David Cadran – iBrattleboro 2013 Selectboard Candidate Interview

Each year, iBrattleboro sends questions to Selectboard candidates and invite them to use the site to connect with voters.

This year’s questions have been sent, and David Cadran is the first to respond.

Mr. Cadran is running for a 1 year seat on the Brattleboro Selectboard.

Why do you want to be on the Selectboard this year?

I grew up in Brattleboro and care about it deeply. I believe there’s a lot of progress to be made to make us a more resilient town. I am hoping to bring some fresh, young blood and new ideas to the table. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the people of Brattleboro.

Why run for the 1 year seat?

I chose to run for the 1 year seat because I believe it will allow me to get involved and “dip my feet in”. I would certainly be willing to run again and for a longer term in the future if it seems necessary.

Tell us about issues that interest you… what would you like to accomplish?

I am particularly interested in job growth and development. Brattleboro has done a tremendous job in supporting local businesses but I believe there is more that can be done to attract new businesses to town, particularly those in the STEM field. These are the jobs of the future. 

Also, transportation infrastructure is of particular interest to me. I am proposing that the Selectboard lobby the Legislature for the creation of a 1% Local Option Gas Tax that will be used to fund the creation of new and improved transportation infrastructure. 

What about Brattleboro do you feel is unique and worth preserving?

David CadranBrattleboro’s character is by far its biggest asset. People from far and wide know that Brattleboro is a terrific place to have fun, to work and raise a family. We need to preserve our culture and sense of community while we progress forward.

What are some short term issues facing Brattleboro? What are some of the long term issues you see?

Brattleboro is facing many complex issues. The macroeconomic climate continues to be Brattleboro’s biggest challenge, but this isn’t the end all be all. I actually see Brattleboro’s long term issues as far more challenging than the short term issues. 

Population growth continues to be our biggest challenge. The Census does not break out figures for a town of our size in terms of projections and the Town Plan projects slow continued growth, but I personally see this as being far too optimistic. Our population is stagnant right now, if not declining. We need to do more to bring people to Brattleboro so that more people can enjoy the best our community has to offer.

What we are seeing is ever rising town budgets and a slew of expensive capital projects that are placing a greater strain on the current tax base. Unless we can expand our tax base which is also stagnant, we will become a totally unaffordable place for families to live.

In your view, what does an aging population mean for Brattleboro?

Japan has struggled with this for many years and the effects of the Baby Boomer generation retiring is beginning to have an effect on the US. Brattleboro’s challenges with aging are two-fold. Those that remain in Brattleboro are aging rapidly, requiring ever greater resources from our community. At the same time, young people are leaving in greater and greater numbers for urban areas where far more opportunities exist. When these young people leave there is no one to pay for the services that the aging population requires. This creates an even greater strain on our budget.

Brattleboro must be far more proactive in attracting industries that employ youth, such as the STEM fields. In addition, Brattleboro needs to work harder to lobby the legislature for the same type of support that areas like Chittenden County receive in retaining their youth population. As a Selectboard member I will work with my colleagues to push the Legislature for the creation of a full-fledged public college in Brattleboro. Ideally I would like to see the creation of the first Vermont Institute of Technology. Businesses invest and locate around such institutions which are the wave of the future. It is time for Brattleboro to become a true college town.

Do we have enough housing and resources for people of limited means?

Not only do we lack enough housing and resources for the lower class but we are also lacking in housing and resources for the middle class. A strong middle class is the bread and butter of a sustainable society and we must do more to grow the middle class. The main challenge is housing.

Very little housing has been created outside of projects by the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust. They have done an incredible job bringing affordable housing to our community and I will continue to work with them to make sure that happens. What we lack is more housing for the Middle Class. Quite frankly, nothing is being done by the Town of Brattleboro to address this issue. As a Selectboard member I will put forth a proposal that every new-construction unit of housing built in Brattleboro will receive 5 years of Local Property Tax exemption. In addition any current landowner who sells a piece of their property for the creation of new housing will receive a 1 year Local Property Tax exemption. This is just the kind of investment Brattleboro can make to relieve our housing shortage and create real economic growth.

I’ve also been thinking a lot recently about the Putney Road Master Plan. Here is this great plan to facilitate the creation of a major new hub in town and it sits on a shelf collecting dust. It’s meant to be what we want the North End to look like in 50 years but that’s not going to happen if we don’t push it along. We need to turn the North End into a specialized tax district and hold outside investor forums to create the kind of public-private partnerships that will make that plan come to fruition. There is no excuse for why the town is doing nothing to encourage growth in this area.

What are your feelings on the proposed $14 million Police-Fire Facility project? Less than 100 Town Meeting Representatives approved such spending – is that a fair reflection of the will of Brattleboro taxpayers?

I fully support our Fire and Police departments and they desperately need renovated facilities. That being said, I felt that there was little real discussion about options and price tags. It seemed kind of rushed through. One of my proposals is a by-law to place Capital Expenditures exceeding $1 million on a general ballot that all residents will have the chance to vote on. 

What do you think should be done with the River Garden?

The River Garden is challenging for me. I’m still evolving on my opinion of it. I very much enjoy the space, I even had my High School Prom there so I am emotionally connected to it. However, the town can not afford to take over the space and operate it at such a significant loss. I support continued dialogue around the space and we should look into all solutions that will provide for its continued existence in one form or another.

