Fogarty to Get Cranston Democratic Endorsement

Elizabeth Seal of The Cranston Herald is reporting that Cindy Fogarty is going to get the Cranston Democratic city committee endorsement.

I don’t know what to say that would sound remotely objective. I supported Cindy’s campaign for Mayor last time, helped her set up her website, walked my neighborhood with her and stood by her as she listened to concerns of neighbors and gave them honest answers. She served diligently as a city council member and did well in her primary battle with Napolitano, despite spending only a fraction of what Napolitano spent.

This is where politics can get good — when someone who doesn’t have the money but has the courage steps up. That’s a good thing. What’s even better is when they get the support they deserve. I wish Cindy the best and will be supporting her campaign as she moves forward.

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46 responses

  1. Go, Cindy, go!

    She is the absolutely right person at the right time for this position. I will do what I can to help.

    Onto other races, we need people to step up and run for school committee seats in Cranston. Too many times, these very critical seats go uncontested.

    I am not running for school committee because of increasing work and home commitments, I also want to concentrate on making the Cranston Education Advisory Board (CEAB) a more relevant organization and I have some other community endeavors that I am involved with that I want to see through.

    Civic minded people reading this should really consider running this year (deadline to file is Wednesday). It is actually easy and not so expensive (about $500 for lawn signs and literature to cover a ward) and it is a great deal of fun.

  2. Speaking of elections, I wonder what’s going on in Ward 6? Is Barone in or out?

  3. Jesse from Cranston

    Kiersten:

    A primary with roughly 6,000 votes cast is a much different situation than a general election with up to 30,000 votes at stake. And spending $27,000 for a primary is nothing compared to having to raise upwards of $100,000 in five months.

    Fung has run a citywide campaign before, and came within 80 votes of winning two years ago, in the midst of the Dem “tidal wave.”

    Here’s the key point: Local Dems won’t just vote for any Democrat on the ballot. Nap’s experience showed that.

  4. I don’t live in Cranston and this is none of my business-so not taking sides here,I just have noticed that it’s hard to have a Rhode Island election without a “Fogarty” showing up.Are they all related?

  5. Jesse,

    Nap won in 2006 because of the Dem Tidal Wave. If it was not for that Fung would have crushed him.

    That same Dem Wave is still moving spurred on by Barack Obama and Bush’s low approval numbers.

    I’m confident that Cindy will get enough energized Dems and women in general to put her over the top.

    Joe,

    Cindy is a Fogarty by marriage. It is a common Irish name and Rhode Island has a very large Irish population.

  6. Jesse from Cranston

    Andre:

    I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you on the effect of the “tidal wave” 2 years ago, but that slim of a margin can be attributed to almost any factor. Don’t forget, 2 of the 3 citywide candidates won more votes than Nap (Garabedian won more than 19,000 and Lanni took about 16,800), and Lupino won about 100 fewer votes than Nap. Since those ballot slots are lower on the ticket, my sense is that a lot of Dem voters a.) voted for Fung and/or b.) skipped the Mayor’s race and went to the Council slots.

    Given the disparity between Fung’s count and the top citywide candidate (Cardi took 12,000), I’d say “a” was the more likely scenario. So, I think the Dem turnout actually hurt Nap because it made the overall gap that much smaller.

    And for Fung to have “crushed” Nap — just to use round figures — he would have had to win by something like 5,000 votes. He simply didn’t have that number of Repub voters to count on, especially if you take away some number of Dem voters. In other words, there were not enough partisan votes for Fung to make up for a lower Dem turnout.

    All that said, the true question in Cranston this year will be whether voters will be just as choosy as they were 2 years ago, i.e., not simply voting along partisan lines. I don’t think women will simply vote for another woman, in the same way that local Dems didn’t just vote for the Dem mayoral candidate in 06.

    As a final point, and again using Nap’s situation as a baseline, Cindy can not just expect support by putting her name on the ballot. Nap bragged (ad nauseum) about how he canvassed the city. He also paid for some relatively big-time RI consultants. He spent a lot of money and raised a good deal, too. In short, there’s a ton of day-to-day work that has to be done, requiring a lot of people and money, for someone to be a serious contender for the mayor’s office. I have my doubts about Cindy’s ability to manage this kind of campaign.

    Here’s the RI Board of Elections link for these election results: http://www.elections.ri.gov/2006GE/CRANSTON.htm

  7. Jesse,

    Dems voted for Fung because many of those Dems had a chance to meet Nap in person when he was canvassing and the more people actually got to know Nap the more they were likely to vote for Fung.

    To his credit, Fung is a very likable guy and reminded people that he started as a Democrat and still had Democratic views with social and national issues.

    What Cindy and Fung both concentrated on the last time around was fiscal responsibility over and over again and both have experience with Cranston’s fiscal crisis.

    Cindy has to hammer away at those big Democratic issues like the environment, energy conservation, more state and federal money for education, police and fire and less from local property taxes.

    Start talking about the mortgage meltdown, protecting seniors from predatory lenders, high gas prices with the need for more public transportation.

    She needs to talk about crime and needing more police and other city services and how she can represent Cranston’s interests at the state and federal levels.

