Council Candidate Sandy Dooley

Candidate for Council: Sandy Dooley, 3-Year Term

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Thursday February 28, 2013

Sandy Dooley

 Education:AB Middlebury CollegeMEd University of  VermontMSW West Virginia University

Occupation:  Retired Social Worker

Years as SB resident: 40 

What skills uniquely qualify you for the position of City Councilor?

 Knowledgeable of City’s growth and change - positive and not-so-positive - over 40 years.Experienced on boards and as second in command of an agency with $500-plus-million budget, hundreds of unionized workers, and challenging state-federal relationship.  Collaborative, with record of meeting with Tony Cairns and ensuring that rink received $327,000+ insurance payment and bringing opposing parties together over difficult State-level issues—welfare reform and State aid for pre-K education.  Mindful of basics,  having succeeded in moving $150,000 from non-essential IZ study to street paving budget for FY14.Beholden to no one,  especially not the put-developers-back-in-charge, so-called “Good Government” group.

Interim Zoning is at the half-way point.  What are its successes and/or failures. What are your post-IZ objectives? 

Interim Zoning’s (IZ) remarkable success is that so many residents and interested parties—both IZ supporters and opponents—are working together enthusiastically and productively to craft recommendations for new policies and structures for the Planning Commission and City Council’s consideration.  The level and quality of committee member participation is exemplary.  

Interim Zoning is a development slowdown not a freeze and necessary because progress on City Center zoning, open space preservation outside the SEQ, and affordable housing and sustainable agriculture policies was too slow.  The gap between these goals and their achievement was getting wider and wider.  The Council saw that a business-as-usual process was not producing results promptly and enacted IZ to move progress forward faster.  

My objectives are an updated Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations that support achievement of City Center zoning, open space preservation, affordable housing, and sustainable agriculture policies.

South Burlington has a unique relationship with VTANG, Burlington International Airport, and the city of Burlington. What are your views on airport related finances, expansion, noise, and loss of housing.  What role does City Council hold?

We must continue to monitor the F-35’s benefits and risks, e.g., the recent grounding of the fleet, and review our position, as needed.  While I oppose first-round basing of the F-35s here, I steadfastly support VTANG and reiterate my pledge to work collaboratively on the basing decision’s consequences, whether yeah or nay. 

BIA is a great asset; we benefit from its presence.  Still, the City’s non-role in its governance is a Gordian knot.  Consequently, charting a productive course depends on strengthening our relationships with Burlington and airport leadership, promoting increased understanding of the factors at play and competing priorities, and finding common ground regarding airport finances, expansion, noise, and loss of housing.  The City Council should play a direct and supervisory role in working with Burlington and airport leadership.  Also, our State representatives and County senators have an important role to play as neighboring municipalities experience issues regarding BIA. 

The city is at a difficult crossroad on many issues, including management, policy, and process. How will you determine what direction best balances the needs of the community moving forward?

It is the voters’ choice:  embrace progressive change—setting the stage for a new City Manager, achieving and strengthening fiscal stability, submitting a vibrant TIF (Tax Increment Finance) District application, adopting a new Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations, sanctioning “Complete Streets” on Williston Road, and bringing opportunity and transparency to the appointments process—or return to the “Good Old Days.”

By embracing or rejecting progressive change, the voters will determine the City’s future direction.  Next up, the Council should define a careful process, including resident participation, for hiring a City Manager who excels in forming collaborative community relationships.

What do you feel is the single most pressing concern for the city, and what solutions/actions would you propose? 

Our biggest challenge is to increase understanding of the City’s many recent accomplishments.  We must turn aside the so-called “Good Government’s” distorted and carping criticism of City Council.  The “Good Government” worldview is unhealthy.   We all share a common vision of community.  Our differences are in the means, not the ends.  Rarely is there one correct path to a destination.  Together, let’s move beyond the divisiveness the “Good Government” group has promoted and, in so doing, create a better place for all who live, work, and do business in South Burlington. 

Closing Statement

My role as City Councilor has been change agent.  I led/lead in creating opportunity for residents to serve the City, protecting Wheeler Nature Park, balancing the interests of all potentially affected by the F-35s, chairing a group working to increase affordable housing in our City, making the tough choices required to attain fiscal soundness and fire the City Manager , and advocating for City Center.   I run on my record.  We owe it to ourselves, our neighbors, and our children to accept that democracy is sometimes messy but not let that distract us from our accomplishments and those in process.