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Beezlegrunk OP t1_jc6uwg8 wrote

>”Fane always balked when he was asked about financing the project, mostly offering some version of ‘trust me’ when he talked to people like me. I admit that I fell for it. There were plenty of people in the development world in my ear who were raising legitimate questions about the viability of the tower, but I wrote them off as worried about competition from the eccentric outsider. > >It’s not necessarily the City Council’s job to vet a developer’s ability to pay for their proposal, but [former City Council president David] Salvatore said he was especially concerned because ‘there were tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on the line’ — in the form of subsidies – if the project got started but couldn’t be completed.”

The cheerleading BEANs never care about this sort of thing, which is why they should be ignored when they mindlessly tout any and every project whether it’s viable or not …


maybebullshitmaybe t1_jc9hfbn wrote

Surely it must be somebody's job to vet a developer's ability to pay for their proposal....right?

Or it should be somebody's job anyway.

And whenever someone reassures with "Trust me"...👌


Proof-Variation7005 t1_jcaj3k6 wrote

>The cheerleading BEANs never care about this sort of thing, which is why they should be ignored when they mindlessly tout any and every project whether it’s viable or not …

That would hold water if the project's viability was matter of debate or public discussion. I've spent years reading articles and discussions on the building and pretty much nobody was talking about that angle. Hell, even the primary quote source in this column admits he bit his lip on that piece of the equation.


Beezlegrunk OP t1_jcapnxa wrote

It’s a matter of debate and discussion if people actually take the time to debate and discuss it — the point is that the BEANs never care about those things, so they never bother to engage on the issue of financial viability: it’s just build, build, build, whether it makes financial sense or not. There’s no due diligence in saying, “If some rich guy wants to build here, we have to do anything and everything we can to help him.”

But your premise is flawed, because the rest of us did debate the viability of the project: Many Redditors criticized the subsidies as excessive and unnecessary, and questioned whether more luxury apartments were needed in Providence (spoiler: they’re not) — and therefore would generate the occupancy, rents, and taxes needed to recoup the project financing.

Elorza was hardly a NIMBY, and he vetoed it. Salvatore works in real estate and he didn’t think it would work. That had nothing to do with the building’s excessive height or Pippi Longstocking design. (Most people forget the original design proposed three towers side-by-side.) It was a white-elephant boondoggle from the beginning.

The reason it didn’t get even more financial scrutiny was that the state legislature and media are a bunch of BEANs too. Boston Globe bureau chief Dan McGowan is a sports reporter who admits he never even bothered to look into the financial aspects of the proposal because he accepted Fane’s shallow, Music Man-type hype as gospel.

And the same thing will happen on the next proposal, and every one after that — RI has such a strong inferiority complex that it’ll drop its panties for any developer who promises to make it feel special — and says the magic words that intoxicate BEANs and other shallow thinkers: “jobs”, “taxes”, and “housing.” Developers know that all they have to do is sprinkle those words throughout their otherwise empty presentations and the panties come down …


RIDG86 t1_jcc3jna wrote

>Dan McGowan

Pretty sure you gave McGowan a promotion and insulted him all in one swoop....I don't think he is a bureau chief as much as he is a reporter and columnist, and I am not sure when he covered sports...I presume before wpri? So like maybe ten+ years ago? In any event, with all due respects to sport journalists, i got a few faves, in the last ten years McGowan has been covering PVD politics so well he is the go to reference on any pvd issue you google. I never got the sense that he was a proponent or opponent of this project.

But I too am curious what BEAN means...I thought bean counters....but below someone said Build Everything and Now...which I never heard before, but makes sense


Beezlegrunk OP t1_jccaari wrote

McGowan leads the Globe's RI bureau as far as I can tell, so I assume he's considered the bureau chief — if not him, then who is?

And at least half of what he writes about is sports, and he even manages to weave it into stories that have nothing to do with athletics (just look at the one we're commenting on — it's full of sports metaphors). He may not have the formal title of sports reporter, but he's a sports reporter — and his political coverage reflects that.

I don't share your appreciation of McGowan's coverage of local politics, because (like daily sports journalism) it's not very incisive — he tends to take things at face value and not probe much for deeper analysis. I don't see him relying on any informative sources or discovering information that isn't public knowledge. He covers politics the way a high school reporter would, by writing what he sees, and what the conventional wisdom says.

As far as his personal bias regarding the Fane tower story, he wrote about Salvatore not "wasting his time on the silly arguments from a handful of vocal critics [that the] "the design is ugly" or "that's too tall" — that's a pretty clear indication about how McGowan felt about the tower, and couldn't abide anyone who didn't share his view.

