Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
We now have 4 weeks until our local March 7th election, and there is still so much to do to get the neighborhood energized to Get Out the Vote. While people have been turning out in impressive numbers for protests and vigils, we know all too well that it is really difficult to get people to vote in local elections, especially when they do not coincide with presidential or mayoral selection. Even in the 2015 mayoral election, a mere 17% of registered voters in wards 2 and 3 cast ballots! The March elections when only councilors and ballot items are on the dock, the turnout is even more pitiful.
There are many reasons why people don’t vote, ranging from apathy to a sense that either candidate is just as bad or good, to a complete fatalism about working within the system. We agree that the system is the problem, not just the people who are elected into it. Which is why we are proposing to elect councilors willing to propose charter changes that will alter the imbalance of democratic power, returning the power into the hands of the residents who are all-too often betrayed by their supposed representatives. Our goal is to de-centralize and diversify the power, so that the wards and the people who live in them gain ever-expanding agency over what happens in their neighborhoods and with their money.
So how about helping us to Get Out the Vote this March in a way that sends a real message to the Mayor and his business-as-usual cohorts? A message that says: we are sick and tired of being manipulated, talked-down to, and betrayed by the people who are supposed to be our public servants! A message that says we want control of our city, of our tax payer money, and that we don’t appreciate getting the crumbs of a cake that is being quickly gobbled up by a small group of insider-business people and developers. Let’s make this the largest voter turnout in the history of Ward 2/3 March elections!
If you are on Facebook, please consider participating in our What Does Neighborhood Power Look Like? Contest. All entries must be in by February 18th. Send photographs for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to Nunyuns.
We will be outside the Sustainability Academy this Wednesday morning at 7:30 with hot chocolate (look for us around the back entrance on N. Champlain Street), hoping to talk to parents and children. Also at the Integrated Arts Academy the following Wednesday after school. Thank you, Paul and Kristine of Nunyuns for the hot chocolate!
Please join us on Thursday, February 9th at the Neighborhood Planning Assembly for community dinner and CANDIDATES’ FORUM (5:30 for dinner, 6:30 for Forum) at the McLure Multigenerational Center. Come prepared to ask me and my opponent, Jane Knodell questions! We are skipping our usual Thursdays at Nunyuns, but will be back there the following week, Thursday, February 5-6th, for a Voter Registration Drive and more.
Here is an excerpt from our new flyer, which should be all over by Monday evening:
The Problem: A Broken Democracy
Have you ever gone to a City meeting and felt that your voice was not heard; have you never gone, because you were sure it was a waste of time; have you ever voiced a majority opinion at a Neighborhood Planning Assembly and had it ignored by your City Councilor? If so, you know it is time for a change. There’s something wrong when special interests and top-down bureaucracy control the future of the city.
The Solution: Neighborhood Power
Real democracy flows from the grassroots up. The people who live in a neighborhood are the experts about what they need. They know what the real problems are and can offer practical solutions that take into consideration the diverse needs of the community. Power needs to be decentralized and delivered into the hands of every community member. Our neighborhood assembly (the N.P.A.) is an advanced form of democracy that, if empowered, can solidify the community’s collective control of their future.
Ø Keep your calendars marked for the Neighborhood Power Cabaret at The Light Club Lamp Shop on Monday, the 13th, 6-8 p.m. and a Tea Party at Dobra Tea House on Wednesday, February 15th, from 6-7 p.m. Please spread the word and send the Cabaret poster about to your contacts or print one and hang it up somewhere!
THANK YOU for TURNING ON AND TUNING IN (AND NOT DROPPING OUT)!
-The GG for CC Spokes-council
It has been a difficult week in the world, and many people I have spoken with have expressed feelings of helplessness and fear about the executive decrees pouring out of Washington at lightning speed. We are reeling, we are nauseous, and we often feel as if we can do nothing to stem the tide of events.
But we can do something, no matter how small it may seem within the context of the larger global forces: we can continue to work to strengthen neighborhood power so that our ethical values, our concerns, and our visions for a better world are what drive local decision-making processes. As neighborhood groups grow stronger, as we create programs and processes that enrich all people in the cities and towns where we live, the more we can resist treacherous and violent national and international programs, joining with local groups all over the world fighting for shared values.
But it is not only about resistance. It is about the creation of a new kind of politics—one that reflects real participatory engagement and real diversity of voices. It is not just about fighting against the powers that be, it is about fighting to strengthen the power of the neighborhood, so that together we can proactively shape the policies and projects we envision for a better world.
Discussions of Burlington as Sanctuary City are being put off until April. It will be very important to have real public input into the shaping of language around this ordinance and to ensure that Burlington does not compromise its local laws or practices because of financial or other threats from the federal government. All residents should be involved in these discussions.
Last week at the City Council meeting, the councilors voted to put the Livable Wage Ordinance on the March 7th ballot, a new plan for the New Moran was discussed, and the Burlington Business Association angled for control of a new parking plan that did not include residents of the downtown as interested stakeholders.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, January 31st, at 6 p.m. at Contois Auditorium, the Community Development Neighborhood Revitalization Committee will discuss the new Inclusionary Zoning (affordably housing requirements)report, which can be found on the City’s Website, along with accompanying materials which reveal that there have been oversights about monitoring IZ units administered by non-profit organizations: Agendas and Supporting Documents | City of Burlington, Vermont https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/.../CEDONeighborhoodRevitalizationCommitte
Thursday evenings at Nunyuns will continue this week, with a meet-up on February 2nd, but will be suspended the following week for:
Candidates’ Night at the Ward 2/3 NPA. Thursday, February 9th. Come at 5:30 to the McLure Multigenerational Center on N. Winooski Avenue for a delicious and free community dinner and stay for the meeting to ask questions of myself and Jane Knodell!
Ibnar Avilix is working on a wonderful public art project for the campaign, and we hope to have the first of 12 open books displayed on Thursday evening outside of Nunyuns. If you have a good space outside of your house of business that could house one, please let us know!
Monday at 7:30 a.m. we will have a hot chocolate stand near the Sustainability Academy so that we can meet parents taking their kids to school! We will be at the Integrated Arts Academy soon! Let us know if you want to help with this!
We are working on a beautiful new poster, designed by Michelle Sayles, and a new flyer designed by Amey Radcliffe. If you want a poster in your window and/or want to help with the next lit drop, planned for the weekend ofFebruary 11/12th, please let us know! We need about 25 people to do one-hour leafletting slots, or fewer if people can do two-hour routes.
The Neighborhood Power Cabaret will be on Monday, February 13th from 6-8 at The Light Club Lamp Shop, featuring Tom Banjo’s Cranky Show, Addie Herbert, George Voland, Jennifer O’Lord, Phinneus and Esse, Mickey Western, and more. Please Join us!
OKAY, I think that is all for now. Please Keep in Touch and Get Involved!
-The GG for CC Spokescouncil