An Exclusive Interview with Ian Carleton

City Councilor Ian Carleton has been a representative to Ward 1 of Burlington since March 2002. This Democrat is a lawyer at Sheehey Furlong and Behm, and is also the father of a nine-month old daughter. The following is an interview conducted with Carleton about issues relating to Burlington/UVM relations. VC: First off, what does the Burlington City Council do?IC: City council is the responsible for passing resolution and creating ordinances relating to city business. Its relationship to the mayor is like the relationship to the legislation to the state and federal branches of government. And in that capacity, as elected officials for people specifically in different wards, we also deal with issues that affect the whole city. VC: Being a councilor is a part-time position, correct?IC: That’s correct. We get a small stipend for an awful lot of work. This it with being I am a full-time attorney and a father.VC: So, what is the council doing right now?IC: Well, right now we finished the another round of elections. Two meetings ago we had the mayor’s State of the City address, and just re-assigned the committee structure. The stuff we’re working on right now, is a long-term project is to the re-write the city zoning ordinances. Also, what types of uses in different neighborhoods, have to improve drug abuse prevention, as well as working hard to try improve bus transportation around the city, and trying to make sure construction on track, on Riverside Ave and the southern part of town.VC: What committee are you on?IC: I was just appointed to be the Chair of the Ordinance and the Community Development Committee and am the student/city liason. To the last one, I want to make an extra special push this year to make sure that that committee is active, and use it for a tool to make communications better with the college and the town.VC: A lot of UVM had concerns and are still concerned with the noise ordinance recently passed. Can you explain more about it?IC: The noise ordinance was contraversial from the get go. I went to the SGA Senate to talk about, and I was under the impression from the deal of talk about the noise ordinance, that students were an extremely important and active part of the noise ordinance. Any students who thinks that the students were let out of the process, they were mistaken because students packed the hearings downtown. They were definitely involved in the process, and their involvement is reflected in the process in to deal with unwanted noise in a way that is fiar and not overboard. That was the message that the students brought and that I brought throughout the process, it was the goals we tried to achieve, and I think we did to some extent. The ordinance just went into affect, and it’s important for the council and for me to be hearing from students now about how it’s affecting them. My email address is [email protected], and I am eager to hear what the students are thinking, and to make their voices heard. The noise ordinance doesn’t put people in jump suits, it offers alternatives to stiff penalties, and that was the students putting those alternative into place, and they should feel proud. VC: What, in your opinion, is the city’s perception of UVM students?IC: I don’t think I could speak for the city or the city council of what people think, that is too simple of a question. It is absolutely wrong, though, that the city Burlington doesn’t like them or appreciate them or their presence. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s true, the city is in large part a vibrant and emergent place it is due to the large student population. All of the art and culture of being a major college town, and now what we have to do is learn to live together as harmoniously as possible. That is the special riddle of Ward 1 of Burlington. My personal contact with students has been nothing but great. I’ve taught classes on legal topics, campaigned throughout the dorms, and students have been receptive and have wanted to talk about city government. They care about issues that matter, are intelligent and engaged, and I’ve had nothing but good interactions. I’m also not really not that far from being a student myself. VC: You mentioned being the student/city liason for the council. Can you explain more about it?IC: It has not been active in the past, and I want to do something about that. I wanted to it because it was clear that some students were looking for a more direct way to have a voice in city matters. It’s a perfect vehicle to invite recommendation of how to exploit that relationship. We could have a monthly column in the Cynic, and I’m open to all suggestions, and the whole reason for the committee is to talk to students and ask them what they want by interaction by city government. VC: What are your plans for the future?IC: I’m going to try really hard to get the students as engaged as possible with city processes as much for next year. I’m going to put special focus on getting the city and the students together in the beginning of this fall.