In and Out - Part III
Vermont secession flack Greg Guma is back again. His on again, off again plan to run for Burlington's mayoral job is now back on with a quiet last minute signature roundup for inclusion on the ballot. That's not as hard a job as it might sound; one need only stand with a clipboard in front of the Post Office and the one hundred and fifty signatures will probably be had in a few hours. Hell, I've signed nominating petitions for people I thought hadn't a prayer to win since I believe even a loser deserves a grab for the brass ring.
Guma has embraced the Vermont secessionist establishment by having his mayoral campaign announcement posted at Rob Williams' anti-Semitic hate blog this week (no, I don't link to Rob's hate site). In it Guma outlines his aginner, largely revanchist intent for Burlington's future.
It's apparent that Guma's decided to run a negative campaign from the start. He's already indulged in name calling by dredging up a slur from the 70s to call Mayor Miro Weinberger a Republicrat. He's constructed a "thumb-on-the-scale" unscientific poll about Weinberger. Despite having participated in the Progressive Party caucus in early December of 2014' Guma now "dismissed the suggestion that as another Progressive-minded candidate, he risked taking votes away from Goodkind (the winner). "I don't think those kinds of labels make as much sense as they used to ..." Right. Guma got one vote at the caucus, presumably his own, and now the results don't mean shit about his appeal to progressive voters. For further evidence of the sour campaign Guma intends run, one need look no further than his blog. Outrageously he equates the development plans for the Burlington College property to heinous crimes committed by priests against children; his over the top rhetoric suggests equivalency between a land deal and the rape of children by both priests and the institution of the Roman Catholic church:
"So, the "school without walls" and the cloistered catholic campus near the lake. How did they get entangled? The answer begins with secrets, the first about what went on in the church -- and on that property."Such an disgracefully contrived connection makes a little more sense when you factor in Guma's reliance on an endorsement and help from failed political operative Matt Cropp:
"In the end dozens of former residents came forward, and revealed a dark, sordid history of physical and sexual abuse by nuns, priests and staff. Like other parts of the church, the diocese ultimately found itself under attack and in serious financial trouble. By May 2010, it had paid almost $20 million to settle 26 lawsuits. More were to follow. Selling the land was urgent to help cover up to $30 million in legal settlements for the abused..."
"This land has seen more than enough secrets, loss and pain."
"Matt Cropp, outreach coordinator of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center and an NPA (Neighborhood Planning Assembly) leader, writes, "By joining the race, he's bringing some vitally important issues to the conversation, such as reversing the de-funding and marginalization of the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies over the last decade, ensuring that the temptation to cut sweetheart deals with politically connected developers is tempered by a robust, transparent, and participatory review process, and devolving certain powers (such as the appointment of commissioners) from City Hall to Burlington's neighborhoods."In return for such a ringing endorsement at a Cropp event, Guma promised to support giving the group $5,000 in walking around money should he become mayor (as if the decision to do so was to be his alone).
Here's what I've said earlier about Cropp the political apparatchik:
"I noted in his blog post that Guma seemed to rely most heavily on the counsel of Matt Cropp. That's a mistake that most Burlingtonians will get to breath a collective sigh of relief over. For those of you (and that's probably most of you) unfamiliar with Cropp, he's a political loser of the first order. Among, but certainly not all of Cropp's failures was his failed effort to gain a seat on the City Market board of directors; his failure to takeover a credit union's board; his failure to make a go of a provisional capital for his secessionist, so-called Second Vermont Republic in Hancock, VT in 2010; his failure to follow through on any of his promises made after his disastrous management of the 2010 secesher campaign of Connecticut native Dennis Steele's gubernatorial effort (99.24% of the voters gave their vote to someone other than Steele); and, perhaps most tragically, when Cropp was Thomas Naylor's secesher embed in the Burlington Occupy group, his group's advisory to the City of Burlington that they'd be assuming responsibility for the homeless in City Hall Park was followed within a day of their letter to the City by the suicide of one of the homeless (nice one there, Matt!)."Having watched secesher campaigns like these bumble along over the years my money's on a disappointing last place finish for Team Guma.
"Looks like everyone gets to dodge a bullet here. Imagine a Guma administration with a loser like Cropp in some position of importance. According to Guma, Cropp is now setting his sights on Burlington's neighborhoods. My advice to the residents of those neighborhoods - MOVE!!!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
For the archive of the Free Vermont Framework listserv, click here.