    Capture those big Democratic talking points about having hope, needing a change from business as usual, talk about community and how we are all in this together instead of the conservative Republican talking point, “you are on your own”.

    Remind people that Fung is a Republican and that the Republicans have caused this awful mess that we are in.

    Get that message and blast it out with mailers and then start walking those streets, one block at a time.

    It’s not rocket science.

  8. Jesse from Cranston

    Andre:

    I don’t know that the big Dem issues would be the winning themes in Cranston. A mayoral race is far narrower in scope than other campaigns, by definition.

    With that in mind, the fact is that people in Cranston are worried about taxes, plain and simple. Both Fung and Fogarty can spend all the time they want trying to outdo each other bashing Nap about how he’s run things (I suspect this will take up a lot of time, actually), when what they should be doing is answering the critical question: How much will it cost me to live in Cranston next year?

    (Besides, going after an outgoing mayor whose last budget included no tax increase would be pretty foolish.)

    Putting Cranston’s school budget at the mercy of other cities (which is how I read Fogarty’s consolidation proposal) won’t help. Trying to raise private money for public equipment, though interesting in concept, would save very little money (the 2008-09 budget includes $820,000 to purchase a fire engine and $0 for police vehicles), and may actually cost the city more down the road. Go to pages 31 and 32 of this pdf link to see the numbers: http://www.cranstonri.com/pdf/hottopics/FY09%20Adopted%20Budget.pdf

    Fung’s ideas, honestly, are no better. Union-bashing and bad-mouthing the city’s finances are not solutions to anything. Running up millions of dollars in legal fees for lawsuits (a la Laffey vs. the crossing guards) won’t solve anything, either.

    All of that said (and thanks for your continuing indulgence for letting me explain it), the challenge for Fogarty will be to raise the money, pay for the mailers, hire the staff, rent the office, and campaign door-to-door. It’s a nearly full-time commitment, and as I said, I have my doubts that she can do it.

  9. Noted Skeptic

    Interesting words and interresting analysis. But it all boils down to this…

    The stench Napolitano has left on Cranston is much stronger than any thing Bush could possibly do to harm Fung. Give the voters some credit.

    Then only possibility of a Mayor Fogarty comes in the form of an extremely unlikely Fung f* – up.

  10. Thanks, Noted Skeptic. Your skepticism has been duly noted.

    However, I want to suggest that you may suffer from a few false hopes, for all your noted skepticism.

    Remember that Cranston is a Dem town. Remember that people want to support a Dem who has some experience serving the city. Remember that Cindy has impressed many people with her skills as a lawyer and ward representative (not to mention as a mother!). Remember that many Dems are looking for a woman to support after losing the nomination of Hillary.

    I could go on, but I think I have some campaign volunteering to do…

  11. Richard Brown

    Kiersten,
    Nicely phrased… I am on board with you and many, many others in supporting Cindy Fogarty for Mayor.

    Noted,
    Your assumption that barring any errors of judgement by Fung that the election is in the bag is a bit of a reach. I agree that it is highly unlikely that Mr. Fung will make any catastrophic mistakes, but Kiersten’s post and optimistic view on Fogarty’s chances are based on recent history (see ’06 Mayoral and City Council elections). Both candidates have been honorable public servants and this election will be decided on issues and policies. In the past Mr. Fung hitched his campaign to the policies put into play by former Mayor Laffey… policies that flew in the face of reason and the collective bargaining process.If Mr. Fung rides the coat tails of Mr. Laffey’s union-busting legacy again,it might just be the “f*&& up” you mentioned in your post.

  12. Suzanne Arena

    I want to point out that EVERY person I have encountered that wrote to Cindy and responded with a 100% response from her. She always contacted the person whom reached out to her which is something that many can learn from. Mr. Fung is not in this league and has not woven the same threads within the community. Cindy has unselfishly gone out of her way to help community neighbors that have issues. I am (no surprise) behind her. We need someone that will be unconventional and yet symphathetic to the residents ….I think she’s our gal!

  13. Jesse from Cranston

    Kiersten, Suzanne, etc.:

    As much as I’ve wrangled with Skeptic before, the underlying point about how the candidates conduct themselves is, actually, sound. I won’t go so far as to say that it would only take a Fung meltdown to give Fogarty a winning chance, since I think how both of the candidates act publicly will be a critical measure in this election — neither of them can afford to, let’s say, drink a few too many at a local establishment and get rowdy.

    I agree, of course, that issues and policies should be the most important topics for the campaign. Personal conduct in the public eye is going to be a factor, too, though.

  14. A Fung-Fogerty showdown was my dream for the general election. I find both candidates have more positives than negatives, and I was perfectly willing to live with either one of them.

    If that’s the match-up this year, this is a positive development.

    However, I would suggest that Mr Fung has one innate advantage: he’s a man. Misogyny runs deep in this country, and a lot of supposedly “enlightened” individuals would still prefer to vote for anyone who’s not female.

    I believe this attitude is reprehensible and antediluvian, but I think it’s reality.

    As for Noted Skeptic, please don’t feed the trolls. His/her next insightful, substantive comment will be the first.

