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You Can Quote Me - October 14, 2012 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

You Can Quote Me - October 14, 2012

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

>>> GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE, AND THANK FOR JOINING US. I'M KRISTEN CARLSON. TODAY OUR NEWSMAKER IS BURLINGTON MAYOR MIRO WEINBERGER. THANKS FOR BEING HERE.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME BACK.

>> WE'RE GOING TO TALK A LOT ABOUT HIS PRIORITIES, HIS FIRST FEW MONTHS IN OFFICE AND ALSO ABOUT SOME BIG UPCOMING BALLOT ITEMS. JOINING ME IS KYLE MIDURA WHO COVERS THE QUEEN CITY.

>> HI, KRISTEN. LET'S START WITH THE STRAIGHTFORWARD QUESTION OFF THE TOP. WHAT ARE THESE BALLOT MEASURES? YOU CAMPAIGNED HEAVILY BACK LAST NOVEMBER ON FIXING THE CITY FINANCES. HOW IN YOUR OPINION WILL THESE MEASURES PUT THE CITY BACK ON THE RIGHT PATH?

>> WELL, KYLE, BALLOT ITEMS ONE, TWO, AND THREE ARE ALL ABOUT MAKING GOOD ON THE COMMITMENTS I MADE ON THE CAMPAIGN. I SAID MY TOP PRIORITY WOULD BE PUTTING BURLINGTON'S FINANCES IN ORDER AND GET THE CITY MOVING AGAIN AND BEING A GOOD STEWARDS BURLINGTON'S RESOURCES AND EVE OF THOSE ITEMS ADDRESSES ONE ITEM OR ANOTHER. WITH RESPECT TO NUMBER ONE, THAT IS FOCUSED ON PUTTING THE CITY'S FINANCES IN ORDER. WHAT THAT SAYS IS WE NEED TO PASS A FISCAL STABILITY BOND. HERE'S WHAT THAT'S ABOUT. I KNOW WE START TALKING FINANCE ISSUES AND SOME PEOPLE'S EYES START TO GLAZE OVER, BUT IT COMES DOWN TO --

>> IT'S COMING FROM THEIR WALLET.

>> IT COMES DOWN TO SIMPLE CONCEPTS. WE HAVE A PROBLEM. I THINK WE KNOW WE HAVE -- WE'VE KNOWN AS A COMMUNITY WE'VE HAD A PROBLEM FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS. WHEN THE PRIOR ADMINISTRATION SPENT $17 MILLION ON BURLINGTON TELECOM, THEY ESSENTIALLY IT DID USING THE CITY EQUIVALENT OF A CREDIT CARD AND IT'S SOMETHING WE NEED TO ADDRESS. THAT'S COSTING US SIGNIFICANTLY AS A CITY, THE FACT THAT WE HAVE THAT PROBLEM, AND THE FISCAL STABILITY BOND WILL ADDRESS IT. LET ME KIND OF EXPAND ON THAT, EXPLAIN HOW. WHEN WE USED THIS CREDIT CARD A FEW YEARS AGO AND CONTINUE TO USE THAT TO PAY EXPENSES, WE ARE ESSENTIALLY JUST ROLLING OVER THESE EXPENSES. WE'RE NOT ANYTHING ANYWHERE IN TERMS OF DIGGING OUR WAY OUT OF THE HOLE. WE'VE ALSO AS A RESULT OF THAT SPENDING DEEPLY HURT OUR CREDIT RATING. MOODY'S DOWNGRADED US THREE SPOTS THIS LAST JUNE TO THE EDGE OF JUNK BOND STATUS, FOCUSED LARGELY ON THE FACT THAT WE WERE OVERLY RELIANT ON THAT SHORT-TERM BORROWING, THAT CREDIT CARD SPENDING, IF YOU WILL. WHAT THE FISCAL STABILITY BOND WOULD DO IS IT WOULD ESSENTIALLY RESTRUCTURE THAT EXISTING DEBT AS A LONG-TERM BOND, SO SOFT LIKE THE HOUSEHOLD EQUIVALENT OF TAKING A LARGE AMOUNT OF CREDIT CARD DEBT THAT IS HOUSEHOLD IS ROLLING OVER, PAYING INT, PUTTING ON A LONG-TERM MORTGAGE AT A TIME OF HISTORICALLY LOW INTEREST RATES AND DIGGING YOUR WAY OUT OF PROBLEM OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME.

>> THIS IS A $9 MILLION BOND.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> AND SO A LOT OF HOUSEHOLDS, ABOUT $250,000, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT $60 A YEAR. SOME PEOPLE WHO LOOKED AT YOUR PLAN, MAYOR, SAY WHY ARE YOU MAKING THE TAXPAYERS BAIL OUT WHAT SOME CONSIDER A POOR DECISION BY THE CITY?

