August 13, 2011

Brien Hasn't Decided Whether To Press Charges; Rainone's FB Status; And More From the Breeze

Monique Chartier

Following upon The Incident, Rep Jon Brien declined various invitations to appear on talk radio.

Since then, however, he spoke to the Valley Breeze - exclusively, it appears.

In the aftermath of an altercation between the secretary of the National Education Association of Rhode Island and Democratic state Rep. Jon Brien on Wednesday, the Woonsocket representative told The Breeze he has not decided whether or not he will press charges.

The Breeze also got from Brien a description of what was going through his head during The Incident.

According to the Plain’s account, NEARI secretary Louis Rainone stepped forward and offered to show Brien “how charming I am.”

Brien told The Breeze that it was at that point where he invited Rainone, who was slamming his fist into his hand, to come into the elevator with him. The state representative said his intention was not to escalate the fight, but the opposite. He said he remained poised to press the button to take them to the first floor where the Capitol Police would be if Rainone decided to punch him.

“But in no way shape or form was I about to get into an altercation in the very building where I practice law,” he said. “I would have rather been punched and handed him over to the Capitol Police than get into a physical altercation. Would never do it. I respect that building way too much.”

By contrast, the Secretary of NEA-RI declined to make any comment to the Breeze, preferring, apparently, to save it for his Facebook page.

[Louis] Rainone did not return The Breeze’s attempts to contact him on Friday, but on Thursday at around 4 p.m., he posted a status update on his Facebook: “I’m so misunderstood ! I think I need help !!!!!!!!!!!!!” In response to friends who commented on the post, he then wrote on Friday: “just kidding about needing help- didn’t like a state rep getting preferential treatment in the court house so i expressed my discust of him loudly- that’s all then of course the media blew it right up.”
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.

Is this Rainone instigating another altercation by blocking a videographer with a sign?

Posted by: Max Diesel at August 13, 2011 11:02 PM

This guy acts and sounds like a troubled 14-year-old and he is professionally representing teachers. You could hire a phenomenal attorney to represent you professionally for what these illiterate walking personality conflicts are paid. Teachers - why do you tolerate this and keep paying union dues? Ah yes, because RI is corrupt as sin and forces collective bargaining by law so they have no real choice. A right-to-work law would see the NEARI and the other thug public unions out of work overnight. But then Rhode Island might lose its prestigious 50/50 business ranking.

Posted by: Dan at August 13, 2011 11:37 PM

Rhode Island might lose its prestigious 50/50 business ranking.
Posted by Dan at August 13, 2011 11:37 PM

not likely. LOL.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at August 14, 2011 5:10 AM

What self respecting teacher would ever allow these punks to be their face?
This is not an isolated event with these people. This is a pattern of thuggery and intimidation, and it is done with the full knowledge and encouragement of that POS Bob Walsh.
When I hear teachers cry that they get no respect, I laugh in their faces and ask them how they can be so stupid when they allow these kind of punks to represent them.
What kind of idiot would respect you when you allow this nonsense?

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at August 14, 2011 11:07 AM

I'm certainly no fan of settling these minor altercations by means of legal action, but there's such a consistent pattern of behavior, with NEA-RI, that regular headlines noting its executives and assorted muscle facing criminal charges might send a very healthy message and ensure a better-informed public.

If there are legitimate charges that could be filed, I'd encourage Rep. Brien to move forward with them.

Posted by: Justin Katz at August 14, 2011 1:38 PM

Mike cappelli, having bread your many nasty homophobic postings, I find it ironic that you should write about thuggery and intimidation. You have stated in the past that the nigerian method of dealing with gays might not be such a bad idea. In Nigeria they put gay people to death is that what you are calling for, and Justin does that kind of talk jibe with your catholic teachings.

Posted by: Yankee Manny at August 14, 2011 2:32 PM

I don't see where this should be left up to Brien. There's a law on the books in RI against threatening public officials, no?

