Posted by Charity on April 11th, 2007

Jack over at Green Mountain Daily was wondering why the Burlington Dems elected Republican Kurt Wright as City Council President.

Well, let’s ask them. Democrat Ed Adrian of ward 1 had this to say:


Adrian explained why he is voting for Wright in a message he posted on the Buell Street Neighborhood Forum. He said Wright, a state representative as well as councilor, has more experience than Ashe, would offer a balance to the Progressive administration of Mayor Bob Kiss, would be fair, would be unable, as one of just three Republicans on the council, to “stack” council committees, and, Adrian pointed out, Democrats, even with five of them on the council, don’t have a candidate for president this year.

Jack makes the common mistake of assuming that the Democrats and Progressives are part of the same team. That might be true often on state issues and even more so on national issues, but the truth is, the Democrats, Republicans, and Progressives all have distinctly different visions for this city.

If the Democrats had elected a Progressive to lead the City Council, that would have given a notable advantage to the Progressive agenda.

City politics in Burlington is a strange beast. It gives new meaning to the phrase “politics makes strange bedfellows.” There are no clear lines and most issues are decided by unexpected coalitions.

Electing Wright will not give any kind of advantage to the Republicans, who occupy only 3 out of 14 city council seats. It was a smart move, giving the Democrats more influence than electing Ashe would have.

What strikes me about this is the inability of state Democrats to get the city Dems to vote for Ashe. The Free Press report claims that they tried to do so. Obviously they failed.

That is not unlike the legislative experience of the Democratic leadership in Montpelier, which cannot seem to accomplish anything it set out to do, despite having a veto-proof majority in both chambers.

I have to wonder how a party with complete legislative control in the bluest state in the nation cannot seem to get anything done.

I have my own theory, but you are going to have to wait to hear it…

4 Responses to “President Wright”

  1. It was unfortunate Tim Ashe tried to deconstruct his loss in Freyne this week. Better to just congratulate Kurt and leave it alone.

    The civic balance between the mayor and the council is better served this way.

    This is a win-win for the Dems. If Kurt does well, they win. If Kurt screws up, they still win.

  2. “City politics in Burlington is a strange beast. It gives new meaning to the phrase “politics makes strange bedfellows.” There are no clear lines and most issues are decided by unexpected coalitions.”

    That is probably the best analysis I’ve seen yet about Burlington politics. Actually I’d probably say local politics in general. There seems to be less partisanship when government is closer to the people.

  3. It’s hard to believe the Democrats in Burlington feel that the agenda of Kurt Wright is better for Burlington’s citizens than that of Ashe. They’re the one’s who lose, not some political party. They never once thought of their constituents.

  4. Thanks for the kind words, Rednalsi.

    Anonymous, the city council president does not set the agenda in the way that happens in state legislatures and congress. He cannot bury things. All things come to the table for a vote of some sort.