Letters to the Editor
So Many Addresses...
[Re Editor’s note on “Tony’s Town” Feedback, October 19]: Please note that the post office address does not always match the political subdivision, aka voting address. This can sometimes lead drivers astray when they look for an address in the wrong town.
Line in the Sand
I am a regular reader of Shay Totten’s column. I have to let you know that his closing line in [Fair Game, “President in Peril,” September 20] — “son of a beach” — was so funny, whenever I feel a need of a sense of humor, I keep going back to this article. I appreciate your journalism.
Leave Hitler Out of It
As a lifelong liberal, I cannot share Judith Levine’s excitement about Occupy Wall Street [Poli Psy, October 12]. OWS strikes me as a populist movement of self-proclaimed “common people” (who are actually rich beyond the wildest dreams of most of humanity) supposedly assaulted by an all-powerful minority. Its simplistic blame and victimhood bears resemblance to the equally simplistic victimhood of right-wing populist groups. Right-wing populists such as the Nazis, the KKK and the Tea Party variously blamed, among others, all-powerful Jews, blacks, job-stealing Mexicans, educated “elites” and smarty-pants scientists that trick school children. Left-wing populists blame corporations and rich people. This dichotomy ignores the fact the recession was caused not only by “corporate greed,” but by regular people choosing to buy homes that they could not afford.
A standard OWS sign is “Hitler’s Bankers = Wall Street.” Sadly, I have yet to hear anyone on the Left call that out. Just as it was wrong for the Tea Party to claim that living under the Obama administration is like dying under Hitler, it is wrong for well-fed, cellphone-using, iPod-owning, very-much-alive progressives to claim that their plight is the same as that of Hitler’s victims. That trivializes the torture and deaths of millions of people.
Peter Du Brul
Miro’s the Man
[Re Fair Game, October 12, 19 & 26]: In Burlington, Tim Ashe is a Progressive, perhaps even a doctrinaire Progressive. It’s a bit of an attempted hijacking for him to seek the Democratic mayoral nomination. Tim would not be a strong candidate against Kurt; Tim would be the Progressives continued.
When he adopted the Democratic label to run for the state senate, Tim was hardly risking his political career to unify the Progs and the Dems; no, he was doing what he needed to do to be elected. And there’s no shame or harm in that. I voted for him and I value his progressive voice in Montpelier, but it’s time for a break from the Progs in Burlington’s mayor’s office.
I’ve always identified myself as an independent. I have always voted for Bernie, another independent. I always voted for Peter. I voted for Bob the first time, and I voted for Bob second or third the second time. I appreciate how subtle the distinctions among Democrats and Progressives in Burlington can be. But right now we need a Democrat whose political roots are not Progressive, but unalloyed.
The Progressives have become complacent instead of energized. They’ve been less than honest and anything but transparent. They’ve been fiscally reckless, disrespectful of taxpayers and their hard-earned tax dollars, green in name but not in deed, and weak on neighborhoods, quality of life, schools, business environment and economic development.
Miro is the man of the moment, the Democrat for Burlington now. He has the Vermont roots, the education, the vision, the commitment to our future and our schools, the financial skills, the relevant experience, the business acumen, the sophistication and prudence to shepherd public-private partnerships for the city’s benefit, and, above all, the integrity to serve with distinction as our next mayor.
Congrats to Ms. Heyerdahl and others who seek to apparently get “Bush III’s” attention on the environment [“High-Rolling Obama Supporter Threatens to Pull the Plug Over Pipeline,” October 19]. How can we conflate one man with the supremacy of our Earth’s gift to us? I, too, thought so well of Barack Obama, but he treats the progressive agenda as if they were suggestions for themes at a high school prom. I think skies, forests, sands and oceans are critical to life and well-being.
