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Haik Bedrosian
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Election Day was Tuesday March 3, 2009
All 2009 Burlington Candidates
2009 Mayoral Race

Bob Kiss (P)
*The Bob Kiss Interview
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Sharon Foley Bushor (I)
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Gregory Knopps (G)
Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (P)
Nicole Pelletier (D)
Ward 3
David Cain (D)
Marrisa S. Caldwell (P)
Steve Ekberg (G)
Ward 4
Eleanor Briggs Kenworthy (R)
Nancy C. Kaplan (D)
Ward 5
Lisa Ann Oberbrunner (G)
Joan Shannon (D)
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Ellie Blais (I)
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Ward One
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Jane Knodell (P)
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Tim Ashe(P)
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Kurt Wright (R)
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René Kaczka-Valliere (G)
Joan Shannon(D)
Basil Vansuch(I)
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Andy Montroll (D)
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Ellie Blais(I)
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2006 Mayoral Race

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BFP on Kiss 01.28.06

BFP on Kiss 03.01.06

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Curley's 7 Days Profile (Old Link)

Curley's 7 Days Profile (New Link)

BFP on Curley 02.28.06

Loyal Ploof (G) (From BFP 01.21.06)

Hinda Miller (D)

Miller's 7 Days Profile (Old Link)

Miller's 7 Days Profile (New Link)

BFP on Miller 03.02.06

Louie The Cowman (I)

City Council Races

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Paul Decelles (R) Ward 7

Joanna Cole (D) Ward 7

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Tuesday March 21 at Hunt School

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Whatever things
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Man of the Year
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I love people like Blagojevich. Because seriously. Screw everybody! It's a legal appointment. Suck it.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 9:45 PM   0 comments
First 2009 Mayoral Debate II
(Re-run from Wednesday, December 24, 2008)

The last comment below was left by a well meaning joker who thinks the thing might be in the morning. It can't be in the morning. That wouldn't make any sense. Who the hell is going to go to that at 8am on a Thursday? I can't go. I have to work. Don't the candidates have jobs? Well maybe just Kurt actually. He works at a store at least. Lawyer, lawyer and mayor are jobs too but they're a lot less time-clocky..

Regardless. I'd like to petition Mike Townsend and Brad Robertson to move this thing to 8pm please so I can go. I will continue to advertise that it's taking place at 8PM in anticipation of the change.

What: The first mayoral debate
When: Thursday January 8, 2009 8-10pm
Where: Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center
Sponsor: The Burlington Business Association
Moderators: Brad Robertson and Mike Townsend of the Burlington Free Press
At December 24, 2008 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…
The question is..will all the candidates be invited...there is going to be more, most likely, than the four announced idiots.

At December 25, 2008 5:52 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…
The petition deadline to get on the ballot isn't until the end of January, I'm pretty sure, but I see no harm in having a debate now among the currently announced candidates.

At December 29, 2008 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…
The debate is 8-10 am, not pm.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 6:40 PM   2 comments
Lesser-Goldsmith Launches Website
Monday, December 29, 2008
Democratic Ward 7 city council candidate Eli Lesser-Goldsmith has launched his campaign website. Lesser-Goldsmith is vying for the seat currently held by Republican Craig Gutchell. Lesser-Goldsmith may be running unopposed. It is widely believed that Gutchell will not be seeking re-election and The Republicans have yet to announce another candidate.

Rumors have circulated that former city councilor Ellie Blais may be mulling a run. Blais lost a runoff election to current councilor Paul Decelles in 2006. I was also considering running for this seat but withdrew back in October.


posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:29 AM   5 comments
Mumbai Attack Kills 140
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Israeli F-16 bombers pound Hamas sites, ground forces invade Gaza, killing over 150, 200, 280, 315, 364 400, 450, 500, 600, 648, 702, 780 910...
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 6:20 PM   5 comments
Mayoral Election Polls III
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Here's how things stand as of Christmas Eve 2008 in my unscientific web poll of self-selected participants...

Here are the polls again. Please do not select the same candidate in both polls.

Free polls from
Who is your first choice for Mayor?
Bob Kiss Andy Montroll Dan Smith Kurt Wright

Free polls from
Who is your second choice for mayor?
Bob Kiss Andy Montroll Dan Smith Kurt Wright

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 9:58 PM   0 comments
First 2009 Mayoral Debate
(Re-run from Wednesday, December 24, 2008)

The last comment below was left by a well meaning joker who thinks the thing might be in the morning. It can't be in the morning. That wouldn't make any sense. Who the hell is going to go to that at 8am on a Thursday? I can't go. I have to work. Don't the candidates have jobs? Well maybe just Kurt actually. He works at a store at least. Lawyer, lawyer and mayor are jobs too but they're a lot less time-clocky..

