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Category — Ward 7

Vote March 4, 2014

My thoughts on the Ward Seven ballot:

City council- Bianka LeGrand (D) vs. Tom Treat (R).  I know both of these candidates and I think either would do a fine job, but I’ll be voting for Tom.  Tom’s been my neighbor and friend for a decade.  I don’t always agree with him politically, but I know he shares my belief in civic fairness and fiduciary responsibility.  And let’s face it, it is healthier for a governing body to contain within it some competing ideas.  Tom will do a great job representing Ward Seven.  If you live in Ward Seven, please vote for Tom Treat for city council.

School Commissioner- Linda Deliduka vs. David Kirk.  I don’t know David Kirk, but I have known Linda just about my entire life.  My mother taught with Linda and they worked together as members of the Burlington Education Association (BEA).  It’s interesting that Linda’s on the other side of the table now.  I’m grateful to Linda for stepping up and running for the seat I had to resign from in 2012.  I have not watched a single school board meeting since I left the board, so I have no idea how Linda’s doing, but I support her for the sake of history.

1) School budget: Yes

2) Waterfront money: Yes

3) City tax: Yes

4) Buy the hydro plant: Yes

5) Ward boundaries: No.  Too convoluted.  All city councilors should represent roughly the same number people from the same kind of ward or district.

6) Confiscate “weapons?”: No.  What’s a “weapon?”  Anything can be used as one.

7) Ban firearms in bars?  No.  Unenforceable.  Solution seeking problem.

8) Lock guns in safes?  No.  Unenforceable.  Solution seeking problem.  And what if you need to get to your gun fast?


February 22, 2014   3 Comments

When The Levee Breaks

So in my last post, I resigned from the school board.  For very personal and painful reasons I am living in ward 3 as part of trial separation from ward seven, and can’t hold the office anymore legally.  There are a number of other reasons.  My father, God bless him, is like 103 years old or something.  I’m sensing I need to clear the decks to be with him as much as I can.  My job, whatever it is, is mentally taxing and emotionally draining and now- separation.  And when I say separation from ward seven- that’s obviously a euphemism.  It’s hard for me to talk about my personal life but suffice it to say that in recent weeks events therein have overhelmed my ability to vigorously represent my constituency and so it would have been wrong of me not to resign even if I hadn’t left the ward.  There will be a special election this year in Ward 7 this year to fill at least one school board seat.  As there will be in ward 1 to fill the city council vacancy left by Ed Adrian’s departure September 30.  Miro was promoting Kevin P. Worden on Twitter tonight.  Oh…  that’s the other thing.  Maybe I can blog a little more too now that I’m off the school board.  I am sorry I didn’t cover the AG primary better.  I’ve just felt blown apart this month and I could barely write at all.  A lot has happened that I’ve missed.

September 6, 2012   3 Comments

Town Meeting Day 2012

Tuesday 3:24pm

Election Day live-blogging in random chronological order.  Just got back from hanging out at Ward 7 polling place.  I go back and forth between standing with the dems and the republicans.  If I stand in the middle I block the way.  I got yelled at for that last time.  It isn’t easy being an independent so I was happy to see Wanda there for a while.  Some thoughts on the ballot:

I voted.  When I finally had the ballot in front of me and I had to make a choice, I wrote in Bob Kiss for mayor.  I cherish my freedom.

The wording of the school budget question is so poor, the budget might just pass.  It doesn’t ask for a tax increase.  It just says ‘spend 65 million? Y or N?’  You know it hadn’t occurred to me to think about how it looks on the ballot.  I’ll be wiser about that next year.  Don’t get me wrong, as I said earlier, I want the budget to pass today, but I think people should know what they’re voting on.

About 2000 ballots had been cast in Ward 7 as of 3pm including presidential primary ballots, so I think it’s safe to say at least 1000 people have voted in ward 7 as of now.

Helen Hossley told me the 200 annual reports they had to give out at Ward 7 were sold out by 10am.

I took the CNN exit poll.  Ron Paul Revolution!  Woot!

