YCQM Feb. 25, 2018

BURLINGTON, Vt. >> AND GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.
I'M DARREN PERRON.
RIGHT NOW ON "YOU CAN QUOTE ME,"
HE HOPES TO UNSEAT REPUBLICAN
GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT.
MEET THE DEMOCRAT RUNNING FOR
THE STATE'S TOP SEAT JAMES
EHLERS.
A SIT-DOWN INTERVIEW WITH HOUSE
SPEAKER MITZI JOHNSON TALKING
PROPERTY TAXES AND GUN CONTROL.
PLUS, A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE
BURLINGTON P.D.
AND THAT'S WHERE WE BEGIN THIS
MORNING.
THE ACLU WANTS BODY CAMERA
FOOTAGE THAT THE POLICE
DEPARTMENT IS WITHHOLDING.
IT ALL STEMS FROM AN INCIDENT
LAST SUMMER.
REID DOYLE WAS WALKING HIS DOG
IN THE OLD NORTH END WHEN HE
SPOTTED WHAT HE DESCRIBES AS A
DISPROPORTIONATE POLICE RESPONSE
TO A PLAYGROUND FIGHT AT
ROOSEVELT PARK BETWEEN CHILDREN.
HE SAYS AN OFFICER ESCALATED THE
SITUATION AND PUSHED A CHILD,
WHO HAD HIS HANDS UP.
SO DOYLE SET OFF ON A MISSION TO
SEE THE BODY CAMERA FOOTAGE, BUT
HE SAYS NO ONE INITIALLY PAID
ANY ATTENTION TO HIS COMPLAINT.
MONTHS LATER ON APPEAL THE
BURLINGTON POLICE CHIEF SAID
DOYLE COULD SEE THE FOOTAGE, BUT
IT WOULD HAVE TO BE HEAVILY
REDACTED.
AND IT WOULD COST HIM HUNDREDS
OF DOLLARS, SETTING THE STAGE
FOR A SHOWDOWN BETWEEN THE QUEEN
CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE
ACLU OF VERMONT, WHO AGREED TO
REPRESENT DOYLE.
BUT SHOULD ALL VIDEO BE PUBLIC?
THE CHIEF SAYS IT'S COMPLICATED.
AND HE'S ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT
THE PRIVACY RIGHTS OF JUVENILES. 2
HERE IS THE FULL CONVERSATION
WITH THE CHIEF AND JAY DIAZ FROM
THE ACLU.
>> THANK YOU BOTH FOR BEING
HERE.
>> MY PLEASURE.
>> THANK YOU.
>> CHIEF, WHY ARE YOU PLAYING
HARD BALL WITH THIS FOOTAGE?
IF YOU ARE CONFIDENT IN THE WORK
OF YOUR OFFICERS, WHY NOT JUST
HAND IT OVER?
>> WELL, YOU'D SEE THAT THERE
WAS AN INCIDENT NOT TOO LONG AGO
WHERE AN OFFICER WAS ACCUSED OF
SEXUAL ASSAULT IN THE CUMBERLAND
FARMS PARKING LOT BY A WOMAN.
I WAS CERTAIN THAT THE OFFICER
WAS INNOCENT OF ALL CHARGES AND
THAT EVEN THE ALLEGATIONS WERE A
LITTLE BIT MALICIOUS.
EVEN THEN WHEN I WANTED TO GET
THAT FOOTAGE OUT THERE RIGHT
AWAY, IMMEDIATELY, AS SOON AS IT
COULD GET OUT THERE, I HAD TO
SPEND HOURS AND HOURS REDACTING
THE IDENTITIES OF EVERYBODY
EXCEPT THE POLICE OFFICER AND
THE SUSPECT.
BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT VERMONT LAW
REQUIRES.
I MEAN, WE TAKE A PLAIN ENGLISH
READING OF THE LAW AND PROTECT
THE IDENTITY OF NOT ONLY
JUVENILES, BUT ALSO VICTIMS AND
WITNESSES.
THAT TAKES TIME AND WE DO IT.
THAT WAS THE CASE THAT APPLIED
HERE AS WELL.
>> MR. DIAZ ISN'T THAT A
REASONABLE OBJECTION?
>> THIS CASE IS ABOUT POLICE
ACCOUNTABILITY, WE'RE WORKING ON
BEHALF OF MR. DOYLE, WE
REQUESTED THESE RECORDS AND
LOOKING TO GET POLICE
ACCOUNTABILITY.
THERE WAS A SITUATION THAT WAS
VERY CONCERNING THAT WE HEARD
ABOUT FROM A COUPLE OF SOURCES, 3
INCLUDING MR. DOYLE OF WHAT
LOOKED LIKE POLICE MISCONDUCT.
AND IN THIS CASE WE'RE NOT
ALLOWED TO LOOK AT IT.
ALL MR. DOYLE WANTED TO DO WAS
TAKE A LOOK AT THESE RECORDS,
HE'S NOT ASKING FOR A COPY.
HE'S NOT ASKING TO DISTRIBUTE IT
ELSEWHERE, TO GIVE IT TO ANYBODY
ELSE.
HE WANTS TO SEE IT TO CONFIRM
WHAT HE SAW, SO THAT HE CAN MAKE
A JUDGMENT ABOUT WHAT TO DO
NEXT.
BECAUSE FRANKLY HE DID NOT SEE
ACCOUNTABILITY HAPPENING BASED
ON HIS COMPLAINTS ABOUT WHAT HE
SAW.
>> SO DISTINCTION THERE.
HE'S JUST ASKING TO SEE IT.