>> SO I WANT TO BE CLEAR ABOUT TWO THINGS THERE. THIS IS ABOUT STABILIZING THE CITY'S FINANCES. AS I MENTIONED, IT WAS CAUSED BY THE INVESTMENT IN BURLINGTON TELECOM, BUT IT IS -- THIS NEW MONEY WILL NOT BE SPENT ON BURLINGTON TELECOM. THERE WON'T BE ANY NEW SPENDING AS A RESULT OF THIS. THIS IS RESTRUCTURING EXISTING DEBT AS LONG-TERM STABLE DEBT AT A TIME OF HISTORICALLY LOW INTEREST RATES AND ALLOWING TO US DIG OUR WAY OUT OF THE PROBLEM. THERE WILL BE A LITTLE BIT OF COST TO THAT. THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT WAS CREATED AND IT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED AND I CAN'T SIT HERE AND SAY THERE WON'T BE SOME PAIN AS A RESULT, BUT WHAT THIS DOES, IT AVERAGES THAT COST OUT OVER A 15-YEAR PERIOD OF TIME, DOESN'T TRY TO ADDRESS IT ALL AT ONCE, WHICH WOULD MAKE IT PARTICULARLY PAINFUL. AND I THINK THE WAY TO THINK OF THAT, ALTHOUGH IT IS SOME ADDITIONAL SPENDING, ADDITIONAL COST, IT IS REALLY SOMETHING THAT WILL SAVE BURLINGTONANS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN THE LONG RUN. IT'S AN IMPORTANT POINT. WE'RE ON THE EDGE OF JUNK BOND STATUS ALREADY AS A RESULT OF THAT DOWN GRADE AND WE'RE SPENDING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS MORE ON A SHORT-TERM BASIS, OVER A MILLION DOLLARS MORE ON A LONG-TERM BASIS AS A RESULT OF THAT SHORT-TERM BORROWING AND THAT CREDIT RATING. IF WE ALLOW OURSELVES TO GO EVEN -- GET EVEN WORSE, AND THERE'S A REAL RISK TO THAT. WHEN MOODY'S DOWNGRADED THE CITY IN JUNE, NOT ONLY DID THEY DROP US THREE STEPS, THEY SAID THE CITY HAS A NEGATIVE OUTLOOK. THAT MEANS THERE WILL BE FURTHER DOWN GRADES IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS TO TWO YEARS UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING TO TURN IT AROUND. A FURTHER DOWNGRADE WOULD QUITE SIMPLY COST BURLING TONANSES MILLIONS. WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. WE NEED TO COME TOGETHER AND DIG OUR WAY OUT OF THIS AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO AND I THINK PEOPLE WILL HAVE LOOKED AT THIS QUESTION CAREFULLY AND UNDERSTAND THAT, THAT'S WHY AFTER SOME DEBATE AT CITY COUNCIL, WE HAD A 13-1 VOTE IN FAVOR OF PUTTING THAT MATTER TO THE VOTERS.

>> THAT BEING SAID, IF THE VOTERS DO VOTE YEA ON THIS, THAT INTEREST RATE WOULD BE IN THE 5% BALLPARK WHEREAS CURRENTLY ON THE SHORT-TERM DEBT, WE'RE PAYING 2.5% IF I HAVE MY NUMBERS CORRECT. YOU THINK OF REFINANCING AND PAYING THAT LOWER INTEREST RATE, WHY IS PAYING THE HIGHER INTEREST RATE AN ACCEPTABLE OPTION AS THE FED HAS SAID THEY DO INTEND TO KEEP INTEREST RATES LOW FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS?

>> FIRST, LET'S -- WE'RE TALKING -- THERE IS MORE COST TO THE STATUS QUO THAN WHAT I'M PROPOSING FOR A COUPLE REASONS. ONE IS THERE'S NO GUARANTEE OF THOSE LOW INTEREST RATES. WE'RE AT A TIME OF UNIQUELY LOW INTEREST RATES AND THERE'S NO GUARANTEE THAT WILL CONTINUE. WE NEED TO RENEW THE SHORT-TERM BORROWING ON AN ANNUAL BASIS AND IT'S A VARIABLE RATE. IT ACTUALLY FLOATS WITHIN THE YEAR AND THERE'S NO ARE GAN RAN TEE OF GETTING THOSE RATES IN THE FUTURE. THE BIGGER POINT IS THIS. RIGHT NOW WE'RE JUST KICKING THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD. WE'RE NOT DOING ANYTHING TO DIG OUR WAY OUT OF THIS PROBLEM. WE'RE JUST ROLLING IT OVER. THE MOVE TO FISCAL STABILITY BOND SAYS WE'RE COMMITTING TO A 15-YEAR PLAN OF PAYING THIS OFF AND DIGGING OUR WAY OUT OF THAT SLOWLY, AND I'M -- IT'S QUITE CLEAR THAT OVER THAT 15-YEAR PERIOD OF TIME, BY FACING THIS ISSUE AND ADDRESSING IT, WE WILL BE SAVING ON THAT INTEREST COST AND AVOIDING THE RAMIFICATIONS OF POSSIBLY FURTHER DOWNGRADES.

>> THIS IS WHAT'S GOING TO TAKE TO RIGHT THE FINANCIAL SHIP IN BURLINGTON IN MOODY'S MIND.

