Joining an ever growing list of sore losers, most recently his friend Doug Glabinske, Jon Brien announced a write-in candidacy for House District 50 today; the same seat he lost in the recent primary to Stephen Casey. Citing administrative issues for people not being able to vote or being sent to the wrong polling place, Brien wouldn’t lay blame on anyone or group specifically, but alluded to the fact that he lost because constituents couldn’t vote. The problem with that line of reasoning, though, is that even if voters were at the wrong polling place and couldn’t go elsewhere or weren’t helped, they could have cast provisional ballots that would have been counted later, if necessary.
Brien then went on to blame the public employee unions for targeting him. However when naming his opponent, he went out of his way to say about being a union member, “There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Brien blames the city’s fiscal woes on public unions but doesn’t attend Budget Commission hearings, even though he’s been asked multiple times by chairman Bill Sequino. If he did educate himself about the city’s finances, he might learn that every one of the municipal unions in the city has made concessions over the past two contract cycles, with the firefighters giving up the most. Speaking about what he believes to be the cause of the city’s problems, Jon Brien should take the time to learn exactly why the city’s finances are the way they are.
However, as stated above, he’s never attended a hearing of the state-appointed body that may ultimately decide the city’s future. Instead he cites professional obligations. Isn’t part of his professional obligation to his constituents to be current on matters concerning the city he represents? How much different is attending a 3 pm meeting of the budget commission than getting to the State House for the Rise of the House? Disengaging from problems demonstrates irresponsibility, not leadership.
Much of the fiscal woes facing the city today are a direct result of a lack of leadership. For years, city administrations refused to raise taxes. While that worked to get re-elected, it put the city in a deep hole. Most of the blame is now laid on the school department, but looking deeper, the school committee will respond that they were in debt years ago when the school funding formula vote was taken in the RI House, supported by Rep. Brien, and that caused the struggling system even further into debt.
When it comes to the supplemental tax, Mr. Brien states he wouldn’t vote for anything until he saw a concrete plan. However, he never met with city officials to offer any advice, leaving Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt to take the leadership role on the issue. On the subject of his co-sponsorship of the 38 Studios deal, he says they were given incomplete information and the only reason his name was added was because he had been involved in EDC legislation in the past. The question remains though, if unable to vote for a incomplete supplemental tax bill, then why vote for a bill releasing hundreds of millions of dollars when not in complete knowledge of the details?
If anything was learned from this press conference, it was that one man’s ego was bruised and he can’t accept that he was voted out of office and will do anything to hold onto power.