ARLENE VIOLET - On tea or tolls, patriots fight tyrants

ARLENE VIOLET - On tea or tolls, patriots fight tyrants

Imagine this. The government was inept in planning to maintain monies for a modicum of services. It decided to tax the residents for its mistakes. After a series of blunders it taxed something virtually everyone used every day. The citizens thought this latest episode of nickeling and diming them to death was the last straw. They refuse to pay the levy claiming that the authority that forced this down their throats didn't really represent their interest. The leaders are shocked since they figured that the amount in question was so trivial that nobody would get lathered up about it.

The patriots are not fooled by this ploy since to accept the tax is tantamount to recognizing the body's right to tax them. They organized a protest around the water and asked others not to submit to the tax. Somebody attempted to set fire to the tax collection mechanism.

Eventually, they dumped all the tea in the harbor and thus the Boston Tea Party of 1773 was a night of history.

The outline of the story sounds familiar, doesn't it? Imposing a 10 cent "toll" on the Sakonnet River Bridge was supposed to be as innocuous as taxing tea. In 1773 Parliament had a "sweetener" when they imposed the tax by reducing the duty the colonies would have to pay for the imported tea. The Americans would get their tea at a cheaper price than ever before. However, if the colonies paid the duty tax on the imported tea they would be acknowledging Parliament's right to tax them. Tea was a staple of colonial life. The patriots just didn't want to accede to the power of Parliament no matter how cheaply the tea purchase would be.

The rest is history. The colonists told Britain to take the tea and shove it. The ships were boarded and the tea was dumped. The next morning citizens manned boats and rowed into the harbor. They pounded whatever tea was visible into oblivion by beating it with oars and paddles, drenching it as to render total destruction.

So, who has these guts today? The opponents to the tax on the Sakonnet River Bridge are made out to be miscreants who are blubbering over a mere dime. Tsk-tsking abounded when the information was reported that somebody tried to burn the wires of the system that photographs cars going over the bridge. The discussion has veered away from how the state got into this pickle anyway and how stupid a 10 cent imposition is, given the need to use a 46 cent stamp to collect it.

Perhaps, instead of castigating them, the opposition should be hailed as modern day patriots who don't want to recognize a bridge authority's dominance over them. As a paraphrased saying might go, "In for a dime, in for a dollar." Earlier estimates for a proposed toll ranged as high as $4.50.

This is not a personal fight for me since I rarely use the Sakonnet River or the Pell Bridge. There's something amiss, however, when residents of one part of the state are pitted against the other. Certainly, there needs to be accountability at the R.I. Department of Transportation for its miserable maintenance of roads rather than just have the problem punted. Just as surely, there needs to be a fair allocation of costs among all Rhode Islanders. Lastly, maybe some kudos should go to the loyal opposition who reminds us what a revolutionary spirit New Englanders used to have.

Violet is an attorney and former state attorney general.


As to Arlene's article above and her comments and observations.

With these Tolls now in place....all of those crossing without a transponder and not paying the 10-cent toll will not be chased unless they rack-up an amount going after....and at great cost....but those with a transponder will be billed almost immediately!

This is not Rocket Scientist Stuff people....take the damn transponders down from your windshield and then NOBODY pays....maybe, then, RI Bridge Authority Chairman, 'Arrogance Personified', David Darlington, and his Band of Minions, will get the message!

The time has long since come and gone for RI Governmental Leaders to use taxes from what were always the intended source for maintaining our roads, bridges, etc. (and that were initially done through a legislative act)...that source being, primarily, gasoline taxes; which, today, those funds, as are the case with just about every source of revenue Rogues Island generates, going into the "General Fund" to then be squandered by the Financial Incompetents we keep re-electing to office!

Why pay the lousy 10-cents wherein everyone can, if we all agree to do so, as a really strong show of protest and support against these tolls, send a very clear message to Mr. David Darlington, and his minions, at the R.I Bridge and Turnpike Authority, that we do not want his lousy stinking tolls...and we ain't gonna pay them!

NOW. isn't that a much more common sense form of protest....our reminiscing, as Arlene points-out, the Burning of the Gaspee, or The Boston Tea Party and the attention and success it brought.!

Period...end of discussion!

I dont live in the area, never crossed that bridge, but after reading the story, I knew the end result, like the crooked door to door salesman, telling you its cheap and it will never go up, or like the old drug dealer, standing on the corner in a dark alley, selling cheap drugs. The victims are now hooked for life, 10 cents is soon 1 dollar and 10 cents, the drug dealer is now a politican, like the door to door crook, and snake oil salesman it all about hooking the suckers and hook them on the cheap.Rhode Island politicians are truly a evil lot, run and controlled by a evil democratic party. Rhode is dead last in everything, especially in voting in the crooks thieves and whatever, that has turned a once wonderful state into the wreck from hell as it is now. Go Go protestors, sadly like custer you are surrounded by savages.