Regardless. I'd like to petition Mike Townsend and Brad Robertson to move this thing to 8pm please so I can go. I will continue to advertise that it's taking place at 8PM in anticipation of the change.

What: The first mayoral debate
When: Thursday January 8, 2009 8-10pm
Where: Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center
Sponsor: The Burlington Business Association
Moderators: Brad Robertson and Mike Townsend of the Burlington Free Press
At December 24, 2008 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…
The question is..will all the candidates be invited...there is going to be more, most likely, than the four announced idiots.

At December 25, 2008 5:52 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…
The petition deadline to get on the ballot isn't until the end of January, I'm pretty sure, but I see no harm in having a debate now among the currently announced candidates.

At December 29, 2008 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…
The debate is 8-10 am, not pm.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 1:59 PM   3 comments
Knodell May Not Run In Ward 2
This is looking like a very high turnover year for the city council. Tim Ashe is likely to retire to focus on being a state senator. I don't think Kurt Wright will be running again, since he's running for mayor. Same for Montroll. Gutchell's likely to step down as well.

And then there's this recent Front Porch Forum post by councilor Jane Knodell of Ward 2...
By Jane Knodell, City Councilor - Ward 2, Charles St,
Mon, 22 December 2008

Ward 2 Progressive Party Caucus to Endorse Candidates

There will be a Ward 2 caucus of the Progressive Party to endorse candidates for city council, school commissioner and inspector of elections. The caucus is open to voters of ward 2 who wish to be members of the Progressive Party. Since the Progressive Party is a party of principles, membership requires subscribing to the Statement of Principles in the Party Charter, which can be read at:

The Ward 2 caucus will be held:
Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 4:00 p.m. at the home of Wendy Coe and Gene
Bergman at 102 St. Louis Street (North of Roosevelt Park).

For more information contact Terry Bouricius at or

Posted by Jane Knodell, City Councilor, Ward 2
Fascinating stuff. Setting aside the timing of this post (right before Christmas) and the timing of the caucus (right after New Year's) which in itself is sure to limit participation, let's take a moment to unpack the language in this post a little further. Here's the BurlingtonPol phrase-by-phrase interpretation...

"The caucus is open to voters of ward 2..."

If you're not on the ward 2 checklist and we don't like you, you can't come in.

"...who wish to be members of the Progressive Party."

If you don't self-identify as a Progressive, you can't come in.

"Since the Progressive Party is a party of principles,"

Unlike some parties I could mention,

membership requires subscribing to the Statement of Principles in the Party Charter, which can be read at:

You may be asked to swear your allegiance.

" the home of Wendy Coe and Gene Bergman..."

A private residence where we don't have to let you in if you don't swear the oath and/or we don't like you. BurlingtonPol will not be allowed to cover this caucus.

"For more information contact Terry Bouricius..."

Don't bother me.


I have questions about whether it's even legal for a major party to hold a caucus this way. The Democrats and the Republicans in Burlington let you vote in their caucuses regardless of how you self-identify in terms of party, so long as you haven't voted in another caucus. I that think not having voted in another party's caucus is the only legal requirement for participating. I guess Jane (and assistant city attorney Gene Bergman) have a different legal opinion. If anybody out there wants to sue the Progs over this, it would certainly be an interesting legal challenge.

The context of all this exclusivity is as interesting as the exclusivity itself. Why are the Progs playing it this way in Ward 2? The simplest answer is usually the right one.

It seems to me the simplest answer is that Knodell is not running again, and the Progs have already chosen the person they'd like to replace her. The secrecy and exclusivity surrounding this caucus are probably designed to create a tightly controlled environment that will ensure the desired winner.

That and the Progs seem to take a sort of holier-than-thou attitude sometimes. Maybe they like to exclude people to a degree. It keeps them in a bubble believeing in their self-importance. Unfortunately for them, that general attitude has been eroding the party's support for years.

Bernie Sanders is a US Senator now. No Progressive will ever rise higher. I predict that at 71 years old, Bernie will win a second senate term, but with a smaller majority than he won over Tarrant. The Progs have already lost one of their four core council seats from Wards 2 and 3. If Democrat David Cain takes Ashe's seat in Ward 3, and if Kiss does not retain the corner office, there will be very little left of the original Progressive movement.

