2016-07-07 / Opinion


No Control Over the Weather

To the Editor:

Please thank Barry Bridges for reporting on the latest idea to pick our pockets in Newport (“Stormwater Charges Considered,” June 30).

Is the City Council serious? I am furious that this would ever be considered a proposal! A tax because it rains!? Unless I am reading it wrong, I am starting to wonder what is being served for refreshments at those meetings. Councilor Neville nor the rest of the City Council can’t possibly believe that residents are just going to sit by and watch as another idea is conjured up and labeled a “fee” to “set up a new utility.” More government to waste our monies! No thank you!

Making a statement like this:

"The purpose of the proposed measures was to spread the burden of sewer and stormwater costs more fairly among all those who impact the system, including the city’s visitors. As the idea was being debated earlier this year, Nicholson said, ‘Tourists are wonderful for Newport, but they also have to share in the problems we have with roads and sewers…. The whole idea is to find other revenue sources and we always have to keep that in mind.’”

Does that even make sense? How are tourists responsible for stormwater? Clearly this is an example of grabbing at anything to generate revenues due to out-of-control spending. Maybe just add a sign at the Pell Bridge, “Welcome to Newport, please leave your wallet and go home”!

“‘We’re going to need some outside help to vet it, to develop it, to review it, and to present to you some alternative approaches to either a stormwater utility or some type of stormwater management fee,’ said City Manager Joseph Nicholson.”

How much is going to be spent (wasted like past studies) to “study” this asinine idea?

We don’t control the weather. If infrastructure has failed and can’t deal with stormwater after all these years, then shame on those that designed it. Maybe firing a few people will get the job done right for a change.

“Tax and spend” seems to be the mantra of this City Council. I look forward to when we can elect new blood (fire a few people) that can be given the mandate to stay out of our wallets and stop wasting those taxes that are already being collected.

I hope some sanity comes to play and this resolution dies as it should!

Completely disgusted!

Kevin Friel

Tourism Industry Vital to City

To the Editor:

A smart and sustainable tourism industry is vital to Newport, our small businesses and our local economy.

Since June 2015, I have been chairing a House Special Study Commission on Tourism and Branding, which was originally designed to study Rhode Island’s tourism industry and make recommendations for cultivating it through statewide coordinated branding and marketing efforts.

I am bringing my next House Special Study Commission meeting to Newport because tourism is the life blood of our economy and because your participation in state government matters.

We will be meeting at the Old Colony House in Newport on Friday

July 15, 10 - 11:30 a.m. The public is welcome to attend. Thank you to the Newport Historical Society for hosting our meeting.

The goals of the Commission for the remainder of this year have been expanded by the House of Representatives in 2016 to include a review of the distribution of the hotel tax, to explore a new framework for statewide management of tourism, and to design ways to measure the results of our statewide marketing strategy.

You are invited to come and join this important discussion on the future of marketing tourism in Rhode Island. I look forward to chairing this meeting in our community.

Rep. Lauren Carson
House District 75 - Newport

Facts on Proposed Energy Center

To the Editor:

There has been minimal reporting in our local papers regarding the proposal to build Invenergy’s Clear River Energy Center (CREC), the largest gas and diesel oil fired power plant in New England, in Burrillville, R.I. This project, now in the permitting process before the Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board, will affect all of us in the state in one way or another.

. It will use thousands of gallons of water each day from rivers and streams and has raised concern regarding diminished drinking water sources in the area and well beyond.

. It will expand Rhode Island’s fracked gas use, escalating carbon and methane emissions.

. It will impede our mandated Resilient Rhode Island Act requirements which address global warming.

. It will support unconventional fracking in other states and is highly suspect in expanding gas exports to the Maritimes and overseas.

The chosen location is within 200 acres of forest and wetlands, described as a statewide protected source of biodiversity. Proponents say this gas will provide a necessary “bridge fuel.” Opponents say the need for CREC in Rhode Island is not proven to the degree required – and keep in mind the vast infrastructure of pipelines, compressor stations, drilling, truck traffic, safety hazards, etc. that will additionally accompany this or any plant.

A free “Learn the Facts” discussion about Invenergy’s Clear River Energy Center, sponsored by the Burrillville Land Trust and the Rhode Island Association of Conservation Commissions, will be held at the Middletown Public Library on Tuesday, July 12, from 5:45-7:45 p.m.

Claudia Gorman

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