Michael Long | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Michael Long 
Member since Jun 29, 2016


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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, 4 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

Re: “Tall Mall Looms Over Central District Council Race

Genese Grill and other well-qualified candidates challenging the status quo aim to bring back neighborhood power and good faith democratic process that have fallen by the wayside. This would be a godsend for the people of Burlington, people that the Burlington Business Association and other lobbyists are not watching out for.

The anonymous source claiming to have attended a candidate forum "with an open mind" proceeds immediately with a personal attack belying such a claim.

Personal attacks in place of substantive discussion have become the standard tactic of apologists for the status quo -- from Miro's hysterical "reactionary fringe" comment on down to a number of the pseudonymous comments we see here.

The nominally democratic administration currently in power locally is far more Trumpish than many suppose. This administration is enthusiastic about deregulation, about subsidizing private business, and about privatizing public assets. This administration is not shy about bringing buddies into key positions and it's so eager for development dollars that it will rewrite zoning regulations to clear the way. It pays lip service to affordable housing, but seems more serious about eroding inclusionary zoning to "improve" it.

These are not values usually associated with the Democratic Party or the Progressive Party. They are in fact solidly Republican/Trumpish values, but they are indeed what we face in City Hall and on the City Council at the moment.

It's time for a change, not more of the same.

15 likes, 44 dislikes
Posted by Michael Long on 02/13/2017 at 12:53 AM

Re: “After 27 Years, Burlington Will Examine Affordable Housing Policy

The thrust of this report is to lighten the burden on developers, increase the burden on property tax payers, and ignore the importance of fair wages in addressing the affordable housing problem. Expensive consultants should not have been necessary to describe the effects of an ordinance which have played out under the direct supervision of city officials year by year. The analysis offered is far more speculative than authoritative.

No doubt some will seek to leverage the weight of a report like this to undermine inclusionary zoning and then congratulate themselves for improving it. The most obvious target is the existing five unit threshold. The report is factually in error in calling this a low threshold. The comparables the report itself provides prove otherwise. Raising the threshold to ten will do nothing to support affordable housing while enabling multiple developments of up to nine units with no affordable housing component at all.

The recommendation to lower the payment in lieu of developing inclusionary units is another unjustified giveaway that would erode Burlington's commitment to affordable housing. Overall, this report is more of a Trojan Horse than a source of insight.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Michael Long on 02/07/2017 at 3:03 AM

Re: “Letters to the Editor (2/1/17)

Martha has it right. The nice guy Republicans who manage statewide electoral success in Vermont can be as extreme as the not so nice Republicans we see elsewhere, given the chance.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Michael Long on 02/03/2017 at 9:02 PM

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