August 22, 2012

Gemma's "Breaking News": What Did You Think?

Monique Chartier

The day previewed last week by Anthony Gemma in a somewhat hyperbolic announcement finally arrived.

WPRO carried the press conference live - their follow-up report here - though they disappointingly cut away from the press conference after Gemma had finished his statement.

An extensive report by WPRI, which includes reaction from various quarters, also names who came to the microphone after WPRO returned to regular programming.

Afterwards, three individuals - Laura Perez, Erminia Garcia and City Councilman Wilbur Jennings - took to the microphone and said they could corroborate his allegations.

Former RI Attorney General Jim O'Neil calls the accusations credible and asserts that the Rhode Island State Police are investigating them but

" far as saying there is an individual that says David Cicilline was part and parcel of this on a daily basis,” O’Neil says. “I didn't hear that and neither did you.”

A post by our friend Professor William Jacobson (certainly no fan of David Cicilline) over at Legal Insurrection includes a video of the "breaking news" but also a somewhat wary observation as to its potential impact - or lack thereof - on the race.

But I’m not sure how much more this hurts him, unless more facts come out.

The ethics cloud already is factored into the electorate.

If Ciciline wins, it will not be because people think he’s honest, it will be a combination of scaring Grandma half to death that Republicans will take her social security check from her hands then throw her off a cliff combined with promising federal cash to key constituent groups … basically the Obama playbook.

Personal aside: I'd take umbrage at a comment under the professor's post that characterizes Rhode Island as a suburb of Chicago but I'm too busy nodding in agreement.

Your turn. What did you think of the witness statement that Anthony Gemma read and the way that he presented it? Did the three corroborating witnesses who followed him lend the assertions in the statement credibility?

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.

There is literally no reason to give any credit to the Gemma statements from today. Without substantially more evidence this is just going to please the folks who have convinced themselves that democrats can only win in this state by bussing in dead illegal immigrants to vote in the first place.

Seriously, there is no evidence right now. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" and right now there isn't even "ordinary" evidence.

Posted by: Jason at August 22, 2012 11:11 PM

Probability of anything resulting from these allegations: zero point zero.

Posted by: Dan at August 22, 2012 11:37 PM

I'm not sure what people expected from a political press conference. If he has actually turned over anything of value to law enforcement, I imagine they would have frowned on him releasing names, dates, and times. The lack of confirmation by the agencies mentioned also threw more questions than answers into the mix. Not that I don't believe the allegations, I'm reserving judgment that anything will be done until I hear it from someone from RISP, FBI, or the US Attorney.

Posted by: Max D at August 23, 2012 6:22 AM

Nothing will come of this. The authorites don't act fast enough to have any kind of effective outcome within three weeks. Mr. Gemma wasted his time as an election strategy. As a public service effort, well I guess we can say he did a good thing.

As for turning things over to the state police? Well, let's see....

Central Falls city hall (mayor) corruption.....NOTHING.

International Sports Institute corruption........NOTHING.

Does anyone really believe the state police will bring anything to the AG that will turn into criminal charges? I don't.

As for the US Attorney's office. How many convictions came from the last two or three "Operation this or that" ever came to pass!

Posted by: John at August 23, 2012 7:05 AM

The rest of the country views Rhode Island like the rest of the world views Africa. They don't want to spend time, money, and attention cleaning up a hopeless, corrupt mess with scarce resources. The Feds will jump on an easy target of opportunity here or there. He said, she said isn't enough.

Posted by: Dan at August 23, 2012 7:57 AM

Wow...aren't we all jaded. I am more hopeful that this state is finally beginning to realize that it doesn't have to continue to have taxes like Sweden and roads like Mogadishu. If we don't expect better, we won't get it.

Posted by: Mike678 at August 23, 2012 9:29 AM

Gemma should be run out of town on a rail. None of this is credible (have any of you actually met Laura Perez?). Unfortunately people will take this as confirming their preconceived notions about immigrants, the south side, etc. If Gemma wins the primary, I may have to vote Republican.

Posted by: Russ at August 23, 2012 10:52 AM

"people will take this as confirming their preconceived notions about immigrants, the south side, etc."

