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Re: “If at First You Don't Secede: Trump Could Revitalize Vermont Movement

With all due respect Naylor, Williams, et. Al. Are a little late to the party. In 1984, April 1st, I, along with a colleague, introduced a Resolution on the House floor that declared Vermont would secede from the union. Then Speaker, Ralph Wright, somewhat perplexed by the resolution, sent it off to Judiciary where it died a likely death. By lunchtime we had about 70 members approach us about signing onto the resolution. I suggested that they go back and re-read it...then look at the date.

It's a fun idea to talk about but it's not going anywhere....is it?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by bobstannard on 01/17/2017 at 6:33 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

In listening to the mayor's speech at the Democratic party caucus, I'm troubled by his over simplication of dissenting voices and his name calling. In black and white thinking it may be easier to simply label those who oppose specific issues by saying that they are essentially "anti-everything". But in doing so the opportunity is lost to learn what nearly half the voters expressed in November. I ask the Mayor and our elected representatives for some honest curiosity about other viewpoints rather than broad brush negative labels. It will make for a much more interesting and productive dialogue.

Posted by Amey Radcliffe on 01/17/2017 at 6:27 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

Good post, Chris. Folks should look at the annual reports and balance sheet of many of these so-called non-profits. These organizations once had noble missions, but over time they lose their focus and become self-perpetuating bureaucracies. This often happens.

Last I checked, VLT had 50 employees, and several earning more than $100,000 annually. This is not the way to use our land-conservation dollars. Similarly, CHT has even more, and I think most people would be shocked at the salaries of the Director and its employees. Eye-popping. CHT has totally lost its half that was the Burlington Community Land Trust at one time, and spoke for both preservation of important parcels of land, and smaller single-family homes and duplexes for families...both something in dire need.

CLF and VNRC have become a revolving door of individuals between the two groups. Just look at their employee bios and see how many people have worked at both organizations at one time or another.

If one is a paying member of these non-profits, the public has a right to know that their $$$ are often going to salaries, often exorbitant ones, rather than to supporting their original missions. And these groups are now dependent on dollars from the development community to keep their burgeoning bureaucracies going.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by VTPolicyAnalyst on 01/17/2017 at 6:22 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

As for CLF, AARP, and Champlain Housing Trust, their Tall Mall endorsements may have carried weight for those not paying attention but to so many others these organizations lost credibility long ago. They all showed their true colors in their deafening silence regarding the F-35 fighter jet basing. CLF also betrayed its roots by supporting the anti-environment destruction of Act 250 and local zoning via total exemptions for industrial energy.

Champlain Housing Trust supposedly cares about affordable housing but in reality they only care about building new housing that allows developers to profit and that CHT gets to manage, the better to justify expanding their bureaucracy. CHT cares not a whit for pre-existing affordable housing that is privately owned nor existing residents (i.e., huge swaths of South Burlington, Winooski and Williston under attack from the expanded noise zone of the F-35 fighter jet). Affordable houses with a garage and yard for the middle and working class. True homeownership for the middle and working class who do not qualify for subsidies is not part of the CHT agenda.

House after house is still being demolished in South Burlington, in spite of vows from Mayor Weinberger that the City of Burlington would stop applying for FAA funds to destroy neighborhoods. Not a word from CHT. More lies and violations of promises from the Democrats, just like the lies from Democrat-Progressive Jane Knodell.

CLF talks big about global warming but has no problem with the F-35 fighter jet, in spite of emissions so significant they threaten to further aggravate existing Clean Air Act violations in the F-35's Utah basing. This is Burlington, Vermont today. How the Mayor and these nonprofits claim some mantle from the Bernie Sanders era based on these values is beyond me.

3 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 01/17/2017 at 5:58 PM

Re: “Lawmakers Leery of Scott's Proposed Labor, Commerce Merger

Because nothing's ever discussed during pillow talk ...

