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South Kingstown School Bond: Inter Alia, a Really High Price to Reduce Classroom Space by 200,000 Sq Ft

On May 4, residents of South Kingstown will be voting on an $85,000,000 school bond referendum.

That’s a pretty high amount for town residents to go on the hook for, mainly because the town’s student enrollment has been steadily declining but also because the cornerstone component of the proposed works, the high school, would not be newbuild but conversion of an existing school building. Two miles AWAY, by the way, from its current in-town location.

As there would be state funds involved, the project itself, its costs and its proposed funding sources have to be approved by the Rhode Island Department of Education. (Link here to the town’s facility application submitted to RIDE).

So the Ocean State Current reached out to RIDE with the questions below and received the indicated answers.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Not-So-Hidden Schemes

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for April 12, included talk about:

  • Still waiting on the LG
  • McKee’s Saturday climate signing in Newport
  • The big-money RI Foundation
  • The big-money Warwick firefighter overtime
  • Voting bills
  • Providence schools still in a lurch

I’ll be on again Monday, April 19, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Insiders Take Us All for a Ride

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for March 15, included talk about:

  • RI bumbles another high-tech signup
  • The state slides on another national ranking
  • McKee & teacher jabs
  • The gameshow search for a lieutenant
  • The pot is almost ready

I’ll be on again Monday, March 22, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Turning the McKee

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for March 8, included talk about:

  • McKee’s start
  • Conspicuous inaugural absences
  • The next lieutenant governor
  • ATVs between Providence and Cranston
  • The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity calls for no new TCI gas tax

I’ll be on again Monday, March 15, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: No Face on Vaccine, Blackface on Block Island

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

  • Gina/McKee tension
  • Health director in the wind
  • The call for a clear governor from mayors
  • Partyless blackface story from Block Island
  • Picking a lieutenant governor

I’ll be on again Monday, March 1, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Flagging Leadership

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for February 1, included talk about:

  • Black Lives Matter flag in Barrington
  • The governor checks out
  • McKee shuffles in
  • Unplanned vaccines
  • The General Assembly back in the picture

I’ll be on again Monday, February 8, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Moving Past the East Side Style

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for January 25, included talk about:

  • Raimondo’s East Side of Providence style versus McKee’s Blackstone Valley style
  • Central Falls as leading example of RI’s patronage system
  • Black Lives Matter flag in Barrington
  • Legislation against vaccine line-cutters

I’ll be on again Monday, February 1, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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If “Misinformation” is the New Standard, Rhode Island’s General Treasurer Must Step Down Immediately

This morning on the WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti – link to audio – General Treasurer Seth Magaziner elaborated on his call for Rhode Island Representative Justin Price to resign from the House of Representatives for spreading misinformation, saying

When elected officials use their platforms to spread (mis)information, to spread lies, they have to be called out for it.”

And

…as elected officials, we should be held to a higher standard …

Interesting. Alright, check out this analysis from August, 2018 by Mike Riley.

In assessing the effort to keep the PawSox in Rhode Island, it is important to review the role of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The state treasurer was asked to analyze the costs and opine on affordability, as would be expected with a large borrowing like this. Mr. Magaziner opined in October 2017 and in June 2018 as numbers changed along with the terms of the deal and then opined again recently, finally giving a nod to the deal.

But what everyone needs to know is that $350 million dollars in debt for Pawtucket’s other post-employment benefits (OPEB) for former employees was not used in his analysis. This is more than twice the city’s pension debt! In fact, it was purposely left out by Magaziner. Including OPEB debt would obviously have made the City of Pawtucket’s borrowing look dangerous and ill-conceived. … This $350 million is so significant and overwhelming, it would be irresponsible for any treasurer to think Pawtucket absorbing new debt was a good idea.

Well, that’s an eye-opener. Nice work by Mike Riley catching that serious piece of misinformation by General Treasurer Magaziner. Ultimately, the PawSox left Rhode Island and these ill-conceived, unaffordable bonds were never issued. But that was very much despite this substantive misinformation that Treasurer Magaziner issued about Pawtucket’s financial condition.

Now, it is absurd to call on an elected official to step down due to a statement of misinformation; in part, because it falls into a broader category of free speech and, in part, because about three quarters of all elected officials in the country would instantly have to step down. (I heard that; stop cheering!).

But that is the position of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner.

I do agree with him when he says, as he did this morning, that “As Americans, we all have a duty to speak up when we see people in positions of authority spreading misinformation” and that elected officials “should use our platforms responsibly”. Via this post, accordingly, I am fulfilling that duty. Specifically, I am calling out Mr. Magaziner for a piece of misinformation that is especially egregious because he communicated it in his capacity as the state’s General Treasurer in an analysis about a major financial decision facing a municipality and the state.

Clearly, Mr. Magaziner did not use his platform as General Treasurer responsibly by including misinformation in this important analysis. Now, I myself am not calling on him to resign as the state’s General Treasurer for this. But by his own standard, he must do so immediately. Referring once again to Mr. Magaziner’s own words on WPRO this morning, elected officials have a duty to tell people the truth, to be honest. He failed notably to do so.

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Tiverton on Track, 24: Operation Blue Santa

Time is of the essence, on this one.  Tomorrow in Tiverton, the Police Department will be in the parking lot of Tom’s Market on Main Rd. collecting toys and other gifts for 40-50 local families in need.  If you’re in the area, stop by for beverages, cookies, Clauses, and music.

In the meantime, here’s a Tiverton on Track interview I did with Chief Patrick Jones and Sergeant John LeDuc, who suggested and spearheads the event.  We also talk about the need for police to have positive interactions with the public and the experience of policing under the shadow of COVID-19, which is changing the frequency and nature of the calls to the department.

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Clay Johnson: Let Us Be Thankful

We are living through one of the most peaceful times in human history. Given the tumult of 2020, it is easy to lose perspective. The number of people living in poverty is plummeting – globally. And even with a pandemic raging, we are seeing extraordinary advances in our ability to fight disease. Whether together or apart, we will soon see the arrival of Thanksgiving – a pause to give thanks, and maybe gain some perspective.

Before we arrive at this pause, we have an election to endure. The Gaspee Project board is committed to advocating for free market principles and supporting conservative candidates. These principles lead to more freedom. Freedom leads to prosperity (jobs). History has shown this to be true.

Conservatives believe in the individual rights and a free society. This is why private property and a limited government are so important.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Protest and Action

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for October 26, included talk about:

  • Fenton-Fung and Mattiello back in the ring
  • The governor comes for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Protests settle in in Providence

I’ll be on again Monday, November 2, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.

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Politics This Week with John DePetro: Questionable Use of Authority

My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for October 19, included talk about:

  • Raimondo’s new COVID proclamations
  • Crime in Providence
  • Protesters on the highway
  • Who’s to blame in Pawtucket schools
  • Who really owns the Apex property
  • The legislative grant gravy train rolls one

I’ll be on again Monday, October 26, at 12:00 p.m. on WNRI 1380 AM and I-95.1 FM.