November 30, 2010

The Governor-Elect and his Transition Team Decline to Answer Anchor Rising's Civics Questions, Citing Disagreement with Their Premises

Carroll Andrew Morse

I submitted the Anchor Rising list of Gubernatorial civics questions to the transition team of incoming Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee -- who, you may recall, stated during his campaign that “Rhode Island state government must be open, accessible, and accountable to its citizens" -- and asked if the Governor-elect would be willing to sit for an interview on them. A spokesman for the Chafee transition team declined the offer, saying that...

We do not agree with the premise of these questions.
The questions that the new administration is not willing to discuss, premises included, are listed below.

  1. The previous legislative year began with the creation of a Teachers' Health Insurance Board, which on its face looks to be a violation of the separation-of-powers provision of the RI Constitution. We ended the year with the passage of a municipal fiscal stabilization bill, that can be basically used to suspend democratic governance in any RI municipality.

    Are we living through times right now that are so extreme, that basic principles of democratic government need to be shoved aside?

  2. One set of criteria in the new fiscal stabilization law that can trigger a municipal takeover by the state involves decisions made by bond-rating agencies. The 1990s RI Supreme Court opinion which will likely be used to justify this new law begins with the statement that "on or about July 16, 1993, Moody's Investors Services, a recognized bond-rating agency, downgraded the town of West Warwick's municipal bonds to a grade Ba".

    Do we now live in a society that believes that financial-industry needs take precedence over democratic voice?

  3. There has been speculation in national media that several states facing long-term fiscal problems -- a category that can be fairly said to include Rhode Island -- may ask for a Federal bailout, or that Federal laws will be changed to allow them to declare bankruptcy. Do you believe that either of these options are possibilities for Rhode Island in the near term?

  4. The combined state and municipal budgets for Rhode Island have grown steadily (adjusted for inflation) over the past 10 years, a period of time which includes September 11, 2001 and its immediate aftermath, the end-of-the-financial world as we knew it in 2008, and the relative lull (at least domestically) in between.

    Is it by design or by accident that government has been growing as if on autopilot -- or would you disagree with that characterization entirely? Compared with 10 years ago, are Rhode Islanders getting more in return for their increased spending?

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.

"We do not agree with the premise of these questions." is what they said, but I'm going to guess it came from something like this:

Trainor: "Hey George, you heard of Andrew Morse from Anchor something or other? I guess it's a web site?"

Walsh: "Yeah, I've heard of them, why?"

Trainor: "They want to ask some questions about teachers, budgets and the size of government."

Walsh: "Tell them to F off."

Trainor: "Ok, thanks George!"

Dear Mr. Morse,

We do not agree with the premise of these questions.


The Chafee Administration.

Posted by: Patrick at November 30, 2010 10:00 AM

Along the same vein: When did you stop beating your wife?

Posted by: Russ at November 30, 2010 10:39 AM

And given the constant attack on the Chafee team by AR from the second he threw his hat in the ring, why should he answer?
It's a little difficult to consider yourself the media out of one side of your mouth while begging for money from your ideological compatriots from the other.
But then again, when a certain "patriot" from Alaska delivers the same answer to questions, she's a hero. Go figure.

Posted by: bella at November 30, 2010 12:02 PM

"It's a little difficult to consider yourself the media out of one side of your mouth while begging for money from your ideological compatriots from the other."

Ahh, bella, you get the ProJo for free? When they call you up to get a subscription, they told you it's free? Or did they say you'd have to pay for it?

Why should Chafee talk to AR? Because as Andrew mentioned, he said he would. He'd be open to *all* Rhode Islanders. Unless "all" means "those who agree with his philosophies.

Posted by: Patrick at November 30, 2010 1:55 PM


Other candidates for Governor were able to provide thoughtful answers to the set of questions that was submitted, and inform the public about their views important governance-related issues. But please enlighten us on why you believe these questions are out-of-bounds.


If the Chafee administration wants to renege on its campaign promises about open government, and grant access based on whether someone fits a particular idea of who it is that should be questioning public officials, rather than on the issues and ideas that are presented -- as you suggest they are doing -- that is their formal right.

Posted by: Andrew at November 30, 2010 3:23 PM

The ProJo has never claimed its mission is to pull Rhode Island from the brink. It's mission is to make a profit, which is a goal shared by many here.

Posted by: bella at November 30, 2010 7:38 PM

Andrew- you sound like dan Yorke. I can imagine the scream. Both anchor rising and wpro talk have just lost access to the governor's office. Don probably had an office at wpro.

Posted by: David S at December 3, 2010 6:30 PM
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