CHIEF, HOW WILL THE PUBLIC KNOW
IF YOUR OFFICERS ACTED
APPROPRIATELY AND DIDN'T MAN
HANDLE THESE KIDS IF MR. DOYLE
CAN'T SEE THE FOOTAGE?
>> WELL, THERE'S ONE PARTICULAR
PART OF VERMONT LAW THAT TALKS
ABOUT THE INSPECTION OF A
RECORD.
IT'S IN OUR OPINION AN
ANTIQUATED PART OF THE LAW THAT
WANTS TO LOOK INTO A FILE
FOLDER.
YOU CANNOT PRODUCE A VERSION OF
A BODY CAMERA RECORD WITHOUT
HAVING TO MAKE A COPY OF IT
THAT'S REDACTED.
IN FACT, ACLU'S BEST PRACTICES
FOR BODY CAMERA RECORDS SAYS YOU
MUST HAVE TWO COPIES WHEN YOU
PRESENT IT.
THIS IS THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS.
ONE, IT IS THE ORIGINAL

UNAUTHORRED VERSION AND THE
ANOTHER ONE THAT'S THE REDACTED
VERSION THAT PROTECTS THE
PRIVACY OF THE VICTIMS AND
WITNESSES.
NO SUCH THING AS INSPECTING THE
ORIGINAL RECORD. 4
WE HAVE TO PRODUCE THIS COPY,
ACLU'S MODEL BODY CAMERA POLICY
RECOMMENDS EXACTLY WHAT WE DO
THIS IN CASE.
AND VERMONT LAW SEEMS TO BE
CLEAR THAT WHEN IT BECOMES LABOR
INTENSIVE AND WE DO THE FIRST
HALF HOUR FOR FREE, THAT YOU
CHARGE A CERTAIN AMOUNT
SPECIFIED BY LAW FOR COPYING IT.
AND I'LL SAY THAT AMOUNT IS
STILL LESS THAN WE ACTUALLY
SPEND IN HUMAN CAPITAL TO
PRODUCE IT.
>> IF WE WERE TO SEE THIS VIDEO,
WHAT WOULD IT SHOW?
WHAT HAPPENED?
>> THAT MIGHT BE THE SUBJECT OF
NOT ONLY PERSONAL RECORDS, BUT
LITIGATION.
THERE'S DEFINITELY CONDUCT IN
THE PARK THAT KIDS ARE FIGHTING
VERBALLY, A LITTLE BIT OF
CURSING AND SHOVING OVER
PROPERTY AND MONEY.
SOME OF THE KIDS' CONDUCT
ACTUALLY IS SOMETHING THAT I
WOULDN'T WANT TO HAVE OUT THERE
FOR EVERYBODY TO INSPECT.
THEY WERE YOUNG KIDS, THEY WERE
INVOLVED IN A SITUATION.
YOU KNOW, I'M SURE THAT THEY'RE
GOING TO LOOK BACK HOPEFULLY AND
SAY IT WAS AN OVERREACTION AND
THEN THERE IS A CONCERN ABOUT
HOW THE POLICE RESPONDED TO
THAT.
THAT'S A VALID CONCERN.
YOU KNOW, AND I THINK WHAT WE'RE
SEEING HERE IS VERMONT HAS VERY
HIGH STANDARDS OF GOVERNMENT
ACCOUNTABILITY AND POLICE
ACCOUNTABILITY, WHICH I APPLAUD
AND SUPPORT AND HOPE TO BE
PROPONENT OF.
BUT ALSO A VERY HIGH STANDARDS
OF PRIVACY AS WELL.
AND THIS IS A DIRECT CONFLICT
BETWEEN THOSE TWO, THAT WE NEED
TO RESOLVE. 5
>> I MEAN, THERE'S ACTUALLY NO
CONFLICT HERE.
THE CONFLICT BETWEEN
TRANSPARENCY AND PRIVACY IS NOT
PRESENT IN THIS CASE, IN
PARTICULAR.
THAT'S BECAUSE MR. DOYLE
WITNESSED THESE EVENTS.
HE'S SEEKING TO INSPECT RECORDS,
NOT TO GET A COPY, BUT JUST TO
LOOK AT THEM AND TO LOOK AT
THINGS THAT HE ACTUALLY
WITNESSED.
THERE IS NO PRIVACY INTEREST,
BECAUSE THE ONLY INFORMATION
HE'S SEEKING IS TO LOOK AT A
VIDEO OF AN EVENT THAT HE
ALREADY SAW.
HE'S NOT SEEKING RECORDS THAT
DISCLOSES PEOPLE'S NAMES OR ANY
OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THEM.
OR WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM.
HE'S NOT ASKING FOR THOSE KINDS
OF RECORDS.
HE'S ASKING TO SEE A VIDEO OF AN
EVENT THAT HE WITNESSED.
ALSO I WOULD SAY THAT, YOU KNOW,
IT'S THE CHIEF THINKS THE PUBLIC
RECORDS ACT IS ANTIQUATED IN THE
SENSE THAT IT PROVIDES FOR FREE
AND OPEN EXAMINATION OF PUBLIC
RECORDS, THEN HE SHOULD GO TO
THE LEGISLATURE AND SEEK
CHANGES, BECAUSE RIGHT NOW THE
LAW SAYS VERY CLEARLY THAT WHILE
COPIES CAN BE CHARGED FOR,
INSPECTION CANNOT.
AND THE COURT IN THIS STATE,
UNDER JUDGE CRAWFORD HAS MADE
THAT EXCEEDINGLY CLEAR.
>> CHIEF, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY
THAT PEOPLE THAT ARGUE THAT YOUR
DEPARTMENT IS CHERRY-PICKING?
