Michael Long | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Michael Long 
Member since Jun 29, 2016


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Re: “Council Selects Schurz, ZRF to Buy Burlington Telecom

Here we have one debacle followed some years later by a larger debacle still. The 17 million misappropriated in the previous administration at least was misappropriated to keep the enterprise afloat, in some sense serving the public interest despite perhaps betraying the public interest when viewed from another perspective.

Now this last minute back room deal brings a dark horse over the finish line, revealing the feather weight of public input and of serving the public interest or of valuing democracy.

But have our elected "representatives" taken care of Citibank, Blue Water Holdings, Dorman and Fawcett? Check.

55 likes, 29 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 11/28/2017 at 9:23 AM

Re: “Walters: State Panel Provides Few Answers for Water Cleanup

I have yet to read the final report but this summary and analysis suggest a distressing lack of commitment and backbone. The state, its counties, cities and towns are failing miserably and consistently in their responsibility for stewardship of Lake Champlain. The solutions are not mysterious or elusive, but the honesty requisite to dealing with accountability and funding is missing.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Michael Long on 11/16/2017 at 8:27 PM

Re: “Keep BT Local, Ting Picked as Finalists to Buy Burlington Telecom

The mayor is the aggressive vocal minority to be contained. The missing 17 million that taxpayers contributed involuntarily -- about $1500 per taxable property -- could have best been recouped by maintaining city ownership. Properly managed in recent years, Burlington Telecom is turning a 3 million profit yearly. Residents never asked for a Citi Bank deal that required unloading an increasingly valuable asset dearly acquired. And if the 30 million owed Citi was invested in infrastructure, not siphoned or squandered, the value remains and the Citi debt could have been restructured. The suggestion that CIti might have pulled their fiber optic cable out of the ground is absurd. That would be vandalizing the collateral they foreclosed on. The mayor inappropriately tried to deep six the KBTL bid at the 11th hour as unviable, and even sent his lawyers to Citi to solicit a threat of litigation. He was properly rebuked by the six councilors who voted to move the KBTL bid forward. The arithmetic may suggest that Ting is the obvious choice, but a deeper analysis points elsewhere, beyond Comcast lite. Given that the city has agreed to be forced to sell this asset, the KBTL bid is in fact the most viable and fiscally prudent option.

16 likes, 41 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 10/17/2017 at 7:12 PM

Re: “Ghost-Town Center: The Dying Days of Burlington's Downtown Mall

The fundamental flaw in this project was the down-and-dirty scheme to change zoning law to fit the project instead of designing the project in adherence with the law. City officials were complicit in this, and everyone involved should have known that the courts would soon be involved. A better and more sensible design from the start would have led to a path more smooth and clear.

7 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 06/05/2017 at 9:21 PM

Re: “Knodell Wins Tight Race to Keep Burlington City Council Seat

Genese is a remarkable person who contributed enormously to this community through her campaign, as did all of the candidates who gave their time and energy to run.

I question the civic value and utility of a comment platform like this that allows those so disposed to lurk anonymously in dark corners and spew venom. That's not the civic discourse that supports and advances democracy, but quite the opposite.

12 likes, 40 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 03/08/2017 at 4:51 PM

Re: “Middlebury Students Shut Down Lecture by Charles Murray

It's tempting and easy to take the "high road" and look down on intolerant protesters with little appreciation for civil discourse or the First Amendment, but the real failure here is departmental and institutional. "Racist pseudoscience" -- if the Southern Poverty Law Center's characterization is correct -- does not merit a platform at our universities to legitimize itself. Such extremism and alternative facts have increasingly been cloaking themselves in the mantle of the normal distribution. They don't belong, not even for forty-five minutes.

Students of the American Enterprise Institute Club can be forgiven for thinking Murray provocative rather than dangerous and irresponsible, but Middlebury's academic leaders should have known better.

Under the circumstances, the students who refused to listen politely or to patiently await a chance to ask some pointed questions, made the most eloquent statement .

19 likes, 26 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 03/03/2017 at 9:35 AM

Re: “Two Burlington Council Members Pay a Colleague for Campaign Work

Ethics expert Palmer notes that "such business relationships . . . could raise questions." City Attorney Blackwood explains that this situation might be covered by "a city ethics policy . . . though Burlington doesn't have one."

Should citizens be reassured that ethical standards are so high in city government that an ethics policy is unnecessary? Or should citizens be worried that the mayor and city council have assigned the development of an ethics policy to the backburner indefinitely?

41 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 03/02/2017 at 8:39 PM

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