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Category — Marrisa Caldwell

Jonas Married, Caldwell Quits Council

July 31, 2010

*Congratulations Jonas and Lily!

*Thank you for your service Marrisa.

July 31, 2010   3 Comments

Council Delays Financing IV

Breaking News: BT Business Plan Totals 7 Pages

Well I missed the dramatic conclusion of the big city council meeting. Marrisa Caldwell walked past channel 17′s camera and it suddenly went black. It seemed like she might have kicked a cord out of place or something.

Just before that the administration distributed its confidential written documentation to the council. That disbursement was to have happened in executive session, but the council was tired so they opted to take it and go.

As a consequence the public now knows that what was distributed were two separate pro formas which taken together fit on about seven sheets of paper.

The administration just isn’t going to give councilors all the information they asked for. If councilors don’t like it, they can vote to kill BT. See my previous post for thoughts on how likely that is.

Note to councilor Adrian- You may share those pro formas with your caucus’s staff attorney. I say it’s ok.

December 4, 2009   3 Comments

Council Delays Financing

Breaking News

Well that was one of the more entertaining council meetings I’ve seen in recent years. In the end Bill Keogh couldn’t quite keep up with his officiating duties and posed the motion to postpone in such a way as to be unintelligible by all present except city attorney Ken Schatz, and perhaps Jonathon Leopold. The council didn’t really understand that they had just voted to kick the can down the road to December 7, but they did.

The administration wanted the council to give its collective signature to a letter of intent with Piper Jaffrey to start working on the 61 million dollar financing deal. The resolution on the table had two parts. Part one said the BT would come into compliance with condition 60 by repaying pooled cash within sixty days. Part two was the letter of intent.

On a motion from Ed Adrian, the council voted to split parts one and two. He and Joan Shannon had attempted to split the “whereas” clauses, as well as the operative clauses in the resolution, but Ken Schatz and Sharon Bushor correctly pointed out that for Shannon to have assigned her notion of which whereas clauses fit which “resolved” clauses, would have in fact created two new resolutions.

C’mon people. Really? Split the “whereas” clauses? You got to be kidding me.

The council passed part one, but then postponed funding it with part two pending more info.

What info? Mainly like a business plan for Burlington Telecom. Apparently the one they’ve got is two years old. In other words no planning since Nulty left. Nice. Here’s an idea to save BT some money. Besides start their CSRs at $2 less per hour- just eliminate Chris Burns. Does he do anything except fill the space between Leopold and the rest of BT?

Anyway. At one point Sharon Bushor was very vexed, red-faced and at a complete loss of words, quite obviously because of Adrian. You could almost hear her wishing Kurt Wright were there to call the cops on him. That was kind of funny to see.

The meeting started sizzling around 11:30 when words started to fly. Some quotes-

“I won’t be scolded!” -Nancy Kaplan

“I won’t be boxed in by this council!” -Sharon Bushor

“I am appalled!” -Marrisa Caldwell

“You are voting to destroy Burlington Telecom for the sole purpose of embarassing this administration!” -Jonathon Leopold

“I would appreciate Mr. Leopold it if you would not speak to me in a condeceing way!”-Mary Kehoe

“I screwed up the queue.” -Bill Keogh

“How is that doing what’s right for the city?”- Marrisa Caldwell

“I really don’t like be accused of not having the city’s best interest in mind.” -Joan Shannon

“Befuddling…Infuruating…Very disappointing…” -Emma Mulvaney-Stanak

“We have the power.” -Sharon Bushor

“Just for the record [Jonathon Leopold and I] did kiss and make up.”- Mary Kehoe

“Think before you speak.” -Karen Paul

“I move to call the question.” -Paul Decelles

Had I been there I would have voted against splitting the question, and against the postponment of the letter of intent.

November 17, 2009   7 Comments

Department or department?

Cheif administrative officer Jonathon Leopold keeps pushing the limits of the public’s credulity. Take a look at this recent email between Leopold and city councilor Marissa Caldwell in which Leopold tries to defend calling Burlington Telecom a “department” in a recent Free Press Op-ed.

From: Jonathan Leopold
To: Marrisa Caldwell
Hello Marrisa-

Thank you for forwarding this email to me.

The remark that I have incorrectly or inappropriately referred to BT as a “Department”, is not correct. If Mr. Feeney read the article carefully, I did not call BT a “Department”.