What was once a thriving, inclusive coalition, has become an dying, exclusive party. That's unfortunate. But as they say, "attitude is everything" and Knodell's post clearly exemplifies the very self-rightous attitude Progressives have had for a long time. Progs will deny it, but there is a sort of "two legs good, four legs bad," ends-justify-means hypocrcisy going on there. I've felt it for many years and I'm not alone.

Post Script- While we're speculating on Dr. Knodell's future in Burlington politics, and her potential departure from the city council, let's take a stab at guessing why she might be leaving. Pehaps she's had a falling out with the party herself? Or with the mayor? Is Jane Knodell supporting Bob Kiss this year? You know, because she was seen at Kurt Wright's big campaign annoncement. I'm just saying.


posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:22 AM   4 comments
Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Blogger JayV said...

That post describes another city. How things have changed.

December 19, 2008 4:35 PM

Blogger OPJM said...

Everything about this city all the way down to the Residential Parking Program is corrupt.

December 19, 2008 4:49 PM

AnonymousAnonymous said...

no way, Jose.

December 20, 2008 10:45 PM

AnonymousAnonymous said...

Just a quick question:

Both Dan and Montroll have websites but I haven't seen anything from Kiss or Kurt.

Do they have websites at all? Trying to begin the process of ranking my preferences.

Voting for Dan as #1 and trying to figure out where to rank the others.

December 21, 2008 2:26 PM

Blogger Haik Bedrosian said...

Kevin Curley has a website.

Can you tell us why Dan Smith is your #1 choice? Is it because he has a website? Is so wouldn't that make Montroll your #2 automatically?

December 21, 2008 6:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want a fresh perspective in city government. He's young and has some real world experience...especially around jobs and the new green economy. Plus, I like how he's an Independent.

Andy will probably NOT be my second choice. I supported Hinda Miller back in 2006 and I was really disheartened by the fact that he never lifted a finger to help her. Really made me sad. Kurt will probably be my second choice and then Andy. I won't vote for Kiss. He's a weak mayor and has no leadership skills. Leopold is really the one running the City.

December 21, 2008 7:25 PM

Blogger Haik Bedrosian said...

He's young and has some real world experience...especially around jobs and the new green economy.

Can you expound on that? What experience are you referring to? Can Smith claim credit for helping to create jobs?

Leopold is really the one running the City.

You've touched on Mayor Kiss's Achilles's Heal. I wish he'd have fired Leopold before election season. Now it would just look like a desperation move.

I still like Kiss because I think in terms of the big picture stuff things are tending in the right direction. The new zoning law seems to be more good than bad, and street maintenance has been improving. The agreement Kiss got on UVM's payments to the city was outstanding.

But I would agree that we've seen enough of Mr. Leopold.

I don't know why you would expect Andy to support Hinda. She wasn't a good candidate and I'm still grateful to Kevin Curley and Lisa Lindahl for sparing us "Mayor Jogbra."

Dan Smith has potential, but his candidacy does not remind me of 1981, as I've heard others say. That's seems Orwellian to me. Kiss is the candidate who most resembles Sanders in policy.

December 22, 2008 6:43 PM

Anonymous Ivan Jacobs said...

I'll give Dan Smith a look when he talks details - That's not due to happen for a month or two. I'm so sick of this empty rhetoric of buzzwords like "change""youth""fresh" and "energy".

Mr. Smith was INCREDIBLE on the Charlie & Ernie show - very slick - but then I realized he didn't say anything about anything. That's understandable at this point in the campaign, I guess.

I'm also still trying to figure out what GBIC (his "real-world experience") is all about and what their affiliation is with the Chamber of Commerce. I'm not a huge fan of the Chamber.

Hinda was/is kind of a right-winger, good on Andy if he didn't support her, though I didn't notice that.

December 23, 2008 12:35 AM


Labels: ,

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:42 AM   36 comments
David Cain says Hello
Monday, December 22, 2008
Ward 3 city council candidate David Cain asked me to post this, which I am doing most happily. Remember- I'll publish just about anything any local candidate or office holder sends my way. And with dozens of local visitors everyday, is the perfect venue for your message!

Now without further ado, I present Mr. David Cain...


Hello Neighbors!

My name is David Cain. I'm running for Burlington City Council in Ward 3 and I wanted to introduce myself to those of you I haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet.

