Dave Layman sent this to Lookout and we thought we'd post it. It is a communication he originally sent to North Kingstown Representative Larry Ehrhardt. He calls for an inquiy into how the 38 Studios deal went through. What do you think?
On A Lively Experiment this week, in my Outrage of the Week, I called for a public inquiry--a public investigation into the EDC deal--that would feature televised (Capitol TV) testimony (sworn, hopefully) into the shadowy details of how this EDC deal was developed, orchestrated, implemented, ignored and then imploded. If this makes sense, why don't you and the others who opposed the EDC deal ban together and call for this. You might even pull in some allies who approved the deal, not realizing they were duped or misled two years ago.
The problem is, the legislative branch won't want to do it because their leaders are all implicated by virtue of the secrecy involved in passing the bill to benefit Curt Schilling and 38 Studios; the executive branch may not want it because it could be a huge, embarrassing distraction and illustrate that the Governor and the EDC failed to monitor 38 Studios spending and roll out. You need an independent overseer and, frankly, as I write this, I don't know how that would work. However it is done, you would need a respected individual to mount such an effort.
But I think the taxpayers will want to know how such an enormous public blunder occurred from the legislative deception at the beginning--to the executive oversight failure for 17 months. I can see so many public officials will want this to "just go away" and no lessons learned will be the result--along with the loss of $102-million in taxpayer dollars, if 38 Studios fails.
To musterIn my view, this needs careful public examination. If you agree there should be a public examination...maybe a coalition of Operation Clean Government, Common Cause, Rhode Island Statewide Coalition, Bryant University's Institute for Public Leadership (Gary Sasse is the Director), the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Engage Rhode Island, Roger Williams University Law School, R.I. Tea Party, The Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns and other respected organizations could force such an inquiry. Truly, it may take the combined might of these organizations and others to force this public investigation. Frankly, if you pursue this, the public--the state's angry taxpayers--will likely demand it as well and appreciate this leadership.
The public needs to know if this was just a bad idea that got farther than it should have; sheer irresponsible risk-taking with public monies; Rhode Island subterranean deal-making at its worse, shameful oversight; or a corrupted system that did all the above, plus awarding lucrative hidden financial opportunities to the politically connected.
There are so many forces that will oppose this idea of a public vetting that it will take the combined might of good government organizations to make this happen.
I am sending this to good government groups and some of my respected friends in the media to encourage immediate action. If there is a better way--and there may be--someone will undoubtedly suggest it. Clearly, this is urgent and something needs to be done.
One other note: what better way is there to show the rest of the country that Rhode Island is taking seriously this latest blow to its national reputation--that we are determined to break our notorious cycle of bad decisions, political corruption, taxpayer losses and little public accountability.