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Haik Bedrosian
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Election Day was Tuesday March 3, 2009
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Hunt School Dance Incident
Friday, September 28, 2018
 Breaking News

According to three students who attended the Hunt Middle School Dance tonight, the dance was ended about 20 minutes earlier than scheduled due to what an assistant principal described as a "racist incident" in which and argument between two kids escalated as throngs of other kids began to swarm and chose sides posturing against each other in a threatening manner.  The witnesses said teachers were not allowing students to leave the school and were cordoning them in the auditorium for several minutes.  They said one teacher was taking video of the scene and bystanders, and at a certain point kids started to leave the auditorium en masse without permission.  Shortly after two police cruisers were seen leaving the scene.

Email update 1 from Hunt School's principal:
Sep 28 at 9:59 PM
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Tonight at the Hunt Middle School Dance there was an incident of racial harassment directed by students towards some of our students of color. This nearly resulted in an altercation, at which time Mr. Kelley chose to end the dance early. The police were called as a preventative measure to ensure the safety of everyone attending the dance. I would like to thank the officers for acting swiftly and compassionately towards our students.

I want to stress that no students were physically injured tonight and that all students were sent home safely. Mr. Kelley and I have already been in touch with the District’s Equity Coordinator as well as the Superintendent. Starting this weekend, we will be working to create a school-wide response for Monday morning when students arrive back to HMS. We will also do a full racial harassment investigation for those students who were offenders and targets of tonight's events.  If you have any more information regarding this incident, please either email me at mscheidt@bsdvt.org or call me Monday morning. If you would prefer to contact the Equity Coordinator, please email Sparks at hsparks@bsdvt.org.  

At Hunt we believe that “All are Welcome” and we believe that every student should feel valued and safe attending our school. I am deeply troubled by this event and would like to address this issue as a whole community so that we can prevent this from repeating again here at HMS.
Thank you,
Mattie Scheidt

Email update 2 from Hunt School's principal:
Sep 29 at 9:48 AM

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Last night I sent out the following email but had omitted the word alleged regarding the incident.  This was not intentional and I apologize for the oversight. As stated there needs to be a full investigation regarding the alleged incident.  We will follow the district policy and procedures. Please be assured that no conclusions of what happened have been determined. We are still gathering facts to make sure we have the full story.
 
Tonight at the Hunt Middle School Dance there was an alleged incident of racial harassment directed by students towards some of our students of color. This nearly resulted in an altercation, at which time Mr. Kelley chose to end the dance early... [original message repeats...]

Email update 3 from Hunt School's principal:


Oct 4 at 9:45 AM

Dear Hunt Community Members,
On Friday, September 28th, a racial harassment incident was alleged to have occurred during our school dance. As with all allegations of harassment we launched an investigation. After conducting a thorough investigation it was determined that there was no truth to the allegation .
It was found that students had not directly heard the racial slur but were reacting to a rumor they heard.  As our school district is implementing Restorative Practices we are working with the students involved to make repairs for the harm done to our community.  We are supporting the entire school community as we were all greatly impacted by this incident. We are aware that issues regarding race within our school and community exist. We will continue to make it a priority to address all diversity issues as a school.  Thank you for your ongoing support.

Mattie Scheidt 
Principal
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 9:51 PM   0 comments
What's Left of the Blogosphere?
Thursday, September 06, 2018
This blog has been active since January 2006, a long, long time ago.  At that time it was surrounded by a blogosphere that included iburlington.com, Candleblog, She's Right, 5 Before Chaos, Vermont Daily Briefing, The Carpetbagger Report, Freyne Land...802 Online...Minor Heresies... all Gone now.  We still have Green Mountain Daily, I guess. Vermont Digger is new.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 9:59 PM   0 comments
2018 Mayoral Election
Wednesday, March 07, 2018
Miro Weinberger (D) * 5809 48.92%
Carina Driscoll (I) 4155 34.99%
Infinite Culcleasure (I) 1910 16.09%

I had a fortuitous encounter and nice chat with Bob Kiss in Battery Park after voting today.  Well technically yesterday since it's after midnight.  He mentioned that Francis Cain is still with us, which is kind of neat.  When I was in high school I helped clean out the bomb shelter under city hall and there were these old reel-to-reel audio tapes of mayor Cain that I suppose were to have been played in the event there was a nuclear war *and* he was incapacitated.  I don't know.  There were also many metal tins filled with rotten saltine crackers.  Let's face it.  It would be better to die quickly in a nuclear war than live a few more pitiful days in the radioactive hellscape that came next.  This was around the time the wall came down in Berlin.  I think the wall came down and we threw out the reel-to-reel tapes and the saltines the next day.  Something like that.

