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November 30, 2011

Kiss Him Goodbye!

Local-kissWith less than two weeks remaining before Progressives pick a candidate, Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss said this morning he would not seek a third term in March.

Kiss, who is a Progressive, made the announcement on WVMT-AM's Charlie, Ernie and Lisa program, which hosts the mayor each month for a chat with listeners.

Host Charlie Papillo didn't make it easy for the anxious news media. He opened with: "I want to jump right in with the question on everyone's mind: Bob how was your Thanksgiving vacation?"

Turkey and all the trimmings, Kiss said.

Then, the moment of truth: "Is there an announcement you'd like to make?" asked Papillo.

"I will not be running for reelection," said Kiss.

Papillo noted that he and other political observers — including myself in Fair Game — believed the mayor was sending signals he would run.

What changed?

"I don't think anything has changed," said Kiss. "All the things that need to be done are as much the reasons to go forward as they are to step aside. I think I've done good work in my administration and from a personal perspective for me it'a good time to leave."

As Kiss noted in last week's Fair Game, he would like to see a few city projects to completion: redevelopment of the Moran Plant; construction of the Champlain Parkway; and a final solution for Burlington Telecom's multimillion-dollar shortfall.

"I think a lot of people will benefit from these projects and whomever is mayor will be able to see them through to completion," Kiss told Seven Days in an interview last night.

Despite the barrage of public criticism, a lack of political support and the budgetary challenges facing the city, Kiss noted on this morning's radio show,"I still enjoy the job."

Of course, the growing lack of Progressive support for Kiss may have contributed to the mayor's change of heart. As I noted in Fair Game last week, the party took the step of putting "No Candidate" on their caucus mayoral ballot.

No subtle hint there.

For months, Progressives have been quietly trying to talk Kiss out of running again and to announce the news well in advance of their annual nominating caucus. No such luck. Kiss was reticent to give up the option of running again when he believed Burlington was in good financial shape, at least compared to other cities.

Burlington Progressives were quick to wash their hands of Kiss.

Less than an hour after the mayor's announcement, Elijah Bergman, vice chairman of the city Progressive Party, issued a rather stinging statement via email. "Today, Mayor Bob Kiss announced that he would not be seeking a third term," it read. "Based on conversations I have had with many Progressives, I do not believe he would have won the Progressive nomination if he had sought a third term."

Not even a "Thanks for your service." Or, "We look forward to gathering at our citywide caucus on December 11 to chart our future."


Kiss told Seven Days the next mayor will likely face additional budget challenges as federal and state support for the city budget dwindles.

"There's a lot of work in the job and probably more in the coming years as we lose benefits from the feds and state due to budget cuts," said Kiss. "I never believed I could do this forever."

Kiss noted that Peter Clavelle ran the city for 15 years, while Bernie Sanders was mayor for eight years. Kiss will have racked up six years, though I'm sure plenty of citizens feel like it's been an eternity thanks to some of the fiscal debacles that have embroiled the city for the past three years — namely Burlington Telecom, the pension fund and the Burlington International  Airport parking garage.

DSC00825The question remains: Will the Progressives nominate Democrat Tim Ashe for mayor? Chances are good they'll do so if he wins the Democratic caucus on December 11, and maybe even if he doesn't. The Progressives will meet less than two hours after the Democrats hold their "Caucus Conclusion" at Memorial Auditorium.

Ashe (pictured on the right) has already said he wouldn't accept the Progressive nomination if he fails to win the Democratic nod. If he wins the Democratic caucus, however, he would accept the Progressive nomination. That makes sense, given he's done the same thing twice as a state senate candidate — and won.

Weinberger (pictured above on the left), on the other hand, has said he wouldn't accept the Progressive nomination. Some of Weinberger's criticisms of the Kiss administration have sounded like a condemnation of all things Progressive — something Weinberger disputes.

Will Kiss' decision have an impact on the race? Not likely. I think the only person who, up until this morning, thought he still had a chance at winning a third term — or would even be a viable candidate — was Kiss himself.

