Letter Regarding Fluoride

I recently received an email from Joanna Cole, a neighbor of mine here in Ward 7 of Burlington. We met her at our ward 4 and 7 NPA meeting. For those who don’t know this, Burlington has regular NPA meetings NPA stands for Neighborhood Planning Assembly. These are meetings where citizens and elected officials get together to discuss different issues usually related to their specific wards and sometimes larger city issues. They are great way to interact with your neighbors and talk to your officials in far more inviting environment than the city council meetings as you can often have direct contact with your elected officials rather than just speaking to them from the podium and not getting a response. I certainly recommend anyone interested in being more involved in city and neighborhood issues to come to a meeting. You can go to cedoburlington.org to find our where you local npa meets, the dates and times. We will post the link at our web site at ethanallenradio.com.

OK, back to Joanna’s letter. She told me her thoughts on the fluoridation of our drinking water. Joanna told me she believed that fluoride in the water helped keep her kids from having cavities and she went on to explain why she believes that Fluoride is safe for people to drink and she states that she considers water fluoridation a miracle public health measure.

I don’t know if she was clear on my position, so I responded with the following…

I understand what you are saying, but for me it’s not an issue of whether it’s good or not. It’s about the right to choose. I’m pro-choice. I think that the city should provide safe water to drink and let the individual decide what they want to put in it.

Personally, I’m not sure if fluoridating water does anything one way or the other. I grew up drinking fluoridated water all the time and I still have cavities… the problem with me is that I didn’t brush and floss. Therefore, it would seem that only way to prevent tooth decay is to brush and floss.

July 11, 2005 – City Council Meeting

7PM, Contois Auditorium, Burlington City Hall- Burlington City Council Meeting


** Councilors missing: McDonough, Shannon
*Mayor Clavelle out of town, Carleton as stand in mayor, Montroll nominates Knodell stand in president of council

Local Control Commission:
2.01 – Communication from Damon Brink, Co-owner, Nectar’s, Re: Complaint regarding renewal of liquor license (amended by Curley)

2.05 -Curley Motions to have a response sent to Mr. Brink
Curley:
Mr. Brink did not bring his complaint before the License committee before sending a letting to LCC, and denies his involvement with Club Metronome even though he now owns the establishment
Montoll: City should address communication and not place it on file
Carleton: have a copy of the letter placed on file & respond to Mr. Brink
Blais: It’s not a right to do business in Burlington, it’s a privledge; tired of hearing businesses whine like 2 year olds

7. Special Outside Consumption permit (one day only):
135 Pearl, 135 Pearl Street, Saturday, July 9, 2005, re: Vermont Pride Celebration

Curley:
“they’ve been doing it for years without a permit”
Permit approved proactively by full council

Council General City Affairs:


  • Keogh: Glad the legislature is finally wrapped up
  • Perry: 4th of July celebration was a great success

Committee reports:


  • Perry (Parks, Arts, & Culture committee): Moran plant – a committee has been appointed by the Parks, Arts, & Culture committee, the new committee is meeting on Wednesday
  • Blais (Public Safety committee): attended the opening of the new Emergency room at Fletcher Allen on Saturday; almost wants to be injured to try it out
  • Carleton: Changes and timelines for priorities for City Council 2006 almost verbatim of what Kelleher submitted to Carleton; There will be a workshop on housing with Brian Pine before next council meeting

Public Forum:


  • Steve Arthur: Re: 17.5 Resolution: requesting Board of Health to study city-wide Dental Health relative to Household income & insurance coverage (Ashe, Fiermonte, Knodell)

    • How do we get lower income to go to the dentist? they already know these answers at the State Dept. of Health; fluoridation helps everyone

  • Loyal Ploof: Fuoridation is the medicating without consent; as like many other Old North End residents, he cannot afford bottled water to avoid the fluoridation
  • Sean: Before making a decision on fluoridation, be sure to listen to public opinion, as a majority of residents do not want fluoridation
  • Maryann (James Ave): potholes a problem; Dept. of Public Works told her would not be fixed for 2 years; she told DPW representative she would contact city hall, and the rep. responded, “If you enjoy complaining, then complain all you want.” (Blais leaves, following resident)
  • James (VT Workers Center): Specialty Filaments, company walking away from worker’s, giving only 2 weeks severance pay; they’ve filed a court injunction so the company will not be able to move machinery until they give the proper pay to workers; the company received tax abatements and other bonuses from the city, the company’s land is worth $2.2 Million

6.01 – Communication: Andy Montroll, Chair, Ordinance Committee, Re: Consideration of Time of Sale Inspection Ordinance


