Some QED from Culatta


A periodic theme of mine has for years been that Americans are simply forgetting the basic principles behind our representative democracy.  For instance, our society is designed so that we can all work together, as much as possible without having to be “on the same page”; we can disagree quite substantially and still move forward as a nation.  Recently, we (at least those who run the government) seem to believe our system is designed for us to answer big existential questions democratically and then impose the policies that follow from our answers on the whole nation.

Ian Donnis catches Rhode Island’s new chief innovation officer for the state government, Richard Culatta, making a statement that fits squarely within this new practice of forgetting basic principles:

Asked why his post is based at RIC and funded through the college’s foundation, Culatta said, “Being innovative is often about blurring traditional lines between traditional silos. We wanted to signal that right off the bat, that I’m going to be part of a higher ed institution. We’re going to work collaboratively in new ways, we’re going to tie into the students and faculty that are there. And also being part of the foundation makes it easier for us to go after some philanthropic dollars, which we intend to do, and really bring in some additional dollars for the state.”

Government isn’t supposed to “blur traditional lines between traditional silos” when those silos are the very things that enable transparency, accountability, and true representation.  And how are bright red flags not flying everywhere with this idea that a state employee is going to be going after “philanthropic dollars”?  A guy who is promising to “redesign government” in our state is completely outside of our government structure and is going to be going out to collect money for himself and his private nonprofit organization as part of his state job. There’s nothing magic about the word “philanthropic” that makes the corruption go away.

Is everybody going crazy around here?  Folks do get that just because Raimondo is a woman, a Democrat, and a progressive doesn’t mean we have to let her violate our constitutional right to self governance, right?

Dictatorship by an elite aristocracy is not innovative.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    I am always troubled when political types speak in analogies, or with non-descriptive terminology, which simply fills up the page. It dims the picture, both tone and tint. Why send “signals”, why not just “cold call” prospects. That will let them know you mean business. “work collaboratively in new ways”, that sounds very “positive”. Could we have an example? Do you have any plan at all?

    “philanthropic dollars” Could GE, for instance, be a “philanthropist”? Could this be a back door to purchase favor? Having a little labor trouble are you? Is there some zoning, or environmental, problem with expansion? Well, a little donation to my non-profit might offer evidence of being a good corporate citizen.

    • Mike678

      I’d be happy if they incorporated an assessment mechanism to determine if these “positive’ changes actually accomplished anything. That they don’t, IMHO, indicates they suspect it won’t , so better to have the illusion than actual results.