So you can see the totals from the election.  It's extremely significant that Miro Weinberger won with less than 50% of the vote because it allows us to argue that in either an instant runoff voting, or two-person race scenario, we'd be talking about mayor-elect Driscoll right now. 

I tweeted an embarrassing false projection that Miro had won a city-wide majority before Wards 2 and 4 were counted and had to apologize for it.  Again, I'm sorry.

48.92% is agonizingly close to that majority mandate every politician wants, especially for a mayor who won with 68.27% last time.  Carina hurt him.  She cut him like Rocky cut Drago in Rocky IV.  "You see?!  He's not a machine!! He's a man!!"

Miro can argue that his support actually went up from 5241 votes in 2015 to 5809 votes in 2018, but higher voter turnout in 2018 has turned him into a plurality mayor.   What could he have done differently that would have maintained the majority's support?  He knows what I found disqualifying in his second term.

We can speculate about whether Carina's 'testing the waters' period before announcing a firm decision to run swayed Infinite Culcleasure's decision to officially enter the race before she did.  If she had jumped in with both feet immediately, would Infinite have deferred to her candidacy and stayed out?  The results seem to indicate that a 2-way race would have been a squeaker with an uncertain outcome.

Like Judge Judy says, shoulda coulda woulda.

Majorities, mandates and legitimacy are the gossamer threads that hold leaders up spiritually and give them power.  I have personally never voted for Miro Weinberger.  In the 2012 Democratic nominating caucus when (in theory) I could have thrown the then-tied vote to either Tim Ashe or Miro Weinberger, I abstained from voting at all.  I will always find the outcome of that caucus questionable.  On the first day of voting at Memorial Auditorium when I attended, they started checking people in by computer.  Then the computers crashed and they moved to checking people in with paper lists.  Nothing would have precluded someone who had checked in by computer and received a ballot, from checking in again on paper and receiving a second ballot once the computer crashed.  That's what I remember.  I also remember hearing rumors of shenanigans in the vote counting the day the caucus reconvened to break the tie.  Nonetheless there have now been three city elections since to validate Weinberger, in which I have voted for Wanda Hines, Greg Guma and Carina Driscoll respectively. 

Congratulations to mayor Weinberger on winning a third three-year term.  Nine years will be one more year than Bernie Sanders got and three more years than Bob Kiss got.  Bob and I agreed in the park that if Carina lost today, she can still run again and win down the road.  We talked about Burlington Telecom a little too.  We agreed it's too bad the city won't own the asset, but that it will still be of great benefit.  Bob took a calculated risk to build that network for us, and I told him he did a good job.  In the end we did not lose money on it, and the city has a great fiber optic network.  That's the reality of Bob Kiss's legacy as mayor regardless of the "failed policies of the recent past" rhetoric Miro ran against Carina with.

The city will look much different three years from now when it's time for the next mayoral election.  49% will give Miro the time to build his tall buildings and knock down the Moran plant.  We shall see how things go.







posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 2:23 AM   4 comments
Miracle Maddow Comment
Tuesday, February 13, 2018


File this under "you're living in the past, man!"  

On this very night, ten years ago, along this same stretch of blog in a dense fog just like this. I saw the most amazing blog comment I ever seen. There was this sound, like a garbage truck dropped off the Empire State Building...And when they finally read the comment from the upstart Air America Radio host...It looked like this...!


 

Yes Ma'am! the most amazing blog comment I ever seen.  February 13, 2008.  Exactly one month after my mom died.  10 years ago today. 
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 9:35 PM   0 comments
Antonio B. Pomerleau 1917- 2018
Monday, February 12, 2018
Antonio B. Pomerleau

September 28, 1917 - February 8, 2018
Born in Quebec
Resided in Burlington, Vermont

Labels:

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 9:04 PM   0 comments
news aggregation i
Monday, January 29, 2018
“an unsafe interaction.” 

