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YCQM - Miro Weinberger and Tim Ashe - Dec. 4, 2011 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM - Miro Weinberger and Tim Ashe - Dec. 4, 2011

December 4, 2011 -- Miro Weinberger and Tim Ashe, both Democratic candidates for Burlington mayor, join Kristin Carlson and Darren Perron to discuss the Burlington mayor's race.

I'm Darren Perron. And I'm Kristin Carlson. The caucus conclusion is fast approaching. We

>> GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. I'M DARREN PERRON.

>> AND I'M KRISTIN CARLSON. WE ARE ONE WEEK AWAY FROM WHEN WE'RE GOING TO GO TO THE CAUCUS AGAIN.

>> A RECOUNT LATER, TIM ASH AND MIRO WEINBERGER ENDED UP TIED. DEMOCRATS WILL GET ANOTHER GO AT IT WHEN ANOTHER CAUCUS WILL BE HELD.

>> IT THERE IS A WEEK TO GO IN THE CAMPAIGN. THANK YOU BOTH FOR BEING HERE, TIM ASHE AND MIRO WEINBERGER.

>> MAYOR BOB IS NOT SEEKING RE-ELECTION, WE DID ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS BEFORE THE SHOW. LET'S START WITH YOU. YOU WON.

>> I HOPE YOU'RE NOT GOING TO USE ROCK PAPER SCISSORS, BUT I THINK THE MAYOR HAS MADE A GOOD DECISION TO STEP DOWN, I THINK THAT THE POLITICAL MORALE IN THIS CITY IS AS LOW AS I HAVE EVER SEEN IT, AND I THINK IT'S A CHANCE FOR THE ENTIRE CITY TO KNOW FOR SURE THAT THEY'LL BE HAVING A FRESH START IN THE MAYOR'S OFFICE, NEW ENERGY, NEW BLOOD, AND I THINK THERE IS NOTHING TO BE GAINED STAYING THE COURSE.

>> MIRO WEINBERGER, WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT THE MAYOR'S DECISION NOT TO SEEK RE-ELECTION?

>> I THINK IT'S CLARIFYING. I DON'T THINK IT DRAMATICALLY CHANGES THE DYNAMIC IN THE RACE, AS I THINK HIS PROSPECTS FOR NEXT MARCH WERE NOT GOOD, AND I THINK THE VOTERS HAVE CLEAR CHOICES BETWEEN THEM, AND THIS DOESN'T CHANGE THAT.

>> LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE CLEAR CHOICES. A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE MADE A LOT OF THE FACT THAT YOU BOTH HAVE SIMILAR BACKGROUNDS. YOU BOTH WENT TO HARVARD CONGRESSIONAL SCHOOL FOR GOVERNMENT, YOU WORKED WITH HOUSING DEVELOPERS TO SOME DEGREE. HOW HAR -- HOW ARE YOU TWO DIFFERENT?

>> RED SOX FANS --

>> WE KNOW ABOUT THAT.

>> THE BACKGROUND DOES HAVE SIMILARITIES.

>> THERE ARE THINGS ABOUT US THAT ARE SIMILAR, AND I THINK OUR VALUES IN A LOT OF WAYS ARE SIMILAR AS WELL. I THINK WHAT DISTINGUISHES US IN PART IS THE -- YOU KNOW, I HAVE NOT BEEN A LEGISLATOR, I'M SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN RUNNING PROJECTS, RUNNING LARGE PROJECTS, LARGE TEAMS OF PEOPLE, AS AN OWNER AND FOUNDING OF A BUSINESS FOR THE LAST NINE YEARS. I'M NOT A CAREER POLITICIAN, I'M COMING FROM THE OUTSIDE BECAUSE I THINK THE -- WE HAVE REAL PROBLEMS IN THE CITY RIGHT NOW, AND IT'S GOING TO TAKE SOMEONE WHO HAS NOT BEEN PART OF THE TURMOIL AND THE MISMANAGEMENT OF THE PAST SIX YEARS TO TURN THE CITY AROUND. I THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR SOMEONE TO STEP FORWARD AND OFFER THEMSELVES AS A POTENTIAL NEW MAYOR.