He also openly admits that he let Fane fend him off on the financing details, despite there being "plenty of people in the development world in my ear who raising legitimate questions about the [financial] viability of the tower" — which is a quite damning admission for someone who covers RI politics.

No serious journalist would allow a public figure asking for tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to get away with telling a fairytale about a project's financing, unless he supports the project and is afraid to ask too many tough questions about it. The tower project was like a team McGowan was rooting for, and he wasn't willing to criticize the coach or the team owners if it risked causing them to lose. That's not professional journalism, that's fan-style boosterism.


RIDG86 t1_jcfrpca wrote

I disagree with your take, but we are both entitled to our opinions. I will say, that I did look up the Globe RI staff and found that Lylah M. Alphonse is ¨the Rhode Island Editor for the Boston Globe, where she leads a team covering and exploring the Ocean State.¨ I dont see anyone with the bureau chief title, but i suspect that role is probably played by the editor. Their RI coverage is pretty good. I opted to pay for one paper and its the globe. Although I have hit the projo paywall a few times this year and I have been tempted to sign up…its just depressing how reduced our paper of record has become and I struggle wanting to give Gansett any of my money. This is all to say, I appreciate Mcgowans reporting….i feel like people find issue with journalistic objectivity when they feel slighted by a perceived subjective aspect of an article. I noted that line where he dismissed vocal critics that complained about the design…the design take is the mother of all subjective takes…I did not find it that bad…not great, but i love the Superman building, and i read someone pitching to knock it down, so again its subjective as heck. It was a dig at them for sure, I chuckled, but imagine for those who cared about that issue did the opposite. The finance question was reported on tho…and the reason no one did in-depth coverage on financing, or lack thereof, is because that info is not public. Fane gave assurances he had it, Salvatore apparently called BS, but he could have…at some point, had the backing…so how do you report that definitively either way?

Lastly, I dont want to beat a dead horse here, but sounds like your doubling down on the sports thing..I suspect that maybe its a slight to call someone a sports journalist? I dont know….sounds like a good gig if you can get it. Aside from an occasional sport analogy, I do not see Mcgowan going on and on about sports or covering it in depth…..i guess he tweets about a little league team he coaches sometimes…..I only mention this because it seems you got some well thought out criticisms of Mcgowan, and i dont disagree with the premise of the issue you are highlighting, i just disagree it applies to Mcgowan…in the end, i feel like your just hurting the feelings of some sports reporter out there who is really trying hard to cover the Baseball Classic, and get his father to say they are proud of them….hang in there sport journalists! YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE WORTHY!

Either way good talk!


Beezlegrunk OP t1_jclp6ho wrote

>I disagree with your take, but we are both entitled to our opinions.

"Entitled" seems too strong a word — maybe we both just "have" opinions? I think the "every opinion is equally valid" idea is not borne out by real-world experience ...


>I did look up the Globe RI staff and found that Lylah M. Alphonse is ¨the Rhode Island Editor for the Boston Globe, where she leads a team covering and exploring the Ocean State.¨ I dont see anyone with the bureau chief title, but i suspect that role is probably played by the editor.

That's well observed — I'll adjust McGowan's title commensurately, which actually makes me feel slightly better, though I still don't understand why he has so much sports coverage in the daily e-mail newsletter. That you don't seem to notice that is odd.


>people find issue with journalistic objectivity when they feel slighted by a perceived subjective aspect of an article.

Calling a concern "silly" reveals one's bias, but it was more his admission that he deliberately ignored questions about Fane tower's financing because he dismissed them as rivalry — that's pretty weak sauce. I think he did it because he supported the tower or more downtown development in general. It was at least worth looking into ...


>the reason no one did in-depth coverage on financing, or lack thereof, is because that info is not public.

So no reporters have ever covered stories in which all the information wasn't public? Please. It's a reporter's job to seek out that information, and in the absence of being able to do so, reporting the lack of information as a critical issue that brings the subject itself into question. Silence on the issue only really served one side: Fane.


>I suspect that maybe its a slight to call someone a sports journalist?

There's different kinds of sports reporting — some of which includes never really looking beyond the surface of issues, and always taking team pronouncements as gospel, in the name of supporting the home team and not pissing off fans. That's not journalism, though, it's boosterism / fanboy-ishness. We see similar things with business reporting that never really questions corporate pronouncements or motives. Then it's suddenly a surprise when we find out a company has been lying all along.


