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Posts from — April 2010

Planned Parenthood

Did you know that rep. Rachel Weston is on the Board of Trustees of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and that Barbara Snelling is an honorary Board Member?

I just learned that from a fundraising letter I’m about to toss.  I haven’t given money to Planned Parenthood for at least fifteen years, but they keep asking me to nonetheless.  They do a lot of colposcopies for folks, and turn no one away for lack of money so they always need donations.

If you would like to donate to support their work you can at

April 27, 2010   2 Comments

A Million Dollar Difference

A million dollar difference
From: “Haik Bedrosian” View contact details


Hi John (and Mike),

Please see the excerpts below from two stories you wrote. One was published today, and one was published yesterday. I have emphasized the type face in each regarding the amount BT owes the city. First of all, I believe the number is $17M, but yesterday you said $16M and today you said $15.

Did BT pay the city back a million dollars since yesterday?



Burlington City Council to consider department appointments
By John Briggs, Free Press Staff Writer • Monday, April 26, 2010

“The municipally owned Internet, telephone and cable TV provider is $50 million in debt and has no plan in place to erase the debt. Some $16 million is owed to the city, which used the money from 2007 to 2009 to sustain BT.

Burlington City Council seeks oversight
By John Briggs, Free Press Staff Writer • Tuesday, April 27, 2010

“The city-owned provider of Internet, telephone and cable television service is about $50 million in debt, with some $15 million owed to the city.”

April 27, 2010   1 Comment

Invited Readers Only

April 27, 2010   Comments Off

Peg Boyle Single to Run for Open House Seat in Chittenden 3-4

Breaking News

From a press release I received a few moments ago….


For Immediate Release April 27, 2010

Peg Boyle Single to Run for Open House Seat in Chittenden 3-4

Burlington, VT – Peg Boyle Single has decided to run for the open house seat in Chittenden 3-4. Single has been involved in Burlington community issues in various ways and running for the open house seat is the next step in her public service. She is very proud to be serving as a Commissioner for Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library. She participated in the hiring process that resulted in Michael Schirling becoming the City of Burlington’s Police Chief. At the state-wide level, she served as the co-chairperson of the Evaluation Task Group of the Access to Early Care, Education and Prevention Sub-Committee of the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Youth from 2003 to 2004. She has been involved in local issues important to the citizens of Chittenden District 3-4, issues related to development and parking and she has participated as a community member at the Development Review Board and brought a petition forward to the Public Service Board.

Single said: “I am running to bring the voice of my district to Montpelier. I know that the people of my district think that health insurance and costs need to be reformed, Vermont Yankee should not be renewed after 2012, and we should continue to support local farmers and farmers markets. I am aligned with the voters of District 3-4 on these issues, and many others.”

While Single was a Research Associate Professor at the University of Vermont, she served as a consultant to the Vermont Agency of Human Services and specifically supported Vermont’s IDEA Part C program, better known as the Family, Infant and Toddler Program. She has extensive experience conducting programs and research in the fields of mentoring and diversity and helped to develop a large-scale electronic mentoring program ( that supported women and minority students interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. As a Research Associate Professor, she wrote or co-wrote grants that brought in over $550,000 to the University of Vermont and she hired and supervised staff. Through this situation, she understands what it like is to create jobs, hire people, and be responsible for funding her own and other peoples’ salaries. Single served as an internal auditor for a savings and loan during the savings and loan crisis in the 1980’s, after receiving her undergraduate degree in accounting.

In reference to her experience, Single says: “The next two years will be important years for Vermont. I bring a unique background in business, human services, and education and so I will be able to speak to the important issues we will be facing regarding the budget, creating jobs, and health care.”

Single is currently a writer and a writing coach. Her first book Demystifying Dissertation Writing: A Streamlined Process from Choice of Topic to Final Text, was published by Stylus Publishing. Single writes a regular advice column for Inside Higher Education ( titled “Demystifying the Dissertation.” In addition, she offers writing workshops to doctoral students and to faculty members. She has presented workshops at University of Virginia, George Mason University, the University of Vermont, University of São Paulo, Brazil and Stony Brook University, among others.

