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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Remember, remember the 5th of November...

V (as portrayed by Hugo Weaving. - image from Wikipedia

Just a little reminder 401 years ago today Guy Fawkes Night occured, and even Wikipedia is listing the V for Vendetta movie(which is closely connected to the movie) as their featured article today.

See my last post on V for Vendetta, and it is available on DVD.

Jeremy and I are planning on watching the movie today in honor of the holiday, and for those without the movie, read the Wikipedia's quotes from the movie. My favorite quote is when V addresses London:

Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, whereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle are celebrated with a nice holiday. I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.
There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, think, and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillence coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well, certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now High Chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence.
Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Vermont Libertarians getting press

In the midst of all the political campaigns this time of year, I Just thought I'd mention that our local Libertarian candidates are getting press coverage!:

  • VPR Switchboard 10/19: Thurs., Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.: Minor Political Parties
    Most of the attention this election season is on Vermont's major party candidates. But those aren't the only names you'll see on your November ballot. Bob Kinzel talks with representatives from the Green Party and the Libertarian Party.
    (Mp3 version available for download by VPR, the 2nd half is Libertarian party candidates.)
  • From Cathy Resmer's 802 Online:
  • Also, on Wednesday, 10/18 during Shay Totten's Vermont Guardian segment on the Charlie & Ernie Show, it was mentioned that minor party candidates (like Libertarians) are beating the major party candidates to the punch in answering the Vermont Guardian's ongoing political survey
As our state chair, Hardy Machia mentioned in his VPR interview, we currently have 15 candidates running for state and local offices this year. To view our state house candidates, visit: 2006 Vermont Libertarian Candidates on

Also, we do have 2 Libertarians running here in the Queen City, Rob Bussiere, and Johnathan Stauffer are both running for Justice of the Peace under the Libertarian banner.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A new unique candidate with a TV ad...

Not all the Vermont TV campaign ads are about Sanders, Tarrant, Rainville, or Welch... as you just may see a unique candidate; From, may I present Tacky Ceramic Rooster!

Yup, last blog entry from the candidate on the campaign trail was right here in Burlington!
Tacky Ceramic Rooster Credited For Pottery Surge
BURLINGTON, Vt. - According to pottery enthusiasts across the country, enrollment for pottery classes is at an all time high. Many believe Tacky Ceramic Rooster is responsible for the crowded classrooms. "Tacky Ceramic Rooster has sparked an interest in people who have overlooked ceramics in the past. He has brought passion to this quiet art form." Pottery instructor Lindsay Gangle couldn't be happier. "Thank you, Tacky Ceramic Rooster. Thanks for making ceramics mainstream."

Yes, PayAttention is actually airing commercials (in parnership with the AdCouncil) regarding paying attention to campaign ads. Here's their explanation:

If you're not voting, then who are you electing?
Truth is, you affect the outcome of the midterm elections whether you vote or not. If you don't it will translate into one more for someone else. And that someone else may have the leadership skills of oh, lets say a bag of leaves, or a tacky ceramic rooster. Moral of the story? Get involved. Get informed. Pay Attention. And vote.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Multi-modal building has plans for development

In today's Free Press
New idea for Battery St. site

Hopefully Monte is right, and the city will not lose any more money than it already had with the multi-modal plan.
It's kind of funny that this is the first mention of a project update about the building, and no mention of it on the local TV stations RSS feeds.... perhaps Ch. 3 and others will have more coverage about the development soon, as I'm curious (as I can imagine others are as well) as to how the parking and traffic issues will be addressed with this proposed mixed commercial/residential building.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Intervale land sale coverage, & City Kids meeting

According to Mayor Kiss' comments on 'You Can Quote Me', he felt that the land sale would go through...
City to discuss proposed Intervale land sale

But, the public does not seem to be in agreement with the Mayor's thoughts of the land sale, according to the Free Press poll:
Intervale Land Sale
Are you in favor of the city selling 199-acres of the Burlington Intervale?
As of 8/22/6 at 3:23PM:

Don't Care

Also, for those concerned with the City Kids issue, Mayor Kiss will be attending a meeting tonight at Burlington Electric regarding the City Kids program:
CITY KIDS MEETING Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss will convene a public meeting Tuesday night to discuss the city's proposal to merge the City Kids after-school program in Burlington After School, a school district program. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Burlington Electric Department, 585 Pine St.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mayor Kiss on 'You Can Quote Me'

Since Ch 3's 'You Can Quote me' program is unscripted, (leaving no script you can read on the WCAX site) and you have to purchase the tape of the program to learn what was discussed if you did not watch the program, I thought I'd post a summary of what was discussed for those that missed the program... some interesting issues were discussed.

  1. Gun control
    1. [Kiss]Larger city mayors are addresssing this issue, possibly having the police seize guns at domestic dispute scenes as an option; "perhaps it should be addresssed at state, not at municipality level."
    2. [Andy Potter] Guns in involved in the crimes here in Burlington were illegal, all the laws in the world will not help the issue, your thoughts?
      1. [Kiss] Suggest more laws in Vermont because (the laws) are too open

  2. Sanctuary City
    1. [Kiss] Someone who is undocumented is a public safety issue, as they can be reported to INS
    2. [Marselis] Plattsburgh was a sanctuary in the past for those waiting to be processed for entry to Canada, which lead to budgetary strain
  3. Intervale
    1. [Andy] Is it a good deal? $200,000? If it was on the waterfront, it may possibly be a public scandal...
      1. [Kiss] Yes, it is a good deal; land in Intervale is valued differently than waterfront ; I believe the sale will go forward
    2. Why isn't Burlington buying the land?
      1. [Kiss] The Intervale organization already has a vision for the land, and they could be our partner (city would own 1%)
  4. Moran
    1. [Andy] Where is it curently headed?
      1. [Kiss] We've heard from the survey that we should find a good use for it, the city gave a generous view, but it was not definative; Understood the results as: Whatever decision is ok with us
        As it now stands, it is undecided, trying to now get plans, sketches from the survey results
    2. [Marselis] Can the building be demolished?
      1. Yes, we estimate it would cost over $1 million, but some proposals, such as the one for the Y also shows it is reclaimable
  5. North 40
    1. [Andy] Where is it going?
      1. [Kiss] No decision yet, moving slowly on development in that area; looking more towards possibly developing other areas of waterfront, like the railyards
  6. Southern Connector
    1. [Andy] What are your thoughts about the railyard ?
      1. [Kiss] Land is currently owned by the state, but it also has a long term lease on the land by the Vermont Railway
    2. [Andy] What is the length of the lease? 30 years?
      1. No, much longer than 30 years
    3. [Andy] Developing the railyard?
      1. [Kiss] Yes, it would be ideal, but not something that would be immediate
  7. City Resources
    1. [Marselis] Have the revenue sources for the city been exhausted?
      1. [Kiss] I dont think so, we're trying to be efficient, we have the lowest tax rates for schools in the county; our goal is to do more with less
    2. [Marselis] I find it kind of funny that a Progressive is saying we could get more out of property taxes...
      1. [Kiss] I'm still sorting out a taskforce to discuss alternative methods of revenue
    3. [Marselis] What would you suggest, a city income tax?
      1. [Kiss] I am not afraid to bring up that suggestion, as alternatives need to be discussed
    4. [Marselis] How about the idea of a Metro Police or Fire?
      1. [Kiss] We have looked at it, some potential, such as a metro dispatch service, but not to use it for police department
  8. Burlington Electric
    1. [Andy] BED's long-term power, in wake of the current energy news... any plans?
      1. [Kiss] Our major commitment is energy effiency; committed to wind power, which will reduce the energy need by 1/3
    2. [Andy] But renewable energy would not sustain the city...
      1. [Kiss] I have no answer for the long-term view
As he stated in the program, Mayor Kiss believes he is connected to residents, and residents are able to contact him by: or 802-865-7272
He is also to attend tomorrow's meeting about the Intervale land sale - 6PM at Contois Auditorium

