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Bernie Sanders

Vileness in Vermont

Sanders continues to be vague on gay marriage/civil-unions position.


Published February 2, 2000 at 1:00 a.m.

That's the headline Sports Illustrated put on the UVM men's ice hockey hazing scandal in last week's edition.

"To all collegiate athletes too macho, too scared or too drunk to haze and tell," wrote SI, "let events at the University of Vermont serve as a warning."

In addition to the recent visits to the UVM campus by The New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and ESPN, a Washington Post reporter was in town the last couple days, too.

And Thursday the big bomb drops! Attorney General Bill Sorrell (a Notre Dame graduate), is due to release the report of his hazing probe at a high noon press conference and post it at Depending on where you stand, Sorrell's report will be either a whitewash or a hatchet job. No pressure. It's only his political future hanging in the balance.

A source at ESPN tells Seven Days to look for a blurb on Sportscenter on Wednesday evening about whether any criminal charges will be brought.

For a brief shining moment last week, Governor Howard Brush Dean III backed off his "tough love" approach to the university. He said he had no problem with the discredited hockey pucks holding practices for a nonexistent season. Said they'd suffered "the greatest punishment an athlete can face" — a canceled season. But this week, he was back on his bully pulpit declaring the adults at Groovy UV "must take responsibility."

Said one UVM insider, it sounds like "the Guy's vision of adult culpability is merely rhetoric for looking-for-a-head."

Dean's "blame the grown-ups trash talk" is not well received in either the administration building or the jock department's fortified bunker. One source told us, UVM officials are "currently scouring through the governor's job description to see where it says he's in charge of making personnel decisions at the University of Vermont."

Should be a memorable week in the Land of the Elephant Walkers.

But all is not vile, ye knaves and scoundrels! On the women's puck squad, the UVM's most talented goalie, Tiffany Hayes, was picked as ECAC Rookie of the Week. If Wayne Gretzky were a girl and a goalie, he'd be Tiffany Hayes. She's got a .048 goals against average.

That's not human.

Lobbyists Apologize!!! — Flash! Stop the Presses! Inside Track has learned two distinguished Statehouse hired-gun lobbyists have personally apologized to members of the House Judiciary Committee.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal ran a piece on gay marriage in the beautiful Green Mountains. It focused on the dueling lobbyist angle: Kimbell Sherman & Ellis for The Vermont Freedom to Marry Action Committee vs. William Shouldice & Associates for the Vermonters for Traditional Marriage Committee.

In his interview, Kevin Ellis apparently couldn't shut up. National exposure and all. He even rattled off the names of the four committee members he figured he already had locked up and a fifth, a Republican, he thought was leaning his way. A lobbyist spouting off to the press about how legislators will vote is uncouth at best, stupid at worst.

Rep. Diane Carmolli, Democrat of Rutland City, was on Ellis's sure-thing list. But Carmolli told Seven Days Friday, she doesn't even know who Kevin Ellis is. She said she was "dumbfounded" to read about her position in the Journal since she hasn't as yet taken a position.

"I told Steve Kimbell [who she does know], I felt it was compromising my integrity." She said Mr. Kimbell apologized. "He said he was sorry."

This week, Ellis added his personal apology.

"I'm happy to take the heat," Ellis told Seven Days. "I apologized for any heartburn or pain. It was never my intention to say we've got these people locked up."

Bishop Angell's Blind Spot? — Last night the head of Vermont's largest church — the Roman Catholic Diocese of Vermont — was scheduled to lead an anti-gay marriage protest in Montpeculiar. Bishop Ken Angell condemns not only same-sex marriage, but even legislation creating a domestic-partnership protocol for committed couples of the same gender.

"Often the truth does not tickle our ears," writes the Big Angell, on the diocesan Web site (, "but calls us to bear witness when perhaps we would rather not become involved." According to the leader of Vermont's Catholics, "we are knee-deep in a moral crisis."

Amen, brother. Knee-deep it is. You're not just whistling Dixie.

Take the story that went national Sunday reporting an extraordinarily high death rate from AIDS among Roman Catholic priests.

The powerful and very moving three-part series in the Kansas City Star (, reported that Catholic priests have been dying from AIDS at a rate 4-10 times greater than the population at large. Among them was one bishop from the Archdiocese of New York. One study found as many as 30 percent of Catholic priests are homosexual. Almighty God in Heaven's little dark secret, eh, Bishop Angell?

Priests both gay and straight spoke openly of the lie within the Church concerning the sexual preference of so many of its clergymen and the deaths of hundreds of priests from AIDS.

We asked diocesan chancellor, Fr. Walter Miller, if any priests in the Vermont diocese have died from AIDS.

"No," he replied.

"Are there any gay priests in Vermont?" we asked.

"We've never asked," he said.

Ah, yes, the good old "don't ask, don't tell" approach.

Yes, indeed, our Angell of a Bishop, so passionately battling civil rights for Vermont gays and lesbians, is quite right — often, the truth does not tickle our ears. Especially if they're stuffed with wax. "Common Humanity"

Update — This week we add Vermont's lieutenant governor, Doug Racine, and GOP gubernatorial firebrand, Ruth Dwyer, to the list of statewide political leaders taking stands on same-sex marriage.