Single was an early supporter of Doug Racine for governor. “I want to be a member of the Vermont House of Representatives when Doug Racine is governor. He has the small business and legislative experience we need in the next governor. As governor, he will work with the legislature to provide affordable health care for all Vermonters.”

Single earned her bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the George Washington University in 1985 and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1996. She is married to Richard M. Single, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Vermont.

April 27, 2010   1 Comment

Donovan In Zuckerman Out

TJ Donovan is running again for State’s Attorney and David Zuckerman is bowing out of the race for the Vermont House.  Go TJ.  Thank you for your service David.


The New Moon Cafe event tonight for Philip Baruth’s Vermont senate campaign was nice.  Nice to see Philip and Charity and Steve Benen.  Steve won’t give me Rachel Maddow’s phone number.

Philip seemed a little disappointed that we aren’t seated next to each other on the School Board so I promised to text him the comments I would have made to him under my breath if we had been.  I was probably kidding.

April 22, 2010   Comments Off

Use of Surveillance Cameras

Last night I attended my first school board “Policy and Advocacy” committee meeting. Our committee is currently writing the district’s policy on the use of surveillance cameras in schools.

April 21, 2010   2 Comments

Leopold Live

Breaking News: City Chief Administrative Officer Live on Channel 15 Now-

2:50pm- “All the Way to the Hamptons” I’m blogging live from the Channel 15 Studio Where I just officially met Jonathan Leopold for the first time in person. He’s inside now talking to Mike Jones about pooled cash in preparation for his half-hour appearance on “The Matty and Stech Variety Hour” airing live in five minutes. I am to be the show’s guest for the second half hour.

2:57pm- Matty, Mike Jones and Jonathan Leopold are in their places on the set. The introduction music is playing. A TV has been set up for me to be listening to the show and live blogging now. Phone calls will not be taken during the CAO’s segment, but will be turned on when I apppear…1 minute to air…

3:00pm- Has Leopold ever seen this show? It’s hard to believe he’s here about to do it. We’ll see if Mike Jones curses during the interview. He may not. I thought this was a bluff Like George’s “fake house in the Hamptons.” I guess not.

3:02pm- Matty says questions will be accepted by email. It’s getting difficult to hear. Question about BT from Matty- How did it go from ‘voter approved’ to partisan?

JL: BT 2 Phases- 2nd phase anticipated more customers faster and more profitability. Start up cost projections were unrealistic. “Shanahan Report” said Nulty left BT in bad financial shape. Comprehensive review of viability said BT viable with greater investment in time and money. Report shared with Board of Finance.

3:08pm- JL: Pooled cashed used, financing dried up. “It was a year and a half” until we were able to get funding. That was last November with Piper Jaffray deal.

3:09pm- about a third into it and Leopold has owned the show so far. Two more softball questions and his segment will be over. This may be a public relations coup, but it’s a risky move.

3:11pm- Mike Jones: “Was there any red flag that told you something was wrong with this investment?” (17 million to BT?) Matty: This investment compared to investments in Burlington Electric? JL: BT & BED different. Certificate of Public good does not level playing field with other carriers. Provision 60 says telecom can’t used pooled case for more than 60 days…

Mike Jones: How is Telecom going to pay back the seventeen million?
JL: Pooled cash like a checkbook
MT: I’m not clear- how severe of a crime is condition 60 violation.

3:14pm- A call is being taken after all- it sounds like Kurt Wright on the phone- Caller- Why did you not take the 17M loan to mayor and council more openly?
JL: Thanks caller for question- 1st background. There was not a decision at any point in time to loan BT 17 million. We were simply continuing to pay BT bills out of pooled cash as we had been from January to August 2007… Spring of 2008 economy and financial markets collapsed… This was not done in secret… Board of Finance knew in May 2008 BT was having trouble finding financing…

3:18pm- Leopold still talking about Board of Finance. He said the told BoF in November of 2008 BT owed pooled cash. No prospect of revenue bond…

3:20pm- Jonathan is two-thirds home- JL: unclear how much city council understood. Five new councilors. Lost four with experience. Problematic transition. Administration did not anticipate green council.

