September 13, 2011

A Rumored Battle

Justin Katz

After revisiting some of the coverage from 9/11/01, on Sunday,I have to say that the controversy over state Representative Dan Gordon's ouster from the state Republican caucus seems like a minor affair, indeed. Before he declined to run last time around, another Republican representative from Tiverton, Joe Amaral, also didn't caucus with the party, and nobody seemed to think it made much difference.

But there's controversy involved with Gordon's break, and personal disputes, so local Democrats want to spread the tar to as many of their targets as possible, and that appears to include me.

There's no denying that Dan Gordon has raised some red flags. The largest of them came with his reaction to news about formation of a gay-straight alliance at Tiverton High School. His statements were foolish, both politically and in their content, and he stood entirely alone, but he'd given his opponents a trumpet, and they played it far and wide. Still, one can hope that he learned the full array of lessons from the incident.

With regard to the Republican Caucus, after spending some hours, this weekend, trying to understand what happened, I'm still not willing to pass decisive judgment; it involves two distinct narratives in a far-reaching he said/she said of an intensely personal nature. The practical summary is that several Republicans weren't comfortable around Gordon and questioned his behavior, most especially when it came to commenting on Facebook, and there was a long buildup of tension. (Anybody who's spent any time at all reading online comment sections — with participants across the political spectrum — can imagine how such a buildup proceeds.)

Finally, with the next legislative session approaching, House Minority Leader Brian Newberry (R, North Smithfield, Burrillville) sent Gordon a letter as part of a continuing effort to address the personal differences, insisting on a change of behavior. Gordon posted the letter online in an antagonistic way, and that was the final straw. It's not as dramatic as some decisive act of violence or public tirade might have been, but that appears to have been the ultimate catalyst for the vote of expulsion.

A key reason that I'm not ready to take all of the accusations against Gordon at face value is the willingness of his detractors (especially local Democrats, but Republicans, as well) to spread their insinuations so darkly that it seems as if they're really describing the plot of a made-for-TV movie. Some of these insinuations are, again, personal, but a major one involves the nature of Gordon's business, and his profession before registering it.

In the '90s, Gordon was discharged from the Marines because of problems, he tells me, with his leg. He spent some years, thereafter, working in various roles as a carpenter, and in 2006, registered his company, Alliance Building Contractors. Anonymous online commenters have thought it peculiar that local contractors don't know Gordon's company, but the nature of its projects provides adequate explanation, mostly because he hasn't worked around here.

Basically, as indicated here and here, Gordon's is listed as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, which makes him eligible to claim the 3% of projects set aside for such companies. As with government set-asides for minority-owned businesses, this creates the opportunity for a person in the preferred category to get into the business mainly as a facilitator, subcontracting the work out to other companies that otherwise wouldn't be eligible for that 3% of the pie. The work that the contractor/manager/facilitator actually does will vary from project to project, but it really needn't be but very involved or intensive.

Personally, I'm not a fan of such programs, but it's difficult to fault people for taking advantage of them, if they're available. More importantly, for my purposes with this post, it explains why the online presence of Alliance Building wouldn't match that of a middling-sized local contracting company.

On the broader matter of Gordon's status as a state representative, I haven't heard complaints from Republicans and conservatives about his legislative record, and that's the critical factor in judging his activities as a legislator. That said, unless he exhibits an ability to contain the problems that have repeatedly made him a figure of controversy in his short career in the RI House, he'll have proven himself too risky of an ally to support for reelection.

You know, folks across the political spectrum decry the results of government consisting entirely of polished politicians. I'm an advocate of having political careers begin at the local level so that the unpolished can have some experience as public figures on a scale that's small enough to allow mistakes and so that they'll have some sort of public record as they move up to larger constituencies.

Still, we construct our government of those who step forward, and that's what Dan Gordon did. Frankly, from observation at public meetings, I'm not persuaded that his opposition, in the last election, would have been much less erratic, and I'm confident that he would have been less likely to push Rhode Island toward the deep changes that the state's very survival requires.

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.

The only relevant question is-did he vote against the unsustainable Democrat budget?

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at September 13, 2011 7:23 AM

I did indeed vote against that horrendous budget that contains new taxes and a projected deficit at current spending levels. It's just another typical 'kick the can' exercise.

