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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pawsox owners stop listening

Is this the end of the "We're not listening" tour?

Were they ever listening to begin with?

Picture PAWTUCKET--Rhode Island's social media sphere is alight with rumors of the premature end to Pawtucket Red Sox management's so-called "Listening" tour. Earlier this year--in the face of OVERWHELMING public disapproval of the team's initial exorbitant ask for public subsidies to build a new stadium in Providence--team ownership announced that they would hit the road and hold public meetings in all of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns to try to win public support for the proposed multi-generational financial black hole.

After the initial  proposal, several grassroots organizations popped up to express reactions that ranged from mild dissatisfaction to full-blown outrage with the team's proposal to subsidize the new stadium 100 percent on the backs of Rhode Island's already overburdened taxpayers.

Unfortunately, the rumored end to the "Listening tour for the hard of hearing"--much like the few stops made on the tour--raises more questions than it answers.

Is this a roundabout admission that the tour was just a PR stunt, and public input on the stadium was never welcome or wanted?

Is it a tacit admission that Lucchino, Steinberg, et al. continue to think that Rhode Islanders are a bunch of ignorant rubes who don't know what's in our own best interest?

After the premature end of the 2015 legislative session, House Speaker Nick Mattiello hinted that a special session may be in order to address the stadium proposal. Rhode Islanders await the announcement of this session with bated breath.

The last--and most important--question is this: Is the end of this supposedly democratic process of public input merely a sign that business as usual continues in Rhode Island, and team ownership has finally greased the right palms, in the right dollar amounts, and issued the correct winks and nods to the people in the right positions--like a third base coach to a runner stealing second--for the General Assembly to cram this inappropriate use of public dollars and public space down our collective throats?