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Weekend in Vermont 

In a three-way race for Vermont governor, Sanders is not supporting Anthony Pollina, a former Sanders staffer.

Just another lazy August weekend in Vermont. According to court records down at the Palace of Justice on Cherry Street in Burlington, four residents of Chittenden County earned unscheduled sleepovers behind bars following their arrests for domestic assault. But contrary to common perception, this rogue’s gallery of angry lovers doesn’t quite fit the mold.

Usually when one thinks of someone charged with domestic assault, one conjures a picture of a beer-swilling, pot-bellied wife beater with a Red Sox hat, right? Okay, Yankees hat.

Well, think again.

Maybe it’s just a fluke, or maybe it’s a sign of progress on the road to gender equality, but last weekend in Vermont’s most populous county, 75 percent of the people arrested and charged with domestic assault were women. That’s right, three out of four arrested batterers were ladies. Three out of four victims were men. The stories are never pretty.

According to one police affidavit, the inside of the trailer at the Farrington Trailer Park in Burlington’s New North End was in complete disarray when two female police officers arrived. Even the TV set was laying on the floor face down. The man of the house got to wake up and smell the coffee in a way few would care to. His girlfriend had allegedly smacked him upside the head with the coffee pot.

“I observed a red bump/bruise on the right side of his head adjacent to his temple,” wrote the police officer. “And I observed what appeared to be coffee down the front of his shirt.”

The affidavit didn’t indicate if it was regular or decaf.

Angela Garrett was arrested and charged with domestic assault.

Joining Angela in the slammer last weekend was Laurie Brunet. According to court records, Ms. Brunet had allegedly punched and slapped her boyfriend at Sha-na-na’s, a downtown nightclub, and was tossed out by bouncers. Later she refused to leave the gentleman’s Ward Street residence and was arrested, according to the affidavit on file.

The third busted batterer of the weekend, Pamela Maple of Colchester, allegedly punched and slapped her fiancé. This happened, according to the affidavit, after she brought home a man the fiancé did not know and took him into the bedroom for a “short time.” A female eyewitness told police she saw Ms. Maple “push” the victim in the chest and “slap him in the face.”

Maple is reported to be 5 feet tall, weighing 120 pounds. The alleged victim is reported to be 5’9”, weighing 180. Sounds like a mismatch, but hey, you never know.

The fourth domestic assault case in the county last weekend involved a disturbance between a couple at the Susse Chalet Inn in Williston, right across the street from the Vermont State Police barracks. According to the police affidavit, both parties claimed the other had spit in their face and slapped them. There were no apparent injuries, but the gendarmes found the woman’s story more convincing, so Dexter Cambridge was arrested for domestic assault and lodged at the Big House.

All four pleaded not guilty before the judge Monday morning and were released on conditions pending trial. These cases, like the thousands of domestic assault cases before them, appear to give some credence to the expression “You only hurt the ones you love.” Violence is an equal-opportunity weapon of choice, regardless of gender. And, yes, heavy alcohol consumption was part of the picture in several of the above-mentioned cases. Funny, but we never see affidavits reporting marijuana smoking leading to domestic assault.

Was last weekend a fluke? We wanted to ask the powers that be down at the state’s attorney’s office about it, but they’re all away on vacation. Stay tuned. And have a nice weekend.

Television Special!

Adelphia Cable TV subscribers in Chittenden County are in for a real treat next week. Mark your calendars — next Tuesday night at 10 p.m., you don’t want to miss “The Cherie & Yolanda Show,” aired live on Ch. 15, the public access channel. The special guest will be none other than one of Vermont’s most respected and popular Republicans — Barbara Snelling. Babs is planning another political comeback as a candidate for state Senate in the big six-seat Chittenden County shoot-out, but her appearance on “The Cherie & Yolanda Show” has nothing to do with the coming election. Mrs. Snelling will be appearing on the popular, locally produced, one-of-a-kind program to promote adult literacy, a cause near and dear to her heart.

“At least 80,000 Vermonters need help with literacy,” Snelling told Seven Days Tuesday. “These are essential skills to survive in today’s world.”

Steve West, a.k.a. Cherie Tartt, told Seven Days he invited Mrs. Snelling to appear on the program “because she’s a cool lady.” He said he met her at a benefit for the Women’s Rape Crisis Center.

Barbara Snelling may indeed be a “cool lady,” but she doesn’t get Adelphia Cable at her Shelburne Point home. When we spoke with her this week, Babs had no idea Cherie and Yolanda are a couple of drag queens, you know, guys who dress up like women — and they don’t go easy on the padding, if you know what I mean. Informed of that fact, Barbara didn’t miss a beat.

“I probably don’t have much in common with drag queens,” replied Babs, “but I also don’t hold anything against them.”

Cool. Tolerant. If only more Republicans were like her, eh? In fact, said Babs, had she been serving in the Vermont Senate last winter, she would have joined fellow Republicans Peter Brownell and Helen Riehle voting in favor of civil unions.


Bernie Sanders a Dead-Beat Dad?

Last week WCAX-TV popped the question: How come Bernie Sanders, the father of the Progressive movement in Vermont, isn’t publicly backing the gubernatorial candidate of the Vermont Progressive Party? It’s quite the touchy subject

with our famous congressman from Flatbush, and he gave Ch. 3 the same squirmy spiel he gave us last month.