How about some 'inside baseball' and my perspective on the Ouster of the Republican from the Republican caucus? As State Democrat Party Chairman Ed Pacheco said, the constituents deserve to know. Forget about the Party theatrics from both sides; it's supposed to be about Truth, Honesty, and Integrity.

My very first introduction to the lunacy of the House Minority Caucus, came when we met to vote for Leadership candidates. Namely, Minority Leader and Minority Whip in the House of Representatives. The stump speeches, debate, and arguments came to a crescendo when a senior member displayed a photograph of himself in a t-shirt with an ugly bruise on the outside of a bicep. The narrative that accompanied the visual evidence included an accusation that the injury was caused by another senior member (who was vying to unseat the incumbent Leader) during a scuffle in the Minority office. High drama for a newly elected freshman Rep. that had never been privy to the inner shenanigans.

The other eye snapped open in May when the previous Leader was embroiled in media scandal over a driving incident and a politically opportunistic insurgent faction emerged, clamoring for a change in Leadership lest the good reputation of the Party and caucus be tarnished. I suggested that if we truly believed that a change was required, that we wait until we are out of session, re-caucus, and take a vote. That would minimize damage to the Party, Caucus, and to the individual. I was told, "we have to strike while the iron is hot". I was also lied to by the senior member that had been previously campaigning for Leader's seat about what I came to find out, rules that don't exist. The fact that the media was alerted, prior to the vote even being taken, is indicative of the true intent behind this politically opportunistic maneuver. It was then that myself and three other members separated from the Caucus. This was in May, not last week.

That is the reason why there were only six members in the secret meeting that 'expelled' me. I liken it to being benched on a fantasy football team when I wasn't even on the roster. Or being told that there's not enough room in the clown car. Or though I am on the deck of the ship, I am being piped off the life raft Minnow. Because I refused to kiss the ring of the tribal leader by not falling in lock-step, and refusing to cease criticism of bad legislation and bad votes, a decision was made to trick the People into thinking that I was a bad guy. Terrorism by it's very definition, for Newberry to go on the radio and tell the listeners that District 71 is now without representation. Lies and propaganda. Think about it. If there truly existed the problem they claim, wouldn't the solution be to draw me in and and attempt to work together on policy changes, rather than to engage in a smear campaign which essentially has let the pitbull off of the leash? Is the M.O. of the insurgents becoming clearer?

The burning question in many of your minds, I know, is what did I say that was so offensive that resulted in being removed from a group I didn't belong to. I have been both vocally critical, and in print on Facebook and Twitter in regards to the following.

1. Newberry. Support of gay marriage and abortion. Voted in favor of civil unions. Tried to convince me to vote in favor of this budget. The timing of the usurpation of the position of Leader.

2. Costa. Very first bill was a Resolution to Respect Christmas Trees. A Resolution of Congratulations to President Barack Hussein Obama. Introduction of a bill for mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients that had been ruled unconstitutional in violation of the 4th Amendment 8 years ago in Michigan. A confession of spreading unfounded rumors in the General Assembly about other Reps. and Senators. Having to call her campaign manager for advice on how to vote on the budget as a whole.

3. Reilly. Quoted in the Providence Journal; "It's a good budget."

4. Trillo. Part of the insurgency and lied to me regarding non-existent rules in the overthrow of the previous leader. The one that allegedly punched the other senior member in that very first caucus meeting.

5. Chippendale. Said in so many words on the House floor, that Jesus told him to vote in favor of civil unions for same-sex couples.

6. The sixth member that took part in the secret meeting shall be unnamed, as I have no friendly disagreement with the way they voted, or their legislation. My only quarrel with that person is their alignment with the insurgent faction during the House Minority Civil War of 2011.

I was very clear on my stances and policies when I ran for office. My style was evident during campaign speeches and in speaking with voters. The People of District 71 chose me, not any of the above named. But let's be clear...policy, legislation, and votes that are detrimental to the People of my District, must have daylight shone on them. If the People would rather have a go-along to get-alone, non-transparent Representative, that won't tell you the truth and vigorously fight for the right, they shall indicate so by their lots cast into the ballot box in November 2012.