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Southern Connector informational meetings coming

For those that missed yesterday's Ch. 6 o'clock news Around The Region Segment, there will be a series of 4 meetings starting 7/24 and lasting until 8/3 that are open to the public.

From what Jeremy and I had heard at our last BBA meeting on 7/6/6 (from DPW director Goodkind), there is a change to what was originally in mind to be worked on: it now is set to connect the interstate to Pine St without going through neighborhoods, which is 1/2 of what the plan originally was. Goodkind believes it will not help the King street area's current congestion, and that the project will not be connecting Pine street to Battery street.
Goodkind also mentioned that the Act 250 process is still not over, as well as the envronmental studies, but if all goes well, they expect to start construction in Spring/Summer of 2007.

Below is the text from last night's Ch. 3 segment:
Burlington's long-delayed Southern Connector will be the subject of four public information meetings starting next week. A series of problems halted construction of the road almost twenty years ago. But officials say work might resume as early as next year -- if the road gets its environmental and land use permits. Formal hearings are expected in the Fall. The informational meetings will be informal -- an opportunity for anyone who wants to know more about the project. ((Steve Goodkind/Burlington Public Works Director: "They can ask questions and unlike hearings there's a back and forth on this, give and take. They can ask, answer questions, get more information. A hearing, you go and speak your peace and eventually you'll get an answer.")) The first of the informational meetings is this coming Monday, July 24th at six o'clock at the Burlington public works department.

And the meeting times:

Southern Connector Informational Meetings:

Monday, July 24 at 6 P.M.
Burington Public Works Dept.
645 Pine Street

Thursday, July 27 at 12 P.M.
Contois Auditorium
Burlington City Hall

Monday, July 31 at 2 P.M.
Burington Public Works Dept.
645 Pine Street

Thursday, August 3 at 6 P.M.
Burington Public Works Dept.
645 Pine Street

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Burlington's more expensive than surrounding cities

Story from Dan McLean at the Free Press, confirming what most taxpayers already know...

Burlington pricier than average

Saturday, July 01, 2006

LOST in Burlington

Image from

Yup, that's right, today starts the new 1% local option sales tax (or LOST as I call it) here in Vermont's Queen City.

Surprising that there's hardly any mention of this online, aside from the articles about it being voted on & discussed at City council meetings.

As my husband Jeremy says, "What a way to celebrate the Independence day, but with a new tax"

Thanks to Nancy Remsen at Free Press for publishing an article about the issue, as well as the cigarette tax increase, and the number of laws the Vermont Legislature has enacted during this past session - 139

7/3/6 Addendum: Now more coverage on LOST:

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

School district embraces the free market in Internet service

In today's Free Press, there's an article about the Burlingon School District ditching the Burlington Telecom service for a faster & more affordable service, but get this: for the same price, they would be getting 5 times the speed of service from the main provider that they already receive!

Kudos to the school district for taking initiative on this & saving some of our taxpayer money!

Burlington School District switches Internet provider service from Burlington Telecom

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Free Press now has a political blog!

Yeah, I know, been slacking on the blog entries; but hey, ya gotta enjoy what summer we have while it's here :-)

Here's a snippet of local political news...

A repost from PoliticsVT's Blog from 6/24:

It looks like the Burlington Free Press has caught on to the power of blogging!

Nancy Remsen, Sam Hemingway and Terri Hallenbeck, which make up the Free Press' political reporting staff across the state have started a blog (with permission from the Free Press) to focus on all things political in this Campaign '06.

Even though the Free Press threatened to sue us, we thought as a jesture of good will between our little blog and the Garnett News System -- we will post Nany and Terri's blog on our short list of PoliticsVT approved sites. Some of you may not know, but it takes a lot to get on PoliticsVT's approved site list. Sites need to demonstrate a dedication to informing the public, provide good information for the public and be operated with fairness for all political beliefs.

Terri, Nancy and Sam are very strong journalists and are noted for their solid understanding on politics and government. We're glad that they started a blog. Way to go!

Click here, to go to VT Buzz.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Burlington Taxpayer Protest at Monday's City Council meeting

Image by Citizens for Limited Taxation

Tom Licata, former candidate for City Council in Ward 6, is organizing
a Taxpayer protest during the Monday's City Council meeting, 7PM City
Hall's Contois Auditorium.

Here is a recent letter to the editor of the Free
Press from Tom:
(Titles for the letters are usually determined by the Free Press)

Kiss should keep focus local

Memo to Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss: It appears you are restless and in
search of a problem to solve. Rather than taking on the gun lobby or
finding "solidarity" with illegal immigrants, stay closer to home and
find solidarity with an oppressed group of Burlington taxpayers.

You know, I've never heard of a city or state that has been taxed into
prosperity. Have you? Rather than having taxpayers continue to
shoulder an unfair burden of their tax dollars supporting
dysfunctional government processes, you could start with consolidating
city services through an efficiency and effectiveness study. Then,
move on to building a five-, 10- and 20-year economic growth strategy
for our waterfront (hint: over time, tax revenues are determined by
economic and productivity growth). For "peace-of-mind," our citizens
deserve to have more certainty over their future tax increases. A
"Taxpayer's Bill of Rights," which would limit tax increases to no
more than inflation, would force you to set spending priorities the
way that families and businesses do, and would require government to
live within its means.