>> I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT DISTINGUISHES US IS JUST EXACTLY WHAT MIRO POINTED OUT IS EXPERIENCE IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR. WE BOTH HAVE SIMILAR EXPERIENCE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN PARTICIPATION IN THE HOUSING ORGANIZATIONS, BUT HAVING SERVED IN THE SENATE IS VALUE, I'VE WORKED WITH PEOPLE FROM ALL THE DIFFERENT POLITICAL PARTIES, HAD FEEDBACK COMING IN FROM WHETHER IT'S TRYING TO MEET HUMAN NEEDS, MEETING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY NEEDS, I'VE BEEN THERE THROUGH SOME OF THESE THINGS. AND I CAN APPRECIATE THAT PEOPLE WHO GET INVOLVED IN PUBLIC SERVICE WHO ENTER ELECTED OFFICE ARE HUMAN BEINGS JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. YOU LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES AND YOUR SUCCESSES, AND I'M NOT SO QUICK TO POINT THE FINGER AT OTHERS IF SOMETHING HAS NOT WORKED OUT AS PLANNED, AND THAT'S THROUGH THE BUMPY PROCESS OF GOVERNMENT.

>> ANY RESPONSE?

>> I WON'T BE NEW TO THE GOVERNANCE OF BURLINGTON, I'VE BEEN ON A COMMISSION FOR THE PAST EIGHT YEARS, THE AIRPORT IS ONE OF BURLINGTON'S NEWEST ENTERPRISES, ONE OF THE MAJOR THINGS THAT A CITY DOES IS RUN BUSINESSES. THE CITY RUNS AN AIRPORT, THE ELECTRIC DEPARTMENT, A TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY, SOME SMALLER BUSINESSES. ALL TOLD, THE ACTIVITY IN THERUNNING OF BURLINGTON'S BUSINESSES IS SUBSTANTIALLY LARGER THAN THE GENERAL FUND THAT THE CITY HAS, AND SO I THINK THAT EXPERIENCE IN ONE OF BURLINGTON'S ENTERPRISES WILL BE VERY RELEVANT TO THE NEXT MAYOR. I ALSO HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE AROUND WATERFRONT ISSUES, ZONEING CODE ISSUES, AND SOCIAL SERVICE ISSUES HAVING BEEN THE TURNING POINT BOARD OF DIRECTORS. WE SEE THE STRAIN THAT BURLINGTON SOCIAL SAFETY NET IS UNDER. WHILE I DO NOT COME WITH LOTS OF ELECTED EXPERIENCE, I DO COME WITH BURLINGTON EXPERIENCE.

>> A LOT OF VOTERS VOTE WITH THEIR WALLETS. LET'S START WITH BURLINGTON TELECOM. MR. ASHE, YOU WERE ON THE BOARD OF FINANCE, AND $17 MILLION IN TAXPAYER MONEY TAKEN FROM THE CITY'S POOLED CASH. EARLY ON YOU DEFENDED B.T. SAYING THERE WAS NO SCANDAL, B.T. WAS OFF TO A GOOD START. DO YOU STAND BY THAT? DO YOU REGRET SAYING THAT?

