September 21, 2014
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Candidates for governor start their engines
My take on the news
Lonnie Barham

TAVERAS’ STATEMENT HYPOCRITICAL: In his public announcement declaring himself a candidate for governor, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras made a statement that obviously referred to his likely challenger for the Democratic nomination, state General Treasurer Gina Raimondo. Clearly referring to her controversial decision to invest 14.3 percent of the state’s pension assets in Wall Street hedge funds, Taveras said, “I don’t answer to Wall Street, I answer to you.”

So what’s hypocritical about that statement? Since Taveras has been in the mayor’s office and in control of Providence pension fund investments, close to 20 percent of the city’s pension money has been invested in hedge funds - far more than the 14.3 percent of state pension money Raimondo invested in such funds. In the last month or two, Taveras has feverishly attempted to reduce the percentage of city pension money invested in hedges and has quickly brought it down to about 13.2 percent - roughly the same as the state’s.

Taveras has been mayor for three years. Why did he approve the investment of 20 percent of the city’s pension money in hedge funds for so long? And why has he suddenly started to move some of the money? It’s clear. He’s a hypocrite who wants to throw reckless allegations out against Raimondo, implying she “answers to Wall Street” when he has overseen the same pension investments - only on a grander scale. Someone who acts and speaks so hypocritically is not likely to make a good governor!

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FUNG AND TAVERAS:  It only takes a comparison of their gubernatorial campaign announcements to see the difference between Republican Allan Fung and Democrat Angel Taveras. Taveras spent a huge percentage of his announcement speech talking about himself, about his poor beginnings and how he rose from Head Start to Harvard. He spent an inordinate amount of time patting himself on the back instead of telling us what he wants to do to improve our state and its dismal economy. Fung, on the other hand, spent perhaps a minute talking about himself and his working-class, Asian background. He then quickly launched into what he wants to do to encourage economic development and bring jobs to Rhode Island.

Rhode Island voters know both candidates. We know they are both minorities who worked hard to get to where they are. We don’t really need to know a lot more about their personal journeys. What we very much want to know is what each of them plans to do to improve our economy if they are elected to the state’s highest office. So, Angel, please ease off on the self-congratulatory narcissism.

BLOCK’S MOVE TO GOP MAKES SENSE: Ken Block, founder of the Moderate party in Rhode Island and its candidate for governor in 2010, has decided to abandon the fledgling party and join the almost moribund Republican Party. Was it a good move? Not only was it a good move, it was the only move Block could have taken that made any sense. In a state where the GOP, a party with national stature, can’t seem to make any headway against the entrenched Democrats, the quixotic Moderate Party didn’t have a chance.

Block is a smart man, a good business leader, and has presented some ideas that could very well help our state regain some of its economic viability. Going head-to-head with the other declared Republican, Allan Fung, for the GOP gubernatorial nomination will bring out the best ideas both candidates have to offer and will give Rhode Islanders a good taste well ahead of the general election of what the non-Democrat party can do for our state. Competition is not only good for business, it’s good for politics. Best of luck to both Ken and Allan!

AND THIS GUY’S ON THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE? After his comments at a Warwick Sewer Authority meeting last week, many Warwick residents must be wondering why they elected Eugene Nadeau to the School Committee. Nadeau, who is opposed to completion of Warwick’s sewer system to serve the remaining 35 percent of households without it, proclaimed at the meeting that animal feces that wash into the Bay is the major cause of bacterial pollution - not the thousands of nearby cesspools full of human waste that are designed to leach into the ground and into the Bay. And this guy was elected to the School Committee? Someone who thinks a few dogs, cats and foxes are more responsible for bacterial pollution than thirty thousand humans? Regardless how they feel about completing the sewer system, Warwick residents should hope that Nadeau demonstrates a bit more common sense when he votes on issues that affect Warwick’s ten thousand plus public school students.

THE BIG LIE, THE BIG COVERUP: We all remember the repeated assertions by President Obama regarding Obamacare, “If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period! No one will take it away, no matter what.” We now know that was a big lie. Up to 15 million Americans who purchased their own health insurance will now get cancellation notices with two million having already received the cancellations. All because Obamacare requires that policies offer options not needed by most who purchase less expensive policies. For example, a 60-year-old policy holder in California had his affordable policy cancelled because Obamacare required the insurance company to replace his policy with an expensive one so that his 59 year old wife would have maternity coverage and the childless couple would have pediatric coverage. It’s a big lie and Obama was well aware of it long before he made his public statements about Americans being able to keep their health-care plans.