Poopsie and the kids are still at the Lorax.  I’m going to try to eat something and go to city hall to get an annual report.  I’m going to be on the seven days live blog later (if I can find it; link?)  physically seated at channel 17, home or both.  Does channel 17 have WiFi?  Anybody?  And I guess folks from the school board are meeting at RiRa’s later, but I’m not really sure why… The school board’s finance committee will be meeting with the mayor-elect tomorrow to either start picking up the pieces if the budget fails, or a nice meet-n-greet if it passes…

More later… (but not necessarily within this post.)


Monday Night:

I’m from Burlington.  I’ve never been to a town meeting.  I just didn’t want to call the post “Election Day 2012″ because I might want to save that title for November.

The 2012 race for mayor is almost over.  My guess is Wanda will get between 10 and 20 percent of the vote and that Kurt and Miro will each receive between 40 and 50 percent of the vote.  We will know the winner very soon after the polls close.

The school board will get at least one, and at most two new members.

The city council will get at least four, and at most five new members.

More later…

Tuesday morning…  Election/Town Meeting Day…

10:19am  I’ve been invited by Seven Days to join their live-blog tonight where I and several real journalists will unpack the day’s events.  I have not wanted to say much about the mayoral race.  I still don’t know who I’m going to vote for.  Hell, I might just write-in Bob Kiss.  Or myself.  In the race between Kurt and Miro, I have not wanted to step on either of their toes or hurt either of their feelings.  They are both good guys.  I think.  Kurt and I joined the city council together in 1995 and Poopsie knew him before that even.  I only ever heard of Miro a few months ago, and only ever met him in person twice.  Normally that dynamic alone would make my decision a slam-dunk for Kurt- but although I really like Kurt personally and respect him, I never ever pictured myself actually voting for him.  More often I’ve envisioned myself running against him.  Not because of his party.  I am an independent, and I vote however I want.  My most enthusiastic vote today will be for Ron Paul, for example.  It’s more because I have never been able to grasp what Kurt’s core philosophy is.  I think he would probably be an ok caretaker for the office of mayor, but I don’t imagine him really doing anything special with it, and I’m not sure how much he understands.  Miro on the other hand, I see as a bit of a wild-card.  He’s never been elected to anything, and I’m not sure of how much he understands either.  With Miro it kind of feels like he himself is simply the tip of the spear trying to pierce city hall, and just behind his smiling face the entire apparatus of the Democratic National Committee is waiting to come set up shop and control my city for the next 50 years.

I don’t know.  Let’s talk about the school budget.  I am voting for it.  As a member of the school board I was one of 2 votes against sending this version of the budget to the voters.  That is not the same thing as voting for or against this budget now that it is before the voters.  Most of why I am voting for it now, is because once a budget is put before the voters the effects of if failing are costly and damaging.  Let’s say a majority of the school board had voted against sending this version of the budget.  We would have come up with something else.  Personally, I would almost never vote against a school budget when it’s on a ballot in front of me.  As a school board member I have a responsibility to represent other people, and use my votes to try to send the best budget I can to voters.  So I just want to put that out there right now.  To vote against the budget as a school commissioner and for it as a citizen is not a reversal and not inconsistant.  I know it’s a nuance not everyone will grasp, but the votes are really for different things.

As is my tradition on the first Tuesday in March, I am not at work today.  It’s 10:58am, I have to shave, shower, vote and hang around the Ward Seven polling place a little bit.  Gotta promote my “fill in the bubble” campaign.  Me, Poopsie, Koko and Yana will all go vote together.  Then I will hang back, and Poopsie will take the Kids to see The Lorax movie.  Yup, ok… sounds like a plan…

More Later…

March 6, 2012   2 Comments

Me and Jill Evans on Channel 17

This aired on 02/06/2012. Watching it now it seems like I talked too much and that Jill was very patient with me.

