VCV-VNRC’s Psychotic Break

This is one weird year political year. Up is down, left is right, cheetos for president, etc. Add to the Bizarro world catalog this little tidbit.

Vermont Conservation Voters, which functions as the electoral arm of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, came out with its primary endorsement list. Noticeable by his absence is Chittenden Senator (and ol’ GMD pal) Philip Baruth.

What’s the big deal? Well, here’s a little supporting info for your consideration:

  • Philip has a lifetime voting record – according to VCV’s own scorecard – of 93%. Yes, that’s a nine. As in ninety. And three. Ninety-three. Percent. Out of a hundred.
  • This is the same Philip Baruth who was elected to office running on a platform predicated on climate change, back when some folks told him that wasn’t a local enough issue to win with (me for one).
  • Senator Baruth is the sitting Senate Majority Leader. One of the 3 or 4 most powerful legislators in the state. More on the decidedly icky implications of that in a moment.

The reasoning from VCV is that the big renewable bill that the Governor vetoed was famously not one that the environmental community was happy with by the time it hit Mr. Shumlin’s desk. As Majority Leader, it was incumbent on Philip to do some of the heavy lifting on both the admittedly inadequate compromise, as well as the attempt to override the veto.

So fine, you may say. He doesn’t have 100% (although he actually did have 100% the previous session, it should be noted). He’s still a 93% lifetime voter, even if one issue means he gets a big ol’ demerit for ’16. Duh, right?

To VCV, not so much duh. This one issue singularly trumped everything. This of course begs the obvious question; why bother rating legislators on a scorecard in the first place? If it clearly means so little to VCV, it becomes a rather tough case to sell it as meaningful to others,  n’est-ce pas?

Sadly it’s a bit worse… there are the Chittenden County Senate endorsements they did hand out. Consider (as per our other ol’ buddy Mr. Walters):

  • VCV did endorse Tim Ashe, who has a 91% lifetime rating (that’s 2 less tha-.. well, you can do math I’m sure)
  • They endorsed Dawn Ellis. Who is not a legislator yet. So she doesn’t even have a rating at all.
  • VCV offered 5 primary endorsements – that’s out of six slots. So its not like somebody else moved up into his spot, they just kicked him out of the clubhouse.

In light of those things, it just gets weirder. Is it personal? Did Baruth run over somebody’s cat?

But I promised a little ickiness, so here it is.

If you’re an operation who does business in the Statehouse and you go out of your way to kick a legislator in the crotch like that, you’ve got to figure they won’t like it. They may not like to work with you so much. Hell, they may freeze you out even. After all, Statehouse politics are ALL about relationships, because humans are first and foremost social creatures, like it or not. This is lobbying 101.

So if you’re gonna go out of your way to give the ol’ groin kick to someone, you want to think very carefully about kicking the groin of the freaking Senate Majority Leader, because the Senate Majority Leader can freeze you out of a hell of a lot more than their good graces… the Senate Majority Leader can freeze you out of nearly everything. For that reason, picking a fight with someone that far up in leadership so casually is generally considered advocate malpractice. I worked for a few years at the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, and the very idea would have been unthinkable in that office.

So why do it?

Because they can. That’s what’s icky.

Everybody knows Philip is on their team. They don’t have to worry about getting frozen out because they know full well he is a deeply committed environmentalist, and he always will be. Endorsement or no, he will never stop working hard on the issues that are important to VCV and VNRC.

So as a member of the family, he gets kicked in the groin when a more garden-variety, stereotypically soulless politician would have not only been given a pass, but would probably be deferred to. That’s just all kinds of screwed up. And some of those VCV board members – folks like Jake Perkinson and former Representative Mike Fisher – should really know better.

VCV has made the point that withholding an endorsement from Baruth in the primary (when it matters) doesn’t preclude the possibility of him receiving one in the General Election (when it really doesn’t matter… adding a little more insult to injury, perhaps?).

Philip has a seemingly endless supply of decency and goodwill, so I’m sure if that comes up, he will be as gracious as always. I don’t think I’d be that gracious about it.