  • Montroll: If there hasn’t been an inspection in recent years, then they can schedule one; director of Code Enforcement Office, Gregory McKnight, disapproves of the resolution, as they currently plan rental inspections every 1-1 1/2 years
  • Ashe: Inspections allows office of code enforcement to get more done
  • Fiermonte: Resolution allows safe housing
  • Bushor: Resolution should also state that the property should have been inspected within last 18 months
  • McNeil: If the resolution passes, the code enforcement office would be working for realtors

Commission reports


  • Board of Assessors – (none in attendance); postponed until next council meeting
  • Church Street Marketplace Commission

    • Bushor: Re: Universal trespassing – is it for a certain period of time?
      The time is up to the police and or owner of the shop; stores have agreed to the contract for one year at a time

  • Library Commission – would like to come before the council in a month regarding their feasibility study
  • Retirement board – struggling with long term sustainability of plan
    (no questions/comments from councilors)

Burlington Bay Update / Stormwater in Burlington
presented by Dr. Mary Watzin, Steve Goodkind, and Steve Roy (assistant)


  • Salt levels of the lake in the winter months are the equivalent to seawater, salt is also a contaminant, but unsure of how it affects the ecosystem
  • Toxicity had some moderate effect of inhibition of reproduction in ecosystem; incidences of toxic blooms have declined in Burlington Bay (’99-’04)

    • George: Did you test during the time of the sewer break of it’s affect on the lake?
      No, the study was not functioning at that time of year

  • Stormwater presentation was a joint effort with other surrounding communities
  • EPA Phase II Stormwater rule for Municipal seperator stormwater sewer systems (MS4)
  • City Submitted a 5 year plan to meet the minimum EPA standards, which included a 6 minimum control measures:

    1. Public involvement (Kids stenciling signs above drains)
    2. Illicit discharge and elimination
    3. Construction site’s runoff control
    4. Post construction stormwater control
    5. Pollution and housekeeping of city property (ie salt shed on Pine st. and street sweeping in the spring)

  • Review the alternatives to the College St storm drain (empties near the Boathouse underwater)
  • Improving Inglesby Brook (Behind Champlain Elementary), construction started last week, completion in October

    • What kind of stormwater program does Burlington Want ?
      Currently basing their model after South Burlington’s, which generates $70,000 annually
    • Bushor: What about how to utilize money to prevent more problems from happening?
      We will need a more definitive plan in order to answer that question

Resolution 14.02: Request for stormwater impact report (Carleton, Montroll, Blais) -passed


Winooski River sewer break working timeline:
(best case scenario)


  • designing until Aug. 10th; permitting process from Aug. 15th to mid. Sept.; Construction from End of Sept. til Nov. 20th; nothing overdue on the timeline as of yet
  • Bushor: Person from Public forum expressed concern regarding working with City of Colchester (Goodkind dismisses it at first) Bushor requests clerk give a copy of letter to Steve

Resolution 14.05: Resolution for Winooski River Storm/Sewer Siphon Line Crossing (Carleton) -passed

Burlington Currency Project
presented by Cara Tassig, Executive Director, and Amy Kershner (Americorp VISTA)


  • Operates with staff paid in Burlington currency, working on getting 501c4 status, expanded their Board of Directors to include stakeholders, also working on getting ebanking with currency
  • Currency increases competitive advantage among businesses, promotes community loyalty, provides grants and loans for economic development, some visitors to the city buy the currency and frane them as souvenirs
  • Currency needs to be accepted by the city and other larger companies to prosper, otherwise they’re toast; about 65% of the businesses they polled said they would acceptd it if the City would also accept it

    • Knodell: City should take time to see if they could help residents; start a committee to learn how the system works & come up w/ ways to use the currency
    • (After presentation Kelleher introduces himself to Ms. Tassig)

17.5 Resolution: requesting the Board of Health to study city-wide Dental Health relative to household income and insurance coverage (Ashe, Fiermonte, Knodell)


  • Ashe: Need more info to decide on this issue

  • Keogh: Does the Board of Health have the capability to perform what the resolution is requesting?
    Chair of BoH: Not at this time, needs to consult with Katherine

  • George: inconsistency with the Board of Health’s decision about medicating residents

  • Carleton: Supports the resolution and the researching, but cautions use of city’s funds

  • Ashe: What is the Board of Health currently working on?
    Chair of BoH: Currently pesticides

  • Fiermonte: Board of Health should be dealing with this issue, not the council

Communication from City Atty McNeil re: Pending litigation
Council moves to executive session

June 13, 2005 – City Council Meeting

7PM, Contois Auditorium, Burlington City Hall- Burlington City Council Meeting


** Councilor missing: Perry (2nd week in a row)

Council General City Affairs:


  • Fiermonte: Attended the rally of workers at Specialty Filaments last weekend, it was a result of ‘poor trade policy’; Bernie Sanders is working to fix the policy
  • Keogh: Man from 4 years ago proposed a smoking ban for Burlington, and back then even Mark Lawson approved of the measure