If so, and what Rainone did isn't threatening, then wouldn't it be great to start following State Reps and Senators that we disagree with out of the State House and call them names while pounding a fist into a hand?

If anyone thinks it is "threatening", then charges need to be filed, regardless of what Brien wants. He isn't the only witness.

Posted by: Patrick at August 14, 2011 4:28 PM

"He was not shy in admitting he received a call from his office during the trial session.

“Did I look to see whether I got a call? I did. It was my office. At that point, I stopped the vibration, I stood up in the courtroom, walked out into the hallway, made a call to my office and returned,” he said. “Certainly I wasn’t talking on my phone in court – I would never do that. Certainly my phone didn’t ring in court. If it did, the sheriff would have taken it.”

Posted by: Valley Breeze at August 14, 2011 4:34 PM

"If so, and what Rainone did isn't threatening, then wouldn't it be great to start following State Reps and Senators that we disagree with out of the State House and call them names while pounding a fist into a hand?"

Well, now there's a good point. And a major temptation.

Which should be resisted. Because, of course, anyone else who does it (i.e., anyone who disagrees with the Rhode Island political establishment) WILL be criminally charged.

Posted by: Monique at August 14, 2011 5:09 PM

Yankee Manny,
You are delusional. You've never heard such things from me.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at August 14, 2011 5:41 PM

I think Uganda is where they wanted to make homosexuality a capital offense.
In Nigeria they periodically take armed robbers and other predators out of the prisons and shoot them.
Now THAT really is a capital idea!!

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 14, 2011 7:17 PM

"Brien said the end of the session is when a few NEA members approached him and started taunting him. He claims NEARI Assistant Executive Director Patrick Crowley ignited the issue after a fellow union official asked the sheriff why he was making an exception for Brien’s cell phone usage."
Valley Breeze

Pat Crowley? NO! Say it isn't so!

Posted by: Max Diesel at August 14, 2011 11:42 PM

Q. A politician and a union leader jump off a cliff, who lands first?

A. Who cares.

Posted by: michael at August 15, 2011 9:06 AM

I suppose if one once powerful legislator can get a union official hauled into court because he didn't like the content of an email message (it caused him to have a burst blood vessel in his eye, the poor baby) then this powerful legislator can have another union official arrested for calling him an as hole. Is that about it? you defenders of the 1st Amendment and haters of overly powerful government.

Posted by: Phil at August 15, 2011 11:58 AM

Does any else find it disgusting that someone who represents a teachers' union can't seem to spell 'disgust'?

Not to mention the overall contempt he seems to have for punctuation.

Posted by: patty boy at August 15, 2011 12:49 PM

I just got banned from posting on RIF because I called for Walsh and Crowley to resign.

Does this mean I get a trophy?

This was my hurtful post:

NEA Bullying
written by Sean P. Gately, August 15, 2011
I demand that Senators Lanzi and Tassoni call for a special session to add an amendment to the bullying legislation Called "The NEA / Walsh / Crowley / Rainnone / Leidecker " anti institutional bullying act of 2011 for the protection of union members livelihoods and retirement, elected officials personal safety and taxpayers wallets. With the implicit demand that the aforementioned resign immediately for the benefit of their membership and all Rhode Islanders.

I think Hull, PC and BW are feeling the heat.

Posted by: SEAN GATELY at August 15, 2011 2:40 PM

Phil, really? "didn't like the content of an email message"? Really?

Please tell me that you agree with what Leidecker did. I would have a field day doing the same thing.

Please tell me that you agree with what Rainone did. So we can all stand outside the doors of the State House and yell at and threaten legislators, all in the name if the First Amendment? Right?

