The Uprising, October 12, 2018

“We are pleased to report that both sides were provided a safe venue in which to make their opinions known without major incident, and they dispersed peacefully after being asked to do so.”
– Colonel Ann Assumpico, Rhode Island State Police Superintendent

It was revealed that young Joe Trillo, who is now running as an Independent for Governor of Rhode Island, apparently once assaulted a younger Nicholas Mattiello, who is currently the Rhode Island Speaker of the House. But I’m not writing about any of that.

Let’s crack this week open:

1a. Resist Marxism

Last Saturday Resist Marxism, a Boston-based coalition of right-wing groups including Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) certified hate groups and fascists, attempted for a second time to hold a rally at the Rhode Island State House. Members of the Proud Boys and/or Patriot Prayer flew in from Vancouver Washington, members of the American Guard drove in from New Hampshire.

The rally exploded into violence, after Vancouver resident TusitalaTinyToese began punching a local antifa counter protester. You can read about what happened at the link.

I want to talk about the response of the police.

“We are pleased to report that both sides were provided a safe venue in which to make their opinions known without major incident, and they dispersed peacefully after being asked to do so,” said Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Colonel Ann Assumpico, as quoted in the Providence Journal.

National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Legal Observers, on hand to monitor the Resist Marxism rally and the counter rally organized by Ocean State Against Hate, had a different view of the actions by police:

1b. Crickets

Since the rally ended I haven’t seen responses like this one from Justin Katz, written just after the last time Resist Marxism came to Providence.

It’s harder to claim that the ultra-right-wing Resist Marxism crowd is just a bunch of misunderstood peaceful protesters when there’s video evidence of their bad behavior and intentions:

YouTube put an age restriction on the video above, the first time that’s ever happened to me.

1c. Rhode Island Red Teacher

For another first hand account of what went down Saturday, see “Fighting the nazis” on the Rhode Island Red Teacher blog.

1d. Bill Bartholomew

Another take:

2. PRONK!

One antidote to the darkness of Saturday was PRONK! on Monday. Celebrated every year on Indigenous People’s Day, PRONK! brings together bands and people in a joyful celebration filled with music, art and activism.

3a. Invenergy

On August 18, 2016 Invenergy, the company that wants to build a $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant amid the pristine forests of northwest Rhode Island, filed a brief (see here) that declared that the, “competitive market will determine whether [the proposed power plant] is necessary to meet the needs of the region.”

“ISO-New England evaluates the market and sets prices that maintain system reliability while encouraging new efficient generation in the zones where needed,” writes Invenergy in their brief

On September 20, 2018, for the first time ever, ISO-New England, which maintains the “competitive market” Invenergy was referring to in their brief, cancelled a Capacity Supply Obligation (CSO). Specifically, it cancelled Invenergy’s promise to supply power to the electrical grid for Turbine 1 of it’s proposed power plant.

With the cancellation of the CSO for Turbine 1 and Turbine 2 being disallowed in the upcoming auction, it looks like the competitive market has spoken.

The power plant is not needed.

3b. Nature’s Trust Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) denied Nature’s Trust Rhode Island petition asking for measures based on the best available science to reduce the health and other risks of climate change. The board of Nature’s Trust Rhode Island reached a unanimous decision to appeal the DEM denial of the petition in the Rhode Island court system.

3c. Governor’s Task Force to Tackle Plastics

Can a task force made up of equal parts environmentalists and retail/restaurant entrepreneurs come to any meaningful conclusions about how to eliminate the single use plastics that are destroying our oceans? We will see. The Governor’s Task Force to Tackle Plastics held its first meeting last Friday. The task force is co-chaired by Dale Venturini, President of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association and Johnathan Berard, State Director of Clean Water Action.

3d. Global warming

3e. Gina Raimondo

At the Save The Bay, Yes On 3 Coalition rally to support $47.3 million Green Economy and Clean Water Bond, environmentalists from the FANG Collective and BASE were on hand holding a large “No New Power Plant” sign, protesting Invenergy’s plan to build a $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plat amid the pristine forests of north west Rhode Island.

Speaking to the crowd about the Green Economy and Clean Water Bond, Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo said that, “These are investments that will protect our environment, protect our beaches, things we care about, in every place from Central Falls and Pawtucket to South County and Providence and everywhere in between.”

Is it fair to note that one place that is not situated between Central Falls, Pawtucket, South County and Providence is Burrillville?

4a. Abolish ICE

The first Providence mayoral candidate forum featuring Democratic incumbent Jorge Elorza, and Independent challengers DianeDee DeeWitman and Jeffrey Lemire was held Wednesday evening. You can watch the full debate here.

One interesting question asked by moderator Dan McGowan was answered quickly: Would you be in favor of Congress abolishing United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? This served as a variation on the usual “sanctuary city” question. Both Lemire and Witman want to keep ICE around. Elorza said he would like to see ICE abolished.

ICE is only 15 years old, established as part of the United States Department of Homeland Security, and could easily be abolished. The country existed without ICE for over 200 years, and its not like the department is covering the United States with glory. Just the opposite: ICE has has destroyed families and endangered and harmed children. Here’s a history of the Abolish ICE movement and a piece examining the idea.