Lastly, although you and many in your City Council may derive
vicarious gratification from supporting our city's public sector and
teacher unions with generous and unaffordable benefits and pay
packages, it's time to stop these indulgences. It's time to stop
living in an ideological dream world, and begin the heavy lifting
required to get this city back on track. Be restless no more!

Tom also has some flyers about this issue to hand out to your
neighbors, to reach Tom: 658 8624

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Brief update to the 'Sanctuary City" issue

For those that missed the Wednesday's (5/31) Ch. 3 6 o'clock news, there was a brief mention of City Attorney McNeil's findings about the proposed Sanctuary City. Here's the text from the segment:
Burlington's Attorney has completed his research into how the city can become a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Mayor Bob Kiss suggested the move earlier this month at an immigration rally as a way for illegal aliens to reside in Burlington without fear of deportation. City Attorney Joe McNeil says his research into the legal issues indicate the criminal laws must be enforced -- but the civil laws regarding immigration issues are more complicated. ((tape 310 tc 11:34 Joseph McNeil/Burlingtonj City Attorney:"There'll be no recommendation from the City Attorney's Office that would involve anything less than full enforcement of our criminal laws. And with regard to the civil statutes there's a great deal of policy discussion that will have to take place between the research that we found and any implementation. So it's months away.")) McNeil says he looked at 58 communities in 20 states that currently offer some kind of sanctuary benefit to illegal aliens.
So far, there's no mention of this issue on the agenda for Monday's City Council meeting, so we'll see if there will be an amendment to the agenda, or if there are comments during Public Forum (7:30 time certain for those interested in speaking).

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mayor Kiss calls for greater gun control

Another controversial issue being addressed by our Burlington mayor...
May 26, 2006

BURLINGTON, Vt. --Mayor Bob Kiss, stepping into sensitive political territory in just his second month in office, responded to a shooting incident in the city by calling for greater gun control.

Kiss distributed to reporters at a news conference to discuss budget issues a news release from the police department about a shooting in the Old North End of the city in which a 22-year-old man was seriously injured by a single gunshot. It was the second such shooting in Burlington this year and Kiss said it demanded his attention.

"I really have concerns in general about handguns and the fact there's maybe more prevalence in the world to the use of violence," Kiss said. "I don't think two events suggest a change, but it's definitely something we all need to pay attention to in our personal lives and in the life of the city. And I think we can do more around the issue of handguns in particular."

Gun control traditionally has been a sensitive issue in Vermont, and there are few restrictions. Kiss said he did not want to project an image that the state or its largest city were a convenient place to buy weapons.

"There's a billboard as you go into Boston now that lists states that contribute to handgun availability in the state of Massachusetts," Kiss said. "And Vermont is on that list for Massachusetts because it has concerns that we don't do as much as we could to control the purchase and availability of guns. In the world at large there's room for Vermont and Burlington to look at the issues of handguns." -- from AP wire

And now from WCAX:

BURLINGTON, Vt. Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss is responding to a shooting incident in the city by calling for greater gun control.

Kiss called a news conference to discuss budget issues.But he opened it by discussing an incident in the city in which a 22-year-old man was seriously injured by a single gunshot.Kiss says he has concerns about handguns and the prevalance of violence.The mayor didn't offer any specific proposals on what might be done, but he says the public and political officials need to pay attention.

If Mayor Kiss doesn't think the two events suggest a change, then why is he even mentioning this issue? Stick to the main reason why the press conference was called - the budget & our increase to taxpayers. I would much rather like to see him working more on the budget (& addressing the future budgetary problems) & repairing the abundant potholes around town, as I believe that is something that should be at the forefront of the administration's agenda.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Medical Marijuana's 'holding pattern' in Burlington

Image -

This entry is in regard to this week's Seven Days article about problems that a medical marijuana recipient undergoes that lives here in Burlington. Here's the text of the article:
Smoked Out
Could the feds snuff out a Vermonter's medical marijuana?
by Ken Picard (05/24/06).

Shayne Higgins flinches and shields his eyes from the sun as though it were a laser beam cutting through his skull. He sits helplessly in his motorized wheelchair and waits, in visible pain, as two friends hastily assemble a makeshift ramp so he can roll into the house and out of the daylight.


Higgins is pale, gaunt and skeletal, with hollow, sunken eyes and limbs that are withered and curled from the ravages of advanced multiple sclerosis. He appears drained by the 10-minute ordeal of getting into the home of his friends "Willy" and "Tessa" (not their real names). Willy is Higgins' medical advocate and registered marijuana caregiver. About once a week, Higgins makes the laborious, 40-minute trip from his home at the Starr Farm Nursing Center in Burlington to this house in rural Chittenden County so he can smoke medical marijuana.

Higgins, 45, was diagnosed with MS in 1998 after suffering a seizure. Since then, he's lost his eyesight and most of his mobility. Higgins speaks in slow, slurred sentences and fades in and out of lucidity. His spaced-out demeanor is only partly due to the MS, Willy explains; mostly, it's a result of the 14 to 17 prescription drugs Higgins takes every day to control his pain, seizures and muscle spasms.

Higgins is one of 29 Vermonters registered with the Department of Public Safety to legally consume cannabis under the state's medical marijuana law, which took effect in October 2004. But unlike other medical marijuana patients, Higgins isn't allowed to consume cannabis in his own home. Starr Farm's administrators have told him that they could lose their Medicaid certification and federal funding if they allow him to possess or use a drug the U.S. government considers illegal.

Last summer, a Starr Farm staff member found a marijuana cigarette in Higgins' belongings and called the police. Although he had a Marijuana Registry ID card, the Burlington officer confiscated the joint; no charges were filed. Since then, the nursing home's administrator has told Higgins that he may not keep marijuana in his private room or smoke it anywhere on the grounds.

Willy calls the nursing home's position unjust, unreasonable and absurd. "They say they can't allow Shayne to use medical marijuana because they receive federal funding," Willy says. "Yet they're using a federal van and a federal driver to bring him here." Willy also points to Starr Farm's own "Resident Admission Agreement," which states that each resident "has a right to be free of interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal from the facility in exercising his or her rights."

Higgins appears to be the only medical marijuana patient in Vermont caught in this cloudy legal area, but his case raises a number of larger questions: Does federal law always trump state law when it comes to the use of medical marijuana? Can the U.S. government use the threat of prosecution and financial penalties to enforce federal policies that are incongruous with state laws? And, more generally, do nursing home residents have the same privacy rights and protection from unreasonable search and seizure as people who live in private residences?

