Letters to the Editor
June 11, 2008
TODAY’S FORECAST: WIND
As a young woman concerned about not only Vermont’s energy future, but the right of future generations to inherit a clean and safe Vermont, your article was of particular relevance to me [“Blowing It?” May 21].
For decades, Vermont has relied on dirty, dangerous energy sources. With Vermont Yankee’s license set to expire in 2015 and the contracts with Hydro-Québec to end in the next 10 years, now is the time to turn to clean, safe, renewable energy.
Vermont wind farms can provide 20 percent of our state’s electricity needs by 2015. Wind farms provide a safe and affordable source of power for Vermonters, as the unchanging price of wind allows electric utilities to lock in long-term, affordable contracts for renewable power.
We need comprehensive legislation making it the policy of our state to promote growth in the wind-energy sector, setting goals for our reliance on wind power. Moreover, we need leadership as we grow a “green economy.” Gov. Douglas has not only failed to provide Vermonters with any real options for wind projects; he has also failed to provide our communities with the tax bases that result from such initiatives. Other states are moving forward in this area, creating green jobs in the face of a gloomy economy; Vermont remains at a standstill.
In light of Vermont’s rich history of environmental awareness and action, we need to remain at the forefront of the transition to clean energy. To do so, we need to act now.
HIGH PRESSURE SYSTEM
I was in Chateauguay last week, and I saw the windmills [“Blowing It?” May 21]. It is one thing to see them for five minutes and another to live right next to them. I also noticed that this area has three jails within 30 minutes’ drive.
Paul Kenyon explains the reality of windmills. What he didn’t mention is that windmill parks are located in economically disadvantaged regions, near farmers who own a lot of land and see an opportunity for extra dollars. The situation in Québec is the same. Dams owned by Hydro-Québec are not considered “green,” so for them to buy energy from windmills is good for their image. It is sexy. Québec doesn’t need windmills.
Promoters have made huge promises to people in Québec and still do; promises they don’t keep, one of them being job creation. Once these windmills are installed and you have signed a complicated contract, you cannot go back. They will be there for a long time, and what happens to the real estate value?
Many farmers are being pressured by windmill promoters and their municipalities to put them up on their land. It often divides the community. Windmills will not save anyone from our energy problems. Windmills will only enrich promoters, not a community or a state or a farmer.
Energy efficiency would be a first big step, and educating people about simple things they can do that can make a big difference in their energy consumption. Here is a funny little document that might get people thinking: www.storyofstuff.com.
REFLECTION ON GLASS
Not being familiar with the play prior to having seen it, I had a whole different experience at Lost Nation Theater on Friday night [“Broken Glass,” May 28]. I found The Glass Menagerie frustrating, funny and sad, which I imagined was the whole idea of the play. I thought all the actors were excellent and was particularly impressed by the performance of Laura. I thought she really was handicapped and thought her very brave to parade it in front of an audience. Call me naive, but I enjoyed the play immensely and have told my friends they should make it a point to see it.
Does nobody at Seven Days exercise any editorial control or judgment when it comes to approving the content of stories? The publication of Ken Picard’s sophomoric piece on Dan Savage (need anyone know anything at all about this man?) suggests that your editors and publishers now feel that nothing is in such bad taste, so calculated to shock (startle? offend? be exhibitionistic?) by its needless vulgarity that it should be killed or rewritten [“A Man’s Man”, May 28].
Hard to understand why the most interesting arts newspaper in town would stoop to this kind of sensationalist writing, which I seriously doubt pleased any significant part of your regular readership. Very childish, not to mention tasteless and scummy. Some of your gang ought to grow up a bit.
I’m disappointed to read that some self-appointed censors want to deny everyone the option of watching Al Jazeera [Local Matters, May 28]. Most of us out here can think for ourselves and would prefer that self-appointed censors simply change the channel and butt out. What’s next?
Give in to these people, and they will start looking for their next target. Kudos to Mayor Kiss for standing up to this heavy-handed attempt at thought control. Another reader has pointed out that Israelis can watch Al Jazeera, but Israeli supporters here want to deny the same privilege to us. Where I come from, that is called chutzpah. Excuse me, people, but this is not the West Bank or Gaza.