>> I HAVE MET WITH MOODY'S PERSONALLY. WE HAVE DISCUSSED THIS EXPLICITLY. THEY -- YOU KNOW, IT WAS AN INTERESTING CONVERSATION. THE PEOPLE OF MOD I DID'S WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR BURLINGTON, THEY READ THE LOCAL MEDIA EVERY DAY, THEY PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO WHAT'S GOING ON, AND IT IS VERY CLEAR THAT THIS WILL BE SEEN AS A CREDIT POSITIVE, IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION THAT WILL, YOU KNOW -- THE WAY THE SYSTEM WORKS, WE CAN'T GUARANTEE EXACTLY WHAT WILL HAPPEN FROM IT, BUT I'M VERY CONFIDENT THAT THIS WILL BE SEEN AS A CHANGE THIS DIRECTION AND A SIGN TO THE CREDIT RATING AGENCIES, TO THE MARKETS THAT THERE IS A NEW TEAM IN TOWN WITH DIFFERENT PRIORITIES THAT IS FOCUSED ON RETURNING BURLINGTON TO A GOOD CREDIT RATING, RESTORING BURLINGTON'S GOOD NAME AND I'M CONFIDENT MOODY'S WILL SEE THAT IF WE ACHIEVE THIS. THIS IS A TWO-THIRDS VOTE THAT WE NEED TO ACHIEVE ON NOVEMBER 6th TO HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO SECURE THIS FISCAL STABILITY BOND AND THAT'S A HIGH BAR. WE HAVE -- WE'RE WORKING, THERE'S A COMMITTEE OF CITIZENS THAT HAS COME TOGETHER TO ADVOCATE FOR THIS, CALLED THE PARTNERSHIP FOR BURLINGTON'S FUTURE AND THERE'S A FACEBOOK PAGE, AND JOHN EWING IS THE CHAIR OF THAT. THERE ARE MANY MORE PARTNERS TO THAT BEING ANNOUNCED IN THE DAYS AHEAD AND WE'LL BE WORKING HARD TO SEE THIS PASS ON NOVEMBER 6th.

>> YOU MENTIONED THAT NEED FOR A TWO-THIRDS VOTE FROM THE PUBLIC. CONSIDERING THIS BECAME A PUBLIC DISCUSSION IN SEPTEMBER, ARE THE VOTERS READY TO VOTE ON THIS IN NOVEMBER? THERE WERE SOME DISCUSSIONS SAYING, HEY, MAYBE WE NEED TO PUT THIS BACK UNTIL MARCH SO WE CAN GET THE WORD OUT.

>> WELL, I MEAN, THAT'S WHY IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE RUN A CAMPAIGN. I HAVE SOME CONFIDENCE THAT WE HAVE ABOUT THREE WEEKS FROM TUESDAY, THE ELECTION, THERE HAS BEEN INCREASING DISCUSSION ON THIS AND I'M CONFIDENT BURLINGTON VOTERS ARE PAYING ATTENTION AND WILL KNOW WHAT THEY'RE VOTING ON ON NOVEMBER 6th, AND I'M CONFIDENT IT HAS A GOOD CHANCE TO PASS.

>> YOU'RE ALSO ASKING VOTERS FOR $6 MILLION FOR ANOTHER BOND. AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE ASKING FOR TOO MUCH MONEY HERE?

>> WELL, I'M GLAD YOU ASKED THAT, KRISTEN. AND IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BALLOT QUESTION NUMBER ONE AND NUMBER TWO. THEY BOTH LOOK LIKE BONDS IF YOU JUST LOOK AT THE BALLOT LANGUAGE, BUT BALLOT QUESTION NUMBER TWO IS A VERY DIFFERENT MATTER. THAT IS A BOND THAT WILL BE PAID BACK BY FUTURE PROPERTY TAXES OF THE WATERFRONT TAX INCREMENT FINANCING DISTRICT. THERE WILL BE NO IMPACT ON HOMEOWNERS' PROPERTY TAXES AS A RESULT OF THIS BOND. THAT'S THE GREAT THING ABOUT TAX INCREMENT FINANCING DISTRICTS. THAT'S WHY THERE'S ALL THIS EFFORT INTO CREATING THEM AND MAKING THEM WORK. THEY USE FUTURE TAXES GENERATED BY PUBLIC INVESTMENTS TO PAY FOR THOSE PUBLIC INVESTMENTS OVER TIME. THAT'S THE WAY THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO WORK AND THAT'S THE WAY THE WATERFRONT DISTRICT HAS WORKED VERY SUCCESSFULLY FOR THE LAST APPROXIMATELY 20 YEARS. SO --

>> AND QUICKLY BEFORE WE GO TO A BREAK, KU EXPLAIN WHAT IT WILL DO AS FAR AS DEVELOPMENT FUNDS?