    And, as far as the fiscal health of the city is concerned, IMHO it’s all about the upcoming school contract. Since that’s done in August, whoever the next mayor is will find themselves effectively boxed into a corner.

    To me, the school contract is the single biggest issue facing Cranston.

  15. Jesse from Cranston

    Kiersten:

    “Cranston is a Dem town.” Only since 1998. That was the first time in 36 years that the Council had a Dem majority, and the first time the Dems had held the Mayor’s office in, I think, 40 years (since at least Jim Taft).

    klaus:

    Handicapping this race according to gender is premature. Paula McFarland and Charlene Lima have both been elected several times (not to mention Liz Roberts to the Lt. Guv’s office and Hanna Gallo), which leads me to think that Cranston voters are not necessarily against electing a woman.

    The real question is: Will they vote for Fogarty? It’s sort of the Hillary question on a small scale: Are people willing to vote for this woman?

    A few “tea leaves” that you can read for the sport of it will be union endorsements (or non-endorsements, which sometimes say more*), fundraising, and press treatment. Fung is already ahead on the money front and has two years’ worth of headlines behind him.

    * One would expect the unions to back Fogarty, but that doesn’t mean it will happen. Some of the groups could simply sit on their endorsements. That would portend a serious weakness in Fogarty’s campaign.

    Aside from all that, a thought has struck me as I’ve read and considered this whole matter: Is anyone else concerned that Fogarty could get the endorsement simply because everyone else backed out? Not to mention, when you have a list of people including Peter Palumbo, Lima, McFarland, and Mario Carlino all passing on the opportunity to run, does anyone else get the impression that the local Dems see the Mayor’s office as potentially toxic for their party this year?

    I think it’s altogether possible that we’re about to see a repeat of the 2004 race — the end-of-the-list Dem nominee runs a campaign on the cheap and gets swamped.

  16. Because I have just incorporated a non-profit corporation and have applied for charitable tax status, I need to refrain from all things partisan. That said, let me state categorically to the IRS/CIA/NSA/AG/DHS/ and any other non-intrusive FISA permitted eavesdroppers that I am not engaged in any partisan activity or making any partisan comments.

    I agree with Klaus that Allan may have a hidden advantage in the misogynist attitudes prevalent in our society. However, never doubt the ability of racists to dismiss Fung’s candidacy. Nevertheless, I think we deal with race and ethnicity a lot better than we do gender.

    I agree with much of what Jesse has said on this thread. I don’t think these big issues identified by Andre will have much impact on the mayor’s race. This is a nuts ‘n bolts race – pretty “blue collarâ€?, not much glamour when you think about it. It’s about taxes and services – the former under control and the latter delivered efficiently. And nobody should underestimate the power of a candidate’s appearance and conduct on the trail. Most of the time a candidate has a few short minutes to make the individual connect with a voter. It isn’t easy. Bottom line is that voters won’t elect someone they don’t like.

    Both candidates have big hurdles to clear in order to win. Allan has some built in advantages. He’s raised significant dollars in the past and will no doubt do so again. And he has the opportunity to get more bang for the proverbial buck in not having to spend money to (re) introduce himself to Cranston voters.

    I think Cindy, on the other hand, needs to raise significant money and spend a fair portion of it just to acquaint herself with Cranston voters. I’m not sure what, if any, carryover from last year’s primary there is that will help her. If I were to advise her campaign – and I’m not as that would be partisan – I’d probably adopt a zero-based approach and build from there. I’ve seen too many previously unsuccessful campaigns that assume a base that no longer (if ever) exists.

    That goes for Allan as well. He can’t assume the mind-set that all he has to do is pick up a handful of votes this time out and he’ll win. He, like Cindy, has to pick up upwards of 30,000 votes in order to win. Again, a zero-based approach. The score as we start out is zero-zero.

    Allan may benefit from a certain “remorse� voting. You know, the guys who voted for Nap in ’06 and upset with the way things turned out and say that if they only had it to do over again…. On the other hand, Cindy benefits from it being a presidential election year. Turnout is greater in a presidential election and that means more (nominal) democrats coming out to play in November. I like Cindy’s chances with this element, although how much benefit she’ll get is subject to debate. But in a close race, as I think this promises to be, increased turnout may be just the thing to put her over.

    Finally, it would be nice (on so many levels) if this turned out to be a non-traditional campaign where the candidates talk about serious issues confronting real people. Speaking for myself, I don’t give a rip about what Laffey or Nap did during their terms of office. Certainly there’s much to learn from each, but learning and applying is not the same as playing to blame game. In the end, I don’t care about what previous mayors did – I want to know what each of these people will do if elected.

    And spare me the bromides of fiscal responsibility, accountability, broadening the tax base, tough negotiations, etc. These buzz words/phrases have lost all meaning. In this election, let’s see them talk about real issues of government – restructuring and reform; collaboration with other governmental units on issues of finance, education, health care, regional/county projects; restructuring of governmental structure (reinvention in the David Osborne sense); collaboration with the school department to ensure adequate financing and administration to ensure the educational opportunities for all kids; jump-starting or accelerating the efforts under way to restructure/reorganize city government; and finances as they relate to how much government costs vis-à-vis how much people are willing/able to pay. Other cities in other states do this stuff – why not Cranston?

