Larisa fights back…Wind turbine opponent is leading carbon polluter…One RI urban myth debunked…Costa goes to the woodshed…Another RI urban myth rebunked
Injun Joe fights ethics fines. As I recently reported, Charlestown’s Special Counsel for Indian Affairs “Injun Joe” Larisa, the ethically challenged former East Providence Mayor, was named by GoLocalProv.com as the recipient of the highest fines in 2011 for ethics violations. Now, EastBayRI.com reports
has attempted to turn the tables on the RI Ethics Commission by filing a complaint against the Commission! The Commission fined Larisa for violating state law against “revolving door” employment, an issue that may also figure in Council member Lisa DiBello’s legal actions against the town. Charlestown has paid Larisa $169,259 since July 2009 for his work in fighting the Narragansett Indian Tribe. Larisa
Wind Turbine opponent named one of
’s Top Ten greenhouse gas emitters. EPA has just developed a new database that allows you to look up the carbon emissions of local sources, public and private. In Rhode Island , most of the top ten offenders are power plants – all of them fired with fossil fuels. But coming at #6 with 56,000 metric tons of carbon emissions is Rhode Island North Kingstown’s Toray Plastics. Toray Plastics is the leader co-plaintiff with plastics maker Polytop Corp. in the federal lawsuit seeking to block the construction of the Deepwater Wind turbine farm that will be sited near Block Island. This does make some political sense: the financier of bogus “grassroots” opposition to the project are petrochemical moguls, the Koch Brothers. Cape Wind
SC Independent takes Doreen Costa to the woodshed. In an editorial with uncharacteristically sharp language, the South County Independent has castigated Tea Party state Representative Doreen Costa (R-NO Kingstown) for trying to line up state support to keep the deficit-plagued, though popular, Waterfire displays going in
. The editorial notes that Costa’s sometimes wacky publicity-grabbing stunts, as well as her persistent efforts to attack welfare benefits for the poor and state benefit programs, stand in contrast with trying to win state subsidies for a Providence tourist attraction. The newspaper also asks what this has to do with the needs within Costa’s own district, which has sites, like the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Smith’s Castle, that could use some state aid. Or economic development to keep small businesses alive in Wickford, or fill empty commercial space along Route One. As the Independent put it, “there’s plenty in Providence to take up her attention.” South County
Pension funding goals – an ”urban legend?” WPRI’s Ted Nesi notes that state policy makers have taken it as a sacred tenet that for a public pension to be considered “healthy,” it must be funded at an 80% level. Nesi points out that the ProJo’s ace economics reporters and Nesi himself have cited the 80% figure repeatedly as an unshakeable fact. General Treasurer
Gina Raimondo (DINO) has cited 80% funding as the point where, maybe, state pensioners might get their cost of living adjustments (COLA) back.
But apparently, this supposed standard really isn’t real. Nesi cites Governing magazine’s Girard Miller, a veteran pension analyst and a former fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration: Miller says that there is no original source for the 80% figure – that even respected sources like the Pew Research Center and GAO simply cite the figure, but don’t provide back-up sources, essentially deeming the 80% as part of the common wisdom. Which, according to Miller, it isn’t.
Nesi reports that
’s pension system was 48% funded before the new law passed; the state’s actuaries project it will reach 80% funded around 2031 and 100% by 2036.” Rhode Island