"jane doe vs. jeffery epstein and donald trump"

"astronaut john young"

"don’t assume democracy is safe"

"they’re bringing drugs. they’re bringing crime. they’re rapists."

"and some, i assume, are good people.

 
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 11:21 PM   0 comments
Progressive Fissure
Thursday, December 14, 2017
As of tonight 644 people like the Carina for mayor Facebook page and 462 people like the Infinite for mayor Facebook page.  Here is how the interest in their respective launch parties stack up.  Two Independent candidacies splitting the left of center vote à la Genese Grill vs. Jane Knodell can only be good news to the incumbent mayor.

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:40 PM   0 comments
Blocked by Shrum 07.22.16
Friday, December 01, 2017

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 2:31 PM   0 comments
Trump's Remarks on Navajo Code Talkers
THE PRESIDENT: That's fantastic, thank you. That's fantastic. Thank you very much. Beautiful.
That was so incredible, and now I don't have to make my speech. I had the most beautiful speech written out. I was so proud of it. Look. And I thought you would leave out Iwo Jima, but you got that in the end, too. (Laughter.)
And I want to tell you -- you said you're 90 years old? That's great, because you have good genes. That means the press has got me to kick around for a long time. (Laughter.)
That was beautiful. I loved that and I loved your delivery. And the Code Talkers are amazing. And seriously, it is what I said. So what I'm going to do is give you my speech, and I want you to hold that. And I know you like me, so you'll save it. But that was so well delivered, from the heart. That was from the heart.
So I want to give you this speech because I don't want to bore them with saying the same thing you just said. And you said it better, believe me, because you said it from here. And I mean it from there too.
And you have a lot of great friends. Tom Cole is here, and you know Tom. And you know Jeff. So I want to thank you both, Jeff Denham. I want to thank you both for being here, and you too for being here.
Also, General Dunford, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Kelly. And I have to say, I said to General Kelly --- I said, General, how good -- here he is right there, the Chief; he's the General and the Chief. I said, how good were these Code Talkers? What was it? He said, sir, you have no idea. You have no idea how great they were -- what they've done for this country, and the strength and the bravery and the love that they had for the country and that you have for the country.
So that was the ultimate statement from General Kelly, the importance. And I just want to thank you because you're very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here, although we have a representative in Congress who, they say, was here a long time ago. They call her "Pocahontas."
But you know what, I like you because you are special. You are special people. You are really incredible people. And from the heart, from the absolute heart, we appreciate what you've done, how you've done it, the bravery that you displayed, and the love that you have for your country.
Tom, I would say that's as good as it gets, wouldn't you say? That's as good as you get.
General Kelly, just come up for one second. I want to just have you say what you told me, a little bit about the Code Talkers. Because it really has been -- learning about you and learning about what you've done has been something that I'd like General Kelly to say to the press.
Go ahead, General.

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 2:20 PM   0 comments
Council Votes to Destroy Burlington Telecom
Tuesday, November 28, 2017


posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 9:33 PM   0 comments
More to Come...
Sunday, November 19, 2017

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 5:22 PM   0 comments
2018 Senate Race
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Question re Bernie Sanders, 2018 Senate race

Joy-Ann Reid
05/29/16 at 8:23 PM

To haikbedrosian@yahoo.com

Message body

Hi there,

I interviewed a gentleman named Al Giordano today, who is threatening to mount a campaign against Bernie Sanders for Senate in 2018. Wondering if you are familiar with him, if you think he could have a shot, and whether the Democratic Party in Vermont, and in Burlington, would ever side with a challenger against Sanders.

Would love to chat with you if you have some time.

