Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dear Govenor Carcieri, Kindly Shut Up!

I'm a member of the Middletown Economic Development Committee. We take our mission seriously- good jobs for our town & area. Remember, I was here in 1973 when the Navy went bye-bye. I saw first-hand the personal & economic devastation this had on our little island which has taken us years to recover from. The argument that in fact we never did, would hold some water.


During our monthly meeting we discussed a recent conference held in Newport. This was the National Defense Industrial Association, 6th Annual National Small Business Conference. No doubt about it- without the Navy here bringing in the defense industry, we'd be- just another tourist spot . We sponsored an outside reception along with the Newport Chamber of Commerce, & some state agencies. This was a first for everyone involed and, in fact, we were even given an appreciation plaque for doing so. Few towns/cities in the State are as active a group as we are.


We have a new website, a flyer, & our town-paid part-time director- the Mayforth Group. We're serious about keeping the jobs that we have and trying to attract even more! Middletown wants your business.

One of our members & conference attendees mentioned how ironic it was that we were promoting, promoting, promoting while the speakers/presenters continually mentioned what a "bad" state we were to do business in. This is due to the many national mag/newspaper articles stating this as a "fact." Another mention was made how of hard the state of Michigan works in t.v. ads to promote its State (and things ain't all that great there). Mich. has a Dem. guv but many years of a Republican lege (not currently). So, how did that work out for them? Still, their guv promotes & you're own your own figuring out their shortcomings.

Our guv was elected with a pro-business platform (Republican version- no taxes & they will come). Now, I can live with that- campaign blah, blah, blah. He was going to reform the Lege with a newly invigorated Republican Party. Unfortunately (for him) it didn't happen & he often went out of his way to antagonize the Dem. Lege. Why? Perhaps these things are connected?

Time after time he harps on R.I.'s unfriendly business climate trotting out his stats while forgetting Mark Twain's definition of the three kinds of lies- lies, damned lies, and statistics. www.rifuture.org has been scrupulous about pointing out errors & omissions in this never ending rhetoric of self-bashing (reminds me of the old song- "Ever since my mashocistic baby went & left me, I've got nothing to hit but the wall"). The main stream press picked up on a Governor's denigration of his own state and ran with it, echoing his rhetoric. This continues throughout his administration & appointees who all seem to have been handed the same script & instructed to talk it up.

Unfortunately- backfire! If it wasn't true or was only partially true- say it enough times and perception becomes reality. It it was true- publicly saying & detailing it constantly benefitted us- how? I'd like to know. Where is the calculable proof that ANY of the tax incentives/benefits that we've given away over the years actually WORK? We would certainly demand that in education. Why not here? And if it does, why hasn't the State rallied round you, esp. in tough times?

So please, Governor, kindly bite your lip. Short-term, long-term (which means we'll all be dead), how has your "poor business climate" mantra helped us? You can't say that you're focusing on bringing jobs here while also constantly hammering on how "unfriendly" we are. Just Shut Up! Please. Although I think at this point it's too darn late. It's hard for us to move forward when we're being beat-up on all fronts with our own weapons.

I'm really trying hard to be nice here, but I'm feeling mighty grumpy. Just shut up. Please. Or better yet, say something nice. Often. Frequently. And tell your friends, too. Things like, "We have lots of capacity in Michigan [substitute R.I. here] and workers who know how to make things,” (Gov. Granholm)
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