I love Burlington because it has been such a wonderful place for my family and me; now I want the opportunity to serve Burlington in the best way I can. As a City Councilor I would focus on reducing our city's energy consumption, raising our standard of education, and improving civic efficiency to reduce the city's budget. I would also ensure that the City Council does everything in its power to support President Obama's initiatives and agendas, such as creating green jobs, expanding alternative energy, supporting small businesses, and building better schools. Further, certain City issues will require special attention in the coming years: Ward 3 has unique public safety needs that require thorough analysis and City Hall's level of transparency needs to be scrutinized. The City has challenges ahead of it in uncertain economic times but I will strive to grow Burlington's prosperity.

As your representative I promise to always be attentive; responding quickly and thoughtfully to any concerns you bring to me, to guarantee that the needs of Ward 3 are always heard.

My background is in engineering and law but my true passions lie in community service. In the past I've served the public through representing abused and neglected children in family court and representing troubled youth with school discipline issues; currently I serve on the Burlington Telecommunications Advisory Committee.

My wife, Sandra, and I live on Park Street in a home that we renovated ourselves with the help of our friends and family. My family is deeply rooted in Burlington; I am a fifth generation Vermonter and my Grandfather was mayor of Burlington in the 60s and 70s.

I will be walking around the neighborhood introducing myself in the next few months and I look forward to meeting you in person. I encourage you to contact me at with any questions. I promise to always work hard to serve our community and I hope I can earn your support.

Thank you,
David Abair Cain


posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:24 AM   14 comments
Law and Money
Friday, December 19, 2008
(Re-run from 01.22.06)

Editor's note- This was only the second post ever published at BurlingtonPol. It was written before it was widely known that Brendan Keleher and Peter Clavelle tricked the city council into granting Keleher a second pension, in part to help retain him. (He retired immediately after he got it.) It was written before Joe McNeil retired in shame after it was discovered he was having sex with both zoning consultant Owiso Makuko and Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Karen Wingate.

It was written before Bob Kiss became mayor and had these bombshells explode in his lap.


I would like to recognize the efforts of Burlington’s City Attorney Joe McNeil and Treasurer, Brendan Keleher. While local civic discourse has often been reserved for the praise or denigration of politicians, these two men have quietly served as pillars of leadership in Burlington for decades.

As each election cycle carries the people’s representatives in and out of office, McNeil and Keleher patiently and skillfully guide them through the complexities of running the city, by means of law and money, the essential levers of power in city government. Their careful stewardship has provided Burlington with invaluable continuity and helped clarify and amplify the collective voice of our city.


posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 12:18 PM   9 comments
Bad at Christmas
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I'm bad at Christmas. That is, I'm not good at it. I don't do it right.

I haven't shopped yet. I don't want to shop. I don't have any money for that and I have absolutely no desire. I don't want anything from anybody else either, except for the voice recorder my wife is getting me. But our money is pooled. It's like I'm buying it for myself. Same for whatever I'm getting for her. Some weird hanging chair or something. I hope she orders it in time for me to give it to her.

I don't like holiday parties, especially work related ones. They are an unwelcome, socially awkward obligation. I'm grateful I've been spared that this year at my job, wherever I work.

Cards? Yeah- hopefully my wife will do it.

Now that I have kids I've having to deal with the whole Santa Clause bullshit. My four year old son was just grilling me about Santa at dinner. I'm trying to do my best to tell him the deal with Santa. I hate lying so I phrase it carefully. I'm like- the story of Santa as I understand is as follows-

*Santa lives at the North Pole with Mrs. Clause.
*Magic Elves make toys all year at the North Pole with Santa. What do the elves eat? I don't know. Fish, I guess.
*Santa has a sleigh with eight flying reindeer.
*On Christmas Eve Santa and the eight flying reindeer (led by an ninth with a glowing nose on cloudy years) fly around the world landing on every rooftop with the sleigh and climbing down whatever passes for a chimney with a bag of toys.

Where we live we have a stovepipe, so I had to invent that Santa could shrink to fit any size pipe via "magic." To make a long story short, "magic" ended up being the answer to most of my son's questions about how Santa can do this or that. I couldn't keep a straight face. I don't know why we lie to our kids about this. What is wrong with people?

I just picked up a tree for $14 at a gas station. It's as tall as the four year old and kind of straggly. Just like the one I got last year. As soon as the fragile ornaments came out, our nearly two year old daughter started messing with them, so now the tree is on our kitchen counter shedding all over the place. Why is this better?

I'm a Christian, but I very rarely go to Church and never on Christmas. I don't feel any more or less spiritual on that day.