What mysterious "people" would those be, Russ? I haven't seen anything of that sort appear on this blog in connection with Gemma's press conference. Just speculatin' again?

Posted by: Dan at August 23, 2012 11:23 AM

"What mysterious 'people' would those be, Russ?"

They're not so "mysterious." I'm guessing you don't listen to much talk radio? Some serious rants on the air yesterday.

Posted by: Russ at August 23, 2012 11:43 AM

If you're talking about specific people, then identify them. Libertarians and conservatives get tiring being blanket-labeled as racists and anti-immigrant by the RIFuture crowd over and over when it's a completely untrue progressive meme. And everytime you make reference to "immigrants" instead of "illegal immigrants" in these discussions, you are only demonstrating your own intellectual dishonesty. Don't think we don't recognize the game you are playing there.

Posted by: Dan at August 23, 2012 12:09 PM

Pretend that sentiment doesn't exist if you like. I suppose all folks in the suburbs think immigrants in Providence are hardworking an honest, right?

Posted by: Russ at August 23, 2012 12:33 PM

Here's a post from you claiming RI's fiscal condition is due to immigrants coming here to collect welfare, clearly because you hold them in such high regard (for the record, I don't presume to accuse anyone of holding those views because of racism - you brought that up)...

Posted by: Russ at August 23, 2012 12:40 PM

"Here's a post from you claiming RI's fiscal condition is due to immigrants coming here to collect welfare"

False, Russ. I never even used the word "immigrant" in my comments, and people are free to read them for themselves. Thank you for proving my exact point: you are incapable of addressing arguments at face value without distorting people's words.

A year later and you still haven't answered my question about why Rhode Island is in such uniquely dire economic circumstances, by the way. Will it be avoidance or denial this time?

Posted by: Dan at August 23, 2012 1:13 PM


It's clear that you are special--that you have no preconceived notions and are an open-minded individual; you are indeed better than all of us. Now, please answer Dan's question and enlighten the masses....

Posted by: Mike678 at August 23, 2012 2:45 PM

East Providence had a big voter fraud situation in 2004 and 06. If there is no political will, nothing will happen. You can have all the proof in the world, but if the AG doesn't want to do anything and puts pressure on the RISP it goes away, been there on that

Posted by: kathy at August 23, 2012 2:46 PM

For the record, I said preconceptions about "immigrants, the south side, etc." Curiously you latched on to the comment as a personal affront. In any case, I believe Gemma's announcement to be a cynical ploy to exploit those sentiments (in the Democratic primary btw... it is quite curious you took that to mean you).

As for Dan's question, I believe I've answered that here before, and there's nothing "uniquely dire" about it. States that relied heavily on manufacturing were hard hit by offshoring and agreements like NAFTA. Those jobs never came back. Add in the Bush recession and here we are.

Posted by: Russ at August 23, 2012 3:19 PM

Russ - Like the rest of the RIFuture crowd, you have a convenient, one-cause skapegoat narrative at the ready to explain away all of Rhode Island's economic suffering (corporate greed). The problem is that your narrative is totally unsupported by anything but conjecture. I just spent 15 minutes with BLS databases and a calculator crunching some numbers based on historical census data and NAICS/SIC codes.

Between 1973 and 2003, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut had roughly the same number of manufacturing jobs per capita (the drop was from around 14% population to around 7% population). Connecticut and Rhode Island lost roughly the same percentage of their manufacturing jobs during this time period ( around 40-45%), and Massachusetts lost around 35%. New Hampshire actually gained manufacturing jobs by around an 8% increase.

So the obvious holes in your NAFTA/outsourcing narrative are: why didn't Connecticut and Massachusetts suffer the same economic fate as Rhode Island in light of their similar manufacturing declines, and how did New Hampshire manage to actually gain manufacturing jobs over this period despite NAFTA/outsourcing?