Democrat Doug Racine, the Cherokee Chieftain of Shelburne Road's auto-dealer alley, do you support gay marriage?

Yes," he replied. "I made my position clear last year and it hasn't changed."

Ruth Dwyer, reached at her Thetford farm Tuesday, responded just as quickly and directly to the gay-marriage question: "I've been against it from the beginning and still am," she said.

Sounds like a final answer. However, Ruth the Truth said she could sign on to some sort of domestic partner-lite solution that did not give away the farm. Dwyer supports granting homosexual partners more rights in cases like medical emergencies and inheritance.

"That's only common-sense human decency," said Mrs. Dwyer.

Ruth also supports taking the gay-marriage issue to the people of Vermont via a proposed constitutional amendment. And she said Tuesday, she was planning on attending Tuesday evening's public hearing at the Statehouse, but not to testify.

Ruthless Ruth of the Right shares with our beloved commie-pinko congressman, Bernie Sanders, the unique ability to couch people at a gut level like an electric shock. They both draw reactions of passionate support and loyalty, or passionate disdain and contempt. There's no middle ground with Ol’ Bernardo and Ruthless Ruth.

Both are pretty sharp upstairs, if you know what I mean. Ruth couldn't help but marvel at Ol' Cowardo's, er, sorry, Bernardo's response to the gay-marriage question — Bernie was adamantly vague!

"Ah!," sighed Ruth, "he doesn't want to lose his loyal elderly voters." Bernie has a strong following among elderly voters, noted Dwyer. And they're not big on homosexual marriage. So Bernie didn't say anything that might offend them. Right on, Ruthie.

Since last week's report of Ol' Cowardo's magnificent dodging of the issue, Progs have been rationalizing their fearless leader's surprising cop-out. They point out in Machiavellian tones that Bernie's issues are "economic-based." So why risk losing supporters by taking a "progressive/ liberal" public stand on a controversial social issue?


Republicans for Anthony? — Meanwhile, Vermont Republicans are hoping for a little Machiavellian assistance from the newly organized Progressive Party in the coming gubernatorial race. (Funny, but the Progressive Party has so far been a party Ol' Cowardo doesn't want to attend. That's another story.)

Anyway, the GOP likes the idea of Anthony Pollina, a longtime leftist activist, running for governor and making Howard Dean sweat. They like the idea of Pollina drawing enough support from the left to deny Ho-Ho the required 50 percent and victory. They really like the idea of a newly elected legislature choosing the next governor in January.

"If Pollina decides to run," quipped Republican National Committeeman Skip Vallee, "I'd offer to do a fundraiser for him."

We're not sure Gasoline Vallee was joking.

Back during the days when Vermont's new campaign finance legislation went through, Ruth Dwyer recalls that some, like Sen. Bill Doyle, warned public financing of third- and fourth-party candidates would likely split the vote enough to toss the outcome onto the big craps table under the golden dome.

What fun!

Deanmeister on Full Alert — The possibility of the Progs com-plicating the most-assured reelection of the Doctor of Centricity hasn't been lost on the good doctor. Note the story in the Freeps last week that tried to keep Burlington's downtown supermarket controversy alive. This, despite the fact Shaw's lost our to the locals both at the city council and at the ballot box. Onion River Co-op won. It's over!

The article by the paper's city hall scribe, Ms. Leslie Wright, was based on the Guy criticizing the Progs on WVMT radio's morning show. Ho-Ho told "Ernie and Charlie," he was "fascinated" by the election results on the Shaw's bond issue.

Shaw's lost the vote, falling short of the required two-thirds, while garnering a solid 61 percent majority. Gov. Dean called it "a referendum on the Progressives." Shaw's even won small majorities in the inner-city wards the Progs have controlled for almost two decades, he noted. (But Shaw's got a landslide in the pro-Republican New North End, farthest from the downtown food market.)

Later, down at the Statehouse, St. Anthony Pollina was quick to criticize the Guy for backing a foreign, multi-national corporation (which British-based Shaw's is), over "a local Vermont company dedicated to supporting Vermont agriculture." Tony the Saint also took a swipe at Dr. Governor for lacking a policy on the prescription drug-pricing scandal, other than telling Vermonters to go buy their pills in Quebec.

St. Anthony's remarks made the Radio Vermont airwaves (which include WDEV and WKDR.) Within minutes, Ho-Ho called to question the reporter about how Pollina or anyone knew how he voted in the Burlington special election.

Pollina, like everyone else, assumed he had voted for Shaw's from the Freeps story. But Ho-Ho pointed out, the article never mentioned how he voted. Nor had anyone from the local Gannett daily bothered to call the governor or his press secretary, a former Freeps reporter herself, to find out.

In fact, Dean told Seven Days, he voted against the Shaw's bond issue! Just like all the Progs did! And, Clavelle noted, all the Democrat city councilors and half the Republicans opposed it, too.

It's certainly rare, indeed, to find Howard Dean standing with any sort of minority, but this time, he did.

On the air with Ernie and Charlie, Howie Deanie also officially declared the Onion River Coop a food store he "would be comfortable" shopping at. Wow! What an endorsement! We all know what a sensitive and old-fashioned comfort level our governor has.

What's quite intriguing here is that, at this early point in the race, when Anthony Pollina talks, Howard Dean listens.