Burlington LP News – May 2005


Burlington LP NEWS


May 2005

Sponsored by
The Burlington Libertarian Party
www.burlingtonlp.org

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. From the Chair
2. Youth Rights in Burlington
3. City Budget Shortfall
4. UVM Police State
5. Burlington Libertarians in Action
6. Libertarian Humor
7. Quote of the Month
8. Letters to the Editor/ Submit an Article

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From the chair…


This is our second newsletter. We will to provide you notice of current issues facing Burlingtonians, views of other Burlington Libertarians, notices of events of interest, and more.

In this issue will be covering current city council discussions, city budget issues and a couple of rights issues in Burlington. I hope you enjoy the newsletter. Please feel free to send me your comments, suggestions and your own letters and articles to be included in future issues.

In Liberty,

Jeremy Ryan, Chair
Burlington Libertarian Party
contact me

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Youth Rights in Burlington
By Heavenly Ryan

The week of April 3rd was a busy week for members of the Vermont chapter of the National Youth Rights Association (NYRA), the executive Youth Rights Executive Director, Alex Koroknay-Palicz, came up from Washington for a two-week campaign.

During the two-week long state tour, with one-week focus in the Burlington area alone, representatives of NYRA met with Mayor Clavelle, and several hundred high school and college students to help promote Youth Rights awareness. With the help of Burlington High School Junior, Jay Leff, NYRA-Vermont was able to schedule a school-wide assembly at Burlington High School on April 6th.

The statewide campaign has not gone unnoticed, as the New York Times has published an article about the drinking age bill, H. 0139, which if passed, would lower the legal drinking age in Vermont to 18. The annual meeting of the Vermont Chapter is set for May 7th, 3PM at Fletcher Free Library’s Fletcher room; the meeting is free and open to the public.

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City Budget Shortfall
By Jeremy Ryan

The City Council and Board of Finance is facing a budget shortfall of over $200,000. The discussion is on what to cut and possible ways to raise more funds. Last March, the Local Option Sales Tax was proposed to solve the problem, but it didn’t pass. I believe the fear was that the sales tax revenue would actually be a tax increase rather than property tax relief and as Burlington residents already feel over-burdened by taxes, they said “NO”.

Therefore, the city must look elsewhere to solve the problem. Mayor Clevelle has suggested looking to some of the non-profits in Burlington to contribute more to the budget, which in an essence means taxing the non-profits for the fair share, as organizations such as UVM and Fletcher Allen Healthcare do in fact consume a lot of city services and non-profits represent over 1/3 of the property of Burlington, which is un-taxed. It sounds like a good idea to me to share some of the burden. At the last Board of Finance meeting several budget cuts were proposed among the various city departments of Burlington and representatives from earch department gave a statement on the cuts.

Proposed cuts include:


  • Cease taking credit cards for tax payments ($20,000 savings)
  • Stop using and outside vendor for city payroll ($10,000 savings)
  • Reduce Human Resources training and do not approve the conversion of 1/2 time Risk Management position in HR. ($22,000 savings)
  • Stop doing Winter fest ($7,500 net savings)
  • (2) additional vacant Police Officer positions ($75,250 savings)
  • Do not fund Gosse Court support costs ($31,000 savings)
  • Other Parks & Rec, including office supplies, contract services, parks bus, extra maintenance worker, Little Leagues ($95,900 savings)
  • Not approve one extra Ambulance to purchased to allow for an unused backup ($25,000/year savings)
  • Cut one staff position at Fletcher Free Library ($12,800 savings)

The discussion is on which should be cut and which should stay. My thoughts while hearing all the discussion and testimony was that how do we really know what each department really needs to perform the services they provide. I understand that the city must have trust in the people doing these duties, but as the saying goes, “Trust, but verify”. In business, managers must be sure that they are not being ripped off. From time to time, departments need and should be audited and analyzed for efficiencies. This protects everyone. I don’t want to see a department having the funds cut if they are doing a really great job with the resources provided nor do I want to see a poorly performing department be rewarded with a higher budget for under-performance. I just don’t see how the the board truely knows who to cut from and for who to leave alone.

