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Category — Adam Cate

Shay vs. Odum vs. Me

Shay lashes out a little at the Dems this week, as if they may end up destroying BT with their bad attitudes, although his column doesn’t address how the seventeen million might be repaid. On the other hand, Odum thinks it’s the Progs who might end up destroying BT with their bad attitudes. Odum also does not discuss how BT might refinance its debt.

Shay also charges Dems “rallied” for Adam Cate last year. I don’t remember it that way. It seems to me that in general, the whole council was trying to figure out what the hell was going on with Cate. I don’t recall anyone really ‘rallying’ for anyone, except perhaps for Bob Kiss who “rallied” for Cate’s right to privacy in the whole matter.

Anyhow, the sad fact is BT’s death may have been a fait accompli when Nulty walked. He wanted to expand, and obviously he knew what the hell he was talking about. The simplest explanation for what might have happened was Leopold got all up in Nulty’s face at some point and Nulty was like “fuck this.”

Nulty is a Jedi and Leopold is a Sith. We’re left with the Sith. And nobody knows where the seventeen million is coming from. It’s nothing to do with bad attitudes. Most new businesses fail. Most experiments fail. Things fail. That’s life.

The writing is on the wall. So bring on the finger pointing Shay and Odum and whoever else. I’m glad the city spent ten thousand dollars to run fiber up to my house, but I’m sure I’ll end up paying for that myself. And to be honest, I’m not that much of a geek. I’m still running coaxial cable into my high def flat screen, and the computer I’m running is made out of balsa wood and duck tape. It doesn’t know cable from fiber. Neither do I.

When I first got Burlington Telecom hooked up, the bill started out at $100 even per month. Now it’s crept up to $120 somehow. If Comcast offers me a better deal, I have no compunction at all about jumping ship.

What do I care? I have a family to feed.

October 28, 2009   6 Comments

BurlingtonPol TV Show I

The first regular monthly installment of BurlingtonPol TV is today at 5:25pm on Channel 17. I’m seeking to engender low expectations with this first show, so I haven’t prepared any talking points yet.

I’ll be relying heavily on callers to fill the time, so dial 862-3966 to speak with me live on the show.

Of course, I have to talk about something between calls- so I’ll be using this post as a scratchpad for brainstorming ideas and links throughout the day. The theme is local politics and current events. Help me out…
*****

Adam Cate fired again- (Read Press Article)-Some Background
City cracks down on graffiti and the Streets seem to be getting swept a lot-
The fight for the city council presidency
Cats vs. Birds in new north end
What’s the deal with frisbee golf?
Paul Decelles and Clarance Davis on Board of Finance-
One arrested in mass pillow fight on Church Street

What else?

-Charity mentions Maurice Mahoney has a piece on IRV in the Freeps. People love talking about IRV. That’s a good one.
-Jay Vos spells program “programme” like Benny Hill. Love it.

April 21, 2009   10 Comments

Adam Cate Fired Again

Wayne Gross Fired Adam Cate Again.

April 20, 2009   3 Comments

Eli Lesser-Goldsmith

Rerun from 01.15.09
Note: Eli Lesser-Goldmith will be competing against Vince Dober in a runoff election on March for the seat being vacated by Craig Gutchell. Voting will take place at the Miller Center on Gosse Court.
*****

After wrapping up my show last Saturday at The Radiator on College Street, I stopped in to Stone Soup next door to get a cup of coffee. Inside I ran into Democratic Ward Seven city council candidate Eli Lesser-Goldsmith (photo right) and sat down with him for an impromptu interview.

He showed me a copy of his fist piece of campaign literature and I asked him how the door knocking was going. Although he said that by Saturday he had only knocked on about 100 doors so far, Eli was adamant that he will knock on every door in the ward at least two times. It’s an ambitious goal in Ward Seven, which has the largest land area and least population density of any ward. When I mentioned this he said “I’m undaunted.”

When the conversation moved to issues Eli outlined three main areas he wants to work on.