WE SOMETIMES GET VIDEO, BUT IN
THIS CASE WE'RE NOT.
WHAT IS THE POLICY?
>> I'M A FAN OF GIVING OUT VIDEO
NEARLY ALL THE TIME.
IN FACT, I THINK THAT IF I HAD
PLY DRUTHERS ADOPT A POLICY 6
BRINGING THE ACLU BACK TO THE
SEAT HERE, SAYING THAT I'M
GIVING AWAY TOO MUCH.
IN CASES OF OFFICER-INVOLVED
SHOOTINGS, USES OF FORCE, I'VE
BEEN COUNSELED BY PROSECUTORS
AND ATTORNEYS TO SAY DON'T GIVE
OUT THE STUFF YOU WANT TO GIVE
OUT.
HERE IF THE LAW WERE DIFFERENT
AND NOT SO ABUNDANTLY CLEAR, I
WOULD HAVE BEEN HAPPY TO GIVE IT
OUT AS WELL.
BUT VERMONT IN MY OPINION HAS
CLEAR EXPECTATIONS OF PRIVACY
THAT REQUIRE REDACTION.
THEY'RE VERY, VERY LABOR
INTENSIVE AND THE LAW IS CLEAR
WE CAN CHARGE FOR THE LABOR TO
PROTECT THE TAXPAYERS' INTERESTS
WHEN WE ENCOUNTER PUBLIC
INTEREST REQUESTS.
>> IS THE POSITION OF THE ACLU
VERMONT DIFFERENT THAN THE
NATIONAL ORGANIZATION, BECAUSE
THERE IS SORT OF SOME GUIDELINES
ON THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION'S
WEBSITE THAT SAYS THAT VIDEO
SHOULD NOT ALWAYS BE RELEASED TO
THE PUBLIC?
>> NO.
WE FULLY AGREE WITH THAT.
THERE ARE PLENTY OF
CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE VIDEO SHOULD
NOT BE RELEASED.
WE ALSO, YOU KNOW, BUT WE SEE
THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES AS A NARROW
SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES.
FOR INSTANCE, WHEN A WITNESS OR
A VICTIM IS FILMED GIVING THEIR
ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENT OR
THERE'S A POTENTIAL THAT A
WITNESS WANTED TO REMAIN
ANONYMOUS OR THE WITNESS OR
VICTIM COULD BE -- THERE COULD
BE RETRIBUTION AGAINST THAT
PERSON IF THEY WERE TO -- THEIR
VIDEO WOULD BE RELEASED.
WE'VE ACTUALLY SAID THAT
OFFICERS SHOULD NOT HAVE THEIR 7
BODY CAMERAS ON IN THOSE
INSTANCES.
BUT WHERE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
OFFICER ACCOUNTABILITY,
GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL
ACCOUNTABILITY, THERE IS A TIME
AND PLACE WHERE THE INTEREST OF
THE PUBLIC, IN HOLDING OFFICERS
ACCOUNTABLE, IS ABOVE THOSE
OTHER INTERESTS.
>> WHAT IS YOUR LARGER END GOAL
HERE?
>> WELL, I THINK, YOU KNOW, WE
WANT TO MAKE CLEAR THAT BODY
CAMERA FOOTAGE IS A PUBLIC
RECORD IN VERMONT.
WE BELIEVE IT IS.
ACCORDING TO WHAT THE CHIEF
SAID, I'M NOT SURE HE THINKS
IT'S THE SAME.
BUT BODY CAMERA FOOTAGE IS THE
SAME AS ANY OTHER PUBLIC RECORD.
THERE IS NO DISTINCTION IN THE
PUBLIC RECORDS ACT, NOR SHOULD
THERE BE.
>> CHIEF, MANY WOULD ARGUE THAT
YOU ARE A PROGRESSIVE POLICE
CHIEF.
ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT YOU ARE
IN CONSTANT BATTLES WITH THE
ACLU AND WHY DO YOU THINK THIS
SORT OF CONTENTIOUS RELATIONSHIP
EXISTS WITH YOUR DEPARTMENT AND
THE VERMONT ACLU?
>> I THINK THE ACLU IS AN
IMPORTANT WATCHDOG FOR CIVIL
LIBERTIES.
ONE OF THOSE IS PRIVACY.
I ALSO THINK VERMONT SUPREME
COURT IS UNEQUIVOCAL IN THE
FINDINGS.
AS NON-ATTORNEY, THAT THE
REDUCTION SERVICES THAT -- THE
ACT OF REDUCTION IS SOMETHING
THAT MUNICIPALITY CAN RECOUP
EXPENSES FOR.
AND WHEN EVEN INSPECTION, FOR
EXAMPLE, REQUIRES REDACTION THAT
WE CAN CHARGE FOR THAT SERVICE,
BECAUSE IT'S VERY LABOR 8
INTENSIVE.
AGAIN THE FIRST HALF HOUR IS
FREE.
I HAVE TO SAY, TOO, LISTEN, WE
RECEIVED IN COMMUNICATIONS FROM
ACLU THE RECOMMENDATIONS ABOUT
WHICH REDACTION SOFTWARE TO USE
AND REDACTING THINGS.
THERE COMES A POINT WHEN AN
AFFORDABLE REDACTION SOFTWARE
THAT ALLOWS US TO TRACK A FACE
AND AUTOMATICALLY REDACT IT, THE
PRICE TO ALL OF THIS WILL GO
DOWN.
IT'S NOT GOING TO BECOME
ONEROUS.
THE NO OR LOW-COST BODY CAM
FOOTAGE FROM THE BURLINGTON
POLICE DEPARTMENT.
