Our business was recently included in a communication to State Senators that it should not have been.
Below is our letter clarifying our position to those State Senators.
To: the State Senators of Chittenden County
RE: Letter Regarding Behavior Downtown
Recently, you received a letter citing some issues businesses have experienced in Burlington, and some thoughts on solutions. While my name was not on the letter, because I was not in alignment with the message, my business name was, as some employees signed the document. I take responsibility for the positions our company does, and does not take, and as such want to clarify our official position on some of the issues addressed in the letter.
We fully respect our employees’ rights to have independent views, however through internal discussion, we can confirm that our employees who signed the letter are more in alignment with our company’s stance below. We believe that many of the issues in the original letter are ones that need to be addressed, however, we do not believe they are issues that should all be lumped together. Furthermore, there are many ways we are opposed to the content of the original letter.
We think there is an issue with what appears to be a growing homeless population in the area. However, we believe the appropriate way to deal with this is to fight to end homelessness through compassionate measures; not to make punishable the challenges that accompany being homeless. Homelessness, poverty, and the occupation of public spaces are not criminal offenses.
Completely separate are the issues of harassment, unsolicited sexual advances, theft and desecration of property. Our team here has experienced and witnessed many of these in one form or another. The concerning issue about these instances is not that there’s broad participation from any select group of people, but that there are a small number of individuals that seem to be participating in these activities repeatedly.
We want to make clear that we don’t believe we’re the right people to be offering solutions. However we’re looking to you, our elected leaders, to help address these issues and engage our community in a positive manner.
Thank you for your consideration.
Owner, Kiss The Cook