RI Political Corruption

Redistricting from a Narrow Range

By Justin Katz | September 2, 2011 |

Even putting aside the inevitable corruption and fingers on the scale with the latest redistricting commission — which will help in determining which constituencies are grouped together for the purpose of electing government officials — the membership strikes me as having a conspicuous narrowness of geographic coverage: Rep. Stephen Ucci, Johnston Rep. Grace Diaz, Providence…

Re: Disabled (Ha!)

By Justin Katz | August 1, 2011 |

Monique’s already expressed a justified skepticism about this: Former firefighter John Sauro remains permanently and totally disabled from doing his job in the Fire Department, an orthopedic surgeon has concluded after a special examination. But the surgeon recommended additional tests to confirm his finding. The report by Dr. Anthony DeLuise Jr. was submitted Wednesday to…

Rhode Island Hurts Famlies

By Justin Katz | June 22, 2011 |

In a moving letter (that does not appear to be online), small-business-owner David Durfee of North Scituate tells of his historical need to work harder to “overcome the obstacles created by the General Assembly” but expresses gratitude for having been able to be nearby for his father during his final days. He goes on: It…

A Glimpse Behind the Union Curtain

By Justin Katz | June 15, 2011 |

We’ve all made such mistakes as the Internet allows… replying too quickly for rationality to assert itself, sending mail to the wrong person, accidentally forwarding a conversation thread to parties with whom we shouldn’t share them. When RI AFL-CIO President George Nee accidentally replied to an email by Providence Journal columnist Ed Achorn that he…

More Commentary on Stephen Iannazzi

By Justin Katz | June 9, 2011 |

My situation may be unique (although I doubt it), but one of the consequences of Rhode Island’s political and economic structure is that it is so darn difficult just to get by and raise a family that little time remains to keep a consistently watchful eye on local political corruption. Such has been the case…

First Responses to DiPalma Inquiry

By Justin Katz | May 31, 2011 |

The responses have begun to trickle in to my inquiry about the support that Sen. Louis DiPalma (D, Little Compton, Tiverton, Portsmouth, Middletown, Newport) has expressed for Senate Majority Leader Dominique Ruggerio’s hiring of a union pal’s son at a very high salary. So far, I’ve sent (or attempted to send) variations of the following…

Sleepy Public Construction Methods

By Justin Katz | May 6, 2011 |

I’ve had occasion to drive through the construction site of the new Sakonnet River Bridge in Tiverton quite a bit, lately, and no matter how many times I see it, I never fail to be impressed with the structural inefficiency of the work habits. The other day, I saw three employees gabbing over two who…

But Who Dropped the Anchor?

By Justin Katz | May 6, 2011 |

RI General Treasurer Gina Raimondo uses an apt metaphor to describe the significance of the state’s public pension problem: “If you remember one thing from me this afternoon, remember this,” Raimondo said, speaking bluntly: “fixing this state’s pension system is not an issue, it is the issue. Our state retirement debt is an anchor holding…

The 25-Year-Old Keeping the Senate Together

By Justin Katz | May 5, 2011 |

To hear RI Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio (D, Providence) tell it, Rhode Island’s legislature is practically run by 25-year-old Stephen Iannazzi (son of the highest-paid union boss in the state… in the same union for which Mr. Ruggerio makes a hefty salary, as well): Mr. Iannazzi showed extreme competence and was an invaluable asset…

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…

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