Baker's NY crony wants to "fix" Burlington

No sooner does Burlington City Councilor Tom Ayres - who found his way here from New York - buy a home that once housed Bruce I-Don't-Need-A-Permit Baker and his lovely wife Mary I-Don't-Need-A-Permit-Either Lee, than he starts lobbying to dig up North Avenue and start changing what has been working fine, thank you, for a hundred years or more.


Yup, the smiling New-York-born Ayres wrote a column in The North Avenue Snooze talking about making changes, like installing round-abouts.

Maybe round-abouts and fixing things that aren't broke work in New York, which is where Ayres hails from.

Then he moves to Burlington and needs to fix it?

Must be something in the water at 61 Saratoga Avenue, huh? 


After all, that's where Baker lived before he bought a house in the south end and turned it into an unlawful home occupation:


Well, as Burlington native Dan Cohen wrote to Ayres:

"What, specifically, do you think is wrong with North Avenue?

"There is nothing wrong.

"Traffic moves fine, bicycles move fine, pedestrians move fine.

"And, you are talking about making changes, like installing round-abouts and all that crap?

"Please leave North Avenue, and everything associated with it, alone."


Councilor Ayres responds:
Dear Daniel –
Thanks for writing to me about the North Avenue Corridor Study, about which I wrote the column that appeared in the most recent issue of the North Avenue News.
 I am going to try my best to address as many of your points as I can. First of all, it is not a question of what I think is "wrong" with North Avenue. The issues that are being addressed in the Corridor Study are issues that have been raised by the Chittenden Regional Planning Commission, the Burlington Department of Public Works, the Vermont Department of Transportation (VTRANS) and, indeed, by the general public and residents of the New North End, through a series of public workshops and forums addressing traffic issues along the North Avenue corridor from North Street to Plattsburgh Avenue. These issues include but are not limited to:
  • Skewed intersections at such locations as Plattsburgh Avenue and Shore Road
  • The tendency for drivers to routinely proceed at excessive rates of speed along portions of the avenue, requiring some sort of speed mitigation effort
  • An inadequate number of pedestrian crosswalks along the full length of the avenue, posing a danger to pedestrians, particularly children, the elderly, and people with disabilities
  • Several dangerous sections where bicyclists (and there are an increasing number of them f all ages in our neighborhoods) are forced to ride north and south in vehicular traffic – the southernmost stretch of the avenue being a prime example

    The North Avenue Corridor Study is part of the "Complete Streets" initiative, a program of VTRANS intended to conceive and develop traffic corridors that are amenable to all forms of transportation – vehicular, public transport, bicycles, and pedestrians. When you claim that there is "nothing wrong" and that traffic, bicycles, and pedestrians "move fine," I wonder what studies or data you can cite to back up your claim. I also wonder if the curb jut-outs on Brookes Avenue have truly proven to be "dangerous," as you assert, and if there are instances of accidents or pedestrian injuries that have resulted from the jut-outs, which are typically used to slow traffic in congested residential neighborhoods.

    Regarding speed bumps, I, too, am dubious about their use – and I know this echoes the feeling of many transportation planners and traffic engineers, who have increasingly advocated for other means of speed mitigation in densely populated residential areas.

    Regarding former Burlington Director of Public Works Steve Goodkind, you should know that he left office a year ago. The current DPW director is Chapin Spencer.

    As far as your voice being heard on this matter is concerned, I would suggest that if you reread my North Avenue News column, you'll find that I did not endorse any specific plans of action for North Avenue – I simply highlighted the fact that roundabouts, a full-length bike path or other bicycle accommodations, and significant intersection upgrades were among the concepts under discussion as part of the Corridor Study. I also urged my New North End friends and neighbors to attend the final public workshop of the Corridor Study, which was held at St. Mark's Family Center on May 20. There were nearly 100 people in attendance, many of them critical of some of the concepts being explored by the study. I'm sorry that you did not avail yourself of this public opportunity to make your thoughts known. Rest assured, however, that there is still time for your critical input. You can view all of the materials and concepts generated by the Corridor Study to date at this web address:, and you can add your input and concerns at this web