>> IT'S EXCITING STUFF. IT WILL DO TWO IMPORTANT THINGS. ONE, IT IS GOING TO MAKE PROGRESS ON THE NORTHERN WATERFRONT, ON RECLAIMING THE NORTHERN WATERFRONT FROM THE INDUSTRIAL PAST. NUMBER TWO, IT'S GOING TO FUND THE PERMITTING, DESIGN, AND CONSTRUCTION OF A WIDENED, ENHANCED BIKE PATH FROM PERKINS PIER TO THE NORTH END OF THE URBAN RESERVE, WHICH IS -- IT WILL BE NORTH OF THE MORAN PLANT. BOTH OF THOSE ARE IMPORTANT STEPS FOR THIS COMMUNITY TO MAKE AND, YOU KNOW, WHEN I THINK OF IT IN TERMS OF THE LARGER THEME THAT WE'RE TRYING TO MOVE THE CITY TOWARDS, THIS IS ABOUT GETTING THE CITY MOVING AGAIN. THE WATERFRONT HAS STALLED IN TERMS OF MAJOR PROGRESS FOR ABOUT A DECADE. AS MUCH AS WE LOVE OUR WATERFRONT, I THINK WE KNOW WE HAVE UNFINISHED WORK TO DO THERE, RECLAIMING ELEMENTS OF THE NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN WATERFRONT FROM THE INDUSTRIAL PAST. IT WILL WOULD DO IN THE AREA AROUND THE MORAN PLANT, REPLACE THE JUMBO MESS OF OVERHEAD POWER LINES AND BROKEN-DOWN STREETS AND OTHER INDUSTRIAL REMNANTS AND REPLACE IT WITH A MODERN WATERFRONT, WITH AN EXPANDED LAKE STREET, WITH NEW LANDSCAPING, BURYING THE POWER LINES, CLEANING UP THE ENVIRONMENTAL MESS IN THAT AREA THAT WAS CREATED BY THE COAL-BURNING PLANT AND BUILDING A WORLD-CLASS SKATE PARK. IT WOULD DRAMATICALLY ENHANCE WHAT THAT AREA LOOKS LIKE AND, IMPORTANTLY, IT ALSO LAYS THE GROUND WORK, IF YOU WILL, FOR THE REDEVELOPMENT OF THE MORAN PLANT BY GREATLY IMPROVING THE AREA AROUND IT AND I THINK IT WILL MAKE A -- FAR MORE LIKELY THAT WE'LL SUCCEED WITH THIS EFFORT TO REDEVELOP MORAN THAN PAST EFFORT.

>> WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN AT THE OLD MORAN PLANT?

>> I'VE GOT IDEAS, BUT WHERE WE ARE IN THE PROCESS IS SOLICITING NEW IDEA AND MORE THAN JUST IDEAS. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF SOLICITATION OF IDEAS IN THE PAST. WHAT WE'RE DOING WITH THE RFP PROCESS STARTING NOW IS TRYING TO FIND TEAMS THAT HAVE NOT JUST THE IDEAS, BUT THE MEANS AND THE ABILITY TO MAKE GOOD ON THOSE CONCEPTS. WE'RE LOOKING FOR FEASIBLE PROJECTS THAT CAN BE IMPLEMENTED IN THAT PART OF THE WATERFRONT. FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, THIS IS SOMETHING WE HAVE TO SUCCEED AT. IT'S BEEN ALMOST 30 YEARS SINCE THAT BUILDING WAS VACATED BY THE POWER PLANT. IT SHOULD BE A WONDERFUL PART OF THE CITY. INSTEAD, IT'S AN UNAPPEALING AND UNHEALTHY PART OF THE CITY AND WE HAVE TO TURN THAT AROUND AND THAT'S WHAT THIS RFP PROCESS IS FOCUSED ON DOING. I THINK WE HAVE TO SEE WHAT EMERGES FROM THIS COMPETITION OF IDEAS AND TEAMS BEFORE I'LL BE READY TO COMMIT TO ONE DIRECTION OR ANOTHER.

>> WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN THERE?

>> YOU KNOW, AGAIN, KRISTEN --

>> DO YOU HAVE SOME IDEAS?

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE -- MY OVERRIDING IDEA IS IT IS A HUGE WASTE THAT WE HAVE THIS, WHAT SHOULD BE A WONDERFUL PIECE OF LAND SITTING VACANT AND HAVING BEEN VACANT ALMOST ENTIRELY VACANT FOR NEARLY THREE DECADES. THAT HAS TO END AND I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THE RESULTS OF THIS COMPETITION TO SEE WHAT IT CAN BE. WE'RE GOING TO PUT A FEW IDEAS OUT THERES A ONE OF THE THINGS WE'RE GOING TO BE DOING IS DETAILS AND WHAT WE SAID IS A NATIONAL GROUP CALLED ART SPACE THAT HAS DEVELOPED ABOUT 80 INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS AROUND THE COUNTRY INTO ARTS FACILITIES, AND THEY'RE GOING TO CONVENE A FORUM DURING THE RFP PROCESS TO LOOK INTO WHETHER THAT'S A POSSIBILITY HERE. THERE WILL BE SOME OTHER THINGS WE DO TO BRING ATTENTION AND ENERGY TO THIS PROCESS. THAT'S HOW THEY SUCCEED. IF YOU LOOK AT OTHER CITIES THAT HAVE DONE THIS WELL, THEY CREATE EXCITEMENT AND BUZZ ABOUT AN OPPORTUNITY AND WE'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT VARIETY OF WAYS TO DO THAT DURING THIS PROCESS, WHICH IS KICKING OFF NOW.