Ol’ Bernardo told Ch. 3 he’s focusing on his own reelection bid. “Right now I am an Independent and I am focusing on getting reelected,” said the Bernmeister.

Focusing on getting reelected, is he? That’s a real toughie, isn’t it? Let’s see now, Mr. Sanders, the five-term incumbent, is facing a challenge from an unknown Republican transsexual most Republicans are politely ignoring and the perennial Vermont election-season clown, Peter Diamondstone. Close race? Chance of an upset?

Give me a break. Let’s just say the bookies are only taking bets on whether Mr. Sanders will break the 75 percent threshold in what promises to be the biggest landslide of his political life. To handle the daunting challenge, Sanders has borrowed a trick out of the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley’s book and hired his stepdaughter, Carina Driscoll, as his campaign coordinator. Carina sure has her work cut out for her. Keeping busy, that is. Bernie could win this one without spending one red cent.

But Mr. Sanders is much too busy to help a fellow Progressive like Tony the Prog. We understand. Can’t piss off the Democrat power structure on Capitol Hill.

Anthony Pollina has been a perfect gentleman about this and, once again last week, he politely refused to criticize the sacred founder of the Progressive movement. Mr. Pollina told Ch. 3 it’s possible Sanders could come on board in the final days of the gubernatorial campaign.

In his defense, Bernie emphasizes over and over he is an “Independent.” But in Washington, D.C., Bernie is the founder of the “Progressive” Caucus in the House. It’s not called the “Independent” Caucus. That’s because it’s a caucus composed of 51 Democrats and Bernie. But call Bernie a “Democrat” and he reacts as if he’d been called the most vulgar name in the dictionary.

Funny, but in the 1970s and 1980s the loudest mouth in the Green Mountains used to be a champion of third-party politics. What we never realized back then was that Bernie’s concept of a third party was of a very small third party. A third party of one — him.

Let’s face it — it sure has worked. He’s so successful neither the party of Howard Dean nor the party of James Jeffords can produce a genuine contender. He’s Vermont Congressman for as long as he wants the job. But, so far in this new millennium, the emergence of the Vermont Progressive Party and its gubernatorial candidate, Anthony Pollina, has done wonders to make the father of Vermont’s Progressive movement act like a dead-beat dad.

Ready for Prime Time!

Stardom has its price, and Bernie Sanders is a rising star. (Why, even Jerry Seinfeld married the girl across the street from the Sanders’ Killarney Drive hacienda). And two weeks ago Ol’ Bernardo almost made “Crossfire,” the nightly CNN Left vs. Right political shouting match. Vermonters know nobody shouts better than our Bernie. The hosts that night were Bill Press from the left and Mary Matalin from the right. Bernie was going to appear opposite Rep. Bob Barr, the right-wing Republican pit bull from Georgia. The topic was going to be “Is America Too Conservative?”

“Crossfire” airs live Monday through Friday at 7:30 p.m. EST. Around 5 p.m., CNN called Sanders’ Capitol Hill office to confirm. Bernie was finally going into the national media spotlight with the Big Dogs. We were tipped off and had our VCR ready to go. Our expectation was Vermont’s loquacious congressman would kick some serious Georgia butt.

Unfortunately, an hour later, around 6 p.m., the CNN producer called back to cancel. That’s show biz. Bernie got bumped by Jesse Jackson and the topic evolved into “Is Dick Cheney Too Conservative?”

Who really cares? The question is, why hasn’t CNN, with its stable of talking head political shows, ever had Bernie Sanders on? IBM pensions? Prescription drugs? Corporate welfare? Hello?

The better question is, is CNN too conservative? And CNN’s not alone. The scary truth is, the ownership of our media is concentrated today in a shrinking handful of corporate boardrooms. The issue isn’t what they publish and broadcast, it’s what they don’t publish and broadcast. Today these giant networks pump out hour after hour of the prefabricated, empty commercials that pass for the Democrat and Republican conventions. And they tackle the real hard questions facing the average citizen who wakes up every day wondering if Dick Cheney is too conservative.

Media Notes

You can’t say we never have a good word to say about The Burlington Free Press. That’s because one of Vermont’s most respected journalists has returned to the front lines of political reporting and the news pages of Vermont’s largest newspaper. Candace Page is back on the beat. This hometown girl, born with printer’s ink in her veins, recently gave up the managing editor’s post at the Freeps to return to doing what she truly loves — being a reporter and writer. Candy will be covering the governor’s race, the hottest race of all.

In addition to her three-year stint as managing editor, Candy was editorial page editor for seven years. As Vermont politicos are well aware, Ms. Page is a force to be reckoned with. Her institutional memory and experience are huge assets that will ratchet up the paper’s political coverage.

Meanwhile, soon to depart The Burlington Free Press is Adam Lisberg. He’s been on the Statehouse beat for four years, and a lively four years they’ve been. As Adam puts it, “I showed up in time for Act 60 and I’m leaving right after civil unions.” He’s off to The Record in Hackensack, N.J..

Bon voyage.

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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.


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