Mayor General City Affairs:


  • Jazzfest a successful memorial to Big Joe; thanks City Arts for their work
  • Saturday, June 18th 10AM a dedication at ECHO for veterans of Navy from the American Revolution
  • Mayor’s conference in Chicago; had a budget cutting portion in the conference; Clavelle proposed a greenhouse gas action plan, which was unanimously supported
  • Substance abuse: the Chittenden County Substance Abuse coalition brings the community together to deal with the issue; there will be 2 upcoming meetings: 28th 8:30-11AM, and 30th from 5:30-8:30PM; expects a resolution will come from the meetings
  • City Atty McNeil represented Burlington at the Baltimore/Burlington exchange: program between parks and recreation departments that have children from each community visit the other; Burlington hasn’t been involved in the program for several years, so McNeil was surprised to receive an invitation to the event.

Committee reports:


  • Charter change (Knodell): Meeting on 22nd from 10AM-Noon about Instant runoff, voter education campaign, and ballots for March’s mayoral race
  • Ordinance (Montroll): Meeting on 14th at 7PM about zoning rewrite, city employee union ordinance, and comments about the ordinance by City Atty McNeil

Community Safety Task Force Resolution (Blais, Keogh, & Wright)


  • Blais: (Forgot motion to approve of resolution) Community Justice center and other agencies out there become more organized because of this resolution to start a community safety task force
  • McDonough: Women’s coalition removed from the task force listing? Yes

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors (Fire Dept, Public works dept- inspection srvcs division)


  • Montroll: Council asked the ordinance committee to make a resolution for the item; convinced state’s new law doesn’t cover it completely; motions to refer it back to ordinance committee, expected back in a few weeks
  • Bushor: Doesn’t have Gene Bergman’s letter about the proposed ordinance; single family residences should also be included with the ordinance as well
  • McDonough: CO detectors not in Code enforcement, and should be included

Public Forum:


  • Reappointment of Norman Williams to the Planning Commission

    • Robert Daniels (S. Prospect st): conflict of interest between candidates for planning commission; council should make their choice off of issues and how they are handled
    • Barbara McGrane (St. Paul st): downtown resident; conflict of interest
    • Solva Gordon (Walnut st): he reads all the ordinances before making a decision
    • Also speaking on this issue: David Resniak, Cathy Donn, Faith Baker, Mark Stevenson

  • Greenbelt ordinance

    • Donna Vister (Peru st): of 120 only 5 in her neighborhood are up to the proposed ordinance’s standards; people should be educated citizens; recently received a letter from CEDO encouraging the greenbelt gardening
    • Genivive Jacobs (representing Barbara from Scrumptious): Barbara would not be able to place her planter flower boxes on the sidewalk in front of her cafe because of the proposed ordinance
    • Also speaking on this issue: Jules (Wd 5 Steering Committee member), Jim Flint (Friends of Burlington Gardens)

Fiscal Year 2006 Budget presentation by Clavelle & Kelleher


  • Clavelle: Thanks Board of Finance, department heads, and Assessor Vickery for their hard work in budget; (Kelleher looks impatient to speak); seniors on fixed incomes don’t have anything to worry about (income under $40k); encourages revisiting local option sales tax possibly by appealing to the legislature
  • Blais: Thanks the board of Finance for mentioning fixed income residents; any idea on Northgate’s value? Unsure
  • Montroll: Commercial dispute update? Broadly speaking, the appeals process brought the values down including some commercial apartments
  • Knodell: (as Legacy Project steering committee chair): Staffing decrease in the legacy project steering committee, currently they are mostly funded by donations, would like the city’s support and ongoing support Clavelle agrees to support in range of $20-40k
  • Keogh: How will the budget affect average taxpayers?
  • George: Will the city educate the public about possible tax rate increase? possibly place info up on the website?

Commission reports


  • Airport Commission report placed on a subsequent agenda
  • Conservation board: busy with development review currently

    • Bushor: Should hear how the board uses money from the city on open space areas, and not just from the chair; what about the storm/waste water process? Person putting in posts on their land does affect the runoff, and they hope to correct that

  • Parks and Recreation Commission:

    • Barbara Nolte: Greenbelt ordinance stance isn’t what the public thinks (from the public forum comments); Gosse facility has no plans yet, just repairing it at the moment
    • Blais: How much would parks and recreation lose if they honored the Green Mountain park passes? Also sorry about the cuts to the parks and recreation budget Neither Barbara or Wayne Gross do not know

  • Public Works Commission: (will update the website soon and meeting schedule as well)


    • Bushor: thanks the board for changing the report format, it’s much more informative than last years
    • Blais: follow-up on the Winooski river leak? Will be permanently repairing the break this summer & will be borrowing from the state to fix the break
    • Resolutions from Board of Health for borrowing authority:


      • Water resources, wastewater & traffic divisions of Dept. of public works and the Burlington International Airport and the Burlington Electric dept.

