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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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Use Your Voice – Huge Deficits Cannot be Plugged with Even Higher Taxes

Before the coronavirus crisis… the Ocean State was already hemorrhaging people, because of its existing cruel business climate. Now, Rhode Islanders cannot afford tax hikes to plug huge projected budget deficits.

Lawmakers are being pressured by public sector unions and the radical far left movement to put the burden on you… and to raise your taxes. That’s why the Center has launched a new counter campaign to the government-union led effort to raise taxes in RI. Take action now.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Corruption All Around

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for August 3, included talk about:

  • The union Iron Triangle in RI
  • The status of the education commissioner
  • The controversy of mail ballots
  • Stuck in phase 3 with hopes of school fading

I’ll be on again Monday, August 10, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Union Political Spending: A Web of Corruption

Not every teacher, first-responder, clerk, or other public servant considers themselves to be Democrats or part of the “progressive-left” movement in Rhode Island. Yet every employee who is member of a government union in our state is paying dues that directly support this extreme political agenda… along with the corrupt quid quo pro that comes with union political spending. A new report, from our Center, exposes that Rhode Island’s hyper-partisanship and radical agenda is funded by government union political spending: Click Here Now To Read It.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: A People on Their Own

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for July 28, included talk about:

  • Teachers protesting school
  • Secretary of state protesting election security
  • Councilwoman protesting enforcement of the law
  • Journalists not protesting attacks on journalists

I’ll be on again Monday, August 3, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Death Arrives – Lockdowns Now Demonstrably Indefensible

The survival rate for COVID-19 is now in the range of 99.35% – 99.74%, per CDC data. But even this high rate is almost certainly on the conservative side as it does not include all unidentified cases, an important data point which scientists continue diligently to try to quantify.

Moreover, COVID cases are rising but COVID deaths are falling.

Conversely, grimly, deaths from the lockdown have moved from projection to reality and are rising.

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Roland Benjamin: $23,000/Student is Already More than Sufficient Funding

I have been close to these budgets. Very close.

A “lack of funding” cannot be the culprit for every decision from local officials that change services or reconsider programming. When a 1% or 2% fiscal nudge in anything is blamed, I seriously question the competence and/or the integrity of those using the argument.

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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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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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A Town Run by a Triumvirate and a Union

On the latest episode of Tiverton on Track, I Zoomed with Tiverton Town Council Members Donna Cook and Nancy Driggs.

As may or may not be happening in other Rhode Island towns, the governor’s emergency declaration (not to mention the example that she’s setting) has dramatically reduced the number of town officials who actually matter.  With three Town Council members — Joseph Perry, John Edwards (the Fifth), and Stephen Clarke — as well as the leadership of the Budget Committee completely abdicating their authority and shirking their responsibility, the town is being entirely run by the triumvirate of Town Council President Patricia Hilton, Interim Town Administrator Christopher Cotta, and Town Solicitor Michael Marcello, with a supporting role for Vice President Denise DeMedeiros.  No other elected officials in town matter.  Even the town’s Home Rule Charter bends to what the Triumvirate decrees.

Meanwhile, on the school side, the suspended teachers’ union president and the National Education Association of Rhode Island are taking advantage of the fact that the school department is forbidden by law from disclosing details of the incident.  NEARI is also pledging to stick it’s well-funded, mobster-like nose in the town’s elections to ensure that the town has management that the union prefers starting in November.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Decision Time!

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for April 13, included talk about:

  • The governor’s handling of the virus crisis
  • The silence from everybody else
  • The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s suggestions
  • The decisions facing the governor and the people of RI

I’ll be on again Monday, April 20, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Suggestions on Contract Reform from a Teacher

Michael Marra is a teacher of history and economics and asserts that Providence schools are not the only schools in need of improvement. His focus is on teacher contracts, which need to be modified to foster good teaching and diminish poor performance.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: They Value What They Promote

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for March 9, included talk about:

  • Unionist Pat Crowley’s promotion.
  • More grand jurying around the speaker.
  • Gina and her endorsements.
  • Minimum wage.
  • Anti-Second Amendment tax honesty.

I’ll be on again Monday, March 16, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Rhode Island’s Civic Infection

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for March 2, included talk about:

  • The degree of confidence in the state government to contain a contagious disease.
  • The effect of distrust on public perception of the Veterans Home debacle.
  • The meaning of Weingarten’s texts to Infante-Green.
  • The ubiquitous Mr. Nee.

I’ll be on again Monday, March 9, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.