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Letters to the Editor

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Waste Not, Compost

I hope that the restaurants that are doing right by sanitation standards are also choosing to compost their leftovers [“Condiment Conundrum,” June 30]. What a waste if they’re throwing it all in the trash! There are enough companies providing convenient compost pickup that there is no longer an excuse for sending kitchen leavings to the landfill instead of to a composting facility. Next time you’re at a restaurant, ask them if they compost. If they say they don’t, ask when they will start, and that you will return when they opt to do the right thing.

Clare Innes

Williston

Innes is marketing and communications coordinator for the Chittenden Solid Waste District.

Nice-Guy Guv

I read the recent article on Doug Racine with interest [“No More Mr. Nice Guy?” June 30]. I had already decided that he was my candidate, and this article reinforced my decision. It is rare to find a politician who has the courage of his convictions that Racine demonstrates on a regular basis. Rather than talking circles around an issue and saying nothing, he comes out with clear statements that mean something. I would love to have a governor whose honesty and integrity is never questioned, who doesn’t say one thing to some folks and something else to others. Can he beat Brian Dubie if he wins the Democratic nomination? The VSEA, the state teacher’s union, the AFL-CIO and the Vermont League of Conservation Voters think so, and I think so, too. I believe it’s possible to be nice and also tough, and Doug Racine has a sterling record for getting tough things done for the people of Vermont.

Elizabeth Skarie

Williston

Road Worrier

I am so pleased about the new bicycle laws, but how about a few for the bicycle riders [“When It Comes to Bike Safety, Vermont Falls Down — Hard,” June 16]? I live in the country, where I see bike riders do some real wild things, such as ride two or more abreast on roads hardly wide enough for two cars. Seems like the hills and corners are some of their favorite places. We have no bike lanes here, and I’m willing to slow down, but I’d like to see some care used by the bike riders … I also see riders not using the handle bars. This really upsets me!

I think it would be a good idea if they were required to have a readable number of some sort on the back of their bicycle. If they are allowed to report us, we should be allowed to report them. Drivers deserve some respect, too.

Barbara Bissonette

Hinesburg

Shoddy Reporting

I heard about your article [“Brandon Artist and Town at Odds Over Size of Painting,” July 7] from one of your readers. Then when I read the article I was shocked to find that it stated that, “Zoning administrator Tina Wiles was not available for comment.” I think that every reporter ought to make an effort to seek a comment before stating someone is not available. At no time was a call made to me from the reporter for this article. Nor did the reporter ask any other Brandon town employee for any information or, at the very least, look at the file that would have outlined all of the facts at issue, some of which are reported incorrectly. This to me is inadequate reporting, for which I request an apology.

Tina Wiles

Brandon

Editor’s note: The letter writer is correct. Reporter Megan James should have noted that the Brandon town offices were closed for the long holiday weekend, and Tina Wiles could not be reached. Our apologies for failing to make that important distinction. Also, Wiles did not “demand” that artist Liza Myers remove her artwork, as stated in the article.

Ad Abusive to Animals

I was shocked and saddened when I came across an advertisement in the June 23 issue of Seven Days for the Vermont History Expo 2010. The ad’s slogan read, “More Fun Than a Greased Pig” and, beneath this, a photo of a cute little piglet.

I assume that the ad was meant to be funny and that the “greased pig contest” is some sort of country-fair tradition, but there is nothing amusing about terrifying and humiliating a small, intelligent animal for the purpose of entertainment. When we teach our children that this is acceptable behavior, we are teaching them that it is OK to abuse and manipulate those who are weaker and more vulnerable than ourselves. It is this line of thinking that is at the root of much of the violence that is going on in the world — domestic, interpersonal, and global.

Gandhi said, “You can judge a society by the way it treats its animals.” If this is true, and I believe it is, then we are in serious trouble. I’m surprised Seven Days promotes this sort of thinking. It was an official sponsor of the Vermont History Expo. Would it be “fun” to grease up one of our own little children and subject them to this type of torture? I, for one, don’t see the difference.

Sofi Dillof

Burlington

Group Dynamic

The recent symposium on modernist architecture and sustainability was a great success, and I appreciate coverage of the event by Seven Days [“An Academic Mod Squad Ponders Preserving Midcentury Buildings,” June 23]. I was by no means, however, the sole organizer of the symposium. A dedicated team of professionals worked for over two years to plan the symposium and make sure everything went smoothly. The other organizers were: from UVM Campus Planning Services, Lisa Kingsbury, Shirley Fortier, Lani Ravin, Judy Riani and Linda Seavey; from the UVM Historic Preservation Program, Robert McCullough and Tom Visser; and from the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, Nancy Boone and Judith Ehrlich. Many thanks to everyone who helped make the event possible!

Devin Colman

Burlington

Misplaced Feminism?

I can’t help but be amused when a man, such as letter writer James Sharp [“Bad Ad,” July 7] gets his “feminist” underwear in a twist over an advertisement for a fitness center that offered a pictorial choice between a fit and a fat woman’s body.

James is certain that all of us “should be outraged” about such manipulative sexism that reduces women to bodies and denies them the right to enjoy overeating and slovenliness. I didn’t see the offending ad, but other such ads show men’s bodies — is that also sexism, then, or is sexism limited only to making women feel inadequate? Our advertising and entertainment culture also presents myriad images of unattainable male bodies, rippling with muscle.

While James bemoans the deliberate de-emphasis on the women’s character, intellect and facial expressions, this was an ad for a fitness center selling physical well-being, not a finishing school for the complete woman. All advertising is a form of psychological manipulation, since Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, invented the art in his 1928 book, Propaganda.

James would have better directed his ire at the advertising industry or the fast-food industry, which has contributed to what is not simply a self-image problem but one of the gravest public health threats of our time — obesity — as well as a threat to the ecosphere from generalized overconsumption.

The funniest thing, however, is that any militant feminist not long ago would have savaged James for his chauvinism, thinking he has either the right or the responsibility to protect and defend women who are too meek to speak for themselves.

Robert Riversong

Warren

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