In fact what the article asked in one question was “is BT the only city department to use pooled cash. By inference one would conclude that I called BT a “department”. The use of a small letter “d” for “department” instead of the capital “D” for Department was intentional since BT is not a formal “Department”. I used the term “department” in lieu of more complicated, but technically correct terminology such as “enterprise fund accounting entity” or simply “enterprise fund”. However, then the question would have been phrased “are there any other “accounting funds or other entities” which have used pooled cash. The technically correct language would have been confusing to the public and would have made an already lengthy article even more so. As it was even with extensive editing, the article was more than 50% longer than the normal limit for the BFP. Thus, I used the term “department” as a more meaningful term for the public to understand the use of pooled cash by all of the various entities of the City, including Departments, Divisions, Special Projects, Capital Projects, Enterprise Funds, Special Revenue Funds and Trust Funds, etc.

Finally, Mr. Feeny’s incorrectly states that because BT was not a “Department”, “allocating funds from the city cash/pool/resources should never have occurred in the first place”. Like much of the public “discussion” about BT, this statement is incorrect.

In fact many of the accounting entities participating in pooled cash are not “Departments”. I have no idea what Mr. Feeny’s alleged expertise is to make such a statement but he is incorrect

Please feel free to share this response with the people in the original

That’s ridiculous! If he wanted to avoid causing confusion he should have used the technically correct language, not wrong, obviously misleading language.

I didn’t care for the ” alleged expertise” remark, either. What was the point of that?

November 12, 2009   5 Comments

Live From Channel 17

(Refresh this post for updates… All vote counts unofficial.)

The polls just closed and I’m at the channel 17 studio waiting to speak with Ken Picard and Bill Simmon on the air.

The first preliminary results from the city are indicating Democrat Nancy Kaplan has won the open seat in Ward 4. Well there’s one prediction I got wrong.

7:42pm Kaplan wins with 957 to Kenworthy’s 923..
7:43pm Update Caldwell wins in Ward Three 498-461
7:45pm Emma Mulvaney-Stanak has won in Ward Two…
7:52pm Runoff in Ward Seven… Blais: 461, Dober: 612, Lesser-Godsmith: 618.
8:02pm Mayoral Race: No majority winner in first round. Instant-Runoff to decide winner…
8:17: IRV Third Round: KISS WINS.
8:30pm Bushor wins in W1, Shannon wins in W5, Kehoe wins in W6

March 4, 2009   Comments Off

Bob Kiss For Mayor

I am so late with this endorsement. I didn’t really feel right about openly supporting Bob before I had actually published my interviews with all the candidates. I realized that would be weird when Eva Sollberger asked me if I had an endorsement at the Seven Days debate, just minutes after Kurt and I had agreed to meet. I actually had the stink of responsibility on me this election. I promised Eva I’d eventually make an endorsement and here it is…

…But first: Let’s dispense with the pleasantries and get the city council endorsements and predictions out of the way. No graphics for the city council races. Sorry kids. Quick and dirty. Here we go.

Ward 1- Endorsement: Bushor. / Prediction: Bushor.
Ward 2- Endorsement: None. / Prediction: Mulvaney-Stanak
Ward 3- Endorsement: Caldwell. / Prediction: Caldwell.
Ward 4- Endorsement: None. / Prediction: Kenworthy.
Ward 5- Endorsement: Shannon / Prediction: Shannon.
Ward 6- Endorsement: None. / Prediction: Kehoe.
Ward 7- Endorsement: Lesser-Goldsmith. / Prediction: Lesser-Goldsmith

Note: Ward Three- David Cain: What the hell is “UC-La?” I’ve heard of Pepperdine!

Note: Ward Seven- Eli Lessor-Goldsmith: You must keep your promise to live-blog from city council meetings.

OK. Now the mayor’s race-

Prediction- Only a fool would pretend to know how this one will go down. I will say this, though. I remember running into Richard Sugarman up at UVM the day before Town Meeting in 1993. He was frantically scrapping around, looking for Clavelle votes in a panic.

A national change-election in 1992 preceeded a Burlington change-election in 1993. Same for 1980 nationally and 1981 here. Obviously 2008 was a national change-election. So if it worked out that way here in Burlington for 2009, there would be precedent.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Bob Kiss has done a very good job in his first term. When it comes to what counts- the budget, taxes, streets, sidewalks and basic city services- his challengers don’t go there. They go after vague concepts like “leadership.”

Peter Clavelle left a mess behind for Bob Kiss to clean up and a couple of live grenades with their pins pulled to boot. Joe McNeil’s insane sexual misconduct and Brendan Keleher’s corrupt personal raid on the pension fund jump to mind.