Breaking news: I have decided to cast my personal vote for the school budget. I don’t want to tell other people to vote for it, because I think they should make their own minds up. There will be a few people already at their financial edge for whom a tax increase will make the tyranny of the majority real.  That’s part of the agony of democracy and it betrays the fallacy of the property tax system. I wish the board and the administration had prepared a leaner budget, but if the voters say no to we will have to immediately notify up to 25 teachers that they might lose their jobs- all the cards will be thrown up in the air, and who knows what important things might get slashed in a panic as we draw up a second attempt? There really isn’t much of a plan b, sadly. Plus both Miro and Kurt have come against the school budget, and for some reason that pushes more toward supporting  it.

February 25, 2012   Comments Off

Jean O’Sullivan to fill Larson’s House seat

November 6, 2011   Comments Off

Jenkins Jumps the Gun

After losing to Paul Decelles last year, Greg Jenkins is making his second run for the city council this year challenging Ward 7 incumbent Vincent Dober.  It’s hard to see a path to victory for Jenkins against Dober, who is fairly popular in Ward 7 and among his collegues on the council.

Another reason it’s hard to imagine Jenkins winning, is that he seems prone to gaffes.  For example at his Twitter feed Jenkins comments about his debate with Dober at the Neighborhood Planning Assembly by saying “Dover attracts me…I stuck with the issues” mis-spelling both “Dober” and “attacks” in what might be mistaken for a Freudian slip.  It isn’t hard to delete a Twitter update and re-write it correctly, but Jenkins has left this one up as is  for five days.  Winning campaigns tend to pay greater attention to detail.

Two more serious gaffes are presented on both Jenkins’s campaign website and corresponding paper literature (three, if you count the added mnemonic effect of primacy and recency in a presentation).

The first blurb is a quote from Jenkins:

“My job as your City Councilor is solving problems, before they fall on the shoulders of Burlington taxpayers. I’m disappointed that this Administration and this Council have had to ask the voters for more money, while at the same time supporting wage and benefit increases the City can not afford.”

The first sentence (“My job as your City Councilor is…”) should not be written in present tense.  Jenkins is not a city councilor.  He is a candidate.  Voters hate it when a candidate is presumptuous.  I remember Bill Clinton giving a press conference as president-elect accidentally referring to himself as “president” and then correcting himself to say “president-elect.”  Jenkins isn’t even “councilor-elect” and he’s referring to himself as “councilor.”  It seems slightly delusional.

And there’s a gaffe in the last blurb: “How to be accountable- Stop executive sessions”

The gaffe is gross over-simplification. Voters aren’t stupid and most will easily see this as the empty sloganeering it is. You would be hard pressed to find a current or former city councilor who would honestly say there is never a need for executive session. Sure everybody’s pissed about all the secrecy surrounding Burlington Telecom, but there are other areas where the premature disclosure of information would put the city and taxpayers at a substantial disadvantage. Contract negotiations and civil lawsuits jump to mind.

Greg Jenkins is a nice enough man, but I predict another solid loss for him this year.  Sorry Greg.

February 20, 2011   1 Comment

Policy Committee Meeting Postponed

The meeting I was talking about in this post:

is being rescheduled.  Thank God.  I totally wasn’t ready.

This also means I no longer have an excuse to miss the Ward 4/7 NPA meeting tomorrow at the Miller Center on Gosse Court at 7pm, where I’m expected to answer questions about the school budget.  Right.  Like I’m ready for that.

February 14, 2011   6 Comments

Interview with the Mayor

Friday was the first time I’ve been in the mayor’s office in almost exactly 20 years. Twenty years ago around this time in January I went there to tell Peter Clavelle I was running against him in his first bid for re-election. He suggested I run for the school board instead. I probably should have listened to him. All well.

I’ve finished transcribing my interview with mayor Kiss. My thanks to him for for taking the time to speak with me on the record, and my thanks to you for reading Visit often!

Click here to read 01.14.11 Interview with mayor Bob Kiss.

January 17, 2011   19 Comments

Ed Scott Running for School Board

Breaking News

The post below the row of stars to follow was written by Ed Scott, candidate for Ward Seven School Commissioner. I appreciate guest posts like this very much. It’s less work for me. Thanks Ed.

