The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers | Off Message

The Scoreboard: This Week's Winners and Losers

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Who won and lost the week in Vermont news and politics?

Behold The Scoreboard for the week of Friday, Dec. 7:

Winners:

Vermont environmentalists — The news that Gov. Peter Shumlin has tapped former Conservation Law Foundation "Lakekeeper" and Vermont Press Bureau alum Louis Porter to be his top legislative lobbyist is a win for the CLF and the rest of Vermont's environmental community. After Tropical Storm Irene, Porter and the CLF pounced on the Shumlin administration for failing to enforce rules restricting the use of heavy machinery in the state's rivers. Now they've got a man on the inside. Runner-up loser: Porter, for swapping Vermont's sweetest job title for its second sweetest title.

Freedom of the pressBarton Chronicle publisher Chris Braithwaite was simply doing his job when he was arrested a year ago this week covering a wind power protest on Lowell Mountain. On Wednesday, after reviewing internal Green Mountain Power documents, the Orleans County state's attorney finally dropped the charges. We hope law enforcement officials think twice next time they consider arresting someone seeking only to shine a light on a consequential state conflict.

Gov. Peter Shumlin — The Democratic Governors Association's unanimous election of Shumlin as its next chairman on Tuesday was probably the least surprising election result since, um, Shumlin's victory over Randy Brock last month. Now we know that it comes with some pretty sweet perks: Shumlin announced at his weekly press conference Thursday that the group is flying him to Rome late next week to deliver a keynote speech to the European Democratic Party. Nice work if you can get it! 

Losers:

The Department of Mental Health — Vermont's mental health crisis worsened this week with the departure of Vermont State Hospital medical director Jay Batra. In the short term, Batra's move could delay the opening of an interim, eight-bed hospital in Morrisville, which was scheduled for later this month. More troubling, it's the latest evidence — following the departure of former Mental Health commissioner Patrick Flood last month — that the department lacks a steady hand as it seeks to rebuild after Tropical Storm Irene rendered the Vermont State Hospital unusable.

South Burlington — The pro-F-35 business group GBIC is sending pro-F-35 politicians (and one agnostic) to Florida to see how totally awesome the planes are. But nobody from South Burlington, where the planes would be based, was invited. Why? "I didn't invite them because their minds are made up already," says GBIC president Frank Cioffi. "They've already staked out their position and their position is their position." Huh. Seems to us Shumlin and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger have also made up their minds and staked out their positions.

Families of Israel Keyes' victims — It's surely been a devastating week for family and friends of Bill and Lorraine Currier as the details of their brutal killings have dominated the headlines in Vermont and elsewhere on serial killer Israel Keyes' trail of terror. Just as sad is the knowledge that, after Keyes' suicide last weekend in an Alaska prison, the families of many of his victims may never know what happened to their loved ones.

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