Once Higgins is inside the house, Willy goes into a bedroom, where two nearly mature pot plants are growing in a closet, bathed in the orange glow of an expensive lighting system. By law, Willy can only grow two mature plants and one immature plant at a time, and can keep no more than 2 ounces of dried, smokeable weed on hand. One of the plants, about 3 feet tall, is thick, green and bushy. Willy shakes his head at the other one, which is shorter and scrawnier. "This one's called Jack Hair. It's piss-poor and has no medicinal effect. I'll probably have to destroy it," he says.

Next, Willy opens a locked cabinet where he stores a vial of dried buds harvested from an earlier plant. Back in the living room, he hands the vial to Tessa, who packs Higgins a pipe full of the spongy, green bud and helps him light it. Higgins draws a deep puff and starts coughing slowly. Minutes later, the effects are visible. Higgins' curled fingers unclench from the armrests of the wheelchair and his taut frame relaxes, like a twisted rubber band returning to its natural shape. He reclines his head, closes his eyes for a moment, and manages a brief smile.

"I'd smoke at least once a day if I could," Higgins says slowly, putting the pipe down after two hits. "It calms my nerves."

Several minutes later, Tessa brings him a sandwich. Higgins' appetite is much better after he's smoked, she says. Before his arrival, Tessa expressed concern that her friend has lost a lot of weight, especially after a recent bout with bedsores. Several weeks ago, the swelling in his leg got so bad, they feared it might have to be amputated.

Willy retired from IBM after 30 years as a technician. He became Higgins' marijuana caregiver about six months ago after going through a state-mandated criminal-background check. Willy isn't paid for his work; in fact, it costs him $100 a year to be listed on the marijuana registry. He also covers the other expenses of growing Higgins' pot.

Willy has learned a lot about MS and cannabis' unique ability to relieve its symptoms, as well as many of the side effects of the pharmaceuticals commonly used to treat the disease.

Much of what Willy knows he learned from his friend, Mark Tucci, a marijuana patient who lives in Manchester. Tucci, 49, has had MS for about 12 years and grows his own herb. Although the state registry is confidential, Tucci has met four or five other marijuana patients in Vermont, and occasionally advises them on proper growing and harvesting techniques. The Vermont law didn't create a legal means for patients to obtain marijuana seeds or plants. Basically, patients are on their own, and must buy what they need on the black market.

Tucci admits it was hard for him to visit Higgins -- it was like looking in the mirror and seeing himself from several years ago.

"I was like Shayne -- all stoned, ripped, narc-ed out, laying in a ball and sleeping all the time," Tucci says. "Don't get me wrong. I still have MS. But I don't have a catheter in me. I know what day it is. I'm raising a family. I'm getting out and doing stuff around the house. I couldn't do any of that before."

Unlike Higgins, Tucci speaks in a clear and coherent voice. He can walk -- albeit with a crutch -- and is raising two teenaged boys on his own, though he can no longer work. He's reduced his daily meds from 17 to three. And he credits most of those improvements to his use of medical marijuana.

Tucci smokes about five joints a day, or about 2 ounces each month. He's figured out which strain works best to control his muscle spasms and which one manages his pain. In fact, Tucci has nearly finished writing a guidebook for other medical marijuana patients in Vermont on how to grow medical cannabis.

Tucci asserts that Higgins could make comparable improvements if he were allowed to smoke every day instead of just once a week. "If that man could have a constant supply [of cannabinoids] in his body, you give him three or four months and you could wean him off all that other crap," he says. "That poor sonofabitch just lays in bed and suffers. Who can live like that?"

Rachael Parker, administrator of the Starr Farm Nursing Center, refused repeated requests by Seven Days to be interviewed for this story. However, shortly before press time she issued the following statement: "We care about our resident and will continue efforts to assist him in managing his health needs. However, we must abide by state and federal laws with regard to this matter."

Last August, after Burlington police seized Higgins' marijuana, the nursing home also refused comment but issued a statement to the press: "A registry representative informed us that because our facility receives federal funds, and federal law prohibits the possession and use of marijuana, its possession and use in our facility is against the law, and therefore is strictly prohibited."

But Department of Public Safety Commissioner Kerry Sleeper denies that his office or the registry was ever queried on this issue, or offered an opinion on whether a nursing home's federal funding could be compromised by a resident's medical marijuana use.

Senator Jim Leddy (D–Chittenden), who chairs the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, says that although DPS initially opposed the medical marijuana bill, Kerry has since made it "very clear" that his agency would not violate the spirit or intent of the law. While Leddy recognizes that the Burlington police officer was put in awkward position because he was told that a crime was being committed, "That's where the nursing home exercised exceptionally poor judgment.

"We did not anticipate, nor did we ever think, that state or federal drug agents would come in and raid an individual, let alone a nursing home, and bust them," Leddy continues. "How the nursing home is handling this appears to be somewhat irresponsible and, frankly, inhumane."

Jackie Majoros is director of Vermont's Long-Term Care Ombudsman Project, which is part of Vermont Legal Aid. She advocates for people who are homebound or living in nursing homes, residential homes or assisted-living facilities. Majoros asserts that Starr Farm is Higgins' legal residence and he should be allowed to use medical marijuana in the privacy of his own room.

"It's hard for us to believe that federal prosecutors would prosecute someone like Mr. Higgins, who's struggling to manage symptoms of a debilitating disease," Majoros says, "or that they would choose to prosecute the nursing home for allowing him to get that relief in his own home."

When this issue first arose last summer, Majoros says she tried to contact administrators at other federally funded facilities around the country to see how they handle this dilemma. She didn't get very far. "There wasn't a whole lot of willingness to talk about it," Majoros admits. "They're all doing it below the radar."

The divide between the states and the feds on medical marijuana use has only grown wider in the last year. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California's medical marijuana law, which was the first in the nation, does not protect cannabis patients, growers or distributors from prosecution under federal law. And in April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement denying that there are any medical benefits whatsoever from using marijuana.

But there's been no evidence thus far that the feds are pursuing federally funded health-care facilities that condone medical cannabis use, according to Kris Hermes, legal campaign director of Americans for Safe Access. The Oakland, California-based nonprofit tracks legal issues on the medical marijuana front. In California, it's estimated that 200,000 people use cannabis for medicinal reasons.

