Posted by Charity on February 23rd, 2006

Last night, I watched the end of the mayoral debate on channel 17. (I watched the beginning on the night it aired live.) As I watched, I came to the conclusion that I had hoped I would never reach – I have to place my second place vote for Hinda Miller.

I dislike what I have seen of Miller so much that I think it will actually cause me physical pain to fill in the oval next to her name.

First things first, I have never met Hinda Miller and I do not know her personally, or anyone who knows her personally. For all I know she could be the nicest person ever. What I do know about her is that she has a chronic case of foot-in-the-mouth.

I resisted the urge to dislike Miller because of her wealth. I am not the class-warfare type. In fact, entrepreneurial success stories like hers are what make America so great. I do however have a hard time trusting politicians who are not impacted by the property tax situation in Burlington. I hear a lot of the well-off liberals here in the South End of town, who say, “I don’t care how much it costs me in taxes” to ideas that they think will add value to that liberal utopia they picture in their empty heads, paying no mind to the rest of us who struggle to make ends meet by eating boxed macaroni and cheese. (That’s Kraft Dinner for those of you – like Ms. Miller – who hail from our neighbor to the north.)

I knew that I should not hold her success against her – that would make me no better than Bernie Sanders. Besides, there is no shortage of people who have money, but still oppose over-taxation. She could be one, right? So, I decided to listen to her ideas and give her a fair chance.

Strike one: At the wards 2 and 3 NPA (that’s the Old North End), a woman asked Candidate Miller how the voters in the Old North End would know that she understands their struggles, given the fact that she lives in the Hill Section and has lots of money. Her reply? She won’t judge them for where they live, if they don’t judge her for where she lives.

How nice. So does that mean she is judging them for where they live because I can bet you they are judging her. If not for where she lives, then definitely for that remark.

Strike two: Every time the topic of job creation comes up, she touts her experience in creating Jogbra and creating all those jobs. She fails to mention that those jobs (110 of them) left years ago to North Carolina.

Strike three: In an interview on the blog the Vermont Daily Briefing, she made a yoga reference and followed by saying she can’t talk that way usually because people in the New North End would think she is weird.

Get over yourself Ms. Miller; it’s not just hoity-toity rich girls from the Hill Section who understand the concepts of yoga and balance.

There’s more, but you get the point.

I decided that I would not vote for Hinda Miller in any place. I would not be able to bring myself to do it.

Last night it dawned on me that I have to make a second place vote. It comes down to Miller and Kiss. I think both are equally qualified. Miller’s experience with Jogbra and Kiss’ experience at CVOEO bring both similar skill sets.

I think Kiss is more in touch with what struggling people need in this city, in typical Progressive fashion. That was why I was leaning toward him. That true Progressive nature turned out to be his undoing in my book.

This city needs to grow the tax base. That is the one and only thing that is going to solve the financial difficulties this city is facing. I am convinced that Miller knows that far more than Kiss (though neither as much as Curley). I am also afraid that Kiss will continue the Progressive tradition of being against “corporations” and only supporting non-profits. One needs only to look to the City Market debacle to see how that attitude hurts the low-moderate income segment of our city. It does nothing to grow our tax base, either.

So, as hard as it will be to vote for someone who I find snobby and clueless when it comes to dealing with people who are not of her “wealth and social status,” she is the best of the remaining candidates for my second place vote.

9 Responses to “Miller Gets My Second Place Vote”

  1. I’d like to know where the funding for jogbra came from originally. Apparently Miller comes from a big money family, it’s not hard to build a multi-million dollar business if you pour multi-millions of your parents’ money into it.

    I heard she’s been talking about cutting back library hours as a partial solution to the city’s financial problems. Sure, pick one of the only benefits that the severly mistreated nonresident property tax payers might be able to take advantage of. Completely asinine.

    That said, I’ll probably also put her in second. I believe that it’s not just Clavelle that has decimated this city’s pension and retail receipts, to name two of the many problems he’s caused. It’s also his network of buddies that would probably be left in place with a Kiss victory. Hopefully Miller will have the guts to do something about that if she wins.

