A visual representative of bureaucracy blocks access to a highway

Johnston’s unreachable neighborhood illustrates the problem with insider-ocracy.

By Justin Katz | January 28, 2024 |

Johnston’s challenge gaining access to a neighborhood during emergencies exposes several problems of RI’s way of doing things.

A 1950s coach has a bad idea

Politics This Week: RI Pols Put the Exploitation in “Team”

By Justin Katz | January 22, 2024 |

John DePetro and Justin Katz review the ways in which RI’s self-appointed “coach” and self-presumed captains manipulate the “team” of Rhode Islanders.

"I Voted" sticker in a pile of leaves

The Johnston school vote raises Rhode Island’s most important question.

By Justin Katz | April 6, 2022 |

The inaccuracy of Steve Ahlquist’s tweet is worth noting, but it should be a springboard, not a stopping point: 86% of Johnston voters voted to approve a $215 million proposal to finance the largest modernization of education facilities in Johnston’s history. The results table he appends does indeed show that 1,100 people voted to approve…

The Advantaged Class at the Town Level, Too

By Justin Katz | May 3, 2011 |

Providence Journal reporter Mark Reynolds dipped into the pension situation in Johnston, on Sunday, focusing on this case: Fire Lt. William R. Jasparro was 41 when he ended his 20-year career as a Johnston firefighter in 1990. Jasparro’s retirement package paid him about $18,255 per year [with cost of living adjustments] — based on half…

Pension Reform in Johnston

By Marc Comtois | February 18, 2011 |

Out of necessity (ya think?) they’re reforming pensions in Johnston. Stephen Beale reports on why: One of the biggest problems is with disability pensions. Out of 71 retired firefighters, 34 of them are on a disability pension, earning two thirds of their salary tax free. During the tenure of former Fire Chief Victor Cipriano, 15…

A Question on Pensions

By Justin Katz | August 19, 2010 |

I actually agree with former Johnston Policewoman Michele Capelli’s lawyer that the town has no right to demand that she repay a disability pension excess that was given to her erroneously — much less simply remove it from her bank account — unless there was some criminal activity involved in giving her the money in…

The Pervasive Structure of Rhode Island Corruption

By Justin Katz | July 10, 2009 |

It would be the work of a lifetime of academic study to unravel the thread, but I’ve been increasingly impressed (in a bad way) with the intricacies of Rhode Island’s structural corruption. It’s as if certain principles of the culture filter throughout local society to create an organic network whose instinctual task is to create…

Pay Increases But No Pay Raises in Johnston

By Carroll Andrew Morse | June 12, 2009 |

Has the Johnston teachers union sold its junior members out? A cursory reading of Mark Reynolds’ 7-to-7 item in yesterday’s Projo could lead one to believe that the union has secured raises for it’s higher-paid members, but nothing for the lower tiers‚ĶTeachers at the 10th step will receive a 1.75 percent raise during the upcoming…

Science Education Breaks Through the Negotiation Firewall

By Justin Katz | February 24, 2009 |

It appears that the most recent of the their multiple weeks off during the school year mellowed Johnston science teachers with regard to the new program that had recently been announced as foiled: During their winter break, local science teachers changed their minds and decided to participate in a project to improve science education across…

Semantic Games with Children

By Justin Katz | February 10, 2009 |

How much of life is phrasing? When it comes to the political battle with unions, the spats are like Abbot and Costello skits, which (for the young’ns) often hinged on a semantic misunderstanding. One must read to paragraph six to reach the punchline under the headline “Teachers deny killing science initiative” (emphasis added): The union…