SO I BELIEVE IN TRANSPARENCY.
I THINK THIS IS THE
INTERSECTION, MAYBE JUST A
DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN MR. DIAZ
AND I.
BUT BETWEEN VERMONT'S PRIVACY
LAWS AND VERMONT'S OPEN RECORDS
LAWS.
I BELIEVE THAT BODY CAMERA
FOOTAGE IS A PUBLIC DOCUMENT.
AND I THINK WE SPEND A LOT OF
TIME LOOKING OVER THE
IMPLICATIONS OF THAT.
THERE ARE PRIVACY IMPLICATIONS
AND REDACTION IMPLICATIONS AND
FEE IMPLICATIONS.
AND I THINK AS THIS TECHNOLOGY
DEVELOPS, NUMBER ONE, COSTS WILL
GO DOWN.
NUMBER TWO, AS A MATTER OF LAW,
WE'LL HAVE TO ADDRESS AND
RECONCILE THE TENSIONS THAT
EXIST IN VERMONT'S
SENSIBILITIES.
>> JUST A QUICK THING.
FIRST, I'D LIKE TO SAY THAT, YOU
KNOW, WHEN IT COMES TO
INSPECTION OF PUBLIC RECORDS,
THERE'S A LONGSTANDING INTEREST
IN VERMONT UNDER OUR
CONSTITUTION AND UNDER OUR 9
PUBLIC RECORDS ACT THAT THESE
THINGS BE FREE AND OPEN TO
EXAMINATION, BECAUSE VERMONT
BELIEVES THAT PEOPLE SHOULD NOT
HAVE TO PAY, SHOULD NOT HAVE TO
HAVE CERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEY
JUST TO GO LOOK AT THE RECORDS
THAT BELONG TO THE PEOPLE.
THAT IS A BEDROCK, A FUNDAMENTAL
PRINCIPLE, OPEN ACCESS TO
GOVERNMENT.
THE OTHER THING I WOULD SAY IS
THAT WHILE BECAUSE THERE'S BEEN
RIGHTS VIOLATIONS THAT WE
BELIEVE HAVE HAPPENED IN THE
CITY, THE CHIEF IS PROGRESSIVE
ON A NUMBER OF ISSUES AND WE
ALSO WORK TOGETHER ON OTHER
ISSUES.
>> IMIMMIGRATION.
>> SUCH AS IMMIGRATION.
THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.
WE SUPPORT A LOT OF WORK THAT IS
GOING ON IN BURLINGTON.
HOWEVER, WE ALSO RECEIVE A
NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS FROM THE
LARGEST CITY ON THESE PARTICULAR
ISSUES.
AND FEEL THE NEED TO ADDRESS
THEM.
>> THANK YOU BOTH FOR YOUR TIME.
>> THANK YOU.
>> Darren: STILL AHEAD, WE'LL
TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES FACING
VERMONT WITH DEMOCRATIC
CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR JAMES
EHLERS.
NEXT ONE ON ONE WITH MITZI
JOHNSON.
HER TAKE ON GUN CONTROL AND HOW
TO GET TAXES UNDER CONTROL IN
VERMONT.
>> Darren: A SEISMIC SHIFT IN
VERMONT POLITICS.
GUN CONTROL IS ON THE TABLE.
THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR AND
DEMOCRATICALLY CONTROLLED HOUSE
AND SENATE ARE ALL NOW PUSHING
FOR NEW GUN LAWS.
THE GUN SAFETY DISCUSSION IN 10
VERMONT HAS SHIFTED WITH
REMARKABLE SPEED IN THE PAST
WEEK, FOLLOWING THE FOILED
SHOOTING PLOT AT FAIR HAVEN
UNION HIGH SCHOOL.
IN A MAJOR REVERSAL, GOVERNOR
PHIL SCOTT SAYS HE'S READY TO
MOVE QUICKLY ON MEASURES TO
PROTECT THE STUDENTS WHO HAVE
BEEN URGING VERMONT LEADERS TO
ACT.
THIS MORNING POLITICAL REPORTER
NEAL GOSWAMI TALKS TO THE HOUSE
SPEAKER ABOUT THAT AND ANOTHER
HOT-BUTTON ISSUE PROPERTY TAXES.
>> GOOD MORNING, MADAM SPEAKER.
>> GOOD MORNING, NEIL.
>> Reporter: THIS HAS BEEN A
PRETTY MAJOR WEEK IN MONTPELIER
WITH A RAPID SHIFT IN THE DEBATE
OVER GUNS.
>> YES.
>> Reporter: THE GOVERNOR PUT
SOME IDEAS ON THE TABLE THIS
WEEK.
YOU AND OTHER LEGISLATIVE
LEADERS HAVE COME OUT AND PUT
SOME IDEAS ON THE TABLE.
WE FINALLY SEE SOME ACTION IN
VERMONT ON SCHOOL SAFETY AND GUN
SAFETY?
>> YES, I BELIEVE WE WILL.
WE'VE HAD ALL KINDS OF
CONVERSATIONS IN THIS COUNTRY
NIBBLING AROUND THE EDGES FOR A
LONG TIME.
BUT GIVEN THAT WE HAD A VERY
CREDIBLE THREAT AND A NEAR-MISS
IN FAIR HAVEN JUST A DAY AFTER
AN AWFUL TRAGEDY IN FLORIDA,
REALLY WOKE PEOPLE UP.
AND I THINK THE THING THAT IS
REALLY SHIFTING THIS DEBATE, IN
A DRAMATIC WAY, ARE HIGH SCHOOL
STUDENTS.
