Jacob Haller (jwgh) wrote,
Jacob Haller
jwgh

Rhode Island referenda

I don't have any particular insights about any of these, so I would be interested in the views of others on any of these questions. The full list of referenda and explanations is available as a PDF from here.

Question 1: AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE (RESORT CASINO IN WEST WARWICK TO BE PRIVATELY OWNED AND OPERATED BY A RHODE ISLAND BUSINESS ENTITY ESTABLISHED BY THE NARRAGANSETT INDIAN TRIBE AND ITS CHOSEN PARTNER)

A tentative no, even though I don't really have a problem with the Narragansetts opening a casino. It seems like the same result could be achieved without amending the constitution.

Question 2: AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE (ELECTIONS – RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS)

This restores the right to vote to all people who have been discharged from a correctional facility. (Previously, if they had a suspended sentence or were on parole or probation they still couldn't vote.)

I will vote yes on this. I don't have a problem with ex-cons voting. Also, it seems like whenever the criteria for who gets to vote becomes more complicated, one result is that a certain number of people who should be allowed to vote are incorrectly told they can't; it's a situation that's ripe for abuse and this amendment seems to simplify things a bit.

There are then a bunch of budgetary ones.

Question 3: AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE (BUDGET RESERVE ACCOUNT)
Question 4: HIGHER EDUCATION BONDS -- $72,790,000
($65 million for a new college of pharmacy building at URI, the rest for renovations at RIC.)
Question 5: TRANSPORTATION BONDS -- $88,500,000
(Mostly to repair bridges and roads, but also a little money for public transit stuff.)
Question 6: ROGER WILLIAMS PARK ZOO BONDS -- $11,000,000
(It seems to be somewhat vague as to what they will spend this money on. The DEM estimates the 'useful life' of the improvements to be 25-30 years.)
Question 7: FORT ADAMS STATE PARK RECREATION AND RESTORATION BONDS -- $4,000,000
(Half for general improvements, half to restore the fort.)
Question 8: DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT BONDS -- $3,000,000
(This is 'to provide funding assistance for local communities to develop,acquire or renovate recreation facilities.')
Question 9: AFFORDABLE HOUSING BONDS -- $50,000,000
(Mostly for the creation of affordable apartments, but $10 million is to create 'affordable home ownership opportunities.)

My inclination is to vote for all of these, but I don't know anything about them beyond what's in the booklet. Does anyone else? Update: The East Greenwich Pendulum discusses the referenda, and some more information is here.

As far as candidates go, I am basically going for a straight Democratic ticket. I do like Senator Chaffee -- he seems to think for himself a lot of the time, and I actually sent him a letter not long ago thanking him for his votes on a couple of bills -- but it just seems vital to me to, if at all possible, get rid of the Republican majority in the Senate, and I feel that by being a member of that Republican majority he is indirectly responsible for some very bad things indeed. (Also, I like Sheldon Whitehouse OK and voted for him the last time he ran for governor.)

What do you think?
Tags: politics
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