Hermes says he's never heard of a nursing home being threatened with the loss of its federal funding or certification. Nevertheless, "There's a lot of fear out there," he says. This is particularly true among low-income patients who live in federally subsidized housing. Some landlords who accept Section 8 housing vouchers are also wary, fearing federal asset-forfeiture laws if they condone medical pot growing or distribution on their property.

"It's something that the federal government has the ability to scrutinize," Hermes adds. "The drug laws are extremely draconian about what conduct is acceptable in subsidized housing."

Back in Vermont, Higgins is in a "holding pattern," according to Majoros. The Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is researching his case and considering a lawsuit. According to Vermont ACLU director Allen Gilbert, plenty of case law covers the privacy rights of hospital patients, but very little addresses the privacy rights of nursing home residents.

In the meantime, Higgins says he'd be happy if Starr Farm just allowed him to smoke discreetly outside, the way other Starr Farm residents are allowed to smoke tobacco. But Higgins also says he'd prefer to move to another facility altogether, where, he says, he could get a shower more than once a week, the residents are closer to his own age, and the administration "isn't paranoid" about him smoking pot.

Still, Higgins' marijuana caregiver recognizes that moving him into another facility may not solve his problems. "We don't know that yet," Willy admits. "If they receive federal funding, we'll have to play this game all over again."

Personally, I believe that it is up to you to choose what types of medication you want to take for an illness, as it is your body and no one else's.

More info about this topic:
Medical Marijuana

WVMT monthly interview with Mayor Kiss

Just listened to our Mayor's monthly commentary & interview on WVMT, and I'll summarize a few of the points of the 20 minute segment for you here:
  • Sanctuary city update:
    • Mayor Kiss is currently waiting for City Attorney McNeil's report about the issue before he proceeds wtih anything
    • A caller had just suggested that he'd much rather see US citizen child molesters given amnesty rather than illegal immigrants.
      Quite a viewpoint to take on the issue... just an example of how controversial the issue is becoming.
  • About the new UVM alcohol policy: City is set to have meetings with UVM about the policy, Mayor Kiss would have liked to have known about the new policy *before* it was given publicity.
  • FY 07 Budget was handed out at Monday's Council meeting. The tax increase will put the city 'in good shape'
  • Also, Mayor Kiss is set to participate in this weekend's Vermont City Marathon
For those interested, Mayor Kiss makes a monthly visit to the Charlie & Ernie show the 4th Wednesday of month at 8AM.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Burlington and Eminent domain

Yesterday, May 17th was the anniversary of a low point in Burlington's history, the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Champlain Street Urban Renewal project. Homes and small businesses were taken by the City of Burlington in eminent domain, calling them slums or blighted areas. On May 17th, 1966, the first homes were knocked down for the new commercial development, with square blocks of residential homes & small businesses eventually being reduced to rubble.

For those that watch the Channel 3's 6 o'clock news the past couple of nights, you may recall their coverage marking the anniversary of the project; the story was entitled A Neighborhood Lost.
For those that missed it, please feel free to read the links in this entry & watch the video coverage online at the WCAX site - Part 1 and Part 2
For those who would like to know a more personal perspective about this from those families who were displaced, there is also a DVD available on loan at Fletcher Free Library, only 30 minutes long, called the Champlain Street Urban Renewal project. For those new to Burlington, or those that are not aware of Burlington's history, I highly recommend that everyone watch the DVD to see the personal result of eminent domain.

Here are a few main points of the project From Ch. 3's coverage:

  • Before Urban Renewal, all of the streets ran straight through.157 families lived in the 27-acre urban renewal district, which stretched along the Battery, College, Pine and Pearl streets. Whole streets disappeared in the process, including several blocks of South Champlain Street.
  • In order to knock down the old neighborhood in 1966, Urban Renewal required the use of eminent domain-- the taking of private property. At the time officials believed-- and still believe today-- that this was for the betterment of the community.
  • Like other cities around the country, Burlington used Urban Renewal to buy out property owners under eminent domain. Some fought the taking of their homes in court-- and ultimately lost.
  • By June of 1968, over two years later, the neighborhood had been leveled, the demolition complete
  • Forty years later, some say Urban Renewal was not the best policy, given the widespread demolition and dislocation. Community & Economic Development Director Michael Monte told Channel 3, "You know, frankly it was a mistake, broadly, as a policy...[today] We would not come close to bulldozing an entire neighborhood"
  • Burlington has not used the power of eminent domain since Urban Renewal, although, like other municipalities, it has the power to condemn properties. The city has used the threat of eminent domain to obtain properties for public projects like the long-delayed Southern Connector.
  • Sam Matthews of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. said, "...the methodology might not have been the best. But this last piece, the hotel, is, I believe, going to ensure a sustainability to this community. Could it have been done better? Yeah. Has it been effective? It would appear so."
You'd think that the government would realize their mistake, and would stay away from this type of procedure, but eminent domain is happening even still today. On June 23rd, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government seizing private homes in New London, CT, in order for a Pfizer office building to be developed. The case has come to be known nationwide as the Kelo v. New London case. Luckily, some non-profit organizations such as the Institute for Justice are helping homeowners that are being pressured to give up their homes.

So, again, if you haven't seen either the Channel 3 coverage or the Champlain Street Urban Renewal Project DVD, I would recommend that you and anyone you know: friends, family, coworkers, etc. see the coverage, discuss this issue, and pass the word along, as it is still a viable option for the government to use.

Monday, May 15, 2006

An update to 'Lookout Burlington...'

Just back in from being kicked out of the Council meeting for their usual executive session. They seem to have one at every meeting, so much that it's a rare thing to see a meeting go by without one.

