Transportation and Climate Initiative will hurt R.I.
In a letter to the editor in The Journal in February, I warned of harm that the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) could cause Rhode Islanders. Yet, our free-reigning governor, in these COVID times, convinced members of the General Assembly that this is a great idea.
As a reminder, the TCI will hurt R.I. in the following ways:
1. It will drive another nail in the coffin of business in the Ocean State. We pay the highest energy rates and have the worst business climate in the nation.
2. Rhode Islanders don’t need another tax. Hard-working residents need no additional drain on personal incomes. Individuals who need to commute by auto to jobs will be especially hard hit.
3. The enactment of the TCI will fuel the exodus of people and jobs.
Take a cue from New Hampshire and reject the ill-conceived TCI. Clearly, the tail is (again) wagging the tired old dog.
Bob King, Middletown
Animal cruelty is not entertainment
The settlement over a horrific accident during a Ringling Bros. circus performance a few years ago is a reminder of how far we’ve come since that time (“8 acrobats reach $52.5M deal with Providence venue over 2014 plunge,” News, Dec. 22). Ringling is forever dark, as is Cole Bros. Circus. Kelly Miller Circus and others have eliminated animal acts. Cites around the country and entire states have imposed strict bans on exotic animal displays.
P.T. Barnum himself couldn’t convince today’s public that hauling chained and caged animals around in stifling, reeking boxcars or tractor trailers from city to city is still acceptable.
The days of boxing up animals, beating them until they perform silly tricks, and tearing apart animal families and friends in the name of “entertainment” are coming to an end.
Jennifer O’Connor, Norfolk, Va.
The writer is senior writer for the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Foundation.
Puzzled by ‘snowlar’ panels
While driving on the Mass Pike recently, I could not help but notice all the solar panel farms, all of which had at least 2 feet of snow covering the panels. The wind was about 1 mph out of the west, and it was 18 degrees. It was so nice to get home using my hybrid car burning cheap domestic gasoline to my domestically natural gas-heated house using cheap natural gas prices that we enjoy because of the fracking boom.
Until we develop fusion power, we will need to augment our solar and wind with cheap domestic energy. Storage of green power is currently too expensive.
But if you enjoy using foreign oil and natural gas, driving every manufacturer that still exists in R.I. out of business because of high energy prices, or paying $4.24 a gallon for gasoline and $10 for natural gas like in 2006 instead of the current $2, then be my guest, but I don’t have to join you on the gangplank.
Tony Ricci, North Providence
How can advocacy be nonpartisan?
John Kostrzewa wrote in his Dec. 18 article on the Economic Progress Institute’s (EPI) report that the EPI is “a nonpartisan research and policy group that advocates for low and moderate income Rhode Islanders.” Just how exactly is it possible for an advocacy group to be nonpartisan? This is a good example of the raging bias in the media, because what’s the likelihood of a far-right interest group being reported on as nonpartisan? Exactly zero!
Richard D. Fahey, Barrington
Dr. Biden deserves respect, not mockery
Mike Lester’s recent cartoon “The Adventures of Doctor Jill Biden” (Commentary, Dec. 17) is a sad reminder that accomplished women still provoke fear and anger.
Mr. Lester’s work consistently identifies him as taking a Republican’s view of the political world. Maybe in the past he’d taken a conservative view (fiscal responsibility, valuing education as a path to achievement, belief in democracy), but now he’s a staunch supporter of the Republican point of view that politics is about personal grievances, not governing.
How about “The Adventures of Doctor Jill Biden” in the classroom, sharing her expertise to empower the futures of young girls and boys? Assuredly not a drawing Mr. Lester would consider. Yet, maybe the optimistic comment we could use now.
Bob Alley, Barrington
Oversight needed for convention center
A recent letter by Robert Donovan (“Financial reckoning for Convention Center is long overdue,” Letters, Nov. 30) is 100% accurate.
Our taxpayer-funded Convention Center Authority is in the hands of both insiders and outsiders, and not within. For whatever reason, the insiders, the board of directors, refuse to allow a financial audit. The outsiders are a firm called ASM Global based in L.A. They are a management contractor involved with the hiring and staffing of the Convention Center Authority. ASM Global hires from the union halls.
Why a complete financial audit? In February 2020, The Journal requested from ASM Global the names and salaries of 1,800 employees hired directly out of union halls. ASM Global answered that they are a private company and do not have to disclose that information. The Convention Center Authority claimed they had three employees with $332,000 in salaries in 2019, with $41.8 million for operating expenses in 2019, and personal expenses of $16.9 million. These numbers were confirmed by their accounting firm, Blum, Shapiro & Co.
Along with $4.5 million in contractual services, the staffing and day-to-day management of the convention center properties represent more than 50% of the Convention Center Authority’s operation expenses. Those properties are an employment hub for a number of unions, including Locals 23 and 830, 26, theatrical, plumbers, etc.
We need the attorney general and the oversight committees of both the House and Senate to demand an accounting of how taxpayer money is manipulated.
Chip Lichty, West Warwick
Where’s the evidence of voter fraud?
I am always glad that the Providence Journal prints commentary across the political, ideological spectrum. I usually am interested and informed by Mackubin Owens’ writing. His My Turn piece on Dec. 16 has one glaring assumption as its predicate: “The main problem this year was massive voter fraud in several metropolitan areas.” He goes on to make a case for limiting mail-in voting to only “the elderly, sick or people at work.” The fatal flaw in his argument is that there is still no credible evidence of this alleged “massive voter fraud” from anyone, including Mr. Owens. If The Journal is representing him as an “expert” voice, he should have to work to a higher standard. Without evidence, his opinion is just another polemic. We need fewer of these.
Gerry Corneau, Hopkinton