Home Commentary Opinion LETTERS: 11.5.15

LETTERS: 11.5.15


Attend Member-Owner Meeting


The council of the Hunger Mountain Cooperative would like to invite all member-owners to the co-op’s annual meeting Sunday, November 15. At this meeting, member-owners will vote on a proposed change to the co-op’s bylaws. By a 5 to 4 vote, the co-op council recommends a change to bylaws that will allow all member-owners, not just those attending the annual meeting, to vote on any future changes to the bylaws. Currently, bylaws can only be changed by an in-person vote at the annual meeting, and average attendance at the annual meeting has been about 200 people, out of 7,000-plus member-owners. If the proposal passes, member-owners would vote online or by paper ballot (their choice). The objective is to involve more members in the decision-making process about changing future bylaws. Co-op members are urged to learn more about the proposal by reading the written materials (mailed to each member and posted on the co-op’s website), and vote by attending the annual meeting. The business meeting will be held from 12 to 2 p.m. on November 15 at City Hall in Montpelier; brunch and music will begin at 11 a.m. Members are encouraged to preregister, but pre-registration is not required. Visit www.hungermountain.coop for details.

Sylvia Fagin, chair, communications committee, Hunger Mountain Coop Council


Should Have Kept Dispensary Secret


Bridge, I love your paper, but you really flubbed up on this one! The dispensary kept a low profile for very important reasons. To keep the drug dealers and snoops in general away. They didn’t want public attention, which was glaringly obvious by displaying no signs or advertisements, not to mention the “no interview policy.” You have now exposed its location to every druggie and snoop in town with a big neon sign. Customers can now also be watched and followed, and possibly robbed of their medication. Their anonymity is now broken. If there is a rash of break-ins or jackings, it will be on your conscience. The “curious” woman who nagged you into sleuthing out the dispensary should also burden some of the responsibility. She ought to have known better.

The writer added this when I thanked her for her letter and asked for her town of residence:

Hi Carla, I live in Montpelier and know several people who use the dispensary. I can’t understand why you guys would snoop around a locked building for an article … or should I say, advertisement? What was this nosy woman wanting to know, exactly? And why did you cave?

Abigail Lester, Montpelier

Editor’s note: The curious reader did not happen to be a woman.


No Cost of Living Adjustment in 2016


While the majority of Americans are seeing no COLA or wage increase to offset rising out-of-pocket expenses, Wall Street executives and Chief Executive Officers of America’s largest firms are raking in record incomes. Recent reports show that top CEOs are making 300 times more than the typical worker. Yet these very same CEOs and Wall Street execs are the ones lobbying Congress to cut our modest social security benefits.

Neville Berle, Montpelier


Electric Cars Would Reduce Pollution


Meeting our obligation to reduce fossil fuels is a challenge — especially when it comes to transportation. One very real solution is having electric vehicles (including hybrids) make up 25 percent of the cars on the road in Vermont by 2030. Imposing a carbon pollution tax on fossil fuels will kick start this transformation we so desperately need.

A carbon pollution tax is not just a stick in the form of increased fuel prices. The more exciting part is the carrot that it creates. The money raised will be invested directly into transportation efficiency and reducing other taxes. Finally, the tax will force fossil fuel dealers to be responsible. It will provide the money needed to reduce pollution. The tax is the jumpstart Vermont and all Vermonters’ need.

Margaret Galka, Vermont Law School: JD candidate ’18, South Royalton


Appreciated Lunch Story


Although Elizabeth Parker’s article regarding community lunches in Montpelier was appreciated, it contains a few incorrect facts. The Bethany Bowl, the luncheon on Tuesday at Bethany Church, is 16 years old, not 18 as written. I have been a part of it for 14 years and its coordinator for 10 years. We have never conducted fund-raising efforts. All monies received are by donation. We are not a line item in the church budget, rather  we are listed as a designated fund.

We are blessed with incredible community partners such as Manghi’s Bread, New England Culinary Institute at National Life which provides a fresh soup each week, La Brioche which contributes day-old pastries, The Red Hen Bakery and Just Basics, VT. As one of our guests remarked, it is almost impossible to go hungry in Montpelier if one pays attention to the lunches sponsored by five churches.

Phyllis A. Rowell, Coordinator: The Bethany Bowl, Montpelier


Meat and Cigarettes


Thank you to the World Health Organization for having the courage to speak truth to power: meat, like cigarettes and asbestos, does cause cancer! No U.S. health agency would ever say this for fear of losing Congressional funding.

The World Cancer Research Fund and a number of other international health agencies have been advising for years that meat consumption raises the risk of colon and other forms of cancer, but the WHO panel was actually able to determine a causal effect.

The 630-page report was drafted by a panel of 22 experts from 10 countries who reviewed 800 studies of the link between meat and cancer. These included animal experiments, studies of human diet and health and research into cellular processes that cause cancer.

The panel’s conclusions evoked strong responses, with obvious resistance from the meat industry and calls for warning labels, akin to those mandated for cigarettes, from environmental groups.

Cancer of the colon is expected to kill nearly 50,000 Americans this year, mostly through a self-inflicted diet. Fortunately, annual per capita U.S. meat consumption has dropped by 15 percent from a high of 121 pounds in 2002, as consumers switch to healthier, more convenient and tastier plant-based alternatives.

Maxwell Branset, Montpelier


Meat Industry Is Scary


I was never scared of all the witches, zombies and assorted goblins wandering around on Halloween Saturday night. What really used to scare me was the meat industry.

This is the industry that mutilates, cages, and butchers billions of cows, pigs, and other feeling animals, that exposes thousands of undocumented workers to crippling workplace injuries at slave wages, that exploits farmers and ranchers by dictating wholesale prices, then jails those who document its abuses through unconstitutional “ag-gag.”

It’s the industry that generates more water pollution than any other human activity and more greenhouse gases than transportation, then promotes world hunger by feeding nutritious corn and soybeans to animals.

It’s the industry that threatens our public health with increased risk of killer diseases, that creates antibiotic-resistant pathogens by feeding antibiotics to animals, then bullies health authorities to remove anti-meat warnings from their public messages.

Now, that’s really scary stuff. But, instead of being scared, I decided to fight back by dropping animal products from my menu. I am no longer scared of the meat industry and I invite everyone to join me.

Moses Belinie, Montpelier


We Need To Address Climate Change


Climate change is drastically affecting the world we live in, and it’s not just environmentalists who see it now. It is a proven fact that sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting and global temperatures are changing. Vermont saw tangible proof of this in 2011 when Hurricane Irene hit. I was a middle school student watching the water levels rise with my family. I remember streets filled with mud and trash for weeks. But, more than flooding everything we knew, Irene showed us how climate change can threaten our sense of security and normalcy. Bernie Sanders spoke to this when he confidently stated at the Democratic debate that climate change is the number one threat to national security and he wasn’t the only one to note its pertinancy. As Vermonters, we must continue to be role models on the path to sustainable energy. The next best step we can take as a state is to support Energy Independent Vermont and pass a carbon pollution tax that will provide the state with a budget to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency solutions throughout the state. This tax must be enacted so we can continue the journey towards clean energy and meet our energy goals by 2050.

Trinna Larsen, Middlesex


What Do You Think?

Read something that you would like to respond to? We welcome your letters and opinion pieces. Letters must be fewer than 300 words. Opinion pieces should not exceed 600 words. The Bridge reserves the right to edit and cut pieces. Send your piece to: editorial@montpelierbridge.com.

Deadline for the next issue is November 13.