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

Published October 16, 2013 at 4:02 a.m.

Texas Ho!

[Re “The Undertaker’s Daughter: Darcie Johnston Wants to Kill Health Care in Vermont,” October 2]: I’m a lifelong subscriber to Blue Cross Blue Shield, a self-employed small businessman and a parent of two sons in college. Thanks to Vermont Health Connect and the Affordable Care Act, I can now save $500 per month on health insurance for my family. Please, Ms. Johnston, go ahead, move to Texas!

John Todd deBurlo


Rx for Cover Art

For the life of me, I cannot understand all the flack generated by the cover illustration of the September 18 Seven Days [“Patients and Understanding”]. Did it escape all the heretics’ notice that the woman is in charge, assisting the “helpless” man — rather than the inverse, which is what is often portrayed?

The young woman first stole my attention, followed by the fellow in the window. The message was crystal clear. He’s on the other end of the line, (as in a 911 call) and the young woman is the dispatcher receiving the call; she is connecting him to the help he needs. For those handicapped individuals to whom the metaphor wasn’t obvious, the switchboard itself is labeled “Providers.”

Initially, some details were a little disturbing: Sporting the face of a twentysomething, the “operator” had hands that looked angular and almost haggard. Some of the lines and shading make the subject appear like she might be slightly unkempt or as if she hadn’t showered prior to reporting to work. The spilled beverage finishes the effect. This young woman leads a typically hurried life; she grabbed her on-the-go coffee just before her shift began, and some was spilled in the frenetic activity in her workplace.

Then it hit me: The illustrator was not trying to please me, nor trying to meet the rose-colored, politically correct delusion of reality apparently held by his critics. This illustration is an excellent portrayal of many typical modern workplaces: outdated equipment, neglect of workers’ safety and comfort, and requiring too much multitasking to be stress-free or effective. Yet the subject appears cool and focused. I commend both the illustrator for an excellent job and the editors for their good judgment in selecting it.

Steven Farnham


Navigator Corrects Course

Thank you for attempting to clarify the upcoming changes to our health care system [“Patients and Understanding,” September 18]. I do, however, want to respond to some inaccuracies in the reporting. For example, I never said I would “recommend a high-deductible bronze plan … for most Vermonters of modest means.” Quite the opposite! I clearly stated that it would be inappropriate for a navigator like myself to make any recommendation and that our role is to empower Vermonters to make their own confident, informed choices about their health care. I said: It’s a concern that most people of modest means will automatically choose a bronze plan because of the lower premiums, even when it is not in their best interest. 

With two kinds of subsidies available and lower out-of-pocket costs, the silver plans might, in fact, save some people more money over the course of a year. So while navigators can’t make recommendations, we can help people to understand the financial ramifications of the different options.

I also never stated that as a navigator I would “ask people about their lifestyle.” What we do is encourage people weighing their options to consider factors such as use of medical services, lifestyle choices, household makeup, etc. — not simply how much a premium costs. For a Vermonter like Ms. Hottenstein, who would benefit from talking with a navigator but has concerns about confidentiality, navigator organizations were chosen because of their track record in providing very similar services in the community; someone can get all the help they need from a navigator without providing any personal information at all. 

Finally, I want to clear up another bit of misinformation: Were Ms. Woodward able to enroll in Medicaid before January, both her earned and unearned income would be considered. In 2014, however, as with the other plans, only the Modified Adjusted Gross Income will be considered.

Tatum O’Malley


O’Malley works as a navigator at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity.

Accurate Article

[Re “A Film Series on Architecture and Design Offers Public Forum on the Built Environment,” September 25]: When Lynda, Andrew and I met at our usual place, August First, to discuss outcome and reviews of the first screening in the Architecture and Design Film Series we helped launch at Burlington City Arts. When Andrew located the article in the paper, we braced ourselves, as each of us has had some previous experience with misrepresentation in the media.?Andrew read it out loud, and from the first sentence, we were cheering. Amy Lilly did an excellent job conveying our vision and the motivation behind it. Her descriptions were accurate and interesting to read, and she mentioned local projects past and present that we are happy to bring attention to. We are absolutely delighted with her article and the space that Seven Days dedicated to it. Thank you!?

Karen Frost?


Lynda McIntyre ?and Andrew Chardain also signed on to this letter.

Beer Bullsh*t

I can’t decide if “Seasonal Swills” [October 2] was a parody of the sometimes-far-too-serious art form of craft beer or just plain ridiculous. The “nose” descriptions practically had me peeing my pants from snickering. “Smells like a rainstorm” was one; “like a pile of leaves” was another. And the best one: “smells like air.” LOL! What the hell does that smell like? Guess it depends on the city. Come on, folks, you can do better than this.

Christopher Maloney


Two Thumbs Down

I hate to say this, but your paper clearly has an incredibly poor film reviewer. He seems to disagree with most of the populace on a general basis, according to Rotten Tomatoes. Someone who gives a good review to Grown Ups 2 [Movie Review, July 17] but calls Rush [Movie Review, October 2] a failed biopic clearly has no idea what he is talking about. From someone who has studied the story, it comes as a travesty. He clearly did minimal research and decided to spout off on something he had no idea about, more than likely due to his personal boredom. On the three occasions I’ve seen the film, I took people who don’t even like Formula One racing and even they enjoyed and took something from it. Clearly your employee is cynical and lazy, and I quite frankly don’t understand why he works for your corporation.

Mark Witte

Grosse Ile, Mich.

Good Gravity

I really enjoyed Rick Kisonak’s review of Gravity in the latest Seven Days [Movie Review, October 9]. I hope this review brings the readership by the droves into the theaters to see this film on a big screen, where it must be viewed. Gravity revels in a sense of true wonder about space — its beauty, its loneliness, its terror. It is a small masterpiece and it features a seemingly ageless Sandra Bullock in a great role. A must! Thanks, Rick!

Dave Donohue

South Burlington

Do we still live in a democracy???

Flying in the face of Vermont’s independence?

we are told that fighter-bombers coming in

?was a done deal a long time ago.??

No give-and-take between elected leaders,

generals of the Guard or business interests?

standing to profit from our loss.??

Where is concern for school children already

urinating in their pants at the sound of?

a smaller jet engine’s roar???

Where is concern for citizens of modest means?

whose small stake of simple beloved homes?

is threatened as democracy itself is undermined???

Do we still live in a democracy???

Rabbi Joshua Chasan??

Burlington ??

Not Everyone Wants to Drink

[Re “Burlington Considers Live Music, Dancing and Cover Charges in Restaurants,” October 2]: I hope the new rules don’t exclude people under the age of 21 from having fun in the evening. I might be in the stereotypical minority, but there are a lot of people at Champlain College who choose not to engage in underage drinking. During Parents’ Weekend, we were made to feel very unwelcome when we tried to get dinner and some soft drinks at a local restaurant on Church Street, because their bouncer didn’t want us around — as in, we all had to leave at 10. Somehow, the policy should have provisions to allow those of us who are independent adults but not legally allowed to drink to safely participate in having a good time at our local establishments.

Ashton MacKenzie