Category Archives: Burlington

The Rootin’est, Tootin’est, Six-Shootin’est Mayor Burlington’s Ever Had

I don’t know exactly what touched it off, but after nine-plus years as Burlington’s mayor, Miro Weinberger has suddenly turned into a gun-totin’ lawman.

His most recent eruption was the Friday afternoon newsdump that tossed Progressive city councilors under the nearest bus. Last Friday, just before the close of business, Weinberger’s office dropped a doozy — announcing that the search for a new police chief would be suspended until the Council agreed to significantly boost the salary on offer.

I’m not passing judgment on the substance of the announcement, but the timing. It couldn’t have been planned any better if the Mayor’s aim was to deliberately insult council progressives. Send the email blast, close the office for the weekend, go home and have a good chuckle over a glass of your favorite merlot.

This is only the latest in a series of pro-police, anti-“defund” moves by the mayor.

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It’s So Hard to Find Good Republicans These Days

Amidst the endless parade of articles bemoaning the plight of poor businessfolk who can’t find enough workers to fill their low-paying, no-bennies jobs, let us take a moment to pour one out for the group that has by far the hardest time finding a few good people: The Vermont Republican Party.

You almost have to feel sorry for the VTGOP. They’re so underfinanced and disorganized, so out of touch and few in number, that their every ticket features a frightening quantity of blank slots. They’ll take almost anybody with a pulse who’s willing to step out in public with an “R” next to their name.

Two cases in point today. First, we have Christopher-Aaron Felker, the surprise entry into Burlington’s special election to fill the seat of former councilor Brian Pine. Second, Gov. Phil Scott’s latest nominee to the Vermont Commission on Women.

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The Stupidest Scandal

The latest twist in the story of Brandon del Pozo’s Twitter trolling has got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in politics. Not the most impactful, not the most scandalous, not the most significant — just the stupidest.

For those just joining us, del Pozo resignedas Burlington’s police chief last December after it was revealed that he used a burner Twitter account to criticize pesky police critic Charles WInkleman. At the time, Mayor Miro Weinberger denied all knowledge of del Pozo’s astoundingly petty tweets.

And now, Seven Days has discovered that, well, actually, Weinberger did know about the account after all.

Sheesh. And if you read the entire article, you’ll realize that this isn’t the first time Weinberger has kicked this particular ball into his own goal. Quite the contrary; he’s had, to put it charitably, a tangential relationship with the truth.

It’s just sooooooo stupid. And it might just end Weinberger’s political career.

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Miro’s Opening Salvo

The Mayor, preparing to launch his attack

One has to assume that Miro Weinberger knew exactly what he was doing when he spent a goodly chunk of his Sunday speech attacking the Progressive Party. I mean, he spent most of his time building a case for his party and his re-election, but he had to know that the attack would dominate the news coverage — and would outrage the Progs.

His address was delivered to the city Democratic Party’s online caucus, which unsurprisingly gave him the party nomination in his bid for a fourth term. In the speech, Weinberger custom-crafted a concept of the Democratic Party writ large, a concept I find unconvincing.

Over and over again, he talked of data, science, and expertise as the foundations of his mayoralty. He recalled the ardent baseball fandom of his youth, which was sharpened by the sabermetric revolution launched by Bill James in the 1980s. It convinced him, he said, that “good analysis and the right experts can have a tremendous impact… and generate life-improving results.” Such as four Red Sox championships, presumably.

So, when he became mayor in 2009, he was “determined to make decisions based on evidence, not conventional wisdom.” He outlined a couple examples of evidence-based policymaking, and then tied it to the city’s response to the coronavirus, for which he claimed “one of the best records of any American city.”

Okay, well, he also governs one of America’s smallest cities in a sparsely populated state largely spared in the first wave, but whatever.

And this led directly into Weinberger’s attack on the Progressive Party.

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This Time, For Sure

By all rights, Miro Weinberger’s bid for re-election as mayor of Burlington ought to be in deep trouble. During his current term, he has overseen the continual failure of the CityPlace redevelopment, embarrassing leadership shuffles in the Police Department, and a summer of protests over cops accused of excessive force.

Not to mention the arrival of ROOOARRR sorry, the arrival of the RRRROOOOARRRR dammit, the F-35’s RRRROOOOOOAAARRRR screaming across the skies RRRRRROOOOOOOAAAARRRRRRR oh c’mon, of the Queen City.

(Yes, that’s a Thomas Pynchon shoutout. Mandatory reading for the mid-70s college intellectual dudebro.)

There’s also the inevitable Incumbent Fatigue that eventually afflicts administrations, both internally and in public perception. (Vermont Governors usually get at least six years in office if they seek it, but rarely more than eight. Miro’s approaching nine right now.)

And did I mention that Miro won re-election with only 48 percent of the vote last time around?

He still won, because two progressive challengers split the remainder.

And wouldn’t you know it, that seems the most likely scenario again this year. It’s certainly Weinberger’s best hope for success.

It’s a dismally familiar scenario for this observer, who’s watched Purity Wars divide progressive parties and movements for something like 50 years. And I’m sorry, but I usually fall on the pragmatic side of this.

After the jump: Storytime!

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