Vote NO on Rhode Island Ballot Question #5, MINDSETTER™ Ken Block

Friday, November 04, 2016


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Ken Block

Ballot question #5 asks Rhode Island voters to approve $70 million in bonds for port infrastructure projects for the ports at Quonset and Providence.

While I am a big fan of Quonset and believe that Rhode Island should absolutely maintain and improve Quonset’s ageing infrastructure, I cannot in good conscience encourage anyone to vote for this bond issue.

The reason to vote NO on this bond issue is simple: corrupt, status quo politics.

Aside from the $50 million targeted in this bond issue for Quonset is another $20 million targeted to ProvPort, the operator of the Port of Providence. It is this $20 million that is hugely problematic for me.

The ProvPort money was added to the bond issue at the very last moment by Speaker Mattiello. The vast majority of legislators had no idea about the issue when it came up for a vote right at the end of the legislative session. Does this sound familiar? Hello, 38 Studios!

Since ProvPort is run by a for-profit, private company, there are many unanswered questions about how this money will be put into use.  To approve the bonds without answers to these questions is reckless.

More importantly, to approve these bonds is to in effect reward outrageous behavior on the part of the Speaker and the legislature. If Rhode Island citizens want our legislature to act responsibly, they should not reward irresponsible behavior.

By voting NO on ballot question #5, you are sending a message to the General Assembly that politics as usual in Rhode Island is no longer acceptable.

By voting NO on ballot question #5, you are acting as a necessary check and balance on a legislature that has lost its way and forgotten who they are supposed to serve.

By voting NO on ballot question #5, you are putting the Speaker and legislature on notice that last minute shenanigans will no longer be tolerated.

Vote NO on ballot question #5, and let’s hope that puts an end to the kind of last minute skullduggery that tarnishes our legislature and ends up costing Rhode Island taxpayers a fortune.


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