2017-03-02 / Opinion

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Headline Councilor Ceglie

To the Editor:

I applaud Councilor Ceglie and members of the Newport City Council for their initiative to work to rid the city of the plague of trash and cigarette butts. I am also heartened by those businesses that support the Council's effort to find a realistic, long-term plan for a cleaner Newport, one that includes ridding the city of those offensive and polluting cigarette butts. Cigarette butts may be small, but they are, as Councilor Ceglie points out, insidiously polluting with grave potential negative effects on our environment.

For many years my family would join other volunteers on Earth Day to collect trash and try to leave Newport a little cleaner, at least for a while. The city was a great partner in this effort. For several years we were assigned to a team, with our rakes, gloves, shovels, and trash bags, to "clean up Broadway." At the end, we would have piles of predominately one item, cigarettes butts, thousands of them. The extent of the accumulation was both staggering and dismaying. My children would look at me and ask why? How could it be that so many people would just throw out their butts on the street? It is difficult to answer. Is it evidence of an attitude of simply not caring? Hard to say or understand. Perhaps people think a cigarette butt is just so small that one couldn’t harm anything. But thousands of them? It all adds up.

Smoking is a personal choice and the results of smoking should remain just that, personal. Second hand smoke and cigarette butts should not be imposed on others. Just as most of us don’t throw our garbage around in our homes or on our streets, I doubt that most smokers throw their cigarette butts on the floor in their own homes or even in their own yards. But it only takes a few, day after day, year after year, who think the world is their ashtray, to make their offensive discards a public problem. So thank you, Councilor Ceglie, the Newport City Council, the city, and those individuals and businesses who are working to find a long-term and effective solution to the destructive and expensive problem of trash and cigarette butts in our streets and public places. And thank you to all those smokers who do care about the environment and do not treat our city like an ashtray.

Lilly Dick
Newport

Airbnb Pays R.I. Hotel Taxes

To the Editor:

In response to the article “Airbnb Seen as Creating Uneven Playing Field,” (Feb. 9, 2017).

Airbnb is providing many Newport residents with the opportunity to earn supplemental income by sharing their homes. In the last year, 300 hosts welcomed 18,000 guests to the community. Middletown and Jamestown residents are also taking advantage of the economic opportunity created by home-sharing.

Mostly, these hosts are not fulltime businesses running commercial operations. They are everyday people opening their homes to travelers.

Nearly 60 percent of Newport hosts are women, with half over age 50. This highlights the number of hosts using supplemental income from extra bedrooms to “age in place.”

Public safety for hosts, guests, and neighbors, our No. 1 priority at Airbnb. We have pioneered cutting edge policies to ensure that home-sharing is safe and secure, from criminal background checks on hosts and guests and a verified ID system to two overlapping $1 million insurance policies that protect hosts, guests, and neighbors in the event of injury or theft, to a special “Neighbors” platform that allow residents to file complaints 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition, Airbnb is doing its part to support core public services throughout the State of Rhode Island by collecting and remitting the state’s hotel tax on behalf of our guests and hosts.

We are proud of our community in the Ocean State and look forward to continuing to work with cities and towns to foster the economic opportunity that home sharing provides.

Andrew L. Kalloch
Mr. Kalloch is a lawyer who works in
Public Policy for Airbnb

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