The lede of an article by Kathy Gregg, to which the Providence Journal gave the headline, “Emails show rising public support for PawSox stadium subsidies,” ought to discourage all Rhode Islanders who aren’t making a living off of the government:
Roughly two-thirds of the 138 emails sent so far to the Rhode Island Senate expressed support for the proposed $38 million in city and state subsidies to build a new ballpark for the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Is this where we are, now? Eighty-six emails expressing “at least generally supportive” opinions (some from people who would directly benefit) shows “rising support” and gives a green light to making a million people liable for tens of millions of dollars in debt? I don’t know that one could find a better illustration of the way political gamesmanship and the news media’s inevitably spotlighted focus generate narratives that lead to substantial public policy decisions at odds with the public interest.
For additional detail on how this process actually works, consider this Facebook post, which Lisa D’Agostino mentions in the Projo’s comment section:
News Update: PawSox Rally at the State House,Thursday September 14th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. All Thursday night apprentices classes are to report at 5:00 p.m. and sign in with respected instructors. Local 51 T-shirts will be handed out to each member. Also, we our encouraging all journeyman and retirees to please attend the rally in support. Let’s work together.
Apprenticeships, incidentally, are required for people who wish to become plumbers, pipefitters, and HVAC technicians, which the UA Local 51 covers. I haven’t seen a requirement in the law that apprentices be trained in pressuring government to commit taxpayers to debt, but it wouldn’t surprise me to come across one.