Posted by: Dan at August 23, 2012 4:37 PM

@Russ-I haven't met Laura Perez,but I guess she got you all lathered up amking accusations at your buddy,Matt Jerzyk.
Now,I don't know what Jerzyk did or didn't do-but here are facts:At one point Matt was on the Board of Directors of PRYZM(sp?)and he also was Grace Diaz' campaign manager;and he was active in Cicilline's campaigns for Mayor(I think he was with Segal for Congress)and he was an SEIU organizer of home day care workers in South Providence.So I don't think she picked his name out of a hat.No proof of wrongdoing has been produced at this time.Everyone is free to draw whatever conclusion(or none)that they care to.
Note:PRYZM is a predominantely SE Asian youth group that locked horns with Gov.Carcieri and then Sue Carcieri over the firing of some SE Asian interpreters.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 23, 2012 6:05 PM

So your contention is that social welfare programs are so different here than in CT or MA? No doubt, CT and MA had more diverse economies (e.g. pharma, biotech) outside of legacy manufacturing, something we should note.

Posted by: Russ at August 24, 2012 1:10 PM

"So your contention is that social welfare programs are so different here than in CT or MA? No doubt, CT and MA had more diverse economies (e.g. pharma, biotech) outside of legacy manufacturing, something we should note."

Do you buy into Cicilline's job creation plan through returning manufacturing to Rhode Island?

Posted by: Max D at August 24, 2012 1:24 PM

Russ - My point is that you and your RIFuture gang are intellectually lazy with your narratives of convenience and try to have it both ways. On some level of consciousness, you realize that Rhode Island is a heavily Democratic/liberal/union/progressive state, so it's severe economic problems are a constant source of embarassment to your movement. This is why you methodically dispute all of the studies and polls that rank RI poorly, and why you are constantly defending Rhode Island's mythical "quality of life." However, you also sporatically acknowledge Rhode Island's problems, when it's politically convenient to do so, by blaming its economic stagnation and constant stream of embarassments on the Republican Carcieri or "the corporations" you purport run the state from the shadows (contrary to campaign finance reports, which clearly show unions outspend corporations in local elections). You don't put even the slighest bit of thought or effort into determining whether your narratives are true or not - you just find something that "seems true to you," like that Rhode Island too heavily relied on manufacturing and lost when corporations turned their back on Americans by outsourcing, and that's all the investigation necessary for you. Nevermind that the data doesn't support this at all.

Any honest thinker will acknowledge that the issues are far more complex. At a minimum, you have to look at tax policy, entitlements policy, union policy, transparency and accountability in government, regulatory scheme, and political history of the state to get a picture of what is really wrong to have caused such chronic problems.

Posted by: Dan at August 24, 2012 1:33 PM

Yes, if you're talking about the "Make it in America Block Grant Program Act of 2011" or ideas like the National Infrastructure Bank (originally proposed by Dodd and Hagel), I'm in favor.

Posted by: Russ at August 24, 2012 1:39 PM

Fact is, if not for manufacturing job losses RI would be creating jobs. I stumbled on this looking at Max D's question (see figure 2)...

I agree it's complex though. We just differ as to the root causes. Personally I think those who claim everything is caused by tax policy and unions are intellectually lazy. Transparency and simplified regulatory compliance strike me as areas where there's plenty of common ground.

Posted by: Russ at August 24, 2012 1:47 PM

It's not that we "just" differ as to root causes. Your narratives are oversimplified, inconsistent, employed only when convenient to you, and fly in the face of publicly available data. In contrast, we acknowledge Rhode Island's severe economic problems, we identify a number of different public policy issues that could be contributing to the problems, and we support our arguments with data and logical inference for examination. So, to name one example of many, the progressive narrative is that evil corporate interests have the most influence in Rhode Island with their money and power. The publicly available data doesn't support this position at all, and in fact clearly shows that unions vastly outspend corporate interests in local elections and a disproportionate number of representatives come directly from organized labor. So it is with 50%+ disability retirement rates, 5-6% COLAs, report after report ranking RI unfavorably for businesses and overly generous with welfare spending, etc. You don't like what the evidence tells you, so you just ignore the evidence.

The Brookings report can't explain why New Hampshire was able to add manufacturing jobs while Rhode Island has steadily lost them. You can't claim that New Hampshire has been massively subsidizing that sector as you would have us do in Rhode Island. Something else is going on there and needs to be addressed.

Posted by: Dan at August 24, 2012 3:13 PM
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