Vol. 20, No. 4,946W - The American Reporter - March 30, 2014




by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
Dummerston, Vt.
July 25, 2008
On Native Ground
CARBON-FREE ELECTRICITY BY 2018? WE CAN DO THIS

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DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- People always say that Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas is a nice man. But he has character as well as policy failings which we can no longer afford to overlook. Douglas's tenure has been disastrous.

Here are the Top 10 Reasons why:

  1. Today all we hear about is energy, energy, energy. Catch-phrases like "reliance on foreign oil" have even made it into the mealy mouth of our boy-king president. But Vermont had the opportunity to control its own energy destiny in a big, big way when the hydro plants on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers came up for sale - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that anyone with a brain in his head would have recognized. But that description leaves out our governor, who made sure that all local and state efforts to buy the dams failed. After all, he's a Republican who worships the religion of the free market, no matter what kind of economic rat hole it's pushed us into.
  2. Our decaying nuclear power plant, Vermont Yankee. Kissing owner's Entergy's ring - there's that pesky free market theology again - may satisfy Douglas, but we've seen two cooling towers become distressed in the past year. For a long time, I've believed (as Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Speaker of the House Gaye Symington says) that if the plant could receive and pass a thorough inspection, it might remain in business. After the second cooling tower incident, I think the plant, no matter how well it's run, must be closed now. Douglas's refusal to allow the Legislature's inspection team to inspect just makes it even more clear whose pocket he's in.
  3. And Douglas won't support wind energy, even when Vermont has wind, a reputation for advanced green thinking, and is home to one of the world's leading suppliers of wind technology.
  4. Douglas may be a nice guy and a funny guy, but he's the one who brought the whole Lee Attwater/Roger Ailes/Karl Rove school of political campaigning to Vermont. OK, politics ain't beanbag (whatever that means), but it used to be civil here. It used to be about debates, ideas and character. Now it's about endless spin, negative opposition research and dirty tricks. And Douglas's videoing of his opponents in order to catch them making gaffes that he can capitalize on? It just makes me sick. Under Douglas and his attack dogs, we've moved very far away from Vermont values.
  5. Speaking of dirty tricks, there's the closing of the farming, community garden and composting center CALLED Intervale in So. Burlington, which suspiciously used to employ Symington. There's the cutting of the state workforce "to save Vermonters' money" after giving his own people big bonuses. And why in hell's name does he need a communications director in every department?
  6. Douglas is a friend and supporter of George W. Bush. He's had least two sleepovers at the White House. He supported both of Bush's wars of choice. In other words, he's a really bad judge of character as well as being way behind the curve in awareness - when it came to protesting the Iraq war, we Vermonters (including our entire Congressional delegation) were out in front in protesting while our governor was still smiling and shaking Bush's hand.
  7. The whole "Vermont is bad for business" thing. Douglas says it over and over. He doesn't get it that entrepreneurs are thriving here. As Janice Shade of Richmond, who is about to introduce a low-priced natural soap into the national consciousness, remarked to me a few weeks ago, "Aren't 100 companies with 30 employees just as good as one company with 30,000 employees?" Not to Jim Douglas. He's stuck in the past. It's IBM or nothing. And then, on his watch, he lets IBM get away! Is this man even awake at the wheel?
  8. Act 250. The reason Vermont is still Vermont and not New Jersey is Act 250, the state's pro-conservation environmental law. Former governor Howard Dean tried to dismantle it, and Douglas continues the bloodletting. He's acting on behalf of his wealthy contributors. He doesn't care about those of us who want to keep the state green and lovely (but with windmills).
  9. "It's never my fault." Douglas has a way of deflecting blame when something doesn't happen and grabbing the credit whenever it does - even if it's the Legislature's idea. Example? The Legislature was driving toward a universal health care back in 2006, when Douglas forced it into a box. They had to approve a plan that was no way near universal, or health care, or coverage. And then Douglas ended up in AARP Magazine being praised as a health care innovator. It reminds me of the old saying, "The rooster's crowing like he made the sun come up."
  10. Remember the time he was shilling for Wall Street and tried to sell us on selling the state lottery, even though the numbers he used had no basis in reality?

I could go on, but those are my Top 10. Thanks to Jim, no health insurance. Thanks to Jim, no energy policy. Thanks to Jim, no dams. Thanks to Jim, Vermont Yankee will stay open for another 20 years. Thanks to Jim, his friends will be rewarded while the rest of us get screwed. The more you look at it, the more he richly deserves his nickname - Gov. Does-less.

It's definitely time for Vermonters to wake up and vote Douglas out of office. Who should replace him? Stay tuned.

A collection of Joyce Marcel's columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com. And write her at joycemarcel@yahoo.com.

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