What’s the best way for citizens to express their thoughts to the Selectboard?

Social Media! It’s quick and convenient. People aren’t involved in government because it doesn’t connect with them on a real level. It’s often cumbersome to get a hold of officials and you are lucky if you get any response at all. Brattleboro needs to do much more to engage its citizens through communication and the execution of business. Get a parking ticket? Why not scan a code on it and pay for it with your mobile phone? Dog license? Business permit? Water & Sewer bills? Why isn’t this all being done electronically? I’m afraid we may have become too comfortable with the phrase “but that’s how we’ve always done it.” It’s time for us to make meaning investments to increase the efficiency and dialogue within our local government.

Bonus: Anything else you’d like to say that no one asks you about?

My final note: It’s time for Brattleboro to make waves and think outside the box. We need to be putting forward bold and ambitious ideas to grow our community and make it even more sustainable. I look forward to working with the Selectboard and the town government to make these proposals a reality.

I invite you all to follow me on Twitter using my handle: @dcadran or to visit my website: www.davidcadran.com beginning Monday February 18 for the latest information on my campaign. A Facebook page is coming shortly as well.

Thank you

David Cadran

Comments | 12

  • STEM

    “attract new businesses to town, particularly those in the STEM field. These are the jobs of the future”

    What is the STEM field?

  • skatepark

    What is your position on that skatepark?

    • Skate Park

      Hey Frank,

      The Skateboard Park is a complex issue. On one hand we need to create a great space for kids and adults that is a positive influence but we also need to do it in a manner which respects the integrity of the area and peoples interest in it. Many communities have located skateparks in areas outside of downtowns and in industrial parks only to see no one use them. They then use this as justification for there not being a need for a skate park. The fact is that there is a need for one but it needs to be in a place where kids already congregate and is easy for the general public to access.

      I believe the location in Crowell provides for this while creating a space that is already town owned and won’t further reduce our tax rate. As for the design of the park I believe it has been well thought out with minimal disruption to the environment around it. What I am gathering from people is that their largest concern is noise. This is legitimate. I believe it can be built in manner which satisfies aesthetics and noise concerns.

      We, as a society, often want these services but if it comes with any downside there tends to be a strong NIMBY feeling about it. We need to ask our selves: is providing a positive space for youth and exercise perhaps worth trading for some negatives? What is ultimately important for us? To that end, I would like to see the park built but if an over whelming majority of the town would like it located somewhere else- we could look into that as well. We all just need to respect each other and keep this dialogue going.

  • Questions

    Hello David, Congrattulations on your decision to run for public office. I was wondering if you could share a little about yourself. What do believe qualifies you to be a governing memeber of the community. Perhaps you could elaborate on your professional accomplishments and experience, education etc. Thanks.

    • Hello. Thank you for this


      Thank you for this question. I have worked at the Co-op off and on over the last seven years. I have also worked for well known companies such as Gap, American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Macy’s in New York City. In NY I was a Visual Merchandiser assisting companies in the execution of corporate visual strategies in the retail environment. In this setting I managed a team of people and created detail oriented displays and environmental effects for these companies. As far as education goes I have studied Fashion Merchandising and Liberal Arts.

      I also invite you to read the Commons article coming out on Wednesday to find out more about me!

  • David, I agree that the

    David, I agree that the controversy regarding the planning, process, and permit issuance for a skatepark in Crowell Park is a very complex issue that has created deep divisions within the town. It has a significant documented history including prominent discussion and debate in the local press, at numerous public meetings and hearings, and via various social media. It also resulted in a technical twelve page legal appeal to the Vermont Environmental Court seeking a review of the town’s decision making process that led to the plan. It has resulted in several professionals with expertise in engineering, development planning, public and private project management, and arboriculture weighing in at various times.

    Therefore, I was surprised to read that you conclude here that this is an issue largely arising from a singular concern over noise, as that certainly would not present a very complex issue. Could you please speak to what you believe several experts in various professional disciplines are in disagreement over, and why, or the technical zoning issues that formed the basis of the legal appeal to the Environmental Court? Do you believe the Brattleboro Skatepark plan is in accordance with recommendations made in Peter Whitley’s Guide for Public Skatepark Development? If not, what do you see as incongruent? Can you say more about the history of this enduring dispute?

    Thank you.
    Barry Adams

    • Hello Barry, Thank you for

      Hello Barry,

      Thank you for bringing up these concerns. Unfortunately I will admit that I am not as well versed in this subject as you seem to be. What I am mainly saddened by is the divisiveness that this issue has caused. I see our community come together everyday for causes and it’s a bit heart breaking to see people upset about this. I think we need to keep the dialogue and co-operation going.

      It also appears I have some reading to do! Thank you for suggesting Peter Whitley’s guide. I will take a look at it.

      • Thank you

        Thank you, David. If you would like to read the actual court appeal or some of the statements of opposition to the process, please let me know. I am happy to provide you with anything I can for your thoughtful consideration.

        Barry Adams

      • Skatepark

        Thanks for throwing your hat in the ring for select board. I am enjoying the tone of this conversation. It is great to hear someone acknowledging they have more to learn. Don’t we all. Andy Davis

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