Archive for October, 2010

Sore Losers

October 9, 2010

I’m not shocked Doug Gablinske, the soon-to-be-former RI State Representative, is running a write-in campaign for the District 68 seat after losing the Democratic primary to Richard Morrison on Sept. 14. It’s his last chance to hold onto power — something he evidently craves so much that he’s willing to sacrifice his own town’s future for it. (More on that in a bit.)

But what’s suprising is how much positive attention Gablinske is drawing from the Bristol Phoenix for this petty, quixotic attempt at personal redemption, in contrast to the brief but overwhelmingly negative focus the paper has given to another ludicrous wannabe politician named Greg Raposa. Indeed, few rational minds would argue that a bitterly arrogant candidate who couldn’t even capture his own party’s nomination would fare better in a general election than a newcomer whose views on gender date back to the Stone Age. So, why the disparity in coverage?

Could it be that Gablinske is more apt to pay for advertising space? After all, with the thousands of dollars he receives from the likes of college-dropout-turned-millionaire-turned-education-reformer Angus Davis, he’s got more than enough money to buy himself some good press. Unfortunately, what improves Gablisnke’s image and the Phoenix’s bottom line hurts everyone else. Puff pieces and gotcha journalism keep us uninformed about the important issues that should be determining the outcomes of elections.

For example, if the fourth estate was really doing its job, Bristolians would know the education reform movement in RI is merely an attempt by wealthy individuals to privatize schools and make a quick buck off the backs of taxpayers, which is what’s already happened in post-Katrina New Orleans. But, instead of using a natural disaster to set things in motion, political hacks were brought in to create a man-made one. Gablinske and Education Commissioner Deborah Gist (who, not coincidentally, was hired by Davis and the Board of Regents) helped push through a state funding formula that cuts millions of dollars over the next ten years to several districts, including Bristol-Warren.

Thankfully, Gablinske won’t be around to do more damage to the community, but the problems he’s unleashed are bigger than anything we’ve ever faced. A group of concerened parents and teachers are now rallying together to fend off the powerful special interests seeking to destroy public schools because they know it’s a fight Bristol can’t afford to lose. But will these civic champions get as much media play as the villains and sore losers? Don’t bet on it, as long as the Phoenix is the only game in town. Of course, there is a Patch of hope on the horizon.