    This is a challenging time to serve in office. Let’s make sure that we know that whomever we elect, that person is up to the job.

    Thanks for letting me get my non-partisan rant on.

  17. Jesse, I wondered the same thing as well. Cindy didn’t seem like anyone’s first choice (or second for that matter). If you look at the sequence of events, Carlino receive a telephone “feeler” after Cindy (Paul, Charlene) expressed interest. (With due respect to Suzanne, I never thought the Palumbo candidacy had legs.)

    Now, I say this not knowing who showed up at city hall today or who will show over the next two days. But, here’s a scenario – what if Mario files for city council at large? Does that open the way for the “party” to support council candidates (as the stronger entity) and sacrifice Cindy on the alter of expediency? Lets face it – the dems have potential problems in wards 3 and 4, unless your faith in the powerhouses that are Archetto and Aceto is greater than mine. At minimum, in both instances, the democratic position in both wards is currently in a degree of instability. Republicans could do something there.

    Barone seems to be a wild card in the Sixth. As we know, Aram is not running this year, thus losing his strength at the top of the council ticket. So, if Cindy is not perceived as the strongest mayoral candidate (and I’m not saying she is weak, just speculating here) would Mike Sepe look to secure control over the council rather than expending scarce resources on a race that might not look too winnable?

    Just a thought.

  18. I’m not a Cranston resident, but last year I went to a memorial service for Maha Ghosananda, a Cambodian spiritual leader. Alan Fung was there and he made a good impression on me. Respectful, appropriate, stayed the whole time and didn’t draw attention to himself. You can’t take that for granted with a politician, unfortunately.
    Anyway, it’s nice to see some grace and class in public life.

  19. Noted Skeptic

    Kiersten, “Cranston is a Dem town”. Yeah, when all seems hunky dory. But Cranston voters are very independent and rise to the occasion when their wallets and livelihood are at stake.

    Just look at the condition of the City. The streets are filthy, grass is a foot tall at parks and in school yards, heaps of trash in the gutters stay there for months – a stark contrast from when we had a mayor who cared about all of Cranston’s residents and not just those with a “collective bargaining” chip.

    After O’Leary and Napolitano, I don’t think Cranston taxpayers are up for taking strike three for Cindy.

  20. Suzanne Arena

    I agree about not focusing on the previous administrations incompetence, rather making sure they are willing to think outside the box – work with the Cranston Delegates and I still agree with Aram that we need to absolve the School Committee and extend the members of the Council. I have been unaware that other Municipalities co=exist without even a Mayor and all decisions are made through the council (ex: Foster). It has been incredibly clear after my short 2 year exposure that there is no synchronization and too much tug-o-war going on between the two departments. It’s a no brainer to incorporate the two.

    After last night’s City Council meeting and reading and listening to the proposed Resolution to cut additional employees such as teachers, guidance councilors etc., we need to get rid of the top. With no disrespect to the current Superintendent and that administration – we need to eliminate these spots. I totally support combining the municipalities and having 2 or 5 at the most overseeing the State. It’s absurd, but becoming more of a reality the more I stay in RI….it does seem to be normal, but I will never become complacent with that which is illogical.

  21. Noted Skeptic

    Not that the current School Committee has done anything to improve the situation, but I think combining School Committee/Council will just make matters worse.

    What would be most effective is if the School Department sent out their own tax bill. Then you’d awaken the giant. Then you’d need to rent out the convention center for school committee meetings.

  22. Jesse from Cranston

    Geoff:

    Mike Sepe would likely be the first to tell you that the local party offers virtually no further support than the endorsement to any candidate. He’d probably tell you that any candidate running for the Mayor’s office needs to raise more than $200,000 on their own (i.e., without the party), and that, beyond bringing people together to staff the campaign office (even that’s a small number) and some informal advice, there’s very little that the party can do for a mayoral candidate.

    So, he’s realistic about the “power of the party.”

    That’s why I think your speculation about holding onto the Council and essentially writing off the Mayor’s office does have some merit. And don’t forget — the Dems hold 8 seats right now. Even a loss of 3 doesn’t end the majority. Laffey was essentially handcuffed during his second term — just as Fung would be if the Dems hold the Council. The Mayor does not hold the ultimate power, so to speak, so I think strategically, Sepe may see the 08 election as about getting the 400 or 500 votes in this or that ward to hold the Council seat, as opposed to trying to bring in 4,000 votes across the city that would make the difference in the mayoral race.

  23. Jesse,

    It’s times like this that I remember the old Will Rogers quote: “I don’t belong to any organized political party – I’m a democrat”. I agree with you that the “party” can’t provide sufficient resources to elect any city-wide candidate, but it does have resources from organizing at the ward levels to informal “advice” that can help a candidate. Guys like Mike have been around a looooonnngggg time. (Sorry Mike) However, the general assertion that any mayoral candidate will have to power her own campaign, with at best supplemental help from the party, is in my opinion spot on.

