Chris in S. Burlington | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Chris in S. Burlington 
Member since Feb 26, 2014


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Re: “Vermont Senate Votes to Override Scott's Veto of Toxics Bill

If the Democrats and VPIRG were truly interested in protecting public health, they would be doing everything possible to support VTANG in getting a different mission besides the F-35 fighter jet.

Instead, they have lined up behind Senator Leahy's F-35 military Keynesianism to destroy health and home values for thousands and thousands of constituents in Winooski and South Burlington. The newly expanded "not suitable for residential use" zone includes 2 elementary schools; child cares; places of worship; not to mention the homes of thousands of people. Licensed physicians have testified to Burlington City Council about the health consequences.

Democrats Peter Shumlin and Miro Weinberger accepted an all-expenses paid junket to Florida on Ernie Pomerleau arranged private jet to listen to F-35 take off. While wearing enormous noise-cancelling ear muffs to protect his hearing & a G.W. Bush-inspired "Mission Accomplished" flight suit, Shumlin then declared the F-35 quiet as could be, regardless of the Air Force's own Environmental Impact Statement to the contrary. Shumlin & Shap Smith then suppressed the proposed legislation by now retired Winooski State Representative George Cross to examine the impacts of the F-35.

Why do Mitzi Johnson, Becca Balint and the new legislative leaders remain deafeningly silent on this issue? Why does VPIRG tacitly endorse this? Whose public interest is Paul Burns working for? Is Patrick Leahy's real estate developer relative & Democratic Party campaign donor Ernie Pomerleau the only person who represents the "public interest"?

Former supporters of the Democratic Party see this toxics legislation for what it is. Politically savvy, token legislation to box in the governor. However, when there are real people and real children suffering real public health consequences thanks to reconfiguration of F-16's fuel tanks & the F-35 fighter jet basing, the Democrats & VPIRG are no where to be seen.

8 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 04/20/2018 at 2:01 PM

Re: “Into the Arena: Gov. Phil Scott Confronts the Gun Issue Head-On

Be careful what you wish for. Phil Scott is the only thing standing between the Democratic legislature and a host of higher taxes; fees; increased regulations, etc. I believe moderate independents will stay with Phil Scott. Die-hard Democrats will probably never support him, even with his signature on the gun legislation.

For die-hard Republicans, is it really worth going back to the Shumlin and Shap Smith years? The millions of tax dollars thrown down the toilet bowl exploring an unrealistic universal health care bill? Vermont taxpayers will never get that money back. Think of the good it could have done in other areas or back in pockets of taxpayers.

Is it worth further jeopardizing school budgets and economy by switching to the income tax to fund schools, including raising taxes on renters and on higher income geographically mobile residents, who have the resources and opportunities to leave the state? Is it worth adding a carbon tax to increase penalties on the rural economy (when no other state in the nation has one, and even West Coast "blue" states like Washington have rejected it)? Is it worth going back to the assault on the Green Mountains and open spaces via give-aways to industrial energy companies and Democratic Party campaign donors like Blittersdorf with no respect for zoning and natural resources protection, including wildlife corridors?

Democrats have made clear these are just a few of the policies they want. Likely result of mobilizing against Phil Scott would be return to single-party control in Montpelier.

If you are a 2nd amendment absolutist, why not support the NRA in legally challenging the restrictions signed by Scott? If anything, abandoning Phil Scott makes it more likely there will be even more gun restrictions passed in Montpelier; not less.

9 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 04/18/2018 at 11:58 PM

Re: “Burlington Schools Superintendent Weighs In on Race Controversy

Board members like Porter who hired Mr. Obeng might consider reimbursing Burlington taxpayers the legal fees spent on the immigration shenanigans involved in bringing Mr. Obeng from Canada to Burlington School District.

Although no question Obeng is qualified, immigration authorities disagreed and rejected his original visa application for "extraordinary ability." They said BSD can find someone equally qualified among the 320 million plus people already living in United States.

Porter and Board did not accept this. Instead of going back to the hiring file, they instead let BSD lawyers then misrepresent to immigration authorities that Obeng was primarily coming to US to work as UVM adjunct professor (and not because he was hired as superintendent). UVM cooperated with this nonsense by conveniently hiring Obeng, after-the-fact, after his 1st visa application was rejected. Conveniently, UVM never bothered to post the position nor consider any other candidate.

Obeng now has different, 3-year visa, that expires in 2019; & has left UVM faculty. . . supposedly the primary reason he came to US.

There were certainly good reasons to hire Obeng but when BSD (and UVM) had to engage in border-line immigration fraud just to get him, it puts a black eye on the whole process & undermines the credibility of all involved.

