City Council warned ‘foot traffic is down and their sales are dropping’ in downtown businesses

By Michael Bielawski

Several residents during the public speaking portion of the Nov. 6 Burlington City Council meeting expressed frustration that the city isn’t getting more proactive in dealing with rising crime rates or a general deteriorating faith in government.

Another resident commented on the poor moral standards in leadership including at the national level, and another says downtown businesses are really being impacted by the public safety crisis.

In all several residents voiced concerns on various social and safety issues and more.

Kelly Devine says downtown city workers need more support

Kelly Devine thanked the city for a recent $100,000 investment in downtown area business. Devine has been executive director for the Burlington Business Association since 2007. 

“People are reporting that foot traffic is down and their sales are dropping over the period from the same time last year,” she said. “And specifically they talk about public safety concerns as it relates to their employees and people being afraid to walk to and from their car, people quitting jobs over not feeling safe.”

She continued that she would like to see at least half of the money dedicated to protecting downtown employees.

“I would say my one piece of feedback is that it wasn’t clear in the memo about the safety program for downtown workers. I know that it’s a top priority for us and for those with businesses downtown and those who want to visit and come to downtown.”

Stephen Whittaker wants more response from the Council

Resident Stephen Whittaker was upset about a lack of response from the board to his numerous inquiries about safety matters.

“I am bringing public safety issues before you and you are not putting them on the agenda,” he said to the board. “I made three calls to you in October and you did not respond to one of them.”

He talked about how conditions at the harbor marina are hurting the homeless.

“Keeping people out of the bathrooms, not policing the plaza, not emptying the trash, leaving the needles and the rubbers, etc.,” he said. “… You are aggravating the emergency of the unhoused by shutting down all the outdoor bathrooms for the season and removing the trash cans where the joggers and the dog walkers put their pet waste. You are aggravating the despair of the unhoused, the hopelessness, and the addiction.”

He also suggested that the city has been too slow to respond to accusations of open-meeting law violations.

Todd Lacroix says poor Democrat leadership is making Trump popular again

Todd Lacroix expressed that the current leadership is morally bankrupt.

“Why do we have children who have lost their minds? Because we have leaders and parents who don’t care and are morally and spiritually bankrupt. Why do people not care? Because they’ve been taught to not care.”

He then commented on the questionable mental status of President Biden.

“Here we are a country very, very, very divided. And we right now have a scenario of what appears to be a senile person in charge, doesn’t even know where he is half the time, and everybody is acting like it’s OK.”

He also noted that Trump is leading Biden in the latest national polls and that the current liberal leadership is taking their positions in power for granted.

“People seem to want Trump back, that Biden and the Democrat’s leadership right now is so disastrous that Trump is doing better in the polls. Why is that you ask? You never ask yourself your culpability in causing these circumstances. No, you just crack down on people for talking about it.”

David Maher says to get tougher on low-level drug offenders

Maher suggested that the current policies for dealing with low-level drug dealers and users are too soft and it’s inhibiting their opportunities to get help.

“I’ve heard the police, politicians, and ordinary citizens say we shouldn’t arrest low-level drug dealers and drug users because we want to show kindness and harm reduction, he said.

“Yet time and time again

I’ve heard from people that they only got off drugs and turned their lives around after an encounter with the police. I heard it in this auditorium three weeks ago and I’ve heard it in the news and I’ve heard it firsthand from friends and colleagues.”

He said rehab should be an alternative to prison in some scenarios. He offered a proposal to use a currently underutilized property as a potential rehab center.

“Now you may say that we currently don’t have enough beds available in rehab facilities but I have an idea. The Lyndon State University campus is highly underutilized and has everything needed to create a world-class drug rehabilitation facility. It has dorms, a cafeteria, classrooms, athletic facilities, and so on.”

The author is a reporter for the Vermont Daily Chronicle and the Burlington Daily News

Categories: Burlington

17 replies »

  1. Burlington, some have referred to the Queen City as little Chicago. Some on the city council are responsible for voting a 30% reduction in the Burlington Police Department, are now poised to run for Mayor to see how much more damage they can perform. Numbers to police so low the city had to start asking for State Police support on the weekends in the downtown area. Resident’s no longer feel safe in this city. Vermonter’s close to Burlington avoid the city like the plague. The small turnaround to hire back some Police has been met with the lack of interest. New recruits know they will be in a car alone with no support, facing drug dealers and gang members from out of state. The city doesn’t pay police enough to put themselves in harms way almost daily. BUT, Burlington got what they asked for when they voted the City Councilers a mayor that are are more interested in WOK idealology than safety. I would never live there again !

  2. Generally, politicians don’t actually want solutions. They want our money to throw at it. Becca Balint said it in the House Judiciary Committee meeting on November 6th. She stated, “government budgets are a statement of your values, how we spend money demonstrates what we really care about.” Apparently, that is all that is needed. Then her job is done. I would surmise that about sums up all politicians, no matter who they are and what they say.

    • Re: “..how we spend money demonstrates what we really care about.”

      This would be more accurately stated: “…that we spend money demonstrates what we really care about.”

  3. Reality settling in for the coexist, diversity, equality crowd? The stench of death and despair creeping on their conscience just a tad? Are they realizing they are not safe in the gun-free zones of B-town and elsewhere because the criminals are still armed to the teeth, desparate, and face no consequences for their actions? We haven’t seen the worst – the darkest of days and times is yet to be seen. Head on a swivel everywhere and be aware there is no safe place or space in Pervmont[sic] anymore.

    • Not for a minute do I believe the most vocal leftists are seeing reality. Instead they wish to double down on their failed ideology and punish Burlington residents more, until their brand of socialism finally works.
      What I do see happening, is that the elitists are recognizing the failure of their latest woke experiments. Burlington used to be a pace where the “in” crowd could go for cocktails, dinner, shows and shopping- Church St. was a model of faux progressivism on display- made possible by the capitalism that paid to make it work.
      Now, Burlington is a shambles- primarily due to progressive policies and progressive politicians (many whom are abandoning ship, and not seeking re-election) Lawlessness is encouraged, Policing became a dirty word in 2020.
      Policy enacted to actually enhance the drug trade in Chittenden County, Homelessness becoming the new cause de celebe for the left to rally around, not understanding that their politics, world view and politicians were and remain the causation.
      No ma’am, Burlington has farther to sink before enough residents will become alarmed enough to look past the nirvana promised by the liberal left- and see these policies for what they are- Unworkable fantasy, based on socialist/totalitarian worldview as spoon- fed to them by celebrity politicians and political grifters.
      Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad and Mayor weinberger have both public stated that firing a gun in public should become a felony charge. I ask, why? There appears no enforcement of current laws by the Chittenden County States Atty-
      Why bother with making stronger penalties for crimes that are not currently prosecuted? In fact, CCSA sarah george seems so reluctant to prosecute crime that charges are now being brought on the federal level. ( research eric edson and others) Why? Because Chittenden County voters re-elected this ineffective liberal to office, re-affirming her actions as acceptable.
      Until something so heinous finally shocks voters, all of Vermont will continue down this socialist rabbit hole. That is, if votes still matter…

      • they want to avoid the shock, little by little, you won’t notice the change, between our indoctrination system and propaganda system…..we do have systemic oppression…….if they can only keep us fighting about the latest new thing……they can quickly implement their plans….

        Loving your neighbor is kryptonite to the uniparty, they want us fighting over Turkey dinner next week, it’s their plan, it works…..

  4. My sister-in-law who works on church street has some interesting photos. Needles on the street like discarded soda cans.

    So who does this benefit? Why would somebody promote drug use? Why has it become more prevalent when it’s always been available, WHAT has changed?

    It’s a multi-faceted front.

    Who makes money?
    Drug producers
    Drug dealers
    Drug enforcement
    Drug rehab programs run by government.

    Who loses?
    Everybody doing drugs. Families. Entire neighborhoods. Entire countries.

    Sun Tzu and Rules for Radicals are wonderful books for study, along with a Study Bible, with these 3 books you can clearly see what is good and what is bad in the world, how they are working against and for our country, family and personal well-being.

    The highest form of warfare is to take over a country without firing a single shot. One might study a bit of history and notice a parallel line between the opium wars of the 1850’s where England shipped opium to China and brought a thriving nation to its knees and what is happening currently in the us, with a pipeline of drugs from china, through mexico to our people.

    Drugs are not a way to build a person, family or country. It’s like saying business is booming after a natural disaster, no it’s not booming, you’re spending your life rebuilding something you already had and could have been doing something more productive with your life, even if it’s playing tidily winks, still far more productive.

    Why would Montpelier do what they are doing? Why are they not changing course to more productive life?

    Who does Montpelier represent?

    You can tell a tree by it’s fruit. What fruit are they bearing?

  5. I love how they keep blaming covid for businesses struggling in downtown Burlington. Is Essex immune to the remnants of lock downs? It seems that Burlington businesses are moving that way.

    • The COVID panic can be blamed for the employment market, but not for people being shy about not wanting to bring their 12-year old shoe shopping in Burlington.

  6. The voters are to blame for this!! The inexperienced, non- researchers, liberals, so called progressives, and lazy” mark anything on the ballot” voters. We must stop this ballot harvesting and vote in person! That way people will come who want to make a difference. Reserve absentee ballots for requests if elderly or sick. Our freedom is being compromised by the few with loud voices and dark money!! Wake up!!

  7. You vote garbage in – you get garbage out. I used to look forward to shopping on Church Street. Haven’t been there in five years or more. Even the South Burlington University Mall is so quiet a place you could put a library there. 😂 RIP Burley-Town.

  8. These residents of Burlington and Business leaders might as well have been speaking mandarin. These Progressive City council rulers simply don’t understand the need for safety in the community (unless , of course, it’s for their own well being). Anyone considering buying property or starting/moving a business into Burlington really needs an intervention.

  9. I haven’t shopping in burlington over 8 years ago and don’t care if I ever return to that once wonderful little college town that boornie mittens sanders along with his minions and progressive moonbats destroyed. I feel very bad for the merchants who invested their life savings and livelihood into a decaying dying town like boornieville. Wake up Vermont because our legislature is filled with these very same idiotic progressives who have also destroyed our once lovely quite state.

  10. If I was a ceo of a business and that one of my companies was failing I would take a visit to see what the issue is, so with that being said, what the hell is our governor doing about btv? I’m I wrong in thinking that phil should be looking into this or is he just turning a blind eye. Let me know your thoughts…

  11. What would you expect, homeless on every corner and camped out on any green piece within the city, along with drugs, and now Burlington is leading the nation in gun crime per capita……….outstanding work Mayor and your gaggle of fools, that would be the city council, yes the same ones that hate the police !!

    The Queen City is now The Cesspool City…………………. Outstanding Liberals.

  12. I don’t live in Vermont, but I like visiting the state. I have a lot of family in southern New England. And I’ve watched in curiosity/horror as Vermont has had ten homicides or so in the last couple months, including the murder of an elderly college professor on a trail and the latest double murder in Burlington.

    Vermont, rural, homogeneous and known for skiing and maple syrup, should be the safest state in America. Instead, its murder rate last year was the second worst in New England, worse than much more diverse states like Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

    I’d arguably feel more safe walking around the Bronx than on Burlington now. Something is seriously wrong in Vermont, even compared to other liberal northeast states. Republicans there need to propose tougher sentences for drug trafficking, more cops, more jails, and a limiting of refugee settlement. I think they’d get support.