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Joey Kulkin on 01/17/2017 at 5:53 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

In politics, half a loaf is better than no loaf. This is Weinberger's justification for destruction of PLANBVT and community-enacted zoning. He is a developer so to him, like the carpenter with a hammer who sees every problem as a nail, Weinberger sees every problem as a lack of development that can be solved with more, more, more.

I am partly sympathetic in that the Tall Mall could already have been built by now, a few stories lower in compliance with zoning, had City Council and the nonprofits not objected 2 years ago and insisted on various changes when Sinex made his first application. This might have been the silver bullet that would have provided more housing, brought the Fletcher Allen Hospital back office jobs downtown & also complied with zoning with zero height violations. Nor any tax subsidies. There was a trade-off to be made and many of us were just fine with the original application, regardless of connected streets or a few extra subsidized "affordable" units (guess who is paying for the subsidies - it is not Don Sinex but the taxpayers subsidizing him and the market-rate payers who now have to pay more). When City Council & the nonprofits wanted to futz with it, Weinberger and his cronies decided half a loaf is still better than no loaf, even if it involves $20+million of fiscally irresponsible tax subsidies. Unfortunately, the voters want to pay these higher taxes or else fell for possibly false marketing from Weinberger & co (whoever heard of a SuperPac for ballot initiatives in Vermont until Weinberger).

4 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 01/17/2017 at 5:49 PM

Re: “Vermont Congressional Delegation to Attend Trump Inauguration

If you agree with your elected delegation doing at least part of their job and supporting the constitution use the numbers listed above to offer your support. God bless America.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by citizen on 01/17/2017 at 5:37 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

"Genese, I am sorry to see that you have become a target by the trolls,"

Anyone who comments here in a way that the anonymous, so-called "VTPolicyAnalyst" doesn't like, is a "troll." Anyone who doesn't like Ms. Grill's modus operandi of sucking all of the air out of the room, and of engaging in personal attacks on her ideological adversaries, is a "troll."

8 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by knowyourassumptions on 01/17/2017 at 5:34 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

The "Coalition" for a "Livable City" and their candidates for City Council are part of the alt-left. Just like the alt-right they reject anything which does not fit into their narrative as part of a conspiracy. It never occurred to them that when well known and trusted advocacy groups stood up to support the mall redevelopment project they might be doing so purely because they actually believed in the project. No, to the it was all part of a scheme by the mayor to somehow profit off a project he has no financial stake it. Even when their internet comments get disliked they believe its part of a scheme against them, not that people just disagree with their reactionary and insane beliefs.

Guess what, when the Conservation Law Foundation and the Vermont Natural Resources Council supported this project it is because they genuinely believed based on what they, the experts, know about environmental effects of development, that this project was a project which would benefit the environment. When COTS endorsed the project it was because they, the experts, believed it would benefit the homeless by lowering the price of housing city wide. When AARP endorsed the project it was because they believed it would benefit seniors, and Local Motion endorsed it because they believed it would benefit bikers.

We should be weary when it comes to people who believe everything in this town is a conspiracy. Our Mayor, Jane Knodell, and Joan Shannon supported the project because they genuinely believed it would benefit their constituents. The CLC spent months yelling at them, insinuated they were doing this for some sort of personal profit, and lying to the people of Burlington about the basic facts of the project. They are fringe and we should not normalize them.

9 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by BurlingtonObserver1 on 01/17/2017 at 5:30 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

Excuse me, "VT Policy Analyst," but if you are referring to my comment, I am not a "troll" or a "political operative," just a citizen of Burlington who is really put off by the hypocrisy I'm seeing, where it's ok to accuse your opponents of "lying" etc.(see below) but any criticism of you is cause for concern. On top of that, I just thought the whole idea of a candidate involving him/herself in the comments on their own articles is not cool, especially when people don't know it's him/her. People should be given space to think for themselves on these issues. If that offends anyone or makes my comments unwelcome, then I apologize.

