Dave's Column

Dave Richards for May 23rd

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 23rd…………

 

 

 

 

 

--Ya know, I think that if the latest proposal for a new ballpark for the Pawtucket Red Sox was totally paid for by the owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox there would still be organized opposition.  I believe that if The Lord Jesus Christ himself came to Rhode Island today he would be demonized by the negative people of our State who are so steeped in the mind-set of destroying anything they can in order to feel some small sense of control in their lives that they don’t even think of what they’re doing or saying or how it appears to reasonable people.  They just attack mindlessly, and without examining the facts.

 

 

 

  One such group in this case, unfortunately, is the Rhode Island Republican Party.  I was surprised at this because, although both political parties on the national level have lost their minds and attack anything the other side is or supports like mad dogs, I had not seen it done here in our State.  However, before I’d could even read the official press release about the new stadium proposal, my inbox was tagged with a “Three Strikes for the Paw Sox” press release from the Rhode Island Republicans.  I had initially hoped it came from out-of-state sources, but I have no evidence it didn’t come from Rhode Islanders.  To bad.

 

 

 

  To my regular readers I apologize for repeating myself, but for the sake of new readers I will say that the reason I do not personally support either of the two major political parties is that although they both are comprised of some fine, intelligent and hard-working people, when they are in a group they turn into a mindless, vicious, negative, and destructive mob, both parties do.  The term “bi-partisan” hasn’t been valid in political discourse since the Oldsmobile.

 

 

 

  I have said before the only thing this kind of immature and careless behavior can produce is mutual self-destruction, as each side baits the other into more and more self-destructive behavior.  The end-result is never victory for either side, but only an un-ending feud which does no one any good.  Shame on both parties.  Shame and disgrace.  I advise all to avoid party politics until the parties both grow up and act in accord with their members’ individual values and worth.

 

 

 

  Back to the Paw Sox stadium proposal.  My point is there should be a lively debate on the facts of this issue.  I’ve read the opponents’ venomous comments.  I am not persuaded in any debate by attacks which are not based in fact, but are instead based in rabble-rousing and fanning the flames of emotion because when emotions reign, reason is impossible and when you’re talking about millions of dollars, reason is imperative. 

 

 

 

  I have also heard the presentation explained rationally by the proponents.  What they say makes sense to me, but one side does not a debate make.  I seek more information before I choose a side to support.  I think we all should.

 

 

 

  To sum up, if the opposition will only offer emotional rhetoric and the proponents are offering reasoned logic, then debate itself is poorly served.  But I think we need a calm and logical debate to make big money decisions. 

 

 

 

  I call upon opponents to come to the debate table with logic and reason and to present their position without painting the other side as evil.  If you believe you are in the right, I say fight fairly for your convictions with the facts as you see them and win or lose the debate as mature men and women with intellect and integrity.  If you don’t, what choice would I or others like me have but to choose to support the people acting like respectable grown-ups instead of with the ones acting like crying kids calling the other side liars and claiming “they started it!”?  Not much of a choice, I say.

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

                                                                                                              

 

Dave Richards for May 16th.........

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 16th…………

 

 

 

 

 

--With Mother’s Day behind us and so many family celebrations taking place at this time of year, there’s plenty of positive energy floating around. I think we could get by without me throwing roses this week.  In this edition, I think I’ll take a hard look at a current news story and tell you what I really think.

 

 

 

--I have an opinion.  It’s just an opinion, and I’m not even very happy with it myself, but I just can’t seem to persuade myself it is wrong.  The news that tax collections into the coffers of the State of Rhode Island General Fund are not only down, but down to the tune of $100 million is, to me, the result of something which is a bigger story. 

 

 

 

  Some in our government are surprised by the shortfall.  Some are not so much surprised as they are dismayed.  Some, like our governor, are looking for a scapegoat.  She blames our new president.  But as much as I disapprove of Mr. Trump’s work myself, I can’t help but see the governor’s words as anything more than political rhetoric.  The kind of destructive political rhetoric which nullifies the user’s words pointless and corrodes their reputations of intelligence and honesty.