>> FIRST OFF I WOULD SAY I WAS ON THE BOARD OF FINANCE NOT WHEN ALL THE TROUBLES HAPPENED. WHEN I ENTERED THE BOARD OF FINANCE IN 2008, IT WAS VERY CLEAR THAT THE FORMER BUSINESS MANAGER HAD RUN THINGS IN A WAY THAT WOULDN'T WORK. I TRIED TO REFOCUS THE BUSINESS PLAN TO GO AFTER PROFITABLE SUBSCRIBERS RATHER THAN UNPROFITABLE SUBSCRIBERS, TO BE MORE REALISTIC ABOUT HOW WE COULD BUILD OUT TO DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE CITY. IN TERMS OF THE 17 MILLION DOLLARS YOU POINT OUT, IT'S NOT CLEAR EVEN TO THIS DATE WHEN ALL THAT MONEY WAS DRAWN FROM THE CITY'S CASH POOL. WHAT WE KNEW ON THE BOARD OF FINANCE WAS THAT WE NEEDED TO REFINANCE BURLINGTON TELECOM'S DEBT, WE HAD VOTED TO ONLY PROCEED WITH A BUILDOUT WITH PROCEEDS INTERNAL TO BURLINGTON TELECOM. IS IT A DEBACLE? YES. IS IT ANY ONE PERSON'S RESPONSIBILITY? NO, I TAKE IT WITH EVERYONE ELSE, HAVING BEEN THERE. THE STATEMENT THAT YOU REFERRED TO, I WANT TO BE VERY CLEAR: IT'S ONE OF THOSE CAUGHT ON TAPE MOMENTS WHERE PERHAPS IN A TOO-EMOTIONAL PERIOD I WAS RESPONDING VERY DIRECTLY TO ACCUSATIONS BEING MADE BY THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER AT THE TIME, DAVID O'BRIEN WHO WERE SUGGESTING THERE WAS CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. ELSEWHERE IN THE VIDEO, I TALK ABOUT THE CONTROVERSY, BUT WHAT I WAS REFERRING TO SPECIFICALLY WAS THAT WEEK'S NEWS. THERE WAS NO CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. THE IN TERMS OF POOR HEALTH, WITH THE REFINANCING, THE CITY'S $17 MILLION HOLE WOULD HAVE BEEN RESTORED. THAT HAS NOT HAPPENED, AS WE KNOW, THERE WAS A POLITICAL KNIFE FIGHT WAS THE FIRST RESPONSE WE ALL WATCHED, DO I STAND ON THE POSITION IT WAS IN GOOD HEALTH? NO. I KNEW IT WAS IN TOUGH SHAPE. I PERHAPS COULD HAVE BEEN MORE ARTFUL WITH MY RESPONSE, BUT YOU LIVE WITH WHAT YOU SAY.

>> THE OTHER QUESTION IS HOW DO WE FIX B.T.'S FINANCIAL TROUBLES.

>> I ABSOLUTELY THINK A PRIVATE PARTNER ENTERING INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE CITY, EVEN IF THAT MEANS THE CITY LOSES CONTROL OF MOST OF THE DECISION-MAKING AND POLICIES FROM HERE ON OUT. IN THE MEANTIME, WHAT THE MAYOR CAN DO TO MAKE THAT PRIVATE PARTNER MORE LIKELY TO SEE THIS AS A VALUABLE ASSET IS TO GO OUT WITH MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY WHO HAVE SEEN THE VALUE OF THE TECHNOLOGY AND GO ARM IN ARM WITH ALL THE POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS, THE BIG, INSTITUTIONAL CUSTOMERS, AND SHOW THIS IS GREAT TECHNOLOGY, AND YOUR USE FOR THE TECHNOLOGY WILL CONTINUE. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT A MAYOR HAS TO DO VERY AGGRESSIVELY AND MAKE SURE THAT WE GET A GOOD DEAL IN WHATEVER NEGOTIATION ENSUES.

>> MR. WEINBERGER, HOW WOULD YOU FIX THE B.T. SITUATION?

>> I DON'T HAVE A MAGIC BULLET THAT'S SO DIFFERENT FROM TIM OR ANY OTHER CANDIDATES. THERE IS A LIMITED SET OF SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM WE'RE IN. I DO THINK THERE IS A POSSIBILITY FOR A DECENT OUTCOME WITH -- OF THE SITUATION. IT IS THE -- THE BEST HOPE IS FOR A NEGOTIATED RESOLUTION THAT LIMITS TAXPAYER LIABILITY, DOESN'T CAUSE ANY MORE TAXPAYER MONEY TO GO INTO THE BUSINESS THAT CONTINUES SERVICE, THAT -- I BELIEVE IT'S IMPORTANT TO PRESERVE COMPETITION BETWEEN BURLINGTON TELECOM OR ITS SUCCESSOR, IF THERE IS A NEW PARTNER COMING IN, AND COMCAST. I THINK WE ALL BENEFIT FROM THAT COMPETITION BETWEEN THE TWO CABLE COMPANIES IN TERMS OF LOWER PRICES FOR RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES IN BURLINGTON. AND THEN FINALLY, I THINK THERE IS A POSSIBILITY, IN PART BECAUSE THE PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD IS AN ALLY OF THE CITY OF BURLINGTON TO SOME DEGREE HERE, THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF NEGOTIATING A SETTLEMENT WHERE IF THE NEW ENTITY THRIVES THAT BURLINGTON IS REPAID THE $17 MILLION SLOWLY OVER TIME. IT CERTAINLY WON'T HAPPEN QUICKLY. I THINK THE BEST CHANCE FOR GETTING THOSE OUTCOMES IN THE NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT IS TO ELECT A MAYOR WHO HAS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE PUTTING TOGETHER COMPLICATEED FINANCIAL DEALS, AND THAT'S THE TYPE OF WORK I HAVE DONE THROUGHOUT MY CAREER, AND I WOULD BE VERY COMFORTABLE BEING PART OF THOSE NEGOTIATIONS.

>> YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE AIRPORT COMMISSION, YOU VOTED IN FAVOR OF BUILDING THAT NEARLY $15 MILLION PARKING GARAGE.

>> NOT ACCURATE.

>> OKAY.

>> I VOTED IN FAVOR OF PUTTING OUT TO THE PEOPLE OF BURLINGTON A BOND RESOLUTION VOTE TO SECURE FINANCING, JUST TO BE CLEAR.

>> SO YOU WERE ON THIS COMMISSION, YOU'RE SAYING YOU PUT FORWARD A VOTE THAT WOULD ENABLE VOTERS TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO BUILD THE $15 MILLION -- THERE WAS NO FINANCING IN PLACE FOR IT. DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS ABOUT HOW THAT CAME TOGETHER, BECAUSE THE CITY IS BORROWING MONEY AT A HIGH RATE FOR THAT FINANCIAL SITUATION.

>> I DON'T HAVE REGRETS ABOUT ANY OF MY ACTIONS, OR THE COMMISSION'S ACTIONS. THE COMMISSION THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS, GOING BACK TO 2008 WAS VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THE EXPANSION AND DOING IT IN A TIME OF FINANCIAL DOWNTURN, AND WE REPEATEDLY, AS THE KISS ADMINISTRATION MOVED FORWARD, RAISED QUESTIONS AND RED FLAGS AND GAVE LIMITED CONDITIONAL VOTES. WHEN THOSE WARNINGS WERE CONSISTENTLY IGNORED AND INFORMATION WAS WITH HELD FROM THE COMMISSION, AND WHEN IT BECAME CLEAR, WHEN I WAS THE ONE THAT FOUND THIS REPORT THAT HAD BEEN DONE LATE IN 2009 BUT WAS NOT SECURED BY THE COMMISSION UNTIL 2011, THE DAY AFTER I READ THAT REPORT, IT BECAME CLEAR TO ME THERE HAD BEEN SIGNIFICANT, SERIOUS FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT OF THAT PROJECT, AND THAT EXPLICIT WARNINGS FROM PROFESSIONALS IN THAT REPORT WERE IGNORED. I MADE SURE THE PUBLIC KNEW ABOUT IT. I THINK THERE ARE LIMITS TO WHAT VOLUNTEER ADVISORY COMMISSION MEMBERS CAN DO WHEN YOU HAVE AN ADMINISTRATION THAT IS WILLING TO GO AROUND COMMISSIONS, THAT IS NOT CONCERNED AND CAREFUL WITH THE PUBLIC'S DOLLAR. IT'S ONE OF THE REASONS I'M RUNNING FOR MAYOR IS THAT I THINK WE NEED A VERY DIFFERENT TYPE OF MAYOR THAN THE ONE WE'VE HAD THE LAST SIX YEARS.

>> DO YOU WANT TO WEIGH IN ON THE PARKING GARAGE?