Off the top of Trump’s head

I’ve been offline and not able to read or listen to any extended news the past couple days. While catching up this afternoon I realized how numb I had become to the fast, furious, and crazy pace of the 2016 presidential campaign news. It is like returning to a street corner to find Trump, the wild-eyed man, from days before still perched on his little soapbox, ranting crazily and demanding more than his share of attention.trumphead

Donald Trump urged Russian agents to “find” his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s emails and release them, an unprecedented move by a candidate for president encouraging such a foreign breach.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you can find the 33,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said at the presser.

And that remark prompted Senator Harry Reid to suggest Trump not be given the usual security briefing. But if he must be briefed Reid advises: I would suggest to the intelligence agencies, if you’re forced to brief this guy, don’t tell him anything, just fake it, because this man is dangerous,” Reid said in a Wednesday interview with The Huffington Post. “Fake it, pretend you’re doing a briefing, but you can’t give the guy any information.” [added emphasis]

Trump’s comment is alarmingly weird enough, but it is even more so after my stepping out of the news cycle even for short time. This is clearly not a normal election.

Vermont Democrats: Do NOT Go There

I know, I know… it’s a headline that could mean anything. But I’m not talking about policy, I’m talking politics. This is a message to #teamMatt and #teamSue, and it’s aimed at all my fellow political animals who live in (or drift in and out of) that weird interstate-corridor-defined bubble where politics morphs into metapolitics.

The message: we’re all friends here. So chill out. Right now.

Look, we all live in a political pressure cooker these days. I could recount the reasons, but why? We all know them. But the underlying reasons for all the sound and fury which is now a mere election away from signifying way more than nothing are twofold.

One; we’ve allowed the political to become indistinguishable from the personal (a trait that used to define the political fringe).

Two; Civility and personal honor have fallen out of style.

Our recent trials are not from bigotry and rage. Angry bigots have always been there and always will be. What’s changed is that we’re now in an environment that allows bigotry to come out of the shadows and have its way with society. And then that Tasmanian Devil style of politicking infects everyone, even the non-bigots. Before long we’re all thrashing around into each other, raising bruises, breaking bones and drawing blood (at least rhetorically… hopefully not more than that).

Although not immune from it in Vermont (just look at some of the crazier Hillary-bashing under way on Facebook), our statewide races have been largely a refuge of sanity. One I, for one, have been proud of.

But cracks are showing. The kind of cracks that are, potentially, the tip of an iceberg. Cracks in the primary contest for Governor.

Folks – don’t. Just. Don’t.

I understand the passions of an election campaign all too well. I also, of all people in this state, understand that there are times when you need to throw elbows. I’ve thrown a LOT of elbows in my time.

But this is not the time. Sue Minter and Matt Dunne (Peter Galbraith’s campaign seems to exist in a slightly different dimension, for good or ill – or both) are both well known in the metapolitics bubble. Share friends. Hell, I’m sure they know each other. And while passion is good (and yes, that passion will inevitable turn to frustration of the why-won’t-the-other-candidate-get-out-of-the-way-for-MY-candidate type… comes with the territory), vitriol is NOT good. Personal attacks are NOT good. And in the waning weeks before the primary, I’ve seen that kind of vitriol that has infected (even defined) national politics creep into message boards and Facebook posts.

For those of you who feel compelled to give into those petty impulses we all feel, know that it won’t be the candidate you oppose pissing into our collective pool – it will be you. And it will (unfairly, but inevitably) reflect back on your candidate. Then comes the cycle of attack/counterattack… and well, we all know the rest.

Remember; the political is not personal. Remember; there is a time for honor and civility every bit as much as there is a time for elbow-throwing and rage. It takes a brain, and a modicum of self-control, to see the difference between those different times and to comport ourselves accordingly.

Let’s show the rest of the country that Vermont is a community that hasn’t forgotten that.

Trump: Pedophile and Rapist?

The morning news dump brought with it a story from the Guardian in which Jill Harth breaks her long silence about a sexual assault by Donald Trump back in 1992.

The account given by Ms. Harth is extremely compelling and prompted me to research other allegations of sexual assault that have been seriously lodged against the Republican nominee over the course of his public life.

Perhaps the most disturbing example is his implication in the rape of a thirteen year old girl at a sex party hosted by his friend Jeffrey Epstein in 1994.

“Epstein has been named in multiple similar lawsuits over the last several years, served 13 months in jail, and is registered as a sex offender for life.”

