Mayor Miro Must Resign
Mayor Miro Weinberger
UPDATE as of 5/11/21:
Gotta Go Miro Petition Signers -
The Gotta Go Miro (GGM) organizing effort was created in March, 2021 in response to Burlington Mayor Weinberger’s pattern of taking racist actions and making racist decisions for the city. We documented over a dozen examples of this during just the last few years and demanded he resign before his 4th term.
The Mayor did not resign, but he did show reflection and that he was listening more during his state of the city speech the night he was sworn in. In that speech, we heard the Mayor say some things we agree with. However, we have seen him say the right thing and do the wrong thing before. We hope this time is different.
Our GGM group has continued to meet bi-monthly since April to strategize about what is next for our group.
First, know that we are keeping resignation on the table. Your signatures for this petition will remain as a critical tool for the accountability of Miro. We will keep the petition live, so others can sign as well for the foreseeable future.
Second, we know that even if Miro resigned, the critical work of dismantling racist systems in Burlington would remain. Acting against racism in our city is at the core of our purpose. This is not just about the Mayor, this is about how we move forward as a city together.
Thus, in the coming months, our group will focus on:
1. Holding the Mayor accountable for the words he spoke that night in April and ask that he put that all in writing and to an actionable 2021 timeline.
2. Watch dogging the Mayor, on his decisions and actions for the city. Specifically by:
Calling the Mayor in, to continue to educate him when he makes an unintentionally racist statement, decision, or act.
Calling the Mayor out on what he gets blatantly wrong or takes too long to address. For us, this is where resignation remains firmly on the table.
And recognizing when the Mayor gets it right on race. We believe the Mayor is not only capable of growth in this area, but that he wants to do better. His success in doing the right thing benefits all of Burlington and is critical to our city’s success in dismantling racism.
With this new strategy, we have also decided to change our name, slightly to "Get Going Miro!” The new name better fits how we will hold to Mayor to action.
Finally, as a largely white group of organizers, we have a unique opportunity to work in concert with BIPOC groups and city leaders to actively dismantle the racist systems that are enmeshed in the city. This work will be what guides and informs all of what we do with watchdogging the Mayor. We are frequently connecting with and seeking to collaborate with BIPOC led organizing efforts in Burlington and invite any groups to seek us out to help in anti-racist work.
MAYOR MIRO'S PATTERN OF RACIST DECISION-MAKING AND ACTIONS
For years, the Mayor has demonstrated a pattern of taking racist actions and making racist decisions for Burlington.
● In late March, the report from Kyle Dodson, Director of Police Reform, was released, revealing a horrifying lack of substance and plagiarism. The Mayor unilaterally hired Dodson to oversee this critical work, costing the taxpayers $75,000. When the report was made public, the Mayor distanced himself from Director Dodson instead of taking his share of accountability for the failure. This massive breakdown of management by the Mayor has significantly set the city back on our stated goal of racial justice and public safety reform.
● Throughout the 2021 Mayoral race, Mayor Weinberger coordinated with the Burlington Police Officers Association to sow fear within the community related to police reforms.[i]
● The Mayor campaigned on a racial justice platform while for weeks actively planning Director Green’s reassignment.[ii]
● In a February Mayoral debate, when asked to provide a compliment about his opposing mayoral candidates, he praised Councilor Dieng, a Black man, for his success as a recent immigrant.[iii]
● In December, the Mayor vetoed a citizen-led police oversight board, claiming that his administration had not been involved in the process of designing the oversight model and that the Mayor would not have a direct role in decision-making in this model. The Mayor and Director Dodson lobbied to keep the Police Chief involved in the oversight board, which would have destroyed an independent review process. This veto meant the people of Burlington were not able to vote on the issue. The policy would not have been turned into law; it would have allowed us to hear from the people of Burlington on what they want for their City. [iv]
● During the 2020 historic occupation at Battery Park by the Battery Park Movement (BPM), Mayor Weinberger met with BIPOC leaders, yet the conversations were largely unproductive and the majority of issues raised remain unresolved. The Mayor threatened to ticket reform advocates pushing for badly needed change.[v] Conversations with City Councilors were significantly more productive and resulted in substantive outcomes supported by the local BIPOC community.
● The Burlington Police Commission has struggled to gain any adequate oversight over the Burlington Police Department due to the Mayor’s inability to lead on racial justice issues and his support of the city attorney and police union. This has led to numerous stalemates and the resignation of Mark Hughes, a BIPOC member of the Commission.[vi]
● Last summer, the Mayor vetoed the rank choice voting policy and was reluctant to accept the amendment which eventually passed by city-wide vote in March.[vii] Rank choice voting has been proven to make running for office more accessible and fair for candidates not connected to major political parties and especially BIPOC candidates.
● Mayor Weinberger has worked against candidates of color in their election efforts––most recently in 2020 Councilors Hightower and Dieng––and has attempted to hide behind Councilors of Color when he is called in for his implicit bias.[viii]
● In 2019, Mayor Weinberger and former Police Chief del Pozo––who resigned in disgrace later that year after lying to the press about a secret social media account used to troll a political opponent[ix]––secretly pressured officials to make changes to a medical examiner’s report after an officer-involved death.[x] The Mayor knew much more and for much longer about Chief del Pozo’s misconduct than he told the public or media.[xi] Now, the city is on its fourth interim Police Chief, showing further top management issues by the Mayor for a police department in crisis.
● For years, Mayor Weinberger has also engaged in environmental racism through his advocacy efforts related to the stalled Champlain Parkway. Under the current proposal, the parkway would bisect a predominantly BIPOC neighborhood, dumping hundreds of vehicles into the neighborhood.
● Mayor Weinberger has failed to implement and deliver on any of the housing commitments made during the 2019 BTU Housing Summit, the majority of which would benefit and support our BIPOC neighbors.
● In 2018, Mayor Weinberger defended and delayed removal of the racist “Everyone Loves a Parade” mural. In explaining his decision to delay removal of the mural, Mayor Weinberger said he “wanted to avoid [white supremacists'] backlash.”[xii]
● For months and months as the City has worked to address racial justice, the Mayor has rarely, and clearly only under increased public pressure, taken feedback and changed course. He rarely responds to feedback to his office and has often opposed extending public comment during City Council meetings, especially during deliberation on the Racial Justice Resolution and Community Oversight of Police. He continues to be defensive and quick to criticize other local leaders, especially our BIPOC city leaders like Councilor Zoraya Hightower and Police Commissioner Melo Grant, instead of doing any genuine self-reflection.
Each time when called to account for these actions, the Mayor declared he was not racist and he will do better next time.
Since Burlington does not have a recall process, the only way the city can hold the Mayor to account is to hold call him to account and keep resignation on the table.
1. Sign and share this petition.
2. Write the Mayor directly to call him into this moment to be a better, anti-racist Mayor, and keep giving feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Get involved in the local organizing effort and join us at our next meeting: GottaGoMiro@gmail.com.
More information at GottaGoMiro.com.
Mayor Miro Weinberger
From: [Your Name]
Dear Mayor Miro -
I signed the petition of the Get Going Miro organizers to hold you accountable for your commitments you laid out in your April 2021 state of the city address on anti-racist work. If you do not act or follow-through, we will call for your resignation again and again.