Tag: Rhode Island

Disband RIPTA and replace it with the MBTA in Rhode Island

So today of course is Veterans Day. But my beef isn’t with the holiday. It’s with the differences between the MBTA and RIPTA.

As you might well know I take the MBTA commuter rail into Boston every day. I’ve been working in Boston and Vicinity for some time now and the train is the ONLY way to get there and keep ones sanity. So I shell out $330 a month for the pass on the MBTA commuter rail.

Ok all fine and good. But with today’s holiday the MBTA ran a regular weekday schedule. RIPTA on the other hand is running on a Sunday/Holiday schedule.

If RIPTA wants to be taken seriously they need to run regular service on the soft holidays. That’s one of the things I want ot of RIPTA – be there for your customers.

And then there’s the thing where RIPTA now wants to do away with several fare products – and it’s a money grab on their part. Additionally they want to hike the price of a monthly pass on RIPTA to $70 from $62. Meanwhile as I said I spend $330 a month on a commuter rail pass that also gets me access to MBTA bus service, subway service, etc.

So here’s a proposal – since RIPTA has proven beyond any doubt that they’re not fit to run a transit system I beseech my legislators to study whether it might be worth dismantling RIPTA and inviting the MBTA to provide service throughout Rhode Island. Then I’d have a pass that would work on public transit through MA and RI. That would be something wouldn’t it?

Women’s Fund Gubernatorial Debate in RI

So this evening I attended the Women’s Fund Gubernatorial Debate along with candidate Todd Giroux.

All the candidates were there both Democrat and Republican. Now for my observations:

Todd Giroux (D) – He does need to smooth the act out a little bit. It’s why I recorded all his answers so we can post mortem again. But he is still in my opinion the only gubernatorial candidate with a plan.

Ken Block (R) – if he wasn’t a Republican I’d likely be in his camp. We’re both I.T. guys and he is a pretty good story teller.

Gina Raimondo (D) – he staff must be telling her to stop using the emphatic hands bit. Almost though I saw her sitting on her hands for a moment there.

Allan Fung (R)- current mayor of Cranston, RI. And I thought his name rang a bell. He and I both served at the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General at the same time. Didn’t strike me as a remarkable prosecutor.

Angel Taveras (D) – current mayor of Providence, RI. He and Fung attended the same high school which I suspect was Classical. I almost made a comment vis a vis that oh you Classical people, can’t hold a candle to we LaSalle boys.

Herbert ‘Clay’ Pell – He gave the most bizarre parting remarks about he LGBT community, etc. It was the WTF moment of the evening.

Did get to meet Ernie Almonte who is running for treasurer too.

Come to think of it the only one whose hand I didn’t get to shake was Gina Raimondo. She arrived late – that’s probably why. But I am a firm believer in the idea that politics should in fact be a contact sport. Wherever I go – one of the first things I do is get to know the politicians. Hell, might as well know the lay of the land so to speak.

Let’s Play Rate the Democratic Candidates for Governor in Rhode Island

We’ll start with the Democrats. Ratings shall be five points from 1 to 5. This is in no special order just as they come to mind:

1) Todd Giroux – I like his platform idea to steer a billion dollars away from Wall Street and back into the economy in Rhode Island. He also has a plan to keep the state prosperous going forward. That is what I like to see. And ObDisclaimer – I am the Data Analyst for his campaign. Rated 4.5

2) Clay Pell – he’s definitely got the money but I think the brain power is slightly lacking in his case. First there’s the debacle with the missing Prius – who leaves a car unlocked in the city of Providence or environs thereof, and more doesn’t have a second set of keys to the car, and third hasn’t the white matter in their head to think to just lock the car and call a locksmith. This doesn’t give me a whole lot of confidence in his ability to use the bully pulpit to better Rhode Island. Rated 2

3) Gina Raimondo – she is a Wall Street demon spawn. With her at the helm as treasurer I’m pretty upset about the way she’s handled benefits for retirees etc. And it would only get worse once she’s in the bully pulpit. Rated 2.5

4) Angel Taveras – currently Mayor of Providence his most deft move was closing city pools last summer. Plus he’s really stuck it to union retirees and he gets on my shit list for having the tenacity to say that the tax breaks given to the big property concerns created jobs. Really? Of course he wouldn’t answer when I asked “What jobs?” I’m sorry there are no negative numbers allowed because this candidate would be in the dumps. 

Want to get Rhode Island on the Right Track? Read it here.