15 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by dm_VT on 01/17/2017 at 4:27 PM

Re: “At Caucus, Burlington Dems Back Progressive Council Prez Knodell

I am really disappointed by the so called progressives who have put forth this bizarre mall project , claiming that it will help with housing and somehow bring renewal to the downtown. This does not seem to align with the already dead mall space and the rise of online shopping. It's outdated and not at all progressive. We will end up paying this off for years to come. Genese is looking at a truly progressive plan to revitalize the city with the actual needs of the people who live here and work here and create here. We need this kind of vision going forward. People with true vision will often be attacked by those trying to hold onto the old power system. I can see that happening in this thread and it is sad.

3 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Pam Ant on 01/17/2017 at 4:00 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

Everyone should also know that bypassing the restriction of only allowing one "Like/Dislike" per person on these comments is easy. Anyone can do it. You will actually find that the plethora of "Dislikes" that appear suddenly is just one or two people.

Genese, I am sorry to see that you have become a target by the trolls, just by writing very informative postings. You and your organization have raised some very, very important issues during the last year.

These trolls and political operatives now have a giant "bulls-eye" on you. They criticize and attack you relentlessly, while usually adding nothing informative to the debate. Nor are they able to defend the actions of the Mayor or the Sinex proposal in any real way...they just spew rhetoric with no details.

6 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by VTPolicyAnalyst on 01/17/2017 at 3:57 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

This is from Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, VPP Chair.

Last Sunday, Mayor Weinberger addressed the Burlington Democratic Caucus and took direct aim at the VPP. He toggled between praising current Progressive Councilors and labeling local Progressives as reactionary and fringe. The Mayor also declared Progressives as anti-environment and anti-worker. He went on to claim credit for recent pro-environment and pro-worker efforts in the city, yet neglected to note that virtually all these efforts were started by Progressives. Progressives initiated Burlingtons move towards 100% renewable energy by positioning BED to purchase the Winooski hydro plant and by creating the McNeil plant. Progressives pushed recent pro-worker efforts such as supporting the Howard Center workers and maintaining livable wage standards at the airport. Weinberger opposed both measures. Clearly, the Mayors effort to give Democrats credit for Burlingtons successes ignores 30 years of Progressive leadership.

Attacking the Progressive Party and labeling the Party as fringe based on city council endorsements represents the Mayors poor knowledge of who our council candidates are and why they are running. Progressive endorsed candidates include: City Council President Jane Knodell, a champion of the recent development projects and many neighborhood revitalization projects, Charles Winkleman, an early educator and dedicated activist looking to address affordability issues for young people in Burlington, and Charles Simpson, an academic and champion of public transportation and strengthening neighborhood communities.

There are various opinions on the development project within the Progressive Party. While Winkleman and Simpson disagreed with aspects of the mall project, they should not be labeled reactionary by our Mayor. These candidates are running on more than one issue. Disagreement and discourse is healthy in a democracy and elected leaders should expect to be challenged. It comes with the territory. Its the job of leaders to go high in these moments. The Mayor went low.

11 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Josh Wronski on 01/17/2017 at 3:40 PM

Re: “Vermont Congressional Delegation to Attend Trump Inauguration

If you disagree with this decision, it can't hurt to keep calling and let your representatives know you disagree:
Welch - 202-225-4115
Sanders - 202-224-5141
Leahy - 202-224-4242

9 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Sarah Mell on 01/17/2017 at 3:12 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

I see she's at it again, posting accusatory and divisive comments on her own articles! Please, Genese, give it a rest and try not to act so desperate! Also, please give people a chance to think for themselves instead of relentlessly inserting your voice into every single discussion remotely involving you! Thanks. Sincerely, Potential Constituent.

22 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by dm_VT on 01/17/2017 at 3:07 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

You are right on the money with your questions, Genese. Thank you. Everyone should know the real reasons why CLF, VNRC, and Local Motion endorsed this project: intense lobbying by Noelle MacKay, who lobbied her friends in these organizations. For these organizations to publicly endorse this project without polling their own members, is totally bizarre.

