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Comment Archives: Stories: News + Opinion: City

Re: “Neighbors Clash Over Apartments, Day Station for Homeless

Christopher, I agree with you 100%. Teri, you should read his comment if you're not too busy shopping. "I and many others have lost interest in shopping downtown because of being approached by healthy people who can and should be working." You are blinded by your privilege. I don't know what you do (or don't do) for a living, but your lack of compassion for these people suggests that you don't know anything about them. Many have mental health issues and disabilities that prevent them from working even if they WANT to. Would you hire one of them when you clearly find them so discusting? Cots expanding cab help them get back on their feet and get a freaking shower so maybe they can get a job. You have no idea how stigmatized these people are although you are the one doing it. It's people like you that help keep these people down and maintain this horrible cycle of proverty. I simply cannot believe you are more concerned about being inconvenienced by them while shopping than about supporting an action to help get them off the streets. They are people, not animals for gods sakes, many of them a lot less privileged than you are I'm sure. Vermont is a liberal town. Maybe it's people like you who don't belong here. By the way, for all if the homeless people you were speaking to, they'll probably never see this for lack of internet access let alone shelter!! Sickening.

Posted by Andrea Lee on 10/29/2014 at 1:30 PM

Re: “Neighbors Clash Over Apartments, Day Station for Homeless

I find it curious that the war on poverty is so disliked. haters gonna hate I hate poverty.

Burlington is surrendering the war.too bad.

Posted by Walt on 10/28/2014 at 11:39 PM

Re: “Neighbors Clash Over Apartments, Day Station for Homeless

It must be nice to be able to afford a house in Lakeview Terrace to park your BMW, Volvo or other SUV that you use to drive your children to school in. The building that houses COTS used to be a commercial building, there were industrial buildings in the neighborhood creating a much bigger footprint as far as traffic, noise, etc., than this proposal will. The proposal is designed to help elderly and disabled people, who are among the most vulnerable when it comes to housing security. Burlington has seen a couple of new expensive hotels, at least three "market rate" condo/apartment complexes with another one started on N. Winooski Ave., but apparently "boxing in" poor people is less of an issue than boxing in yuppies. The growth of affordable and basic housing has been on the back burner ever since "Miro The Wunderkind" and his developer-cronies took over City Hall. Burlington has been invaded by a bunch of narcissistic hipsters and gen-xers whose attempts to turn our city into some sort of Bohemian Fantasyland where everyone who is not a designer, funded entrepeneur or one of the dozens of new brewer/restauranteur/"art" promoters can "suck it." The elderly and disabled are not unemployed by choice, it is by circumstance, age, their disabilities and other factors beyond their control for the most part that they are not in the workforce, a workforce that, for the most part can itself marginally afford to live here. Every apartment that has seen double-and triple-digit rent increases due to the number of those recently arrived upper-middle class folks who come here for the "atmosphere" is raising the cost of living and thus, helping in a big way to create the abysmal housing situation we have now. I have watched the O.N.E. become squeezed by encroaching "gentrification", student housing and apartments and the destruction of formerly affordable homes and this project is absolutely essential to help some of the neediest in our community.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Christopher Hill on 10/27/2014 at 4:35 PM

Re: “Neighbors Clash Over Apartments, Day Station for Homeless

My heart bleeds for the children that Rita Markley and her crew work so hard to support.

But I have a different mind about the work of Cots' I think it should be our goal as a community to make them much smaller not a a larger foot print. Every public policy decision should revolve around ending the need for COTS.


COTS is one of my family's largest charitable donations it pains me to write that check very year. Every year I wonder will Rita need less "please I dont need a much money, help and support. "

But it isnt happening Please write a check to help support COTS she and her team need our help and support.

I am not proud of the community who has created such a need for COTS I am not proud of them growing larger it pains me.

I am flummoxed that every public policy decision isnt based on eliminating the need for a charity like COTS to exist , boggles my mind.

Cant we do better? 51% of single mothers are raising their children in poverty in Vermont. Why? Why when Peter Shumlin flashes his mug on TV and declares we have 3.5% unemployment now-4.5% Why do we have such a rising need in our state for shelters? I am not pooh poohing the need clearly it is huge
25% of Vermonters live with food insecurity, that statistic is shameful.

I haven't asked Rita but I bet if she lived in a more perfect world she would be helping fewer folks because more were standing on their own creating a happy life for their kids.

When we think about public policy the top of mind issue should be how do we put COT's out of business or at least how do we make them a much much smaller l part of our community.

