Letters to the Editor
October 31, 2007
SEX IN THE SYNOGOGUE
I wanted to let you know that the [“Our Whole Lives”] program through the Unitarian Universalist Society is not the only faith-based sexual education program in town [“Just Say Know,” October 17].
“Sacred Choices: Adolescent Relationships and Sexual Ethics” is a program developed by the Union for Reform Judaism and is offered through the Vermont Chai School. The Vermont Chai School is the only high school in the state open to all Jewish teens in grades 8-12. This program addresses all the issues Ken Picard mentions in his piece, but also examines what Jewish texts have to say about human sexuality and the body in an inclusive and nonjudgmental atmosphere. Of the nine classes, six are geared for students, and three are geared for parents. The Vermont Chai School operates out of Temple Sinai and is accepting registration, should any Jewish teen be interested.
Alexander is director of the Vermont Chai School.
If there was any doubt before, 7 Daze has made their view of women quite clear. The recent full-page American Appalling ads are nothing but porn. How the women who run this paper can do this to us — and themselves — is beyond me. For 12 years, 7 Daze has titillated its readers and exploited women with its sleazy images and double-entendre-laden headlines. Respect is reserved for men (both main columnists are male) while demeaning treatment is reserved for women (as in Flick “Chick”). It takes zilch imagination to take this approach — just a willingness to go along with the oppressive and hurtful status quo.
You could, if you wanted to, 7 Daze, go in a creative new direction (helpful, even!) and stop all your insults toward women. Why don’t you?
McNicol is the former editor of the now-defunct monthly, Out in the Mountains.
I was disappointed in your story on my departure [“Opportunity Knocking . . . Elsewhere?” October 24]. I gave the same interview to Sam Hemingway of The Burlington Free Press and Patrick Ripley of Seven Days. Sam’s story was accurate in both fact and tone. Mr. Ripley’s was less so. In particular, it implied resentment and criticism of the mayor, which was neither conveyed nor intended by me in the interview. When I informed the mayor of my decision to leave on October 19, he asked whether this was a “positive or negative” departure. I responded that it was a positive one. That was true then, and it is now.
The mayor has decided to postpone expansion of BT into other areas until it has progressed further in Burlington — possibly until it has achieved profitability (projected for the end of 2008). This is a legitimate judgment call, which is his perfect right to make. Many people in Burlington, I am sure, agree with it. I do not. But neither do I resent or criticize him for making it. It is the job of the mayor to make such decisions according to his best judgment, and I accept his conclusion with neither rancor nor resentment.
However, I wish to spend the rest of my own working life helping other communities obtain the same modern, universal, open-access telecommunications that Burlington is now beginning to enjoy. I am confident that Burlington Telecom is sufficiently strong to get along without me. Thus, I feel I can take up other opportunities without remorse. As they used to say in the old cowboy movies: “My work is done here, ma’am . . . time to be movin’ on.”
I wish Burlington Telecom and the City of Burlington good fortune in the future.
Timothy E. Nulty
Nulty recently announced his retirement as general manager of Burlington Telecom.
Editor’s Note: Seven Days stands by its reporting.
THUGS GONE WILD
While reading Ms. Potter’s letter [October 3], I was reminded of my own dissatisfaction and confusion with the Burlington Police Department. In September 2001, my lady friend and I were driving home to South Burlington from downtown on South Winooski Street, when a car ran a four-way stop sign in front of us. I hit my brakes, and then my horn, to alert the other driver, before proceeding through the intersection. When I got halfway down the block, I saw the other car back up into the intersection, pull a U-turn and follow us. After speeding up to pass me, it swerved in front, jammed on its brakes and very quickly two middle-age men got out and strode up to us. The driver — yelling obscenities like “nigger-lover,” “goddamn punk,” etc. — began kicking my door and attempting to break my window with his boot. My friend and I froze for about 20 seconds, desperately locking our doors. I attempted to back up, but another car had stopped behind mine. I hit the horn again and motioned to them to back up so we could get away from this madman, which they did. I then pulled around the car and kept going, noting the license plate number. The other car followed us for two or three blocks and then turned. My friend was crying. I had to pull over and calm myself twice during the rest of our short drive home.