    Lastly, I fail to see the relevance of your question as to whether I was born in Burlington or the New North End. I live in the Village Green neighborhood, where a substantial number of homes have changed hands in the past 5 to 10 years. I see this pattern holding true throughout the whole New North End.  New residents of the New North End – young families with children in their first homes, New Americans who emigrated to America and Vermont as refugees from foreign wars and conflicts, retirees who have relocated here to be close to children and grandchildren – are every bit as much a part of our community as lifelong residents such as yourself. Their voices need to be heard and their concerns addressed, just as readily as yours or mine.

    One thing is constant over the course of our lives (I'm almost the same age as you, by the way):


    Burlington is a very different place from what it was in 1950 or even in 1990, when I moved here. Change is inevitable. Embracing it – or at least making certain that your voice is heard in shaping it – is the best path forward. It is the responsibility of all of us in a civil, respectful society. No one is ever going to be happy with every decision made by our elected leaders and public officials. That's the nature of democracy.


    Tom Ayres
    Burlington City Councilor, Ward 7


1 comment:

  1. Cohen responds to Councilor Ayres:

    Thank you for your input.
    I still believe institutional memory - also the longtime domicile of an area alleged needing fixing - of what has worked for decades trumps newfangled creations of those public officials who find a need to fix what isn't broke.


Baker dodges a bullet

Baker dodges a bullet
What did planners do when they took up home occupations in June? Dropped the subject like a hot potato.

Despite his protestations to the contrary, Bruce Baker's unlicensed "home occupation" is listed in the 2012-2013 Champlain Valley Phone Directory. The book lists - at 842 So.Prospect Street - Hallerlee HR Consulting LLC on Page 49 White Pages and Page 287 Yellow Pages under Management Consultants, same phone number - 802 951 9972

Why Kurt Wright Is Afraid Of Bruce Baker

Why Kurt Wright Is Afraid Of Bruce Baker
Yeah, Baker endorsed Wright for mayor. But Wright seems to be downplaying financial-contributor Baker's endorsement.

Still tempting fate?

Still tempting fate?

this is what we call a mug shot

this is what we call a mug shot

Mayor ignores public - hands Baker another freebie in face of illegality

Despite irrefutable evidence that Bruce Baker with his wife Mary Lee ran an unlawful home occupation, Mayor Robert Kiss has ignored the public’s sentiment and handed Baker another three years guarding the henhouse.

That’s right folks, Baker has won another term on the Planning Commission.

He now again has carte-blanche authority to pass judgment on proposed public projects - this in the face of his own glaring illegalities.

Strike one for the political-power elite ignoring the public interest.

look who's using hallerlee to grease a promo?

look who's using hallerlee to grease a promo?
Look whose wife hides unlawful Hallerlee hq for job promo? You guessed it - Mary Margaret Lee. Google her and National Life, where you will find Lee using her illegal former business to help grease her portfolio.

Baker doing big construction project at 842 South Prospect

"The most recent permit activity for 842 South Prospect Street was the approval of a basic permit for an addition of a room at back, new deck, and new front porch."

David White
Planning & Zoning

major construction project underway at 842

major construction project underway at 842

city official once cited now has a royal flush

city official once cited now has a royal flush
BREAKING NEWS: Planning Board Vice Chair adding new room, a deck and a porch to his house.

Bruce and Mary still trying to fix their mess...

Bruce and Mary still trying to fix their mess...
A new zoning request! "Z" seen in front window of 842! Stay tuned folks.


HARD TO BELIEVE FOLKS, BUT SOME PEOPLE (most notably Bruce D. Baker and his wife, Mary Margaret Lee) NEVER LEARN.

HallerLee Human Resources Consulting LLC is still listed - this time in the new July 2010-2011 phone books.

The new book is a combined white and Yellow pages.

HallerLee is:

* Listed at 842 on page 37 in the white pages.

