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Town Meeting Day

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Colchester Residents Vote Down Malletts Bay Sewer Bond

Posted By on Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 10:15 PM

The proposed sewer area along Malletts Bay
  • The proposed sewer area along Malletts Bay
Colchester voters flushed a proposed $14.3 million sewer line for Malletts Bay Tuesday by a vote of 1,396 to 1,203.

The defeat by fewer than 200 votes was a disappointment, Town Manager Aaron Frank said Tuesday night.

"The selectboard will have to take a pause, do some reflection and figure out where do we go from here,” Frank said.

Inadequate private septic systems at homes and camps along the bay can leak human waste into the water, a problem the proposed sewer line was intended to mitigate. But critics said it was an expensive project that wouldn't actually solve complex pollution problems in the scenic and heavily used bay. They also worried the sewer line would accelerate development.

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Kristine Lott Wins Winooski's Top Job — and Makes History

Posted By on Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 10:06 PM

Kristine Lott - MOLLY WALSH
  • Molly Walsh
  • Kristine Lott
Winooski elected a woman as its mayor for the first time Tuesday when voters chose Kristine Lott over Eric Covey.

The 33-year-old business analyst and her supporters whooped with joy as the results were announced at the Winooski Senior Center minutes after the polls closed at 7 p.m. She got 650 votes to Covey's 478.

Lott was still clad in a thick wool hat, ski pants and heavy boots that she had worn to spend the day greeting voters outside the polls. Lott vowed to make good on her platform to get residents involved in city affairs.

"My primary goal is just to make sure that residents really feel like they are a part of the decisions and engaged in the city," Lott said.

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Freeman Unseats Incumbent Knodell for Burlington City Council

Posted By , , and on Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 7:39 PM

Perri Freeman - LUKE AWTRY
  • Luke Awtry
  • Perri Freeman
In a Burlington City Council upset, upstart Progressive candidate Perri Freeman knocked off Central District incumbent Jane Knodell, according to unofficial results.

The news drew cheers at the Progressive Party's gathering at Rí Rá on Church Street.

"It's a new time in Burlington, folks!" Vermont Progressive Party executive director Josh Wronski told the crowd.

After serving a total of 19 years on the council as a Progressive, Knodell lost the party's nomination at its caucus in January. She later decided to run as an independent, but couldn't overcome Freeman's impressive get-out-the-vote effort. Freeman earned 928 votes, about 54 percent of the total, compared to 643 votes, or 37 percent, for Knodell. Democrat Jared Carter earned 144 votes, or 8 percent of the total.

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Happy Town Meeting Day 2019, Vermont! Here's What's Happening

Posted By on Tue, Mar 5, 2019 at 4:00 AM

carousel-tmd17-2x.jpg
It's Town Meeting Day!

Voters across the state will decide on a wide range of issues today, from municipal governance to plastic bag bans, school budgets to poundkeepers. Here are some of the things we're keeping an eye on:

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Friday, March 1, 2019

Candidate for Burlington's North District Seat Drops Out, Endorses Opponent

Posted By on Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 3:34 PM

From left: Ericka Bundy Redic, Kienan Christianson, Franklin Paulino
  • From left: Ericka Bundy Redic, Kienan Christianson, Franklin Paulino
Just four days before the election, North District candidate Ericka Bundy Redic is dropping out of the race for Burlington City Council and backing her former opponent, Democrat Franklin Paulino.

Bundy Redic, an independent, announced the decision Friday to a single reporter during a press conference at Burlington City Hall. Town Meeting Day is on Tuesday.

"Here is the truth: I am not going to win," she said.

Paulino, she went on, is the next best candidate for the job. "Franklin and I have the same goals: Create a Burlington where people can thrive and not just survive," Bundy Redic said. "We disagree on how to get there, but I believe Franklin is a good man who cares about his community."

Paulino will compete for the council seat against Kienan Christianson, an independent who has received the Progressive endorsement. They're vying to replace Democrat Dave Hartnett, who decided in January to not seek reelection.

Bundy Redic's name will remain on the ballot; she said she'd personally reach out to her supporters and would ask them to vote for Paulino instead.

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Monday, February 25, 2019

Weinberger Uses PAC Dollars to Lobby for Burlington Ballot Items

Posted By on Mon, Feb 25, 2019 at 6:34 PM

Left to right: Perri Freeman, Kienan Christianson, Jack Hanson and Mohamed Jafar - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Left to right: Perri Freeman, Kienan Christianson, Jack Hanson and Mohamed Jafar
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has dipped into his political action committee's funds to advocate for yes votes on Town Meeting Day ballot items.