Thanks,
Joy-Ann Reid
MSNBC (and The Daily Beast)


Re: Question re Bernie Sanders, 2018 Senate race
Haik Bedrosian
05/30/16 at 4:02 AM

To Joy-Ann Reid

Message body

Hi Joy. Thanks for writing. I had never heard of Mr. Giordano before right now so I looked at his Twitter page and website and whatever he stands for is not readily apparent. That doesn't bode well for him, although it's highly doubtful it would make much difference. Assuming Bernie doesn't win the Democratic nomination and presidency it's hard to imagine him losing his senate seat to anyone, ever. Vermont rarely fails to re-elect its incumbents. Pat Leahy, for example, has been in the senate over 40 years and he is not more popular than Sanders. To the best of my understanding, since Bernie was elected to Congress in 1990 he has always won the Democratic endorsement and then declined it in favor of running as an Independent. Could someone else get the Democratic endorsement? Perhaps if it were purely up to Howard Dean, but it's very hard to imagine it happening if regular people get to vote on it. In general Vermonters are quite happy with our congressional representation, and with Bernie in particular. There is almost no one who hasn't either received constituent services from Bernie, or known someone close to them who has. I work on the phone as a food stamp worker and until about a year ago when Bernie got busy, I could expect clients warning daily that they would complain to senator Sanders's office when they had problems with our system. Nobody warned they would run to Pat Leahy. The question in my mind is whether Bernie would seek re-election as a Democrat, or go back to what he's always done and run as an Independent. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say it still sounds weird for Bernie Sanders to be referred to as a Democrat. Nonetheless he is still in a much better position to take on Trump than HRC whom the party has already rejected once and whom the nation may well reject too, I'm afraid. This Al Giordano fellow will almost certainly be forgotten. Bernard Sanders hasn't lost an election in Vermont since 1988 and it's hard to see why he ever would. Regards, Haik

Sent from my iPhone


Re: Question re Bernie Sanders, 2018 Senate race
Joy-Ann Reid
05/30/16 at 2:09 PM

To Haik Bedrosian

Message body

Thanks for the info, Haik! Have a great Memorial Day.

Joy
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 5:38 PM   0 comments
Carina Driscoll Tests the Waters
Sunday, November 05, 2017
Today I had the pleasure of sitting down with my old friend Carina Driscoll who is thinking seriously about running for mayor. We had a very good conversation about politics and the future of Burlington.

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 10:29 PM   1 comments
Weinberger to Destroy Moran Plant
Saturday, September 02, 2017
So the key points from the 09.01.17 news from Seven Days are:

Keeping the Moran Plant building has a democratic mandate...
"City voters in 2014 approved the use of $6.3 million in tax-increment financing towards redevelopment of the old power plant building, which shuttered in 1986."
But instead the city is likely to spend more than the approved 6.3 million to destroy it.
"Instead, the building will likely be demolished and the site remediated — at a price tag of at least $4 million and upwards of $10.7 million, according to city estimates"
The crux of the story is that mayor Miro Weinberger decided to pull the plug on negotiations with the redevelopment team.  He dumped them.  They didn't dump him.
"“What the New Moran team was trying to do was very hard,” he told reporters""
Hmmm... What did Kennedy say again?  Oh yeah... "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept..." Something like that anyway.
"Weinberger attributed the failed deliberations to construction risks, environmental challenges and financial uncertainty. “There was a lot of potential for problems that would have required the city to go beyond its $6 million commitment,” Weinberger said."
I like Kennedy's ideas about doing hard things, but they don't appear to have been applied in this instance.  It will be interesting to see how well mayor Weinberger's justifications withstand scrutiny.  He says the redevelopment of Moran would potentially cost more than 6 million dollars, but we know that's also true of destroying it, don't we?
"Still, he acknowledged, “This was a difficult decision to make and not one I wanted to come to.”"
 I'm not sure that's true.  How hard did he really try to make the redevelopment of the Moran Plant work?  I've worried that he's always wanted to see it demolished and that this might have been a foregone conclusion when he first took office five years ago.  But that's just my gut feeling. 
"Weinberger said that he’d be looking into other options besides another city park, though he said he didn’t know what exactly the end result might look like. The city is bound by the state’s Public Trust Doctrine, which requires that the property serve a public purpose, while the moribund building itself is on the National Register of Historic Places. There will be a “significant public input and process” before a decision on reuse is made, Weinberger said."
 Um... Yeah.  He may not know exactly what it will look like, but I bet he's got a pretty good idea in his head.  (Hint: you don't want to land on Boardwalk with one of these on it.)

