Turkey time

By PROVIDENCE PHOENIX STAFF  |  November 22, 2011


College kids getting rowdy and pissing on the lawn are irritating. We get it.

But the Narragansett Town Council has gone too far in considering a measure that would allow the police to recover "response costs" after a "disturbance" is reported at a property for the second time in a year.

Gobble-y-gook, we say.

As the ACLU pointed out in a letter to the council, the ordinance forces residents to "re-pay police simply for doing the job they are already getting paid to do." And the costs can be imposed even if no one is charged with a crime.

The measure also opens the door to all kinds of abuse. What's to stop a turkey from calling the cops on a neighbor, just to force a fat bill on the guy?

The town has already gone a little birdy on this issue: a 2005 ordinance allows authorities to brand the sites of "unruly gatherings" with an orange sticker that must remain in place until the end of the school year.

Enough warbling, turkeys, enough!


Ten months after President Obama took office, his Justice Department issued a high-profile memo signaling it would lay off the medical marijuana movement.

Then, in an apparent reversal, US Attorneys in Rhode Island and several other states sent letters to elected officials this spring threatening to bust up the emerging network of dispensaries — think pot pharmacies — that would push the movement out of patients' basements and into the mainstream.

Governor Chafee had been friendly to the medical marijuana crowd up until that point. So no one faulted him when he put a hold on the state's three soon-to-open dispensaries, or "compassion centers," after the feds issued their warning.

But it wasn't long before activists were pressing the governor to call the Obama Administration's bluff. Medical marijuana enjoys broad public support. Was the prez really prepared to shut down the dispensaries with an election just around the corner?

The call got ever more urgent when New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie pushed forward with his state's program — with no immediate repercussions.

Chafee, though, went turkey in the end, blocking the dispensaries for good. The guv looks a little avian, actually. Guess we should have known.



Speaker of the House Gordon Fox earned his first Phoenix turkey this year for greasing the skids on Rhode Island's contemptible voter ID bill.

Little Rhody isn't the only state to pass this sort of law, requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. But it is the only one with a heavy Democratic majority in the legislature.

Voter ID bills, championed by conservative lawmakers all over the country, are quite obviously aimed at disenfranchising poor and minority voters who tend to vote Democratic.

That's not what proponents say in public, of course; they say it's all about stamping out "voter fraud." One problem: there is no evidence that voter fraud is a real issue in this country.

All of which makes the Rhode Island situation so bizarre — and Fox's acquiescence so turkey-worthy.

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  Topics: News Features , Lincoln Chafee, Jack Reed, Gordon Fox,  More more >
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