The Socialist Mayor: Bernard Sanders in Burlington, Vermont

By Steven Soifer | Go to book overview

problems in the Burlington area--especially from South Burlington to downtown--a case can be made that the new road will only make matters worse. Said one progressive critic:

The Southern Connector is going to bring in more cars; it will make it easy for the cars to come into a very congested downtown area. What you have here is an attempt to introduce another new highway into the city. The more highways you build the more cars you bring in; you [don't] reduce traffic, you encourage it.

Other alternatives--such as car pooling and public transportation from the outskirts of Burlington--were not seriously considered, according to this critic.

The long-term development consequences of building the road are unclear. It will certainly change the shape of the city in the very near future. One peace activist said:

The Southern Connector is like an add-a-pearl necklace sort of thing. . . . Once you start urban renewal you have to make a hotel and you have to have a department store and you have to have the connector and you have to have the waterfront and it just has to all happen or else none of it thrives. And that [the Southern Connector] was one of the pearls that had to be added.


CONCLUSION

An analysis of the Alden waterfront plan and the Southern Connector highway project points up an overall weakness on Sanders's part concerning development-related issues. Although Sanders's rhetoric seems slanted toward a growth socialist perspective, there appears to be little clarity or consensus within the administration on what a nonreformist reform or socialist development policy would really look like.

We must ask how the Sanders administration's economic development policies differ from a traditional capitalist approach. If there is little or no difference, then we must further ask if this is due to the structural constraints in the system or to other factors. While decisions such as the construction of a highway and the development of waterfront property cannot necessarily be put along a socialist/ nonsocialist continuum, the type of development and the kind of growth encouraged by municipal socialists is an important issue.

Sanders's statements on development, as discussed early in this chapter, would seem to indicate obvious differences between his ap-

-88-

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The Socialist Mayor: Bernard Sanders in Burlington, Vermont
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Historical Background and Theoretical Framework on Socialist Municipalities 1
  • 2 - Burlington, Bernard Sanders, and the Progressive Coalition 13
  • 3 - Local Government and City Finances in Burlington 39
  • Conclusion 60
  • 4 - Development and Growth Issues and the Sanders Administration 61
  • Conclusion 88
  • 5 - Citizen Participation, Democracy, and the Neighborhoods 91
  • Conclusion 117
  • 6 - The Question of Ownership Under Municipal Socialism 119
  • Conclusion 141
  • 7 - Taxes and the Redistribution of Wealth 142
  • Conclusion 171
  • 8 - Quality-Of-Life Issues and the Sanders Administration 174
  • Conclusion 204
  • 9 - Central America: Sanders and the Peace Movement 206
  • Conclusion 222
  • 10 - Conclusion 224
  • 11 - Epilogue 238
  • Notes 243
  • Selected Bibliography 273
  • Index 275
  • About the Author 287
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