So, who are the geniuses at the convention center authority and the
Providence Westin who made the brilliant decision to preempt use of the hotel
lobby, limiting access to the skywalk to the mall? You certainly don't want
James McCarvill and Dominic Ragosta in charge of public relations.
The taxpayers get to subsidize the convention center, then they subsidize the
Westin, and, of course, we paid for the skywalk as well. The point of the
skywalk was to connect the mall and convention center to the core of downtown,
so there wouldn't be a ghetto-like effect in leaving the older Downcity area
out of the new action. Did the powers that be at the Westin and convention
center somehow miss this major issue -- something that was fully discussed when
all these edifices were going up?
It's all too reminiscent of the famous disappearing movie screen imbroglio.
Remember that one? There were supposed to be these swell movie theaters in
Downcity's core to offset the Hoyt multiplex over at the mall. Gee, what
happened to that? It's becoming all too clear that a number of the poobahs
calling the shots may have never seen it that way in the first place.
A "compromise" has now been worked out. Actually, it's no compromise at all,
thanks to the Bud-I's acid tongue, but McCarvill and Ragosta were able to
disgrace themselves first with one of the stupidest PR moves of all time. We
thought these people were professionals.
At least we don't have a deathwatch now of waiting for the first pedestrian to
get creamed while trying to cross the street in back of the Westin. It's pretty
obvious that this little intersection wasn't designed as a place for humans to
walk. The decision to close the skywalk was about as wrongheaded as wrongheaded
can be. (And a tip of the sombrero to BeloJo sports columnist Bill Reynolds,
who, in his column of Saturday, March 16, suggested that perhaps we should be
discussing skywalks to libraries instead of to shopping malls.)
Let's put out this fire
Your superior correspondents have long suspected the reason that the Bud-I
seems to always be wearing theatrical make-up is that, at any moment, a
television camera might appear somewhere in the city. And what a shame it would
be if Citizen Numero Uno of our Renaissance City wasn't smack dab in the
action. Accordingly, the odious Bill O'Reilly of Fox News Network, a "Sabbath
gasbag" of the highest order (in the words of Calvin Trillin), invited Hizzoner
on last week.
Seems that Billy Boy picked up on the story of a few crybaby firefighters who
complained about having to drive a truck in the annual Gay Pride March. Gee, I
wonder if anyone would consider P&J bigots if we were firefighters and made
a stink about having to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade because we didn't
want people to think we were endorsing Roman Catholicism or those pesky Irish?
As Charlie Bakst pointed out on last week's Deadly Experiment, if being
a firefighter entails a certain amount of community outreach, such as appearing
at city schools or driving a truck at public festivities and parades, then this
is part of the gig. Driving a fire truck during the St. Patrick's Day parade or
the Purim parade doesn't mean that people presume you're Irish or Jewish. In
the same way, driving a truck at the Pride march doesn't mean that people
presume you're gay.
As Kate Monteiro pointed out in Bakst's column of Tuesday, March 19, driving a
fire truck in a parade "can't be a separate, special case for certain parts of
the community." We respectfully disagree with the ACLU and our friend David
Cicilline on this one and applaud the mayor and Charlie for laying it on the
Stupid lead of the week
Yes, P&J are always chuckling about those news flashes and dramatic exposes
of the obvious. Most of the time they come in the form of pronouncements from
health organizations -- stuff like, "Researchers find that a daily regimen of
smoking 18 packs of cigarettes and eating a gallon of ice cream could be
hazardous for your heart."
Here's one from WNBC that we caught on the Internet on Monday, March 18: "A
man who kept a `death list' of names and is now accused of killing a priest and
parishioner during a church shooting rampage had psychiatric and disciplinary
problems, officials said." Gee, and we just thought he was a guy with some time
on his hands because he didn't like what was on TV that day.
Rich man, poor man
Condition Red, as in Johnnie Walker Red, which is what the staff writers and
editors in the Urinal's business section must have been drinking in large
quantities last week.
If you weren't paying attention, the BeloJo's crack biz staff last week rolled
out headlines just dripping with sympathy for the plight of two corpuscular
corporate buccaneers, Fleet chairman Terry Murray and CEO Chad Gifford. "Slack
profits trim sails of Fleet skippers," read the oh-so-snappy banner.
But P&J made the mistake of reading on after feeling a warm initial glow
at the thought of the abominable Murray and his sidekick Gifford waiting for a
bed to open at Traveler's Aid and having to check Dumpsters for a quick bite.
That's when we found out that the obviously out-at-the elbows Terry had to
settle for a mere $4.14 million in salary and bonus last year, plus $4.45
million from stock options he cashed in.
