P&J love the idea of civil disobedience when it’s done thoughtfully and aimed at deserving targets. But pardon us if we think that committing arson on the tolling equipment at the new Sakonnet River Bridge toll station over the implementation of a new 10-cent toll doesn’t quite fit that description. Using that calculus, we should have set off 50 nuclear bombs over Wall Street two years ago.
We can understand the anger of East Bay and Aquidneck Island residents and businesses at having tolls installed on the new Sakonnet River Bridge. And we applaud the large turnout of protestors this past weekend and some of their clever ideas for avoiding the tolls in the future, such as installing flip-down license plate covers that that won’t allow plates to be photographed so drivers can avoid the literally nickel-and-dime expense for crossing the bridge.
P&J also clearly see that the current 10-cent fee is simply a placeholder for increasing the tolls in the near future, a stunt by the General Assembly to avoid a local backlash that reared its ugly head in the last days of this year’s legislative session. More profiles in courage from the folks of Halitosis Hall.
But on the face of it, setting fire to public utilities is going a bit too far on an issue like this. As we’ve said in this space recently, the idea of pursuing drivers who blow off a dime toll by using incredibly costly administrative means for a meager return is preposterous. (And that doesn’t even include the infrequent visitor to Little Rhody getting dunned for not having an E-Z Pass when they blow through en route to or from the Cape. ‘”Eh, Martha, look at this! Rhode Island is billing us for 20 cents. Can you believe it?”)
Yes, the toll situation is farcical. But arson is not a laughing matter. Stick to common sense at this point, and when the RI Turnpike and Bridge Authority comes up with plans to recoup their (10) penny-ante, blow it out of the water. Figuratively speaking, of course.
P&J had the distinct and surprising honor of meeting Olympic swimming medalist Elizabeth Beisel on Sunday at the Jamestown Golf Course at the ungodly early hour at which we chose to play. Elizabeth, accompanied by her father Ted, a local businessman from North Kingstown who is a regular at the course, was right ahead of P&J’s group. Phillipe unfortunately did not have on his ‘Team Beisel” T- shirt that day to curry proper favor.
For those of you who live under a rock, Elizabeth, a North Kingstown High School grad and world swimmer now at the University of Florida, brought fame and glory to Little Rhody when she won a silver and bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics. She followed that up by recently winning a bronze medal in the individual medley at the 2013 World Championships. Not too shabby.
P&J have always heard that Elizabeth is a delightful young woman unsullied by her success. It’s true. She not only charmed P&J, but made the heart of the starter at the course — the normally pugnacious Jake the Snake — flutter when she gave him a personally autographed “To Jake” glossy 8 x10” color headshot.