The legislative session is slated to end on Tuesday and if it does without the General Assembly approving a supplemental tax bill for Woonsocket residents the struggling city will probably have to file for bankruptcy … don’t worry, though, this isn’t a surprise to local legislators Jon Brien and Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, who won’t support the measure. Indeed, it’s the reason. Brien, an ALEC board member, is employing the old Grover Norquist approach to governance: shrink it until you can drown it in a bathtub. Baldelli-Hunt, on the other hand, covets the mayor’s office and thinks she can raise her stock by lowering the current mayor’s. In both cases, it is morally reprehensible to play such political games with the financial security of the city.
Also as the session winds down, Ted Nesi calls out Teresa Paiva Weed for standing in the way of a new public records law and a local version of a disclose law. Public records laws are uber-important to us journalists and by extension to the public.Compared to other states I’ve worked in – Oregon and Vermont, to name two – Rhode Island’s public records rules are repressive and seemingly designed to oppose open government rather than foster it.
The public records legislation is by no stretch the only bill that gets quietly killed by leadership … While “Paiva Weed’s chamber” gets a lot of grief for blocking marriage equality, Speaker Gordon Fox and House Finance Committee Chair Helio Melo both go virtually unnoticed for blocking income tax reform, even though there is more than enough evidence to show that tax cuts not only don’t benefited the local economy, they hurt it.
Speaking of public policy that is bad for the public, here’s to the Projo editorial board for calling out Buddy Cianci as being a big reason for Providence being in such financial straits as it was his administration that allowed for 6 percent annual pension increases. It’s been odd, to say the least, to hear Cianci call on Carcieri to speak up on 38 Studios while he’s never really addressed his own role in Providence’s pension mess.
The national media, or at least the National Journal, has picked up on a troubling scenario for Democrats this November that percolated up during Netroots here in Providence: progressives may not rally around Obama in 2012 the way they did in 2008. Stay tuned…
Another narrative to be amplified as a result of Netroots: Rhode Island isn’t nearly as liberal as local conservatives would have us believe.
One may argue that an exception to this rule might be the legislature’s recent relaxing of rules regulating marijuana … but as David Klepper of the Associated Press reports this really isn’t all that out of step with the rest of the country.
The US Commission on Civil Rights is opening an investigation into the racial bias of Stand Your Ground Laws.
Even in bastions of liberalism – like my old stomping grounds of Ashland, Oregon – cities across the country are cracking down on sleeping outside … the whole effort amounts to criminalizing homelessness.
Cars kill. And former ethicist Randy Cohen isn’t talking about accidents.
Who says money can’t buy happiness … in fact a new study shows the affluent are trying to purchase it more than ever…