Had Obeng then at least honored his public commitment to live in Burlington, made to the community before he was hired, he may have overcome this. Instead, he decided his family should live in South Burlington and enrolled his children there (with highest-paid teachers in the state). And then needed City Council to further bail him out, by passing special legislation to dilute the residency requirement.

Is the overarching message to students essentially do whatever is necessary to game the system?

37 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 04/07/2018 at 7:15 PM

Re: “Burlington Schools Superintendent Weighs In on Race Controversy

Superintendent could go long way toward healing the community if he would apologize for misrepresentations during interview process and community meetings prior to his hiring, when he stated he would comply with decades of Burlington law requiring department heads to live in the city. Would do even better to move into Burlington & enroll his children in Burlington schools.

This is not to say Obeng was not hired into a difficult situation and that Porter did not try to provide leadership after years of financial mismanagement & budget problems. The question is the direction of that leadership. Have to imagine Superintendent would be just that much more invested in school district if he lived here and his children enrolled here. Decades of the residency requirement brought accountability, credibility & personal investment for city decision-makers. So they would personally live by & be impacted by their own decisions. And be neighbors and friends with other taxpayers, parents, and students. Not every Burlington mayor loved it but the voters repeatedly rejected its proposed elimination at the ballot box.

Unfortunately former superintendent Jeanne Collins and former zoning director Ken Lerner were also in violation.

After Obeng's misrepresentation & move to South Burlington, City Council chose to go around will of voters and weakened residency requirement. City Council & Weinberger did not want to risk losing again if they presented repeal to voters yet again. So they instead "kept" the residency requirement but diluted it to total meaninglessness, magically making "must live in Burlington" = live anywhere in Chittenden County.

Students learning many different lessons from Superintendent and City Council.

30 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 04/07/2018 at 6:43 PM

Re: “Safe Injection Sites? Medical Professionals, Law Enforcement Weigh In

Do I have it right that Burlington ballot passed in March telling Governor and legislature that no one under age 21 may purchase cigarettes? Personally, I do not endorse smoking cigarettes but it seems what Burlington is saying is 19 and 20 year olds cannot buy a pack of cigarettes but that they, and anyone else, 17 year olds, whoever, are perfectly free to shoot up with heroin in their "safe" injection site?

Has State's Attorney Sarah George considered the possibility that while 9 lives may theoretically be saved, 200 more people may theoretically consider trying heroin because of the official "safe" endorsement from City of Burlington, leading to an actual net loss of life as 10 or 20 of those new 200 overdose and die?

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 04/03/2018 at 4:28 PM

Re: “Burlington City Council Could Vote to Request F-35 Cancellation

55% of Burlington voters said the F-35 does not belong in Burlington. 45% said yes, base it here. The last president to win at least 55% of the popular vote was Ronald Reagan in 1984, versus Walter Mondale. This was widely considered a landslide. Tom Torti & the Chamber of Commerce considers it "within the margin of error."

The Chamber's "margin of error" comment about the F-35 vote is somewhat absurd but the kind of double-speak & spin-meistering one unfortunately expects from them now. Not much different from the other lobbying groups that crawl along K Street in DC controlling Congress. And, sadly, seem also to control Montpelier these days.

With exception of handful of courageous state reps doing their jobs, such as now retired George Cross from Winooski, Democrats in Montpelier all happily complied with the orders of Tom Torti and Senator Leahy's real estate developer relative, Ernie Pomerleau. Shumlin, Shap Smith, etc. suppressed proposed legislation from George Cross to simply examine potential impacts of F-35, whether positive or negative. What were they so afraid of?

Unfortunately not a peep from Democratic Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson; nor from State Senate Majority Leader Becca Balint. These legislative leaders have the power to stand up to protect health and home values of Vermonters. Judging by actions thus far, one can only conclude the estimated 12,000 plus people negatively impacted in Winooski, South Burlington, Burlington and Williston count for absolutely nothing. Perhaps our legislative leaders would finally do the right thing if the people set to lose their homes & neighborhoods due to the F-35 had a lobbying group that could write the same big campaign checks like Lockheed-Martin; Ernie Pomerleau; & Tom Torti and the Chamber of Commerce.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 03/28/2018 at 10:04 PM

Re: “No Magic Formula: Education Finance Reform Falters

Logical result of Brigham's aspirational ideal (when viewed in light of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcomb's decision to deny Burlington its own funding for its comparatively greater needs) would be for Ms Holcomb to mandate that each town must host equal proportion of demographics, low income, ESL, middle income, higher income, etc. This would solve the unintended result of Brigham being used to reduce equality of educational opportunity.

However, since forcibly moving people to achieve this demographic result is understandably not politically feasible, it simply underlines the fact that Brigham and Act 60's "equity" and "equality of educational opportunity" is great theoretical ideal but quite complicated and unrealistic when the rubber meets the road.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 03/15/2018 at 2:08 AM

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