Author Archives: Arlene Violet

Rhode Island has pension reform, right? Wrong!

Most Rhode Islanders probably think that the so-called pension reform legislation passed this year by the Rhode Island General Assembly has now resolved the unfunded liability quagmire. It has not. Originally estimated as $6.8 billion under prior accounting standards, when using GASB 68, an accounting rule which is now mandated for future projections, the unfunded

Violet: Rhode Island continues to blow money

I want to make one thing clear from the beginning. Nothing will change in repairing the infrastructure of  Rhode Island bridges and roads until the Department of Transportation (DOT) demands accountability. I have written many articles about shoddy practices being tolerated by the DOT. The management has created a culture in Rhode Island where contractors

Keep charter schools intact

“If it moves, ve vill kill it” intones Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his movies.  It seems that his line has become the motto of some legislators who want to ingratiate themselves  to teacher unions by snuffing out charter schools despite the fact that  have become  beacons of hope for some students who were otherwise

Transportation department fails to enforce infrastructure standards

At a minimum, 230 Rhode Island bridges are structurally deficient.  Several months before Gina Raimondo crossed the threshold into the governor’s office, the so-called Park Avenue Bridge was inspected and allowed to stay open. Governor Raimondo pointed out the decaying infrastructure throughout the state and, like no good deed that goes unpunished, she’s being mugged.

Presidential contenders go from bad to worse

It is a pretty shameful spectacle that so little talent is vying for the presidency of the United States. Unless you are a millionaire many times over, or have been bought by one who contributes to your campaign, you are out of luck. The most recent entries into the race by Hillary Clinton and Donald

How good ideas lose their groove

On the one hand, the Democrats think that the voters are geniuses because they keep returning them to office. On the other hand, they think they are also stupid because Ma and Pa can’t be trusted with making “enlightened” decisions when it comes to spending money. Want some evidence? Here it is. The Governor proposed

Five trillion pieces of plastic, floating near you

Now that the beach and boating seasons are upon us, I was particularly struck by an article in Popular Science (June 2015). The magazine published  the results of a consortium of 12 research institutions which calculated the extent of ocean pollution. “The ocean is covered by a thin layer of plastic…like plastic smog.” The pieces

Let’s fix the transportation culture

Governor Gina Raimondo unveiled an ambitious plan which would allow the expenditure of $900 million additional dollars for reconstruction and other  bridge work through the RI Bridge and Turnpike Authority and thereby avoid any taxpayer vote on the bond issue. Any sane person   would not debate the woeful  condition  of this state’s infrastructure. What is

Consultant reports are works of fiction

Quick! Can you remember the last consultant report to back a project here in Rhode Island that actually was correct? Sorry! That’s a trick question. I don’t think that there is one. CONVENTION CENTER—The backers of this project said that the Center would not cost a dime. Technically, that’s probably correct since by the time

Are taxpayers being represented?

Last week a series of proposals floated around the General Assembly. See if it’s your pocketbook that is being protected: ITEM: North Kingstown Fire Department The Rhode Island Supreme Court  ruled that  the town of North Kingstown could restructure the work hours of its firefighters in order to save taxpayer money without running afoul of

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