2017-07-06 / Opinion

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

An Advocate for Euer

To the Editor:

I met Dawn Euer when we worked together on Lauren Carson’s first campaign for Rhode Island House District 75. In fact, Dawn was the first person to encourage Lauren to run for office. Since then I have watched Dawn in action working to improve our community: as project manager for the Newport Open Space Partnership, as advisor to the anti-casino effort, and as a “go to” resource for all things in Rhode Island political affairs. As she embarks on her run for the Senate District 13 seat, Dawn Euer is my candidate of choice.

So, how do you make your choice in this election when all four Democratic candidates seem to hold the same views on important issues? They appear to agree on the environment, jobs and the economic future of the state, transparency in government, and about the welfare of us “seniors.” If the issues do not distinguish them, what does? What made me decide to vote for Dawn Euer?

Dawn is a practicing attorney and uses her training when making decisions and weighs all the facts in complicated situations. Dawn is an idealist, but her rock-solid values are balanced by practical experience and informed knowledge about what is possible. She knows how to choose her battles as well as how to get things done. And lastly, Dawn is the only woman running in the Democratic Primary. And yes, that does matter and makes a difference to me.

She is simply the best of the bunch and I encourage you to join me in voting for Dawn Euer in the Democratic Primary on June 18.

Isabel Griffith
Newport

An Advocate for Seniors

To the Editor:

While Rhode Island is experiencing our lowest unemployment rate in more than a decade, our local and state economies are still fragile. We also have a $135 million budget shortfall, and if this continues, it will have an impact on the quality of services that citizens of Newport and Jamestown will receive. But as leaders, we need to do more than point out the flaws in the system; after all, identifying the problem is the easy part. As your next State Senator, here are the type of programs I would be sponsoring and supporting: 1) Solopreneurs: Let's create a statewide program that will help support, embrace, and cultivate individual contractors and business owners. These are individuals that are in business for themselves, and have no employees. They are web developers, designers, architects and carpenters, to name just a few. It's estimated that 40 percent of our workforce falls into this category. By 2020, that figure will rise to 50 percent. We need to build a statewide grassroots community made up of these independent freelancers. In Santa Cruz, Calif., they've created such a platform; one that provides services, networking events, collaborative shared live/work spaces and support groups. Today, Santa Cruz has one of the fastest-growing job markets in the nation. 2) Future industry jobs: The 2016 Brookings Report "Rhode Island Innovates: A Competitive Strategy for the Ocean State" provided us with a series of recommendations to help lift and strengthen our economy. In short, we need to drive jobs that consist of future industries, such as resiliency, green infrastructure and information technology. During my tenure on the City Council, I have sponsored resolutions that have helped shape the policy of this project. The creation of these types of jobs will help our community evolve into a year-round economy with sustainable and well-paying jobs. 3) Bring developers and engineers to Ri: This would be a variation of No. 1. Why simply focus on attracting a 1,000-2,000-person division of a large company. Let's work on developing a program that provides incentives for 1,000-2,000 independent, well-paying contractors to come live in our state. These individuals work independently and not in a group setting. They are typically in their 20s and 30s and earn great pay working remotely. Let's create shared work, living spaces that house these individuals and provide them with a collaborative working environment.

These are just several of the initiatives that I will help drive if elected. We have an opportunity to transform our economy in a very substantial way, but it's going to take a leader with vision and a track record for getting things done–not simply someone that can point to our shortcomings.

John Florez
Candidate for RI State Senate

Opiod Crisis

To the Editor:

At this point, like so many of you, I am well acquainted with the facts surrounding the opioid crisis in New England as a whole, and in Rhode Island especially. These numbers are staggering, especially when put into human terms. According to the RI Department of Heath, more than 1,000 Rhode Islanders have died from drug overdoses since 2011, and the number of overdoses in that time that are related to a combination of prescription and illegal drugs has risen significantly.

