November 4, 2010

Don't Leave; Fight

Justin Katz

Matt and Andrew are surely correct about Rhode Island's pending efforts to work dig its own grave even more deeply. The thing is: There was no plausible outcome, for this election, that could have stopped that.

So, go ahead and feel those feelings: I wish I'd never bought property in Rhode Island, because now it's worth so much less than I paid that I'm trapped. And I'm exhausted from struggling to survive in this state. But then think of what actually happened.

In the governor's race, Democrat Frank Caprio ran as a "moderate" Republican, even procuring the endorsement of one of the state's right-leaning reform groups, the Rhode Island Statewide Coalition, and the Republican outperformed him. Linc Chafee, meanwhile, had the left-wingers and the public sector unions. That shouldn't even have been close, and if it was close, common wisdom would suggest that it should have been the Democrat machine versus those forces. Republican John Robitaille, in other words, came much, much closer than anyone should have expected — within three percentage points, some portion of which might potentially be attributed to RISC's horrible mistake. Now he's got a campaign record on which to run next time around, when all of those Rhode Islanders realize what the famed "Chafee brand" actually indicates.

Before that time comes around, consider this: in the next election cycle, voters will have nowhere to go to express their dissatisfaction and strive for a political reordering than the General Assembly, because the governor et alia won't be up for reelection.

All the other state offices, meanwhile, are purely a measure of partisan dedication. I don't think many voters pay all that much attention to issues when it comes to any race but governor. Are people really deeply informed about the views of candidates for Secretary of State, or even Attorney General? I think they just vote as they're used to voting, perhaps switching away from the D. for personal, idiosyncratic reasons. But really, several of these races shouldn't have been as close as they were, if my assessment is correct.

What's important to remember is that people built names during this election. In General Assembly races, look at it from the average person's perspective. Anchor Rising readers know that anybody with an R. or a conservative streak is likely to be better than the buffoons currently in office (not the least because they'll be more likely to consider views such as ours), but to the average voter, it's some modestly articulate stranger from the suspicious Right or the modestly articulate stranger whom they know from election after election. They aren't predisposed to prefer conservatives, politically, so why should they vote for conservative strangers?

Ours has to be a multi-election strategy, with candidates spending off years out in the community (1) becoming known as non-scary, and (2) practicing their speaking and developing their policy opinions. Look, for example, at Dan Reilly and Chris Ottiano, in Portsmouth. It took them each multiple attempts, but now they've earned office. Look at North Kingstown's Doreen Costa: She's been out there for years, at this point, including pictures confronting Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in the newspaper. Most of the GOP and Clean Slate candidates signed on relatively recently.

Congressional Candidate John Loughlin is probably the archetype of the point that I'm making: He was surprisingly close. From the general public's standpoint, Democrat David Cicilline didn't blow his job as Providence mayor too badly, and pushed hard on the fear-driven, disingenuous attacks on Loughlin. He also benefited from an explicit strategy on the part of national Democrats to shore up congressional seats that really shouldn't have been threatened. In the perspective of those who see Rhode Island as hopeless, Loughlin shouldn't have gotten anywhere near as close to victory as he did, and now he's known.

The election results look, to me, to be surprising in the amount of support for some sort of change, but people have to know who the change-bringer is. What the RIGOP and right-leaning reformers have failed to do is to congeal into a united force providing practical advice and unified strategy and to build long-term campaign strategies. Moving forward, those who gained office, from the right, need to perform well and intelligently — proving that they could be trusted to be reasonable as a majority. Candidates who didn't win should continue a low-to-midlevel campaign, becoming known in their communities and offering alternate arguments as the General Assembly and governor make their inevitably poor decisions.

And the rest of us must do the same: educating our neighbors and promulgating points of view that our fellow Rhode Islanders may never have heard articulated or have considered strange and foreign.

The election results are not bereft of points of opportunity. The new kid in the neighborhood isn't likely to swing into town and prove a master of a quirky local street game. Keep at it; things will improve.

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As somoene who ran the second time and got taken out by the The Public Union GOTV machine the problem we face as RI conservatives is our elction day ground game. We must come together and develop a real strategy for GOTV and get past all the efforts of center right groups not wanting to aasociate with each other or appeaering " NON- Partisan". I needed 11 more people per precinct to come out to vote for me and I would have won. My opponent got less votes this year than I did in 2008. 4666 to 4785. 152 votes more from 14 precincts.

Posted by: Sean gately at November 4, 2010 9:55 AM

Perfectly stated, Justin. Totally agree. Some of the newcomers did surprising well and it may take a couple of go rounds to actually win.