Hello Haik, Hope you had a good break and happy new year. I’ve filed my petition, written a My Turn criticizing the budget process that should be in soon (don’t take it personally–also have copied my correspondence to board members to you), have had an announcement in North Ave News, and now I am taking you up on your offer to use your blog to say why I want to run. I appreciate this as I cannot afford to place ads, etc., and I am becoming more and more committed as I see Machiavelli at work such as the travesty that is the decision about after school program–that never should have gotten off the ground in the first place! Thanks

Why I am running from Ward 7 for the Burlington School Board

Thank you, Haik, for offering to let me use your blog to state why I am running for the school board.

Sixteen years ago, in 1994, I moved from the Northeast Kingdom where I had been a teacher and guidance counselor, to Burlington to take a job as guidance director at Burlington High School . Surprisingly, the rural union high school I left was state-of-the-art in many ways, but to my surprise when I got to Burlington, I found the guidance department I was taking over was still operating in the paper age, and the high school was entrenched in outmoded practices; teachers, not the administration, not the school board, were running the school.

Before the first bell rang on my first school day, tedious paper add/drop procedures so long in place, went out the window as I found it was possible to computerize such things. But other issues that elicited my ideas for change were often met with, “The teachers will never go for that.” While I can attest that the guidance department has been transformed, delivery of services continues to be outmoded and unsuccessful for a large number of students. Scores on the NECAP tests are low, and 15% of students do not make it to graduation. This information is on the department of education website for anyone interested.

I am retired now and have a 9-year-old, who with her friends, is closing in on middle school. I feel I must to do more than critique from the sidelines but to get involved in the decision making. With my background I can make meaningful contributions about how instruction can be improved. I have ideas about how to replace the current structure of leveling that puts a ceiling on academic and personal growth with a teaching model that is student centered and reflects individual differences. As a former teacher who likes kids and wants the best for them, I can be their voice.

Generally, we have a good school system with many successes. Acknowledging these as well as problems is important. However, like many voters, I am often suspicious of how decisions are made. Just recently, for example, the final decision was made about how to restructure the after school program. You can read about it in Haik’s blog, but quite frankly, the way the process worked out was Machiavellian. Now a BSD employee is the site director at Smith, Susan Carter and her sister have lesser, part time roles, just as was proposed last year. Our rep on the committee, Shireen Hart, voted no, but it happened anyway. I feel an obligation to be involved in these matters from the beginning so that perhaps I can help hold off such ill-advised, unfair decisions before they get off the ground.

I have held offices and community positions before where I lived in Derby , VT. Town moderator, community mental health board member, boy scouts committee, little league, always actively involved. I am a veteran who served as a helicopter pilot in Korea and Vietnam . Currently I am a guardian ad litem in Chittenden Superior Court. I am a good team player.

I believe I have the background, the ideas, and the energy to contribute meaningfully to the school board, and I hope you support me. Thank you. And thank you, Haik.

January 7, 2011   9 Comments

Ward Five Democratic Caucus

6:10pm: I’m so sorry folks, but I cannot attend the Ward Five Democratic caucus starting ten minutes ago at Champlain School.  I’m very tired tonight, and it would be too costly of my energy.  Hopefully someone will phone or email me the results for publication.   Look for an update later.

8:38pm: Thanks to Charity for relaying Shay’s Facebook report.  She knows I don’t have the facebook. 

According to Shay Totten on facebook, “Incumbent Joan Shannon defeats Carina Driscoll 94-59 in contested Ward 5 Democratic primary.”

59 is a pretty good number of votes to muster that quickly, but the short notice, the Prog baggage, the popular incumbent and her absence at the caucus made winning tonight a real long shot for Carina.   The #GotJoan? contingent came out in force.

I’m not sorry I didn’t go.  Poopsie made some delicious meat balls and I read some Limony Snicket to the kids.

January 6, 2011   4 Comments