Bumped into the Progressive mayor of the Queen City of Burlington, Vermont at College and Church on Wednesday [after 5 pm]. He was returning to city hall carrying his freshly-purchased Valentine’s Day rose.
Some might think that now that he’s hauling in the biggest paycheck of his life, he’d spring for a full dozen, but, hey, these Progressives are frugal. They're not in it for the money. It's the thought that counts.
Fortunately, "Freyne Land" had the camera and tape recorder in the backpack and the mayor of the largest city in the Green Mountain State, Mayor Bob Kiss, had a few minutes for a little impromptu street-corner presser.
Freyne: The rose is going to who, may we ask?
Mayor Bob Kiss: A good friend of mine. A very good friend of mine.
Freyne: Care to share with the people of Burlington just who? No? Gonna keep it a secret?
KISS: Of course. Always a secret (he said with a smile and a wee blush).
Freyne: How many Valentine’s Days as mayor of Burlington?
KISS: This will probably be my second as mayor.
Freyne: How’s it going?
KISS: Good. I think we’re continuing to make progress in the city of Burlington.
Freyne: People ask me all the time - What’s the mayor doing? You’re kinda quiet, eh? That’s the perception. I’m not in City Hall like the old days. So, Mayor, what are you doing?
KISS: As a mayor and as a city we’re continuing to do good work and I think making Burlington a better place. One thing I want to talk about are items on the ballot in March.
Freyne: What’s the No. 1 thing? You only get time for one. What’s the most important item?
KISS: Most important is passing the Burlington Electric bond issue - $39.6 million. I think that really has a long-term benefit to the city.
Freyne: To do what?
KISS: It protects the security and reliability of the power in the City of Burlington. In addition, it buries the lines on the Waterfront. Right now power can come in, but without the loop, we could potentially go dark in order to keep the rest of the state lit. With the VELCO loop, that wouldn’t be the reality. We’ll be able to provide power to the city itself.
Freyne: Voters don’t know anything about that. I haven’t heard about it.
KISS: Well, it’s on the ballot. Another is...
Freyne: You only get one. OK, one more. [I'm a nice guy.]
KISS: A “yes” vote on redeveloping, reusing the Moran Power Plant. No matter what, the building is an important resource for the city of Burlington. Power plants have been redeveloped around the United States and the world successfully, and I think Moran is definitely in a place [on the Waterfront] to do that.
Freyne: A lot of people say, let’s just knock it down.
KISS: Well, I think it’s because they haven’t looked at the reality of the building. You know the industry itself now describes these buildings with interior cathedral space - that’s what we’ve got - five stories of interior space in a building that was built to last forever.
Freyne: Times change. Decriminalizing marijuana didn’t even get on the Burlington ballot. We’re the Woodstock Generation. People ask me, Mayor, what happened?