Vote No on Burlington’s Proposed Redistricting Plan

burlington-redistricting-planBallot Item 5 – Proposed charter change RE: Ward Boundaries, City council, School board, Ward officer, and Voter registration board composition?

The proposed redistricting plan would add an additional ward for a total of 8 wards with 4 larger districts. There would be 2 less city councilors for a a total of 12 city councilors. All city councilors would be voted on in 2015.

I don’t like the idea of less representation on the city council. I would much rather the city just add more city councilor positions. Mayor Miro Weinberger has threatened to veto any addition of city councilors and current city council candidates have argued this fact as a reason to support the current proposal. However, they could simply override his veto if they wanted to. I imagine that the mayor and the current city council members don’t want any additional city councilors for one simple reason. I would dilute their power. The mayor only has one vote, any additional councilors will dilute his vote. Also, more new city councilors run the risk of new people not willing to support the established power’s plans. Plans going forward could be threatened.

Having the 4 larger districts help solidify the incumbent’s ability to keep power as the larger the district the harder it would be a for a challenger to cover the district with signs and go door-to-door.

I can certainly understand why the mayor and existing city councilors would want this proposal, but the voting citizens should see this as a threat to diverse representation on the city council.

Vote No on Gun Control Ballot Items in Burlington

Sign Wave with Loyal Ploof - Ward 4 City Council Candidate

Jeremy Ryan, Roy Collette and Loyal Ploof sign waving for Ploof’s ward 4 city council campaign. Ploof is a Libertarian and gun rights supporter.

Ballot Items 6, 7 and 8 are about gun control and are probably the most controversial ballot items on the ballot. My guess is that like most things that city government tries to do this is just a step  towards a complete gun ban in Burlington, which I’m sure some of the supporters of these 3 ballot items desire.

Ballot Item 6 – Proposed charter change RE: Police confiscation/seizure of weapons during domestic abuse incident?

At first glance, this may seem like a good policy. However, it’s fairly vague. What qualifies as a weapon specifically for starters and how do you determine for sure who’s weapons are who’s? Don’t you run the risk of seizing a weapon that the potential victim may need to defend themselves against the attacker?  What specifically qualifies as a domestic abuse incident? We are not even specifically proposing to take weapons away from a convicted abuser, but just a suspected one, what qualifies as a suspected abuser?

The current laws provide sufficient tools for police to deal with domestic abuse. If a citizen does harm to someone with ANY weapon, whether its a gun, bat, knife, or fist, they deserve to face consequences and the victim should be taken care of whether its special protection and/or compensation.

However, this charter change seems to be unnecessary and could actually put potential victims at greater risk as a weapon may be the only defense someone may have against an abuser.

Ballot Item 7 – Proposed charter change RE: Ban on firearms in any establishment with a liquor license?

This one is an easy one to vote no against for me. Many bars, such as Manhattan Pizza, like the idea of not allowing firearms in their bars, so why can’t they just do it. A bar owner can set the rules as they see fit for patrons… why ask the government to do their own dirty work. I imagine many don’t want to come off as the “bad guy” and anger existing/potential customers.

This charter change also would encompass a lot of properties in downtown Burlington as it means a ban of guns in all restaurants, bars, and many hotels. Again, I imagine this is only another step towards extending the ban to more areas to eventually cover the entire public area, just like what’s happening with smoking bans.

The funny thing about criminals and abusers is they usually don’t follow the laws, so charter changes like this will not stop them from holding weapons, but will certainly make them feel more confident when committing crimes that their victims will be disarmed.

Ballot Item 8 – Proposed charter change RE: Safe storage of firearms?

Another really easy one to vote no on. This one would require firearms not in our immediate possession to be locked up. What sense does it make to keep a gun locked up if want to have it available during an emergency.

My wife and I called for police help a few years ago and the response time was far too slow, over 2 hours I believe even though we are about 2 miles away from the nearest police department. If one feels comfortable depending on them or something else for protection so be it. However, if other citizens want to be able to defend themselves their own way who are we to stop them from protecting themselves as they want in their own home?

Constitutionality of the Charter Changes?

Even if all three pass by Burlington voters it may not matter since they would need state approval and it’s been argued that all three are unconstitutional. Other towns have tried passing gun control bans, just to be turned down by Montpelier. However, it’s possible that these might have a better chance as they are not as strict.

Also, lets be honest here. Most of Burlington is quite peaceful. We have very little gun violence that I can think of. Is gun policy really something we need to be worried about? Don’t we have much bigger issues to worry about in Burlington? Perhaps its a distraction from the real issues. The last gun violence incident I know of in Burlington is when the Burlington Police gunned down a resident in our area who was armed with a shovel.