>I do not see Mcgowan going on and on about sports or covering it in depth

Read the daily newsletter and you'll see what I mean. Even the Fane tower column has a bunch of sports references in it. I think he sees every issue as some sort of competitive contest and his job as a reporter is to 'handicap' the eventual outcome — i.e, "The odds are against person X achieving outcome Y" — likes it's a pre-game report or post-game analysis. What we don't see are a lot of incisive questions or insightful reporting based on going behind the obvious public facade that everyone can see. It's generally pretty shallow ...


RIDG86 t1_jclzzpg wrote

I got to tell you, as I began to read this I thought your tone was going to be snippy with the whole entitled to have opinions versus having opinions…..but reading your whole reply I am going to revisit that first impression as you simply trying to be particularly thoughtful in your reply, and I can appreciate that.

Just to push back on your eventual point in the first paragraph, i never said both of our opinions are equally valid, just that we are both entitled to have an opinion. I will maintain that is true. In fact, I know I am bias, but I give my own opinion more weight than yours. And I do not hold it against you if you do the same with you own opinion on this subject!

The whole reason I made that statement was to acknowledge that we hit an impasse. I am not going change your mind and your weren’t going to change mine.

I will say that I do read his newsletter, I used to follow his PVD Facebook page that he had going before going to the Globe. (Not even sure if that is still maintained). That is all to say, that over a better part of a decade I have been reading McGowan articles. I will acknowledge that he does use sport analogies from time to time, but I do not see it as much as a problem as you seem to do. Moreover, given that he cover politics more than anything else, I cant think of what politics translates more perfectly into than sports. Elections are races, candidates are judged by their performance by the electorate, votes like points determine the winner. Some candidates, like sports teams, are better funded than others. And like in sports everyone loves a good underdog story line.

In any event, pure objectivity in journalism is a myth. I am not even sure what that would look like. Even with a plain reporting of the facts, I find folks who do not like what they are hearing would question the objectivity of not contextualizing those facts in a way that they subjectively believe is needed. In this instance, if reporters questioned the financing without any basis that it does or does not exist….that would not sound too objective to me if I were supporting the tower...

As far as digging up the Fane financing, or lack thereof, thats an unfair expectation. Fane had every reason not to publish that information for business reasons. Short of that, as far as I know the Fourth Estate does not have subpoena powers.

Again good talk. This is my last reply friend, I leave you to have the last word if you so desire it!


therealDrA t1_jcbkwmz wrote

What is a BEAN?


Proof-Variation7005 t1_jcbmd9p wrote

TBH, I'm not sure, but I just assumed it's supposed to be some counter to NIMBY.

Build Everything and Now or something?


therealDrA t1_jcc2vyw wrote

Yeah I figured what it meant but was wondering the exact acronym.


Beezlegrunk OP t1_jcc44bf wrote

Build Everything Anywhere Now


therealDrA t1_jcc61mq wrote

Thank you for defining the acronym. I think it is really generalizing to say anyone who supported the project is a BEAN. I supported it and do not fall in that category by a long shot, but, as others mentioned, the financial viability of the developer was not widely discussed. Had that been brought up I probably would not have. It is unfortunate we no longer have journalism of any value in the state. For those that rely on journalists for comprehensive reporting on issues, we don't have it in the ProJo or Sinclair.


Beezlegrunk OP t1_jcdbt2y wrote

Fair enough, but it’s sort of like dismissing everyone who opposes a non-viable project as being a NIMBY. We need more housing in Providence, but not high-priced condos subsidized by the government — and not wildly out of proportion with the rest of the built environment as some sort of a vanity trophy building.

You’re right that the media did a poor job of covering the project, but residents could also look at the people involved, and what they said (and didn’t), and see that it was always more of “let’s see if we can wangle a deal for ourselves by making vague assertions” about jobs kind of thing.

I think if they’d lined up the financing to make it viable, they would have been more forthcoming about it as a solid public investment. Instead, the details were always coming later, once we’d committed to the deal. It shouldn’t take that kind of financial minuet to get a worthwhile deal completed — which indicated it never was a good deal.


fishythepete t1_jc95ufx wrote

It’s ok BeetleBoy, someday RI will move the way of our more progressive neighbors in NY no matter how much DINOsaurs like you resist progress.


Beezlegrunk OP t1_jc9eot0 wrote

If giving out-of-state millionaires tens of millions of dollars in public subsidies for non-viable projects is your definition of “progress”, you must be a big fan of Curt Schilling and the 38 studios deal, and still mad at the “dinosaurs” who resisted it.