    I think the key to the council races, as a whole, will be whether someone with sufficient pull will run at the top of the ticket. I mentioned someone who’s previously run at-large, but that was a while ago. Who knows whether he would have the political pull to help the rest of the ticket? But that’s the dilemma that Mike faces – depending on the ultimate line-up of candidates, where do you devote scarce resources? 2008 isn’t 2006.

    By the way, do you or anyone else know who’s filed for what offices? I haven’t been able to be close to it over the past few days and I was wondering?

  24. Jesse from Cranston

    Geoff:

    This is where we get to the real rub: Will Fogarty (if she is, indeed, the eventual nominee) actually listen to Mike Sepe’s advice? She got 2 votes in the endorsement vote in 2006. I would guess that Sepe’s advice would be to “shmooze” the committee this time around, much as Nap did in 06. Has Fogarty learned that much since then? Or will she, in essence, just expect the party to support her without courting the committee? Alternately, will she pooh-pooh the whole idea of a party endorsement and just not care, beyond the fact that the endorsement would rule out a primary?

    We’ll see how the party’s “support” plays itself out. I’d watch the news following the first fundraisers — not the campaign kick-off, mind you, the later events where she’s going to have to rake in tens of thousands of dollars at each one just to be competitive. Those are the “times” that draw the party faithful — the ones that cost a few grand to throw (usually because it’s open bar). But they pay off in the end, because the word-of-mouth brings the votes on Election Day.

    I say, if she doesn’t raise $100,000 by August 1, she’s as good as beaten.

    On a different note, there’s no way that Fogarty (or anyone else, for that matter) has the pull of Garabedian for the rest of the ticket. She doesn’t have the money, the organization, or the track record. Aram paid for a few mailers back in 2006 that included the other 2 citywide candidates and the local ward candidates, on his own dime. Only a fool would ignore the reality that Aram’s backing helped all of them (admittedly, with the exception of Kirk McDonough).

    And as of right now, no, I don’t know of anyone else who has filed for candidacy. I, like you, will probably find out when it gets published in the ProJo.

  25. Jesse,

    There’s no doubt that Cindy’s going to have to raise truckloads of bucks. It’ll be interesting to see how that rolls. But as I think you said earlier, it’ll be interesting to see whether the constituent groups of the party attend fundraisers and financially support her candidacy. I think getting up to speed so late in the game that she’ll need something close to a full-time, dedicated person devoted to fundraising strategies. And Cindy might have to spend more time raising money than she might like. Four months and a few days seems like a long time, but once the campaign starts in earnest, it flies by. And even though the “election game” is the same throughout the campaign period, the pace quickens the closer you get to the election.

    I think the key period of the campaign is in the next couple of weeks. This is the period that she sets her campaign strategy, issues development, message (the key big ideas – the broadcast and narrowcast messages) media, fundraising strategies, budgeting the campaign, identifying key people and building the organizational infrastructure, etc. She’s going to have to come up with a workable, realistic budget (in the broadest sense). If she fails at this, it’s not going to matter how much money she raises.

    And Aram is a powerhouse. There is no substitute. This ticket will suffer for his absence.

    As for who’s in and who’s out – it appears that Rachel McNally is going to run as an indie in Ward 6. Jeff Barone apparently has packed it in. So, that’s four open council seats (3,4,6, and one at-large). This will be an interesting election.

  26. Jesse,
    “Running up millions of dollars in legal fees for lawsuits (a la Laffey vs. the crossing guards) won’t solve anything, either.”

    You know, it’s comments like this that really bring into question your intelligence and understanding of any of these issues. In fact, it makes people just go right by your posts because you are obviously clueless.

    The legal fees to get rid of the crossing guards were less than $100,000. And that was a one time thing.

    The savings from getting rid of the crossing guards is about $400,000 per YEAR!

    The thought that this is not a good deal for the taxpayers could only be put forth by a total moron.

    Now, why don’t you just tell us, moron, is it your mother, sister, wife – or all of the above – who is (was – HAH!!) a crossing guard?

  27. Ghost of Christmas Future

    Jerry,

    Is the $400K annual savings you refer to a net savings number? Salary & benefits prior to firing less today’s total costs for the same service?

    Is that $400K annual savings perpetual? If so, it’s a better investment of taxpayer money than the fake grass.

  28. Jesse from Cranston

    Jerry:

    Let’s review your reply and see what we get.
    1. Dismiss a valid assertion with a personal attack;
    2. Selectively use a statistic with no sense of context;
    3. Make another personal attack, this one repetitive of the earlier one; and
    4. Post a baseless conspiracy theory about having relatives who are or were crossing guards.

    Conclusion:
    You found the old, dusty, pro-Laffey troll playbook!

    Congrats — you’re the latest member of SADDL (Self-Appointed Delusional Defenders of Laffey)! Here’s what you win: a real test of my earlier statement against the facts.

    Here’s what I said:
    “Running up millions of dollars in legal fees for lawsuits (a la Laffey vs. the crossing guards) won’t solve anything, either.”

    Now, follow along:
    — From 2004 to 07, Laffey spent (or “ran up”) $7.1 million under the line item “Administrative Legal Expense” (a/k/a “legal fees”) in the city budget. You’ll find this information on page 16, account number 54103 at this link: http://www.cranstonri.com/pdf/hottopics/FY09%20Adopted%20Budget.pdf

    — The term “a la” is meant to indicate the concept of “as an example,” not that the crossing guard fight cost millions of dollars.