Anyway, a slight update to the last post about the impending taxes...
Straight from Leopold's office, the city has a current estimated $40 millon debt in the Fiscal Year 07 budget. (Note - the draft of the 07 budget will be available by the end of this week). Based on the current estimates (which do not include the Retirement portion), Leopold estimates it would take a 2.4% tax rate increase just to cover the shortfall, and this is with the city taking about 1/2 of the Local Option Sales Tax (or LOST, as I call it) revenue to be applied to the 07 budget.
(On a side note, Leopold's changed the date of when LOST will take effect to July 1st, instead of January 1st for more money in the budget)

A few good comments & questions where brought up by some councilors after the presentation:
  • Councilor Bushor (Ward 1): I do understand that this estimate doesn't include the retirement portion, but what does the 2.4% increase mean to the average homeowner? Hopes it is addressed in the draft budget.
  • Councilor Shannon (Ward 5): I cannot understand how the uncollected taxes portion of the budget got to over $1.3 Million...
    • Leopold: They are outstanding or delinquent property taxes, which make up 4-5% of the total property tax portion of the city budget (the amount also includes interest, and late fees); the amount also includes gross receipts taxes, which the decision by the Liscense Committee made a deal with the late applicants that they would grant the liscense renewal, but only if they committed to a payment plan, otherwise no liscense would be granted. This guarantees the money from the gross receipts tax.
So this is all I have on the budget so far, aside from a few handouts comparing the tax rates, and deficits from previous years. John Briggs of the Free Press was also in attendance, so there probably will also be coverage there too.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Lookout Burlington, here comes the taxes

As mentioned at the last Burlington Business Association meeting with Bob Kiss, our mayor is proposing increasing taxes... here's the story from the AP:

Burlington Faces Tax Hike To Cover Pension Underfunding

POSTED: 10:43 am EDT May 13, 2006
BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Burlington's new mayor said the state's largest city faces a tax increase because there hasn't been enough money set aside to cover employee pensions. Over the past two years, Burlington has underfunded the pension system by nearly $2.8 million.Mayor Bob Kiss said he'll ask for a tax increase to cover all of this year's pension requirements and to begin reducing previous obligations. Kiss has formed a task force to help him deal with problems in the city's budget. Former Mayor Peter Clavelle's administration had estimated the city would be $1.7 million short of meeting its budget. The state has since approved giving Burlington authority to collect a 1 percent local sales tax that is expected to generate $800,000.

So now here's a little list I've come up with of more money Burlingtonians will have to dole out to the government:

  • Local option sales tax
  • Burlington Electric rate increase
  • Increase in Dept. of Motor Vehicle Fees (starting July 1st)
  • Some Burlington residents (including our home) will be or have already gotten from the Assessors office, a 're-estimate' of the property reappraisal - our home's estimate increased by $3,000
  • And of course, the extra taxes as mentioned in the above article that our Mayor will be asking us for very soon...
It wouldn't suprise me to see even more For Sale signs start springing up like weeds around town.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Burlington gives extensions to 4 late applicants in debt

This entry's a bit delayed, as it was to be posted on May 1st... it's been wicked busy for work lately... but without further ado, here it is:

Just heard about this article from the Vermont Hum blog's 4/30/6 entry , and couldn't believe what I read... the city allowing select applicants get by the rules... Does it seem fair to allow this to happen to some establishments, and not let all the other businesses get by as well?

Here's the article from John Briggs:

City grants liquor-license extensions to late applicants

This issue will further be discussed at Monday's Council meeting.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Burlington as a 'sanctuary city'?

For those who haven't heard about Mayor Kiss' comments, here's the Ch. 3 Story.

Free polls from
Do you support Mayor Kiss' proposal of Burlington as a 'sanctuary city' for undocumented immigrants? (One Answer)
Yes No Undecided

Monday, April 24, 2006

Just in case you didn't know yet...

Tomorrow is Ben & Jerry's Free Cone day!

The Church Street Scoop shop is partcipating, enjoy & be warned, there's usually quite a line ;-)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Protecting & Serving Online? & Should they live here too?

Just finished reading Peter Freyne's column, he made some good points about a few Burlington issues towards the end of the column:

1 - Burlington Police Dept. (BPD) website out of date
I've never visited their website, until Peter mentioned it that is. According to the update information (as it's still in the City's old website format, not the new one), the last update was made in October 2005! Also, on an even worse note, the Fire Dept.'s site hasn't been updated since July 2004!
Now, I can understand that they may be set back on updating due to the Telecom project, but some things like the link to 'Report a Crime' are no longer valid! It makes me wonder if anyone's ever tried using that link to report a crime... hopefully they don't. It also makes me wonder where our taxpayer funds (as well as the grant monies they receive) are going in the BPD.

2 - Department Head Residency Requirements
I would think that most anyone you would ask on the street "Should their government official that makes decisions over your city should live within the city as well", would say yes.
Now, as time goes on, I'm finding more and more Burlington city employees that are somewhat high up in the department's ranks do not live in Burlington either
For example, last year, a proposal was brought forth to the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies (NPAs) from a Dept. of Public Works official (who happened to be an out-of-towner)... now this resolution called for a 5 to 6 foot no-parking zone from all driveways in Burlington, with those who did not comply being slapped with a tow and or fine. Now, in some neighborhoods around the city (including mine), this would prevent the property owner from even parking on their own land. Needless to say, the resolution never made it to the NPAs.
Also, just last night, at the NPA in my ward, the member of the Fire Dept. who was scheduled to present for 15 minutes about an Emergency Preparedness workbook asked to cut his presentation short so he could be home for dinner (outside of Burlington).

Now, I understand that some people may have the qualifications for the job, but their family is 'tied-down' to a certain community; and some people are even being hired to the department head position from other states, such as our new Code Enforcement director, Greg McKnight, who moved from Colorado to take his job. Is it too much to ask to have your official be a resident of the town they oversee?

I'm curious to know our New Mayor's response to this issue.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Tarrant solicits students for campaign

Just stumbled across this article from's Vermont RSS feed... thought it was interesting: Went to Rich's website, no mention of this program.

U.S. Senate candidate solicits students for campaign

WASHINGTON --Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Tarrant has offered Vermont high school students money and laptop computers to help with his campaign.

Tarrant has written to teachers saying he would give students $3,000 and a laptop computer to work on his behalf.

"Getting our youth involved in the democratic system is more important now than ever before," Tarrant wrote in a letter obtained by the Bennington Banner and the Brattleboro Reformer.

Rep. Bernie Sanders' campaign accused Tarrant of disguising a multi-million dollar campaign as education for students and said the effort could make the Senate race even more costly.

"He's trying to buy volunteers," said Jeff Weaver, chief of staff to Sanders, who is leaving the House to run for the Senate. "The truth of the matter is he doesn't have hundreds of people who want to come out and work on his campaign."

Tarrant's letter offers students a 10-week internship in which they would campaign for Tarrant in their own towns.

"This program offers high school students an exciting opportunity to spend their summer learning about the American democratic process while earning additional money (and a laptop computer that they will be able to keep)," Tarrant wrote. "Hopefully you agree and will encourage students to participate."

Students would be required to write 500 words about "why Rich Tarrant should be elected to the United States Senate" and must submit their grade point average and list of extra-curricular activities to be considered.

Tarrant, who founded IDX Systems Corp. of Burlington, has put $2 million into his campaign.

Sanders has raised $1.8 million and plans to have 1,000 volunteers to canvass for him around the state.

