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September 27, 2011

Did Burlington Miss Out on Its Share of a $650 Million Investment in Carbon War Room?

CovershotDid Burlington just miss out on a slice of $650 million in commercial investment? A recent New York Times story makes you wonder.

Lockheed Martin announced last week that it is partnering with Barclay's bank to help lead a $650 million investment to make commercial buildings more energy efficient in Miami and Sacramento. The investment is a result of Lockheed's role in the Carbon War Room, an international effort that brought Lockheed to Burlington in late 2010.

"It is the most ambitious effort yet to jump-start a national market for energy upgrades that many people believe could eventually be worth billions." crowed the New York Times.

The news of Lockheed's largesse comes just weeks after the weapons maker backed out of an agreement with the city of Burlington thanks, in part, to a lengthy and emotional debate over whether the progressive-minded Queen City should get into bed with one of the world's largest weapons makers.

Could Burlington have been right there alongside Sacramento and Miami in reaping some of this investment in helping to develop model energy efficient buildings?

Mayor Bob Kiss (pictured) said it's unlikely Burlington would have been part of that specific investment deal, but he said the deal is an example of the resources and expertise that Carbon War Room hopes to bring to bear in the marketplace.

Bob Kiss "That's the kind of power that the Carbon War Room is trying to build," said Kiss. "This is an opportunity to use private money to get public results. The whole agreement with Lockheed Martin was more open-ended and we were talking about things we could work on here that would be more transferable in larger markets."

For example, Kiss said there was some interest in working with Lockheed Martin on Burlington's homeowner-based energy district to make it easier for homeowners to engineer and finance energy-efficiency improvements to their homes. That kind of market-based infusion of capital could help jump start the marketplace, Kiss said.

That's why Kiss said he vetoed a "community standards" resolution on climate change partnerships with corporations that was recently approved by the City Council. He claims it was too restrictive in its application and could have scared off worthy partners. The resolution would have put in place some baseline standards regarding corporate partnerships and allowed a community review of such proposals.

Kiss said he is hopeful Burlington can still lure investment from other corporate players in the Carbon War Room, but believes the community standards were too narrowly tailored and would leave policymakers little wiggle room to negotiate with other corporations.

"That said, when we announced the partnership with Lockheed, I never said to anyone to suspend judgment," said Kiss. "But I think we need to think more broadly about how we address climate change and we need everyone to take part in the solution."

In April 2010, Burlington was chosen as one of 15 cities from around the world to take part in a 30-month challenge to develop new, market-driven solutions to combat climate change. The Carbon War Room, a non-profit organization, was founded by Virgin mogul Sir Richard Branson. The thrust of the effort is to connect private investment and entrepreneurs with environmental projects — and governmental partners — to build a new economy based on green development that benefits the environment and investors' bottom line.

No dollar figure was attached to the potential Burlington-Lockheed deal.

Shortly after Kiss announced the deal with Lockheed Martin in December 2010, some members of the community — many in Kiss' own Progressive Party — balked at the notion of working with a giant weapons maker.

Jonathan Leavitt, one of the community organizers who opposed the Lockheed deal and rallied people to council meetings, was non-plussed about the Lockheed investment. He thinks Kiss, and the city, need to forge ahead and seek out more responsible partners and simply push for better state, local and federal legislation.

"None of Mayor Kiss' many constituents who have spoken in city council over the last nine months think a tiny, little sliver of Lockheed's slightly laundered U.S. taxpayer dollars will be more effective than the comprehensive state and federal climate legislation which Lockheed helps block," said Leavitt. "Sadly Mayor Kiss' obstructionist tactics prioritize creating a cozy home to 'greenwash' corporate mega-polluters instead of thoughtful climate legislation, responsive government and representing the Burlington voters who put him in power."

City Councilor Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (P-Ward 3), one of the original sponsors of the community standards legislation, said the Lockheed deal with Miami and Sacramento doesn't sway her opinion. Yet, she remains hopeful that the city can find a better partner than Lockheed Martin to achieve the goals of the Carbon War Room.

