November 11, 2009

Carcieri (not that one, the other one) on EP - and RI - Politics

Monique Chartier

Extended excerpts transcribed from Justin's recording of the remarks of East Providence School Committee Chairman Anthony Carcieri at the EPGOP Fall Fundraiser last Thursday.

Most state senators are not so tactless or ill-advised as to attend a council meeting of the municipality that they represent and berate that body for attempting to budget responsibly. This, remarkably, appears to have happened at the November 3 [beginning at 1:57:00] City Council meeting in East Providence. That charming (local) incident aside, Mr. Carcieri's analysis and advice, while originally directed at East Providence, resonates for cities and towns throughout the state.

The school department ... it's primary function obviously is to provide an excellent education to the kids of East Providence. And we have to do that in an affordable way. That's the primary function. It's not about politicians. It's not about the unions. It's not about the teachers. It's about the kids. Sounds corny because everybody uses "it's about the kids". But there's a lot of poeple who use that phrase "it's about the kids" when, in fact, it's about money.

* * * *

We would like the support of our senators. We'd like the support of our representatives concerning this binding arbitration, perpetual contract. If that ever gets in, I guarantee everybody here, it's a wrap. Done.

The school committee runs the school department which represents over 50% of your tax bill. Your tax bill will go through the roof. And Joe Larisa and Bob Cusack and the majority on the City Council, they're fighting hard not to let that happen. But I was at the City Council meeting the other night and I watched our delegation come in and I watched them drop bombs on our city Council and indirectly to our School Committee. That's not the kind of support we need.

So there's been a lot of talk here tonight about state politics, national politics. That's all great. I'm just working on the j.v. squad right here in the city. And I think all politics should start in the cities and towns and work their way up rather than from the top down. Because if we get things squared away in East Providence, we'll get some people that we can run for the Senate and the House ... and maybe we can start changing the complexion of things at the State House. Because until the State House releases its grip with the union, unions plural, the State of Rhode Island is going nowhere. And this is the 900 pound elephant that's in the room that nobody wants to talk about. Nobody wants to talk about it. They talk about tourism, they talk about this, they talk about businesses and container ports. That's all great. Distill it down to the simple stuff. The unions, the politicians up at the State House are like this. They are strangling the state. The state is going down, down.

And nobody will say it's that. They'll talk about everything else except that. That's the big elephant in the room. So start calling up your senators and reps. Start sending them letters. And anybody who's connected with the unions, vote 'em out.

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Exactly on target.

Posted by: lee at November 11, 2009 10:20 PM

Tony is too modest. He is definitely not JV squad and is able to really distill the issues that plague our state. My husband (who knows nothing about the gory details of RI politics except maybe through osmosis by virtue of living in the same house as me) remarked to me about Tony's speech from the EP GOP fundraiser. Had no idea who he was, but out of the blue made a comment about how much he liked what "that big guy" had to say. To me, that says that his message resonates with the average clueless Rhode Islander on these critical issues. We need him in the GA.

Posted by: MadMom at November 11, 2009 11:31 PM

Why do we need Tony in the GA? In EP, he's one voice of 7. In the Assembly, he's basically no voice. He'd probably be seen by the Assembly's "leadership" as less than the Republicans. People should stay where they can make the most difference. With the current Assembly makeup, a Tony Carcieri can make no difference, especially compared to what he can do by staying in EP.

Posted by: Patrick at November 12, 2009 8:07 AM

Then why should any effective leader move into more prominent roles, effecting an ever larger number of constituents with good policy decisions? The goal is to get more folks in the GA who will think and speak out like the Tony's of RI, so he would not be a lone voice. Tony can train like minded folks to take his place in EP. We need to develop a farm team to ultimately send to the big leagues and get some major wins at the state level. Of course, this is all a moot point if Tony wants to stay where he is, but it is a general philosophy that even he recommended in his speech.

Posted by: MadMom at November 12, 2009 9:05 AM

So, the Governor can't do anything because it's all the GA's fault. But good guys, who get it, shouldn't run for the GA because they would be ineffective.

I guess we should just accept the status quo then. Is there some way we can get Elizabeth Roberts or Cicilline back into the Governors race? That would seal the deal.

Posted by: Jeff at November 12, 2009 9:10 AM

MadMom is right about the "farm team" approach. But it needs to be organized. We don't have anyone organizing such a thing. I agree with it completely. Look where all the leading Democrats in the state came from. Most of them worked their way up from local committees to the GA, to their current seats. Yet on the other side, we try to just jump right in to the bigger seat, lose once or twice and then someone else tries the same thing. People need to understand that they need the experience and time first at the local level. Run for school committee, run for town council, do good things there, then move up. Actually, if you want to have the most effect on change, get on your local school committee. These are the people who sign the contract for the great majority of cost to all towns and cities. If your town has a reasonable teacher contract good for you. Many don't. School committees are where the biggest difference can be made. Mike C. often throws his "pigs" comment out there about teachers and their contracts, but if someone wants to pay me a million dollars a year for my job, am I a pig for taking it? The real blame in all this mess needs to go to the local school committees and because it seems that about 38 of them are the same but Tony Carcieri and his committee are trying to do something different, he stands out like a sore thumb.

As for Jeff's comment, if you're trying to fill a puddle with salt, will you do it one grain at a time or dump in a whole lot at once? One grain at a time and it'll dissolve and you'll never see any progress. Dump it in all at once, and you'll have something. Same thing with sending better people to the General Assembly. Sending a Tony Carcieri with no other help is useless. If we can actually put up good candidates, not lambs to the slaughter in every race around the state and keep at it every single election cycle, we might actually be able to get at least a veto-proof Assembly, and then maybe eventually, someday, something closer to an even split where consensus does need to be met.

Posted by: Patrick at November 12, 2009 9:40 AM

Sorry I pressed "post" twice as my server was acting cantankerous!

Posted by: MadMom at November 12, 2009 9:48 AM
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