It's usually a day off from work.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:29 PM   13 comments
But Seriously Folks
This is just one of those days when I can't fully wake up. I'm cranky and I'm lazy and my dedication to blogging only exists in fits and starts. I slept mostly on the couch last night. Cold with no blanket. Contacts in my eyes. Having haunting, vaguely sexual dreams.

Frankly for what this blog is supposed to be, I am doing a terrible job lately. Let's see... I have missed the Dem-Prog thing Shay put on, the Dan Smith coming out party, the Democratic nominating caucus, the Kurt Wright announcement, the Prog caucus, if there even was one.... Oh there's another important event I'm going to miss going on Thursday at channel 17:
Communications Security Meeting #1...We invite you--community leaders and interested people--to attend a 90 minute discussion on 12/18 at 2:30PM that starts to secure the future of our local media and communications networks.
Doesn't anybody work? Why are these things always on weekdays? Arrrg.

It's amazing that I maintain an audience of 85 or so visitors each day. Thanks for coming back. And thanks for reading. It's always gratifying to review my stats and see that someone spent 10, 20 or 30 minutes here. But I know that can only happen if I actually write something from time to time. Don't get excited. This is not one of those times.

Here's a link to the "Crash Collective." I don't know what the hell it's supposed to be. Seven Days did a story on it. I can't remember if I read it or not. I doubt "Crash Collective" will last. Nothing does. But check it out. Check it out. Or don't. I couldn't care less.

What else? Oh here is a report on waterfront access that Dan Bradley from Public Works was nice enough to send me. It doesn't look like a gorgeous marble staircase from Battery Park to the Waterfront is in the works anytime soon. But Dan writes "
A couple of variations of stairways connecting Sherman Street and Battery Park to the waterfront are in the mix of alternatives." That's fine for now I guess. Whatever.

One thing I will be doing is going on Melinda Moulton's "Live at 5:25pm" show on Channel 17 tomorrow to promote 105.9 FM The Radiator. I do radio show there on Saturday mornings. Usually I go on from 10-11am but because of shoveling I didn't go on until 11:12 this past Saturday. Maybe I'll move the show up an hour. More people in this town are awake at 11 than at 10. We'll see.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 10:42 AM   0 comments
Remember Love
Remember damn it!! (trembling with with rage, lowered voice dark and threatening)
You'd better F%#kin' Remember!

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 10:28 AM   1 comments
Astroturf, Nixon and Tarrant
Saturday, December 13, 2008
(Re-run from 09.04.06))
Guest Blogger: "Deep Throat"

Everybody knows about Astroturf. It's fake grass. But what is political Astroturfing? It is the process of engineering the appearance of a significant grass-roots movement and public support. In the book, "All the President's Men", there are several cases documented in which, during the 1972 campaign against McGovern, Richard Nixon's campaign tried to make it appear that there was significant support for his policies. The Astroturfing process generally involves paid PR firms.

There is a nice article on Astroturfing in the Wikipedia, which you can read here:
and here is another definition of Astroturfing:

Astroturfing involves more than just activities with a single blog. It involves an integrated strategy.

The following activities indicate that Tarrant's campaign is engaging in Astroturfing:

* In December, positive changes were made to Tarrant's Wiki entry and negative changes were made to Bernie's. These changes were traced to an IP address at the PR firm Hayes Group. The changes included comments about "increased chatter" and significant increase in support for Tarrant, which certainly didn't exist in December.

* On multiple blogs, individuals have been posting multiple entries extremely critical of Bernie and extremely positive for Tarrant. Notably, these include an individual who identified himself as "Jason". Jason's IP address has been traced back to the HayesGroup.

* The blog "VermontSentateRace" was established purportedly as a non-partisan blog. It turned out that a paid Tarrant operative, Jeff Bartley established that blog, however.

* The blog "PoliticsVermont" seems to have insider republican information. It shows positive pictures of Tarrant and negative pictures of Bernie. The authors of the blog won't identify themselves.

* The American Research Group published a poll that was supposed to be an independent poll. That poll showed that Tarrant had cut Bernie's lead in half, from forty points to twenty-one points. That poll showed very different results than other polls, however. It is expensive to run a poll. Who paid for the American Research Group poll? Nobody knows! They won't identify the source of their funds. Incidentally, the American Research Group is located in New Hampshire and has published many other questionable polls favorable to republicans.

Ultimately, Astroturfing is evil. It involves manipulating information to change public perception. So, you might ask, why would Rich Tarrant engage in Astroturfing? After all, he has all that money, and he has been saturating the media. Some people think that he wouldn't bother with blogs and the Internet.

