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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen


10.24.2008

 

Was this on purpose?

So if you are one of the 1,300 elderly Vermonters who receives assistance under the Choices for Care program and you get a letter that starts out "The Vermont Legislature has directed the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living to reduce every Choices for Care program participant's assistance with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living by one hour per week, who would you be upset with?

And if that letter came one month before an election, would that sway your thinking about an incumbent?

Legislative leaders think so and have complained to the Douglas administration about the letter. Why? Because it was the administration that proposed this cut. And it was the administration and the Joint Fiscal Committee that agreed it would be part of the emergency reductions made to the budget because of shrinking revenues.

In our story today, Terri Hallenbeck quotes Rep. Martha Heath, D-Westford, venting about the blame game. "It makes me furious," she said. Heath suggested it's part of a pattern she's seen with the Douglas administration. (Douglas being a Republican running for re-election against Heath's longtime friend and legislative colleague, Gaye Symington).

Blame the Legislature when the news is bad, take the credit when the news it good. She noted that earlier in the week, Douglas was taking credit for providing a $47,000 grant to a software association to help spur this new sector of the Vermont economy when the money was part of the Legislature's budget. Somehow lawmakers didn't get a mention, however, at the presentation.

Jason Gibbs, spokesman for the governor, called the wording of the letter a mistake and said the administration had already apologized to Sen. Susan Bartlett, D-Lamoille, who heads the Joint Fiscal Committee.

With just over a week to go, everybody is very sensitive. Politicians worry that any little thing could be the factor that changes their races. It's a valid concern, isn't it?

-- Nancy Remsen

Comments:
Don't know. I got a "D" in Philosophy,
 
I'm not following....
 
This is a scandal.

Douglas deserves to be kicked out of office.

I don't care who takes his place. Just get him out.
 
Typical dishonesty.
 
Douglas is beginning to sound like a dimocrat, sort of like Lil' Howie used to sound.
 
No. Douglas is being a lesser and more obvious Rovian.
 
You'd think the Douglas Administration would be able to police their own upper management to prevent incidents like this from happening, but, apparently, the level of direction from above is horribly disjointed. It points another bad finger at how poorly the Douglas Administration leads, even its own personnel. Is the left hand talking to the right? I don't think so.
 
The DAIL commissioner didn't know about the mailing????? Gimme a break. He or she knew all too well. The Secretary of State and the AG should be all over this glaring abuse of power, and the press should be demanding an answer from Slick Jimmy, not his hired monkey.
 
So Douglas proposed the bill, who wrote it, voted on it, and passed it? It's not fair to blame the legislature, but Ms. Heath, the legislature is in fact responsible. Your just angry because you got busted for it. Grab your box of tissues and go join, Rep Hunt, the Burton Protestors and the rest of the crybabies in this state.
 
Eventually, Ms. Heath and Ms. Bartlett will have to stop speaking out of both sides of their mouth.
 
Don't blame the hard-working DAIL employees who are doing the best they can to serve Vermont's vulnerable citizens with less resources and personnel each year since the Governor got into office. As for the (dedicated)Commissioner of DAIL, she serves at the pleasure of the Administration, not the Legislature. The buck stops with the Governor on this one.

By the way, where were the Governor's 16 spin meister, I mean communication specialists on this one?
On November 4 it's anyone but Douglas for me!
 
Eventually, Mr. Douglas will have to stop speaking out of both sides of his mouth.
 
This indeed appears odd in the fact that typically everything is tightly controlled by this administration and, nothing is usually allowed out without someone higher up in the food chain signing off on it before hand, particularly given the existence of the large crew of public relations er, communications personnel on staff across various state agencies and departments to help handle such.

In addition, Governor Douglas and his administration is known for blaming others where and when it suits them so that nothing ever reflects poorly on the Governor.

The timing is of course not good, since many of the legislators currently in office and up for re-election, will most likely be returned to their seats.

Thus, if the Governor gets the most votes in the general election, yet does not receive a 50% plus 1 majority vote, then it is the hands of the next legislature to decide by secret ballot.

It is doubtful the memories of the current legislators will be short or that they will be as forgiving of certain factors as some of the voters might be and may cast their ballots accordingly.

If this indeed were to occur, it looks like Governor Douglas as well as his very well paid higher echelon of administration staff, his cabinet and department heads may all be getting pink slips of their own come January, that is if the voters do not do it for them before hand.

That might be one way to cut some of the major the fat from within the state budget and, thus performing a major trimming of the budget within state government beginning at the top, which is usually where such excess exists.