* Listed under Management Consulatants in the Yellow pages on page 309.

it's spring, bruce! time for more home projects!

damn bruce baker, damn telecom

bruce baker missing from ballot. why he can't run? one guess.

bruce baker missing from ballot. why he can't run? one guess.

overhead bore

overhead bore

overhishead door

overhishead door

Bruce Baker will:

google maps: more proof positive hallerlee at 842

google maps: more proof positive hallerlee at 842
...and now, the map showing HallerLee at 842 South Prospect...

the smoking gun: yellow pages ad shows hallerlee without permit

the smoking gun: yellow pages ad shows hallerlee without permit
As you can see under the heading "Management Consultants," HallerLee HR Consulting LLC placed itself at 842 South Prospect Street, Burlington, as well as showing a number - but no address - for its original Underhill location. By 2009-10, the Underhill number had been removed by Bruce Baker and his wife Mary Lee and all of HallerLee's operations had consolidated at 842 South Prospect Street. Neither Lee (of HallerLEE) nor her husband, Baker, a lawyer who is vice chairman of the city Planning Commission, had a legal permit for this "home occupation," which has run Yellow Pages ads now for two years in a row showing its being located at 842 South Prospect Street. The city finally cited them for the violation but then "rescinded" it once they realized who they had in their nets. Ooops! The questions are: When will Baker resign from the commission? When will he end the cover-up? When will his wife come clean and admit the truth? When will Peter Potts, chair of the Planning Commission, admit he lied when he blindly signed an "affidavit" supporting Baker's claims that he didn't run a "home occupation" without a necessary permit?

how 'bout this bruce? mary? is this clear enough?

how 'bout this bruce? mary? is this clear enough?
Yellow Pages are just so sweet - they tell the truth.

...and while the planning commission took up his case where was bruce baker?

...and while the planning commission took up his case where was bruce baker?

city atty.: potts voted in behalf of fellow commissioner

city atty.: potts voted in behalf of fellow commissioner
The city attorney now admits that Peter Potts, Planning Commission chair, signed an "affidavit" in behalf of commission Vice Chair Bruce Baker and then voted on Baker's case. Yet the city attorney also claims that was all above board. What, just like Burlington Telecom's financing was all above board? The charade continues in City Hall. How Potts cannot be in a conflict when he signs - in behalf of a fellow commissioner - an "affidavit" claiming he saw no illegality - strains credulity. In fact, the unlawful "home occupation" that his fellow commissioner - lawyer Baker - sanctioned may well have ceased its non-permitted operations by the time Potts swore he saw nothing improper.What we still do not know is what Potts knew and when he knew it. Why should we? Baker needs to come forth and tell just what HE knew and when he knew it. So far, he has yet to come clean.

"...the cover-up is always worse." -

"...the cover-up is always worse." -
Will Planning Commission Vice Chairman Baker finally come clean?

city fall

city fall
Haik Bedrosian's website

baker and lee paid $442,000 for this (tax?) shelter

baker and lee paid $442,000 for this (tax?) shelter
The scene of the unlawful "home occupation" - 842 South Prospect Street, assessed at $349,700. Does assessment include unlawful commercial use of property?

accused zoning violator bruce baker blames dead woman's children

accused zoning violator bruce baker blames dead woman's children
Why does a guilty person always point the finger at someone else? A look behind secret City Hall emails - disclosed under duress of FOIA law. The upshot of this email: Baker is using as his defense a claim that a "disgruntled" survivor of the woman whose estate sold Baker his house - the same house in which he operated an unlawful "home occupation" - filed a complaint against Baker merely because he or she is upset about not receiving an inheritance from Bernice E. Cohen. What in God's name is he talking about? What does that have to do with his defense? How about nothing. Whether or not a relative is "disgruntled" over an alleged lack of an inheritance - which by the way is pure folly - is, as those lawyers say, immaterial to the issue of why Baker operated an unlawful "home occupation" from the house he bought from Mrs. Cohen's estate. When will Baker step up to the plate and non-purjuriously testify as to his operation of an unlawful "home occupation?" When will he finally admit he is guilty as cited? When he is staring at copies of Yellow Page ads proving he and his wife allowed a human-resources consulting business to operate from 842 South Prospect Street without a permit? Time will tell, folks. As John Adams, the second president of the United States once famously said, "Facts are stubborn things." --Theodore R. Cohen

jeez folks, what does accused zoning violator bruce baker have to hide?

jeez folks, what does accused zoning violator bruce baker have to hide?
Bruce Baker, cited for operating an unlawful "home occupation" apparently has plenty to hide - judging from this secret City Hall email. As you can see, City Hall blacked out key portions of this email because city officials are claiming attorney-client privilege as their excuse for "redacting" key portions of this email, which we procured via a formal Freedom of Information Act request.

