Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has a 16-point plan to reverse a dangerous trend in the Queen City.
“Ending the recent spike in gun violence, improving the downtown climate, continued progress on 21st century policing reforms, and rebuilding the police department,” Weinberger said Thursday, describing the four main priorities of his plan.
Many Burlington city council members are in agreement that the majority of those topics need to be prioritized, but they have different ideas on how to best reach those goals.
“Myself and my progressive colleagues disagree with many of the things that the mayor brought up,” said Joe Magee, Progressive Ward 3 council member.
Magee says he agrees with some parts of Weinberger’s plan, like the idea of creating a task force to address gun violence and the Burlington Police Department doing training on institutional racism. But overall, he thinks Weinberger’s plan is misguided.
“The mayor is continuing to reach for policing and punishment as solutions to problems that are really public health focused,” Magee said.
Magee says he and his Progressive counterparts were disappointed to see some of their ideas left out of the plan, including the creation of a crisis response team for people struggling with mental health of homelessness.
“The fact that that wasn’t included in the 16 point plan yesterday, when I think we are pretty close to getting it off the ground, was disheartening to me,” Magee said.
However, other city council members, like Ward 5 Democrat Ben Traverse, are fully backing Weinberger’s plan. Traverse took to the podium Thursday to say why he supports the initiatives, and to discuss progress the council has made on public safety the past year.
“We passed a resolution calling for the state, as well as the city, to enact reasonable gun reform measures,” Traverse said. “And mayor, I’m thrilled to see many of those items in the initiatives that you’ve laid out here today.”
As for some of the council members not fully supporting the mayor’s plan, Magee says they will list out their own plan for public safety this coming Tuesday.