Wrong about Right to Life
I read with interest the piece by Andy Bromage entitled “What Would Jesus Broadcast?” [July 20]. However, one paragraph contained a serious inaccuracy: Mr. Bromage characterized Vermont Right to Life Committee as an organization that is not only an opponent of abortion but a “vocal opponent of … same-sex marriage and other liberal causes.”
VRLC exclusively focuses on those issues that involve a direct threat to vulnerable human lives, whether born or unborn, including abortion, infanticide, doctor-prescribed suicide and euthanasia. Please correct the mistake for your readers. The VRLC mission statement reads as follows: The mission of the Vermont Right to Life Committee is to achieve universal recognition of the sanctity of human life from conception through natural death.
In pursuit of that mission, VRLC, through peaceful, legal means, seeks changes in public opinion, public policy, the law and individual behavior that respect the right to life and reject abortion, euthanasia and other actions that deny the right to life.
Mary Hahn Beerworth
Beerworth is the executive director of the Montpelier-based Vermont Right to Life Committee.
Congratulations on being a gazette that I look forward to picking up. Your article “What Would Jesus Broadcast?” [July 20] was one that I found unexpected for Seven Days, but I so appreciated it. I have been an aficionado of the Light Radio Network for many years. I enjoy listening to an eclectic music selection while at work, but always find this station to be my favorite to tune in to. Not only do they focus on positive reinforcement, but also on encouraging their listeners to be the change the world needs today. With so many stations in our area, I am elated you chose to spotlight this one.
Although Christ-centered, the message they send is also one that can instantly strengthen me when the day seems unsalvageable. I found the background into how the station evolved to be edifying, as well. I can’t wait to see what features you have next, knowing that you discovered this gem so close to all of us here in Vermont.
Carol Ann Wooster
Health Care Hack?
Shay Totten quoted Jeanne Keller in depth [“Fair Game,” July 13] without identifying Keller as a longtime (paid) advocate (some might say hack) for health insurance companies in Vermont and opponent of single-payer health care. I’m always skeptical of someone who says, “Insurance companies will be sent to the gallows first,” without pointing out that any self-insurance (read: single-payer) plan will obviously impinge upon the profits of insurance companies.
When Keller describes herself as a “health care policy analyst,” that is a bit of a deceptive title. If you go to the website vtreform.com, you will see at the bottom of the home page that Keller’s “organization” is funded by Business Resource Services, a private company that specializes in matching small businesses (like mine; I’m a member!) with insurance plans. And, of course they will take a hit if and when a single-payer plan takes hold. Where do single-payer advocates stand with regard to hospital budgets? If they agree with Keller, that would make for a more potent point of view on the issue. And if there is disagreement, it would stir up an interesting dialogue on the issue.
We’ve heard from an anti-single-payer, pro-health-insurance-company advocate (although she was not identified as such). Where does the other side stand?
How can Andy Bromage examine Sandy Dooley’s supposed conflict of interest without investigating other public servants who have spoken on this issue [“Is a Conflict of Interest Behind South Burlington’s Development Slowdown?” July 13]? Councilor Jim Knapp and planning commissioners Tim Duff and Marcel Beaudin all oppose interim zoning. All have worked for developers as, respectively, a real estate attorney, construction contractor and architect. Have any of their clients ever developed property in South Burlington or plan to? More importantly, so what? Should this invalidate their opinions?
Bromage and development lawyer Liam Murphy apparently take the cynical view that representatives are unable to separate their own personal histories from doing the hard work of representing constituents. A logical extension of Murphy’s appearance-of-conflict-of-interest standard might disqualify others. However, we benefit from multiple voices in the debate. Knapp, Duff, Beaudin and Dooley have all served with distinction, showing consistent thoughtfulness and balance in promoting residents’ interests. Attempting to silence one side of the debate with conflict-of-interest allegations may be part of Murphy’s job as a zealous advocate for his client, but it does nothing to advance the debate’s merits.
Dooley’s job is to represent the constituents who elected her. In supporting interim zoning, that’s what she’s doing. A majority of residents have favored interim zoning at meeting after meeting. For example, at the first public meeting, 21 of 25 residents supported it. It’s no surprise, then, that Dooley stands with the rest of the council majority in also supporting it. That’s not a conflict of interest. That’s democracy.
[Re: “Eat, Cruise, Clap,” July 13]: It has been quite a while since I have been offended by journalistic language, but “the dark-complected waitstaff” and “impenetrable Québecois dialect” reminded me of the bad old days. Shame on you.
Kiss Should Step Down
[Re: “Cash-Strapped Burlington Cuts Back on Ex-Con Labor,” July 13]: Wow. The mayor continually says the $16.9 million that was directed toward Burlington Telecom would have made no difference in the financial struggles of the city. It is news articles like this — whether it be poor bond ratings, airport struggles, asking for 4 cent tax hikes, not staffing the police department 100 percent — that prove the financial leadership of the Kiss administration has been a disgrace, financially and morally. I again ask for the resignation of the mayor so we may move forward.
Rodeo Abuses Animals
I was disappointed to see the Pond Hill Pro Rodeo glorified by “Stuck in Vermont” as an honored family tradition [July 6]. Animals used in rodeos are subjected to abusive conditions in order to guarantee they’ll perform as expected by the paying public. Without the use of spurs, tail-twisting, and bucking straps cinched around their abdomens and groins, these frightened and often docile animals typically wouldn’t even buck. The rodeo experience for animals consists of electric prods, twisted necks and being violently slammed onto the ground. “Retirement” is a one-way trip to the slaughterhouse.
Even when animals aren’t injured — and they often are — they still suffer from fear and pain during rodeo events. Often, the animals’ injuries are internal. In 1979, a veterinarian who worked for 30 years as a meat inspector in slaughterhouses did an interview with the Humane Society of the United States. C.G. Haber said he saw scores of animals that had been discarded from rodeos and sent to slaughter. Tough as he was when it came to animal suffering, he was sickened by the condition of the rodeo animals. He said that he had seen animals “with 6-8 ribs broken from the spine, and at times puncturing the lungs” and “as much as 2-3 gallons of free blood accumulated under the detached skin.”
What may be “Christmas” for the “cowboys” and their audience is nothing short of cruelty for the animals.
Salt Isn’t the Solution
I was disappointed to see the phrase “undersalted” in [“Eat, Cruise, Clap,” July 13]. Insufficient salt is an easily cured condition; the reviewer gave an interesting method as an example. But, for many of us, correctly salted for you makes food inedible for us, and there is no way for us to reduce the saltiness. Some of the reasons are taste; some of them are medical — the recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended reduced sodium intake. Either way, if one’s food is not sufficiently salted, that is correctable. If it is over-salted, that is not correctable except by abstaining. Your reviewer could do us all a service by endorsing mildly salted food and reviewing effective ways to increase saltiness for those who wish to and are allowed to.