4b. Community Safety Act

“This is a hard question,” said Dee Dee Witman when asked about the Community Safety Act (CSA) (aka Providence Community Police Relations Act (PCPRA)). “I support anything that brings the community and the police closer together.” Witman then danced around an answer. Witman is endorsed by the Providence Fraternal Order of Police, which opposes the CSA.

Jeff Lemire said he supports the CSA, but “I smell a lot of lawsuits.” Lemire added, “It would be nice if black police officers arrested black people and white people arrested white people, but it ain’t gonna happen. These are human beings. Some people are nice, some aren’t.”

Mayor Jorge Elorza supports the CSA, and feels the final product strengthened law enforcement and made the community safer.

4c. Gubernatorial Vote

When asked about who they were going to vote for for Governor, incumbent Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza unhesitatingly said he would be voting for incumbent Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo.

“Since I’m not a public official,” said Independent candidate Dee Dee Witman, “My vote is between me and the voting booth.” (Maybe not a public official but definitely a politician with an answer like that.)

Jeffrey Lemire said he was originally going to vote for former Republican, now Independent, Joe Trillo, but that now he was considering voting for Independent Luis-Daniel Muñoz, who he had just met. Lemire then went on to criticize WPRI/Channel 12 for not allowing Muñoz to participate in their televised gubernatorial debate.

5a. Groden Center

After months of negotiating and two strikes, Behavioral Specialists and Clerical Staff, who educate and support students with Autism reached a contract deal with Groden Network management.

“We are glad to have reached an agreement that will increase low wages, which will hopefully reduce high turnover and help our students get the consistency they deserve,” said Sam Lozeau, Behavior Specialist at the Groden South School in Coventry. “We are also proud to have a contract that will address safety concerns and allow Groden staff to provide a voice for students and advocate for safer classrooms.”

5b. Omni Providence

I have an unconfirmed report that Unite Here! has reached a tentative agreement with the Omni Providence Hotel.

5c. First Student

The school bus driver strike took a turn with a suspicious fire that destroyed six school buses on Thursday night. Drivers, represented by Teamsters Local 251, have been on strike for two weeks now. The issue is still pensions.

The ACLU is getting involved as well. They say that the City of Providence is not doing enough to provide students with disabilities transportation to school.

5d. Providence Teachers

Members of the Providence Teachers Union were loud enough to make their presence known during the Providence Mayoral Candidate Forum Wednesday Night. They lined the street outside and chanted “We want contracts!” for pretty much the entirety of the debate.

5e. Rhode Island College faculty

Faculty at Rhode Island College (RIC) wanted to make three points with their informational picket on Thursday:

  1. Wages: RIC faculty are paid 17 percent less than faculty at peer institutions nationwide and 30 percent less than faculty at the University of Rhode Island (URI).
  2. They want RI Promise extended to RIC
  3. They are supporting Ballot Question 2, the Higher Education Bond Ballot Question.

6. Opeds

UpriseRI published a bunch of opeds this week:

The best way to get me to quickly publish an oped is to send it plain text, with inline links. I also need a photo of the author, a short 3-line bio, and any pictures you want me to include with the piece.

7. The Bartholomewtown Podcast

  1. RI Compassion Party gubernatorial candidate Anne Armstrong responds to her arrest
  2. Pollster Joe Fleming
  3. Newport Rhode Island City Councilwoman Lynn Ceglie

8. The Public’s Radio

Rhode Island Public Radio has a new name: The Public’s Radio. CEO Torey Malatia explains.

9. #PINKWAVE letter

No one seriously believes that Justine Caldwell, a Democrat seeking to oust incumbent Republican Antonio Giarrusso from House District 30, wrote the so-called #PINKWAVE letter, but that hasn’t stopped Giarrusso from using the letter as a campaign tool. Giarrusso has forwarded the letter and tweeted it.

“If the letter is a fake, it represents a new low point in East Greenwich, politics, which has taken a bitter turn since the Republican-led Town Council appointed Gayle Corrigan as town manager,” writes Bob Plain at RI Future, where you can read the letter in full.

10a. Lindsay Crudele

Readers may remember Lindsay Crudele, who filed an Access to Public Records Act (APRA) request with the City of Cranston to find out who Republican candidate for governor and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung blocks on Twitter. Crudele is one of the people Fung blocks.

This week Crudele got an answer, of sort. “Updating to share that this morning, Cranston Solicitor Chris Rawson responded to my APRA request for Mayor Fung’s Twitter block list saying they deny the request because, they say, Mayor Fung’s Twitter feed has nothing to do with the City of Cranston.”

10b. ACLU

In a letter recently sent to the state R.I. Department of Transportation, the ACLU of RI called on the agency to “immediately unblock any individuals who are currently being blocked from the @RIDOTNews Twitter account.” The ACLU sent the letter after receiving a complaint from a Twitter user who was blocked from the account after posting tweets that were critical of work being done on a RIDOT project near his residence. In response, DOT officials have indicated plans to unblock all blocked accounts, but the ACLU said it would sue if the unblocking did not occur promptly.

11. New Bridges for Haitian Success

I am so honored to have received the Legacy Community Impact Award from New Bridges for Haitian Success:

12. The Woman Project

13. Picture of the week:


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About Steve Ahlquist 597 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading. atomicsteve@gmail.com

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