Communication from City Atty McNeil re: Pending litigation
Council moves to executive session, requests any members from development review board and parks and recreation staff stay for session

June 6, 2005 – City Council Meeting

7PM, Contois Auditorium, Burlington City Hall- Burlington City Council Meeting


**Councilors late to meeting: McDonough (10 minutes late), and Shannon (14 minutes late)
Councilors missing: Keogh, Perry, Fiermonte

Local Control Commission (LCC)

-The following permits were approved:
Outside consumption permit for Cobblestone Deli
Special Outside consumption permit (one day only) for Splash at the Boathouse

Annual mtg. City Council

**No one spoke at the public forum

Council General City Affairs:


  • Bushor: Colchester Ave Ad hoc committee meeting held it’s 3rd meeting on 5/26; resulting in similar recommendation as previous meeting; referring the recommendation to the Council’s transportation committee
  • Blais: Ben Franklin store on North Ave is closing doors soon, greatly affecting the New North End
  • Ashe: Friday, 2PM Barnes Elementary on North St – Healthy Neighborhood and Kids program event

Mayor General City Affairs:


  • St. Joseph’s held a meeting yesterday for the new Vermont Interfaith organization: main topics they’re addresssing: Affordable housing, health care, youth; had 900 in attendance
  • Next monday’s council meeting (6/13): Council set to vote on budget and tax rates as well
  • Reappraisal update: residentials are going weel, 106 cases are moving to the Board of Assessor’s for appeals; so far there have been 590 commercial appeals
  • Recently visited Russian sister city with City Atty. McNeil (both paid for costs out of own pocket)

Committee reports:


  • Knodell: Charter change committee meeting on Wednesday discussing the IRV process for mayoral elections for upcoming town meeting day in 2006
  • Montroll: Ordinance met twice last week; 1st to discuss zoning rewrite with planning commission and 2nd was an informal meeting on zoning specifics; holding another meeting on Friday at 11:30AM with city atty.; public meeting on Tuesday, 7pm
  • Carleton: Priority setting committee: main topics voted on: zoning, fiscal planning, housing, with public safety barely coming in last

Board / Committee Reports:


  • Airport Commission

    • (No one from the Commission in attendance to present report to council)
    • Bushor: Has questions, regardless of the report that was provided to council
    • Ashe: since the council is appointing members to the committees, so the members should be able to present to council
    • Report tabled until the next meeting

  • Electric Light Commission

    • Possible rate increases expected for next year due to higher oil prices; they were set to ask for a 7.6% budget increase , but luckily one of their accounts paid earlier than expected; next year’s may need a rate adjustment due to costs
    • McDonough: unsure why the commission did not see the rate increase coming? and would a gradual rate increase be used for the increase?
      Market for oil is hard to predict, likens the process to a poker game; The gradual increase for rates is what the commission is planning
    • Montroll: any way to cut down the use of electricity more? The marketplace itself is creating more efficiencies

  • Fire Commission

    • For the lesser response time to emergencies, the cost is higher, but it saves lives

  • Board of Health

    • Currently working on a pesticide ordinance to protect people
    • Also will be holding meetings and debates in the next few weeks about fluoridation, and then the board will make a suggestion to the council
    • Bushor: Is the raccoon/rabies still on the radar? Not at the moment, usually comes back in 3 year cycles

  • Police Commission

    • The Budget for training officers is currently at $40,000
    • $1.1 Million received from Homeland security for new equipment
    • There have been no operational issues in the last 18 months that have resulted in lawsuits
    • No significant violent crime in Burlington, but if there is a case, then they keep working until case is solved
    • Curley: the dept. has 100 officers, but the SRO isn’t fully staffed?
      Dept. currently only has 10 full-time positions, so they are understaffed as it is (suggested additional officers in FY06 budget)

**Appointments by Council and mayor for Commissions and boards


  • Tax appeals vacant positions: council may approach former councilors to help fill the vacancies
  • Housing board of review, and Planning commission vacancies being readvertised

Meeting adjourned 8:20PM

Burlington LP News – June 2005

Burlington LP NEWS

 

June 2005

Sponsored by
The Burlington Libertarian Party
www.burlingtonlp.org

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. From the Chair
2. Preservation and Conformity Triumph Over Affordable Housing
3. Forced Medication in Burlington
4. Legislators and the Drinking Age Bill
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 third 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 the affordable housing problem in Burlington, Fluoridation of city water and the drinking age bill. 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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Affordable HousingPreservation and Conformity Triumph Over Affordable Housing.
By Jeremy Ryan

If you ask anyone in Burlington what they believe are the biggest problems in Burlington, affordable housing will most likely be at the top of the list. Recently, through public input three major barriers have emerged as causing this problem. These barriers to affordable housing are:

 

  • Allowable density does not reflect actual capacity to build.
  • Zoning and ordinances are intrusive and unpredictable.
  • Increasing property tax burdens.