>> AND BALLOT QUESTION NUMBER THREE DEALS WITH FUNDING REPAIRS TO THE BIKE PATH FOR ROUTINE MAINTENANCE, THAT SORT OF THING. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT A LITTLE BIT FURTHER FOR US?

>> I CAN, KYLE. THIS IS A CONCEPT I THINK THAT WILL BE FAMILIAR TO BURLINGANS. SEVERAL YEARS AGO BY OVERWHELMING NUMBERS WE PASSED A NEW DEDICATED TAX CALLED PAYING FOR PARKS, WHICH WAS BASED ON THE IDEA THAT ONE CENT PER DOLLAR OF PROPERTY TAXES WOULD BE DEDICATED TO UPGRADING AND IMPROVING OUR PARKS FACILITIES. THIS NEW HALF-PENNY TAX IS INTENDED TO DO THE SAME THING, BUT WITH THE BIKE PATH. ONE OF THE REASONS WE NEED THE BIKE PATH ENHANCEMENT AND RENOVATION THAT THE BIKE PATH TASK FORCE WAS FOCUSED ON AND TALK A LOT ABOUT OVER THE LAST COUPLE YEARS IS BECAUSE IN THE PAST, WE NEGLECTED THE BIKE PATH. WE HAVEN'T TAKEN CARE OF THIS WONDERFUL ASSET AND AS A RESULT, WE'VE SEEN CERTAIN AREAS OF IT CRUMBLE AND A GENERAL DEGRADING OF IT. THIS HALF-PENNY TAX IS TO MAKE SURE THAT NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN, THAT WE HAVE A DEDICATED STREAM OF REVENUE OF APPROXIMATELY $180,000 A YEAR FOCUSED ON MAINTAINING THE BIKE PATH NETWORK AND ACTUALLY IMPROVING THE BIKE PATH NETWORK, AND IT'S SOMETHING I HEAR A GREAT DEAL OF SUPPORT OF AROUND TOWN AND I WAS HAPPY TO SUPPORT.

>> WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A BRIEF BREAK AND CONTINUE OUR DISCUSSION WITH BURLINGTON MAYOR

>>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYONE. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT BURLINGTON MAYOR MIRO WEINBERGER ABOUT SOME OF THE BIG ISSUES FACING HIS CITY AND THE UPCOMING BALLOT ITEMS.

>> AND MAYOR WEINBERGER, WE JUST WRAPPED UP TALKING ABOUT THE THIRD BALLOT QUESTION REGARDING FUNDING OF MAINTENANCE FOR THE BIKE PATH IN THE FUTURE. HOWEVER, SOME, ESPECIALLY THOSE IN THE BIKE PATH TASK FORCE OF COURSE CRITICAL OF YOU FOR NOT COMPLETELY FUNDING ALL THE REPAIRS AS SUGGESTED AND SOME OF THE FUNDING METHODS THEY PUT FORWARD. HOW DID YOU DETERMINE THAT WASN'T THE RIGHT STEP TO BURLING AT THIS POINT IN TIME?

>> WELL, KYLE, THAT WAS A DIFFICULT DECISION I HAD TO MAKE. YOU'RE RIGHT, THE BIKE PATH TASK FORCE HAD WORKED FOR A COUPLE YEARS FOCUSED ON THE BURLINGTON BIKE PATH AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO ENHANCE IT, TO MAKE IT A MODERN, WORLD-CLASS BIKE PATH AND THEY DID GREAT WORK. I THINK EVERYONE AGREES THEY DID GREAT WORK. THEY PUT FORWARD AN AMBITIOUS PLAN, AN AMBITIOUS VISION, AND I WANT TO BE CLEAR. I COMPLETELY SHARE THAT VISION. IT'S A VISION OF AN ENHANCED, IMPROVED BIKE PATH THROUGHOUT THE 7 1/2 MILES OF BURLINGTON BIKE PATH AND ONE THAT CONNECTS INTO A LARGER BIKE PATH THAT GOES UP TO COLCHESTER AND THE ISLANDS AND IT IS A WONDERFUL VISION AND ONE I'M COMMITTED TO ACHIEVING. I AM COMMITTED TO WORKING FULL-SPEED TOWARDS THAT VISION, AND WITH BALLOT ITEMS TWO AND THREE, WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THAT IF THOSE PASS. THOSE WILL ALLOW US TO GET INTO THE DESIGN AND THE PERMITTING AND A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF CONSTRUCTION IN THE MOST CONGESTED PART OF THE BIKE PATH. THAT IS TWO OR THREE YEARS OF WORK THAT WE'LL BE FUNDING IF BALLOT ITEMS TWO AND THREE PASS. I DID THINK WE HAD TO PUT OUR PRIORITIES IN ORDER, THAT WE HAD TO EAT OUR VEGETABLES BEFORE WE EAT OUR DES STERT, IF YOU WILL, AND I THOUGHT IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE FOCUS AS A CITY IN TERMS OF NEW BONDING OR NEW SPENDING ON THE FISCAL STABILITY BOND, PUTTING OUR FINANCES IN ORDER. I SAID FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE CAMPAIGN, THAT WOULD BE MY PRIORITY AND THAT IS MY PRIORITY NOW AND THAT'S WHY I DIDN'T FEEL IT WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE TO TRY TO BITE OFF THE ENTIRE ENHANCEMENT RIGHT NOW. AGAIN, THE GOOD NEWS IS I DON'T THINK WE HAVE TO. WE HAVE TWO TO THREE YEARS WORTH OF FUNDING AVAILABLE TO US WITH BALLOT ITEMS TWO AND THREE IF THOSE PASS AND THAT WILL ALLOW US TO MAKE GREAT PROGRESS TOWARDS THAT GREAT VISION OF AN IMPROVED BIKE PATH STWLOOR YOU HAPPY WITH THE JOB OF THE BURLINGTON POLICE CHIEF?

