November 10, 2010

The Transition to Reinvigorated Decline

Justin Katz

Bob Walsh is on Governor-elect Lincoln Chafee's transition team? National Education Association Rhode Island Executive Director Bob Walsh is preparing the way for Rhode Island's next governor? Boy, they (you know whom I mean) aren't even trying to hide it anymore.

Two hyperbolic scenarios arise in my imagination. In the first, a simpering Chafee begs, "Please, Mr. Walsh, don't make me put you on my transition team. They'll know!" In the second, he ambles into Walsh's office: "Gee, Bob, you're so smart and savvy. I really need your help to bring me the final steps to the State House." Being thoroughly convinced of Chafee's cluelessness, I suspect the latter is closer to the truth.

And so, Ed Achorn writes:

The real problem comes when [Chafee] turns to fiscal and economic issues. He ran on a platform of hiking the taxes of some of the state's poorest and most vulnerable people to, in effect, redistribute their meager wealth to some of its richest political interests — the public-sector unions. Rather than insist on deeper staff and benefit cuts at the local level, Mr. Chafee favors a 1 percent sales tax on essential items such as food and medicine.

But that's only the tip of the iceberg. He also favors expanding binding arbitration, which is at the top of the unions' wish list, because it tends to benefit them at taxpayer expense.

Will he also support another union scheme — postponing contentious pension reform by refinancing the state's pension debt? That delay would add billions of dollars to the obligations of Rhode Island taxpayers and make our problem vastly more difficult to solve.

Today's paper articulates what we who've paid attention have known all along: that Chafee owes his success to the public-sector unions:

Here's the way it worked: the big unions — including the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association of Rhode Island, the United Nurses and Allied Professionals and District 1199 of the Service Employees International Union — contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Ocean State Action which, in turn, spent the money on Chafee's behalf. ...

The NEA "advocacy fund" gave Ocean State Action $102,000 to help Chafee; the Federation of Teachers, $50,000; the SEIU, $9,500, UNAP, $2,500 and the Ocean State Action coalition, which includes nonunion groups such as Clean Water Action and Marriage Equality Rhode Island, contributed $35,500 toward its "victory campaign." The Sierra Club kicked in $250, and the National Organization for Women, $125.

From its headquarters next door to the NEA on Bald Hill Road in Cranston, Ocean State Action then spent roughly $187,228 to help Chafee, according to its latest "independent expenditure" filings with the state Board of Elections.

And then there's the built-in campaign force — and a certain number of guaranteed votes — of people who make their comfortable livings from government coffers.

You know Rhode Island has made a reckless pick for governor when you find yourself hoping that the General Assembly will offer a reasonable restraint...


It's not as immediate a concern, in the context of a state governor, but let's not forget that Chafee has also tapped former Planned Parenthood Medical Director Pablo Rodriguez, as well. It says nothing positive about our pending — looming — governor that he's seeking transition assistance from a man who finds affirmation in his experience of performing abortions in a room filled with Christian images.

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.

Hello, everyone. This is my first time commenting since I moved out of Rhode Island, and it may be my last.

Just stopping by to report that since I left the morally and economically bankrupt Democratic hellhole that was my home for 25 years, I have been far happier and more successful. I have a great new non-union job with a great boss, which for some odd reason doesn't pay me minimum wage with no benefits, defying all progressive logic. I feel like a great weight has been lifted, like I'm not being robbed and insulted everyday by those who run my government. It's an amazing and empowering feeling.

In my current state, taxes are low and are spent responsibly on public works that people actually enjoy like trees, benches, and working fountains. The people are friendlier down here. Unemployment is lower and unemployment benefits are lower. There is a pride in working and personal responsibility that I never felt before in RI.

It is a right to work state, so I don't hear much from teachers unions anymore. I'm sure I don't have to mention that we blow RI out of the water in quality of education, not a coincidence. Police are paid reasonable salaries and mostly just leave people alone. Firefighters are volunteer. Sales tax is a whopping 4%. Not much corruption, or they do a very good job hiding it.

I urge each and every one of you to leave the fool's errand that is RI as soon as you are able. Every day you stay in RI, you are voting with your actions for the Marxists and criminals who run the state, doing your part to ensure that status quo. If you haven't learned by this past election that nothing will ever change in RI, well, you won't ever learn, and you'll die unhappy fighting those same old windmills.

You have 49 other states from which to choose. RI is not the best of them. Move to NH, move to VA, anywhere, just move somewhere and stop bankrolling the legal mafias in the public unions, city councils, and state legislature. If you love your family, take them with you. Friends will follow, or you'll make new friends. Get out, and do it sooner rather than later. Don't be a martyr for liberty and sanity. Do yourself a favor.