 

A good start to correcting the problem would be enacting a local “anti-snob” ordinance similar to the Massachusetts law (Chapter 40B). In 1969, the Legislature adopted “anti-snob” legislation to make it easier to develop affordable housing throughout the state, especially in communities with little low- and moderate-income housing. This law allows the State to override local zoning restrictions in such communities if needed to allow for the development of low- and moderate-income housing. Burlington to enact similar zoning. Actually, Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) is already considering it by investigating it further. CEDO understands that the city’s current housing policies need to change.

It’s quite obvious that excessive zoning and ordinances inflate the pricing of housing in the city. I’ve lived in communities where zoning and ordinances were very minimal and I was able to get housing for $235/month (utilities included). In the same building, rooms went for $190 month. These were completely private units, no government subsidies.

The city’s current policy of increasing housing standards and code enforcement just makes the costs of housing go up and up. While these policies are targeted at landlords, they only hurt our most vulnerable citizen’s with increasing rental costs associated with keeping up with city regulations.

At a recent planning commission meeting, it was stated that Vermont’s use of zoning is to “preserve our communities” and to ensure “conformity”. This suggests that “truely” affordable housing is not a goal and they intend to use zoning to work against affordable housing. This allows the community to send poorer residents out of their neighborhoods and into one location, such as Northgate in Ward 4, where they can be subsidized by section 8. When a politician says they are for affordable housing but are for increasing “preservation” and “conformity” zoning in their neighborhoods, they are saying that “yes, I believe we should have affordable housing in the city… just not in my backyard… put “them” somewhere else.”

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Fluoridation of waterForced Medication in Burlington
By Jeremy Ryan

An increasing number of individuals are not happy with public water fluoridation. The opposition believes it is very unsafe and should be stopped. The American Dental Association believes it should be forced upon the entire population despite possible harm to people drinking large amounts of tap water or people who get large amounts of fluoride in many other products they consume in their daily lives such as cereals, juices, soda, tea, beer, processed chicken, seafood, etc. I believe it’s extremely difficult for the city to ensure a proper fluoride dosage, as each individual has a different diet. People ask “why does the ADA support it if it’s dangerous?” It’s Simple. They would be admitting they were wrong all these years, losing credibility, and facing possible lawsuits, similar to the FDA and Vioxx.

The “experts” from the pro fluoride side are disrespectful towards citizens when they make comments such as “the lay person doesn’t know better to make good decisions about proper health and sometimes personal liberties need to be given up for their own good… we do it all the time, as with the city’s recent smoking bans.” This is insulting and they don’t give the people enough credit. It’s wrong to take away “personal liberties” for “our own good”. The city often acts as our parents and they are not. They are employed by us to serve us, not to parent us. In conclusion, the city needs to stop the forced medication of fluoride and let the individual decide.

The Burlington Citizens Coalition is taking a stand on the issue and is educating the public on why the public should at least have the right to choose. Michael Connett of FluorideAlert.org has joined the effort of the Burlington Citizens Coalition and has offered to give presentations to NPA groups and public forums.

For more information on the fluoride debate:

Pro Fluoride: http://www.ada.org
Opposition: http://www.fluoridealert.org
Burlington Citizens Coalition: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BurlingtonCitizensCoalition/

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Drinking Age Bill Legislators and the Drinking Age Bill
By Jeremy Ryan

At the last NYRA-Vermont executive board meeting we discussed some of the letters our organization has received from legislators regarding the drinking age bill we are lobbying for.

Interestingly, a good portion, including Governor Jim Douglas, do actually support lowering the drinking age to 18 in theory, but are not willing to part with the $9.8 million bribe in federal highway funds. The only condition is that we must violate the rights of our youth by not allowing them to consume alcohol and punish adults that wish to introduce alcohol to their children in the safety of their homes or restaurant setting.

We have argued that this loss is only 1/4 of 1% of Vermont’s entire budget, which is a small cost to end age discrimination of citizens that have reached the age of majority, which means they can enter contracts, vote, drive, own businesses, but just can have a little beer. We also support removing penalties on parents, so they can teach their teens responsible and moderate drinking behavior in restaurants, pubs, and in their homes, like in Europe. The government has stated that 18 is the age majority… this means they are adults with every right an adult is supposed to have. To say they cannot have a beer just seems hypocritical. Besides, the money most likely would not be an issue as we could easily make up the funds by the increased revenue from alcohol taxes.

