LETTERS: 10.19.17

Transportation from the Junction Would be Helpful

Editor,

First, keep up the great work publishing such a quality publication for Montpelier.

Reading your article on the pocket structure on the foot/bicycle path reminds me that over 10 years ago I informed Public Works that the three or four lighting units built into the bridge had all been smashed (this despite the use of heavy-gauge wire protection ). Sadly nothing was done and even I, a senior male, am uncomfortable and feel at risk cycling across the bridge after dusk.

While on the subject, some years ago, when able, I would cycle down to the station to meet the train (I am a train buff), it being about as long a cycle ride as my arthritic knees would comfortably allow.

One night as the year drew on and dusk fell, prior to the arrival of the return train from New York City, a university student from Washington approached me asking “Where’s Montpelier?” Where indeed! How passengers arriving from parts afar, where transportation facilities are more conducive to convenience and safety, cope with the mile long, unmarked walk in the dark is a mystery, especially in inclement weather.

I dismounted and accompanied this traveler along the unlit road and only partially lit riverside pathway into town, eventually putting him up for the night, recalling many travels I had made in the United Kingdom and North America.

I dread the thought that my daughter or son and their partners and baby should find themselves in this same situation. Surely we could, at a minimum, arrange for GMTA to meet the train and deliver passengers to City Hall before some unfortunate accident or attack occurs.

James Dylan Rivis, Montpelier

 

The Semantics of Political Correctness: How “Senior Citizens” Diminishes our Humanity

Editor,

I was born in 1949    in other words, I’m pushing seventy.  And I cherish my age.  I relish it.

Because I have lived a full and various life, not “successful” by the standards of our time, yet full of culture, adventure, art, and experience; because I have suffered enormous losses and delighted in innumerable moments of grace; because I have come to forgive myself and my “enemies”; because I have been open and curious and predisposed to love, my life now is extraordinarily rich in a kind of humble human wisdom that I can draw on to help others younger than myself.

This is not a paean to myself. It is a quality shared by many older people I know.  It is the gift of age, when life has been fully lived.  I think of Jules and Helen Rabin. I think of my own mother, Jamie Cope, who at 96 has inspired more people to originality of thought and creativity than anyone I know.

This gift we come to in life is an offering to others who walk on the path of time behind us.  In all indigenous cultures it has been honored and used.

In this culture, we are marginalized, neither honored nor used. The wisdom gained through experience is not consulted, although this era has dire need of it.

The term used to marginalize us, while pretending to political correctness, is “senior citizens.”  Like “junior leaguers!”  What?

I am not a “senior citizen.” I am a human being, a woman becoming old.

I am an Elder.

How beautifully that word rolls off the tongue! What honor it does to our years!

“Elder” is the word long used to describe those of us who have attained maturity, and it is a title of honor.

We do not call children “junior citizens.” We call them what they are. I propose that the same honesty and dignity be extended to us. We are your Elders.  We are here for you if you can see us for who we are.

Tami Calliope

 

Hunger Mountain Bylaws

Editor,

On November 2, the Hunger Mountain Co-op will hold its annual member-owner meeting. The Co-op’s deli is catering a free dinner. This will be followed by reports on the store’s triple bottom line and a presentation on reducing food waste in central Vermont. This meeting is an occasion to strengthen our collective commitment to the Co-op’s environmental, social, and healthy-eating objectives and to remind us of the financial benefits of cooperative ownership.

This year’s meeting will also include a discussion and floor vote on two suggested changes to the bylaws unanimously recommended by the Co-op Council. First, we propose changing the word “member” to “owner” throughout the bylaws. Membership implies a club with no ownership stake, but ownership conveys the true meaning of joining Hunger Mountain: making an investment, having responsibility for the store’s governance, and participating in its profits.

The second proposed change won’t alter the meaning of the bylaws, but it will make one section easier to read and use. We suggest reformatting the bylaw describing member voting as a table to clarify the existing rules. It’s necessary because cumulative additions have made it tough to follow how votes are conducted on a variety of topics.

The change in formatting preserves the bylaw’s meaning exactly as is, with one exception. We propose to delete a sentence that has become outdated about voting by mailed ballots, a procedure we don’t use now. The bylaws don’t provide similar details for any other voting methods, but they do give the Co-op Council responsibility for determining how voting is conducted in each election, so we suggest taking out this one instance of overly specific language.