 

 

 

  Getting back to my opinion.  I have long held the opinion that our economy in Rhode Island, and even our entire country, is not as good as we are being told it is by government officials.  Having that opinion as I have for such a long time, I’m sure you can understand that when something like a ‘surprise’ shortfall of $100 million comes along, to me it means one of two things happened.  Either somebody in the budget office mistakenly over-estimated revenue, or…………..the suppositions of how good the economy would be were, shall we say, “overly optimistic”.

 

 

 

  One economic barometer officials use to “prove” the economy is as good as they want it to be is the stock market, and the way the stock market seems to be going up most of the time.  I say it’s an illusion.  The stock market will go up forever.  Not every day, of course, but over time.  It goes up as surely as the progressive jackpot goes up on slot machines in the casinos.  But just like a slot machine, if you are playing and have more than you started with, you haven’t really ‘won’ yet.  You see, you never really win until you cash out.  Similarly, if your stocks are up, you don’t have the money to spend until you sell the stocks.  But if everybody sold their stocks so they really would have their money to spend………the stock market would surely crash.  So, I conclude, the stock market gains are not a sign of a good economy. 

 

 

 

  The other economic barometer officials use to claim “all is well” is the unemployment rate.  I have never been persuaded that the unemployment figures delivered dutifully each month by our DLT are derived by a system which does not favor a ‘politically friendly methodology’ with a blind eye to the reality of people who are not employed enough to support the kind of revenue upon which the state’s budget was founded. 

 

 

 

  To put it simply, if someone is not drawing unemployment benefits, that person is not counted as unemployed.  And these days, there are no extensions of unemployment benefits in effect, so in less than a year’s time all benefits for an unemployed worker are exhausted.  The way I understand things, that means our unemployment rate, the way they calculate it now, cannot fail to improve every month as people, still without jobs, are counted as working.

 

 

 

  It follows, then, that when state budget revenue projections are calculated using the false unemployment numbers being reported, those revenue projections will wrong.

 

 

 

  Is it a crime to falsely report better-than-reality figures?  Probably not.  It’s been going on for years and nobody is in jail yet for doing it.  But the real ‘crime’ I see here is the way they use this game to get away with deficit spending.  And the real ‘crime’ of it all is that when we deficit-spend we are in debt and then we truly cannot afford to do the things we need to do.  This causes us to continue to juggle and lie and deficit-spend on into the future in an exercise resembling a Ponzi scheme.  And you know what happens then.

 

 

 

  I’ve been going over the amendments to her budget the governor is recommending.  She’s now going to close down and sell some group homes for special needs people to raise cash.  Some other people getting benefits now will lose those benefits.  Also, vendors who sell goods and services to the state will now be forced to “kick-back” one percent of their well-earned payments for goods and services back to the state in the form of an “administrative fee”.

 

 

 

  These are troubling times, my friend.  When you want to spend more money than you have and you justify it by lying about how much money you will earn………well………if it were you or me…….we’d be in big trouble. 

 

 

 

  We’ve got work to do to clear up this mess.  Hard work.  And we need serious people to do it, not people who will blame a president who is not a member of their political party simply because your party people will like you better if you do.  We need people who don’t give up to get along.  We need a state government which is not so steeped in situational ethics that even they don’t know the truth from the lies.

 

 

 

  I had a friend years ago who was a retired priest.  He’d pop off from time to time with comments that were unexpected, but they really made you think.  About government corruption he’d say, “We need another flood.”, referring to Noah.  I’d like to think there’s a better way, but considering what I’ve just written………maybe Father was right.  It’s hard to argue with his logic.

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

                                                                                                              

 

Dave Richards Column in The Call for May 9th, 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 9th…………

 

 

 

 

 

--This week we check the newswire.  There’s plenty here to comment on. 

 

 

 

  We used to laugh at the “tweets” and other quoted quips of President Trump.  What I can’t believe is some of these presidential comments are starting to make sense.  I won’t say that I agree with them, but they do seem to make sense.

 

 

 

  Like when President Trump exclaimed in frustration that perhaps what the country needed was a complete government shut down this fall.  Of course, Trump opponents jumped upon him for what they called a totally irresponsible and dangerous comment.  But there is logic and reason in his words, even though I would agree they are completely ‘non-‘presidential’.