Sean, the reform groups will remain "non-partisan", and for good reason. They stand for distinct principles which are shared by folks of all political parties, albeit mostly Republicans. The Republicans must cast out the Linc Chafee type supporters and Scott Avedisian-esque RINOs. I'd take a Jon Brien D over a Jack Savage R any day of the week.

Posted by: MadMom at November 4, 2010 10:25 AM

I'm not surprised Loughlin didn't win but what I am surprised about is how close he came to winning in the first district trying to convince the same lame electorate who put Kennedy in time and time again that there is a better choice. He's a really good man, the kind of representation we need in Washington. What a shame. Same goes for Robitaille.

Posted by: Defender of Freedom at November 4, 2010 11:41 AM

A comment on a Massachusetts ballot question, which received very little attention in the papers (Projo did editorialize on it). The question was whether to remove the law, removal did not pass.

The ballot question asks whether to maintain or eliminate Chp 40B, the "Comprehensive Permit", this allows the state to override local regs if you wish to build "affordable housing".

The "printed" arguments for and against it seem to obfuscate the issue, casting it as an approval of "affordable housing" or opposition to it.. Local cities and towns, riding the boom, have layered development with numerous regulations which drastically effect the cost of housing. About the only weapon the developer has is a threat to build "affordable housing" under 40B.

Here's an example. I was doing a small sub-division and the requirements included cement sidewalks. This definitely effects costs. It also seemed ridiculous because the nearest sidewalk it could ever hope to meet was 1.5 miles away. Add to this, many suburbanites do not like sidewalks, it looks too "urban". The town also discourages, but does not prohibit, curves in the road. People like curves, it looks "old". The only way to counter this, and get "variances", was to threaten 40B "affordable housing". They don't want to see that.

If the voters fearing more "affordable housing" voted to remove 40B, they would have assured continuing raises in the cost of housing.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at November 4, 2010 12:41 PM

Let's say you move to Rhode Island from New Jersey, get a job, buy a house and enroll three kids in public schools. Maybe your property taxes are $3,000 a year. If it costs $12K a year to educate children in public schools you are utilizing more than $33K in services than you are paying out.

So, everyone else before you foots the bill to educate your children. Over twelve years, that becomes $396,000. Lets say you remain in the state for another 40 years paying property taxes. You still only scratch the surface of the benefits you were given. So, everyone else after you foots the bill to educate your children too.

How does that work out to being a 'wealth builder'?

Posted by: Robert Balliot at November 4, 2010 1:46 PM

I appreciate and agree that there are some fresh and motivating reasons to continue the fight. But if you can't afford to live here... If there are no jobs here... you just don't have the luxury to devote your time, money and passions to activism. It's a cost/benefit problem. In one scenario, you fight, fight, fight and maybe continue to make gains. Maybe you see it turn around in 5, 10 years? Or, you go through the temporary pains of moving, and if you choose well, you are instantly better off.

Posted by: George at November 4, 2010 2:55 PM

I don't think so....

The RI Electorate is HOPELESS!!

For over 15 years now, I've tried to fight to good fight to no avail.

The population of this state is "felony stupid", witness the election of Cicilline, Tavres, Kilmartin and Mollis..

Will the last sane person leaving the state, please turn off the lights.

Posted by: Aldo at November 4, 2010 7:33 PM

The levels of ignorance and apathy displayed by the average Rhode Islander Tuesday would be considered laughably unrealistic if portrayed in fiction, yet are the reality of our state today.

To call them "sheep" is an insult to sheep.

Posted by: BobN at November 4, 2010 7:39 PM

I gave up the fight and moved out of RI to another state where the lowest winter temperature 3,000 ft. and below is 60 degrees. It is costing me 60% of what it would cost to continue living in RI and that includes my now flying first class back and forth to visit and the 40% savings I now bank or invest. No car taxes or boat taxes, sales tax of 4% and my real property tax for the county has been lowered to minimum tax $300 which is high (other counties are $25, $100, and $150) due to my age (seniors are age 50 and up).

Posted by: Ken at November 4, 2010 7:56 PM

My son has left the state to start his career. My daughter will follow in a couple of years. I can work wherever there is Internet access, although its useful to be located somewhere in NE. I have never made a living inside RI borders and as my kids went to public schools a total of 12 years - other 12 private - at my local tax rate, I'm about even on paying for their schooling. I feel no sense of obligation to support the Smith Hill bandits and their camp followers. I already own a home in a state w/o income tax and with property taxes half as high. I've voted against the bums here for 36 years. What would you have me do? I really had hopes for Loughlin; instead we have a guy that will make us nostalgic for the drug impaired guy. Kinda takes the wind out of my sails.

