Letters to the Editor
I’m writing from Budnitz Bicycles to make a small correction to the article [“Budnitz and Flahute Custom Bicycle Companies Roll Into Burlington,” March 6]. In it, our least expensive bicycle is quoted at $5500, when, in reality, our most affordable model, steel-framed bike is $2600.
Let me know if you have any questions about our bikes or business! We’re excited to be in BTV!
Millikin is customer-service manager at Budnitz Bicycles.
Editor’s note: Author Sarah Tuff got her pricing information from the Budnitz company website.
“The Miro Show” indeed [March 6] — if by show you mean an “it’s all good” simulation, masking reality and fooling some people for longer than it should. How are popularity ratings calculated? I wasn’t polled, nor, probably, were hundreds of petitioners who asked the mayor for an independent review of what may have been a flagrant abuse of citizens’ rights when police shot protesters with rubber bullets in July. There was zero response to this petition, and a reasonable resolution asking for an independent review was voted down, despite sympathies voiced privately by members of the Democratic bloc who seem to fear voting differently from their leader even if it is a matter of our constitutional rights.
I wonder if any of the outraged people whom I met on Town Meeting Day while petitioning for a referendum to ask whether the citizens want to keep the Moran Plant publicly owned, were polled. Despite a feel-good Moran pop-up event and a looks-good PIAP process soliciting public input, the mayor has already proven that he is not interested in public opinion in the one area where we have repeatedly made ourselves clear: For decades we have voted to keep the Moran Plant publicly owned. The mayor thinks that we have changed our minds, but he and his bloc were against putting the question to a referendum. They made it clear that public input is only welcome if it gives carte blanche to the marketplace, developers or the police. The show is a scam.
Dairy for Dummies
I would like to respond to the letter by Laura Yanne titled “Dangers of Dairy” [Feedback, January 23]. I realize most people would love to have dairy cows and dairy farmers stuck in the 19th century, but, just as in any other progressive business, dairy has modernized.
The author does get one thing right: Dairy farmers are just as hardworking, dedicated and honorable as ever. Interestingly, however, she misses the point on “family owned.” I wonder if the author could name one farm in the state, large or small, that isn’t family owned. Farming is so expensive to enter into these days that in order for a new generation to join, farms have to expand. Larger farms actually offer owners and workers a day off every now and then — something almost everyone else gets to enjoy. Unfortunately, like most uninformed people, the author assumes anything over 50 cows grazing in the daisies is “industrial.” (Mechanized milking? Please! Farmers have used machines to milk cows since the 1940s.) Believe it or not, most modern dairy barns are much more comfortable and humane than anything built before 1980.
Is everything great in dairy land? Of course not. There are many issues to address for animals and people. We need to take better care of Hispanic workers, although there are many who are happy and well-treated despite the characterization in the original article [“Midd Kids’ Documentary Shows How Vermont Dairy Workers Get Milked,” January 9]. Painting the entire industry with such a broad brush, however, is misguided, malicious and just plain wrong.
The Truth About Racine
Doug Racine lost to Peter Shumlin because he was killed in Windham County [Fair Game, February 20]. Gov. Peter Shumlin beat Racine by over 3000 Windham votes. It was not because Vermonters liked Shumlin’s fiscal policy. Windham County Democratic primary voters put Shumlin in the corner office due to his strong support for closing Vermont Yankee.
Rep. Alison Clarkson does not realize taxpayer dollars are an investment in our youth — not back into the hands of representatives [“For Some Vermont Students, School Choice Involves a Trip to Canada,” February 20]. School choice is just that: a choice. We are investing in the future of Vermont; children’s education should not be on the chopping block. Ms. Clarkson should go after the problem of unemployment in our state. Handouts should be cut — not school choice.
Rory Spence Butler
Kathryn Flagg’s article on school choice in Vermont’s north makes useful points about Vermont’s secondary options in towns close to the Canadian border [“For Some Vermont Students, School Choice Involves a Trip to Canada,” February 20].
One of her observations, however, needs further consideration: the proposal to prohibit the use of our taxpayer “tuition dollars” to send our students to out-of-state schools. This idea is shortsighted and works against the interests of many of our students and taxpayers alike on at least two counts.?First and foremost, our money is best spent when it delivers a high-quality education; ergo, our best response to the challenges presented by schools such as Stanstead should be to provide a better school system right here in Vermont.?Second, we need to realize that a large portion of our education tax dollars in towns along the border come straight from Canada! Here in the small town of North Hero alone, we collect over $200,000 in school taxes from properties owned by Canadians every year. Telling these seasonal neighbors and friends and customers that we want their cash but not their services is just plain dumb.
I congratulate our legislature on its wise decision to allow our students to seek out the best education value for the dollar wherever that education may be offered.
I am writing to support the feedback from Annie Majoros [Feedback, February 20] concerning Barbara Vacarr and Goddard College [“Presidential Appeal,” February 13]. In a capitalist society like ours, the class struggle within bourgeois ideological apparatuses like colleges is real. Vacarr’s reported actions to repress the staff union and to deny teachers input into program-restructuring policies demonstrate that her implied socialist “moral compass” is one she doesn’t have to lose.
