Howie Barte to Publicize Concrete Plant Fiasco

Here’s the latest for Cranston Citizens for Responsible Zoning and Development:

RETENTION OF HOWIE BARTE

CRANSTON, RI: Cranston Citizens for Responsible Zoning & Development (“CCRZD”) announces the retention of Howie Barte, as PR Representative to act as its chief spokesperson as it escalates a public crusade to defeat the full scale concrete batching plant project which remains half constructed on Marine Drive .

Until December 6, 2006, Mr. Barte was a centrist talk show host on WHJJ. In the fall of 2006, both he and his co-host Arlene violet were let go after a station buyout. Prior to that, he served as an air traffic controller for 33.5 years with the FAA at T. F. Green Airport in Rhode Island. During this time, he was co- founder of National Air Traffic Controller Association (NATCA). Being a NATCA Labor Activist, he has extensive dealings with national and regional press sources. He has also served in the U. S. Navy during the Vietnam conflict, and has lived in many countries.

Over 1, 000+ active members are entrusting Mr. Barte will persuade Cranston’s current elected officials to now act in the best interest of their residents. He will be responsible for further drawing attention to the corruption and outright violations of law which have plagued the complex Permit given to Cullion. To date, the Mayor and many other public officials have [side]stepped, declined or actually opposed investigating the unusually rapid and cursory 11 day permitting process tied to the approval of the concrete plant project in March of 2006, leading many local residents to believe they have not only abdicated their duties as representatives of the constituents who elected them to protect their health, safety, property values and the integrity of their neighborhoods.

Mr. Barte was clear in expressing his priorities and goals in stating, ” Not only is this assignment about holding the feet of elected Cranston officials to the fire and changing their attitudes with respect to the acceptance and misrepresentation of corruption of this magnitude, but it also entails persuading such embedded politicians to enforce laws and standards they clearly have had no choice in ignoring. Never before in my career as a talk show host or public rights advocate have I seen an example of runaway corruption combined with a clear plan to evade existing environmental, safety, zoning and building code laws to the extent embodied in the Cranston Marine Drive fiasco. This may be the first time in Rhode Island history where successive city administrations of both political parties have joined to perpetuate such an enormous cover-up of clear corruption at taxpayer expense,” continued Barte.

In response to questions relating to why the highly charged and controversial concrete plant project has yet to attract more than local media coverage Howie Barte was direct in his response by stating, “unfortunately local reporters always fear that really exposing the scope of corruption tied to a project such as the Cranston concrete plant will forever close the door to their all important access to a current City administration thus almost cutting off their livelihoods and career paths regional and national media organizations never worry about such matters and for me obtaining such elevated coverage will be job one. Let’s face it from a regional or national perspective this story has everything, public corruption, deceit, conspiracy as well the fact that a true airing of the facts in question may very well determine who is elected the next Mayor of Cranston or Governor of Rhode Island. From this point on the local rules don’t apply in my opinion – stay tuned.” added Barte.

Hmm, the next Governor of Rhode Island — I wonder who he could possibly be referring to…

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38 responses

  1. Jesse from Cranston

    Sorry, CCRZD, but I don’t think this is what the issue really needs. And I disagree with many of the contentions made here, that “the Mayor and many other public officials have stepped, declined or actually opposed investigating the unusually rapid and cursory 11 day permitting process” (sic), to cite one example. (By the way, do they mean “sidestepped?”)

    I don’t seem to recall any elected official being quoted as saying they didn’t want to look into the 11-day approval. The unprecedented approval has been the BASIS for the City Council’s efforts to reverse the permit (or am I the only one who’s picked up on this?).

    In fact, here’s a quote from the Nov. 29, 2006 Cranston Herald:
    “It’s within our policing powers to do this (pass ordinances stopping the plant) because we’re looking out for the good of the citizens,� (Garabedian) said. “That building permit should never have been issued – it’s very upsetting and calling it a quagmire would be the most appropriate term.�

    Mr. Barte’s list of allegations, and his attempts to bring them against everyone who’s been in office in Cranston for the past two years, are likewise misguided.
    And why isn’t Mr. Barte focusing his PR campaign on Cullion?! They’re the ones trying to sidestep the legislative process by bringing the matter to court in what amounts to a SLAPP suit against the city council.

    The city is on the defensive already, and they’re trying to do the right thing (which I’ve been arguing on this blog for months), so why is this necessary?
    Haven’t Napolitano and the City Council all voiced opposition to this project? Hasn’t Aram Garebedian said the project will not survive? Hasn’t the City Council persisted in trying to fill the Zoning Board of Review in the face of John Mancini’s legal shenanigans so the project can be killed once and for all?

    Or, put bluntly: Why isn’t this good enough? Why must CCRZD now mount a PR “crusade”?!

    I don’t see this move doing anything but detracting from the real issue at hand: stopping the concrete plant. I can completely empathize with CCRZD, which feel that their voices are not being heard. I also share their impatience that it’s not over yet. But this move will only marginalize them and cloud the issue, I’m afraid.

    — Oh, and Kiersten: yeah, that was clearly a shot across Laffey’s bow. For all my reservations about this situation, I DO hope Mr. Barte can publicize Laffey’s role in this disaster enough to damage him.

  2. Jesse from Cranston

    Kiersten:

    As a former listener of Howie Barte, I can tell you that the “centrist” label is more or less accurate — he definitely did not fit with the far-right tilt of his former station. He wasn’t exactly a rabid lefty, either, although he took issue with Carcieri’s policies and (if I remember correctly) didn’t like Laffey very much.

    I’d call him more of a pragmatist — trying to find what would work, more than trying to hew to a particular political bent.