File photo of Bob Kiss by Jordan Silverman

As the 80,000 ice climbers in the Northeast region(numbers by Kiss provided by the ice factor) knock on our door with all the money in the world ready to save our city,by providing sales from ice climbing and laser tag(really Mayor laser tag, people shooting at each other, you really cannot support such a thing with your background). I myself do not support laser tag as it is the basic violation of firearm training to aim a weapon at someone without the intent to kill in self defense, and laser tag only violates all of these principles.
Laser tag should not be allowed at this ill thought out and planned facility, nor shall ice climbing without many guarantees we have never received be an option.
The Mayor and most others were sold a bill of goods with the ice factor debacle, and we need to get away from the ice factor ASAP and work towards a sensible viable solution to the area.
Sailing centers, boat dockings, ice skating during the frigid months, are all non million dollar ventures as the plant is torn down and made go away, which yes will cost probably a million or two but it will be gone, and we can rebuild our future.
The skate board park can be revisited to ensure it stays in place, and gets improved(without pennies for parks) but not with the Moran plant planning for ice climbing and shooting.

Why wouldn't the Progressives nominate Ashe? That's what they do. They run as Democrats and and endorse Democrats and then they send you a mailing and ask you to give money to support the "strongest third party in the nation". That thing was dying a long time ago. You can only spin it for so long, Martha.

Skip by the host's mumbling and watch Ashe endorse Kiss for reelection. Was Ashe lying then? is he lying now?



The worst Mayor in Burlington's history? Highly likely! This simpleton, stole, lied, acted in secrecy, uttered non-stop unintelligent blah-isms and steered this once hearty vessel (City of Burlington) right into the rocks. Absolutely tone-deaf, clueless, non able to grasp reality, inspire anyone near or far (except to hatred and distrust...and to think we elected him twice. Those who voted for him first time, you are forgiven. Those who voted for him the 2nd time - you are to blame because you saw what you wanted to see instead of what was already very obvious: a sub-sock monkey manager of public resources and trust. Good riddance.
PS. If you vote for Ashe you are going to get more of the same bullpuckey. Open your eyes.

Looks like the Freeps commenters found a new home.

For the record franklystupid, I don't post on the BFP website but I am comfortable commenting here tonight on the awful legacy of Mayor Kiss (note that I did not say the Progressive Party, just the failed mayor). Nothing I've said is stupid - voting for Ashe for Mayor is stupid in my opinion, perhaps delusional is a better word. I have no problem with his respectable work in Montpelier, ok?

At about 3:20 in the video referenced above you will see that Mr. Ashe thanks Bob and CAO LLeopold for pulling rabbits out of hats. He's referencing how they have rescued the city from many economic perils. Here's the video linkk again:

Are you kidding me? Those two have take Burlington to the edge of ruin, and we may get there yet (i.e. bankruptcy). Don't think it can't happen. It is happening because in other municipalities around the country. This Democrat would rather vote for Wright than Ashe. It ain't personal, it's politics, and we need to change course.

Ok, so it's bad enough that Mayor Duncecap disgraced this city for almost 6 years, but what I want to know is, who elected him as a state rep before that, and why the hell why? Did absolutely no one qualified to vote in his district even bother to note that he was an absolute nobody? It seems Vermonters will elect any yahoo who comes along, especially to represent them at the Statehouse.

I second Frank Frank's comments.

RE: Kiss: Bob was always out to lunch. As the Bushism goes: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you're not going to fool me again.

RE: Ashe: He's fine in Montpeculiar. Voted for him there in the past and would do so again. He is wrong for BurlIngton cause he is a Prog first and always will be. We need to clean house after 32 years. Tim can't do that becaus he will be elected by the machine, which means he will rule by the machine.

RE: Miro. I support him. Like many Dems, if he loses, I will have a Kurt sign on my front lawn.

Totten, you red bastard!

If Tim Ashe win's the Democratic nomination, I will not vote for him and will instead vote for Kurt Wright. I agree that it's time for a change. 32 years of Progressive rule is enough. They need to be completely out of power for a while and I don't really think the Democrats are up to it either even though I like Miro and his stances on policy and his financial background.

And let's be honest here, folks, we all know that Tim Ashe is using this as a stepping stone to run for Governor when Shumlin calls it quits in 8-10 years so don't think for a moment that he's doing this for the city of Burlington. The guy is in it for himself...just look at the way he's conducted himself in this primary and caucus.

Frankly, I think he'll win the nomination and I can think of many Democrats who will not help him and will not support him with their votes. I have a Miro sign right now but a Wright sign will be up if Ashe win's the nomination. I'm not alone in my thinking. It's time for a change.

Tim, way to call out shay on his true colors. He's been a prog operative since day one. Heard you got a new job! Don't let the door hit you on the way out shay.

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