Monday, February 15, 2016

Revisiting 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders' Pre-2000 Political Career--Part 7

In his 1991 book, The Socialist Mayor: Bernard Sanders in Burlington, Vermont, Steven Soifer indicated how 2016 Democratic party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders governed in Burlington, Vermont during the 1980's, when Sanders was the mayor of Burlington, Vermont:

"....One administration insider noted that Bonnie Vander Tain, Personnel Department director after Jim Dunn, was the only woman appointed by Sanders to head a department, and she didn't stay long....In another administration insider's estimation, `the tension comes with the women's groups because they don't see Bernie as a feminist--and he's not--and partly that's his age, and he tries hard. I think he relies on men primarily.'....

"Progressive critics of the Sanders administration were generally harsh on Sander's record with women. For example, one said:

"`I guess he's finally agreed to set up a women's committee (that is, Women's Council) that has some teeth to it, but for years women were trying to get to take their concerns seriously....and it was the same thing--he just wasn't listening....'

"Another progressive critic explained her view of the situation of women at city hall: The `lack of women around him and his seeming inability to have women in any leadership position in city hall [is a problem[....I think his inner circle's...all men.'

"Still another progressive critic had this to say about Sanders's relation to women:

"`If you look at all....the big jobs, very few [go] to women. Only through great pushing was there finally a Women's the city....after four years in office....He hasn't done anything affirmative, he hasn't done anything necessarily too bad, but he's done nothing that would make any great changes for women at all.'....

"....Women's issues were not one of Sanders's top priorities. Many women interviewed, both inside and outside the administration, raised concerns around the mayor's style and process....Women generally spoke of his `male style' of doing things and his not being a feminist....

"Sanders's leftist critics were harsh in their assessment of the mayor's interactions with women....People from various groups raised the issue of Sanders's inner circle of all male advisors. The mayor's inner circle, while changing somewhat over the years, included David Clavelle, Peter Clavelle, Jonathan Leopold, Jr., John Franco, Jim Schumacher, and George Thabault. Some women expressed feelings of having been `overlooked' or `cut out of the decision-making process' at various points...." 

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