Refuting the coordinated and intentional distortion of information in its August 2014 report, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity demands that NAACP Providence head, Jim Vincent, and ACLU RI head, Steve Brown, retract their recent public statements that the Center and its pro convention allies support amendments dealing with "cultural issues" or the infringement of individual rights at a would-be constitutional convention.
"The fact that the ACLU, the NAACP, and Union bosses purposely mischaracterize the intentions of our Center - and others - and are trying to scare voters to oppose a convention, displays how desperate they are to maintain their insider, favored status within our government," said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center.
In the 2014 report, The Path to a Constitutional Convention, the Center discusses why a people's convention may be warranted and how a convention would give a more direct voice to the people. The Center, however, did not endorse the idea of including social issues.
In the section discussing possible convention topics that could be brought up by convention delegates, the Center's report objectively presented potential amendment topics, such as:
"Make a definitive statement on whether teachers should have access to binding arbitration", "Determine if collective bargaining for public employees should be expanded or trimmed", "Codify the principle of whether pension agreements are binding contracts", and "Resolve some thorny cultural issues - one way or another - through the mechanism that most clearly represents the will of the people."
Any honest reading of this section clearly shows that the Center was not taking a position on those topics. Nor is the Center aware that any pro convention organization has publicly suggested that social or cultural issues should be a convention topic.
"To put this matter to rest, our Center joins with our pro convention partners in pledging not to support any amendment in a convention that would infringe on individual rights," added Stenhouse.
Vincent published his comments in an October 20 opinion piece in the Providence Journal, while Brown made his comments in a Providence Rotary Club debate that same day.
In a related announcement, the Center will release the remainder of the poll results from its September public opinion survey about a convention, at the RI Taxpayer Association fall meeting, this Wednesday evening at the Radisson Hotel in Warwick, during Stenhouse's prepared remarks as an event panelist.