 

 

 

  Folks, I can tell you from personal knowledge that the only thing more destructive to the federal government than a total shut down is the repeated threats of a shut down.  I have seen it first hand on four occasions.  It takes a full week to shut the government down and another week to put it back on course.  In the process, good people who work for the government are distracted from their regular tasks for half a month and suffer needlessly from the stress of possibly not being able to pay their bills on time.  All because some rich and selfish members of congress decide to play a power game of financial ‘chicken’ against each other with reckless disregard for the consequences, which are paid by others.

 

 

 

  The way I take President Trump’s comment is that he knows what we all know.  So long as there are no consequences for the perpetrators, these threatened shutdowns will continue to be used to bully and cajole political adversaries all the while weakening the federal government.  Mr. Trump knows that once the bluff has been called and the shutdown takes place, the perpetrators will be unmasked and dealt with, similar to when a blackmail victim does not give in to the blackmailer, but calls the blackmailer’s bluff.  The blackmailer then has no further power.  There is real logic to this line of thinking.

 

 

 

  And then there is the president’s comments regarding Australian healthcare.  In a ‘tweet’ over the weekend, Mr. Trump said, “Of course Australia’s healthcare system is better than ours……….Everybody’s is.”

 

 

 

  And “of course” detractors have jumped all over him for saying this.  “How dare he?!”  But let’s think about this for a moment.  Without agreeing or disagreeing that Obamacare, which is still in place mind you, is the best or the worst of systems, you have to first understand that Mr. Trump thinks it is the worst.  Accepting this, what else would you expect him to think?  Now, you may agree with me that even if he thinks it, we wouldn’t expect our president to actually say those words in public, but……….that’s our president.  And he did tell us during the campaign that he would not go along with the games played in Washington.   Again, I’m not agreeing or disagreeing, I’m just saying it makes sense.

 

 

 

--A new Lundberg survey indicates retail gas prices are going down.  This, just before they traditionally go up for the summer months.  Does this make sense?  I think it does.  People still haven’t made plans for their summer trips because of the economy which still is not a good as we are being told it is.  Lowering the prices now may spur more consumption in the months ahead when prices will be higher than they are now.  I hate sounding suspicious, but when you’re dealing with this many dollars, honest people are hard to find.  The thing to keep in mind is that gas costs 14 cents per gallon more this year than it did last year at this time.

 

 

 

--Here’s a curious story, and I’m wondering why I haven’t seen it before.  The DeKalb County, Georgia sheriff, Jeffrey Mann, was arrested and booked into the Atlanta City Jail.  Last year, Mann was elected to a full term after finishing the unexpired term of Thomas Brown, who left office under criminal charges.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  According to what I’m reading on the wire, every DeKalb County Sheriff elected to a full term since 1965 has faced criminal charges.  Unbelievable!  Seems to me they should be having a lot of trouble finding applicants for a job that for the past 50 years has destroyed the lives of everyone who has taken it.  Totally unbelievable!

 

 

 

--Pope Francis has a problem with calling the bomb dubbed the “Mother of All Bombs” by that name.  He thinks it is at the very least ‘inappropriate’ to name a bomb, a taker of life, after a mother, a giver of life.  Makes sense to me.  And, by the way, Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday.  If she’s around, remember to at least phone mom and tell her you love her.  If she has passed on, do it in your prayers.  I think she’ll hear you.

 

 

 

 

 

--Lastly, if my mom read the next story I would get a lecture about how irresponsible it is for anyone to drop any bomb.  On October 9, 1943, Allied Bombers dropped more than 260,000 bombs on the city of Hanover, Germany during World War Two.  This past weekend, after more than 50 years, the 50,000 residents of that now peaceful city were evacuated because 13 of those bombs have been discovered, unexploded.  They are calling it the second largest bomb cleanup since the end of hostilities, slightly less than the cleanup required last Christmas Day in the German town of Augsburg.  Unbelievable.     

 

 

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

                                                                                                              

 

Dave Richards Column in The Call for May 2, 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 2nd…………

 

 

 

--I’ll start this week with a tip of the hat to Roger Laliberte.  This Thursday at the Twin River Event Center Roger will be among the radio greats to be inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame.  It’s about time Roger is recognized for his complete dedication to Francophiles and Francophones throughout the Blackstone Valley. 

 

 

 

  I met Roger Laliberte when I was a young man starting out in broadcasting.  We became good friends in short order.  And even though we no longer work together, I couldn’t be more delighted to see him honored in this way. 

