August 18, 2008

OSPRI's Transparency Train

Carroll Andrew Morse

Ocean State Policy Research Institute President William Felker published an op-ed in this Sunday's Projo introducing the new "Transparency Train" feature of OSPRI's website that makes detailed information on municipal budgets, spending, and contracts available to the general public…

Climb aboard and find budgets, payrolls and even employee contracts – fire, police, teacher, administrator, and more. We will also include brief contract analyses, school-test scores and even the check register – every check or bank transfer that goes out each month.

Some of this information is already available online such as the check registers in Cumberland and soon in Lincoln. We salute the leaders of those communities for their commitment to transparency and we look forward to the day that every municipality and school district places all information online. But even then, this transparency project adds value to that accessibility as it provides one-stop-shopping to find all the information you want.

Another unique feature of this site is the cross-document search capability. Public documents are normally in “pdf” format, a digital picture of the document. Unfortunately, until now, you had to open each document to search for the information you needed. But with this new technology you can search the entire collection of documents with one mouse click.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Did I just hear Bob Walsh saying "Oh crap, Patrick. Our ability to control the message and provide misinformation just got infinitely more difficult!"

Well done Bill. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: George Elbow at August 18, 2008 9:50 PM

High speed internet service: $30

Website dedicated to open information: $100

The hypocrisy of praising openness while using a pseudonym: Priceless

George Elbow's man crush on me: A bit creepy, actually.

(Nice op-ed, Bill - as I remind the OCG folks, when they thank their founders, I'm one of the many that can say you're welcome!)

Posted by: Bob Walsh at August 18, 2008 10:51 PM


Speaking of hypocrisy, we are still waiting for you to explain your hypocritical stance on Union Democracy and Taxpayer oppression.

Tell us again why it is fair to allow Union members to vote on the Contracts that their "leaders" negotiate, but the Taxpayers can not be afforded the same opportunity to Vote on the contracts?

Tell us again why Union negotiators can go back to their constituents (Union members) to discuss and review the details of proposed contracts prior to ratification, but the NEA-RI hires lobbyist Henry Boeniger to fight legislation that would allow Gov't negotiators the opportunity to review and discuss the details of the same contracts with their constituents (the Taxpayers).

Bob, please do explain this Hypocrisy. Then you can get back to what you do best, which is to blog away while simultaneously saying nothing.

Actually, there is one thing you do better, which is perpetuate the nanny-state that you have helped create in order to keep the dues (that support you) coming in.

Posted by: George Elbow at August 18, 2008 11:10 PM

Hypocrisy is thy name Bob Walsh.

You say you are there for the children yet your actions diminish their educational experience and damage their schools.

You claim to support the working family yet your actions hurt all “working families” in RI – especially the non union ones, with sky high taxes and marginal performance. You and your kind are literally driving “working families” out of Rhode Island.

You say we have terrific, dedicated government teachers yet you don’t even want their classroom performance assessed and you don’t want any of them paid based on their merits. Yet you yourself you are well paid based on “merit” of all things.

You espouse equality yet when it comes to union dues you take the same amount from each regardless of their income – very regressive – so much for the “working families” at the low end of the salary scale, eh Bob.

The list goes on and on and on …

Posted by: Frank at August 19, 2008 11:09 AM

Dear Bob Walsh,

You want to be thanked?

OK, here goes..

Thank you for opposing Voter Initiative back in 2006, that was a wonderful thing you did for the state. RI is so much better off now with diminished citizen participation and further concentration of government powers.

Thank you for making RI a high tax and lousy school hell hole that many people are not only avoiding, but actively fleeing.

Thanks, Bob!!

Posted by: Citizen Critic at August 19, 2008 2:24 PM

You're welcome - we'll try to make the A- an A+ in the districts we represent, and fight for more resources so the urban core can get an A+ as well. (It's ironic that most of the folks complaining on this blog live -or lived, in CC's case - in some of the highest performing districts in the state.)

From today's Projo on-line:

"For example, just 50 percent of urban elementary schools made enough progress among various student subgroups: black, white, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, low income, students with disabilities and English language learners, while 91 percent of suburban schools and 94 percent of so-called urban ring schools did so.

"The school classifications that the governor released today once again show that there are two Rhode Islands," said Peter McWalters, commissioner of elementary and secondary education. "Our suburban schools are performing very well, but less than half of our urban schools met all of their annual targets. We must continue to focus our school-reform efforts and investments on improvements in our urban districts."

Posted by: Bob Walsh at August 19, 2008 5:25 PM


"Fighting for resources". That's what you do?

And for whom ...the "children" or the Union Teachers?

Who are you kidding, Bob? Do your think if we doubled the pay of you flock the results would change? Try to be honest, Bob.

And by the way, when can we look forward to you giving us explanations for your utter hypocrisy as noted in the above and other posts.

