Bridge to somewhere

RITBA gets it right; the Gipper's Day; Chan's has the blues; more shame in Afghanistan
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  February 2, 2011

Phillipe and Jorge were flabbergasted — and Casa Diablo rocked to its very foundation — by the recent actions of Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority chairman David Darlington and his board.

What RITBA did, in violation of what we believe is a Vo Dilun statute demanding that the state taxpayers get financially hosed on any and every bridge contract ever undertaken — and yeah, Gerber Baby, we're talking about you and the new Jamestown span for starters — was to reject the low bid ($36.4 million by ASI, based in Minnesota) for the task of painting the Pell Newport Bridge because they had a hunch they had been low-balled and that ASI simply couldn't do the job for that sum. This implies that they saw cost overrun claims lurking behind every strut and stanchion, which to date is seemingly S.O.P. for any massive public project hereabouts.

Instead, Darlington and company tabled the first bids, put it out again publicly and ASI came back with the winning low bid, but it was $5 million higher!

RITBA has taken some ribbing, but here at Casa Diablo we offer a "tres bien" and "ole!" to the agency for having a very tight grasp on reality, something which has been virtually non-existent in the Biggest Little's oversight of construction projects for generations.

Now, Dave, pal, it's about those hot EZ-Passes you have in your trunk. We think we can move them for you, and fast. How's 30 percent sound? OK, 50 percent. Man, you do drive a hard bargain.


A savvy observer at the State House points out to P+J the extremely tight focus the denizens of Halitosis Hall have on our financial woes — instead of frivolous legislation — by noting the introduction of a House resolution "Proclaiming February 6 to be 'Ronald Reagan Day' in the State of Rhode Island." (We'll ignore the omission of "and Providence Plantations.") We understand the shouts of "Huzzah, huzzah!" in full-throated approval could be heard as far away as the House men's room.

This uplifting proposal to remember the Gipper's birthday was sponsored by Representatives Ehrhardt, Savage, Costa, Morgan, and Reilly, demonstrating that if you need your car washed and waxed, these five obviously have a lot of free time on their hands. P+J never really cottoned to President Al Z. Heimer, so if we are going to salute a marginally talented actor who once played a baseball player Ronnie later thought was a president — take a bow, Grover Cleveland Alexander — and whose best roles came as a co-star with a chimpanzee, why not have a Phillipe and Jorge Day proclaimed? Oh, that's right, it's been done. Thank you very much, Lincoln Almond. We still love ya, baby. Chin-chin! At any rate, our Smith Hill informant now very much fears ideologically similar tributes to Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or even our fat, drug abusing friend, Rush.

Oh, forgot to finish the story. The proclamation carried, because everyone thought it was "Ronald McDonald Day." A rose by any other name . . . .


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