Last night, Max was unable to attend the Wards 2 & 3 NPA meeting due to a work conflict. He had Elijah Bergman read the following statement:
I first want to thank everyone for being here tonight. Unfortunately, I have an unavoidable work conflict that prevents me from participating in tonight’s discussion of neighborhood issues. However, I wanted to share a little about myself and the perspective that I will bring to the city council.
I live over on Greene Street and I work as an admission counselor at UVM where I have been a strong advocate for livable wages and unionization. As some of you may remember, I ran for city council two years ago and lost by about a dozen votes. While it’s tough to lose by such a slim margin, my love for, and dedication to, Burlington were only deepened by the weeks that I spent going door to door meeting all of the incredible people that call the Old North End home.
It was this passion for our community that led me to serve as an advisor to the Community Development Block Grant Board. While on the board, I made sure that neighborhood projects, like a community garden at Barnes, received much needed funding. After seeing the tangible changes that that board was able to bring to the community, I decided to further involve myself by becoming a Public Works Commissioner. Through this position, I have been a consistent supporter of Complete Streets, which, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, is a model that enhances pedestrian and bike safety through the addition of traffic calming measures as well as bike lanes. Using the streets and sidewalks of the Old North End as my classroom, I have learned a tremendous amount about what works in our city and what does not.
I am now fully confident that these experiences will allow me to meet the challenges facing our city in an honest and forthright manner, while also bringing renewed focus to making noticeable improvements to the Old North End. Whether it’s Burlington Telecom, increases in burglaries, or budget shortfalls, our city is facing real challenges; challenges that require creative solutions from city hall.
We cannot, and should not, continue the highly partisan, negative behavior that has marked the city council over the past few years. Instead, we must reach across party lines to bring effective solutions to these challenges without placing an unfair burden on taxpayers.
At the same time, we must not only focus on what is wrong with Burlington. Rather, we need to remember what makes our neighborhood and our city great and build on our strengths. For me, this includes enhancing accessibility by repairing broken sidewalks and adding bike lanes, leveraging CEDO resources to bring more local businesses to the Old North End, providing necessary support to wonderful community events like the Old North End Farmer’s Market and the Ramble, creating more effective community policing strategies to confront public safety concerns, and working with UVM and Champlain College to house more students on-campus.
As your city councilor, I will listen to your opinions and ideas on these issues. I will learn from you. And I will work relentlessly to make a difference in the Old North End and Burlington. Thank you for coming, I look forward to meeting you in person and I hope you have a wonderful night.