Tag Archives: Vermont This Week

They labored mightily and brought forth a mouse

Rarely have I felt so ambivalent about being right.

Last Friday, in my inaugural appearance on Vermont PBS’ “Vermont This Week,” host Mark Johnson asked the panel to predict the outcome of the marijuana debate in the House — a big change, a little change, or nothing at all.

The three of us all agreed on “little,” but I put my answer in two-word form: “Study commission.”

Take it away, distinguished lawmakers…

In the end, the chamber barely agreed to create a commission to study legalization. With the legislative session expected to end this week, marijuana legalization supporters conceded they’ve run out of time to try for more.

Hip, hip, hooray. Let’s hear it for representative democracy. The study commission: the Legislature’s favorite decision-avoidance technique.

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Bull Invited to China Shop

Lock up your daughters, good people. Yours truly will be a panelist on tonight’s edition of “Vermont This Week,” Vermont PBS’ often-somnolent weekly news-in-review show. (It tends to proceed at a stately and predictable pace, as if trying to hike through the forest without breaking any twigs.)

I am honored, truly. The show is a little too staid for my taste, but heck, it’s not my show. And I have no plans to wreck the place; the panel’s role is to analyze the news, not burn the house down. Just as, when I sit in for Mike Smith on WDEV Radio’s daily talk show, I treat guests and their views with courtesy and respect.

I will try to enliven the proceedings a bit. But don’t expect any foul language or ad hominem attacks.

Of course, the show is taped a few hours in advance, so if I can’t control myself, the result is unlikely to befoul your living room. If my reputation proceeds me, they might designated a control-room operator to hold a finger above the CUT button whenever I’m talking. Which would be an honor of a different sort.

Vermont This Week, tonight at 8:30 7:30* on your favorite public television station. Also posted online for your convenient viewing pleasure.

*More evidence that I Am A Idiot.

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One of the topics was Auditor Doug Hoffer’s report on the state’s outdated and not very lucrative public-lands leases with our biggest ski resorts.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.