A Monopoly of Power
As we wait for the General Assembly to make an appearance on the local governance scene — maybe helping, you know, to figure out from where tens of millions of dollars are supposed to come #&151; the pause offers opportunity to revive a metaphor articulated by Larry Valencia, Operation Clean Government, back in July:
Our legislators, and especially our legislative leaders, Speaker William Murphy, Majority Leader Gordon Fox, and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, already have the best property cards and money.
With their onerous procedural rules and Democratic supermajorities, they already own Boardwalk. They have shiny red hotels, enough to shame Donald Trump. They don’t need more help controlling this game.
The average Rhode Island citizen is the one who needs help. He or she slumps forlornly on Baltic Avenue, in a dull green house, with foreclosed neighbors on Mediterranean. Average Rhode Islanders need a cash infusion from the bank, a railroad or two, or an emergency loan from Rich Uncle Moneybags (the dude with the monocle).
This lopsided game explains why so many good government ideas — from legislation creating an inspector general’s office, to removing the “master lever” option from voting ballots, or creating a more informative voter handbook — are trapped in procedural limbo.