Tag Archives: Vermont Business Journal

You can’t spell “devolution” without “D-E-V”

Once upon a time, there was a locally-owned, community-oriented radio station in Vermont. It was owned by a lifelong Republican, but it was remarkably open to all points of view. Its daily schedule included an hour of local conservative talk, an hour of local liberal talk, and two hours of local nonpartisan talk featuring open-minded, inclusive discussion of the issues facing Vermont.

That radio station was WDEV. And it exists no more.

Today, WDEV announced it will hire MIke Smith to replace the great Mark Johnson as host of its daily talk show.

Mike Smith, devoted functionary in the Douglas Administration, and prominent acolyte holding high the beacon of Jim Douglas as the ultimate Vermont politician and leader.

Mike Smith, Republican. Very visibly a Republican. Past cabinet fixture in a Republican administration, now a political commentator and opinionator with a decidedly Republican lean.

Continue reading

Hey, maybe those ski leases are on the table after all.

I heard something very interesting on the latest edition of “Vermont This Week,” the usually bland and boring (see below) Statehouse news roundup on Vermont PBS.

One of the topics was Auditor Doug Hoffer’s report on the state’s outdated and not very lucrative public-lands leases with our biggest ski resorts. One of the guests was Tim McQuiston, editor of Vermont Business Journal. He ought to have his finger on the pulse of the Vermont business community, right?

Conventional wisdom is that the leases can’t be reopened, because resort operators would have to agree to the move, and the Powers That Be don’t seem to be inclined to push the issue. McQuiston thinks otherwise:

I would suspect, in knowing a lot of these people, that they would come back to the table under reasonable circumstances. They know their industry has changed a lot.

Interesting. And what kinds of circumstances are we talking about?

There’s a lot of environmental law they have to comply with. Act 250 is still out there. They’re very involved with other regulatory entities.

So they might be willing to negotiate better lease terms if they get their way on some regulatory matters. That’s one of those good news/bad news situations, isn’t it? Redoing the leases would bring the state more revenue, but it opens the door to some backroom weakening of environmental standards.

Postscript. I say “Vermont This Week” is bland and boring because, well, it usually is. It comes across as overly scripted, and the panel acts like they’re walking on eggshells. Maybe this is a natural consequence of our political media tending to be on the young side, and having relatively little experience in a panel setting. But I do wonder if part of the problem is how the show is planned and produced. If there was more free interchange, if they tossed out the script once in a while, it’d become appointment television for geeks like me. As it is, I rarely watch. This morning, I was channel-surfing and happened to catch the rebroadcast. I don’t go out of my way for it.

When cold comfort is the only comfort you’ve got

Ah, the sweet stench of desperation is emanating from the Vermont conservative camp.

First, the political consultant who hasn’t won anything since unhitching her wagon from Jim Jeffords more than a decade ago, Darcie “Hack” Johnston has responded to my previous post about her Tweets supporting Dan Feliciano, the Libertarian candidate for Governor. He of the typo-riddled website.

Well, I Tweeted about the post, and the Hack replied:

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 3.31.05 PM

First of all, let me say I am humbled and honored that the Hackster has taken notice of my existence on this earth. Second, yuh-huh, sure, tons of Vermonters will be joining the Feliciano parade. About the time there’s a snowball fight in Hell. And third, if Feliciano’s campaign had the tiniest hint of hope about it, Johnston has officially given him the kiss of death.

Now let us turn to “Super Dave” Sunderland, occupier of the most thankless job in Vermont, chair of the Vermont Republican Party. With virtually no reason to think his party can unseat Governor Shumlin, he’s resorted to touting the results of a new “poll” indicating widespread dissatisfaction with the Guv:

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 3.30.19 PM

Mmmm, about that “poll.” First, it was an online survey, and we all know how useless those things are. And second, it was posted on the Vermont Business Journal website, and we all know which way the VBJ’s readership leans politically. Also, while the “poll” was in progress, Sunderland was touting it on Twitter, which further skewed the results. Actually, it’s surprising how many “A” grades the Governor got.

But hey, Vermont conservatives find themselves with nothing but a big basket of sow’s ears, so I can’t really blame them for trying to make a silk purse.