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Friday, October 31, 2014

Ethics, Morality and the CCA Party

Avoiding the appearance of conflict of interest…by not disclosing it.
Oil animated GIF
CCA Party Town Council candidate owns an OIL WELL? Read on.
By Will Collette

In an earlier article by my colleague Bob Yarnall, we covered the significant differences between what the two Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) candidates for Chariho School Committee said on their CCA Party biographies compared to what they reported to the RI Ethics Commission.

Click here to read Bob’s entire article, but in a nutshell, both candidates, Donna Chambers and Ron Areglado, have some explaining to do about these blatant inconsistencies—especially given that Areglado calls himself the president of something called the Center for Ethical and Moral Leadership (which may or may not exist - sort of like Blake Filippi's RI Liberty Coalition).

But the CCA Party slate’s problems with the RI Ethics Commission are broader than resume inflation.

Three additional members of the CCA Party ticket for 2014 appear to be in violation of the state’s ethics laws by failing to disclose what they need to disclose.

Full disclosure is important to open and transparent government. Disclosures tell us a lot about potential conflicts of interest. And the CCA Party trumpets their high ethical standards and their devotion to open and transparent government every chance they get.

For example, before the CCA Town Council majority had launched its attack on the state Water Resources Board for their effort to buy undeveloped land owned by the Glista Family to protect the water below it, it would have been nice to know that Town Council Boss Tom Gentz has invested in the American Water Works Company, one of the nation’s largest private water system developers.

That may explain why Gentz and his CCA Party colleagues tried so hard to characterize the state Water Resources Board land purchase as a precursor to a public water supply.

Sunday morning...don't forget

Crafts for Halloween

Popular on
By Gemma Correll

Click here to see all the artsy things you can get for Halloween.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

A Spectre in the Eastern Veil 

Frightening forms and scary faces are a mark of the Halloween season. They also haunt this cosmic close-up of the eastern Veil Nebula. 

The Veil Nebula itself is a large supernova remnant, the expanding debris cloud from the death explosion of a massive star. While the Veil is roughly circular in shape and covers nearly 3 degrees on the sky in the constellation Cygnus, this portion of the eastern Veil spans only 1/2 degree, about the apparent size of the Moon.

That translates to 12 light-years at the Veil's estimated distance, a reassuring 1,400 light-years from planet Earth.

In the composite of image data recorded through broad and narrow band filters, emission from hydrogen atoms in the remnant is shown in red with strong emission from oxygen atoms in blue-green hues. Of course, in the western part of the Veil lies another seasonal apparition, the Witch's Broom.

Question 3 - the "Constitutional Convention" - a really bad idea

VIDEO: "My vision for the State of Rhode Island is a rebuilt economy that includes everybody.” – Gina Raimondo

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our friend and colleague Tracey has recently revamped her website covering South County and statewide news and politics. Visit her site HERE. With her permission, here is more detailed coverage of Hillary Clinton’s recent RI visit in support of Gina Raimondo for Governor.

Hillary Clinton at Rhode Island College with Gina Raimondo in October 2014. (Tracey C. O'Neill)
Hillary Clinton at Rhode Island College with Gina
Raimondo in October 2014. (Tracey C. O’Neill)
Providence - Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Rhode Island on Friday stumping for Gina Raimondo to become the 75th governor of the state and its first women to hold the highest office.

Meeting up on the campaign trail at Rhode Island College’s Recreation Center, Clinton and Raimondo set forth the current state treasurer’s plan for Rhode Island, focused on investment in the future of the state’s workforce, through training, education, an increase in the minimum wage and equal pay for equal work.

Highlighting the plight of women in the workforce, Raimondo, then Clinton noted the number of women in the workforce who are receiving minimum wage.

“I’m going to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour,” said Raimondo. “Right now if you work in Rhode Island making the minimum wage, you’re living on $16, 640 a year. That’s not enough and that’s not right. And two-thirds of minimum wage earners are women.”

VIDEO: Suicide solution: go fishing

Commenting on a recent student suicide at an Alaska high school, Alaska’s Republican Congressman Don Young said suicide didn’t exist in Alaska before “government largesse” gave residents an entitlement mentality.

