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Letters to the Editor


Hydro-Québec — Again

When Seven Days agreed with the Vermont Senate that Hydro-Québec provides “renewable” energy, it failed to include an exposé of the pressure and arm twisting that proceeded that unfortunate decision to help HQ make more money [“Facing Facts,” May 12]. It also failed to question HQ’s desperate need to present itself as the “green” alternative. In the ’90s, Québec sent its energy minister to try to convince us that HQ was the environmental alternative because they chose not to develop nuclear projects. With the recent Vermont Yankee debacle, I suspect they will play that card again! They have not changed their stripes, however — only their focus, from James Bay to a river in eastern Québec (La Romaine) in the territory of another Indian nation (Innu). The only true renewable aspect of HQ’s projects is that HQ continues to assault wilderness ecology and native human rights. If that is not enough, HQ wants Vermonters to continue to be accomplices to their reprehensible behavior.

James Higgins


Reintegration Nation

Re.: Lauren Ober’s article on prisoner rehab [“Ex-Prisoners Can Make Good Neighbors,” June 2]. I was a probation officer in California for many years, then an investigator for Vermont’s Office of the Defender General. The rule that almost always governs how one must deal with offenders is: “They all get out, and could move in next to you!” Therefore, it is in society’s best interest to do all that is possible to provide released offenders a way in which to become involved citizens — not grifters, drifters and reoffenders. Placing released offenders in rural settings, with no work or transportation to work, is self-defeating. Locking someone away for months or years, then kicking them out the door to fend for themselves, is a recipe for reoffending. Dismas and Phoenix-like programs, which provide supervised living situations until people can “get their act together,” are, in the long view, good for society in every respect. Part of their programs involves reintegration into society, which is to be encouraged.

Rick Levy


Standing Up for Sidewalk Sitters

Who owns the sidewalk [“Get Up, Stand Up: Burlington Wants to Make Sidewalk Sitting a Crime,” June 2]? Trespassing is already a crime. Enough laws, already.

Diane Ballou


The Politics of Parenting

Do you really want to keep kids on track [“Keeping Kids on Track,” June 9]? Give their parents a livable wage! Provide excellent subsidized childcare! Put in place a system of parental leave, as in Sweden or just across the border in Québec, insuring quality time with children without stress or fear of a loss of income or job! A single-payer health care system would help relieve the possibility of losing your home because of medical bills. As a retired public school teacher, I am sick and tired of the morbid denial rampant in our society and perpetuated by those who studiously ignore reality and collaborate with the status quo — all to protect their own status as “experts!” The evidence of the deleterious effects on children by economic distress and the lack of social programs is overwhelming, yet there is not one mention, as far as I could see, of these harsh realities in your whole bogus issue on kids. You can do better to keep Seven Days on track!  

Al Salzman


Double Trouble

Four years ago, I would have enjoyed Erik Esckilsen’s rumination on parenting twins [“Double Vision,” June 9], but since then my experience as a father of twin girls has strayed outside the conventional mythology of child rearing. The possibility — and my reality — of raising two very differently abled twins does not appear in this article.

One of our girls has inherited an extremely rare (1 in 100,000 U.S. live births) neurological condition that kills 90 percent of her peers by their second birthday. Both girls are alive and happy today, but although the progression of the disease is unpredictable, we will not have twins to care for at some point in the future.

I would love to read this essay with parental esprit de corps — another father attempting to do right in helping two precious humans grow up simultaneously. The challenges described are unattainable dreams for us, however.

I appreciate the stress parents face when the growth of their families exceeds their situations and/or expectations. Nevertheless, growth in a family can be accommodated and enjoyed, whereas loss in family size is tragic. Mr. Esckilsen agrees with another father that the work of parenting twins is “exponential.” However, with a base less than one, an exponential function decreases. Please, parents of twins, as you continue to love and tend to your newer, bigger families, try to appreciate your remarkably good fortune: May the base of your exponential parenting function always be greater than one.

Tom Schicker


Bad Ad?

I couldn’t help but feel rankled by the full-page ad on the back page of the June 9 issue trumpeting the Montréal Jazz Festival as “the world’s best jazz fest.” Hyperbole though that may be (the organizers of Montreaux may quibble), it seemed like a slap in the face aimed at Burlington’s own Discover Jazz event — to which Seven Days paid homage with a cover story the week before, but which music editor Dan Bolles seems to resent almost as a personal affront. Given the paper’s sanctimonious devotion to the local community, it might’ve made a statement of loyalty to its own hometown by graciously informing Montréal Jazz the ad would indeed run — no need to turn away revenue, now, is there? — but without said overstatement.

Doug Collette

South Burlington

Publisher’s note: Seven Days doesn’t censor advertisements unless they promote hate or violence.


A story in last week’s paper, “Vexed Over Veggies [June 9],” stated that Burlington’s Northgate Apartments are owned by Massachusetts-based Maloney Properties. In fact, the development is resident-owned. The nonprofit Northgate Residents’ Ownership Corporation contracts with Maloney for property management services.