As the numbers show, many of these overdoses are the result of addictions and dependencies that started with legally prescribed prescription painkillers. An unintended consequence of these treatments is that they can so easily lead to addiction to opioids, heroin and fentanyl

One of my proudest accomplishments working in the Governor’s office was working on the Overdose Prevention Plan. We gathered information from all sides of the issue to find solutions to this grave crisis.

To achieve a lasting solution, first we have to make a start. I am in support of the use of Narcan (naloxone) to treat acute overdoses, but the solutions must go deeper to the cause. We must expand treatment options, the public information campaigns, stricter prescription monitoring, and recruit recovery coaches.

I have met hundreds of the people of this district as I have been knocking on doors and you have welcomed me into your homes to have conversations. It has confirmed my belief that we are compassionate to our neighbors in need. One of the main reasons I’m asking for your vote in the primary on July 18 is so that I can make sure this district has a tireless advocate for stopping the rising tide of this opioid crisis.

David Allard
Candidate for RI State Senate

History Defiled

To the Editor:

After attending The Preservation Society of Newport County’s meeting on June 15 in peaceful protest of the abomination they wish to go forth with on the grounds of The Breakers, I was left in shock and dismay. The people patrolling the entrance to Rose Cliff were appalling in action and behavior. All children should be afforded the opportunity and privilege to experience the pure, unadulterated European-style architecture of The Breakers. Everyone should see and experience The Breakers as the Vanderbilt children did, without the overshadowing blemish of a visitor’s center on the grounds. I have many fond memories attached to this house and it deeply saddens me to see these events unfolding. The Preservation Society of Newport County is willing to throw caution to the wind for the pursuit of money – even if doing so means going against their sole reason for existing, which is to preserve the historical landmarks of Newport. Erecting a visitor’s center on The Breakers property– defiling its historic, beautiful, and elegant landscape – must be stopped!

Peggy Hammond
Boston

Oppose Plans

To the Editor:

In the October 20, 2016 issue of Newport This Week, it was reported that the Peregrine Group partners announced plans, at The Friends of the Waterfront (FOW) annual meeting, of a "micro-hotel and pop-up retail cottages around Scott's Wharf on America's Cup Avenue." The article went on to report that plans for a larger hotel had been ruled out due to height requirements and the parcel's location in a flood plain. It went on further to say that the pop-up retail spaces could be removed during the winter and that the hotel rooms would have limited services and small rooms. It was stated by one of the partners, Colin Kane, that significant legwork was being undertaken to garner public input on the proposal.

It was reported in the May 4, 2017 issue of Newport This Week, that the Peregrine Group presented plans for an "84 room boutique hotel, office, and retail space, as well as a restaurant" to the Newport Planning Board on May 1. No public input was allowed. However, the Newport Daily News reported that a series of public forums were going to be offered to discuss the new plans. The Friends of the Waterfront were notified Friday, June 28 that the plans are to be presented to the Planning Board again on Thursday July 6. No public forums were held after the October FOW meeting OR after the May 1 presentation that FOW is aware of.

I urge all those who can attend the planning board meeting on Thursday, July 6, at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, to do so and strongly oppose the plans. Please hold the Peregrine Group accountable for their bait-and-switch tactics, lack of previous public input opportunities, and the proposal itself. It is the opposite in scope and intent of the first plan presented in October. The building would loom over America's Cup Avenue at the former Yachting Center, block the light, create more traffic congestion, require zoning variances, and further stress our infrastructure and natural resources. The city has more than enough restaurants, office and retail space. Discover Newport reported that as of 6/19/2015, Newport had a total of 2,361 hotel, motel, inn, bed & breakfast and timeshare rooms. More have been added in the last two years. The occupancy rate for 2016 was 59.8 percent. The former Hyatt Hotel has recently changed ownership, as has the Viking Hotel. The facts speak to me of a declining need for more hotel facilities. If you are unable to attend the meeting, or this letter is published too late to do so, please contact the Newport city planner with your comments. Thank you.

Ann Rossman
Newport

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