There was still hope for the building in January of this year when there was a proposal for...
"...redeveloping the facility with community space and venues for rent at a cost of $15.4 million dollars. They planned to break ground by the end of this year."
But...
"Friday’s announcement made clear that’s not going to happen.

“The city was just not confident that the project would succeed,” Weinberger said. “Without that confidence, we couldn’t move forward.”"
 So- Hope for something: $15.4 M, Cost of destroying: 4 to 10.7 million.  And since those are both estimates from parties interested in deflating the numbers, I consider the comparison between the two a virtual wash.

This is a soulless choice to take the path of least resistance, unbecoming of a true leader.

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 4:08 AM   18 comments
More to Come...
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 2:43 AM   0 comments
More to Come...
Monday, July 24, 2017

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 1:10 PM   1 comments
Student Nazi at BHS
Thursday, July 06, 2017
If that kid comes back to BHS in the fall for his junior year, and continues to use the swastika as his avatar, there are going to be problems. A Nazi will hide behind the protections of a liberal society like a craven coward, while simultaneously shredding those protections for his targets.

Yesterday's Burlington Free Press quotes this little Nazi as saying he feels harassed as a Trump supporter in a liberal culture of "bigotry and violence" but he doesn't seem to care much about the 82 students who petitioned him to stop threatening and harassing them with his symbol of hatred and death. He cries he's the victim while he threatens and disrupts the entire school.

This kid hides his hate speech behind shameless lies and the first amendment while his scumbag Nazi lawyer Brady Toensing threatens to sue another kid for covering the story in the high school paper, and successfully suppressing it.  Sick irony.

There is a twisted perversion of the truth in the way a Nazi thinks and operates. Pleading his innocence and nobility, the swastika-boy presented the school board with the most inflammatory and evocative quote from George Washington, taken out of context to project the imagery of sheep being lead to slaughter. Hiding behind patriotic icons in order to remind people of how his heroes led millions of Jews and minorities to slaughter in the 1930's and 40's

This sinister kid thinks he's pretty darn clever. He has the principal, the school board and the superintendent all tied in knots and impotent. It's embarrassing to watch. It's pathetic. He is engaging in threatening, disruptive hate speech and no responsible party is showing any spine to stop him. That cannot persist. Even the Burlington Free Press has been restrained from writing a story about it, but finally got the ok from their lawyers now that it's summer vacation. Print edition anyway. I can't seem to find the story online.

If a new school year starts and he keeps it up with his swastika, pressure is going to be ratcheted up on all parties until this comes to a head. Let Toensing sue and discredit himself as a Nazi. Let the national spotlight shine on the kid. The community is going to fight.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 11:21 PM   1 comments
Don't Bring a Gun to a Flame War
Reporter Katie Jickling published a story titled "Cop on the Tweet: Chief's Social Media Posts Draw Criticism" in today's edition of Seven Days.  I am quoted as one of the critics of the chief's social media posts.

I also left one comment which has already garnered 26 "dislikes" in just under 10 hours.



I'd just like to pull a few quotes from the article and unpack them a little here.  Jickling begins by discussing Logan Huysman's June 22 facebook post.  The post has been taken down, so the source of Jickling's information about it isn't clear, although the story was first picked up by WCAX
"...on June 22, when she used the social media platform to publicly accuse the Burlington police of brutality during an altercation..."

"...Within a day, Chief Brandon del Pozo took her to task. He used his personal Facebook account to comment on hers — specifically, he posted a detailed police press release refuting her version of events. He also sent the communication to the news media...."
Stop right here.  As you can see from my unpopular comment, this is the part I object to.  It is very intimidating for the chief of police to approach you online as a total stranger and start arguing with you.  The police should avoid being needlessly intimidating.  It does not matter what someone says, if they are just exercising free speech and not committing a crime, there is no business purpose for the chief of police to get involved directly with that person.  He should assume if he goes to their Facebook page and starts arguing them, there is a chance the person might be intimidated into removing the message he disagrees with.  And it's hard for me to believe he doesn't assume this, yet he does it anyway. 



"Very intimidating."  She said I could quote her.   Now why did Katie Jickling from Seven Days not ask the police chief "Do you think Ms. Huysman took down her post because she was intimidated by you leaving a comment on it?"   That's the salient question here.  And it would have been fascinating to read how he'd have have responded to it.

