Ken Block has been one of the most visible reformers looking for change in the State of Rhode Island, and last year, he directed some of his attention toward the City of Warwick, its financial problems, and the questionable way it was handling some of its operations. That’s when his Warwick-based office received a visit from the fire marshal, conducting a surprise inspection based on an “anonymous, non-specific complaint.”
After waiting a year for Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon to deliver on his promise of a review of that inspection, Block has filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office:
I write today to file a formal complaint with your office regarding the City of Warwick. I believe that I have been the victim of abuse of power and an unfair and possibly illegal search. …
The visits to my office by first the fire department, then the Mayor and lastly the tax office conspired to send me a crystal-clear message: stop causing trouble or we will make your life hard.
Public servants should never abuse the power that is only made possible by the voters and taxpayers that support them. I look to your office as an important check on this sort of abuse.
Reformers are always at a disadvantage when pushing back against government abuse, particularly in a state like Rhode Island, which is incredibly lopsided, politically, and becoming more so, not less. If the legal system and judiciary won’t act as a check on abuse, then all truly is lost. The same is true if people, like Ken Block, stop pushing back.