2017-12-21 / Opinion


Process Should be Open to Public

To the Editor:

We applaud the Newport City Council for its initial efforts to replace resigning City Councilor John Florez. Your use of local media to seek applicants is most commendable. Our hope is that the procedures you follow going forward will continue the open public process that your public solicitation of applicants exemplified. Accordingly, we urge you to adopt the following procedures:

. Publish the names and the applications of all those who have submitted applications by the Dec. 15 deadline, minus home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. This will inform the public about the applicants' qualifications and why they are seeking appointment to the council.

. Conduct interviews of the applicants in an open meeting or meetings posted in City Hall and advertised in local media. It would be understood that the public could be present, but not participate. This will contribute to the public's understanding of what the council is considering in arriving at their decision.

. Hold all council selection discussions and votes to select a replacement from among the applicants at an open meeting or meetings posted in City Hall and advertised in local media. Again, the public could be present, but not participate. This will allow the public to witness the council's decision making process.

In selecting an individual to represent Newport's residents, property owners and businesses, who will serve until Dec. 1, 2018 until an elected candidate fills the position following the regular city elections next November, the public deserves to be fully informed about who the selected person is, what his/her qualifications are and how the council arrived at its decision. We believe that conducting any of the process in closed executive sessions would not be appropriate for this very important matter. We ask if conducting any of the process in non-advertised and/or closed meetings would be in violation of Rhode Island "Open Meetings" regulations.

Ron Becker
Isabel Griffith

Grateful for a Caring Community

To the Editor:

On Thursday, Dec. 7, 25 local musicians played to a capacity crowd at the beautiful Channing Memorial Church at the 10th annual Singing For Shelter. All proceeds from the annual fundraising concert are shared equally between our two homeless shelters, Lucy’s Hearth and The McKinney Cooperative Shelter. This year, we’re happy to report that we were able to raise a record $8,550 for our shelters.

Our heartfelt thanks to all the musicians, volunteers and concert attendees for all you continue to do to support the great work done by these shelters. We are beyond grateful to live in community that cares so much about the less fortunate. We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and we’ll see you at next year’s Singing For Shelter.

Anne and Mark Gorman

Yearly Checkup May Be Vital

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter hoping it will be a wake-up call for someone who thinks they are healthy because they eat well and exercise. Well, I was one who thought that, too, until I had a major stroke seven years ago caused by an irregular heartbeat known as A-Fib. Had I seen a doctor through the years before my stroke, I may have prevented this health problem. I do not want this to happen to anyone else. I am advising everyone to have a yearly checkup to detect the silent killers such as high blood pressure or A-Fib (irregular heartbeat.) Miraculously, I survived the stroke but it left me paralyzed on my right side. Doctors have told me I will always need a leg brace to walk. God gives me strength to go on living after hearing the doctors say I am lucky to be walking at all. I will never give up hope and will continue to rely on my faith in God’s healing power to perhaps walk normally again someday and regain the use of my right side and hand. To the Newport Hospital doctors and staff, thank you for continuing to be compassionate and helpful. May God bless you all.

Elizabeth Watts

Ban of Plastic Bags Misguided

To the Editor:

I would like to address the recent “Single Use Plastic Bag” regulation. This regulation is a lie. The only “Single Use” bags are those at parks furnished to dog owners for puppy poop. The plastic bags used in stores are for a multitude of things, such as trash can liners, bait bags, food freezer bags, encasing wet items before putting in the trash can, and I could go on, but you get my point. Then there is the problem with the bottom falling out of the paper grocery bags when there are frozen or refrigerated foods put in them. The food “sweats” and weakens the bag. How stupid is it to carry these foods in paper bags? Plus, the paper bags seldom survive first use and cannot be reused, which is more waste.

Having spent half my life on the ocean as a commercial fisherman, I did not see the problem with the plastic bags that are so decried by those favoring the ban. I have never found a bag in the gut of a fish I was cleaning, but I have found lots of other things, mostly digested, even metal. I have also found many things that were not meant to be in the water. I found two teak lawn chairs that are quite nice. I even have a 15-foot aluminum pole in my yard with a light and motion detector. The pole had one end sealed and was bobbing along in the channel when I found it. That could have been a danger if hit by a small boat at high speed, but a plastic bag, not so much. Furthermore, I always snagged trash in the water and brought it back to the dock for proper disposal, as do most fishermen.

Finally, the ban proposes to solve the wrong problem, which is another lie to sell it. The real problem is littering. Leave it to the most ignorant among us to solve a problem by fabricating a non-solution to the real problem. Yes, I still use the plastic bags all the time and take my own to the store. If the store owners had better business sense they would start stocking the bags for sale. I would buy them in bulk, which I intend to do if I ever run out before this nanny state PC mentality buries us all with its misguided stupidity.

James R. Baillargeron

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