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Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

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"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

4 responses to “State leaders demonstrate their priorities, and it’s not you”

  1. leftyrite

    let’s not forget that gina

    is a top political talent and that

    she was a very strong candidate.

    she’s also a scold and a person

    who adheres to a position around which

    any disinterested person would see glaring

    conflicts of interest.

    (a venture capitalist brings hedge funds into

    the pension mix under cover of secrecy.)

    that stated, who’ll run against her?

    maybe they should start now;

    she’ll be tough to beat.

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  2. Randall Rose

    Raimondo is not “tough to beat”. She got only 41% in the 2014 general election. 21% of people voted for a candidate who spent no money, Robert Healey. An ethically clean candidate could attract many of those 21% of voters. Raimondo can’t pass as a clean candidate, given her concealment of records from the state’s pension funds and her refusal to appoint an independent investigator into 38 Studios.

    When Raimondo was in the Democratic primary for governor, she got 42%, which was enough to win only because there were 3 major candidates. There won’t be that many major candidates in the 2018 primary. Also, especially if a Republican is president in 2018 when Raimondo runs for re-election, it will be obvious that Raimondo plans to spend her second term running for president like Chris Christie or Sarah Palin, and voters may not like the prospect of an absentee governor. (Even if the president in 2018 is a Democrat, Raimondo will still be spending her second term looking forward to a run for a different office in 2020, either the presidency or a US Senate seat if Jack Reed retires.)

    It’s worth being aware of Raimondo’s vulnerability. I suppose it’s conceivable that she might be the best available candidate in 2018, but since we certainly don’t know that yet, it’s worth looking for better alternatives. In the meantime, she needs to be seen as the flawed candidate she is, and people need to talk about what kind of alternative policies and candidates would be better.

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    1. Randall Rose

      Correction: if the next president is a Democrat, Raimondo won’t run for the presidency until 2024. She could also run for the next Senate seat to open up, or for Rhode Island’s sole US House seat. (In states with only one seat in the US House, which RI will likely be in 2022, the House seat is considered more important than it is in larger states.)

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  3. Barry Schiller

    Steve, while I can see that calling out state leaders for imposing a fare on low income seniors and disabled is a good sound bite for a progressive blog, the reality is far more nuanced.

    The free ridership is now up to about 31% of riders, in part because there is no incentive for medicaid recipients to go thru the hoops to get rides for medical related trips for which RIPTA could get reimbursed from the Federal medicaid program. No other state gives away so many free rides to both elderly and disabled and the 50 cent fare prop0sed, a 75% discount, is still below the 68 cent average seniors pay found in a survey of about 21 reasonably similar bus systems. It must be noted that eligibility is up to 200% of the federal poverty level, which for a hosuehold of 4 is $48,500 which is much higher than many low income working people earn who don;t claim a disability so have to pay the full $2 fare, well above the 21-system average of $1.60.

    In addition, frequent RIPTA users, already paying $62 for a monthly pass, will find that oss going up to $70. The average monthly pass was only $46. Fare-paying passengers have to pay these high fares in part to make up farebox recovery expected in light of the vast number of free riders. But nobody seems to care about the afre-paying passengers.

    The combination of high fares and the perception that the buses are just for the poor results in a commute-by-transit rate in RI that is only about half of what should be expected by our density. Thus trsnsit is far from living up to its potential to help the environment (where is “fossil-free” RI on this??) or economy, or help restore our core cites. I like that so many Rhode Islanders are generous with advocating transit as a charity for the poor but so many doing that wouldn’t use it themselves, and the system and the state loses out.

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