So I’ve been sort of taking pot shots at the Rhode Island legislature for essentially giving away the candy store. For years they have granted tax incentives and breaks for the likes of Bank of America, Fidelity, American Power Conversion, Gtech et al.

But all of them have to some degree or another have flown the coop of Rhode Island for greener pastures out there.

Meanwhile we have a burgeoning infosec, I.T. and film and video sector in the state that gets short shrift.

So I propose we flip the script so to speak. Fuck Bank of America, Fidelity and those who betrayed us.

Give some serious tax breaks and help to the sectors I mentioned. And I’m tagging a few people in the legislature here including the Speaker and President. Might the hell as well do it.

Shitty roads in Providence, RI

So today I did something I haven’t done in a long time, buzzed around the city of Providence proper from Federal Hill over to Cranston, and then from Cranston back to Charles St. in Providence and then North Main St. 

I notice something. The roads throughout this part of Providence are rutted and cratered. They need desperately to be repaved. 

But then I noted something, Charles St. is smooth as glass, so too North Main. What the bloody hell? Did it not snow there or has Federal Hill been mostly neglected for many years? I’d go with the latter. Oh sure, Broadway from Olneyville to the intercept with I-95 is all repaved. But all the secondary and side streets – it’s like a fucking lunar landscape. 

Now the street I live on, it was scheduled for repaving. Over a year ago. They went so far as to spray mark all the utilities underground and to put 2×4 protective rings around the trees that border the street. And then winter got here, all sorts of snow, no repave. 

I did see where someplace in Pennsylvania they leased a half dozen pot hole filling trucks for about $300K. Thing is the trucks are highly automated – they can patch a pothole in 30 seconds versus 30 minutes for the manual method. Well worth the $300K per year if you ask me. Find the money! 

And let’s do some math – say it takes 30 seconds to fill a pothole then a minute to drive to the next. So 1.5 minutes per pothole. 8 hour day has 480 minutes, divided by 1.5 is 320 potholes filled per day. This versus 30 minutes + a minute to get to next pothole, comes out to only 15.5 potholes filled. You see where I’m going here. With the automated rig you’d fill approximately 20 times more potholes per truck. A half dozen trucks would fill 1,920 potholes in a day. Even if you only use them for a month and it’s $300K it’s worth it. 

Why I advocate for the legalization of recreational use of marijuana

First of all I’m not a pothead. My choice of intoxicants is of the C2H6O variety aka ethanol.

But here’s the thing – we in the U.S. have spent billions of dollars per year on drug interdiction, imprisonment and rehab over the past 30 odd years. Plus the fact that marijuana incarceration is pretty high.  The total is somewhere in the trillions of dollars. That is all money that could be put to better use.

I see marijuana, in it’s pure state, as no worse and actually better than alcohol and in some ways better. I’ve never met a belligerent pot user, but have met more than a few alcohol intoxicated individuals who really shouldn’t be drinking.

Now, the benefits of completely legalizing it for adults:

1) The cost of interdiction, prosecution and incarceration are reduced dramatically.

2) The tax revenue – you can slap a 20% tax on the stuff and people will still buy it. Just look at Colorado for the proof of a potential windfall revenue model.

3) The combined benefit of the 20% tax on product plus the reduced cost of all those listed in my first point make it so legalization of recreational marijuana is all positives with no negatives.

4) The purity of the product can be REGULATED by the states. No mixing fillers in, no additional psycho-active compounds added, etc.

I have written the chair of the Judiciary Committee in Rhode Island, Rep. Edith Ajello as well as my state Rep. John J. Lombardi and Senator Paul V. Jabour with pretty much the arguments above.

God Damn it’s colder than a witches tit in a brass bra!

So last night we got something I’ve not seen in a few years – a below zero night.

The place is uninsulated so of course the heating system struggles to keep it at 62F in the house when it’s set for 68F. The bed heater is set for 100F though. So nice and warm.

Right now it’s only 20F. So twelve degrees below freezing. However all this changes as of tomorrow. We get a mix of 40’s and 50’s along with rain. So a lot of the snow will get washed away and melted. Good.

Surprisingly the White Death from the Sky they predicted for the days preceding didn’t come to pass. We got maybe a max of 6 inches of snow. Here’s a little secret, I know how to drive in snow that deep. It’s easy. You do have to slow down though.

And then I remember, in about five weeks we start getting temp spikes in the 50’s, 60’s and up to the 80’s in the middle of February. Then March does it’s usual in like a Lion, out like a Lamb trick. April and through early July is gorgeous.