“When people had to work and had to provide and had to keep warm by putting participation in cutting wood and catching the fish and killing the animals, we didn’t have the suicide problem,” he said. Government handouts tell people “you are not worth anything but you are going to get something for nothing.”

Alaska has the highest rate of suicide per capita in America – almost twice the national average, and a leading cause of death in Alaska for young people ages 15 to 24 — but I doubt it’s because Alaskans lead excessively easy lives.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Filippi tries to cover up his extremist views and connections

Violates ethics disclosure law
Filippi left out a pretty important one. I guess he tried to nullify
the state Ethics law when it comes to full disclosure for himself.
By Will Collette

Providence lawyer and bogus Block Island resident Blake Filippi is working overtime to try to defend the new, but false, image he has created for himself in his campaign to unseat Rep. Donna Walsh. 

First, he uses every defense except perhaps “I am not a crook” to defend against Rep. Walsh’s formal complaint that he misrepresented himself as a Block Island resident when a wide array of public records show that he actually lives in Lincoln, which is way outside the district.

Filippi also has ties with the milita group, the Oath Keepers
Then Filippi stages a media stunt to pretend he supports the struggle of the victims of the Copar quarry for relief from the daily pain they suffer. He tells the desperate victims that he will push for new state laws to tightly regulate Copar and other mining operations around the state.

What he doesn't tell them is that he is a hard-core Tea Partier who doesn’t believe in government regulation of businesses, expecting that the free market will handle such problems.

At his Copar side show, he was backed up by a chorus of Town Council candidates running on the CCA Party ticket, even though the CCA Party controlled Town Council has failed to take any meaningful actions to control mining in Charlestown. I guess this moves the CCA Party another step closer to formally aligning with Filippi.
Sources: Providence Journal, 4/11/2007 and 11/30/07. Also click here.
For the state court case, click here. Ballard's also hires large numbers

of immigrant workers under various visa problems (e.g. H2B). Visa
workers are less likely to complain. These workers are indentured to 
their "sponsor" and are easily deported.
In Filippi's campaign literature, he claims to be a "jobs creator." 

Filippi also attempted to blot out his past by failing to disclose his directorship of his own organization, the RI Liberty Coalition

Filippi set up this group as the platform to campaign for “nullification” which is the discredited legal theory that governments and even individuals can disobey laws they don’t believe in, such as gun control, traffic lights or in Charlestown’s case, affordable housing.

Filippi was required by law to list the RI Liberty Coalition on his financial disclosure report filed with the RI Ethics Commission (click here for his report). Here’s a full-sized view of the graphic shown above - a screenshot showing how he handled the disclosure:

VIDEO: Henri celebrates Halloweeen

VIDEO: Politifacts calls Almonte attacks FALSE

Great info-graphic on Ebola

Ebola: a users guide
By Maki Naro

Done in comic book format, this graphic conveys very useful and factual detail about Ebola in an effort to replace panic with common sense.

Click here to see the entire graphic.

Driving Government Out of Business

If the Republicans gain a Senate majority, they'll try to topple these four pillars of public service.
The GOP's Sharp Teeth, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib
The GOP’s Sharp Teeth, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

Republican operative Grover Norquist used to quip about shrinking government to the point where it would get small enough to drown in the bathtub. You probably thought he was kidding.

His joke could be on us all soon enough. 

Pollsters say the Republican Party is likely to nab at least a slim Senate majority in this year’s mid-term elections. 

And The Washington Post gives Republicans a 99 percent chance of retaining their firm control over the House of Representatives.

Ten new local job openings

Opportunities in the South County non-profit sector
work animated GIF By Will Collette

Normally, I run non-profit and public service job openings in “Charlestown Tapas,” a more or less weekly round-up of short news items.

But in recent days, there have been a number of postings on RI Community Jobs (a service of the Swearer Center at Brown University) that I felt they shouldn’t wait.

If you’re looking for work, you should sign up for RI Community Jobs free daily e-mail. They list jobs all over the state, plus in nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut. I usually pull the ones in South County for posting on Progressive Charlestown.