>> I AM ABSOLUTELY -- I THINK MIKE IS AN OUTSTANDING POLICE CHIEF. I THINK WE'RE VERY LUCKY TO HAVE HIM AND I THINK HE'S DOING A GREAT JOB, ABSOLUTELY.

>> NO CONCERNS?

>> NO. I -- YOU KNOW, I -- I'M NOT QUITE SURE WHAT YOU ARE GETTING AT, KRISTEN. I THINK HE'S DOING A GREAT JOB, HE'S ONE OF THE MOST RESPECTED PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY. I THINK HE HAD A DIFFICULT SITUATION WITH THIS JULY 29th INCIDENT, WHICH I'M -- YOU KNOW, THERE ARE PEOPLE I KNOW WHO DO DISAGREE WITH THAT, BUT AS SOMEONE WHO WORKED CLOSELY WITH HIM THROUGH THAT, MIKE HAS MY FULL SUPPORT AND I FEEL VERY FORTUNATE THAT HE'S A MEMBER OF THE TEAM.

>> WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT BEING MAYOR DURING THOSE PROTESTS?

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION. IT WAS AN IMPORTANT WEEKEND, IMPORTANT EVENT. I -- YOU KNOW, WHAT THAT SHOWED ME WAS WE HAD A NUMBER OF COMPETING -- REALLY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS THAT WERE AT STAKE, THAT WERE AT STAKE OVER THE COURSE OF THE DAY. FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO BE CLEAR, THAT WEEKEND WAS IN MANY WAYS A GREAT SUCCESS. THAT PROTEST THAT OVER 500 PEOPLE PARTICIPATED IN, THE POLICE DID A GREAT JOB OF FACILITATING A PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION AND PROTEST. THEY WORKED HARD, AS I THINK THE REPORTS THAT HAVE COME OUT SINCE SHOW, TO MAKE SURE THAT PROTESTERS WERE ABLE TO SAFELY PROTEST THROUGHOUT THE DAY IN A VARIETY OF VENUES, AND WHAT HAPPENED THERE AT THE END OF THE DAY WAS UNFORTUNATE AND I THINK THERE HAS BEEN A FAIR AMOUNT OF REFLECTION ON IT AND I THINK IT'S SOMETHING WE ALL HOPE DOESN'T HAPPEN AGAIN, AND YOU KNOW, I APPRECIATE THE WORK OF THE POLICE FORCE AND THE POLICE COMMISSION IN LOOKING AT THE EVENTS OF THAT DAY AND LAYING OUT SOME POLICY IDEAS FOR THE FUTURE.

>> SO WHAT DID YOU LEARN AS MAYOR?

>> WHAT DID I LEARN? YOU KNOW, I LEARNED THAT THE PUBLIC IS LOOKING TO THE POLICE AND THE MAYOR'S OFFICE TO UPHOLD BOTH THE RIGHTS OF PROTESTERS TO FREE SPEECH. I THINK IT'S CERTAINLY SOMETHING WE HOLD VERY DEARLY AND DEEPLY AS A DEEP VALUE IN BURLINGTON, BUT WE ALSO HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY THAT VISITORS OF THIS COMMUNITY BE ABLE TO GET ABOUT THE CITY AND MOVE AND I GUESS ONE OF THE THINGS I LEARNED IS THAT'S A DIFFICULT BALANCE TO GET RIGHT AT TIMES AND, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, I'M SATISFIED WITH THE WORK THE POLICE DID TO ACHIEVE THAT BALANCE.

>> SO DO YOU THINK BALANCE WAS ACHIEVED THAT SOMEDAY? YOU THINK HOW IT WAS HANDLED WAS APPROPRIATE?

>> YOU KNOW, I'M EAGER TO SEE WHAT THE REPORT FROM THE POLICE COMMISSION ULTIMATELY SAYS. THERE ARE STILL REPORTS TO COME OUT THAT WILL, I THINK, SPEAK TO THIS. FROM MY SENSE --

>> YOU'RE WAITING FOR THE POLICE REPORT TO DECIDE?