Here is my answer. If you had all the money in the world, why wouldn't you try every technique that's ever been used?Here is my prediction. After some major event, like the Bush or McCain visit, another American Research Group poll will magically appear that will show Tarrant has cut Bernie's lead even more.

-Deep Throat

Related Posts:
What's Tarragant Got Up (or on) his Sleeve?
Monday Morning Parking Garage Edition
Monday Parking Garage Edition
Tarrant lays off 300, Raises Own Pay
Tarrant Sucks Blood (From Red Cross)
Astroturf, Nixon, and Tarrant
Deep Throat Says...(8.30.6)
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:10 PM   0 comments
Same As It Ever Was
Friday, December 12, 2008
Politicians are risk averse. They don't like to answer questions. Dan Smith was willing to leave a comment here explaining why he looks like a ski bum in a picture I posted, but not willing to follow up by answering serious questions in writing. His campaign manager wrote to me privately and said Dan would talk to me in person instead. Hopefully I will get around to meeting with Dan and the other three announced candidates, especially if I get a tape recorder for Christmas- but there is a larger issue here.

We're in the middle of a paradigm shift in communications and in politics. Obama was able to defeat Clinton and McCain, two powerful establishment pols largely through a more dexterous use his website, YouTube and blogs. The internet is revolutionizing politics and not just on the national level. Here in Burlington, BurlingtonPol and others have been revolutionizing politics too. This blog does have influence, and so does She's Right, Blurt and Local Action Works.

Local pols cannot ignore the local blogosphere. My thesis is that, as powerful as blogs have become in our national discourse, local political blogs have the potential for even greater proportional influence on local discourse. Many of you reading this now know me or have met me personally. In itself that lends to a kind of credibility that's impossible on a national scale. I know my Google rankings are high for many local political names. I know darn well many local politicians are reading this right now. You cannot escape it and you ignore it at your political peril.

Almost a month ago Andy Montroll promised Owen at Local Action Works by email that he would answer their mayoral questionnaire "in the next couple of days" yet he still hasn't...
From: andy montroll (
Date: Mon, Nov 17, 2008 at 12:19 AM
Subject: Re: Mayoral questionnaire for Burlington Democrats caucus
To: Owen Mulligan (


Thanks for sending me this questionnaire. I hope to get to finish up my responses in the next couple of days and then I'll get it back to you.

Unfortunately that's not acceptable. The questions on this particular questionnaire aren't even that difficult...
1. Why are you running for Mayor?
2. How will your administration differ from the Kiss administration?
3. What is your vision for Burlington?
4. What are the three biggest challenges facing Burlington?
A blogger would have replied with the answers in about three seconds. That's the way blogging works. It's interactive and it's instant. And the politicians who don't catch up to this reality will be left behind. There is absolutely no reason all four candidates could not jump into this post's comment thread and respond to these questions in writing right now. Whoever does first will force the hand of the others.

As I mentioned, I posted a series of questions for Dan Smith in a recent post. I've also sent a similar set of questions to Democratic Ward 7 city council nominee Eli Lessor-Goldsmith. Just as Andy promised Owen forthcoming answers, Eli also promised he'd work on (but not necessarily answer) my questions...

sorry for the delay on this email.
I am finally recovering from Thanksgiving.. it was long at work and then lots of eating yesterday.
Let me work on the answers to your questions.
Happy holidays.

In Dan and Eli's defense, I asked more and perhaps tougher questions than Owen, but they shouldn't be too tough for local office seekers to address...
*How would you move city employees from pensions to private retirement accounts? By attrition or in one fell swoop?

*Are you in favor the Public Works department absorbing the Parks Department and firing Wayne Gross?

*Are you in favor of Burlington Telecom offering a remote control with a pager in it so you can hear it beeping from under the couch cushions?

*Are you in favor of Burlington Telecom selling its bandwidth capacity to other municipalities?

*In light of mistakes made in all three elections run by Ben Pacy so far, what would you do as mayor to ensure election integrity?

*Can paperless electronic voting devices ever truly be audited? (hint: no.)

*Are you in favor of the Moran redevelopment as it's proceeding?

*Would you have put that huge school bond on the ballot?

*Whom did you vote for for president?

*Would you like to see stairs leading from Battery Park to the waterfront?

*If the candidates for mayor were Dan Smith, Bob Kiss, Kurt Wright and Andy Montroll, who would be your 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th choices?
I want the answers to these questions and my readers do too. I want them in writing and I want them in an interactive, dynamic discourse with local pols on the internet. We the people are sick of meaningless platitudes and slogans from politicians. Don't assume big signs and slick mailings that don't say anything are going to carry to you anymore. Elevate your discourse. Get specific. Learn to write and stand behind your thoughts like bloggers do.