Another argument we’ve heard lately are studies show alcohol hurts brain development in youth. These studies being quoted are based on children binge drinking. Not occasional drinking with a meal or social drinking. The FDA has stated that people 12 and up can consume adult dosages of most drugs/medications. This would suggest that anyone 12 and older is capable of handling alcohol at correct dosages, whether you are 18 or 25 or 75 years old. Just check the instructions of a bottle of aspirin or Pepsid and see for yourself.

Disclosure: Jeremy Ryan serves at Treasurer and Webmaster for NYRA-Vermont.

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Burlington Libertarians in Action… (upcoming events)

 

  • June 13th 2005, 7PM
    Burlington City Council Meeting
    Will be held at City Hall’s Contois Auditorium.

 

  • June 14th 2005, 7PM
    Q & A with EPA with Dr. William Hirzy, EPA
    Will be held at Burlington College.

 

 

  • June 15th 2005, 6:30PM
    Burlington Board of Health Public debate on Fluoridation of water
    Will be held at City Hall’s Contois Auditorium

 

 

  • June 22nd 2005, 7PM
    Panel dicussion regarding the Death Penalty in Vermont
    Will be held at City Hall’s Contois Auditorium

 

 

  • June 23rd 2005, 6:30PM
    Burlington Board of Health Public forum on Fluoridation of water
    City Hall’s Contois Auditorium

 

 

  • June 27th 2005, 7PM
    Burlington City Council Meeting
    Will be held at City Hall’s Contois Auditorium

 

 

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Libertarian Humor…

Real ID Bill

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Quote of the Month…

“Few of us seem to want to keep government out of our personal affairs and responsibilities. Many of us seem to favor various types of government guaranteed and compulsory “security.” We say that we want personal freedom, but we demand government housing, government price controls, government-guaranteed jobs and wages. We boast that we are responsible persons, but we vote for candidates who promise us special privileges, government pensions, government subsidies, and government electricity.”
– Dean Russell

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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.

Preservation and Conformity Triumph Over Affordable Housing.

If you ask anyone in Burlington what they believe are the biggest problems in Burlington, affordable housing will most likely be at the top of the list. Recently, through public input three major barriers have emerged as causing this problem. These barriers to affordable housing are:


  • Allowable density does not reflect actual capacity to build.
  • Zoning and ordinances are intrusive and unpredictable.
  • Increasing property tax burdens.

A good start to correcting the problem would be enacting a local “anti-snob” ordinance similar to the Massachusetts law (Chapter 40B). In 1969, the Legislature adopted “anti-snob” legislation to make it easier to develop affordable housing throughout the state, especially in communities with little low- and moderate-income housing. This law allows the State to override local zoning restrictions in such communities if needed to allow for the development of low- and moderate-income housing. Burlington to enact similar zoning. Actually, Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) is already considering it by investigating it further. CEDO understands that the city’s current housing policies need to change.

It’s quite obvious that excessive zoning and ordinances inflate the pricing of housing in the city. I’ve lived in communities where zoning and ordinances were very minimal and I was able to get housing for $235/month (utilities included). In the same building, rooms went for $190 month. These were completely private units, no government subsidies.

The city’s current policy of increasing housing standards and code enforcement just makes the costs of housing go up and up. While these policies are targeted at landlords, they only hurt our most vulnerable citizen’s with increasing rental costs associated with keeping up with city regulations.

At a recent planning commission meeting, it was stated that Vermont’s use of zoning is to “preserve our communities” and to ensure “conformity”. This suggests that “truely” affordable housing is not a goal and they intend to use zoning to work against affordable housing. This allows the community to send poorer residents out of their neighborhoods and into one location, such as Northgate in Ward 4, where they can be subsidized by section 8. When a politician says they are for affordable housing but are for increasing “preservation” and “conformity” zoning in their neighborhoods, they are saying that “yes, I believe we should have affordable housing in the city… just not in my backyard… put “them” somewhere else.”

Forced Medication in Burlington

An increasing number of individuals are not happy with public water fluoridation. The opposition believes it is very unsafe and should be stopped. The American Dental Association believes it should be forced upon the entire population despite possible harm to people drinking large amounts of tap water or people who get large amounts of fluoride in many other products they consume in their daily lives such as cereals, juices, soda, tea, beer, processed chicken, seafood, etc. I believe it’s extremely difficult for the city to ensure a proper fluoride dosage, as each individual has a different diet. People ask “why does the ADA support it if it’s dangerous?” It’s Simple. They would be admitting they were wrong all these years, losing credibility, and facing possible lawsuits, similar to the FDA and Vioxx.

The “experts” from the pro fluoride side are disrespectful towards citizens when they make comments such as “the lay person doesn’t know better to make good decisions about proper health and sometimes personal liberties need to be given up for their own good… we do it all the time, as with the city’s recent smoking bans.” This is insulting and they don’t give the people enough credit. It’s wrong to take away “personal liberties” for “our own good”. The city often acts as our parents and they are not. They are employed by us to serve us, not to parent us. In conclusion, the city needs to stop the forced medication of fluoride and let the individual decide.

