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Friday, December 6, 2013

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

Posted By on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 4:00 AM

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Who 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:

Winners:

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'.

 

Tie Score:

Lake Champlain — State and federal officials began shopping a new plan this week to reduce phosphorous runoff into the state's rivers and lakes. If fully implemented, the plan would cut phosphorous levels in Lake Champlain by 36 percent and in St. Albans Bay by as much as 55 percent. But that's a big "if." It's too soon to say how much the mitigation efforts would cost — and whether Shumlin and the legislature will fully fund them.

Andi Higbee — The deputy chief of the Burlington Police Department dodged a second DUI conviction Wednesday by pleading no-contest to a reduced charge of negligent operation. Less than three hours after Higbee left the courthouse, BPD chief Mike Schirling announced that Higbee would retire after 24 years on the force. 

 

Losers:

Vermont Health Connect — The Shumlin administration tried again this week to dress up another health exchange failure as a success. But the fact is, small businesses that went out on a limb to purchase insurance through the exchange are now being penalized thanks to Vermont Health Connect's inability to process the premium payments of small business employees. Runner-up loser: Vermont's small businesses, which are being jerked around once again. Second runner-up loser: CGI, which, as Hirschfeld reported Wednesday, was served notice by the Shumlin administration late last month that the state would withhold $5 million in payments, as a result of the IT firm's failure to launch the exchange. 

Burlington Democrats — It's probably too early to handicap next year's Burlington City Council races, but we won't let that keep us from trying! The retirement of two incumbent Dems will give Republicans (namely Rep. Kurt Wright) a chance to pick up outgoing Councilor Bryan Aubin's Ward 4 seat in the New North End and the Progressives a chance to pick up outgoing Councilor Kevin Worden's seat in Ward 1. Of course, with Republican Councilor Paul Decelles stepping down, the Democrats could make a play for his Ward 7 seat in the New North End. And what about Progressive Councilor Rachel Siegel (Ward 3), who still hasn't said whether she'll seek reelection to her Old North End seat?

Len Britton — More than three years after he was clobbered by Leahy in the 2010 senate race, Republican ex-candidate Len Britton this week lost a lawsuit brought by his former campaign manager. As VPR's Taylor Dobbs first reported, Britton's campaign will have to pay the consulting firm owned by Jeff Bartley, who now serves as chairman of the Chittenden County Republican Party, more than $30,000 in unpaid wages. 

Heady scalpers  The heady coppers at the Department of Liquor Control are cracking down on... homies selling Heady Topper to out-of-staters with way too much disposable income. Beware, Craigslist black marketeers! Our tax dollars are hard at work busting your asses!

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About The Author

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz

Bio:
Paul Heintz is a staff writer and political editor for Seven Days. He wrote the "Fair Game" political column from May 2012 through December 2016.

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