Trump famously said the following about Mr. Epstein in  a New York Magazine profile some years ago:

“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump booms from a speakerphone. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

Rather than going into all the offensive details contained in a variety of reports concerning the alleged pedophile rape, I thought I’d cut straight to the chase by citing an analysis of the available evidence by Snopes which provides about as much objective perspective on the story as might be hoped for.

Once again, the available record suggests that the story is true, but one of these claims is the subject of current legal actions, and the other was only made public after the Trump campaign preemptively called the alleged victim a “liar;” so we cannot legally draw a line under his guilt. Of course, Trump uses that ‘l’ word as liberally as he does the other ‘l’ word: ‘loser.’

This verbal tic always reminds me of the old retort, “It takes one to know one.”

Then there is Ivana Trump’s charge, made during their divorce proceedings, that Donald indulged in angry rape against her when procedure to address baldness, performed by someone she had recommended, went horribly wrong. She later withdrew the word ‘rape’ from her testimony but the account remained pretty much the same. He aggressively forced her to have sex after subduing her by pulling her by the hair of her head…hair that was in roughly the same position on her scalp as had been affected by his own botched baldness procedure.

To me that sounds pretty much like angry rape. That his accuser later modified her allegation is not particularly surprising, considering that the two shared three children, a business relationship, a divorce settlement, and the clear understanding that nobody…absolutely nobody… crosses Donald Trump.

Why does the major news media seem to be avoiding discussion of these and other allegations of Trump’s predatory sexual appetites? Apart from very occasional sly jokes about his inappropriate remarks concerning his female offspring, virtually no mention has been made of this unsavory aspect of the candidate.

He has been free to call Hillary Clinton a liar, and to traffic in her guilt by association with Bill Clinton and his infamous indiscretions, but it almost seems as if there has been some agreement that his own accusers will receive network and cable silence.

Everyone knows of the smoke = fire scenario that eventually played out in the case of Bill Cosby; so, why isn’t more attention being given to an alarming pattern that appears to be emerging in credible stories about a man who is now just inches away from the Oval Office?

Trump’s GOP rules of order

At the GOP Convention hall last night Senator Ted Cruz gave a speech and failed to endorse Donald Trump, as he was hoped to do. Cruz was booed more lustily during his own speech than Hillary Clinton was during Mike Pence’s. From the floor,  just in front of the booing crowd, it felt anarchic, as if anything could happen.

cruztrumpThe ferocity of Trump’s followers’ reaction caused security guards to bundle Heidi Cruz offstage to safety

“People behind her were getting very ugly and physically approaching her and [Cruz’s father] Rafael,” he said. “It was not a pretty situation, and the decision was instantly made to not talk to media and get immediately out of the arena.”  Ken Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general and a close Cruz confidant who was sitting with Heidi as her husband spoke, told reporters he saw Trump supporters accosting her.

Let’s review then: Monday night’s GOP Convention theme was Make America Safe, Tuesday’s underlying theme ( I think ) was “Lock up and/or Shoot Hillary Clinton” night. And Wednesday’s theme seems to have been “Let’s Throw Ted Cruz’s Wife from the Stage.”

What on earth could the Trumpsters do for Donald’s  finale tonight, no doubt played out to the theme from Rocky ?

Norm McAllister in the dock again. Son opens mouth, inserts foot.

Suspended Senator Norm McAllister is once again scheduled to answer charges of sexual assault and trafficking beginning on August 10 in the Franklin County Courthouse.

There is much fault that could be found with the way in which Mr. McAllister’s first trial was prosecuted, including the fact that the victim was forced to testify for many hours before the curious eyes of the press, while Mr. McAllister was allowed to sit the whole thing out without saying a word or even glancing at the assembly. It must be hoped that justice will be better served in the upcoming trial.

Norm Mcallister’s son Heath McAllister has, in the meantime, given us ample fodder for discussion with his comments to the media this week.

Defending his father, Heath is quoted as saying

“You’d have to believe he went from a loving husband of 43 years to some kind of animal…”

I agree that it is unlikely that Norm McAllister woke up one day at the age of 60+ and became a serial abuser. When an old man is discovered to be engaging in such behavior, it is almost certain that the pattern of abuse began many years earlier, and that there are other victims who simply have never come forward.