The Burlington Citizens Coalition is taking a stand on the issue and is educating the public on why the public should at least have the right to choose. Michael Connett of FluorideAlert.org has joined the effort of the Burlington Citizens Coalition and has offered to give presentations to NPA groups and public forums.

For more information on the fluoride debate:

Pro Fluoride: http://www.ada.org
Opposition: http://www.fluoridealert.org
Burlington Citizens Coalition: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BurlingtonCitizensCoalition/

May 28, 2005 – Burlington Citizens Coalition Meeting

May 28th 2005, 2PM, Fletcher Free Library’s Fletcher Room
Burlington Citizens Coalition meeting

First organizational meeting of regular citizens making a grassroots organization to taking stands on issues that have largely been ignored by the majority of our elected City Officials. Currently working to end water fluoridation in Burlington.



11 people in attendance

Fluoridation:


  • The Green party stance is undecided, as most members are against fluoridation, but there are some issues involved as well
  • 57% of the state currently has water fluoridation in place
  • The amount that is currently being spent on fluoridation in Burlington is $30,000 per year
  • A person named Annette has applied to the Board of Health, but did not show up at the open house on the 23rd; City Council to make their appointments at the June 6th meeting
  • How should we get the word out to others about the issue?

    • Kevin Ryan: “by continuing the use of fluoride, children are being hurt”
    • Michael Connett: “an involuntary risk forced upon the citizens of Burlington”
    • Heavenly Ryan: Speaking at city council public forums about it, submitting Letters to the Editor of papers, having media presence at debates and public forums
    • Jay Vos: Bennington Board of Health is also working on fluoridation of water

  • Upcoming events:

    • May 31st 7PM, Fletcher Free Library Community Room – Film, “The Fluoride Deception”
    • June 11th 7PM, 28 Howard – Art Exhibit, “Cultural Landscape of Fluoride”
    • June 14th 7PM, Burlington College – Q & A with Dr. William Hirzy of the EPA
    • June 15th 6:30PM, City Hall’s Contois Auditorium – Open Public Debate

May 23, 2005 – City Council Meeting

7:30PM, Contois Auditorium, Burlington City Hall- Burlington City Council Meeting


**Mayor Clavelle & City Atty. McNeil away on trip to Sister City; Carleton appointed stand in Mayor, and Montroll elected council president for meeting

Local Control Commission (LCC)

-The following permits were approved:
Outside consumption permit for Elk’s Club (925 N. Ave) Curley/Blais
Outside consumption permit for Taste of Burlington (112 Lake St) Curley/Perry
Application for festival permit for VT Brewer’s Festival, July 15-16 Waterfront Park

Adjourned mtg. City Council

**No General City Affairs from Councilors or Mayor

Committee reports


  • Blais: Attending Police commission meetings lately, seeing they’re having trouble with budget
  • Knodell: Meeting on June 8th 2-4PM about Instant Runoff Voting for mayor for March 2006 elections
  • Perry: Parks, Arts, and culture had a press conference with Mayor Clavelle on 5/19 for postcards about Moran plant ideas
  • Bushor: Human resource has been working on the policy for the past few years, and they believe it will be completed soon; it reflects the work of the committees, meeting 5/25 at 7pm
  • Montroll: ordinance met last week about the Carbon monoxide detector ordinance, which will be ready at the next meeting, it’s slightly different from the state’s as it defines the ordinance better

Public Forum
(includes candidates for commissions and boards)


  • Boards/commissions with no one in attendance: Airport, CCTA, Church St. Marketplace, Design Advisory Board, Fence Viewer, Fire Commission, Board of Health, Police Commission, Retirement board, Tax appeals, Voter registration
  • Cemetery commission: Rita Church- seeking reappointment to the commission, Burl. resident for 43 years
  • Chittenden Cty. metropolitan planning organization: (Councilor Montroll also applied) Roger Marshall- new resident of Burlington, from Springfield; was previously on planning committee; not familiar with the council’s stands on transportation, but is willing to research and implement their position
  • Conservation board: Andrew Savage- lives on S. Untion in Ward 3, has previous conservation work experience, currently also helps Peter Welch
  • Development Review Board- Michael (Also applying for planning commission) working currently to make North St better, nervous in talking to council
  • Electric Commission- Jon Harris: Worked for Energy conseration board and favors a progressive rate structure
  • Housing review Board- Antonio: (new resident from Maine & also applying to police commission) was on them previously in Maine, and would like to continue service to community
  • Library commission-

    • Dawn (also applied for planning commission) works at opportunities credit union
    • Glen (seeking reappointment) has greatly helped the current commission by rewriting the bylaws, focused on fundraising, helped raise twice the usual amount