Following the big lie came the big cover-up. At a congressional hearing last week on the Obamacare rollout’s dismal failure, Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner repeatedly refused to tell Congress how many people had actually signed up for the insurance. Twenty times she refused to answer congressmen’s direct questions about the number. The administration knew exactly how many had signed up but was extremely embarrassed by the puny number. Reporters uncovered the actual numbers. According to CBS News, on the first day of the rollout, a day when three million uninsured tried to access the site, a grand total of ONE person was able and willing to actually register for a new account.

Congress reported the first day numbers were a whopping SIX. The next day with millions still trying to access the site, a total of only 248 were both able and willing to sign up for Obamacare. It was a ridiculous cover-up of a ridiculous situation.

OBAMA POLL NUMBERS: President Obama’s approval rating with the American people has dropped significantly since his second inauguration to only 48 percent while his disapproval ratings have climbed substantially to 51 percent. Among white Americans, Obama’s approval rating is only 39 percent. Why? Because he never takes the blame for anything his administration does. He claims he knew nothing about the IRS targeting conservative groups. He knew nothing about the NSA tapping German Chancellor Merkel’s cell phone. Now he claims to have known nothing about how unready for rollout the Obamacare website was when it was foisted on the public. It’s not hard to understand why the American people have lost confidence in a “know nothing” president who can’t seem to take the blame for anything.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: David Segal, executive director of the privacy-advocating group Demand Progress, speaking about a U.S. Senate bill championed by Senator Diane Feinstein that provides a bit of whitewash to the NSA’s spying on American citizens but does virtually nothing to rein it in, had this to say: “It’s fitting that Senator Feinstein took Halloween to remind us why she’s the favorite senator of the NSA spooks.  Using squishy public relations language, she is striving to leave the impression that her bill reins in the NSA’s mass surveillance programs - but it does nothing of the sort.”

Feinstein, as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is desperately trying to pass a “no real change” bill because the House and Senate judiciary committees, in bi-partisan agreement, have introduced a rival bill that would eliminate the NSA’s phone data collection program. Let’s hope other senators see through Feinstein’s duplicity.


Comments
5 comments on this item

Mr. Barham maybe you should comment on the hypocrisy of the Mayor and the City Council regarding contemplating allowing the Warwick Sewer Authority permission to borrow $60 million on infra-structure improvements and new sewer projects while Warwick School were denied the same right to borrow monies that voters approved to fix school building not compliant with fire safety codes and buildings that continue to deteriorate.

Also while your at it why didn't you take a look at the incompentence that Mr. Nadeau and others have railed against regarding the tens of millions of dollars in debt racked up by the Warwick Sewer Authority due to the incopentence of member of the sewer board?

Mr. Barham, you are way out of your expertise when you start commenting on pollution, the bay and the WSA. In fact, if you were at some of the meetings you would have found out that storm water runoff is a major source of pollution. Mr. Nadeau, like many others, have attempted to put common sense in to the debate and have tried to make sure that monies expended for sewer construction will have the beneficial impact that people have been told it would have. You would have also heard that there are advanced systems now that homeowners can install that will do just as good a job as sewers and will not costs the millions of dollars proposed to be spent on sewers.

It is interesting that you picked up on Mr. Nadeau's comments on fecal matter. What is more interesting though is that his is something the impact of which could easily be measured and comments made easily refuted by factual information. Why don't you ask DEM why they haven't spent the few hundred dollars to test and prove Mr. Nadeau wrong? This question was asked, and DEM did not respond.

Mr Barham, Who knows less about what is going on in the city of Warwick, but he can still write for the Warwick Beacon. I'll say what the gentlemen's, gentleman like Mr. Nadeau will not. John I hope you are not paying this guy for the crap his is shoveling, this is one of the reasons Newspapers are going out of business. You let good reporters go and replace them with bloggers who you would not read online but he get a column in a local newspaper. Well John as readership from this paper and the others you own declines, let it be said that you told about this but you just did not listen.

My email to John Howell:

John a few years ago you railed against my so called bashing of Mayor Avedisian and even sighted that as a reason for discontinuing my column, "The Taxpayers' Spin". Yet you allow columnists Lonnie Barham to do far worse to Gene Nadeau.

At least my criticism was based on disclosed facts provided to you on policy decisions made by the Mayor.

Mr. Barham's attack on Mr. Nadeau's work on the school committee is baseless and nothing more then a personal attack.

Regarding Mr. Nadeau's thought on sewers has nothing to do with his decisions as a member of the school committee.

Mr. Nadeau deserves a public apology in your paper by Mr. Barham and you the editor.

I would hope in the future you prescribe to a consistent philosophy regarding who and for demonstrated, factual relevant related issues, you allow as columnists to bash whom in your paper.

Barham is strictly a lap dog for Gina.Nothing else.

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