I read Wheat Belly, and Dr. Davis did more than ask patients to give up wheat [“The Trouble With Wheat,” March 6]. He himself had blood- sugar issues and experimented with eating different wheat products while testing his blood sugar. He noticed that modern wheat raised his blood sugar for much longer than Einkorn wheat, an older variety. Forty percent of the population has the genes making them prone to Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). According to the Human Genome Project, there are at least 150 different adaptations that lead to T2D.
That is why I have cut back on wheat. Not only do I feel better, I stopped getting canker sores. Dr. Davis doesn’t mention this perk. If I indulge in more wheat than usual, they come back but go away quickly because I eat less wheat now. I also get abdominal cramping from eating regular pasta.
My concern is that others will read this article and be dismissive of people who have legitimate issues. I’ve experienced it personally when a bread baker tried to tell me that wheat’s not an issue. For me, it is.
I think those who sell wheat products should consider using older varieties.
Whether wheat went bad through hybridization or genetic engineering, it is shocking to go from 1 in 3000 having gluten intolerance to 210 in 3000. Something happened.
Guns R Us?
[Re “In Franklin County, a Global Arms Dealer Quietly Makes a Killing,” January 23]: We Vermonters pride ourselves in having both very lax gun laws and very low rates of gun crime. We have the 38th lowest rate of gun death among the 50 states, and the third most permissive gun laws. What we fail to appreciate, however, is that we have the 16th highest rate of gun exports used in crime, according to the Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ September 2010 Trace the Guns report. Apparently, Century Arms is a major source of those guns. Is that really the kind of business we want in Vermont?
I’m writing in response to [“Do Vermonters Really Support Ridgeline Wind Power? Parsing the Polls,” January 23]. The article cites three separate polls within the last year that showed the majority of Vermonters supporting wind projects in the state, at percentages of 75, 69 and 58. Authors Andy Bromage and Kathryn Flagg write, “Conventional wisdom might suggest that wind opponents are a small but vocal minority of Vermonters,” and go on to cover arguments posited against this “conventional wisdom” by spokesmen for anti-wind groups Vermonters for a Clean Environment and Energize Vermont.
These critiques of the three well-conducted polls are nothing but cries for attention around the proposed three-year wind moratorium bill. If the state of Vermont is going to follow the current State Energy Plan and reach 90 percent renewable power by 2050, it is clear that utility-scale wind projects must play a role. To ignore a renewable resource with this much potential is to continue our reliance on fossil-fuel-based electricity. When you place the aesthetic qualities of large-scale turbines against the destruction caused by mountaintop removal for coal, the choice is obvious. I agree with Paul Burns, who is quoted in the article as saying, “The public supports it. It’s necessary for our environment, for our health and for jobs.”
I urge those who support the wind moratorium to consider the real externalities of coal and oil. Though they may be far removed from our lives, the environmental impacts make wind projects pale in comparison.
Welcome to NIMBYLand
[Re “Do Vermonters Really Support Ridgeline Wind Power? Parsing the Polls,” January 23]: I was reminded of a description I recently read about neighbors opposed to a multiunit residential development who took their case to the Vermont Supreme Court. These project opponents were emotionally invested, had identified the project as fundamentally wrong and wanted solely to stop that project.
That description also fits the vocal opponents of wind-energy projects in Vermont. Virtually every substantive issue they raise in opposition can be answered by either data-driven research or through careful and appropriate siting restrictions. Yet they continue to dismiss the facts — mostly on the basis that they just don’t believe them. Their dismissal of polling data showing strong support for wind power in Vermont is just the latest in a long line of facts they brush aside.
Climate change is bearing down on us and we have to change our energy ways. Wind power has an important role to play as part of the solution for Vermont’s energy future, along with conservation, efficiency, solar and hydro. The majority of Vermonters understand this.
The fact that Burlington Telecom might be sold to a corporation proves a very real point about trying to blend public and private ownership [“Can a Pledge Drive Save Burlington Telecom From Corporate Ownership?” January 30]. That point is that corporate capitalism (or monopoly capitalism, to be correct) does not exist to serve the community, only to maximize profits. When this motivation is combined with political leaders who only see the bottom line and have few qualms about selling off publicly owned properties, goods and services in order to look good now (the future be damned), the commons is heading toward ruin.
If the original plan to create a publicly owned telecommunications system in Burlington had been fulfilled, there would be no Citigroup taking Burlington to court and no corporate mayor/city council considering selling. Instead, corporate capitalism (primarily in the form of the discredited Adelphia corporation) cried unfair competition, convinced legislators (wink, wink) to vote down the publicly owned plan and insist on private involvement. Now, what could have been an example of community-operated and community-owned telecommunications looks like it will end up being just another corporate cable/internet scam.
Watch out! If the mayor is thinking about selling Burlington Telecom to a corporation, could Burlington Electric be far behind?