Posted by: chuckR at November 4, 2010 9:19 PM


You might want to look at other states not in NE but close to the region.

The following was done by based on a hypothetical retired husband and wife who are both age 65 living in the state capitol city. With an assumed annual income of $60,000, of which $24,000 comes from Social Security benefits, $21,000 from a private company pension, $10,000 from IRA distributions, and $5,000 from taxable interest and dividends. The hypothetical couple also owns their home outright, so there's no mortgage interest to pay or to deduct on their tax returns. Car taxes and utility taxes were not considered as most all utility taxes are built into the bills and cars taxes vary wildly city, town, county and state.

Kiplinger ranked all 50 states plus Washington, DC from lowest tax bite to highest tax bite. Very surprising information that dispels states with no state income tax myths.

Interesting to see what top 10 states are listed as tax friendly to retirees.

Posted by: ken at November 4, 2010 11:17 PM


If you are suggesting Albany, then I'd guess you never spent much time there in Jan or Feb.

Posted by: chuckR at November 4, 2010 11:28 PM


I use to be a downhill ski instructor, ice figure skater and drive a mean skimobile.

Lake George is a favorite place of mine and I did a training run on the Olympic 4-man bobsled track in Lake Placid.

Albany is not my cup of tea in the winter but if you read the article, they indicated other cities and towns in the state might have lower taxes than the capitol city like adjacent to the lower MA Berkshires.

I was just surprised to see what they chose for the top 10! I know if I move from Honolulu to Maui I’ll cut my property taxes from $300 to $150 a year and increase my exemption to $300,000 making my best purchase $360,000 and only paying $150 in real property tax a year.

Maui is larger than Oahu and has been ranked Best Island in the World 16 years but does not have the hospitals, oil refineries, mass public transit, vast number of mainland flights and NYC style night life city like Honolulu does and if I need a medical specialist I’d have to fly to Oahu.

So as the article indicated living in the capitol city might not be the cheapest place in the state of the top 10 tax friendly states but at least they identified all 50 states and DC where you would be in taxes.

It’s a start.

Posted by: Ken at November 5, 2010 3:51 AM

Your "grass is greener in Hawaii" posts are tiresome. You are a liar.
1. The sales tax is 4.5%, not 4%.
2. It applies to "everything"-groceries, services, food, gasoline, utilities, medication, etc. The Tax Foundation rates Hawaii as having the highest sales tax in America.
3. Groceries, gasoline and other staples are much, much more expensive.
4. The average house costs over $500,000, almost triple RI.
5. Hawaii's 11% income tax is "the highest in the nation" according to the Tax Foundation-about double RI's.
6. If you have a white child you better be prepared to send him to a private school as the public schools are ranked as America's worst and white children are subject to constant racial abuse and violence.
7. THERE ARE NO JOBS-go to Las Vegas and you will find half of Hawaii as the racist, progressive government of Hawaii has made it an unlivable place for the white middle-class-unless you can snag a government job.
Anyone interested can google to see that all the above are true. There is even a special day in the public schools-Kill Haole Day where white children must stay home or be brutally assaulted by the majority. Google that too.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at November 5, 2010 9:33 AM

Every vote counts. It appears I won by two votes the fifth and last town council seat in Hopkinton. The new town council will be two independents, two Democrats and myself the lone Republican.
Frank Caprio's vote is historic. Not since William B. Beach in 1876 did a Democrat candidate for Governor place third in an election for Governor.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at November 5, 2010 11:19 AM

Tommy, Ken

Living anywhere involves compromises. As a retiree, it could be Ken gets a much better deal on taxes than a working stiff with a family. In RI, Kill a Haole Day is replace by year around Screw the Private Sector Guy. I'd gladly take the weather in HI, but would prefer San Diego if it weren't part of Greece-by-the-Pacific. Even in RI, we can say , there but for the grace of God...

I grew up in rural western New York, which really is the eastern extent of the mid-West. If you don't mind not seeing the sun for weeks in winter, it might be OK for you.

As to the politics - which are a major disappointment here - you might try an excellent trilogy by William Kennedy, called the Albany trilogy. Puts me in mind of the HBO series, Boardwalk and is also set in the 20's. It was even somewhat wild and woolly where I grew up in the 50s and 60s. My Dad's best friend, a farmer, would get an occasional visit from a county mounty. An Andrew Jackson would be passed over in exchange for a promise not to visit the back forty on a given Friday night into Saturday morning. The County Sheriff - an elected position - would show up with his buddies and bet on cockfights all night long. The fighting cocks were provided by my Dad's cross the road neighbor. I also put a roof on a farmhouse overlooking Lake Ontario that had a boathouse. Double diagonal planked in beaded matching tongue and groove, it was lightproof and big enough to hide a rumrunner in after the crossing from Toronto. But these are vices, not out and out corruption like is so common here. Not saying there wasn't plenty that as a kid I wasn't aware of...

