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LETTERS: 2.4.16


I Oppose The Proposed Legalization of Marijuana


The significant difference between second-hand smoke from marijuana vs. cigarettes (though some may consider this a benefit) is the high incurred from smoking marijuana can also be obtained from inhaling the smoke. Aside from the possible health concerns to second-hand smoke in general, as is known to occur under the use of tobacco, consideration must be given to the effect of second-hand marijuana smoke on minors and individuals with certain health conditions. We already have one of the highest incidents of use of marijuana by minors in this state. Do we really want to create an environment where our children get their first high as a secondary result of their parents’ recreation?

We are all aware of the many sufferers of illnesses that challenge one’s ability to breathe. The dangers of exposure to second-hand smoke to these people is well known and the basis for the many bans on smoking tobacco in public areas. An additional danger of second-hand marijuana smoke is that it acts as a muscle relaxant. There are illnesses where the use of muscle relaxants can also inhibit one’s ability to breathe. I recently met people from Portland, Oregon where marijuana is legalized for use in the privacy of one’s home, and was advised that the smell of marijuana is prevalent is public streets. The proposal for public salons for marijuana use will only increase the exposure of smoke to the public outside of these facilities.

Legalization of the use of marijuana because its use in Vermont is popular and a potential source of income to the state lacks good reason and common sense. Should the legalization of opiates be next?  Many of the same arguments for legalization of marijuana can be applied to legalizing heroin. It might minimize the number of deaths from overdosing if heroine was also regulated. The use of opiates has become very popular in Vermont and I understand the cost of heroin is currently less than marijuana. Perhaps once marijuana is legalized and taxed, the use of heroin will expand due to affordability? I’m certain many people reading this will think I’m being ridiculous. Wasn’t the thought of legalizing marijuana 40 years ago also considered ridiculous?

I am in favor of decriminalization instead of legalization. The use of marijuana is prevalent and isn’t going away but that doesn’t mean it should be condoned. Drug use of any kind is a matter requiring education, serious controls and consequences from overindulgence.

Lori A. Cohen, Montpelier


Pot Should Be Legal?


I think that, if we put pot into the same category as alcohol and tobacco, we would change the whole conversation. Last year, alcohol killed 37,000 people and tobacco killed a half million and pot killed zero    so it follows that anyone who supports alcohol and tobacco being legal and pot being illegal is a little hypocritical, no?

Sandra Bettis, Middlesex


Parking Ban Poorly Advertised


Hope my subject line says it all, but I would suggest you do an investigative piece into the mass car towing throughout the city this morning. I live in the Meadows neighborhood on Winter Street and every car was towed away silently in the night in enforcement of the winter parking ban that apparently went into effect at 1 a.m. on a recent morning. We were never alerted by signage on the streets of the neighborhood, a note in the mailbox, nor received fair warning with a parking ticket or warning ticket on the car, which seems like an absolute racket for the city and the tow company. I am new to town, having just moved here in the summer, and had no idea that this existed. I spoke with Sandy Pitonyak and am playing phone tag with Jessie Baker in the city manager’s office and have essentially heard from them that I:

A) Should have signed up for city alerts

B) Should know better than to park on the street in winter (I moved to town from five acres and have never lived in city limits before)

C) There is an alert on the city manager’s webpage that I am responsible for knowing — and why I would ever have looked at this page preemptively is a mystery to me.

I would appreciate if you would devote time to doing a piece to understand why the ban was so poorly advertised, why the decision was made to haul off a neighborhood’s worth of cars in the middle of the night without any warning or lesser fine on the first day of the parking ban, who the person or persons ultimately responsible for these decisions are, and what the city intends to do about those individuals who may have profitted from this and did this in poor judgment and what they will do to prevent this in the future.

I would be happy to talk further.

Casey Kolb Nava, Montpelier


Support Sterling For School Board


I’m writing in support of Peter Sterling’s campaign to join the Montpelier school board.  Over the years, I’ve seen Peter dedicate numerous hours of his free time to coaching youth sports in Montpelier. As a fellow coach in town, I greatly appreciate his understanding of the value of youth sports and extra-curricular activities in the development of children. Those activities should be a part of the school system and I’m voting for Peter because I feel he’ll do a great job of supporting those programs when he is on the school board. Please join me and vote for Peter on March 1.

Brian Murphy, Montpelier


After School Program Helps Learning


I believe every Vermont community and family should have access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs for their children.

Learning is something that does not start and stop at the ringing of the school bell. By allowing children to participate in activities outside of school hours and over the summer, they will continue to develop socially, emotionally, and academically in a safe environment. Many families may create a safe space within their own homes during out of school time; however afterschool and summer programs offer extensive opportunities for children to engage and explore with groups of their peers which is an invaluable part of their development.

Expanded learning opportunities are an integral part of Vermont’s education system; we need to make sure that they are fully utilized, sustainable and accessible to all. Dedicated state funding for afterschool and summer programs would be a great step to help achieve this goal

Aurina Hartz, East Montpelier


Movie Promotes Community Activism


I attended the film screening “This Changes Everything” last week at the Unitarian Church. Thank you to 350VT, Sierra Club, Suncommon, Hunger Mountain Co-op and Central Vermont Climate Action.

I highly recommend the movie and the book on which it’s based. Both ask and answer the question, “What if climate change is the best chance we ever have to build a better world?” There are three more showings of the film in the state (visit 350vermont.org) the next one being at Waitsfield’s Big Picture Theater on 2/8. One major focus of the movie is the concept that indigenous people claiming their treaty rights and blocking major extractive projects are a very powerful force for keeping carbon in the ground. Some of the most marginalized people on earth are playing a huge role in saving this planet.

As a member of Central Vermont Climate Action, I’d love to see the community continue the conversation and come together over how we can stand with these courageous people by blocking Vermont Gas’s fracked gas pipeline. This is the front line of a much greater conflict where the stakes are … the planet.

Jane Pekol, East Montpelier


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 February 13.