Forum, July 25: Enough About the Co-op; More About the Co-op; Hartford Track Vote; The Hole Story on Interchange Drive

The Co-op, in Two Words

To the Editor:

Enough already.

Edmund Coffin


Those With a Vested Interest

To the Editor:

At Wednesday’s board meeting of the Hanover Co-op, 14 people spoke in favor of the management. Of the 14 who supported them, seven had a vested economic interest. They were vendors, merchandisers and store employees who in some form or another receive a paycheck from the Co-op. Almost all of them ignored the true focus of the meeting, which was the firing of two long-time employees with no reason given.

Almost every one of this group presented instead the classic but flawed “Farmer Brown’s Chicken Defense.” This argument is always made by the surviving chickens of Farmer Brown’s Saturday evening dinner and it goes like this, “Farmer Brown treats me well and has never done anything to me. He feeds me, gives me a nice place to live and protects me from the fox. He has never ever, ever done anything to hurt me.”

This argument holds up quite nicely until Farmer Brown surprises the next chicken for his dinner and works quite effectively to keep all of the other chickens happy and docile in the meantime.

Neal Cronce

White River Junction

Consumers Can Effect Change

To the Editor:

In his “Sensibilities” Op-ed in Sunday’s Valley News, Steve Nelson describes a number of matters with respect to the terminated Co-op employees (“Co-op May Need To Add a Review Process,” July 20). All of his discussion focuses on the NLRB and court actions and New Hampshire’s “at-will employment.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Nelson fails to discuss what might be the most effective way for disaffected Co-op members/shoppers to get the attention of management. Members/shoppers can “vote with their feet.” They can discontinue their Co-op memberships and shop elsewhere. Those shoppers who are not members but use the Co-op anyway can follow suit. Doing that affects the bottom line of the Co-op and won’t continue for very long before those who run the business take notice and try to make the changes that, apparently, a significant number of people would like to see happen.

Much has been made about the local nature of the Co-op in terms of revenue and use of local food resources, versus shopping at businesses with headquarters elsewhere. While that may be true, it doesn’t answer the basic question about what is important. Do consumers continue to shop at a store that they believe doesn’t treat employees as they would like them to be treated, solely for the purpose of keeping their shopping dollars in New Hampshire? Or do they forget about the “ultimate destination” of their shopping dollars and go to a business where, in their opinion, employees receive the kind of treatment that they’d approve of?

The meetings and letters to newspapers and newspaper editorials are a meaningless exercise because they are emotional venting and little else. It is like the tide. It ebbs and flows and produces little change.

Consumers have the ultimate power over the success or failure of any business. Consumers need only to use that power to effect change.

Alan Tanenbaum


Some Have Tenure, Some Don’t

To the Editor:

J. Andrew Daubenspeck and Esmé Thompson urge us not to rush to judgment about the firings of two long-term employees (“Don’t Rush to Judgment,” July 23). As they are both tenured professors at Dartmouth College, they cannot be fired except for moral turpitude, of which it seems the Co-op employees were not guilty. Enough from these bleeding-heart elitists.

Jon Appleton

White River Junction

Hartford Track Deserves a Vote

To the Editor:

The recent editorial in the Valley News (“Back On Track?,” July 15) has prompted us, as members of the Friends of Hartford Track, to respond to the comments regarding the recent petition effort underway in Hartford to build a track after 30 years of trying. As a group we were pleased to see an effort initiated by an interested party to complete the vision of what brought everyone together in support of the joint recreation bond in 2013.

The goal of improving facilities in Hartford resulted in a historic joint bond between the school district and the town that saw widespread community support. However, these efforts are not complete without construction of the track and field stipulated in the joint bond, which for us and many in the community was a focal point of the original idea approved by voters. We believe that the level of good will and community spirit that helped to pass the initial 2013 bond was unprecedented in Hartford.

We ask residents of Hartford to once again embrace that community spirit and help finish the vision. That initial effort has brought impressive development of the Maxfield property, vast improvements to the Wendell A. Barwood Arena, the Hartford Memorial Middle School (gym, locker rooms and cafeteria), and potentially a new field house. It is now time to give voters another say.

We acknowledge that the process over the last few months has left many frustrated. Like the Valley News editorial board, we agree that an academically strong school system is attractive to people when moving to a community. Members of our group have worked diligently to improve the quality of all aspects of education in Hartford. We are not simply “track people” with a single agenda item. Promoting a track and field does not represent an either/or situation with respect to supporting academic programs; It represents a significant investment that will attract people to Hartford and addresses an infrastructure need long overdue. We firmly believe that had the true cost of the construction of the track and turf field been included in the original bond, our community would now be ready to reap the benefits.

If you would like to help in this effort or want additional information regarding the petition, please contact

Chris Sneddon, Connie Reimer, Sheila Hastie

For Friends of Hartford Track

Get to the Bottom of It

To the Editor:

I was interested to see your editorial note about what I call “Outback Canyon,” on the access road behind Wal-Mart (“Thoughts In Summer,” July 21). On July 1, I emailed the city manager about this and was informed that the access road is the responsibility of Wal-Mart and Price Chopper. I then emailed those stores and while I got an acknowledgment from Price Chopper (but none from Walmart), nothing has happened with the pothole. I hope it will not take an accident to get their attention.

This situation also illustrates the value of local ownership of businesses. There are other significant potholes on the access road to Weathervane and in the Staples plaza. When I emailed Weathervane, there was an attempt to fix the problem within a couple of days and when that didn’t work, they filled the hole with hardpack. In the case of the Staples plaza, since the property is owned by long-time local businessman Pete Johnson, all I had to do was speak to his daughter, Jen, and the hole was filled the next day.

Wal-Mart and Price Chopper could add a page to their customer service book from these responsible local businesspeople.

Art Pease


Toles Missed the Tea Party

To the Editor:

Tom Toles’ political cartoon on Sunday once again demonstrates his (also the Valley News’) irrational bias against the most patriotic of all Americans, the Tea Party. If he was to investigate them and conservatives in general, he might change his focus because he is quite simply wrong. I doubt he would though, because the left really doesn’t want to know any inconvenient truth.

Raymond V. Maurice

Bradford, Vt.

Hysteria About Palestine

To the Editor:

I thought Robert Belenky’s July 17 letter entitled “Jews Stood for Justice” was wonderful. He is someone with whom one can have a thoughtful conversation about things Middle East. Yet into the Valley News flow the usual vitriolic-cum-hysterical responses, yelling that every word and act that emanates from Fort Israel, Palestine, might as well have rolled down from Mt. Sinai under God and Moses’ supervision. Anyone who disagrees is marked as a horrible, misguided human being. I hope most Valley News readers know that hysteria and peace are unlikely bedfellows. Meanwhile, blessings to all those, in Gaza particularly right now, keeping the fast of Ramadan, and to all those who want peace, not at the expense of the Palestinians but in support of their desire that matches those of Israel: homeland, security, freedom.

Jane Wolfe