>> WELL, IT'S AN INTERESTING SITUATION TO BE IN. I'VE SPENT 1-1/2 MONTHS BEING, IN PART, BLAMED FOR MY ROLE IN THE BURLINGTON TELECOM HISTORY, AND I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I THINK MIRO AND I CAN AGREE UPON IS WHEN YOU'RE NOT BEING GIVEN THE COMPLETE PICTURE AND ALL THE INFORMATION, IT'S HARD TO MAKE YOUR BEST DECISIONS, WHETHER YOU'RE A COMMISSIONER, WHETHER YOU'RE A CITY COUNSELOR. AND IN THE CASE OF ALL THE AIRPORT COMMISSIONERS, THEY WERE PUT IN A TOUGH POSITION. THAT AIRPORT GARAGE WAS BEING BUILT WITHOUT A FINANCING PLAN IN PLACE THAT SEEMS VIABLE, LOOKING BACK, AND I THINK THERE IS A LOT OF SIMILARITIES THAT WE FIND IN A SITUATION THAT MIRO FOUND HIMSELF IN, THE SITUATION I FOUND MYSELF IN, SO I'M NOT SURE WHERE WE'LL GO WITH THAT CONVERSATION TODAY, BUT THAT'S WHY I SAY THAT WHEN YOU'RE IN THAT CAPACITY, IT'S VERY DIFFICULT SOMETIME TO MAKE THE BEST DECISION IF YOU'RE NOT BEING GIVEN THE BEST INFORMATION. MY HOPE IS THAT WHOEVER IS NEXT MAYOR WILL GIVE CITY COUNCIL THE BEST OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THEIR BEST DECISION.

>> ANY RESPONSE?

>> I AGREE WITH TIM'S CONCLUSION THERE, WHOLEHEARTEDLY THAT THE NEXT MAYOR NEEDS TO TAKE A VERY DIFFERENT APPROACH IN TERMS OF THE WAY HE RELATES WITH COMMISSION MEMBERS, CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS. ON THAT WE AGREE. WE HAVE DIFFERENCES. WHAT I DID AT THE AIRPORT, WHAT I DID WAS SIGNIFICANT, AND I THINK THERE ARE REAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN OUR RECORDS.

>> IF I CAN JUST FOLLOW UP, THE AIRPORT GARAGE WAS BEING BUILT, AND WE DID NOT HEAR FROM THE AIRPORT COMMISSION THAT THIS WAS A LARGE PROBLEM THAT THE TAXPAYERS SHOULD BE AWARE OF, AND IT'S NOT TO POINT THE FINGER AT ANY ONE COMMISSIONER OF THE I'M DRAWING THE COMPARISON TO TWO EXAMPLES WHERE, IN AN ADMINISTRATION NOT PRESENTING ALL THE INFORMATION, WHETHER IT BE A COMMISSIONER OR CITY COUNSELOR, LED TO DECISIONS I THINK WE ALL WISH WE COULD GO BACK AND UNDO.

>> WELCOME BACK. WE ARE CONTINUING OUR CONVERSATION WITH THE TWO DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR. WHEN THE FIRST CAUCUS WAS HELD, MIRO WEINBERGER AND TIM ASHE TIED. THERE WILL BE A NEW CAUCUS.

>> TIM WRIGHT CAME OUT WITH A VERY BOLD IDEA, A PROPOSAL TO SELL BURLINGTON ELECTRIC. HE SAID IT COULD SOLVE SEVERAL PROBLEMS, SOME OF THE PROBLEMS THAT WE JUST DISCUSSED. LET'S GET YOUR REACTION TO THAT, TIM ASHE, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE IDEA.

>> WHEN HE FIRST PROPOSED IT, I DESCRIBED IT AS A HAIL MARY AND USUALLY YOU THROW THAT AT THE END OF THE GAME, NOT THE BEGINNING WHAT I MEANT BY THAT IS AN ATTEMPT TO SOLVE A GLOBAL PROBLEM WITHOUT ALL THE BEST INFORMATION. OUR RETIREMENT SYSTEM, THE PENSION FUNDING GAP THAT WE HAVE, CURT SAID WE HAVE A $48 MILLION GAP IN OUR PENSION FUNDING. WE HAVE TO SELL B.T. IN ORDER TO RAISE THE MONEY TO SOLVE THAT AND OTHER ISSUES. THAT GAP WAS INFORMATION FROM JUNE OF 2010. IN THE 15 MONTHS SINCE THAT LAST ACTUARIAL REPORT ABOUT OUR PENSION SYSTEM WAS PUT OUT, OUR RETURN FUND HAS DONE QUITE WELL. IT HAS REDUCED THAT AMOUNT, THOUGH NOT CLOSED THAT GAP. WE'VE HAD UNION NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE FIREFIGHTERS AS ONE EXAMPLE, WHERE THE FIREFIGHTERS MADE SOME STRUCTURAL CHANGES IN THEIR CONTRACT TO GIVE BACK WHAT AMOUNTS TO SOMEWHERE BETWEEN $1 AND $2 MILLION TOWARD REDUCING THAT GAP. I FEEL LIKE WHETHER IT'S REDUCING, BURLINGTON TELECOM, THE AIRPORT, IS A CHALLENGE THAT CAN BE DISCREETLY ADDRESSED. REACHING FOR THE STARS OR SWINGING FOR THE FENCES TO SOLVE PROBLEMS THAT AREN'T BASED ON THE RIGHT FACTS TO ME SEEMS A LITTLE BIT RECKLESS.

