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July 30, 2010

One of Two Progressives Resigns from Burlington City Council

Marrisa And then there was one. Progressive City Councilor Marrisa Caldwell has resigned her Burlington City Council seat effective this weekend, citing "personal reasons."

Her resignation leaves Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (P-Ward 3) as the sole Progressive on the city's 14-member council. Democrats hold seven seats, the Republicans three, and there are two independents.

This marks the fewest Progressives on the council since 1982, one year after Bernie Sanders was first elected mayor.

Because her resignation occurs so far in advance of the March elections, the city will hold a special election to replace her on the council.

If the Democrats manage to win Caldwell's seat, they would have an outright majority on the council — a first since the mid-1980s.

When pressed, Caldwell wouldn't provide any more details about her resignation. "Personal reasons are personal reasons," she informed Seven Days via email.

"I feel very lucky to have come to know many of you well and to have shared in the vibrancy of our neighborhood," she wrote in her resignation note emailed to constituents.

Caldwell was elected in March 2009 to a two-year term, and would have been up for election in 2011. Previously, she served five years on the School Board.

She encouraged voters to "choose a new city councilor who shares our values of economic, environmental and social justice, someone who is as committed as I have been to making Burlington a city that works for all of its residents, a city that is inclusive, diverse and vibrant."

Gee, no mention of the word Progressive. Wonder why?

Earlier this year, Democrats swept races in neighboring Old North End district Ward 2, marking the first time since 1981 that a Progressive was not elected from the ward.

Mulvaney-Stanak resigned in December after moving from Ward 2 to neighboring Ward 3, to buy a house. She then won the Ward 3 seat vacated by Progressive Clarence Davis. 

Here is Caldwell's complete email to her constituents:

After six years of having the privilege to serve you, and of struggling with you to try to make Burlington a livable city for all, I am writing to let you know that I am resigning from the City Council for personal reasons. I feel very lucky to have come to know many of you well and to have shared in the vibrancy of our neighborhood.

Together, we have succeeded in many things. We have gained a livable wage for school employees, have kept Barnes and Wheeler schools open, have implemented a diversity-in-hiring policy for the school district, have protected the rights of our residents to fair housing, have had a day named in memory of Old North End great Melissa Parker, have worked to implement a fair contract agreement for workers on the Moran project, have created a clean energy assessment district and have passed an awareness-raising resolution in opposition to racist anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona.

Soon the City will hold a special election in which you will be asked to elect someone to replace me on the city council. I hope you will choose a new city councilor who shares our values of economic, environmental and social justice, someone who is as committed as I have been to making Burlington a city that works for all of its residents, a city that is inclusive, diverse and vibrant.

Most of all, I hope that you will continue to be actively involved in keeping whomever you elect accountable to you, so that government works to preserve and strengthen this community that we have built here.

I thank you for the opportunity that I have had to serve you, and I wish you the best of luck in the future.

Marrisa

Good riddance. This woman was not good for Burlington. I'm a resident of the O.N.E, and she has not represented us well. She was arrogant and didn't listen to people. Don't let the door hit you on the way out Marrisa.

As a Ward 3 resident I entirely disagree with the previous poster. We will be hard pressed to find another representative who cares so deeply about the issues we face daily.

If the Democrats manage to win Caldwell's seat, they would have an outright majority on the council — a first since the mid-1980s.

Sound like the Dems will have a majority (7/13) starting Monday. The special election will tell us if the Dems keep the majority or not.

Ed Adrian sent out a message on Front Porch forum that I received in my email this morning informing of Caldwell's resignation. He said that anyone interested in running for the seat should give him a call, perhaps so that the Democrats can vet and nominate someone quickly in the hopes of gaining the seat. I would like to see a Democrat take the seat and give Democrats a clear majority and put Kiss to the fire a bit more. I wish Caldwell the best, but it is inconvenient to have a city councillor resign in the middle of the term.

After an amazing 29 year run, it's finally come to this: The Progs are dead.
Ironic that it falls to you, Shay, to write the obituary that your predecessor Peter Freyne wrote so many times before over the last three decades.
But this time, there will be no Lazarus moment like the Clavelle/Wright mayoral election.
Now, if only City Democrats will finally start acting like Democrats... but I won't hold my breath.

Dan

Yes I did indeed send out a FPF message. If anyone reading this is interested in exploring a run in Ward 3, please give me a call on my cell phone 233-2131. The election will be on November 2nd.

Once Proud Prog, feel free to e-mail me at eadrian@comcast.net or call and let me know what the Ds can do better.

Best,
Ed

I think the door just hit her on the way out. Ouch!

So the Prog is moving out of Burlington. There may be an irony or two here. First, have three decades of anti-development policies made Burlington housing unobtainable for low income families (if you don't want to live in the ONE)? Second, is the quality of life simply better for families with young children outside the city limits?

Sean's point is a dead wringer. If the progs have been touting Burlington as a utopia for so long, why is she moving away? Also, to just quit in the middle of a term is pretty bad. Is she the reigning Sarah Palin on Vermont?

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