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Ah, Mrs. Heyerdahl shows the ignorance of inherited money [“High-Rolling Obama Supporter Threatens to Pull the Plug Over Pipeline,” October 19]. Without it, the former “organic farmer” has yet to test life’s education, which can differ significantly from that taught at Barnard. But still, she says she “gets it.” Really? Does she get that the Earth’s climate has changed dramatically repeatedly without any help from humans in the past? How does one induce oneself to believe that if climate change is indeed occurring, that the change is man made? And further, my education taught me that the last time the Earth warmed up, it was very beneficial for humans. I do not know how it affected mice, but I don’t care. Plenty of species had no problem surviving.
I suggest to the very clear-thinking Mrs. Heyerdahl she test every action she will take with Grandaddy Pitcairn’s money to ask herself, “How would he feel about me supporting this?” If she comes to the conclusion, as do I, that most of her causes would not enthuse him, then she should forebear sending others his money, earned the old-fashioned way, and send only her money earned in her own, “I get it” way. We’ll see then how much money goes to her Moonbat causes.
Martin V. Lavin
Seven Days readers had strong reactions to our October 12 profile of Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell, as well as a news story the following week about GMP’s wind-power installation on Lowell Mountain. One project, many views…
No Energy Source is Perfect
Protesters on Lowell Mountain have a valid point [“Occupy Lowell Mountain? Despite Court Order, Opponents Camp Near GMP Blasting Zone,” October 19]. I tend to lean against corporate control and destroying Vermont wilderness. But energy policies are really about paradoxes. Wind, wood, geothermal, solar, natural gas, nuclear and hydro are not all evil; nor are any of them perfect. We must choose between this mix in order to have enough electricity. Protesters should explain why they would rather burn fossil fuels and store nuclear waste for 500,000 years than temporarily put wind turbines in a high-wind zone to power tens of thousands of homes.
Glenn Fay Jr.
My Side of the Mountaintop
[Re “Occupy Lowell Mountain? Despite Court Order, Opponents Camp Near GMP Blasting Zone,” October 19]: Before moving to Vermont, I grew up in a small town in West Virginia, where you hear all the horrific stories of mountaintops being desecrated for eternity by coal mining. I absolutely loved it there, but I couldn’t stay because I couldn’t just stand around watching my state destroyed — so I came to Vermont, where mountains still mean something to people. These days, communities throughout West Virginia are begging developers to come and add a little beauty and economic vitality to the land again by building wind farms.
To hear a small but vocal group within Vermont comparing wind power to mountaintop removal is truly offensive to those of us who have seen our home state and neighbors destroyed by the real thing. Wind power does not ruin mountaintops; it saves them. It does not take away from our incredible views; it adds to them. What wind power represents — a safe, healthy future for our children here in Vermont — is a powerful vision. What wind power will provide — clean, reliable, local power — is something we need here in Vermont.
I am proud to see Vermont move in this direction. It means that, as a nation, we won’t have to rely on dirty and dangerous electricity, and it means we can start to save what few mountaintops we actually have left in West Virginia.
Conant works for VPIRG.
[Re “Occupy Lowell Mountain? Despite Court Order, Opponents Camp Near GMP Blasting Zone,” October 19]: Nobody seems to want wind towers, but everyone wants broadband access. Americans consume electricity at a rate unfathomable only 100 years ago, and global demand is growing at a staggering rate. The sad fact of the matter is there is no “clean” way to produce it; all methods of electrical production come with a devastating ecological cost. Would you prefer coal, hydro or nuclear? Take a look at the impact of coal mines or uranium mines — not to mention nuclear waste disposal issues. Hydro may be the “prettiest” of the lot, but drowning thousands of acres of habitat and the animals that live there is hardly environmentally friendly. Even for solar there is still a devastating mining cost. Could we meet our electrical needs with cow power and methane plants? I hate to see mountaintops destroyed as much as anyone else, but the alternatives are worse. The only real answer is to cut our electrical usage, and I don’t see that happening in America or in the rest of the planet that has widely embraced the American way of life. If anyone has genuinely viable alternatives and can make them affordable for homes and businesses, I hope they will bring them forward and get them distributed far and wide. Otherwise, turn off the lights, the computers, the phones, the multitude of appliances most people now have, and feel good about doing your part to decrease the need for an ever-expanding electrical grid.
$1 Million Morality?
[Re “Occupy Lowell Mountain? Despite Court Order, Opponents Camp Near GMP Blasting Zone,” October 19]: The Nelsons were offered their asking price for their farm, then instead of accepting it and walking away, which is the morally and ethically correct thing to have done, they chose to counteroffer for $1 million more. The moral bankruptcy of that move needs to be discussed!
Green Mountain Power indicated to the Nelsons that if they retained ownership of the farm they could incur up to $1 million in liability relating to work stoppages and the like. However, if the Nelsons had accepted the GMP’s offer, for 100 percent of the Nelsons’ asking price, they would not have been subject to such potential liability. Instead they chose to take a militant stand, contrary to common decency, and demanded $1 million more than their asking price. If an automobile dealer charges more than an advertised price the attorney general gets involved. How is this different?
Seven Days, really? “Green Mountain Powell” [October 12]? Yikes. At least the cover photograph is accurate: a well-dressed human sitting on top of a “green machine” with only the reflection of a single tree in the background. But why is Mary also in every other photograph in the article? Mary in her office; Mary shoveling a scoop of earth in a tent; Mary at a podium ... Surely you did a great job getting Mary’s Upper West Side perspective. Now would you like to walk though the heart of the forest that is being devastated for a realistic view of the land? Would you like to interview the endangered bats to get their perspective on how they feel about the loss of their habitat, destruction of the wetlands where they feed and drink, and the erecting of the 21 450-foot monsters that kill them? Though wind turbines are a great idea in many lands, in Vermont they are a joke. Don’t just assume that because it is sustainable, it is better. There are many factors to take into consideration that GMP likes to hide from the public. I’ve attended many of these public hearings and have seen the charts of the excessive risks of the project and they far outweigh the benefit. After all is said and done, compared to other wind turbine projects across the United States, just how beneficial is harnessing wind in Vermont? Have you looked it up? You 99 percent who care to investigate the real facts behind why the Lowell wind project is going on — and the many others that are planned, in some of the poorest towns across the state, BTW — should follow the money trail. Also, the surrounding towns were not allowed to vote on the project. Don’t be fooled.
P.S. Go solar.
P.P.S. That was my rant, but I’m a huge fan of Seven Days! Thank you for all of your hard, awesome work.
There’s Something About Mary...
Thank you, Seven Days, for doing a great job capturing the skill and compassion that Mary Powell has brought to Green Mountain Power as its CEO [“Green Mountain Powell,” October 12]. I have known her for years and seen that Mary is a leader with a rare combination of skills — excellent vision and the energy to accomplish it, as well as being highly unusual in applying a human touch while leading one of Vermont’s larger companies. Look at what she has accomplished: contracts with Hydro-Québec and Seabrook for low-cost, low-emission power; building a wind farm in Lowell to greatly increase green energy in Vermont; and figuring out a way to make the utility industry in Vermont more cost effective by merging GMP and CVPS — something that has been talked about for decades. All of us current and future GMP customers, as well as those served by other utilities, are lucky to have Mary working to make Vermont a better place to live.
This uncritical piece [“Green Mountain Powell,” October 12] prompts the question: Who elected Powell to transform Vermont’s utility landscape, or did you anoint her? CEO Powell may be all Ken Picard describes. But her “efficiency” cum government conflicts of interest also reveal Powell’s antipathy to environmental and social realities. The photos present bizarre “power” metaphors of a woman perched on top of some outdoor apparatus in 5-inch heels, detached from her environment: Does she grasp the impact of inefficient 460-foot wind turbines on the Lowell or other Vermont ridgelines, publicly financed for corporate profit? Her misrepresentations of these projects and her treatment of people who oppose her goals look like systems she likes to “drive a truck through.”
Apparently, Powell and Brochu of Gaz Métro aim to consolidate Vermont utilities to determine rates, gas pipelines and renewable options without citizen input. Did GMP commission this article? Its bias should spin Peter Freyne in his grave and calls into question the journalistic integrity of your publication.