Whether or not Burlington Telecom should continue to broadcast Al Jazeera comes down to a very simple fact: Dropping the network because it is a news source with an anti-American bias is more anti-American than anything they could possibly say on the network.
News sources are biased because humans are biased. We gravitate towards sources that reinforce our viewpoint, and are repelled by those that disagree. I refuse to watch FOX News; my right-wing friend despises The New York Times.
On to the more important issue: What defines “American” and, therefore, what is “anti-American?” The answer to the former is the uniquely broad definition of freedom established by the Constitution. Disregard for these freedoms and their underlying principles would be the definition of the latter.
The Framers, in no uncertain terms, gave the freedom of expression for both individuals and the press, especially in regard to political dissent, the special distinction of being included in the First Amendment. This is not because it simply came up first, but because all other rights stem from this ability to express ourselves, both because it allows us to object when we feel our rights are being violated, and because it gives us the right to have access to the information that allows us to formulate an educated opinion.
How is it anything but the worst form of hypocrisy to “protect America” by abandoning what it means to be an American?
Only the media, with its toddler-like attention span, would think it is a “Yawn” when Anthony Pollina talks about the issues facing Vermonters [“Fair Game”, June 4]. Real people who need real solutions are interested.
As a small business owner, I face ever-increasing health- care costs, spiraling gas prices, a so-called “affordability agenda” that has done nothing for our business, and a legislature unable to offer significant opposition. I am disgusted with the too-little, too-late half-solutions offered by the two insider parties. Mr. Pollina’s speech at the press conference was a breath of fresh air.
Under Anthony Pollina’s leadership, health care will be separated from employment, so that we can take the money we’re currently paying to insurance companies and use it to create new jobs at our company. Pollina’s administration will promote renewable energy and public transportation so that our employees can keep coming to work. And when Pollina is governor, our state will get real economic stimulus from new green jobs and reinvigorated family farms, not a smoke-and-mirrors sales tax holiday that is irrelevant to non-retail businesses.
Political games make for sexy copy, but they are not substantive. The issues are what matter. In your future coverage, let’s hear less about inter-party squabbling and more about where the candidates plan to lead Vermont.
WAKE UP, SHAY
Shay Totten reveals more than he intends, I think, of how difficult it is escape old thinking and enjoy enlightened, more uncompromised perspectives [“Fair Game”, June 4].
Totten seems blindsided by the Democrats’ fielding of their late-to-the-race, gotta-have-a-candidate, Gaye Symington. But rather than detect the weaknesses of her candidacy, the repetitive retro-vision of this failed House leader, he’d have Anthony Pollina retreat from his Progressive campaign of principles in favor of . . . what? Business-as-usual in Montpelier with a Democrat who plays the familiar game of lockstep politics.
Rather than recognizing that it is the Dems who blew their opportunity, Totten would have Pollina abandon his powerful coalition of Progressives, free-thinking Democrats and Independents for Symington’s brand of same-old, go-along-to-get-along with Douglas.
Totten instead gives us his elitist view of Pollina’s recent City Hall confirmation of commitment to his campaign. You may yawn, Shay Totten, but for those who know better, whose numbers grow, we do not suffer shock by such media bias as yours, nor will we be discouraged to find that, as always, the press needs frequent reminding that professional journalism requires fair coverage of all perspectives.
Totten laments that there’s “no guarantee” that Pollina’s fourth election campaign is the “charm.” Sorry, Shay Totten, so far guarantees have escaped politics and human nature. But take it to the bank that Douglas is pondering his business-trumps-people politics . . . unless Democrat partisans remember that the pride cometh before the fall.
In a review of The Glass Menagerie [“Broken Glass,” May 28], we misspelled the name of the lighting director, Jeffrey E. Salzberg.
In our story about his possible deployment to Iraq, State Auditor Tom Salmon was misidentified in a photo caption [Local Matters, June 4].
In last week’s story about boat builder Douglas Brooks [“Staying Afloat”], we were incorrect in saying Brooks supervised the rebuilding of the Ticonderoga; he was a carpenter on that project. Chip Stulen was the supervisor and is now the curator of the Ti for the Shelburne Museum.
Our apologies for these errors.