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The Scoreboard

December 20, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newWho won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics? 

Rutland. The blood in that town is like no other.

Here's the rest of the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, December 20:

Winners: — Owners of the Burlington-based online marketing company scored big this week with its billion-dollar sale to New York-based Dealertrack TechnologiesState and local officials hailed the Dealer deal as evidence that Vermont is a great place to do business. But while officials at both companies say they'll continue to invest in Dealer's Burlington operations, it's too soon to say how the sale will affect the Queen City.

Rutland — In its final bid to take the national one-day record for blood collection, the city of Rutland did so — and then some. Tuesday's Gift of Life Marathon brought in 2337 pints of blood, besting the 1968-pint record set by Manchester, N.H., in 2011. Talk about a community coming together to get the job done!

The kids these days — Vermont won a $37 million federal grant to invest in early childhood education, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Thursday. The four-year Race to the Top grant is the largest single investment of its kind in state history, Shumlin said. Separately, the gov announced Thursday that five Vermont colleges will let high school seniors enroll free of charge as part of the state's "flexible pathways" program. 

Burlington political observers — Progressive Selene Colburn's entry into the race to represent Ward 1 on the Burlington City Council sets up another interesting competition in next March's city elections. Colburn will face Democrat Molly Loomis. That means at least two wards will see Dem-versus-Prog races and another two will see Dem-versus-Republican matches.

Seven Days — The news about newspapers ain't all gloomy! With its hiring of VTDigger reporter Alicia Freese this weekSeven Days has added two new reporting positions to its news team in the past three months. Better yet, the newspaper still hasn't fired me! 

Continue reading "The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers" »

December 13, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newWho won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Two words: Ed Adrian.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, December 13:


Vermont Health Connect — After weeks of bad press, the state's health insurance exchange nabbed a few good headlines after Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Thursday that more and more Vermonters are signing up. Granted, those who've found the most success purchasing health insurance are the ones who bypassed the exchange entirely and went straight to their insurance companies. But, hey! Coverage is coverage!

Ed Adrian — The former Burlington city councilor, Democrat and Twitter junkie put the Vermont press corps to shame this week when he ponied up $50 to attend the Vermont GOP's winter gala Wednesday night. When the press learned they weren't invited (after tickets sold out), Adrian's tweeting and blogging of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's keynote address made him virtually omnipresent. 

Beltway ShummyHaving won reelection Monday as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, look for Gov. Peter Shumlin to play a more prominent role in the national political debate. This year, after all, the DGA played in just one gubernatorial election. Next year, 36 seats are up for grabs.

Jim Douglas — The former gov's run-in with a deer last weekend gave everyone a chance to dust off their old gubernatorial deer and bear jokes. We're just glad he and his wife, Dorothy, walked away unharmed. Now, can we get this guy his security detail back?

Ken Squier — The legendary owner of WDEV-Radio won the Vermont Press Association's Matthew Lyon Award for his lifelong commitment to the first amendment. Squier and WDEV were honored at the VPA's not-so-annual meeting and awards ceremony Thursday at Montpelier's Capital Plaza. Runner-up winners: Everyone else who took home hardware. The Burlington Free Press and Seven Days both won the VPA's "general excellence" awards for best daily and non-daily papers. The Freeps took home 13 awards, while Seven Days, the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus and the Herald of Randolph each took home eight.

Continue reading "The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers" »

December 06, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newWho won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

The Vermont Air National Guard, obvz. But who else? 

Read on and you'll find out — in the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, December 6:


The Vermont Air National Guard — You mighta heard: They're gettin' a few new planesRunner-up winner: Sen. Patrick Leahy, who invested a tremendous amount of political capital into bringing the F-35 to Vermont. Second runner-up winner: Vermont's business community, which organized the "grassroots," pro-F-35 movement (led by Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation president Frank Cioffi and funded, in part, by real estate magnate Tony Ernie Pomerleau) Leahy referred to at Tuesday's announcement. Third runner-up winner: WPTZ-TV, the first media outlet to confirm and report the F-35 news.

