Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, let’s examine the goal of the lockdown, the critical matter of its effectiveness and the collateral damage it has caused.
The Rhode Island Trucking Association (RITA) made a conscious effort to never publicly target recently-ousted Speaker of the Rhode Island House, Nicholas Mattiello.
So far this year, this is what your state government has produced. If you want to talk about business as usual, well here it is.
For your “Yes, next question” file, consider the Newport Daily News headline, “Do school bus companies have a monopoly in R.I.?”
Our state and its education system were far from stable when the pandemic hit, and we can create something good from our current predicament if make this a period of transition, rather than of making due until we can get back to the same old, dysfunctional thing.
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
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for August 31, included talk about:
- Preparedness to return to school
- The nature of the protests
- Media counter-narrative for Trump events
RI Republican Senator Gordon Rogers notes a COVID-driven move by the governor that illustrates the case for school choice all the time.
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.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for August 10, included talk about:
- Protests at Gina’s house
- The snitch line
- A dictated last call
- Will schools open?
The coronavirus pandemic has left Rhode Island with significant revenue loss after forced government shutdowns.
Now, legislators are being pushed by public-employee unions and the progressive-left to put the burden on you… and to raise your taxes. This is not a burden Rhode Island can bear.
Contrary to Ian Donnis’s suggestion, it is the labor movement’s fault that other interest groups don’t muster a comparable level of political activity, because it isn’t really a question of “don’t”; it’s “can’t.”
For a moment, Tiverton had a glimpse of a different way — one in which people with very different ideas and incentives are honest and open and work toward a compromise, replacing kick-backs and showboating with mutual understanding.
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
The ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Mary McElroy changing election-security laws shortly before Rhode Islanders vote is a warning sign that Americans should think twice before trusting the results that follow.
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.
This post reprints a section of the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s new report, “RI Union Political Spending: A Web of Corruption.”
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
Wherever one looks at the labor unions in Rhode Island, one finds not just a connection to Democrats, but also deep crony corruption mixed with an overt plan to bring a “one big union” approach to pushing far-left policies.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for July 20, included talk about:
- Elorza reparations
- Gina beach restriction
- Gorbea ballot intentions
- Unions’ school reservations
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.
Conversely, grimly, deaths from the lockdown have moved from projection to reality and are rising.
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.
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
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for June 15, included talk about:
- Teaching Columbus a lesson
- Speaker pokes his head out of hiding
- State of the RIGOP
- What’s in a name?
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.
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.
When a special interest has this much money and power and a taxpayer-funded infrastructure to maintain the muscle for a nonstop political campaign, how can the people of any town really have their own voices represented?
Public schools and teachers unions in RI and MA are providing our state an education that can lead us to a post-plague renaissance if we’ll learn the lessons.
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
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.