>> I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THINGS I MISSED OR POINTS, AGAIN, MADE THAT I HAVEN'T OVERLOOKED, BUT I THINK IT'S QUITE CLEAR THAT THE ACTIONS THAT THE POLICE TOOK WERE LAWFUL AND WERE APPROPRIATE. I THINK THE INTERESTING QUESTIONS THAT THE POLICE COMMISSION IS SPEAKING TO AND THAT THE POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT IS TRYING TO SUGGEST IS ARE THERE CHANGES IN POLICY THAT WE SHOULD BE MAKING TO PREPARE FOR FUTURE DEMONSTRATIONS, AND YOU KNOW, THEY FOUND A FEW EXAMPLES THAT THERE CLEARLY ARE THINGS WE SHOULD DO DIFFERENTLY IN THE FUTURE. THERE WAS, YOU KNOW, SOME OF THE CONTAINERS THAT HELD THE -- RUBBER PALLETS, FOR EXAMPLE, HAD -- SEEMED TO BE EXPIRED BY WHAT WAS PRINTED ON THE LABEL. THERE WERE MANUFACTURER'S INSTRUCTIONS, HOW THEY WERE BEING USED, BUT THERE WAS CONFUSION AND CONCERN CREATED BY THAT AND THAT SHOULDN'T HAPPEN AGAIN. I THINK ONE OF THE MAIN FINDINGS IS THAT WENT THINGS GOT TO THE POINT WHERE ARRESTS NEEDED TO BE MADE, POLICE DID NOT HAVE THE FORCE ON HAND ABLE TO MAKE THOSE ARRESTS AND ABLE TO MAKE THOSE ARRESTS IN AN ORGANIZED AND SUCCINCT MANNER AND THAT LED TO THE PROBLEMS THAT WE SAW. SO THAT IS PROBLEM THAT WILL BE CORRECTED IN THE FUTURE. I THINK THERE ARE PROBABLY A COUPLE OTHER POLICY ITEMS THAT WHEN THIS THING IS ALL SORTED OUT, WE'LL HAVE ADDITIONAL POLICY TERMS TO PUT IN SH BUT THOSE AR COUPLE OF ONES THAT WE HAVE LEARNED FROM WHAT HAPPENED.

>> WHAT IS THE ADMINISTRATION'S CURRENT THINKING ON BURLINGTON TELECOM? OBVIOUSLY MANY OF THE FINANCIAL ISSUES THE CITY IS DEALING WITH IS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE CITY'S LOAN OF $17 MILLION. IS BURLINGTON TELECOM SOMETHING WE WON'T HAVE AN ANSWER TO AS TO WHETHER OR NOT IT STAYS IN PUBLIC VERSUS PRIVATE OWNERSHIP UNTIL THE LAWSUITS ARE SETTLED?

>> THERE IS NO DOUBT, KYLE, THAT RESOLVING THE LAWSUIT ONE WAY OR ANOTHER IS CRITICAL TO COMPLETELY PUTTING BURLINGTON AT THE LE COM BEHIND US. I DO THINK THE FISCAL STABILITY BOND WE TALKED ABOUT EARLIER DOES ADDRESS PART OF THE BURLINGTON TELECOM SITUATION IN THAT IT ENSURES THAT THE $17 MILLION THAT WASN'T SPENT -- THAT WAS SPENT BY THE PRIOR ADMINISTRATION, THAT THAT NOT CREATE LARGER PROBLEMS, FINANCIAL PROBLEMS FOR THE CITY IN AND OF ITSELF, AND THAT'S WHY I THINK IF THE -- WITH THE PASSAGE OF THE FISCAL STABILITY BOND, WE WILL HAVE PARTIALLY PASSED THAT PIECE OF BURLINGTON TELLEY COM.

>> AS FAR AS AN ULTIMATE RESOLUTION OF WHAT HAPPENS TO THE GAEN, I CAN SAY THAT, IT'S A DIFFICULT THING TO TALK ABOUT BECAUSE OF THE ONGOING LAWSUITS AND IT'S FRUSTRATING NOT AND ABLE TO SAY MORE, BUT WE SEE THE RESOLUTION OF BURLINGTON TELECOM AS THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE WITHIN THE CITY AND WE'RE TREATING IT THAT WAY. THERE'S A GREAT FOCUS WITHIN THE CITY AMONG MANY DIFFERENT TEAM MEMBERS WORKING TOWARDS GETTING IT RESOLVED AND IT'S NOT SOMETHING WE FULLY CONTROL. THERE ARE OTHER PARTIES INVOLVED, BUT IF THERE IS A WAY TO GET IT RESOLVED QUICKLY, WE'LL FIND IT.

>> KIT REMAIN A PUBLIC ENTITY OR DOES IT NEED A PRIVATE INVESTOR AT THIS POINT?

