Letters to the Editor | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published August 7, 2013 at 4:02 a.m.

Not-So-Local 802

The number 802 resonates on so many levels [“Dialed In,” July 31]. Savvy Vermont players will know that 802 is the local union branch of New York City musicians, AFM-Local 802; New York players with gigs up here raise a satisfied eyebrow when we see that number. We’re home and welcome. It’s common knowledge in NYC that there are badass jazz cats lurking up here in the beautiful Green Mountains. So 802 is yet another cool sign of the tribe.

Jono Mainelli

Waitsfield & New York City

Mainelli is music director and pianist for the Skinner Barn summer season.

Is North Street Next?

I am appalled to see Councilor Dave Hartnett (D-Ward 4) support the no-trespass ordinance on Church Street, which is unconstitutional [Off Message: “Burlington Council Set to Reverse Course on Secret Memo,” June 24; “‘Nothing to Hide’ in Previously Secret Marketplace Memo?” June 25]. What is disappointing to me is that there were no public forums, no public debate. The problem is that the ordinance targets certain groups such as the homeless, people with mental health issues and people with criminal histories. What is next — no-trespass on North Street?

Here is the kicker: If you are given a no-trespass, and you want to appeal it, you cannot, because if you go on Church Street to meet with the Marketplace Commission, you will be arrested for trying to appeal. How stupid is that?

Loyal Ploof


Editor’s note: There were at least four public hearings on the no-trespass ordinance — one at a public safety committee meeting and three at ordinance committee meetings. Additionally, the public is allowed to comment on any subject at the start of every Burlington City Council meeting.

“Queen City” Correction

Kevin J. Kelley’s July 3 article “What’s in a Name? The Origins of ‘Burlington’” correctly summarized the contending theories on how Burlington got its name, but his source led him astray as to when Burlington came to be known as “the Queen City.” Kelley’s source stated that the appellation was “crowned” on Burlington in 1866 by Albert Catlin, Burlington’s first mayor. Well, “crowned” by Catlin it may have been, but he was not the first to use it. That honor might rightfully belong to Nathan Haswell, a prominent businessman, real-estate developer and civic booster. Haswell Street, off North Avenue, is named for him.

In a speech he gave in 1852, at the groundbreaking for the Pioneer Mechanics Shops on Lake Street, which he and others hoped would bring prosperity to the town’s then-struggling economy, he boldly predicted that Burlington “must soon be the Queen City of the Green Mountains.” Haswell’s use of the term expressed his “if you build it they will come” optimism, which was borne out as Burlington embarked on a period of unprecedented prosperity beginning in the late 1850s.

Vince Feeney


Farm Fitness

Agricultural wastes were determined to cause toxic algae blooms in Missisquoi Bay. Enactment of remediation programs, according to reports at the time, would depend upon the “willingness of the local dairy farmers.”

Vermont’s highways are open to illegal immigrants, specifically those forming the backbone of the dairy industry.

Manure stench is methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than CO2.

Your edition of July 10 reports dairy farmers housing their undocumented help in odious conditions [“One Vermont Town Fights a Farm to Improve Housing for Migrant Workers”].

Were a new factory proposed subscribing to this business model, odds of approval would be as likely as for a cellular tower on Camel’s Hump.

The iconic Vermont cow has become sacred. Abuses of water, air, land, financial and human resources are required to prop up the industry.

And we don’t even need the milk! That can be shipped overnight from areas with lower production costs.

We do need the dairies for tourism. Think of flaming trees in the butterscotch light of October, shadows bending over rolling emerald fields dotted with black and whites. That look keeps the flatlanders coming. Earmark a penny of rooms and meals tax so farmers can do right.

Winks and nods from enforcement agencies — federal, state and local — and the attendant degradations, human and environmental, are unethical and unseemly props for any business.

As to your story on the Quesnel farm, any chance that family could be sentenced to a year’s trade of accommodations with the help?

