Dear friends, neighbours and Burlingtonians,

As campaign director of the Just Cause Coalition and chair of the Friends of Just Cause Eviction PAC I want to address the anti-Just Cause campaign material the Burlington people have been subjected to in the last week.

These have come in two forms;

  • Lawn signs, put up primarily in green spaces across the city
  • Direct mailers, sent to a portion of households in Burlington

The lawn signs do not information on what organisation paid for them. An oversight that is unfortunately their right as long as they spent less than $1,000 on them. The mailers were paid for by the “Vermonters for Affordable Housing” PAC, which operates out of the offices of the Vermont Association of Realtors, and is led by their Director of Policy and Advocacy, Peter Tucker. 

Lawn Signs:

On Wednesday night to Friday afternoon, tens if not hundreds of lawn signs were distributed throughout the city by an unknown organization. The lawn signs are bright red, often left at stop signs and come with several different “arguments” as to why the people of Burlington should vote no on Just Cause eviction. 

The slogans read:

  • Don’t make it harder to find an apartment in BTV
  • Protect female tenants and property owners
  • Just Cause = higher rents and fewer available apartments
  • Protect BIPOC tenants from their racist neighbours

These statements are categorically untrue and designed to fear monger and manipulate voters into voting against their interests. They are racist, misogynistic and paternalistic. 

The statement regarding our BIPOC population is particularly disgusting. No Cause evictions disportionately affect marginalized people and BIPOC. Landlords are far more likely to no cause evict a person of colour  because of their “lifestyle”, “friends”, “partners’ ‘ or familial status. BIPOC are also most likely to suffer the worst consequences from no cause eviction, experiencing a higher rate of houselessness, job loss and displacement. To use the language of racial justice as a means to block housing reform designed to protect tenants from discrimination is digusting, and should be condemned by everyone in our community, regardless of where they come down on the merits of Just Cause Eviction.

The organization behind these signs have been too cowardly to put their names on their material, and as of this moment, only one person has stepped forward to claim responsibility. I commend that person for taking responsibility for being part of the group that developed the language for these signs, but now is the time to make amends. Issue a public apology, remove any signs left out around Burlington and let us know who else was involved in this act. 

We also call on Peter Tucker, the Vermonters for Affordable Housing PAC and the Vermont Association of Realtors to make a statement disavowing the lawn signs distributed across Burlington as well as their messages. Mr Tucker privately claimed he and the PAC bear no responsibility for the design and distribution of these lawn signs. If he or anyone else associated with the Vermont Association of Realtors knows who is responsible for these signs they should ask them to take responsibility for them.  

Direct Mailers:

Two mailers were received in quick succession to a selection of Burlington houses in the last 7 to 14 days. These mailers have been paid for by the “Vermonters for Affordable Housing” PAC, and led by the Vermont Association of Realtors’ Director of Policy and Advocacy, Peter Tucker (peter@vermontrealtors.com, 802 229 0513). 

This PAC was named to lead voters to believe it was created by an affordable housing advocacy group. So much so that many recipients confused the PAC for the “Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition.” VAHC is a well respected and established housing policy group, led by Erhard Mahnke, and created to promote fair and equitable housing practices in Vermont. They are one of Just Cause Eviction’s earliest and strongest allies in the fight to implement JCE. For a PAC that does not care about, nor fight for, housing affordability to use a name so similar for an anti-Just Cause PAC is a dirty political tactic. 

The VAHC statement on this mailer can be found here.

The mailers themselves, much like the lawn signs, are riddled with lies and fear-mongering. 

They claim that Just Cause Eviction is “unconstitutional”, despite the fact it is state law in four states (California, New Jersey, Oregon, New Hampshire) and has been successfully implemented in numerous cities and municipalities. 

They also claim that the implementation of Just Cause will mean tenants will have no way of knowing how much their rent can increase. There is no law in Vermont regulating rent increases, which means tenants have no way of knowing what their rent will increase under our current system. This statement is a manipulation tactic and intentionally confusing.

In general, these mailers are slapdash and unprofessional, unbefitting of a serious campaign. Peter Tucker privately acknowledged that some of the arguments in the mailer have no merit. That does not mean we should lose sight of the fact they are also deliberately misleading and dishonest. 

We call on Peter Tucker, the Vermonters for Affordable Housing PAC and the Vermont Association of Realtors to apologize for these mailers. If they were designed by an out of state pro-landlord group, Peter and the association should make it clear that while they are responsible for these mailers, the content on them is incorrect. 

Peter Tucker should also issue an immediate apology for the misleading name of their PAC and acknowledge the confusion and anguish caused to the VAHC and their allies. There has been damage made to the brand and standing of the VAHC and a remedy needs to happen swiftly.


In closing, I would like to thank the people of Burlington, elected officials and several wonderful community groups for the outpouring of support and solidarity that I have seen in the past few days. The Black Perspective, Decolonize Burlington, Rights and Democracy, Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition, Councillor Hightower, CD Mattison, and Senator Ram, have all come out with strong, moving statements in condemnation of these tactics and supporting Just Cause. 

At the Friends of Just Cause Eviction, we have campaigned based on the merits of a fairer more equitable Burlington for renters, homeowners and landlords. Tactics, like those displaced by our opponents, are used by those unable to stand on arguments with merit. The people of Burlington are appalled by these messages, and will stand with us on March 2nd and vote in favour of Just Cause Eviction.

Say YES on Question 5.

In solidarity,

Tom Proctor  

Campaign Director, The Just Cause Coalition

Regional Organizer, Rights and Democracy

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