Letter to the Governor on the Proposed Bridge Tolls (First of Three on the Issue today)

The Governor is asked to check the legality one more time; told he will be sued; asked to deal in good faith with non-extremist organizations

2 January 2013


Governor Lincoln D. Chafee

Office of the Governor

82 Smith Street

Providence, RI  02903


Dear Governor Chafee:


My name is Robert T. Oliveira.  I am a qualified Rhode Island elector living in Newport.  I am writing you today in order to make two requests.


Foremost, please ask appropriate counsel to review the ability of the Rhode Island Bridge and Turnpike Authority (RIBTA) to set tolls on bridges by itself.  Many of us believe that Article V of the Rhode Island Constitution prohibits, whether or not it has been directed to do so by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, RIBTA from engaging in self-generated taxation.


If counsel concurs with this opinion, please send all future toll rate setting requests to the General Assembly for appropriate action.


If counsel disagrees, please do not be surprised when I, funded by the RI PAC Quahogs United, seek an appropriate remedy in Superior Court.  The issue is too important to ignore.


Normally, “extra-Constitutional” questions are murky since the decisions were made so long ago.  This is not the case under Article V.  In fact, just about all the hearings regarding this Article are available on video tape.  There should be very little disagreement regarding “original intent.”  In the minds of many, Executive Departments are prohibited from engaging in Legislative activity.  The setting of tax rates, a toll is nothing more than a tax rate, is a Legislative activity.


In the meantime, one other issue needs to be addressed.  Your Administration has been meeting and/or “negotiating” with an organization called STOP here in Newport County.


No organization within STOP, including the Portsmouth Business Association, has indicated a path to success which includes a request for judicial intervention.  STOP’s roster is dominated by extremist, racist and bigoted organizations that do not represent anything resembling a majority of the people in Newport County.  During the last election cycle, candidates aligned with STOP’s members had one thing in common: failure.  The shootings in Newtown, CT have caused some of STOP’s members to take bizarre positions on other issues.  The internet is filled with delusional conspiracy theories, including some on the proposed bridge tolls, forwarded by those aligned with STOP. 


Later today, Quahogs United will ask the Portsmouth Business Association to leave STOP.  When your administration meets with STOP, you legitimize them.  Since they have no plans to proceed in court and are not really a legitimate organization, at this time I am asking you to no longer meet with them.  This issue is too important for the non-serious to be involved.  I would ask that you meet with those who plan to sue you and that should be the standard for such engagements.


Please understand that these requests are made with the betterment of Rhode Island in mind.  What RIBTA is doing sets an intolerable precedent.  Irony of ironies, I believe it violates an Article which I lobbied against in the first place.


Thank you for your time and consideration.





Robert T. Oliveira

Newport, RI


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Howard Jones January 04, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Isn't it RITBA and not RIBTA? Lose credibility when you can't even get the name of the governmental entity correct.
Bobby Oliveira January 04, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Howard, If I made that typo, you are correct. That's why I hired an attorney. The only group without credibility here is STOP. Using terms like "missing link" far outweighs a typo that a lawyer will catch later anyway.
Howard Jones January 04, 2013 at 09:15 PM
I doubt you hired a lawyer to write a letter? Who did you hire? Either way, your glaring errors make you look like a know-nothing kook. Well, if the shoe fits....
Bobby Oliveira January 04, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Howard, Taking me out of context will not give credibility to STOP. Let's face it: everyone, and I mean everyone they touched got crushed. Tea Party looney tunes will never amount to anything. The Governor obviously believes that. He had 2 "show only" hearings in STOP's face on STOP's home turf. Not a lot of respect there. Now read real slowly so you get it . . . I have hired a lawyer to begin the process of filing suit. That way, I don't have to worry about my own typing and attention to detail skills. One last little note if I may: in this whole process, and I mean everybody, I'm the only person who testified on ARTICLE V when it was in Committee. In fact, only 2 other people even voted on it that are currently involved. Your loose cannon use of the word "know-nothing kook" is exactly why STOP needs to go away. No message control what-so-ever.
Howard Jones January 04, 2013 at 09:37 PM
Oh I get it. You are a drunk loon who hears voices. Who did you hire?
Howard Jones January 04, 2013 at 09:44 PM
There is no lawyer. You will never file a lawsuit.
Former Ports resident January 04, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Bobby your attack on STOP makes it appear you have no message control. Stick to the subject matter rather than split apart people who have the same goal as you - eliminating the tolls
Bobby Oliveira January 04, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Howard, Do you have a favorite charity?? Former Ports resident, I humbly suggest you do the math. The GA is currently 69-6, as I predicted in a letter to Rep. Erhardt back in August but that's old news, and few retirements are likely, Right now, we can only count on East Bay Legislators to be on our team if we can disqualify the Executive Branch from making this decision solely. If we show up with STOP at that point, we will galvanize every legislator in Providence, Central Falls, Pawtucket, Woonsocket (except for the shrinking Baldelli crew), Cranston, and Warwick against us. I do not want to spend what this is going to take and lose then. I would rather be pro-active and get STOP to stand down now. They can only be an albatross; not any form of assistance.
Howard Jones January 04, 2013 at 10:20 PM
I have many charities to which I donate my time and resources. Why?
Bobby Oliveira January 04, 2013 at 10:50 PM
I got a $1000 to your favorite charity, provided you put up $1000 to mine, that says by March 31st, there is a filing in Superior Court. (When making this comment, I typed "charity" incorrectly. You wonder why I got a lawyer?? At least need a proofreader . . . )
Howard Jones January 05, 2013 at 12:12 AM
You have $1000? Doubt it.
Bobby Oliveira January 05, 2013 at 12:50 AM
Yes Howard, you caught me. I bought over 100 timeshares with cereal box tops. In other words, you're chicken. Duly noted. Go waste time belonging to somebody else. Like everyone else in STOP, all you can possibly do is get beat because that's all you know how to do. See you when I get done.
Howard Jones January 05, 2013 at 01:31 AM
You didn't pay anything for your timeshare weeks. You got them from poor losers who got tricked into buying them from shysters like you, and were happy to give them away.
Howard Jones June 10, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Hey... where 's my $1000???
Robert Oliveira June 10, 2013 at 05:30 PM
Sorry Howard, due to all the screwups by others, we've had to change that date numerous times. My apologies. Take it up with them.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »