Another contender has entered the race to become Burlington’s next mayor, but it’s a rather uninspiring development.
by Kolby LaMarche
On Thursday, beneath a large and wildly unnecessary tent, Burlington City Council President Karen Paul declared her candidacy for mayor.
Paul has pledged to leverage her over a decade and a half years of experience in government. In nearly every interview she has done, Paul says she is the only one who can “hit the ground running”.
But in a Burlington run by Paul, it will be the residents who hit the ground running, far, far away from here.
Truthfully, Karen Paul has the personality of a wet rag and a political IQ which sits comfortably at room temperature.
Her campaign sign is life-draining and cheap. And her campaign itself lacks any substantive plan or vision.
For those of you, and I know there are many of you, thinking “Well, it’s better than a Progressive!” Is it really?
In the next many months ahead you are bound to hear Paul’s loquacious voice talking on about how public safety is the top priority for the city. She isn’t wrong. But you shouldn’t forget her role in all of this.
In the summer of 2020, Paul caved to societal pressure and put politics above public safety. Despite three of her Democratic colleagues voting against a resolution to cut the Burlington Police Department through attrition, Paul sought to capitalize on the swell of activity which followed the death of George Floyd.
Paul, in supporting this resolution, aided in the demoralization of our Burlington police, directed the city terminate all school resource officers, and set up a commission to explore race-based reparations, among other things.
As once Paul saw political opportunity in risking the City’s public safety, Paul now sees opportunities in politically exploiting the crisis she helped create.
Need I remind you of President Paul’s failure in leadership on the council? How she said “yeah” approvingly as a Burlingtonian’s civil liberties were forcefully taken away?
On Tuesday, Seven Days released an article on Paul’s candidacy. In response to Seven Day’s asking about her platform, “Paul declined to share her campaign platform until her formal announcement on Thursday.”
It’s Saturday, folks. And I have yet to see a platform.
Lucky for us, Paul has her official campaign website for mayor, and she has an issues page. Oh, wait. It says here that it hasn’t been updated since 2020. How inspiring.
Burlington is in crisis.
23.8% of Burlingtonians are living in poverty, with many more tightening their budgets. The price of rent and food continue to grow. Potholes litter the roads, viciously ripping through vehicles. Business is flocking like geese out of Burlington as incidents of crime spiral out of control.
Silent (and silenced) Burlingtonians need a vision for the future which nourishes them with renewed hope and gives them a true sense of agency over their future.
This city yearns for leadership which carries along with it bold and fresh ideas. Someone who has the mental capability to separate politics from policy. A leader who is willing to take accountability. One who serves the people of Burlington and not the interests of political cliques or special interests.
Unfortunately, at this moment, I do not see a candidate that fits those requirements.
Burning Sky is dedicated to providing critique and commentary on the issues of the day from an unapologetic perspective, fueling change in the heart of Vermont. Authored by Kolby LaMarche every Saturday.