Two Burlington city councilors speak out for and against new racial justice resolution

Two council members have weighed in on the newly passed racial justice resolution in Burlington, which includes a 30 percent cut to the police force, declaring racism “a citywide health crisis,” and a task force to “consider an apology and a proposal for reparations for the role that Burlington has played in chattel slavery.”

Franklin Paulino, a Latino attorney and Democrat representing the North District, voted Monday in favor of the resolution. He says the city is facing substantial cuts due to the financial impacts of the shutdowns mandated by Gov. Phil Scott.

In a Facebook post, where he wrote extensively on the matter, Paulino said “a proposed reduction in the number of officers has to occur unless we find City funds elsewhere. Our City Departments are already facing unprecedented cuts due to COVID-19.”

He also said no officers will be removed suddenly, but will be phased out via attrition.

Wikimedia Commons/Beyond My Ken

GOING FULL SOCIAL JUSTICE: The Burlington City Council voted on Monday for a racial justice resolution, which includes substantial police force reductions, declaring racism a public health crisis, and making reparations for slavery.

“I understand that about 5 officers of those 7 officers will be retiring anyway within the next 2 years,” he wrote. “I support re-imagining public safety to be better able to respond to the community’s calls for service and to do that we need to allocate a fixed amount of City funds.”

On declaring racism as a public health crisis in Burlington, Paulino said he supports it, and he added that other communities should follow suit.

“It’s important for every city to recognize that this has been a problem in our country evident through different systems,” he said.

He said discrepancies in home ownership, police actions, and social services are examples of where systemic racism exists.

On reparations for slavery, Paulino said it’s not just about what happened generations ago with slavery, but also injustices against minorities since then.

“It’s about what happened since … how it affects people today,” he said. ” … It’s saying we did something wrong, let’s fix it.”

Burlington City Councilor Ali Dieng, I-Ward 7

One of three councilors voting against the measure was Ali Dieng, an independent representing Ward 7. He said cutting funds for the police department is not going to help social justice causes.

“The 30 cuts, they want it to cut to attrition, which I think is not fair to the people of Burlington and the police department,” he said. “I think we should have gone through a process and had an expert in criminal justice and also an expert who can survey the community. But the resolution was definitely missing the progress piece and that is why I voted against it.”

Dieng said the portion of the resolution declaring a public health crisis is about creating awareness to the issue.

“It’s just a symbolic statement that we as a city recognize that racism is a public health emergency,” he said. “It’s just a symbol, it doesn’t have any action that we need to do.”

On the part about reparations for slavery, he said that’s going to be tricky because this took place hundreds of years ago.

“How do we basically just apologize, and what will that really, really mean? I don’t know,” he said. ” … If we want to do it, apologizing only is not enough, we want reparation. For that reparation, how’s that gonna happen because it’s now 400 years later? It has been a very, very long time and things have changed.”

While Vermont is known from history as a state of abolitionists who worked to free slaves, Dieng said there were some slave owners in the state, and possibly in Burlington.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Beyond My Ken

9 thoughts on “Two Burlington city councilors speak out for and against new racial justice resolution

  1. There is no way in hell any of my family will ever pay anything called ‘reparations’.

    If the state wants to turn me into something they’ll regret, this would be a good way to do it.

    • Your reaction cannot be unique. Holding responsible the taxpayer of today, who will most surely be the source of those reparations, will certainly create more divisiveness.

      How can this leftist brainstorm have any other effect?

      • It goes against God and common sense. Can we arrest parents for a child’s vandalism? Can a child be arrested for parent’s speeding? There would be no end, no end for crimes of the past, it’s the Hatfield and McCoy’s on steroids. It’s a world without forgiveness, bent on revenge, it shall not stand.

        We are guilty of our own crimes, not those committed before us or by someone else.

        It all goes back to intent. Is their intent to bring peace, equality and healing? Or is the intent to bring strife, division in order to create power, influence and build ransom money?

        What is the fruit of their works….that tells you their intent.

  2. The first guy to scream bloody murder when all hell breaks loose because of these virus cute will be, guess who? Answer, FRANK PULINO!!! Not sure I have gotten this right. One one hand, he wants cuts because of the hardship caused by Covid – 19, yet he wants to spend the saved funds on a pet project. The Dems have a strange way of “saving” money.

  3. Send the bill to the Democratic party….the NWO Pimps in particular, they organized these riots and burned down your neighborhoods.
    Send the bill to Hollywood, normal people aren’t making these stereo types, Hollywood is.
    Send the bill to Planned Parenthood, they’ve destroyed not only families of color, but families across Vermont with their plan that results in 50% of all births being unplanned.
    Send the bills to the failed school systems that take all their money and deliver miserable results, we’re following the pattern so beware.
    If you are looking for the billions sent to BLM for the benefit of people of color, I think you’ll find it in the pockets of those whom wish to do you harm, hint, it didn’t go to any Republican…’ve been swindled on epic proportions, somebody is our swindling the swindlers in Vermont, impressive.

    Don’t send the bill to Vermont, have you read our constitution? How may people died to free the slaves? You are looking in the wrong places.

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