Carcieri Says “No” to Extension of Chief Justice’s Fiefdom
Rhode Island Chief Justice Frank Williams made headlines a few months ago for his smackdown of Governor Carcieri’s idea of across the board cost-cutting as “draconian.” Well, the Governor is waving a bloody steak in front of the Judicial lion again:
Governor Carcieri is criticizing legislators for authorizing up to $71 million in borrowing for a new state courthouse in Lincoln when the state is trying to close a $300-million budget gap.
“Governor Carcieri does not support building yet another brand new courthouse at this time,” Carcieri spokesman Jeff Neal said yesterday. “State officials are working to deal with the largest budget crisis in recent memory. The solution to that crisis involves a myriad of proposed budget cuts that will affect thousands of Rhode Islanders. We simply cannot afford to pay for another shiny new state office building.”
Neal noted the new Kent County Court House, which cost $60 million, opened last August, and the new Traffic Tribunal courthouse, which cost $21.8 million, opened in January. “In the last two years, the judiciary has already opened two new, expensive courthouse buildings,” he said. “I think we can wait a few years before we open a third.”
Heck, not even Lincoln wants it. Chief Justice Williams didn’t comment (though, as in the past, I’m sure he’ll have something more to say), but a spokesman…
…said Williams “still thinks it is important to build a Blackstone Valley courthouse for all of the reasons we’ve been citing all along.”
The courthouse would “better serve the 12 communities of the Blackstone Valley, where there has been significant population increase in the last several years,” Berke said. “Now, people from those communities have to come to Providence, where parking is a problem. And the other major factor is aimed at decongesting the Garrahy Judicial Complex” in Providence.
Berke noted the initial spending on the project would be deferred a year. “The chief justice appreciates the governor’s concerns about the state’s deficit but still feels it is important that this project go forward at some point,” he said.
Do I detect a slight backing off, there? Regardless, spare me the pity party about the people who have to travel “all the way to Providence”. And if congestion at the Garrahy complex is such a problem, why don’t we just funnel them over to the Taj Ma-Williams Courthouse in Warwick?