  3. Jesse,

    Most of the time I agree with you. I will say, most of us in Ward 2 and Ward 6 feel the progress has been ever so slow. Without going into the legal mumbojumbo, more we feel Howie will be more aggressive in our message. I dare not spoil the reasoning, nor the new unfolding reorganization ~ stay tuned.

  4. Jesse from Cranston

    Suzanne:

    Please don’t mistake this reply as asking you to divulge private information.

    I’m wondering, though, whether you can offer some insight as to the goal of this move. I mean, aside from stopping the concrete plant (which, as I’ve said, is clearly the common goal of the residents and current office holders), just what else could be accomplished, hypothetically?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if, within the next few weeks (possibly just after the new year, if not before), Napolitano somehow lines up outside (that is, non-tax) funding for the whole $1.5 million and pays off Cullion. It’s clear that he wants a resolution, and that if he’s presented with a quick, clean solution, he’s going to pounce on it. And then this move by CCRZD would pretty much be worthless. I’m just saying it would be a shame for people to waste the effort of a huge PR blitz when the issue will likely be resolved soon.

  5. The myopic CCRZD, as Cranston citizens ought to be happy that the former (and thus far present) mayor(s) haven’t put the City in the position of being slapped with a massive lawsuit.

    Industrial expansion in an industrially-zoned, INDUSTRIAL park is something for which the majority of Cranston citizens ought to be jumping for joy.

    The CCRZD is generally made up of the same people who didn’t think things through when they bought property near an industrially zoned area, who didn’t think things through when they bouhgt property in a flood zone, didn’t think it through when the City advised them to purchase special valves to protect their homes, and the same people who are not thinking it through that this cement plant issue is WICKED tiny when compared to the problems the city of Cranston currently faces with Nappy and a 8 1/2 member Democrat council running the show.

    …oh, by the way. Randy, cut the “Jesse” crap!

  6. Nice response, Jesse. Clearly, Noted Skeptic has not done a comparison of the quality of writing by Randy Jackvony and Jesse of Cranston, as he might have noted that they aren’t very similar at all.

  7. Suzanne Arena, Cranston RI

    Jesse pretty much summarized the blatent inaccuracies of Noted Skeptic. I recall Councilman Barone telling me just such rhetoric when I bought my house, he said was in a flood zone (which it wasn’t/isn’t). He also said I should have checked with City Hall and done my due diligence and I would have found out it was in a flood zone. Crap is what that projection he spewed out was. Actually it was the fault of the Laffey Admin. NEVER cleaning (but saying they did clean) the storm drains.

    The zoning of the area can be easily looked up. For some it is easier to project lies than do the homework. We have, and we know according to the 1992 Comprehensive Plan it called for this space to be Open.

    I would suggest if you are trying to slam folks and spread lies you start your own website ~ there are too many astute folks on this one. Poof….done answering your gobblygook, I would suggest you not waste your time Jesse on this vermin.

  8. Ghost of Christmas Past

    what is quite funny of all the folks who stand up and support the town council and the mayors(yes, both of them) by recalling what the citizens havent done, and what the mayors actually did do(like cleaning the storm drains) is that they fail to note all the silly things one mayor did with the taxpayers money(lawsuits against everyone and anyone), and what the current does(or should i note, does not do). they all love to state what they have done about everything else, but fail to respond why why why they have failed to do anything about the concrete plant. they let it slide into place, and now just sit and wait for something to be done by someone else either for or against it. and when something is done against it, they react negatively. perhaps cullion is putting green in someone’s pocket skeptic terrence, or perhaps you just hate to do what is right for the citizens. if you cannot say anything worthwhile to assist CCRZD and its point, perhaps you would have more fun degrading someone else, or rolling a vagrant. I hope you sleep well Christmas Eve.

  9. Jesse from Cranston

    Suzanne:

    Thanks for the follow-up. I’m glad to know that we’re on the same page here. And I just couldn’t let Skeptic go unanswered — although now that you & I have said our piece on this thread, it’s time to let him/her starve again.

    GCP:

    Care to clear up the meaning of your first sentence?

    On one point — that “they let it slide into place” (by which, I assume, you mean the council) — you’re incorrect. The Laffey crew approved the permit with NO council/board approval. The ZBR could not act on the CCRZD complaint because of recusals, and Cullion is trying to sue its way back to approval by keeping the board from meeting again.

    Every time the Council has fought back, they’ve run into problems — Laffey vetoed two ordinances that would have stopped the plant (arguing that it’s up to the sole discretion of the mayor’s office to approve such applications); and John Mancini has sued everyone on the Council and the building inspector. It’s been made into a legal mess precisely because the Council is trying to do the right thing now, when it was denied that opportunity before.

  10. Just to amplify one of Jesse’s points, since he, Suzanne, & GCP have covered the main issues very well.

    To me, the thing that stood out in Mr Laff–er, “Noted Skeptic’s” comment is the way he blames the home owners for building on a flood plain, but apparently doesn’t see the insanity of putting a batching plant on the same flood plain, even closer to the river.

    How much tax revenue would this thing generate, anyway? Why would I not be surprised to find out that Mr Laffey gave them some sort of deal, like a tax-break, for locating in Cranston.

    And the reference to Randy J pretty much seals the deal, IMHO, that “Noted Skeptic” is, in fact, the former hizzoner. And please to recall that he all-but announced his intention to run for mayor in ’08 during his last apperance here. Perhaps it’s occurred to him that being a current office holder will benefit him as a candidate for governor in ’10. Of course, it also displays a remarkable cynicism: he’s always seen Cranston as nothing but a springboard for his higher ambitions.

    Hope everyone kept their “Fung for Mayor” signs. Time to get them out of storage.