Heath McAllister went on to say that people are making too much of the extreme youth of the alleged victim.

“That’s not a big deal. You want to be disgusted that she was 19 and he was 63, knock yourself for a loop,”

Even if we accept his version of the story, in which she was 19 (not fifteen or sixteen, as she alleges) when the sexual contact began; according to her testimony, she weighed only 85 pounds, which is why he could easily pick her up and sling her over his shoulder like a bag of grain. The idea that she could “consent” to the relationship is outrageous. Now, at twenty-one, she is still a wee slip of a pretty girl, unlikely to consent to being violated by a portly, balding old man.

Apparently Mr. Heath McAllister sees nothing wrong with this picture.

That speaks volumes about the culture in the family, perhaps even in the McAllisters’ circle of friends.

The coup-de-grace, though, is this final admission:

“Did my dad talk like a pig? Sure. I don’t know how many men — what the hell, I’m in the list,” he said. “There’s been moments where if you took what I said out of context, it would sound horrible.”

The culture of misogyny and exploitation hangs heavy in those words. He thinks this is perfectly normal and acceptable.

Locking the perpetrator of such crimes away from vulnerable populations is only part of the remedy for sexual abuse; and, statistically, our society has a poor record of accomplishing even that much.

The real need is to address the underlying culture that enables such behaviors, interrupting the pattern before it takes hold among a broader community of family and friends. The simple reality is that women and girls raised in a culture of exploitation and abuse seldom seek or receive help. Captive to the culture of their tormenters, they simply accept that this is what they must survive.

The women who have spoken out about their experiences with Mr. McAllister deserve our respect and the same indulgence we allow to wartime victims of PTSD.

It is the very least that we can do.

Bernie Sanders and the super-duper email list

After all the  hard-fought campaigning in the Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders came together and held a unity rally in New Hampshire under the banner, “Stronger Together.” Said Sanders by way of conceding: “She will be the Democratic nominee for president, and I intend to do everything I can to make certain that she will be the next president of the United States.”

Understandably there were awkward moments, but Bernie ended his remarks unequivocally by saying: “Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding President, and I am proud to stand with her today.”

His endorsement was accompanied with word that Sanders had a large (yuuge?) influence on the Democratic Party platform. Unity amendments on a $15.00 minimum wage, higher education funding, and improvements in Social Security were included, thanks to Bernie. Writing in The Nation, one Sanders representative who worked on the platform committee said they delivered “the most progressive platform in Democratic Party platform history.” Note to self: go back and read FDR’s Democratic Party platforms.

BGTLAUONITParty platform, hugs and kisses not withstanding, Bernie is reported to be holding on to his email list of donors — all the information that helped him raise more than $222 million in small donations.

And wow, has there ever, ever been such a list? The Sanders email data is being called “perhaps the most coveted and valuable catalog of potential voters and donors in the Democratic Party at the moment.”  There were reports in April that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s office and Sanders were talking about how best to utilize the fabled “list.” And speculation certainly continues that the Democratic Party (who shared their party data with the Sanders campaign)and Clinton campaign would be happy to have access if Sanders decides to share his email data.

However, not everyone likes the idea of sharing data lists with his former rival. “Young people have been very clear that they don’t want their information handed over and it’s not going to be,” RoseAnn DeMoro, the executive director of the Sanders-supporting group National Nurses United, told BuzzFeed last month. “Sanders could surprise me, but I don’t think so.” Sanders has not made clear his plans for his fundraising donor data, although he is talking about starting an organization to help fund progressive candidates around the country.

It’s hard to imagine Bernie, a veteran politician, never playing his “most coveted” donor data to advantage for his causes — but share it, I guess not so much.

Disadvantage: Zuckerman campaign.

With less than a month to go until the Vermont Democratic Primary, I got a concerned call from one my Democratic friends who is supporting Dave Zuckerman (P/D) for Lieutenant Governor.  She had just learned that Dave’s campaign was denied access to the vote builder data base by the State Committee, and she wanted me to explain to her ‘why?’

Knowing that in a similar situation, Bernie Sander’s national campaign had been given access to the Party data base, I told her that I thought she might just be mistaken about the facts, but I said I’d see what I could find out.

So, after a little research, I reached out to Executive Director Conor Casey who confirmed what she had heard, and graciously agreed to answer a few questions for me.

As you can well imagine that voter data base has tremendous value to a campaign, allowing it to spare hard-won and often precious few fundraising dollars by sending literature and making calls only to voters likely to support the candidate. Without such select data finding voters susceptible to the candidate’s message is a little like looking for a needle in a haystack at so many cents per blade of straw.

Under contractual rules established by the national committee, access to the data base is provided to the campaigns of eligible candidates at a price; and he said that, even though the State Committee had endorsed him, the Executive Committee had decided that Senator Zuckerman did not qualify as a “bona fide Democrat” for that access.

This specific language seems to be the sticking point, and Conor quoted it for me from the contract:

“State Party shall provide all information in the State Party Voter File to all bona fide Democratic candidates for federal, state and local office in the state for both primary and general elections except that State Party shall not be obligated to provide such information to candidates in a Democratic primary in which there is a Democratic incumbent running for re-election. Such information shall be provided to candidates at a reasonable cost and upon such other reasonable terms and conditions as the State Party may deem appropriate provided that such terms and conditions are applied equally to all such bona fide candidates.”

The question of course is who exactly can be described as a ‘bona fide’ Democratic candidate.

Merriam-Webster defines ‘bona fide’ thusly:

1 : made in good faith without fraud or deceit <a bona fide offer to buy a farm> 2 : made with earnest intent : sincere. 3 : neither specious nor counterfeit : genuine.

Since the term ‘bona fide’ does not appear to be capitalized in the National Committee contract, I think we can assume that it represents a judgement call for the State Executive Committee rather than a status with legally defined parameters.

Conor said the decision to deny access to the Zuckerman campaign was based on his intention to run in the General, if successful in the Primary, as a P/D rather than as a full-throated Democrat or a D/P.

I then spoke with Sen. Zuckerman who told me that, in light of access to Democratic voter data given to Bernie by the Democratic National Committee, he didn’t quite understand why his campaign was not deemed similarly deserving.

In 2006 and 2012, when Bernie was running for the Senate, he competed in the Democratic Primary, but then chose to run in the General as an Independent. He was apparently still allowed access to the voter data by the National Executive Committee during the current Democratic Presidential Primaries.

Sen. Zuckerman, who is prepared to run as a P/D in the General (not a plain Progressive), questions why Bernie can be viewed by the Party as a ‘bona fide Democrat’ for purposes of access to the data base, but Zuckerman cannot. In closing our conversation he offered the following comment:

“While I think it is unfortunate that they have made this decision, my campaign is going strong, people are responding well to my message of social, economic and environmental justice.  People are more interested in policy and substance than establishment party politics.”

I spoke with Conor one more time and asked him to explain the difference between Sen. Zuckerman’s status viz-a-viz the Democratic Party, and that of Bernie Sanders. I was still trying to understand that ‘bona fide’ bit.

Conor explained that as Bernie always ran as an independent, he actually had no other official party status to conflict with the Democratic designation. It was the view of the Executive Committee that Sen. Zuckerman’s relationship with the Progressive Party represents a conflict of interest with regard to securing the data base against unauthorized sharing. He was quick to say that it wasn’t that the Executive Committee didn’t trust Sen. Zuckerman himself, but it was felt that too many members of a competing party, as Zuckerman volunteers, might legitimately have access to the data, even though they, too, would be bound by the confidentiality agreement attached to every purchase of the data.

Conor pointed further to the access to Progressive Party voter data that Sen. Zuckerman has but his Democratic opponents do not, as somewhat compensating for his loss of access to the Democratic voter data. Of course the volume of that Progressive Party data is dwarfed many times over by the data base in the possession of the Democrats.

And it can be reasonably argued that this is the Democratic Primary (not the General), in which, by definition, Sen. Zuckerman is only running as a Democrat. So his disadvantage in this regard, as compared to the other candidates remains considerable. Furthermore, the Democrats obviously prefer that he compete in the Democratic primary rather than give them a third party competitor (a so-called ‘spoiler’) in the General.

In the end there isn’t much Sen. Zuckerman could have done to satisfy that elusive requirement of ‘bona fides,’ but I had to point out to Conor that the Senators’s voting record in the Legislature is much more supportive of the Democratic agenda than is the voting record of certain ‘Blue Dogs’ who freely obtain access every election cycle to the voter data that Sen. Zuckerman is being denied.