So where was the trimming? Oh, as we were told by reporter Lisa Biank Fasig,
he made $6.64 million the year before. Gosh, hope he'll have enough left to
take the bus home tonight. Gifford took an equally telling hit, dropping to a
Kmart-level $3.5 million salary, down from a tightly budgeted $5.9 million the
rear before, which was topped off with $3.2 million in options.
But as the smallest violins in the world played "My heart bleeds for you," Ms.
Fasig revealed that when Murray stepped down as CEO of FleetBoston Financial
Corp., the company changed his pension plan, providing "what some would
consider to be unorthodox benefits that would more than double his
compensation." Whoops, better not send that canned ham to tide Terry and his
family over during Easter. This since, as the Urinal reported, the new deal
more than doubled what his take would have been on the company's standard plan,
and they even threw in use of the company jet after his retirement.
This inane view of the plight of fantastically overpaid executives would be
comical if it weren't for growing disparity between rich and poor in the United
States -- fueled in great part by the work of business honchos like Murray and
Gifford, who blithely cut jobs while raking in obscene sums of money.
What drove the Urinal to position the Fleet fat cats' oversized reward for
their greed in such a Bizarro World framework is beyond our understanding. (Not
having noted their contradictory stories, on March 16 the Other Paper offered
the same absurd keening over the seven-figure take home pay packets of CVS's
Tom Ryan and Textron's Lewis Campbell.) Well, we're sure Urinal management will
be quite willing to offer similar high-end salaries to their union employees
once the spat with the Guild is smoothed out.
Tomorrow in the Urinal: You can make sure BeloJo publisher Howard Sutton gets
a hot meal and a bed with a donation of just $600,000. (Offer does not include
tip for waiter, sommelier, or chambermaid.)
Condition Men in Blue last week for Scott Cordischi, the host of WSKO radio's
afternoon sports talk show, SportsBeat. Newlywed Cordischi was pulled in
for allegedly soliciting sex from a prostitute at 11:15 a.m. in the morning,
evidently to relieve the performance angst of having to discuss March Madness
on his 3-7 p.m. show.
Bad enough that Cordischi happened to pick out a young lady who was under
surveillance by detectives, and within a trice of being picked up by Tooty and
Muldoon, before Cordischi offered her a lift. Lucky Scott was also undercover,
or at least as inconspicuous as you can be when driving around in a car with a
license plate that reads "SCORE," while wearing a no doubt complimentary Super
Bowl XXXVI jacket. We can imagine Tooty and Muldoon breaking out in laughter in
their car while watching the scenario unfold before them.
Perhaps Cordischi can take a few lessons from another well-known fellow when
he makes his case regarding his aborted BJ -- none other than President
Billary. "Hey, she was the one having all the sex. I was just there, thinking
about Adam Vinatieri. Lucky those cops showed up in time."
Sleep tight, Monica.
Hey, just a coincidence
Condition Brown, as in the color of the utter bullshit being tossed about by
associates of House Speaker John "Pucky" Harwood and Harwood's paw prints,
which are all over the recent casino gambling imbroglio. Narragansett Indian
chief sachem Matthew Thomas has insinuated that his tribe couldn't get approval
for a casino from the legislature because he was partnering with Boyd Gaming
Corporation, rather than Harrah's Entertainment. According to Thomas, he came
under pressure from influential people with close ties to Harwood, who
allegedly told Thomas, "Harrah's has a green light from the third floor (at the
State House)." Zero points for figuring out where the speaker's office is
But in according typical P&J fairness, it might just be a coincidence that
this situation involves people like Joe DiLorenzo, president of the city
council in Cranston, which is going belly-up financially on his watch, and who
just happens to be chief of staff for secretary of state Ed Inman, the
hockey-playing chum anointed by Pucky after Jim Langevin was elected to
As Pucky's boys might put it, "Heeey, I was just tryin' to help these guys
out. Sure, I'm a business partner of Harwood's so what? Heeey, so I introduced
him to Bill Devereaux? So he did some legal work for Harwood and was pushing
Harrah's for him, I hardly was even in the room! What fuckin' conflict with my
job? Even so, he doesn't have the balls to fire me, he owes my man big time.
Heeey, what `green light'? I'm a fucking `relationship person,' not a lobbyist.
Yeah, we went to the Twin Oaks. Great place. I know fuckin' everybody there.
You know, this shit is getting blown way out of proportion."
OK, we're swayed by the argument. Nothing like this could ever go on in Vo
Dilun with John Harwood in charge.
Send waffles, dumplings, and Pulitzer-grade tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issue Date: March 22 - 28, 2002