With community standards, Mulvaney-Stanak says the city could objectively review any potential partner and decide whether the benefits to Burlington outweigh anything the partner has done to "contribute to the war machine, national debt and destruction of the environment.

"I think we need a framework to have that discussion and that was lost in the defeat of the community standards resolution," Mulvaney-Stanak says.

* This post was updated to correct the ward that Emma Mulvaney-Stanak represents. She represents Ward 3.

BAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA...nice job Mayor Kiss and the regressives.

Enjoy your final months in office. BTV will finally be free from the progressive stranglehold

So it was all about providing financing? All that "we are the sole executors of The Science" bluster was about simple simon financing? How about this then: if you want a loan for energy efficient home improvements call EFFICIENCY VERMONT. We don't need no stinkin' corporate welfare receiving war profiteering fraud machine to blow insulation into our attics.

"Shortly after Kiss announced the deal with Lockheed Martin in December 2010, some members of the community — many in Kiss' own Progressive Party — balked at the notion of working with a giant weapons maker."

Why? Can anyone name one thing that's illegal about manufacturing weapons? Progs just suck!!

I propose a resolution that the City of Burlington henceforth never, ever, ever enter into any kind of partnership with Ben & Jerry's because they sell a lethal combination of sugar and frozen dairy fat, which kills people (and exploits cows), which is totally immoral.

If any of the current mayoral candidates are going to listen to anything Jonathan Leavitt says, please let the voters know now.

(shakes fist)

Oh yes, yes, yes. Manufacturing ice cream that will only be eaten voluntarily and will in 100% of cases not be the sole cause of death is EXACTLY the same as a bomb taking out an entire neighborhood of folks who are given exactly zero say in the selection of targets. Such a valid criticism, doesn't make you look like a lunatic,a fanatic or an idiot at all. Also, dude, why are you laughing like a diabolical super villain? Do you not know about how Efficiency Vermont provides very low cost loans for home efficiency improvements? Why would we need Lockheed Martin to do this?

If Lockheed were serious about climate change, they would stop hiring their lawyers to defeat climate regulations. We did not make a mistake. The mistake is believing that the fox will guard the hen house. This is all about greenwashing. Why the mayor believes we would benefit from a pact with the devil is anybody's guess but I suppose that he, unlike the top scientists and leaders of the climate movement, is seduced by the idea that we can stop eco disaster with better widgets and more money.

Lockheed is only too happy to invest a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of their enormous profits to make sure we think they are climate heroes. They are not.

Juliet and Liza : Show some respect won't you, for our brave drones flying over Libya. Killer robots are the future, and they can be SOLAR POWERED killer robots if you would just shut up and go along.

Wait, the broken deal with Burlington didn't put Lockheed out of business? I'm very surprised. Back to the streets!

No Lockheed

I'd say we dodged a bullet or a big missile here. Lockheed, Branson and Barclays say they are "hoping to craft a responsible debt instrument" Doesn't Burlington have enough debt?
Does anyone remember the mortgage bubble and its infamous debt instruments? I think I'm glad not to have anymore blunt instruments inserted into the body collective by these
financial rapists.

Ahh, yet again the misguided ideals of VT's left-wing extremist prog populations digs another big shovelful of dirt out of Burlington's future grave.

Sorry kids, but you can't run a town, especially own with such an abundance of social programs, on good vibes & good intentions.

Yup, good overly idealistic people throwing away good money because a company has a role in manufacturing deadly weapons.

And yet, people use items all the time that were originally designed or invented for war. Everyone typing on a computer... microwaving popcorn, etc, etc ,etc.

These are things that companies like LM help provide to this country. They also make bombs... THAT THEY ARE HIRED TO DO. If they didn't, some other company would be.

It's misguided to think that because a company makes weapons and weapons are bad that therefore the company has to be bad. That's the type of thinking is just irresponsible. There really needs to be a critical thinking requirement in school.

Agree JMB and JCarter. Not sure which force is stronger here...general economic ignorance or idealistic fanaticism.

The same nimby whatnot going on now for a while will cost people jobs, get taxes raised and keep the number of knuckleheads lounging about on the Church Street rocks at an all time high (pun intended).