With that Conor had to agree, musing out loud that perhaps there would be some merit to questioning the Blue Dog’s claim to ‘bona fide’ status…whatever that is.

My can of worms opened and duly released, I must thank both Conor and David Zuckerman for their cooperation with my not entirely satisfactory efforts to get to the bottom of this voter data dilemma.

George W. Bush has a head full of Irish fiddle tunes

What kind of fiddle tunes did former President George Bush have playing in his head during the ceremony in Dallas for the five police officers killed last week?  Bush, wearing a blue suit, can be seen smirking and just smiling away while the choir sings “Battle Hymn of Republic.” Laura Bush seems less than pleased.  Guess they don’t get out much anymore.

I remember back to 2009 when President Obama first took office, Andrew Card, George W. Bush’s  White House chief of staff, complained about what he thought was the new president’s lack of respect for the Office of the Presidency.

And yes, I’m disappointed to see the casual, laissez faire, short sleeves, no shirt and tie, no jacket, kind of locker room experience that seems to be taking place in this White House and the Oval Office.

I wonder what Andrew Card would make of his old boss, George W.’s little happy dance at a solemn memorial service in Dallas this week.

Scott Milne and his axe grinding campaign

In a recent statement, Republican US Senate candidate Scott Milne, reacting to the massive futuristic “utopian” city David Hall is planning for Vermont, makes it obvious he views the entire New Vista issue through his own peculiar personal lens. Milne zeroes in almost exclusively on his pet issue in his 2014 run for governor: alleged “overreach” by regional development boards and Act 250.milnesaxe

For a number of years Milne and his business partner (and campaign funder), attorney David Boise III have been attempting to build a mixed use development project on land they own in Hartford, Vermont.

The Quechee Highlands project, which borders Interstate 91 in Hartford, has wound its way through the development review process and various court cases for a number of years. After a defeat in one contentious hearing several years ago an angry Milne remarked: “I’m going to try to figure out if I’m going to do anything, and if I do, it’s probably going to involve more lawyers, and it’s just going to continue to brand Vermont as a bad place to do business,” Although the project recently won a significant court case, hurdles remain — along with apparently some bitter feelings on Milne’s part.

Milne’s comment (below) on the massive thousand-acre multi-town New Vista project was part of an ongoing batch of local and statewide candidates’ reactions gathered up by Nicole Antal, who follows this issue for the Daily Upper Valley community website.

Although I appreciate the candor of folks who are whispering about it not being right — because “it’s inspired by Mormons” or because it could attract hardworking Republicans to Vermont and upset one-party rule — particularly in Windsor County, [only two of the towns targeted by New Vista are in Windsor County]  I hope we will get folks with those prejudices out of the way as judges, juries, or regional planners — so Vermont can carefully and soberly review this idea.

Not sure what he even means by “the candor of folks who are whispering.” But Milne  could have taken the time to educate himself about the project’s origin and found that early on it was David Hall himself who said the project was partly inspired by his Mormon background, although Hall has maintained that he does not want the LDS Church’s official involvement. The official LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) reaction to the project can be found here.

Generally, the reactions of all dozen or so Republican, Democratic, and Independent candidates for local and state offices indicated a basic level of caution over the massive project and sympathy for community concerns. And all save Milne seemed thankful to have the Act 250 development review process in place to regulate the process.

Let’s unpack his comment a bit. Milne alone of the candidates contacted fails to comment on objections to the size and scale Hall’s proposed population of up to 20,000 residents for the self-sufficient city/state he has in mind for the rural area. Without evidence, Milne implies New Vista will not get a fair hearing due to “one party rule — particularly in Windsor County” and suggests Democrats are acting out of fear of what Milne thinks would be an influx of “hardworking Republicans.”

While the contest he’s in is a low-key senate campaign for now, Scott Milne is again a man running with his own little axe to grind — a personal dislike, perhaps even a hatred of regional planning boards and the act 250 development review. One wonders how he thinks becoming a US Senator will solve his local development issues. What axe would he be able to wield? And how sharp would it have to be to cut through the red tape of local and state control?