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33 posts categorized "2012 Burlington Mayor's Race"

August 27, 2012

Vermont's Fake Twitter Accounts: A Field Guide

Twitter-bird-white-on-blue

You may have heard about @THISISVT, the new Twitter account which will be operated by a different Vermont citizen each week. It was created by the state Department of Tourism in the vein of @Sweden and @NewZealand, but hopefully without the awkward moments. Picking a citizen to temporarily act as the voice of a polity is officially trending.

@THISISVT's goal of representing Vermont through the real voices of Vermonters is a noble one. But you know what's more fun? Fake voices. More specifically, the jokey Twitter accounts that come about through anthropomorphizing the creatures and machines that populate our state. They're a critical part of the Twitter ecosystem, making sure that it can't be taken too seriously in the midst of all the self-promotion and buzzwords. Sure, they're probably a waste of time — but at least they're fun! (Usually.)

Here's a brief guide to the parody accounts that populate our local Twittersphere. Give 'em a follow if you don't already.

(Note: This list does not include Twitter accounts purporting to belong to pets or newborns. Parents, please don’t pretend to be your child on social media.)

Continue reading "Vermont's Fake Twitter Accounts: A Field Guide" »

June 08, 2012

Burlington State Rep. and Former Mayoral Candidate Jason Lorber Will Not Seek Reelection

Lorber

*UPDATED*

Four-term Burlington state representative and former mayoral candidate Jason Lorber will not seek reelection to the Vermont House, he announced Friday morning in an e-mail to supporters.

First elected to the legislature in 2004, Lorber was one of four Democrats to seek his party's nomination for mayor last fall, saying he would serve as "chief marketing officer" for the city. At the November Democratic caucus, Lorber won just 106 of 1309 votes on the first ballot and promptly withdrew from the race.

In his announcement, the consultant and stand-up comedian said he was proud of his work reforming the criminal justice system, supporting "farm-to-plate" initiatives and voting to legalize gay marriage. Lorber is one of just a handful of openly gay legislators in Vermont.

Continue reading "Burlington State Rep. and Former Mayoral Candidate Jason Lorber Will Not Seek Reelection" »

April 02, 2012

14 Questions for Miro Weinberger Before He's Sworn in as Burlington's Next Mayor

Miro 1Tonight at Nectar's is "Metal Monday," where for $5 you can hear the skull-splitting sounds of Boatman's Lament, Skrogg and Brave the Vertigo.

The opening act? On the big screen, Miro Weinberger's inauguration as Burlington's 38th mayor.

Weinberger will be sworn in as the Queen City's new boss — the first Democrat to occupy the corner office since 1981 — at 7 p.m. in city hall. The mayor-elect's peeps have reserved Nectar's for any overflow crowd, where the event will be live-streamed by Channel 17.

Even before it's official, Weinberger is putting his team together. On Sunday, he named Paul Sisson, a Burlington financial adviser and CPA who worked for KPMG, as interim chief administrative officer — one of the most powerful posts in city hall. The temporary appointment extends through June 30.

Seven Days contributor Kevin J. Kelley caught up with the mayor-elect last week at Maglianero Cafe on Maple Street, where Weinberger came dressed in a black suit jacket, white shirt and no tie. The talk ranged from Burlington's budget problems to Weinberger's feelings on a Church Street smoking ban. The mayor-elect also told Seven Days he and his wife have applied to send their daughter to first grade next fall at a Burlington public school — in the Old North End. She is currently in kindergarten at a private school in Williston

SEVEN DAYS: You’re bound to have something of a political honeymoon when you take office. Is there a 90-day or 100-day window for you to take major actions that will be harder to take later on?

MIRO WEINBERGER: Yes, June 30 is a significant date. We need to pass a balanced budget by then.

The 90-day window also relates to what I’ve said about making a decision on the Moran Plant by then. It’s gone on long enough. We need to decide what to do there. The financial consequences to the city will be significant no matter which way I go on Moran.

There’s already been substantial amounts of time and money invested in the plan. That’s something we need to consider. And I can say that other than the budget, I’ve spent more time on Moran than any issue. It’s a highly complex situation and it’s going to be an important decision for the new administration.

Continue reading "14 Questions for Miro Weinberger Before He's Sworn in as Burlington's Next Mayor" »

March 16, 2012

In Race's Final Days, Burlington Mayoral Candidates Poured on the Cash

Burlington-mayor-raceIn the closing days of the most expensive mayor’s race in Burlington’s history, two of the candidates — and one political party — continued to pour cash into their campaigns.

According to filings due Friday, Democrat Miro Weinberger, who won by 20 percent, raised $16,469 and spent $25,050 in the last week and a half of the race. The Vermont Democratic Party spent another $8,631 on his behalf during that period.

In total, Weinberger and his party raised $143,940 and spent $140,118 on the campaign, dwarfing all previous records. Close to $50,000 of that was spent on a heated four-way race for the Democratic nomination last fall.

Republican Kurt Wright also continued to raise and spend in the closing days of the race. He took in $11,694 and spent $18,074 in the same period. In total, he raised $60,358 and spent $58,261 on the campaign. Wright received no help from the state GOP and ran uncontested for his party’s nomination.

Independent Wanda Hines raised and spent just $2,930. Though she came in a distant third, Hines certainly got the best bang for her buck. She spent just $5.80 per vote, while Wright spent $15.55 and Weinberger spent $24.15 per vote.

Most voters, one might imagine, would have preferred a check in the mail.

Given that candidates don’t have to report what they raised or spent in the campaign’s final days until after voters head to the polls, post-election filings tend to include a few goodies. This batch is no exception.

Continue reading "In Race's Final Days, Burlington Mayoral Candidates Poured on the Cash" »

March 15, 2012

Mayor-Elect Weinberger Taps Transition Team

With just two and a half weeks until he takes office, Mayor-elect Miro Weinberger rolled out his transition team Thursday morning at a city hall press conference.

Weinberger said the group — a mix of elected officials, campaign staffers and behind-the-scenes political types — would be “tasked with the important job of converting this optimism and goodwill and desire for change into a successful start in the new administration.”

IMG_2098Leading a team charged with conducting a “top-to-bottom review of city departments,” vetting personnel appointments and writing next year’s budget are Paul Sisson, a retired KPMG managing partner, and Andrew Savage, a former legislative director and deputy chief-of-staff for Congressman Peter Welch.

While Weinberger was mostly mum about specific city hall appointments, he indicated that Sisson is one of three contenders for the chief administrative officer position, a key post that is now vacant. Weinberger said that while the mayor has authority to hire roughly 20 positions, “The actual number of appointments in the beginning of the administration will be well less than that.”

Continue reading "Mayor-Elect Weinberger Taps Transition Team" »

March 06, 2012

Weinberger Wins Burlington. Wright Loses Third Bid For Mayor. Progressives Gain City Council Seat

DSC03295This story was reported by Paul Heintz, Kevin J. Kelley and Andy Bromage. Graphics by Tyler Machado.

Riding his outsider image to a decisive victory, Miro Weinberger took Burlington City Hall by a wide margin Tuesday night, becoming the first Democrat to hold the mayor's office in 31 years.

Now it’s time for Burlington to learn how to pronounce his name.

It’s “muh-ROH,” for the record.

In an election many political observers expected to come down to the wire, Weinberger stormed the city, taking close to 58 percent of the vote to Republican Kurt Wright’s 37 percent and independent Wanda Hines’ five percent. The Democrat heavily outperformed his opponents in the city’s South End and Old North End, and he kept the score close in Wright’s home territory in the more conservative New North End.

“Burlington voters have spoken. They have spoken loud, and they’ve spoken clear. And this city is ready for a fresh start,” Weinberger told a packed house at his campaign’s victory party at Nectar’s. “That fresh start begins tonight.”