Peter Shumlin — The governor said this week he's planning to run for a third term next year, and he's already banking cash from Vermont's business and, um, Republican bigwigs. That's good news for him and terrible news for his nonexistent opponents. Runner-up loser: The Vermont media, which, despite Shummy's admission that he's running, will almost certainly allow him to avoid engaging with his (nonexistent) opponent through Labor Day, as it did last year.

Vermont Public Radio — VPR's capital bureau picked up the best print reporter in the Statehouse this week. Runner-up loser: The Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, both of which have relied on Peter Hirschfeld to prop up their ever-diminishing news teams. Look for them to rely more and more on their partnership with VPR, through which they'll be able to print stories reported by... Peter Hirschfeld.

Phish (point of personal privilege) — They officially turned 30 this week. And they're still the shit. Just sayin'.

Continue reading "The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers" »

November 29, 2013

The Scoreboard: A Special Thanksgiving Edition

Scoreboard.newEach Friday here at Scoreboard headquarters, we take a look back at the week's news to see who came out ahead and who came out behind.

But this week — still drunk on tryptophan and gravy, no doubt — we're taking a different approach. Like the pilgrims of yore, gathered around the turducken and marshmallow-covered sweet potatoes at Plymouth Rock, we're taking a moment to reflect on all that for which we are thankful. 

And, to be sure, there is much in this great state for which a political reporter and columnist must give thanks. For instance:

Gov. Peter Shumlin — Yes, we've spilled plenty of ink documenting his many trials, tribulations and boneheaded comments. But let's face it: The guy is a gift to political reporters that just keeps on giving. Nobody's got the gov beat in the chutzpah department, nor in pure, unadulterated political skill. And say what you will about Shummy, the guy works harder than anyone else around. You may question the way he runs this state, but there's no questioning his commitment to it.

Continue reading "The Scoreboard: A Special Thanksgiving Edition" »

November 22, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newWho won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Keno, Christie, the Champlain Parkway, campaign-finance violators, broadband spinners, Sanders speculators, deer hunting pols and, most of all, legislators.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, November 22:


Broadband spinmeisters — Gov. Peter Shumlin sure knows how to make lemonade from lemons. Despite falling 3000 homes short of his campaign pledge to provide every Vermonter with broadband access by the end of 2013, the gov all but declared "mission accomplished" at a "celebration of progress" roundtable on Wednesday. The phrase of choice — uttered by the gov and by Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding — was that the administration had "for all intents and purposes" met its goal.

Sanders speculation — In his Saturday story questioning whether Sen. Bernie Sanders might run for president in 2016, Burlington Free Press reporter Sam Hemingway didn't get much more out of the senator than Playboy did last month. Oddly, Hemingway never directly quoted Sanders expressing interest in a run. But the story sure caught the attention of the D.C. press corps, which took it as a sure sign that Bernie's running. We remain skeptical.

Christie love — Less than two weeks after the Vermont Republican Party announced that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's coming to town, the party sold out all 600 tickets to the eventRunner-up winner: Peter Shumlin, who, as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, will likely get more national press now that his counterpart at the Republican Governors Association is Christie, a media darling and 2016 prospect.

Champlain Parkway — Mayor Miro Weinberger scored a victory this week with the announcement that a longtime critic of the Champlain Parkway had dropped his objections to the project. Forty years after the link between I-89 and downtown Burlington was first proposed, it's one small, but significant, step closer to reality.

Big buck hunter — You can't make this shit up! In the opening hours of opening day, Shumlin bagged himself a 186-pound, six-pointerRunner-up winners: The Vermont press corps, whose members were spared repeated references to the feat, since the gov didn't hold a press conference this week.

Continue reading "The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers" »

November 15, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newWho won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Well, ponies, for sure.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, November 15:


Vermont's congressional delegation — Gov. Peter Shumlin's been taking the heat for Vermont Health Connect's struggles, but what about the three amigos who voted for the Affordable Care Act? 