Posted by: Patrick at August 15, 2011 2:51 PM


Although I am not in agreement with the content of most of your comments you rarely if ever use the kind of insulting language seen on many blogs. I don't know what you do for work but I imagine that you exercise the same courteous manner there that you do here. It may come to a bit of a shock to you but not every workplace is like that. Powerful legislators and lobbyists in a pressure packed environment may not behave as those who work for a large non profit or an institution such as Brown University. If Brien and Gablinske cannnot handle being pitched inside then it's time to go back to T ball. I would not suggest taking the approach of yelling or threatening elected officials personally but I rarely come into contact with them and I don't know if my approach would change if I had to endure steady interaction with someone you called teachers "pigs at the trough".

Posted by: Phil at August 15, 2011 4:22 PM

But Phil, if that's how the big boys play, then there's something seriously wrong there. There are reasons why we have laws against that kind of stuff.

Plus, as I keep saying, if that stuff is ok and "how the big boys play", things can and probably will get out of hand very fast. Each side escalates just a little bit until it is all out mayhem and even leading to violence.

Plus, where is the line with the "big boys"? Is name calling and threatening the line? Or is punching someone in the nose the line? Or breaking kneecaps with a bat? Or shooting them? Or threatening their family? Where's the line? Why does intimidation have to play any part in this? Why do people like Rainone need to continually act this way? Just because that's the way the big boys like to play?

I don't get it. And if it was a conservative or a business lobbyist doing the same thing, I'd feel the same way.

Posted by: Patrick at August 15, 2011 5:11 PM

This is what you get when you hire people to do your dirty work. You won't get brain surgeons. Pat Crowley and crew couldn't survive do anything else they are throw backs to old time union muscle. The onerous is on the NEA membership to change their image. They should be booted. Sean is right, it starts with Walsh.

Posted by: Max Diesel at August 15, 2011 6:13 PM

But Patrick, nothing happened. No baseball bats and kneecaps. No punches. Words were exchanged and that's all. I don't doubt your revulsion about this sort of exchange or that you would have the same reaction if it were not union officials involved. What has happened is the steady assault on labor with words and deeds. Ask the teachers of Providence how they felt about being fired without cause. Ask the retired firefighters and police in Central Falls how if was for them to be told that they could either get a "haircut or a beheading" and they had only days to decide. What of that threat? Those are just words but the intention of stripping away half or more of people's pensions causes much more injury than a burst blood vessel or hurt feelings. The words and actions of the Briens and Gablinskes cause much more pain and suffering than angry words in an elevator.

Posted by: Phil at August 15, 2011 6:50 PM

Phil - There is a key difference between "threatening" to legally cut someone's compensation and physically threatening someone while pounding your fist into your hand. Your sticks and stones argument is confused and doesn't follow legally or morally.

Posted by: Dan at August 15, 2011 9:37 PM

Call me bounced from RIFuture too. Apparently calling out Pat Crowley in the most civilized manner is still a banning offense. It is also apparent that the man behind the curtain is really, really small.

Posted by: Max Diesel at August 15, 2011 9:43 PM

So following the law is the same thing as having a crowd of people yell insults at a person, then one person call him a bleep-hole, and then update it to a "big bleep-hole", start pounding a fist into a hand and then offer to show how charming you can be in an elevator while nearly nose to nose. Those are the same thing?
I just want to keep all this straight the next time a legislator does something I don't like. And what if I do this to Edith Ajello or Anastasia Williams or Bea Lanzi? Are they just going to sit back and think, "Oh well, I'm a big girl, I play in the big leagues, I need to just have thick skin and ignore this guy in my face who looks like he's ready to do physical harm" or will they call the police against me?

It's also interesting that you bring up Central Falls and the pensions. Will the union leadership that negotiated those contracts also put their own benefits on the line? If after all the appeals are exhausted and it turns out that the benefits are reduced and the retirees end up with less than what was negotiated for them, will the union leadership reduce their own benefits and pay some back to the retirees? Wouldn't that only be fair?

Posted by: Patrick at August 15, 2011 9:45 PM

Awesome follow by Bob Plain on both ends of this thing.
On one hand, he offers more evidence that Rainone is an unsavory character.
On the other, he catches Brien in a couple of lies.
What becomes of Bob now that he's run afoul of The Independent Man (who controls his temper just as well as Rainone does)?