Here’s what’s new on the South County Job Market.

Beware of false independents

A check of 'independent' candidates' backing
Letter to the Editor
By Suzanne Ferrio

In-de-pend-dent - not dependent: as not subject to control by others, not affiliated with a larger controlling unit, not requiring or relying on something else, not looking to others for one's opinions or for guidance in conduct, not bound by or committed to a political party (Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

In the upcoming Charlestown local election, there are nine candidates on the ballot who will be listed as Independent. There is only one candidate who fits the definition as stated above: Craig Louzon, who is running his campaign with his own opinions and financing.

The claim by Charlestown Citizens Alliance that their candidates are true "independent candidates" is questionable and misleading when you consider the following:
  • They are all endorsed by one political group - Charlestown Citizens Alliance 
  • They campaign under a unified platform - Charlestown Citizens Alliance 
  • They campaign as united candidates - Charlestown Citizens Alliance 
  • 100 percent campaign financing by one entity - Charlestown Citizens Alliance 
  • 60 percent out-of-state financing - Charlestown Citizens Alliance 
Charlestown Citizens Alliance is not an officially-recognized political party; they are a registered Political Action Committee or PAC whose sole purpose, by definition, is to raise money for special interest groups. 

If their candidates are truly independent, why is it not a single one has offered their own platform, sent out their own campaign material or secured any individual funding?

With Charlestown Citizens Alliance providing everything for their campaign, how can their candidates claim to be independent? More importantly, can they be trusted to be "independent" if elected?

Your vote is important. Vote on Nov. 4 and please support Paula Andersen, Brandon Cleary, and Ron Russo for Town Council, Henry Walsh for Town Moderator and Craig Louzon for School Committee.
This Letter to the Editor was submitted to The Westerly Sun, The Chariho Times and Progressive Charlestown.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Charlestown Taxes and the Election

Middle-class homeowners deserve a break
By Will Collette

Since the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) took control of Charlestown town government in 2008, we have had six straight property tax hikes, despite healthy surpluses. If the CCA Party is returned to power in November, expect tax increases #7 and #8 over the next two years.

However, the one time the CCA Party’s constituents raised a ruckus about taxes was in December 2011 when they grabbed their pitchforks and torches to support the town’s beachfront absentee property owners in opposing a Homestead Tax Credit proposal by town Democrats.
From the Charlestown Tax Assessor website

The Homestead Credit would have lowered taxes for most town residents, especially middle-class permanent residents, at the cost of a slight increase on million dollar properties owned largely by non-residents[*].

But not a Peep® out of them as the CCA Party took the town’s tax rate from $7.16 per $1000 of home value to $9.46. That’s a rate increase of 32%!

And contrary to what the CCA Party says, Charlestown DOES NOT have one of the state’s lowest tax rates (despite offering almost zero municipal services, as they even admit in their latest campaign mailing) – GoLocalProv’s research ranked Charlestown as #20 out of RI’s 39 cities and towns.

Screenshot from GoLocal. Note the footnote that levies for local fire
districts are not included. If they were, our ranking would be much
worse. Bottom line: the CCA claim about low taxes is false.
The reasons for the tax hikes – despite regular surpluses far in excess of what are needed to protect our credit rating – is the CCA Party choice to spend down the surpluses by (a) paying cash for capital projects that could have been financed with long-term, low-interest bonds; (b) paying off some bonds before they were due and (c) buying property, such as the $2.1 million expenditure for the land where developer Larry LeBlanc had proposed to build a wind turbine project or affordable housing.

So why no ruckus?

You have to have a goal

The progressive cartoon about Republican Party goals.

Why you should support Question #7

Clean Water and Open Space Lack Funds
By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

PROVIDENCE — If history is any indication, Rhode Island voters will approve Question 7 convincingly Nov. 4. The $53 million Clean Water, Open Space and Healthy Communities referendum follows a record of about 70 percent voter approval for such ballot questions.

This year’s ballot question, however, leaves out $4 million for green infrastructure and $3 million for the direct purchase of open space. Both items were requested in Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s proposed budget for 2015 but stripped out by the House Finance Committee.

