Uncandid camera

Turning a blind eye at the State House. Plus, the Damkoehlers hit the road
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  May 20, 2009

There was an excellent piece on State House security cameras in the May 18 issue of the Urinal by the always-reliable Steve Peoples. Well, at least that was the apparent main thrust, but Peoples managed to open up a lot of other doors as he worked his way through the examination of State House security measures.

What jumped out at P&J was the revelation that though there are 35 cameras being set up to monitor comings and goings in the State House, none are on the third floor, where it just so happens all of the General Assembly's Dem leaders have offices. And guess what? They have no idea why there are none!

Oh, House Majority Leader Gordon Fox did offer one explanation: Since there are cameras in the subbasement and on the first and second floors, why would they need any on the third floor? (We will continue after you are done wiping tears of laughter from your eyes.) And while Gordo says you would have to rappel up the side of the building to get there, anyone familiar with the State House and its stairways knows that Godzilla carrying an Uzi could wend his way up to the third floor without being seen.

How about if P+J offer an explanation: that there is no way State House leaders want any evidence of who is coming and going from their offices and when they were there — like 10 minutes before a key House vote. (We'd also point out the idea of seeing lobbyists toting Stop & Shop grocery bags with $100 bills spilling out of the top walking down the hallway, but that just wouldn't be right.) Hey, they aren't that stupid. It was noted by Fox that the person responsible for camera placement was our friend, the former Speaker, John Harwood. Now there's a shocker! As P+J like to say in quoting Plan Nine from Outer Space: "That proves it!"

What brought this to light was the fact that Fox's office waas recently broken into and trashed, and there was no third eye there to see who did it, though the suspects were identified by two people from a film crew working in the State House as a man in a suit coat and a woman who was "visibly intoxicated." Obviously the duo somehow staggered up the stairs to the third floor without being filmed. (See: "Godzilla carrying an Uzi" above.)

In a beautiful, only-in-Vo Dilun concluding scenario, a few days later the man in question turned himself in to lawyer Bill Murphy, who just happens to be the House Speaker, with an office on the third floor. Now Murphy's client, he spoke to the state police but refused to identify his hot date, and Fox refused to bring any charges, saying he had no problems with the incident.

Ergo, what's the big deal about no cameras? Let's get back to business!


SING IT, FONTELLA

The sounds of Fontella Bass's great hit, "Rescue Me," were again ringing through Supreme Court chambers last week, as judges and staffers sang along using the official Rhode Island judicial version, "Recuse Me." That is because Chief Justice wannabe Maureen McKenna Goldberg once again had to remove herself from the bench due to a conflict, this time in Bill "Little Napoleon" Irons's conflict case, where Goldberg cited close ties to Billy's wife.

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