  11. You all pile it on without presenting anything to back up your contention that my statements are inaccurate.

    OK, maybe my guest that Jesse = Randy was (maybe not) inaccurate, but that was based on Jesse’s repeated claims last year that he was not affiliated with any union or the Democrat party. The only people left, “from Cranston” to have so much hatred for the man who literally saved the city would have to be Randy “boo-hoo, boo-hoo I can’t believe Allan Fung got more votes than me” Jackvony or that son-of-a-crossing-guard Matt Reilly.

    And….OK maybe its not CALLED an industrial park, but any half-wit from out of town who got lost in the neighborhood would call for directions and say “I’m in an industrial park”. The point is that the area has been zoned for industrial use for a long time and if you didn’t take a drive around the neighborhood before you signed the PSA, you DIDN’T think things through!

    Most important though is how ridiculous you single-issue people are. You march in with a show of force to fill the council chambers for an issue that impacts a very small percentage of population of Cranston. But when the council is about to discuss issues that impact all of Cranston, you guys have already left the building. Where the hell were you people when the city was going broke? Where are you now that the current administration is taking us right back down the path to deficits?

    Cranston has much bigger fish to fry. If the city goes broke again, you people will have a lot more to cry about than a little dust on your car from the Industrial Park in your back yard.

  12. Laffey…. wasnt he the former mayor? i think he was. so if he is gone now, why hasnt the council and the mayor, individually or together, taken some action in the right direction? negligence is doing or not doing what a normal person would do in the same or similar circumstances. presuming everyone involved is normal, for this sampling anyway, then not taking any action is the same as being negligent. one does not need to take final actions, but actions none the less. saying that one has been held up because of a former mayor vetoed two ordinances when he was mayor which was several years ago leaves no reason for continued action to stop its progress, and if i recall, john mancini is the other sides’ attorney who sold out his family and all his neighbors in Cranston by chasing after big money without worrying who he sold his soul to… and if he is suing everyone and anyone, it seems that he just passed that course in junior college, and that is all he remembers for all his night courses in jr.law school… but the members of the city council and the mayor should all be happy to keep him busy, AND let him sue them as much as he wishes. keep him busy. that does not keep you from taking the right action. one negative action by a portly lawyer should not keep you from taking the proper actions in the right direction at any time. taking no action shows lazyness. taking no action shows fear. taking no action does not show intensity in the fight for what is right and just. Stand tall and make all actions taken current and timely. and if it doesnt work this week, do it again next week. And when they think theyve gotten you beaten on the left flank, come at them from the right flank, and then attack from the rear, and beat them so horribly that they run with their bloody tails between their legs.

  13. A lot of interesting conversations.

    I think Jesse has admitted in the past to working on the Democratic Campaign and is a very big supporter of our Council President.

    I have been on the NE Tree/Cullion Property and between the Pocasset River flowing by and piles of mulch, I definitely wouldn’t think I was in an industrial park.

    As I’ve said in the past, I don’t think it matters what issue it is that sparks your interest/involvement in city politics, what matters is that you’ve become an active citizen. I remember that when our issue came to light, there was a blogger (David Davis or something like that) who felt that all of the groups in Cranston were motivated by a NIMBY mentality. What I have seen through my (admittedly recent) involvement is that the residents of Cranston do come together and help one another because issues that affect my neighborhood, Suzanne’s, Jesse’s or anyone else’s will impact the entire City.

    With that being said, SCOS is having a food drive on Dec. 2 to benefit CCAP!

  14. Suzanne Arena, Cranston RI

    “… issue that impacts a very small percentage of population of Cranston. But when the council is about to discuss issues that impact all of Cranston,…”

    Perhaps if you think spreading lies is going to make folks poopoo our message ~ you are wrong. I will share after Ernest Carlucci met with some CCRZD Members he also said this … that it’s only Ward 2 and Ward 4. But, the difference is when I pointed out that ALL WARDS are paying for legal fees – all Wards will pay for Maintenance & Repair of the Roads that Cullion uses. So to spew this is only a small ward problem is wrong. Also, health wise the plume (cloud dust) has potential to travel well over the 1-2 box area.

    Your juvenille approach is very worrisome if you are a councilmember or have aspirations. Again, maybe you can start your own blog.

  15. Jesse from Cranston

    Skeptic:

    So I guess you’re just ignoring the 4,088 people in Cranston who voted against Laffey in the Senate primary last year (Laffster got 4,532 — not exactly a decisive margin — and lost his home precinct). Not unexpected from another member of what I call SADDL: Self-Appointed Delusional Defenders of Laffey. The sky is falling again in Cranston, everyone wishes Laffey were back, black is white and night is day — that’s the mentality of SADDL.

    (I’ll leave others to consider the image and the function of a saddle to really get the joke.)

    Again, I guess you didn’t notice that the surplus is still safe, that we’re “not right back on the path of deficits” (well, except for the $4 million hole Stevie “I’m a financial expert” Laffey left us), and that the city is fighting a pollution-spewing concrete plant in a residential neighborhood because Laffey couldn’t be bothered with following the city’s procedures properly.

    GCP:

    See, I’m still not following your argument that the council hasn’t done anything. I mean, you write a nice long reply about negligence, etc., but I simply don’t agree that you can say that about this council. Maybe you should be wondering why the previous Council didn’t stop the permit — and I’ve already explained that: THEY DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IT.

    And now that this is primarily a legal fight (and you seem somewhat informed about legal education, I would note), it’s going to be decided by lawyers.

    Laffey only left 11 months ago (as his supporters will be quick to remind you). He left us a mess — and this particular one will take a while longer to resolve. We can’t simply forget the history (again, as much as SL’s minions would like us to) because the fight is continuing.

