I attended the first 2 hours of the RIDOT Public Discussion held in Portsmouth and the entire Tiverton session. 98% of you wasted your time. Stop thinking like sheep. You have been herded, and will continue to be until they have fleeced you.
Everyone in attendance except our friend from Lincoln is opposed to this toll. What productive thing did you need from these meetings? How to stop the toll. Did you get it? No. You think because Director Lewis has the professional fortitude to stand and let you throw tomatoes at him that somehow that will stop the toll? You had but one mission at these two meetings and you all failed. Did you ask how to stop the toll? You did not.
I did. After all the rest of you vented your spleens on Lewis and went home, and the line got down to 5 or 6 people, I asked a series of questions. Condensing the questions and responses we can distill from the discussion this:
The RI House and Senate approved legislation allowing the transfer of the Sakonet Bridge to the RIBTA and the institution of a toll on same which the Governor signed into law. There are now only three discreet ways left to stop the tolls from occurring.
1) Get the elected officials to send to Governor Gump repealing legislation and get him to sign it.
2) Get Darlington and the RIBTA board to declare publicly they will not accept the Sakonet Bridge.
3) Petition directly the Federal Official responsible for deciding whether to allow RIDOT's request to implement tolls based on a revised EIS and ensure he denies it.
I put Lewis on record Tuesday night that Daniel.Berman@dot.gov is the deciding Federal Official. If you sheep can sign 26,000 petitions, you can send 26,000 e-mails to the deciding official. He is a federal civil servant. He has pledged an oath to execute the duties of his office in good faith. Setting aside 26,000 citizens declaration that this toll is unjust would not be good faith, it would be a 60 Minutes segment. That official cannot ignore the will of the people.
Don't allow yourself to be herded, do you believe Gump/Lewis/Darlington will carry your message to the Federal Official without any spin? If you allow the State Government to request and justify a modification to the EIS for you, they will spin it the way they want it. Your Government tells you they have this process to ensure that your concerns are heard. They will be heard and ignored. In the end, they will attempt to feed the Federal Official what appears to be a balanced reporting that suits their outcome. Do not go along for the ride. Write the e-mail in opposition, address it to Gump, Lewis, Darlington and Daniel.Berman@dot.gov, hit send once and shotgun them all. Get everyone you know to do it. Let them submit the modified EIS and then hold them accountable in both the court of law and public opinion for not responding to the voice of the people in the process they corralled us with. What judge and new organizations will ever accept that 26,000 citizens is insignificant. If you were the deciding official and you got 26,000 e-mails what would you do?
I did my part, I have given you the 3 ways to stop a toll from being implemented. Your turn STOP, draft a template e-mail, organize an e-mail drive, go find us the four e-mail addresses we need and report back to the hive. Have you gotten a pledge from our four Federal elected officials that they will personally stop in to see the deciding official and deliver their concerns as addressed to them by
their constituents? Stop whining people and start winning. Analyze what you know and find the places you can apply pressure and focus your energy on activity that will achieve the goal.
You want more? Organize a crew to make a Toll Booth and get a permit from Gump's home town to peaceably assemble outside his residence. Kind of like Sheehan did to George W during the Iraq War. Set up the toll booth at Gump's driveway, man it with volunteers 24/7 and ask Gump to pay $4 every time he leaves/arrives at his residence. Put me down for an 8 hour shift in the booth. Can you say National Media Attention?
Finally, for the 40-50% of you who dumped on our friend from Lincoln, shame on you. You were in a high school auditorium for Heaven's Sake!!!! Did you all forget your civics lessons? What makes us better than the rest of the world? That we behave like an angry mob and threaten violence at those we disagree with? Don't do it again, your adults, control yourselves. This is what you do at work when you disagree with the boss right? You attempt to out yell him, how's that work out. Please, do you want to be labeled uncivilized Tea Party types or do you want to command the respect of your fellow citizens. Again, shame on you, go read your Declaration of Independence and Constitution and tell me you think George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson would have been proud of your conduct Tuesday night. I can tell you I was not.