 

 

 

 

 

  Toutes nos fe’licitations, Roger!

 

 

 

 

 

--We’ve all heard for years about treaties between governments.  Sometimes they are treaties ending the hostilities of war, sometimes pledging mutual defense of each other, and sometimes it’s a treaty outlining an agreement regarding trade.  In the 1990s, two treaties came into existence.  In Europe, the European Union (E.U.), and on this continent the North American Free Trade Agreement or (N.A.F.T.A). 

 

 

 

  Any agreement has an “upside” and a “downside”.  Those who push to establish them promote the advantages of the “upside” only.  This is natural.   After they are established, the disadvantages of the “downside”, often become apparent.  They say treaties are in this way not unlike a marriage.  And, indeed, the similarities of treaties to marriage are even more striking when you examine the case of Brexit.

 

 

 

  “Brexit” is the term used for the exit of Britain from the European Union, which they have elected to do.  The remaining 27 countries of the E.U. are describing it as a ‘divorce’ in their various native tongues.  The similarity goes even further.  The financial settlement they are demanding of Britain to allow her to leave is being called “alimony”.

 

 

 

  Naturally, it is in everyone else’s interest to make it difficult for a disenchanted member to simply leave the group.  In the case of Brexit, Britain has offered many of millions to the E.U..  When they finished laughing, the remaining E.U. members suggested a figure in the tens of billions of Euros would be more like it.  Now that’s what I call making it ‘difficult’!

 

 

 

  NAFTA is an agreement among and between the three countries on the North American Continent.  The United States, Mexico, and Canada have all agreed to remove tariffs, quotas, and other trade barriers between each other.  During negotiations, proponents said it would lead to trade and prosperity for all three and give them a more commanding standing in trade matters between their members and other non-NAFTA countries.  I remember at the time it was being debated there was much fear that failing to band together would put the countries on this continent at a distinct and dangerous disadvantage with the countries of the European Union. 

 

 

 

  When emotional arguments such as fear are used to make trade agreements look good, it is a clear sign that someone is getting desperate to pass it.  This is not the way to make mutually beneficial treaties.  Indeed, shortly after NAFTA was in full effect, many thousands of U.S. jobs were sent south of the border and the Mexican economy benefited greatly.  The U.S. economy improved slightly because after the initial investment the companies which sent their manufacturing operations to Mexico profited, again at the expense of U.S. workers.  Canada has seen insignificant benefit from the agreement.

 

 

 

  This past weekend, President Trump came right out and said he wanted the U.S. to leave NAFTA.  The president makes these kinds of statements, we have seen, with some regularity and also with apparent disregard for diplomatic protocols or for caring about what anyone else may think of it.  Since I was personally not a supporter of NAFTA when it started, you might expect me to be happy to hear the president talk this way, but you would be wrong.

 

 

 

  Yes, I’d love to see NAFTA not exist, but remember the costs being demanded of Britain in its exit from the E.U..  Is it possible leaving NAFTA could cost us more than leaving it is worth?  Canada probably wouldn’t care if the whole thing went away.  There were few tariffs between the U.S. and Canada before NAFTA.  Mexico and Canada were never big trade partners, either.  So there would likely not be much difference to the Canadians if they or we weren’t a part of NAFTA.  But Mexico would be another matter, and this is where I think our trouble would originate.

 

 

 

  Mexico benefited most from the NAFTA agreements.  Mexico would certainly be the one most hurt if the deal broke up.  Mexico, despite its present employment and relative prosperity has a huge problem with organized criminal gangs.  It wouldn’t take much imagination to expect that if the Mexican economy were severely damaged, the only ones to benefit will be the criminal gangs.  At the very least a poor economy would impair the ability of the Mexican government to fight organized crime.

 

 

 

  So NAFTA has one member who doesn’t care, one member who wants out, and one member who’ll be hurt.  Not a good position for any agreement to be in.

 

 

 

  Examining all these facts, plus the knowledge that a desperate Mexico could nationalize all those factories we built down there, and can drive the criminal gangs northward over the border into the United States if it wanted to, we are left with a distinct feeling of apprehension that the cost of the U.S. leaving NAFTA may be far higher than we wish to pay.  It leaves me clinging to the hope that our president will “go slow” in this direction.  Unfortunately for my hopes, “going slow” is not our new president’s long suit.  I do hope he learns, though.  Rather quickly.