Posted by: bella at August 16, 2011 1:20 PM

bella-when someone refers to themselves as a "union thug for hire"on FB as Rainone has supposedly done(I didn't bother to check),you should expect that when an incident occurs,you might just be suspect as the one who initiated it.
Pat Crowley also makes provocative statements all the time.You reap what you sow.
Sometimes I think you have the learning curve of a paramecium-responding to stimuli without engaging cognitive thought precesses.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 16, 2011 1:56 PM

Want to see the thought process of Rainone? Check the video that Max posted in the first link.

When the video starts, he's the troll at the top right of the screen behind the speaker, up on the steps. Bald guy with a beard. After about a minute, he spots something out in the crowd, asks for a buddy to pass him a sign and then watch as he makes his way into the crowd and blocks the view of cameras filming the rally. Watch as he keeps checking on his progress and moves with the camera.

Imagine if someone tried to block his rights like that? What a worm. This should be required viewing for every RI-NEA teacher.

Posted by: Patrick at August 16, 2011 2:22 PM

There you go again...acting like Rainone when there's a little more to the story than you wanted there to be.
I think it's pretty telling that the (far as we know) sole witness to this incident feels both parties wanted to throw down, so your complaint with me is barking up the wrong tree.

Posted by: bella at August 16, 2011 2:22 PM

bella-I didn't address Brien's potential role in the incident because I was trying to make the point that Rainone has a track record of things like this and seems proud of it-I am unaware of Brien having a similar reputation.
BTW I have almost no idea of who Gablinske is or what sides he's taken.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 16, 2011 3:47 PM

Bella, let's say you are a teacher in a school and you see two students fighting. One is the kid who frequently disrupts class, has already been in 3-4 fights this year and is generally disrespectful. The other one hasn't been in a fight, hasn't been in trouble for as long as you've known him and is pretty respectful. You separate the boys and they both say "He started it!"

Who are you going to tend to believe when the stories are completely opposite?

Posted by: Patrick at August 16, 2011 5:31 PM

"Who are you going to tend to believe when the stories are completely opposite?"

I can't wait for this answer.

Posted by: Max Diesel at August 16, 2011 6:02 PM

I'm the teacher and I observed it. From your hypothetical, I don't know how willing BOTH combatants were. My observation determines what I do.
But I didn't see this hypothetical fight, so I cannot answer. Besides, we're talking about grown men in this situation.

Posted by: bella at August 17, 2011 9:14 AM

I'm sure Rainone was not on the clock at CCRI when he was at the courthouse on "Union Business"...yeah...sure. Business as usual.

Posted by: JTR at August 17, 2011 9:19 AM

"I'm sure Rainone was not on the clock at CCRI when he was at the courthouse"

Now that would be a story.

Posted by: Max Diesel at August 17, 2011 12:26 PM

"I'm sure Rainone was not on the clock at CCRI when he was at the courthouse"

Now that would be a story.


And why isn't it? I keep hearing for people calling for his firing from the NEA. From what I can tell, he did his job for the NEA. On the other hand, I don't see where his attendance at that trial or his behavior after it was representative of a Supply Manager at CCRI. Shouldn't he have been at CCRI, or did he "call in sick"?

Posted by: Patrick at August 17, 2011 1:32 PM

Told you his was a non story. Now you are digging dirt on Rainone. Not that that's a bad thing, but the original story is out of gas, and never would have gotten started without WPRO and especially Depetro.

Posted by: michael at August 17, 2011 2:53 PM

Michael-I never discussed whether this incident was going to a formal complaint-but the underlying Leidecker case isn't a non-story,regardless of the trial results.
I guess you wereen't addressing me-but I think we are losing focus on the story that DOES "have legs" as the media would say.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 19, 2011 5:00 PM
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