Thoughts on Burlington Telecom Crisis

Burlington Telecom

I believe that Burlington Telecom’s current financial situation is a concern for the City of Burlington’s economic health.  The city already has so much on it’s plate, I don’t think that it needs the extra burden of trying to keep a risky upstart afloat in an extremely competitive industry such as telecommunications.
As the telecommunications industry seems to be an ever-changing one with many players crossing into each other’s markets (increasing competition from other phone, traditional cable, satellite tv, wireless phone, and even internet companies).  How can a small local firm be expected to continue making the huge investments needed to keep up and why is it necessary to the city’s future?
There are two options I can see that would be fair to everyone involved…
1. Burlington Telecom should repay the loan back to the city of Burlington.  Burlington Telecom could then issue bonds to the public market and then use the money to both pay of the loan and continue their work.  Then, Burlington Telecom could be spun off to become a completely private entity… perhaps even allow the current users of Burlington Telecom to take stakes in it to possibly become a COOP like City Market.
2. Alternatively, if Burlington Telecom must stay as part of the city government, they should meet their obligations as they agreed to.  They should repay the loan, seek financing outside the city government and continue to build out within Burlington first. If they succeed there, then they could be given permission to expand their services beyond Burlington.  If Burlington taxpayers or city employees/elected officials time are going to be used for the benefit of Burlington Telecom, then ALL residents of Burlington that are paying taxes to the benefit of BT should have access to BT’s services before residents of other towns do.  It’s only fair.
Either solution should require the risk to be shifted from the city government to outside private interests and most likely should involve an increase in the service rates that customers pay to allow Burlington Telecom to have some chance of being sustainable.

2007 Burlington Candidates Now Online

The official list of Burlington Candidates for the 2007 March election are now out. Click here for a full listing of all Burlington candidates running for city council, school commissioner and inspector of elections for each ward.

I setup some Burlington Forums where candidates/voters can discuss the candidates and issues facing voters by ward. Simply click here, register, then click on your ward and start posting! I hope this may be useful to Burlington Voters.

Also, if you may be interested in moderating a ward, contact me to let me know that you are interested.

Upcoming VTLP Meeting in Burlington

Just a notice to let people know that the Vermont Libertarian Party is holding their next meeting in Burlington at the Fletcher Free Library in the Pickering Room on September 13th from 6-7pm.

There will be candidate nominations and other party business discussed.

Heavenly and I plan on attending… hope to see you there!

Prospective Libertarian Candidates

Hardy Machia, our state party chair, has been working very hard to find good Libertarian candidates to run this year for Vermont state house. The goal is to get 10, he has already found 8 interested candidates. Good job!

Hardy has been trying hard to located some good candidates in Burlington. Chris HaesslyHe wanted me to run this year, but at this time, I don’t feel I can. Today, we met with Chris Haessly, who’s a progressive who’s open to the possibility of running as a fusion candidate, where he would be running as a Progressive-Libertarian. We’ve known him for a while now and I respect him and feel he’s a committed activist for causes he believes in, but after discussing the possibility it was obvious to most of us that we just have different principlies and ideology that doesn’t fit.

Haessly strongly believes that many important services in life are far to important to be left to the free-market and we believe that many important services are far too important to be left to the governement. Haessly believes in things like single-payer universal healthcare, government-run affordable housing, mandatory liveable wages, stronger public education, strong zoning and code enforcement, more government-run services such as Burlington Telecom, along with increased taxation.

These are the kind of things that as Libertarians, we fear very much. I feel it just wouldn’t make sense for Haessly to run with a Libertarian label. However, we would be very happy to work with Haessly on any specific issue that we all agree on as we did with the some Greens and Republicans on the Fluoride issue. I think its just good strategy for members of different parties to collaborate on issues where they do agree.

Please contact me if you have a passion for liberty and have an interest in running for something in Burlington as a Libertarian or fusion candidate. If elsewhere in Vermont contact Hardy Machia.

The Burlington Libertarian Party has formed!

BURLINGTON, VERMONT – December 4, 2004

We are proud to announce the formation of Burlington Libertarian Party! Local Burlington issues were discussed and elections were held. The state executive committee held their meeting after the Burlington meeting.


Jeremy Ryan, Chair
Burlington Libertarian Party
53 Avenue C
Burlington, Vermont
Phone: 802/865-0111
Fax: 309/406-3143
Web: http://www.burlingtonlp.org
Email: [email protected]

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