Wednesday, February 11, 2015

AARP Debate: The Road to Responsible Growth

On Feb. 10, the four mayoral candidates discussed livability, development, transportation and other issues at the Unitarian Church. Below are the opening and closing statements by Greg Guma.

From left: Loyal Ploof, Greg Guma, Steve Goodkind and Miro Weinberger


Thanks. It’s great to be here. I’ve worked and lived in Burlington for decades. And I’m running because we need to change the pace and direction we’re going and growing.

“Then you must be anti-development, anti-business?” No. I‘ve owned and run businesses. I’ve also run the largest progressive media enterprise in the country.

What we need is Responsible growth that protects us from gentrification, that keeps the city livable. Recently I’ve worked with the Open Space movement. As Mayor I’ll convene conservation groups and others to save as much open land as possible.

On the other hand, I’ll be tougher with UVM about taking more responsibility for housing its students. I’ll also restore NPA funding for neighborhood projects and start a process of reforming the commission system.

And I’ll lead when it counts -- to reduce greenhouse emissions, keep BT local, increase wages, prevent F-35 basing, and get the City Council to set standards for partnerships. That’s part of what I think Burlington needs.


What is the job? Just a good manager who keeps the books straight, the ledger black and the doors wide for investors? You could see it that way.
But that isn’t leading. That sounds more like a CEO… and the city isn’t a business or a building project. It’s a community, interdependent, with finite resources. It can’t expand without limits or serve just one value.
How much to grow and for whose benefit. Another Mayor, Peter Clavelle, asked those questions. Now we have to answer them.
That’s why I’m saying we can’t build our way out of problems. We need to engage people, not make government less approachable, and we need solutions that balance efficiency with democracy and growth with fairness.
Preservation and change. Preserve our traditions, our values, our resources – natural and human -- but change the way we do business.
I’m asking for your support to help me do that for the place I love. Thank you.

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