April 22, 2012

Taking on Ted

Patrick Laverty

Ted Nesi writes a weekly notes column and posts it on Saturday mornings. I tried writing my own for a few weeks and it's really a lot of work. It's not something that can be thrown out there in a few minutes, as it does take a bunch of researching and note taking. So it's a big credit to him for the work he does on it each week.

I try to read the column each week and while there may occasionally be a point in there that makes me pause, this week there seemed to be a few. So rather than just posting in his comments section, I figured I'd post them here.

3. Greg Mankiw: ”If people feel that their taxes exceed the value of their public services, they can go elsewhere.
Not always. After being in the situation where I had my house up for sale and had a somewhat limited timeframe of about six months to sell, I can say that this isn't always true. It eventually came down to my deadline where my realtor wanted to drop to a price where my house would have sold at a loss, or not nearly enough in order to qualify for the next mortgage. So voting with my feet turned out to not be an option. I imagine this is the case for many people who want to move but also want to be able to get another mortgage again in the next 7-10 years. They're stuck where they are.
6. The best argument for the idea that David Cicilline didn’t know what a mess Providence’s finances were during the 2010 campaign may be his botched communications strategy after the details emerged last March. If the congressman really understood how bad things were but was hiding it, wouldn’t he have used that advance knowledge to prepare some sort of response? And wouldn’t he have waited fewer than 13 months to pivot to an apology?
No. It's called "arrogance." He greatly underestimated the people in Rhode Island, at least with regard to their ability to answer poll questions. It's yet to be seen if they can be trusted to do the same at the voting booth. David Cicilline is a smart man and is very skilled in the art of argument. He thought he could argue and spin his way at least into another term in Congress. Like I've written before, there's no way he didn't know the full story of the condition of Providence's finances. If he didn't, then there was no reason to block the auditor from getting the records he needed to do his job.
The Providence Phoenix’s David Scharfenberg made a similar point in his profile of Rhode Island’s Future proprietor Bob Plain, calling him “part of an emerging, alternate daily press corps that also includes Rhode Island Public Radio, golocalprov, and WPRI blogger Ted Nesi — a youthful, digital-savvy crew that has taken on increased importance since the Providence Journal put most of its reporting behind a paywall in February.” (I would agree with that analysis, though, wouldn’t I?)
Imagine if there were any other bloggers or "alternate daily press corps" in Rhode Island that weren't mentioned. Like, a conservative leaning one. Now that'd be cool.

Like I said, Ted does a great job and some of these points aren't even necessarily directed at him, but just some things that I wanted to add as I read his column.

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" If the congressman really understood how bad things were but was hiding it, wouldn’t he have used that advance knowledge to prepare some sort of response?"

Who's this writing new excuses talking points for David Cicilline???

The Prevaricator representing CD1 wouldn't prepare a response in advance because he is pathological in his lying, as a function of which, he didn't think he'd get busted - for lying, for locking out the internal auditor, for covering up. Why would you bother coming up with a cover story if you're not going to get caught?

Remember also that the Internal Auditor was LOCKED OUT of his job for six months. Are we truly supposed to believe that this was not done at the desire, explicitly stated or not, of then-Mayor Cicilline?

In fact, the highly unusual delay in the undertaking of the audits by both the internal and outside auditors is incontrovertible evidence that the mayor not only knew about the internal auditor being locked out but, more to the point, wanted it that way so that the audits could be delayed and he could go around lying to his political audiences about what a great job he was doing in Providence without the press showing up asking a lot of awkward questions.

On the vanishingly remote chance that the mayor did not know about any of this, he needs to immediately identify who on his staff locked out the auditor (though nothing would explain the delays in the audits), turn these staff members over to the authorities with a demand for a criminal investigation and make the corresponding request that their pension and OPEB be suspended.

Whenever you're ready, Congressman ...

Posted by: Monique at April 22, 2012 10:58 PM

3. Flip side: Rhode Island is damn lucky disenchanted taxpayers can't go elsewhere otherwise they would.

6. Irrefutable evidence that David Cicilline is a liar: he's a lawyer/politician.

Posted by: Max D at April 23, 2012 8:08 PM
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