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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Coming at Insiders from Two Sides

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for September 14, included talk about:

  • Progressive wins (and a loss) in Democrat primaries
  • Bristol-Warren and Providence teacher unions stoke unease
  • The AWOL GA
  • The Secretary of State mails it in on ballots

I’ll be on again Monday, September 21, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Muted Independence

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for July 6, included talk about:

  • Phase 3
  • Lack of budget
  • The secret consultant
  • Nursing home problems
  • Not a real Bristol parade
  • RI schools’ future
  • Lt. Gov. McKee tries an online petition

I’ll be on again Monday, July 13, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: In Hopes of a Backlash

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for June 22, included talk about:

  • Columbus comes down
  • “Providence Plantations” gets covered up
  • Rhode Island races to watch
  • Stanton shows the journalists’ condescension

I’ll be on again Monday, July 6, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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About “Defunding the Police” in Rhode Island…


Without commenting on the substance of any particular policy proposal, it can be noted that, in the state of Rhode Island, the number of sworn officers on a police force is frequently determined by the police union contract. This seems to be the case in Providence, according to a Projo article by Mark Reynolds

The tentative agreement with the Providence lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police also includes some new language on staffing levels. The language basically requires the city to maintain a staffing level of at least 435 positions. If staffing falls below that level, the city would compensate officers with additional sick days.

So whatever “defund the police” means in a Rhode Island context, will it mean that the local police union has to directly approve any major policy and budgeting shifts covered by their contract, or will the powers-that-be in Rhode Island come around to challenging the idea that major public policy changes can be vetoed by an organization not democratically selected by the people?

And if it is the latter, will there be an explanation of why police unions are different from other public-sector unions?

It has been argued in this space that allowing union contracts to be a major constraint on state and municipal government decision-making creates a democratic accountability problem, but many Rhode Island leaders were content to ignore this, when they could pretend the issues were mostly fiscal and could be reduced to choices between cuts to existing programs and tax-increases.  Well, the issues around policing that government must address right now are much bigger than fiscal ones, and the problems of dealing with them with less-than-democratic governing structures can no longer be ignored.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Pockets of Rebellion

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for May 18, included talk about:

  • Providence College kids rebel
  • The Catholic bishop sends the governor a message
  • Narragansett Town Council considers resistance
  • Justice Flanders signals a challenge
  • Rally-goers take up the call
  • A delay of Phase 2 reopening
  • The teachers’ union flexes in Tiverton

I’ll be on again Monday, May 25, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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We Want Our Summer Back!

For many Rhode Islanders, summer is our defining time of year; it’s the plug that recharges our batteries and motivates us to make it through another year in our challenging state. The governor needs to know what that is worth to you.