    — And, really, $400,000 annually in budgets that increased by roughly $7 million per year? I don’t call that a “good deal for the taxpayers.” (You can find this information on page 15 of the budget, by the way.)

    See? Facts, context, a source of the correct information, and sound logic. (Okay, so I did indulge in a little personal swipe by calling you a member of SADDL, but it was meant in humor.)

    In the future, please try to adhere to some semblance of civility, or just don’t post anything.

  29. You know, Jesse, I really try to keep this simple, just for people like you. Only a complete and utter moron, could imply that spending $100K ONCE, to save $400K PER YEAR in perpetuity, is a bad move. That’s your “example” of wasteful legal spending, Jesse??? Surely you’ve heard the old adage, “better to be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” That must have been coined with you in mind, Jesse.
    To try and backtrack on it, by claiming, via the nonsensical notion, that it is only a small portion of the budget, further diminishes your already low image.
    You obviously are so enraged by Laffey you can’t think, see, or talk coherently. Let it go. And don’t even try to tell me nobody close to you lost their crossing guard job.
    2 years of Napolitano should have vindicated Laffey even to someone like you, dope.

  30. Ghost of Christmas Future

    Jesse, I don’t know how much you make, but $400k is big money. I must agree with Jerry although not his manner of delivery. You made a point and it was wrong. The crossing guard issue saved money, Like Laffey or not, last I checked the budget was balanced when je left office. Laffey is gone. Let it go.

  31. Jesse from Cranston

    Jerry:

    All right, you can just stop now. Re-read your own posts another dozen times, be happy with yourself — and stop posting your trash here.

    GCF:

    You’re slightly more reasonable, so I give you credit for that.

    Please, tell me how calling a claimed savings of $400,000 amidst $7 million-per-year increases “not a good deal” is so wrong. Or how, to get back to the main point (which is what I think you’re referring to), I’m wrong to suggest that Fung spending millions of dollars in legal fees in the same manner as Laffey will not actually solve anything. Seriously, go for it.

    Before you do, though, take a minute to really consider the context — are you really hanging your entire argument on a point that ignores more information than it includes? Is it really my being able to relate to $400,000 as “big money” that’s at issue?

    Also, please consider an end to twisting my arguments into some kind of vendetta against Laffey. Our troll friend’s shrill and childish name-calling shouldn’t erode my arguments — they should erode his.

  32. Jesse from Cranston

    Geoff:

    Apologies to you (and others) for the veering off into troll-defense mode.

    If I may get back to our part of the debate, I really don’t think Fogarty can make the type of commitment you describe.

    (Now, I got in trouble for being, ahem, more pointed about this a few weeks back, so I’m going to try and take a somewhat more measured tone this time around. We’ll see if the results are different.)

    The 2006 primary campaign she ran was understaffed, underorganized (if I can coin the term), and underfunded. My impression from people I know is that Fogarty only valued people who gave her advice that she wanted to hear, and ran a sloppy organization as a result.

    Granted, two years have passed since then. I’m not saying that Fogarty couldn’t have realigned her approach — I’m just saying it would be a big realignment.

  33. Ghost of Christmas Future

    Jesse, was the budget balanced when Laffey left office and did the bond rating for the city mprove during Laffey’s tenure. Try a yes or no response. It really is that easy. Oh yeah, and gee, thanks for the credit.and as far as Cindy Fogarty running a sloppy campaign. Why don’t you try running something other than your mouth.

  34. Jesse from Cranston

    GCF:

    Well, so much for your being slightly more reasonable than our latest troll.

    I’m not going to play the “yes or no” game with you. All that will happen is that I’ll put some context to your assertions and prove them wrong, and you’ll just dismiss me with childish put-downs.

    Thanks, I’ll save the effort this time.

  35. Ghost of Christmas Future

    JFC, You have a knack for spouting words without content. Readers see thru you. I think Jerry said it best.

    “Surely you’ve heard the old adage, “better to be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.â€? That must have been coined with you in mind, Jesse. To try and backtrack on it, by claiming, via the nonsensical notion, that it is only a small portion of the budget, further diminishes your already low image.”

    And tell me, JFC, your insiders providing you with all the gossip relative to Cindy Fogarty’s last mayoral run, would they be the same ones that were fired by Cindy.

  36. Jesse:

    No apologies necessary. I just love it when people resort to name calling and ad hominem attacks to make a “point.” It’s so uplifting and inspiring to see and read a well-crafted argument in advance of a well reasoned and thought out position.

    So, if I might, a couple of things. When the crossing guard issue first emerged, I took two positions in several articles I submitted to the local paper – first, the contract was excessive and second that it was a contract. And if I recall, Laffey lost – he lost in the courts and in the Labor Relations Board. After all was said and done, the city still had to negotiate with the union representing the crossing-guards. Apparently, a contract is a contract and can’t be voided, absent a clear public need, just because you don’t like it, don’t like who’s covered by it, or think it’s just plain stupid.