Tarrant's plan to solicit students drew a mixed reaction.

"That smacks of bribery," said Garrison Nelson, a political science professor at the University of Vermont. "He just opens himself up to misusing his money. This is the quintessential rookie mistake."

Jason Gibbs, spokesman for Republican Gov. Jim Douglas, said he was not aware of the program.

"It seems on its face to be a legitimate employment opportunity for high school students," he said. "I don't see that it would be any different than a manufacturer offering paid internships to students."

An interesting approach for campaigning, something I've never heard of... even in my home state of Texas.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Getting to Know Mayor Bob Kiss

This morning Jeremy and I attended the monthly Burlington Business Association's (BBA) meeting at the ECHO center, where we were able to get a glimpse of what the newly elected Mayor, and former State Rep. Bob Kiss had in mind for the city of Burlington.

I'll do a recap of my personal thoughts of the meeting in italics for you, as I know everyone's wondering right now what Mayor Kiss has in mind for the city.
Also, FYI: Jeremy's already made an observational post about the Q&A session on his blog.

The meeting started off as usual, with a light breakfast, where people could meet personally with Mayor Kiss.
I guess there were quite a few who wanted to speak with him personally, as the meeting started about 10 minutes past the scheduled time to start, something that struck me as odd, as BBA is usually on schedule.
Mike Monte the head of CEDO was in attendance (and was actually dressed in a black suit, something I've never seen him do before at any meeting... kinda odd for a meeting taking place at 8AM), Police Chief Tremblay, Parks and Rec director Wayne Gross, and the newly appointed manager John Leopold were also in attendance, recognized at the beginning of the meeting.

Right before Bob's turn to speak, it was mentioned that John Leopold may also be able to speak and answer questions as well, to which Leopold immediately shook his head no. I feel it's another odd thing to be happening for a public official, to not answer questions, or at the very least introduce yourself to the public.

When it came to Bob's turn to speak, he repeatedly said in his opening statement that it's his 3rd day in office.
As if to say, don't ask any questions of depth because I'm not familiar with anything yet. But wasn't he elected almost a month ago now? It seems to me that once you are elected, or hopefully before you are elected, you should try and make an effort to become familiar with the workings of the city, so you may be able to address questions. Another odd thing.

Bob went on to say that he had just got his email set up -
and that he would prefer people to reach him by that way, or by phone
No mention that his door was always open or anything like that... kinda struck me as odd as well, but he did mention that he is making an effort right now to meet with people.

Total number odd things happened at the meeting: 5

The meeting actually ended a bit early, which didn't surprise me, as Bob's known to be a man of few words.
So, as I recount this meeting with the new mayor, I have to say I'm a little worried about the growth of what Bob calls 'good government', and hope to see that odd meter go down in numbers as time goes on.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

(Politicians) Doing what they do best...

Heh. As we read over the My Yahoo headlines for today, I noticed the WCAX article about Legislature's supposed 'fight' over the gas tax increase

Gas Tax Fuels Fight

While I was browsing through one of my favorite cartoonists, Russmo, who's a Libertarian cartoonist, I noticed this one he had last year... around the time the price gouging came out, but I think it would still apply to the Vermont legislature today.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

V for Vendetta - Vive la revolucion!

Our second Burlington Libertarian Party Event!
We headed out on Friday to see 'V for Vendetta', starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman.

I feel it is a prime example of what can happen when government oversteps its bounds, and interferes with society... it's like a modern day '1984', and even has the main actor from '1984' in it (John Hurt), ironically as the main bad guy.

The main tag-line of the movie is a great explanation:
"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

Here's a repost of Jeremy's blog for another perspective on the movie:

Movie Night: V for Vendetta

Last night, Hardy Machia, Bonnie Scott, Kevin Ryan, Jonathan Stauffer, Heavenly and I went out together to see the movie V for Vendetta, another great movie from the people who brought you The Matrix. Again, the Wachowski brothers have created a Libertarian-themed movie where a small group of people are fighting to reduce the power of an oppressive government and to open people's eyes to it.

Brief Synopsis of film from

"V for Vendetta is based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore that is set in England in 2020. Great Britain is under the control of a fascist government who use fear and intimidation to control its citizens. The government controls the media and clamps down on free speech through its Ministry of Objectionable Materials.

A mysterious rebel known as V, who is dubbed a terrorist by the Hitler-esque Chancellor Sulter, plots to overthrow the government. V seeks to complete 17th century saboteur Guy Fawkes's mission to blow up Parliament, as way to spark a rebellion.

Looking at early reviews, V for Vendetta has plenty of action and thrills to keep audiences entertained, and delivers a clear libertarian message, which can be summed up in its tagline - "People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of the people."

More information:

Of course, I recommend everyone to watch it, to fully appreciate the movie, and it's significance. It's rated R due to 'strong violence and some language', so it's definately not one to bring the kids to see... but it is a great action - suspense movie to watch on the big screen!

"Even royalty can't afford Queen City"

Just read over a somewhat humorous article by Ed Shamy of the Free Press, here's the link: Burlington Free |

Even royalty can't afford Queen City

It's funny, but at the same time, true to what's happening to some Burlingtonians.

My husband and I personally keep our thermostat at a constant 60 degrees to save on heating costs, while we throw on more layers of clothing to keep ourselves warm while working. At times, I even use a pair of mittens to keep my hands warm... The sacrifices we make to stay in Burlington.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Real-time Ch. 17 results - without cable!

A picture of me at one of our Ethan Allen Park signwaves...

Well, we're back, after a 12 hour 15 minute stand at the Ward Seven polling place, where Jeremy amazingly (with very little sleep mind you) only took one 5 minute break for the ENTIRE time (starting at 6:45AM this morning)! All other Ward 7 council candidates took several breaks throughout the day and actually left the polling place several times!

Anyway, we're back home recovering from this tiresome session... & I notice that Ch. 17 is offering a webstream of their election results:
Ch. 17 Election results

Just thought I'd mention this to those without cable, who are wondering what the results are...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Helping fellow neighbors...

Here's a reprint of a post at my husband, Jeremy's blog:

As you may have heard, the Dutra family suffered a major loss due to a fire in their home. I saw in todays paper how Waggy's has been accepting donations. To make a donation, you can drop it off at their store on the corner of North Street and North Avenue or by calling the store at 863-4862 or 864-0740 after 12:30 pm.

I just thought I could do my part by offering to accept donations from this website as their is quite a bit of traffic from other ward 7 residents already. If you wish to donate here, please use the form [listed at Jeremy's site by clicking here]

Friday, March 03, 2006

Who's behind an affordable VT?

Just about to watch the Ch. 3 news as we usually do every weeknight, half-expecting another Tarrant ad, when we heard the words, "They're at it again..." A quick cut to a scene of the statehouse, with quick mentions of universal health care, sales tax, statewide preschool, and eminent domain... (things that of course Jeremy and I believe the government shouldn't be dealing with).
At the very end of the ad, there's tiny text at the bottom of the screen, saying, "Paid for by an affordable VT"

Hoping to get more info from the ad by seeing it again during the newscast, but it didn't reappear...
anyone heard of this organization or know who's behind the ad?

Friday, February 24, 2006

LOST in Burlington?

LOST, as I call it, or alternatively, the local option sales tax...

The debate has been starting to heat up in Burlington over this issue.
Take a drive down North Avenue, and amongst the Candidate signs, you'll see other signs, specifically Put a Roof on Property Taxes and Vote Yes on 2 (which were recently put up in the past couple of days).

Of course as most everyone knows now the Put a Roof Signs were placed by Tarrant's campaign; however when looking at the Vote Yes on 2 signs, all that is stated is Paid for by Vote Yes on 2, and that it is not funded by Taxpayer dollars.

Those that watch Ch.3 know that last week, Clavelle came out against Tarrant's Roof signs, saying what suggestions does he have on how to approach the looming Burlington deficit; Tarrant wasn't available for comment, as he was out of the state at the time. And at the same press conference, Clavelle vowed to spread the word about supporting #2 on the ballot... so perhaps the Vote Yes on 2 funder of the signs is a PAC that Clavelle has started.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Free Press now has RSS!

Yup, they're finally making a step towards improving their site again...
here's the link for their feeds:
Burlington Free Press RSS feeds

Also, for those that didn't already know, they also have a webcam
and they also have a community bulletin board as well, where anyone can
post comments, pictures, and even video: Free Press Bulletin Board

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Don't have cable? Want some Ch.17 content?

They've started to put more of their shows as well as audio content (aka podcast) online.
Below are links to each:

Channel 17 Video

Channel 17 Podcasts

They do have a few of the City Council and School Board debate coverage on the podcast for Wards 4 & 7

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"Parade" ordinance ruling...

Just back in from the City Council's Ordinance Committee meeting, where the committee voted
unanimously against it, with a recommendation for Council to do the same.
Not one person in the audience spoke up in favor of the ordinance, (note, they had to move the meeting to Contois auditorium last minute, as the Conference Room #12 was not large enough to hold the crowd of about 30-40 people who all were against the measure.)
The presence of the crowd definately surprised the Councilors of the committee and City Attorney Joe McNeil.

One person even expressed their freedom of speech by wearing a red tape gag over their mouth.

John Briggs of the Free Press was there as well, so there may very well be an article of this in tomorrow's Free Press.

Monday, January 30, 2006

City Council pondering banning public assembly?

Towards the beginning of the month, there was mention of a possible ordinance being enacted by the City to prevent, or make it hard to start a public assembly on Church Street:
City of the banned? - Vermont Guardian 1/6/6

Due to the huge public outcry against the ordinance even being discussed, Peter (a.k.a. Mayor Clavelle) issued the following statement in his 1/13/6 Friday letter:


The early draft of a parade and public assembly ordinance, which was referred to the City Council Ordinance Committee on December 19, has already generated considerable controversy. This ordinance was first requested several years ago by the Police Department and the Marketplace, and has been discussed by various departments for quite some time. The intent is certainly not to restrict public demonstrations or to stifle free speech. Rather, the ordinance is primarily about parades, festivals, and other major events. It is intended to clarify the situations in which a permit is needed, the reasons for granting and denying permits, and other ground rules to that allow the City to balance the competing needs involving the use of streets, sidewalks and parks, and to address the costs and other impacts on city department resulting from these activities in a way that is constitutional and not cost prohibitive. I can assure citizens that any recommendations from City departments that are overly restrictive will be reversed prior to the ordinance’s adoption. The entire proposed ordinance will be reviewed by the City Council Ordinance Committee and the City Attorney's Office will continue to review case law and ordinances from around the country. There will be ample opportunity for public discussion before any ordinance is adopted. The ordinance as currently drafted will not be enacted.

Now, just over the weekend, I receive an email from one of my councilors, saying the proposed ordinance is scheduled to be discussed at the City Council's Ordinance Committee meeting, under the title of "Parade" ordinance.
Seeing as Peter says there willl be ample opportunity for public discussion, I am thinking the opposing view to the ordinance should be heard at the first Ordinance meeting to let them know how we feel about it.
The meeting info & agenda are below:


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

City Hall

149 Church St., Burlington, Vt.

(Corner of Church and Main Streets)

Conference Room #12

7:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.

1) Approve Agenda and Minutes of 8/30/05, 9/12/05, 9/29/05, 10/20/05,

10/26/05, 11/10/05, 11/15/05 and 11/21/05

2) Union Deterrence

3) Parade Ordinance

4) Zoning Rewrite:

a. Continuation of Residential Districts

b. Mixed Use Districts

5) Any Other Business

6) Adjournment

Committee Members: Councilor Andrew Montroll, Chair

Councilor Tim Ashe

Councilor Joan Shannon

*Special Committee Members re Zoning Rewrite: Councilor Ian Carleton

Councilor Cheryl McDonough

Agenda available in alternative media forms for people with disabilities. For disability access information call 865-7121 (865-7142 TTY).

Friday, January 27, 2006

IRV? What's IRV?

Yesterday afternoon, the mock election was held for the Burlington Mayor's race.
It was a test-run of the new Instant Run-off Voting system that was passed by Burlington voters last year.

Ironically, there was a software glitch, and the results of the mock candidates were delayed.
fictitious Libertarian, Herbert Mickleson, was among the mock candidates, earning 11 votes!
For more info about Libertarianism, feel free to visit the Burlington Libertarian party's website, listed in my links to the right.

Hopefully the Town Meeting Day's election results work better for less stress on the election officials, and faster results for the public.

For more info on IRV, check out the website the city has set up specifically for it, (especially since they've spent about $10,000 for increased awareness of IRV):

Welcome to my blog!

Hello from the New North End of Burlington, specifically Ward Seven.

My name's Heavenly, as pictured on the left, and I'm standing beside my wonderful husband of 3 years, Jeremy.

We're Libertarians, and founders of the Burlington Libertarian party.

I've started this blog as a type of commentary of things that occur in Burlington... enjoy & thanks for dropping by!