Posted by: Rep. Dan Gordon at September 13, 2011 9:52 AM

Thanks Mr. Representative. You certainly made it clear why you got the boot.

Posted by: Max Diesel at September 13, 2011 12:53 PM

The people you claim to represent so vigourously are now getting to know who they elected and no one seems to be happy. You claim to represent us yet spoke of defunding our schools and stated that those in support of the GSA should face prosecution for thier actions. You complain about Rep Costa introducing a bill that could be unconstitutional but want people prosecuted for suporting a GSA

Posted by: eastbayguy at September 13, 2011 2:30 PM

"yet spoke of defunding our schools "

Really, Eastbayguy? That's quite a charge. Are you claiming that he spoke of defunding them on all levels, state and local?

Posted by: Monique at September 13, 2011 7:15 PM

Yes Monique. Checknout the quotes from Dan during the Tiverton GSA issue.

Posted by: Eastbayguy at September 13, 2011 7:20 PM

Rep. Gordon's boorish behaviour towards his colleagues is unprofessional. Somehow he believes he is the Only Righteous warrior and assures us he will "brave on" despite the burdens placed upon him by leadership. Has he ever thought for a moment what his behaviour has done to recruitment efforts in the GOP? He is still unwilling to temper his reactions and somehow feels it appropriate to place unfiltered commentary in the public venue. His ego prevents him from seeing things as they are; sadly he will lose his seat and his constituents will be deprived of his representation. SHame on you, Rep. Gordon. Didn't your mother ever teach you manners?

Posted by: Maria Olivera at September 14, 2011 3:45 AM

Did you see quotes Monique, any comments or defense of his threats to defund Tiverton schools.

Posted by: Eastbayguy at September 14, 2011 5:54 AM

Here's how it works, Eastbayguy. You made the claim; it's up to you to do the research and provide a link.

Posted by: Monique at September 14, 2011 8:20 AM

No Monique I dont have to make any links. Just ask Justin. The claims are not false. The whoel controversy about the GSA started with Dan's threat to defund Tiverton schools if they allowed a GSA. It is fairly common knowledge that even Dan himself will own up to. If you want to blindly support him thats your proble, maybe you should do the research.

Posted by: eastbayguy at September 14, 2011 9:32 AM

Monique check out anatomy of a controversy April 1 on this very website.

Posted by: eastbayguy at September 14, 2011 9:39 AM

Wow Mr. Gordon I am so discouraged by your childish behavior. I am willing to bet that someone was egging you on to behave like this. Now that you deservedly got ousted, is that puppeteer standing behind you or is he or she unavailable or remaining silent?

Posted by: Blackstone Valley at September 14, 2011 5:51 PM

Has anyone ever noticed that the folks who constantly rant against "big government" tend to also be sucking the teat of the same?

Gordon probably got some bucks for his bum leg....although he doesn't appear to be in a wheelchair. If he worked as a carpenter, he's probably good to go - yet he wants special treatment for government contracts? He takes government contracts at all?

You know a tree by it's fruit and this so called "tree of liberty" that the tea party wraps themselves in seems to blossom with Sour Patch Kids.

In summary, if the Tea Party and the RI GOP has such a leg to stand on, why are there not dozens of decent men and women stepping forward ? Answer=Because you have to be crazy and hypocritical to really believe all that stuff the TCC and Tea Party spout - so, by default, you are DonGordon.

Posted by: WatchDan at September 14, 2011 6:06 PM

Okay Monique I assume you have had time to view the quotes tfrom Mr.Gordon. As you can see this simpleton threatened to defund the schools despite having no power to do so.Do you still support him or think him abgood guy?

Posted by: Eastbayguy at September 14, 2011 7:48 PM

"Has anyone ever noticed that the folks who constantly rant against "big government" tend to also be sucking the teat of the same?"

Ever notice how the biggest blowhards just pull this crap out of their ass and toss it up against the wall to see if it will stick? Do you have any citations for that little factoid that doesn't include a Fruit of the Loom label and skid marks?

Posted by: Max Diesel at September 14, 2011 9:51 PM


To review, you claimed that Rep Gordon

spoke of defunding [Tiverton schools] on all levels, state and local

As proof, you sent me to an Anchor Rising post by Justin (link below) in which can be found the following statement by Rep Gordon:

And this is why if I have anything to say about it, Tiverton will lose school funding to local charter schools. It doesn't matter if gay or straight, if sexual meet-up groups are being promoted in our schools rather than improving test scores, that school is failing.