The group, Partnership for Burlington's Future, spent nearly $3,000 on mailers and online advertising to encourage voters to approve initiatives to expand the downtown improvement district, approve the budget, agree to permit reform, and eliminate the business personal property tax. That's according to campaign finance reports that were due on Saturday, the last deadline before the March 5 vote.

Two real estate developers, Dave Farrington and Ernie Pomerleau, each contributed $1,000 to the effort. Branding and marketing company Select Design gave $1,500.

Another PAC, Neighbors 4 a Better BTV, is also advocating for a 'yes' vote. Their efforts were not as well financed; the group spent $260.

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Winooski Voters to Consider Another Downtown Parking Garage

Posted By on Thu, Feb 14, 2019 at 12:00 PM

A rendering showing the proposed parking garage and hotel next to the existing Community College of Vermont building - CITY OF WINOOSKI
  • City of Winooski
  • A rendering showing the proposed parking garage and hotel next to the existing Community College of Vermont building
Winooski voters will decide on Town Meeting Day whether to invest in a second municipal parking garage to reduce competition for spots in the city’s $200 million redeveloped downtown.

The new five-level garage would cost $9.7 million and accommodate roughly 300 vehicles. It would be built on what is now a dirt parking area along Abenaki Way, adjacent to the Community College of Vermont building. The city-owned lot is just seven-tenths of an acre.

The city is also proposing a land swap that would allow developer Adam Dubroff to build a roughly 90-room hotel on the lower part of the same lot. He had previously proposed building a boutique hotel on a 0.18-acre parcel two blocks away, wedged between the historic Champlain Mill and the Main Street bridge that spans the Winooski River.

That proposal hit a buzzsaw of opposition from neighbors, though. Some feared it would crowd the historic mill and block downtown views of the Winooski River falls while taking over what is now a sliver of green space.

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Jafar Vows to Remain in Burlington Council Race Despite Sexist Tweets

Posted By on Mon, Feb 11, 2019 at 10:40 PM

Mohamed Jafar - FILE: LUKE AWTRY
  • File: Luke Awtry
  • Mohamed Jafar
Updated on February 12, 2019.

Mohamed Jafar vowed to stay in the race for Burlington's South District city council seat despite a VTDigger.org story published Monday that described a series of sexist tweets the candidate had sent as recently as January 2016.

"I sincerely apologize to those I’ve offended. I sincerely apologize to those who were really surprised" by the tweets, Jafar, 22, told Seven Days. "My personality and character have evolved since then."

The messages of 140 characters or fewer included misogynistic statements and allusions to violence. “Somebody hold my earrings, I’m about to beat this bitches ass,” Jafar wrote on Twitter in 2015, when he was a sophomore at Colby-Sawyer College.

“I’ve never hit a women before but I’m bout to make you my first…the closest thing to a women I’ve ever hit is my sister," he tweeted in 2013.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Shannon Raises Most Cash of All Burlington Council Candidates

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 4:30 AM

Mohamed Jafar and Joan Shannon - LUKE AWTRY
  • Luke Awtry
  • Mohamed Jafar and Joan Shannon
Campaign finance reports filed earlier this week show that incumbent Joan Shannon (D-South District) leads the pack in fundraising among the candidates for Burlington City Council.

She racked up about $3,350, including donations from entrepreneur Russ Scully ($500); real estate mogul Ernie Pomerleau ($450); businessman Pat Robins ($450); and fellow City Councilor Chip Mason (D-Ward 5), who gave $200. Former city councilor Ed Adrian gave Shannon $118.

Progressive Mohamed Jafar, who is challenging Shannon, raised $1,700. Only one of his donors contributed more than $100; those who give less than that amount are not required to be identified in Vermont campaign finance filings. The other candidate in the race, Republican Paco DeFrancis, didn't file a report.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Burlington City Council Refuses to Put Park Question on March Ballot

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2019 at 12:38 AM

Barbara Alsop speaks before the Burlington City Council - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Barbara Alsop speaks before the Burlington City Council
Updated at 12:30 p.m.

Queen City voters will not get a chance to weigh in on the future of City Hall Park.

The Burlington City Council declined on Monday night to put a question on the Town Meeting Day ballot that would have asked whether voters wanted to cancel the $4 million project to renovate the downtown green space.

The 6-6 vote was a defeat for the citizen group Keep the Park Green, which has fought the park plans for nearly three years. Under council rules, a tie vote means the measure fails.

The vote means the future of the park is decided. Construction on the current plan, which includes a splash park, wider pathways and more seating, is slated to begin in the spring.

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