    Second, while we’re talking about money in the previous administration, let’s talk about the new police station. Remember that the Laffey administration, touting its financial chops, proposed that the city enter into a multi-year (25 years I think) lease agreement in order to then by AT FAIR MARKET VALUE, the building outright. The council, in its wisdom, determined that would be a bad deal and elected to pay the multi-year lease at the conclusion of which the city would own the station outright. Time will tell how much “savings” that will amount to, as it’s tough to predict what FMV will be 25 years out – but it’s got to be some.

    Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming already in progress. I don’t think we’re having as much a debate as a discussion. I think we are in general agreement that whatever Cindy did two years ago will not come even close to working this year in the general. We’ll know more about her potential to realign/retool her campaign in a few weeks.

    After having gone to Cranston Demfest ’08 last night (do I get to coin that one?), there were a lot of expressions of unity. Aram’s on the hunt for a headquarters. Let’s see what translates into action/results. Let’s see who she reaches out to – that will be key. Hopefully she’ll reach out to at least one person she respects who can tell her some uncomfortable truths that occur in every campaign – especially the successful ones. Like every candidate, she’ll have lots of cheerleaders who’ll tell her how well she’s doing and how well the campaign’s going. She’ll need someone a little more removed in order to deliver some of the less pleasant news. And, if as you suggest, she doesn’t listen to unpleasant advice/news, then she may have a problem. The quickest way to get into trouble is by listening to only one version of any story.

  37. OK Geoff Schoos,
    You are now in Jesse’s moronic world. With nonsense like this: “And if I recall, Laffey lost – he lost in the courts and in the Labor Relations Board. After all was said and done, the city still had to negotiate with the union representing the crossing-guards.”

    Uhmmmmm…earth to geoff, earth to geoff…the crossing
    guards were FIRED! That’s FIRED, as in LOST THEIR JOBS, as in NO LONGER EXIST. Laffey won! There are no unionized crossing guards in Cranston today. Please, please, please, tell me you know this. You are entering Jesse stupidity territory now. Geoff, tell me you are kidding.

    If not, just one question – what kind of shit are you guys smoking, cuz the crap spewing out of your mouths is not the product of sane minds? WTF is it with you dopes. It’s like up is down, left is right. You guys are living in some kind of fantasy world.

  38. Jesse from Cranston

    Geoff:

    You get first response because you’re actually having a discussion — and you have the facts behind you.

    You’re right that Laffey, in essence, lost the crossing guard fight. And the fact is, with the exception of one new hire, all of the actual people working as crossing guards were rehired for the new, improved, privatized jobs. Then, after Laffey left, Nap got the LRB decision that the contract has to be negotiated.

    You also rightly point out the time bomb that was Laffey’s plan for the new police station, and that the Council was smart to stop it.

    Finally, your insight on Fogarty’s need to listen to people with differing opinions is spot-on.

    Now, forgive me while I dispatch the trolls yet again…

    GCF:

    The person you suggest resigned from the Fogarty campaign. But no, he is not the only, nor the primary, source for the information I posted. Beyond that, I am feel no obligation to you to explain this further.

    Bryan:

    Post your bile somewhere else. You’ve proven you have nothing informative to say, so just stop.

  39. Why Bryan, does this mean that we’re not friends? I don’t know if I could bear it if we weren’t friends.

  40. Geoff,
    Are you unaware that the crossing guard function has been privatized?

  41. Jerry,

    At first, I wasn’t going to respond to your question as I thought it facetious. However, given the tenor of the discussion on this thread relative to the past controversy on the crossing guard issue, I didn’t want to appear rude. And although as an issue in and of itself the crossing guard controversy isn’t really worth the work, it is an issue representative of a broader question that needs to be confronted. So, it’s in that spirit, without spending any additional time about this issue of four years ago, that I tell you what I’m aware of:

    I’m aware that the Laffey administration had no grounds to void the contract w/ the union. There was no breach, no non-performance, no coercion in formation, and no public necessity.

    I’m aware that when all was said and done, the courts found that there were no grounds on which the city could legitimately void the contract.

    I’m aware that during the litigation, the contract expired at the designated time and the city bid the job out to private contractors.

    I’m aware that the Department of Labor found that the city violated the contract in part by not giving timely notice under the contract’s provisions that it was not going to negotiate a new contract.

    I’m also aware that Warwick faced a similar situation that was resolved with much less, if any, political uproar and saved the city money to boot.

    I’m aware that if the Mayor was serious about “reform� instead of headlines, he’d have adopted a different approach to the one that brought the full weight of city government down on a small union.

    Now, don’t get me wrong – I thought then and think now that the contract was excessive. However, no matter how stupid or excessive the terms were, there is the broader issue of the sanctity of a contract. You can’t just break it merely because you don’t like its terms or those covered by it. Both sides negotiated it and both had to live by its terms. There were mechanisms in place to handle the event that the city did not wish to go forward with a new contract, which the city ignored.

    While whether the amount saved is a pittance or enormous in the context of the overall budget is up for debate, the real significance of this crossing guard issue is in the context of governing itself. There are real questions that are never addressed in relation to the crossing guards issue: what services should government provide; how much are people willing to pay for these services; and how best these services should be provided.

