Platform

Throughout this city, we are seeing the compounding impacts of growing wealth inequality. It’s become harder to find available affordable housing for rental or for homeownership. The wages available to many working and middle class people are out of sync with rising housing costs. As these issues grow, so too does the growing feeling that the city government is out of touch with those getting squeezed in the process. Many in our community feel as if their voice has been silenced in the city decision making process, while those with money and access have a direct say in the future of our city.

This leaves us in a place where many of our neighbors throughout Ward 5 are asking the same question: will Burlington be my home five years from now? This question transcences demographics - I hear it from renters and home owners, young families and 60-year residents, fifth generation Vermonters and New Americans alike.

This is a campaign that’s fighting for those people, fighting for their right to be heard by our city government and to be truly represented. We need to shift towards a people-centric model of governance before the neoliberal perspective of our current administration pushes the people and places that make our city spectacular to the curbside.

As the City Councilor for Ward 5, I want to build off this community’s strengths, by listening to the desires of the people of this community and by living to my personal desire to create a more just, benevolent future. The specific angles I will work towards in this campaign and as your councilor will be:

Issues

Ensuring Transparency and Accessibility in Local Government:

  • Push for greater transparency regarding impacts of public participation on city decision-making processes
  • Redesign the Champlain Parkway to reduce environmental and societal impacts of the current design
  • Focus on a participation model that meets people where they are
  • Create pathway introduction of ballot items through direct referendum
  • Require public vote on sale of large public assets
  • Restore power to NPAs, increasing funding and decision-making ability
  • Publicize and expand public city data accessible to residents
  • Rework city commission appointment process to ensure new voices are heard
  • Organize with community groups to collectively advocate for neighborhood level issues

Empowering Workers and Small Business for an Equitable Local Economy:

  • Refocus CEDO on building our community from the bottom-up
  • Increase access to creative and industrial working spaces through promotion/subsidy of co-working and co-operative models
  • Pass $15 city wide minimum wage, towards future livable wage
  • Repeal exemptions made to the livable wage ordinance
  • Invest in worker training and trade development programs
  • Provide greater technical assistance to small business (specifically e-commerce)
  • Develop programs to stabilize commercial rent in small maker/artist spaces
  • Promote greater usage of local art in public spaces

Creating Inclusive Affordable Housing:

  • Bring regularity and accountability to rental code enforcement
  • Create policy for the creation of workforce housing (<50% AMI)
  • Strengthen tenants’ rights and representation in city decision making
  • Strengthen Inclusionary Zoning requirements to promote economic integration
  • Create publicly accessible rental property portal
  • Pursue marginal increase in allowable unit density (max units from 2-3 in low density)

Taking Tangible Steps to Ensure Ecological Sustainability

  • Pass weatherization requirements for rental properties with protection from rent hikes
  • Transition city fleet to 100% renewable sources
  • Repair sidewalks throughout the city for greater pedestrian safety and access
  • Allow for greater protected biking infrastructure for renewable transit in all seasons
  • Increase usage of and public education about green stormwater infrastructure