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

                                                                                                              

 

Dave's Woonsocket Call Blog for May 2, 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 2nd…………

 

 

 

--I’ll start this week with a tip of the hat to Roger Laliberte.  This Thursday at the Twin River Event Center Roger will be among the radio greats to be inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame.  It’s about time Roger is recognized for his complete dedication to Francophiles and Francophones throughout the Blackstone Valley. 

 

 

 

  I met Roger Laliberte when I was a young man starting out in broadcasting.  We became good friends in short order.  And even though we no longer work together, I couldn’t be more delighted to see him honored in this way. 

 

 

 

 

 

  Toutes nos fe’licitations, Roger!

 

 

 

 

 

--We’ve all heard for years about treaties between governments.  Sometimes they are treaties ending the hostilities of war, sometimes pledging mutual defense of each other, and sometimes it’s a treaty outlining an agreement regarding trade.  In the 1990s, two treaties came into existence.  In Europe, the European Union (E.U.), and on this continent the North American Free Trade Agreement or (N.A.F.T.A). 

 

 

 

  Any agreement has an “upside” and a “downside”.  Those who push to establish them promote the advantages of the “upside” only.  This is natural.   After they are established, the disadvantages of the “downside”, often become apparent.  They say treaties are in this way not unlike a marriage.  And, indeed, the similarities of treaties to marriage are even more striking when you examine the case of Brexit.

 

 

 

  “Brexit” is the term used for the exit of Britain from the European Union, which they have elected to do.  The remaining 27 countries of the E.U. are describing it as a ‘divorce’ in their various native tongues.  The similarity goes even further.  The financial settlement they are demanding of Britain to allow her to leave is being called “alimony”.

 

 

 

  Naturally, it is in everyone else’s interest to make it difficult for a disenchanted member to simply leave the group.  In the case of Brexit, Britain has offered many of millions to the E.U..  When they finished laughing, the remaining E.U. members suggested a figure in the tens of billions of Euros would be more like it.  Now that’s what I call making it ‘difficult’!

 

 

 

  NAFTA is an agreement among and between the three countries on the North American Continent.  The United States, Mexico, and Canada have all agreed to remove tariffs, quotas, and other trade barriers between each other.  During negotiations, proponents said it would lead to trade and prosperity for all three and give them a more commanding standing in trade matters between their members and other non-NAFTA countries.  I remember at the time it was being debated there was much fear that failing to band together would put the countries on this continent at a distinct and dangerous disadvantage with the countries of the European Union. 

 

 

 

  When emotional arguments such as fear are used to make trade agreements look good, it is a clear sign that someone is getting desperate to pass it.  This is not the way to make mutually beneficial treaties.  Indeed, shortly after NAFTA was in full effect, many thousands of U.S. jobs were sent south of the border and the Mexican economy benefited greatly.  The U.S. economy improved slightly because after the initial investment the companies which sent their manufacturing operations to Mexico profited, again at the expense of U.S. workers.  Canada has seen insignificant benefit from the agreement.

 

 

 

  This past weekend, President Trump came right out and said he wanted the U.S. to leave NAFTA.  The president makes these kinds of statements, we have seen, with some regularity and also with apparent disregard for diplomatic protocols or for caring about what anyone else may think of it.  Since I was personally not a supporter of NAFTA when it started, you might expect me to be happy to hear the president talk this way, but you would be wrong.

 

 

 

  Yes, I’d love to see NAFTA not exist, but remember the costs being demanded of Britain in its exit from the E.U..  Is it possible leaving NAFTA could cost us more than leaving it is worth?  Canada probably wouldn’t care if the whole thing went away.  There were few tariffs between the U.S. and Canada before NAFTA.  Mexico and Canada were never big trade partners, either.  So there would likely not be much difference to the Canadians if they or we weren’t a part of NAFTA.  But Mexico would be another matter, and this is where I think our trouble would originate.

 

 

 

  Mexico benefited most from the NAFTA agreements.  Mexico would certainly be the one most hurt if the deal broke up.  Mexico, despite its present employment and relative prosperity has a huge problem with organized criminal gangs.  It wouldn’t take much imagination to expect that if the Mexican economy were severely damaged, the only ones to benefit will be the criminal gangs.  At the very least a poor economy would impair the ability of the Mexican government to fight organized crime.