>> MR. WEINBERGER?

>> WELL, WHEN WE WERE FIRST ASKED THIS QUESTION, I CALLED THE IDEA HALF-BAKED AS WELL, BUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TIM AND I ON THIS, I THINK WE ARE IN A VERY SERIOUS FINANCIAL SITUATION AS A CITY, AND I THINK IT IS INAPPROPRIATE TO TAKE ANY REASONABLE PROPOSAL OFF THE TABLE, GIVEN THE SITUATION WE'RE IN. I WAS NOT COMFORTABLE MOVING OUT TO SELL BURLINGTON ELECTRIC WITHOUT LOOKING INTO IT FURTHER. I DID FOLLOW IT UP, WE HAD ANOTHER DEBATE, AND I THINK I WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO POINT OUT PUBLICLY THAT THERE IS AN ADDITIONAL REAL PROBLEM WITH CURT'S PROPOSAL, NOT ONLY WITH THE NUMBERS SORT OF HALF BAKED, AND THERE ARE REAL QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER YOU COULD GENERATE THE TYPE OF PROFITS THAT HE SUGGESTS MIGHT BE THERE. IN ADDITION TO THAT, IT'S VERY UNCLEAR THAT THE CITY COULD BE THE BENEFICIARY, THE CITY'S GENERAL FUND, COULD BE THE BENEFICIARY OF THOSE PROFITS IF THEY EXISTED. THE BURLINGTON ELECTRIC, OF COURSE, IS PUBLICLY REGULATED, AND IT'S NOT REALLY SUPPOSED TO HAVE LARGE AMOUNTS OF PROFITS F. A SALE GENERATED NET SALES PROCEEDS, THE PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD AND OTHER REGULATORS MAY WELL SAY THAT MONEY NEEDS TO BE RETURNED TO THE RATE-PAYERS, WHICH ARE NOT IDENTICAL TO THE TAXPAYERS, THE RATE PAYERS INCLUDE BUSINESSES, OF COURSE. IT'S NOT CLEAR THERE IS A CLEAR SOLUTION TO BURLINGTON'S FINANCIAL PROBLEMS. TO BE CLEAR, I DON'T WANT TO SELL BURLINGTON ELECTRIC ANY MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THIS RACE. IT'S BEEN A KEY ASSET FOR THIS CITY FOR OVER 100 YEARS, IT HAS ALLOWED US TO MAKE RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTMENTS AT THE FOREFRONT, AND IT'S NOT SOMETHING I WANT TO DO. I JUST THINK WE NEED TO BE RESPONSIBLE ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE NEXT MAYOR IS GOING TO FACE CHOICES THEY DON'T WANT TO MAKE, AND IT'S NOT THE TIME TO TAKE OPTIONS OFF THE TABLE.

>> YOU HAVE BURLINGTON, OF COURSE, VERMONT'S LARGEST CITY. HOW DO YOU THINK BURLINGTON IMPACTS THE REST OF THE STATE?