This first of the three was development. Lesser-Goldsmith says he supports building new senior housing at the site of the Motor Vehicles Department on North Avenue, but that most new development should take place downtown. He says the city “could have done a better job” on the recent zoning re-write and that it should have been more lax in terms of parking requirements. He believes that Planning and Zoning should be merged into Public Works and that “design review is a thorn in the side for a lot of people.” He says permitting should be a faster process and gives Burlington developers credit for being “tenacious” in the face of cumbersome regulations.

The second issue Eli touched on was jobs. He said higher, denser buildings downtown would provide more room for business to grow, citing Fuse marketing as an example of a company recently forced to move out of the city because they could not find the office space in Burlington they needed. He said the city needs to attract new businesses and that he could personally act as a “go-between” toward that end.

Our jobs discussion moved tangentially toward the issue of transportation. Eli said “the fact that we have only one bus line in the new north end is a total joke.” He said he’d like to see changes in the funding structure of CCTA to make federal funds correlate to ridership, and more park and ride facilities just outside the city to alleviate traffic congestion.

The third thing Lesser-Goldsmith promises to focus on if elected is the issue of parks and the waterfront. I of course tried to sell him on the idea of stairs from Battery Park to the Waterfront and he seemed to like the concept. We discussed making the College Street Shuttle more user friendly by bringing the drop-off / pick-up point back to the loop near the boathouse. This had been the bus stop in the past, Eli said, but traffic problems forced the bus stop to move to its current location at One Main Street. We discussed gating the loop as a possible means to avoid those past problems. “The waterfront has been a huge missed opportunity for the City of Burlington” Eli said. “The more people we get to the waterfront the better.”

He said the “North 40″ should be cleaned up and turned into a giant park for the time being. When I asked if he supported the Moran Plant redevelopment as it’s proceeding, he said he liked the idea of re-using the building. Noting that the process is already underway he said “Sometimes when you’re given lemons, you have to make lemonade- let’s embrace that.” But while he supports the proposed sailing center as an appropriate use of the building, he is much less enthusiastic about the climbing wall and children’s museum proposals. Instead he said he prefers to see a mixed use for the building that would include high-end condominiums, a cafe and an observation deck.

Wrapping up our discussion, we touched on the topic of government transparency and responsiveness. He liked my idea of an official online forum where city officials could discuss issues online, in writing and in real time. He even went so far as saying he would actually blog live from the city council meetings themselves. When I suggested some might say this would distract from his duties as a councilor, he assuredly replied “I can multi-task.” “If elected” he proclaimed, “I’ll be the most easy-to-communicate-with city councilor Burlington has ever seen.”

March 10, 2009   1 Comment

Second 2009 Mayoral Debate II


Live Blogging the Debate


OK- I’m back home and I’m still live blogging the debate.

10:19pm- I will now transcribe the notes I took at the debate that ended at 9:00pm. Note: These are NOT EXACT QUOTES. These are merely my interpretive renderings. Therefore, anyone I’m about to maliciously mischaracterize should stop reading now.

Everyone else: First of all, can we get each candidate a mike? Left to Right before the audience sit Dan and Kurt sharing one mike, then Bob and Andy sharing another. (Then Ken Picard and Shay Totten sharing another.) Really? No inputs for four candidate mikes? Isn’t there some kind of signal splitter or something that would have allowed for that? Really, no?

Shay Totten: Blah blah blah…blah blah blah…streaming, texting…blah blah…blag blah blah. Hope you already took your bathroom breaks, and if you can’t hold it for two hours then you shouldn’t have come… blah blah blah.

Opening Statements:

Dan: Energy, Vision, Reinvent, Long term thinking, smart growth, sustainability, efficiency…

Kurt: On a lake. On a beautiful lake. Economic vitality. Great schools but affordable schools. Not about partisan politics. About who is the best person to lead city forward.

Bob: Here since 1972. Lifetime of public service. Experience in legislature, judiciary committee, mayor.

Andy: People looking for change. Burlington coasting. Coasting ok for a little while. Been on council 15 years.

Ken Picard: You’ve heard enough from us (Shay). Now questions.

Question: New Technology Use?

Dan: City should live blog, video blog, web platform for permitting.

Dan’s Rebuttal: City has 15 websites on 5 platforms.

Kurt: Open government, need to do a better job with technology, created a committee…

Kurt’s Rebuttal: Things not fast and easy (Dan).