 

 

 

  So NAFTA has one member who doesn’t care, one member who wants out, and one member who’ll be hurt.  Not a good position for any agreement to be in.

 

 

 

  Examining all these facts, plus the knowledge that a desperate Mexico could nationalize all those factories we built down there, and can drive the criminal gangs northward over the border into the United States if it wanted to, we are left with a distinct feeling of apprehension that the cost of the U.S. leaving NAFTA may be far higher than we wish to pay.  It leaves me clinging to the hope that our president will “go slow” in this direction.  Unfortunately for my hopes, “going slow” is not our new president’s long suit.  I do hope he learns, though.  Rather quickly.

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

                                                                                                              

 

Continue reading
April 25th

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for April 25th…………

 

 

 

--Over the years we’ve all heard politicians who have promised that when they are elected, they’ll run the government “like a business”.  These candidates gain a lot of favor from voters who find it easy to criticize the waste in government.  The real truth of the matter is that there is some waste in government and there is some waste in business as well.  I can tell you from my experience in management that the effort of eliminating all waste is in the same category as making gold out of lead.  It’s been tried forever, but it doesn’t work, and the wise manager tries not to eliminate it, but to embrace it and then manage the size of it. 

 

 

 

  The big difference is that while waste can be managed and cut from business with the requisite kicking and screaming from those affected, in a business situation you don’t have to listen to the complaints………..but in government you do!    

 

 

 

  So anyone who says they’re going to eliminate wasteful spending in government is either lying to you or fooling themselves.  It just can’t happen in government when you are elected by those affected.  This is not to say that we can’t try to be more thrifty with the people’s money, we can, and many in government try to be.  I applaud this, but it can go too far.  A case in point is the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority, commonly known by its acronym, RIPTA.  The people at RIPTA have an impossible job.  Their goal is to provide transportation services for everybody and anybody who needs them to go anywhere at any time within our state.  But they cannot meet this goal without losing tons of money.  So they make compromises.  They lose less money, and they fall a bit short of their goal, trying to find some point of balance between the two unfortunate situations.

 

 

 

  It’s the same everywhere in this world, if there were good money to be made running public transportation, for-profit companies would be doing it. 

 

 

 

  In every locality there is this big long list of things which people need.  Some of these needs can be provided at a profit.  Some cannot.  Businesses take all the profitable things, leaving government to provide the services which are not profitable, but needed.  This is a fact of life, and if nobody ever told you this before, you missed an important lesson.

 

 

 

  But if you did miss that lesson, you are not alone.  It seems to me a significant number of Representatives and Senators in the Rhode Island General Assembly haven’t learned that lesson yet, either.  They keep squeezing RIPTA to operate with less losses, but then show up at the hearings telling them they must NOT eliminate routes which lose the most money.  Talk about a rock and a hard place!

 

 

 

  Some of the inefficiencies of a government agency or, in this case an Authority, are not of their making.  I was told confidentially by a RIPTA official some years ago that one of the criticisms leveled against them is that the big diesel-pusher busses we see so much are seldom full of passengers.  At RIPTA, they know this, they’re not dummies.  They’d love to use smaller busses when called for at a reduced operating cost, but the problem is that the drivers who drive the big busses need skills and certifications that a driver of a smaller bus wouldn’t need.  The less-qualified drivers of smaller busses would earn less, and that makes sense.  But then what do you do with the drivers who qualify for the higher wages of driving the big busses?  You can’t pay them less to drive a smaller bus, they have financial responsibilities based upon the higher wages.  You can’t just replace them and put them out of work either, because a labor union is involved, making any kind of changes problematic. 

 

 

 

  RIPTA continues to work on these problems.  They’ve had to raise rates recently.  I still think riding a RIPTA bus is a bargain overall, but I do admit they don’t go everywhere I need to go when I need to go there.  And if they do, they don’t come back on a schedule which fits my needs.  I understand why they cannot.  But the Fabulous Denise and I still use them whenever we can.

 

 

 

  As part of their heroic efforts to “shovel against the tide”, RIPTA is launching another survey to gather information from those who use their services and those who would like to.  The survey started yesterday and continues until Sunday May 21st and can be found online at www.ripta.com (click on “Survey”).  The information in this fifth annual survey is important to them, so important that everyone who goes online and tells them what they think will be entered into a drawing for prizes which include free bus passes. 