3:21pm- Mike Jones & Matty- What do you think of Ed Adrian calling for mayor to resign?
JL: BT has become a political issue and that’ s unfortunate. Council voted 13-1 to ask public service board to relax provision 60…

3:23pm- banter, banter, banter- Matty- How serious a violation is CPG violation?
JL: I’m not an attorney but- It’s a civil, not a criminal violation. First remedy is to cure violation. City brought issue to PSB. No doubt city is in violation…

3:25pm- MJ: People have said you should be out of a job- What’s your future?
JL: Preserve and protect Telecom- meet city’s challenges.

3:26pm- JL: Still have challenges with retirement system… MJ- “Scapegoat?” JL- I won’t be a scapegoat- complicated situation seeking simple story line- facts will vindicate administration-

3:28pm- Caller: BT as of 6/30/09 was negative 14.1 million- how much info was given to new councilors? What are real facts? How much info does council have? True BT debt may not be truley known?

3:30pm- Monday final audit will be published- will be similar to preliminary audit…
(Phone starting to ring off hook…) (Leopold talking interest rates over sound of ringing phone…)

3:32pm- failure of BT to complete city build-out another CPG violation. Exact BT debt not yet known.
MT: How long for return on investment and everyone being happy?
JL: Not that long….

3:33pm- Leopold is wrapping up his segment… I have to go on now…

April 18, 2010   1 Comment

Washington D.C.

Best I can remember, I’ve been to Washington D.C. five times.  The first time was when I was ten with my mother and brother.  It was the same month the Madonna Playboy came out.  That trip was the first time I flew.  This was my best DC trip.  We saw the Air and Space Museum where I saw a Mercury capsule and touched a piece of the moon, went to the top of the Washington Monument, went to Mount Vernon, took the train to Chevy Chase by mistake, and ate the most delicious runny egg, toast with jelly and orange juice breakfast I’ve ever had in my life still to this day.  God bless my mother.

I went again with my mom when I was fifteen or sixteen years old on a trip sponsored by “Salute to Teens Week.”  Don’t ask me who funded it.  I don’t know.  That was my first time on a prop plane.  Taking off from Burlington was crazy turbulent.  I was listening to a Sinatra tape on my Walkman.  During the bumpy and terrifying climb to our cruising altitude, “Strangers in the Night” was playing.  When the flight started to smooth out above the clouds, “Summer Wind” began.  Therefore I will always associate “Summer Wind” by Frank Sinatra with serenity and magic.  That trip I got to meet both Leahy and Jeffords.  My mom took the last seat on the underground capitol train forcing John Glenn to walk.  Years later I apologized to him for that on the phone.

Let’s see.  I drove throught D.C. once on one of the long driving adventures I used to go on in my twenties.  I remember driving around the capitol, parking and visiting Bernie’s office for no apparent reason.

Another time I had a night bus layover there for a few minutes when I got out and stretched and saw the capitol all lit up.

The last time I was there was about five years ago.  Poopsie and I stayed in a hotel a couple of blocks from the white house on our way to Ben and Leanne’s wedding in South Carolina.  We took a morning walk around the white house.  We looked the statue of Alexander Hamilton on the lawn and Poopsie said he was hot.

April 14, 2010   Comments Off

The Best Damn Blog in the World

Thank you for reading, the best damn blog in the world. Visit often!

Update: Three minutes after this post was published, it was the number 1 Google search result for the phrase “the best damn blog in the world” if you put the phrase in quotes.   Crazy.

April 13, 2010   Comments Off

Sanders Geothermal Roundtable

This looks like an interesting event, and it’s on a Saturday, so having a job might not necessarily preclude one’s attendance.

What: Geothermal Energy Roundtable with Senator Bernie Sanders and Cathy Zoi, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the United States Department of Energy

When: Saturday, April 17th at 1pm

Where: Contois Auditorium – Burlington City Hall, 149 Church Street, Burlington, VT

April 11, 2010   Comments Off