A 1981 Flashback | Freyne Land

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Friday, September 8, 2006

A 1981 Flashback

Posted By on Fri, Sep 8, 2006 at 8:40 AM

Take a longer lunch today. It’s going to be a beauty according to Roger Hill who was just chatting it up with Dana Jewel on WDEV (550 AM - 96.1 FM). And Mr. Hill predicted “80 to 85” on the roof of the Waterbury radio station!

You know the last time it hit 80 degrees on the roof of WDEV?

Get it while you can, folks. Call that special someone. Take the afternoon off! It hasn’t hit 80 in Waterbury since August 14.

Full disclosure: I’m a news stringer for ‘DEV. Paid per story like news was pork bellies. Started in 1981. Why?

WDEV News Director (in radio the title usually means news department) Nedene Martin was in the market for Burlington coverage. And Ken Squire, WDEV’s distinguished president and host of “Music to Go to the Dump By,” was willing to pay five bucks a story!


Because a wild, screaming left-winger with a Brooklyn accent and no plan had just been elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont by 10 votes in a three-way race.

Get me central casting. One radio reporter, please! 

The Burlington winner was Bernard Sanders and it's fair to say, the town hasn't been the same since. Bernie received 40.1 percent of the popular vote, just above the required 40 percent. If today’s Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) system had been in play, Bernie would never have won. Surely the vast majority of Dicky Bove’s 1500 third place votes would have gone to Mayor Gordie Paquette on the second round.

Gordie, by the way, had been so confident of an easy victory and so dismissive of Bernie and Bove that he didn’t even mount a campaign effort of any kind. Heck, Paquette was the successful Blue Collar Democrat from the Old North End who had led the effort to get federal buckaroos to turn Church Street into the pedestrian shopping mall you see today - it wasn’t Bernie’s doing. But talk about good timing, eh?

Change was in the air in dusty old Burlap in more ways than one in the early 1980s. Hey, I know a guy who started selling Teddy Bears off a street cart. Who’d a thunk John Sortino was founding a trademark, eh?

Bet you didn’t know the official City of Burlington record book that holds the March 1981 vote total and others from that era is missing! Disappeared when the city’s records were moved out of the city clerk’s vault during remodeling a couple years ago.

Ah, a memory lane Friday morning! May be a few more memories when we catch former Georgia U.S. Sen. Max Cleland appearing at the VFW with the guy who won the mayor’s race 25 years ago. A U.S. Senate campaign event. The Los Angeles Times is sending a reporter up from its Boston bureau to check out the Vermont political scene November-wise.

And on the subject of professional double-talk, did you catch John McClaughry’s snide editorial comment on ‘DEV this morning mocking Sanders, along with Patrick Leahy and Peter Welch, for holding that "raise-the -minimum-wage" press conference in a Burlington delicatessen "owned by a Democratic state rep who voted against raising the minimum wage?"

Hey, Freyne Land bloggers, that one was covered right here. And the alleged “owner” of the Radio Deli, Rep. Jim Condon of Colchester, posted this comment on September 1:

"I just wanted to respond to an earlier post about the news conference at the Radio Deli. I do not own the Radio Deli, I am a manager. I supported the 2005 Vermont Senate Bill raising the minimum wage to 7.25, but I opposed the House version because I believe the Legislature should have the flexibility to raise the minimum wage at a higher or lower rate than proscribed by the COLA that was adopted as a house amendment. I also fully support a federal minimum wage increase to the level we are currently at here in Vermont (7.25)."

"If this is the best Mr. Barnett can do (antagonizing a blue dog), then perhaps 7.25 an hour would, in his case, be a bit over-generous.
His "Gotcha" Gun is firing blanks!"

Interesting, eh?

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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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