    All IMHO of course.

  2. You apparently fail to understand that a Shaws in the spot of City Market would only have occurred with a nearly $1 million gift from the city to build a parking garage especially for them. That’s why they did not win in a vote by the voters of Burlington. This leaves my only conclusion to be that you prefer corporate welfare over the wishes of residents.

    But to use Republican logic, debating City Market is a bunch of revisionists trying to rewrite history. On to the mayor’s race….

    So you’re going with the fear vote, eh? Nice work. Do you teach your kids that lesson too? “Now Billy, your liberal Commie teacher will probably only fill your head with left-wing propaganda. Even though we can’t afford it, we’re going to have to send you to a religious private school. That’s why we want the government to give us taxpayer-funded vouchers….”

    All ribbing aside, as a person who knows Bob Kiss, I can say without bias that your fears are unfounded. Kiss is anything BUT a mold of Clavelle. Just talk to a current department head and ask about Clavelle’s style and compare that to Kiss. Clavelle avoids conflict like the plague (or so says the grapevine). Kiss welcomes dissent and hones in on the true nature of a problem.

    I agree that Clavelle seems to have a bag full of cronyism. Bob prefers efficiency over cronyism. For example, he has cited consolidating all the seperate accounting departments into one. Clavelle wouldn’t do it because of the uproar from department heads. It is likely that all three major party candidates would not tolerate that kind of stubbornness.

    This is where the choice of Miller as #2 on the ballot is scary. You’d be going from one set of cronyism to another. Sure, she may clean house… only to create a new house with her own buddies. Given news reports and her obvious out-of-touch reality with the average working person, that’s plain ol’ scary.

    Anyway, don’t take my word for it. Call Bob and ask him yourself what his view is on keeping Clavelle department heads in there. I bet you’ll be surprised.

  3. Actually, you have it backward – the voters did not want City Market. It was our city government that went against the voters’ wishes.

    Another point of error on your part, or at least omission, is where you suggest that only Shaw’s would have required perks form the City. You are forgetting that the City has made concessions to City Market as well.

    Now how does that work in the liberal lexicon? You can’t call it corporate welfare, so what is it? Non-profit welfare? How is that any better?

    I don’t think that my voting choice is based on fear. It is based on the legislative record of the candidates vis-a-vis business interests.

    In my opinion, the only viable solution for the city’s revenue problem is growing the tax base and the best way to do that is to make Burlington more hospitable to business. Their records are clear – Miller would do a better job.

    You bring up a great point about cronyism. In fact, I talk about that in the post I am putting up this morning about why I am voting for Curley.

    Thanks for commenting. I enjoy hearing opposing points of view.

  4. Seconded re: the city market being a complete disaster. The fact that other grocery stores can run free buses that pick up near city market is proof that it’s failed as a market for all downtown residents. Pull the city’s support and they wouldn’t survive a month. I didn’t know anyone was still clinging to the “voters approved it” fable but I guess I’m not surprised.

    If any national publication ever did a true history of City Market as an example of how the Progs ran this city for years, digging up say 25% of the stuff that most people don’t know about, it would immediately undo all of the good PR that burlington got a few years ago. Which is probably why no one here ever talks about it. All IMHO.

  5. Amazing…. You are saying that the City Market option was not approved by voters, eh? You and the other post seem to imply that City Market receive(s) city welfare too – yet you mention zero detail. Typical. At least I gave one piece of evidence to support my thesis. If yours is not revisionist history, I don’t know what is.

    What’s more amazing is how you STILL dwell on this City Market thing? Even if it was the unmasked villain you make it out to be, so what? It’s history. What are you proposing now – tear it down? City-sponsored eminent domain? In which case you would be proposing an undermining of the very business community you commend so boldly. So unless you are about to engage in that kind of discussion, here’s an idea: get over it. Think forward instead of in reverse. Your grudges bring zero benefit to current city issues since the current mayor is (thankfully) leaving the scene.