    Rachel:

    For the record (and to, again, show Skeptic for the fraud s/he is), I have stated that I volunteered for the Democratic campaigns last year. I have also stated that my focus was the citywide campaigns, and that I generally agree with two-term Council President Garabedian. I was not — nor am I now — on the payroll of the city of Cranston, any union, the Democratic City Committee, any Democratic candidate, or any business associated with Mr. Garabedian.

    Suzanne:

    Maybe our troll means “I can’t see it, so it doesn’t affect me — and if it affects you, tough.” So typical of the Laffey crowd. Also, as I’ve said before, Skeptic is clearly trying to emulate his/her hero and “infiltrate” this blog. It’s a convenient way to ignore the fact that a pro-Laffey blog would flop as badly as his book (and Senate campaign) did.

    And folks:

    Sensitive as I am about guessing the identities of others, I’d just ask that we refrain from further attempts at guessing who Skeptic is (apologies to klaus for any offense). We know well enough that s/he has been
    “Blinded by the slight (of hand)” of the former Mayor. I don’t need to spend any further time wondering precisely who it is. And I’ve taken great pains to discount his/her words based on facts, not simply because s/he parrots the Laffey line — although that helps when writing a punchline like “SADDL.”

    (The more frequent readers will recall an attempt made over the summer to guess my identity; it consumed way too much time and was, in the end, completely wrong. And if I could add a further two cents, it really shouldn’t matter who is writing a reply, so long as the statements can be evaluated on their veracity. Suzanne and I clearly shredded Skeptic’s rantings; personally, I don’t care who it may be. I find no more or less satisfaction based on whether it’s actually Steve Laffey. Trying to argue against someone’s position because of associations or identity is 1.) antithetical to the idea of a blog and 2.) the weakest rhetorical position.)

    Although, again, maybe we should thank him/her for bringing the rest of us enlightened Cranstonians together in a common cause.

  16. Yeah, I don’t know who exactly is back in the saddle again as a Laffey defender on the blogs, but it might be time to bring out some of the others — Acorn33 was usually a little more astute, although equally inexhaustible in his supply of Laffey propaganda. He seems to have disappeared. Then there was Roadrunner and Warbucks. Ah, memories of blog days gone by, the good ol’ days when RI Future was overrun with trolls. Their registration feature seems to have done away with some of that.

  17. Jesse, good points, all, and no offense taken.

    It’s just that there was something in the tone, the words, and the attitude that, IMHO, sounded like the former mayor rather than just a worshipper. But he has neither denied the identity, nor that he plans to run again in ’08. I understand your point about the weak rhetorical position, but I think it would be significant if it actually is the former mayor. That would really put a crimp in his credibility.

    In the end, however, what’s really important is that he is pretty much flat wrong about everything he said. Or, if not wrong, irrelevant as he is using tactics to distract and avoid the issues.

  18. Jesse from Cranston

    Kiersten:

    *sniff*

    You’re making me all nostalgic for the old days on RIF. That’s where I first made up SADDL — hitching onto the image of something that supports an ass. Cute, huh?

    klaus:

    You mean “another crimp in his credibility,” no? Sorry, I just couldn’t avoid the jab at SL. You served it up, and I hit it out of the park.

    And if Skeptic is Laffing Boy (which I doubt, in fact — Skeptic can actually put coherent sentences together), the only reason he’d troll this blog is to satisfy his paranoia that this is what the Dems and the media will be saying when he runs for gov. Once again, he’s made a major miscalculation, though this one might benefit him, ironically: there’s no way he’ll face this kind of scrutiny. Nah, he’ll be treated as the circus act again, given his 10 seconds a week because he’s a candidate — then get killed again in a GOP primary.

    black pen:

    When did anyone say the Council is “folding under pressure of a lawsuit”? What I explained was, the Council has to fight a court case before a final resolution to the concrete plant can occur. What I also explained was, there have been substantial barriers put up (by the courts and by Laffey) that the Council has to wade through — and that they’re doing it in due time.

    So, all you’re left with is a cheap shot at public officials who are trying to untangle the mess they were given and undo a wrong done to this city.

    GCP:

    Your premise seems to be that the concrete plant still has a chance. I don’t believe it. I’m not knocking you personally; I think this is something that will take time and that our local officials will kill the project like they say they will.

    I’ve seen this all too much, to be honest: in the absence of action, people jump to the conclusion that their officials are out to screw them. I’ve outlined the recent history of the issue to emphasize that there really is no “action” that can be taken “now!” except for fighting the court case and that the concrete plant is DOA. All we’re waiting for (to extend the analogy) is the death certificate.

    One other angle:

    Now that the Supreme Court has ordered mediation, there’s a precedent that would allow other cities and towns to face similar legal action by developers. Cullion v. Cranston will be cited in future cases if there’s no final ruling. Fighting the legal case will, in fact, protect future City Councils (not to mention the officials in other towns) and ensure that legislators retain their rights to decide such issues for their towns without facing judicial interference. This really should never have reached this level, anyway (though that’s concrete-laden water under the bridge now).

  19. until the fat lady sings and a deal is made and signed, the is always a chance. until april, the mayor was putting all his money and lawyers working overtime against the CCRZD. currently, the mayors office and cullion both are keeping the people in the dark and deaf. Are either trustworthy? We know for a fact both can be bought. The mayor has changed sides on the issue more than he changes underwear, or maybe it is just his position(s) that stink. he cannot be trusted. and the cullion lawyers… why should anyone trust them? the people of Cranston, and CCRZD should and will continue to fight this as if there is no end is in sight, because from where we are, there isnt. the hope is that there will be a park there very soon, with places for folks to picnic, and life to resume as it should in a family neighborhood near where some major streams and tributaries meet. but until that last T is crossed and the last I is dotted, i would never trust the mayor . remember that he kicked his crippled neighbors pony out of the neighborhood because zoning wouldn’t allow it there, but he works in overtime to allow this concrete plant to sit right between to CLCF and a family neighborhood….. bet if it was his neighborhood, it wouldnt be there. I dont think we can recall him, but we can elect another mayor next time around.