The question is, will the voters do it on their own or, leave it to their legislators to do it for them or, will both take a pass and leave things unchanged and merely keep on complaining about it all as well as blaming others for it, as they have been doing up to now?
 
Here. Here. Cutting Tringe, O'Leary, Zicconi, and all the rest would free up some needed money to allow these elderly Vermonters to keep that one hour of care.

If Douglas continues to employ them, someone should start a site just monitoring and reporting what they do every day at the taxpayer's expense.
 
This continues a pattern of abuse of power by Gov Douglas.

If you really think his Commissioner, his PR people and he did not know what was in the letter --- well then I have a bridge to sell you!

Come to think of it, I think VTrans under Jim Douglas and the Boy Secretary has a few bridges to sell you!
 
Nothing new here - it's all about spin - and how are press in VT swallow whatever Jim Douglas says.
 
Douglas isn't going anywhere, this state wouldn't stand for the legislature "installing" anyone who didn't get the majority vote. Entertaining this idea is just idiotic.

As for the rest, the legislature wrote the bill and passed it. It's that simple. Douglas can NOT pass legislation. It's time the legislature take some responsiblity. They could have come up with this money somewhere else, like cutting pre-k funding, free breakfast funding, welfare limits, holding schools acountable for their budgets, or any other one of the toilet social programs. Instead they will cry it wasn't their fault, but I'm pretty sure Douglas didn't author the bill.
 
Next up, Jim Douglas is proposing cuts to the Town Highway Aid - taking millions away form local governments.

They will have no choice but to raise prop taxes in order to maintain local roads and bridges.

But at least Jim Douglas will still be able to say, I didn't raise your taxes - those irresponsible local officials did.
 
Gov Jim Douglas is such a hypocrite!
 
To Anonymous 2:27,

If you believe that, then you don't understand how a budget gets passed.

Of course the Legislature ends up voting for it - but not without Heath, Bartlett, and Smith (now Lunderville) agreeing.
 
Hey. I just spotted Patrick Flood's head popping out of Jim Douglas's back pocket.
 
With apologies for pitching a different blog on this one, however in reply to the comment posted after my last, fyi:

Although right now the blog is focused on the 2008 Vermont gubernatorial race, hence the current title (i.e., 2008 Vermont Gubernatorial Race Watch blog), if it keeps going after the general election, that is the intention of the Vermont Watch blog in general terms no matter whom gets elected and also not only the administration, but the state legislature and also other statewide/local politics and news media/journalism as well:

Vermont Watch blog:
vermontwatch.blogspot.com

... a Vermont political as well as news watch blog monitoring statewide politics and news from a citizen perspective (About Vermont Watch: here).

In order to manage to do this type of effort however -- as big as it truly is -- what will be needed are other independent-minded citizens willing to join in the cause in one fashion or another, whether it is by submitting tips, suggestions, question and/or posting comments or even possibly those who might seek to be considered to be selected to join the blogging team as a member of the blog (here).
 
Anon 2:31

At least I see you admit that yes Heath and the rest of the legislature in fact were in part responsible for the bill.

Now tell Heath to quit her belly aching that someone called her out on it.

As for your budget comment, I don't know what you are referring too.
 
This letter came out of DAIL, eh? Isn't that where Cringe worked and O'Smeary now works? Shouldn't be a shock to anyone then that this campaign funny business came out of DAIL. These are two of Douglas's mouthpieces.
 
Yes, as Pollina has been saying it's Douglas and the legislature that is making tough times tougher for frail and elderly Vermonters. Heath ought to take some responsibility.
 
bubba said...

"Douglas is beginning to sound like a dimocrat, sort of like Lil' Howie used to sound."

In other words, bubbakis has got bupkis, he's not really for doogie, but he is, so he's against it. Just don't ask him why.

Always a pleasure.
 
That Pollina has all the answers!!!!
 
Can the "least little thing" slop. Doogie lied. Again.

As for Gibbs, the only thing that was "unfortunate" about the "mistaken" wording of the letter is that they got busted. Again.

End of flippin' story.

Why don't you Freeps Folks stop makin' excuses for Doogie the way he makes excuses for entergy and just report the facts of the story.

He lied. Again. Case closed. NEXT!!
 
Upon further review, I choose to revise and extend my remarks with respect to Doogie's prolifically-shamelessly lying.

Clearly, Doogie would have had to have stopped lying at some point in order to be lying. Again.

Obviously, that presumes he'd stopped at some point in the first place. Clearly, he hasn't.

So, in the interests of accuracy, allow me to rephrase. Doogie's lying. Still.

Always a pleasure.
 
Hey, let's get back to the original question starting this blog report!