Assuming that's the statement that you referenced, Eastbayguy, it's not the proof as advertised. He wasn't calling for the defunding of education in Tiverton. He was calling for the emphasis in schools to be on education and proposing that, if this cannot be achieved, funds go to schools that can get the job done.

Do you object to this concept?

Posted by: Monique at September 15, 2011 3:56 PM

Monique you really are wrong on this one.first I said he spoke of defunding the schools. You added on all levels so please don't lie about what I wrote. It seems perfectly clear that he spoke of defunding the schools. He did this because a anti bullying group known as the gay straight alliance was formed. His little mind decided that this anti bullying group was a sexual meet up group and apparently you agree with him. From what I have readbthis group only meets after school and does so with no funding from the schools. It has members that are gay and members that are straight just like all the other groups and teams in school.
Defend Dan all you want but I guarantee you that this is just the tip of the ice berg forvthis volatile and dishonest man. If you really want to defend what he said it will only show you to intellectually dishonest and unable to see the truth through your republican tea party glasses.

Posted by: Eastbayguy at September 15, 2011 4:28 PM

Criticizing or defending Rep Gordon doesn't interest me in the least, Eastbayguy. What's important is that the record is accurate as to the statement (any statement) so that the discussion can move on to policy and which elected official best represents the constituents and the state.

I questioned you so as to understand exactly what you were contending. You confirmed it. If it WASN'T what you were claiming, you needed to correct me at that point, not after it became clear that the evidence you presented did not back up your contention.

Posted by: Monique at September 15, 2011 7:06 PM

... "which candidate", not "which elected official".

Posted by: Monique at September 15, 2011 7:10 PM

Monique I said he threatened to defund the Tiverton schools which he clearly did. It is right here I. Print and I am sure Dan won't deny it either. I doubt he will be re elected as he has done nothing but alienate his voters and nothing productive at all.

Posted by: Eastbayhuy at September 16, 2011 6:00 AM

My My looks like Rep Gordon got arrested as reported in the projo online in the Politics section and is now being held in the ACI under fugitive from justice charges and driving on a suspended license. Also the article states that Rep. Gordon has an extensive police record in MA. And let us not forget to mention Dan has a Cyber Stalking charge levied against him! My My!

Posted by: Feeling The Love at September 18, 2011 10:51 AM

I'll have to look into this more, but just so the comment above doesn't succeed in spreading misinformation, here's the article referenced

The "fugitive" charge stemmed from a missed court date related to an "evading police" charge. RI state police discovered the charge when Gordon filed the cyberstalking charge. It wasn't levied against him as the comment above asserts.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 18, 2011 11:22 AM

Well, they say the tip of the iceberg hides what is under it.........

Extensive police record? Criminal?

Why not just hear an admission from the RI Right that this guy is not even close to being fit for ANY office. He is probably not fit to be a free man in our society! Wait until y'all see what else comes out.

False gods and deities. The right loves them!

Posted by: DanGord0 at September 19, 2011 12:25 PM

Let's mention the most damaging - so far. He's a VIOLENT CRIMINAL. One has to hope it was not a woman or helpless person he attacked.

"That included a four-month stint at the Bristol County House of Correction for an assault and battery with a dangerous weapon conviction. On Friday, he was arrested and held over the weekend at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston."

Justin, it's time to denounce this man and everything he stood and stands for. It's time to admit the TCC was wrong and you were also.

He HAS been convicted. As above, so below, eh?

It is amazing that the GOP, TP and AR continues to defend this man in any way, shape or form. Any.

Posted by: DanGord0 at September 19, 2011 7:03 PM


"Gordon was in trouble again two years later. In November 2001, the Taunton police arrested him again on charges that he assaulted his girlfriend, Michelle Nelson, and threatened to kill her"

I am seriously sick to my stomach. This man is evil. He is also sick. He also is the preferred candidate of the Tea party, the TCC, this site and other right wing Rhodys.

Justin, when are you going to run for office? You cannot let people like this represent you!

Posted by: DanGord0 at September 19, 2011 8:00 PM
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