Forum: The Co-op Vote; To Be a Writer, Write!

Published: 4/25/2016 10:00:13 PM
Modified: 4/26/2016 5:05:34 PM

What the Co-op Needs

The spirited debate regarding the Co-op board election has been a focus of attention in these pages and elsewhere. That is because members care passionately about our Co-op and its impact on our community, which is a good thing.

Much of the controversy revolves around the firing of two employees. Concerned About the Co-op (CATC) advocates would have us believe they are defending these people, but I believe their “compassion” has been totally drowned out by their attacks and criticisms of all of the great things this Co-op has cultivated and brought to the Upper Valley. I know the terminated employees and consider both of them good friends. I cannot believe that they support the strident tone of negativity of CATC, which is often delivered by the current board candidates clothed in deceptive language about “transparency.” At one board meeting I attended, the two people I identified as CATC board members were constantly chatting with each other while ignoring the discussion about the business before the board. This is not what we need more of on our board.

I know many Co-op employees and the overwhelming majority of them think it is a great place to work. I was also especially moved at the annual meeting by the presentations of our Upper Valley farmers. Their deep and long-lasting partnership with Co-op management has produced enduring value for our community, our land and our well-being.

All of this is why I have cast my ballot for Kevin Birdsey, Dana Grossman, Edwin Howes and Benoit Roisin. Let’s continue the goodness our Co-op has pioneered and continue to “co-op”erate to improve it. And please make sure you vote by April 30.

Jake Blum

Hanover

Co-op Voting Procedures

A recent letter to the editor suggested that Co-op election ballots won’t be counted if your name and number aren’t in a specific location. This is not true. It doesn’t matter where you put your information on the envelope. As long as your member number and your name are on the envelope, your vote counts. You do need to use the name that you have registered in the Co-op system (otherwise, we don’t know it’s you for sure). There are many ways to verify this: You can stop at any of our service desks, check the front of the envelope mailed to your house with voting information, call the Co-op, or email us. Also, you can always try voting at www.mycoopvote.com. If you log in and vote online, you can guarantee that you have your information correct.

The member services team is happy to answer any questions about voting or Co-op membership. You can reach us at 603-640-6580 or memberservices@coopfoodstore.com.

Amanda Charland

Member Services and Outreach Director
at the Co-op Food Stores

The Co-op Is Not Broken

I have lived in the Upper Valley for 22 years, and I treasure having the Co-op to do my food shopping, but I am disturbed by the controversies and accusations that have swirled around the past couple of years. To my mind, the most significant point is that the Co-op is a $70-million-a-year business, and no organization of that size is perfect in every regard, all the time. But a misstep or two does not equate to a broken organization — which is the leap the Concerned About the Co-op folks are making. And the margins in the grocery industry are so razor-thin that if there isn’t a steady hand on the tiller, the Co-op as a wonderful, locally owned, community-focused alternative to the chain stores could very well fold.

More than a few large co-ops — including the Berkeley Co-op, which I believe at one time was the only one larger than the Hanover Co-op — have indeed folded because of boards that got distracted from keeping the business going. Any organization can improve, including our wonderful Co-op. But it’s not broken. So if people want it to remain as a shopping option, a source of over 400 well-paid jobs and a supporter of community needs, this is a year they must vote. And my recommendation, to achieve that end, is to vote for these four candidates: Kevin Birdsey, Dana Grossman, Edwin Howes and Benoit Roisin.

Robin Davis

Norwich

How To Be a Writer — Write

Thank you, W.D. Wetherell (“Be a Writer, or Get a Master’s Degree that Says You Are One,” April 22), for putting into words my feelings exactly! Paying attention to the hype about MFA writing programs in Poets & Writers is a good way for a writer who hasn’t been branded to feel inadequate. Sitting down every day with the notebook or computer, putting one’s busy and critical mind on the shelf for a while and putting down words is a great way to feel the joy, confidence and flow of writing, and to get better at it. In Jane Yolen’s words: “Butt in chair.”

Toby Speed

West Lebanon




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