The Rhode Island Supreme Court years ago ruled that the quasi-public agencies can do this debt since they are not “state agencies,” but it is time to revisit that ruling. Rhode Islanders have been abused over and over again by these quasi’s like the PBA (Public Building Authority) and RIHMFC (Rhode Island Housing Mortgage and Finance Corporation) etc., which became the favor factory for the politically connected people.
A tangential question comes to mind, and it’s one that has been nagging at me since Anchor Rising wandered onto a largely empty political field back in 2004: Why, by the turn of the millennium, had it fallen to outsiders and unknowns to expose the scams embedded within Rhode Island government? Why was there nothing like Anchor Rising in the pre-Internet print world, prepped to grab the Internet space the moment it became viable? Why did it take Don Hawthorne’s volunteering to run for school committee to expose the lie behind teacher steps? Why is it so easy to uncover scams in every area of RI government activity when it occurs to somebody to investigate it? Shouldn’t such things have long been the bread and butter of some legacy organization?
This would be a great topic for a Steve Frias research project. It just seems so obviously something that the American system of governance and society was built to foster; why did that break down in the Ocean State?
An obvious piece of the puzzle is that new media, mainly the Internet, but also talk radio, finally created a tunnel through the mountain of insider connections that made activist groups and the news media part of the establishment in our small, everybody-knows-everybody state. Still, with groups like the “business-backed” Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC) and the RIGOP, not to mention news media, there had to be a breakdown of the incentive structures to create an opposition with more reason to expose the scams than to play along.
Maybe the Democrat-union-progressive alliance simply moved too quickly and maybe the state’s size just made it too easy for the opposition to up and leave. Perhaps the Internet came too late to counteract the sense of hopelessness that people whom the DUP alliance (read: “dupe”) targeted for gaslighting felt before they decided it wasn’t worthwhile to stay and fight, and all who remain are those of us who either have ties too strong to leave or a missionary zeal to help Rhode Island’s vulnerable and misled residents.