As P.T. Barnum said, there’s one born every minute …


Mountain_Bill5743 t1_jc9j17j wrote

I was just thinking of 38 Studios. I would be willing to bet that a lot of people are new to the area and are totally unfamiliar with that debacle and the years of mess that followed.

It sort of reminds me of every thread on snow days being an overreaction when new residents don't realize kids got stranded on buses in 2007 due to a bad call.


fishythepete t1_jcavk3c wrote

So you’re against the Superman building project too?


Beezlegrunk OP t1_jcb1e4u wrote

I’m against public subsidies for rich people


fishythepete t1_jcbajw4 wrote

How do you define “Rich People”? High Rock isn’t a person - are subsidies for a business ok?


DuckiestBoat959 t1_jc8tgml wrote

Until the Superman Building is renovated there should be NO proposals whatsoever for ANY building this size in Providence. They can't even fill an existing building and city planners wanted us to trust them with delivering a new building thats even LARGER?! They have absolutely ZERO room to speak on anything.


Proof-Variation7005 t1_jcajn97 wrote

>They can't even fill an existing building this size in Providence.

Which one are you specifically referring to? This was definitely true of a few buildings 10-15 years ago, but that may as well have been 100 years ago, as far as relevance to now


ChronicCumShots t1_jcako28 wrote

To be fair, it is immensely complicated and costly to renovate a building that old compared to building a new one. When the Superman Building was constructed they didn’t have to take into consideration the requirements of a modern building


DuckiestBoat959 t1_jcc7o8q wrote

I'm tired of that answer man. I've spent my whole life believing people when they say its complicated only to visit other states and watch them easily succeed in the places that our state drops the ball. There's so much smoke and mirrors here that even simple things need to be fought over to get done. I shouldn't have to check a ballot box on whether I want my roads to be maintained properly. I shouldn't have to pay double my previous utility bill in order to modernize a power grid. These things should have been looked after. But somehow it always ends up falling on the taxpayers lap to get done. I'm not saying fixing a building isn't hard work but honestly with our track record I just don't believe these people anymore.


ChronicCumShots t1_jcc8bcv wrote

I agree with you but I just know as an engineer in construction I’d much rather build a new building then renovate an existing one. Don’t blame me I’m not the state lol


[deleted] t1_jc950jd wrote



DuckiestBoat959 t1_jce527h wrote

As follows….

Built the largest solar field in New England.

Oversaw 27 energy sites.

Monitored almost every wind turbine in the state. (Minus offshore)

Surveyed for the Top Golf in Cranston.

If you’d like to continue I can pull a Billy Mays impression for the rest


argument_sketch t1_jc9mp2t wrote

Bring back the sunflowers!


TheSunflowerSeeds t1_jc9mptv wrote

Bees are a major pollinator of Sunflowers, therefore, growing sunflowers goes hand in hand with installing and managing bee hives. Particularly in agricultural areas where sunflowers are crops. In fact, bee honey from these areas is commonly known as sunflower honey due to its sunflower taste.


lugo2 t1_jc8z65b wrote

I would love to see them commit to keeping that parcel as part of the park, it's such a beautiful open area and it was awesome when they had pride down there last year. As a pipe dream I would love to see them remove the buildings and parking lot just north of that park and expand the park, maybe add basketball courts or a jungle gym or an amphitheater or something.


lugo2 t1_jc8zlg8 wrote

As a crazy pipe dream, I would love to see them as a floating stage in the middle of the river north of pedestrian bridge they could put in some awesome summer concerts down there and people on both sides of the river and in the pedestrian bridge could enjoy it. It would be a really weird feature to have which I think makes it even more 'Providencey'


Mountain_Bill5743 t1_jc9jbmc wrote

New here? Just wondering because you are describing the 20 years of WBRU summer concert series here (but at the water basin downtown)-- free concerts every/every other weekend.

The short answer is it's expensive and Brown defunded the station. But yeah it WAS awesome and one of the things I miss most about pre covid providence days.The music scene here went from pretty solid to very meh when that happened and sadly, I don't see a revival taking its place.


huron9000 t1_jccepmv wrote

Totally. We already have an amphitheater on the water that works great for concerts- Waterplace.


Mountain_Bill5743 t1_jccjv2h wrote

My favorite summer memories here aren't the beaches, but these concerts with friends. Shame newbies will never get to experience these laid back and FREE events each weekend.


huron9000 t1_jccktht wrote

Same here. Between those concerts, and the Xgames, and the general vibe….the city felt so alive then.