Published On: Wed, Jun 3rd, 2015

Was Bernie Sanders a Good Mayor?


Bernie Sanders

Before becoming a Congressman and later a Senator, Bernie Sanders was the mayor of Burlington, Vermont. The Brooklyn native is now running for President.

So what was he like as a mayor?

John Davis spoke to the Nation about it. He remembers a meeting in 1986 when Bernie Sanders, then the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, confronted the owners of the city’s largest affordable-housing complex. The federal program that had subsidized the Northgate Apartments for 20 years had a loophole that allowed the landlords to convert the buildings into market rentals or luxury condos.

“Bernie pounded his fist on the conference table in his office and told the owners, ‘Over my dead body are you going to displace 336 working families. You are not going to convert Northgate into luxury housing, ’” recalled Davis, who was Sanders’s key housing aide.

Under Sanders’s leadership, the city adopted a number of laws to stifle the owners’ plans. One ordinance required apartment owners to give residents two years’ notice before a condo conversion…

By Peter Dreier and Pierre Clavel

THE NATION

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