How I'm Voting on the 2021 Burlington Ballot Questions, and Why
Question 1: Approval of School Budget for Fiscal Year 2022: YES
It will be a cold day in hell when I vote against a school budget ballot item. If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
Question 2: Proposed Charter Change to Add Members to the Board of Airport Commissioners: YES
I don't have a problem with going from 5 to 7 members and including someone from Winooski.
Question 3: Proposed Charter Change to Regulate Thermal Energy Systems: NO
Remember that old bumper sticker "Save the Planet: Kill Yourself?" This reminds me of that. The city wants me to hand it the power to punish me for heating my house with clean efficient natural gas. Gas I can barely afford as it is. Why would I do that? I asked Joan Shannon and the mayor on Twitter what kind of heat system they'd prefer me to use, and Joan said "eventually heat pumps." Eventually!? So in the meantime, what? Buy the city's electricity, much of which is carbon based anyway, to run space heaters? Do you know how expensive that would be? This ballot item is insane. Hard no.
Question 4: Proposed Charter Change to Adopt Ranked Choice Voting For City Councilors: NO
It's true that in 2006 Ranked Choice Voting (or RCV aka Instant Runoff Voting or IRV) gave us one of our greatest mayors of all time, Bob Kiss, But it's also true that the "spoiler system" gave us another of our greatest mayors of all time, Bernard Sanders. On the left sidebar of this blog you'll see a picture of Dick Bove. He was the spoiler in 1981.
And yes there was a spoiler in 2009 (sorry Kurt) even with IRV and okay maybe Robert Bristow-Johnson wrote a patch for that in this latest proposal, and so on and so forth.
In any event, we're talking about the council level here. Do we really need this? How often does a council race go to a runoff? Once every 10 years? Who cares? Naaaah.
It matters whether a process of election can quickly and easily be understood, and RCV is simply more complicated than first past the post. Also at the mayoral level at least, it can't be tabulated at Ward level. I don't like that either. If you want to bring up approval voting, then maybe I'll consider it.
Question 5: Proposed Charter Change to Provide Protections for Residential Tenants from Eviction without Just Cause: NO
So if I'm your landlord and you sleep with my girlfriend, I can't kick you out of my apartment house?
Landlords don't kick people out for no reason, but to force them to prove the reason will create an ugly, expensive, and imprecise bureaucratic process that will make renting properties in this city a less desirable thing to do, and slow the growth of the city's housing supply, or even shrink it, who knows?
Also- Most landlords are mom and pop's. Forcing them to maintain a tenant they don't want to is cruel. These are business relationships, but they're human relationships too. This is a god awful proposal.
Question 6: Authorizing Retail Cannabis Sales: YES
Yes, with concerns. I don't want to see the black market destroyed. I don't want the stores keeping all kinds of records on people either.
Question 7: Advisory Question Re Climate Justice : NO
This appears to presume the passage of item 3. Whether it does or not, I don't like the idea of the council asking us if we want to advise them of this or that. It's an absurd and disingenuous way to lead. You can't put everything on the ballot.
They threw bunch of language in there like "low income" and "clean energy" and "Indigenous" that will make it hard for a lot of people to vote against this word soup, but I'm sending it back to the kitchen.