  20. Jesse from Cranston

    GCP:

    You’ve made plenty of accusations, but that’s not the same as actually debating the point. “We know for a fact that both can be bought”?

    “The mayor has changed sides on the issue more than he changes underwear”?

    Huh?!

    I can’t imagine you’re looking at the same set of events that I am. The city’s lawyers are trying to STOP the plant and PROTECT the city. The Mayor has (rightly or wrongly) said that he can’t just withdraw the permit in the midst of the legal case — but has NEVER said that he would allow the plant.

    And dredging up the pony issue is just gratuitous. That’s, what, four years ago? And YOU’RE the one saying “we cannot do squat” about things that happened in the past?!

    So really, your point is… you have no point. You just want to slam Napolitano on a completely false premise. I’ve said before that I’m not the biggest fan of the Mayor, but I can’t let you invent myths out of whole cloth without replying.

    Besides, the mayor who doesn’t seem to care about residents and pays for frivolous lawsuits? That was the last guy.

  21. the mayor has had his lawyers working full time and overtime AGAINST the CCRZD until he realized it could do major damage against the city. why was he doing that? is he really that dumb? i dont think so. a man of his word(he campaigned for mayor telling folks he was against the plant, but then changed position when elected) stands up against what is wrong, regardless of the complications. he continues to sit back and do little or nothing in the fight, where a real man would stand tall and lead the fight AGAINST such a major pollutant… ohh, and legal issues? obviously, he is protected by his position. the city would pay any legal fees. so we can only presume he changed positions when the increased negative effect it would have on his electorate vs. the PAC money or campaign funds or ?? switched. he may not have been able to withdraw the permit legally, but he could have headed a protest crew in front of their business every weekend, and made them clearly aware that he was going to make it very uncomfortable for them to stay. the zoning debacle which was not changed from the years in the past from business to neighborhood is not his fault, but showing anyone trying to use it for their own profit should have been met with continued negative onslaught. let the legal people handle any lawsuits. as far as my stating the change in positions, he was clearly against CCRZD until one day in april at a council meeting in cranston east when someone rose to speak of simple environmental reasons why the city would wish to not have the plant in town. and because of the thundering applause thereafter, the mayor rose and said “I agree with him”. before that there was not one peep from him against the plant, and since then i have not heard of one vocal eruption by him against the plant. seeing nothing more, i believe it was just political lip-service on his part. a real man stands by his word.

    the pony issue is just a recall of the one position he has taken on a zoning issue, one about his personal property. politicians always say look at my record. i did, and this is what i found.

    you are correct. this mayor does not take on frivolous law suits. but he also does not fight for what is right, and is afraid to show his electorate what he stands for. he appears to sit back and let it fold out in front of him based upon situation at hand. that isnt a leader, it is a follower. we elected a mayor, myself included. he has shown no reason on MAJOR issues, and this one is about as far ranging and as major as they come, for us to vote for him again. tell the mayor to stand tall, and run this city instead of letting it run him. he was a fine judge, and appeared to be a fine man, but what happened, i dont know…. but he has to do what is right for us all, and is doing nothing right now. is that what you wish to see?

  22. I happen to agree with many points just above. Taking polls and getting a general consensus is great – but, for a strong leader this is not in the mindset.

    The people expected (based on the Mayor’s campaign platform):

    -Investigation
    -New Building Inspector to Investigate and report to the Mayor this was not done.
    -Investigation
    -Action (this is not signing an agreement with Cullion Attorneys of ANY FORM) that he would not pull the Permit until the Court decides. What the Heck is that about? No justification explanation.
    -Investigation / Pull the Permit
    -Not paying for 5 lawyers at approximately $1,500 an hour cumulative for being “reactive” to the lawsuits that Cullion throws at the City.
    -How about the Mayor go to the Attorney General’s office.
    -How about the Mayor recognize the fact that the group was on the Senate floor a couple of months ago to plead to the General Assembly.
    -How about giving the Ward 2 a concrete assurance that there is a deal and allow him to be part of the process.
    -How about sitting down with the CCRZD and including them on the process. Remember they are the Cranston Citizens for Responsible Zoning & Development that have the primary concern of protecting their assets, health and environment and would have a duty to making sure they could facilitate.

    There are many other things that could have been done, like call upon the Governor as this would affect the rivers down to Narragansett and be PROACTIVE.

    Perhaps we residents should start putting our darn property taxes into an escrow account as we are financially being hit with this fight – and possibly will lose a huge chunk of our investments in our homes. We would have every right.

    The City has had the opportunity to mediate since March. Why hasn’t anything happened over the summer? Because the group believed in some of the “ducks” being lined up. Poof that deal, if there was ever one is gone. And now we are supposed to sit and be polite while possible talks and projections in the paper are said there is a deal brewing.

    My eggs aren’t in that basket again, and I have since found a nice red pair of boxing gloves. The group is reorganized and we have some brilliant strategy coming. I’ve always been fond of a left hook. So break out the popcorn folks and let’s get steamed up.

    BTW, the pony thing. Being exposed to real estate and development for quite some time, I am aware of the Ordinances for our suburbs and there are certain “farm” animals that are suited for zoned property. While it’s seemingly wrong to deny a sick child this gift – but I do understand you have to draw the line somewhere and this was the principal of the ordinance. Although I must admit, if it wasn’t barking and howling all the time – I would have turned blind eye as the story of the child appeals to me….and there is no loud noise like my neighbor has coming from his boisterous cat in heat.

    I digress.

  23. Jesse from Cranston

    Just to return to the topic at hand: Howie Barte better do his homework before following through on his apparent threat to tar all of our city officials with the same brush. He’d also better have his facts straight (or, at least, closer to the truth than some of the replies posted here).

    Speaking of which…

    GCP:

    Once again, you’ve made several statements that do not appear to be based on fact. You’ve also completely dodged previous questions I’ve raised. Answering with yet more baseless accusations and empty slogans, “stand tall,” etc., doesn’t count.

    So, how about another try?
    1. When did Napolitano change his position on the concrete plant? Seems that everything I’ve seen and read supports the fact that he’s always been against it.

    2. When did city lawyers argue against CCRZD? If you mean that they didn’t seek standing for the residents’ group in the lawsuit brought by Cullion, you’re oversimplifying the situation. It’s also quite rare for citizens’ groups to be given standing in court cases (at least to my knowledge; maybe you can offer some evidence otherwise).

    3. What exactly proves that “he was clearly against CCRZD” before the April meeting? The fact that he didn’t state publicly that he agreed with them until then? That’s flimsy logic, to put it mildly.

    Sorry, but again, you seem to be repeating a major mistake made by others on this blog when it comes to evaluating the performance of our elected officials: If they’re not doing exactly what you want, when you want, then they must be corrupt. I simply won’t agree with that.

    Also, demanding that the mayor lead protests “every weekend?” Or insisting that “strength” in elected officials equates to PR stunts? I think you really are expecting another Laffey.

  24. Jesse:

    were you asleep for the last year? did you move to alaska, or were you cell mates with buddie cianci? anyone, and i mean anyone… including myself who is not one who worries to much about the political climate in cranston knows full well that the mayor touted he was against the plant as he got himself elected, then had the lawyers for the city working against the position of CCRZD, and now has spun again into where he has aligned himself with us. if he spun a little faster he could be a top when he isnt reelected.

    because someone does not state his position, and uses directional forces and actions against CCRZD DOESNT show his position? than what does? even when he told the crowd at the city council meeting he was against the pollution bearing concrete plant, he only did so half heartedly. watch what a man does, not what he says(and only with a political “knife” to his throat)

    and laffey did do a few things. he straightened out the “red” situation in the budget in cranston in a short time. from what i read in papers, and who knows if you ever can believe that stuff, nappy is ready to go red again with everything, but enuf of that. laffey got this city straightened out… he just thought he was more than a small town politician. he was just too big for his britches… that was clear from day one with him… but give him credit. the books got fixed. the taxes leveled off. can nappy keep it leveled, or does he owe too much to too many people? we shall see.

    if you take all statements by the word, by the letter, i could be here all day… by making public statements, by taking actions against the plant, the mayor would be making appropriate actions. instead, he sat at his desk, and watched and waited for someone else to take appropriate actions. but any actions someone takes are their own appropriate actions, not his. hell, i can take actions too. but they arent the mayors. to this day he has given lip-service to most anything put before him so we still do not know his beliefs. take a stand mr mayor. take a stand. even if we disagree with it, take a stand. and jesse… if all you can do is be picky on one’s use of words, grow up. as i said previosly, not one person has stated that they are in favor of the concrete plant.

  25. Jesse from Cranston

    GCP:

    You should have realized by now that I’m just not going to agree with your baseless slams against the Mayor — and since that seems to be your sole point, maybe we should just call it a draw and agree to disagree.

    At the very least, maybe you can get the message to Howie Barte* that such a tactic simply won’t work.

    *explanation follows:

    You state: 1.) that Nap has “aligned himself with us” and 2.) that you use the CCRZD’s own talking point about Nap’s “half-hearted” opposition to the concrete plant.

    Now, don’t get confused again and think I’m saying something I’m not. The fact that you’re a member of CCRZD (which is what these statements seem to add up to) does not, by itself, make your statements false. The reason I don’t believe you is because nothing you’ve said holds up under the slightest scrutiny.

    Like this gem:

    “Nap is ready to go red again”? Is that why we’re paying the state max tax hike of 5.25% this year? So we can have a deficit? No wonder you write “enuf of that” (sic); you clearly don’t want to be challenged on another falsehood.

    (By the way, how do you know that Napolitano was “half-hearted”? I think it’s just because he didn’t do exactly what you wanted, when you wanted — and when he finally did, you still found reason to complain. Now you’re repeating it here, hoping it will stick.)

    So, please get the message to Mr. Barte that he’d better have something more than smears and lies if he intends to put the current officials on the spot. If not, he’ll be messing up his chance to justifiably nail Laffey.

  26. forgive me… you obviously know everything….

  27. Jesse,

    I have to agree Laffey is a dog.

    I also agree the concrete plant is not going to happen, we just want to make sure we get enough out there that they high-tail it out of town and take their erecta set with them and pay us for our loss of lives.

    I disagree with the Nap and Council have been doing everything possible to end this – perhaps this is a new strategy because if you look at the campaigning it was a sure fire that Nap was against this. But his actions spoke volumes to our members – those members are the very residents in Ward’s 6 and 2 that oppose his position to not investigate from day one and pull the Permit within the 10 months he’s had to do so. I also believe many council members were not into the challenge. Councilwoman Bucci, I understand was a rotweiller against the West Cranston concrete plant that was defeated within a few months. However, she has not been present with voice on our issue. This is not a Eden Park vs. Western Cranston issue folks. This IS and WILL CONTINUE to hit all of our pockets in taxes. There is an e-mail of one Councilman that was for the plant and then after seeing the numbers of 300 at Cranston East…conveniently flipped and has done little to nothing to assist other than his “I support you” in theory – pathetic. Yet, another one states I want to see this fought out in the courts…and 2 weeks later says he would like to see it settled asap – huh, what kind of nematodes are we breeding here? Only 2 councilmembers have been apart from the rest in their vocal outrage of this situation. It is illogical not to see the black & white in this situation.

    Howie Barte will give a more amplified message in a most simplistic way. His pressure is needed when we really only have 2 councilmembers that haven’t flipped on their political paths. I know they aren’t a bit worried about the new bullhorn messenger. I think only the guilty and worried folks are that way because “maybe they should fold on the political journey” because they forgot who they are working for.

  28. Jesse from Cranston

    Suzanne:

    It seems we only have one point of disagreement: the actions of Nap and the Council. I’m willing to concede that they haven’t exactly set the world on fire trying to stop the plant. Look at it this way: Laffey was so afraid of legal challenges that he rolled over for Cullion. Now, the city has to fight the precise battle that he ducked — and it’s not easy.

    I’ve indicated previously that I’m neutral on the issue of Nap not simply pulling the permit. Certainly, that could have ended the issue once and for all. Then again, the whole thing had already gone into court and a judge told Nap not to intervene. One thing you can say about Nap is, he listens when a judge gives him a direction.

    (It may also be a deciding factor when the issue is finally resolved.)

    And I don’t know who the unnamed Councilman is, but if he’s against the plant now, isn’t that the important thing?

    Let me emphasize again: I support CCRZD’s fight against the plant.

    I also wish the group had been given legal standing — but the fact that the city is trying to stop the plant led the courts to decide that the group’s stance was already being taken into account. Hiring a mouthpiece will do little to improve or change the situation, I’m afraid.

  29. jesse:

    love your statement.. i’m willing to concede that they havent exactly set the world on fire trying to stop the plant.

    EXACTLY

    and another point of yours that getting by the mess that Laffey left them you say “its not easy”

    if it were easy, any fool could do it. (no, i will leave that statement to lie there, sorry) the men elected now should not want everything to be easy. let them do it, and carry it with them as a flag of honor for a job well done. havent seen it done yet tho.

  30. Jesse from Cranston

    GCP:

    Okay, I think I finally understand:

    We agree… or we don’t. Sort of.
    And you get what I’m saying… or not. Maybe.
    But you’re still going to argue about it and ignore anything you consider a challenge.

    Yep, that clears it up perfectly.

    Oh, except for a couple of things: there are women on the Council, too. And I don’t think fighting a court case is 1.) what this Council wanted or 2.) the easy way out — or else that fool Laffey would have done it to stop the plant in the first place. And if the price for a “flag of honor” in your eyes is violating court orders and prolonging the legal battle another five years, well, maybe that’s not a flag they really want.

    So, maybe, if you could reply, possibly, with some hint that you actually 1.) read past the first two sentences I post and 2.) consider what you’re going to write before you fill another entry, that would save a lot of time and space, and you might realize we’re on the same page — except for your insistence that the mayor and council do what you want NOW.

    …Though, based on everything so far, I’m not at all certain you can. But it’d be nice to see you try. Just once.

  31. BTW, CCRZD appears to be suiting up with some new faces. They sent a press release that lists the new directors of the organization:

    (CCRZD), a public advocacy group with over 1000 members who oppose the partially completed concrete batching plant located on Marine Drive in Cranston, Rhode Island have announced the expansion of its Board of Directors and election of new officers.

    The CCRZD’ S new Board members include Jeff Zarrella; Dan McKenna; Bob Schoenberg, author of Critical Thinking in Business, and teaches a graduate course in Critical Thinking; and Patrick Clark, Geological Sciences/Environmental Studies graduate from Brown University and worked for the US Geological Survey, along with his volunteer work for the Save the Bay Organization, all are within close proximity to the contested concrete plant site.

    Dennis DeMarco, a Certified Public Accountant and the Controller of Centreville Savings Bank, was elected President of the group association replacing Frank Mattiucci while Ramsey Davis was confirmed as Vice president for the CCRZD. The CCRZD Board expressed its appreciation for the time and dedication provided by Mr. Mattiucci over the last 16 months while noting the fact that its new expanded leadership core will provide the additional energy and resources needed to bring the long standing controversy to a final resolution.

    I agree that Frank Mattiucci deserves a lot of credit for the work he did in steering the organization and helping people to understand the larger context of the concrete plant dispute.

  32. Tonight’s Special Finance Committee meeting which was scheduled 15 minutes before the regular City Council meeting was to be about Gary Stepalavich who is listed on the City Directory as Commercial Plan Reviewer/Field Inspector. The Mayor advised and consented to the appointment of Gary Stepalavich to be our new Building Inspector (replacing Kerry Anderson). Okay folks, here’s the problem, Gary worked closely with Kerry on granting the “wink wink” Cullion Permit. The Mayor’s nomination of Gary Stepalavich to Building Inspector is a bizzare strategy on the part of a Mayor that wants to serve again. Gary was in the muck of Kerry Anderson’s granted Concrete Batching Permit, and his name is on many of the same docs as Kerry signed. So why in hell would we want him! I was unusually nervous tonight speaking because I slammed the Mayor’s actions.

    I basically said, I am annoyed with the Mayor’s nomination of Gary Stepalavich whom was in the middle of the Cullion legal battle with the City over this fraudulent Permit.

    I am annoyed that my time, the other committees and council must dedicate time to hearing about Gary as a Building official. This candidate did not look out for our health, safety and welfare by pushing forward with this wink wink Permit. Both he and Kerry Anderson are associated with this Permit and it’s an outrage this Mayor would ask us to consider this appointment. It’s bad enough in my mind that the same legal council to the former adminstration is also this Mayor’s advisor. I now find it reprehensible that we are being asked to consider this nomination.

    I really believe this nomination was suggested. Aram did make a statement that the nomination was withdrawn by the Mayor and then Councilman Lupino (Citywide) made a whine that it really shouldn’t be made a big deal because the Mayor withdrew. Aram said the public has every right to address any docketed item either now or under Public Hearing Nondocketed. Then Richard Crowell spoke and shared his disgust and that he has 8 documents in his file with Kerry Anderson and Gary’s name on it and that should show a problem right there and he asked that the council consider these facts should this come up again for consideration.

    Jesse, if you know the Mayor – perhaps you can advise him better than what he’s presently getting. For this nomination totally stopped many of us in our tracks with a “WAIT A MINUTE…did someone not due their research”.

  33. There’s an article in today’s ProJo about the nomination and why the Mayor withdrew it for now.

  34. It would appear from the Projo article that Nap and Aram are in a bit of a Mexican stand-off over this Gary Stepalavich. We’ll see who fliches first.

  35. Jesse from Cranston

    Suzanne:

    I’m flattered that you would think I have the Mayor’s ear for anything. Unfortunately, it’s not the case.

    In fact, I have also had the experience of wondering why Nap would follow some of the advice he’s been given. A good example is the attack mailer he sent out on the eve of the election last year — it just wound up with the rest of the negative pieces: in the trash. Another is the tax letter he mailed out a couple of months ago blaming Laffey and the Council (naming two Dems in the piece) for the need for the tax hike this year.

    There are eminently more qualified people in this state (and elsewhere) who could reform that department. Nap should find someone else.

    Kiersten:

    Here’s where this matter will break: Does Aram feel strongly enough that he’ll kill a nomination for the mayor? He supported many of Laffey’s appointments, reasoning that the mayor should have the staff he wants. But in this case… that might be tough. Nap may also not want to lose a nomination vote. We’ll see.

  36. Jesse from Cranston

    Nap should be thankful that Aram has urged him to back off on appointing Stepalavich. I don’t think Nap would want it publicly discussed (again) that Stepalavich sidestepped the Industrial Commission requirement for this project.

    For those unfamiliar, allow me to explain: Cranston has what’s called an Industrial Commission, charged with reviewing large-scale projects like the Cullion plan. The building official is required to a.) consult with the Industrial Commission or b.) have the property owner pay for a technical review of such plans.

    Neither of these were done, and Stepalavich made that decision (the building official delegated that decision to him). Even worse was the reasoning (this is all from the council transcripts of the hearings, btw) — there was no one sitting on the Industrial Commission at the time.

    So, Laffey left a critical board — in this case, THE critical board — vacant and let the Building Official approve a permit based on Stepalavich’s recommendation.

    I don’t see how Aram is going to let this nomination come up again. The question now is, will Nap see the virtue of offering someone else as a candidate? Or will he risk a fight?

  37. Jesse from Cranston

    Suzanne:

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Nap is going to see the error of this move because a.) he probably disregards any potential for voter retribution in November and b.) he overestimates Paula McFarland’s influence on the Council.

    Do you wonder, as I do, why Councilwoman McFarland persists in the don’t-blame-him-for-his-boss’s-decision argument? As you point out — and as the record clearly shows — Anderson made the decision BASED on Stepalavich’s work!

    I can think of a few reasons for her stance, none of them particularly appealing: 1.) to give Nap his choice for building official simply because he’s the mayor; 2.) she just wants someone running the department so the city needs to fill 2 positions instead of 3; 3.) Paula may be term limited* but still be planning a campaign that Nap’s support could help.

    * explanation follows:

    According to the City Charter, council members are term limited to 5 2-year terms (Sec. 2.03). Paula’s last election was her fifth. However, the Charter is silent on whether that means a 5-term ward councilor can then run for citywide since they could be considered different seats — and there’s the potential loophole.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Paula tries to run for citywide next year — meaning she needs Nap’s support (and by extension, the party endorsement) in a potential primary. Now, I admit I’m speculating based on my own observations. But it could explain her support of Stepalavich. In which case Paula is also potentially overestimating Nap’s value — he could very well be in trouble next year. Being the sitting mayor counts for some — whether it’s enough to make a difference against Fung or another Repub is another question.

    Bottom line, though, is Aram can line up 5 votes against Stepalavich a lot more readily than Paula can line up 5 votes in favor.

    … And by the way: it’s Charter Sec. 3.17 (approved by referendum in 1998) that allowed the Council’s investigation into the concrete plant permit. Go to
    http://municipalcodes.lexisnexis.com/codes/cranston/
    Click “Charter” then “Chapter 3 City Council.”

    So the ProJo’s statement on 11.27 that the council “held an extraordinary series of hearings on the issuance of the building permit” should be taken more to mean that the council hadn’t done this before (which I’m checking on) — NOT that it is against the Charter for the Council to do it.

    Finally, let me answer your last question this way: I keep close tabs on what happens with the City Council, and I try to “make a difference” by ensuring that people who blog here get the facts of what’s happening — whether or not they like the information. This thread is a perfect example of what happens when someone gets a narrow thought in their heads and simply insists that reality fits their view (witness GCP’s incessant badgering, bullying and dodging). What I present as information is not simply a matter of one’s perspective or affiliation; it’s fact. When I speculate (as I do in this reply), I note it as such.

    Sorry for not being more specific about whether I attend meetings, but I’m trying to avoid trouble like what happened over the summer. I’ve helped the local Dems beat the Repubs in elections, I plan to do it again next year, and I’m unknown by the Repubs — and I plan to stay that way.

  38. Jesse, I appreciate you knowledge. I would be interested in sharing a point off this blog. Obviously you can create any web e-mail name on Yahoo and we can converse. Without revealing anymore, I think you could be helpful in me finding the needle in one big haystack a little quicker. And we have many haystacks to search…but we are getting close. sarena1964@yahoo.com

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