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January 24, 2010

Two-Term Progressive Councilor Won't Seek Reelection

Clarence Emma150 Two-term Progressive City Councilor Clarence Davis is not running for reelection, but a familiar face is running in his place.

Davis, who represents Ward 3, decided not to run for reelection so he could spend more time at home, rather than at City Hall until the wee hours of the morning.

Go figure.

Up until just a few weeks ago, Davis publicly said he was more than likely seeking reelection: "The rumors of my pending demise are greatly exaggerated," Davis told Seven Days in November, and again in December. "My plan is to run for re-election pending any unforeseen changes in my life."

Asked again as recently as January 18, and Davis reiterated that his plans were "still the same."

In the past few days, however, Davis told Seven Days, he had a change of heart. "I mulled it over and talked it over at home, and I want to spend a little bit more time with my wife," Davis said.

"For me, personally, one of the things I contemplated when I first ran for office was, 'How long am I going to do this?'" added Davis. "I had decided then that I would serve two terms definitely and maybe a third term. But, I just got married a year ago and would like to spend more time at home, we'd like to start a family of our own, and I don't want to be at City Hall until 2:30 in the morning."

So, who could possibly step in and run for his seat on such short notice? None other than Progressive Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, who, until mid-December, was a Ward 2 city councilor.

"I really feel like it takes a lot to get up to speed on the council, and obviously I could hit the ground running," said Mulvaney-Stanak. "When I resigned, I said this wasn't the end for me and if an opportunity arose I'd consider it. I certainly feel like I have more to offer the council."

She resigned her council seat just eight months after being elected to a two-year term. Why? She bought her first home and it happened to be in Ward 3 — not 2. City charter rules required she resign immediately. Since the vacancy occurred within 90 days of the March election, no special election was held.

That means her seat is up for grabs in March, along with the ward’s other seat, held by Democrat David Berezniak. 

Ward 2 is shaping up to be a key battleground to determine if Democrats will see their largest representation on the city council — and the Progressives their smallest — since the 1980s.

Currently, the Democrats have a majority on the council because they hold seven out of 13 seats. If they can hold those seven seats, and pick up one more, they would have an outright majority on the full, 14-member council, too. That would be a first since the 1980s.

In Ward 2, Berezniak is seeking reelection, and Democrat Bram Kranichfeld will seek Mulvaney-Stanak's vacated seat. Kranichfeld, 30, is chairman of the Burlington Electric Commission and a deputy state's attorney.

On the Progressive side, Jonathan Leavitt. a school social worker and community activist, is challenging Berezniak while Maxwell Tracy, a recent UVM grad and labor activist, will square off against Kranichfeld.

When Democrats caucused this past week, they did not nominate someone to run for the Ward 3 seat. However, someone only needs to submit a petition with 30 signatures to City Hall by tomorrow at 5 p.m. to get on the ballot.

I really don't like the idea of a permanent city councilor who feels she is entitled to retain her spot on the council while she moves around the city. She's only been in the new Ward that she plans to run from, for a few months for God's sake. It gives the strong impression that she feels she is entitled to be on the council no matter what Ward she happens to be in. It implies that the concerns of the residents of Ward 3 are no different than those of the Ward she previously represented, and that she's best qualified to represent her neighbors no matter where she lives. If I were a resident of Ward 3, I'd be offended by her presumptuousness.

Emma was my councilperson in Ward 2 and while not every ward is the same---the needs of Old North End residents are fairly common. We want safe streets, safe housing, good jobs, and a City Hall that represents us and focuses on us---not politics. I think Ward 3 is lucky to have such a dedicated civil servant like Emma running for them. We will miss here in Ward 2, but are excited to see TWO progressives running for our our two seats!

As a long time resident of Ward 3, I will be sad to see Mr. Davis leave his post. Although I normally would have cast my vote for a progressive candidate, I am in fact offended by the presumptuousness of Ms. Mulvaney-Stanak's latest campaign run. Ward 3, although adjacent to Ward 2, is different in character, and anyone who has lived here for more than "a few months" would know this. While I do not question Ms. Mulvaney-Stanak's dedication to public service (which her sister DJ LLU aptly notes above), I can't help but think that this move is less about representing her new neighbors and more about personal political gain.

Emma is presumptuous for running for office? It's not as though she appointed herself directly to the Council. And I think that while she lived in Ward 2, she might have occasionally walked through, or even visited Ward 3. She might know some people here and probably eats in our restaurants. While it's true the wards are different, there is a lot of variation within the wards and she was not oblivious to Ward 3 while living next door. I am also sad to see Clarence step down, but think that Emma can represent us well.

How presumptuous of you to speak for Ward 3 residents and make assumptions about a person's motivations!

I live in Ward 3, been there 12 years now, lived in Ward 2 before that, when I was a renter. The wards are similar in character and population, not vastly different, as you imply.

The fact that Clarence Davis endorses her candidacy should count for something, but why don't you contact the candidate and talk to her? Maybe find out why she does want to run? Who knows, you might find out you like her.

@ presumptuousness is a two-way street:

Can you please point out where motherjones indicated she was speaking for Ward 3 residents other than herself?

You are presumptuous for presuming that motherjones was presuming to speak for you.

She also said that the wards were different. She did not say, or imply, that they are "vastly" different, as you state. Why do you attempt to twist her meaning?

Finally, she is entitled to her opinion about what might be motivating this ward-shifting, i-wanna-be-on-the-council-no-matter-where-i-live candidate. And I suspect she's absolutely right.

Emma was a Ward 3 resident for several years before she moved to Ward 2. She is not a "ward-shifter," she is a longtime resident of the ONE who has now put permanent roots down by becoming a home-owner. Agreed that y'all should speak to the candidate about why she wants to represent Ward 3 on the council. This is not an ego trip, it is a genuine desire to do good by her ward and the city. It's sad that everyone assumes bad/manipulative intentions. Ward 3 will be lucky to have another fierce, hard-working advocate on the council.

@R2D2 thank you for confirming suspicions that you are a troll. LOL.

I think R2D2 has it right, personally. Doesn't matter though, all this means is that we'll have two CC members sitting there looking confused most of the time, they're perfect bookends to Kiss.

@ R2D2isaTroll:

Thank you for confirming suspicions that you are a Prog. LOL.

I am glad Davis is gone. maybe all the progs will be gone soon. now rubber stamper for Kiss is gone maybe will will have open gov. nOW dAVIS CAN PUT HIS RUBBER STAMP AWAY.

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