If Kiss loses, I think he’d have a right to contemplate the twisted irony of a universe that would give Clavelle fifteen years as mayor and him only three. Which is to say, I think Bob Kiss is a better mayor than Peter Clavelle was. Kiss created a rainy day fund for the city. Wisdom. Quiet wisdom.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Don’t be fools Burlington. Stick to the devil you know. Dance with the one that brung ya. Don’t change horses mid-stream.

And yes. Everybody hates Jonathan Leopold. Everybody thinks Leopold has too much power, or is the one really running the city. But let’s remember people. The whole CAO system is new. I think we will have some of the same complaints with the next CAO too. I mean you slip in a brand new position right below the mayor and above everyone else, and sure people are going to see the person in that position as running the city. The CAO system is stupid. The mayor is the CAO. I don’t understand why having someone who wasn’t elected helping to do the mayor’s job is a good thing at all.

But let’s face it also. Leopold is Bob’s main problem. To be honest I wish he’s fired him a year ago. Absent that, they could have at least manufactured some public disagreement for show, so that Bob could have been seen as putting Leopold in his place a time or two. No need to have a real disagreement even, but it would have helped this mayor a lot to have invented one for public consumption. Play a little “good-cop” to Leopold’s “bad-cop.” But no. He didn’t. So here we are.

Bob is my first choice. He’s the best. And if we toss him out we’re a bunch of fools who when full of bread, forget about bread and think only of circuses. Are we so petulant as to stomp our feet and complain because Bob Kiss is not a fire breathing dragon, or clown juggling bowling pins?

The entire nation is crumbling around us, but Burlington is still pretty good. We have good leadership now. We’re going to toss out, the oldest, wisest, smarted, most serious person in the race? The one with a track record of doing a pretty damned good job?

We can’t be that stupid. If you’re reading this on election day and you’re still making up your mind, I urge you to vote for Bob Kiss as your first choice for mayor today. Do it because it’s in the best interest of our city.

Yes. Yes. You want to know my second choice, and all of that. Stupid IRV. Fine. My second choice is Dan. Dan F. Kennedy Smith. If we’re going to change, then let’s really change. I’m talking Camelot. I share a generational connection with Dan. He speaks in terms of solar power and regional planning that allows people to walk places instead of drive. I get that. His learning curve would be huge and he’d have all these developers crowding around him trying to tell him what to do, but I still like him. I think he would be very engaged and he would excite a lot of interest in local politics, which can only be good for this blog. Plus, it was Dan’s campaign that got me started doing all my interviews with the mayoral candidates. They reached out to me, and once I had interviewed Dan, I was stuck. I had to interview everybody else too. So you can thank Dan Smith for that.

I toyed with making Kurt number two, but nah. Kurt’s number three. Andy’s number four. Regardless of what may actually happen today, this is what I see. I see Marcellus Wallace telling both Kurt and Andy “You came close, but you never made it. If you were going to make it, you would have made it before now.”

Again- the pictures may not accurately predict what’s going to go down tonight. But what the hell. I have to give you people something. You’re good readers and you deserve it. During this election you have given this blog your clicks and comments more than ever before, and I’m very grateful.

Thanks for reading Visit often!

March 3, 2009   Comments Off

Ivan Jacobs Free Post 1 of 5

Ivan Jacobs gets five free posts. Here’s number one (below the row of stars). I think he wrote it. Did you write it Ivan? Anyway please welcome BurlingtonPol’s guest host, Ivan Jacobs…

Ward 3 Neighbor,

Town Meeting Day is about a week away. With such pressing issues and so many new faces on the council it’s so important that we make our voices heard.

Schoolboard Commissioner and City Council Candidate Marrisa Caldwell has been knocking on doors and meeting neighbors to learn about the issues that are important to The Old North End, Downtown, The Waterfront and our community as a whole. Here’s Marrisa’s take on what she’s hearing from citizens in our neighborhood:

We live in a great neighborhood. By knocking on many of your doors, I’ve learned about the issues that matter to you – issues like affordable housing, health care, renewable energy and global warming, media literacy, having a safe city for bicyclists and pedestrians, livable wages, waste in government and so many more that we have the potential and the power to change.

I hope to bring these issues and all the others you’ve shared to the City Council. As a councilor I will work tirelessly to promote the best interests of Ward 3. It has been great to have the opportunity to meet so many of you. Through this campaign I have gained a new appreciation for what an amazing community we have. I hope to work with many of you in a responsive way to make sure that people come before politics on the Burlington City Council.

