We are in the midst of a public safety crisis. I propose coordinated, community-based action using city, state and federal resources to create innovative and bold solutions to this multifaceted crisis.
The Paul Action Plan for Public Safety – in three parts – is founded on researched principles of crime deterrence and harm reduction, and is in line with the 2021 Police Rebuilding Plan approved by the City Council and with ongoing plans for our downtown. I ask that you stand with me and work with me for Burlington’s future.
You can read my comprehensive Public Safety Plan here.
Karen has supported every economic development and housing initiative as a City Councilor. Karen championed a plan for downtown development with a roadmap for taller buildings and waterfront connectivity to our downtown core that we know today as planBTV, Burlington’s comprehensive development plan that includes a plan around housing, transportation, inclusivity, and connectivity.
Housing is key to our future success as a city. From the creation of planBTV including working with Planning staff to support HUD financing for this plan in 2011 to supporting CityPlace since inception and voting in favor of every aspect of the South End Innovation District in 2023, Karen has supported increased housing from lower income to workforce and market rate housing.
Going forward, Karen will continue to support the Neighborhood Code which will encourage more “neighborhood-scale” multi-unit housing options. It will build upon neighborhood unique patterns, allow for more homes in lower density areas and support options for residents of varying income levels, ages, and abilities in existing neighborhoods.
Going forward, Karen will continue to support making the building of Accessory Dwelling Units more commonplace, which allows community members to age in place, moving into a smaller residence while maintaining their home either for a family member or as another housing unit.
Going forward, Karen supports decreasing barriers to promote cottage homes on larger lots. This will allow for higher affordability and appeal to many older residents wanting to streamline their lives as well as younger community members who wish to achieve home ownership and live closer to the city center.
Going forward, one of Karen’s priorities will be expanding the successful model of planBTV with a. plan for the New North End and Old North End, following the Downtown and Waterfront and the South End plans.
A significant part of the affordability challenge is the cost of housing. It is exciting that a great deal of housing will be created in the next few years, particularly in the downtown core. Access to services, being near mass transit, and living in a walkable area, will all contribute to greater availability of daily needs. In addition, density alleviates climate change, and can lower the cost of living.
Karen often uses the twitter hashtag #commUnity because to her, community can’t exist without unity. Giving back is synonymous with Karen’s background and commitment to our city.
During COVID, faced with trying to think of how to give back, as there were too many Burlingtonians, and those outside our city, who were struggling in such uncertain times, Karen created the first South End Food Pick-up in April 2020. From that first food pickup, Karen organized a food pickup one Saturday each month until the end of 2021. Together with many community partners, these food pickups brought needed produce, food staples, household items and food gift cards to neighbors in need. These food pickups gave away over 3,500 bags of groceries to hundreds of Vermonters. All food was either donated or neighbors contributed to these food pickups with cash donations and by helping on the day of these community events.
Spurred by her experience seeing food insecurity through the interactions at the food pickups, a community member expressed an interest to Karen in what has become the Fines for Food program.
The mission of Fines for Food is to create a positive experience while resolving overdue tickets, unlock overdue or lost revenue to fund City services and, most importantly, to take concrete action to address food insecurity in our community. This program has brought in just under $40,000 a year to Feeding Chittenden.
CLIMATE ACTION AND TRANSPORTATION
We know that climate change is real, that it is man-made, and it poses a great threat to our planet and its inhabitants. In 2019, Karen was a sponsor of a resolution recognizing that a climate emergency exists and threatens our community, state, region, nation, and planet, posing a threat to human health and safety, biodiversity, and our common environment.
So much revolves around our climate and our response to the climate emergency. Smart housing policy, policies that allow for denser more centrally located housing, increase walkability and transportation that is environmentally friendly. While most people do want to transition away from fossil fuels to electric cars, e-bikes, mass transit and weatherizing their homes, we must make it possible to do so in an equitable way.
Karen has voted in favor of many climate initiatives. From her days on the Burlington Electric Commission where she got her start in public service, Karen has long supported energy efficiency, conversion to electric and was an early supporter of energy assistance for low income Burlingtonians.
Going forward, Karen supports adjustments to the energy assistance program to make electricity as affordable as possible given that many find Burlington increasingly unaffordable. She has had preliminary discussions with Burlington Electric and will continue to pursue this as it is critical to housing affordability.
Going forward, access to safe and reliable bikeways and bike storage is critical to our future. Karen will advocate and support sheltered storage concepts that allow people to ride and leave their bikes with confidence.
With regard to mass transit, even in a city such as Burlington, getting reliable and frequent transit is a challenge for the region.
Going forward, Karen will work with Green Mountain Transit to consider how the state might be able to support more frequent connections, perhaps in concert with other transit providers such as our local colleges and University of Vermont Medical Center.