John Franco | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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John Franco 
Member since Apr 1, 2015


Recent Comments

Re: “Redacted: How the City of Burlington Keeps the Public in the Dark

Another practice in Miro's culture of secrecy has been the widespread abuse of executive sessions to shield the public from politically embarrassing developments. Case in point: the briefing of the City Council last July in executive session that the plug was being pulled on the 14 story CityPlace plan. This was timed so that it could be publicly announced at the end of the week when the Mayor was away on vacation and unavailable for questioning. The ploy would have worked had it not been for a stage whisper by one of the architects, overheard by reporters outside in the hall, that the project was dead.

45 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by John Franco on 03/05/2020 at 7:04 AM

Re: “On Tape: Burlington Police Chief Lied Repeatedly About Twitter Account in July Call

The outrageousness of this cannot be overstated. The Vermont Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that any employee dishonesty is just cause for immediate termination even in cases of minor misrepresentations. Here the dishonesty is fourfold, ongoing, and profound:

1) The Chief twitter-bullied Mr. Winkleman without revealing his true identity.

2) The Chief's repeated and purposeful lies in the SevenDays interview of July 23rd.

3) The coverup by the Chief and the Mayor to the public, the City Council, and the Police Commission of the real context of his "leave of absence" until it was outed 5 months later by WCAX TV News. This was misrepresentation by omission, not "self-reporting."

4) The misrepresentation by omission by the Mayor and the Chief by failing to disclose that the Chief had been relieved of his gun and his badge.

76 likes, 24 dislikes
Posted by John Franco on 12/14/2019 at 7:55 AM

Re: “In a Warming World, New Thinking Imperils Vermont's Wood-Fueled Energy Market

SevenDays' expose raises a profound problem for the biomass industry -- the Vermont Consumer Fraud Act. Consumer fraud exists when there is a misrepresentation of fact or an omission of fact which would affect the consumer's decision whether to purchase a product or service. Remember Big Tobacco's withholding of evidence that nicotine is addictive? Given that wood fired electrical generation is the dirtiest source in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, Burlington Electric cannot market electric cars or electric heat pumps powered by the McNeil plant as a climate change solution without facing legal liability. And at the very lest given the dispute about space heating discussed in the article, neither can wood -fired space heating be marketed on that basis.

3 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by John Franco on 10/13/2019 at 10:50 AM

Re: “In a Warming World, New Thinking Imperils Vermont's Wood-Fueled Energy Market

Using electricity generated from the burning of wood to power electric cars -- as Burlington's new climate change initiative proposes -- is akin to putting east German soft coal your gas tank. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, wood is the dirtiest fuel source around -- 4 to 6 times dirtier than natural gas and half again dirtier than coal, oil, diesel, and gasoline. McNeil was retrofitted in 1989 to burn natural gas and can be readily switched over to that fuel. exclusively. It has also been in operation longer than the typical useful life of such plants. Phasing it out entirely by 2030 is not such a big ask.

5 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by John Franco on 10/12/2019 at 6:45 AM

Re: “Developer: CityPlace Burlington Project Will Be Redesigned

We were repeatedly told in 2017 that the scale of the project was essential to generating sufiicient property tax revenues to make the TIF financing work. That will certainty be a factor in the feasibility of any redesign.

Also for the record we settled all outstanding litigation concerning the property within 3 months of filing the zoning appeal in April of 2017 so that the project could go forward. Six months later, with the complicity of the City, Don Sinex gutted it with amendments made behnd our backs by reducing the floor space onsite parking by almost 40%. Since then we have been fighting only to hold them to their word enforce the benefit of our our bargain which, among other things, allowed Sinex to proceed with the project demolition.

If that's anti development, then it's too damned bad.

65 likes, 23 dislikes
Posted by John Franco on 07/19/2019 at 2:45 PM

Re: “Burlington Council Candidate’s Discrimination Charge Disputed

One of the differences between journalism and litigation is that in litigation there are no unnamed sources you get to confront and cross-examine your accusers. At least Stacy Graczyk had the decency to go on the record. Your other sources should either have the decency to do the same when making accusations like this, or shut up.

You want to know what racial discrimination looks like in the 21st Century? This is what it looks like. The stereotypical perceptions of white people saying that the black guy wasn't up for the job, and was getting special treatment, and that the bar was lowered as the previous commentator has said. Other anonymous accusations that we have received have included that he had "highly problematic interactions with female co-workers" (sounds like Blazing Saddles) with issue ranging from flirting to requests that non-Muslim women adhere to Muslim dress codes, disrespectful interactions with female employees about job responsibilities, and a failure to heed mentoring about his interactions with white women. Then there are the mundane claims including that he was playing video games on the office computer. Get out the axe handles!

Worst of all, it will be white people who will be the final arbiters of this. Put yourself in Abdullah's shoes and ask yourself how you would feel.

- John Franco

5 likes, 54 dislikes
Posted by John Franco on 02/28/2017 at 10:15 AM

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

The Mayor is young and has yet to learn that an important attribute the position is humility, not arrogance.

I am a member of the "radical fringe" which opposes the Mayor's monstrosity on the marketplace and am helping the opponents in their legal and regulatory challenges. a founding member of the progressive movement in Burlington. I stated my hijacking of the Progressive Party back on halloween Night in 1980 when Bernie decided 1980 to run for Mayor against Gordon Paquette in the 1981election I served under both Mayor Sanders and Mayor Clavelle in the City Attorney's Office and then worked with Bernie in Washington during his first term in Congress.

But despite my deep disagreement with Jane on the BTC development issue, I am supporting her. She is along time friend, colleague, client, and committed Progressive.

Sorry Mr. Mayor. What I am is a longtime socialist and proud of it.

You will come to learn that trash talk usually does not end well.

- John Franco

144 likes, 46 dislikes
Posted by John Franco on 01/13/2017 at 7:47 AM

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