Posted by: Dan at November 10, 2010 7:13 AM

Not everyone can leave for one reason or another.
Thatt is no reason not to fight the pestilence of Chafee,Walsh,Crowley,Peter Asen,and their buttwipe "legislators"in the GA.
They got it now,and it'll be nice to see them try to spin their way out of a state collapse.
Chafee has as much as announced a sanctuary state.
Let's not forget the dirt on Bishop Tobin's hands-he of the mellifluous voice-and now he's in with a crew that includes a baby killer.I don't think there's a euphemistic word for that.
In the ecumenical spirit,I'd include Rev.Donald Anderson and Rabbi Alan Flam as associate dirtbags.
Just because someone dons a beanie or turns their collar around doesn't give them a teflon shield,so if anyone is offended,too bad.
This is the case of patients running the asylum.
I bet a lot of people thought I was exaggerating the danger Peter"Trotsky"Asen and his clique pose to the state of RI.
What say you now?

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 10, 2010 7:34 AM

Nice comments from Mr. Bernstein.

But you don't encourage hate speech, right Justin?

Posted by: Pat Crowley at November 10, 2010 10:07 AM

Imagine a lecture on hate speech from Crowley.The master of it.
I'm surprised he didn't throw in his usual "racist"comment,but of course most of the people I truly despise are White poseurs from Barrington,Lincoln,the East Side,etc.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 10, 2010 10:19 AM

Bob Walsh's words from February 2009, "Maybe 2010 won’t be my year to run for Governor, and this will actually be my attempt to create a forum where issue-by-issue, a real discussion can be held in the virtual Rhode Island Future world about the development of a real progressive campaign platform, so that can become the standard by which progressives judge the many candidates vying for our support. Maybe some of those candidates will even adopt ideas developed right here."

April 29, 2009, Lincoln Chaffe announces for Governor.

I guess Bob found his candidate! He didn't need to run for governor because he knew he had a sucker he could use as his puppet. Walsh is the governor-elect, we just don't know it yet. I suspct this means that we will often see Pat Crowley wandering around the executive wing of the state house next year.

Posted by: John at November 10, 2010 11:54 AM

Or, as the full release noted, I was qualified and willing to help:

"Bob Walsh graduated with degrees in Political Science and Organizational Behavior and Management from Brown University and received his Master of Science in Labor and Industrial Relations from the University of Rhode Island. After a decade in banking and finance, he joined the National Education Association Rhode Island staff in 1992, and was named Executive Director of NEARI in 2001.

"In addition to his work at NEARI, Bob currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the labor coalition Working Rhode Island, and previously served on the boards of numerous other organizations, including Ocean State Action, the Providence Plan, Waterfire Providence and Leadership Rhode Island. His past government service includes serving as Co-Chairman of Mayor Cicilline’s 2002 transition team, Chairman of the Providence Water Supply Board, and as a member of the House Commission to Study the Rhode Island State Pension System and Governor Carcieri’s Tax Policy Strategy Workgroup."

You folks did not complain this much when Governor Carcieri asked me to serve on his Tax Policy group, or even when I had oversight of 60% of the state's water supply. But, as my mother often says, as long as you are picking on me, you are leaving someone else alone!

While I was generally satisfied with the election outcomes in RI this year, there is always room for improvement. I am looking forward to engaging with you all in civil debate and the democratic process again in two years.

All the best,

Posted by: Bob Walsh at November 10, 2010 3:12 PM


I/We didn't complain because we trusted Governor Carcieri to keep us moving in the right direction. I don't trust Licoln Chafee to do the same, so I caomplain about what I expect based on the evidence presented in the Governor-elect's statements.

Posted by: John at November 10, 2010 3:24 PM

Bob-I don't like left wing social engineering,which you are all about.
I don't like Lincoln Chafee.
I don't like people who use a medical degree to deny life to innocent people.(Yes,they are people).
I don't think you really give a damn about kids getting educated-the NEA has degraded the environment of our public schools.
I can be civil to you,but don't take that to mean I want you to succeed at your schemes.
I can understand a guy without a pot to piss in being a leftist-what has he got to lose?
I really think well to do leftists are hypocrites to the bone.

Posted by: joe bernstein at November 10, 2010 4:29 PM


I'm pretty sure that Anchor Rising noted your presence on the pension board. That said, you surely see the difference between your participation in a board in which your professional constituency had a stake and your helping a particular politician to prepare to enter office.

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 10, 2010 8:45 PM

Speaking of pension funds, “The state Employees' Retirement System pension fund began its new fiscal year with a bang as it exploded 8.3 percent last quarter -- one of its best returns ever -- and boosted its assets to $10.6 billion, its highest level in more than two years.”

Posted by: Ken at November 11, 2010 1:42 AM

"Bob Walsh graduated with degrees in Political Science and Organizational Behavior and Management from Brown University and received his Master of Science in Labor and Industrial Relations from the University of Rhode Island. After a decade in banking and finance, he joined the National Education Association Rhode Island staff in 1992, and was named Executive Director of NEARI in 2001..."

All that education wasted! People who aren't in unions are labor too,not things to be squeezed for every last cent earned. Not things to be subjugated. How come they didn't teach you that? How come your mother didn't teach you proper values?

Would your mother think the illiteracy rates in our state are a wonderful thing,so fair for the children?

Posted by: helen at November 12, 2010 10:08 PM

Would a strike of non union people be illegal? If everyone who is not in a union stopped working,if business owners refused to open,would that be illegal?

Posted by: helen at November 13, 2010 12:30 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.