April 16, 2008
I miss Peter Freyne already! At the risk of being one more of Jon Margolis’ predicted “innumerable (Progressive) letters to the editor,” I’d love to take issue with that replacement political columnist [“The Pollina Problem,” March 26].
But rather than engage in the back-and-forth feeding frenzy that his provocative piece on Pollina — the best candidate to run for Vermont governor in at least a generation — has spawned, suffice it to say that if instant-runoff voting were being used in the current gubernatorial contest, then that defeatist column of his never gets written.
A protracted debunking of Margolis’ fatalistic musings would only hurt both Progressives and Democrats, to the benefit of the Republicans, whose governor just vetoed the IRV/campaign reform bill that state legislatures presented to him. And this is no surprise. For only IRV will end the debate as to which of the two better parties — Progressives or Democrats — Vermonters truly prefer their next governor to emerge from.
This is because IRV would remove the spoiler effect that Margolis — and apparently all Democratic contenders — are so afraid of. This simple reform would allow us all to finally vote our hopes rather than our fears as we choose the next leaders of our state, and that is something all Vermonters, regardless of political party, should be able to celebrate.
I am currently a student at Saint Michael’s College, and it is definitely a different experience [“Hip Hula,” April 2].
Like Keo, I am from Hawaii, and the way he spoke about it was perfect. Race has never been an issue. I am blonde-haired, blue- eyed, but I have a brother who is Hawaiian, Chinese, Haole, and everything else under the sun, but we see each other for who we are, not what we look like.
Keo’s description made me feel like I was home, especially when he mentioned Sandys . . . literally the closest beach to my house.
It was good to read what I have been trying to put into words ever since I came to Vermont. There is no racial divide in Hawaii, just people, and I think everyone should experience that kind of living.
RUN, GIRLS, RUN
Kevin J. Kelley missed the point in his review of Madeleine Kunin’s book, Pearls, Politics & Power [“Leading Lady,” April 2].
This book was not a memoir, as is Kunin’s first book, Living a Political Life, published in 1995. Nor was this book an analysis of Hillary Clinton’s vote on Iraq. It is a book to inspire women to run for office. That is why such a diverse group of women are interviewed for this book. Women in all levels of political office, from around the country, took time to tell their stories about the barriers and rewards of a political life.
Kunin did a wonderful job weaving in her own story with those of the women interviewed for this book. While each woman’s story is her own, there is a resounding theme in this book encouraging women to “go for it” and run for office.
The number of women in public office is growing; there are women to look to as role models. Kunin and the women interviewed share how they learned to raise money, campaign, win and lose, and deal with conflict. This book looks realistically at being a woman in politics, and it will give hope to any woman who is considering running for office.
PAY THE COST OF FREEDOM
I can’t figure out which is worse — the fact that, as a very first- time reader, I figured I would find some liberal mutterings or that you have a picture and article about a criminal [“In Vermont, War-Tax Resistance Dies Hard,” April 2].
Not paying your taxes isn’t a choice in this country and her father, who is probably dead, would be mortified. Doesn’t she get it that her father fought to protect her freedom of speech and promote democracy in the world? That gives her the right to an opinion, not a choice to break the law.
She should be arrested, not published. No wonder Vermont is only known for its radical politics and nuts.
“Inexperience” is a funny word and it was commonly thrown around in your article “Rocking the Vote?” [April 9] by Mike Ives, which features Representatives Rachel Weston, David Zuckerman and Christopher Pearson and newcomer to politics Kesha Ram, a UVM senior.
Personally, I don’t mind the inexperience label that is being leveled at Kesha. It means that she brings an “outsider’s” perspective to issues. She isn’t part of the Montpelier establishment and isn’t tainted by party interests. I know, because I work with Kesha everyday at UVM with SGA Senators and now, with her as SGA President, as her Chairman on the Committee on Legislative Action, which deals with community, state and federal relations.
I know that Kesha will be a dedicated voice for students and working families because of her support for higher education, sustainable economic development and green jobs.
I am really perplexed as to why some people in the Progressive Party are so bothered by the simple idea of a race to serve in the House of Representatives. No one is entitled to these House seats. More voices and more ideas in a campaign are good for democracy and the district will be well served by a debate.
Remember, Kesha may be “inexperienced” in the views of the Montpelier insiders, but so was a young UVM senior who ran for the House and won and he is currently our state representative (ed. note: David Zuckerman). So, let’s keep the conversation going and let’s talk about the issues.
IT’S KESHA TIME!
In the article “Rocking the Vote?” [April 9], Progressive politicians bemoan the fact that they have a strong woman challenging them this year.
Kesha Ram is currently the UVM Student Body President, and is a powerful advocate for the students she currently represents as well as the Burlington residents she has worked with on student-community and environmental issues. She currently serves on the Mayor’s Environmental Council, and has worked with community nonprofits such as NeighborKeepers on environmental justice and poverty relief.
The UVM population she was elected to represent actually outnumbers the population of the district for which she is running, so Progressive hatchet-man Steve Hingtgen is dead wrong when he claims that she is “very inexperienced.” She has led UVM students with passion, conviction and dedication, addressing complex issues and enfranchising students that had not previously had a voice in the campus community.
While Rep. Zuckerman claims that Kesha’s campaign is a waste of “civic energy,” nothing could be further from the truth. An uncontested election means that civic energy is wasted because voters do not get to choose the person that will best represent them in Montpelier.
Many students do not look at this as a fight between Democrats and Progressives, but as an opportunity to have the voice of Vermont’s Next Generation heard loud and clear when, up until now, it has been lost. Kesha’s candidacy is democracy in action, and it’s about time.
Foster is president of the UVM College Democrats
A BEEF ABOUT DESSERT
I would encourage your food writer to become more familiar with commonly used food terminology so errors such as the one last week in the review of Pho Hong do not occur [“Taste Test,” April 2].
The review that showcased the writer’s ignorance of Vietnamese food (the beef balls in Viet Nam are always that consistency, the beef is indeed rare before being added to the soup and the other pieces of beef are tendon, another traditional Vietnamese ingredient) included a glaring error in the final paragraph. The single dessert, coconut sticky rice with fresh mango, another traditional dish, has never been caramelized, either in Viet Nam or in Burlington. Sticky rice is steamed and mixed with sweetened coconut milk and served alongside slices of fresh mango.
It is frustrating to read reviews of restaurants that do not accurately convey the food that is served there.