Moving on...
"Huysman was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and simple assault on a law enforcement officer.

The chief's post started a lively discussion on the teen's Facebook page. Many of the commenters were strangers to Huysman."
It's hard for me to understand how this is considered appropriate.  Would the chief want each one of his officers tracking down their suspects and leaving comments on their personal Facebook pages?   Of course not.  It would reek of police intimidation and be called cyber-stalking and cyber-bullying, not "twenty-first century policing."
"When Huysman saw del Pozo's response and the outrage it generated, she deleted the entire thread.

 Del Pozo maintained that his post was necessary to quell the spread of false accusations. But it also triggered critiques from people who see his approach to social media as an abuse of power and a violation of individual privacy"
 It is not the job of the police to "quell" free speech of any kind, whether it's about his department or not.  This quote makes it sound like his goal was to get her to take the post down.

"Casper may be friendly, but he's been a ghost a long time.  He knows very well he scares people."


Attorney Jay Diaz from the ACLU seems to get it...
"There's a fine line between engaging the community, which is something we want our law enforcement officers to do, and doing what some might see as trying to shut down conversations," said Jay Diaz, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont. "Affirmatively posting on a citizen's Facebook page, especially in a sensitive situation, seems fairly inappropriate and would be understandably chilling."
Later Jinkling moves on to cover my contribution to the story.  I don't feel the quotes of mine she selected present the full depth of my arguments, and that's part of the reason I'm writing this post.  She described my 'robot-soldier' tweet from last year, and the chief's direct messages to me on twitter in response.  What isn't clear from the story is that I posted a screenshot of the tweet on Facebook, and screenshots of his direct messages that generated hundreds of comments, about the patch, police and social media and other topics... including some from the chief speaking in favor of his new patch.  I told him respectfully I didn't think his participation was appropriate, and he responded that he took "great exception" to that.  Of course I found that even more intimidating and uncomfortable.

When he then sent me a friend request I just broke down and messaged him in a coarse way that he was a stranger to me and I considered every message and comment from him a form of intimidation.  At that point he left me alone and to his credit I haven't heard from him since.  But then again why should I?  I'm not a criminal and I have the right to say whatever I want.  I described each part of these interactions to Miro Weinberger in person last August, and I sent a letter to the chief explaining very clearly why I was uncomfortable with his messaging me directly.  I cc'd Miro Weinberger and Selene Colburn on it and I gave a copy of this letter to Katie Jinkling from Seven Days too when she interviewed me for the story.  The point is that the mayor and the chief were duly warned last year that this social media behavior is intimidating, or potentially so, and should be avoided.
"Bedrosian deleted the post and blocked del Pozo. "I remain intimidated by Brandon del Pozo to this day," he said"
It's not correct to say I deleted the post.  I deleted the original tweet, but the Facebook post has merely been removed from the view of most people.... which reminds me... it's time to revoke reporter Katie Jinkling's access to it.  Hey wait a minute... she knows it's not deleted, since she read it herself to quote from it.  In any event,  I had hoped not to have to come back to this topic.  As I said to the chief in my letter- I'm glad he's keeping us safe, I wouldn't want his job, I was only talking about a patch and so forth... but to see him engage in this kind of cyber-intimidation again with Logan Huysman is troubling.  And I told Katie Jinking that's the quote I wanted in Seven Days...
"To see this happen again is troubling" 
But it didn't make it in.  All well.  More from Jinkling's article:
"After the Huysman posts, Bedrosian voiced his concern at a city council meeting last week.

"By personally commenting on an individual's Facebook post, the chief sends a message that he is personally watching you," Bedrosian said. "And when he visits your page and argues against you, the asymmetrical power dynamic tends to result in the post itself being taken down."

