Twin Oaks: Happy and Self-Reliant; 2001's Richmonder Deserves Honor; Death Penalty Bill Deserved Scorn 


Twin Oaks: Happy and Self-Reliant

We are happy with your front-page coverage of our community ("Brave New World (Revisited)," cover story, Dec. 20), and we'd like to clarify some misperceptions.

Twin Oaks does not control members' outside finances. We ask members to give the interest on their assets to the community, which is done on a trust basis. We don't transfer the wealth to community accounts unless members choose to do so. We share the income we make here. No committee assigns work. A single labor-assigner schedules meetings and requested events; members have great control over their schedules.

Melissa Sinclair's father at age 52 would be warmly welcomed back to live here. We have reluctantly put an age cap on new members at 55 and we are uncomfortable discriminating based on age. There have been exceptions to this policy.

We have not given up our outside-world activities to live here. Oakers serve on boards of directors of nonprofit organizations and cook regularly in Richmond for both Freedom House homeless shelter and Food Not Bombs. We volunteer at women's shelters, teach cooperative games in prison, work on Native American issues, lobby on hunger and attend protests. We are a significant fraction of the Yanceyville Church Choir, to boot!

We hired no trappers for our pest groundhogs. We did it ourselves, including skinning and cooking them. We try to be as self-sustaining as possible.

While we are sad Melissa got lost getting here, we do not permit people to drop in. Please contact us for directions and to schedule a Saturday tour (2 to 5 p.m.). Also see www.twinoaks.org, or call (540) 894-5126, ext. 0. We are 45 minutes from Richmond. - Sky Blue

P.S. Rumor has it Gabriel Sinclair might visit Twin Oaks again after reading your article.

2001's Richmonder Deserves Honor

Thank you to the 2001 Selection Committee and Neil November for persisting to elect Gilbert Rosenthal as Richmonder of the Year. Using "The Quiet Man" as a title and the way you portrayed him on the cover illustrate this wonderful person who never toots his own horn.

I had the opportunity to work for and with him as a buyer at Standard Drug Co. in the early '80s. After leaving Standard, I continued to draw on the values I had learned just by being around him. He was the first person besides my Mom and Dad to make such an impression on me.

I have always admired what each Rosenthal family member does for Richmond; this article reaffirms my goals as a giver and leaves me in awe! - Wendy Anderson Williams

Death Penalty Bill Deserved Scorn

If Richmond again ends a year with an overall positive Zeitgeist ranking, I'm afraid I will have to discount at least one point: the one given recently by the Score to Sen. Warren E. Barry's inane legislative proposal for death-penalty opponents to register themselves.

Honestly, I figured to be reading the praises of this idea from the rocket scientists who scribe in the editorial pages of Richmond's alleged major daily. Apparently, The Score endured a bloodless coup over the holidays, led by the same characters who nixed the "Just Asking" mockery. - David M. Gammino

The Score gave a +1 to state Sen. Warren Barry's bill that would offer death-penalty opponents the opportunity to register themselves so that, should they be murdered, their estates can pay the costs of imprisoning their murderer instead of giving the murderer the death penalty.

Would Barry suggest that pro-death-penalty folks register, so that if they are murdered their estates can pay for that criminal's 10-year-or-so internment, plus execution? Not likely. Perhaps he believes that capital punishment is swift and cost efficient. Perhaps he believes his sense of morality is the only right one, and that the Pope and his followers and other such folk should just stop their silly whining.

Hey, since the bill involves the person's entire estate (it's Senate Bill 10, which you can hunt down at the General Assembly's Web site, http://legis.state.va.us), then poor anti-death-penalty folks should go ahead and sign up. That's a rare case of an anti-status opinion not costing much.

Shame on Mr. Barry for that bill. Shame on you for applauding it. - Peter Boyer


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