Your superior correspondents are shocked -- shocked! we tell you -- to see a front page story in the Other Paper indicating that there has been some sort of monkey business going on at the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, aka, the Central Landfill, aka "the Dump." How could this be? Even if you're thinking, "Well. It's the dump," remember the dump is in Johnston, a town with the highest reputation for ethics and integrity.
Among the dubious behaviors catalogued in the story by the estimable Mike Stanton who, when not coming to the rescue of your superior correspondents to ensure that groceries safely arrive at Casa Diablo, moonlights as a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, are flawed construction projects wasting tens of millions of dollars, suspicions of fraud and bid-rigging, rampant cronyism, and phony workers comp and overtime scams. Or, as it's known in Vo Dilun, "Business as usual."
Also part of the standard operating procedure in the Biggest Little is the fact that, due to a wide variety of reasons, there have been no arrests nor criminal charges brought against anyone. According to Steven O'Donnell of the State Police, "There was nothing to substantiate a criminal prosecution." Statute of limitations on some of the laws allegedly broken and non-cooperative witnesses were among the reasons cited by Stanton for the lack of criminal action.
And, of course, there were plenty of instances of the folks running the Dump enriching themselves with ridiculous salary increases and bonuses. Who do these people think they are, RIPTA?
There are no arrests on the horizon and apparently no way to recover the millions wasted on such genius projects as paying exorbitant prices to politicians to purchase land, building a useless "temporary dump" next to the regular dump, and buying a "rock crushing machine" for $350,000, hiring a private company to operate it, and then selling it to that company for $150,000. Perhaps Governor Don "Laughing Boy" Carcieri ordered the investigation of the Dump for the most Vo Dilun of reasons: our entertainment.
Kudos to our state government for continuing to produce the pricey laughs. We especially enjoyed the current Dump director, Michael J. O'Connell (who has been working assiduously at cleaning up the gross mismanagement), telling a reporter that perhaps the Ethics Commission could take some action. Yes, and if that doesn't work, we'll call in Mr. T and the A-Team.
THE BALLAD OF "KENNY McKEVEN"
Yes, the Biggest Little has its own unique cadre of guerilla entertainers. One of the best is former State Representative Keven McKenna, aka "Kenny McKeven." He's been around a long time but he still knows how to give the average Vo Dilunduh a thrill.
On Monday the Other Paper reported on the ongoing saga of a complaint lodged against McKeven. Sumner D. Stone, a paralegal who had worked for Kenny, claimed that he was injured when the former rep assaulted him. While the AG's office dismissed the charge, Stone continued to pursue the claim in Worker's Compensation Court, where McKeven is facing some heavy fines and big payments.The gist of Stone's complaint is that Kenny shoved him, causing injury.
We'll see how this will all play out, but your superior correspondents remembered an old couplet ad-libbed years ago: "Can't drink too many 7 and 7's/To understand old Kenny McKeven."
THREE'S THE CHARM
File this one under "How not to avoid a DUI."
The September 22 edition of the Urinal's "Police Report" had this report under the headline, "Erratic driving draws drunk-driving charge":
"A Barrington woman was charged with drunk driving Friday after she was observed driving erratically on the Wampanoag Trail . . . According to the police report, [the woman] told the patrolmen, 'Officer, I've been stopped three times tonight.' "
Perhaps the coin should have dropped after the second one, darling. And P+J are appalled at the editor who used no creativity in writing the header when he or she had it all teed up for such beauties as "Drunken fool fails Brainalyzer." It reminds P J of the classic line by comedian Ron White in explaining his arrest on drunk charges when he explains, "I had the right to remain silent, but not the ability." Ba-boom!
WOOL OVER OUR EYES
As Little Rhody's disastrous economy continues to tank at a staggering rate -- we now lead New England states in highest rate of people in poverty per capita -- here is a view of our hideous problems in a nutshell, brought to you from Tom Sgouros's most recent Rhode Island Policy Reporter.
"For real stimulus, you want to put money in the hands of people who will spend it. But what have we done along those lines? We're raising property taxes, which fall heaviest on poor people and in the middle, and cut taxes on rich people who save most of their income. We're laying off and cutting the pay of state and municipal employees. We've hardened welfare rules yet again, making that program even less useful to poor people.