Keep preaching as you drive your Subarus...and make sure not to know or understand how the real world works as the next Burlington Telcom, Airport Parking Garage or even City retirement debacle is happening right before your prog-rimmed eyes.

We definitely dodged a bullet Peggy...not!

"In addition to the Andros Beach Club expenditure, the school’s 2009 IRS form also listed paying more than $55,000 to the Vermont Woodworking School, a business cofounded and run by Burlington College president Jane Sanders’ daughter Carina Driscoll."

Lemme see if I got this right . . .

Bernie, who migrated here from Brooklyn, is now worth millions as a US senator, thanks to his conning Vermonters into placing him into one government job after another since 1980.

His wife Jane O'Meara Sanders made $165,000/year as President of Burlington College.

Bernie's pal Jonathan Leopold got a bunch of Burlington College money by hosting a Burlington College "learning trip" (i.e., vacation) for 14 students and two faculty at the resort his family owns in the Bahamas.

And now we find out that Burlington College is paying $55,000 to a business run by Jane's and Bernie's daughter?

Gee, it seems that the Sanders clan has done very well by Vermont.

As Bernie himself would say, "This is an outrage!"

But a climate change partnership between the City of Burlington and Lockheed Martin (who our other Senator, Pat Leahy, helps to get government contracts) -- whoa, that is simply unacceptable!!!

Give me a frikkin break.

Shall we expect an announcement that none other than Jonathan Leopold has been named the interim president of burlington college, after all he will need a job to repay the 17 million or he will go to jail. EhEhEhEh, says the suffering taxpayer. Jpold cannot run he will be caught, tarred and feathered.


According to Bernie's Income filings he is generally not worth much of anything, at least so he says...

His base Senate salary is $174,000. This of course does not include extremely generous benefits. Assuming for argument’s sake that that’s all he actually earns (call me a skeptic), between him and his wife they’re taking in $340,000 a year. Just in official salaries.

His campaign committee has $1.6 million in the bank.

Just sayin'

I am really enjoying how not a single one of the pro-Lockheed commenters here has addressed the core issue: the only service Lockheed was offering was a simple simon financing service that is already provided by Efficiency Vermont. All the progressive-bashing masturbatory name calling and linguistic rending of garments does nothing to obscure the fact that Lockheed was offering us exactly NOTHING we need in exchange for use of our good name in its marketing. That is a crap deal no matter what your politics are.

"Manufacturing ice cream that will only be eaten voluntarily and will in 100% of cases not be the sole cause of death is EXACTLY the same as a bomb taking out an entire neighborhood of folks who are given exactly zero say in the selection of targets."

So, what you seem to be saying is that even though the US government has a military, which military places orders for weapons, no US company should actually be in the business of making those weapons, because even though it's legal and there are legal orders for them, in your personal view it is immoral to do so?

You need to get a freakin grip. And follow the lead of your Prog leader Kiss. This is the ONE thing he's done in his entire mayorship that made some modicum of sense.

And by the way, you've now said your same piece about Efficiency Vermont three times. We heard it the first time.

So, stop voting for these duds, Sanders and Leahy who are none other than career politicians. And by the way, Lockheed Martin is the company that bid, hehe, and received the contract to run FAA services and I believe that good old Bush boy had a big say in that one, privatization. Same deal he tried to do with social security. So, the moral of the story is that greed knows no party affiliation, rather it is a personal trait that once felt can apparently never be satiated. Poor taxpayers that we are and will remain. Voting them all out and starting anew is the only answer, one lousy rep or senator at a time.

I agree: vote all incumbents out, and impose short term limits, so the bastards don't have time to get rich on the public trough and make themselves permanent and corrupt leeches. Get rid of Leahy (Senator since 1974), Sanders (Congressman and Senator since 1990, and 8 years as Mayor before that), and now Welch (Congressman since 2006, and a permanent fixture in the Vt. legislature before that). Also get rid of the disgusting U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, and U.S. Senate President Harry Reid.

They may have started out with good intentions, but the system, and the $$$, and their own egos have corrupted them all.

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