Turkey time

By PROVIDENCE PHOENIX STAFF  |  November 22, 2011

Turkey_ODonnell_main
STEVEN O'DONNELL

Rhode Island's public records law is abysmal, which means inadequate checks on cops, politicians, and bureaucrats — not that we've ever had trouble with authorities abusing their power in this state.

Colonel O'Donnell, commissioner of the state police and top bird at the department of public safety, which also includes the sheriffs, the capitol police, and the fire marshal, tried to make a bad law even worse this year.

O'Donnell proposed new regulations that would seal off witness statements — critical tools in evaluating the merits of an investigation — from public inspection.

Only after an outcry from the media and other open records advocates — and a nudge from the attorney general's office — did he ease up. But the substitute regulations he put forward don't seem much better.

Those regulations are on hold for now. Advocates remain vigilant. And access remains tight.

Turkey_dan+wheeler_main

DAN WHEELER

All right, all right, this one is a stretch.

Wheeler, a Rhode Island native who pitched for the Red Sox this year, had a poor season — but not a dismal one.

And the hurler, as far as we know, wasn't downing beers and munching on fried chicken in the dugout with Messrs. Beckett, Lester, and Lackey while the team embarked on the worst end-of-season collapse in baseball history.

Come on, a turkey eating fried chicken? That be fratricide.

Wheeler, truth be told, didn't even play after September 7 because of a forearm injury, giving him some distance from the team's epic implosion. But the Phoenix couldn't print its annual turkeys issue, in good conscience, without calling out the Sox. And Wheeler was the most prominent Rhode Islander available.

Sorry, Danny. Thems the breaks. Gobble, gobble.

To see the 2009 and 2010 turkeys, go to  providence.thephoenix.com/turkeys.

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