Posted by: chuckR at November 5, 2010 11:20 AM

Every vote counts. It appears I won by two votes the fifth and last town council seat in Hopkinton. The new town council will be two independents, two Democrats and myself the lone Republican.
Frank Caprio's vote is historic. Not since William B. Beach in 1876 did a Democrat candidate for Governor place third in an election for Governor.

Posted by: Scott Bill Hirst at November 5, 2010 11:20 AM



Caprio's commercials made him look completely insincere. His message did the same. We'll fight for you, we'll get the money, blah, blah, blah, tune out, mute the volume. His Dad building half a house sans building permits didn't look too great either, but I'd guess most people didn't remember that.

Posted by: chuckR at November 5, 2010 11:36 AM

Frank Caprio's vote is historic. Not since William B. Beach in 1876 did a Democrat candidate for Governor place third in an election for Governor.
Posted by Scott Bill Hirst at November 5, 2010 11:20 AM

Interesting. Who was the 3rd party candidate and the circumstances of that race.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at November 5, 2010 7:16 PM

Tommy Cranston,

You called me a “liar”!

If you took the time to read what ChuchR and I were talking about then you would understand how asinine you sound! Can you read English and understand English the national language of the U.S.A. or do you need to be enrolled in an ESL course.

It is you who is really the “liar” spreading your twisted mistruths.

1. Excise tax (Sales tax) in the state of Hawaii is 4% in all Counties (Maui, Kauai and Hawaii) except Honolulu County where there is a ½% surcharge added to pay for the new high speed light rail.

2. The excise tax is applied to all transactions EXCEPT prescription drugs. The state constitution did not want to show preference to any product or service and it makes things a lot simpler in paperwork reducing overhead. That is why the excise tax in HI is so low; lower than the national average. The Tax Foundation rates HI as having the highest excise (sales) tax COLLECTIONS in the nation but they forgot to take into account about 100,000 TOURIST ARRIVING DAILY in Hawaii daily spending money.

3. If you want to live like a tourist and mainlander than purchase like a tourist or mainlander else you purchase local (NOT IN THE TOURIST DISTRICTS) where the quality is fresh organic and not frozen shipped in from mainland and chemical coated.

4. Actually HI won back the title for the most expensive property from CA this year and we are proud of it too! Medium house price is $605,000 and medium condominium is $400,000. HI did not suffer the real-estate meltdown the mainland did so our prices stayed high. Medium means 50% is higher and 50% is lower in price for resale already constructed houses based on location. New built houses in HI can be found for $300,000.

5. Hawaii 11% state income tax is the highest in the nation according to the Tax Foundation but they do not indicate it is a temporary rise due to the recession put in place by Republican Gov. Linda Lingle to help balance the budget to be automatically rescinded by law on December 31, 2015.

6. The Hawaiian islander against white child racial divide is mostly internet myth and perpetuated consistently by people living on the mainland. There have been a few instances where something happened however once it was investigated proved to be instigated by a mainlander that moved to HI who does not understand community values. If you act like an ass then people will treat you like an ass. There is zero community tolerance for people consistently trying to stir up a racial bigotry in HI. The Kill-Haole Day is a myth. Slavery was never practiced in HI and all the plantation labor was and still is contract labor.

7. Hawaii has a booming economy where the current tourist expenditures for the last 9 months exceeded $8.4 billion. State-wide unemployment has gone from a high of 7.7% down to 6.3% Average monthly unemployment runs 3% to 4%. The TV/Movie industry annual average expenditures in Hawaii are $8.8 billion. Currently high tech industry, tourism and service professions, green energy industry, farm labor, construction related and medical professions are actively hiring. Sunday’s employment pages are 4 pages of job openings.

Posted by: Ken at November 5, 2010 8:33 PM

Restaurants, retail, shopping, it's going to acquire that domino effect on everyone. And there's more snow to come, according for your National Weather Service. Scott McGuire, a weather service forecaster in Reno, said that after a break Thursday, anotherfront will head towards the resort area late Friday night. Though McGuire said it won't carry as much precipitation to be a two-day system that blanketed Tahoe on Christmas, or the even more bountiful snows that began last Friday, he said yet another storm system is predicted for a area just after New Year's Day. One weather spotter on Tahoe's western shore told McGuire he'd measured 71 inches of snow located on the ground at lake level.

Posted by: RuthHahn at December 28, 2012 5:46 AM
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