At the annual meeting, members will discuss these bylaw proposals face to face and vote to accept or reject the suggested changes. One of the Council’s roles is reviewing the bylaws to make sure they continue to serve the Co-op and to nominate the best ideas we pick up from other cooperatives nationwide. It’s our job to look for potential improvements and to explain our recommendations. Then it’s up to Co-op members (maybe soon to be called “owners”) to make a decision. Dialog at the annual meeting forges trust to keep our Co-op strong.

If you’re a Co-op member, we hope you’ll add your comments to the conversation. Join us for dinner starting at 5:00 pm on Thursday, November 2, at Montpelier’s City Hall. Visit hungermountain.coop, email info@hungermountain.coop, or call 802.223.8000 to make a reservation. Come hungry and come ready to meet and talk with your fellow member-owners.

Alex Brown, president, Hunger Mountain Co-op Council

 

LGBTQ

Editor,

It is truly disturbing and repulsive that Donald Trump would “joke” about Vice President Mike Pence wanting to “hang them all” in reference to LGBTQ people. Hate-motivated violence is tragically still a reality of life for LGBTQ people across our country. It is being encouraged and sanctioned by statements such as this and affirmatively advanced by the most recent policy stances taken by the current administration. This most recent remark demonstrates the depth of the open contempt and hostility toward LGBTQ people by this federal administration, and their belief that LGBTQ people be treated as second-class citizens in our own country by stripping away the same rights afforded to all. It is not amusing. It is dangerous. It is un-American.

However, the federal administration’s hostility toward LGBTQ people does not exist in a vacuum. In January of 2017, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation released a post-election survey of more than 50,000 young people ages 13-18. This survey reveals the deeply damaging fallout from the November 2016 election has had on America’s youths.

The online survey reports that 70 percent of respondents had witnessed bullying, hate messages, or harassment since the election. Racial bias was the most common motive cited. More than a quarter of LGBTQ youths said they had been personally bullied or harassed since election day; transgender youths were most frequently targeted. Only 14 percent of non-LGBTQ youths reported having personally experiencing bullying or harassment.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence has reported that as of August 2017, more LGBT people have been killed in what has been categorized as hate-violence-related homicides so far in 2017 than in all of 2016. The NCAV reports there have already been 33 hate-violence-related homicides of LGBT people. In 2016, there were 28; that number excludes the 49 people killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

These numbers translate to roughly one hate-violence-related death every 13 days in 2016. So far in 2017, the pace of those deaths is at about one every six days.

Fifteen of those who have been killed in 2017 were transgender women of color, and at least 12 were cisgender gay men. The reports cited came from all over the U.S., from Texas to New York to Wisconsin.

The LGBTQIA Alliance of Vermont holds that these actions have seen support, and in fact have been given  legitimacy, by not only this recent comment by Trump, but clearly by the actions taken by the current federal administration.  These actions include:

  • The appointment of the most virulent anti-LGBTQ cabinet in U.S. history.
  • The Executive Order prohibiting transgender personnel to serve in the U.S. military.
  • Support for the roll back of Title IX guidelines for the investigation of sexual assault on campuses.
  • The executive order directing the U.S. Attorney General to support the use of “religious liberty protections” in federal laws that would support the denial of services and discriminatory actions
  • Support for the amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court withdrawing previous support of sexual orientation and gender identity being included under the definition of sex in Title VII of the Civil Rights Enforcement Act of 1964
  • Support for the withdrawal of opinion by the Secretary of Education for transgender students in the use of public bathrooms
  • These actions have created a climate that has allowed this dramatic increase in hate motivated violence, a climate in which intolerance has found fertile ground to spread, and has obtained a never-before-seen support and legitimacy from the highest part of our government.

It should be noted that some of the recent anti-LGBTQ federal directives were initiated on, or about, October 12th; the 19th anniversary of the hate-motivated beating and murder of Matthew Shepard, whose death sparked a proactive discussion of how violence affects LGBTQIA people. Can we truly accept this as mere coincidence.

Keith E. Goslant, Montpelier

 

What Do You Think?

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Send your piece to: editorial@montpelierbridge.com.

Deadline for the next issue is October 27

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