And if institutional lag renders our local pols kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, be aware that traditional media types like John Briggs at the Burlington Free Press and Shay Totten at Seven Days are probably reading this too. I expect them to pick up on the questions here and press the pols to answer them. You are reading this and your opponent probably is too. This town isn't that big. Don't hide behind platitudes and promises to answer later.

Elevate the discourse local politicians. I'm warning you.

Labels: ,

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:45 AM   7 comments
Iraqi Refugees in Burlington
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Ken Picard has written a highly informative article about an important news story- The arrival of about 50 Iraqi refugees to Burlington. Read the story here.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:13 AM   10 comments
Mayoral Election Polls II
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Here's an update on my unscientific mayoral preference polls of self-selected internet participants- Dan Smith is ahead in both, showing strength with people inclined to vote in a poll on a blog. My guess is that the standings in this poll may be inversely proportional to the reality we'll see on election day. But who knows?

Dan Smith's natural constituency of young, internet-savvy people are exactly the ones who might vote in these polls, so it would be a bad sign for him if he weren't crushing in these.

Want to prove me wrong? Want to prove me right? Don't care at all? Here are the polls...

Free polls from
Who is your first choice for Mayor?
Bob Kiss Andy Montroll Dan Smith Kurt Wright

Free polls from
Who is your second choice for mayor?
Bob Kiss Andy Montroll Dan Smith Kurt Wright

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:42 PM   2 comments
Baird and Ewing backing Wright?
Are former state rep. and mayoral candidate Sandy Baird and former bank president and Hinda Miller supporter John Ewing joining forces to help Kurt Wright oust Bob Kiss?

I don't know. Are they?
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 7:52 PM   7 comments
Mood Swings and Budget Cuts
Here's a link to the Fiscal Year 2008 Mayor's Budget Task Force Report. Read it over twice. There's going to be a test on it at the end of the day. Here's a link to a post about beavers and beaver traps where I get into it with Cathy Resmer about Seven Days's narcissistic 'letters to the editor' policy. Cathy often mentions how much she loves her job, which sends me into a vortex of ennui and self loathing every time. This has nothing to do with beavers or letters to the editor however.

The Bikram Yoga studio on Pine Street had a free open house on Saturday. I attended a 90 minute yoga steam class and it made me feel pretty good. I think yoga matches my personal philosophy and style pretty well. I hate material clutter. Yoga is just you and a simple mat. When I used to live alone my apartments were usually very neat and empty. My favorite way to decorate a room might be described as ultra-spartan. An empty room with a futon on the floor is pretty much my decorative preference. It's harder to live that way with a wife and kids.

And I don't like Christmas. To me it's essentially a big bill I have to pay. Maybe I can get some vicarious joy by trying to see it through the eyes of my son and daughter. I hate having to lie to them about Santa. I can tell Koko at four already senses the impossibility of the myth. When Poopsie told him that Santa stops at everyone's house on Christmas eve, he immediately asked how. This is probably his last year to buy into that bullshit. I stopped believing in Santa around five years old myself. There were about four billion people back then. I did the math.

Here's a link from Owen Mulligan about a horror movie he made. Or something. Always gotta add the 'or something.' Here's taboo question: Has Rachel Maddow already jumped the shark? She's rich and famous and works for an arms dealer. When the tether breaks and an astronaut starts floating away from his ship, does it matter that he's still in sight of it? He's still never coming back. I enjoy Rachel Maddow. She talks like an episode of Friends. All quirky and whatever-y. But seriously folks. Seriously...

This will be my first Christmas without my mother who died in January. I think I've been in a low level mourning pattern all year, but the holidays are going to make it worse. My father and younger brother will both be travelling on Christmas Day. Father in Missouri. Brother in New Hampshire. Mother in Space. I'll wash up on the shores of my in-laws as a holiday refugee, despising the expense and the lies of Christmas. Flotsam of the universe with no career to love. No skills to market. Only half-heartedly engaged in the material world.


posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 9:25 AM   7 comments
Kurt Wright Officially Running
Monday, December 08, 2008
Breaking News: Kurt Wright Running for Mayor

I Think I easily beat all other news sources when I predicted back in February that Wright might be running. Now it's official. City councilor Paul Decelles just sent out the following email...