  • Parks & Recreation commission- Jim Haloway: ‘enthusiastic’ about the developing in the New North End Parks, and is willing to help however he can, (but there didn’t seem to be enthusiastic in his tone)
  • Planning commission- Lila Shapiro: supports taking a long term view of the city, is also an attorney, and would be helpful to have on the the commission with the zoning rewrite, currently is on the Community development block grant review board
  • Public works: Donald Degar (Ferguson Ave) 20 years experience in constructions and archetecture; familiar with permit process
  • Appointments by Council to be made at the June 6th Meeting

General public forum


  • Melinda Moulton (redeveloper of Main st Landing): not here about reappraisal; expecting resonable readjustment; Burlington currently has the highest (triple) net fees statewide, which is based on income & tax on Commercial properties, 17% on gross; What is the council doing to keep businesses downtown? Make sure the property owners are being treated fairly, the whole thing hits the commercial property owners hard and contributes to Burlington’s flat market economy; commercial property tax should be fair & applicable
  • Richard Hardy (101 Manhattan Dr): appraisal outrageous, the community land trust making the taxes increase, while the rest of community gets lower taxes; as the reappraisal stands, he would not be able to afford the tax payments as he’s on a fixed income
  • Daniel Canay (Manhattan Dr & Oak): property went up $90,000, but neighbors went up only 20-30,000, so the reappraisal is not fair
  • Nancy Wood (Director of Burl. Business Assoc.): Commercial property owners concerned; of 700 properties, 200 went up twice or three times, and of 335 went up 2.5%, pleased with city’s review
  • Mike Shay (60 Austin Dr) if he sold the property, the new owners would have to raise the rent of the apartments by $400 just to break even on property, tenants can barely afford the $800 monthly rent as it is, and this isn’t just for him, it’s for other apartment complexes across the city
  • Dick Bove: due to urban renewal, he can say he was born in the Wyndam’s parking lot; feel that the city should throw out the current appraisal and start over with a local firm of appraisers that would work with city and residents; seems the whole thing shows a great lack of communication between city hall and citizens
  • ** Councilors George, Blais, and Keogh leave meeting for 10 minutes to speak with the general public forum participants

Design Advisory Board (DAB) Commission report
(Chair presenting)



  • The DAB’s role is to review projects and advise the Development review board (DRB)on the site and technical points of view; the DAB does try to work together with the DRB


  • Bushor: A number of areas in Burlington are interested in having their own advisory board for their section of the community, would it be supported and is it possible?
    Yes, (the chair) would support the community board


  • Blais: does anyone form the DAB attend the DRB meetings? Yes, try to have a member of DAB at each DRB meeting


  • Perry: Having chain sotres change their layout plans to work with the community they’re entering? Yes, they try to implement this with stores wanting to come to the area

Development Review Board (DRB) Commission report
(Chair presenting)


  • Austin, chair of DRB, gives a summary of the past year’s projects; a problem existed with getting notices out about the applications to the board, but it has been cleared up, the DRB will help build Burlington’s future
  • Shannon: Any stand on exterior upgrades or parking? Also is the DAB & DRB working together? The DAB and DRB have been working together, but there’s still work to do between them; they mostly make decisions based off what “sounds right” to them.
  • Bushor: any subcommittees for the DRB? No, not at the moment

Housing Board of Review Commission report – no one from the board present

Planning Commission report
(Chair presenting)


  • Currently searching for a new director of the planning commission, hopefully one will be found soon, as there are 2 candidates for the position

FY06 Budget Hearing


  • CAO Kelleher refers to the mayor’s letter to delay the budget until the June 13th (until reappraisals completed)
  • Wright: if the math was wrong, how large of an effect would it have?
    Not possible, as it’s divided by class for commercial; the CLT still has the data
  • Keogh: What are CLT’s contract specifications with the City?
    No exact completion date, CLT is working as consultants with Board of tax appeals, and there may be extra costs for consulting work

Church St. Marketplace allocation method and standards for common area fees (FY 06)


  • Ron Redmond – it’s what the commission has been doing in the past
  • Passed by council

** Healthcare-acquired infections resolution withdrawn by Wright

HRP Steering Committee, regarding HRP Entertainment Noise Pilot Program


  • In/outdoor entertainment permit renewals (with no change) – Curley/Perry

In/Outdoor entertainment permit renewal for VT Pub & Brewery


  • Would like to specify the hours (until 1AM), and has been working with the HRP for policy

Umbrella Entertainment permit application for Discover Jazz Festival June 2-12


  • Includes Akes’ Place (indoor), American Flatbread (indoor), NECI commons (indoor), and Leunig’s Bistro (outdoor)

Adjournment @ 9:45PM