Daily Archives: January 15, 2016

Shumlin Impresses In Straw-Man Battle

Note: This is a repost of a piece originally posted a couple days ago. The original had some technical glitches; the easiest way to get rid of them was to start from scratch. 

Looks like the Shumlin administration is seriously worried about the future of the Enterprise Fund. After getting quite a bit of blowback over this month’s $1 million thank-you card to GlobalFoundries, the Governor has come out fighting.

Fighting, need I say, a straw man of his own devising.

On Monday, he batted around his own version of what the Fund’s critics have been saying. And three days later, the administration pushed out a report claiming that the Fund more than pays for itself in additional tax revenues.

We’ll see about that. But let’s go back to Shumlin’s inaccurately-aimed remarks from Monday. From Paul Heintz’ Fair Game column:

… the gov balked at his critics’ concerns, saying that state government “better do everything we can” to keep the Essex Junction plant competitive.

“You know, I got a letter from I don’t know how many legislators saying, ‘Nah, you know, don’t do this. It’s a bad idea. You know, we’ve got budget problems,'” Shumlin told the audience, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “I’m like, ‘Really?'”

Noting the fiscal impact GlobalFoundries’ departure would have on the state, Shumlin said, “You think a million bucks is a budget challenge? You know, get your head out of the sand!”

There’s a few problems here. I mean, aside from the impolitic move of verbally tossing a letter from 50 lawmakers into the dumpster. Yes, 50 — not “I don’t know how many.”

F-I-F-T-Y.

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At the very least, the Mitchells owe us some answers

Your Publisher's mugshot.

Your Publisher’s mugshot.

Hey, remember when Catherine Nelson was arrested for re-enacting that A-ha video with her car and various downtown Rutland fixtures? Two days before her promotion to Publisher of the Rutland Herald and Times Argus?

And remember outgoing publisher John Mitchell’s inadequate explanation of the whole thing?

Well, this week it got worse. She pleaded “no contest” to charges stemming from that incident. And in the process, we learned something strange and troubling about her taste in drinking buddies. Paul Heintz:

Nelson finally admitted that she had been drinking with a man named Henry Hance, a habitual offender who, according to the Herald, has been convicted of more than a dozen DUI and drug charges, along with assault, arson and grand larceny. An hour and a half after her own DUI, Nelson blew twice the legal limit.

I’m sure those who follow the news in Rutland are painfully aware of Mr. Hance. RutVegas is full of, shall we say, colorful types; but Hance has got to be in the Top Ten. His record of violent, criminal, drug-dealing behavior covers his entire adult life.

So why the freakin’ hell is the new Publisher of the Rutland newspaper — one of the city’s most prominent citizens — hanging around with one of the city’s worst citizens?

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Senate May Do Absolute Minimum on Ethics

That wacky Senate Rules Committee, under the steady hand of First Mate Gilligan President Pro Tem John Campbell, is considering a bold move.

Well, “bold” by their frame of reference. The committee met yesterday and discussed setting up an Ethics Panel along the lines of the weaksauce House version. Mind you, they didn’t decide anything; they’re just considering it.

And, well, if they do actually set up an Ethics Panel, I might file the inaugural complaint (just as I did, fruitlessly, with the House Ethics Panel last year). My complaint would be, ahem, against the Senate Rules Committee. The intrepid Paul Heintz:

The Senate Rules Committee, which has a long history of meeting secretly, held Thursday’s discussion behind closed doors in the Senate Cloakroom. Seven Days has repeatedly asked to be informed of such meetings and was told about it in advance by a member. [Senate Secretary John] Bloomer posted public notice of the meeting Thursday morning on the legislature’s website, just hours before it took place. One other reporter, from the Burlington Free Press, attended.

Is it just me, or is there something fundamentally ironic about a “Rules” Committee repeatedly failing to abide by open-meetings requirements? Nothing says “transparency” like having “a history of meeting secretly.” And in a frickin’ closet, no less.

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Metapost: Technical difficulties

Hi folks, your friendly neighborhood blogger here.

You may have noticed a few formatting bugs in my most recent post. Well, here’s the story.

I came home tonight from a quick trip to Philadelphia (don’t ask) and sat down to write a post about Governor Shumlin’s Enterprise Fund-related tantrums.

And discovered that good old WordPress had gone and updated its posting system. Apparently the old system, which was less streamlined but which I was accustomed to using, is now gone. So I’m playing catch-up with the new system. I hate doing this stuff.

So, my apologies if there are glitches here and there. I’m trying.