"To all,
Please join me this Thursday evening at 5:30pm at Contois Auditorium to Cheer on Kurt Wright as he announces his run for Mayor. Kurt is a long time City Councilor and current President of this body, he has also served the people of Burlington in Montpelier for many years.
Come and listen to Kurt's platform and hear him discuss the new direction he sees for Burlington.

Festivities to begin at 5:45 and beverages to be provided at the conclusion of speakers.
Please come and be a part of this special day for Burlington!
Paul Decelles
City Councilor Ward 7"

Labels: ,

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 4:20 PM   2 comments
Saturday Morning Radiator
Saturday, December 06, 2008
I can't believe I've been doing this show for a whole year already. But here it is again. You can listen to the Haik Bedrosian Radio Program (ain't a figure of speech) in about 90 minutes from now- 10am-11am only on 105.9FM in Burlington or on the Web at It's a call in show so have your thoughts ready and (802) 861-9666 programed into your phone. Here's a big shout out to Bipolar Earth's MC for calling in last week!
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:34 AM   0 comments
Boathouse Systemics
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Just a quick reminder to the mayor and the city council- Whatever happens regarding Adam Cate and the Parks Department, the important thing is you fix whatever it is that allows huge wads of cash to go from a safe to a car, that might prompt investigations into embezzlement or allow employees to read each others' email. Stop accepting cash and get your I.T. people to enhance your email security. Integrity is important, but people come and go in these jobs. The systems in place are what matter in the long run.


posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 10:22 PM   4 comments
Mayoral Election Polls
Two Polls: 1st Choice for mayor and 2nd choice for mayor. You get one vote in each poll from any given computer. Your first and second choices should be different! Don't cheat!
Here we go...

Free polls from
Who is your first choice for Mayor?
Bob Kiss Andy Montroll Dan Smith Kurt Wright

Free polls from
Who is your second choice for mayor?
Bob Kiss Andy Montroll Dan Smith Kurt Wright

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 11:28 AM   6 comments
Tons of Traffic
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
What's up with all these visitors?
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 6:12 PM   7 comments
Countdown to Dem Caucus
Oh my God! Andy Montroll must be so psyched right now... He's about to win the Democratic Party's Nomination for mayor! That might actually mean something this year! Now if Andy can just find a picture of himself shaking hands with Obama...

I guess Mary Kehoe will take Montoll's spot, Joan Shannon will re-up and we got a contest in Seven. We'll see how that turns out. The caucus is in 35 minutes!
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 5:55 PM   0 comments
Big Brother Telecom
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Is Jonathon Leopold using Burlington Telecom to spy on his political opponents? Are BT subscribers like me subject to having our internet use monitored by the municipal intelligentsia?

It's unlikely, but it's not impossible I suppose.

Don't forget- Festivus comes earlier this year as the Dems and Progs have their airing of grievances Thursday night at Seven PM at the Main Street Landing Film House in a forum hosted by Rodney King.

Labels: ,

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 10:15 PM   0 comments
Key to You
My bank in the New North End recently installed a new Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). Now when I put my card in, the machine makes me wait a few seconds while it 'checks my preferences.' Then it asks me if I would like to proceed in English or Spanish.
posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 8:17 PM   0 comments
Things Happening
Yeah. Sorry. I accidentally stopped blogging for like a week. I blame Thanksgiving. And FaceBook. I just joined FaceBook and it really is addicting. Is everybody you've ever met in your life on there or what? My poor blog feels neglected.

So back to Burlington Politics. Today is Dan Smith's campaign kick-off. Per a comment in the last post:
Anonymous said...

Dan Smith is officially kicking off his mayoral campaign at 11am today (Tuesday December 2nd)at the Skinny Pancake. He is also hosting a kickoff party at Red Square starting at 7pm. Be There! Dan has a great vision for this city and I encourage all of you to listen to his ideas and learn more about him.
I don't know why a comment like this would be left anonymously. But whatever. My apologies to the Smith campaign but I'm not going to make either event. But I'm sure WCAX has it covered.

WCAX also mentions the City Council's actions last night regarding the whole Adam Cate mess, which is getting more and more complicated all the time. The council is demanding answers. Good for them. Shay Totten had some good insights on this last week. The Free Press covers the story today.

Oh what else? Tomorrow, Wednesday night, at 6:30pm at Champlain Elementary School on Pine Street the Democrats will Caucus. They will pick Andy Montroll to run against Smith and Kiss.

Is Wright gonna get into this thing or not? When do the Republicans caucus? Anybody know?

I know I promised that my coverage of the local races would be better this year, but the truth is, it might be worse.

Much, much worse.


posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 1:42 PM   3 comments
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