>> WELL, I THINK IT'S CERTAINLY AN ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL HUB FOR THE WHOLE STATE, WASN'T ALWAYS THE CASE. BURLINGTON 30 YEARS AGO WAS VERY DIFFERENT FROM IT IS TODAY, WE DIDN'T HAVE A CHURCH STREET THAT DREW PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE REGION FOR CULTURAL AND ENTERTAINMENT OPPORTUNITIES, WE DIDN'T HAVE A WATERFRONT THAT WAS THE DRAW AND NATURAL WONDER, ENJOYABLE NATURAL WONDER, THE WAY IT IS TODAY. IT HAS TAKEN GREAT LEADERSHIP FROM OUR COMMUNITY MEMBERS, FROM OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITY, BUT ALSO STRONG POLITICAL LEADERSHIP TO CREATE THE BURLINGTON WE KNOW AND LOVE TODAY, AND I THINK THE LAST SIX YEARS HAVE PUT THAT AT RISK IN SOME WAYS. I THINK WE'RE A RESILIENT PLACE, AND WE'RE STILL A STRONG COMMUNITY AND CAN GET BACK ON THE RIGHT PATH, BUT WE NEED TO ELECT A MAYOR WHO IS COMMITTED TO GETTING BACK ON PATH TO DO THAT.

>> MR. ASHE?

>> I THINK IT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT ECONOMIC AREA IN THE STATE OF VERMONT. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I FIND VERY INTERESTING ABOUT BEING IN THE STATE HOUSE IS THE SOMEWHAT OF A BIAS AGAINST BURLINGTON, AND I DON'T THINK ANYONE IS PREPARED TO DO AN EXPERIMENT WHERE WE CUT OFF THE TAX PAYMENTS TO MONTPELIER, BECAUSE IT'S BEEN IMPORTANT EVEN IN THIS TOUGH ECONOMY. ONE THING I BRING TO THE RACE IS NOT ONLY THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BACKGROUND BUT A BALANCING ACT WHICH IS WHAT I THINK BURLINGTON HAS BEEN TO ACHIEVE. WE WANT A VIBRANT COMPANY, BUT WE WANT IT IN HARMONY WITH THE ENVIRONMENT AND MEETING PEOPLE'S HUMAN NEEDS, AND THAT'S WHAT MY CAREER HAS BEEN ABOUT.

>> THERE HAS BEEN SOME CONTROVERSY OVER THE UPCOMING CAUCUS. MR. WEINBERGER, YOU WERE HOPING IT WOULD BE DELAYED A LITTLE BIT. MR. ASHE, YOU WERE HOPING THIS COULD HAPPEN MORE QUICKLY. DOES THIS GIVE YOUR OPPONENT A BIT OF AN ADVANTAGE BY HOLDING IT ON THE DAY THE PROGRESSIVES ARE ALSO HOLDING THEIR CAUCUS, AND IT BEING PUSHED BACK A LITTLE BIT LATER INTO DECEMBER?

>> I WOULD RATHER ANSWER THAT QUESTION ON DECEMBER 12TH. YOU KNOW, HONESTLY, THERE WAS NO GREAT CONTROVERSY BETWEEN MIRO AND MYSELF, BUT WE AGREED WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT THE COMMITTEE TO RUN THIS CAUCUS FEELS CONFIDENT THEY CAN DO IT IN A P MANNER WHICH IS FAIR AND TIGHT. THEY THOUGHT THEY NEEDED TO WAIT UNTIL DECEMBER 11TH. WHILE I WAS DISAPPOINTED, THOSE ARE THE RULES OF THE GAME, AND WE'RE GOING TO LIVE WITH THEM.

>> WHAT DO YOU SAY?

>> TIM AND I HAVE AGREED ON A LOT, INCLUDING THE PRESSURE ON THE CAUCUS WHEN NO ONE EXPECTED A TIE AND IT WASN'T EXACTLY CLEAR WHAT THE RIGHT THING TO DO WAS IN THAT MOMENT. I THINK REALLY THIS COULD HAVE GONE OFF THE RAILS, HAD THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE NOT MADE GOOD CHOICES THAT NIGHT, AND I THINK IT WAS A POSITIVE THING THAT WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO AGREE ON SO MUCH. I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE HAVE A TIME LINE AND A PROCESS FOR THIS LAST VOTE, ASSUME IT WILL BE THE LAST VOTE, THE FOURTH BALLOT, THAT GIVES AS MANY OF THOSE 1300+ PEOPLE WHO MADE THE EFFORT TO BE THERE ON SUNDAY NOVEMBER 13TH, THAT GAVE AS MANY OF THEM AS POSSIBLE TO CAST THIS FINAL BALLOT, AND I DO THINK THIS TIME LINE, WHICH IS LONGER THAN I -- I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS TOO QUICK TO HAVE AN ELECTION WITHIN FOUR DAYS OF WHEN THE DATE WAS SET. I DON'T THINK WE DO THAT IN MAJOR ELECTIONS, AND THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY MADE IT A LITTLE BIT COMPLICATED. I SAID ANYTHING AFTER NOVEMBER 22ND, MONDAY OF THIS WEEK WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE WITH ME. SO LISTEN, I THINK THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE HAD A DIFFICULT JOB, THEY'VE BEEN DEALT A TOUGH HAND BY THESE UNEXPECTED RESULTS, AND THEY'VE PERFORMED VERY WELL WITH THAT.

