Paco DeFrancis | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Paco DeFrancis 
Member since May 4, 2016

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Updated on January 6, 2017 at 11:59 AM


Recent Comments

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes


You are in South Burlington and have no standing to comment. Union Street is a municipal road and not a VTrans road like St Paul/Shelburne or upper Main streets.


(....of course the out-of-town residents want Burlington taxpayers to subsidize free on-street and two-hour garage parking)

9 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 08/02/2017 at 3:33 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

Please do not slow down DPW! Streets are for transit; not for free vehicle storage. High quality multi-modal (bike, pedestrian, and yes, automobile) transit systems enhance our entire city's economy. Provided free storage for personal property on public streets subsidized by taxpayers harms the economy by creating economic waste.

The motive behind these landlords' objections is less NIMBYism and more based on their greed and selfishness. For years these mom-and-pop landlords (who own older, legacy buildings built before modern parking requirements became code) have not had to provide off-street parking for their tenants because there was ample free parking on PUBLIC streets (provided by taxpayers). I applaud DPW's work to take back these public assets for the public's best-interest: bike transit rather than free personal-property storage.

The use of city streets in the ONE for free vehicle storage rather than for transit is corporate welfare and generates inefficiencies in infrastructure that should be used for transit. These creates inequities in the services city government provides, using my tax dollars to bail out landlords who don't provide their tenants with private, off-street parking accommodations.

If there's a parking shortage in the ONE that's because there's no price for on-street parking. It's free. Selling parking permits for that area would mitigate some of the waste and could free up streets for more bike lanes.

42 likes, 28 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 08/02/2017 at 11:29 AM

Re: “Former Burlington Bottle Redemption Center to Become Recording Studio

Here's a radical idea: How about we get rid of the Bottle Bill altogether, and put the $0.09/can back in the consumers pocket! Then we won't need any of these redemption centers and everyone can be happy.

With mandatory recycling laws in place and advance zero-sort technology accessible across Vermont there's no need for these 1970's-style bottle bills that create MASSIVE inefficiencies in the raw materials supply chain.

Margaret Cheney Welch--Congressman Welch's wife--pursued recycling reform when she was Rep. from Norwich, but quickly got shut down from special-interest groups.

This redemption center shut down not because Mr Hoekstra is trying to "gentrify" the ONE but because the business model of a redemption center is rather archaic and unfeasible in 2017. The trend of beer consumption to skew towards double IPA tall boys (high alcohol/can ratio) doesn't help either.

The Vermont House needs to repeal and replace the bottle bill.

4 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 07/20/2017 at 5:22 PM

Re: “Governing by Numbers: Is Scott's 'Six-Three-One' Slogan Good Public Policy?

Wow, once again Doug Hoffer makes excuses for labor force decline and tries to downplay its significance.

Total employment and the count of jobs that meet U-3 criteria are entirely irrelevant in this discussion and not part of the 6-3-1 slogan.

To have a thriving economy we need a skilled and burgeoning labor force. Job growth will occur organically once we have a healthy labor force; that's why the focus needs to be on labor force, not jobs.

It doesn't matter if the decline is a function of working-age residents fleeing to low-tax red states like New Hampshire and Florida or if its a function of baby boomers aging out. What matters is identifying the problem then working together to find a policy solution. And the problem that threatens Vermont's long term fiscal and economic health is labor force decline. Continuously mentioning "improvements" in the U-3 unemployment rate diminishes the importance of our actual problem.

13 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 06/08/2017 at 10:38 AM

Re: “Vermont Manufacturers Provide On-Site English Classes

It's great these employers are finding that "Diversity is our strength." However, I find differences in compensation of ESL vs non-ESL employees at these firms troubling.

Offering foreign-born employees overtime opportunities so that they can learn English but not offering similar opportunities for overtime to native employees because they already speak English is surely a discriminatory labor practice. By all indications in this article employees are selected for this program solely because they're new Americans that don't speak English; not because they possess personal attributes or intellectual qualities that warrant preferential treatment by their employer.

Perhaps there are some caveats not mentioned in this article regarding overtime opportunities, or perhaps the non-ESL employees are offered similar levels of overtime on the factory floor to provide the same monetary benefit.

However, given what was stated in this article, the English-speaking workers have every right to be "disgruntled." Offering a group of employees overtime solely because of their ethnicity could absolutely violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

5 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 06/07/2017 at 2:11 PM

Re: “As Scott Threatens Veto, Vermont Budget Faces Uncertain Future

I think it's time to point out VT currently spends $28k per pupil (actual pupils, not BS "equalized" pupils the state uses, which greatly inflates the denominator).

Higher spending doesn't equate to better outcomes. That's been proven. A case study is Massachusetts, which spends $11k LESS per pupil than we do, yet has better education outcomes for K-12.

Inconvenient truth is k-12 expenditure out of control. Part of the blame rests on the Brigham decision and Act 60, part of the blame rests on the legislatures obsession with preserving "local control" and tiny school districts. Blame can also be placed on the states "incomes sensitivitized" property tax structure where many VTers (>50%) are not fully held accountable to the passage of their school budgets, as their property taxes are deeply discounted. Most notably however, the NEA's reckless greed is creating a roadblock to reforms that will both provide better outcomes and lower aggregate k-12 expenditure. They have become the chief driver of our affordability crisis.

Citation (data from national NEA):…

22 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 05/18/2017 at 11:43 PM

Re: “Burlington's Brickwork Art Studios to Be Closed

Congratulations to Mr. Jacobs for his recent purchase of this property. I wish him the best in his endeavors. Hopefully the DRB/BTVCC will stay out of the way and let Mr. Jacobs find the most market-efficient use of this space. Whether that's apartments, tech offices or a drug treatment center we should let the market run it's course. Low-rent "artist" studios provide very little benefit to Burlington and generate very little economic activity that can be captured via income and sales/use taxes. Letting the market decide will provide the biggest benefit to Burlingtonians.

As for the artists? There's plenty of vacant warehouse/factory space in many of Vermont's formerly industrial towns (think Barre, Springfield, St. J, etc). Hopefully the artists can move into these cities, make use of vacant real estate, and can ultimately spur the same revitalization and creative renaissance they have in the South End.

Not everyone can live in Burlington. Let's let market demand/supply more efficiently allocate real estate assets. No reason to subsidize artists through regulations/zoning when there's space for them in Barre, Rutland, etc.

17 likes, 50 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 04/30/2017 at 9:37 PM

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