2016-09-15 / Opinion


Middletown Councilors, Open Your Eyes

To the Editor:

I read with interest your editorial exhorting visitors to pick up their trash at local beaches. I could not agree more.

But I want to explore here the related issue: Why is Middletown not picking up trash at their beaches? After all, they are powerful cash generators.

All year long at Third Beach, visitors are required to take their trash with them. It is not clear what the town wishes them to do. Picture a family day-tripping from Providence. Are they supposed to pack their baby’s soiled diaper in a hot car for several hours and take it back home at the end of the day? Human nature being what it is, that diaper is much more likely to find its way into the dunes.

In a few weeks, trash receptacles will be taken away from Surfer’s Corner at Sachuest Beach, which as we all know is well-frequented, and well-littered, year-round. For years, the local surfing community has been vocal in requesting that at least a small trash barrel be left there year-round, perhaps with a weekly collection, only to be met with indifference by the town.

From October through May locals and visitors walking on Second Beach pick up fishing gear, discarded plastic bags, straws and the omnipresent coffee cups, and walk all the way to the parking lot only to find out that there is not a way to easily dispose of this trash, thereby discarding it in the parking lot to be dispersed back in the environment.

A few trash bins would go a long way in lessening the impact of beach use.

One must have been living under a rock not to know that plastic pollution is killing marine life everywhere, that it has collected in five major “gyres” all over the world, that it is now found everywhere in the fish food chain, that 60 percent of cetaceans are harmed by plastic debris, and that the health of oceans in general is in critical condition.

Middletown’s conduct appears both greedy and inexcusable. After all, Middletown has the distinction of being the most expensive beach in the state, with record seasonal revenues set aside for “future contingencies.” Certainly a few trash barrels will not make a serious dent in the beach profits.

We all share of this one blue planet. The action of one, or of one municipality, does affect us all. Gone are the days when we can be complacent about pollution from any source, and small actions could make a big difference. I implore the Middletown council to do its part, and its residents to keep asking their representatives to open their eyes and hearts to the harm done and to do the right thing to lessen the environmental impact of beach use.

Giuseppe Scagliarini, Esq.

Newport Zoning Process Broken

To the Editor:

There is a massive home being built at 236 Coggeshall Ave. As concerned neighbors, we expressed our strong objections at a Newport Planning Board meeting on July 7, 2014. What follows are extracts from a letter provided to the board by Richmond Lloyd:

“My purpose in writing is to state my strong objection to the amended application by James T. McCaffrey and Gina McCaffrey for a demolition permit application and proposed single family dwelling at 236 Coggeshall Ave.

I welcome Mr. and Mrs. McCaffrey as new neighbors but unfortunately I am forced to post my objections to the McCaffreys’ plans for a single family residence.

My objections to this application:

1. The property should be “architecturally compatible with the neighborhood,” which it is not.

2. The R10A zoning is intended to transition from large structures to smaller structures which this proposal does not conform. The design is moving in the wrong direction, going from an existing structure of 3,800 square feet to an initially proposed structure of 5,800 square feet, to what is now estimated by the planning department to be a structure that is approximately 10,000 square feet….

Arguments to support above objections:

1. The existing structure to be torn down is 3,800 square feet. The initial proposal considered 14 November 2013 was for a house of 5,800 square feet, rectangular and two stories, with single peaked roof, and with sloping gables on each end. It was 30 feet to top of the chimneys from the first floor. While extremely large relative to the homes in the neighborhood, it had a Newport architectural style.

2. The new application calls for a hexagon shaped house, with six sides, now three stories with a flat roof. It is estimated by the planning staff to be about 10,000 square feet, three to five times the size of existing homes adjacent to and in the immediate neighborhood….

Needless to say the area is historic and I hope the Planning Board will do all that it can to ensure that it retains that character….”

At the Planning Board meeting, members took note of our objections, especially the size of the home relative to others in the neighborhood. One member said it looked like a “bait and switch,” to which the applicants’ lawyer quickly denied any such intention.

The lawyer asked for a continuation of the application to the next month so he could share our concerns with his clients. There was no application at the next meeting. Sometime after, we learned that the city’s solicitor had written a letter to the Planning Board stating they had no authority to rule on the proposed home. We then realized that our concerns would not be considered further.

We feel the zoning approval process is broken. It is time for the City Council to review Newport’s zoning laws and the Planning Board’s role and authority to preclude such massive structures in other parts of Newport.

Timothy and Maureen
Charles and Carla Kenahan
Richmond and Lillian Lloyd

Design Disaster

To the Editor:

I am the fifth generation of six calling Newport "home." Our current home (for 50 years) is a large 1890s house adjacent to 236 Coggeshall. Our property and our neighborhood will be shadowed by the extremely inappropriate uninterrupted mass and horrendous design of the huge, flat-roofed structure in our midst.

For tourists exiting Cliff Walk or Ocean Drive at our end, their impressions of our fabulous coastline will be poisoned by their final memory of this monumental design disaster.

For our neighborhood, it will be our daily sadness.

The city never sent me any notice about this project. Ever.

Pandy McDonough

Candidate Statement

To the Editor:

I look forward to earning your support as I move forward in the educational environment of our district by running for Newport School Committee.

I support early education of students entering the Newport School system, including pre-K programs, Head Start, kindergarten, and vigorous elementary instruction to enable all students to read at grade level by grade three.

I support the emphasis on STEM programs, which are designed to integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the classroom. STEAM is the inclusion of arts into the program.

I support an Alternative Education Program for students who do not fit into the traditional model assuring educational and vocational success.

I support the professional development of academic staff.

We have many challenges to meet to ensure the successes of all students. I propose that we work together to achieve the highest level of accomplishment for our district.

I would like to hear from you. Contact me with your ideas and suggestions for an improved educational system, which I know everyone agrees is essential to further the success of students attending the Newport Public Schools.

Adrienne Clemente Haylor
Newport School Committee

Time's Up for Political Insiders

To the Editor:

I am responding to the “stunning” upsets that occurred during Tuesday’s primary election that resulted in three entrenched and powerful members of the House and two from the Senate being removed from office.

It was a very good day for Rhode Island taxpayers all across the state. It was also a very bad day for the political insiders who think they can ignore the wishes, desires and even pleas of their constituents for real change.

Rhode Islanders sent a powerful message to all political insiders that their wishes for change have now become a demand for change. For months and even years we have been asking our elected officials to not force tolls upon us; to reveal the perpetrators behind the 38 Studios scandal; and to do the hard work necessary to reform our economic and educational systems so that Rhode Island no longer remains one of the worst states in the nation in both areas.

To date we have been ignored, disrespected and used by politicians more committed to voting to promote the Speaker’s interests instead of ours. My opponent, freshman Rep. Lauren Carson, is perhaps the biggest offender of all.

In the coming weeks, as I begin to reveal the facts that my opponent wants hidden, people in District 75 will realize that for the past two years they have had literally NO representation in the Statehouse. This is because my opponent is completely controlled by the Speaker. This is evidenced by the documented fact that she votes the way he votes in excess of 99 percent of the time on key issues. Whether it’s to force tolls upon us, to vote against an independent investigation into 38 Studios or to cut support to charter schools, Carson consistently votes for the Speaker while voting against her constituents.

I know that being given the honor of representing District 75 is more than having small constituent meetings and giving lip service to how things must change. It is about doing the tough work necessary to not only challenge the “Empire of the Status Quo” but to topple it and in doing so, return the Statehouse back to being the People’s House. The bottom line is that I am running as an Independent because I am independent.

Mike Smith
Independent Candidate
for House District 75

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