, our main competitor. In fact, for the past six years, we have been printing in Plattsburgh, N.Y., at the only remaining press that could handle our old format. By leaving New York for New Hampshire, we increased our regional printer options. Unfortunately, none of them are in Vermont. Please let us know if you know something we don’t.