Letters to the Editor
Tracy Stopford of Milton recently expressed concern in these pages about Attorney General Bill Sorrell’s October settlement over the mislabeling of pasta sauces bearing the “Bove’s of Vermont” label. Simply put, the reason for the settlement was that the sauces were made in an out-of-state facility from out-of-state ingredients but were not labeled as such, in violation of the state’s Vermont labeling rule.
Ms. Stopford asks why Bove’s, with its long history in Burlington, cannot be a “Vermont” company. The answer is that it can. But the fact that a business is local does not permit it to imply that its out-of-state products are Vermont products. Vermont law does strike a balance, though: A local business may continue using its “Vermont” company name on its non-Vermont food products as long as it prominently discloses their out-of-state origins on its labels. However, that is something that Bove’s did not do.
This approach makes sense, because it protects Vermonters from being misled as to the geographic origin of the products they buy (we know this in part from a consumer perception study commissioned before the labeling rule was issued), and it allows people to support in-state production if they wish. It also appropriately rewards businesses that choose to invest in in-state manufacturing and in-state sourcing of ingredients, by permitting them to take advantage of the “Vermont cachet.”
Finally, Ms. Stopford praises Bove’s for donating $100,000 worth of food to the Vermont Foodbank. In fairness, it should be noted that the AG’s settlement required an in-kind donation valued at $50,000. Whether Bove’s would have made any donation without the settlement is uncertain; but the company does deserve credit for doubling its contribution. In the end, then, the settlement benefited both customers and users of the Foodbank — which is a good thing as we approach the holiday season.
Morgan heads the public protection division of the Vermont Attorney General’s office.
BOB: STILL EVERYTHING
I truly enjoyed the article that you did on my friend Bob Bolyard [“Bob’s Your Everything,” November 12]. He and his “gang” from the House of LeMay do so much for our community. They have raised awareness of AIDS in Vermont, the importance of our right to vote and, most importantly, the acceptance of differences among us.
I have seen over the years the growing popularity of the LeMay shows and events, and it makes me feel proud to live in a community where so many people seem to be opening their eyes and their minds to the life that is growing around them. This group is an amazing and important part of our community. Yes, they are fun and witty, but, more importantly, I believe them to be among the greatest activists that this community has at present.
So, to you as a newspaper, I wish once again to say thank you for recognizing Bob and the rest of the gang on their contributions. You have featured the LeMays on other occasions, and it has not gone unrecognized. Your newspaper is a major part of our community and, with its help, we have learned to grow and change. You do not tell us what to think, but give us the tools to think for ourselves. I feel blessed to live in a community where we have this opportunity. Keep up the great work and outlook on life!
TELL US MORE
Regarding the article on Burlington College [Local Matters, November 26].
“. . . a toxic and disruptive environment.”
“. . . an atmosphere of fear and censorship”
“. . . serious concerns and questions about her processes and policies, harassment and unethical treatment of other faculty and staff members.”
“There are rights that instructors have at really mainstream colleges . . . that are more progressive than what’s going on at Burlington College.”
You know what would be good? To give us some clue about what this is about.
I have no idea which of Jane Sanders’ “processes and policies” Genese Grill has criticized. I read in vain for an illustration of something “toxic and destructive” about the environment; or any discussion of what views are being censored; or any details of the harassment and unethical treatment of faculty and staff; or some delineation of the progressive rights being denied to instructors at Burlington College.
Maybe it’s an interesting story. Who knows?
Hearing about the unrest at Burlington College gave me a lot of mixed emotions [Local Matters, November 26]. Having attended the school for a few rather combative years, it all sounded like old hat for B.C.
Lest anyone forget, one of the most popular presidents of the school, Dan Casey, ended up getting fired and had his retirement pulled over a scandal. That was followed by the overpaying of a former Canadian government lackey to essentially antagonize the board and faculty in her short stint as president. Where the truth lies with the Jane Sanders administration, well, I have no idea.
What I do know is how I felt about Genese Grill as a teacher. I took two classes with Dr. Grill, neither by choice — particularly the second one, as it was the semester right after she failed me in the first one. (I wasn’t exactly a model student, it must be said.)
The class was called “Ways of Seeing,” an encompassing look at art criticism and something of an albatross around film students’ necks, being one of the final requisite classes in the program. It was one of the harder ones, and unlike many of my other classes, it actually forced me to think.
The fact is, Grill was one of the best teachers at a school where many of the professors were as dispassionate and lazy as the worst students. She brought to her classes intelligence and open-mindedness, and I say that as someone who disagreed with her frequently.
Dr. Grill was exactly the kind of teacher a liberal arts school such as Burlington College needs to keep it honest. As we see, that isn’t something the school is always capable of.
What is most obvious about the Carpenters’ response [“Flipping the Board,” November 26] is that they don’t get the connection between demeaning images of women and violence against women. They seem to be intelligent enough, but they’re not willing to consider this valid objection.
What many object to is Burton’s use of pornography, because with it they have fallen far from their cutting-edge style and have used the lowest common denominator to appeal to their audience: sex.
Their new board’s list of “things we should be fighting now” is especially ironic, because it includes forms of violence against women when they have, in fact, added to the problem by using images of nude women on their boards.
They assume people won’t be shocked by these images because they and our society have become insensitive to the practice of using images of women to sell products. The incessant repetition of these images conditions us to see them as “kitschy” when we should be insulted by them because they are degrading.
With freedom of speech comes responsibility, and the Carpenters have shirked theirs. The boarders Jake Carpenter listens to — young men — are interested in nude women. When he chose to furnish them with these images, Carpenter neglected his responsibility as an adult to say, “No, that would be disrespectful and an insult to women.”
Burton does a disservice to men as well as women because they’ve made the practice of showing women as sexual objects acceptable. Basically they’ve said, “Go ahead and demean women; we did.”
I would ask the Carpenters to educate themselves by checking out Killing Us Softly, Jean Kilbourne’s series about how advertising affects society’s perception of women, at mediaed.org. Maybe then they will get it.
SHOWING, NOT TELLING
Thank you all so much for choosing us for a gallery profile [“Main Attraction,” December 3]. It’s a great affirmation of all the work that we are doing. And this is such a great season to highlight Vermont’s creative community.
There was one thing in the article that does bear correcting, though. We are not planning on hosting actual classes for the Bristol Rec Department — we simply don’t have the space to do so. What we are planning, and have now had confirmed for our schedule, is an exhibit of work created by young students in the Bristol Rec Department Pottery Studio. That will be on display during the month of February.
Ashby is gallery manager of Art on Main.