It wasn't just Bernie, himself, aka Mayor Bernie Sanders, elected by 10 votes in a stunning March 1981 upset of incumbent Gordie Paquette (the old bread-truck driver), it was all the people who strode through the doors Bernie opened in the 1980s. All the "new" things, like the notion of fighting for and establishing a "Waterfront for the People," a Mayor's Council on the Arts, and one on Youth (hey, didn't he marry the boss of that one?), a Community and Economic Development Office, noise control on Budweiser Hill, excuse me, in the student ghetto, and much more, including recognizing and respecting the homeless, starting a shelter, getting government grants etc.
Some would say it's become an industry in itself, eh?
Caught Tina and Jamie on the next block across from the Church Street Tavern.
Declined to give last names, though Jamie, 35, said he was a "black sheep" in a certain Burlington "Pearl Street restaurant family."
Tina, 28, said she graduated Lamoille Valley Union High School, and has "lived up and down the East Coast."
Said they got all their stuff stolen from a Burlington campsite about a month ago.
When I asked where the campsite was, all I could get was "towards North Union [Street]."
Tina said they were currently crashing "at a friend's house."
Jamie said they were trying to raise some cash for "a tent and some food." Had collected "about 10 bucks" in two hours.
The cops, they said, had spoken to them. Burlington's "Finest" laid out the ground rules. Were "very friendly."
"We have to stay nine feet from the buildings," said Tina.
"We can't ask for money," she said, "and can't be putting the sign right in people's faces."
"The world's going to crap," said Jamie.
"It's a spiritual thing," said Tina. "You've got to open your heart."
The only person to toss some change into their hat in the 15 minutes I hung around, was a gentleman traveling via motorized wheelchair.
Happy Jazz Fest!