WE KNOW THE STUDENTS IN FLORIDA
THAT ARE ARTICULATE AND
PASSIONATE AND REALLY HOLDING
THE COUNTRY ACCOUNTABLE.
AND WE HAVE VERMONT STUDENTS 11
THAT ARE DOING THE SAME THING.
AND IT IS -- IT IS EXCITING TO
SEE THEM SO EMPOWERED AND JUST
DEMANDING ACCOUNTABILITY OF ALL
OF US HERE IN MONTPELIER.
>> Reporter: IS IT THAT THE
SCHOOL CHILDREN THAT WILL
ULTIMATELY MAKE SURE SOMETHING
HAPPENS IN YOUR VIEW?
>> I FEEL LIKE IT IS.
>> Reporter: OKAY.
THIS DEBATE WAS SORT OF SPARKED
BY TRAGEDY.
MEANWHILE, YOUR HOUSE WAYS AND
MEANS COMMITTEE AND OTHER
COMMITTEES ACROSS THE BOARD HAVE
BEEN WORKING ON SOME PRETTY
IMPORTANT TOPICS.
IN WAYS AND MEANS THEY'RE
LOOKING AT ED FINANCING AND
PROPERTY TAXES ARE EVERY YEAR AN
ISSUE HERE IN THE STATEHOUSE.
WHAT IS THIS PROPOSAL THAT DEALS
WITH PROPERTY TAXES AND INCOME
TAXES THAT YOUR FOLKS ARE
LOOKING AT?
>> SO I THINK YOU SAID IT
BEAUTIFULLY THAT EVERY YEAR
THERE'S A BIG DEBATE HERE ABOUT
IT.
I KNOW MY CONSTITUENTS HAVE BEEN
CALLING OUT FOR A LONG TIME FOR
PROPERTY TAX REFORM AND LOWERED
PROPERTY TAXES.
AND THE PROBLEMS THAT WE'RE
SEEING IN THE CURRENT SYSTEM ARE
THAT WE HAVE -- WE ARE HEAVILY
RELIABLE ON THE PROPERTY TAX,
MORE SO THAN ABOUT ANY OTHER
STATE, PROBABLY 70%, CLOSE TO
70% OF OUR EDUCATION FUNDING
COMES FROM PROPERTY TAX SOURCES.
WE HAVE A VERY COMPLEX SYSTEM,
SO THAT PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND
IT.
AND WHEN PEOPLE CAN'T CONNECT
HOW THEIR DECISIONS ABOUT
INVESTMENT IN THEIR SCHOOLS,
IMPACT THEIR TAXES, THEY DON'T
MAKE DECISIONS IN AN INFORMED 12
WAY.
AND SO WE'RE TRYING TO INCREASE
THE SIMPLICITY, THE TRANSPARENCY
AND CREATE A SYSTEM THAT IS FAIR
TO STUDENTS AND TAXPAYERS.
>> Reporter: AND THIS PROPOSAL
THAT'S ON THE TABLE WOULD LOWER
THE BASE PROPERTY TAX RIGHT BY
NEARLY 50%?
>> YES.
>> Reporter: AND THEN INCOME
OVER $47,000 A YEAR WOULD SEE A
1% TO 2% INCOME TAX TO SORT OF
HELP COVER THE COST OF FUNDING
EDUCATION.
DOES THIS CREATE WINNERS AND
LOSERS?
>> ANY TIME YOU CHANGE ANY SORT
OF TAXATION SYSTEM, THERE ARE
PEOPLE THAT MAY PAY A LITTLE
MORE, MAY PAY A LITTLE LESS.
WE DON'T HAVE A LARGE LUMP OF
MONEY TO DUMP INTO THE EDUCATION
FUND, YOU KNOW, TO MITIGATE ALL
OF THE EFFECTS.
SO RIGHT NOW THE WAYS AND MEANS
COMMITTEE IS WORKING ON A
PROPOSAL THAT RAISES ROUGHLY THE
SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT WE
CURRENTLY SPEND IN OUR PRE-K TO
12 SCHOOLS.
BUT REALLY THE STRUCTURE OF THE
PROPOSAL DRASTICALLY SLOWS
GROWTH RATES OVER TIME.
AND IN THE ANALYSIS OF IT, WHAT
WE FOUND IS THAT IN OUR CURRENT
SYSTEM WE ARE FINDING THAT THERE
ARE LOW-SPENDING TOWNS THAT ARE
REALLY SUBSIDIZES THE HIGHER
SPENDING TOWNS.
WHEN ACT 60 WAS PASSED, THE GOAL
OF ACT 60 WAS TO HELP HELP SOME
OF THE LOWER-SPENDING TOWNS TO
HELP INCREASE THE EDUCATIONAL
OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED AND LEVEL
OUT WHAT WE SPEND ON EDUCATION
FROM DISTRICT TO DISTRICT.
AND IT DID THAT.
FOR A WHILE.
BUT WE HAVE BEEN SEEING THAT 13
DISPARITY GROW AGAIN.
AND I THINK AGAIN WHEN ACT 60,
20 YEARS AGO, WE DIDN'T HAVE THE
LEVEL OF DATA AND COMPUTING AND
ANALYSIS THAT WE CAN DO TODAY.
SO WE ARE -- WE ARE SO CAREFULLY
ANALYZING ALL OF THIS DATA TO
REALLY UNDERSTAND WHO PAYS MORE
AND WHO PAYS LESS IN THIS
SYSTEM.
AND A LOT OF THOSE LINES WILL BE
DRAWN ALONG WHETHER YOU ARE A
LOW-SPENDING TOWN OR
HIGH-SPENDING TOWN.