>> IF YOU LOSE, WILL YOU RUN AS AN INDEPENDENT?

>> ABSOLUTELY NOT. I BELIEVE IF YOU WANT THE PRIVILEGE OF RUNNING IN THIS KIND OF REMARKABLE CAUCUS PROCESS, AND YOU PUT YOURSELF OUT AS A CANDIDATE IF THE CAUCUS, YOU KNOW, HUNDREDS, OVER A THOUSAND PEOPLE COME AND PARTICIPATE IN THAT. THAT NEEDS TO MEAN SOMETHING. AND IT WOULD BE INAPPROPRIATE, I THINK, TO RUN IN THE CAUCUS AND THEN LOSE AND THEN SAY WELL, I'M GOING TO TRY A DIFFERENT PARTY. THAT'S NOT SOMETHING I WOULD DO, AND I'M ALSO VERY COMMITTED AND HAVE BEEN SINCE TIM GOT IN THE RACE. IF TIM IS THE VICTOR HERE, I WILL BE AN ENTHUSIASTIC SUPPORTER OF HIS CANDIDACY GOING FORWARD.

>> MR. ASHE?

>> PRETTY MUCH THE SAME. IF I DON'T WIN THE CAUCUS, I'M OUT, BACK TO MY PRIVATE LIFE, AND ALSO HEARD THE 1,309 PEOPLE HEARD ME SAY I WILL STAND WITH WHATEVER WINS. I WOULD HAVE LIKED IT TO BE A DIFFERENT DATE, BUT...

>> WHAT'S YOUR STRATEGY TO REACH THESE 1300 PEOPLE? I KNOW YOU'RE GIVING IT A BREAK, BUT YOU CAN KNOW WHO ALL THOSE PEOPLE ARE.

>> I'M GOING TO GET ABOUT 1309 KEYS TO THE CITY AND START MAKING A LOT OF NEW FRIENDS. NO, WHAT I'M TRYING TO DO IS MAKE SURE PEOPLE KNOW IF THEY HAVE ANY LINGERING QUESTIONS, THEY CAN COME TO ME, I'M GOING TO BE AVAILABLE IN PUBLIC SETTINGS SO THEY CAN ASK ANY QUESTIONS THEY WANT.

>> SIMILARLY, I AM OUT THERE IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF TOWN ALMOST EVERY MORNING, INVITING PEOPLE OUT, COME HAVE COFFEE WITH ME AND HAVE A CONVERSATION. I INTEND TO BE ON THE PHONE A GREAT DEAL WITH AS MANY AS 1300 PEOPLE AS I CAN BETWEEN NOW AND DECEMBER 11TH, AND IT'S A GREAT THING ABOUT THIS RACE, REALLY, IS HOW BURLINGTON CAN CHOOSES ITS MAYOR THROUGH THESE ONE-ON-ONE CONVERSATIONS IN KITCHENS AND LIVING ROOMS, AND IT'S KIND OF REMARKABLE, BUT TO THE DEGREE WE'RE GOING IN THIS CASE, BUT IT'S A VERY EXCITING THING TO BE A PART OF.

>> THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS FOR BURLINGTON MAYOR WILL BE HELD ON DECEMBER 11TH, ONE WEEK FROM TODAY. THANK YOU TIM ASHE AND MIRO WEINBERGER FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING.

>> THANK YOU FOR WATCHING. HAVE A GREAT SUNDAY.

>> SEE YOU SOON. CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC

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