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Bernie Sanders

Birthday Boy

Sanders is critical of the circus around Clinton's sexual activities while real problems go unnoticed.


Published September 9, 1998 at 4:00 a.m.

Trust you voted and did the right thing Tuesday and, you know, you're only going to feel better for it. Inside Track was in a little jam this week because Seven Days went to press before the tally began.

All we know for sure at this point is how Judith E. Steinberg, M.D., wife of Gov. Howard Dean, voted. Dr. Judy crossed over and cast her ballot in the Republican primary for Fred Tuttle of Tunbridge for the U.S. Senate nomination. Fred was running against that guy from Massachusetts, whose name escapes me at the moment. McMuffin? Or McMunster? Or McMillion? Or McCarpetbagger? Or something like that.

We only know of Judy with the White Coat's voting plans because of her hubby's big mouth. See, Ho-Ho was so eagerly sucking up to Fred at the Northfield Labor Day Parade Monday that he blurted out "My wife's voting for you and she's a Democrat!" The WPTZ microphone picked it up. Way to go, Ho-Ho! 'Course, he would never do that himself — vote in the Republican primary — because Howard Dean is, after all, a Democrat. Right?

One Vermont politician who sat on the sidelines and did not cast a vote in Tuesday's primary is Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders — the birthday boy! He celebrated his 57th birthday Tuesday with a small gathering of family and friends at his Killarney Drive hacienda. Probably too chilly to have a pool party.

Neither fish nor fowl, Democrat nor Republican, Ol' Bernardo sat this primary out, as he has done regularly for decades. It's a small price to pay for being an independent — an independent who has his own personal voting line on C-Span's House coverage and is seeking reelection to Congress for his fifth consecutive term.

Sanders called the media frenzy over President Bill Clinton's sexual exploits "pathetic." He asked, "If you go out on the street and ask people if they can identify Linda Tripp or the head of the IMF, who do you think would win?" But contrary to what we get dished out hourly by CNN, Sanders said, there's actually been real work going on in Capitol Hill. Bernie is the ranking member on the banking subcommittee on General Oversight and Investigations, and he tells Inside Track that this Thursday they'll be holding a hearing on Russia and the IMF. "We want to know," he said, "where the tens of billions of dollars we've given to Russia have gone."

We suggested the hearing might have a better chance of getting press coverage if Bernie would call Monica Lewinsky to testify. Hey, who wouldn't be interested in her views on the global economy and Russia's economic crisis?

Does the birthday boy think Big Bill should resign?

No, he does not, despite calling Clinton's behavior "deplorable."

"There's no way to defend what he's done with a 21-year-old intern. But Bill Clinton is not the United States of America," he pointed out. Senior citizens are "scared to death" about the future of Social Security, Medicare and the rising cost of prescription drugs. "As a nation it would be destructive if we lose sight of the issues."

As for the feeding frenzy over Fornigate and its impact on American politics, "It's a pathetic day," said Sanders, "when every candidate for public office has to disclose every aspect of their sexual life." Not many people appreciate, he said, "the fragility of American democracy today." Unfortunately, he noted, the media's approach is to "do politics like entertainment." Megadittos, Ol' Bernardo.

Bernie also serves on the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform chaired by Dan Burton, the bitter right-winger from Indiana, who achieved notoriety a couple months ago by publicly calling the President a "scumbag."

Last week, Dan the Man revealed the existence of a bastard child he fathered in the 1980s. Wonder if Mr. Family Values' views on contraception prevented him from wearing a scumbag when he really needed one. Now Burton's name has become a synonym for condoms, as in, "Don't Forget Your Burtons!"

Wright Job Change? — In Burlap political news, turns out Republican City Councilor Kurt Wright found selling radio advertising just wasn't his thing. So the man many see as the number-one political challenger to Progressive Mayor Peter Clavelle in March 1999 left "The Pulse" a couple months back and signed on full-time with the Vermont Republican Party. Kurt's a field representative with responsibility for Lamoille, Addison, Washington and Orange counties. He's keeping mum on any possible plans for a mayoral bid, but he is keeping his options open, and he's certainly got Clavelle's record on the tip of his tongue.

County Cop Check — The letter went out last week over the signature of Chittenden County State's Attorney Lauren Bowerman. It was mailed to defense attorneys who work the criminal beat in Vermont's busiest courthouse.

"Recently," wrote Bowerman, "Adam Crogan resigned from the Milton Police Department. We have made the decision not to prosecute any of his cases in the future. Also, assigned deputy state's attorneys are reviewing their pending cases based on affidavits by Adam Crogan."

According to Mikan Police Chief Bob Stafford, Crogan joined the Milton force in September 1995. He resigned this July. Stafford declined to discuss the Crogan matter, or the circumstances of his resignation, citing the policy of not discussing personnel issues.

But Inside Track has learned from reliable sources that Officer Crogan's problems began when he applied for a post with the Colchester police department. During the hiring process, sources say, Crogan ran into trouble while undergoing a polygraph examination. The problem arose over questions of illegal drug use. Crogan at first denied cocaine use but subsequently changed his answer. Colchester declined to hire him, and sent word back to Milton concerning the polygraph. Officer Crogan subsequently resigned and the matter was forwarded to the state's attorney's office.

According to Bowerman, there are 13 pending criminal cases based on affidavits written and signed by the former Milton police officer. They will be reviewed, she said, to determine if there is sufficient evidence and witnesses available to proceed without Crogan's assistance. Her written declaration that her office will not prosecute any of Crogan's cases "in the future," is a crystal-clear alert to local law enforcement agencies not to even think of hiring him.

Meanwhile, Commander Glen Button tells Inside Track Burlington police are taking their recruitment effort to the airwaves starting this week. The next testing date for applicants is September 28.