Bob: Hardware needed requires investment, Burlington Telecom (BT) a far sighted investment…

Bob’s Rebuttal: Investment needed.

Andy: A fellow councilor convinced me to buy a blackberry.

Andy’s Rebuttal: City departments have piecemeal web presence.

Question: Carbon Footprint?

Kurt: Bring green industries to Burlington.

Bob: Goal is 20% reduction by 2020. 80% by 8080. Bill McKibben. City using same amount of electricy as it was in 1989. Burlington Electric Department (BED) programs.

Andy: More recycling, alternate transportation.

Dan: Development planning for communities where people can walk everywhere. Photovoltaic cells on roofs.

Question: Mistake?

Bob: Gave poor people moldy butter.

Andy: Voted to change city retirement system in 2000. Was 30 million underfunded then. Now 60 million.

DS: Didn’t run for mayor three years ago.

Kurt: Voted to raise dog fees.

Question: The Poor (“underserviced”)?

Andy: Homeless, hungry opportunities education jobs childcare.

Dan: Handy’s counter, refugees, at risk youth, non-profits, mentoring.

Kurt: Refugees, develop Catholic Diocese and DMV into senior housing. Middle class getting priced out.

Bob: City has 25 year commitment, 2000 housing units subsidized, non-profits, support human need.

Question: City Weighing in on national/international issues?

(They all said it’s fine if it doesn’t take too much time from city business.)

Question: Arts?

Kurt: Festivals on waterfront.

Bob: City Arts, SEABA. Individual Artists, Incumbent on us to make that spirit move.

Andy: Arts and culture, African dance troupe at Flynn Theater, parking lacking.

Dan: Artist energy draws employers. Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Rebuttals- Kurt mentions quadra-centennial. Bob realizes he should have mentioned it, and mentions it. Andy has to then chime in and mention it. Then Dan launches zinger- ‘Just to be clear, I also support the quadra-centennial (audience laughter).

11:20pm- Alright. I’m getting tired. Maybe I’ll come back and keep live-blogging this tomorrow…

2/5/9, 7:00 am- (This time stamp is totally fake)

Question: Radical Idea?

Bob: Paving the marketplace stopped us from “scooping the loop,” Alden Plan vs. people’s plan on Waterfront. Burlington Telecom is a radical idea.

Andy: We don’t need a radical idea now. We need to build on what we have.

Dan: I didn’t take notes. I think it was a good answer. Maybe something about photovoltaic cells again.

Kurt: Joked that Peter Clavelle told him putting a dome over Burlington is a good idea, Hotel and conference center on waterfront.

Question: Yes / No Questions

1) Do you support the current school budget?

Dan: Yes

Kurt: No

Bob: Yes

Andy: Yes

2) Do you support the disk-golf course as proposed?

Dan: Yes

Kurt: Uncertain

Bob: No

Andy: No

3) Do you support same-sex marriage?

Dan: Yes

Kurt: That’s not a yes or no question. (Shay: Yes it is.)

Bob: Yes

Andy: Yes

Question: Ambiguously worded question. What’s not a core service? or What would you end?

Bob: The budget is lean.

Andy: BED, BT and Airport (BTV) are not core services, but they’re great.

Dan: Run things efficiently and effectively. Bad accounting practices at Waterfront (Adam Cate)*.

Kurt: There was a problem in the Parks Department (Adam Cate).

*Here somebody finally throws a punch in this debate.

Rebuttals on Adam Cate affair-

Bob: Followed rule of law when it came to personnel issues.

Andy: Questionable accounting practices, but “I don’t think any money was stolen.”

Dan: Issue was also slow pace of investigation.

Kurt: Mayor should have not let Public Works director speak about classified information before the Parks commission.

Question: Affordable housing downtown?

Andy: Housing on all levels.

Dan: Housing shortage in Burlington.

Kurt: Permitting easier in South Burlington. More senior and student housing to decrease pressure on market.

Bob: city has 15,000 housing units- 9000 rental, 6000 owned. Zoning re-write allows for more residential density downtown.

Audience Question: Guy in Green Hat: Fluoride in Water?

Dan: Still thinking about it.

Kurt: 75% of voters voted to keep fluoride in, but position not set in stone.