>> I THINK THAT IS CLEAR. LET ME SAY FOR BURLINGTON TELECOM TO REFLANE A VIABLE ENTITY, THERE NEEDS TO BE SOME KIND OF PRIVATE PARTNER. THERE IS NOT PUBLIC SUPPORT. I CERTAINLY DON'T SUPPORT INVESTING FURTHER PUBLIC MONEY IN THE -- SORT OF SPECULATING, IF YOU WILL, ON THE FUTURE OF A TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY. I DON'T THINK IT WAS APPROPRIATE THAT THAT'S WHAT WAS DONE WITH THE $17 MILLION SEVERAL YEARS AGO AND I DON'T THINK -- I CERTAINLY WOULDN'T SUPPORT ANY FURTHER COMPARABLE INVESTMENT AND IT'S CLEAR INVESTMENT NEEDS TO BE MADE. SOMEONE IS GOING TO NEED TO CONTINUE TO INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADES AND SOME KIND OF PARTNER IS NEEDED TO RESOLVE THE FINANCIAL SITUATION. SO IN THAT SENSE, I THINK IT IS CLEAR THAT THERE'S A PRIVATE PARTNER OF SOME SORT NECESSARY. THAT SAID, THERE WILL BE AN ATTEMPT THERE, IT IS MY HOPE THAT WE CONTINUE TO HAVE SOME KIND OF ONGOING ROLE IN THE MANAGEMENT, IN AT LEAST A PUBLIC VOICE IN WHERE THE COMPANY GOES FROM HERE AND THAT'S SOMETHING I TALK ABOUT, YOU KNOW, MANY PEOPLE TALKED ABOUT THROUGH THE CAMPAIGN AND I THINK THERE'S CONSENSUS AND IF POSSIBLE, I WOULD LIKE TO MAINTAIN THAT.

>> SOMETHING ELSE, SWITCHING TOPICS, ARE YOU HAVING ANY TALKS ABOUT A NEW ICE ARENA?

>> I WOULD NOT SAY WE'RE HAVING ANY FORMAL TALKS. YOU KNOW, LIKE ANYONE AROUND TOWN, I'VE HEARD OF THOUGHTS OVER TIME ABOUT A NEW ARENA THERE. I'M LISTENING TO PEOPLE, AGAIN, BUT THERE'S NO FORMAL FOCUS RIGHT NOW ON THAT ARENA. IT WOULD BE AN EXCITING THING IF THEY FIND A WAY TO MOVE FORWARD ON IT AND WE'D BE, YOU KNOW, INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH THEM TO UNDERSTAND WHAT ITS IMPACTS ON BURLINGTON WOULD BE, BUT THERE'S NOTHING ONGOING RIGHT NOW.

>> SOMETHING PEOPLE MAY HAVE SEEN IF THEY'RE AROUND BURLINGTON IS A SPORT CALLED LONGBOARDING THAT PEOPLE DO. FOR PEOPLE THAT DON'T KNOW, IT'S SLIEK A SKATEBOARD BUT LONGER. THERE'S BEEN SOME VERY TRAGIC ACCIDENTS AROUND LONGBOARDING. DO YOU THINK IT'S A SAFE SPORT FOR THE STREETS OF BURLINGTON?

>> IT WAS A TRAGIC ACCIDENT AND I THINK IT SHOWED THAT THERE ARE REAL RISKS TO IT. I THINK IT SHOWED THAT THE RULES OF THE ROAD NEED TO BE OBSERVED BY PEOPLE ON VEHICLES, ON BURLINGTON STREETS NO MATTER WHAT MODE OF TRANSPORTATION THEY'RE USING AND I DO THINK A PROBLEM WITH LONGBOARDING IS THAT THEY'RE NOT OBSERVED ROUTINELY BY PEOPLE WHO ARE PARTICIPATING IN THAT. IT'S, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, A TRAGEDY WHAT HAPPENED AND I THINK THERE'S SOME ATTENTION TO AN IMPORTANT ISSUE AND I THINK IT'S ONE THAT THERE ARE DISCUSSION IN COMMITTEES IN VARIETY PARTS OF THE CITY WHAT WE DO IT. IT'S NOT OBVIOUS WHAT YOU DO IT, BUT IT'S CERTAINLY A CONCERN.

>> HAVE YOU SEEN PEOPLE DOING IT AND BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR SAFETY?

>> SURE. I LIVE RIGHT DOWNTOWN AND I WALK AROUND THE DOWNTOWN TO AND FROM WORK EACH DAY, AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S CLEARLY A POPULAR SPORT. I CAN SEE WHY. IT LOOKS FUN, BUT, YOU KNOW, IT -- WE CAN'T HAVE PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, CREATING RISKS FOR THEMSELVES OR FOR OTHERS BY NOT OBSERVING THE RULES OF THE ROAD AND THIS HAS BROUGHT ATTENTION TO THAT.

>> WE HAVE ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT. WE SPENT MUCH OF THE HALF HOUR DISCUSSING THE FISCAL MEASURES ON THIS NOVEMBER'S BALLOT. HAS THERE BEEN ANY CONTINGENCY PLANNING IF ANY OF THOSE MEASURES DON'T PASS?

>> ABSOLUTELY, KYLE. I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND, IF BALLOT NUMBER ONE DOESN'T PASS, IT DOESN'T MEAN THE PROBLEMS GO AWAY. WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. THE OTHER OPTIONS INVOLVE VERY SIGNIFICANT CUTS IN SERVICES OR POTENTIALLY OTHER -- TRYING TO SECURE ADDITIONAL NUMBERS IN ANOTHER WAY. WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE FISCAL STABILITY BOND IS THAT IT EVENS OUT THE PAIN OF THE ISSUE OVER 15 YEARS INSTEAD OF TRYING TO ADDRESS IT ALL AT ONCE.

>> MAYOR WEINBERGER, WE HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE.

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