Spare us the comments on your homosexual fantasies ..."George Elbow's man crush on me". Not that there's anything wrong with you having such fantasies ...that's your business. But Andrew has warned us all to stay on topic, so please stay on topic and explain your hypocrisy.

Posted by: George Elbow at August 19, 2008 6:56 PM

Dear Bob,

Thanks for nuthin'!

Rhode Island's schools rank below average for the United States ...

Which in turn ranks something like 24th in the OECD rankings comparing us against the other major countries.

By any measure, poor performance.

BTW, I'm enjoying your implicit admission that the teachers you represent don't add much value - i.e., that on average the demographic influenced achievement level that comes in the door remains the same going out the door after the best efforts of your seniority-advanced and tenured 180 day a year "professionals."

I was saw a movie called "Stand and Deliver" that showed how "disadvantaged" students can excel under the auspices of a great teacher, even in face of "few resources."

Had the move been set here they'd have had to have called it "Stand and Deliver Little!"

Posted by: Tom W at August 19, 2008 7:49 PM

I was saw a movie called "Stand and Deliver" ..."

Should have typed "once say" - sorry.

"And by the way, when can we look forward to you giving us explanations ... "

George, his continued silence in response to yours and other questioners is an answer, and speaks volumes.

He's enjoying a game of riling the folks here on AR and then slipping back into ... wherever.

I haven't expected substantive responses from him for some time, and don't expect them in the future.

Besides, how do you defend the indefensible? Could you think of any good defense justifying the NEA / NEARI and its actions, much less its existence?

Posted by: Tom W at August 19, 2008 7:56 PM

Tom W.,

I'm beginning to understand what the "W" stands for ..."Well said".

Of course Bobby can't defend the indefensible. In other words, Bobby can't defend a lick on what he does, says or stands for.

That's why he whines like an infant to Andrew & Co. trying to get people that hold him accountable banned.

His inability to respond leaves him relegated to pithy little do nothing / mean nothing comments, desperately hoping someone throws him a life-line.

Oh well ...that does not mean we still shouldn't beat him about his empty head those few times he pulls it out of his ass long enough to stick his foot in his mouth.

What I am really waiting for is for some self-respecting Union Teacher to step forward and explain to us how they can tolerate the hypocrisy of Bob Walsh & Co. and how any self-respecting professional could possibly need a Union to help them get through life.

Where is their pride, their self-reliance, their sense of individualism, their sense of self-accomplishment, their sense of healthy competion ...all the things that made this country great?

How and why do they prostrate themselves to such moronic bafoons as Bob Walsh, Patrick "I struggle with basic math" Crowley, etc.??

With an apathetic and mindless "work force" like the Teachers' Union, is it any suprise performance is so lacking?

By the way, has anyone confirmed the manner in which Chairman Mao, I mean Bob Walsh and the NEA-RI charge dues to their frightened flock of sheep? Is it the same rate for everyone (i.e. non-progressive) or is it based on Salary?

Posted by: George Elbow at August 19, 2008 8:50 PM


Of the two RI's, the urbans consume far more per pupil than do the suburbans, yet the results are far worse.

Your premise is that more resources will provide what is missing. Unless public school is prepared to provide the strict discipline and structure seen in some of the urban successes (KIPP - or "Stand and Deliver" goes bootcamp), IMHO, you can't provide what’s missing - family structure and parent employment (to name the top two). And the more the system tries to fill that gap by adding "resources," the worse the economy suffers (hurting precursor 2).

PS. I don't understand your founders/OCG comment. Plz explain.

Posted by: WJF at August 19, 2008 9:55 PM


Don't you pay attention?

When Bobby-boy writes "I remind the OCG folks, when they thank their founders, I'm one of the many that can say you're welcome!", it is just another of the many symptoms of the delusions of grandeur that he suffers.

Pay attention to Bobby's posts. You learn that:

Not only did Bob "create hundreds, if not thousands of jobs" back in his Finance days, but more recently he has been busy protecting thousands of RI based jobs ...from what, lord only knows.

When he is not protecting RI based jobs from mysterious threats, Super-Bob is busy trying to "make the A- an A+ in the districts he represents, while fighting "for more resources so the urban core can get an A+ as well."

And if that is not enough, Super-Bob is also busy saving the RI Pension System, along with a group of other important Pension Leech Beneficaries, by coming up with "brilliant" ideas such as "selling equity" in the RI State Lottery, as opposed to applying common sense and reforming the nut-bag Entitlements.

As if all that were not enough, Wonder-Bob will tell you that he is also hard at work fixing the State's Tax structure.

So it is no suprise that Delusional-Bob would suggest that he also is somehow responsible for the good work that OCG does ...just like he tells us that he and his flock make education better in RI.

Posted by: George Elbow at August 19, 2008 10:26 PM

Is there a reason why the transparency train does not make a stop in the Governor's office.