The state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) coordinates open space purchases with land trusts and foundations. DEM’s executive director, Janet Coit, said the $1 million remaining money from the 2012 open-space referendum will suffice for this year’s final round of open-space funding. After that only $40,000 remains for 2015 and 2016.

UPDATED: CCA files changes to report showing who REALLY owns the CCA Party

UPDATED: CCA Party changes its financial disclosure report to include more non-residents.
Most CCA Party funding comes from out of state
Who says Charlestown's non-residents don't have the right to vote?
They vote early and often and OWN Charlestown town government. They've 

turned Charlestown into a government subsidized retirement village where, 
as Ron Areglado says, they can spend their time in quiet contemplation. 
Of their wealth.
By Will Collette

UPDATE: As of this writing, the CCA's final pre-election campaign finance report due on Tuesday, has not been posted. It is listed as "status pending."

However, the CCA Party did file two documents amending the report they filed on October 7 (click here for that report). 

These amendments show even more non-resident funding, boosting the CCA Party's total to more than 60% coming from outside of Charlestown.

Continue on for the new donor list reported in the CCA Party's amended report.

VIDEO: High-powered endorsement

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our friend and colleague Tracey has recently revamped her website covering South County and statewide news and politics. Visit her site HERE. With her permission, this is a great sample of her new features.

Video Short:  Hillary Rodham Clinton, packing a bag full of credentials that includes 8 years in the White House serving as First Lady, 4 years as Secretary of State, her service as Senator to the State of New York, and a probable run for President of the United States in the near future, visited Rhode Island on Friday to support Democrat Gina Raimondo in her bid for governor.

President and First Lady to visit this week

On Thursday, First Lady Michelle Obama comes to town on Raimondo’s behalf, followed by a Presidential visit on Friday.  President Barack Obama is expected to talk about economic recovery during his visit.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Voter fraud in South County by non-residents?

Charlestown, Block Island have lots more registered voters than residents over age 18
By Will Collette

Yesterday and Monday, we talked about House District 36 candidate  Blake Filippi voting and running from Block Island when he actually lives in Lincoln.

He's not the only one who apparently doesn't follow the law about voting where you really live.

The Providence Journal recently compared municipal voter lists to US Census Bureau data on the number of residents of those municipalities who were over the age of 18[1]. They found that in a number of communities, especially those along the coast[2], there were far more registered voters than people eligible to vote.

Out of Charlestown’s total population of 7,781, there are 6,278 who are over 18. However, when the ProJo did its report, they found 6,375 Charlestown registered voters, or 101.55% of the maximum possible number of those actually eligible. In recent data supplied to me by Town Clerk Amy Weinreich, the number of Charlestown registrations has actually increased to 6,401, which works out to 123 more voters than residents of voting age.

On Block Island, the numbers are far worse. According to the ProJo, Block Island has registered almost twice as many people (196.61%) as it has residents eligible to vote. Among those many people who are voting on Block Island but who live somewhere else is none other than Blake Filippi, candidate for House District 36. You may have recently received his mailing that starts out with his claim that he is “a lifelong resident of the District” when there are a couple dozen documents that establish his actual residence as Lincoln.

That’s probably just fine with the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) which has all but endorsed Filippi, despite his radical secessionist views—or perhaps because of it, given their stance on Charlestown exceptionalism and the Slattery doctrine of noninterference from agents of the state government[3].

VIDEO: Lewis Black Says F#%! Voter ID

Off to War We Go

For a preview of what we're stepping into in Iraq and Syria, consider how badly things turned out in Afghanistan.

Here we go again — into yet another war in a tumultuous swath of the world we still don’t comprehend. For a preview of what we’re stepping into in Iraq and Syria, let’s remember Afghanistan.

In the yesteryear of the Cheney-Bush regime, the promise was that our Afghan excursion would promptly dispatch the Taliban, give al-Qaeda the boot, and create a stable democratic government.

But it turned into both the longest war in American history and a costly failure on all counts — with more than 2,000 U.S. soldiers killed, nearly 20,000 maimed, and three-quarters of a trillion dollars down the drain. What have we won?