Miro hired Noelle MacKay as CEDO Director, and Chapin Spencer, as Public Works Director, specifically for their "connections" to these groups, and virtually no other reason. While these individuals are respectable and well-liked, there were many highly-qualified individuals with more experience at the time.

This Sinex project will further gentrify the City. Doesn't everyone recognize that Burlington is becoming a City of just "rich and poor", with a smattering of students? Miro's policies are actually CREATING suburban sprawl, because he is pushing middle-income earners and young families out of the City. This is over-developing our rural areas, increasing traffic, drastically increasing our carbon footprint, and requiring long commutes. Hasn't everyone noticed how traffic has increased substantially just in the last 3-4 years? And we still have no viable mass transit other than buses, which operate only on the major routes, and must sit in the same gridlock as other drivers, saving no one any time.

As any developer, Miro's mantra is always just build more units, and the price of rents will somehow MIRACULOUSLY come down. But housing doesn't work that way, as more is in effect that simply supply-and-demand. In Economic terms, housing demand is "inelastic". That's why major urban areas often have to implement some sort of rent-control or a similar program. Rents only come down when a City has a major exodus of people and an economic collapse...think Detroit.

10 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by VTPolicyAnalyst on 01/17/2017 at 2:53 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

I see that Genese Grill is criticizing the mayor directly now, after someone caught her posting anti-Weinberg comments under a pseudonym on the first article....nice try, but this "opposition for the sake of opposition" still seems pointless. Let's work for realistic, tangible, fair and achievable Progressive goals. That is my idea of a Liveable City.

25 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by dm_VT on 01/17/2017 at 2:40 PM

Re: “‘Reactionary Fringe’ Pushes Back Against Mayor’s ‘Trash Talk’

Just because Wieiberger somehow managed to get non-profits like AARP, Conservation Law Firm, and the Champlain Housing Trust to endorse his out-sized zone-busting overlay zone (in opposition, I may add, to their members's and staff's opinions in many cases), does not mean that voters who didn't support his project oppose the values espoused by these organizations!

The real question is why these organizations endorsed a project that creates a special zoning giving away leverage for more affordable and senior housing in exchange for height bonuses, includes a gigantic parking garage, does not require an obligation for LEED certification, is in opposition to community-driven Plan BTV,, plans to use 22 million dollars of tax payer money to subsidize a millionaire, and will have only 50 apartments that are called affordable, but will be $1000 a month for a one-bedroom! These organizations owe their members an explanation!

Many people who voted FOR the zoning change did so because they were lied to about the benefits and the process (any environmental changes can be made without a 14 story playground for the rich; the few "affordable" units are not affordable, and 80 of the other units are for students, the process was rigged from the beginning, City Councilors voted against Max Tracy and Sharon Bushor's attempt to raise the "affordable" housing percentage a mere 5% because they feared breaking the pre-development agreement!).

I also hope that Council President Knodell, given the Democratic nomination during the Mayor's attack on his citizens, will stand up for the majority of her constituents in Wards 2 and 3 who voted against the zoning change. Please tell the mayor that the people who live in wards 2 and 3 are not anti-environmental, anti-senior, anti-labor, etc. Sincerely, Genese Grill

10 likes, 25 dislikes
Posted by Sud End on 01/17/2017 at 2:23 PM

Re: “At Caucus, Burlington Dems Back Progressive Council Prez Knodell

The twerp comment is just silly. I do see that "vivaONE" is not keeping comments classy, though Wonder who it really is?!

1 like, 12 dislikes
Posted by stickinthemud on 01/17/2017 at 1:30 PM

Re: “At Caucus, Burlington Dems Back Progressive Council Prez Knodell

Mayor Weinberger is a twerp. That's funny because it's true.

0 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Mark Lade on 01/17/2017 at 12:22 PM

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