Charles Siegchrist


Black Like Them

If we are not careful and intentional in how we engage the community in antidrug and anti-criminal activities, we may well be inadvertently fueling latent — and overt — biases of people in our communities [“Mary Alice McKenzie Wants to Talk about Gangs. Is Burlington Ready to Listen?” July 17]. The Burlington Police Department has done an excellent job in its bias-free-policing policy.

BPD’s policy specifically says that an officer will not be sent to check out “suspicious persons,” absent specific indicators of criminal behaviors. Therefore, if a call is received by dispatch about three young black men wearing baggy pants, their hats on sideways, hanging out in the park, no longer will the police send an officer unless there is some report of specific behaviors that give rise to reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

My fear, and that of others who have been engaged over the years in combating racism and racial disparities in criminal justice, is that without a sensitive approach to the subject of “gangs and drugs,” we may be declaring open season on all young black men, irrespective of any factual basis. As you may know, there are numerous academic studies and criminal cases in which cross-racial misidentification has been substantiated. In short, white folks have difficulty in differentiating among black faces, and vice versa. I believe it is critical that we all are aware of this dynamic and be as sensitive as possible not to feed racial stereotypes and biases in our daily work.

Robert Appel


Holas Responds

I am the author of the letter “Burlington or Topeka?” [Feedback, June 26]. I would like to answer the three letters in which I was called misogynistic, disgusting and insulting to fellow men [Feedback, July 3]. Allison Dowling said: “Just wait until your daughters are teenagers ... I have a feeling you will be changing your tune.” Allison, I will not. I wish I could just let them go to the woods by themselves. That is not going to happen here. My wife wouldn’t go by herself, not in Vermont or anywhere in the U.S.

To Amanda Conley, who wrote, “Don’t men have brains in their heads to help them moderate the influence of their raging hormones?” I am sorry to tell you, Amanda, many don’t; just check the correctional facilities or spend a day at the courthouse.

And Gina Logan says: “If it’s as much as $7 an hour, I am the Queen of Romania.” Based on what I know, these women might be making 10 times as much. These are not inexperienced young girls; these are tough Korean women. And, yes, if they get indeed paid $7 an hour for this kind of work, or are underage, then the pimp should be hanging on the lamppost. The thing is, I don’t really know, and you don’t know, and they didn’t ask for your or Ken Picard’s help. Right now I imagine they would like to wrap a nylon rope around Ken Picard’s neck.

All three of you should climb down from your ivory tower, or leave your mansions, and enter the real backwoods of America. You will find incest and rape everywhere, by desperate, crazy, lonely, drunk men. You will find 9-year-old girls used by the whole family. And it is not only caused by poverty. Anyway, why don’t you just get off your well-protected asses and find the prostitutes and give them better-paying jobs in your households or companies, so you could exploit them in a more pleasant way? It is not going to do much for the safety of my girls, but at least you will feel good about yourselves.

Evzen Holas


Pet-Friendly Landlords

I saw your article on the difficulties of finding pet-friendly housing in Vermont [“Pets vs. Landlords,” June 26] and wanted to inform your readers that I have been working with the Humane Society of Chittenden County to build a pet-friendly housing database for residents of Chittenden and Grand Isle counties. It’s still a fairly short list at this point, but I would love to get the word out to local landlords who may wish to be included. I’d also like to share the link to the HSCC website’s resources page, where you can find suggested pet policies for landlords, tips for talking to potential landlords about your pet and a pet “resume” to present when applying for housing. It’s at chittendenhumane.org/programs-services/resources.

Janine Fleri

South Burlington

Fleri is a social-media intern for the Humane Society of Chittenden County.


In the introduction to last week’s Daysies section, we mistakenly referred to LeZot Camera as one of the contest’s “longtime, simply-will-not-budge winners.” It was actually PhotoGarden that held the best-camera-store title many years in a row. A spotlight in the same section inaccurately described Green Envy Boutique as having an entirely organic inventory. The Stowe shop sells premium denim, top brands — such as Theory, AG, Hudson, UGG, Longchamp, Joie, Vince and Free People — and work by locally and world-renowned jewelry designers.