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by Walt on 10/27/2014 at 1:53 PM

Re: “Neighbors Clash Over Apartments, Day Station for Homeless

I just have to comment on this. As I always have found jobs!!!! and as of now there are an over abundance of them on Craigslist for this area. My question is for the homeless why do you sit around and complain and want everything handed to you , when there are so many jobs out there? While they are taking up space on church street, and making our downtown look pretty dirty !!! they could be at the Department of Labor using computers applying for jobs and looking for rooms in a house to live. It seems that they give up and stay in this state of mind because they get money food stamps healthcare handed to them. To the roofer who lives in the woods!!!!! I find it very hard to believe you cannot find a job as a laborer in the area. I see employment everyday. I feel for the mothers of children who are homeless, but not for a healthy young or old man who can work. In Vermont there is a shortage of people who want to work, the problem being it is to easy to become a resident of Vermont and its easier to sit around and feel sorry for yourself!!! Get a Job! plenty out there! Folks coming to reside in our state should work here for 1year and be a resident with proof of residency for a year. I have watched in disgust the downtown Burlington area turn into shambles!!! it is an embarrassment to tourist who comment and to the state of Vermont! Get the homeless off Church street and clean it up!! I and many others have lost interest in shopping downtown because of being approached by healthy people who can and should be working.

4 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Teri Emilo-Hagen on 10/23/2014 at 12:40 PM

Re: “CCTA Uses Eminent Domain to Acquire Properties

Using Federal (taxpayer from you and I) dollars to sue adjoining landowner because they've now decided they want to buy the building back from this same person? The more people read this article the better, I am disgusted by this misuse of power. Something is wrong with this system where if they don't use the federal dollars they go back to Uncle Sam. Instead of funding an unnecessary lawsuit (they already owned the building not that long ago and voluntarily sold it to Michael Ryan, right?) these dollars should go to major issues such as heating/weatherization costs for Vermont's vulnerable. Being a public entity created for the people, something is wrong here do you agree? My toddler behaves better than CCTA in my opinion.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ben Thomas on 08/31/2014 at 9:55 AM

Re: “Burlington's No-Trespass Ordinance Is Working, But Its Days May Be Numbered

One of the unfortunate realities of a "free" society, is that people have the freedom to make bad choices, as well as, good choices. In much the same way a "good" decision can have an impact on not only the decision maker, nearby people and potentially society at large, the same is true of bad decisions.

The true test of a persons commitment to the constitution and concept of a free society is not found in how vigorously they defend the rights of those with whom they agree, it is found in the defense of the rights of those with whom one disagrees.

One thing, in particular, which I find very interesting in all of this, is the very people who should be most cognizant of the constitution and rule of law are the same people pushing a "solution" that is so blatantly unconstitutional. Sounds like a fail to me.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Durwood Mark Collier on 07/05/2014 at 10:16 AM

Re: “Burlington Considers Its Parking Options

Just go to the library and read The High Cost of Free Parking by Donald Shoup. All the answers are in there.

Posted by Robert Orr on 06/26/2014 at 6:27 PM

Re: “Winooski Plans to Improve Arteries

I love most of the changes in Downtown Winooski - including those at the Mill. The current tenants are preserving a wonderful treasure in that building. The one shortsighted direction in the changes at the Mill would be that no large trucks can make deliveries - limiting the types of businesses that could be there. I only state this because the glaring omission in Winooski's downtown is a real grocery store (there are a few convenience stores with a very limited selection of staple items). Another restaurant is great, but most Winooski residents can't afford to eat out for every meal - I know I can't. Many agree that Winooski has moved in the right direction. I can walk from one end of town to the other, bike with relative safety through much of the area (the circle being the exception - though I can walk through safely) - but living in a food desert is a challenge that shouldn't have gone this long without a resolution. In such a concentrated community it seems there's no lack of customer base.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ma on 06/17/2014 at 12:30 PM

Re: “Winooski Plans to Improve Arteries

It wasn't noted in the story but I'm sure that others have noticed the relatively recent shut-down of those completely asinine pedestrian crossing lanes with traffic lights at the Winooski traffic circle. The whole point of the traffic circle is to move traffic around it in one direction. There are pedestrian crossings at all 4 corners of the circle, at which pedestrians only have to contend with crossing one lane of traffic traveling in only one direction. To put walking lanes with stoplights smack dab in the center of the traffic circle, cutting across 2 lanes of traffic was absolutely the dumbest decision made re: Winooski downtown development. I'm glad to see that these stupid lights are not in-operation any longer.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lee Stirling on 06/12/2014 at 2:26 PM

Re: “Burlington Considers Its Parking Options

It seems like no matter how sterilized and mall-like we make our cities there will always be people who would rather just go to the mall. Convenience above all else. If you avoid Burlington (not to mention NYC, Montreal, Boston, etc...) because the parking garages are smelly your mind probably won't be changed by fancy parking technology.

