Who won and lost this week in Vermont news and politics?
Apple bobbers, advertising firms, broadcasters, flag yankers, lobbyists, plane lovers and a couple of Marks.
Here's the Scoreboard for the week of Friday, October 18:
All of us — Now that the government shutdown is over and the debt ceiling has been raised, we can all move on and be bored to tears by Congress' next malfunction.
GMMB — The D.C. ad firm won big with its $2.8 million contract to promote Vermont Health Connect, half a million of which is earmarked for a gold-plated campaign to cozy up to — and monitor the work of — Vermont reporters. Runner-up winner: the Vermont Press Bureau's Peter Hirschfeld, who broke the story and all the reporters named in GMMB's enemies list, er, "media landscape report."
F-35 supporters — In a memo issued Thursday, Burlington city attorney Eileen Blackwood concluded it's "unlikely that there are any grounds on which the City can prohibit or limit the Air Force from basing the F-35 at [Burlington International Airport]..." Will that stop the antis from trying? No.
The Rutland Herald — The paper fought the city of Rutland all the way to the Vermont Supreme Court to get its hands on documents relating to an investigation of police officers downloading pornography on the job. Last Friday, the Herald won. It spent the next few days publishing stories demonstrating precisely why the public has a right to know what its public servants are doing on the job.
Next-gen lobbyists — Now that KSE Partners' Kevin Ellis is leaving the Montpelier lobbying firm that bears his name, it's promoting three employees to partner: Statehouse lobbyists Todd Bailey and Nick Sherman, as well as D.C.-based Leif Johnson.
Citizenry — Sen. Patrick Leahy won not one but two "Citizen of the Year" awards this week — from the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Vermont Medical Society. Come on, St. Patrick! Couldn't nail the hat trick?
Mark Larson — Gov. Peter Shumlin's spokeswoman, Sue Allen, was quick to throw the Department of Vermont Health Access commissioner under the bus when asked about GMMB's media persuasion work, telling VTDigger's Alicia Freese, "We did not have anything to do with that contract." Um, the contract was signed by Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding's deputy, Michael Clasen.
Runner-up loser: former governor Jim Douglas, who told Freese he would "certainly" never spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence press coverage. What about that $400,000-a-year communications staff he presided over as governor? And that $1.4 million contract his own administration signed with GMMB to promote Catamount?
T.J. Donovan — So much for a Sorrell retirement and coronation as Vermont's next attorney general. Now the question is whether the Chittenden County state's attorney will run for AG anyway — risking a second loss to Sorrell and his day job as state's attorney.