Michael Long | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Michael Long 
Member since Jun 29, 2016



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Re: “Do the Signs Around CityPlace Construction Site Violate Billboard Law?

This approach on the city's part is consistent. When the zoning laws didn't work for Don Sinex, the city said, no problem, and changed them. When the billboard law quite obviously did not allow all those billboards on the perimeter of the demolition, since the city couldn't change that law, they ignored it. And now that the violation has been noted, they will drag their feet and do nothing. The laws only apply to some people and in some circumstances, according to city hall.

37 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 11/07/2018 at 6:30 PM

Re: “Uprooted: Burlington Farmers Market Seeks a New Home

The Farmers Market is a valued community event, but the City of Burlington has mismanaged it to the detriment of City Hall Park and the health of its grass, soil, and trees.

Now the city wants to spend millions to refurbish the park -- pretending that its suffering from old age rather than willful neglect -- and imagining that the community prefers a plaza-like park with more pavement and fewer trees in the middle of a downtown otherwise thoroughly dominated by concrete and asphalt.

The most important design decisions for the current plan, notably the lack of consideration for existing healthy mature trees, were made behind closed doors. Furthermore, interest in the design work was neither solicited nor put out to bid. Just how the chosen firm was chosen is unclear.

A Seven Days article in April suggested that more than half a million dollars (about $700,000) has been spent already and actual site work has yet to begin.

Meanwhile, the adjacent sidewalks on the park perimeter are in hazardous disrepair and the proposed splash pad in the new design will be dysfunctional at this latitude for the bulk of the year.

As with other even bigger budget projects, here too the city does not have its act together.

If you have not signed the petition to put the park redesign on the ballot in March, please do.

Lets let the voters have their say. Our mayor seems to have promised not to listen, but that's all the more reason for people to stand and speak up.

11 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 11/04/2018 at 10:04 PM

Re: “Burlington School Officials Seek to Quell Censorship Controversy

Developing a policy consistent with the New Voices legislation is a sensible and appropriate move on the part of the district -- in effect, saving the district from the principal and the principal from himself.

It's also notable that the New Voices legislation requires every district to develop such a policy and it should have been in place prior to this fiasco.

Even more notable in reference to the intertwined issue of the guidance director's employment status is the fact that the superintendent, the principal, and the district stood by the guidance director despite the mass exodus from the guidance department, despite the troubling testimony of long time dedicated employees, and despite the charges brought by the Department of Education after a year long investigation.

It was only the public outcry and media attention in combination with these things that led to a reasonable response: putting the guidance director on administrative leave and cancelling the principal's policy of prior restraint through 48 hour administrative review of articles.

That media attention and public outcry were required to correct the district's course does not inspire confidence.

34 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 09/16/2018 at 8:14 AM

Re: “Residents Rebuke Burlington School Officials Over Guidance Department Controversies

The serious charges against Macias and the substantial penalty recommended by the Secretary of Education make it clear that he should not continue in his role as guidance director unless and until the next phase of the process clears him of these charges.

The prudent and responsible course of action would have been to place him on administrative leave immediately. That the superintendent and the principal have supported his continuing in his role despite the cloud hanging over him and that they quashed the story in the student newspaper in stark violation of state law only raises further questions.

47 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 09/14/2018 at 10:09 AM

Re: “Burlington Schools Superintendent Weighs In on Race Controversy

The most important revelation here is that Superintendent Obeng "never filed a formal complaint."

Nevertheless, the Board responded as if he had and implied that the emergency meeting and the formal investigation they hired out were their legal and ethical responsibility. The questionable allegations made would have been better handled simply by talking about them.

The Board managed this issue in fiasco and loose cannon fashion. They were set off by an angry outburst from a departing chair using a hot button issue to sow discord, target a perceived opponent, and satisfy himself.

The report should be released so the public can see just what they paid for and whether any useful insights emerged.

31 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 04/07/2018 at 11:18 AM

Re: “Vermont Senate Committee Seeks Answers on Clean Water Delays

It's outrageous and sad to see the governor and agency heads entrusted with protecting our water and other natural resources blatantly shirking their responsibility. They must have had a workshop with Pruitt.

Municipalities like Burlington take another tack toward neglect, patting themselves on the back for being green, but letting the runoff run off, as if it isn't there or doesn't matter.

Enforcing green space regulations would reduce runoff substantially.

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 04/04/2018 at 6:45 PM

Re: “Weinberger Could Veto Burlington City Council Resolution on F-35s

Whether Miro signs or vetoes this advisory resolution matters little. He's just another citizen weighing in on Question 6, but gets to vote twice, like the city councilors did.

What does matter is that the ballot question passed with a substantial majority and the council resolution passed by more than two thirds.

Our senators and congressman, representatives of we the people, are unswayed by the voice of the people when it is not saying what they want to hear. Like Miro, perhaps, they are ambivalent about democracy.

28 likes, 20 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 03/28/2018 at 10:33 PM

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