After the meeting, Council President Jane Knodell said it was the first complaint she'd heard about del Pozo's social media practices. Councilor Kurt Wright seconded that, but they both agreed that Bedrosian had a point. Knodell said she'd refer the matter to the police commission."
 I will post the full text of my comments to the city council at the bottom of this post, but you know what's interesting about this?  After I spoke and exited City Hall, Kurt Wright came chasing after me along with Katie Jinkling and introduced me to her.  What I heard him say was that he and other city councilors were already discussing the topic, and that Logan Huysman had a right to free speech and should not have been intimidated out of it by the chief.  Based on this I do not believe that mine was the first such complaint heard by either Kurt Wright or Jane Knodell either for that matter.  I think the entire city council has a general sense there's an issue and the mayor certainly does.  Some of the concepts are subtle but he understands the ethics involved.  I don't care how many "dislikes" my comments get.  The mayor went to Yale and Harvard.  Don't tell me he doesn't get it. 

The Seven Days article appears to break some important news at the end...
"Del Pozo, too, said he's learned his lesson. He'll continue to express himself on his own social media accounts, but he's done posting on the individual Facebook pages of others.

"It may well have sufficed to put it on my own page or our own Twitter feed," he conceded."
It would be very good news if the chief does in fact stop posting to the individual Facebook pages of others, or the individual social media of any kind hosted by an individual citizen, but I would feel a lot better if the head of the police department was someone with the good judgement to never have done it in the first place.

I was a little concerned it doesn't necessarily follow that merely conceding it would have sufficed to post to his own platforms means "he's done posting on the individual Facebook pages of others" so I asked Katie Jinkling what he said to justify writing that and here was her reply.


 As with Jane and Kurt, I don't think my complaint was the first the mayor heard of the issue either.  I think it's likely he has heard of other complaints, and is parsing language to say mine was the first complaint that he heard (directly).  And it's not clear what referring it back to the chief would accomplish. 

In any event... If mine was the first complaint, it appears to have been an extremely effective one, since the chief has promised to change his practice.  That's not enough though.  What should have been mere common sense will probably need to have some rules written around it now.


***
Full Text: Remarks to the Burlington City Council  06.26.17
 
I'm Haik Bedrosian. I'm a former Burlington city councilor and a former school commissioner. I live in Ward 7. My message to you is that it is inappropriate for the chief of police, or any police officer to leave comments in the social media of individual citizens. I am here to testify that it happened to me last year when the chief left comments on one of my Facebook posts and I found it very intimidating. I let him and the mayor know that I found it intimidating. I told Jay Diaz of the Vermont ACLU about it and he said ACLU had already received a number of complaints from others about the chief making them uncomfortable on their social media. On June 23 WCAX.com reported about BPD's arrest of a South Burlington teenager who had posted on her Facebook page pictures of bruises she said the police gave her. Quote: “Burlington's police chief is firing back with a strongly worded statement he posted to Huysman's Facebook page.” Huysman has now taken that post down and I am certain it was because the chief commented on her Facebook page and she found it intimidating. I know the mayor is certain of this as well.

There is no legitimate business purpose for the chief of police to have gone to this person's personal Facebook page, and leave a comment there contradicting her. The police have a special responsibility to not unnecessarily intimidate people. By personally commenting on an individual's Facebook post the chief sends a message that he is personally watching you, and when he visits your page and argues against you, the asymmetrical power dynamic tends to result in the post itself being taken down. Freedom of speech is just a concept and it's a very fragile thing in real life.

If he wants to put his side of the story out, then he has any number of his own social media platforms to do it on, and it's important that he stick to them because what he says and writes should be a matter of public record. Whatever his comments were on my post last year, and what he posted on Logan Huysman's page is no longer available to the public, at least as primary sources.

In August of last year I sent the following 3 recommendations to police commissioner Sarah Kenny for the police vis-a-vis social media and I urge the city council to really think about them:

First: the police should always remember that any tweet, comment, message or emoji they send from a police email or social media platform carries the full authority and power of their position and that they represent not just their own point of view, but that of the police department and the city of Burlington. Any officer , including and especially the chief carries his badge and his gun into any online social media debate he gets into, and as such it should be *assumed* approaching a stranger online for any reason can be intimidating to that person.

Second: to the extent possible the police should avoid getting into online debates with people about anything. The police exist to protect people's freedom of speech, not argue with them about it from their own personal point of view or even from the point of view of the department.