    In the context of these overarching questions, the issue of the crossing guards is significant. In isolation, used as a political wedge as in this thread, it’s trivial.

    I hope that this explanation of my awareness is adequate because in the context raised in this thread, I have no interest in further participating in a pointlessly endless discussion of a long-ago issue.

  42. Jesse from Cranston

    Geoff:

    I hope you reply actually achieves your intent, i.e., ending that part of the, um, discussion. Although you’re probably up for another baseless accusation that someone you know lost their crossing guard job.

  43. There you have it folks, a wonderful diatribe in support of the status quo. A great explanation of why you can’t get the job done. A very good example of the mindset that prevails with our politicians that have us in the proverbial shitter.
    Great job, Geoff. That’s the kind of thinking that would get your ass fired if you ever worked for me.

  44. Bryan, This is your first and final warning to stop polluting the environment with your toxic language. If you post again using profanity, your ISP will be blocked.

  45. Bryan,

    A point of personal privilege. As loathe as I am to engage with someone who attacks from the cheap seats, in your case I make the exception.

    First, I neither smoke, snort, spike, drink, nor spew. What I find tragic is that rather than any discussion of the merits, you resort to invective bordering on slander to make your case. Your doing so only serves to highlight the fact that you have no case to make. Disagreements, even robust ones, are healthy. Dropping in from out of the blue, employing coarse language and making personally pejorative accusations only serve to cheapen, if not self-immolate your arguments – assuming such exist.

    Second, and please understand that I am no shrinking violet, the coarseness of your language and imagery is inappropriate for this site, which prides itself on its basic civility while engaging in robust debate. But, I do understand the position you find yourself – having no credible contrary argument, and there are some but you haven’t shown an ability to master any of them, you’re left with no other avenue than to smear/slime those with whom you disagree. It must be terribly frustrating.

    Third, your comment about the “diatribe in support of the status quo..” reveals how little you know about me. Had you read any of my posts on this site over the years, my bi-weekly column in the local paper, or my state senate campaign two years ago, you’d know how absurd it is to define me as a defender of the status quo. Over the years, I’ve been accused of many things but never that!

    Fourth, as for firing me I have only one question. In what alternate reality do you think it ever possible that I would want to work for someone like you?

    Fifth, referring to the status quo “argument” you made and alluded to above, let me merely say that reading is fundamental. There are two things that I would point out – one, that the former Mayor sought to emulate his hero Ronald Reagan. He as much as admitted this in is book (about which I might modestly point out is a review in the archives on this site) when he links his “battle” with the crossing-guards with Reagan’s conflict with PATCO (the air-traffic controllers union). In his book, in the context of the times during which he took on the crossing guards, and in the context that there were other ways to reform city government, I believe it’s a reasonable conclusion that Mayor Laffey was at least as interested in starring in his own personal movie as in other motivations.
    Two, if you base your “status quo” argument on the position that I uphold the rule of law, then I proudly stand guilty as charged. But that’s because the rule of law and established processes are paramount values and ideals in our society. It’s what keeps us from falling into anarchy and oppression. We are fortunate that we have the ability to change the law and alter these processes when they no longer reflect the mores of society and/or the present day reality of life. There is a way to go about change that is both productive and responsible. In my judgment, the former-Mayor on this as well as other issues – chose a path that was antithetical to productive and responsible change.
    Moreover, I stated that any discussion of the crossing guard issue in isolation, without placing the issue in the context of the three broader questions I raised relative to governance, indicates an inherent change agenda rather than a maintenance of any status quo. I’m sorry that because you are so blinded by your knee-jerk response on this subject that you were unable to see the broader implications of my remarks.

    I took more time (again) than I wanted in response to your comments/allegations in the last post. But I did so because I hate thuggish and boorish tactics meant only to divert and not to add to a responsible discussion. It must be incredibly easy and satisfying to you to anonymously hide behind a first name while throwing invective into the middle of a legitimate discussion of public policy and political issues. Your doing so betrays your inability to either articulate a coherent comment or an immaturity of thought. Either way, I’m publicly out here, my views a matter of record. When you attack my character and my positions, you’d better bring more than a few coarse words and faulty illusions and imagery. I hope that you’re better than that. I know that I am as are others who responsibly participate on this blog.

  46. Jesse from Cranston

    Geoff:

    To return to the topic (again), it’s settled now — Fung vs. Fogarty in the general election. The ProJo had a story on Friday. I’m still a bit shocked that the Dem ticket didn’t draw more than a single filing for candidacy for the mayor’s office.

    Story here: http://www.projo.com/ri/cranston/content/wb_cranston_races_06-27-08_ABAM1I2_v13.3f61a56.html

    As I’ve suggested before, I’m sure the ProJo will do all it can to make this a “tight race” and a “close contest,” in spite of the evidence that may present itself, i.e., that Fung has the superior fundraising and publicity organization — even if only because he’s been running since 06. And as we discussed prior to the, ahem, interruptions, the Dem strategy may be to work toward keeping the Council majority over the Mayor’s office.

    With that, I’m pivoting on the academics and kicking off the predictions: Fung 53-47, or about 17,000 votes out of 32,000.

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