Workers, Capitalism, Business ‘Incentives’

Who Does Burlington’s Electric Department/Bike Share Help Most?

Over the past couple of years Burlington, and in particular Burlington Electric Department, have rolled out several initiatives that leaders claim are meant to help low-income residents. Yet these incentives, often in the form of rebates, are handouts to a handful of individual wealthy residents while doing absolutely nothing to make our environment fairer for those at the bottom, for those experiencing climate change the hardest.

Posted in Housing, Landlords, Workers | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Burlington’s Land and Housing is Controlled By a Wealthy Few

Burlington is a town of extremes. While 1% of residents control nearly $3 billion in property, 20% of residents live in extreme poverty, having $0 in assets. This staggering level of wealth concentrated in the hands of 500 individuals contradicts the idea that 1) there isn’t enough wealth in Burlington to clothe, feed, house, and educate every Burlington resident and 2) that Burlington and its local housing institutions are inclusive or democratic.

Posted in Housing, Landlords, Renters, UVM/Champlain College | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Downtown Improvement District Exposed Burlington’s Pathetic Public Processes

When local governments thinks and act like a business, everyone but business owners and landlords lose. Burlington’s Downtown Improvement District (DID) process shows that while ‘stakeholders’ and self-selecting and unscientific ‘focus groups’ may work for businesses, they are quite useless and even harmful for effective, local democratic government. Lousy and rushed public processes have become a hallmark of Burlington’s Weinberger administration, and the DID process was is ugliest process yet.

Posted in City council, Public Process, TIFs, DIDs, Economic ‘Incentives’ | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) offers False and Flimsy Promises

The city of Burlington loves Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) – whether it be for the Moran Plant, waterfront improvements, the mall redevelopment, or the nontransparent private marina process – even though TIFs are seriously flawed. TIFs are sold on flimsy and false promises – from helping low income communities to boosting the economy when it … Continue reading Tax Increment Financing (TIF) offers False and Flimsy Promises

Posted in Gentrification, TIFs, DIDs, Economic ‘Incentives’ | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UVM and Champlain College’s Admission Process Is Fueling Burlington’s Gentrification

UVM and Champlain College have a lot of power in shaping our community, in both positive and negative ways. We often hear about how 40% of UVM’s students living off campus increases non-students’ housing costs, and I’ve written about how as two of the city’s largest landlords with a captured client base, their exorbitant room … Continue reading UVM and Champlain College’s Admission Process Is Fueling Burlington’s Gentrification

Posted in Gentrification, UVM/Champlain College | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

When Will Vermont Address Our Prison-Wage Slavery?

Vermont is finally taking some first steps to address our slavery-supporting past. By focusing on the past, however, we continue to overlook our own state-sanctioned modern day slavery – Vermont’s barely-paid incarcerated workers.

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The Burlington Business Association, and DID Supporters, Do Not Represent Burlington Residents

The BBA is made up of very wealthy business owners and homeowners, many of whom have little personal interest or stake in Burlington, who care more about bringing wealthy tourists to the city than serving regular Burlington residents, while a handful of BBA Members have extra influence. The BBA doesn’t represent ‘mom and pop’ businesses or Burlington residents in any real way, and when they support the Downtown Improvement District it is not to the benefit of most Burlington residents and workers.

Posted in Public Process, TIFs, DIDs, Economic ‘Incentives’, Workers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Burlington Business Association and Mayor Weinberger Rigged the Downtown Improvement District Process

This is Part 3 of a 4 Part series on how Mayor Weinberger and the Burlington Business Association don’t represent regular Burlingtonians and are using their influence to push a rushed and rigged Downtown Improvement District that gives a handful of wealthy folks even more power at the expense of actual Burlington residents. Parts 1, … Continue reading The Burlington Business Association and Mayor Weinberger Rigged the Downtown Improvement District Process

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Most Church Street ‘small’ Business Owners Do Not Live in Burlington

This is Part 2 of a 4 Part series on how Mayor Weinberger and the Burlington Business Association don’t represent regular Burlingtonians and are using their influence to push a rushed and rigged Downtown Improvement District that gives a handful of wealthy folks even more power at the expense of actual Burlington residents. Parts 1, … Continue reading Most Church Street ‘small’ Business Owners Do Not Live in Burlington

Posted in TIFs, DIDs, Economic ‘Incentives’ | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Downtown Privatization Folks Are Wrong – Burlington’s Downtown Economy Is Healthy

This is Part 1 of a 4 Part series on how Mayor Weinberger and the Burlington Business Association don’t represent regular Burlingtonians and are using their influence to push a rushed and rigged Downtown Improvement District that gives a handful of wealthy folks even more power at the expense of actual Burlington residents. Parts 1,2, … Continue reading The Downtown Privatization Folks Are Wrong – Burlington’s Downtown Economy Is Healthy

Posted in Committees and Commissions, TIFs, DIDs, Economic ‘Incentives’ | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Burlington’s Livable Wage Ordinance Needs Major Updating

Burlington’s livable wage ordinance, a 17-year old lofty goal, has not lived up to its intentions or expectations. Started in 2001 to give city workers and contractors hired by the city a livable wage, the ordinance was most recently updated in 2014 when the city identified lax enforcement of the ordinance, while also slightly widening … Continue reading Burlington’s Livable Wage Ordinance Needs Major Updating

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Seven Days Misses the Mark on Housing in Burlington

A recent article from Seven Days about Champlain College’s new dorms had a lot of quotes from a lot of people. I want to show how, as long as UVM and Champlain can charge whatever they want, our housing market will never resemble a ‘traditional’ supply and demand market. How, as long as properties are valued … Continue reading Seven Days Misses the Mark on Housing in Burlington

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UVM and Champlain On-Campus Housing Prices are Hurting the Rental Market

When I ran for city council last year and was looking into our local housing market, I was blown away by how Burlington’s housing market doesn’t function like a typical supply/demand market. There are many reasons why this is the case, (I’ll save it for a different post) but the biggest reason that housing in … Continue reading UVM and Champlain On-Campus Housing Prices are Hurting the Rental Market

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Updated: Burlington City Employee Union Opposes Mayor Weinberger

Post title updated to reflect that a large portion of city employees are not unionized, and to reflect that many union members are saying that membership never took a vote. What at first looked like a huge win for Carina seems to be blowing back pretty hard, especially when several other city unions had already … Continue reading Updated: Burlington City Employee Union Opposes Mayor Weinberger

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The New Burlington Town Center Is Already Hurting Working Class Residents

I have been a very vocal critic of the Burlington Town Center for several years, mainly because the development relies on trickle down housing and trickle down economics to help low income residents. A recent article in VTDigger about UVM Medical Center’s expansion to the BTC, and the pressure and ‘passion’ Mayor Weinberger used to persuade … Continue reading The New Burlington Town Center Is Already Hurting Working Class Residents

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