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Friday, October 26, 2007

Ribbon-Cutting Time!

It was the official opening of the new environmentally-friendly Merrill Lynch office on the Burlington Waterfront Thursday. Yours truly was the only press that showed. No big deal, but I thought there just might be a gubernatorial ribbon-cutting, eh?

Ribboncutting Gov. Jim Douglas noted Merrill Lynch is a "very large global corporation with annual revenues  7-times the state budget here in Vermont."

Gov. Scissorhands called Merrill Lynch "a great corporate citizen" for making a "commitment to a green building."

Steve Waltien of Shelburne, a UVM grad and bank president before signing on with Merrill Lynch 17 years ago, told the gathering of almost 100 that "Without the support of the local administration, this project for us would never happen. So we really appreciate your being here mayor."

Progressive Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss - the only socialist we could identify in the crowd, told the gathering that:

"Being a student of the Sixties, you know the question I have is: ‘Does business have a soul?’ 

"I think in a lot of ways Merrill Lynch is a pillar of the community...and we’re building the community together.

"We all know that the sub-prime mortgage rates are in trouble. We all know that there’s disparity between rich and poor and I think we’re all struggling with those issues to make sure we have a quality life and a better life."

"So what I see here is a dedication to green building,  an investment in Burlington and a long commitment, I think, to social needs in the City of Burlington and the State of Vermont so I’m hoping that we partnership together so that we can build a better world."

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Merrill Lynch's Waltien told Freyne Land:

"There are a lot of Merrill-Lynch managers like me around the country who think like I do. Very frankly, I’m a liberal Democrat and there are many people who think like I do in this firm. I feel very comfortable in this firm.

"I think the impression from afar is that these are the right-wing Republican fat cats. Nothing could be farther from the truth


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Curt Hier

You know, I've never understood why you so object to our Governor's getting out of his office and being out among people.


It's not really about what the gov is doing, if he goes out among the people freyne gives him crap and if he doesn't well he gives him crap for that too. It's that he is republican. If Dean did the same thing he would be getting a pat on the back for going out among the people and getting in touch with the people. Just because Freyne is "press" in no way means this blog, and his column for that matter, isn't skewed so far left as too be past the point of extreme.


I admire Douglas's hand workout routine. I helped him achieve his lightening quick ribbon cutting motion through a series of difficult repetative motion exercises. Each morning, Jim also does a series of finger-ups, just to ensure that he'll be ready to cut when there's cutting to be done. Douglas is particular about his choice of sciccors. While he's partial to the rubber-handled scissors used by grade schoolers, he often ends up using the standard Fiskars brand. When Jim is bored, his staff will often hold up dummy ribbons,and Jim will slice through them all, taking great joy in his achievement and receiving high-fives and praise from his attentive staff. Ribbon cutting is not something our governor takes lightly, and I, for one, thank God for that every night.


Actually, Freyne asks hard questions of all of our elected leaders.

Ask Ho-Ho Dean or Gaye Symington. He grilled them just as hard as he grills Douglas.


Asking questions and skewing answers are not the same thing. No matter what Bernie answers for example, Freyne will pretend it was the most prophetic answer he'd ever heard. No matter what DOuglas answers Freyne will always pretend like it was the least the gov could've done.


No, I haven't seen a truly hard or critical question put to Bernie in years.

Curt Hier

I've heard Peter pose some tough questions to Dems, and I like reading his blog. But I don't really like his childish little nicknames, whether it be "Ho-Ho" or "Governor Scissorhands." These people deserve more respect than that, and the humor wears thin. Also, focussing on the Governor's ribbon cutting makes me think that there's a dearth of legitimate complaints about how he does his job.


Bob Kiss out to be governor


row, you left out the 'gh' after the 'u'. Please keyboard more carfully futre.


Bob Kiss ought to be governor.

Green Mountain 05401

I think Peter should give the governor grief over his constant ribbon-cutting.

Governor Douglas exploits anti-gay sentiment in his fundraising letters and media quotes (see Free Press today, for example) by saying that Democrats are "wasting time" on the issue of marriage equality for same-sex couples.

It's clear that the governor spends a hell of a lot of time on much less important things than our state's failure to eliminate discrimination in our marriage laws. After all, marriage is a fundamental right, according to the US Supreme Court. It's not a minor loss for committed gay couples.

Just who around here is wasting taxpayer time and money on trivial matters (And pretty much campaigning at the taxpayer's expense)?

Maybe he should spend some time working on making life more affordable and equitable for gay families instead of driving around the state for hours to cut ribbons.


Steve Waltien of Shelburne. I remember he was a big advocate of enacting legislation to authorize interstate banking in Vermont because it would bring more financial resources to Vermont.

In fact, it brought more resources to his wallet and you decide if you like a handful of banks owing the banking world.

Sam Osborne

If you are interested in keeping up with our ribbon cutting governor put on your daily read. With the help of our readers we keep
try to keep track of our widely traveled governor.


I highly approve of Mr. Osborne's website, and I encourage everyone to check it out. You'll see why I earn $150,000 a year, and you'll appreciate my liberal use of your funds to visit all over Vermont, eating on your dime, gassing up with your dollars, staying overnight sometimes at your expense, and being protected by hired guards (I've heard of this Mad Cow disease and I am around a lot of cows on the election trail)thanks to your graciousness. One thing I think Mr. Osborne should tally are my numerous attempts are how many times I use the dorky phrase "Vermont Way Forward"(like I actually have any plan to move this state anywhere). He could also tally how many times I say that "Vermont is bad for business" or "Our children are taking flight." Man, I could go on all day, couldn't I? I'll see you on the trail! I'll try and remember your name.

A Watcher

I think it is funny that when someone leaves a post on this blog spoofing as Judy Dean it *immediately* gets pulled for violating the terms of use but if someone posts as "J Douglas" it is allowed to remain.

More proof that "fair is fair" only if oyu follow one train of thought!


Gov. Dean did all of the same things that poster "JDouglas" accuses the current Governor of doing. And I say that as someone who was a fan of Gov. Dean.

Doug Hoffer

Does that make it OK?


Well, to some extent you can't complain about, much less prevent, a governor from traveling around the state. He/she would say it's part of his job, and it would be difficult to say it isn't.

Second, I'd like to deal with the fairness issue, please. The poster didn't complain about a generic governor doing those things, he only complained about the current one. It's pretty obvious (to me, at least) his rant was motivated by dislike of the current governor, not dislike of these things that all governors do.

Doug Hoffer

I agree about the fairness issue. However, this governor does not necessarily travel around the state to engage in meaningful discussions with residents (as Bernie has been doing for years). And when he does, it has to be dressed up as a major "initiative" (a "listening tour") rather than a central part of the job.

It appears that a lot of his time is spent showing up, saying hello, and leaving. I don't know if Dean, Kunin & Snelling did the same thing - or as frequently, but if they did, I would be just as frustrated. At least some of those PR moments could be eliminated in order to make time for the constituencies he has all but ignored since he took office. The former is campaigning; the latter is leadership and governing. Both are necessary but it's the balance that seems out of whack.


"However, this governor does not necessarily travel around the state to engage in meaningful discussions with residents (as Bernie has been doing for years)."

As to your parenthetical, give me a freakin break. Every single one of Bernie's interactions with residents is an electoral event. Always have been. Always will be.

You love Bernie and you don't like Douglas. That's your prerogative. But please don't say that Douglas' interactions with residents around the state aren't "meaningful discussions with residents" and Bernie's are. That's just ridiculous. Bernie's events are carefully stage-managed electoral events. He chooses the agenda. He chooses the speakers. He controls the discussion.


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