Neighborhood Power Newsletter no.1

It’s just the beginning of week 3 of our campaign to begin taking back the city by electing Genese to the Central District City Council seat. With the help of enthusiastic volunteers, and a powerful and experienced affinity group managing the campaign, we are off to a great start. This is a group effort, to be sure. And we can’t do it without you.

WE are working in solidarity with communities around the world who are organizing so that all people have the municipal power to determine the future of their cities and our shared world.

Here is a link to the campaign launch speech:

https://youtu.be/lZWwE7xrDy8

THANK YOU to all of the people who put flyers under door mats, etc., for our first lit drop! Thanks to you, the word is beginning to spread around the neighborhoods. We will be doing two more lit drops over the course of the campaign, so if you want to help, please get in touch with intrepid volunteer coordinators Ruby and Caryn

(evolution.ruby@gmail.com and carynlong@burlingtontelecom.net).

THANK YOU to Paul and Kristine at Nunyuns for offering us their space to host

Nunyuns After Hours on Thursday evenings from 5-6 p.m. up until the election.

Please join us to talk about visions for the neighborhood, concerns, or to find out how you can help us win this!

Mark your calendars for a cabaret night on Monday, February 13 th , from 6-8 at The Light Club Lamp Shop! And stay tuned for a tea party event at Dobra! Also, look out for house parties!

If you have not already, please “like” our page on Facebook, Genese Grill for City Council, and invite friends and neighbors to likewise “like” it. We have a website in the works, but for now, the Facebook page is our hub for news and events.

If you want to donate money to the campaign, you can do so via Go Fund Me :

https://www.gofundme.com/genese-grill- for-city- council BUT PLEASE GIVE US YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS WHEN YOU DO, SO WE CAN COMPLY WITH CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW!

Or you can send a check made out to Genese Grill for City Council to Glenn Eames, Treasurer, at 28 Murray Street, Burlington, Vermont, 05401. THANK YOU!

INSPIRATION:

If you want to know more about some of the inspirations for this campaign, including the theories of Social Ecologist, Murray Bookchin, and about some exciting movements happening around the world, check out some of these links:

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/bookchin/libmuni.html

https://barcelonaencomu.cat/sites/default/files/win-the- city-guide.pdf

Or just read these inspiring words from Ada Colau, anti-eviction activist, co-founder of the Indignados, the group that inspired Occupy Wall Street, and the first female mayor of Barcelona:

What is happening in Spain and in Barcelona is not an isolated event; rather, there is a crisis in the way we do politics. There is a political elite which has become corrupt and has ended up as accomplices of a financial power which only thinks to speculate and to make money even at the expense of rising inequality and the impoverishment of the majority of the people. Fortunately, there has been a popular reaction, here and in other parts of the Mediterranean—for example, in Greece—to confront the neoliberal economic policies, which are not only a problem in Spain but in Europe and around the world. We see very clearly that the city councils are key to confronting this way of making policy, meaning that is where the everyday policies are made and where we can prove there is another way to govern, more inclusive, working together with the people, more than just asking them to vote every four years, and that you can fight against corruption, and you can have transparent institutions. -Ada Colau, from an interview on Democracy Now, June 5, 2015

ISSUES and NEWS

While we work on making the city more democratic, more grassroots, and more affordable, the current administration is working on a number of initiatives that are deeply concerning. Here are just a few things to keep on your radar.

The new consultant’s report on the efficacy of Inclusionary Zoning (affordable housing) in the city has come out. As we expected, the expensive outside consultant has told the city what they wanted to hear: we need to give developers more concessions, sacrificing community-driven zoning protections, in order to get them to provide us with more inclusionary zoning units. The city is laying the ground work for gutting our inclusionary zoning requirements, just when we should be strengthening them. Instead of weakening our requirements, we should be demanding that the small proportion of units required of developers be actually affordable (the current rate for a so-called “affordable” 1-bedroom apartment is $1100/month). There will be a meeting of the Community Neighborhood Development Revitalization committee about this report on January 31 st , at 6 p.m. at Contois Auditorium in City Hall. Public Forum in the beginning.

Also on January 31 st , at 5:30, is a Public meeting about Burlington Telecom: The Burlington Telecom Advisory Board (BTAB) meets on Tuesday January 31st from 5.30 - to 7.30 p.m. at Fletcher Free Library's Community room to brief the public on the proposed timeline and process for the sale of BT. BTAB is seeking public input prior to its submission of the plan to the Burlington City Council for approval. There will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions and provide feedback either in person or by completing the comment form found here: http://bit.ly/2jGhznU

The plans to pave and privatize large areas of City Hall Park are moving forward, despite concerns of the community, the Design Review Board, and historic preservationists. The City, which claims that their current plan came out of a long public process (Imagine City Hall Park), is intent on commercializing the park, making it a conduit for shoppers between Church and St. Paul Streets, and using public areas for a coffee kiosk, a deck for Ri-Ra’s customers, and for BCA events. The historic fountain will be removed if they have their way, and public green space will be paved.

The plans to tear down our public asset, historic Memorial Auditorium, and sell the land to UVM for a gigantic sports stadium stretching from North Union Street to North Winooski Avenue are afoot. 4000 cars!? Pay attention or it may be too late to weigh in.

Enough, enough. These and other plans to hi-jack our public processes, give away public assets, pave green space, make the city less affordable, and weaken our community zoning, are all reasons to work hard over the next 6 weeks to elect some conscientious city councilors.

Please keep in touch over the next 6 weeks, and help us to keep the neighborhood power turned on!

Thanks so much,

The GG for CC Spokescouncil