State struggles, Gina good!

The treasurer has integrity; resurrecting baseball; other musings
By RUDY CHEEKS  |  May 25, 2011

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I don't know the solution to our state's fiscal and political problems. If I did, I'd probably run for public office. I write this column and hope (our motto) that it will inspire those who do have the skills, experience, and courage to serve the people of Vo Dilun in some way.

These days, sadly, it does take quite a bit of courage to serve. How many people who you think might be fine public servants have told you they'd love to help, but they don't want to put themselves or their families and friends through the "public scrutiny" that is de rigueur and has been for decades now?

Well, we can't just give up. And while the answers can seem as elusive as a butterfly flitting about a giant tract of pristine nature, there are always signs of Hope.

I have been following the sojourn of our newly elected general treasurer, Gina Raimondo, and I think that she is one of those signs of hope. Many people who follow local politics will gripe that she's not formulated a total plan to save Vo Dilun. But she is working and I have every reason to believe that she is asking the right questions and steering the discussion in the right direction.

Electing Raimondo was, in my estimation, one of the best results of the 2010 election. This is a talented and bright woman who has eschewed the big money that she obviously could be making and thrown herself into the maelstrom of Rhode Island politics, knowingly inviting the gossip and rumors and general mistrust that we have for public officials.

How Raimondo has conducted herself in office so far has shouted out "integrity" to me. We need more people like her. I think that we've got a gem here.


TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME

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Do you remember the old Twilight Zone episode where Burgess Meredith is pining for more time so that he can hang out in the library and just read all day long? In the end, when he's finally given his great opportunity, thanks to nuclear annihilation (hey, this is the Twilight Zone ), he steps on his glasses and finds that he has all the time and all the books he'd want — but he can't read them without his glasses.

I sometimes share the Burgess Meredith dream and wish that I could suspend the pursuit of keeping my ass alive by working and just take a year or two off to read some of the books I've been pining to read. Instead, I have taken the vicarious route of faithfully reading the New York Times Book Review (and some other good ones like the Washington Post's) in order to stay abreast of what's out there and make believe that I know what I'm talking about when chatting with my friends. Pathetic? Yes. But what's a poor boy to do? Plus, I am excellent at faking it.

On Sunday there was a marvelous review by Marc Tracy of Dan Barry's new book, Bottom of the 33rd. Dan used to work here at the Other Paper before he jumped to the New York Times and he's a fine writer. His latest is about one of the most legendary sporting events in the Biggest Little's history — the longest game ever played in professional baseball.

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