YES - it was intentional!

After talking with someone in DAIL, the administration and DAIL leaders absolutely knew what they were doing.

This iis how Jim Douglas, Jason Gibbs, Neale Lunderville, and Dennise Casey operate!
 
Heath and the rest of the legislators on Joint Fiscal Committee supported this cut. Period. If the letter had said "the Vermont Legislature and the Douglas Administration" she would not have a leg to stand on. Her complaint is not that she is being blamed, it's that the Administration should be blamed as well. And that is a fair point.

Related topic: VSEA made a huge, huge, huge tactical blunder in not endorsing Heath and Bartlett. At a time that job cutbacks are 100% unavoidable, pissing off the chairs of the Appropriations committees is reckless and unwarranted. Another sign of how incompetent the management of VSEA is. VSEA members have every right to be asking hard questions of their leadership as to WHAT THE HELL THEY WERE THINKING!!!!
 
VSEA Rocks!
 
VSEA sucks, Lets move on to the real world.
 
Ignorant anonymous trash with bupkis talkin' about "the real world".

That's a good one, little factually-challenged/fundamentally-dishonest/fraudulent fella.

Always a pleasure.
 
If VSEA wasn't there to protect its members - and frankly thjose who are not members - this Douglas administration would decimate the workforce!
 
No, the workforce would then be more comparable to those in most other states. By the way, does ANY ONE out there know what the "Human Rights" Commission or the Guv's Commission on the Status of Liberal Women have EVER done besides milk the Vermont taxpayers? Hello?
 
So much brain-dead, bigoted-trash bupkis from bubbakis, so little time.

"bubba said...

"No, the workforce would then be more comparable to those in most other states..."

Is it your clueless-cretin contention that Vermont is the only State in the Nation with a State Employees Union, little factually-challenged, brain-dead bigot with bupkis fella?

Feel free to cough up any and all evidence in support of that psychotic slop, bubbakis.

"..By the way, does ANY ONE out there know what the "Human Rights" Commission or the Guv's Commission on the Status of Liberal Women have EVER done besides milk the Vermont taxpayers? Hello?

Ya mean, besides protect the rights of Vermont and Vermonters from the brain-dead, bigoted-trash likes of your ignorant anonymous ass, bubbakis?

If you have evidence that the Human Rights Commission and the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women have never done anything in their collective lives, feel free to present it.

You're gonna have to speak up, bubbakis.

Take it where the climate suits your sheet, schmuck.

Always a pleasure.
 
Guess the idiot jw couldn't come with ONE thing either commission has done! All I'm asking is a couple of SPECIFIC things they have accomplished to justify the millions wasted, not some paranoid generality with NO substance!

And you wonder why Vermont has spiraled steadily downhill since the invasion of the idiot brigade to this state, led by Commander jwpoop.
 
I see Koop is playing his idiot game of fighting with himself again. He's up to the same sad act of at the Argus too.

You call the cops to tell them your lies yet bitch boy?
 
bubba....

"Guess the idiot jw couldn't come with ONE thing either commission has done! All I'm asking is a couple of SPECIFIC things they have accomplished to justify the millions wasted, not some paranoid generality with NO substance!"

Well, since paranoid generalities are all your psychotic slop ever consists of, I'll leave that stuff to you, little fella, since you and your coalition of the clueless compatriots have clearly sought to slither after the ignorant, anonymous trash market and saturated the psychotic-slime/scum-vote segment of "society", bubbakis.

After all, it's what you are. It's what you do best.

Nice try, nitwit. You made the allegations, bubbakis, you back 'em up. You can't. You won't.

If Vermont's the only state with a State Employees Union, I'm sure you'll have no problem provin' just that.

Ya can't. Ya won't.

If the Human Rights Commission and the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women have done nothing in their history, then I'm sure you'll have no trouble provin' just that, too, bubbakis.

Ya can't and ya won't do that, either. Still. Again.

"And you wonder why Vermont has spiraled steadily downhill since the invasion of the idiot brigade to this state, led by Commander jwpoop."

Gee, I hate to keep confusin' ya with the facts, bubbakis, but, actually, we've been spiralin' steadily down hill since Dean handed the reins to the doogie/dubie debacle and I've been here since Deane Davis and the legislature enacted ACT 250, little fella.

Of course, gops weren't all neo-nazi whack jobs in those days.

If today's gops gave a damn about Vermont, the Country, the World or anything else but forcing their lunatic-fringe "values" down everyone else's throats and trashin' the joint for a quick buck, Jim Douglas would have retired as a Republican.

They don't. They don't. They don't and he didn't.