In case you missed it: Charlestown's Chariho candidates

How do we score the Class of 2014?
By Robert Yarnall

The CCA Party's team of Ron Areglado and Donna Chambers - 
Do they pass the ethics and morality test?
Other than being a registered voter who is 18 years of age or older, there are no minimal qualifications required to run for school committee in the state of Rhode Island. Whether or not a particular candidate is “qualified” in the opinion of the electorate is a different issue.

We the People depend on the claims of Them the Candidates, based primarily on campaign literature, local media profiles and community involvement. We expect them to tell the truth but unfortunately, as you will see as you read on, they often don't.

WARNING: what you are about to read contains links and copies of actual documents, not just commentary. Readers who suffer from an allergy to facts are whereby forewarned.

See for yourself - the evidence on Blake Filippi's election and voter fraud

Here are the documents
By Will Collette
1092 Great Road, Lincoln, RI

Yesterday, Rep. Donna Walsh filed a formal complaint with the RI Board of Elections (BOE) alleging that her opponent, Blake Filippi, does not actually live in the District. Instead of living on Block Island, as he swore under penalty of perjury, Filippi actually lives in Lincoln.

There will be some who will be skeptical about Rep. Walsh's charges. However, the evidence is there for you to review for yourself.

We'll start first with Filippi's voter registration, claiming to be a Block Island resident. This was filed in 2000.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Candidate Filippi does not live in the district

Filippi claims Block Island residency while official records show he lives in Lincoln
Walsh files formal complaint

Where Blake Filippi REALLY lives. It's actually in the 46th House District
By Rep. Donna Walsh

I have filed a formal complaint with the RI Board of Elections charging my opponent with misstating his true address on his candidate’s declaration this year and on his voter registration, which he first filed in August 15, 2000.

In a recent mailing, Mr. Filippi claimed to be a “life-long resident” of the 36th House District, which includes all of Block Island and Charlestown and parts of Westerly and South Kingstown. He listed his address on his 2014 candidate’s declaration and on his 2000 voter registration as 912 Champlin Road, New Shoreham.

However, the following official records contradict that claim and instead show his home address to be in Lincoln, RI, far outside the 36th District:
  • On twelve major campaign contributions between 2004 and 2014, Mr. Filippi listed his residence as 1092 Great Road, Lincoln. 
  • Two of those donations were made by Mr. Filippi in May and June just before he filed his candidate’s declaration swearing under oath that his home was in Block Island.
  • Mr. Filippi's donation to Fung for Governor listing Lincoln as his home address was made on June 21, just five days before he filed his Notice of Organization with the Board of Elections, a sworn statement listing Block Island as his residence. 
  • Mr. Filippi’s bar license in Rhode Island lists his residence as 1092 Great Road, Lincoln. 
  • Mr. Filippi’s bar license in Massachusetts also lists his residence as 1092 Great Road, Lincoln. 
  • Mr. Filippi gave 1092 Great Road, Lincoln as his residence when he was stopped for several moving violations in Rhode Island and Arizona in 2000, 2001 and 2003. He registered to vote as a Block Island resident in 2000. 
  • Mr. Filippi’s campaign literature lists the number to reach him as the phone number for his residence at 1092 Great Road, Lincoln.

If elephants go extinct...

If the elephant goes extinct what will be the new GOP mascot?

If we cared about the environment like we care about sports...

Charter School fraud cases underscore the need for public oversight

Wendy Lecker, a civil rights attorney in Stamford, joins the many others who complain that charter schools have been allowed to proliferate in an irresponsible manner, with minimal or no supervision.

She writes that it is time to reassess the charter movement and to set new standards for accountability. Across the country, charter school frauds have been exposed, in which the operators are profiting handsomely while refusing to accept the same children as the neighboring district.

The latest example is in North Carolina, where a local businessman is making millions of dollars by supplying goods and services to his four publicly-funded charter schools while insisting that he has no obligation to open the books to public scrutiny. Connecticut has had its own charter scandal, with the implosion of Jumoke Academy.