BUT SORT OF NEXT QUESTION WE'RE
LOOKING AT IS IN THOSE
LOW-SPENDING TOWNS, ARE THOSE
ALSO LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES?
IN SOME CASES YES.
BUT I DON'T KNOW ABOUT ALL
CASES.
WE WANT TO MAKE SURE
LOWER-INCOME PEOPLE AREN'T
SUBSIDIZING HIGHER-INCOME
PEOPLE.
>> Reporter: INCOME SENSITIVITY.
THEY GET A BREAK ON THEIR
PROPERTY TAXES BASED ON THEIR
INCOME.
THAT WOULD BE ELIMINATED IN THE
PROPOSAL ON THE TABLE NOW.
ARE YOU CONFIDENT THAT
LOW-INCOME VERMONTERS WILL BE
PROTECTED IN THIS NEW PLAN?
>> YES.
SO WE ARE -- THERE ARE TWO PARTS
OF INCOME SENSITIVITY.
ONE IS THE STRUCTURE THAT WE'RE
ALL FAMILIAR WITH FOR FOLKS THAT
MAKE UP TO 110-ISH THOUSAND
DOLLARS.
THAT'S KIND OF A LONG LOW TAIL
THERE.
THAT BROAD INCOME SENSITIVITY
PROGRAM AND ALL OF THE HOUSEHOLD
INCOME FORMS THAT YOU HAVE TO
FILE WOULD GO AWAY.
INSTEAD WE WOULD TAKE A PART OF
THE PROPERTY TAX AWAY AND
REPLACE WITH A STRAIGHT INCOME 14
TAX.
IT BECOMES A LOT MORE CLEAR.
IN ADDITION, WE HAVE A PROGRAM
THAT PRE-DATED ACT 60.
IT'S BEEN IN VERMONT FOR A WHILE
THAT PROTECTS PEOPLE UP TO
$47,000.
THAT WOULD STILL STAY IN PLACE.
AND SO WE WOULD STILL -- WE
WOULD STILL WORK TO PROTECT THE
FOLKS THAT ARE UNDER THAT.
BUT BECAUSE THIS IS A PURE
INCOME TAX AND A PURE PROPERTY
TAX, NOT OUR CURRENT SYSTEM THAT
IS AN INCOME TAX, BUT FLOWS
THROUGH THE PROPERTY TAX, AGAIN
COMPLICATED.
REALLY TRYING TO SIMPLIFY HERE.
>> Reporter: RIGHT.
>> YOU KNOW, IT WILL ALSO -- IT
WOULD DEPEND LARGELY ON ONE TWO
THINGS.
ONE, PEOPLE IN HIGHER SPENDING
TOWNS AND IT WILL DEPEND ON
THEIR HOME VALUE AS WELL.
>> Reporter: OKAY.
NOW THE GOVERNOR HAS BEEN
SOMEWHAT CRITICAL OF THIS PLAN.
THERE WAS A PUBLIC HEARING THIS
WEEK, WHERE SOME SCHOOL BOARD
MEMBERS WERE ASKING FOR THIS
PROCESS TO SLOW DOWN.
>> YES.
>> Reporter: YOUR WAYS AND MEANS
COMMITTEE HAS TO DECIDE IN THE
COMING WEEK WHETHER THEY'RE
MOVING FORWARD.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN?
>> SO WE ARE STILL -- WE ARE
STILL WORKING TOWARDS MOVING
FORWARD.
WE HEARD THE -- YOU KNOW, THE
RESPONSE FROM SCHOOL BOARD
MEMBERS AND OTHERS AT THAT
PUBLIC HEARING.
AND I BELIEVE THEY HAVE MADE
THAT TENTATIVE DECISION TO DELAY
IMPLEMENTATION A YEAR.
THIS IS THE PURPOSE OF PUBLIC
HEARINGS, TO GET PEOPLE'S INPUT 15
AND TO ADJUST LEGISLATION
ACCORDINGLY.
SO WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT RIGHT
NOW WOULD NOT BE IMPLEMENTED
THIS YEAR, BUT WOULD BE
IMPLEMENTED A YEAR OUT.
>> Reporter: AND YOU BELIEVE THE
VOTES ARE THERE TO MOVE THIS
THROUGH THE HOUSE?
>> WE ARE STILL -- SO I THINK
THERE IS GOOD SUPPORT.
THAT'S, YOU KNOW, WE'RE IN THE
PROCESS OF DOING SOME OF THAT
TOWN BY TOWN BY TOWN ANALYSIS OF
WHAT HAPPENS IN IT.
BUT I THINK THIS IS A REALLY
TERRIFIC PAIR TO AN EDUCATION
BILL THAT JUST PASSED OUT OF
COMMITTEE YESTERDAY.
ON SPECIAL EDUCATION.
AND AND LOOKING AT HOW TO
CONTROL COSTS AND REALLY PROVIDE
A HIGHER LEVEL OF SERVICE THAT
MEETS BEST PRACTICES WITHIN OUR
SPECIAL ED.
SO THAT WE CAN REALLY HAVE I
THINK A VERY GOOD COST
CONTAINMENT PACKAGE, WITH A REAL
CLEAR TRANSPARENT ED FUNDING
PACKAGE SO THE PEOPLE CAN
UNDERSTAND IT.
>> Reporter: ALL RIGHT.
WE ARE OUT OF TIME.
HOUSE SPEAKER MITZI JOHNSON,
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH, NEIL.
>> Darren: AND UP NEXT, JAMES
EHLERS IS HERE.
WE'LL TALK ABOUT HIS RUN FOR
VERMONT GOVERNOR.
