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Interview with Paul Decelles
Monday, March 10, 2008
There was a recount tonight to determine if councilor Decelles is actually re-elected over Democratic challenger Steven McIntyre. It went 779 to 764 in favor of Decelles. What happened to those other 50 votes?

And now... The BurlingtonPol Interview: Paul Decelles

Here at last is the long awaited interview between BurlingtonPol (Haik Bedrosian) and Republican freshman incumbent, and senior Ward 7 city councilor, Paul Decelles, 30. Currently is the youngest city council member. This interview was conducted on the morning of December 27, 2007 at the Bagel Café in the Ethan Allen Shopping Center.

BP- When the Hell are you going to pave Matthew Avenue?!
PD- I asked Steve Goodkind specifically about Matthew Ave. A few meetings back he gave us a hand out that scored all city streets. Most streets in your neighborhood averaged around a 75. That is pretty good. Mathew Avenue received a 22. A score of 61 is fair and a score of 51 is failing. I told him "Steve please give me some words of wisdom to share with folks who live on Matthew. They ask me why they have to drive on the moon to get home, or whether their share of property tax isn't good enough...I don't know what to tell them!" Steve Said Matthew is slated to be repaired this summer.

BP- Hmmm... "repaired," huh?... So what’s going on at city hall?
PD- Things are relatively quiet right now. The council is about to ratify the zoning re-write.

BP- How about the Beltline slip ramp closure?
PD- It seems like it is working, but in the first three or four days after it closed, I got non-stop complaints about it by phone and email, but Steve Goodkind said he heard some positive feedback. Neil Lunderville speaks as if there will be no state money to make the change permanent.

BP- Is the rumor about Craig Gutchell stepping down this year true?
PD- Craig will finish his full elected term, but he is frustrated with the slowness of government.

BP- Compare and contrast Ian Carlton with Kurt Wright as city council presidents.
PD- Ian was very regulated and precise. Kurt has a different style. More laid back, but still in control. Kurt will crack a joke, or maybe Bill Keogh will- and it might break some tension or give us that needed pause- it’s useful to have a laugh and take a deep breath sometimes. I’d say we’re as productive or even more productive under Kurt as we were under Ian Carlton. It’s sort of like a "business-casual" style with Kurt, whereas Ian was more of a "three piece suit" guy.

BP- You have one daughter right?
PD- Yes, Ella. She’s 4.

PB- How does being a parent inform your work on the council?
PD- Well take zoning for example. Throughout this whole process I’ve kept my mind on how it will effect the city twenty, thirty years from now. How it will effect the business climate in Burlington? How will it effect the new north end? Will my daughter is grown up, will she love the neighborhood like I do? Will she be able to live here?

BP- Speaking of the zoning re-rewrite, there seemed to be an awful lot of cooperation between the Progressives and the Republicans on that. What’s with the unholy alliance?
PD- Kurt, Jane Tim and myself got together at Kurt’s to meet on this stuff. Kurt and I sided with the Progs on a number of business and economic issues, like setbacks, and bonuses for environmental efficiencies. For example on LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design]- those aren’t the law, they’re just standards, so we agreed with the Progressives that there should be bonuses for LEED construction. Democrats on the council were more towards the opinion that LEED should be made the minimum.

BP- I know it’s not in your ward, but have you been through the intersection of North and South Prospect where they intersect at Pearl Street and Colchester Avenue? You know, between Dewey Hall and the De Goesbriand?
PD- Yes.

BP- That intersection sucks, doesn’t it? It’s skewed so nobody knows who’s supposed to go when and it’s always a dangerous mess. I have an idea for staggering the lights that might fix the problem. Of the four directions covered by the existing light, only have it green for one direction at a time, and maybe rotate clockwise which direction gets the green light while all the others are red. No more tangles and it would be a lot cheaper for the city than physically changing the road.
PD- I’ll take ideas from anywhere. There are professionals at city hall, but sometimes Johnny Public has better ideas. That’s why I love public forum- The guy with the guitar- That’s democracy! It’s a town meeting feel. I try not to take bathroom breaks during the public forums.

BP- What happened to the City Kids program?
PD- Last summer it was consolidated from Parks to the School District. Many kids were already being served after school by both programs and the School District has federal funding to run it. Under Parks and Recreation City Kids relied on fees and state subsidies. But we definitely still have the City Kids.

BP- What’s your take on Jonathan Leopold? I mean, is he the Bad Cop to Bob Kiss’s Good Cop, or what? Do people hate working under him? I mean, what’s the story?
PD- Jon runs things different than Brendan. Keleher would answer questions, or speak at certain appropriate times, but Jon really likes to talk- and Bob will defer to him on a lot of the substantive dollar issues. And Bob is a lot different than Clavelle. Clavelle was a consummate politician. He loved the camera. He loved the limelight. Bob, not so much.

BP- Hmmm…. Changing the subject- Do you go to church?
PD- Yes, my family and I attend services at North Avenue Alliance Church every Sunday. We’re Protestants. Our church lets us have a more direct relationship with God. They sort of take the middle-man out.

BP- OK I know national politics and local politics are totally different animals, but you are a Republican. What do you think of some of the thing Republicans are doing lately? Do you think waterboarding should be allowed, for example? Or is it torture? Should America be torturing people?
PD- That’s a tough one. I’ve never seen waterboarding done. But I do think that 2001 changed everything.

BP- Let’s talk about Burlington Telecom. Are or were you in favor of the city getting into the telecom business?
PD- You have to ask yourself if this is something government should be doing? Should government be competing with private companies providing these same services? But at this point, Burlington Telecom is here and I think from the city’s standpoint, we have to make it succeed now. BT just signed up its 2000th customer, and we think there are potentially 12 or 14 thousand more potential customers in the city.

BP- Some people have been critical of the mayor’s reluctance to sell BT services or bandwidth to neighboring communities. What are your thoughts on that?
PD- I actually agree with Bob on this. We don’t have all the kinks worked out. We don’t have HDTV yet. There are a lot of people in our city yet to be signed up or who don't even have access yet… so it’s not something we want to do half-baked. We don’t want to grow it too fast and watch it fail because it’s over extended.

BP- What’s your philosophy regarding representational government? Should you be representing your constituents’ wishes, or their best interests as you see them? Have you ever run into a time when those two things conflicted?
PD- Luckily that hasn’t happened, but you do have to take both into account.

BP- How long to you think you will keep doing politics?
PD- I love door knocking and meeting people. I love listening to ideas. I think I’ll be involved as long as my wife tolerates it.

BP-Thanks for your time today.
PD- My pleasure.

Labels: ,

posted by Haik Bedrosian @ 10:03 PM  
  • At March 10, 2008 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Glad to finally see this.
    Paul seems to have a good head his shoulders. Good to see someone from my generation working to keep Burlington a great town.

    Thanks Paul.

    And good work, BP.

  • At March 10, 2008 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That was great. Thanks for posting it. It would be so cool if you could do more stuff like this, but believe me, I totally understand how much work it is.

  • At March 10, 2008 11:57 PM, Blogger Haik Bedrosian said…

    I do what I can.

  • At March 11, 2008 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yikes! A Republican in a Yankee's hat. shiver.

  • At March 11, 2008 10:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kinda like Rudi G., eh?

    Are there Dems. who like the Yanks? I thought they were all band-wagon Sox fans.

    You know what I'm talking about. How many college-age women do you see these days wear pink Sox hats? Ever see that before they decide not to totally suck?

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