Can you hear me now?


Hi folks:
Due to the fact that some of you did not get apprised of the letter below concerning the zoning citation that the city issued -- and then just as quickly recanted -- to Planning Commission Vice-Chairman Bruce D. Baker, please read it at your earliest convenience.
Mr. Keogh did apparently contact Mayor Kiss after my letter was sent, after I contacted Mr. Keogh to please do so, but nothing so far has been done.
I have since contacted Mr. Keogh but he, like everyone else, has ignored the fact that the city played a game of political favoritism, once it realized that it had cited one of its own.
Any of you may contact me to discuss.
-- Daniel G. Cohen

Mr. Schatz and Mayor Kiss:
As I am sure you are both aware, I have written numerous letters to you -- albeit many copies fowarded -- regarding the above matter, including a letter to you Mayor Kiss, seeking the removal of Bruce D. Baker from his membership on the Planning Commission.
Due partly to the fact that you have not responded to anything I have written regarding Mr. Baker's cited violation of the home occupation code, I proceeded with a Freedom of Information request.
I have also now contacted Bill Keogh, the President of the City Council, and he assures me that he will be in contact with you seeking information on some of my requests, including information on the removal process of forcing a commission member from his/or position.
The process by which Mr. Baker was cited for a Notice Of Violation has somehow short-circuited, to the extent that overriding political considerations have jaundiced the process fatally.
Now, not only has the Zoning Office withdrawn its Notice Of Violation against Mr. Baker, but also the legal process that should be playing itself out has developed into a dead-end folly.
We all know that under Mr. Baker's auspices, a business -- HallerLee HR Consulting -- was being headquartered at his house at 842 South Prospect Street, Burlington, Vermont, in violation of the home occupation code language, without a permit.
The dates marking the extent of time that the business was being conducted at Mr. Baker's house are still vague to some of us, but not to Mr. Baker nor to Peter Potts, the Planning Board Chairman who signed an affidavit supporting Mr. Baker's failed attempt at denying that he (Mr. Baker) had a business at 842 South Prospect Street.
I also am expecting that the matter of Mr. Potts signing an affidavit for his colleague Mr. Baker, be investigated as an obvious conflict-of-interest: the reason being that Mr. Potts as the Chairman of the Planning Commission, should not have signed any such affidavit for another member of the Planning Commission.
I expect some feedback on this letter, and not a continual side-stepping of the above matter.
-- Daniel G. Cohen

city hall lobbied the free press and seven days not to publicize baker's violation


Mr. Bergman:

At first glimpse, the most astonishing and glaring heart-stopper in the information that was sent to me, is your desperate effort to convince The Burlington Free Press and Seven Days newspaper to NOT run stories on how Bruce D. Baker was cited by the Zoning Office for running a business at his residence without a permit.

-- Why the secretiveness?
-- Why is the City of Burlington hiding?
-- Why is the city trying so hard to protect Bruce D. Baker?
-- Would not the city welcome a chance to tell the public its side of the story?
-- Are you and the city afraid that once the public digests both sides of the City of Burlington/lBruce D. Baker scandal, that there will be a realization by the public that the city provided Bruce D. Baker special treatment?
--Why must the city be so arrogant in denying the truth?
-- Is it hard to admit that the city might look guilty of a coverup if the public sees the facts?
-Daniel Cohen

the sheer excitement of serving on the planning commission...

the sheer excitement of serving on the planning commission...
...was supposed to have been parlayed into a mayoral bid...

will mayor of vermont's largest city come clean on bruce d. baker?


the dates don't add up!

the dates don't add up!
Hmmmm, let's see...Baker says in a letter to the city that HallerLee ceased operations "early in 2008." He attached a document from the Vermont Secretary of State showing its allegedly having closed June 13, 2008. But HallerLee has a Yellow Pages ad in the 2009-2010 phone book, the cover of which is pictured above. The deadline for submission of that ad would have been April 24, 2009, according to a Fairpoint Communications spokeswoman. In other words, at the very time that Baker claims he and his wife were shuttering their unlawful "home occupation," they were all the while RENEWING their Yellow Pages ad for that very business - an ad that is currently posted in the 2009-2010 phone book. They can't have it both ways, folks. Either they were shutting down their unlawful business or they weren't. Which is it, Bruce and Mary? Can you help us out with that one? Meanwhile, the Fairpoint spokeswoman tells us the HallerLee phone number at 842 South Prospect Street was disconnected at "the end of March 2009." So, here the key question - among many that remain: If the business closed in early 2008, why did the Bakers not disconnect its phone number until ONE year later, early in 2009? UPDATE: Vermont Secretary of State has provided us documents showing that HallerLee - of which attorney Bruce D. Baker was the registered legal agent - filed its last annual report with the secretary on Dec. 31, 2006, a document that wasn't signed by Mary Lee until March 7, 2007 - only eight days before the statutory deadline. Though law requires annual reports for such corporations, Baker, aka the registered agent for HallerLee, failed to file an annual report for fiscal year 2007-2008 - and for 2008-2009. Why? We suggest it is because Baker/Lee had under the cover of darkness moved HallerLee's headquarters from its previous location to their house at 842 South Prospect Street - which would make it an unlawful "home occupation" unless it had a permit, which it did not. We also note that HallerLee's final annual report to the Secretary of State shows "PO Box 3206" as HallerLee's "principal address." By law, these documents require a real address, as opposed to a P.O. Box. Suppose this was done to mask the real location of the business? Baker/Lee show it operating out of a post office box. Musta been a pretty small office, huh? - Ted Cohen, with staff reports and documents from Vermont Secretary of State

potts in cover-up?

potts in cover-up?

when will city hall stop the obfuscation?


Mr. White:

I have, in fact, sent a check to City Hall for said FOIA materials.

Notwithstanding the materials I may discover in the FOIA request, it is purely evident that you still cannot quote me ANY code enforcement language that allowed the City to withdraw the Notice Of Violation against Mr. Baker.
And, nobody representing the city can find any such language and/or reasoning for such.
You have also not answered or provided justification for explaining to me ANY response to my stance to you that I was not provided any rights of appeal in the Notice Of Violation withdrawal.
Not only did the city have no legal standing to issue the withdrawal of the Notice Of Violation, but the appeal rights that you say the city granted me was only a page attached to the withdrawal notice, albeit an appeal sheet that said that the aggrieved property owner -- who received the Notice Of Violation -- could have filed an appeal, NOT me.
I was not the aggrieved property owner, Mr. Baker is/was.
How you and/or the city cannot understand any of the above is startling.
-- Daniel G. Cohen

do you hear what i hear?


Mr. Lerner and Mr. White:

I will conclude from both of your silences on the questions I have asked you:

1. That Mr. Baker did not, in fact, file the alleged appeal you both say he did, since you will not produce the paperwork, and if there were any such appeal it was of an oral nature only, with both of your acquiescences that it only be oral.
2. That there is, in fact, NO administrative remedy set in code enforcement language, that legally allows you to withdraw an Notice Of Violation, and the withdrawal of ZV 183190 by you is legally moot and unenforceable.
-- Daniel G. Cohen

Earth to Planning Director David White - do we have contact?

Mr. White:
Since your alleged answers revolve around nothing that responds to any of my substantive questions, I hope that my Freedom of Information request provides me more information.
You say that staff did follow-up on my complaint and other ancillary matters pertaining to the complaint, and that certain information has been communicated to particular government departments, yet, I have been issued NONE of any such reports -- if in fact any reports exist at all.
Furthermore, you say that no one appealed the withdrawal of the Notice Of Violation and the alleged fact that was allegedly unsubstantiated.
If "no one" refers to me, or anyone, I have told you that the matter was not something that could have been appealed.
The withdrawal was so unprecedented due to its nature and the alleged "unsubstantiation," totally a matter of folly.
You have been unable -- still -- to provide me any statutory or code enforcement language warranting withdrawal of the Notice Of Violation.
[Ed. note: We are still waiting...]

planning board chairman in conflict of interest?

Email from us to Peter Potts, chairman of the Burlington, Vermont Planning Commission:

Mr. Potts: I am puzzled why the minutes of the August 11, 2009 meeting of the Planning Commission do not reflect the apparent discussion that took place regarding the letter I sent to Mayor Kiss seeking the removal of Bruce D. Baker from the Planning Commission.
My understanding is that such minutes should reflect at least a mention of such an item.
I assume you are aware of the Notice Of Violation that was issued to your colleague, Mr. Baker, since you signed an affidavit swearing that there never was a business being conducted at 842 So. Prospect St., Burlington, Vermont.
It's interesting that you are the Chairman of the Planning Commission, and that you also submitted this affidavit in support of another Planning Commission member, Mr. Baker. This would seem to be an apparent conflict-of-interest, to say the least.

the politics of personal construction at burlington city hall

Planning Director David White attempts to argue in his email to us below that Burlington attorney Bruce D. Baker - who is also vice chairman of the Planning Commission - personally withdrew the Notice of Violation issued against him.
We asked, "How can the target of a zoning complaint unilaterally have it dismissed at the drop of a hat without going through the legally required appeals process?"
(Mr. White never explains why his staff initially found Baker in violation but then suddenly without explanation decided their findings were "unsubstantiated.") - Ted Cohen

Mr. [daniel] Cohen,
The term "closed" in such cases refers to the "status" of a record in our permitting system which is being managed by staff either here in the Planning Office or at Code Enforcement.
By example, an investigation is conducted by the Code Enforcement staff regarding a complaint to make a determination regarding the status of an alleged violation. As a result a Notice of Violation is either sent or no violation was found.
The person who lodged the complaint is typically contacted by the Code Enforcement staff regarding the outcome of the investigation.
In Mr. Baker's case, a complaint was received on 5/4/2009 which initiated an investigation by Code Enforcement staff. A Notice of Violation was sent on 7/8/2009 by Code Enforcement staff.
The system indicates you were also sent a notice of this decision by Code Enforcement staff on 7/8/2009.
A record regarding an alleged violation (in a case where a Notice of Violation is actually sent) is "closed" by the Code Enforcement staff when the alleged violation has been remedied.
In Mr. Baker's case, upon receipt of additional information on 7/23/2009 the Code Enforcement staff determined that the alleged violation was found to be unsubstantiated, and the record status for the Notice of Violation was closed in the permitting system on 7/31/2009 by Code Enforcement staff. The system indicates you were also sent a notice of this decision by Code Enforcement staff on 7/31/2009.
An appeal of a Notice of Violation is "closed" by the Planning staff when it is withdrawn by the appellant or a decision is rendered by the DRB and the appeal period has expired.
In Mr. Baker's case, on 7/23/2009 he filed an appeal of the Notice of Violation with the Planning Department in order to preserve his appeal rights within the required appeal period of the notice.
Upon the completion of the appeal period of the Code Enforcement staff's determined [sic]that the alleged violation was found to be unsubstantiated, Mr. Baker withdrew his appeal of the Notice of Violation on 8/25/2009 and the record status of the appeal was closed in the permitting system by Planning staff.
As Elsie noted below, there was no appeal pending by Mr. Baker when you inquired on 8/28/2009.
I trust this adequately answers your questions.

David E. White, AICP
Director of Planning & Zoning

City of Burlington
149 Church Street, First Floor
Burlington, VT 05401

T: 802.865.7188
T: 802.865.7194 (direct)
F: 802.865.7195