>> Darren: HE'S AN ENVIRONMENTAL
ACTIVIST AND A NAVY VET.
NOW JAMES EHLERS WANTS TO BE THE
NEXT GOVERNOR.
GOOD MORNING.
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING?
>> I'M RUNNING TO RETURN THE
GOVERNOR'S OFFICE TO THE PEOPLE.
PEOPLE STRUGGLING, PEOPLE
WORKING SEVERAL JOBS JUST TO 16
MAKE ENDS MEET.
PEOPLE ON FIXED INCOMES, TO BE A
VOICE FOR THE PEOPLE.
>> Darren: YOU ARE PROBABLY ONE
OF THE BIGGEST ADVOCATES KNOWN
IN THE STATE WHEN IT COMES TO
WATER QUALITY, THE EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR AT LAKE CHAMPLAIN
INTERNATIONAL.
YET WE HAVEN'T SEEN A LOT OF
IMPROVEMENT IN LAKE CHAMPLAIN OR
THE LAKE ESPECIALLY AS EXAMPLES.
WHY?
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
WHAT'S THE HOLD-UP?
>> FIRST OF ALL, IT'S
UNFORTUNATE THAT I EVEN KNOW YOU
IN THIS CAPACITY, DARREN.
IT'S A FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP.
THE SECOND BRANCH HAS PUT ALL OF
THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS REALLY
THAT WE NEED.
THIRD BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT, THE
COURTS HAVE CONSTANTLY RULED IN
FAVOR.
BUT FIRST BRANCH HASN'T EXECUTED
AND IMPLEMENTED AND FUNDED IN
ITS OWN BUDGET THE THINGS
NECESSARY TO ENSURE THAT THE
MOST FUNDAMENTAL NECESSITY FOR
LIFE IS PROTECTED.
SO YOU KNOW WHAT IN SOME REGARD
AS WE USED TO JOKE AROUND IN THE
STATEHOUSE, IF THE PEOPLE FOUND
THE ADVOCACY ANNOYING, BEST WAY
TO MAKE ME GO AWAY, TO CLEAN UP
AND PROTECT OUR DRINKING WATER
AND RECREATIONAL WATER.
>> Darren: WE'RE SEEING SOME
BEAUTIFUL SHOTS OF LAKE
CHAMPLAIN HERE.
BUT THERE'S REALLY KIND OF A
DIRTY PROBLEM.
AND WE'RE ESPECIALLY TALKING
ABOUT LAKE KARMI.
WE HAVE SEEN THE VIDEO COMING
OUT THEREOF.
>> MORE THAN ONE PROBLEM.
THAT AGAIN IS KIND OF THE
UNFORTUNATE WAY THE SYSTEM IS 17
SET UP RIGHT NOW, WHERE WE'RE
LOOKING AT THINGS?
SOIL -- LOOKING AT THINGS IN
SILOS.
FUELING RIVER TOXINS THAT PEOPLE
ARE NOW BREATHING, IT'S NOT JUST
A WATER-BORNE ISSUE AT THIS
POINT.
BUT THERE'S 85,000 UNREGULATED
CHEMICALS IN THE U.S.
MARKETPLACE.
AND WE'RE DUMPING PHARMACEUTICAL
BY-PRODUCTS INTO OUR DRINKING
WATER SUPPLY, WE'RE DUMPING RAW
SEWAGE INTO OUR DRINKING WATER
AND RECREATIONAL WATERS.
IT'S NOT SUSTAINABLE.
IT'S ABSOLUTELY NOT SUSTAINABLE.
AND IT'S REALLY -- IT'S QUITE
EASY.
IT'S A LEADERSHIP ISSUE.
MAKING IT A PRIORITY.
>> Darren: LET'S TALK ABOUT
THAT.
WHAT IS GOVERNOR SCOTT DOING
WRONG ON THIS ISSUE, ON OTHER
ISSUES THAT MAKE YOU WANT TO
CHALLENGE HIM?
>> HIS CHOICE OF PRIORITYIES,
THE INFLUENCE OF MONEY IN HIS
AND ON HIS ADMINISTRATION.
BECAUSE AGAIN I THINK IT WOULD
BE REALLY CLEAR TO ALL OF US IF
THIS ADMINISTRATION WERE LOOKING
AT THE ISSUES THROUGH THE EYES
OF THE REGULAR WORKING PERSON.
AND MYSELF HAVING HAD A BIT OF A
ROUGH START IN LIFE AND NOT
COMING FROM MONEY AND STILL NOT
HAVING MUCH, BUT MORE THAN SOME,
BUT A LOT LESS THAN A LOT OF
PEOPLE, I KNOW THESE CHALLENGES.
I LIVE THEM EVERY DAY.
I HAVE FOUR YOUNG KIDS AND I
THINK THE GOVERNOR IS KIND OF
REMOVED FROM THAT AT THIS POINT.
HE'S A WEALTHY BUSINESS OWNER.
HE'S NEVER SUPPORTED WAGE
INCREASES.
AND HE'S VOTED AGAINST THE MOST 18
REGRESSIVE TAX THAT HURTS
WORKING PEOPLE THE MOST.
HE VOTED FOR WHEN HE WAS A STATE
SENATOR IN THE SALES TAX.
SO TAKING MONEY FROM DRUG
COMPANIES, PESTICIDE COMPANIES,
THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS'
ASSOCIATION FUNDED BY THE
KOCH BROTHERS PUT $3 MILLION
INTO HIS CAMPAIGN.
