2016-08-11 / Opinion

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Elect Leaders to Tackle Big Issues

To the Editor:

This election – at every single level – is about electing leaders and not title holders. Our nerves are frayed with government leaders who are arrested for using their campaign accounts for their personal expenditures like Rep. Almeida, or simply forgetting about their numerous campaign promises, like those for independent investigations of 38 Studios by our governor. We are sick and tired of being thought of as so stupid that they can get away with this over and over. Quite simply, most of the team that is employed by us is not working FOR us.

I attended the Newport meeting of the Special Legislative Commission to Study Methods for Growing Tourism a few weeks ago, and it was an eye opener. In a room where leaders once helped to forge the path of this country, we had our own Rep. Carson state this commission that she chaired was not there to discuss the massively erred tourism strategy or to right the ship, but instead was “along for the ride.”

Herein lies a massive problem with Carson. She is always “along for the ride.” She states how bad a deal 38 Studios was, but she went along with leadership instead of her constituents and voted to keep paying it. She went along with leadership and against her constituents when she voted against legislation that would call for an independent investigation of 38 Studios. She went along with leadership instead of her constituents and voted for tolls via RhodeWorks.

However, let’s give credit where credit is due. She did take the lead and introduced legislation naming the official State Beatle, introduced legislation to eliminate the tax on tampons (this didn’t even pass), and introduced the bill to add $4 million to the tourism budget (which her commission saw disappear on the Warmer and Cooler international fiasco). While this is all meant with the best of intentions, it’s just completely inadequate when trying to move our state out of 50th place!

In the hospital world we could make this comparison. The patient’s aorta has burst, and they are bleeding out. And in the meantime, we’re clipping the patient’s toenails. No doubt they’ll have very pretty toenails, but we’re missing the big point. The patient is going to die.

This year, let’s elect leaders who have the guts and determination to tackle the big issues, no matter how politically challenging.

Barbara Ann Fenton
Newport

Give Us Direction

To the Editor:

Scott Wheeler has promised us the weather vane is to be correctly adjusted to truly tell which way the wind blows in Newport.

For 30 years I have lived across Broadway from City Hall, and the N, S, E, and W indicators mounted on the gold dome of City Hall, where the weather vane is, have always pointed incorrectly by 180 degrees. The north arm erroneously points south, with the south arm pointing north. This absurdity has lasted long enough. It's not funny anymore.

But Scott Wheeler has told me the workmen now busily repairing the City Hall balcony's banisters with the aid of a cherry picker derrick are going to be directed to rectify the confounded weather vane and put the city back on course with a true sense of direction.

The south-facing banister and railings need repair, as does this balcony generally. The directional indicator on the weather vane needs re-positioning so that the "N" is not pointing south, making an error of 180 degrees, which must be rectified to provide our entire community with a correct sense of direction, knowing which way we are going in our lives.

G. Brian Sullivan
Newport

Political Relationships Matter

To the Editor:

The undeserved pity party for Linda Finn is in full swing. Recently, the Rhode Island Democratic Party endorsed political first timer moderate Democrat James Cawley over far-left Finn, who served one term (2012-2014) in the Rhode Island House of Representatives from District 72, which consists of large parts of Middletown and Portsmouth.

Since then, much of the state’s press and left-wing media are complaining she got a raw deal. But the much more important concern is that if she gets back into office, we in the 72nd District will surely get the short end of the stick.

In early 2014, Finn was one of a few representatives who voted unsuccessfully against Nicholas Mattiello for Speaker of the House, which of course did not endear her to him. She squandered much of her two years in the House on her pet obsession, pushing bill after bill attacking the state’s 300,000 law-abiding firearms owners. This annoyed the mostly moderate Democratic majority, who saw her strident campaign as a nonsensical waste of everyone’s time and made her one of the least popular members of the House.

So why wouldn’t the Democratic Party jump at the chance to be rid of her?

The important issue for Middletown and Portsmouth voters to consider is not how she was treated but how well she can represent us at the Statehouse. Political effectiveness on behalf of constituents has a lot to do with respect and relationships. By endorsing her opponent, the powerful Speaker of the House and the leadership of her party have made it clear they don’t want anything to do with her. How, then, can she possibly get things done for us in the district? Electing Finn would in effect leave us without real representation in the House.

Bill Welch
Portsmouth

Editor’s Note: Full election announcements from numerous candidates can be read on the NTW website, newportthisweek.com, under the “Election News” button at the far right of the tool bar.

City Action on Helmets

To the Editor:

It is not necessary for Rep. Carson to finally do something for Newport in the wake of the [three-wheeled scooter] accident [on Sunday, July 31]. The City Council can make it mandatory for helmets on all, drivers and passengers alike, just as the town of Block Island has done. The requirement is simply added as a provision of the granting of the permit to rent them in Newport. At the same time we can add helmets to the motor scooter rentals as well.

This action by our own council will allow Ms. Carson to keep her do-nothing for Newport record intact and continue to concentrate on Cooler & Warmer ideas, leaving the work of contacting DOT and others to the private sector.

Jack Milburn
Newport

Regulate Market for Marijuana

To the Editor:

As Rhode Island and the rest of the country progress toward more sensible policies regulating the use of marijuana, the Middletown Town Council has introduced a new zoning ordinance proposal that would prevent any regulated marijuana cultivation sites and retail stores from opening their doors in Middletown. While well intentioned, Councilor Lombardi’s attempt to prohibit state-licensed marijuana facilities is shortsighted and will certainly do far more harm than good for Middletown.

There are three primary reasons we should all strongly oppose his ordinance.

First and foremost, science has proven that marijuana is not the menace that Lombardi believes it to be. In fact, it is proven to be therapeutic for patients suffering from debilitating health conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Second, banning marijuana establishments from Middletown means that citizens would miss out on the economic benefits that come with them, namely the job opportunities and tax revenue. A reasonable analysis put forward by the Marijuana Policy Project estimates that Rhode Island would generate upwards of $58 million annually from taxing and regulating marijuana, and the latest version of the bill to legalize and regulate cannabis would kick back at least 10 percent of the revenue to cities and towns with marijuana establishments. Additionally, we would deprive Middletown of the jobs and other economic benefits that accompany new businesses.

Finally, rejecting a regulated legal market would only encourage the continuance of an unregulated illegal market, which undermines public health and safety and fails to keep marijuana out of the hands of children. Without regulations, illegal dealers have no incentive not to sell marijuana to children; no incentive not to sell contaminated products; and no incentive not to push harder drugs like heroin or cocaine. On the other hand, regulated and licensed businesses have strong incentives to follow the rules and prevent marijuana from ending up in the hands of teens. If they fail to meet these requirements, they lose their business.

As a result, it is clear that Middletown would be safer if we replace the illegal marijuana market with a well-regulated legal market, rather than maintain the status quo. I urge all my neighbors in Middletown to attend the public hearing on Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, and I urge all my neighbors to contact each of the town councilors to call on them to reject Lombardi’s ordinance. This shortsighted and antiquated proposal would create an undue burden for sick patients who need access to legal medical marijuana; it would deny Middletown enormous amounts of tax revenue and boosts to the local economy; and finally, it would encourage the continuance of a dangerous illegal market, making it easier for marijuana to fall in the hands of children.

Please demand that Town Council reject this archaic and pedantic proposal and remember who supported it when we cast our votes this November.

Michael J. Simpson
Middletown

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