Third: based on the premise that an officer of the department, speaks for that department and the city when engaging in social media, the preservation of what that officer says and posts for the record becomes a matter of public interest. It is therefore advisable that to the extent possible the police limit their online engagement to the media platforms they control and can preserve for the record, such as their own Twitter, Facebook and web pages... Or perhaps to those connected to a commercial media entity with a physical address like the free press or Seven Days... But avoid engaging on citizens personal Facebook, Twitter etc, because that person will be free to change or delete what was said. That person may also not welcome it and find it extremely impolite and intimidating.

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 1:45 AM   1 comments
Ward Seven Special Election
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
I predict the vote will be closer than many expect, with Ali Dieng still the likely winner, with Dober a close second, followed by Ellie Blais and Chris Trombly.  We shall see.  I voted for Ali Dieng.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 6:21 PM   0 comments
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
10.07.16: "U.S. Says Russia Directed Hacks to Influence Elections"

10.31.16: "the Red Phone was used on Oct. 31 to send a message to Moscow. "This action was part of our ongoing, rigorous efforts to press the Russian government to halt the actions of those responsible for these cyber attacks.""

11.08.16: US Presidential Election

12.15.16: President Obama says "...we need to take action. And we will — at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be."

12.19.16: "Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an Ankara art exhibit on Monday evening by a lone Turkish gunman shouting “God is great!” and “don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!”"

12.25.16: "Russian military plane carrying 92 on board, including famed army band, crashes into Black Sea" on its way to Syria.

05.18.17: Hours after meeting with Trump, Turkish President Erdoğan watches as his bodyguards beat American protesters in Washington D.C. with impunity.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:26 PM   0 comments
Genese Grill vs. Jane Knodell
Monday, February 27, 2017
Close Race in Central District... Small p progressive challenger seeks to unseat long entrenched incumbent in old north end. Will Knodell get "Grilled" on Town Meeting Day?
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 1:29 PM   0 comments
BurlingtonPol.com Disclaimer
The greatest blog disclaimer in the world since 2006:


Basically I can do whatever I want with this website.
I can be fair or I can be slanted.
I can post your comment or not depending on how I feel.
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I can deride someone for remaining anonymous, immediately after posting an anonymous comment myself. I did that today.
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posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 1:22 PM   0 comments
Fargin' Trick!!
Sunday, August 14, 2016

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 10:19 AM   0 comments
Burlington Police Patch Poll
Saturday, August 13, 2016
Breaking Update: 
Poll Cancelled for Suspected Voter Fraud
Results Invalidated

The graphic above represents the vote percentages at the point the poll was cancelled. If you didn't get a chance to vote, I'm sorry. The poll ran for fewer than 24 hours. I don't want to get into specifics about the actual number of votes that came in, but it was 19 total, with 12 in favor of our beloved old patch and 7 in favor of the proposed change.

The poll was set to allow one vote per IP address per year. I put the poll post up Saturday and as I assumed would be the case, the score quickly shot up to 10 to 1 in favor of the old patch, which so clearly represents the spirit of Burlington much, much better than the proposed change.

Over the course of Sunday morning the number of votes to change the patch shot up from 1 to 7 during which time there were four separate visits to this page, referred here by facebook, that came from what appeared to be anonymous proxy servers representing an "unknown organization." Based on this I think as many as 5 of the votes to change the patch may have come from the same person hiding his or her IP address. Poll cancelled. Results invalided. Management apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.

The good news is that under the terms of my disclaimer you are entitled to triple your money back.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:38 PM   0 comments
CLINTON TAPS SANDERS FOR VP
Thursday, July 14, 2016

***BREAKING NEWS***

Hillary Clinton Chooses Senator Bernie Sanders as Running Mate


July 21, 2016 6:59am EST BurlingtonPol.com- In a move sure to send shock waves throughout the political world, Hillary Clinton will announce Bernie Sanders as her vice-presidential running mate later today, according to several early press announcements from senior campaign staffers.  "In the end she decided the best way to unify the party and capture the energy and passion that propelled Bernie in the primaries was to have [Sanders] on the ticket with her" said one.  Others are speculating that Sanders' reputation as trustworthy and genuine will help balance out the trust deficit at the top of the ticket.  The pair will appear together at a campaign rally near Buckeye Lake, Ohio later today where Clinton is expected to make the announcement.... developing... 
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 11:45 PM   2 comments

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