Always a pleasure.
 
Coopy... answer Bubba question. It was a reasonable request unless of course it us you that has bupkis.

Come on little fella show us your smarts.


BTW, Has mom lifted your grounding or is she just out of the house right now and you have been able to sneak back on the internet? Don't get caught.
 
It amazes me that people like Bubba completely change the topic when they don't like what is being said about their guy or party.

The fact is for Jim Douglas:
- the power has gone to his head
- he is abusing that power
- his administration has become
corrupt...
- of ideas
- using state taxpayer
money for his campaign

Jim Douglas should be voted out of office!
 
Go Douglas!
 
Go Douglas!
 
Anonymous said...

"It amazes me that people like Bubba completely change the topic when they don't like what is being said about their guy or party."

Why? They're dumb, they're scum, they've got bupkis and they haven't got a case or a clue.

Of course they're gonna try to change the subject. What else are they gonna do?

They're ignorant anonymous trash with bupkis.

It's who they are. It's what they do. It's all they are. It's all they do.

It's not like the facts are doin' them any favors.
 
Anonymous said...

"Coopy... answer Bubba question. It was a reasonable request unless of course it us you that has bupkis."

Clearly, English ain't your ignorant anonymous ass's native tongue, little nameless-nitwit fella.

Yeah, you've got bupkis, alright, iggy slop. Ya always did. Ya always do. Ya always will.

Take it where the climate suits your sheet and tell your story walkin', schmuck.

Disappear.
 
Can't answer him can you Coopy.

Maybe it is you that needs to take it where the climate fits your sheet you intolerant slob. You make the good people of the South look like Mother Theresa.

Is it true that your sheet size is still a XXL?
 
No, he can't answer mine.

Nice try, little factually-challenged/nameless-nitwit fella.

Unless and until he or any of you clueless cretin can make a case, there's nothin' to answer. He can't. You can't. You haven't. You won't. You never will.

Let me explain it to your ignorant anonymous ass again, little fraudulent fella.

Ya see, it's like this. If you can't get the bat on the ball and put it in fair territory, I don't have to throw ya out at first, little fella.

You can't. You haven't. You won't. You'll never do that either.

Always a pleasure.
 
Try to make just one post that looks like a 15 year old high school dropout on meth didn't write OK JW?
 
Anonymous..

"Try to make just one post that looks like a 15 year old high school dropout on meth didn't write OK JW?"

As if, little delusional-dreck-dealin' douche bag fraudulent fella.

Ya best stick to postin' my name, address and number, schmuck, since it's the only thing ya can do without fookin' it up six ways to Sunday.

Apart from reminding me an average of ten times per day that you're dumb, you're scum and ya got bupkis, the next point your ignorant anonymous ass makes will be your first, little nameless-nitwit fella.

At least try to spell what ya can never substantiate, you ignorant, illiterate, anonymous twerp.

Stay cold, phony boy. Stay cold.

Dismissed.
 
Ah crybaby Koop is still stamping his feet and screeching the same stupid lines over and over again.

Still don't see the cops at the door bitch boy. I guess you didn't want to get busted for making false statements to them.

So you dickless wonder, are you ever going to come up with a new act or is going to the same sorry sack of coop you've been grunting out for years?

Don't bother answering moron. I know you don't have the brainpower to manage anything new.

Keep pumping out the gibberish monkey. People need to laugh and a pompous boob like you rolling in his own excrement pretending it is fine perfume is pretty damn funny.

I suppose you must be the person that hates Jeff W. Cooper more than anyone else if you keep promoting yourself as such an obnoxious a-hole.
 
TOM COSTELLO FOR LT GOV
 
Sure thing Tom.
 
Gee, all ignorant anonymous slime, all the time today, too.

I'm shocked, little nameless-nitwit fella.

Always a pleasure.
 
That makes no sense Coopy. Have you been in the Richard's again?
You pitiful little man.
 
Anonymous...

"That makes no sense Coopy. Have you been in the Richard's again?
You pitiful little man."

Nice try, little nameless-nitwit fella, but there's not much that isn't over your head.

Then again, there's clearly nothing beneath your ignorant anonymous ass, either.

No matter how ya slice it, you're still all yak and no sack, still dumb, still scum and your ignorant anonymous ass has still got bupkis.

Just don't call after 8:00 tonight, schmuck.

Stay cold, phony boy. Stay cold.
 
The bitch boy isn't even trying any more.

It's a sad thing when I totally useless, half-witted, mama's boy like Jiffy lets himself go into a decline.

Thank God Mo still buys him his booze and junk food.
 
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