Bob: City reduced fluoride to lowest recommended dosage, but fluoridated water still not recommended for infants and those with kidney disease.

Andy: More research needed. There is a correct scientific answer, but we don’t know what it is.

Audience Question: Guy in Sweater: Town-Gown Relations?

Kurt: Vital institutions

Bob: Challenges in neighborhoods

Andy: Vital institutions

Dan: Friends brought students banana bread, said their baby goes to bed at 7pm.

Audience Question: Woman in blue hat: Style vs. Substance?

Bob: I encourage citizen participation.

Andy: I insisted on twelve foot wide sidewalks.

Dan: Background in economic development.

Kurt: (Attacks mayor’s leadership.)

Audience Question: Woman in blue sweater: Southern Connector?

Andy: I’ve lost track of how many times council voted to move it forward.

Dan: Git-r-done.

Kurt: Clavelle brought control of project into mayor’s hands eleven years ago.

Bob: Agreement reached with Vermont Railway two years allowing for Pine to Battery street route.

Closing Statements

Andy: 12 foot setbacks! Who should make decisions? Developers or people?

Bob: Effective government. Efficient. Moving forward. City gets accolades. 25 years of values. Burlington open for business but not for sale.

Kurt: Thanks to other candidates. Special blend of vision, leadership and experience. Five new councilors joining. Got endorsement of firefighter union and of some Progressives*

Dan: 12 foot setbacks Andy? Really? That’s your line in the sand? Really? (Then solid oratorical closing.)

*(Note to self: Ask Kurt what Progs endorse him.)

Shay Totten: Blah blah blah… blah, blah, blah…. blah blah… blah blah blah blah….

(Audience eventually had to just bigfoot him and start applauding so we could leave. Totten may still be talking right now as far as I know.)

The End.

February 5, 2009   Comments Off

Eli Lesser-Goldsmith

After wrapping up my show last Saturday at The Radiator on College Street, I stopped in to Stone Soup next door to get a cup of coffee. Inside I ran into Democratic Ward Seven city council candidate Eli Lesser-Goldsmith (photo right) and sat down with him for an impromptu interview.

He showed me a copy of his fist piece of campaign literature and I asked him how the door knocking was going. Although he said that by Saturday he had only knocked on about 100 doors so far, Eli was adamant that he will knock on every door in the ward at least two times. It’s an ambitious goal in Ward Seven, which has the largest land area and least population density of any ward. When I mentioned this he said “I’m undaunted.”

When the conversation moved to issues Eli outlined three main areas he wants to work on.

This first of the three was development. Lesser-Goldsmith says he supports building new senior housing at the site of the Motor Vehicles Department on North Avenue, but that most new development should take place downtown. He says the city “could have done a better job” on the recent zoning re-write and that it should have been more lax in terms of parking requirements. He believes that Planning and Zoning should be merged into Public Works and that “design review is a thorn in the side for a lot of people.” He says permitting should be a faster process and gives Burlington developers credit for being “tenacious” in the face of cumbersome regulations.

The second issue Eli touched on was jobs. He said higher, denser buildings downtown would provide more room for business to grow, citing Fuse marketing as an example of a company recently forced to move out of the city because they could not find the office space in Burlington they needed. He said the city needs to attract new businesses and that he could personally act as a “go-between” toward that end.

Our jobs discussion moved tangentially toward the issue of transportation. Eli said “the fact that we have only one bus line in the new north end is a total joke.” He said he’d like to see changes in the funding structure of CCTA to make federal funds correlate to ridership, and more park and ride facilities just outside the city to alleviate traffic congestion.

The third thing Lesser-Goldsmith promises to focus on if elected is the issue of parks and the waterfront. I of course tried to sell him on the idea of stairs from Battery Park to the Waterfront and he seemed to like the concept. We discussed making the College Street Shuttle more user friendly by bringing the drop-off / pick-up point back to the loop near the boathouse. This had been the bus stop in the past, Eli said, but traffic problems forced the bus stop to move to its current location at One Main Street. We discussed gating the loop as a possible means to avoid those past problems. “The waterfront has been a huge missed opportunity for the City of Burlington” Eli said. “The more people we get to the waterfront the better.”