The moment we walked in the door I called BPD and reported what had just happened. The BPD asked me to come in and fill out paperwork the next morning, which I did. They said someone would get back to me.
After a couple days, I received a call from a sergeant who said he’d been looking into the case and that I should come back in and talk to him personally. I met this sergeant at the police station. He asked me to step into the parking lot to discuss the case. I thought this a bit odd, but followed him out anyway. Standing next to his cruiser, he told me that the car belonged to a “known party” in Burlington, that the guy was already in a lot of trouble for accosting strangers in supermarkets and on the street, and that if this were a big city, this guy would have ended up in a dumpster a long time ago. I thought to myself, Well, that’s great. But where does that leave my case now? I asked the sergeant what would happen next. How do I press charges? He said he would let me know.
It’s been six years since that hellish experience. I’m 48 years old. I believe in the right of citizens to feel safe in our homes, on our streets and in our vehicles. I believe that if a fellow citizen steps out of line, it’s in the interest of the entire community to make sure that person is charged, rehabilitated, or removed from a place where he or she can endanger other people’s lives and safety.
I’m still waiting to hear from the police about my case.
I want to clarify something for the record. In Peter Freyne’s “Inside Track” [October 17], he writes about Senator Vince Illuzzi’s recent visit to Taiwan. Peter mentions that Senator Illuzzi was part of a New England legislative delegation sponsored by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. Yes, Senator Illuzzi was part of a New England delegation, but no, the trip was not sponsored by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. However, the confusion is understandable.
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce has been helping Vermont companies do business in Taiwan since 1993. With the assistance of Senator Jim Jeffords on our inaugural mission, the Vermont Chamber has cultivated relationships with Taiwanese counterparts, while promoting Vermont through numerous trade shows and other outreach methods. In 2004, we expanded our program to include mainland China. We also assist Vermont companies looking to navigate the often-confusing Chinese business landscape.
The delegation that Senator Illuzzi was part of has become an annual mission organized by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston, and hosted by the Taiwanese government. Legislative leaders from all over New England take part, and a number of other Vermont legislators have represented Vermont over the years. Good for Senator Illuzzi for representing Vermont this year. I am pleased to see our legislative leaders continue to learn about international trade and its importance to Vermont. Yes, Taiwan is Vermont’s number-two export destination, and mainland China (number seven), when combined with Hong Kong exports (number five), would actually take over the number-two spot (according to 2006 figures). International trade is alive and well in Vermont, and Vermont ranks number one in exports per capita. It is a critical part of Vermont’s economic future, and programs like the Vermont Global Trade Partnership, the U.S. Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and others all work hard to help Vermont companies succeed overseas.
Picard is vice-president of international trade for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
GREEN MOUNTAIN MONEY PIT
Does anyone really believe our legislature can do as well with health-care spending as they’ve done with keeping education costs down? I do. In fact, I see a nasty trend developing that will match their previous efforts. First, you must disregard the stated goals of each and look for the true hidden agendas.
The actual intent is to keep cost increases well above any rise in income. Why? Because the state needs to grow both industries as a means to replace lost manufacturing jobs, while continuing to feed our ever-increasing higher education costs.
The state also wants to remove as much control and choice from the voter as possible. The state removed local control for education on “quality issues” because towns were voting down excessive school budget increases. Now the legislature is beginning to ram health-care taxation down our throats. The Catamount Health Plan, which actually stated that it had a side benefit of growing the industry, is already in trouble for relying on federal funding that was not fully approved. “Oh, well, it’s too late now because we’ve already set the program up,” the state says. Not only do they have millions in shortfalls from the feds, we are still mandated to cover the $800,000 shortfall allowed by the small business loophole.
Telling the truth and being fiscally responsible is obviously not good strategy for re-election. Bipartisan legislation, popular consensus, social responsibility and compromise are terms quickly becoming synonymous with fiscal suicide. Is Montpelier part of the real world?
• In a story that ran last week [“A Vermont Folk Artist Steps Out Against the War”] Seven Days incorrectly spelled the name of Shelburne Museum Director Stephan Jost.