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Category — Fred Lane

Election Day 2011

No balloons this year.  Sorry.  Can’t afford ‘em.

In the city council races today only 2 of 7 wards are officially contested and the incumbents in the two contested wards, Brennan and Dober in 3 and 7 respectively, will both win handily.  Dave Hartnett running as a Democrat to replace Nancy Kaplan in Ward 4 faces a dark-horse write-in challenge today from Ralph Montefusco.   That sums up the council races.

The school board races are just as uncontested this year, with 5 of seven wards’ candidates walking on.  The outcomes of the two contested school board races are less certain than those for city council.  In 5 it’s incumbent Fred Lane vs. challenger Paul Hochanadel.  In 7 it’s incumbent Nathan Moreau vs. Challenger Ed Scott.  Both races are toss-ups.

Who I’m voting for- I live in Ward 7.  My vote for school board is a secret.  As I said, my prediction for school board in 7 is “toss-up.”  For city council in Ward 7, I can’t bring myself to vote for either guy, so I’m just going to write myself in.  If you have the same issue, you’re welcome to write me in too (“Haik Bedrosian”), but as I said- I fully expect Dober to win easily.

OK let’s talk about the ballot items a bit.

1) School Budget: I’m voting yes.  I predict it passes with around 54% of the vote.  People will want to mollify their guilt for voting no on the general fund tax increase, by voting yes for the school budget.

2) City Tax Increase: I’m voting no.  I predict it fails with around 40% of the vote.

3&4) Burlington Electric Bonds.  I’m voting yes.  I predict narrow passage for both.

5) Changing the way we elect mayor from 40%+plurality wins, to 50%+ wins:  I’m voting no.  Charter changes should not be based on face-saving measures designed to make last year’s losers appear consistent.  Fail.  And I predict it does fail with 49% of the vote.

6) The charter change in question 6 is purely to express that the existing practice of allowing a majority of a quorum to pass things is correct.  It changes nothing.  I’m voting yes.  I predicts it passes with about 60% of the vote.

7) Take the treasurer off the Board of Finance: I’m against fixing a policy around a particular personality, and I think this is an attempt at that.  However, this measure would take away the mayor’s de facto second vote on the board of finance, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Per se it wouldn’t have much practical effect because the finance board would still get its info from the treasurer, but I can see how for some it would be considered a start toward tipping the power balance between the council and mayor closer to equilibrium.

8) Advisory reforendum on keeping affordable housing:  Sure.  Why not?  I’ll vote yes for this and predict is passes with about 60%

Comments are open.  Consider this an open thread to talk about the Burlington elections today.  And don’t forget to vote!

March 1, 2011   5 Comments

From Fred Lane

Below the row of stars to follow is an email I just received from school commissioner Fred Lane who is in a contested re-election bid against challenger Paul Hochanadel on Tuesday.  I will happily publish information from any Burlington candidate.
Hey Haik –
John Briggs sent over some questions for an article he’s writing about the budget and school races. I don’t know what percentage of answers he’ll use, so I thought I’d send the complete answers to you for posting on BurlingtonPol if you see fit. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Name: Frederick Lane
Age — 48
Educational Background — Amherst College (B.A., American Studies/Classics, 1985); Boston College Law School (J.D., 1988)
Time in Ward — 18 years
Reasons for Running –
1) Leadership, experience, and vision — The Board is facing a number of particularly challenging issues right now–contract negotiations, District finances in a tough economy, compliance with NCLB, diversity initiatives, and high school renovation–and I think that my experience and leadership will be asset to the Board as we work on those issues;
2) Board continuity — The Board has undergone considerable turnover in the last couple of years, and I hope to provide stability and guidance to more recent Board members as they become familiar with the complex issues facing the schools;
3) Commitment to Public Service — I’ve been active in Burlington community affairs for eighteen of the twenty years I’ve been in the City–Fire Commissioner, Ward Clerk (Ward 5) and School Board– and I look forward to continuing my work on behalf of Burlington’s kids;
4) Belief in Public Education — I think that public education is one of the core elements of American society, and we should be doing everything possible to improve and perpetuate it. I have enjoyed working towards that goal, and hope to continue doing so.
Differences with opponent: I don’t think that there are significant differences in philosophy between myself and my opponent. I think that the chief distinguishing characteristics are my experience on the Board (10 years in October) and my record of leadership on difficult issues facing the Board.
You can find additional information on my Web site at

Frederick Lane is an author, attorney, educational consultant, expert witness, and lecturer who has appeared on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, the BBC, and MSNBC. He currently serves as chairman of the Burlington (VT) School Board. His fifth book, “American Privacy: The Four-Hundred-Year History of Our Most Contested Right,” is now available in paperback from Beacon Press or the retailer of your choice. His his sixth book, “CyberTraps for the Young,” will be published on April 1, 2011.
American Privacy Facebook Page:

February 23, 2011   Comments Off

Hey! Look over there!

January 31, 2011   1 Comment