Protesters are Ignorant
The fact that people are protesting the methadone clinic in South Burlington indicates the level of ignorance and intolerance in our society today [“South Burlington Methadone Clinic Attracts Patients — and Opposition,”  September 25]. Perhaps some of those protesters and the good folks who have signed the petition could learn a little about recovery from addiction instead of blindly objecting to a clinic that is, in fact, a tremendous community asset. If those same folks would take off their blinders, they might learn that their precious “honor students” at the school can procure cocaine and other illegal drugs more easily than they can alcohol. Cocaine is readily available in most schools — you just gotta know who to ask. Anyone who is seeking such things would probably be more likely to find discarded syringes in the school than on the grounds of the clinic. Denial is wonderful, isn’t it?
Paul Heintz’s “The Undertaker’s Daughter: Darcie Johnston Wants to Kill Vermont Health Care Reform”  [October 2] refers alternately to the recently opened health insurance exchange required by the Affordable Care Act and the universal health care plan that Vermont has enacted but not yet implemented — without clarifying that the two things are, in fact, very different. It’s something that many writers do, unfortunately.
The exchange is a requirement of current federal law, relies on insurance to cover the cost of health care and does not cover everyone. The universal care plan that Vermont is slated to institute in 2017 is a product of our state’s lawmakers, is publicly funded rather than relying on insurance and covers everyone. I am sure that many opponents of universal health care will attempt to confuse the two systems, hoping to deflect any displeasure with the exchange onto the coming universal care system. ?
In an effort to keep the facts and the programs straight, the Vermont Workers’ Center is sponsoring a series of public forums around the state on how Vermont can stay on track toward a health care system that really is universal and really does emphasize health care rather than health insurance. The first of these forums is at Burlington’s Union Station on Thursday, October 24, from 5 to 8 p.m. The second is in the Fox Room of the Rutland Free Library on Monday, October 28, also from 5 to 8.
Good, Cheap Food
[Re Side Dishes: “Guilty Plate Diner Opens in Colchester,”  October 16]: I am lucky to live around the corner from the Pine Street Deli. Over the past few years, I have gotten to know the Alvanos family and consider them friends and a tremendous asset to the neighborhood. Now the people of Colchester can enjoy their tasty yet completely unpretentious food. We have enough expensive restaurants in Burlington, where ego and the ability to suck a wallet dry in an hour are the rule, so it’s wonderful to see a place where the food is great, the people are kind, generous and genuine, and the atmosphere, thanks in great part to Michael Alvanos, is homey yet elegant. P.S. The eggs Benedict are awesome!
[Re “Devil in the Details,”  October 16]: I planned to attend Lost Nation Theatre’s production of The Crucible until I read this: “After the performance on Thursday, October 17, Allen Gilbert, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont, will host a discussion of issues in the play, such as false imprisonment, that remain relevant today.” We don’t need the ACLU to become involved in a great Miller play! Not going!
In an interview with Paul Heintz, ice-cream maker and self-proclaimed celebrity public policy spokesman Ben Cohen has taken a broad-brush swipe at Gov. Shumlin, Sen. Leahy, Sen. Sanders, Rep. Peter Welch and Mayor Miro Weinberger [Fair Game , October 9]. I have known and worked alongside these individuals on behalf of Vermont for over 50 years, except for the recently elected and highly competent Miro Weinberger. Cohen has identified himself with the small group of people who seem willing to jump ship for any single issue at any moment in time.??
Shumlin worked tirelessly for Vermont in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene and is strongly committed to health care for all Vermonters. Leahy’s accomplishments are legion — in the thousands of jobs he has been able to sponsor, in defense of civil liberties, in passing the Violence Against Women Act, in his tireless work against the use of landmines, and on behalf of organic farmers. The list goes on. ?
Sanders has never wavered on any issue and is the most consistent voice for organized labor and for the rights of working people in the entire Congress. Welch, whose style epitomizes the way Congress is supposed to work, labors tirelessly to find common ground with the opposition — an opposition more interested in fouling the nest with a level of selfishness unmatched in American history.?
I defend any person, including Cohen, to voice his or her opinions. But in this case, I would be just as likely to honor the opinion of the person at the window of the local Dairy Queen as I was served a tasty, lower-calorie treat than to depend on the “now and then” support of the ice-cream man.
Can’t Afford the Rents
Rent in Chittenden County is extremely high [“Demand for Urban Housing Brings Building Projects to Burlington’s Old North End,”  October 16]. The issue is that people are living paycheck to paycheck. Most of us are paying over 50 percent of our incomes for rent! I understand that the landlords want to make money, but, at the same time, the influx of college students and tax rates on rental properties are making it extremely difficult to live here. I understand that a mortgage would be much cheaper than what we pay for rent, but because we pay so much to the landlords, we cannot save up a down payment. It’s a vicious cycle. And many landlords look for tenants with rental assistance only. I found a place that is $200 less a month than where we currently reside, but the landlord is holding out for someone who receives Section 8. It’s really hard for many people like us.
There were several errors in the PocketWizard writeup in last week’s feature “Only in Vermont” : The original founder, who is still involved in the company, is Stephen Padnos, not James Clark, and the technology associated with the more advanced triggers is called TTL, short for Through the Lens, not TTi.