If you’re undecided on the race, or would like to discuss these issues and all the others, Marrisa needs to hear from you! If Marrisa already has your support, thank you!

We need your help
to make sure Marrisa is reaching every voter and building the relationships she’ll need to be a responsive and connected councilor.

To this end, a few fun events, please make an effort to come out, and if possible bring one or more Ward 3 neighbor:

Tuesday, 9pm – just after the People’s Forum on the Mayoral Race (Details Here:
Come to T. Ruggs to Celebrate our Community and also Marrisa’s Birthday around 9pm. Marrisa would love to meet the neighbors she’s missed at the doors.

, 8:45
pm – friends, supporters, and downtown neighbors will meet up at The Daily Planet, 11 Center Street

Marrisa especially wants to talk about her candidacy with the, harder to find, folks in the downtown area. If elected Marrisa will be a strong representative for the whole community. Please spread the word to your downtown neighbors. This will happen right after the DFA/GMD Mayoral debate next-door at Sapa Coffee & Tea.

Saturday, 8:45am – 11:15 amBagels & Coffee with Marrisa at the Barnes Elementary Community Room.
This will be a nice opportunity for folks to meet Marrisa before March 3rd.

If you can’t make it to any of the events feel free to Contact Marrisa @ 578-7325 or, anytime.

Thank you for participating in your local democracy!

Vote March 3rd at Barnes Elementary,

Caldwell for Council

Please forward this email to your neighbors!
Don’t know your Ward? Go Here:

February 24, 2009   Comments Off

Caldwell on the Radio

My guest on tomorrow’s radio show will be Ward 3 Progressive city council candidate Marrisa Caldwell (Picture Below) Tune in from 11am-12pm on 105.9fm or at Call in too! (861.9666)

February 13, 2009   Comments Off

Interview Weekend II

Yikes. The audio of my interview with Dan Smith was only 27 minutes long, and you saw how long that took me to transcribe. Sunday I sat down with Mayor Bob Kiss and his Democratic challenger Andy Montroll. Both recordings are 45 minutes long! I’m not sure how I’m going to publish those pieces in a timely way- but I’m gonna, darn it! Just Stick with me.

I also wrote to Kurt Wright and offered him a chance to be interviewed too. No word back yet from Kurt. I guess there’s a Green candidate on the ballot too. Frankly I was disappointed to hear that, since it might be more work for me.

Saturday I was joined by Democratic council candidate David Cain on my radio show, and his Progressive opponent Marrisa Caldwell called in. They got into it a little bit over the sexy snowboards, with Caldwell calling them abuse, and Cain saying it wasn’t the city’s business. That means I accidentally hosted the first city council debate of 2009- Live on The Radiator, 105.9 fm, WOMM-LP Burlington.

February 3, 2009   Comments Off

Marrisa Caldwell Press Release

Thanks to Ivan for passing this on (from 01.13.09)


School Commissioner Marrisa Caldwell announced today that she is seeking the City Council seat being vacated by Tim Ashe, who was elected in November to serve in the Vermont Senate.

Over the last five years, Caldwell has worked tirelessly for the residents of Ward 3 and for all of Burlington’s children. As chair of the school board’s policy and advocacy committee, she has been a leader on livable wages and more recently on improving faculty and staff diversity. She worked with parents, educators and the community to keep Lawrence Barnes Elementary School open, and she has worked to expand preschool and to keep class sizes small. Her efforts led to the Spanish language program in all Burlington elementary schools and the return of the middle school strings program.

Caldwell has served on the finance committee of the school board for three years, on the mayor’s task force on afterschool care, and she was elected by the Wards 2 & 3 neighborhood planning assembly to the community development block grant board.

“I will bridge the divide between the school district and the city council, bringing many years of fiscal oversight to my role as a city councilor. My priorities for the City Council are creating affordable housing, supporting small business development, making our streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists, finding efficiencies in city government and delivering high quality city services without relying on an increased property tax.”

Caldwell works in the Office of Primary Care at UVM’s College of Medicine. A graduate of Vermont College, she holds a degree in psychology with a focus on social movements and health care policy.

A native of Fairlee and a life-long Vermonter, Marrisa Caldwell lives at 204 Park Street with her three children, Alex, Rowen and Pete, and her partner, David Kreindler.

January 14, 2009   2 Comments