Bridge envy

How to play hadball in Vo Dilun; postcard from Florida
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  January 15, 2014

You can just imagine that Vo Dilun politicians are absolutely green with envy over New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration’s idea of shutting down lanes on the George Washington Bridge — a stunt that froze traffic for four days to apparently punish the mayor of Fort Lee for not supporting Christie’s reelection.

Damn, why can’t we think up revenge stunts like that?

Right now, the best our political leaders can do is deny community grants to legislators who refuse to kowtow to the powers-that-be. That, and make sure that any maverick never gets a bill he or she sponsors out of committee (never mind to the point where it will lose a managed vote on the House or Senate floor). The threat of being put in the doghouse with their bold and rash colleague is enough to guarantee other lawmakers become good lemmings and just follow orders from above.

These tactics work against renegades in two ways. First, they deprive the legislator’s district of any of the state grant funds available, which can be painful for organizations (and citizens who rely on them) that are skating on thin ice financially. Second, they give any future candidates who oppose the sitting solon the argument that the legislator is ineffective and powerless. “Hey, this guy never even got one bill passed in the entire time he’s been at the State House! Elect me, and you’ll see some serious work get done and bills passed.” (Of course nobody mentions it will require donning kneepads every time they venture on to the sacred third floor of Halitosis Hall, where all the real decisions are made.)

Fortunately, Governor Chafee is a act who probably wouldn’t even think of a Christie “Bridgegate” reprisal against any of his political foes or enemies. Imagine if he decided to strangle access to the Newport Bridge in both directions when Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed pissed him off? Traffic jams heading back to Route 4 on the west and Route 114 in the east for a few days might get her attention, eh?

Unfortunately, he would have no recourse for punishing House Speaker Gordon Fox, since the daily traffic jams coming over the Washington Bridge past Fox’s Providence district are already as big a mess as one could imagine.

C’mon, political leadership, let’s show a little creativity here.

A snowbird’s travels and travails

After three hours of shoveling out the circular driveway at Casa Diablo, Phillipe finally freaked out and headed south to Florida for a little R&R, leaving Jorge to mind the store, the servants, and the liquor closet. The idea of becoming a short-term snowbird was simply too appealing.

Unfortunately, “simple” did not enter the equation of reaching the Sunshine State. After the Southwest flight pushed back from the gate, it stopped, and passengers, including the crying baby one row in front of P., were informed we would be sitting there for a while because Midway airport in Chicago, where P. had his connecting flight (don’t ask), was allowing no planes in or out due to fog. Two hours later, after sitting there in seats that are the closest thing to an Iron Maiden, P. finally departed.

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