Meet our Dog of the Week

Meet Hunter
Animal Rescue League of Southern RI

Hello, I am Hunter, which is a fitting name for a dog who loves to be outdoors as much as I do. 

As you can see, I am a very big solid Mastiff mix that would prefer a forever home with structure. 

I might not be the best dog for little kids because of my size, but I can certainly be fun and adventurous just as any little child could be. 

A large yard would also be ideal, as I really would love to be able to run and roam on a regular basis.  I love to exercise and enjoy the fresh outdoor air, so going on nice long walks would be nice as well. 

So if you are in the market for a big dog with an even bigger heart, please remember me! 

While it would be great to see Doreen Costa get beaten….

casimiro costa2
The choice is between conservative Dem Casimiro and whack-o Tea
Party Republican Costa (who lied about her role in Exeter re-call)
By Bob Plain in Rhode Island’s Future

Rep. Doreen Costa is too conservative for North Kingstown Town Council President Liz Dolan, a Republican who endorsed Democrat Julie Casimiro for the House District 31 seat.

But Costa’s conservative credentials didn’t stop the local fire fighters’ union from throwing their support behind the tea party right-winger who sponsored a right-to-work bill in the state legislature.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Understanding the CCA Party, Part 3

It’s all about land, money and power – they want it all and they are afraid of anyone they think might take it away.
By Will Collette

For Part One, click here.
For Part Two, click here. Just about all of the predictions I made in Part 2 about the way the CCA Party would conduct their campaign have already come true. Check it out for yourself.

The Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) did not appear all of a sudden out of nowhere in 2006 to fight Jim Mageau, who they depicted as an evil tyrant. Their ability to raise boatloads of campaign contributions and run the kind of vicious political campaigns that have given them control over Charlestown town government since 2008 was not an accident.

There is a history, a guiding philosophy and a network of relationships that you can see and begin to understand, if you know where to look.

What drives the CCA Party is not the Pablum® they put into their platform every two years, but the determination to control the land in Charlestown – all of it, whether it is your land, other people’s private property, Tribal land, or commercial land – and wealth. And the fear that someone will try to take either of those two commodities away.

As I wrote in Part 1, the CCA Party and its parent, the RI Statewide Coalition (they now call themselves Rhode Island Taxpayers), are part of the new types of “Rich People’s Movements” we’ve seen around the country that have spawned the Tea Party, the new secessionist Libertarians (e.g., Blake Filippi), and other forms of right-wing radicals.

Make it like the good old days

The GOP's problem with early voting explained
By Jen Sorenson

Click here to see why it isn't racism.

Who do you trust?


Looking for the roots of historic climate changes

URI oceanographers to examine chemistry deep in seafloor to assess its role in historic climate changes

This will be the last research mission for the R/V Knorr

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – A team of University of Rhode Island oceanographers will spend more than a month at sea beginning next week collecting sediment cores from the seafloor in a National Science Foundation funded effort to learn how ancient climate changes can inform scientists and society about present and future changes.

Led by Professor Arthur Spivack and Marine Scientist Rob Pockalny at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, along with Rick Murray from Boston University, the researchers will sail aboard the R/V Knorr to Researcher Ridge, an underwater mountain chain in the Atlantic Ocean just north of the equator, where they will collect samples at water depths from 1,000 to 6,000 meters.

First contracts in Southern New England for personal caregivers

Visiting Nurses' Caregivers Celebrate Strong New Contracts, "Whole New Level of Respect" for Home Health Aides
By Matt O'Connor
Waterford CT - Registered nurses (RNs) and home health aides (HHAs) employed by the Visiting Nurses Association of Southeastern Connecticut (VNASC) last week ratified the first contracts to cover both groups of patient care providers. 

The votes by the combined workforce of approximately 130 caregivers followed successful negotiations with management of the subsidiary of Lawrence and Memorial Corporation (LMC), the region's largest health service provider. 

Walk Softly and Carry a Big Beer

Don't just sit on your duffs doing 12-ounce elbow bends — the Russians are buying out Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Animals Cat animated GIF
Keep your paws off my local brew!

OK, that’s it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. The avarice of corporate power is getting personal.