FROM MY ADVOCACY OF WORKING ON
BEHALF OF PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T HAVE
A VOICE, WHETHER IT WAS ON AN
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE, OR AN
ECONOMIC ISSUE OR SOCIAL ISSUE,
MY MENTORS AND CLOSE FRIENDS
ENCOURAGED ME TO TAKE THIS LEAP.
>> Darren: WE'LL TALK ABOUT A
COUPLE OF THE ISSUES.
I WANT TO FIRST GET TO ANOTHER
DEMOCRAT IN THE RACE.
CHRISTINE HAS ANNOUNCED.
WHY ARE YOU A BETTER CANDIDATE?
>> WELL, I'M CLOSER TO THE
PEOPLE.
YOU KNOW, I THINK CHRISTINE HAS
BEEN -- HAS DONE A GOOD JOB IN A
REALLY SMALL AREA.
BUT THAT WAS, YOU KNOW,
BASICALLY SERVING RATE PAYERS.
AND THERE ARE ISSUES WITH THAT
UTILITY, BUT OVERALL MY COMMAND
OF THE ISSUES, WHICH WILL BECOME
OBVIOUS THROUGHOUT THE DEBATES
WILL BECOME CLEAR.
>> Darren: WE WERE CHATTING
ABOUT THIS EARLIER IN THE SHOW.
NEAR TRAGEDY IN VERMONT
RECENTLY.
A TEEN PLOTTING TO SHOOT UP FAIR
HAVEN UNION HIGH SCHOOL.
IT IS RENEWED CALLS IN THE
STATEHOUSE, AS WE HEARD, FOR GUN
REFORM.
THANKFULLY A TEENAGER IN NEW
YORK CAME FORWARD WITH THE
THREATENING MESSAGE TO ALERT
POLICE.
BUT WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON GUN
REFORM? 19
>> IT'S REALLY SIMPLE.
IT'S PRETTY, PRETTY IN LINE WITH
JUSTICE SCALIA, WHO VERY CLEAR
SPELLED OUT THAT THE RIGHTS
UNDER THE SECOND AMENDMENT
WEREN'T UNLIMITED.
SO IT'S UNFORTUNATE THAT IT'S
COME TO THIS.
I HAVE A 9-YEAR-OLD AND A
7-YEAR-OLD AND MY 7-YEAR-OLD BOY
BROUGHT ME TO TEARS.
HE DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL
THE NEXT DAY.
YOU KNOW, RIGHT HERE IN VERMONT.
HE WAS -- HE WAS SCARED BECAUSE
OF THE SHOOTING IN FLORIDA.
AND THEN JUST LATER AS WE KNOW,
THE NEWS ABOUT FAIR HAVEN BROKE.
SO THE GOVERNOR'S RESPONSIBILITY
ISN'T TO SERVE THE SPECIAL
INTERESTS, IT'S TO SERVE THE
INTERESTS OF ALL OF US, EVEN
EMBEDDED IN OUR STATE MOTTO,
FREEDOM AND UNITY.
SO THIS ISN'T A HARD DECISION
FOR ME AT ALL, BECAUSE IT'S NOT
A POLITICAL ONE, IT'S A MORAL
ONE.
AND IF THIS IS WHAT WE NEED TO
MAKE OUR KIDS AND OUR TEACHERS
AND PARENTS FEEL SAFE, IS THAT
THOSE OF US, INCLUDING MYSELF
WHO IS A FIREARMS OWNER, HAVE TO
DEAL WITH THE INCONVENIENCE OF A
BACKGROUND CHECK OR A PERMITTING
SYSTEM, SO BE IT.
>> Darren: YOU KIND OF ALLUDED
TO THIS.
I WANT TO GET TO THIS QUICKLY.
DO YOU SUPPORT RAISING THE
MINIMUM WAGE IN VERMONT?
>> YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.
IT'S ONE OF THE -- I FILED LAST
JULY AND ONE OF THE VERY FIRST
INTERVIEWS WAS WITH VERMONT
PUBLIC RADIO.
AND, YOU KNOW, I GOT -- YOU
KNOW, TO BE HONEST, I GOT
LAUGHED AT BECAUSE I SAID $15.
IT'S NOT ENOUGH. 20
THAT'S NOT POLITICAL RHETORIC.
WE KNOW THAT FROM THE JOINT
FISCAL OFFICE.
CHIPMAN COUNTY AND OTHER PLACES
IN THE STATE, IF YOU'RE LOOKING
AT 22, 23 AND HIGHER, 23 TO $26
AN HOUR, JUST TO COVER THE BASIC
BILLS.
AND SO THIS IS FALLING BACK ON
THE TAXPAYERS BECAUSE THE
BUSINESSES OPERATING HERE, THE
BIG ONES, YOU KNOW.
TRICKLE-DOWN ACTUALLY WORKED,
THEN WE WOULDN'T BE HAVING THIS
DISCUSSION EITHER.
SO I ABSOLUTELY THINK THAT THE
MARKET BUSINESS HAS TO PLAY A
ROLE IN PAYING THEIR EMPLOYEES,
THE PEOPLE WHO ARE HELPING BUILD
THEIR COMPANIES AND MAKE THEM
PROFITS DIGNIFIED WAGES SO THEY
CAN AFFORD CHILDCARE, SO THEY
CAN AFFORD VEHICLE INSPECTIONS,
SO THEY CAN AFFORD HEAT.
>> Darren: JAMES EHLERS, THANK
YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOIN ME THIS
MORNING.
>> THANK YOU.
>> Darren: AND THANK YOU FOR
WATCHING.
THE CHANNEL 3 NEWS CONTINUES
NEXT ON THE WEEKEND.
TAKE CARE.
HAVE A GOOD DAY.

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