Posted by Shippy on 06/06/2014 at 9:51 AM

Re: “Burlington Considers Its Parking Options

Just a historical perspective - The Burlington Business Association along with the Burlington Parking and Transportation Council back in 1999 actually spearheaded the 2-Hour Free Parking Program in City garages to help support Burlington downtown businesses compete with the retail growth taking place in Williston where there was free parking. This program has been a huge success for the past 15 years for many reasons. Everyone coming into town appreciates having free parking if only for 2-hours. The 2-Hour free parking was supported by a tax assessment to businesses which we are still paying. Mayor Peter Clavelle worked with the Burlington Business Association to make this program work. I encourage the Parking Committee to support the continuation of 2-hours of free parking in all City Garages - it is very important to the economic vitality and success of all of our downtown merchants.
Melinda Moulton Past Chair of BBA and the Burlington Parking and Transportation Council and CEO of Main Street Landing.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Melinda on 06/05/2014 at 1:58 PM

Re: “Cyclist Spencer Tackles Parking and Potholes

Like it or not, it's part of running public processes to have people show up to talk about what they want and need. If DPW were biased toward bikes, why would advocates need to show up in droves for a public meeting? Also, North Ave is not just a New North End issue.. Kids who would like to ride bikes to BHS, Leddy, and North Beach must use that street from all over the city, and, it's very unsafe -- see the Seven Days WTF article in this same issue.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by CityLover on 06/04/2014 at 5:07 PM

Re: “A Suspicious Death Draws Attention to Burlington's Homeless Encampments

The cost of allowing people to use land isn't the cost of the land itself-- obviously that's no cost at all, as you have to go out of your way to even notice the camps exist. The cost is that if lower cost housing were available than the cheapest apartments, these would not be the only people who need it.

A lot of people are just barely able to afford apartments, and are kept in those unsustainable indebted lifestyles only by precisely these efforts to make it impossible for them to live in the woods. There are also many more thousands of people who would choose to live in the woods, were it allowed, as it would let them be employed less doing things they enjoy more.

In short, allowing people to live cheaply would provoke a cultural transformation. The oppression and destruction of these camps should be understood as mostly an attempt to forcefully maintain this culture and the profit it generates.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Brett W on 05/31/2014 at 4:10 PM

Re: “A Suspicious Death Draws Attention to Burlington's Homeless Encampments

How hard can it be to accommodate people who are asking for something so meager as a piece of land to use for a camp site? Seems like it would be possible to rent and maintain a lot of campsite space for the equivalent cost of a few rent-subsidized apartments.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Moe Kinney on 05/31/2014 at 11:19 AM

Re: “Burlington's No-Trespass Ordinance Is Working, But Its Days May Be Numbered

It depends if Church St. is still a public street or not. If it IS a public street, I have no idea how this thing passed in the first place. it's it's private property, well then that's a different story. Some cities have given up their rights to their own street with very odd results. In a beautiful irony, "Downtown Silver Spring" in Maryland, is private property. No one knew this until people who were taking pictures on what had been a public street for decades were told "sorry no picture taking allowed here." And to make matters even more confusing, the municipality of Silver Spring runs "Silver Spring Downtown" which includes the private property, but includes some public space as well.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Tom A. on 05/09/2014 at 9:48 AM

Re: “Burlington's No-Trespass Ordinance Is Working, But Its Days May Be Numbered

To be clear, people can legally be banned by the Merchant association from all member stores within the Church Street Marketplace - as they are all private property. The issue at hand is the ban from the public street in it's entirety. I agree that it's completely unconstitutional - keep in mind, the street level is mostly retail, however the rest is mixed use with not only housing, medical, dental and mental health practitioners and business offices - but in fact the City Hall, the city offices, the conference room(s) where city councilors meet and the public viewing area(s) for those meetings. Banning residents from accessing the street where City Offices is located sure seems unconstitutional to me.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ma on 05/09/2014 at 9:35 AM

Re: “Burlington's No-Trespass Ordinance Is Working, But Its Days May Be Numbered

It's telling that the state's attorney for the county won't appeal Kupe's dismissal. That's a tacit acknowledgement that the ordinance cannot survive briefing and a constitutional challenge.

What's almost is bad is Chief Schirling fear mongering that somehow reinstating the status quo from a year ago will somehow lead to a massive influx of undesirables on Church St. This is and has always been about catering to the Church Street merchants.

If Burlington wants to remove these folks from Church St. then they need to completely relocate all their services from downtown.

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by raincntry on 05/08/2014 at 10:04 PM

Re: “Burlington's No-Trespass Ordinance Is Working, But Its Days May Be Numbered

The only people who should receive a no-trespass order from Church St or anywhere for that matter - is anyone, anyone at all who is actively threatening, harassing and violent. If said person is a danger to themselves or others they should be asked to leave. How law enforcement categorizes such activity is questionable and needs to be discussed among Burlingtonians to agree on where to draw the line. Targeting individuals based on perceived social status and deemed suspected deviants due to appearance and the like is an outright injustice...as is banning people who are poor and homeless from the area etc.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Claire Marton on 05/08/2014 at 3:47 PM

Re: “Burlington's No-Trespass Ordinance Is Working, But Its Days May Be Numbered

The examples given of people causing trouble within stores are a red herring. A store owner, or the owner of any private property has the right to issue a no trespass order to anyone the owner deems to be undesirable, so long as the order does not discriminate against a protected class under the Public Accommodations Act.
The rationale for this ordinance sounds a lot like what we heard from NYC justifying "Stop and Frisk."

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Barry Kade on 05/08/2014 at 2:38 PM

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