Surrounded by his wife, daughter and parents, Weinberger told an enthusiastic crowd, “What this campaign was fueled by from the start was you and your grassroots efforts.”

He said the campaign’s 350 volunteers made 45,000 phone calls since the start of January, including 8500 get-out-the-vote calls today alone. Not mentioned was his massive fundraising advantage. Weinberger outspent Wright by more than two-to-one, raising more money — $118,000 since he joined the race in September — than the entire 2009 mayoral field combined.

The campaign mailed 28,000 pieces of campaign literature.

“It’s only with this type of support that a political outsider with a funny name that no one knew how to pronounce could end up right here tonight,” Weinberger said.

Continue reading "Weinberger Wins Burlington. Wright Loses Third Bid For Mayor. Progressives Gain City Council Seat" »

March 05, 2012

Burlington Mayoral Candidates Make Final Push for Votes

Mayor graphicA day before Burlington voters pick their next mayor, the candidates vying to take City Hall spent Monday scouring the city for a few more votes in a final frenzy of campaigning.

Republican mayoral candidate Kurt Wright and his Democratic opponent, Miro Weinberger, both spent the afternoon knocking on doors and waving signs in the New North End, traditionally a treasure trove of votes in Burlington elections.

DSC03260“We feel good. A ton of energy,” Weinberger said as he canvassed Loaldo Drive alongside spokesman Mike Kanarick.

As if on cue, a middle-aged man driving a blue Ford Explorer pulled up to Weinberger and, pointing to his house a few doors down the street, said the candidate should feel free to put up a sign or two.

“We’re campaigning all over the city, but it feels very productive to be up here,” Weinberger said after the man drove away. “We’re making gains. People are open-minded about the race up here, even though it’s Kurt’s backyard.”

Continue reading "Burlington Mayoral Candidates Make Final Push for Votes" »

February 29, 2012

Sanders Endorses Weinberger for Mayor of Burlington

In a rare entry into local politics, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leant his support Wednesday to Miro Weinberger, a Democrat running for mayor of Burlington.

Citing the need for all levels of government to focus on creating good jobs and affordable housing, Sanders said in a statement, “I am voting for Miro Weinberger for mayor of Burlington because I believe that he is the candidate best able to address these and other serious issues facing our city.”

Mayor graphicAn independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats, Sanders is widely revered by Progressives in Burlington, who have been slow to embrace Weinberger’s candidacy. Without a nominee of their own, Progressives have been split among the three candidates: Weinberger, Republican Kurt Wright and independent Wanda Hines.

"I'm extremely honored to have the support and confidence of Senator Sanders," Weinberger said in a statement. "Bernie, as much as anyone, knows what it takes to make Burlington a great city. With a fresh voice, the right experience, and a new vision, Burlington can continue to make the remarkable progress of our recent past."

Sanders pointed to Weinberger’s record as an affordable housing developer as a key reason he is backing the Democrat.

“I have been impressed by his private sector efforts to create environmentally sound mixed-use development,” Sanders said. “I have seen first hand his beautiful project in Richford which combines a locally-owned grocery store, a rural health center, a dental clinic, a pharmacy and affordable housing — just the kind of development Vermont needs.”

Continue reading "Sanders Endorses Weinberger for Mayor of Burlington" »

February 27, 2012

Weinberger Shatters Burlington Mayoral Fundraising Record [Updated]

This post has been updated to add charts.

There’s still a week to go in the Burlington mayoral race, and Democrat Miro Weinberger has already shattered previous fundraising records.

Since the start of the campaign last September, Weinberger has raised more than $118,000 and spent just shy of $100,000. That blows away the previous fundraising record set in 2006 when Democratic nominee Hinda Miller raised $60,000 in her unsuccessful race for mayor.