He said the “North 40″ should be cleaned up and turned into a giant park for the time being. When I asked if he supported the Moran Plant redevelopment as it’s proceeding, he said he liked the idea of re-using the building. Noting that the process is already underway he said “Sometimes when you’re given lemons, you have to make lemonade- let’s embrace that.” But while he supports the proposed sailing center as an appropriate use of the building, he is much less enthusiastic about the climbing wall and children’s museum proposals. Instead he said he prefers to see a mixed use for the building that would include high-end condominiums, a cafe and an observation deck.

Wrapping up our discussion, we touched on the topic of government transparency and responsiveness. He liked my idea of an official online forum where city officials could discuss issues online, in writing and in real time. He even went so far as saying he would actually blog live from the city council meetings themselves. When I suggested some might say this would distract from his duties as a councilor, he assuredly replied “I can multi-task.” “If elected” he proclaimed, “I’ll be the most easy-to-communicate-with city councilor Burlington has ever seen.”

January 15, 2009   Comments Off

Boathouse Systemics

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.

December 5, 2008   Comments Off

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.

December 2, 2008   Comments Off

City Council Agenda 11.17.08

Here’s an MS Word .doc of Monday’s City Council Agenda

Highlights include…

11. RESOLUTION: Adoption of the Revised Comprehensive Personnel Policy Manual: City of Burlington Including the Burlington Electric Department
(Councilors Bushor, Keogh, Gutchell: Institutions & Human Resources Policy Committee)

According to John Briggs at the Burlington Free Press

“The Burlington City Council will get its copy tonight of the city’s updated employee manual — the rule book for all city employees.

Among the changes is an addition to the city’s leave policy arising from the paid suspension for several months of parks supervisor Adam Cate.

The new administrative-leave section says an employee can be placed on paid leave by the mayor, department head or human resources director when they determine “it is the in best interests of the city or the employee.” It specifies that the paid leave is appropriate when an employee’s conduct on the job is under investigation but must be reviewed for appropriateness every 10 days.

The council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in Contois Auditorium at City Hall.”

Briggs says the council is going to “get its copy tonight” and the agenda says they will adopt it Monday. That means all 14 city councilors will be reading the entire City of Burlington Employee Handbook cover to cover over the weekend, I’m sure, so they can make an informed vote Monday.

November 14, 2008   Comments Off

Numb Gray Surrender II

It’s really really gray and dark outside. Cloudy, cold and wet. This is my fist post this week. I haven’t had too much to say.

I’ve written two serious pieces recently that seem to have died in committee. You see, I don’t own a voice recorder so when I do an interview, I jot down what the person said and reconstruct it later. To make sure I don’t misquote or mis-characterize my subject’s words, I let them vet the piece before I publish it.

For instance, I finally finished writing up my interview with the owner’s of Radio Deli months ago, but I can’t publish it yet, because it’s still languishing in their in-box awaiting review. Similarly another interview I did a couple of weeks ago, which would certainly be fascinating to my readers, also can’t be published because I don’t have the OK.

This blog would be a lot better if I had a voice recorder and a new camera. I’ll have to work on getting those things before the local elections start shaping up in January.

So what’s going on right now? Well we’re one week from the presidential election. I guess I could talk about that. In the past I’ve voted in the morning before work, but I think Koko wants to go, so maybe the four of us will go together after five.

I vote in Ward 7, Chittenden District 3-2. How will I be voting?

Candidates:
President/VP: Obama & Biden; US House: Welch; Governor: O’Connor; Lt. Gov: Blank; Treasurer: Blank; Secretary of State: Blank; Auditor: Martha Abbot; Attorney General: Blank; State Senator: Tim Ashe only or Blank; State Rep: Mark Larson; High Bailiff: Blank; Justice of the Peace: Ed Adrian, Tom Fleury, Jim Flint and Selene Hofer-Shall.

Ballot Items:
1. Bond to repave streets: Yes.
2. Tax increase for streets: No. (Ask me next year.)
3. Penny for Parks: No. (To pay for Adam Cate’s vacation?)

I miss the Carpetbagger Report. Political Animal just isn’t as good. Don’t get me wrong, I still read it, but lately I’ve had to lean on Wonkette as a supplement.

October 28, 2008   Comments Off