Burlington Activist to Challenge Council President Knodell | Off Message

Burlington Activist to Challenge Council President Knodell

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Genese Grill, center, surrounded by members of the Coalition for a Livable City - FILE: SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • File: Sasha Goldstein
  • Genese Grill, center, surrounded by members of the Coalition for a Livable City
A second member of the Coalition for a Livable City, which opposed the Burlington Town Center redevelopment plan, has stepped forward to challenge Burlington City Council President Jane Knodell. On Tuesday, Genese Grill announced that she will run as an independent for the Central District council seat, which represents the Old North End.*

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Fellow CLC member Tony Redington came up short in his effort to unseat Knodell during the Progressive caucus in mid-December. Now Grill, a 51-year-old artist and German scholar, will take a crack at running to represent Wards 2 and 3, the only two in the city that voted “no” on the mall redevelopment-related ballot measures in November.

Knodell, a Progressive, broke with some members of her party when she voiced her support for the downtown mall redevelopment. That’s put a target on her back for members of the CLC.

Grill, in a statement announcing her candidacy, did not mention the Coalition. But she’s been an outspoken member of the group for much of the last year and plans to run on similar issues.

“Recent initiatives of the administration have pushed private profit agendas upon residents,” Grill said. “This is a campaign for real neighborhood power and real political, ecological, and economic change, not just politics-as-usual, backroom deal-making, token public input, or compromises with powerful private interests.”

Grill, who shares studio space in the South End, contributed artwork and broadsides to CLC’s “vote no” campaign before the November election.
Genese Grill, second from left, and Tony Redington, seated - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • file: matthew thorsen
  • Genese Grill, second from left, and Tony Redington, seated
In her campaign announcement, Grill vowed that she would “advocate for use of city money for community needs such as schools, community centers, sidewalks, parks, and public spaces, rather than dubious public-private partnerships (like the marina) that profit only a few.”

Grill’s fellow CLC member Charles Simpson will run as a Progressive in the South District against incumbent Democratic Councilor Joan Shannon, an outspoken supporter of the mall redevelopment.

The deadline to register with the city as a candidate for the March 7 election is January 30. Democrats are scheduled to hold their nominating caucus on Thursday.

*Correction, January 11, 2017: This post has been updated to clarify the relationship between the Coalition for a Livable City and Grill’s campaign.


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