 

 

 

  I am a big supporter of public transportation.  I wish the financial realities of running public transportation were different.  But I am glad that our government supplies this vital service, even at a loss.  Sometimes it’s not ALL about the money, you know.

 

 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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April 12th

 

Dave Richards for April 12th…………

--Last week I wrote about restoring tax exempt status to the property of religious and non-profit organizations. I expected to hear from a number of people disagreeing with me but I didn’t hear from anyone at all. But I did hear something this past week which is somewhat on the same topic.

I heard that nearly half of the automobiles registered to Woonsocket residents are so old that the city gets little or no taxes from them. Well, I’m sure that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but as with all good exaggerations there is probably a bit of truth to it.

Thinking back in time I remember that the whole idea of taxing automobiles was to try to spread the tax burden out more fairly. People who rent apartments don’t directly pay property taxes on their homes, it was said, so let’s tax their cars. As with any idea, going back to the time of Solomon The Wise, in trying to make things fair, you end up making them more unfair. Now people who owned their own homes got taxed on their homes AND their cars. And considering renters, if you think for one minute that a large chunk of their ever-increasing rent payment isn’t going to pay the taxes on the building they live in, guess again. Nothing is as simple as it looks.

There was a time at the very beginning of this century when the state government tried to reverse that law and not tax cars. They came up with a plan to replace the money the municipal governments would lose and proposed to phase-in the plan over several years. But before it could be fully phased-in, THAT wonderful idea got side-tracked by the Great Recession about 8 years ago. And it has never gotten back on track since then.

Many people agree with me that laws should be updated as times change. They tried. They stopped trying. Now, they’re still taxing cars and, either due to the economy or to other factors, people are keeping their cars so long that the tax revenue is not meeting expectations. Come to think of it, MY car is 11 years old, and The Fabulous Denise’s buggy is a year older than mine. They are paid-off and are still running well, and I just don’t see the need to replace them right now. It’s not a “tax-dodge”. It’s reality. Cars are lasting longer and there’s no good reason to replace them so frequently. Expect changes to address this, my friends.

--I read a lot of history and even for me it is hard to imagine a Presidential Race could ever be more vicious and divisive than this one. Let’s see. There was one, back in 1780, when a candidate claimed in public that his opponent wasn’t a man, physically. A high insult, back in those times. That wouldn’t work in this campaign because one of the candidates really isn’t a man, physically. There was another pretty bad campaign in the early 1800s in which one of the candidates called the other’s wife a whore. Come to think of it, that’s already been done in this campaign. And we all know what happened when the Republican won the office in 1860, half the states seceded from the Union. Talk about divisive!

Yes, when it comes to the office of the President of the United States there’s a lot of “the bigger the prize, the dirtier the fight” going on. And nobody is yet running for the actual office itself, only to be the nominee of a major political party to then run for the office. I find myself going into overload if I pay attention to it for very long and I honestly try to ignore as much as I can and still stay reasonably informed. But it’s so pervasive that it forces itself upon us, regardless.

Take for example the other day when I was driving in my car outside the range of my favorite local radio station just scanning around the dial to see what was on and I stumbled upon what sounded like one of those nationally distributed talk shows. They were talking about the political races, as you may expect. And just as I tuned in one of the two announcers made the statement that the world has never seen a race like this one. I know on these kinds of shows people will say anything, just to get attention, but he got mine enough to listen for a few seconds more to see if he could back up his statement. Then he started talking about the civil disobedience of the 1960s and the protests of Dr. Martin Luther King and compared them to Trump supporters of today assaulting protesters and—here’s a quote now, “Trump supporters parking on grave stones.” ……. Huh? I re-ran the comment in my mind. He wasn’t laughing. He wasn’t joking. I’d never heard of such a thing. But then I asked myself, “Why is this statement ‘believable’ to me?” And shut I the radio off, congratulating myself that I don’t listen to that stuff regularly.

Later I heard that over 20,000 people in California and nationally have signed a petition demanding that Mr. Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame be removed. Personally, I didn’t know he had one, but he does and he was awarded it by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for his work in TV. Is there no limit to the way this man can divide people? It’s only April. And I can’t bear to look…………..

--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

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