Regarding efficiencies, when the board was discussing the extra Ambulance, it striked me as being a bit wastefull to buy a whole new ambulance a total of $150,000 just so we can have an extra, unused unit. Councilor Bushor argued that we should be able to use UVM services or maybe even South Burlington on a contract basis should the need arrive in the next year, should one of the units break down, but her ideas were instantly rejected by the rest of the board. Regarding bringing the payroll services in-house to save money. How can this be so. Many companies outsource they payroll to save money. How can the city be expected to do this cheaper than a professional payroll management company? If they are not doing a good job, maybe the city should shop around for another vendor. It seems odd that the city would want to bring one service in-house and then outsource another, which is being proposed to save money with the parks bus.

To conclude, it seems to me that the best idea for the future would be outside audits of each department to figure out how to increase efficiencies within each department and then allow for cuts to be made without punishing a well-performing department or cutting services that Burlington citizens require.

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UVM Police State
By Heavenly Ryan

Just a few days prior to the annual UVM 420 event, President Fogel sends a letter to the entire student body, stating that any event for April 20th is against UVM’s new policies for any students to peacefully assemble anywhere on campus, especially on the Redstone Green.

Above, is a picture taken of the main entrance to the Redstone Green, where you can clearly see several security guards at the gate, as they were carding everyone that entered the campus, while asking them what their business was there. Just out of curiosity, Jeremy and I drove around to other entrances surrounding the Green, to which had been blocked off by UVM police cars and even more security.

Fellow Libertarian Hardy Machia found a way into the Redstone Campus from another entrance, but not without being questioned first. According to Burlington Free Press, “The so-called 4/20 event — observed at 4:20 p.m. April 20 to honor the police code for marijuana possession — had been a UVM tradition since the mid-1990s, when it began as a protest of marijuana laws.”

UVM student and Vermont Cynic writer Ian Nagel states, “… the administration has no right to take it upon themselves to unfairly paint the image of what this year’s event stands for, as well as threatening students’ basic rights in the process. There needs to be some consistency, reason and justice involved if you are going to try to ‘smoke out’ such a protest when its main goal is only to voice the protection of civil liberties and standing together.”

This year, WCAX and the Free Press were in attendance (you can somewhat see the Ch.3 gray and blue van in the distance), to which they both reported for the world to hear: “There was no one smoking marijuana in attendance.”

For next year’s 420, UVM’s Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) hopes to spin the event into a free-speech event. For more details, feel free to contact SSDP at: http://www.uvm.edu/ssdp/

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Burlington Libertarians in Action… (upcoming events)


  • May 7, 2005, 9:30-10:30AM
    First Green Up Day in New North End!
    Heavenly and Jeremy Ryan have been helping to organize Green Up Day in the New North End of Burlington (Wards 4 & 7). Volunteers of all ages are encouraged to meet at Ethan Allen Park (1006 North Avenue) to help organize groups to pick up litter in Ethan Allen Park, Leddy Park, and hopefully with a large amount of volunteers, possibly along North Avenue, and the Bikepath.

  • May 7, 2005, 1-4pm
    National Youth Rights Association – Vermont chapter meeting
    Annual meeting at the Fletcher Free Library. We will be holding election of officers and discussing future events and projects and anything else members wish to discuss, time permitting.

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Libertarian Humor…

Q. How many Libertarians does it take to change a light bulb?

A. None, the market will take care of it.

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Quote of the Month…

“It’s not like the drug laws are keeping the stuff out of the country. We can’t even keep it out of prisions.
How do we think we’re keeping it out of the country?”
John Stossel (Independent Institute – 2004)

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Letters to the editor/ submit an article

For information or to submit news, letters, or articles, contact us .

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Burlington LP News is a publication of the Burlington Libertarian Party, 53 Avenue C, Burlington, VT 05401. All Rights Reserved. Copyright (C) 2005.

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