Mayor graphicNearly half of Weinberger’s expenditures were doled out during a heated, four-way race for the Democratic nomination last fall. In the general election, he has spent just more than $51,000.

That figure is closer to the $40,000 his Republican rival, Kurt Wright, has spent, out of $48,000 raised. Wright did not face a primary opponent. Wanda Hines, an independent, raised just $2260 and spent $767. 

Here are the fundraising and spending totals in chart form. To provide for a more accurate comparison, the lighter green shade next to Weinberger's name represents just how much he spent after the Democratic caucuses.

The Vermont Democratic Party contributed nearly $6500 in in-kind contributions to Weinberger’s campaign, most of which came in the form of printing expenses, use of the party’s voter file and office space. The Vermont GOP did not invest in the Wright campaign.

Continue reading "Weinberger Shatters Burlington Mayoral Fundraising Record [Updated]" »

February 24, 2012

In Health Care Vote, Wright Sides With Dems

As we reported earlier this week, Kurt Wright has styled his campaign for mayor of Burlington as a post-partisan affair, despite a reliably Republican record representing the New North End in Montpelier.

Last night, Wright’s post-partisan cred was put to the test as the Vermont House voted almost entirely along party lines in a preliminary vote to establish a state-run health insurance exchange.

Mayor graphicI say ‘almost entirely’ because there was one Republican who bucked his party and voted with the Democrats: Kurt Wright.

“I think, like most people do think, the system that we have does have to be reformed. We do have a broken system that’s very expensive for employers and employees,” Wright explained Friday. “I think, overall, the bill helps a lot of middle and lower income people get insurance and, if they have insurance, get better insurance.”

Wright’s Republican colleagues disagreed. They argued that the Democrat-designed exchange — an online marketplace for health insurance plans — would limit consumers’ and small business’ ability to choose affordable plans outside of the system.

To be fair, Wright voted against a key element of the plan before he voted for it.

An amendment offered by Rep. Mark Higley (R-Lowell) would have allowed businesses to opt out of the exchange. Wright voted in favor of the Republican amendment, which failed by a vote of 57 to 80.

“To me what [the Higley amendment] did was it spoke to concerns a lot of small business people had. I think it was worth giving them some level of comfort with this,” Wright said. “I thought that should start out being an optional choice. Even without that amendment passing, I thought [the overall bill] was a net plus.”

"Will Wright's vote help or hurt his chances in March? Why?"Post your answer below

Wright missed a vote on an earlier amendment offered by Rep. Oliver Olsen (R-Jamaica) that would have allowed businesses to opt out of the exchange if premiums became too expensive. Wright missed the vote because he was participating in a mayoral forum on the arts at the Flynn Space in Burlington and didn't expect votes at that time. He said he would have to review the language of the amendment before taking a position on it. The amendment failed by a vote of 45-88.

Wright also bucked his party yesterday by voting against an amendment that would move forward the date by which Gov. Peter Shumlin’s administration would have to outline how it would finance the exchange and a proposed single-payer health care system. That amendment, which failed by a vote of 49 to 86, has become a political football in Shumlin’s re-election fight, with Republicans arguing the decision should be made before the November election.

Wright said, “Republicans wanted more information and they wanted it before the election. My understanding is there will not be accurate information before the election. It’s not going to be timely. It’s just a matter of that. Would I like it to be? Sure.”

Last year Wright voted against the creation of a panel charged with designing a single-payer health care system in Vermont.

Vermont Democratic Party chairman Jake Perkinson sees political motives in yesterday’s votes.

“The timing is interesting,” Perkinson said. “I'm glad Kurt voted for this much-needed health care legislation, but it is 11 days before the election and everyone in Burlington is watching. I don't think he really could have voted another way and explained it to the voters."

Wright acknowledges the political scrutiny he faces this close to the election.

“The interesting thing here is if I voted against this, people would be saying it was a Republican vote. If I voted the other way, they say he’s voting for political expediency,” he said. “So you can’t win.”

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