Dunne’s Fun Side
Back in 1996 I helped organize benefit live music shows in the recently vacated J.J. Newberry department store here in White River Junction. A group of friends and I signed up rockabilly bands, DJs for dance parties, and acts such as the Rowellettes and the Great Rondini — escape artist extraordinaire — who all performed in this space. Even the drag queen Cherie Tartt sang her heart out with her sidekick, Sal, on keyboard. The basic idea was to bring life to an empty space in the downtown, attract a wide variety of people from the surrounding area — no one was turned away for lack of funds — and have fun all at the same time.
We had help from the fans and volunteers at the Main Street Museum, the Briggs family and even the Windsor County fire marshal, who made sure the space was safe to party in. One of my colleagues in this venture was Matt Dunne. I find this newsworthy now because the entire state of Vermont will get a chance to vote for Matt Dunne in a few weeks, and I think he’d make one of the best governors that we’ve ever had.
Mr. Bromage’s article on Dunne [“Dunne’s Deal,” July 7], while an excellent summation of the candidate, failed to bring notice to the little-known connection the candidate has to one of Vermont’s most beloved drag queens. I just wanted folks to know that he also has the vision to see a dark, empty store — in this little town — and see lights and live music and people and fun and dancing and, yes, drag queens. It was all very fun, and he helped our town and I’m proud to call him my friend. So, my — very biased — advice, to all Vermonters is this: Vote for Matt Dunne in the upcoming primary on August 24.
David Fairbanks Ford
White River Junction
Enough Is Enough
Over the last year and a half or so, your columnist Shay Totten has frequently referred to Sen. Ed Flanagan and the episode at the YMCA in Burlington. In the most recent issue of the paper, an article by Ken Picard on the auditor’s race once again refers to this matter [“Which Watchdog?” August 4]. I say, enough is enough! It’s old news and does not provide any insightful political commentary as far as I can see. Sen. Flanagan experienced a horrific automobile accident that almost took his life, and I think he deserves better treatment in your newspaper. Why not move on to more important matters when commenting on politics in our state? It smacks of yellow journalism. Where is your compassion and perspective? I think it is sorely lacking.
Robert L. Lincoln Jr.
Could somebody have been feeling a little stung [“Which Watchdog?” August 4] in characterizing auditor of accounts candidate Doug Hoffer’s cogent and on-the-mark observations about the failures of the Vermont press to “do their homework” as “scolding”?
Hoffer will make a great auditor precisely because he’s never shrunk from telling the truth about whether Vermonters’ hard-earned tax dollars are achieving the results they’re supposed to. He’s got the analytical smarts and the managerial talent needed to run an office that will get the facts and create compelling arguments for change.
Hoffer cares deeply about working Vermonters. As the author of the benchmark Job Gap Study series, he introduced to Vermont the concepts of the basic needs budget and livable wage, which the legislature’s Joint Fiscal Office now uses as the basis for policy decisions in everything from economic development to human services.
What I’m looking for in an auditor of accounts is somebody who isn’t afraid to speak truth to power. In that respect, Hoffer has proven himself many times over with his unflinching, well-documented critiques of the deficiencies both of the incumbent administration and of press coverage of critical state issues.
And as someone who’s known him for many years, I can vouch that he’ll fulfill the role of state auditor with grace, clarity and humor, as well as dogged determination to see that Vermonters get their money’s worth from government. He’s earned my vote in the August 24 Democratic primary and the November 2 general election.
Flanagan Is Unfit
I was intrigued to read Ken Picard’s article [Which Watchdog?” August 4] about the current auditor’s race. Who would have guessed that, a year after being caught red handed, Ed Flanagan would turn his YMCA masturbating incident into a new campaign launch?
Ironic, since Mr. Flanagan clearly denied accusations despite three witnesses, a police investigation and prosecutor who all agreed that the incident occurred as described. Yet he was not charged due to his mental state. In other words, he did not have the mental capability to be held accountable for his actions.
Now, voters are being asked to entrust Mr. Flanagan with the accountability of the entire state. As one of the many victims left in Mr. Flanagan’s wake of “disinhibition syndrome,” I am disheartened that this man has made no steps toward reconciliation or acknowledgment with his victims. Most troubling, however, is that he has done nothing in the way of treatment or therapy.
I implore Mr. Flanagan and his supporters to reconsider his current career path. Whereas today’s victims are held to relatively low-key affairs, tomorrow’s victims may not be so lucky. What happens after he hits a kid on his electric bike? Or wanders onto Main Street at night and causes an accident resulting in injury or death? Or exposes himself near a school? Why wait for further evidence when red flags are flying everywhere?
In response to “Which Watchdog?” [August 4], I want to say how enthusiastically I support the candidacy of Doug Hoffer for auditor. I’ve known Doug for years, and he’s one of the smartest people I have ever met. I personally feel it’s a plus that he’s never held elected office and that he doesn’t worry about offending people. An auditor needs to be a highly critical thinker who is willing to stand up to anyone and not worry about stepping on a few toes. Hoffer understands public policy better than anyone I’ve ever known, and he’s a master at analyzing what works and what doesn’t — money well spent versus money squandered. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have in the office of state auditor than Doug Hoffer.
In last week’s review of The Day’s Weight, music editor Dan Bolles misidentified vocalist Patrick McDermott as a Vermont native. In fact, he’s a Boston boy. Also, the EP’s closing tune, “The Game Is Over,” is sung by McDermott, not guitarist Kyle Toomey.
Poor Plattsburgh Coverage
Regarding Suzanne Podhaizer’s “Eating Plattsburgh” [July 28] article in the annual Adirondack issue, we suggest that a reporter actually do some research for a “guidebook” piece such as this so that it can serve its audience more effectively. In her article, she notes that locals recommended ethnic restaurants such as Sawatdee, Karma and My Greek Kitchen II, as well as Livingood’s Restaurant and Anthony’s Restaurant & Bistro. She states that she “heard good things about” them or that they were “touted.” Why, then, didn’t she actually go to any of them? Instead, she meandered in a seemingly aimless way from place to place, ultimately concluding that the Plattsburgh restaurant scene falls far short of Burlington’s.
While some of our favorite restaurants are indeed located in Burlington (and elsewhere in Vermont), it is certainly possible for someone to get an equally good meal at a fair price on this side of the lake. But, unfortunately, you wouldn’t know this from reading Ms. Podhaizer’s article. Try also Irises Café & Wine Bar, Michele’s Fine Dining, and Quiche et Crêpe. We have a Koto Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar, too!
Shawn Murphy and Elaine Ostry
I was concerned that a letter writer [“Feedback,” August 4] was misinformed about the production of foie gras. There are only two foie gras producers in the country: D’Artagnan, which was started by a French family, has been around since the ’80s; and Hudson Valley Foie Gras, which is a newer operation. They are not factory farms. The ducks do not live in cages. If anyone wants to see video proof that the ducks flock to the tube at both of these producers, you only need to go as far as YouTube.
The only bad thing I can see happening is ducks fighting each other to get the tube down their throats first. They want the extra food as much as a typical American does. We don’t seem to mind overeating, and neither do the ducks.