TOM WARD – Tyranny comes slowly

TOM WARD – Tyranny comes slowly

As Pawtucket political officials “hail” the General Assembly’s passage of a bill allowing them to squeeze a private property owner, let me disagree.

As I see it, the city of Pawtucket, angered by the intransigence of Apex property owner Andrew Gates, decided that they have a better idea for the use of Gates’ property along the river, and now will force him to sell for a much lower sum of money. If he won’t sell, they will simply take it. The arrogance of the political class in Rhode Island is startling but never surprising, and should serve as a warning to all citizens and business owners.

In related news, Monday’s weekly WalletHub study arrived in my inbox, and found Rhode Island “the worst of the 50 states to start a business.” Well done, Smith Hill!

But back to Pawtucket. For the past few years, it was known that Gates, the owner of the Apex property, was asking far too much (according to some) for his property as it was considered the best location for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium. Was he too greedy? I’ll never know. Everyone knows that his Apex department store has been long suffering. Still the value is in the land, and he chooses to run his business. This is still America; he can do as he pleases as long as he behaves legally.

Prior to the June 28 legislation, if city leaders wanted to grab somebody’s property through eminent domain, they had to pay him 150 percent of the value, the extra 50 percent for putting an owner through the trouble. Not anymore. The General Assembly lowered the payment to 100 percent of appraised value. Politicians (in Rhode Island, it is always Democrats), get to live their dreams, and property owners get screwed out of 1/3 of their money. Supporters will counter that we have to look at the “big picture” of downtown Pawtucket redevelopment, and to a small degree, that’s true. But then, that’s what they told us with the still partly empty I-195 space in Providence. Will Gates get his last 50 percent if politicians and developers screw this up? Hardly!

The real answer to economic development is right under our noses. Make Rhode Island business friendly. Cut taxes. Cut government! The real Masters of the Universe in America are private sector entrepreneurs and business owners, not government dreamers. It takes no great talent to win election, then confiscate the money of people who work hard and spend it. The talent comes in intelligently balancing the two. Our last place ranking should tell legislators we are on the wrong track.

Hands up. Don’t lead!

It is way, way too early to really care much about next year’s presidential election. So much will change in the coming 15 months, and our mercurial president, Donald Trump, could do so many offensive or dumb things in the meantime. Still, it was stunning to see one answer last week in the second round of Democratic candidates in their debates. When asked by Savannah Guthrie “if your government (health care) plan would provide coverage for undocumented immigrants,” all answered yes.

And so, the invasion on the southern border continues apace, and immigrants trained in how to ask for “asylum” pile up until they are let go forever. Democrats complain of conditions in “cages” built by President Obama. Donald Trump can’t build “the wall,” and certainly can’t get Mexico to pay for it. For the rest of us, health care premiums rise swiftly to pay for the madness while lying politicians BS us.

Do we have a country anymore?

Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze



Losing 1/3 of his money? Not sure you know what 100% means if he’s not getting more than he bought it for it’s on him for not keeping it maintained and driving down its value. Then a hard right turn to xenophobia.

Psst you know why your healthcare premiums are going up? Here’s a hint they’re for profit private entities. Those great saviors Of economies!

Dear Gamegear, if they give Gates 100% instead of 150%, he loses one-third, no matter what the value of the property or how he managed it.
And the "for-profit private entities" I assume you don't like have to raise premiums on those of us who actually pay the bills, in part because they have to help pay for free emergency care – and sometimes more – offered to ALL people at hospitals across the U.S. Conditions are particularly bad at hospitals near the border, and we all have to pay for that. Taxes go up. Premiums go up. And you support it, I imagine. Why else insult me with such a magnificent word?