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott — After last weekend's election of Scott ally David Sunderland as chairman of the Vermont GOP, it's the lite gov's party now. Runner-up winner: Party treasurer Mark Snelling, who survived Scott's attempted ouster, and who will surely continue giving him headaches. Second runner-up winner: Brian Dubie, whose adviser, attorney Brady Toensing, was installed as vice chairman.

Vermont Democratic Party — Those bored operatives over at the Democratic Party headquarters seem psyched to finally have some opposition in the form of Sunderland. They were quick to fire off a fundraising solicitation and press release this week going after the new GOP chairman. 

Next-gen Progs — The Vermont Progressive Party's leadership transition last weekend drew considerably less attention than the GOP's. But it's worth noting that the lefty baton is being passed from crusty old Sanderistas to fiery young Progs, like the party's new, 33-year-old chairwoman, Emma Mulvaney-Stanak.

Congressman Welch's frequent flier miles — We hear the weather's great this time of year in the Sinai! But maybe next time he should consider Barbados instead. 


Continue reading "The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers" »

November 08, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newSo who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Big boxes, prisons, pandas, tans, Republican unity, Putney nudity, Waterbury canneries and.... Vermont Health Connect. Duh.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, November 8:


Jeff Davis — With an assist from Gov. Peter Shumlin, Vermont's biggest big-box store developer won a promise this week from the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Vermont Natural Resources Council that both will drop their opposition to his proposed Derby Wal-Mart. In exchange, developer Jeff Davis agreed to pony up $200,000 to the Preservation Trust for remediation efforts in Orleans County, while the state promised to appropriate another $500,000 for downtown tax credits. Davis also pledged to refrain from proposing future Walmarts in the state until 2020. Runner-up loser: VNRC executive director Brian Shupe, who spent years fighting Walmarts while working at Smart Growth Vermont, and looked visibly pained at the deal's announcement Wednesday. He called it "bittersweet."

Gov. Peter Shumlin — Terry McAuliffe's narrow victory in Virginia's closely watched gubernatorial race gave Shumlin an important victory in his first year as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. And because he and the DGA effectively distanced themselves from the only other guber race in the country — New Jersey Republican Chris Christie's reelection romp — they avoided taking blame for the loss. Runner-up winner: Vermont's own Robby Mook, who solidified his credentials as one of the top political operatives in the country.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott — A week after the Republican lite gov stood in solidarity with the Democratic gov at a tough health care announcement, Scott managed to scare the Vermont GOP's conservative chairman out of running for reelection. The next day, he announced he was bringing Republican rock star Chris Christie to town. Looks like Scott's moderate Republican brand is catching on. 

Continue reading "The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers" »

November 01, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newWho won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Just a bunch of nothing-burgers.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, Nov. 1:


The business community — Gov. Peter Shumlin's surprise announcement Thursday that he'll delay the mandate for individuals and small-business employees to buy insurance through Vermont Health Connect should give HR managers a breather. Not to mention procrastinators! Runner-up loser: The business community, which may be all the more confused by Shumlin's new contingency plans.

Rep. Don Turner, Sen. Joe Benning and Lt. Gov. Phil Scott — Last Wednesday, Turner and Benning — leaders of the House and Senate Republican caucuses — called on Shumlin to delay the mandate if the website's technical issues persisted. Last Friday, Scott joined their cause and made the same case on VPR's Vermont Edition. Shumlin apparently heard their advice and heeded it.

Randy Brock and Darcie Johnston — Brock, the 2012 Republican gubernatorial candidate, and Johnston, his former de facto campaign manager, looked like they were going out on a limb in September when they predicted that Vermont Health Connect just wouldn't work. Whelp, turns out they were right!

Gamblers — If you're into them fancy lotto ticket vending machine doohickeys at the local Shell station, you're in luck. The Vermont Lottery Commission is considering letting bars and restaurants have 'em, too, as WCAX and VTDigger first reported. Runner-up loser: Sen. Tim Ashe, who was served an overflowing glass of hater-ade by Green Mountain Daily's John Walters for his rather uppity reaction to the machines: They're apparently "completely vulgar" and "garish." God forbid!

