Burlington or Topeka?
It looks like Ken Picard and his bosses at Seven Days would fit right in with the Christian psychopaths from Topeka [“Vermont Police Take Hands-Off Approach to Investigating Massage-Parlor Prostitution,”  June 12; “Unhappy Endings,”  June 5] What is wrong with a massage parlor that sometimes helps an extremely horny man release tension? History has proven again and again that even a fairly sane man can become dangerous if he does not find an outlet to release his sexual tensions; many males do not have a ready wife or a girlfriend.
Of course police, who are smarter than the rabid feminists and Christians, look the other way. They know that if they close these establishments, they would be dealing with much nastier problems — like rape. They would rather ignore an illegal blow job than see a dead, raped woman. I lived in Stuttgart, Germany, where prostitution is legal, licensed and taxed, and my girlfriend at that time wasn’t afraid of walking through a park at three in the morning by herself. Here, every other woman is scared of being attacked, even in broad daylight, and all parents are scared for their daughters. I am. I have two little girls. In the summer, this town can create a dangerous mix: pretty, half-naked young women strutting the streets and young men full of hormones with nowhere to go to release the pressure.
As to the exploitation of the women working in those parlors, I used to know some prostitutes personally. Some were happy with their situation; some weren’t. But they all would rather do that than work in a supermarket for $7 an hour. I can assure you that the women you do-gooders tried to help now hate you. They have lost their income, instead of earning protection and decent working conditions. Maybe you should hire them at Seven Days?
Regulation Is Wrong Approach
Re [“Vermont Police Take Hands-Off Approach to Investigating Massage-Parlor Prostitution,” June 12; “Unhappy Endings,” June 5]: I am a nationally certified massage therapist practicing in Vermont since 1997. I have also been licensed and worked in New Hampshire and Maine. I oppose mandatory regulation of massage therapists because it burdens legitimate massage practitioners while failing to deter criminals.
When human trafficking or prostitution is exposed, there are calls to license massage therapists.? California, Florida and Texas regulate massage therapists and are among the worst states for human trafficking. Ohio became the first U.S. state to license massage therapists in 1916; the Ohio Human Trafficking Commission said Toledo has the highest per capita rate of human trafficking in the nation. Some towns even require background checks and fingerprinting before issuing massage permits, yet crimes continue, while practitioners with no criminal history are treated like offenders.?
In 2010, the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation reviewed data and public testimony. OPR decided against regulating Vermont’s massage therapists because evidence demonstrates that licensing does not achieve what its proponents claim. OPR’s report noted, “The pursuit of regulation in Vermont is part of the national [massage] organizations’ nation-wide coordinated legislative agenda.” These organizations see a lucrative revenue source in Vermont massage therapists paying membership dues and tuition for education required under their licensing proposals.?
Creating a safer culture includes investigating and prosecuting crime and protecting its victims, not regulating legitimate practitioners.
The title of my painting is wrong in Kevin Kelley’s review of “Inner Doors” [Art Review , June 19] at the Vermont Supreme Court. The title should have been “Archie” — not “Archive.” Archie Shepp is the brilliant saxophone player and political activist. He went to Goddard in the ’50s — rare for a black man — and gave a concert there last winter, which I attended. I had first seen/heard him 50 years ago at the Both/And Jazz Club in San Francisco, and at 75 (my age as well), he is still an energetic marvel with his instrument. The painting “Archie” was inspired by his passionate music.
Bad Move for Burlington College
[Re “Building 101: Burlington College’s Future Depends on a Big, Bold Development Plan,”  June 19]: What is the matter with us? We look at one of the most beautiful places in Vermont and describe it as a “parcel of undeveloped land.” What has happened to our sensibility? To our good sense? To serious, critical journalism?
In the 1980s there were a large number of rental additions to existing houses in Burlington. Individually they were legal, unobtrusive and harmless to the general fabric of the city. Collectively they were a disaster, a blight; the city’s planning commission came to understand that, and the practice was stopped.
We are facing a similarly self-destructive process with the proposed “development” of the last significant natural areas of the city. Proponents will argue that these are individual, private properties, but the fact is that the benefits they confer as open, natural spaces are collective and public, and the costs of their destruction are as well.
Burlington has moved to protect the public value of private space in its more laissez-faire past: the Arms Park, Leddy Park, South Park and Oakledge Park were all donated or purchased to create a more livable city. If we want our population to grow, we need more open space, not less. Burlington College does not need to grow; it needs to grow up and recognize the issues of our time, not just those of our community. It has an opportunity to expand the use of one of the most important buildings — now half empty — in our community and preserve the pristine hillside beauty of its site. If it doesn’t know how to do that, it should move and make room for an institution that can.
There was an error in last week’s Soundbites column . Connecticut-based 404ERROR is an all-female band, not an all-male one, as stated in the article.