town meeting day

Vote No on Burlington’s Proposed Redistricting Plan

burlington-redistricting-planBallot Item 5 – Proposed charter change RE: Ward Boundaries, City council, School board, Ward officer, and Voter registration board composition?

The proposed redistricting plan would add an additional ward for a total of 8 wards with 4 larger districts. There would be 2 less city councilors for a a total of 12 city councilors. All city councilors would be voted on in 2015.

I don’t like the idea of less representation on the city council. I would much rather the city just add more city councilor positions. Mayor Miro Weinberger has threatened to veto any addition of city councilors and current city council candidates have argued this fact as a reason to support the current proposal. However, they could simply override his veto if they wanted to. I imagine that the mayor and the current city council members don’t want any additional city councilors for one simple reason. I would dilute their power. The mayor only has one vote, any additional councilors will dilute his vote. Also, more new city councilors run the risk of new people not willing to support the established power’s plans. Plans going forward could be threatened.

Having the 4 larger districts help solidify the incumbent’s ability to keep power as the larger the district the harder it would be a for a challenger to cover the district with signs and go door-to-door.

I can certainly understand why the mayor and existing city councilors would want this proposal, but the voting citizens should see this as a threat to diverse representation on the city council.

Vote No on Gun Control Ballot Items in Burlington

Sign Wave with Loyal Ploof - Ward 4 City Council Candidate

Jeremy Ryan, Roy Collette and Loyal Ploof sign waving for Ploof’s ward 4 city council campaign. Ploof is a Libertarian and gun rights supporter.

Ballot Items 6, 7 and 8 are about gun control and are probably the most controversial ballot items on the ballot. My guess is that like most things that city government tries to do this is just a step¬† towards a complete gun ban in Burlington, which I’m sure some of the supporters of these 3 ballot items desire.

Ballot Item 6 – Proposed charter change RE: Police confiscation/seizure of weapons during domestic abuse incident?

At first glance, this may seem like a good policy. However, it’s fairly vague. What qualifies as a weapon specifically for starters and how do you determine for sure who’s weapons are who’s? Don’t you run the risk of seizing a weapon that the potential victim may need to defend themselves against the attacker?¬† What specifically qualifies as a domestic abuse incident? We are not even specifically proposing to take weapons away from a convicted abuser, but just a suspected one, what qualifies as a suspected abuser?

The current laws provide sufficient tools for police to deal with domestic abuse. If a citizen does harm to someone with ANY weapon, whether its a gun, bat, knife, or fist, they deserve to face consequences and the victim should be taken care of whether its special protection and/or compensation.

However, this charter change seems to be unnecessary and could actually put potential victims at greater risk as a weapon may be the only defense someone may have against an abuser.

Ballot Item 7 – Proposed charter change RE: Ban on firearms in any establishment with a liquor license?

This one is an easy one to vote no against for me. Many bars, such as Manhattan Pizza, like the idea of not allowing firearms in their bars, so why can’t they just do it. A bar owner can set the rules as they see fit for patrons… why ask the government to do their own dirty work. I imagine many don’t want to come off as the “bad guy” and anger existing/potential customers.

This charter change also would encompass a lot of properties in downtown Burlington as it means a ban of guns in all restaurants, bars, and many hotels. Again, I imagine this is only another step towards extending the ban to more areas to eventually cover the entire public area, just like what’s happening with smoking bans.

The funny thing about criminals and abusers is they usually don’t follow the laws, so charter changes like this will not stop them from holding weapons, but will certainly make them feel more confident when committing crimes that their victims will be disarmed.

Ballot Item 8 – Proposed charter change RE: Safe storage of firearms?

Another really easy one to vote no on. This one would require firearms not in our immediate possession to be locked up. What sense does it make to keep a gun locked up if want to have it available during an emergency.

My wife and I called for police help a few years ago and the response time was far too slow, over 2 hours I believe even though we are about 2 miles away from the nearest police department. If one feels comfortable depending on them or something else for protection so be it. However, if other citizens want to be able to defend themselves their own way who are we to stop them from protecting themselves as they want in their own home?

Constitutionality of the Charter Changes?

jesse-pinkman-hitlerEven if all three pass by Burlington voters it may not matter since they would need state approval and it’s been argued that all three are unconstitutional. Other towns have tried passing gun control bans, just to be turned down by Montpelier. However, it’s possible that these might have a better chance as they are not as strict.

Also, lets be honest here. Most of Burlington is quite peaceful. We have very little gun violence that I can think of. Is gun policy really something we need to be worried about? Don’t we have much bigger issues to worry about in Burlington? Perhaps its a distraction from the real issues. The last gun violence incident I know of in Burlington is when the Burlington Police gunned down a resident in our area who was armed with a shovel.