No Tolerance for Intolerance
Kudos to Dan Balón for suggesting a serious evaluation of the climate in the Burlington School District [“Did Race Play a Role in the Recent Departure of a Burlington Principal?” February 22]. I hope the action steps and follow-through listed are pursued with fidelity and assessed for efficacy annually. It is my opinion that the mere possibility of racial intolerance warrants an investigation by the school board.
Nevertheless, this article includes suggestions that go way beyond intolerance to include downright bullying of students from one or more faculty members. We preach to our students and children about tolerance and even the detrimental effect of acting as a bystander to such instances of injustice. It breaks my heart and makes my blood boil to imagine an adolescent who has been thrown into a foreign culture encountering even a moment of humiliation at the hands of someone who should be considered a trusting adult.
I vividly remember a conversation more than five years ago between myself and a young adolescent from Tanzania who described to me an afternoon where she and her mother were approached by soldiers while working in the fields. That afternoon resulted in the young girl, age 6 at the time, pleading for her life. “Too much advocacy work”? Shame on those who would suggest such a thing. Every child deserves people in their corner — it’s concerning to me that it is even possible that those people are not all of the adults in a school. And to those faculty members that do right by those students, thank you for your work.
[Re “Will Burlington’s Next Mayor Spare Memorial Auditorium?” March 7]: I lived in Vermont for 40 years, and I know there is a fantastic group of electricians, plumbers and handymen living and working in and around Burlington. Why doesn’t the new mayor put the word out for volunteers to make the necessary repairs to Memorial Auditorium? It’s a great addition to Burlington, and I’m sure there are folks out there with the abilities and willingness to help. We love our community, and being part of it means pulling together when we can to get things done. Seems like if cost to the city was just materials — not materials and labor — things could move forward fast. Just sayin’.
All About Yves
Ken Picard’s profile captured Yves Bradley perfectly [“Big-Hearted Broker,” March 7]. I first met Yves back in college in the late ’80s, on my first day as a driver at the old downtown Domino’s, and he stood out from the first minute.
Whether dealing with a customer on the phone or meeting people, from the corner bartender to customers to parents, Yves was different. He connected with people immediately, and it was obvious that success in business and, more importantly, life, was a given for him.
Yves has three things at the root of that success: an incredible work ethic, a genuine interest in people, and the character to treat everyone, regardless of their stage in life, with dignity and respect. Burlington is the better for his presence, as is most anyone who meets him.
Leave Rail Yard Alone
I was upset reading the article titled “What Would It Take to Develop Burlington’s Waterfront Rail Yard?” [February 29]. While it seemed like the author had interviewed a diverse range of people on the subject of the rail yard’s redevelopment, they all seemed to share the perspective that its redevelopment would be beneficial to the city; the question seemed to be whether it would or would not happen depending on plans and capital, not whether it should or should not happen. The rail yard has inherent value as a living, working connection to the waterfront’s more industrial past. It also provides a unique kind of space where one can be mostly alone in the city, and I know that watching the gracefully powerful movements of freight trains is superior entertainment for many.
I took particular offense to the phrase “aesthetic blemish,” as this is a subjective statement and should have been qualified as such. I believe that the grit and industrial rawness of the rail yard is a beautiful thing, especially in juxtaposition to its surroundings. A neighborhood’s strength comes in its diversity and heterogeneity of living and working spaces, and if the South End wants to maintain its charm and legitimacy, it would do best to pay homage to its past by leaving its rail yard alone.
Straighten Up and Die Right
Thanks for your timely report on the upcoming judiciary committee hearings [Blurt: “‘Right to Die’ Bill to Get a Hearing in Montpelier Next Week,” March 8]. Vermont should follow Oregon and Washington in providing its terminally ill citizens whose suffering is more than they can bear, the option for a gentle, peaceful death. The majority of Vermonters want this right. S.103 is built on Oregon’s 14-year experience with their Death With Dignity law and its multiple safeguards. It is time for Vermont to move forward on this human-rights issue.
David Babbott, M.D.
[Kevin] Kelley states that demolishing Memorial Auditorium would be “a relatively hassle-free option since MemAud isn’t on the historic register” [“Will Burlington’s Next Mayor Spare Memorial Auditorium?” March 7]. In fact, Memorial Auditorium is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places as a contributing resource in the Main Street-College Street Historic District. Being listed does not in and of itself preclude the possibility of demolition, but it is an important fact to keep in mind as the city assesses potential options for the future of this important historic structure.
Colman is the state of Vermont’s Historic Preservation Review Coordinator.