Posted by: Phil at August 20, 2008 4:25 AM

We have the statewide payroll and budget and are working on more that will be announced soon. There are tens of thousands of pages uploaded so far - it will take us some time to get everything up.

Posted by: WJF at August 20, 2008 8:11 AM


The answer to your question is simple.

The Transparency Train only makes stops at those stations that have Propaganda Machines, led by the likes of Bob Walsh and Patrick "I struggle with basic math" Crowley.

You know, those propaganda machines that spread false information such as that Union Teacher contracts provide salary increases of 3%, when in fact the contracts actually provide only half the employees with 3% raises, while the other half receive massive raises ranging from 8% to 18%.

Or such Propaganda as telling the public that the rate Inflation outpaced the rate of Education spending growth, when in fact it was just the opposite ...Education spending grew 42% faster than the rate of Inflation.

So, I hope that clarifies things for you. The Train only stops where lying liars are spreading lies.

Posted by: George Elbow at August 20, 2008 8:12 AM

>>I know Patrick Crowley and Bob Walsh and spent some time across the table from them in union negotiations. Both always seemed to be sincere in their beliefs.

I don’t doubt that. In fact, like Obama, I’m quite convinced that they truly, sincerely, believe in socialism. They just won’t use the words “socialism” (which is a subset of “collectivism,” as are “fascism” and “communism”), for they recognize the negative connotation those words carry with them in the eyes of the general public.

Organized labor tends to attract such types, for in essence labor unions are collective organizations and are premised on the labor / capital dichotomy promoted by Karl Marx.

>>I don't think that you can blame them for doing their jobs - they are paid to look out for union interests.

I don’t, to the extent that they are doing their jobs.

That is why their jobs need to be eliminated, i.e., the General Assembly repealing the 1966 “Michaelson Act” permitting the unionization of teachers. They have statutory permission to do so, not a constitutional right, so the teachers unions could be banished from this state with the mere repeal of one statute. In theory, the General Assembly could do it at the beginning of the next legislative session in January - no more strikes; no more work to rule; and "Ducky Crowley" would have to find a new state in which to waddle around in his duck suit. What's not to like?

Other than Walsh, Crowley and the Democrat politicians who live off of the dues money recycled into campaign support, who would argue that in the forty-plus years of existence the teachers unions have on a net basis been a positive force for Rhode Island and its children?

Other than they, who would argue that Rhode Island and its children wouldn't be far better off without the teachers unions and treating teachers as true professionals?

Posted by: Tom W at August 20, 2008 8:57 AM


You are making too much sense.

Posted by: Citizen Critic at August 20, 2008 12:10 PM

Tom W.,

Once again, well said.

But I think you meant to post this on Justin's "Shopping Curiosity" thread.

Posted by: George Elbow at August 20, 2008 9:25 PM


I think you're right! I did post to the wrong thread...

I switched to a Mac a couple of months ago, and while I find it works better than Microsoft, the Safari browser sometimes makes websites look a little funky, as most websites are optimized for Explorer.

In the case of Anchor Rising, the little pop up that comes for posting has text so small on Safari is almost impossible to read on the screen. This is a major reason why I've been making so many typos/grammatical errors lately, I just miss them on the screen.

So for that last post I tried dictating into a Word document first, and then "cut and pasting" that into the Anchor Rising pop up. But in so doing I also neglected to go back to the proper thread.

It's always something!

Posted by: Tom W at August 20, 2008 9:59 PM

By this post, I am asking that from this point forward, any and all references to me by George Elbow, or any other alias he chooses to use, be immediately deleted.

Posted by: Bob Walsh at August 23, 2008 6:24 PM

By this post, I am asking that from this point forward, any and all Public Employee Union contract terms negotiated by Bob Walsh, or any other alias he chooses to use, be immediately deleted.

Posted by: George Elbow at August 23, 2008 9:16 PM

In the past, I've tended to err on the side of unfettered expression versus civility, but I am now moving the line in the areas where I am moderator closer to civility. I am sorry that it has taken some people getting repeatedly run over by this line for me to reach this decision.

I have tried to maintain a practice of not editing comments without leaving a reason. Unfortunately in this an other threads, things seem to be getting out of hand. So I am issuing notice that in the any area of this blog where I am responsible for moderation, that any use of profane or vulgar language or personal invective is now subject to deletion without an explanation being left behind, and reminding all that it is solely my discretion as editor in these situations whether to remove one word, one sentence, or to kill the entire comment. Most commenters -- even those who offer the strongest defenses of their positions -- will never be affected by this change. As for the others, before hitting the "post" button, give a thought about whether using one or two invectives is really worth risking your entire comment.

Anchor Rising comments is not an open forum, it is (supposed to be) a topic and content driven discussion. Commenters who disapprove of my editorial decisions are free to find other forums to express themselves in.

Posted by: Andrew at August 24, 2008 11:16 AM
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