    As far as the next mayor, I’m contemplating making Curley my second choice behind Kiss. I enjoy Curley’s passion for the city despite his glaring lack of management experience. At least he would care when he messed up (unlike Miller – my impression anyway). Plus, he’d be easier to beat in 3 years than Miller if the freak chance happened that he won. In any case, the next mayor is going to be very unpopular no matter who gets in there. Thanks to Republicans at the national level sending our tax money to Iraq and that hole in the ground known as the Pentagon, local communities are more burdened than ever to support its own infrastructure.

    While I agree that your idea of increasing the tax base would alleviate the city’s woes, the more immediate concerns are in maintaining our infrastructure. We just got over a bunch of sewage draining into the lake, chewed up roads, deteriorating sidewalks, and dwindling alternative transportation options. Bob Kiss is the only one I’ve heard emphasizing these as quality of life issues that, once addressed, will attract the new tax base to the city. Naturally, there are other issues (i.e. affordable housing, waterfront development, pension shortfalls, streamlined government) that are perhaps best saved for another post.

    I enjoy the irony of IRV this year. Republicans were red in the face about how unfair and unconstitutional IRV is (i.e. Kurt Wright). Now, they’re finding that IRV is their best shot at gaining the mayor’s seat. Would the GOP enjoy their crow served rare, medium, or well-done?

    BTW, missed that post about cronyism this morning. Maybe it was implied in the Curley piece (noticeably lacking in overall mayoral exposure, I might add).

  6. 62% of the city’s residents supported Shaw’s by voting for a required bond measure in 2000. The measure received majority support in all seven of the city’s wards.

    Was the City looking for new office space before they swooped in to rent the top floor of the City Market building, just as the project was facing a cash crunch? Did they need new office space at all? Did they inquire anywhere else as to availability and rates?

    Of course that building shouldn’t be torn down, too much tax money went into building it in the first place. What can be done about this today? Any honest audit covering fat in Burlington’s budget is sure to call out that rented space. In fact, look at any money that flows from the City to the City Market on an ongoing basis that isn’t required by previous binding agreements. Pull that and we’ll go from there.

  7. Thanks, anonymous poster. There was also the little matter of the parking lot that the city turned over to City Market that was previously a revenue generating lot for the city. I do not have the numbers of that opportunity loss for the city at this time.

    Look, other anonymous poster, this has gone way off on a tangent that is really not relevant. You are right that the City Market is an issue from the past and there is no way to undo it. I brought it up as an example of why it is bad for the city to intentionally favor non-profits over corporations. It was bad for the city economically speaking and it left the city’s poorest residents with out a viable grocery store. I am looking forward. I am trying to make sure that I do not help elect someone who is likely to make those same kinds of choices.

    So, on the one hand, there is a candidate with a bad legislative record with the business community and on the other hand, there is a candidate with a long list of political debts to pay. Maybe I will just leave the 2nd choice ovals blank.

    BTW, even if the instant run-off voting does lead to a Republican victory, that does not mean it was the right thing to do. With the number of residents who have expressed concern about the new system being too confusing, I think it was implemented too hastily. There will be no crow to eat. Funny thing about us conservatives, if something is wrong, we don’t automatically support it just because it benefits us personally. If that was the case, I would sign up for WIC, I would have taken the earned income tax credit on my tax return, and I would buy a land trust home. I don’t do those things because I do not support them. It’s called principle.

    There are so many other things I would like to address about your post, but I have to get to bed.

  8. I need to clarify my previous comment. I do support WIC for truly needy people; I just think the income limits are too high. Part of the reason our social programs are spread too thin is that they are extended to too many people. If they were reserved for only those who really need it, we would have enough to go around.

  9. One more note re: IRV – if Peter Freyne doesn’t even understand how it works, how is Joe Voter supposed to?

    http://www.sevendaysvt.com/columns.html