I’m talking about beer, the nourishing nectar of a civilized society. Since my teen years, I’ve done extensive consumer research on the brewer’s art, from the full array of ales to the most substantial of stouts.

I weathered the depressing era when national bland beer labels like Budweiser and Miller drove a diversity of livelier regional breweries out of business. More recently, I’ve rejoiced as a flowering of craft and micro brews has spread from city to city. This trend delivered an abundance of real gusto and local flavor from coast to coast.

But beware, ye who love local beer. Don’t just sit on your duffs doing 12-ounce elbow bends, for here come the big brew bastards again. And they’re bigger and more menacing than ever.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Red light camera conspiracy theorists on the job

Uber-extremist wave about to hit Charlestown
By Will Collette

Progressive Charlestown was included on the long list of recipients of the e-mail below from a group calling itself the National Motorists Association. They are a Wisconsin-based group with a non-profit arm that raised almost a quarter million dollars in the most recent tax year.

Based on their website, it appears they are dedicated to protecting drivers’ constitutional right to speed, run red-lights, drink and drive and otherwise endanger the rest of us. I guess they'd call that freedom.

Their single largest expense, $128,585 or more than 50% of their revenue, was spent on activities that are only labeled as “other” in their IRS-990 tax report. Much of their income - $197,838 – comes from advertising and from selling stuff. They run ads for lawyers who defend against driving charges and for radar detectors.

They originally formed to lobby against the national 55 mph speed limit. They have fought Mothers Against Drunk Driving over the years and have sought to discredit statistics showing the link between drunk driving and traffic deaths.

So naturally, they are go-to experts for local wing-nuts who are up in arms about Charlestown’s new red light cameras. 

Here is their letter.

The truth about the Master Lever

“Straight Ticket Voting” NOT very useful to local Democrats
By Will Collette
From the 2010 Rhode Island ballot. DON'T use this if you want to be
100% certain your vote will count for local candidates.

One of the enduring beliefs of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) is that straight party voting, often called “the Master Lever,” puts them and other political organizations not recognized as statewide political parties at a terrible disadvantage. They say it gives an unfair disadvantage to Democrats and that, they say, is undemocratic.

Like so much the CCA Party believes, the truth is different than what they believe.

November 4 will be the last time Rhode Island voters will have the option to use the “straight ticket voting” option. Its anachronistic nickname, the “Master Lever” harks back to the days when we had voting machines where you flipped levers.

The straight party voting option means that by marking one arrow, you can vote for all the candidates of the party of your choice, whether that’s the Democratic, Republican or Moderate Party. Or at least that’s what most voters believe.

The Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) has been campaigning against the so-called Master Lever, following the lead of CCA leader and Town Council member Dan Slattery’s mentor, former Moderate Party leader Ken Block. The CCA Party has argued long and hard that the Master Lever unfairly benefits Democrats.

They get no argument from Charlestown Democrats who also supported an end to the master lever, or from Rep. Donna Walsh (D) and Senator Cathie Cool Rumsey (D) who both voted to eliminate the master lever.

However, what the CCA Party seems to have missed is that they have also benefited from straight-party voting. 

Militarizing the WHAT?

You can't escape Zombies in a canoe
By Ted Rall

Click here to see who else is getting free military hardware.

VIDEO: Coke or Pepsi? Try Neither.

The Matunuck Controversy

Coastal Communities Feel the Reality of Climate Change

South Kingstown – Coastal communities, residents, business and property owners are feeling the adverse effects of climate change due to sea level rise, coastal inundation, severe storm events, flooding and coastal erosion.

Once known in the abstract as a global warming, big picture issue, the ill effects of carbon emissions and warming seas are taking their toll as government leaders at the national and local levels “prepare to prepare” their citizenry for future climate change crisis and emergent events.

Climate Change erodes Seaside Village

Matunuck Village tucked away on the south coast of Block Island Sound has residents and business owners embattled in a fight against Mother Nature, municipality and time.

The severely eroding shoreline adjacent to homes and businesses in the village created a public safety concern for the Town that pitted residents against town and the state’s Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC).