Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Mayoral Race In Burlington, Vermont

The Headline in the Free Press today said "Kiss lacks 'vision', opponents charge" and it was followed by a funny story full of informative quotes from all parties.

We have a Democrat running who has been a "lifer" on the Burlington City council and who's best offering is that people are asking him "what's Bob doing"? If I understand that perspective it means that unless someone is making a lot of noise, out in front of the cameras, grandstanding, they are not "doing" anything. I don't disagree that this is what Mr. Democrat is hearing but I take that comment as a compliment to Kiss and the fact that Montroll sees it as a negative indicates a lack of substance and character - which, by the way, has been my impression of Montroll since I have had the pleasure of being involved in City Politics. In fact if there is one person who is quieter than Kiss, it's Montroll.

Kurt Wright is not the right choice for Burlington and indicts himself with his own words: "On issue after issue, there is a total vaccuum, a total void in leadership". Wright is the president of the City Council, the other arm of City Government. If there is a "total vaccuum, a total void" then there are TWO people to look at first and one of them is Wright. Wright's ambition has always his biggest flaw. To say "In times like these we should be doing so much more - developing senior housing...crafting a plan for the waterfront beyond the Moran plant..." shows, to me, a total lack of regard for the rigors and responsibility of the position of Mayor and the condition of the City when Kiss won the Mayoral race three years ago. To charge that there can be more done is about the weakest arguement one could make and the easiest as well. Of course more could be done, more can always be done, there is nothing of substance in stating it. Wright continues "nothing gets done...because we have a Mayor who is disengaged". FUNNY! That's just how I like my politicians, better seen than heard. As a downtown business owner I know for a fact that the Mayor is not "disengaged". In fact I have sat in his office, gotten email responses directly from him, and found him to be genuine in his beliefs and his concern for the people who live and work in the city. Mayor Kiss doesn't have the answers, nor should he or any politician - it's not the politicians job to have the answers but he is not "disengaged" as Wright says. And finally, only because Wright - the anti-Kiss - offers so much ammunition, he says "“the council doesn’t even know where (Kiss) stands. The council is left to grapple with an issue and then scratch our heads later and wonder what the mayor’s position is on it.” FUNNY! And I always thought it was the Council's objective to "grapple". I though that's what democracy was about. Does President Wright and the Council need a Mayoral sanction before going forward? Can they no operate independently? If I were a City Council President I would spend more time presenting my position instead of wondering about someone elses. Sounds to me like the one lacking leadership skills isn't Kiss.

Dan Smith, rookie "independant", said "“I had someone say to me, ‘We’re a dynamic community that is absolutely petrified of change.’ This is a time for fresh ideas,”. FUNNY! There is no such thing as a "dynamic community...petrified of change". Those two ideas cannot exist together, in fact they are polar opposites. These words, along with the whole "fresh ideas"! cliche represent to me grandstanding and, again, a lack of substance or real ideas.

There are pleny of quotes and plenty of fun to be had with them and I offer one more as my conclusion. A quote from our current Mayor - who, by the way, has A LOT of work to do and A LOT to improve upon (but I bet he would admit it). I do not agree with all the things that Mayor Kiss has represented in his three years, especially the fact that he feels (along with both Montroll and Wright) that Government has a place in weighing in on private business affairs when no law has been broken - BURTON. This is troubling to me as a Burlington Business owner and I have told Mayor Kiss so. He responded directly to me explaining his position. We do not agree. I challenge the Mayor to open up to the fundamental concept that we must allow people, individuals to be free to make their own choices within the scope of the law and that any violation or intrusion into that right has long lasting and negative effects. That the trend in our country is towards government intrusion and that the trend in our country is not positive is an indication that our little city in the mountains has an opportunity to do things differently than the rest.

However in a whirled of corrupt politicians, out of touch legislators, huge money, pomp and circumstance, hot air and blowhards just talking with no action all around us I find our Mayoral situation utterly refreshing and repulsive. Refreshing because Kiss is someone who cares and doesn't sell the fact that he cares. Repulsive because his opponents are trying to use that against him. I am fairly certain that Bob Kiss's last three years have been like the restaurant analogy about service: you rarely notice it when it's good but always when it's bad. The quote from Kiss that wraps it all up for me..."As I look at all the candidates, I’m not speculating about my ability to do the work,” he said. “I’ve done the work.”

We will never agree on all things, nor would we want to and with that in mind I want someone quiet and serious and caring. I want someone more concerned with the job than the talk. I don't want more government in my face, more politicians screaming how right they are. I don't want blow hards. I don't want speculators. Give me someone that's done the work, the real work and we can work out our differences.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The person that wrote this blog should be running for Mayor. !!!!!!!!