CRANSTON’S PARKING TICKET SCHEME: A “scheme” is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a clever and often dishonest plan to do or get something.” That’s exactly what the Cranston City Council is doing - scheming - in its effort to collect as much revenue as possible from ticketing overnight parkers.
The council’s scheme involves pushing police to issue so many tickets that over a half million dollars a year will be collected to augment the city’s budget. A related scheme proposal involves charging resident for overnight parking permits.
For the public to have confidence in the police law enforcement must NEVER be about amassing revenue; it must be strictly about public safety. Cranston’s acting police chief, State Police Captain Kevin M. Barry, rightfully confirmed this when he said that police only ticket for public safety, not to raise revenue.
Cranston politicians say the overnight parking ban is meant to keep streets clear for street sweeping and snow plowing. Such false reasoning is disingenuous at best since 24-hour parking bans are announced during snowstorms and street sweeping occurs only once or twice a year. So, if it’s perfectly safe to park on the street before 1 a.m., why is it suddenly unsafe to park there after that hour? The answer? It’s not unsafe.
If overnight parking is not a public safety issue, then why does Cranston have an ordinance that makes it illegal? Clearly, the ordinance was passed as a revenue collecting measure, not for public safety reasons. It’s an ordinance that should be repealed.
If Cranston government can make something like overnight parking illegal simply so that fines can be levied to fill the city’s coffers, what’s next? Perhaps wearing the color blue on Thursdays should be illegal. Surely, Cranston could catch enough “color violators” to add another half million in fines to its budget.
BROWN, PC AND OTHER ELITE COLLEGES HIDE SEXUAL ASSAULTS: It’s a nationwide problem that has manifested itself locally at both Providence College and Brown University. Female students report sexual assaults to their university leaders who, in attempts to protect the reputation of their schools, keep the information from police. Administrative actions are sometimes taken against the perpetrating students but police investigations are seldom conducted.
After both PC and Brown failed to report students’ complaints of sexual assault to police, the two universities defended their “keep it in-house” policies of not reporting such attacks to police on the grounds that they acted to “protect students’ privacy and educational records.” In both cases, the female accusers eventually reported the assaults to police but, as in most investigations, time is an enemy that sometimes precludes an effective investigation.
Perhaps it is time for our General Assembly to mandate that any educational institution, private company, or non-profit organization that receives a complaint of sexual assault from a student or employee must report the matter to police in a timely fashion. The days of cover-ups to protect an organization’s reputation should be brought to an abrupt end!
THE ANSWER TO NARRAGANSETT’S PARTY PROBLEM: Narragansett’s Eastward Look neighborhood has for years suffered the drunken behavior of URI student renters, to include public drunkenness, public urination, loud and boisterous noise and language, under-age drinking, bottle throwing and other outrageous behavior that makes it very difficult for owner occupants to enjoy their homes. Some say they can’t have visitors, especially children, since drunken behavior can break out at any time.
There is a solution to the problem. Just as nightclubs with history of unruly behavior by customers are mandated to have police details, the same could apply to neighborhoods. Narragansett needs to impose a fairly hefty fee on all rental properties in any neighborhood that experiences frequent unruly or criminal behavior by renters. Such a fee, perhaps up to $500 per month, would be passed on to renters by those who currently profit from renting their homes to ill-behaved students.
This would result in fewer students being able to afford the increased rental costs, thus lowering the number of potentially misbehaving residents in the neighborhood. And, the fees would allow the town to hire extra police officers whose only job would be to patrol the specific neighborhood and practice aggressive enforcement to discourage deviant behavior.
It works in nightclubs, why wouldn’t it work in a neighborhood that has become, in essence, a large nightclub for URI students?
OBAMA’S FAILURE TO SUPPORT NASA: The U.S. government has slowly reduced its support for NASA and our country’s space program for years. It has escalated under President Obama as he cancelled Constellation heavy lift rocket development and the Orion spacecraft program. NASA now has no way of independently sending astronauts to the International Space Station. Since the last shuttle flight, NASA has relied on Russia to transport American astronauts to the joint space station.
Now, because of the Ukraine issue, Russia says it may no longer allow Americans aboard Russian launch vehicles. That would mean the U.S. has no way to get to the space station and it would become, in essence, a Russian space station.
Last week Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin suggested that the U.S. should get “their astronauts to the International Space Station using a trampoline.”
It’s truly pathetic that the only nation to put men on the moon has been reduced to begging Russia for a ride into space and putting up with “trampoline” jokes from the country we beat to the moon. President Kennedy must be turning over in his grave.
WE’RE FINALLY ADMITTING 15.5 PERCENT UNEMPLOYED: Although Rhode Island’s unemployment rate has slowly edged down to its current rate of 8.3 percent, still the highest in the nation, the news media has finally started to admit that our real unemployment rate is much higher.
The front-page story in Sunday’s Providence Journal talked about the long-term unemployed, those who have given up on looking for work, and those who work part-time but are looking for full time employment. When these folks who are no longer drawing unemployment compensation are factored in, our unemployment rate is 15.5 percent. That’s over 86,000 Rhode Islanders unemployed or underemployed!
But, there is possibly good news on the horizon. Both our senate and house seem to support lowering the corporate tax rate from 9 to 7 percent and changing how corporations report taxes. The two changes will be revenue neutral but a 2 percent drop in the corporate tax rate will surely encourage companies to move to or expand in Rhode Island, thus creating more jobs.
NO CREDIT LINES FOR GAMBLING! State Representative Raymond Gallison, head of the house finance committee, has introduced a bill that would allow Twin River Casino to lend up to $75,000 to high-rolling gamblers so they can bury themselves even deeper in gambling debts.
The introduction to Gallison’s bill says, “The extension of credit to table game and video lottery players...is a vital customer service function that facilitates a gaming program’s long-term success.”
What a bunch of bull manure! Do we really want to finance our state’s government by encouraging people with a gambling problem who have exhausted their savings to go into debt in order to gamble even more using credit? It’s a recipe for disaster!
Connecticut casinos already engage in the practice of lending gamblers money to feed their gambling addiction. The result? The casinos initiate legal action to take gamblers’ homes, to include many in Rhode Island - innocent family members be damned.
This act of stupidity by our legislature must be stopped. When people have exhausted their savings to gamble, by definition they have a gambling problem. Our state government should not be making that problem worse by allowing a casino to lend these problem gambles money to pour back into slot machines and table games!
OBAMA URGED TO OPEN UP ABOUT DRONES: “We don’t know who they are killing, why they are killing them or the legal justification for why it is permissible under our Constitution to take away the life of an American citizen without a trial or conviction.” This was Rosanna Cavanagh, representing the New England First Amendment Coalition, urging President Obama to release the legal rationale for drone strikes that kill American citizens abroad.
While it is essential that we eliminate terrorists, to include American terrorists who have thrown their lot with al-Qaida, the killing of even an evil American must be justified under our Constitution and the rationale made public. Otherwise, our country is little better than the terrorists we seek to eliminate.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Speaking at last week’s Warwick School Committee meeting, school department employee Tracey McDermott responded to committee member Eugene Nadeau’s suggestion that school districts be consolidated in Rhode Island. “Talking about consolidating at the state level, which you don’t even have the power to do, when you wouldn’t even consolidate two schools [at the district level] is insane.