Burlington housing developers — Burlington College's new campus "master plan" is the latest in a series of development projects planned for the city. That's good news for developers and those hoping for more affordable housing — and bad news for neighbors and lovers of green space.

Energy optimism— Green-energy honchos announced an ambitious goal Tuesday to power 20 percent of the state with renewables by 2020. They say more solar and wind installations — and a carbon tax — are necessary to ensure the state reaches its 90 percent goal by 2050.

The Red Sox (duh) — With apologies to the Yankees insurgency and the Expos ex-pats, Vermont is very much Red Sox Nation. Koji Uehara is reaching Heady Topper-levels of popularity right now. Runner-up winner: The University of Vermont, for avoiding the celebratory riots that broke out at UNH and UMass.

Continue reading "The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers" »

October 25, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newWho won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Guns, missiles, fighter jets, free speech, steeples, contractors and... Bernie Sanders.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, October 25: 


Jack Lindley — The Republican party chairman is on the mend after a very close call. In our book — whether he keeps his leadership post or not — that makes him one serious winner. Runner-up losers: Those plotting to oust Lindley while he's still in the hospital. Can't it wait, fellas? 

Stealth missions — Remember that whole ICBM-destroying missile defense base proposed for the Vermont National Guard's Camp Ethan Allen? Yeah, that one. Though the Pentagon's top brass say they don't need an East Coast interceptor, the Missile Defense Agency quietly dispatched a five-man team to Jericho last week to check the place out, as the Burlington Free Press' Nicole Gaudiano reported Thursday.

Bernie buzz — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) kinda sorta claims he has no interest in running for president. But it was interesting that his campaign staffer, Ben Eisenberg, emailed reporters a link to an In These Times story Thursday in which his boss says, "I haven't ruled it out."

Continue reading "The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers" »

October 18, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Scoreboard.newWho won and lost this week in Vermont news and politics?

Apple bobbers, advertising firms, broadcasters, flag yankers, lobbyists, plane lovers and a couple of Marks.

Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, October 18:


All of us — Now that the government shutdown is over and the debt ceiling has been raised, we can all move on and be bored to tears by Congress' next malfunction.

GMMB — The D.C. ad firm won big with its $2.8 million contract to promote Vermont Health Connect, half a million of which is earmarked for a gold-plated campaign to cozy up to — and monitor the work of — Vermont reporters. Runner-up winner: the Vermont Press Bureau's Peter Hirschfeld, who broke the story and all the reporters named in GMMB's enemies list, er, "media landscape report."

Mark Johnson — Halfway through an hourlong interview with Attorney General Bill Sorrell Thursday morning, the WDEV radio host got the AG to break some serious news: He's running for reelection.

F-35 supporters — In a memo issued Thursday, Burlington city attorney Eileen Blackwood concluded it's "unlikely that there are any grounds on which the City can prohibit or limit the Air Force from basing the F-35 at [Burlington International Airport]..." Will that stop the antis from trying? No.

Vermont broadcasters — Campaign for Vermont founder Bruce Lisman is throwing $60,000 at a trio of new TV ads. But what on earth is he saying?

The Rutland Herald — The paper fought the city of Rutland all the way to the Vermont Supreme Court to get its hands on documents relating to an investigation of police officers downloading pornography on the job. Last Friday, the Herald won. It spent the next few days publishing stories demonstrating precisely why the public has a right to know what its public servants are doing on the job.

Next-gen lobbyists — Now that KSE Partners' Kevin Ellis is leaving the Montpelier lobbying firm that bears his name, it's promoting three employees to partner: Statehouse lobbyists Todd Bailey and Nick Sherman, as well as D.C.-based Leif Johnson.

Citizenry — Sen. Patrick Leahy won not one but two "Citizen of the Year" awards this week — from the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Vermont Medical Society. Come on, St. Patrick! Couldn't nail the hat trick?

Continue reading "The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers" »

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