Letters to the Editor
High Marks for Consistency
When I pick up a copy of Seven Days, I may “agree to disagree,” but rarely do I pick up a dull issue!
Now in the middle ages of life — and maybe more right of center on some issues — I find I value your community input greatly as the mighty “new look” Burlington Free Press appears to be selling out for advertisers and offering news with a more pro-left slant.
I give Seven Days high marks for consistency while the Burlington Three Press (so named with diminishing affection for its razor-thin, early-weekday editions) looks more and more like my Weekly Reader from grade-school days of old!
Where in Vermont does one find any fair and balanced local coverage in this presidential election year?
Robert “Bob” Devost
[Re “Color Bind,” June 6]: It surprises me that the front page of Seven Days states that “everyone agrees” the Burlington School District has a race problem when there is scant evidence in the corresponding article to back this up. The article states the Vermont Human Rights Commission has found four cases of racial prejudice in Vermont schools in the last seven years, which is four too many but does not suggest widespread racism.
The article cites the achievement gap between white and nonwhite students as the main contributor to the “race problem.” BHS math teacher David Rome convincingly refuted this argument in his response to the task-force report on diversity. He states that many of the task force’s statements are ungrounded and that disparities in achievement have more to do with socioeconomic status and English competence than race.
Seven Days can do better than borrowing the inflammatory language of the more unreasonable supporters of the task-force report. Seven Days readers may be better off with Mr. Rome’s side of the story.
Shades of Gray
Wow! What a thoughtful, balanced article about the racial issues at Burlington High School that have been swirling through the media lately [“Color Bind,” June 6]. This was the first article I read that actually reflected the different ethnicities, issues and students at the school and actually interviewed people on all sides. This is a nuanced topic, with a lot of shades of gray, and Kathryn Flagg really got to the heart of it. Kind of funny that I get such a thoughtful treatment of a community issue in Seven Days, which is free, rather than the Burlington Free Press, which I pay for.
Man, Oh, Man
I read, with great pleasure, the “Men of the House” [June 13] article in last week’s edition of Seven Days. However, to my absolute horror, I realized that you had neglected to include my amazing husband in the count. Kevin has been a stay-at-home dad since our oldest son, Nic, was a little over 6 years old and his brother, Malcolm, was 3. Looking only for a “turn” to be at home with the boys, he fell in love with his sons and the opportunity to be a daily and active part of their lives.
As a special educator himself, he decided to homeschool the boys and the rest, as they say, is history. When our daughter, Luisa, was born, she was added to the stay-at-home mix and, at 11, is a strong and beautiful young woman. The boys, at 19 and 16, are amazing — musical, passionate, intelligent and grounded, the kind of men who will make the world a better place. Men like their father. I celebrate the men in the world who can revel in their children and make a difference, one child at a time.
Monica Caserta Hutt
How Does SBHS Do It?
Rather than focus on the negative — on what’s wrong with Burlington’s education of “students of color” — Burlington should look at a positive example next door. In “Color Bind” [June 6], we read of an accusation of “an achievement gap between students of color and their white peers in Burlington. In January, Burlington High School math teacher David Rome refuted some of the statistics in the task-force report. He was promptly accused of being a racist. Ironically enough, in South Burlington’s the Other Paper, we read of “Kevin Wang, an accomplished student at South Burlington High School, [who] has been selected as a Presidential Scholar … Wang recommended Eric Stone, a math teacher at the school and his Scholar Bowl coach, to receive recognition as well. Kevin will be attending Harvard University.” What is South Burlington doing that Burlington could learn from?
[Re Fair Game, June 13]: Unlike too many other folks, T.J. Donovan has taken responsibility for his former actions, and that is commendable. I agree with Attorney General Bill Sorrell: Leave it where it is, expunged and done with. Donovan has proven himself to be a fine person now and a fine attorney. AG Sorrell is, also.
I am not sure how newsworthy T.J. Donovan’s 20-year-old and expunged conviction is but, regardless, the headline “T.J. Comes Clean” is unnecessary, inaccurate and borderline unprofessional [Fair Game, June 13]. Why should he have been broadcasting that aspect of his life, especially now? Has he ever been asked and denied his past mistakes? I understand catchy “gotcha” sound bites attract attention and readers, but please, exercise a little editorial judgment.
Sex Ed OK
[Re “Why Vermont Is Paying Some Kids to Take Sex Ed,” June 6]: The Unitarian Universalists have a curriculum called “Our Whole Lives” that is not sex ed, but rather topics of sexuality and decision making. This is aimed at eighth graders and, in my experience, the UU teens brought in friends (with parental permission) to the course, which met once a week for two hours. One of the requirements was that teachers of both genders lead the class. Confidentiality is critical. I was happy to see that many of the concepts were similar. Decision making and consequences (not always predictable) are very important.
The F-35 Is a WMD
The discussion concerning the siting of F-35s in Burlington has largely centered around the potentially damaging effects of noise, and the economic consequences for homeowners living “in the zone” — which may far outbalance any loss of jobs, should the fleet go elsewhere.
A dimension less visible is that of the function of this aircraft. This plane is to become the leading vector of military mass death across the world, used by us and exported to our “allies.”
Not well known is the current U.S. plan to spend $4 billion to upgrade NATO’s western European nuclear arsenal, an initiative directed at Iran, but most threatening to Russia. NATO is planning to replace “dumb” free-fall nuclear weapons with smarter, guided ones. These new bombs require new delivery aircraft: The F-35 has been designed to deploy them.
Do Vermonters really want to be part of a dangerous nuclear escalation in these tinderbox times?
I would like to extend an invitation to our state senators, congressman and governor to come out and meet with the Chittenden County residents who have been asked to take the “bad” for the “good” of the state [“F-35 Fighter Jets in South Burlington? Air Force Idea Bombs and Soars,” May 16]. I invite them to see our faces. We are teachers, nurses, grandparents and great-grandparents. By working hard, we have saved enough money to buy and maintain our homes. Explain to our children that mommy and daddy will not have the money to send them to college because we cannot get a home-equity loan. Tell grandma she cannot afford the assisted-care living center because her home is worth up to 40 percent less due to the F-35 presence. Tell them that this is a small price to pay for the good of the state.
I invite them to read the Air Force’s Environmental Impact Study with an open mind. No rational person could deny that more than 2000 residents will be affected adversely by the F-35s. We purchased houses that were not in the 65-decibel range, but that will change if F-35s fly over our homes. The Air Force has other, more environmentally suitable options for the F-35 bed down. We have no other options but to beg our state officials to do the right thing. Our houses are modest, but they brim with pride and love. Come visit us and see for yourself.
Last week’s review of the app Oh, Ranger! VT State Parks stated that usage was contingent on access to Wi-Fi or a data connection. This is untrue; all the data are embedded, and the app does not require an internet connection unless the user wants to refer to Google Maps or download other information.
The Republican candidate for state treasurer, Wendy Wilton, was misidentified in the news story “Some Vermonters Are Trying to Stop Health Care Reform — One Metaphor at a Time.” The article stated that she was running for auditor. Our apologies for the goofs.