North End Demands Representation on Blue Ribbon Committee and Finance Board


Currently three councilors are on the Blue Ribbon Committee that will evaluate the financial position of Burlington Telecom, and make a decision about what the city will do.
  • Council President Bill Keogh, D-Ward 5; 
  • Joan Shannon, D-Ward 5
  • Karen Paul, I-Ward 6

Two representatives from Ward 5.  Two Democrats.

Bill Keogh (D, Ward 5) needs to look at the voter distribution in this multi-party city, and rethink his appointments to the BT Committee and the Finance Board:
  • Ward 1 - 669
  • Ward 2 - 613
  • Ward 3 - 802
  • Ward 4 - 1809
  • Ward 5 - 1338
  • Ward 6 - 967
  • Ward 7 - 1443
Appointing two Ward 5 councilors, and two Democrats, makes President Keogh (D, Ward 5) look partisan and unfair stacking the committee. Adding a Republican from the fiscally conservative North End would be a wise choice, a fair and statesmanlike decision.

THANK YOU FOR VOTING! Councilors praised residents for coming out to vote in large numbers. Information about the distribution of votes in the last election was handed out so people could see that voter disapproval of IRV in 2010, compared to approval in 2005, declined dramatically in every ward. In spite of claims that voter turnout was higher than usual in the NorthEnd, the distribution of votes was the same in both elections: 42% North End wards 4,7; and 58% wards 1,2,3,5,6.  The Repeal IRV margin of victory (303) was greater than in the IRV mayoral election when the mayor won by 252 votes in a re-tabulation of 2nd and 3rd place votes. And the Repeal IRV win was a REAL 52% majority. Kurt reported that all Burlington legislators have sponsored the charter change bill to repeal IRV and the house is expected to act on it quickly.

THE MAYOR SPEAKS: Mayor Kiss addressed the assembly of 68 residents, elected officials, and friends, summarizing key issues in the city. People offered comments and questions about the pension plan, Burlington Telecom's Blue Ribbon Committee, the pride people in the north end have in their voting record, problems regarding location of polling places, the quality of recent street paving, and the state of disrepair in our schools.

As soon as the meeting tape is up and running on Ch17 CENTER FOR MEDIA and DEMOCRACY the link will be posted here and you can watch the meeting. Ch17 tapes have "clickable agenda" so you can skip to the agenda item that interests you, or view the meeting from beginning to end. The past 3 years' assemblies are archived at Ch17 and available to watch on their website. Search the section Neighborhoods in the right-hand column.

 NorthEnd NPA LIVE@5:25 also on file at Ch17. North End Neighborhood Planning Assemblies Update : Nuclear Energy - Guests Maggie and Arnie Gundersen 02/19/2010


WHERE DO I VOTE?Discussion of problems at polling places -- missing signs, misplaced signs, and misinformation regarding location of polling places. Ward 7 moved to Miller for the run-off election last year because school was in session, but it was a surprise that Town Meeting elections were to be held at Miller, too. Congestion and confusion turned people away, and a survey that Vince did showed that 85% of respondents wanted to go back to voting at Hunt School. Vince will continue this discussion at NEVIS on Saturday, Mar 20, 10AM, Miller Ctr.     

 In Ward 4, the problem was an anouncement that the polling place had moved, and there was no sign visible until Monday night. Meanwhile, a sign announcing the Ward 7 polling place had moved was set up near St. Marks on the Ward 4 side of the Avenue.  These issues, and the general topic of how to welcome voters to the polls on election day, are on Saturday's agenda. All are welcome to come and bring good ideas!        

Health care concerns sparked the perennial single payer vs. open the market debate on how to fix the broken health care non-system. Mark Larson outlines Sen. Racine's bill and predicted that health care costs would increase 100% in the next three years. (Audible groans from the audience.)

Dave Hartnett explained why people in the North End are offended by the Mayor's division of the city into Burlingtonians and North End Naysayers, apparently linking historic concern in the North End about affordability of school budget increases to our resounding rejection of IRV. Dave pointed out the many bond issues NorthEnders have supported, in this recent election as well as historically. PROUD North End Naysayer buttons were worn by several residents, and by all our city councilors and councilor-elect. Dave expressed our pride in our schools, and praised the countless volunteer hours residents give to schools and youth activities. Dave also called for the Mayor and Council President to make sure there is a fiscally conservative North End councilor on the Blue Ribbon Committee if it expects to have credibility among voters out here.

PENSION PLAN STATUS? Pat Kearney advised the Mayor to act on moving the city pension system to a 401K plan.

CODE ENFORCEMENT WOES: Many concerns were directed toward the Code Enforcement Office, acknowledging that under the leadership of Bill Ward, and the continuing strong efforts of Deb Dalton and Linda Ayers, assisted by Ita Meno, Matt Perry, Tim Ahonen, Don Robear, George Coutrayer and others, residents are seeing improvement over the dismal performance and high turnover rate of staff in past years. Lt. Ward was a downtown beat cop for many years, and he is aware of  and committed to strengthening the link between public safety and code, as well as of the relationship between the livable city, protected property values, and code!  We welcome Bill's knowledge of the city, and look forward to working with him.

Residents expressed frustration about late notices and fines and unwillingness of code office to work with them to resolve issues related to occupancy permits, or pursue enforcement of vacant building code or property maintenance codes. Many issues that were documented in testimony before the Open Government Committee were buried before the final report was issued, and the Code Director was encouraged to review the  OGC Monster List.

Watch the meeting on CCTV and make up your own mind:

Burlington Wards 4 & 7 NPA Meeting 03/16/2010

Live @5:25, March 19, 2010

Read about the meeting from the perspective of Haik Bedrosian, school-commissioner elect, W7. Mayor Speaks!